Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Orange you glad it's not Avocado!


The once misunderstood, malaligned, black sheep so-to-speak of the color family is now one of the IT colors!  Everyone is wearing it.  I'm wearing it!  What's not to love:  it's a bright, cheerful color -- reminiscent of Tuscany, sunsets; vitamin C (especially yummy in Tequila Sunrises!) and autumnal harvests.  It looks great when partnered with the color brown; it looks even better with navy blue.  (But not with black, right?  Because then you remind people of a Jack-o-Lantern -- not an especially flattering look for most people!)

For years, I hated the color orange.  It was my Mother's fault, her and her darn need for "matchy-matchy".  

Time for a story.  Picture this ....

The year is 1970; and Mrs M's house is decorated in the latest color tones: the living room is harvest gold, dining room is avocado green and kitchen is coppertone brown. The Master bedroom is also done in green ('cause it's Mrs M's favorite color). The 2 younger girls share a pink room -- cause pink is for girls, right!  And downstairs in the basement, the clever Mr M has just built 2 additional bedrooms! Oh goodie!  Yet, in spite of the fact that Sandra's favorite color is blue, the 2 boys will get a blue room -- cause blue is for boys, right!   

What colors are left to choose from?  
Yellow?  Sandra likes sunny yellow -- but Mrs B doesn't!  
Maybe a nice lilac?  Nanny M next door grows beautiful lilacs.  But Mrs M doesn't want that unpopular purple color in her house. 

No .....let's go with another 70's "IN" color -- let's go with burnt orange!  

"But I don't want orange, Mommy!"
"Shut up, Sandra, or you can go back upstairs and share with the little girls again!"

Well, why not orange!  After all the currently popular (and cheap) new wallboard walls in the room are almost an orange color.  The Ozite Town 'n' Terrace astro-turf type floor covering is burnt orange. The hand-me-down pine furniture has aged to a stomach churning orange tone.  And look, Sandra!  Your Mom has purchased an orange chennile bedspread, a wagon-wheel boudoir lamp with an orange shade, an orange (and avocado green) throw cushion; and there are orange corduroy curtains on the wee slit of a basement window wayyyyyyy up at the top of one wall that overlooks the pansy bed.  

The pansy bed!  The only glimpse of desired color in my burnt orange, avocado green and coppertone brown bedroom.  Sigh!

What did Santa bring me for Xmas?

A bright orange stuffed Poodle.

This was NOT my bedroom:  my room wasn't this bright.
....... I just wanted you to REALLY get the idea.

Three years later, we moved.  Phew!  
My Dad built a brand new split level a few streets away; I got my own room again.  Did I get a blue room this time?  No; I wasn't even consulted on color.  I got a purple room -- not lilac -- purple!  Purple walls, purple bedspread ("It has lilacs on it, Sandra!") and purple shag carpet! 

I had to leave home to get a blue bedroom ....... and I've had a blue bedroom for almost 40 years.

And after much prayer and a little therapy, I've let go of my hatred for orange.  I have pine furniture.  I have 4 orange items in my closet as well as a pair of ballet flats.  I enjoy "mauve" and love the smell of lilacs.  I have 95% recovered from that childhood trauma.

Just don't ask me to look at pansies through a basement window or I feel like listening to Jim Morrison and crying.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Always was a bit of a Swinger!

 In spite of Saturday's gloomy weather, it was time for a short 'n' sweet day trip -- Nagisa's first visit to historic Lunenburg. 
We checked out the "big comfy chair", lots of little shops; we did lots & lots of walking up and down lots of hills; and we may -- just may -- have stopped for coffee and cheesecake.  And then we found the swings.

There is something sooooo wonderful about swinging.
Something absolutely magical!
 You really do go back to being a kid again.  You're with your friends, going as high as you can; the wind in your hair; singing "Sunshine, Lollipops" or "Let's go Fly a Kite".  
 You don't want to stop.  Back and forth; up and down.  But then finally, you turn your hands around on the chain, wrists pointing outward and you ....... jump .....
... and thankfully, you land -- if not with the same distance or finesse as you did at 10 --- you land safely.

At 10, you didn't realize how therapeutic swinging was; how cares and stresses and worries and crap just fall away, float away, melt away.

At 10, you didn't realize just what good exercise this was.  And you sure didn't notice how much hard work it was to get going, keep going, gain any height.


What fun!  What an amazingly great ride!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ain't Canada a grand country!

There are many reasons I love Canada.

This is one of them.

(Thank you to The Queen is not Amused for first posting this.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Some Cookbooks make me Cry!

When I buy a new-to-me cookbook, I like to use them as night-time reading before I actually try the recipes.  Both of these are great little books -- wonderful little books when you take into account that I only paid 25 cents each for them.  But the one on the right makes me cry!

It's chock-a-block full of good old fashioned baking recipes, and any baker over the age of 40/50 would have tried probably 75% of them.  Recipes like:

  • Walnut Banana Bread (They even add chocolate chips just like I do)
  • Raspberry Walnut Rugelach (A Xmas tradition in our house)
  • Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Snickerdoodles (a recipe taught to me by my darling mother-in-law back in the early 80's & a staple in her kitchen cookie tin)
  • Fresh Apple Crumble Bars (my ex hubby's favorite and baked at least once a month in the "good old days")
  • Maple Apple Crisp & Blueberry Cobbler
  • Berry Shortcakes
  • Pound Cake, Applesauce Cake, Marble Cake
Reading this one is like a trip down memory lane, and it actually made me cry.

I was a stay-at-home, home-schooling mother for about 10 years. And I would bake these things regularly for my family; they were the baking recipes I cut my teeth on, so to speak.  And my little nuclear family, as well as my church family, were happy to be my guinea pigs.  And extremely appreciative they were!  I loved the feeling that while my hubby was working hard outside the home providing for us, I was inside the home keeping things snug and cosy providing my family with wonderful home cooked meals and delicious baking. These recipes are full of memories.

I remember my babies happily playing in the next room, Rafi music playing in the background, soups and stews and fresh breads on the stove, and them excitedly running into the kitchen when the timer went for the oven and the muffins were ready.  

I remember them helping me measure and mix (and sneaking a few chocolate chips) when it was cookie making time.

I remember the smile of delight on my husband's face when I'd made apple squares or if there was fresh baked bread.

I remember the love I put in every household chore and feeling so very, very fortunate to be able to be at home.  I was extremely fortunate.  

Times changed; people changed; life changed.  I went back to work and adjusted my cooking/baking routine; my Ex became a great friend; my children grew and left the nest; and the journey took many different and wonderful twists and turns.

But all of these memories last night had me waxing nostalgic and longing for those little dirty faces, pokey hands, and chubby feet.  

Ahhh!  Ye Old Farmer's Everyday Baking Almanac!
You've made me cry!

PS - Just between you and I, I'm also crying because I can't possibly bake and eat all these things today without gaining a hundred pounds and putting my liver and digestive system through the wringer.

Arg!  Ye Old Farmer's Everyday Baking Almanac!
You've made me cry even harder!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Glimpses of my Weekend

Baptist Church yardsale finds:  jewellery box ($1), beautiful beaded chain necklace ($2), hats for summer tea parties ($1 ea), tea tray ($1), 2 cookbooks ($0.25 ea) and a pillow for Nagisa's room ($2).
Al fresco dinner on the deck and my first gin and tonic of the season.

Multi-cultural event in Lunenburg:  beautiful saris; beautiful people; culture, history, dancing and delicious food.
 Chai concentrate -- which smells divine.  Thank you so much Goody (Eat the Blog).  
(She left the recipe in the comments section of my last post.)

Cooking for the week:
curried carrot lentil soup and spatchcock chicken (both from The Perfect Pantry) and baked falafal.

My kitchen smells delicious right now!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pre-Weekend Forecast 5.16.14

It's a 3 day weekend here in Canada. 

Victoria Day is a Canadian stat holiday which is celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25th; it honors Queen Victoria's birthday which was May 24, 1819.  (Please don't tell the Canadian authorities that she's been dead for 195 years!)  And her birthday is why it's affectionately called the "May 24th weekend".  (Or even MORE affectionately called "May two-four Weekend" because it marks the unofficial beginning of the camping or cottage season where cases of beer are consumed by hard working Canadians who have survived winter.)

After the winter we've had, the sunshine we're experiencing here in Nova Scotia today, and the wonderful forecast for Sat and Sun; I say "Bring it on, Victoria!"

I will not be drinking a two-four of beer.  (Sigh!  Those days are long gone .... thank God!)  But I may attend my first yard sale of the season tomorrow morning -- a good 'un that always yields some fun bargains.  I shall sling some dirt (the planting kind and not the gossip kind).  I shall mulch the front beds; I shall sit in my new outdoor recliner with a low-cal sangria and I shall attend this much anticipated event: 

I'll also do some cooking for the week.  I've been looking at some wonderful new recipes to try such as a Curry Carrot Lentil Soup, this delicious sounding Chicken Spice Rub and perhaps this Chai Tea Mix.  And I didn't indulge in yesterday's "National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day" .... and as I lost again this week at WW, I may give in to my craving and bake some homemade cookies.  After all, I've got a 16 yr old in my house; so if I bake them by noon, they would most possibly be eaten by 6 pm!

Monday calls for rain.  So if that happens, I'll have a tidied rec room = find the new solar garden lights I bought last fall AND be able to see the last 2 episodes of Parade's End, an excellent series which I high recommend.  


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mama had a Good Time

I have oodles of post ideas running round my head -- witty ones, silly ones, deep ones to get you thinking.

You aren't getting any of that stuff today.  That stuff must wait until I've enough time to wax poetic.  Today you must settle for:
"Oh for goodness sake!  Not again!  Who wants to know what she's doing and what she's eating!"

I'll treat you like I would my very own children:   
"Shut up and eat your blog!"
(I'm saying that in the most kind and loving way!)

Yep!  I had a pretty good Mother's Day weekend and fulfilled some of my pre-weekend plans.  I allowed myself $20 to visit the 2nd Story jewellery sale.  But I got some beautiful items.

The top left earrings are my prize:  semi-precious Carnelian stones in a silver setting for $10.  The others were fun pieces that cost from 50 cents to $3.  I came home with $1.50 in change and a bag full of frivolous happiness!

Sunday morning, my friend Diana and I set off for the city.  She is such fun to do city trips with:  she can last in a thrift store just as long as I can (the only other person I've met to date with those same super powers); and she also loves to eat and is always up for my suggestions.  We hit 2 VV stores for their 50% off sale.  We shared 2 different lamb burgers at Daryll's topped with things like feta 'n' eggplant 'n' mango curry mayo 'n' fried bananas (Yummy!).  Then we had a relaxing latte at 2nd Cup (and surreptitiously ate date squares from some church sale).  

Dinner that evening for Nagisa and I was pre-cooked lobster dipped in melted butter and potato salad.  Soooo delicious!  Nagisa's first lobster and she not only loved it, but got right in there with the hammer and cutters and pokers and priers just like a pro!  I promised her that I'd buy live lobsters next time so she could see them; I didn't mention the mandatory chasing her around the house with them and laughing.  

That night there were FB accolades & chats with the humans that left the road-map on my once taut tummy as well as a long talk with my own Mama.  And later, there was Meet the Midwife and Game of Thrones ..... and the rest of that wine I mentioned earlier.

So all in all, it was a fantastic Mother's Day ... even if I've been on a rabbit-food food regime ever since.  

WW weigh-in tonight!
Fingers crossed!

But I wouldn't change a thing about what I'd eaten.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

I did this once.  

She was about 9 months old; we had moved to a new town where I didn't know anyone; hubby was attending school on the other side of the province and boarding 4 nights a week; I had a head cold and just wanted to sit by myself for a few minutes.  But baby kept following me around and crying and wanting UP!  Well, we were both crying!

So, I got right in the middle of the playpen where she couldn't touch me.  We both cried for a few minutes.  Then I got out, and picked her up and kissed her and cuddled her and NEVER did it again.

Do I deserve a good Mother's Day?

You bet I do!  
I had no idea of how many years she and her sisters would get me back for that one.

Ahhhhh, but I adore my babies!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pre-Weekend Forecast 5.10.14

Nagisa noticed my pretty new necklace yesterday; and with talk, one thing led to another, and we ended up on a tour of my jewellery boxes and hangers and drawers.  She saw the good stuff, the cheap stuff, the thrifted stuff, the gift stuff, the vintage stuff, the blingy stuff ---  it went on and on and on.  

I have a LOT of jewellery!  

One could even say I have too much jewellery.  (I would NEVER personally say that.)  And one must take into account certain factors:  like, I am quite "mature" (the polite way of saying old), and one does accumulate over the years!

So, what am I up to on this Mother's Day weekend?  Well, my weekend may include the following:

The West Dublin Farmer's Market.  Because I've worked at the local farmer's market for the last 2 years, I've never been able to go to that one, and I know lots of the vendors.  Plus who would every say no to a good cup of coffee, a good bowl of soup and a free clothing exchange.

The 2nd Story Women's Centre annual used jewellery sale at the Mall.   Well ......... if I'm at the Mall, I really should take a quick look, right?  And I have to go to the Mall for ......... ummmmm ......... toilet paper!  Yes!  That's it!  Toilet paper!  We ALL need toilet paper.  

Dancing with friends.  Three bands are playing at the local Curling Club; I haven't been dancing since last summer and these feet are anxious to ache with pleasure!

There will hopefully also be some weeding in the garden, some sitting on the deck with a beverage (and a fleece blanket as it's still soooo cold here in NS, and a flurry of cooking for the coming week.

My Mother's Day could find me doing this with my friend Diana who's kids are also miles and miles away from us:
The words "50% off Sale" have a powerful affect on some women!  Then there's the $20 groupon for Darrell's that needs to be used by the end of the month.  I think it's a fine way to spend my Mother's Day.

"I'll be home for dinner", Nagisa! (Hint hint.)  And then I can put my feet up and call my own wonderful Mama.  

I hope your weekend is a fun and relaxing one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day comes Early

You all know how I whine about having no mate to pamper me and buy me gifts; and you all know that I compensate by buying my own special-occasion gifts; and you may remember that I hide these gifts so I can surprise myself on that special day.  Well, that day is here -- a little early perhaps, but Mother's Day begins today for me.  

Okay:  let's open my gift:  I'm so excited!  

What is it?  What's nestled in that tissue paper? 
Wow!  Thank you ME!
It's a hand-beaded necklace from African Threads. 
Isn't it beautiful!  ( I've had the necklace under my sweetly-scented nighties for over 5 months; so I knew WHAT it was but didn't remember what it looked like.  Surprise!)  It was more expensive than I usually spend on myself;  more expensive than the rest of the outfit I'll wear today.  But Motherhood is difficult!  And for me (with all these international children) never ending!

Tonight my good friend Sandy is treating me by taking me to a dinner theatre at her church.  It's become an annual event with us; and although no one will win any acting awards, I know all those silly people so it's always enjoyable.  And then there's the home cooked meal.  Yummy, I'm sure!  

Now, what to wear to work today as I'm not coming home?
This sweet little thrifted Old Navy dress ($6 at the Sally Ann in NL) will make it's 2014 debut, I think.  Cute and comfy ..... and it's loose so it will hide the cheesecake dessert.

And which color cardigan?  The blue will look best, I believe ($12 year-end sale at Reitman's in 2012).
This is my "sac de semaine" --  a thrifted ($16 at Value Village) Clark's leather cross-body bag with the prettiest lining.

Now for the shoe selection.  I have 4 pairs of blue shoes:  a gorgeous pair of faux-snakeskin heels; a cute pair of navy wedges; and 2 flats -- one navy and one periwinkle.  Yeah, definitely flats.  My delicate tootsies demand flats more and more these days.  I think I'll choose these recently thrifted navy pair that I haven't worn yet ($5 at VV).  I love the dark navy color with the bright white polka dots and the figure 8 flowerette

Alright.  Put the finishing touches on me and I'm ready to head out the door, devote 8 hr to "the man" and sit and have an enjoyable evening with friends.

Forgot my lippy!
Oh well, just imagine me with red kissy lips please.

         Happy Mother's Day to you all from me.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Update!

Yesterday, my friend Diana and I went to a house concert.  It featured Lunenburg County's own Cynthia Myers and Steve Normandin, a French accordionist, pianist.  They played and sang in English and French and the songs were centred around Paris and love.  The sun was shining, the windows and patio doors were open and quite often the birds joined in the singing.  If I'd had a glass of wine and closed my eyes, I could easily imagine I was actually in Paris at a roadside cafe.  It was delightful.  And afterwards, we were served a delicious brunch.  

I came home from church on Sunday in the sunshine.  So, I had wonderful plans for the afternoon:  I'd rake the rest of last autumn's leaves off the remaining two flower beds, then go for a long leisurely walk with Nagisa.  I planned on the 5 km walk as the weather was so fine and I had the whole afternoon.  By the time I finished lunch, clouds had settled over me.  As I raked, the drizzle came down.  

So, I headed for the kitchen, and I made granola.

It's a wonderful mixture:  Combine & heat 1/2 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/3 cup water, 1.5 tsp salt and 1.5 tsp vanilla.  Pour this over a mixture of 6 cups old fashioned oatmeal, 1 cup coconut, 1/2 cup bran and 1 cup mixed nuts and stir to coat.  Pour this onto a large baking sheets with sides and slowly bake at 300 deg F for about 30 min, stirring every 5 min so that the granola is evenly toasted.

Once this is baked and has cooled, toss in dried fruit of your choice. Today I added some chopped apricots and raisins and dried blueberries -- probably about a cup in all.  My yogurt and my tummy will be happy tomorrow.

I then made 2 recipes of Turmeric tea.  Just in case you've been hiding under a rock for the past year or so, turmeric is the next miracle healer.  It's supposed to be great for reducing inflammation for us osteo-arthritis suffers as well as great for many, many other ailments.  The yellow paste in the little bowl is just that -- a turmeric paste.  A tsp of this in hot water 1-2 times a day is all that's needed apparently; adding milk and sweetener is up to you.  The 2nd recipe in the mason jars was a mixture of water, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cloves simmered and strained:  this is to be added to hot milk and served as you would a chai tea.  So, I tried it with foamy milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
It was very yummy!  But the spices do tend to settle to the bottom.  (Swirl that around and drink quickly; a little grainy but much better than having to take a pill.)  Fingers crossed that this will help.

All of this deserved a wee nap on the sofa (must have been that warm milk!), the rain gently falling and the TV for background noise.   Gotta love a rainy Sunday afternoon. 

And now as I'm off to watch "Call the Midwife", I'll leave you with a little taste of Steve Normandin and Paris.  Hope your weekend was enjoyable.


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