Cottage Country



I’m baaaaaack!! :D

How was everyone’s weekend? Or, I suppose start to the work week now :) I’ve got lots of cottage pictures and tales to share so I’ll get right down to it. But first I have to thank Diane and Caitlin for wonderful contributions to my Blogger Interview Series as well as all the funny feedback on my Flashback Friday – Babies! So. Much. Fun.

So first things first, I had a stellar full-body weightlifting session on Saturday morning thanks to this magazine:


I’m partial to designing my own workouts, but sometimes it’s fun to try out something someone else made up! I really recommend this special edition of Women’s Health. It’s got tons of great moves and recipes in it. Here’s the workout I stole:


Except, instead of the bodyweight lunge, I did a power kick:


Came home to the best breakfast sandwich I’ve had in a while.

Egg, ham, real mayo, tomato, onion, lettuce on ezekiel. With watermelon and grapes in the back. Ohman. It hit the spot.

Then it was off to the cottage!!!

Victoria Day weekend, aka “May Two-Four Weekend” is known as the time when Canadians open up their cottages and drink copious amounts of beer. My family is no different.

My family cottage is on the Northumberland Straight in Nova Scotia overlooking New Brunswick and PEI. It’s downright beautiful.

Wait. Do you see something in the photo?? Let’s look closer…


I do believe that is a poodle running free!!

Pretty sure the cottage is heaven on earth for these dogs. One of the few times we let them off the leashes and run around like the animals they are. I love seeing them so happy in that element :)


We don’t have much of a beach, but we aren’t the type of family who goes to the beach as an excuse to wear bikinis anyways. That’s what Shediac is for ;)  (sorry, local humour)


Beautiful Sister Sara underneath the chestnut tree.

Et moi!


The best thing about my cottage is the giant deck that overlooks the Baie Verte.

Also notable, is that we don’t have full walls. Not very good for keeping secrets.

My family has been coming out here since before I was born and then some. I’ve lived in many houses in my life, but this spot has always been the one constant. I quite literally grew up in it!

As did many other people – it was built in the 1930s.

Another great thing about the cottage is the FOOD! We always eat well there.


Saturday night my mom roasted a chicken. We had some more of that glorious roasted corn on the cob and steamed potatoes and butternut squash.

Come Sunday morning I knew the leftover squash and potato would make for a perfect hash.

Fried up after a glorious 4 mile trail run through the nearby provincial park with my big sis. Trail running is super challenging. It felt like I was running so slow because of all the obstacles, but my heart rate was super high!

We’d picked up some thick cut bacon at the nearby country corner store. Paired with scrambled eggs and it was quite possibly the best post-run recovery breakfast I’d ever had.

I know I’m “off” the dairy for the time-being, but I put cottage cheese in the eggs. My secret to the perfect texture and cheesiness :)

Cribbage players will appreciate this mug. I spent many rainy days at the cottage playing crib with my Grampie in his cottage next door.

Our real reason for being out there this weekend is because my sister Sara is now the owner of my grandparent’s cottage next door! We had a lot of cleaning to do to get it habitable again. My 86-year-old grandfather made the trip to show us the ropes.


This included a lesson in basic plumbing.

Note: this is not what a well pump should look like :\

T’was a tough morning getting everything opened up, and my mom once again saved the day by whipping up a wonderful meal.

Salmon sandwich and fruit.

And while I didn’t partake in any of the above beer, that’s not to say I didn’t join in on the sweets.

IMG_7213 IMG_7214
I’m sure there is a rule out there that one must indulge in warm cinnamon rolls when at the cottage. Right??

Sara and I worked our tails off cleaning up our “new” cottage this weekend!

It’s wonderful to think that the cottage we spent so much time in as children, will get to be the place where we bring our own kids someday :)

My Grammie fed me so much chocolate pie and ice cream on that countertop!

We also found some neat old-timey things while cleaning up. Including this copy of The Financial Post from 1959!!

Maybe it’s the newsie in me, but I found this completely fascinating. Newspapers have oddly not changed that much in the last half century.

I also read my fair share of up-to-date newspapers this weekend. As well as the book Skinny Bitch.


I’m sure many of you have heard of this book, written by two former models who say eating a vegan diet can make you thin. I didn’t really care for it. Having already spent a near decade of my life as a vegetarian or vegan, I now feel like I’ve heard it all before. It was also very short, so it didn’t elaborate on anything. I found myself wanting to know exactly why these things are bad for me, instead of just being told I’m a fat moron because I eat them.

I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I eat animal carcasses. My body likes it, and the descriptions in the book didn’t phase me in the least.

Case and point: meat pie.

A blend of animal meats stuffed into a pastry crust. The meat filling was frozen from Christmas!

Meat pie = love. I know some people can appreciate a savoury pie with me ;)

Mommy dearest also made a parsley and lentil salad to go with.

There is no recipe for this as she made it up as she went along. It was delicious though – think of it as tabbouli but with lentils and sunflower seeds instead of couscous.

After a trail run and a day of hard labour on Sunday, I woke up positively wiped this morning.

My mom, sister and I had some hope of doing an outdoor bootcamp this morning. But we all immediately agreed that our bodies were already in rough enough shape! My feet are completely wrecked. So, I put them up, read, and ate a bowl of apple cinnamon peanut butter oatmeal instead. So worth it.

However, today was another hard day of cleaning, scrubbing and moving things around. The highlights of my day today were definitely eating up the yummy leftovers.

Leftover falafel from a long time ago, with the last of the parsley and lentil salad on top of a much larger salad.


I added a little extra dressing made up of mustard, canola oil and white wine. Mygosh it was good. White wine is almost better than vinegar!

Other leftovers included a verrry yummy soup my mom made with the leftover roast chicken.


She taught me how to save the juices on the bottom of the roasting pan, scrape the fat off, then make soup with it. I am so doing this next time.

Well, that pretty much brings us up to speed! Believe it or not, I have another busy week of unemployment ahead of me. How does that happen?? I’ve made some new travel/moving plans which I’ll mention tomorrow. Right now, I’m ready to go pass out on the couch with the dogs. See ya tomorrow!! xo


Question of the Day: Do you have a cottage? What’s it like? If not, what sort of cottage would you like? Our cottages our out in the middle of nowhere away from any form of civilization. There aren’t many people there. It’s quiet and positively beautiful. I think it’s the real reason why I’m a country girl at heart!


Posted on May 24, 2010, in Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. MEAT PIE!?!? that sounds amazing!!!!!!!
    i love that you have a cottage! that seriously sounds SO peaceful girl

  2. your cottage and the view are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! i am so envious! i do have a cabin up in the mountains, however we haven’t gone in a very long while ):

  3. Hello meat pie-nice to meat you! LOL Looks amazing, I’ve never had that!

    I love the cottage-it’s gorgeous! I would love to have a place like that near the sea, in a small town with all local businesses and be able to walk or ride my bike everywhere. And of course, filled with dogs, friends, food, family and fun!

  4. Cute cottage!

    I didn’t like Skinny Bitch. I found it insulting and offensive and there was nothing really noteworthy in it.

  5. So…I think you should go around saying, “THAT way to the gun show” and flexing your arm muscles. Your arms look amazing in these photos! Go Trainer Go :-)

  6. this post is just awesome…the cottage, what a great special time for you! we have a “cottage” in aruba that i bought when I used to make tons of money. B.S. (before Skylar) LOL

    skinny bitch. thank you!! for the review. as a vegan who is well read, i have not found the need to read it. BUT so many smart women i know who are vegan or almost, recomend it. Glad to know im not really missing out.


  7. I bet the dogs run themselves to sleep there–looks like a great place. The wall writing would be interesting to read over as well.

  8. i REALLY enjoyed the cottage photos. stunning. and you look SO good, susan! your arms especially! sometimes it is fun to do a pre-made workout.. i have found this out lately. as usual, love love the pup pics. and love you!

  9. hayleycepeda

    WOW…what a place to getaway!! Your cottage is absolutely gorgeous and it looks as though you guys had great weather. How fun to spend the weekend there with your family, and man that food all looks so good. You guys eat well and I can see where you get your cooking skills from! :) I thought that was the COOLEST thing to find a newspaper from 1959!!!! I’m a weird freak about stuff like that – maybe it was my initial decision to major in Journalism, too? Unfortunately it didn’t last…

    Anyway – thanks so much for sharing all these pictures! I felt like I was living vicariously through you. I would’ve answered that we don’t have a cottage but I’d love to have one on the beach, but after reading your post I’m starting to think otherwise. :)

  10. We use to have my grandmother’s island cottage to go to. However just before she passed she sold it. She wouldn’t leave it to us or EVEN sell it to us do to a drowning in the family 40-50 years earlier :-(

  11. oh my gawwddd so beautiful out there on the water!! i love quaint cottages in themiddle of nowhere!!! I dont have a cottage but my parents have a cape house that they basically live in in the summer time. I lvoe going there! its my home away from home, literally!

    parsely and lentil salad with the falafels looks fabulous!

  12. The cottage looks like so much fun. And so relaxing and…fresh. I’m going to a cabin with friends this weekend. I hope it has the same feel. Just minus the beach and add some mountains. ;)

    I’m glad to hear that book isn’t all that great. I don’t like books that don’t back up their claims if the claims are things like “you will die a long, slow, painful death for eating like you do”. Haha.

  13. Wow, that’s a beautiful cottage. I’m a city girl at heart, though. I LOVE that wine sign – too funny! And good for you for standing behind your food choices!

  14. I didn’t make it past the first few chapters of “Skinny Bitch”! I was very offended and whole heartedly did not AGREE with many of the things the authors had to say.

  15. What a great place! I love what you said about bringing your kids there someday. What a great future!

    Thanks for the Skinny Bitch review. I almost bought that but won’t now. I will never be vegan…not on purpose anyway.

  16. What a fun cottage weekend!!

    I don’t have a cottage, but I would love one someday! In the middle of nowhere, on the water, near a lot of hiking trails for outdoor exercise!


  17. “I found myself wanting to know exactly why these things are bad for me, instead of just being told I’m a fat moron because I eat them.” Understand your point entirely about Skinny Bitch being abrasive and not convincing, though I do know a few folks who found it compelling enough to change their eating habits. If you’re truly interested in reading an argument for why meat is harmful for your health, as you claim, then you should read “The China Study.” Unlike Skinny Bitch, there’s not an emphasis on the ethics of eating animals and it focuses on the nutrition behind eating animal products vs. eating plant products. It’s easy to dismiss Skinny Bitch as being preachy nonsense, as you’ve done in this post, but I’d challenge you to read The China Study and offer an honest reaction to it.

  18. It is one of my favourite things to go to cottages/cabins! My family doesn’t have one but a lot of Minnesota folk have them and gah – it’s the best thing to do in the summer!
    Also: yes, yes, yes, meat pie!! You’ve got me hankering for one now! That looks divine. Bravo Mama Balance.

  19. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    I love Nova Scotia! Your cottage looks so gorgeous!

  20. I love the cottage pics! Wish my family had a cottage!

  21. three things:

    (1) your grandpa is the cutest ever.

    (2) perhaps our next trip (after banff obvs) should be to your cottage to hang out. it looks GORGEOUS.

    (3) i want to eat one of everything on this post.

    happy day lady :)

  22. Awesome workout! It kind of reminds me of some in the book, New Rules of Lifting for Women.
    That place is absolutely GORGEOUS! I can totally see why you disconnected out there.
    I WISH I had a cottage. That’d be such a cool place to just go and retreat to every now and then.
    Have a good week, hun~

  23. I’ve done that workout before when it was in a copy of the Women’s Health (from last year I think?) Great workout!

    That cottage is so cute!

  24. I didn’t grow up with a cottage but I married into a cottage family and I love it! We’re actually on the same shore as you, but further east, I would guess. Can’t wait to get over there!

  25. I LOVE THIS POST!!!! What a gorgeous place- I especially like the marks on the wall from you guys getting taller. My mom’s family had a log cabin which I went to a few times when I was growing up- they sold it when I was about 7 and the last trip out there was a huge family reunion. Fun times :)

    Yay for savoury pies!

  26. My parent’s have friends with a beautiful cottage in the same area. It’s absolutely gorgeous! Your place looks so relaxing. :) Glad you enjoyed the holiday weekend.

    Our family cottage is in the middle of nowhere as well. But it’s nice to having nothing around you but nature. We go to get away from everything.

    PS. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog earlier today.

  27. Looks like a fab workout, I wish i had a cottage! x x

  28. OMG!
    That salad with leftover falafel looked INSANELY good!
    Lovely pics, Susan.
    Have a wonderful night!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

  29. What lovely pictures! That place looks so peaceful.

    My parents have a beach home in North Carolina. It’s so relaxing! :)

  30. what a great story!!!! your photos are beautiful, and the food looks incredible..
    I am so glad I found your blog…..I will be coming back!

  31. That cottage looks like heaven on earth! Jealous :D

    And I will have a slice of meat pie please, or 2….

  32. Great weekend and fab eats! I see you get your great cooking from your mom :) My family has a house in northern Michigan. It’s so relaxing, no worries, and always great times with the fam!

  33. Ahh, the cottage is ADORABLE! Impossible not to relax in a setting like that, especially with family and food abounds :)

  34. Lake Simcoe in Ontario is splendid cottage country, and not as “civilized” as Niagara region.

  35. Got here through your tweet today..
    I really hope you’ve seen this before, but if not its friggin hilarious.

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