Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Wrap-Up

The old adage of "time flies when you're having fun" certainly held true for 2013. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write our last new year's eve post - and it's hard to believe it's been 365 days since!

If last year was a year of self-discovery and growing as individuals, 2013 has definitely been the year of growing as a family. We began the year by welcoming Pepper into our lives and I honestly don't remember life without him; he has become such an integral part of our beings that it is as though he has always been here.

However, I'm not just talking about growing our family with Pepper. We have cultivated such wonderful friendships over the past year, and have gotten to know so many lovely people in town it feels as though our "external" family has grown exponentially. It is wonderful to walk into the store or an event that is being held in town and recognize/be recognized by community members and fellow Baker Lakers. It is nice to feel as though we are a part of the community we live in - something you don't necessarily get when living in the south and get lost in the crowd.

It has also meant that we have had another year of strengthening our love for our family and friends back home. Not once has our support circle wavered. Not once have we felt forgotten or neglected for being so far away. If anything, we feel more loved, more supported and more included in the lives of those we love most. Being physically far from "home" is difficult, yes, but it has afforded us the opportunity to work on our relationships and make an effort to be all-around better to the important people in our lives. We treasure and value everyone in our lives, and we try to express that as often as we can.

All in all, 2013 has been very kind to us. We have been blessed with wonderful memories we will be able to look back upon with fondness. We hope you had a wonderful 2013 as well and look forward to sharing the upcoming new year with you.

All our love,
Lily, Jeff and Pepper

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!


From our family to yours - warmest wishes for the merriest of Christmases! 
We hope Santa is good to you - we put in a good word on your behalf! :)

Love, Lily, Jeff & Pepper

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winding Down

As a good portion of my office has left for the holidays already, everything seems so quiet at work these days. I typically work through the season and like taking my vacation days at other times in the year since I can usually get so much accomplished when the phone isn't ringing as much, etc. this year however, it seems extra quiet and the office feels lonely. :(

It is hard to believe Christmas is merely a week away. We are pretty much set in terms of being ready, and yet I'd think it was still November if I didn't know better! Where did 2013 go??

Our posting will not be as rigorous for the remainder of the year as we take time to celebrate the holidays. We will post when we can, but not on-schedule until after the new year. We hope you understand! :)

-L

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our First House!


I have a confession. I am in my 30s and before this past weekend, I had never made a gingerbread house. I've made gingerbread things, yes, but never a house. So you can imagine my delight when our neighbours threw a gingerbread decorating party for the children, and they thoughtfully provided a kit for us as well!! (Since it was my first house, our 5-year old neighbour took me under his wing and showed me all the expert ways of decorating since he made one last year and knew what to do....no wonder I make the best of friends with kids; they think I'm one of them!)

It was a team effort, and Jeff was in charge of icing and Santa. I'd say it turned out pretty darn awesome for our first time! These pre-made kits are amazing with the tray, all the ingredients and icing all set to go. You really can't mess it up! I particularly like my snow-covered chimney top and my cobblestone driveway...Jeff particularly liked eating all the candy supplies. :)

Now our house is sitting proudly on display in our kitchen. Jeff says you're supposed to eat the house, but how can you eat ART?? We are currently in negotiations as to what to do with it. I'm on Team Don't-Touch-It and he's on Team Gingerbread-is-for-Eating. I'll let you know what happens to the house after we're through!


-L

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa!

Santa came to Baker again on Saturday and this time he was at the Northern for pictures on Kids' Day. For $5 you could take a picture with Santa, and the store donated half to the RCMP Christmas fundraiser and half to the Canadian Diabetes Association. I understand they raised over $1,000 in a few short hours! Must be because Santa was so Santa-y.

Hrmm...he does look awfully familiar though. Can't put my finger on it.... ;)


Jolly Old Saint...Jeff!
Oops, I mean St. Nick! :)

My husband is the sweetest, isn't he?
-L

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Concerts

It was a week of Christmas concerts here in Baker - the elementary school had theirs on Wednesday and the high school's was last night. Both happened to fall on ridiculously cold/windy evenings (-52, whaaaat??) but the community still came out and showed their support by filling up the gymnasium!

Tell me, is there anything better at getting you into the holiday spirit than watching adorable children sing/dance to Christmas songs? I thought not!

The beautiful stage with lit up trees, hand painted murals and gorgeous snowflakes!

One of the adorable kindergarten classes

Grade 8s want a hippopotamus for Christmas
The high school teachers wish you a merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad!

It was fun to get out this week and see the kids singing and dancing their hearts out. Worth braving the cold to see how much fun everyone had!

-L

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Judith's Triumphant Return

I know I said a couple posts ago that I was feeling Grinch-y, and to be honest, I really wasn't feeling like putting up the Christmas tree at all this year. I even went so far as suggesting we clear off the coffee table and putting a tree-shaped candle holder on top and we could call it a day, but Jeff wasn't really keen on that idea. (In my defense - it was a great idea. Our coffee table is big and is on wheels, so if we cleared off the bottom, the presents could go under the table and we could wheel it wherever we wanted. No fuss, no mess, no rearranging of furniture...fool-proof!!)

When we returned from breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Jeff turned on the Christmas music and pulled our decorations out of the closet (again). He reminded me that Judith cheered me up last year, and that maybe she could do the same this year. I was skeptical at first, but then I was reminded that it was Pepper's first Christmas with us and he was having such fun running under the tree as we were decorating it (he eventually fell asleep on the tree skirt), and it turned into a really fun afternoon with my boys.

Our house is now Christmas-y...and I admit it, so am I. We even sat and wrote all of our Christmas cards when we were finished, go us!

Judith likes to survey the action from the middle of the room
Pepper's stocking is the biggest, Jeff's is the fullest and mine is the...prettiest?

Looks like this Grinch grew a heart after all.
-L

Monday, December 9, 2013

Breakfast with Santa

This past weekend, Santa came to town and stopped in at the high school for breakfast. For a nominal price (cheapest breakfast in town by far!) we feasted on pancakes, sausages and eggs with the jolly man in red. Run by volunteer teachers and students, the money went towards the school, and a good time was had by all. Not only was Santa there, but Blizzy the school mascot (for the Baker Lake Blizzard) was there to join the fun as well.

Side note: Blizzy was far more popular than Santa...seems a man in a red suit is much more terrifying to some kids than a blue furry "blizzard" that likes to give high-5s. Go figure!

Here are some photos of the day - we said we were tagging along to keep the neighbours' kids company, but really, we just wanted to tell Santa what we wanted for Christmas. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Where are you, Christmas?

"Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?"

-Faith Hill, Where are You, Christmas?

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I love the hustle and bustle of the season, the countless gatherings with family and friends, the twinge of excitement that hangs in the air. It's a season of happiness, love and good cheer (unless you count the years I worked in retail, at which point, everyone was a grumpy mess.) My mother says it all the time - Christmas is the time of year that makes Lily happiest.

Not so this year, unfortunately. I am decidedly UN-Christmas-y as we wind down 2013. Last year our house was decorated by the middle of November and we were in full holiday spirits by December. This year, I have had no inclination to pull out the Christmas decorations. Our cards are sitting unwritten in a pile, waiting for our well wishes to family and friends. The only Christmas thing we have out are dish towels - and only because I did laundry and needed clean towels and they were on the top of the pile. My poor husband has been trying to get me into the holiday spirit by suggesting we put up the tree, but I'm just not feeling it.

Perhaps it's because there isn't as much snow as last year (it's white on the ground, but there's really not much.) Or maybe I'm just feeling a little extra homesick because our vacation and time spent with our families is still fresh in my mind. Just goes to show that although it does get easier over time to be far away from home, it still hits you once in a while.

The weekend perhaps...over the weekend we will put the tree up and bake cookies and all will be well. For now, just call me the Grinch.

-L

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Abnormal

It has been a very, very cold November. We have had temperatures in the -20s but with wind chill it has been in the -40s for the past couple weeks. It will get much colder still, but the buzz around town is that this is abnormally cold for this time of year. Last year, it wasn't this cold until after Christmas. :(

The extra cold weather has meant that it has been too cold to snow. We had a bit of snow before Halloween and I don't think I can recall snow falling since then. Which also means that there have been no blizzards or storms, because there is nothing on the ground to blow around. It has been a very strange start to winter indeed.

After an abnormally (there's that word again) short summer, I feel like we are in for a rough winter in terms of temperature. I don't imagine it would warm up again soon so we may not get more snow until the spring...at which point there may be some storms in store for us. That will make me grumpy. When everyone at home starts talking about spring gardening, etc., we will still be in prime blizzard season. I hope Mother Nature isn't saving up the blizzards we would normally get in November/December for the warmer months...that would make for non-spring-like weather!

There is an upside to the cold, however! The Northern Lights have been beautiful the past week and have been dancing for us almost nightly in the clear sky littered with stars. If I had a better camera, I would show you pictures...alas. You can look at these from the beginning of the year to get an idea!

Cold or not, I happily stand outside watching for as long as I can every time I notice them. It is awe-inspiring to witness, and I've seen more Northern Lights so far this year than I did all of last year in total.

See? Always a silver lining! :)

-L

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sun Calculations

My co-worker shared a really neat site with me recently called SunCalc, where it shows you the sun position, phases, time of sunrise/set, etc. based on your Google Map location. It's really fun!


You can see that for today, the sun rises just before 10am and sets a little after 2:30pm. The days are certainly short in December. When the sun comes up the horizon, it doesn't go very high in the sky - just hovering a bit over the land and then starting its descent again. When I leave the house after lunch, I have to remember to turn on the porch light because it's so dark when we come home at 5. Actually, we have taken to leaving a couple of lights on all day inside the house for Pepper - one near his potty area and one near his food/water bowl. It gets pretty dark and I always worry that he can't see where he's going. Jeff thinks I'm being overly cautious, but I think it makes sense!

I like to check up on home to see the sun differences between Nunavut and Ontario - it also makes me realize that our days really are short. Time to up the vitamin D! Try it out for where you live and see how accurate it is. I've found it is pretty dead on so far!

-L

Friday, November 29, 2013

Working in Nunavut, Part 2: Choosing Balance

A while back, I wrote about working in Nunavut for a blog community I subscribe to in my professional life. I was asked to write another post recently, but thought I would share it here as well, since the work posts seem to be popular searches when people are researching Nunavut.

Someone made a comment that it's a choice to be made whether you decide to find balance between your work life and your home life, and while that is true - it is nice to have the option. Sometimes when it feels like it is too competitive or the norm to work extra hours, the choice isn't really yours to make. I'm thankful for the ability to choose to be balanced as I feel it has made me much more productive both at work and at home.

Enjoy...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Shoes = Service


When you walk into certain places here in Baker Lake, you will often be met with a pile of shoes near the doorway. Not so much in the summertime, but once it starts getting muddy and then winter hits, you will absolutely see them. The schools, health center and hotels/restaurants all have signs that ask you to remove your shoes before entering so as not to trek mud and snow through their hallways. People who are in these establishments all day tend to have a pair of indoor-shoes to walk around in all day, but not everyone does it. So it's no big deal to see everyone walking around in socked or even bare feet.



Taking our boots off when we weren't at home was definitely something new to get used to. We just weren't used to walking around, or having lunch without our shoes on. I've taken to carrying a pair of fold-up flats (those are SO handy) in my jacket pocket for when we find ourselves in situations where we have to take our shoes off. They may not be the most supportive shoe, but it makes me feel more comfortable.

Just one of those quirks of being here, I guess. Different communities have different "rules" - a woman I was talking to recently was amazed that she had to take off her shoes in another community's arena since we don't do that here. I mentioned that we don't have to take our shoes off in public anywhere we go, no matter the time of year, and she was shocked by that too. So...roll with the punches, I guess! If you're not comfortable with the thought, have a pair of shoes handy and you're always ready no matter where you end up. :)

-L

Monday, November 25, 2013

Movember Update

We are nearing the end of November, and this year I'm not only happy that it's almost Christmas, but it also means that Jeff's horrible moustache is going to be gone soon. I am all for raising money for a good cause, but the moustache really is horrible-looking!

Jeff trying to look dapper!
Just a few more days to donate to the cause! If you haven't been to Jeff's page yet to make your donation, please do so soon! The Movember Canada page talks about all the programs it funds, the research it supports and most importantly, the awareness it raises for men's health.

Counting down the days until December 1 when my clean-shaven husband returns!
-L

Friday, November 22, 2013

Home

After a 14 hour travel day - most of it waiting around airports - I finally arrived home last night. The moon was full and shining brightly over Baker Lake, and it felt good to be back. Even the -41 weather didn't deter me from rushing off the plane. :)


Jeff and my lovely neighbour were at the airport waiting for me and we headed to the house where I was attacked by puppy kisses. It was wonderful.

I love the opportunity to travel for work and I enjoyed my time away, but home is where my family is. And it feels so good to be home.

-L

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Soon

Missing my boys.
Just one more sleep and I'll see you soon, my loves.






-L

Monday, November 18, 2013

Whirlwind

Hello from Edmonton!

Friday afternoon I got the go-ahead to travel to Edmonton for some training that was (will be) this week. I was originally going to fly out on Saturday but the weather forecast looked ominous with an impending storm, so the afternoon became an unexpected whirlwind!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Zucchini Bread

Recently, I've gotten into the habit of making love-loaves on Sunday. What's a love-loaf, you ask? It's basically what I call the loaves of goodness that come out of the oven, because I love them so much. (You can stop the eye rolling now!) I like baking something over the weekend that we can grab quick breakfasts throughout the week, and lately it's been a quick-bread of sorts - either banana or pumpkin, etc. (though I have made muffins or breakfast "cookies" as well...it just depends on what's in the pantry and how lazy I am).

This past week I had a couple of zucchinis sitting sadly in the fridge that needed to be used, so I thought I'd make Zucchini Bread. One of my favourite kinds of bread, this loaf is light and moist with an almost savory taste. It's not overly sweet, and the zucchini really shines through due to the citrus accent. I replaced some of the fats with unsweetened applesauce to make it healthier and it still tasted amazing. The key is in draining the zucchini of its moisture as much as possible - so don't skip that step or you'll end up with a dense, gummy loaf! A warm slice of this beauty with a drizzle of honey and a hot cup of milky tea...makes any morning a good one!


Zucchini Bread
adapted from The New Best Recipe
makes 1 9-inch loaf

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hat-Trick

Last week was strange because the weather decided to change as though mother nature flicked on the A/C switch - one day it was okay (-20 or so) and the next it dropped to about -40. It was unpleasant to say the least. The cold snap lasted a couple of days through the weekend and today it seems to have warmed up back to the much more tolerable -20s. I laugh at the pre-Nunavut-Lily who used to complain when it dipped below 22 degrees in Ontario because it was too cold. If only past-Lily really knew what cold was!

I was going through the blog and noticed that our first blizzard of 2012 was November 8, and that was followed by 2 more over the course of the next two weeks. This year there is much less snow on the ground at this time compared to last year, but I feel it in my heart that a blizzard is coming. Soon.

It's not all based on feelings though - there's actually a "hat-trick" of conditions that usually needs to be met in order for a blizzard to occur:

  1. Snow: there has to be enough snow on the ground that has fallen recently or is falling from the sky (or else there is nothing to blow around and cause the white-outs, etc.)
  2. Wind: it's not a blizzard unless there's blowing - officially it needs to be 70km/hr or higher 
  3. Change in temperature: someone told me this when we first arrived in Nunavut, and that is - if you see an abnormal rise in temperature...something is amiss.
That all being said, how come I feel like we're going to have a blizzard soon? Environment Canada is pretty much spelling it out in the long-term forecast!


See Friday's forecast? The rise in temperature, the snow and in the details it lists "Windy. Blowing snow." Boom. The trifecta of storm components, brewing around and waiting to be unleashed. We shall see if Environment Canada is right, but it's been pretty accurate since we arrived...

Let's see if the first blizzard of 2013 is going to be soon!
-L

Monday, November 11, 2013

Movember

It's that special time of year again! I know what you're thinking - only one more day before Christmas music starts playing in department stores. While that is also true, I'm talking about the fundraising event known as "Movember".

Here in Baker Lake, moustaches have been sprouting all over town, and most of them are downright creepy-looking, mine included. There's a link at the bottom of this post for my donation page, and from there you can see the other men of Baker Lake. Please consider donating to our campaign to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health.

The other good reason to donate is that my poor wife Lily has to endure the truly unpleasant task of watching my moustache fill in every day, and it's been a painful process. She even offered to donate money if I didn't grow one, but that would be counter-productive (and a lot less entertaining), so please make it worth our while and contribute to a worthy cause as well.

In case the photo isn't clear, I've opted for the split 'stache, like Captain Jack Sparrow minus the goatee.

Thanks in advance for your support and help in making this Movember a special one. Stay tuned for next month's Decembeard :-p

-J

The donation page can be found here: mobro.co/nunavutjeff



Friday, November 8, 2013

Early Retiredment

Normally, I look forward to Fridays, especially this one, as I work the late shift, so I can sleep in. This time, though, I'm less excited as I feel like I've picked up a bug somewhere. You know that sensation - shivering constantly, yet sweating because of all the layers, body aches, and just general malaise. Today's post (as I am writing it on Thursday evening) will therefore be a little shorter than usual, as Mr. Sandman is bugging me to answer his call.

Today is girls' night, with a number of female neighbours coming over to keep my wife company, which is another reason I'm happy to be working late. We men should have a night to ourselves as well, but getting it organized is a real pain. We should probably hire the women to do it. :-)

The nights are getting longer, and there has been snow falling several times in the past week. It's too cold for Pepper to walk outside, but he's a hardy trooper and insists on braving the elements....for now. Although this morning I grabbed his leash to take him outside and he went and hid in his house...so maybe he's not so hardy after all. We bought one of those daylight-simulation lamps and have been using it when we're in the living room - I'm not sure it works, but I know that it lights up the house brighter than a spotlight. I also noticed that the vitamin D has showed up in our daily vitamin pile as well, so we hope to combat the darkness before it catches up to us.

I just dozed at my computer for ten minutes, so I'm off to bed. Until next time.

-J

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School's in!

It has been too many years since I first stepped inside a classroom, although I still recall my first day of grade seven, having transitioned to a new school. Yesterday I had a similar experience, albeit in a different role. I had my first substitute teaching gig, and for those of you that follow this blog, you'll know that day was a long time coming.

I was covering Science for grade 10's and 11's, and it went pretty smoothly. The first and last class got to watch a film about the brain, which was fascinating. It covered the brain's role with respect to fear, risk-taking, psychopathy, and sexual response, the latter topic generating the most interest and the longest period of whispered giggling.

The middle class enjoyed ("enjoyed" might be too strong a word) a worksheet on the properties of corrosion. Going through the video and the worksheet made me appreciate the value of science in school, more so than when I was in high school. All in all, it was a great experience, and I look forward to repeating it.

I'm back at work at the store today, and while the prospect of a 7 day workweek isn't awesome, it beats the alternative.

I used to look forward to Mondays as my first day off in a week - now it will be because I'll have an opportunity to get back into a classroom. I can't wait!

-J

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our (Unexpected) Stay in Rankin Inlet

When we were coming back from our holidays, we had an unexpected stay in Rankin that delayed us getting back by a day. Everyone we've met refers to Rankin as "the black hole" or a similar version - because you never know whether your plane will leave when it's supposed to, and if it does leave it doesn't mean your bags will follow. It's a central hub in Nunavut that planes must stop over, and I fear the traffic is overwhelming for the small facility. It's also in a community where weather is always questionable to boot - so there's a lot of stuff that can go wrong when you reach it (if you can reach it).

We have been lucky to date that none of our trips have meant that we needed to stay overnight in town. Yes, we have been delayed (once by 6 hours...which, in an airport that is the size of a small school gymnasium feels like a LONG time), but we have always managed to get out the same day we flew in. Until this time.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy day-after-Halloween! Hope you aren't in a sugar coma like I was...I admit I ate too many goodies at work and was pretty hyper all evening as I was giving out candy! It had been snowy and blowy the past couple of days and there was a sliver of a chance that Halloween may be deterred because of a storm, but the skies cleared up and it turned out to be a windy, but otherwise lovely evening.

Here's a picture taken around 5pm, looking towards the lake. The dark part right in the center is the open water that hasn't frozen over yet, and the white part on the right (in the middle) is the iced over/snow-covered lake. I imagine by next week the whole lake will be frozen over and it will be thick enough for snowmobiles to ride across it.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Readjustment

One of the benefits of going home (aside from the love-fest) is being able to shop for groceries at reasonable prices. On a couple of occasions we were walking around the store just so we could marvel at the selection, freshness and inexpensive cost of food. Just as we were getting used to the pricing in the north, we go home and are reminded that although some things are somewhat close-ish in price, there are many things that are not. Thankfully Nutrition North subsidizes healthy options so the cost isn't too bad, but non-healthy options are charged at full rates.

Take for example, the items in these two photos...how much would you say the total came to for each receipt?

The first is from a quick trip to the store on the first day we got back to tide us over for a few days until we had time to do a big shop. Things we bought: lettuce, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, cucumber, celery, carrots, bananas, grapes, potatoes, onions, fresh chicken breast, orange juice, milk, sour cream and granola bars.


We also picked up candy to hand out for Halloween and grabbed these two 90 count boxes. (These won't be enough for the number of kids we might typically get, but it's a start)


So...guess how much these two purchases cost!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Past Month

4 weeks is a long time to be away, and yet it feels like it flew by in the blink of an eye. Time moves funny in the south; I simultaneously felt like things were moving way too fast and it still felt like we were gone for a long while. Does that make sense?

It feels good to be back in Nunavut. To be honest, I didn't think I would say that after a month of being surrounded by *home* and all the good things that come with that. Yet, here we are. It's good to be productive and get back into a routine. Weeks upon weeks of indulgence and excess has caught up to us and we were exhausted when we finally arrived in Baker. Wouldn't trade a second of it for the world though; seeing our friends and family after so long was good for our souls. The weather was gorgeous the entire time we were home (high teens/low twenties!) and we took advantage of that as much as possible, sometimes just sitting outside on the front steps and enjoying the greenery.

We had a wonderful trip and left feeling rejuvenated and ready for Nunavut again. We aren't sure when our next trip home will be, but hopefully it won't be too long!

And since I know you missed Pepper more than you missed us, here is a before/after shot of our handsome man after a day at the doggy spa. He hated us for doing it, but he's just too darn cute isn't he??


It's good to be back!
-L

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We're Baaa-aaaack!

Back in Baker after a wonderful visit with our loved ones in Ontario. It feels as though we've been gone for ages and yet, it was over in a blink of an eye. Time moves in funny ways.

We will go back to our regular posts next week, but I wanted to pop in and say a quick hello and let you know we're back and that we are getting our thoughts/pictures/stories, etc. together to write some posts for you!

Actually, now is the perfect time to put out a simple poll for you, our wonderful readers. We would really appreciate your feedback as to how often we should be updating our blog (if you are reading this via our email subscription, please navigate to our blog to complete the poll):

I'll leave the poll open until the last day of the month. Thank you! :)

-L

How often do you read our blog?




Friday, September 20, 2013

Bear with Us...

Posts may be a little sporadic over the next little while from our end...we will try to come and update when we can, but the schedule will be a bit (lot) more unstructured and quiet. That just means we will be full of posts and things to talk about later!

We appreciate your patience and continued readership and promise to go back to a regular schedule in a bit. For now....just a little "us" time as we enjoy our family together.

Love,
L and J (and P)



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ᓇᓪᓕᐅᓂᖅᓯᐅᑦᓯᐊᕆᑦ - Nalliuniqsiutsiarit (Happy Birthday)

Does anyone remember the movie Benjamin Button? Lily has a cool characteristic in common with the main character. Despite the fact that the rest of us grow older as we reach successive birthdays, Lily appears to suffer the opposite effect. I swear, she looks no different that when I first met her, and even from photos predating that monumental occasion. Yesterday was Lily's birthday, and although she is chronologically older, you wouldn't know it by looking at her.

Pepper was really excited for Mommy's birthday...a little too excited. One of the side benefits of fixing your dog is that their energy levels tend to decrease. In Pepper's case, if that happened, it was either on a scale too small for the human eye, or he went from stratospheric to merely ridiculous. In other words, no apparent change.

I won't go into excessive detail about how we spent her birthday, but suffice to say, she was really surprised, and happy, I think. I believe it's important to make the extra effort, given how far away we are from many of our friends and family, although that will change very soon (the distance, not the effort part). It did include breakfast in bed, which she loved. I worry, though, that if I bring her breakfast in bed every morning, it will cheapen the specialness of the gesture, but she is adamant that it won't happen. I guess we'll see if she's right :-)

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife, Lily. You are everything I've ever hoped for, and I feel incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I love you.

-J

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Day to Remember

Saturday, September 14th will be remembered as one of the most eventful days in the history of our time in Baker Lake. Not because many different things happened, but the few things that did were of historical significance. First, Pepper. Our favourite Yorkie went under the knife Saturday morning to remove some extra teeth, and received a courtesy neutering at the same time. When I arrived home, I learned that Pepper was confused, disoriented, and walking like he was drunk - amazing how much he resembles his daddy sometimes. :-p

Aww, I need a hug!

Poor thing isn't allowed to jump on the furniture or play with chew toys for a week, his two favourite past times by far. On the bright side, the vet said he is the perfect weight, and is in excellent health, so we must be doing a good job at keeping him healthy and happy. Also, while most dogs need a few hours to recover from the anaesthesia, Pepper was awake and moving almost immediately after his operation. He spent the majority of the evening staying close to mommy, and seems to be in much better spirits after sleeping through the night. He will probably still be a little tender when we fly home, which we are hoping translates into a more docile experience this time around. Though with the amount of energy he's showing today, he seems to be back to his normal, not-docile-at-all self.

The other newsworthy event was that Lily and I got our first real taste of caribou, when we were given a beautiful portion of fresh meat (we think it was either by the shoulder or a hindquarter?) For the uninitiated, caribou is very lean, compared to beef, and like most wild game, possesses a unique flavour that is hard to describe. Being the culinary whiz that she is, Lily served up a delicious slow-cooked caribou roast with a thick gravy, complete with creamy mashed potatoes and plenty of steamed veggies. The taste is wholly different from any I've tried before, but equally tasty. We also saved part and cut it into cubes for a stew to be made later. Caribou was a dish we were very excited to try, and the wait was worth it.

Now we have to start worrying about packing - a stressful event in our household, but when we stop to consider why we have to start packing, we find ourselves remarkably more excited to get the process started.

-J

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Buddy Fund

We've spoken about the care of animals here in Baker before - particularly of dogs in general. We even ended up growing our family rather unexpectedly when we adopted Pepper from one of the families here. That being said, there is an organization here called the Buddy Fund that does amazing work to care for the family, pets and other animals within the community.

The Buddy Fund was actually recognized in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly earlier this week - this is an excerpt from the transcript:

The Buddy Fund supports the Canadian Animal Assistance Team in bringing veterinarians into the community for clinics, vaccinations, spays and neutering. One of the objectives of the Canadian Animal Assistance Team is also to support local mushers in keeping dog sledding and good sled dog lines alive.


The vet clinic starts tomorrow, and the team of volunteer doctors provide vaccinations, spaying and neutering for the community at no charge to families. We have Pepper's appointment scheduled to have him fixed and to catch up any vaccinations we missed when we were home last, and it's a service that we are so grateful for. (Our vet at home quoted us $700 to fix Pepper). Additionally, the Buddy Fund also provides dog houses, leashes, chains and even food for pets if a family needs it.

With so many mistreated animals around town, it's nice to know that there is a dedicated group of volunteers and animal-lovers who are working hard to provide the basic necessities for these animals to have a good life. I know we feel much better knowing that if we can't get south for Pepper's annual checkups/vaccinations, there are wonderful providers who come here annually.

-L


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So long, summer!

For those of you that follow the television series Game of Thrones, you'll recognize the oft-quoted phrase "winter is coming". As Lily mentioned in our last post, summer left us far too soon. Granted, autumn is the season that normally precedes snow, but without any trees, it's really hard to determine visually when that season is occurring. We went from warm days and cool nights to...snow flurries. I honestly think autumn lasted about twenty minutes this year.

Seriously, summer was much shorter and cooler this year than last, which makes me wonder if we are going to have a longer, colder winter ahead. If that's the case, I'm glad we're bugging out when we are. We're just praying that the inclement weather holds off long enough for our flight to exit Baker Lake. Oh, and maybe let us land and leave Rankin Inlet, too.

By the way, if anyone reading this knows of a way to safely and humanely calm a Yorkshire Terrier, we're open to ideas. We have tried a variety of methods, with varying results. There are dog treats that purport to contain calming ingredients, and while Pepper is happy to eat them, their cumulative effect appears to have no effect, or not significant of one to make a difference.

We tried using a product called BioCalm, which was recommended by a vet. It possesses a rather unpleasant odour, and our dog wants nothing to do with it. We even bought him a Thundershirt, which is a velcro-wrapped T-shirt that tightly hugs a dog's ribcage. It is supposed to mimic a hug, which makes a dog calm down. Based on what we've experienced so far, we need a ThunderStraitjacket instead.

On a brighter note, I finally have a source for caribou meat. Lily and I have been anxious to try it, and I look forward to crossing it off my bucket list. That just leaves muktuk (whale blubber), but I need a little more courage to make that happen.

-J

Monday, September 9, 2013

Too Soon!

Note: September 8 was the first time we saw flurries here in Baker Lake this season.
Also note: The three of us were MOST displeased. (especially Pepper, who was soaked after his walk)

It later turned to rain and melted away, but it was enough to make me grumpy-faced. September 8? Come on now! That is...just plain wrong.

Also, there were flurries this morning on my way to work. You can safely say that I've got an official case of the Mondays now. 

Our current mantra: 2 more weeks. 2 more weeks. 2! More! Weeks!! :)

-L

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stress Kryptonite

Lately, I've noticed a slight spring in my step at work, and the typical daily stressors have been strangely muted. On the one hand, I could contribute this to being more familiar with the office routines, and projecting a more positive attitude. I would be kidding myself, though. The real reason, I've no doubt, is the upcoming departure of our family back to Ontario.

Keeping that thought in the back of my mind is like stress kryptonite – nothing can bring me down when I have that thought floating in the back of my mind, and I imagine Lily feels the same way.  Don’t get me wrong – the first two factors I mentioned are helping as well, but the subtle wave of euphoria owes most of its existence to the near-imminent vacation.

Which reminds me, I have to start collating all of the rough notes I've jotted down and transform them into a stellar best man speech for my brother’s October nuptials.  Calling it ‘stellar’ is, I realize, is a bit superfluous – it is my speech, after all. J Still, my brother played the same role at my wedding last year, and he did me justice, so I have to respond in kind.

I think it’s a shame we don’t generate the opportunities to tell our family and friends how highly we think of them more often. The two most common times we say nice things about each other is at weddings, and unfortunately, funerals. That’s why I've enjoyed this process so much – going back through memories of childhood, adolescence, and growing up together, it’s been enlightening to remember all of the great qualities my brother possesses. I would list them here, but that might make my speech redundant and who wants to read a 500…sorry, 5000 word blog post?

It’s funny to think that between Adam’s wedding and my friend Tim’s wedding, and re-connecting with friends and family, we will have to try to squeeze some actual vacation time in. I’m sure we’ll manage, somehow.

-J

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Changing of the Seasons...



We had one last warm day over the weekend and it's been cool ever since...we turned on the furnace today and I've a feeling it's going to be staying on for a while (read: months) now. I actually had to wear mittens on the way home from work because I was so chilled.

With the changing of the seasons, the landscape is starting to change and that makes me sad. The fields are no longer the vibrant greens from the wild grass or purple from the lovely flowers. It's starting to turn brown with deep pockets of red as the weather gets colder and the nights get longer.

It's also been quite cloudy these days so we've started taking our vitamin D again just to combat the transition into shorter days. It reminds me of when we were popping vitamin D like it was candy, just a few short months ago...and how I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet.

It feels like it was so fleeting; the long days, the clear skies, the beautiful blue of the lake....we are trying to take Pepper out more often but even as we start layering his sweaters and jackets on him, the poor thing is shivering so violently even as we walk around the block. Even he must know that winter is coming and his walks will be few and far between because he gets dressed like a trooper even though he hates it, just so he can get one more walk in.

We're all grasping on to the last remnants of summer with every fiber of our beings - not quite ready to let go before we face the dark, cold months ahead. One day soon I'll talk about how lovely it is to breathe in crisp, cool air; or how pretty the ice sparkles like diamonds under the starlight. For today though, I'll hold on to our summer for a little longer and absorb every bit of it that I can.

-L

Monday, September 2, 2013

Time Warp

A steal at only $20!
Sometimes I feel like we live in a time warp and certain things here never technologically advanced the way that we're used to. Maybe we're from the future and this is like a strange re-enactment of Back to the Future....hrmmm. I may be on to something here.

Where else in 2013 do you find people looking for VHS players (and lamenting that the stores only sell DVD/Blu-Ray players), tape decks and rotary phones? This is the only place that I know of that can sell cassette tapes for $20 or original Nintendo games for the same price as it would have cost retail when they first came out. It makes me nostalgic, that's for sure.

Not to say that there aren't advances here as well. Many people are glued to cell phones everywhere you turn, iPods, houses with multiple satellite dishes...it's a funny mixture of old and new technology. Things don't seem to depreciate in value here, which is good for when you're leaving and want to sell your stuff, I suppose. You can typically get what you pay for an item even after you've been hanging on to it for a while. It's a strange phenomenon. If you're ever missing the 80s (and really, who doesn't?), come on up and it'll feel like you're right back in it!

-L

Friday, August 30, 2013

TGIF!

Snow fence at sunset
It's been one of those weeks, you know? The weather hasn't been great this week and it's been pretty damp and cool out. The rubber boots are definitely out right now since there is mud everywhere. If I recall correctly, this should lead into freezing rain season and then snow...so I'm pretty sure we've seen the last of summer and the really warm days. :(

The week also started with us running out of water...just as I had gotten into a nice hot shower, so that was SUPER fun. (If by super fun you mean not at all, then it was definitely that.) Additionally, the neighbourhood kids are being extra mischievous these days and have discovered the fun of banging on our front door and running away. It's been driving Pepper bonkers, which in turn makes us not very happy either. Last night they got their hands on some bb guns and were shooting them at our back window - Jeff had to go out and suggest they go play elsewhere (though apparently they were trying to shoot the "birds"... what birds fly as low as our window, I don't know).

Thankfully, there's a planned power outage for half the hamlet - so our office isn't opening for a couple hours after our normal time (yay sleeping in!) and then it's the long weekend! Hopefully the weather cooperates and we'll be able to go out and enjoy some fresh air.

What are your plans for the weekend? Make the most of it - it's the last hurrah of the summer!

-L

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Spy with my Little Eye....

Sometimes, the random things in life are some of the best things you see. Those are the moments you're super glad you have your camera with you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Road to Nowhere

It seems as though every community in Nunavut has a road to nowhere - basically where the last of the roads end before they stopped making more road. In Baker, our road to nowhere is about a 30 minute drive from the house, and it ends at the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone told me what the bridge was built for, but I honestly can't remember right now. It literally is a bridge that leads to...nowhere. The road ends on the side of it, so it's simply a bridge over a river that doesn't let you go anywhere.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Quick Soft Pretzels

Do you ever get those cravings that just won't go away? I read somewhere once that a craving only lasts about 10 minutes. To this I say, HA!! Mine last...days? Weeks? Sometimes I'm eating what I am craving ... and I'm craving it at the same time. Mind blowing, I know.

I got hit with a craving for soft pretzels recently and they were all I could think about. There used to be a soft pretzel place in the mall I worked at in high school, and I'd eat it for lunch every time I worked. There's something so good about soft, fluffy bread covered in salt. I mean really now, how could you go wrong? It was a sad, sad day in my teenage life when the pretzel place closed. These days, if I see a soft pretzel place - you know I'll be running over there to order up a tasty treat.

It's hard to have cravings like these and then having to figure out how to make it while we're up here. Especially when every recipe I came across talked about waiting for the dough to rise, followed by a million steps that all sounded complicated and time-consuming. It was a weeknight and I was in the mood for a pretzel, STAT. I ain't gots no time to wait for yeast to activate and dough to rise! This was a pretzel emergency!

Then I found it. A recipe that promised Quick Soft Pretzels in the same amount of time it takes to bake a batch of cookies. A short list of ingredients that were already in my pantry and I was up and in my kitchen faster than lightning. Under an hour later, I was happily munching on soft, fluffy pretzels and life was perfect. Try these. Eat a million of them. Make more and then eat those too! They're that good!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"No Screen" Nights


We're trying a new thing at our house now that Jeff isn't working as much and we have more time to spend together. I was evaluating how our time is spent and I wasn't happy with how much time we sit in front of our laptops, iPad, cell phone and the TV. So we're implementing "No Screen" nights which basically means that between certain periods of time in an evening, all screens are turned off and we have to find other ways to entertain ourselves. It doesn't always have to be doing an activity together (say, if we both want to chill out and read for a bit), but when it is together, we're going to take turns on who chooses the activity. I thought it would be a fun way to re-connect and spend some quality time together, even if it just means we're sitting next to each other on the couches and reading.

Last night was our first night, and we stuck fairly well to the plan. I came home from work and we made dinner together, then we played with the dog for a while and gushed over how cute he is (that took a long time...he's really cute!). Afterwards, we dusted off our Scrabble board, turned on some music and had a rousing (and by rousing, I mean highly competitive) game of Scrabble. It's been a while since we played a board game and it was pretty fun. Something different than our usual routine of plopping in front of the TV or our computers every night.

So we're going to try this for a bit and see how it goes. How about you? Do you have rules about how much time you can spend in front of the screens? Any suggestions on different things we can try?

-L

Monday, August 19, 2013

Random August Thoughts


I don't have any coherent thoughts for a post today, so I'm just going to write a list of random things that are currently on my mind.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Things that make you go hmmmm....

Working at the Northern has brought back long-forgotten memories of my days at Business Depot and Sporting Life. One of the aspects that has long been a thorn in my side is the issue of music. Studies have shown that the music that shoppers respond to best (and by respond, I of course mean buy more stuff) is elevator muzak - remakes of top 40 songs with all the words removed. Unfortunately, those same studies proved that after a month or so, employees were driven insane listening to it over and over.

The happy medium most stores choose is either a set play list of thirty to forty songs, or tune into a local radio station. The latter option is not ideal for Baker Lake, given that the local station mixes 80's gospel music with updates of goings-on in Inuktitut, the local language here. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not conducive to shopping, for the most part. Here, we play one of four CDs, apparently made by one of the manager's wives, and it includes classic rock and top 40, and one or two gems from the 40's. Even with four CD's, the music becomes repetitious after a while, such that I can sing some of them from memory now.

One of them is Bob Seger's classic, "Night Moves". I really like when I hear it, because it reminds me of Dean. He in turn reminds me of his girlfriend. Both of them remind me of our good friends, Dave, Jen, Damien and Lynn, and the hilarity that ensued at their cottage several years running. I miss those moments, and it's one of the few times in any given day that I really miss being in Ontario, knowing all of the great times with friends and family that we're missing. Babies are turning into toddlers, toddlers into young children, and so on. When we come back in the fall, we have so much to catch up on, and so many people to re-connect with, it will be hard to find time to just enjoy the vacation. Don't worry - we will find a way.

Lily booked our flights today, and the realization that we are coming home in a few short weeks is starting to sink in. (It's a great feeling) Anyway, I think I might burn a 5th CD with my own mix. Bob Seger will be on there, along with Raffi, Apollo Four-Forty, maybe some Beach Boys and a song or two by everyone's favourite soft rock artist, Eminem.

Until September, then!

-J

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fire!

I was struggling to come up with an idea for today's blog post, but luckily for me, one just fell in my lap. I was sitting on the couch with Pepper when he started barking furiously at the ruckus outside our window; I thought it was another parade for one reason or another since I heard a lot of vehicles and sirens. Then I started to smell smoke and thought, "that's different." Still didn't think anything of it until Pepper's incessant barking made me realize that the noises weren't going anywhere, and they seemed to have stopped.

I looked out the front window and noticed that there was a lot of commotion across the street - the fire truck was there (hooked up to the water truck), the RCMP was there, and at least a dozen trucks, ATV's and people stopped at the end of the street. Side note: I never thought about it before, but I suppose a water truck is just as important here as a fire truck since they need access to the water. Things you don't really think about!


You can see in the picture the firefighters are standing on top of a green truck. There was a fire started in the front cab/under the hood of it, and they were standing on top of it trying to extinguish the flames. (That doesn't seem like the safest way to do it, does it?) Rumour has it a little boy started the fire and his mom came and took him away shortly before I snapped these pictures.


Jeff took Pepper out for a walk after work and got close to the truck to see the inside of it too - that little boy caused quite a bit of damage to that truck. Sure, it was meant for scrap/garbage, but there is a lot of stuff surrounding it that could have caught on fire if someone wasn't fast at calling the fire department. I hope he got into big trouble for this and learned a good lesson that playing with fire is dangerous!

 

What surprised me was how close people got just to watch it...I guess when there are no barriers up, people will want to get as close as they can. Anyway, that's our Tuesday night excitement for you. Never a dull moment here!

-L

Monday, August 12, 2013

Getting Darker


It's starting to get darker at night these days, but it still hasn't gotten to the point where it's completely night out yet. The picture above was taken over the weekend at around 1:30am by our friend - he was hoping to catch part of the Perseid meteor shower, but Northern Lights peeking through is a good consolation prize. That's about as dark as the sky gets these days - a deep, rich blue with hints of stars shining through.

I'm a big fan of this season right now - there is plenty of sunshine and vitamin D to soak up, and it's dark enough to sleep at night without trouble. The only sad part is that it is a reminder that summer is quickly coming to an end and we're heading into the cooler months soon. I have to constantly remind myself to absorb every hill, every colour, ever flower I see. When the long winter sets in and everything is covered in white, you tend to forget that there are hills in the distance or that the land is full of vibrant colour i n the summer. Everything is white and blends into each other (which in itself is beautiful), but it's good to remember that it's not all white all the time.

Really though, with views like this - who can complain?

-L

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Pickled Jalapenos

We *love* spicy food. When we first started dating, Jeff's idea of spicy was Frank's Red Hot and we laugh at that now since he barely gets a tingle when we use it these days. I grew up eating fairly spicy things, so after years of being together, Jeff's tolerance has naturally increased as to how much heat he can handle. It is not uncommon to go through our kitchen and find a variety of different hot sauces and other spicy things that we consume regularly.

I've always liked the idea of pickled peppers since I like the flavour combination of spicy and sour/sweet mixed together. Unfortunately, any pickled peppers that I tried in the past were overly sour, not at all spicy and generally quite soft and mushy. When I came across fresh jalapenos at the store, I got it in my head that I was going to make Pickled Jalapenos - so I did! Oh. My. Goodness. After making these at home, we are never going back to store-bought again. These are quick to make (not your "real" pickling with brine and sitting for long periods of time, etc.), crispy, the perfect combination of sweet/sour and have a whole lot of kick. It tastes like fire...a delicious, addictive, put-it-on-everything fire. I've made them a couple of times now, and a jar doesn't last long around here - but these will keep beautifully in your fridge if you can stay away from them long enough!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baker Lake Cardboard Boat Race

Have you ever heard of a cardboard boat race? I had no idea events like these existed, but apparently it's a "thing" because I'm the only person who's never heard of it. I must live under a rock! Either way, I was able to witness my first one recently - and I have to say, it was highly entertaining!

The rules were pretty simple: your boat had to be 6 feet by 2 feet and made of nothing but cardboard and duct tape. Participants had to be wearing life jackets and could not be younger than 16. That's it! The design and the rest of it was up to your imagination. It was held at the "graveyard lake" which is a small-ish lake up past the snow fence. The first day they tried to hold it, it was too windy so they had to postpone it to another day. It was still pretty windy on actual race-day, but they still went ahead with it!

Graveyard Lake

Monday, August 5, 2013

Price Check: Household Goods

We've talked about the high cost of food here in Nunavut, but I've had people ask what the cost of other items, such as household goods and personal care items, cost. It's just as bad as the cost of food, unfortunately. Although it seems like grocery costs for some items are going down (milk for example, was $8.95 a year ago and is now $4.99 a gallon. That's cheaper than what I was paying in the south!), the cost of the other items are still very high. I am not sure if they are covered under the subsidy program, but that could be a part of the reason why the cost is still so high.

Forgive the not-great quality of the pictures, but I didn't want someone to catch me taking pictures and being asked to stop. I've heard that in some communities/stores, people have been banned from some stores for taking pictures and posting them online! I don't know if that would happen here, but as there aren't really many options to shop here, I'd rather not limit myself even more. So these were hastily taken when I found myself shopping one day and thought to bring my camera with me. (As always, click in the picture to make it bigger.)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pepper's First Birthday

When we brought Pepper home, no one was really sure when his birthday was, other than the fact that it was in August. We decided to choose August 1 as his birthday since it seemed as good of a day as any! :)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Year

Today marks our one year anniversary of moving to Nunavut. Actually, it marks our one year anniversary of leaving to move to Nunavut, but we didn't actually make it to the territory until August 1 due to a plane delay. I thought it would be fun to do a his/her post on to mark the monumental occasion, so we're both going to share some of our reflections of the past year with you today. Thanks for sticking it out with us as we figured our way out in our new surroundings and following us on our adventure! We hope you continue on our journey with us as we keep chillin' in Nunavut!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Graveyard


I don't normally go exploring in graveyards - mainly because I'm afraid of *everything* under the sun. However, the graveyards in Nunavut are different from the ones at home and I thought it'd be interesting to show you. See what a dedicated blogger I am? ;)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Homemade Focaccia Bread

We are bread-lovers in this house. Actually, anything from the carbohydrates category is going to fly over incredibly well here. Unfortunately, there are no real bakeries in town, so if we want fresh bread I'm going to have to make it at home. Thankfully, I've found a couple of fool-proof recipes to add to my repertoire and we can enjoy a nice piece of bread anytime we want. As a side note, I scored a really amazing deal on a bread maker a couple of months ago but it's still sitting forlornly in its box because all the recipes I've used in the past didn't need a bread maker and we like them so much that I haven't tried new recipes using our machine yet. Jeff says it's another gadget gathering dust, but I swear I'll use it one day! :)

I recently stumbled across a recipe for Focaccia and it is *so* easy to make, that I've made it a few times now - each time doing something differently - and it still turns out perfectly every time. I even let a friend try it and she said it reminded her of the bread she used to get from an Italian restaurant. Talk about ego booster! :)

This is the perfect recipe if you've never made bread, or are afraid to try making bread. It really is fool-proof and comes out delicious no matter what you do. I've tried it mixing herbs inside the dough as well as just on top, and you can't go wrong either way. Super light and airy on the inside with a crisp outside, this bread is perfect for anything from sandwiches to soaking up stew. It really is our new favourite bread!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Going Buggy

It's been cool and windy for the past while here (65 km/h winds! If there was snow on the ground, some of those days would have been blizzard days for sure!), but we weren't complaining. For the most part, that meant that the bugs stayed away and you could actually walk outside without looking like you were doing an interpretive hand-dance in front of your face the whole time. We also tend not to take Pepper for a walk when the bugs are bad because I haven't been able to find a dog-friendly bug spray that doesn't harm him/make him react, etc. and the poor guy gets bitten about as much as I do.

I know we've mentioned it numerous times that these are bugs that travel in packs and swarm you at every opportunity, but I thought I'd show you a little of what we've been talking about. Here's how our window looks on any given day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Barge Season

The past week or two have been exciting since it's barge season and we've had a couple of ships visit us already. It's always fun to wake up and see a new ship floating nearby, waiting to dock. The first boat of the season was the gas ship that came and filled up the big tankers by the gas station. It still amazes me that a boat can carry as much gas that our whole hamlet needs until next summer.


Later on in the week, there were actually 3 ships in the lake at once. It looked like a real-life version of a game of Battleship. They sat idling in the lake for a while and waited until the dock was ready for them, and then a smaller tug boat brings them to the dock. 2 of the ships were barges holding different containers and the last one was another gas ship, probably filling the gas tankers for the mine. 


It's fun to be around for "sealift" season since everyone in town gets a little more excited - it's like Christmas with people waiting for their goods. It's also neat to be down by the docks and see what sorts of things are brought in - the other day I saw a long row of brand new trucks with the mine's logo on them. It's definitely summer when all the boats start coming!

-L

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nunavut Essentials - Part Two

Today, while walking Pepper, I saw something that left me momentarily stunned - here's why.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Beach

Last year, a few co-workers stumbled upon a "beach" that they kept talking about, so a couple of weekends ago, we packed up the car, leashed up the dog, packed a picnic, and headed out to find it again. After some bumpy terrain, we found it...and it was amazing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lily's Top 10 Must-Haves for Living in Nunavut

If you do any search for tips on living in Nunavut/the arctic, etc. you'll find any number of lists of essentials that you'll need. We've talked about them here, and I'm sure there's nothing on that list that is going to be a surprise. Everyone knows they need to buy a good parka and stock up on all the food they can possibly pack...but what about the other things? What about the things that you don't necessarily realize how awesome it is to have until you've already shipped off your belongings?

Well, I was thinking about this the other day as I was using some of my top items that make my life better here, and decided I'd share with you my list of the top 10 things I didn't think would be important, but have turned into items I use almost on a daily basis.

Hopefully it helps you to think of what your list would entail if you were to move to the north! :)

Lily's Top 10 Must-Haves for Life in Nunavut

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Secret Spot

One of my favourite things about being in Baker Lake is the ability to go a short distance from town and you feel like you're in your own private world. Just a 15 minute walk from our house, Pepper and I stumbled upon our own "private" beach...we've stopped by a few times now and no one ever seems to be there. It's peaceful and quiet and it's simply lovely. Jeff even taught me (not very successfully) how to skip rocks one afternoon. It's our secret spot and it's been perfect spending time there as a family.




Who needs cottage country when this is practically in our own backyard? :)

-L

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trying New Things...A Tasting Experiment!

I was browsing through the store recently on our weekly grocery trip and found a couple of interesting-looking items for us to taste test. I was pretty excited - new things are hard to find when you shop the same store/same aisles day in/day out. It's the little things in life that make me smile every day. :)

Both items I found were prepared Arctic Char, so I was looking forward to it. Neither were too expensive either, which was an added bonus. (Given that you can buy a whole frozen Char for about $70). Since we're in-land, we don't get any Arctic Char in our water. You have to leave town and head towards the area where the river meets the bay, and you can find Char there - about a 70km trip, I understand. Still, people go out there to fish all the time and you can sometimes find local sellers who will sell you fresh fish from their day's catch - for far less than $70 each!

If you've never had Char, it's very comparable in taste/texture to salmon. I think it tastes a bit fattier than salmon, but it's delicious every time I've had it. Hence why I was extra excited to try my new discoveries!

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 9: Happy Nunavut Day!

A day early, but Happy Nunavut Day!

From wikipedia:

Nunavut Day is a public holiday for the public service, as per the 2001 Nunavut Day Holiday Order. Despite being a declared public holiday in the territory, many organizations and stores remain open throughout the day. Employees of the federal government of Canada must still work on this day, as it is not treated as a public holiday for federal public servants (despite being deemed as such for territorial public servants). Several cultural activities and events are organized throughout the day, including community-wide breakfasts, traditional dancing, games, Nunavut history competitions, policy announcements by the Government of Nunavut or related bodies and speeches by leaders of local communities.

To celebrate Nunavut Day, we are sharing pictures from a recent walk we took one evening. It's a lovely time of year and we're taking full advantage!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (Fat Free!)

Eating healthy doesn't mean that you have to give up your desserts - and this recipe is the perfect example of how being mindful of what you put into your body doesn't mean you have to miss out on tasty treats. I love when a recipe comes together and this is probably one of my favourite recipes in my arsenal! It's a perfect way to use up bananas (which we always have an abundance of in this house), and you'll likely have the majority of the ingredients sitting in your pantry.

Super moist and fluffy, not only are these Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins fat free and low calorie, but they also happen to be vegan. Not that I try to live a vegan lifestyle by any means, but they're extra bonuses if you need more incentive for a delicious snack. This recipe also yields the best rising muffins of all recipes I've tried - so they look exactly like muffins from a bakery! One of my biggest eye-rollers is complicated healthy recipes. I find in baking, things can get really complex with hard-to-find ingredients or specialty items that I don't typically have around the house. The fact that these muffins use regular ingredients I always have on hand means I can have a tasty treat in my belly in under 30 minutes flat.

Indvidually wrapped, you can freeze these for later or they should keep for a few days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They're so good though, they hardly last that long in our house. I've been known to eat them fresh from the oven and slathered in butter right from the muffin tin.

If you want to add more goodness to it - try adding ground flax, hemp hearts, wheat germ and/or chia for a healthy punch.