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

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!

Motorhoming! – Craik & District Regional Park; Moose Mountain Provincial Park (SK)

Craik & District Regional Park

» photo album 2011/0520 ~ Motorhoming! Craik, SK

After our Rockies trip with a lot of driving, we just wanted a relaxed weekend in a nearby campground. As some of the provincial parks still battled the flooding during this busy May Long weekend, we decided to check out the regional park of Craik & District, a bit over an hour from Regina along the 11 to Saskatoon. The park is situated in the small Arm river valley. There are a few short trails, one that we walked several times led to the dugout house (a historic pioneer home build in the hillside), and the Arm reservoir. The weather wasn’t too bad, cloudy, a little bit of rain, but we could be outside quite a bit. On Sunday the sun came out and we stayed until 2pm to enjoy it! Such a cute campground with friendly people – definitely a place to go back to!

Craik & District Regional Park campground

Small, cozy campground in a nice prairie valley setting. Spacious sites, partial shade by trees and shrubs. Various power and water sites, we had a 15 amp site with water for 23$ (and payed $5 per day for park entry instead of getting a year pass). There is a.o. a pool, mini golf and concession on site, golf centre and restaurant near by as well as the Arm Lake (Craik reservoir). Town of Craik is 1.6 km away.

Moose Mountain Provincial Park

» photo album 2011/0531 ~ Motorhoming! Moose Mountain, SK

For our first 4 day trip we wanted to go to Greenwater Lake, but we ended up following the (slightly) better weather forecast to Kenosee Lake, Moose Mountain Provincial Park. We even got to go on Tuesday as I didn’t have to work this week (temporarily not enough work). Tuesday and Wednesday were gorgeous, sunny days, but the rest of the week was mostly cloudy, chilly, very windy with some rain and only some sunny parts. We did go for walks and bike rides, but couldn’t sit outside much until it cleared up, usually in the evening (BBQ, fire pit). There was still a lot of water everywhere, many sites were wet or muddy and the water in the lakes was still high. Unfortunately that meant that the trails were also muddy and wet (if not flooded), so we stuck to the paved roads. We’ll have to go back when it’s warmer and dryer!

Moose Mountain Provincial Park campgrounds

Beautiful campgrounds in the forest, perfect level sites with fire pit/bbq and picnic tables, situated between Kenosee and Little Kenosee Lakes. Our electric site was $22, day/3 days/weekly/transferable annual Provincial Parks pass needed ($50 for 2011). It’s a few kms back to the beach, Kenosee Inn, mini-golf, and the golf-course and more amenities in the village of Kenosee Lake.

To The Rockies With Els, Maurice And Brian!!

Finally got the Rockies update ready, Craik and Kenosee camping trips updates coming up!

» photo albums 2011/ROCKIES

Sunday May 1st

For our 5th visit to the Banff-Jasper area (and to meet our Dutch friends Els, Maurice and their son Brian), we left Regina at 1.45pm (Nico came out of nightshift and had to sleep some hours). We stopped in Swift Current for gas and propane, which took some time as we had to find that first. Turned out the Co-Op had it on the north side of the highway, but we didn’t see it until we were already crossing the road to go to Husky on the south side. After that fairly long break, we kept going until sunset and made it as far as Brooks, Alberta! In the afternoon we got a text from Els that they arrived in Calgary (flew in with a direct KLM flight from Amsterdam). We’re close!

Monday May 2nd

We only had a few hours to go to Airdrie, where we’d be meeting Els, Maurice and Brian, so we didn’t have to rush. We stayed in touch while we were on our way and they were getting their rental motorhome from Fraserway. We would see each other at the Walmart parking lot and we got there at the same time, around noon, such timing! :)) After a great reunion after 3 years, admiring each other’s motorhomes and our cats and some shopping in the Walmart, we drove to Banff over the 1A. That was a first for us (we had always taken the 1 or the 22X underneath Calgary) and we enjoyed the different views from the other side of the valley and through the forest. Near Canmore we saw a lot of bighorn sheep! In Canmore we joined the 1 again and soon after we entered Banff National Park where our friends had to get their National Parks Pass (ours from last year is still valid). On the Tunnel Mountain Campground we asked for sites near a shelter, so we could BBQ in there (it was still wintery cold). We (except Nico) first took the bus to town to check out the stores. When we got back around 8, Maurice got a fire going in the stove in the shelter, we admired the elk that walked by on the campground, Nico barbecued and we had a great first night together in there!

Tuesday May 3rd

We took our time for breakfast, Maurice made us eggs, bacon and hashbrowns 🙂 Then we left the snowy campground to go to Lake Louise. We took the Bow Valley Parkway and stopped at the Johnston Canyon. There still was a lot of snow and ice in there, so most of the path was pretty slippery! We made it as far as the first falls though and it was very pretty in this winter setting. On our way up, we suddenly heard some growling and all stopped dead in our tracks right away.. then we didn’t see or hear anything! Did we hear a bear or cougar?? Was it a sound from further away (but where, in the canyon?)? Nobody was sure what we heard, so we continued. When we came back another woman told us in the same area she thought she saw a bear or heard something… what?? Nico doesn’t believe it, but I think there must’ve been something! As the giftshop/coffeecorner was still closed, we continued our journey on the beautiful Bow Valley Parkway. We wanted to stop for a picnic at the Storm Mountain viewpoint, but it was still closed, so we decided to get coffee and a snack in the bakery in Lake Louise (Village). After that break and a little snow storm, we went to the visitor centre and to Lake Louise itself. It looked just like it had all winter, still frozen and piles of snow! We also checked out the Chateau and then went back to the valley to check in on the campground. Only part of it was open (again because there was a lot of snow) but we found a double spot for the both of us. Time to BBQ again 🙂 And shower, and sit together for the rest of the night.

Wednesday May 4th

Icefields Parkway time!! Luckily the sky looked much brighter today, a mix of sun and clouds. After getting gas, we took the famous 93 up to Jasper, around 10am. First stop was my favourite spot, Bow Lake. I had suggested to have breakfast on the pullout on the side of the lake, but once again it was closed (not cleared of snow). We could turn into the access road to the Num-Ti-Jah lodge and park on that parking lot, but weren’t able to get close to the lake there as someone was still shoveling the huge amount of snow that was still there. After having breakfast together on the parking lot (Maurice made pancakes), we stopped a few kms further to get to the Peyto Lake viewpoint. We had wanted to drive up the road to the parking lot for buses and the handicapped, but no such luck. We had to walk through the snow, a narrow trail was made over the road we had planned to take (so not the normal trail in the summer). But it was worth the effort as the view over a white Peyto Lake and very clear valley was fantastic again! Everything looked fantastic on the Icefields Parkway, esp with so much snow on the mountains and the great weather! It was our 5th visit and 8th time driving this Parkway and the scenic route possibly looked more beautiful then ever! After lunch at the Crossing (Saskatchewan Crossing), we briefly stopped at the viewpoint after the Big Bend and visited the Icefields Centre at the Athabasca Glacier. After that we stopped once more to visit the Athabasca Falls. There wasn’t much water yet, the falls were partly frozen and we could only get to the first viewpoint and not to the other side (still closed) 🙁 We got to the Wapiti winter camping around 6.30pm. See how only 230km and just a handful of the sites along the way, take you a whole day! The campground was initially a disappointment for me, because I had expected that a part of the regular campground (in the forest) would be open, but it was only an open parkinglot, with electric hookups and a shower building though. But all in all the surrounding scenery is still awesome of course and we did have a good time there. In the evening we sat inside anyway and we were still so full from lunch that we only had smokies on a bun (took us a while to convince Brian that smokies are smoked sausages and we weren’t going to eat our Smokey ;))

Thursday May 5th

No rush today, so we could sleep in a little and have a leisurely breakfast on one of the picnic tables around the parking lot, erm I mean campground. Our chef Maurice prepared a hot meal again with eggs, bacon and hashbrowns 🙂 Then we checked out Jasper, did some shopping and had a coffee. We chilled for a bit on the campground before heading back to Jasper for supper (Maurice and Els took us out to a restaurant for our last evening together) and had a great meal at “Somewhere Else” 🙂 Then we took the Maligne Lake Road to Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake, hopefully to see some wildlife. It was a beautiful drive as always, but esp. at Maligne Lake there was still so much snow that you could hardly get to the lake. I went as far as the deck of the restaurant that was still closed. The lake was still frozen as well. We didn’t stay long and drove back to Jasper. We didn’t see any wildlife until we were back on the 16 where we saw a coyote and lots of elk. We ended the evening with some drinks at the Loonens’ motorhome.

Friday May 6th

Unfortunately it was already time to say goodbye to Els, Maurice and Brian. It has been so good to see them again and it was too short, so it was tough, but at least we’ll see each other again in September. We drove to the 16 and literally split up there, they went left to B.C. and we turned right to Edmonton. Our first stop was Edmonton where we visited Ben’s Meat & Deli for some Dutch goodies (way too much liquorice and sweets, but also frikandellen, bamischijven (they called them Indonesian bami pucks) and croquettes)! Then we briefly visited Sebastiaan (CBB) and little Lars (Mariska was at work) in Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton. We couldn’t stay long, as we wanted to be in Lloydminster at supper time. We got there at 7pm, it was good to see Mark again (who lived with us for 4 months a year ago) and we had supper at a Chinese buffet. Yummy!! Back at his place we chatted a bit, watched TV, surfed the net, and went to sleep in our motorhome (in front of the house) in time.

Saturday May 7th

Time for the last part to Regina. It was still pretty long and tiring. We saw a coyote outside of the Battlefields, took a break in a field near Maymont and stopped in Dundurn (south of Saskatoon) for a late lunch/early supper. Around 6pm we were finally home again!

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

Fixed! / Winter Photos

Yesterday our two little girls have been fixed! It was time to spay Penny and Sheldon as they are 6 months old now. It came with a complimentary pedicure, so I tried if they’d take me as well, but for some reason they refused 😉 The operation was in the morning and when we picked them up at 4pm they were already active and not wobbly or anything at all. They are not supposed to run and jump for TEN days…. yeah right!!! They already jumped and ran again, though not yet as much as usual.

What else.. I had my gazillionth dentist appointment last Thursday. I got a dental implant at the periodontist last December (the molar had been pulled a year before) and my dentist is going to put a crown on it now. Unfortunately our plans don’t cover any of that ($3000), oh well. In the meantime I had also broken something off of a tooth on the other side, so I had a big cavity there. Occasional tooth ache, couldn’t chew on it and it was infected: antibiotics and a root canal. That causes some pain and bruises afterwards, but I can already chew on it again, just no hard things. In 10 days I’ll get the final crown on my implant and then I’ll be able to eat normally again on that side too. Until the next tooth or molar goes, pffff!!

And as winter hasn’t left us yet (March 1 was the coldest in 90 years with -27°C, feels like -41°C, and tonight it’s -17°C), I have 2 winter photo albums for you:

» photo album 2011/0212 ~ Prairie Pond Hockey Challenge

» photo album 2011/0227 ~ Wascana Centre

HEART & Saskatoon Weekend!

» photo album 2011/0218 ~ Saskatoon

Last weekend we spent 3 days in the City of Bridges, Saskatoon. We had been there before, but never really stayed long or explored much of its downtown. Although the city is just slightly bigger than Regina, it has much more shops and entertainment concentrated in the downtown area (unlike Regina). It also has the South Saskatchewan River with several beautiful bridges and a well groomed network of trails along the river banks (Meewasin Valley), which looks more majestic than our (also gorgeous) Wascana Centre (lake and parks). All in all, where Regina has more of a town feel (which we love, don’t get me wrong), Saskatoon is a real city. So when we got tickets to see Heart on February 18th, we also booked 3 nights at the Park Town Hotel near the University bridge to finally check out Saskatoon’s downtown and trails for our only winter getaway this winter! And, the 18th was also our 3rd anniversary living in Canada!!

Friday February 18th

Despite snow earlier in the week, the roads were clear and we got to Saskatoon safe and sound around 2pm. We first checked out the Broadway Ave on the east side of the river, known for its alternative little shops and atmosphere. After a late lunch at the Broadway Cafe we drove to the Park Town Hotel to check in. We had booked a king executive room with river view, since they were only 10 bucks more than the regular ones (we payed a very decent $139 a night, CAA rates). Wow that was the best decision! The view is stunning, whereas the so called “city view” of the rooms on the other side of the hallway turned out to be a view on the high-rises surrounding the hotel on that side!! The rest of the room was also very nice, a comfy king size bed, nice and clean bathroom, big tv, desk with river view 😉 and a comfy chair.

Since we didn’t get hungry anymore, we chilled in the room for a bit before we took a cab to the downtown TCU Place (we could’ve walked 15 or 20 mins but decided against it in the cold for that one night). My all time favourite band Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson, hits like Magic Man, Crazy On You, Barracuda, Alone etc) was playing so I was VERY excited to see them again! I had seen them once in 1990, but in a huge arena (Ahoy, Rotterdam) where I was miles away from the stage and the performance was too routinely. This time around I knew it wouldn’t be. Ann is 60 and I’m sure she’s only on stage to have fun by now. Plus their newer stuff is much better than the 80’s pop stuff and this show was also in a beautiful, relatively cosy, theatre.

Earlier that day we saw news articles that Heart’s buses were stuck in Manitoba overnight because the 1 had been closed because of a blizzard. Would they be on time???? When we got to the theatre we saw a lot of buses, so that looked good 🙂 And they even started on time, at 8 the support act Carmen Townsend came on stage. Great pipes, but weird vocal lines – I guess miss Townsend is an acquired taste we didn’t acquire just yet. Then at 9pm it was time for my beloved HEART!!! It was amazing to hear and see them again, really see them this time (I also brought binoculars). The whole show (110 mins!!) was phenomenal and I couldn’t believe my hero of 35 years (my only hero in life besides my dad!) was right there in front of me, singing as incredible as always, if not better – and looking great too! It was an emotional gig for me and when she sang Alone (not even my favourite song, but Ann of course excels here) I had to really cry. Just. WOW. No “Love Alive” or “Mistral Wind” for me (you can’t have it all when they recorded so much since 1976), but I did love the setlist:

Cook with Fire
What About Love
Straight On
Dog and Butterfly
These Dreams
Hey You
Even It Up / Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones cover)
Red Velvet Car
Desire Walks On
Magic Man
Crazy on You

What is and What Should Never Be (Led Zeppelin cover)
Love Reign O’er Me (The Who cover)

Dreamboat Annie

(click HERE to see 2 more short clips of “Dog & Butterfly” and “Crazy On You” on our YouTube page!)

After that I wanted to drown my emotions in a big pint of Rickards Red at the Irish Pub at the hotel. We also wanted to get some food by then, but their kitchen was already closed and they had nothing but popcorn to offer… no thanks! We left after the one beer to order pizza from our hotel room.

Saturday February 19th

After a fabulous breakfast at the Four Seasons restaurant of the hotel, it was time to check out downtown. We walked south along the river trails in Kiwanis Memorial Park until we got to the Meewasin Valley Centre past the Broadway bridge. Very nice displays and a lot of info on Saskatoon’s history. We then went to the shops in the downtown streets as well as the Midtown Mall. We saw a few exhibitors from the Taboo Show (which was also at the TCU Place) walk around and ended up talking to one guy. Very nice and he gave us free tickets ($15 value each!). But we didn’t really plan to go and the next morning I gave them to hotel staff in case they’d get someone at their desk who’s interested in going.

After some shopping (got sandals on sale at the Ecco store, yay!) we ended up at The Real Greek for supper. This was exactly the type of restaurant I’ve been missing here in Canada! A real Greek restaurant with the blue and white picturesque, cosy decor! We do have a Greek restaurant in Regina with good food, but they are snobs IMHO, trying to be high-end and the decor too… no atmosphere (big rooms, not cosy, salmon pillars kind of decor), so we don’t like going there. This one was not cheap either, but we loved it!

Sunday February 20th

After the big Sunday Brunch at the hotel restaurant, we checked out tourist info to see where we could hike today. We ended up just crossing the University bridge and going north on that side for a bit. Along the way we decided to continue to the next bridge, the CPR Railway bridge, and to cross there again and come back on the west side, on Spadina. It was -20°C, but in the sun and without the wind, not even my cheeks got frozen! I can’t believe we walked 4.5 kms in that cold, it was great!

After some warming up we took the car to visit the Uptons in their new home in Hampton Village. Well, Brent, Jennifer and their kids Ella and Arden have already been living there for 3 years, but we hadn’t seen them since 2006 😉 Great times, great meal (thanks!), great company!

Monday February 21th

Even long weekends end at some point… we drove home with a lot of blowing snow on the roads, but it was ok. We can look back at a fantastic weekend in the City of Bridges!

Snow And Shoveling

» photo album 2011/0116 ~ snow and shoveling

We’ve had so much snow so far (1 m / 3.3 ft thick on the roof) that we wanted to get it off the roof and away from the house a bit before it would (partially) melt and cause problems if it can’t get away.

good job!moving snow away from the houseNico removed snow at the back110124_07_snowinjanuary

Last 2010 Photo Updates

Time to add the last photos of 2010 to our gallery, that we still had on our computer and didn’t publish yet:

» photo album 2010/Miscellaneous 2010 – all sorts of pics from all of 2010 from home, on the road, animals, views etc that don’t have their own album!

» photo album 2010/1231 ~ Dutch New Year’s Eve Party II – NYE party with some friends and Dutch snacks etc.

» photo album 2010/1204 ~ Ugly Christmas Sweater Party – xmas party at Tim and Cortney’s

» photo album 2010/0624 ~ North Portal US Border – after getting our permanent visas we drove to the nearest border where we could land as immigrants!

» photo album 2010/0609 ~ Wascana Valley – nice walking trails west of Regina

» photo album 2010/0124 ~ Snow – we got a big dump of snow in January

Note: our gallery still needs updates to match the new look of our site and to iron out some stuff from a software update – will be done soon!

RIP Milan

In the last days of 2010 we got the sad news that Milan, the son of our dear friends Anneke and Cordy (back in Holland), has passed away from a viral infection. We don’t know any more about it, but Milan has been multiple handicapped since birth with hard to control epileptic seizures and spasms day and night, despite heavy medications. Milan, you’ve been so brave for almost 6 years, now you can rest….. we wish his wonderful parents a lot of strength to deal with their loss! They will be in our thoughts, as always…

» website Milan op dreumessite.nl (in Dutch)