We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 7 cats!
  • Regina
  • Amsterdam

Work In Progress…

If anything looks funny or incomplete, it’s because I’m updating the site. I’ve added a multilingual plugin, so we can have an English and a Dutch version of the site. I’m still translating/splitting posts and adjusting them to a new layout 🙂

Loving Our Basement & Camping!

After 3 months of construction workers in the house and overspending a LOT, the basement was finally ours (in June)! Since we’re camping a lot now, we haven’t had time yet to finish up some last things and decorate, but the winter is going to be long enough for all that!! We already enjoy the TV corner with reclining couches a lot! All in all we had way more done then planned, but all important things for the whole house: new efficient ducts, new stack in basement and all new sewer line underneath the house as well as in the front yard all the way to the street, new electrical panel and updated outside pole for the power lines. The mortgage money wasn’t nearly enough and luckily we had just enough savings to pay for it all…. about 58 grand in total, ouch!!!! BUT… it pretty much doubled the house space for us and it’s simply FANTASTIC!! Besides some things downstairs, we also have projects to do on our main floor, like new desk space in the office and getting my crafts room set up (still storage in there now). Here are some pics of the basement right now, you can view the whole album of the renovation process HERE for now.


But summer is short and we have to camp as much as we can right now! Esp. since we “have” to go to Europe in 4 days for dad’s 95th birthday 🙂 Here a few impressions of our camping season, and a few more pics are HERE.


Stay tuned, I’ll post the Europe plans in 1 or 2 days!!!

Snow, Heart And Basement Renos!

It’s March, but winter is still here! We had a record snowfall this winter and it’s still coming! This pic is from early February. Are we going camping yet?!
We have other things on our mind though.. we renewed and increased our mortgage and are finally able to renovate our basement now! We got Boyd and his son Cory to do the job for us and we’re so excited!!! We made a great plan and they just started, the basement is pretty much gutted now. Can’t wait for it to be done!!

130203_campergutted basementbasement plan

And then there was HEART, again! This time here in Regina at the Conexus Art Centre. The idea of my idol Ann Wilson being only 2 km away from our house, made me very nervous!!! The show was great again, but of course it didn’t have the 21 year build-up that made the 2011 show in Saskatoon so emotional. Still awesome though, they played my favourite song Love Alive this time (see video) and got some nice merch 🙂


What About Love
59 Crunch
Love Alive
Even It Up
Dreamboat Annie
130313_006_heartDog & Butterfly
These Dreams
Dear Old America
Crazy On You

Magic Man
Black Dog (Zeppelin cover)
Love, Reign O’er Me (The Who cover, with support act Simon Townsend (younger brother of!)

Happy Holidays And Best Wishes For 2013!

Another great year on the prairies! Of course with ups and downs.. in May we had to say goodbye to our good friend Rob, which was a tremendous blow, and just days later to Nico’s manager Joy. That was the craziest week ever and luckily we went on our British Columbia trip the next day! For vacation and orientation, as we still had the wish to move to the Okanagan. It was a wonderful trip (by car), but Nico hadn’t been able to set up a single job interview and the health region just pointed to the external job postings online. Jobs are posted on an internal list first, so you almost have to get in through a casual or otherwise hard to fill position. Nico was not going to give up his permanent full-time job here for anything less though.

After that trip we let it rest and went camping in our provincial parks almost every weekend – 45 nights in 4 months, yay! We often stayed closer to home, having friends join us and it made us re-appreciate our beautiful prairie valleys. But we ended the season with a bang at Cypress Hills where we camped after season between the majestic lodgepole pines and had moose, deer and coyotes walk over the campground!

Our furry kids are doing better than ever. Tess had bladder stones removed and the vet put her on diet food. Feeding her separately was stressful on her though, so we now feed this (both wet and dry) food to all six. We already thought we were giving them high quality food (only dry though), but their coats have become much softer and Tess is more playful then we have ever seen her! We’d like to find less expensive alternatives to what we now have to buy from the vet, but we also don’t want to reverse this big change!

Now it’s winter (this time with lots of snow again!) and looking back on that BC trip and a wonderful SK summer, we’ve come to realize that we have everything we could possibly want right here and we don’t want to uproot ourselves yet again, only for mountains and milder (but greyer) winters. We’ve built up so much in these (almost) 5 years, that we don’t want to leave the amazing friendships, a better economic/financial situation, a cute house, our jobs, the many sun hours and the friendly prairie people behind! Never say never, but it looks like we’re staying! 🙂

So we are looking forward to more SK camping next year and a trip to Europe again. Not so much Holland, for this trip we’ll be visiting friends in Germany and spending a week in vacation bungalows in Belgium with family!

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas (or whatever other holiday you may be celebrating) and much happiness and health for the new year!!

Nico & Marlies
Tess, Gandalf, Rider, Smokey, Sheldon & Penny

Pictures on the card:
Main: home sweet home (a few days ago).
Inserts on the left: Buffalo Pound, Crooked Lake, northern lights, 2x Clear Lake (Manitoba), Tess.
Inserts on the right: Okanagan Lake, all 6 kitties, 4x Cypress Hills, sunrise at home.

R.I.P. Rob Doherty…

Early this morning we got the devastating news that one of our friends (and a well respected musician) decided to leave us last night. We thought he had left his dark years behind and was doing well with his new band and all, but apparently he wasn’t well at all. Rob, we will miss you brother, at least you don’t have to fight your demons anymore and we hope you found your peace :'(

Happy Holidays And All The Best For 2012!

Oops, it’s been too long since we updated here! Busy busy… with work, my websites, camping! I’ll have to add reports and photo albums for that in the new year, sorry… but here’s our Xmas card and message:

No drastic changes for us this year, but still a lot of ups and a few downs of course.

To start with the downs, some of our friends and family had to lose loved ones, from Milan (our friends’ Anneke and Cordy’s son) at the end of last year to Bep (my sister-in-law’s mother) this month. We realize that this must be a difficult season for them, but we also hope it’s filled with lots of love and support!
A little down we had in our own house was that Nico put out his back at work in July, resulting him to be home for a month, then he slowly built up his hours again. Partly wear-and-tear, he’ll have to remain careful! And early in the year he was diagnosed with diabetes II (well under control with some tablets), he says it’s all downhill after 50 😉

And the ups? Seeing Heart again live (Ann Wilson is still my idol!), my bff Els and her family coming to Canada (we spent some days together in the – still wintery – Rockies in May), many camping trips here in Saskatchewan (most close by though because Nico couldn’t drive far after his injury), registering my own website design business Feel The Fire (after it being a hobby for 13 years) and a hectic trip to Holland! It was the first time back since we moved to Canada. It was great to see “everybody” again, but I already got a bit homesick after a week 😉 Other “ups” are that I’m now working from home for my Canada Life job too and that our “rental” cat Smokey is now officially ours. His former mommy felt she couldn’t take him away from all his playmates anymore after all this time. Thank you Char! <3

The start of winter is very mild this year (mostly just mildly freezing and hardly any snow) so it looks like we won’t have a real white Xmas – who would’ve thought?! But we’ll be spending it with friends 🙂

Merry Xmas and all the best for 2012!!

Nico & Marlies
Tess, Gandalf, Rider, Smokey, Sheldon & Penny

big photo: our RV on the Icefields Parkway (photo by Els)
top row: deer in Jasper, Peyto Lake viewpoint (Rockies) – dad and me, Eindhoven (Holland) – 5/6 of our feline kids
bottom row: camping pics in Echo Lake Provincial Park, Moose Mountain PP (northern lights & Nico chopping wood), Waskesiu (Prince Albert National Park, middle and last pic)

Photo Updates June 2011

» photo album 2011/0622 ~ Bike Ride in Wascana Centre

Last week we went for a bike ride around Wascana Lake, but we managed to do only the north side. When we tried to come back on the south side, the path was so flooded that we ended up just taking College.

And further, we had a great night with Steve Smyth and a few more members and crew of Forbidden on the Friday before our Gravelbourg trip. Unfortunately the show was cancelling because of flooding in the venue, but because of this we did have a chance to catch up with Steve all night long! Photos coming soon!

Feel The Fire Office Overhaul

» photo album 2011/0611 ~ Feel The Fire Office Overhaul

Last weekend I was home alone and worked very hard for 2 long days to make a new office for me. Uncluttered the existing one, moved lots to the basement and created a nice, spacious new Feel The Fire office 🙂 So happy with it!

Feel The Fire Pages Officially In Business!!

I’m falling a bit behind with our updates on our trips, but the one for the Rockies is almost ready and we also have one coming about a relaxing weekend in the cute campground of Craik.

Most of my time in the last months I have spent preparing to make my webdesign hobby an official business! Quite exciting after 13 years! I have a new website in place, registered the name Feel The Fire Pages in Saskatchewan, and registered for a GST/business number. I’m good to go now! Check out my new site and the first client is our friend Ben’s new site for The Ben Winoski Project!

Rockies Again!!! / Several Photo Updates

Tomorrow we leave for our first motorhome trip of the year, to the Rockies! My best friend from Holland, Els and her husband Maurice and son Brian are coming over and we will be meeting them near Calgary on Monday! We will spend 4 days together before we have to go back east again (to home in two days) and they will go to BC for a few more days (they only have 12). I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Photo & video updates:

So finally the snow melted, but now the province is flooded in a lot of places!

the Craven Jamboree site is flooded, which may jeopardize this years festival!

» photo album 2011/0425 ~ Flooding in Qu’Appelle Valley

On April 16th there finally was an Into Eternity show again! I filmed that they covered Judas Priest’s Painkiller as an encore. Stu rules! Oh and he landed a HUGE gig, he’s going to be the new singer for the American band Iced Earth!!!

One of our favourite bands, Death Angel from SF, came to Regina! I went with Marlin as Nico had to work and it was great seeing Ted and Mark again. It was snowing and Ted, who hadn’t seen me since we moved, immediately asked “do you LIKE living here???” haha! See pics and 2 movies.

» photo album 2011/0414 ~ Death Angel

Some pics of our cats and the house


» photo album 2011/0406 ~ Cats

Walks on the Blue Trail of Wascana Park

» photo album 2011/0331 ~ Wascana Centre

Frozen pipes caused our street to be flooded

» photo album 2011/0331 ~ Lakefront Property

Out for a bit on St. Paddy’s Day

» photo album 2011/0317 ~ St Patrick’s Day