Thursday, October 29, 2015

Boring is Nice Sometimes, Right?

I've spent so many weekends doing day trips and taking the girls for Farm Market drives that I welcomed last Saturday's turn in the weather and a chance for a simple, boring weekend. 

Beautiful boring! 

For most people (especially younger people), boring is thought of as negative. It can bring up dreary images or thoughts of dull tasks -- things like regular fall or spring cleaning. (Hahaha! I say that as if this is something I do every spring or fall when, in fact, the only thing regular in my house is me ..... if I eat my salad and yogurt every day! Oops! Sorry! TMI!)

But the experts say that there's nothing wrong with kids becoming bored. For me personally, boring is necessary to my mental health. I can get bored; but I can also be willingly "beautifully bored". 

Beautiful boring fills me with contentment and feelings of satisfaction. For me, it means having the time to hang and home and do little things:  things like changing out my wardrobe, tidying the linen closet; cleaning & purging the china cabinets. It means that I now know how many bottles of face cleanser I have (4 --- and see, that's info I NEED to know before I save more money by buying yet another sale item!); I know how many bars of goat's milk soap I have (6 --- and ditto on the saving money again). Beautiful boring means that tears of joy and self-satisfaction come to my eyes when I see my basement full of bags and boxes to be taken to the thrift stores in the city (because then I can use that 30% off coupon to buy more unnecessary items that in turn bring me joy).
Beautiful boring is ALL about the joy, people!

And what makes these beautiful boring tasks even more beautiful is that they are interspersed with tea breaks ..... or an hour in front of the telly just resting in between tasks ...... or a chance to have yet another look at the Saturday crossword puzzle. Beautiful boring is the luxury of having much needed chill-time while doing mundane tasks. JOY!

Last weekend's beautiful boring also meant vacuuming and dusting the living room and putting out a little Autumn decor. (Although the multi-colored leaves that seem to be constantly in the entrance-way should count, don't you think?)

What have you been doing with your Autumn?
Do you have times of beautiful boring?
Or perhaps you just consider mundane tasks plain boring?

Monday, October 19, 2015

That's a long drive just for some apples!

Nova Scotia is known for it's apples, especially the MacIntosh. And the Annapolis Valley is the best place to get them. So, even though Lunenburg County has it's own apples, I always like to take a trip to The Valley this time of year; the apples are tastier there ..... and it's a pretty drive.

At the last minute, the girls and I got an email telling us that the international students are actually headed to The Valley today (Monday) to pick apples and do the corn maze. So, we decided we'd head a little more south and see sights I hadn't seen for many years. We went to historic Annapolis Royale.  And to be honest, the deciding factor was this German restaurant - Sachsen Cafe. Annkatrin was hankering for some "home cooking".
The food and the service were delightful. We each had a luscious bowl of German tomato based soup, filled with veg, ham, salami and chopped pickle. Delicious! And Annkatrin and I also shared a schnitzel sandwich: dark bread, sliced sweet, white onion, thin sliced tomato, greens and just a smear of mustard. Quite wonderful!

But did you get a good look at the pastries? Wow! Such a selection! I bought bread and these amazing, chewy pretzels. (And I may have had a cherry turnover for dessert; I just may have, but you'd never find the evidence on me because I didn't let a single flake of that thing get past my lips. Soooo good!) Both girls opted for the huge, flakey, chocolate-dipped pig's ears. Chihiro may look daunted, but she was able to handle the whole thing.

It wasn't a day for sight seeing ..... not outside the warmth and calm of your car anyway. The sun was beautiful, but it was only 1 degree celcius and it was blustery! My little nose got quite red. We walked for a little and took some pictures. As a matter of fact, just next door is the inn where I stayed for part of my honeymoon. I have lovely memories of Annapolis Royale and the surrounding area. 

However, we quickly got back in our car and took another 1.5 hour drive through some of the prettiest towns lined with autumn's finest foliage:  Bridgetown, Middleton, Greenwood, Kingston, Aylesford and finally Berwick, the apple capital of the world! 

We stopped in at Bargain Harley's, because you really never know what you'll find there:  chocolate covered cranberries, undies, brand-name cosmetics at a fraction of the price, a huge mounted moose head ... it's always fun to visit. We saw the dreaded white stuff floating down from the sky as we entered! EEK! But there was no evidence of it when we left. 

 Last stop was one of the many, many farm market stands for apples: we choose Granny Smith, Gravensteens and Honeycrisp; and drove the 1.5 hours over the mountain back home, the girls asleep in the back seat, the whole car fulled with the fragrance of our purchases, and my not-so-dulcet voice singing along to Charlie Tuna's "Hits of the 70's".

Yes, that was a lot of driving just for a few apples. So, I added a little variety to add a few more memories!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Oils of Life

With a post title like this one, you could be thinking I'm talking about olive oil or flax seed oil or coconut oil: there are so many beneficial oils and so many ways to take them into/onto your body. But no:  today we talk about different "oils of life".

I read a UK blogger's post last week on Style at Every Age and she talked about this new Body Shop product line called Oils of Life. I use Body Shop products as part of my daily skin care regime. And one of my favorite home-made things to do is to add a drop or two of essential oil to a bottle of light olive oil and rub this over my legs, feet and arms after I shower. So, I was interested in checking of the Oils of Life line. And the opportunity came up on Saturday when the girls and I went to the city.

I have to be really careful with scented products; most make me terribly ill (tummy and body aches, migraines, nausea), sometimes even from one little whiff. But I listened to the young salesgirl describe the line to me and I tried a little on my wrist and sniffed, thinking at least I'm near a washroom if I have to hurry and wash my hands. 
The oils used here are seed oils - Black Cummin, Camellia and Rosehip to be exact. They are supposed to be both an antioxidant and anti-bacterial and benefit your skin in the same positive way that eating super foods would benefit your body. That's a plus!

The bottles themselves are lovely to look at; they look high quality (without being high priced). On application, the oil was light and not greasy; it absorbed into the skin quite quickly. The cream was silky smooth and again there was no greasy feel to it. The scent was beautiful! Delicate, earthy, intoxicatingly delicious! And although I thought I recognized the scent, I couldn't put my finger on just what I was smelling.  Cummin? Rosehip? My mind went through the other familiar yet exotic aromas of my spice rack.) All I knew was that I smell good enough to eat! Hahaha!

I've been using their Pomegranate skincare line, so as I only needed a night time cream, I just bought the revitalizing cream at $34 Cdn and was gifted a free sample of the facial oil. After using them for the past 3 nights, I love it. Again, the scent is so lovely and the feel is so silky.  

Once I run out of my other product ..... and once this new product becomes old enough to be added to their frequent sales (buy 2 get 2; but 3 get 3, for example), I'll try the other products.

In the meantime, someone get over here and sniff me!
And then file me under delicious!

Note: I sure hope this satisfies hunger pains rather than working up an appetite or I'm in trouble!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The joy of the unexpected.....

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving; and this year my  daughter, Molly, is hosting us .... which means a trip to the city (and NO dishes for me to wash!) So, my plans for my b'day were a day at home going through my winter wardrobe to see what shrunk again while in boxes under the bed. Darn dust bunnies!

But early Sat morning when the rain and clouds began to clear, it was "Let's go eat cake and sushi in Halifax"The girls were all for it. 

The marvelous start of our day began with "breakfast" at Julien's French Patisserie. It's located in the beautiful Hydrostone district of Halifax, an area rebuilt with stone houses after the destructive Halifax explosion of 1917. Julien's has such a great variety of sweets and savorites which made it too difficult to decide what treat to have ..... so I bought 3! After all, b'days only come once a year! 

I then dropped the girls at the mall to meet up with friends, and I headed to Value Village to walk off breakfast and look for nothing in particular. (Nothing in particular cost me $30.) Back at the mall, I treated myself to a new facial cream from The Body Shop and did a little early Xmas shopping. 

And at 5 pm after we'd all worked up an appetite finding bargains, we headed to my favorite little sushi restaurant B-Well Cafe. It was Chihiro's first sushi experience in such a long time, so she was very happy. Annkatrin had never eaten Japanese before but liked her chicken terriyaki bowl (but not so much the sushi she tried). And I was so happy to have both tempura and inari sushi. Yum! 

At home with aching feet, I opened my gifts from the girls - each one unique and lovely with a touch of homemade. I am blessed to have such great kids. Then we sat around until the wee hours of the morning playing Yahtzee and Phase 10 and eating sour gummy worms and the rest of my "breakfast". (Sugar hangover today!) 

While the sun shines, a person has to take advantage of it and get out and enjoy. There's always tomorrow for chores, right.  
And tomorrow is here! Today is winter clothes day ..... and perhaps I'll make some Million Dollar relish ... and I know I'll do a lot of relaxing ... all wrapped in the joy of an unexpectly wonderful birthday. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

October 10th again?

Aging ..... mandatory.
Maturity ..... Optional.

Happy Birthday to me. 

Off for an adventure in the city, but back in time for Doctor Who! 

(See, I AM older and wiser.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rabbit Rabbit Everyone!

Well, haven't I been in my hibernation hole for a long time huh. 

I simply haven't had the time, energy or gumption to blog for months. I've kept up with your blogs just not my own. But now it feels like it's time to start again. I don't know if it's the end of summer's heat and hustle 'n' bustle or perhaps the more quiet, familiar routine of fall .... but it feels right. 

I had a wonderful summer. No kids at all other than a daughter visiting at the end of August. There was lots of downtime, lots of beach and swimming and farm markets and solo musical evenings on the deck. It was a time of much needed breathing space as I changed jobs unexpectedly. But I won't bore you with all that. Let's just get into the joy and happiness of sharing with blog friends.

It's become official: Fall is my favorite season! I love the cool mornings and evenings and the (still) comfortably short-sleeved daytimes. I know that will change soon; tomorrow I guess we'll be needing our galoshes and maybe even a row boat or two! Big rains coming! But for today, I'm still comfortably bare legged. The leaves have only just begun to change; so there's still the excitement of sharing that with my 2 international kids, as well as the anticipation of apples and pumpkins and Thanksgiving in October and all the change and beauty that autumn brings.

I have my returning Japanese student, Chihiro, and a new German girl, Annkatrin. Annkatrin is a bit of a challenge in a completely different way for me. She's no extra trouble; she appears for meals when I call her, she will help when I ask her. But she's so quiet and introverted that she's like a ghost child. She doesn't speak only in 1 or 2 word monotone answers to questions that she's asked; she doesn't seem to have an opinion; even Chihiro has a hard time getting her to talk on their walks to and from school. Usually after a month, most students will begin to feel comfortable and you see some of their personality. But this little one is a tough nut to crack.

I worry about my kids. Every Mom (home and abroad) wants them to enjoy themselves. Perhaps she's like this at home. I know she loved the few little excursions we've taken so far. So perhaps I'm worrying needlessly. Regardless, I shall love her and keep her safe and warm and hope that by the time she's ready to go home, this experience will have helped her to blossom into a new confidence.

She has a sweet tooth, so pumpkin pie and Halloween treats should make her smile.  And Autumn scarecrows, turkey 'n' gravy and colorful leaves are sure to win her over, huh?  

I know they have with me!

It's good to be back my friends.


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