Sunday, July 29, 2012

How's your week been?

I started my new Monday job, spent 3 more days at my regular job, and then took Friday off to work at home.   
My work at home involved this color that Elly choose before going home to Korea for the summer.  I found a pretty comforter on one of my many thrift store trips this summer; and rather than buy another gallon of paint just to finish the closet, I think these rolls of thrifted wallpaper will do the trick.  (And they'll put up a better fight when the hangers and the wall meet!).
There were a few after dinner walks through the garden with tea; this one Hydrangea bloom is almost as big as my head (on a normal day, not after the new boss has told me yet again how pleased he is to have me work there!) and the lovely Bee Balm almost as red as my sleepless eyes tonight.  (Darn that 9 am cup of coffee and that 9 pm supper!)

I tuned in Friday night to see the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics ..... and the evening was made more enjoyable with the addition of a glass of vino, a bowl of popcorn and Sir Paul. 

I spent a leisurely Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market where I drank that delicious (yet evil) cup of dark French roast, ate a massive apricot/almond pastry and toted home fresh carrots, beets, basil and Mesculin mix.

Saturday evening was spent with a friend at a book reading.  Canadian author Beth Powning read from "The Sea Captain's Wife" (She was wonderful!  Animated and colorful.)  There was a delicious luncheon at 9 pm (delightful finger sandwiches, decadent sweets and a glass of wine ... all for $15!  What a great deal!).

I was driven home in style, washed, brushed & donned my jammies, painted both fingers and toes, read my new book, yawned and snuggled under my bedsheet.  Sleep alluded me, so it's the perfect time to blog.

Now!  Let's try sleeping again.  Thank goodness Sunday is "the day of rest"!

How did you spend your week?

Goodnight John Boy
Goodnight Mary Ellen.
Good night Erin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vacation Pics

Malcolm and I set off on vacation on the 15th of July.  We drove  northward to Cape Breton, home my lovely friend and host for the week, Sharon.  Cape Breton was first settled by the Scottish and is known as "little Scotland" because of the similarities in terrain.  Gaelic is still spoken there, traditional music is played (with it's own Cape Breton twist), and you can find a ceildh (pronounced "kaylee" -- music & dancing) every night of the week in the summer.  

The day after my arrival, we hit the beautiful Cabot Trail so we could do The Skyline Trail, a 9.2 km return trail of gorgeous woodland and spectacular views.    

The next day we drove into Inverness where we bought the most wonderful loaf of raisin/orange bread & Cape Breton oatcakes and wandered into gift shops.  Then we played tourist and visited the Glenora Distillery.  The tour finished with a wee dram of their famous malt whiskey (smooth and yummy) and our own picnic at the back of the property next to the river.

We had lazy mornings sitting on the cottage porch with tea and toast; and wonderful afternoons and evenings full of beach walks, swims, drives through the highlands and valleys; and nights of card games and dice with a glass of vino & a bowl of peanuts.  Every day the scenery just took my breath away!

The food was pretty darn good too!  We'd start with a hearty breakfast; and if we didn't take a picnic with us, we'd forgo lunch altogether.  

But we never forgot dessert!

This is dessert at "The Red Shoe Pub" in Mabou, home of the singing group The Rankins.  We indulged in chocolate date sticky pudding and gingersnap vanilla-bean cheesecake, both with homemade ice cream.

We'd often purposely try to get lost, but Sharon would eventually come upon some place she recognized.  In our travels, we came across great little places like this one -- "Bellemeade Farm", a working dairy/sheep farm run by 2 young women in their late 20's; they have a quaint little shop which sells handcrafted wool products created on the farm -- knitted, woven, felted and the wool itself -- as well as their own honey and candles.  (I ain't saying anything, but there just may be a package under a bed for a certain birthday this fall!)

We took a day to drive into Sydney and visit a thrift shop and Value Village where I found the prices to be cheaper than Halifax.  I had a most productive shopping trip finding some vintage glassware and a few tidbits for my girls.  Then we stopped in beautiful Baddeck, summer home of Alexander Graham Bell, for a seafood dinner.

On my final morning, Sharon treated me to breakfast at "The Dancing Goat" - oatmeal, eggs and sausage and the tastiest 7-grain toast.  Armed with an extra loaf for home and some oatcakes for the return journey, I drove back  along the southwestern edge of The Cabot Trail (stopping for a walk on Port Hood beach); cut across country at Antigonish and drove the Eastern seaboard of NS (because I'd never done most of that coastline before).  Once I reached the city, I got back on the big ole' highway and reached home many, many hours later .....

..... tired yet happy, relaxed & full of wonderful memories.

If you ever have the opportunity, come visit Cape Breton.  It's one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and the people are so warm and welcoming.

As an aside to this post, I've started a new part-time job so will be posting less than usual.  I'm going to try to post once a week because I don't want to lose my bloggy friends.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thrifting, Eating & Family!

I have been fairly MIA lately.  But did I mention 1 university daughter coming home, 2 international students leaving, 1 lovely older daughter visiting, 1 middle daughter moving out and a new part-time job on the horizon?  

So, my eldest daughter and I snuck away (I know that's not a real word but I love it's perfection of definition!)  last weekend to do a Valley trip complete with hitting every Frenchies and thrift store (8 in total) on that shore, visiting good friends and eating lots and lots of good food and wine.

Don't ask me yet what's in all those bags from Frenchies.  Shared goodie bags -- some for my eldest, some for my middle and some for me.  LOTS of wonderful finds (which will be featured in some future posts).  How wonderful it was for me to have such good companionship as well as  another avid Frenchies shopper! 

3 great restaurants -- 1. Wheaton's outside Berwick for lobster rolls, chowder & an amazing coconut cream cake.  2.  Pete Luckett's Vineyard for duck, crab/corn cakes, steak w/ asparagus purree & key line cheesecake (and the most sumptuous bottle of red wine "Red Box").  3.  The Tempest in Wolfville for Dragon's Breath hamburgers (gorgeous 'n' pungent blue cheese tucked inside)  topped with a sweet onion marmalade.

Who needs to diet now?

This week I'm busy at work getting things in order because on Friday I begin my vacation.  I have to say farewell to my lovely Amy.  But to soothe my emotions, there'll be a Value Village nearby.  I also hear tell that this will be followed by a pirate party and a trip to scenic Cape Breton to visit a good friend.

What a summer I'm having!  How will I ever get those decks painted with all this fun and gadding about happening?  

Well, there's always August!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In the midst of the red!

It's been a very red weekend.  Here's some of the redness.

 Daughter #2 helped to chop and measure.

 Add the sugar, cornstarch, a little grating of lemon zest and mix ...

6 of 10 strawberry rhubarb pies -- 1 to bake and eat, 5 for gifts, 4 for the freezer so we can enjoy bits of summer during the winter.

Plus the freezer bags for crisps and muffins and other good things.

And to reward the chefs, there's still a punnet of the very best of the strawberries -- red and juicy and ready for popping in one's mouth.

Here's to the goodness of summer!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day, eh!

Happy 145th Birthday Canada!

Today will be filled with good food and celebration.  We have a barbeque after church which will feature my rhubarb punch and strawberry/rhubarb cheesecake squares (and someone else doing the cooking and cleaning up; it can't get much better than that!)  

And later at home beginning at 5 pm until fireworks time, I'm hosting my 4th annual Ladies Sangria Party which will feature more of those cheesecake squares and 2 different sangrias -- the traditional red as well as a new one, a white made with watermelon puree.  

All this and my 3 girls together!  Good stuff!


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