Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday Apr 26.12

Do you keep a list of things you're looking for at the thrift shops?  I always have a running list of thrifting needs and wants; and long on that list has been a pretty set of double bed sheets.  But I can now cross that one off the list.  

I found sheets at my favorite local thrifting shop, The Daisy.  The complete set was $5 (brand new, never opened people!), and although my room is done in blue, they'll be perfect for the girl's bed.  The pretty daisy sheet is a single flat sheet (I already have a white fitted); and when I moved away from home in 1975, I took a set of sheets exactly like this with me.  (Funny thing though -- my current body covers more of the pattern than it did in '75!) 

And then, because a gal never has enough purses, I bought myself this Liz Claiborne paisley-patterned organizer purse ($4 at Frenchies).  Even my herbal tea bags have a spot next to my bottle-return money (which goes into my "City Shopping" jar.)  It's got a good long strap so I can wear it cross my shoulders. 

There were many other fabulous finds on my Frenchies excursion that I'll share after they're washed etc.  It was a good haul!  

But no fear of my bringing home more than I'm getting rid of.  My daughter is moving out this weekend; and with any luck, she'll take half of the basement with her.  (As long as it doesn't come from my refrigerator or my wine cupboard!)

Happy Thrifting!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thrifting Makes You a Better Person!

You all know how much I love thrifting.  There are many excellent reasons to thrift shop.

  • Being green.  I can't save the humpback, but I can help recycle  by reusing someone's gently used castoffs.  

  • Health.  Used clothing is healthier for you and for the environment because it doesn't emit those nasty factory chemicals.

  • Decluttering.  I almost always drop off a bag of my own discards before I attempt to refill it.  And I never come home with more than I've left there.  This year I have adopted the rule that nothing new enters the house without something going out.  (For 2012 -- Latest count:  173 items out; perhaps 40 items in.) 

  • Supporting worthy causes.  We don't have a Goodwill in NS; but we do have The Daisy, which fund-raises for our local hospital and The Sally Ann (Salvation Army) which helps needy families or sends kids to camp etc.  As for shopping at the Frenchies and Value Village -- well, at least they create employment locally.

  • Being frugal.  Where else can you buy a pair of dress pants or a tailored shirt for $4 each.  Where else can you indulge your desire to redecorate your bedroom with new curtains, spread and sheets and spend only a pittance of what it could have cost.

  • Live the rich life.  I have designer names in my closet!  It's so rewarding telling someone who's admired my beautiful Clark shoes that they cost me $15 as opposed to $100.  My children were able to enjoy dressing in Gap and American Eagle.  And that gorgeous velvet, satin-lined black cape that I wear for special occasions would never be in my closet if it wasn't $8.  
  • Being unique.  You'll seldom see your clothing on the street.  And you can put together one-of-a-kind outfits or have unique "chatkas" in your home that others can't duplicate.

  • Being creative.  You know that great idea you saw in a magazine or on another blog?  Well, here are the means for achieving it at your local thrift store.  Recovering a lampshade, repurposing an old metal bucket, creating a new way to hang your jewellery?  Ideas abound when I stroll through the aisles of the thrift stores.

  • Well dressed babies.  No one needs to spend a bundle outfitting your home for baby's arrival.  Kiddies never outgrow their clothing, so they're not only cheap but in excellent shape.
  • Reconnecting with the Past.  My 25 yr old daughter loves to shop retro.  And it's always a hoot to come across something from my childhood days.  Then there's that great Al Stewart LP that I threw out (sighhh) -- or my 38 yr old daughter's Fisher Price castle that I never should have let go.

  •  Cheap stress release.  Had a bad day (week, month, year)?  As much as we know we should never shop just because we're stressed, it's hard to feel guilty when you've only spent $10 -- much cheaper than a bottle of booze or a therapist!

  • Adventure and fun!  Ahhhh!  The thrill of the hunt as I search for a great navy blue skirt.  And the fun I have when I shop with my girls and top it off with a meal together and a coffee at Starbucks. 

Yup, there's no doubt about it:  thrifting is good for the earth, the body and the soul!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Middle Eastern Treats!

I bought myself a new camera, so let the blogging action resume!

This weekend was one of food and fun.  Diana and I attended a fund raiser at the local Waldorf school -- a Middle Eastern night.  

We had wonderful food:  humus and tzatziki, dolmas and samosas, tabouli, almond cake, turkish delight, home-made halvah and delicious little ricotta filled cakes dipped in maple syrup.  

After the food, a local belly-dance group performed for us.  It was wonderful to see all ages and shapes 'n' sizes in the group; they were a good group (the young girl in aqua was soooo very good!), and it was a really inexpensive ($15) and fun evening!

I took a few belly-dancing classes years ago, and I'd like to attend the Wednesday night class at the YMCA because it's such good  exercise.  (Plus there's the extra added bonus of feeling all skinny and sexy afterwards --- things I don't usually feel these days!)  But alas, my Wednesdays are already taken.  

Still dancing in any form is good exercise.  So, after the Waldorf, Diana and I headed down the shore to meet friends for an evening of dancing at the LaHave Fire Hall.  "The Usual Suspects" were playing, and they're a fantastic local cover band.  I danced for almost every number, and didn't get home until the wee hours.  

It was wonderful!!!!

And I'm sure that after one more foot soaking and a couple more good night's rest, I'll be fully recovered!  

We're in for a week of rain here on the South Shore; so I'm looking forward to the green that will follow.  What did you do last weekend?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ailing Camera!

My bottom-of-the-line, 5 year old Canon digital has been acting out lately; she overexposes all my pictures and I cannot make her behave!  So, I must bite the bullet and buy another one.  Isn't it something how much we hate to do without our lovely digitals?  Technology gets under your skin and into your blood stream doesn't it.

Anyway, until I can take my own photos again, I must use Mr Google's supply (which seems to be endless).  Here's a cute blog idea which I'm taking from Ricki Jill Treleaven at Art @ Home.  And she got the idea from Crazymama

1. What is your favorite go to breakfast recipe for special occasions or company?

Blueberry buttermilk whole grain pancakes topped with strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream and served with a side of crispy bacon.  

2. What is your policy for kids that don't want to eat what you are serving?

My kids always have a choice:  you can eat what's prepared or you can not eat what's prepared.  There are no other options in the refrigerator because this is not a restaurant.  Tough words maybe, but they learned to eat everything and they never went hungry.  Now as adults, they tell me that they're glad I did it that way.  

3. Do you take treats to neighbors? What kind?

Not since I moved to town; everyone works here and I don't know my neighbours.  But when we lived in the country, YES!  I would bring over fresh scones or jars of home-made jam and pickles. 

4. What is your most used spice in your cupboard? (Besides salt or pepper)

Ground chili peppers.

5. What is your favorite fruit ? Do you have a  Fave veggie? 

Fruit is easy:  fresh Ontario peaches in July, juicy and sweet.
Veggie is harder:  But I'll say red Swiss Chard because I can usually only get it in summer; steamed with lashings of butter and sprinkles of vinegar.  

6. It was tax day here in the US (Canada too). Did you get a return? How do you spend it? 

Yes, I got a nice little return.  I paid off my credit card (which means I now actually own my refrigerator and  TV!); and I'm treating myself this weekend to lunch on Friday and dinner & a dance on Sat with my friends.  

Well, a girl's got to have some fun with her hard-earned money.
Frivolity is good for one's health!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A realization of dreams!

My weekend was one of dreams coming true!
Well, actually just PART of my dreams came true.  But that's better than nothing, right?  

Instead of a week in a cabin by myself, I got 30 hours at home.  I quickly made a list of useful and productive things I could fill my day with ........ and disregarded it the moment I was alone.  It was heaven. 

We were up early Sat morning (to birdsong and sunshine); and after  I dropped the girls off, I found a wonderful porch sale.  (Details to follow later this week.)  I took a walk by the river and drank a yummy latte ..... which gave me just enough zip to spend a happy hour at Frenchies.  Lots of lovely thrifting bargains there. 

I brought out the garden and deck furniture.  And then I curled up on the couch and finished my murder mystery novel ("Grave Secrets" by Kathy Reichs -- It was a good read.)  followed by a delicious afternoon nap.  I'd eaten a sparse but healthy breakfast and lunch ..... so I indulged my fantasies and had beans on toast for dinner.

Then I reclined on the couch once again and watched an old DVD which I'd bought recently -- Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand.  I haven't seen this favorite of mine for many, many years; and I'd forgotten how good and how funny it is.    

Sunday brought another gorgeous sunny day and hot tea on the deck -- while I wore my fuzzy slippers, winter coat and gloves!  It is only April in Nova Scotia!  After church, my tired, dirty girls came home and yes, they were happy to see me.  I took another delicious afternoon nap on the couch, and followed it with a very long walk.

Why walk so long?  Well ya see, I'd decided to indulge another fantasy ..... I made chocolate chip, peanut, peanut butter, oatmeal cookies.  I didn't eat 3 dozen -- so far the number is up to 6, so I shall have to take many, many more long walks!
So, it's been a lovely 1 day vacation.  It's back to work and routine tomorrow.  But the rest of the evening will be spent lounging on my bed and watching "Titanic" on TV with Kate and Leonardo.  The tissues are close at hand!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Wanna.....

I wanna week away from it all.

I wanna week at a lakeside cabin in the woods

...where I'd wake every morning to bird song and the sound of the water rippling on the shore and most days would be warm and full of sunshine and sweet breezes...

... where I'd take leisurely walks on long beaches squishing the sand through my toes and collecting seashells and heart rocks for the garden ... or I'd stroll down sun dappled forest paths that would end at tiny waterfalls with crystal clear, refreshingly cold water ...

 ...... where I'd eat beans on cheese toast (sometimes with a fried egg on top) or homemade lentil soup that had simmered on the back of the woodstove while I walked ... and all 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies that I baked before I left home (and I wouldn't ever wonder if there'd be any left in the jar whenever I felt like eating one)...

... where I'd have limited cell phone reception and only get text 
messages from old friends that say "Meet us in town at the pub for dinner -- our treat!" ... and I'd go and eat Bangers 'n' mash with sauerkraut and drink too many glasses of bitter and weave my way down the short path from the road to my cabin after I'd been driven home...

... where on the one day when it rained, I'd sit and knit for a while ... or put together that pretty jigsaw puzzle of the seashells ... and toast grilled cheese sandwiches and drink sweet cider ... and CBC Radio 2 would be softly playing in the background as I listened to the drip, drip, drip of the rain off the edge of the veranda ...

... there'd be lots of opportunities for long bubble baths with large fluffy towels warmed by the fire and  glasses of chablis and even a place for my paperback ...

... and the quiet evenings would be cool ... so I'd put on bed socks and spend hours curled up reading trashy love stories or murder mysteries while the wood fire crackled as it burned down low...

... and when I returned home, the house would be clean! and there'd be milk in the fridge and a still warm loaf of fresh bread on the cooling rack and everyone would be happy to see me and there'd be hugs and kisses and "How was your vacation?" and "What did you do?"  and "Did you miss us?"

... "because we sure missed you!" 

(But no one would ask me to drive them anywhere or find their other sock or lend them 20 bucks!)

It's just a dream of mine!

Kicking the Stuffing out of Diabetes

In my ever aging state and looking at my family history (and my HUGE sweet tooth), diabetes is always a threat for me.  I feel it lurking round every corner, rubbing it's nasty little hands together and smirking malevolently.  

Well, as my old friend Maimonides said
"No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means"

May's Prevention magazine has a wonderful article on this subject.  Key to preventing or beating  diabetes are eating plenty of vegetables, watching your fats, practicing portion control and doing some form of fitness.

They spoke about what's called the "plate method":  your plate should contain one-half nonstarchy vegetables, one-quarter lean protein; and one-quarter slow-digesting carbs.  Vegetables are crucial:  eating just 1.35 servings of leafy greens a day can cut your risk by 14%; eating beans and soy reduces your risk by almost half.

And equally important is what you leave off your plate:  if you're eating a diet rich in trans-fats, saturated fats and simple carbs, you actually increase your odds of diabetes.
Drinking sugar sweetened beverages can actually increase your risk by 26%.

And eating bacon can bring your risk up to 50%.  

Oh, oh, ohoh, oh oh!

But to end on a high note (because I know you're all as upset by the bacon comment as I am!), they're not telling you to live the life of a Franciscan monk.  The experts all say you can occasionally splurge, but they do suggest you be smart and have your "treat" on a day when you know you'll be exercising.

Me?  I continue to enjoy moderate weekly weight losses; and I've been fairly/somewhat/mostly consistent in my healthy eating discipline.  Sadly, however, bacon is off the menu for a couple of months.  And chocolate covered bacon will probably have to wait until my birthday! 

Monday, April 9, 2012


TGFEM!  Thank God for Easter Monday!

Why don't I ever listen to myself when I say I'm not going to overdo it for a holiday meal.  As we say in Newfoundland, sometimes I'm as "stunned as me arse"!

It wasn't good enough that I got up at 6 am Easter Sunday to bake 3 dozen muffins for church.  (Which were absolutely delicious, by the way, especially when you coupled them with a boiled egg, a couple of Shirley's pancakes, some scrumptuous bacon, friends & family AND the presence of God !)

No; then I had to come home and cook a small turkey AND a ham (with pineapple mustard glaze).  There were 5 of us for dinner, and it was a great meal and a really enjoyable time together.  Dessert was a let down -- which is sad ..... but then not so sad when I figure that I'd have eaten more if it was good. I bought frozen pies -- blueberry and cherry -- but they were just kind-of sad tasting.  The wine was delicious (as always).
This is Natsumi's plate:  mine held more gluttonous portions
and had a glass of white vino next to it.
The early/busy day, turkey and wine made me very tired.  My bed felt so good last night.  And it was such a treat to have today off.  

I began with a lie-in 'till 8:15.  Yeah!  That's a lie-in!  The girls slept until noon; so, I spent the entire morning with my feet up reading my book.  What a divine way to spend one's time, huh!  And miraculously, as I read and sipped my tea, the time seemed to meander by and not zoom past.  Ahhhhh!
I made up for my lollygagging in the afternoon by preparing turkey soup, split pea and ham soup and a stew; I sliced and diced ham and turkey for this week's sandwiches, and I reheated turkey dinner for our evening meal.  (Isn't that when it's best?  The next day?)

More lollygagging was in order then.  Feet up for Coronation Street; catch-up on emails and blogging; and feet-up later with a new book.


PS - Note to self:  Adopt "simplicity" when it comes to your holiday menu planning!

PPS - Note to self:  From now on, bake your own pie!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter everyone!

The house is dark and quiet.  We had a snowfall last night, and although the streets are bare, all else has a light covering of clean, fresh snow -- it's quite beautiful!  The kettle is on for tea, and I'm headed downstairs to bake 3 dozen muffins for our Easter breakfast at church; the bowls are ready so I just need to mix and bake.

The house has been decorated; and although I'm not sure what happened to my camera (pictures are a little off), things look pretty.  

The girls had never painted eggs before yesterday; we had so much fun with Japanese and Korean characters, funny looking rabbits and farting cows (yes, you heard right; farting cows).  

I also put out a few bunnies and eggs.  

This is one of my favorite days of the year.  I hope your day is filled with family and the love of Christ which was so evident on this day.  Enjoy!


  Sorry! I thought I could return to a normal schedule. But my sense of 'normal' has changed. After the past 5 years of various ailm...