Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 Recipes: One for Life & one for Yum!

I've been thinking about my poor little baby girl (18) away at university for the first time. She's experiencing such hardships! Hardships such as:
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- finding she's not able to survive on Mr Noodle and having to cook food for herself

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- having to get up at 8 am so she can get to class by 8:30, thereby only having time to grab a pop tart and a coffee for breakfast
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- having to walk for 20 min uphill (both ways, I believe) to get to her psych class at the main campus and how she simply must buy a car next summer because her legs are so tired when she arrives and she's sweaty and her hair is mess.
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Oh my poor little darling!
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Let's consider all of this .....
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I mean, the nerve of the university to schedule classes at 8:30 AM instead of 11 PM when most of the students are awake!
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And - just a minute now ! As I put this 2nd load of laundry in the washer and run upstairs to eat my bran flakes before I take the girls to school and go to work from 9 to 5, I think I'm beginning to get a handle on how awful this is for her.
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And you know! I'm certain I'll still be "tut-tutting" tonight over the whole thing as I cook dinner for 4 of us before going to my night class.
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And when I get home later and sit down to budget the gasoline, car insurance and winter tires into my ever decreasing income, I know I'll still be thinking about what she's told me. And I'll probably still be aghast at her situation.

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Poor little deluded creature!
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"However, little Libby! Do not be discouraged because, as ever, Mommy has a couple of pieces of good advice for you, my darling. Print these off and hang them on the wall of your dorm room.
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Use often!"
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#1
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#2
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"Welcome to the real world, kid!
Now -- grow up, young grasshopper!"
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In the meantime, to show that this Mommy is more than just tough love, I'm doing up a care package to send off for Canadian Thanksgiving on Oct 11th. And I may just include a couple of these, found while strolling through old posts from a new favorite blog.
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Our Best Bites: Single Serving Pie in a Jar .

Don't they look sooooo cute and soooo yummy!




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn Decor

Ahhhh! The loveliness of an Autumn morning! A mid-September "new" Autumn morning ...
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before the Ole North Wind has had a chance to blow the trees naked ...
and transform the grass from green to brown ...
and turn to mush what remaining flowers and shrubs brave the dropping temperatures to display their dying beauty.
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After a couple of days of toil, I have a clean and somewhat organized house. Yup! Even the basement! (And please! No comments on "How long will it stay that way, Sandy!" Let me savor its beauty and its short-lived uniqueness.). And yesterday, I added to its beauty and tidiness and put out my Autumn decor. I purchased some wonderfully fragrant Vanilla/Pumpkin Spice candles; so every tea light and votive holder waves to you as you pass with subtle sweetness. Hmmmmm!
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This plus the crispness of the air, the sunshine and the changing leaves all contribute to my feeling of joy and contentment today.
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As we say in Newfoundland:
"It's a LARGE day!"





Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Treasures from my Mommy


It was a wonderful but somewhat sad experience to be home this August helping my Mom and Dad pack up a houseful of memories and then moving them into an apartment.
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It was embarassing coming across some of my old report cards. Owww! I was not a very studious girl during those high school years! (But I sure had a lot of fun.)
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It was funny to look back at old photographs, especially the one of me in Grade 2; my teeth were too big for my face that year and then my Mom was kind enough to give me a Toni permanent. Whoah! I'd a never found a husband if he'd seen that one!
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Then there were all the old 45's and the LP's. There were some of the first ones that I ever listened to (Peter, Paul & Mary and Anne Murray); there were my brothers Pink Floyd and my Deep Purple. Plus there were the rec room party memories conjured up by the Italian ones from Mom's & Dad's trip to Rome -- memories of my brother and I peeping over the top of the stairs and seeing beautiful ladies in their quilted hostess dresses drinking pink fizzy concoctions and dapper men wearing red & white pin-striped bell bottoms, holding ice-filled old-fashioned glasses and playing darts. How we laughed to watch them dance!
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Packing up the china cupboards was a fun experience though because I was gifted with several items, like this gorgeous tea set. It was the first thing my Mom ever bought for her mother when she started work (1946??).

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I also got 2 cocktail shakers. With this one, I can relive those wonderful parties from the late 60's. (I even know how to dance EXACTLY like Mom and Dad!).

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The 2nd one will get passed on to my oldest daughter because Heaven knows! I have plenty of my own "far-out" memories from the 1970's.

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And then there are these wonderful cookie cutters with handles. Some will get passed on to my middle daughter: and sweet memories of Xmas' Past shall become Xmas Future! .
But one of the oddest things I came across was this chocolate box of chocolates from Laura Secord that I gave my Mom one Xmas before I even met my future husband -- probably 1977. The individual chocolates inside got eaten; but Mom thought the box was much too pretty. (And it certainly is pretty.).

Lessons learned from this packing experience:



  • Never let your Mother cut/style your hair or you WILL be embarassed later in life.


  • Contrary to what you believed when you were a teenager, your parents really were hip and cool and that music does grow on you.


  • 33 yr old chocolate does NOT taste good, especially when it's been stored in the hope chest with the scented soaps and old perfume bottles!

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Now, remember to head on over to Bloggeritaville for other Thrifty Thursday treasures.


And you should also check out Vintage Thingies Thursday hosted by Colorado Lady.


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Monday, September 20, 2010

Italian Conversation with a Purse.

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In spite of a dreadful cold which came on quickly Wed night AND the 3 nights with little sleep; last night my cold began to dry up, and this morning I felt much better. Good thing, because I had to drive my middle baby to the airport. My international babies were still tucked in bed and had big plans for the day. So, here I was with the afternoon to myself, driving right past the city with Value Village right off the highway and early birthday money in my pocket from Mommy & Daddy. Like ... I mean! When's this gonna happen again? In another year? At this age, a woman can't wait that long!
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And it was at Value Village that I proved my latest theory (see yesterday's post).
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Shoes really DO make me feel better!
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Proof?
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These sweet red ones for $5

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These brand-spanking new pair of Denver Hayes boots for $24.95 (original price $129)
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And these gorgeous navy blue slingbacks for $6.99.

The navy blue purse behind the shoes did not come from Value Village but is something I've been searching for for about 3 years. When I set my heart on pursuing MY blue purse, I knew that it couldn't just be ANY blue purse. It had to "speak" to me. And up till today, no other blue purse had spoken -- a few whispered; some mumbled; & there were those that I simply couldn't understand! But this afternoon as I leisurely walked through The Shoe Company (my very first time, may I add), I met a very noisy, very persistant Italian one.
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"Buon giorno" (Good day), it called to me with a sophisticated, classical lilt whilst infusing the air around it with a heady aroma of leather. "Ciao bella!" (Hello beautiful) I said as I gently picked it up and tenderly held it in my arms.
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I tried it on my shoulder -- "Perfezione!" (Perfection)

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I touched it's silky surface and breathed it's scent - "Inebriare!" (Intoxicating)

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Suddenly, I was back in my Mom & Dad's rec room in 1972, and all I could hear was Dean Martin singing. "That's Amore!" and "Lei tutto è" ("You are Everything"). Then I looked at the price tag! More than I wanted to pay!
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I asked a lovely sales-lady if there were more navy blue purses "Around the $50 range". And not willing to part from the object of my affection, I decided to scour the store myself. I picked up 4 others,tried them on for size and carried them with me. But alas! All I could hear was "O Marenariello" ("I Have But One Heart").
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Heading back to the front of the store, I began to hear the beginning strains to "Arriverderci, Roma". But I found it very hard to put her back! You see, she was the last one on the shelf!

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So, I decided to give it one last try. I asked that same lovely sales-lady if this was the very best they could do and reminded her of my price limit. She said something about checking for coupons, disappeared for 5 minutes, and then returned with wonderful news! She handed me a $10 off coupon PLUS she told me that when I checked out at the cash, there was a one day only, "30% off the 1st item" Manager's Special coupon waiting for me!
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"Trionfale!" (Triumphant!) I got the purse for $60! And what an absolute darling of a sales-lady! Un angelo! Just when you think there aren't any of them left in the world, huh!

(Ask me what my new favorite store is, huh? Huh?)
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And as I left The Shoe Company, I swear that I could hear Deano singing "Besame, Besame Mucho" (Kiss Me, Kiss Me Lots).

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But I waited until we were in the car ... alone!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shoes

It's the weekend .....................







And I'm home .............


















And I've got a head cold so I don't feel like doing much.







But those shoes make me feel happy!
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They also make my feet hurt just looking at them!
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But I'd still wear them! 'Cause like I tell my kids:
"Beauty is painful".
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I'd even wear them now! While lying in bed! I'm never too ill for shoes! They'd probably even help me heal faster!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who took my Snoopy lunchbox?

Guess where I went Tuesday night?
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Back to school! Yup; I'm taking "Medical Terminology 1" in an effort to make myself more employable.
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You'd think that with working for 4 different companies that I was "employable" enough! But my main job with my #1 boss could become obsolete: my boss told me 8 yr ago that he planned on retiring early. And this summer, he mentioned it again and said that he "worried about me and my future". Ahhhh! What a super terrific boss, huh! So, he suggested that I take this course; the hospital is just a hop, skip and a jump down the road from my house, and it pays well and has a benefit package(things that I don't currently have).
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Mucho deniro later, I am walking into a classroom of 11 others and laying down an additional $85 for this TOME:
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This book is chock-a-block full of interesting and exciting chapters such as these:.
Our first chapter deals with the prefixes, roots and suffixes of words -- their origin and meanings -- from which we will eventually be able to easily identify their generic meaning!

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Like this one:
hemi/gloss/ectomy
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hemi (think N & S hemispheres being 2 halves of the earth) = half
gloss (think lip gloss & tongue licking lip gloss) = tongue
ectomy = removal
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Therefore, hemiglossectomy = Removal of half of the tongue
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(Note: This procedure in it's generic form was mentioned many times to me by my mother when I was young!)
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It's not an easy course: there'll be daily homework and weekly tests and monthly exams. But it will be so interesting. Soon, my increased vocabulary shall be able to dazzle lesser morals around me, correct (and irritate) greater beings, and just generally being a much larger pain in the behind! (Plus it'll give me better oomph when doing my Saturday NY Times crossword puzzle!)
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Well worth the money for all that, right?
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As well, if all else fails, at least I shall die knowing that at least one thing on my Bucket List can be crossed off ..........................
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This lonely 'widda woman' shall once again be in close proximity with this:
even if it's only in book form!!! Sigh!
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Now! Where'd I put that Barbie pencil case?
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear Autumn......

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DEAR AUTUMN ......
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I still remember last year when I waxed poetic about how I've grown to love you.
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And yes, I confess that I have already indulged in a most delicious beef vegetable soup with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream on the top AND warm 7-grain rolls. Yummmm!
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And yes; I also confess that eating that dark, rich piece of gingerbread with whipped cream reminded me of days past when you and I eagerly perused cookery books and earmarked recipes that would warm one's innards on cold, wet days.
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And yes, yes yes! I am soooo looking forward to your arrival and the beauty that you bring.
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But could I respectfully ask that you wait just a little longer until the official date?
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You see, there are still things I want to do with my good friend Summer. Things like:

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Another walk on the beach with bare toes and a short-sleeved shirt ...... and dare I say it? A swim!
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Ohhh! A swim! My few swims in the ocean this year were marvelous. I didn't even mind my hair sticking out at all angles after the drive home nor did I mind the sand in the bathtub. I was still full of the feeling of lightness and being carefree that floating in the ocean brings.

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And I really do need to sit outside and eat a few more times with my good friend Lucy. (We've a luncheon date tomorrow at The Wildwood Cafe but - egad! - It's supposed to rain! Can you do anything about that?)
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An Italian soda under the sunshine
Is so delicious; so divine!
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Will that poem help my cause any?
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So, dear Autumn; be assured of my love and commitment to you. We shall have such good times together. My head is just buzzing with wonderful, warm, crisp ideas!
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But not until September 23rd, okay?
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Sincerely,
Your fairly new friend,
Sandy
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PS - Would you consider it pushing my luck if I pulled those boxes of fall/winter clothing out from under the bed and tried them on?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home at Last! (The Final Installment)



Okay! Flash back with me one more time to Aug 21.10 as the MV Caribou approaches the rocky shores of Port aux Basques Newfoundland. There's nothing like knowing that in a few short minutes, your feet will be touching the sacred soil of HOME!

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We had a little less than a 3 hour drive before we could be with our loved ones. Driving in Newfoundland must be done with extreme care. All along the highways are signs like this one: .

If you hit a moose while driving, the chances are that you and your vehicle will not survive. They are huge, rock-solid creatures, so you have to be constantly scanning the horizon for them. We encountered one on the drive back to the ferry to NS; but we recognized him from a distance, slowed down, and were able to watch him for a few minutes before he ran across the road and into the woods. They are so majestic! (And delicious when cooked slowly with lots of onions and served with rice! Yum yum!)

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Finally! I've reached George's Lake and the cottage property that my folks have called home for the last 18 years. They'll both be 80 this fall; so I'm here to help them move out of their beloved cottage home and back into the city. Bittersweet!

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After the slow 2 km drive over the dirt road (where you must still scan for moose), I'm HOME!

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I saw lots of bunnies and toads on the drive in, but didn't encounter a moose until I was turning into the lefthand driveway. Then I noticed a young 2 yr old bull moose standing in the righthand drive; he ran across the drives, and by the time I reached the entrance, he was running up the left side of the house and back into the woods. Nature at your back door here!

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In between mornings spent packing boxes for my Mom and evenings spent playing SkipBo, eating potato chips and drinking my Dad's home-made Cranberry wine, I visited my immediate family in Corner Brook. Corner Brook is a small city of hills which all overlook the beautiful Bay of Islands and the mouth of the Humber River. Here's my own panoramic view of a small portion of the Bay and the fiord that leads to the ocean. You can drive either side in about 2 hours return, lovely meandering roads with magnificant coastal scenery! .
And if you continue north past Corner Brook, you come to Marble Mountain, the best sking this side of the Rockies, and on to Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But these are not the sights I took in on this trip. This was a mostly working vacation. And when you're working hard, you need to refuel often! Correct?

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So, there was this visit to Brewed on Bernard where I met eldest daughter, Cindy, and where we fortified ourselves with this:

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And after my overnight visit with Cindy, there was a quick stop here to stock up on NL "lassy buns" (molasses baking soda biscuits), raisin bread, cinnamon twists and date squares. A girl needs to keep up her strength!

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About a week later, Libby flew into Deer Lake, just outside Corner Brook. My Mom and I went to visit her youngest sister, Mable -- my favorite Aunt! I have many, many wonderful memories of weekends spent with my Grandma here. And look at that view from the house! Across the bay is the pretty little village of Meadows..
And then we all drove to Deer Lake for supper at the Big Stop -- home of delicious fish 'n' chips and fantastic coconut cream pie -- the latter being the reason that Aunt Mable and Mom are smiling so broadly - before we picked up Libby.
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The days after I picked up my baby girl were a whirl-wind! I continued to spend my mornings packing boxes; but my afternoons were now spent moving Libby into nursing residence and treking around every Dollar Store in town for "necessary" do-dads and thingie-gummies for her room. And although I cried like a baby to leave her there, I sure was a proud mama..
Judy and I left our loved ones and drove back to Nova Scotia on August 31st. There was much moaning, gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair as we left the island and drove back to our day-to-day reality. You know, 9-5 work, taxes, mortgage payments and responsibility!

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Waaaa! I want my Mommy!

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PS - I sure miss Newfoundland. There's no place like it.




Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gifts from Mexico



There's always an exchange of gifts when new students arrive. I usually give a few school supplies, a small notebook with home address and phone numbers (and for taking notes such as new English slang words or things that they want to remember), a new toothbrush and a soft fluffy stuffed toy; most of these girls have left pets behind at home, and they always appreciate something to cuddle at night.
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And they in turn bring me a little of their own home country. Sometimes they ask what you'd like (but unfortunately, cannot fit a "rich, handsome, hot-blooded latin man in their suitcase" -- DANG BURNIT!). Most times, they just surprise you.
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Mexico was not to be outdone by Germany this year!
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I love this beautiful and so colorful covered basket; haven't decided what to put in it.
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And then there are these two beautiful pieces of Mexican pottery..
The thing that I requested that could be fit in the suitcase was a "mole" (pronounced molay) mix. Mexican moles are sauces which are used in traditional cooking; they contain a variety of chili peppers and other ingredients and often include dark, bitter chocolate!

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Yup! The first time I read about that I wanted to try it. Chicken and chocolate? Why not! Sounds good to me.
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I've been told by my student that there's a mole upstairs for me; but I've yet to see the proof! (Not unlike God's word to me about that rich, handsome man!)
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I'll let you know when and if I receive either of the above items! AND although I'll share what I cook up with the one, I certainly will not for the other! Nosy people!!\
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And here's the other gift I received from Mexico and the bearer of all these wonderful gifts ... Carolina. Isn't she a stunner!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rednesday Sept 8.10


Wednesday! Hump day! Half way through the week (yay!!) and my first day back to exercise class in 3 weeks! (I'm focusing on how good I'll feel after class and not on how rusty I'll be!)
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(And how do I get through my exercise classes? I focus on the lunch I'll have afterwards! Sad huh?)
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And here in NS on this overcast, cool September day, I have a yummy Rednesday post. This is the gift I received from my little German student, Gini:
  • A book on Hamburg, her home city
  • A beautiful red mug (my current favorite) and
  • A huge box of chocolate covered Marzipan (a favorite that I share)

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Two more days until the weekend! Aren't short-weeks great!

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Have a wonderful day! And check out my blog friends this REDnesday with our lovely host, Sue, over at It's A Very Cherry World.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School ...

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There are juice packs and granola bars in my cupboards; the refrigerator contains sandwich meats and cheese; and the large platter on the shelf is full of apples and bananas. We're ready!
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School has officially begun on the South Shore. And even though my baby is thousands of miles away at Nursing Orientation today, I'm still sending kids off to school.
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My latest babies packed up their lunch bags and headed off for their first day of school in Canada! Carolina from Mexico is 18 and in Grade 12; Gini from Germany is 15 and in Grade 10. As I dropped them at the school door this morning, I felt the same trepidation that I did 13 years ago: Will they be scared? Did they pack enough for lunch? Will they make nice friends? Are they wearing the right brand of sneakers?
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Even though these two have many years of schooling under their tiny little belts, this is new, and mixed with the excitement is, I'm sure, a little fear. After all, this is not just a different school with different faces and subjects; this is a different language! A whole new experience! A brand new start!

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But this Mama knows they'll be fine. They're young and smart and confident; what great stories there'll be round the supper table.
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The beginning of school is like a new start for me as well. After Hurricane Earl this weekend, there's a definate change in the weather. The mornings and evenings are quite cool; and I do believe I can smell Autumn! So, I find myself making new lists and reminders to myself.
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Not like my summer lists to go to the beach or read a few summer romance novels.
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My Autumn lists remind me to clean out the shed in preparation for storing the garden paraphernalia and to spend a day in the month preparing meals for the freezer. They remind me to savor every last sun ray and warm breeze and to watch for the first red and gold leaf. They remind me to get back into my exercise routine at the YMCA, and to feed both my body and my mind with good, healthy food -- harvest time is coming soon!
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The lists also tell me that it will soon be time to pull the boxes out from under the bed and #1 check the Xmas gifts (that's always fun!) and #2 check the winter clothing (can be kinda fun??). After my weight loss since I joined TOPS, are any of them too big? And after my 2 weeks vacation in NL, are any of them too small?
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That that can remind me to
"STEP AWAY FROM THE ICE CREAM CONE"!
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Oh Dear!!
Do you have your own autumn lists?








Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bee-u-tea-ful B&B!

Vacation - Let me take you along on the second leg of our journey. We arrived Thursday evening at about 9 pm at beautiful Annfield House (shown here in the daytime). Ours is the 3rd floor with the cute arched window - "The School Room".
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"The School Room" is the largest room in the Inn and the only one with it's own bathroom. Two double beds and one single: here's my really comfy bed ...And here's Judy's equally comfy one .....
After a full day of touring The Trail ...and then carrying our suitcases up those 3 flights of stairs!, we were pretty pooped. So, we quickly changed into our jammies. But what's this in Judy's suitcase?.
Yes! Now we're really ready for our sleepover! You remember sleepovers, right girls? It's where we talk about school and our parents and makeup and kissing boys! Ooohhhh! Kissing boys!!
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Well, we covered all those topics that night. We talked about work (no homework & we're allowed to chew gum, but goofing off is not nearly as much fun!) And our parents (aging & health & moving into senior's homes). And which face cream fills in those wrinkles and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. And kissing boys!!! Ooohhh! Kissing boys!! (Well, we covered how neither of us had kissed a boy in ages! But both of us were s-u-r-e lookin' forward to that again someday!)
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(Note to self: Don't show prospective kisser those knees until after the kissing has successfully taken place!)

It was a fun night and a delightful bottle of wine!
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The next morning, we toured the Inn: the rooftop terrace directly across from our room, the stairs up to the fantastic Widow's Walk, an unoccupied 2nd floor bedroom and then down the red staircase to the 1st floor. There we found a lovely parlor, several dining rooms and the foyer with the baby grand and the elevator! ...The elevator which is out of service and now houses creams and lotions for sale..
Breakfast was really nice: fruit cup, fresh oj, whole grain toast & 3 different mini quiches and oodles of delicious dark-roast coffee. Umm um umm! A long walk through the garden and a brief conversation with the horse in the back yard were necessary before getting in the car again. (And I'm not saying, but ya know -- there may have even been a burp or a toot that took place while conversing with Ole Nelly out back! That was some yummy breakfast!)
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We arrived at the North Sydney ferry terminal in plenty of time for check-in. We even had time for a bit of a walk around North Sydney (where I can safely say that no burping or tooting took place)..
It's finally time to board the "MV Caribou", sailing from North Sydney NS to Port aux Basques NL! Here's we are driving up the ramp into the gaping maw of the ship! How excited we were!.
Once onboard, we found ourselves a booth and settled in for our 6 hour journey across the gulf.
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Homeward bound!