Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye May!

Oh my goodness; look at the date!  It's the end of May already.

I'd like to take this time to say "Thank you May."

Thank you for bringing my baby home from school (and totally messing up my downstairs room and clogging up my refrigerator and filling most of my evenings with extra kisses and hugs).

Thanks for the best Mother's Day ever with the best kids ever -- their love and thoughtfulness (and the awesome chocolates they gave me!).

Thank you for all the wonderful yard sales this month.  Thanks for the pulled pork sandwich and the several sausages-in-a-bun and the carrot cake.  (Oh yeah!  And a big thanks for that free rhubarb cheesecake square.  That was REAL good!)

I didn't appreciate that cold you gave me last week; but I am grateful that it's didn't hang on too long.  

Thank you for the fine-weather weekends you gave me:  I got all the gardening done, and I was even was able to finally move that Holly bush.  Phew!  That was a tough 'un!  And every time I worked in the garden, I took the time to sit and enjoy that sun you sent.  Thanks.

But May, your time has come and gone.  And now it's time to welcome a new month:

As much as I appreciated you, I'm ready for June.

'Cause ya know, the gardenings done ..... and there's probably some more good weather in the forecast ..... and I've a stack of good books and a lounge chair with a comfy cushion and some gin and tonic in the cupboard.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you May
But ............. goodbye May.  
Don't slam the door on your way out!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hummingbird Cake (aka King's Landing Crown Cake)

Several people commented that they didn't know what Hummingbird Cake was, so here's the recipe.  It an easy, simple cake to make and always a crowd pleaser.

Hummingbird Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana

Preheat oven to 350°. Mash bananas; add oil, eggs, and vanilla and stir well.  Add pineapple and chopped nuts and stir again.  Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together and blend into into mixing bowl several times. Pour into well greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake for roughly 40 minutes or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

This is a very moist cake by itself but it's also great with a simple vanilla/almond glaze like I did. You can also go the extra mile and bake it in a couple of layer cake pans (30 min) and frost middles, top and sides with cream cheese icing, then pat in a layer of chopped nuts half way up the sides. Very impressive!


Sundays, Sangria & Sunshine!

Sliders, pasta salad (w/ fig infused vinegar), potato and spinach salads and  Sangria:  there's just something about sunshine, decks and Sangria!

But what's this under the dome?

Why it's Hummingbird cake (renamed King's Landing Crown cake in honor of our Sunday evening ritual of watching Game of Thrones .......... and the awesome cake pan I bought last year).

And speaking of awesome, how about that round tablecloth I scored yesterday at Frenchies for $2.85!  

I could use another day's rest after all that relaxing!  

How was your weekend?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saling and Munching!

I spent last Saturday morning yard saling and meandering up and down the streets of Lunenburg.  I found a great chenille bedspread just like I wanted, near mint shape for only $2.  I also found a sad and sorry looking boudoir chair in need of a makeover and some love and attention ($5).  At 9:30 am, I ate a gorgeous worth-much-more-than-$2 piece of carrot cake with thick, delicious cream cheese icing. [Vegetable and dairy -- perfect for breakfast, right?]  

One particular yard sale stands out from the entire day.  It was put on by a local women's group; and by the time I got there at 11:30 am, I'm sure a lot had already sold.  But they still had some lovely vintage things remaining, and everything was displayed very prettily.  I bought this cute little purse ($3) and vintage pin cushion ($3) [just like my Grandma had hanging off her cupboard door].  

But the thing that set that yard sale apart from all the other great sales that day was that while you were shopping, someone went round with a tray of homemade rhubarb cheesecake squares.  Free dessert!  And my oh my!  They were scrumptuous.

"I'll have to try to find this recipe", I thought to myself.

How happy I was today to see that Mary at One Perfect Bite was featuring -- what else -- Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares.  If you've never tried them, please do.  They are soooo good!

Don't you just love it when your prayers are answered!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The loveliness of rain!

After a stellar weekend with temperatures in the mid and high 20's (celsius), I awoke this morning to a rain showers.  And aren't they lovely.

Yes, rain can be lovely, let me count the ways:

  1.  Isn't it lovely to fall asleep to the sound of gentle rain.

  2.  It fills up the little brook outside my door and makes it either roar or babble -- both lovely.
   3.  It's Nature's car wash, especially good when your car just needs a little rinse.  

  4.  It's perfect when your well or your cistern needs refilling.

  5.  Frogs, ducks and minnows love the rain; so do the birds in our bird baths.

  6.  It makes everything look clean, fresh and new -- the dirty streets, the dusty park benches, the plastic deck chairs.

  7. It 's so refreshing after the hot, sultry, summer heat that we all know will be here soon.

  8.  The garden loves it.  

I spent every day this weekend in my garden.  It was bliss followed by eptom salts baths and collapsing on the couch.  I had to move one entire bed out front (because I inadvertently planted it on my neighbors property [duplex] and they're selling this summer).  The hardest move was my 3 year old Holly bush; and as I was unable to solicit any help from big-strong males, I tackled it myself.  Ugh!  

Me am strong like bull!
(Me am foolish and full of bull!)

After a lot of starts and stops, grunts and groans, I did it, sprinkling that newly dug (but a little small) hole with bone meal and sheep compost, tucking in all the bits of root that didn't want to fit covering it with lovely black dirt, watering it twice daily, telling it how much I loved it and wanted it to be happy in it's new location -- and then praying over it (as well as the laying on of hands!).  So far, it still looks good.  But I'll keep praying and watering for a while yet!

My knees are creaky, my back is achey, my nails are permanently stained and my gardens are so happy.  Especially with this gentle rain.

It is lovely! 


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lollygagging in Liverpool...

I took myself on a solo daytrip to Liverpool (30 min drive) on this lovely sunny Friday afternoon.

First stop?  
Duh!  Frenchies!  (Gotta love those exotic Frenchies in far off locales.)  
Here I am in the dressing room modelling my $3.95
stretch-cotton Covington skirt and a sweet
little "picture doesn't do it justice" $2.95 summer t-shirt. 

I lunched at the newly opened "Memories Cafe" -- lime Italian soda - good; reuben pannini - good; so-called Black Forest Cake - sad sad sad!  A slice of moderately good chocolate cake topped with canned cherry pie filling and whipped topping!  Sandy wept!

I strolled the main street and visited an art show, gift shop, shoe shop and two Dollar Stores.  I exchanged pleasantries with the locals, petted doggies and slurped my Italian soda.     

As I'd doggy-bagged half my lunch, I walked up a bit of an appetite in my sight-seeing.  So, I visited the "Chippy Chippy Bang Bang" wagon for a plate of English style chips. 
Those did not disappoint.  Look at them!  Huge chunky golden home-made fries.  And after drowning them in cider vinegar, I sat by the river to eat and let the beautiful sun and the lovely light breeze refresh me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Little Joys!

It is sooooo good to be back in the land of the living.  I had 2 terribly sick days of sleeping and sweating (don't I sound attractive!  But I promise I've showered since then) and one moderately sick day where I only filled one empty tissue box with my nasal waste (instead of the 2 a day previously used).  

It's a joy to be out the other end of it all and to be able to appreciate doing little things  like:
- Grocery shopping ... and boy!  I got some really good deals today --- $1 off 2 L 1% milk; 50% off Oikos yogurt;  a Burt's Bees lip balm marked down to $1; and a little bag of honey peanuts ('cause a girl needed to revive her tired self after all that shopping and bargain excitement).

- Making some yummy corn and bacon chowder for supper.  (The girls were awfully glad not to have to eat Asian noodles again tonight!)

- And being able to do a little housework ... 'cause after you've been sneezing and honking your way 'round the house in your sweat-stained jammies and worn down scuffs (slippers), you need to get those germs out of your house ASAP!

PS - I don't think I was quite as excited to scour my toilet as this young miss is!  I guess even I have more of a life than some people.

And now on top of all this joy at almost being well again, I get to stroll my way through a half Friday tomorrow, contemplate a yard sale weekend AND have a stat holiday on Monday.  (Victoria Day in Canada.)

Ahhh!  Things are looking up, people!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Best Mother's Day

 I had a wonderful Mother's Day.  Sunday morning church was followed by free lunch (leftovers from our Saturday tea).  That meant that the moment I went home, I was able to go to the garden where I happily dug and toted rocks and bricks and created my newest garden space.  (Still more to do but I made good headway.)

After I showered, the kids (and a boyfriend/expert griller) made me a delicious dinner:  the spinach salad contained strawberries, mandarin orange slices, dried cranberries and a delicious poppy seed dressing; the potato salad contained diced apple, eggs and a dressing made with fig infused vinegar; the steak was bacon wrapped and perfectly grilled; the Sauvignon Blanc was new to me but a beautiful wine; the vanilla bean layer cake was delish!  

The best Mother's Day yet!

And here's a first cut of our Saturday photo session.
Aren't they gorgeous!

Unfortunately, by Sunday evening, my nose was beginning to get stuffy.  And Monday I awoke with a killer head cold.  I've spent the last 2 days in bed -- alternating between sleep and refills of orange juice.  Nurse Libby has been good to me and kept me plied with hot soup and extra boxes of tissues.

Back to work tomorrow I think; but I'll continue to take advantage of the extra pampering for a few days yet.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!


 To my Mom who gave birth to me and taught me to cook and clean, to love others,  respect my elders, be honest, have integrity, wear clean underwear and carry a dime in my bra.

And to the other wonderful ladies who have loved and mothered me.  
  • To Bessy (God rest her soul) who always laughed at me and with me, no matter what circumstance I got myself into!

  • To Mum Brown who allowed me to be me, warts and all, and loves me anyway
  • To my spiritual mother, Molly B, who has taught me so much about God's love and forgiveness and about loving myself
  • To Bernadette C who has been a wonderful surrogate grandmother to my girls and who accepts and encourages me 
  • And to all my friends who are mothers -- the ones I've met and those of you I haven't met

My dear friend Sandy B -- the "good" Sandy to my "bad" Sandy!

We had our annual Mother's Day tea at church yesterday:  a day of pampering and laughing and sharing.  Three of my beautiful daughters came as my guests as well as my good friend Sandy B.  It was wonderful to sit and be served, and the food was sooo good.
Caution:  None of these delicious foods are on my low-fat, low-sugar,
low-carb diet plan!  I was a most happy glutton!

We also had an opportunity to have semi-professional pictures taken (I always love to have portraits of my international daughters for my wall of fame); and we all went home with little pots of Johnny Jump-Ups.  

Three daughters + 1 Mom = 4 pots of flowers!  Lucky me!

My morning house contains 3 sleeping beauties.  The sun is shining and my bedroom window is open as I type this.  I have a babbling brook outside and I can hear the birds.  The day promises more flowers from church, digging in the garden, dinner of some sort prepared by sweet daughters and lots of love.

God is good!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - May 10.12

Saturday was quite exciting for me.  It was the 1st yard sale of the season and it was a doozie!  Held at the local Curling Club, the Luteran Church Youth Club held a Penny Auction and Yard Sale to help raise money for their missions trip to the Dominican.  They had some great penny auction item ..... and I'm still awaiting my winning phone call for that pottery fish pitcher, guys!

Did I mention the pork barbeque?  $3 worth of extreme yummy! 

I had a ball at the yard sale.  One lady had a 25 cent table; and yes, every item shown here was 25 cents:  4 vintage mason jars, 4 glass dessert dishes, a jolly little scarecrow for my Autumn door, a Maritime watercolor and these 3 vintage plates.

 Here's some close-ups of the plates.  They'll be lovely for tea parties .....

..... or maybe just for Mama when she's wanting a little extra special treatment for a Saturday lunch!

This gorgeous local scene was painted by a visiting
artist from China, Jin rong Chen.
These vintage salt 'n' pepper shakers were
50 cents each; as cute as they are, I think I'll pass
them on to my daughter.

 It was a fun, cheap morning.  I hope that's a taste of the season to come.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time for a Happy Meal!

My philosophy is that you can never eat too many happy lunches.  So, that's what I'm having today at work:  

1.  A simple salad of spinach with a yogurt/mayo/lemon juice dressing;

2.  A tuna salad sandwich with green onion and shredded cheese;

3.  Chocolatey, cold 'n' yummy Silk almond milk; 

4.  and a wee little packet of delicious dark chocolate Praeventia cookies.

And still 40 minutes until lunch break is over.

That my friends is a happy meal!


  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...