Saturday Snippets: 26.August.2017

This has been the first week where I can feel the end of summer slipping by. The days are still warm, but the mornings have been noticeably cooler and the sun sits lower in the afternoon sky. I don’t think I’m ready for it to end!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 26.August.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Tomorrow, two of our great friends are competing in their first Ironman race! They both have full-time jobs and are parents to our two very active god-kids (who also compete in kids triathalons), and have still found time to train for this epic endurance race. We’ll be anxiously awaiting your results, Jill and Sean, and we know all your training will be worth it!
  • I really love a good scone, the kind with tonnes of craggy, crunchy edges. These sour cherry and chocolate ones look like they would fit the bill!
  • Progress!
  • Did you catch any of the solar eclipse on Monday? We donned our welding masks, and caught the partial eclipse in Vancouver. It was crazy how many people were outside to view it! I knew of a few people who made the road trips down to view the total eclipse, and they all said it was indescribable. If you couldn’t be there in person, this is a pretty good video recap.
  • I heard about this podcast, Homecoming, through another storytelling podcast. They just released Season 2. The nice thing about learning of these things late, is that you can binge-listen! The episodes are short (20 to 30 minutes each), and its a psychological thriller (don’t worry, it’s not scary). I burned through Season 1 in record time!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Plumbing and Heating:

  • Big news – the water system is in, and it all works!!
  • We tested the city fill earlier in the week, and there were no leaks from any of the connections. Big relief! At that point, we didn’t have the water heater or pump connected, so it was just to make sure the basic connections were good. | Sprinter van conversion - testing water connections

Getting ready to test the water connections for the first time. | Sprinter van conversion - testing water connections | Sprinter van conversion - testing water connections

Testing the water connections.

  • For the rest of the week, Jonty worked to get the water heater and water pump wired up and working. He also wanted to add an on/off connection for the in-floor heating, so that the floor heating could be bypassed when we don’t need it (i.e. in the summer months). That part probably took him a good 2 days to finish. Nothing is ever a quick or simple process!
  • So, we now have this all working:
    • City water fill works (Jonty used the plasma CNC to fabricate the mount out of aluminum)
    • Water pump works (so we get water flowing when we’re not connected to city water)
    • Water heater works (so we can have hot water)
    • In-floor heating works (so we can have warm tootsie toes)
    • Force-air heating works, on low and high-speed (the heater fan will be mounted on the floor, below the bed)
  • Still remaining: connect the hoses to the sink (for all of the testing, we just used a piece of pipe connected to the manifold, and used a bucket to catch the water)
  • We don’t have a grey water tank installed yet, and likely won’t get to that for a few months. Until then, we’ll just use a jerrycan under the sink for the grey water.

The day that we tested all the water systems (city fill, heat exchanger, water pump, water heater, in-floor heating, forced-air heating), and it all worked, was a very exciting moment. As Jonty said, all of the systems he’s put in (electrical, batteries, heating, water, etc) all work as designed.

If you know how much time and effort and thought my husband has put into this build, you can imaging how happy he was. His shoulders relaxed and a smile developed, as he allowed himself a brief moment of celebration, before moving onto the next thing. I am so proud of him and this van!! | Sprinter van conversion

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 19.August.2017

Well, it’s been a disheartening news week, with Charlottesville and Barcelona. With the number of articles and accounts I’ve read of people raising their voices against these atrocities, let’s hope something good will come of it.

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 19.August.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

RV Plumbing:

  • We’re still in operation water-tank mode and Jonty is still in the process of putting it all together. This week, he has been working on getting all the systems set up and connected inside the van. It’s been a week of designing and many, many trips to Home Depot and Greenline… ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The idea is to have things like the water pump, water heater, hot / cold water lines, etc., fixed onto a board similar to our electrical board. It’s attached to the frame of the wheel well on the passenger side. | Sprinter van conversion - plumbing

  • As of yesterday, enough of the plumbing system was connected together, to try filling the tank and running city water through, but Jonty needed more than one pair of hands to do this, and I was working… Perhaps a test this weekend? | Sprinter van conversion - plumbing | Sprinter van conversion - plumbing

RV curtains:

  • I’m slowly working on the curtains. The two in the bedroom are finished, as well as the one above the kitchen sink. Next on the list is the one for the sliding door, Jonty added the track for it this week, so no excuses now!
  • The curtains are three layers – black fabric facing toward the windows, a blue / turquoise linen fabric facing inside the van, and a layer of insulating material in between. | Srinter van conversion - making curtains | Srinter van conversion - making curtains

RV Insurance:

  • I’ve been on the hunt for RV insurance (finally!). Because we’re a van conversion, and not a factory-manufactured RV, we’re in this grey zone of insurance. The companies I’ve spoken to so far can’t seem to categorize us appropriately. I’m waiting for a few people to get back to me, so I’m sure I’ll find something sooner or later!
  • With that said, if you read this blog, and you’ve done your own RV conversion, and you’re based out of Canada – where do you get your insurance from?

Happy Weekend!

Maple-Walnut Blueberry Overnight Oats

It’s blueberry season on the West Coast, and we can’t get enough of these little berries! Every time we open our fridge, regardless of what we were originally in there for, we usually end up with a handful of them before the door is closed. In the last week or so, the ones at the market have been coming into their prime. Plump, juicy and oh-so sweet!

A few times a week, I usually have overnight oats for breakfast in the morning. Before I go to bed, I mix up a batch and throw it into the fridge. It takes me less than 5 minutes to prepare, and it tastes so good with a cup of coffee. I the winter, I often use dried fruit to add a bit of sweetness, but come summer time, it’s fresh fruit all the way! I’ve been enjoying these Maple-Walnut Blueberry overnight oats for the past few weeks.

When I make overnight oats, I only measure out my oats and liquid. The rest, I eyeball. And the only mainstay in my oats are chia seeds. The rest of the add-ins change with my cravings. Nuts, seeds, coconut flakes – they all make it into the jar at some point. I love using Roger’s Porridge Oat blends, which often include other goodies like flax seeds, quinoa flakes and oat bran. But, there’s nothing wrong with plain old oats, too! | Maple-walnut blueberry overnight oats

A few ways I like to make these maple-walnut blueberry overnight oats:

  • The liquid: While milk or water works just fine, I often find myself using coconut water. It’s a great source of potassium and electrolytes, and we find on the heavy training days, the coconut water makes sure we don’t get leg cramps. Bonus!
  • The protein: Oats already have a nice amount of protein in them, but I’ll often add a dollop of non-fat greek yogurt. It gives another boost of protein as well as a creaminess to the oats.
  • The fats: Nuts and seeds are a great way to boost the healthy fats in this breakfast, and they also add a great crunch. | Maple-walnut blueberry overnight oats

The entire combination of these oats keeps me full for quite a few hours and, honestly, I can’t get enough of the blueberries! So if you’re looking for an easy, healthy way to start your day, give these maple-walnut blueberry overnight oats a try.

Maple-Walnut Blueberry Overnight Oats
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Maple-Walnut Blueberry Overnight Oats are the perfect way to start off your morning.
  • ½ cup large-flake oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp crushed walnut pieces
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ cup blueberries (or as many as you can fit into the jar)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt (optional)
  • ½ cup coconut water
  1. In a 250 mL mason jar (with a tight fitting lid), add the oats, chia seeds, walnuts and blueberries. Place the lid on the jar and shake the ingredients to combine.
  2. Pour in the coconut water, maple syrup and greek yogurt (if using). Stir to combine.
  3. Place the lid back on the jar and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 3 hours.,

Enjoy these Maple-Walnut Blueberry Overnight Oats! | Maple-walnut blueberry overnight oats

Saturday Snippets: 12.August.2017

How was your week? Nice and short, if you were in Canada, celebrating the long weekend! There was a lot going on in Vancouver, with the fireworks and Pride Parade, and climbing and van work… Yet, somehow it still felt quite relaxing!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 12.August.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • The behind-the-scenes look at Alex Honnold and his path to free soloing his most recent climb. He definitely prepares for these routes, years in advance, but I still can’t wrap my head around him climbing without a rope!
  • While diving down the instagram rabbit hole, we came across Harvest Hosts. Have you ever heard of them? For a (very small) annual fee, you can park at these farms or wineries or museums around Canada and the USA. When we eventually hit the road in Moby, I think we’re going to sign up! And perhaps we’ll start with this road trip, as our first adventure ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Why people don’t return their shopping carts. What kind are you?
  • Doesn’t this watermelon and halloumi salad look amazing?
  • Who remembers Nutri-Grain Bars? I have fond memories of stocking up on these bars before high-school band trips (yes, I was in the band). This homemade version looks like a much better option, though!
  • Why being near the water really does make us happier.

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Breakfast by the water:

  • We had our first breakfast in the van, down at the beach! On Monday (the long weekend), we decided to pack up all the things we would need for breakfast, and headed down to the beach to make everything down there. We don’t have water hooked up yet, so we had to fill the kettle before we left the apartment but otherwise, everything was made in the van. Coffee was ground, water was boiled, cornbread was toasted, milk was kept cold… all in Moby! It may not have looked like a very special breakfast, but it felt that way to us. And it makes us want to get the water tank in ASAP, so we can really start enjoying it! | Sprinter van conversion - breakfast on Spanish Banks beach | Sprinter van conversion - breakfast on Spanish Banks beach | Sprinter van conversion - breakfast on Spanish Banks beach

Water Tank:

  • Our 45-gallon water tank and heat shields arrived the other week, and we finally started putting it together this week. The tank fits right under the sliding door step on the passenger side and, with all things van-related, Jonty had to fabricate the mounts for it. This involves drilling additional holes in the van, and making hangers and braces to mount the tank. | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank

  • It’s a dirty job, being under the van, and we’ll be very happy when it’s over (Jonty, especially!). The only good thing is that the weather has been dry, so we don’t have to deal with lying on wet, dirty cement (just dirty cement!). | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank

  • We finished off the week with drilling another hole up through the van floor, which will be the access point for the water line into our sink! Very exciting ๐Ÿ™‚ | Sprinter van conversion - installing water tank

Pictures from the week of 12.August.2017:

On Sunday, after a morning of training at the gym, we headed downtown to take in some of the Pride Parade festivities. We got down there near the tail-end of the parade (we caught the last dozen or so floats), then meandered and around and enjoyed people-watching! It was an afternoon that was good for the soul – people of all shapes and sizes and ages and ethnicities, just happy and enjoying the atmosphere and festivities. | 2017 Vancouver Pride Parade | 2017 Vancouver Pride Parade

With the fires in the BC interior still burning, the smoke has finally made its way over to the coast. Vancouver has been under a layer of smoke for nearly two weeks. We walked back over the Burrard Bridge and stopped to take a look at Sunset Beach, where they were having the post-Pride-Parade-Party (say that 3x fast!). You can definitely notice the smoke when you look out over the water and the city. | 2017 Vancouver Pride Parade | 2017 Vancouver Pride Parade

Hopefully the rain that is forecasted for Sunday will help with this.

Happy Weekend!

July Photo Challenge: URBAN ART Recap

July has come to an end, and so has my monthly photo challenge. It was my month of URBAN ART and tried to find the best and the brightest art that our city has to offer. If I’m honest, I could probably have spent a full year, photographing all the great art around town!

So here’s my URBAN ART recap for you.

The July Photo Challenge took me…

… from mural-wrapped buildings to painted silos…

… from city beaches to prairie landscapes …

… from life-sized sculptures to larger-than-life sized displays…

… from native art to modern art…

… from fun typography on buildings and structures. | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap | July 2017 monthly photography challenge - URBAN ART recap

And just like that, we’re into August and a new challenge word! This month is all about HAPPY and you can check out the details here.

Happy picture-taking!