Saturday, 30 April 2011

Flabio

My boys have been doing core training at school.  They are pleased as their hope is to get "six pack"  abs.

"Come on mom, try it" 

 While I am sure I can't make a six pack out of my one sack, I try.

 They laugh - I get the giggles - end of exercise. 

For my exercise routine  I will clench my buttocks and suck in my belly as I stand in the kitchen and prepare meals.  I will get my cardio by running up and down the stairs with the laundry.  I will get my "reps" by pushing around the vacuum cleaner. Yoga stretches will include reaching up to get the cobwebs off the chandelier and tops of the drapes.  Deep bends will include washing the baseboards and picking up stuff that has ended up on the floor. 

 And weightlifting will include hauling my sorry self up off the couch.


I think I will have this for lunch:


 Spiced Pita Pizza
2 large Pita Breads
2 good tsp Marsala Curry Paste  thats not "good" as in tasty (although that is essential) but "good" as in "generous"
1 good tsp Tomato Paste "good" - see above
1 Red  Potato, thinly sliced
1/2 Sweet Potato,  thinly sliced
1 Red Hot Chili, finely diced
2-3 cups Baby Spinach
2 tbsp shredded Coconut
2 tbsp Raisins
Shake or three of Paprika
1-2 tbs Oil - grapeseed or olive

Heat the oven to 390°F
Combine the Marsala curry paste with the tomato paste and spread evenly over the two pitas.  Top with  spinach, one layer of potato and sweet potato slices, sprinkle diced chili, coconut and raisins. Shake on the paprika and drizzle everything with oil.  Put the pizzas in the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes.  Watch the pizzas carefully and remove once the pitas are nice and crispy and the potatoes are cooked.
Cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve with yogurt and chutney.





Here are some more Red Hot Chili Peppers to listen to while you make the pizzas!





Friday, 29 April 2011

I will wear Red

My youngest son mentioned that he might like to join the military when he is older and it got me to thinking that he has no idea what happens to people when they are shot, bombed, burnt, and injured beyond hope even in "peacekeeping" missions..   

I don't want his targets, should there be any, to be faceless individuals. 

 I want him to know that while opinions on right and wrong vary, the fact doesn't change that this person you are fighting against is someone's son, daughter, father or mother, and is loved.



This is an excerpt from an email I received, it did not say who the author is and I am sure the sentiments cover not only Canada but the rest of the World. I think it originated in the US but I can't say that for sure.



Here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do,
so we can live the way we do.


RED FRIDAYS


Very soon, you will see a  great many people wearing Red every Friday.
The reason?  Canadians who support our troops used to be called the "silent
majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God,
country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized,
boisterous or overbearing.


Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize
that the vast majority of Canada supports our troops. Our idea of
showing solidarity and support for our  troops with dignity and respect
starts this Friday -- and  continues each and every Friday until the
troops all come home, sending a deafening message that ... every
Canadian who  supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.
It could be just a small red ribbon.  


With class and dignity, by example, wear something red every Friday.


Canada's Highway of Heros
If you haven't seen these videos, you should have a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckfXr1EHO9U


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1R8qLAmkLU&feature=related


Wouldn't it be nice if this wasn't necessary...........

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Eat, Drink and Wear a Big Hat




Tonight is ladies night.  We get together on the last Thursday of each month to eat and whine.  I think tonight I will be dominating  the whining conversation.

I have had a week like never before and all work related.

Orders weren't shipped, orders were shipped wrong,  suppliers were rude, customers were worse. My left eye twitches when the phone rings. Boss is away.

Tonight we ladies will wear tiaras and big floppy netted hats and toast to the upcoming royal nuptials.  (Important to most of us in the Commonwealth.)  We will also have several trays and plates of snacks - some Royal and some very pedestrian. I will complain that Kate doesn't have to tell 86 band students going to New Orleans that the shirts they ordered are an unfulfilled detail in their otherwise exciting trip.   That it doesn't matter that they won't look the same on stage.  They won't be convinced.   I will complain  that an order I did get ready on time was not picked up and that "maybe they will get it next week".  I will complain that my supplier blew me off to fill a larger and more important order.  All the time I will be wearing a big black floppy netted hat that in a previous life was a tutu.

My friends will be openly wishing I would go home.



So, an early Best Wishes and Good Luck! Kate and Will.  

Don't call on me to deliver the souvenir shirts for your event.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I Hate it when he's Right

I wanted the blanket box moved from the TV room and upstairs to the foot of our bed. 

 "Easier to get my stuff in and out", I said. 

"You'll be sorry, you get up when its dark and you'll walk into it", He said


Five nights and five bruises later, I'm thinking that I should stick 3M reflective tape on its corners.




I found a dessert recipe that looked really good and thought I would make it for "ladies night".  The recipe called for Limoncello.  I had never heard of Limoncello, looked it up, thought it would be deliciously-sweet and lemony-tart so bought a big bottle for my recipe that would use 1/4 cup.

  "That's way too much Limoncello." He said,  "What will you do with the rest?"

"Don't you worry" I said "I'll use it in drinks and cooking and it'll be fine.  It'll be gone before you know it."

This is what I have left after four years.







"What will you do with a fig tree?" He said, "You don't like figs"

"I might".  I said. "They might taste better from the tree than they do from the store."

"What will you do with the tree when it's too big to bring in the house for the winter?"  He said



I don't think that's a worry yet, here is my fig tree - and yes, that's the actual height of 5".


It might be a while before he gets to say "See, I told you you wouldn't like figs"










LIMONCELLO DESSERT
In  bowl of electric mixer, beat:
8 oz. Cream Cheese (one brick)
When creamy beat in:
1 can Condensed Milk (300 ml)( 1 1/4 cup)
When blended add:
1/2 cup Sugar
 3 tbsp Lemon Juice - fresh
1/4 cup Limoncello
and mix well.
Whip:
 3/4 cup whipping cream
And fold into lemon mixture.
Chill in fridge till set.

Spoon into individual bowls and top with fresh fruit of your choice - strawberries, raspberries, peaches, kiwi - a drizzle of limoncello and a sprinkling of powdered sugar and lemon zest. 

Serve with a

PECAN SANDY:

1 cup Butter
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 tsp Water
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cup Flour
1 cup chopped Pecans
Cream butter and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well.  Chill dough for 3 hours or so, roll into balls and put on a cookie sheet – I usually flatten these a bit as they are easier to eat.  Bake at 325 for 20 min or so till lightly browned. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Funny Odd or Funny Ha Ha



It was not a happy day for me when Gary Larson stopped drawing the Far Side cartoons.

These are a few of my favorites.



















And then I found this:


http://unhappyhipsters.com/

I found it mentioned on a blog site and unfortunatley I don't remember whose - but thank you





As he struggled to read against the glare, the cat sprawled on the cool bricks, reveling once again in the superiority of feline over human.



And inevitably he did regret giving the young bamboo mobility, as the day came when they just upped and scootered away.







Not willing to risk the humiliation of attempting entry through what may or may not be closed plate glass, Henry missed the family portrait. Again.




I still miss Gary Larson of the Far Side but am quickly replacing him with these Unhappy Hipsters. The captions on their photos make me laugh and the photos are (mostly) of beautiful places and things.

There are lots of designs that I like but would never try to duplicate as I am "gum boots" to their " leather boots" .




Monday, 25 April 2011

Read Them - then Weep

Am I the only one with a magazine obsession?  Not just to buy and read, but to never, ever, dispose of them.  I have magazines dating back to 1972.  I am like the "crazy cat lady" - people keep dropping their magazines off at my door for me to deal with.

Am I keeping them for the home decorating?


How about fashion?


Recipes?
(what the heck is Rappie Pie)




The other day I was "cleaning" and "organizing" which equates to moving three magazines and then reading them (well, flipping through really) and I was struck by an idea.  Don't put them in the recycle bin but  recycle them myself.  I have seen that people make beads from magazine pages.  The page is cut into long triangular strips and then rolled into beads.



 I thought, I like to make things so surely this would be a good thing for me to do.


So here are the beads I made in one evening.  This amount used up two pages of a magazine. And at the lightening speed at which I produce these things I should have enough beads to make a bracelet in about three weeks and be finished rolling all the magazines into beads by the year 2211.

If I make beads out of all these magazines, stacks and stacks of them......


......then I think the resulting beads will use up more space than the magazines themselves.

I may need help.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

My Day was Pure Joy

Today was a good day.  I didn't start anything on fire. I didn't eat soap (which is a story for another day).  And, no one in my family was doing anything even slightly dangerous that I had to worry about. 
Friends and family came over for visits and dinner.  I was able to do some gardening and hang some fence hangers that I finished firing yesterday.

 I took pictures with my phone - the taking of the pictures was fine but the downloading of the pictures had  me confused.  Those tiny little cards have to come out of the phone and fit into those tiny little things sticking out of the sides of the memory stick and  I can't tell if they are right side up or  backwards -  even with my glasses!
  I think it might be pay back time for making fun of my grandma when she first got a phone in her house.
But my son patiently walked me through the process and  think the next time I have to call for help it will take him half the time.

Here are some of the pictures.
This wall hanger has the hyacinth and daffodils in it that were covered in snow last Monday - I think they survived quite well..






This fence post hanger has forsythia in it - I'm getting a bit tired of forsythia.


These little blue flowers grow in our lawn, I have no idea what they are but when they came into the house they had ants...



And now that jobs are done, dinner is eaten, dishes are washed and farewells have been said I am off to my pottery room - Yahoo!


All I need to know,
I learned from the Easter Bunny!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
There's no such thing as too much chocolate.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
Some body parts should be floppy.
Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.
The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.
May the joy of the season fill your heart.
And may God bless you.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Don't call 9-1-1


This morning I set my housecoat on fire..... while I was still in it. 
Smoke and Flames. 
It came to my attention first by the warmth followed closely by the pungent smell of the smoke.
 Luckily there was a wet cloth on the counter by the stove and I was able to extinguish the flames!  I took this unfortunate incident as an opportunity to warn the boys about the dangers of cooking with a gas stove - not as an opportunity to make fun of me.

 Right.   

Ready for the "home" they said, which reminds me of a story.......

About 5 years ago we went to Vancouver to visit my husband's grandma who, in her 90's,  was in a senior care home.  As "homes" go it was a pretty nice place.  Birds, a bunny, a cat, craft room for those who were able, music room, gardens, and nice staff - but still there was that smell, feel and look of "institution".
 We had a nice visit. 

On the way to the car at the end of the day, I stopped and said, 
"Everybody listen up - I have something to say" 

Me: "I don't want to be in a place like that when I'm old so  don't call 911"
Them:  "What do you mean?"

Me:  "If something happens, heart attack, illness, you know, don't call 911 for an ambulance to take me to the hospital"

Them:   "Like, never call 9-1-1-?  Ever?  You mean you don't want help?"

Me:  "No, I mean when I'm old"

Them:  "Well how will we  know?  You're already old!"

Me:  "Just get in the car!"

Friday, 22 April 2011

Fight for a Flight of Stairs

We need a new staircase.  Ours is carpeted - nasty and worn carpet. I hate vacuuming and Archie is a shedder so it needs to be vacuumed every day.   It needs doing every day, it doesn't get done every day.   I would like to have wood but I am met with much resistance - too loud, too cold, too slippery.

 I am submitting pictures to my family for them to choose something , my husband is such a traditionalist, here are a few I know he will veto.


 I know the boys would like this one.
how to build spiral staircase


I wouldn't feel right about cutting old-growth trees so that I could have this one but it sure is impressive.  Kind of large, though, for our little house.



No more cocktails for me if we install this.  Can't have that!





I'd never make it to the top with this one - take a step - stop and read, take another step stop and read.




We could recycle the boys skateboards.




We could get rid of our dressers if we went with this one, but I NEVER close drawers or cupboards so chances are good that I would end up in the sock drawer .

Unique Spiral Staircase Monumental Design



I think this is the one we will go with. Pretty plain  just like us!




 I wonder if, like the hedge, it will take three years to get done.

This is not a picture of my husband trimming the hedge - but it's similar.



Thursday, 21 April 2011

Bribery - Not just for Crooks and Thugs


I decided that I will cook a Greek inspired dinner this weekend.  It will include a vat or two of Red Wine, Pitas and Hummus, a Leg of Lamb, Oven Roasted Potatoes,  Tomato Asparagus and Feta Salad and Baklava for dessert.  I decided to serve Bacon Baklava because it is delicious. 
I am using this meal as  bribery and incentive.  The cedar hedge at the front of our property needs trimming.  It has grown out of control and is now over 14 feet tall and spans a length of 120 feet.  I'm sending my husband to the top to do the trimming - I will stand below and offer up encouraging words and much needed advice.  I know he will appreciate this. 

Here's the recipe should any of you need to get a long neglected task completed.

 
Bacon Baklava  - So Good! – Crisp but Chewy, Sweet but Salty
1 1/2 lbs.  Bacon, cut into 1 inch pces  (no need to measure 1” – like a grenade it can be “close”)
1 cup  Almonds chopped
3/4 cup  Dates chopped
1  pkg Phyllo Dough (about 20 sheets – again no need to count)
10 tbsp Butter, melted - this is for brushing the Phyllo
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup pure Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Water
2 tbsp Bourbon ( or Grand Marnier)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 Orange ( about 2 tsp)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F
Fry the bacon until crisp.  Drain well.  Put the bacon, dates and almonds in a food processor and chop fairly finely.
Place a sheet of phyllo into a 9 x 13 pan; brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more phyllo sheets and butter. Spread 1 cup of the filling evenly over the phyllo. Repeat this layering of 5 phyllo sheets and bacon filling two more times. Top with 5 buttered phyllo sheets, brush butter over the top.
Cut the baklava diagonally create diamonds (shapes not gems). Bake for 30 – 35 min. or until golden brown
While the baklava is cooking combine the sugar, maple syrup, water, bourbon (or Grand Marnier) and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava.   Cool completely and refrigerate overnight. 
I’ve frozen this baklava and it is still crisp and delicious but must be thawed at room temperature because thawing in the microwave is disastrous!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Rose by any Other Name



I made a pan of chocolate chip cookie bars and when taking them out of the oven my wrist turned into a cooked noodle and the pan of cookie bars went crashing to the floor.  Warm gooey cookie bars on the floor, on the cupboard doors and a bit on my slippers.
Oh NO! I said, which is good because I have impressionable teenagers in my house.  They are still sorting through 'not allowed', 'cool', 'acceptable' and 'correct' so I have been oh so careful with my language.  Still every once in a while one will fly out of my mouth. It's usually the S word.  "Mom! language!" is usually what I get. 

These are some of the words that my boys use;

Dang It
What the Hal, Betty

My grandmother used these:
What in the Sam Hill
or
Gol Darn It
or
 Dagnabit

I used to work for a man whose words were:
That's Fucucked


My friend says:
Cheese, Louise
Sunnava Peach



My son, when in grade one, came home and wanted to know what the F word was. I told him it was a bad word and he shouldn't say it.

Him:  "I don't say it - I just think it"
Me: "Oh no, don't think it or one day you will accidently say it!"  

Him:  "What is it?"

 I told him. 

Him: "I know the word mom, what does it mean!"

Me:  "It means go ask your dad."



These aren't my cookie bars.  My cookie bars are in the garbage.  This picture came from:
http://www.passion4eating.com/2010/02/chocolate-coconut-cookie-bars/

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Recipe

2 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Softened Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cup Flour
Mix all ingredients together and bake in a 11" x 15"  sheet pan for 25 minutes at 315 deg F.  (Thats not a typo it really is 315 deg F)  Remove from oven. Cool and cut into squares.


I'm going into the kitchen now to make another batch.  Wish me luck.


I wonder, if you say a swear word in another language is it still rude?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

You don't look like Gwyneth Paltrow, Mom!


I need a new hair style. 

My Photo


 I have had this one since Grade 10.  That was a really, really long time ago.  I have thumbed through magazines and books and found several that I like only to hear  "that won't look good on you" or "that doesn't look anything like you"  or "are you sure you want to curl your hair every day",  "really, you want that color"

What I've come to realize is that I usually like the face more than the hair style.  So I have superimposed my face over the faces of "hairstyles" I like - just to see what I might look like if I had that hair.

See how they turned out.




Not horrible, but I can see those bangs hanging in my eyes.

or this:


nope not this one - no need to worry Gwynnie.

still more!


gypsy!




Yikes!  Hair by weed whacker.




I have no words for this one.



I'm not ready for grey.




Okay, truth be told, I don't like this hairstyle but curiosity got the best of me.



Maybe I'll just wear a hat...

Monday, 18 April 2011

What was she Thinking?

I love making things.  Some things because I love the process and the end result and some things out of necessity and some things just to see if I can.  

I've made quilts, soap, baskets, purses, fountains, ponds, bird houses, cakes and bread, lamps, dresses and cheese.   Some things are useful and some are useless.  All are important.  
 My first choice is always to go into my pottery room.  I don't sell my pottery so I end up with boxes of it and I only know so many people to give it to.  (thank goodness for garage sales).  Paintings and sketches tuck away neatly under the bed - pulled out very rarely. Baking is fun - it can be a bit fattening - but I sew so I can make myself some new larger clothes.  Gardening is well, useful, although look here:



This is what we woke up to this morning - there won't be any gardening for a while.



 I've been making things like this:
ceramic bead bracelets



Tonight I made seven of these


greenware bowls
A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning out some boxes that my sister had sent me a long time ago - sorting, saving, tossing and I came upon this.  It seems my mom liked to create things as well and this is what she made.


crocheted towel and soap holder
  The turtle soap goes into the basket that was crocheted directly onto the towel.  Hmmmm.

I wonder if my kids will look at the things I made and ask "what was she thinking?"

My plan is to ignore my strict internal editor and work for the pure pleasure of creating.  Let them think what they like.


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Berried

Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.~Garrison Keillor

My friend's dad died the other day and, while he was well into his 70's, it is sad to lose your dad.  We were talking about him while at the dinner table recounting stories that made us smile or laugh and I was reminded of  a time when Sean was four and in daycare.


His daycare provider, Donna (the most wonderful woman I have EVER met), had taken the kids to O'Keefe Ranch.  The ranch is a reconstructed village of old buildings, main "big house", a store, church, blacksmith shop, pottery shop, wagons, horses, steam engines and lots of things to do and see.  They made their way through the village and up to the church and then out through the cemetery.  Tierney O'Keefe, a descendant of the original family,  had died two weeks previous and the mound of dirt at his gravesite was very large.  The kids saw the pile of dirt as an opportunity to play but Donna asked them to respect it as Tierny O'Keefe was buried there.  No problem for the kids there was so much more to see and do. 

That night after I read Sean a bed time story, I asked about his day . He told me that he saw the pile of dirt where Mr. O'Keefe had been buried.  He seemed really excited about it so I took it as an opportunity to talk further about death and burials and all of a sudden noticed the look on his face changing.  I then realized he had confused "buried" with "berried",  hadn't really known that a body was in the ground,  and was thinking more about fruit than death.  I asked if he was ok and he said yes that he was.



 I few seconds later he said "mom, when I die will you come into my pile with me?"



this picture is from http://things-we-heart.blogspot.com/




I love this song  "Forever" by Vertical Horizon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRw5XWp-saQ&feature=related