Our Vacation…. complete with pictures

Our Vacation…. complete with pictures

We just returned from our first family of three vacation (overdue, I know right?).  We decided to do a trip to Calgary (well, we stayed in Strathmore, a stone’s throw away).  Our loose plan was to spend the week and sometime during the that week go to the zoo, the science centre, the Lego store, and catch up with friends/family as time permitted.  We didn’t want to over-schedule, since this has been a stress point on some of our previous outings.  This turned out to be a great idea, and as it turned out, we got a tremendous amount in during the vacation week.  I have included a sample of pictures from the trip (narrowing them down was a challenge) and here are the highlights:

We hit the road and Cole crashed pretty quickly.  Win!  Along the way (on the advice of one of Erin’s clients) we took a scenic route and stopped to check out the hoodoos just outside of Drumheller.  It was hot, a fun place to explore, and Cole got his climb on.  It was a nice break from the vehicle and he burnt off some energy before we hit the road again for the last stretch.

Our hotel in Strathmore was great, the Days Inn.  In walking distance we had a Walmart, 2 Grocery stores, a Starbucks (for Mom) and a playground (for Cole).  We booked it initially for the King Suite with separate bedroom (excellent), price (excellent), swimming pool (a tad on the cool side) and the water slide (a bit too fast and covered for Cole).  It was a great starting point for our adventures.

From there we began our adventures.  Over the course of the first couple days we got to swim in the pool, visit the zoo (Cole wasn’t super interested, but he and mom persevered) and shop at the Lego store (Cole got police Lego, surprise surprise).  At this point, we got our first visit in, with our friends that arrived from Medicine Hat.  Their two boys and Cole got along as thick as thieves.  We were lucky enough to have them join us for a picnic supper at the park and at the Science Centre (amazing, I highly recommend) before heading back to home.

The following day, we got our second visit in.  My Aunt Francie was able too coordinate most of her clan (Uncle David, Cousins Darren (Pam) and Alan (Sheri, Joely)) to come out for a fantastic feast she had made up.  Cole had a blast entertaining everyone, and we quite enjoyed the home cooked meal.  I always enjoy when we can get together with the Olive clan, especially since we are so far away.

Having got all our TODO list in, we gave it a shot to see if we could get one more visit in before wrapping things up.  We gave a call to our friends Dave & Kyla and luckily enough they were both home that Friday.  Luck would have it, it was Kyla’s birthday, so we took her for brunch to the Bro’kin Yolk (thumbs up, get the bacon poutine).  We got a good visit in while Cole had a much needed power nap.  Angry Birds was playing at a nearby theatre on our route home.  We stopped and added that to our list of activities completed.  The movie was so-so, but Cole seemed to enjoy it.

That wrapped up the week, so we packed up and headed for home.  One last stop in Drumheller to see (and climb) the giant dinosaurs and then we made the long trip back to Warman.  A nice conclusion to a great week.  Cole traveled well (a win for the first vacation) and other than a couple minor hiccups, we had a great time.  Look forward to the next one!


Shaun the Sheep

Shaun the Sheep

I’m not afraid to admit from time to time we let Cole watch some TV.  I have a bunch of shows available for him to watch.  Lego movie is one of his favorites.  He likes the bad guys, he likes to shoot stuff.  It is one of the reasons I’m sooooo happy we came across Shaun the Sheep……

"First Try!"

First Try!

A few months ago, the Broadway Theatre was doing a free afternoon matinee showing of the Lego movie.  We had talked about taking Cole to his first theatre experience but hadn’t yet.  This seemed like great timing, we can take him to a free show, one he is familiar with, and give it a try.  We got there and of course wanting the full movie theatre experience, I hit the popcorn line.  It was long.  Looooooooong.  So while Cole and Erin lounged in the theatre chairs anticipating the start, I handle the popcorn/liquorice duties.  While in line, I got to chatting with the lady in front of me and her son, and we were sharing movie experiences.  She told me his first movie experience was not long ago and she had taken him to the Shaun the Sheep movie.  He loved it…. I had never heard of it.  So I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  Fast forward… popcorn, liquorice, bad cop, good cop, batman, “First Try!”, kragle, movie ends and everyone goes happy.  First movie experience went great.

Shaun the SheepLater, I go to work and locate Shaun the Sheep, the movie.  I found out a few things….. it is claymation and the movie is based off of a TV series, which is a spin off of another famous TV series, Wallace and Grommit.  Great…. more stuff to *locate*…. if we like it that is.  So we fired it up and it was a huge hit.  Cole loves it, and requests it often.  The premise is about some mischievous sheep on a farm and in the latest plan happen to get the sheep owner lost in the city with amnesia.  A rescue ensues.  It is fun, has some catchy tunes, no talking (great for a background show to occupy while visiting) and is very family friendly.  No shooting, no guns, enough inside parental humour to keep us interested.  An all around win.  We have since watched a bunch of the TV Series, and they all fall into the same realm.

So if you are looking for a fun family show that you can watch with the young ones, give Shaun the Sheep a try.  Hopefully your household will enjoy it as much as we do.  Maybe it will become the new favourite movie….. well….. until Lego Batman of course.

Batman Out.

Lighten the wallet, leave your reward cards at home

Lighten the wallet, leave your reward cards at home

Several months ago, I decided I wanted to pair down my wallet.  Did I really need to be carrying the big huge leather wad when I really was paying for most items with my one debit or credit card?  I already carry my phone everywhere, perhaps I could pare down what I was carrying.  I made it my goal to limit my wallet size to attempt to become a bit more of a minimalist.  I can tell you I haven’t found that utopia yet, there are a couple pitfalls, but I’m happy with the progress.

Doc Artisan Sport Case

Doc Artisan Sport Case

First up was to dump the old leather wallet.  I replaced my wallet with an iPhone wallet that I’m very happy with.  I bought a Sport Wallet (v4, it has recently been revised to a v5) from Doc Artisan.  It is a magnetic case/wallet that allows easily removing your phone from your wallet.  It fits ID and a few cards, and a few bills (awkwardly folded, but does the trick).    I also bought a magnetic mount for the car so I can quickly take the phone from wallet to car mount with ease.

Then I found an app called Stocard to start leaving my reward cards at home.  This nifty little app works great.  It allows you to enter your reward cards (enter the reward card number, also allows you to take a picture of the front and back) and then store it in the application for easy access.  It also has a nifty little widget for the notification screen so you can quickly access your cards by swiping down and then touching the icon for your appropriate reward card.  The app is fast and does what I need.  Now when a store asks for my air miles card, or I need my scene it card at the movies, I pull out my phone, swipe down, and touch the icon to bring up a bar code for the cashier to scan (or enter if they have trouble scanning).  Easy.  The app is free, but it does come with a bit of an annoyance (or a *feature* if you prefer) that it will show you a marketing area for cards you have entered (fliers for Canadian Tire if you have a Canadian Tire rewards number entered, etc).  It is a minor annoyance that is easily overlooked when you can keep all your rewards cards at your fingertips it one app.

Or should I say, ALMOST ALL, here is the caveat…. some stores are stupid.  They either aren’t with the times, or they want to push you in to their own app to scan a card.  Shopper’s Drug Mart recently informed me they can only scan cards in their official app, so I had to install a Shopper’s app too.  It’s a stupid policy.  Other places really want you to carry a physical card and won’t let you scan regardless.  So before you chuck all the rewards cards at home, give the store a try first.  I find I still have to carry my Costco card and library card (I shouldn’t have to for the library card but it is easier than explaining it to library staff all the time) but I have my Canadian Tire card, Air Miles, Cineplex Odeon SceneIt card in there, among others.  I will also keep trying the Shopper’s Drug Mart cart but have their stupid app installed just in case.  (Boo Shopper’s, Boooo).

So if you want to pare down your rewards cards, give this little app an install…. on iOS….. sorry Android/Microsoft, I don’t think they have it for you.  And sorry Blackberry users… because, well, you have a Blackberry.  😛

All for now – J

As another slopitch season is about to begin….

As another slopitch season is about to begin….

The other day my uncle asked me how long I have been playing slopitch. After a quick little bit of math, I realized I have been playing slopitch for 21 years this summer. WOW! I played baseball a lot as a kid, early on I was pretty decent, but when I started getting busy with other things in high school, including my first job, first car, first computer, baseball kind of fell by the wayside. When I moved to Saskatoon to go to school in 1995, our CST class put in a slopitch team in the school league, we quickly found success, and I was hooked. It was a great social outing, a way to meet some new friends, and a great excuse to have a beer.

In the early days I was pretty much living it up in the beer leagues. Playing was fun but winning the beer race was the big championship, and luckily we did both with regularity. After a few years of that, I started playing competitive slopitch, first a men’s team and then a coed team. I’ve since left the beer leagues mostly behind (I still sub on occasion), but I’m still in the thick of things in our saspa.ca league. Looking back, here is a list of the teams (best that I can remember) playing on:  Horny HounDawgs, Hustin’ Hangovers, Memory Makers, Bugsy’s Bluesox, Piston Broke, Beer Barons, Expos, The Fuze (2006 Coed ‘D’ National Champions), The Machine, Toon Town Twisters, Bombers (2010 NSA Rec Provincial Champions), Longhorns, Whitesox, Thirsty Dozen, Jays (2016 Coed ‘C’ Provincial Champs), and countless other pickup and tourney teams. I’ve travelled to Calgary, Leduc, Lethbridge, Niagra Falls, and all the way to Mazatlan just to play ball. I’ve had the chance to play in my share of championship games, and even won a couple. I’ve met countless friends along the way. This winter I was even able to go back to Mazatlan to see the friends we met during our slopitch trip and had a blast. I consider myself quite lucky for all the slopitch community has given me.

Sometime along the line I stumbled across SportsFreaksOnline, a website of slopitch players across Canada. I’m fairly active on the site (I am one of the moderators assisting the guys doing all the real work) and have met even more fantastic players across the country there. For a slopitch player I highly recommend checking out the site. You will meet great people and find some great deals on gear.

So I wanted to take the chance to reflect, post a few random photos from the few random teams I have played on, and gear up for another year on the diamond. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the diamonds and in the gardens. Play Hard, Get Dirty. – J

Hello?  Is it me you’re looking for?

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

I’ve noticed a couple things lately, I have the urge to write and that my personal website is stale as stale can be. So I figured this would be a good opportunity to fix them both. I’m not sure where the urge the write came from. It isn’t often that I pick up a book to pass the time. I often have to pause and really think about my their/there/your/you’re and other intricacies of the English language. I’m sure my writing will be filled with no-nos like spelling errors, acronyms and winky faces. But I think writing can be a bit therapeutic, a good tool to clear your mind and focus which I admit has been a challenge of late.

So what will I write about? What shall I *blog*? Well, anyone who knows me knows I’m a passionate Saskatchewan Roughrider fan, I’m sure there will be lots of that. I’m also an avid slopitch player and curler, I’d bet I’ll banter about that. But I want to share more than just my passion for my sports. I’m also a bit of a techy guy. I often get asked questions about how my home media is set up, what apps I run on my phone, do I have any tips or tricks that I can share? So I figured this would be a great place to start. I’m primarily an iOS guy when it comes to phone/tablet and a Windows guy when it comes to the home computer, but I also have plenty other cool like gadgets and such that I will blog about. I hope to share enough tidbits to keep you entertained.

And yes, I have an amazing family, so you will definitely be hearing about that. My wife is a wonderful photographer (see Finelite Photography & Design), so I’m sure I will steal the odd photo to keep things looking pretty around here.

And lastly, there are a few random website links I visit often. I have included them all here, partly for you to explore, and partly so I don’t lose them. Either way, it is useful to someone 😉

Talk Soon,

PS – Notice the winky face?

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