Back from the Banjo Bowl

Back from the Banjo Bowl

Well, we made it back from another Banjo Bowl trip.  This year we took most of the week to make a family vacation of it.  We traveled by way of Weyburn to break up the long drive and to have a visit with Grandma & Grandpa Siwy.  Our first stop on the way was to see Grandma Janice and check out her fancy bird hotel. (She was featured in a full page article in the Indian Head newspaper!)  After a quick visit, some snacks and a care package we continued on our way.  We tried catch up with some cousins too but the timing didn’t work out… so on to Weyburn for the night.    Home cooked meal, a good nights rest and off we went to Winnipeg.

We spent a couple nights in the Holiday Inn – Winnipeg Airport West.  The place was under a bit of construction but it was quiet and the staff was very friendly. The place had a nice suite for us that gave us a separate room for bedtime (perfect for putting Cole down for the night while we stayed up to watch a movie).  It also had a nice pool area with an awesome play structure that Cole enjoyed.   We spent a fair amount of our time those two days enjoying the facilities, but we did manage to venture out to check out the Lego store!  Cole was in heaven, so much so that he had trouble narrowing down a choice to take home.  He opted to go with a Lego Batman Car.

On checkout day, we planned to meet out friends at the Manitoba Children’s Museum to spend the day.  To our surprise (and sadness) the museum was closed for most of the week.  Apparently they close this week every year to do a massive clean, but I suggest they revisit that.  There were a LOT of parents that made the same mistake we did.  At least there was a fun playground there to kill some time.

Next stop, and our home for a few days, was the Johnson residence, just outside of Rosenort, MB.  I always enjoy going to the football game, but this is always our highlight of the trip, catching up with old friends.  They have 3 boys around Cole’s age, so it was adventure city for our time there.  They spent a bunch of time playing outdoors and then back inside for some Lego building sessions.  Erin was even able to sneak in some family photos.  I also took a few hours to travel to Steinbach to catch up with an old friend from my high school days.  We had a quick bite and had a chance to catch up on the families and what is new.  Happy to hear he is still a Rider fan!

On the Saturday, we were lucky enough to get a sitter (2 actually) that would watch the boys while we were off the Winnipeg to watch the banjo bowl.  There was a bit of nervousness going as this year our beloved Roughriders are in the tank.  We got there and I was surprised to find out Brendan had hooked us up with some *premo* seats.  We were sitting at the 55 yard line, and had food and beverage service in our seats.  We were surrounded by fans in blue, but only took a beat of good-natured ribbing and had some good conversations with the locals.  Sadly the game was pretty bad, too many penalties, far too common of the new CFL lately.

Sunday we hit the highway and headed back to Weyburn.  The timing was a bit better this way and we were able to catch up with the cousins this time.  I got to meet the little ones and we had a little backyard playtime before heading back to Weyburn to take in the KFC All You Can Eat Buffet!  I always joke about going there and this time the in-laws had it planned for us to coincide with the Customer Appreciation Week.  I can say, I don’t KFC as much as I used to.  That probably is a good thing.  Another nights sleep and back home to close out the vacation.  It went WAY too fast and WAY too much time on the car, but it was great to catch up with old friend and get the see another Roughrider road game.

Upon my return I heard about an incident involving a young fan getting beer poured on them at the game.  I took to twitter to voice my opinion that all the Winnipeg fans shouldn’t be painted with the same brush as the offenders that did this.  We had this happen a few years ago when some manure was dumped on a players driveway (or neighbors driveway to be more accurate).  It is not representative of the fans, and that we were treated very well.  That led to my second CBC interview on the radio in a couple weeks as CBC Manitoba interviewed me for the noon show to discuss our experience and as my thoughts.  You can listen to the interview here:

 

For those that didn’t hear my earlier interview, it was with CBC Saskatchewan regarding the Khalif Mitchell signing.  I never did get an audio version of it, but you can read a bit about it on the CBC Saskatchewan website.  It was a neat experience making it on to the radio a couple times… hopefully I can do it again some time.  And I’m happy to say Mitchell’s time with the Roughriders is already done.

That’s all for now,

Jared

New Wheels

New Wheels

Well, another update…. we have replaced the Kia with this beauty…. a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek in Hyper Blue.  We told Cole the next vehicle we got would be blue for him, so he kind of chose the colour.  No way we are getting lost in the parking lot anymore 🙂

Fun Long weekend

Fun Long weekend

Well, we took the opportunity to sneak out of town for a few days on the long weekend.  We packed up and headed to my folk’s place at Little Bear Lake.  It sounds like we picked a good weekend as the weather there was great and by the sounds of things, not so good here at home.

Erin brought the camera, so we braved the bugs (I’ve never seen it so bad) and got an updated family photo.  It has been a few years since the Francais clan has been convinced to all step in front of the camera, and us boys generally need to be dragged kicking and screaming to get there.  With the bugs being so bad, this time was no exception.  Luckily my wife is a brave and patient soul and she was able to make some fantastic lemonade with us lemons.

 

The second bit of fun this weekend was the quadding.  In the past Cole hasn’t wanted to go anywhere near them.  The weekend looked like it was going to be the same, but I convinced him to sit with dad and start it up.  The noise wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, so I convinced him to go for a bit of a drive down the driveway as long as grandma was beside us.  Well that was all it took.  Now he is hooked.  We did 4-5 little tours on the quad this weekend, all going a littler further and a little faster.  (By the end….. go faster Daddy, go faster!)  So I think we will have to hunt for a better helmet and two up seat for more adventures to come.

So in all, it was a nice weekend to get away and relax.  I hope you had a great one as well

Jared

PS – Oh ya, the car sold.  That happened much faster than I was expecting.  So this week I get down to car hunting again.  Wish me luck!

PPS – The nice looking pictures, those I can’t take credit for.  My wife Erin handled those, isn’t she talented?  credit Finelite Photography & Design

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!

 

Five bucks… five bucks… five bucks…

Five bucks… five bucks… five bucks…

I’ve had a few people ask me about my “Family Guy” style profile photo and where I got it done.  At the time I was looking for something fun/creative to use for a profile photo when I stumbled across the website Fiverr.com.  The website is essentially a portal of people willing for do work for $5 (US, with a small service fee tacked on).  Services range from people willing the vector-ize and clean up your artwork, do small pieces of translation, record voice overs, and in my case, do caricatures.

I found a seller that did Family Guy style portraits (seller Virtues, whom I highly recommend), bought a few gigs (the credits you use to pay for services), uploaded a picture, and waited.  I liked the result so much that I re-ordered in the style of the Jays (my new coed slopitch team as well as my favorite baseball team) and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Sellers will also offer up-sells, where they will add extra features or customizations to an order for an extra few bucks.  This year for our anniversary I wanted to do something a bit special so I had a Disney style portrait of our wedding photo done for an anniversary card.  It was a few up-sell credits from $5 but I was very pleased with the results.  It made a fun, unique anniversary gift.

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So if you are looking for a small little service done for a few dollars, I suggest taking a look at Fiverr.com and I’m sure you will find something neat to try.

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,
J

PS – Notice the winky face?