Friday, January 30, 2009

sign, sign, everywhere a sign!

Sign, sign everywhere a sign ....
Do this, don't do that...can't you read the sign?

So go the words to an old song. But truth be told...there are times that I can NOT read the sign...or I have no idea what it means.

I'm guessing this is where the chicken crosses the road.

And when I see these signs out in our neighbourhood... first thought is always to make a quick stop for the free eggs. But then I am reminded that it's the chickens that are free...not the eggs!

And so I do on occasion have trouble figuring out exactly what the signs are supposed to mean. But eventually I catch on!

For the past few days I have had yellow signs in my kitchen...ever since the grands came across the fields to visit a few days ago.

There is one on my fridge door...another on the pantry door...and a few more stuck here and there. I knew they were really I have not removed them...but I honestly did not know what they said. Each little yellow 'post-it' sign had the same message...

...and I finally have it figured out. I remember now that Spencer asked me how to spell 'you'...and I said Y-O-U. Therefore...she must have adding an S to that would then have YOUS (the word we normally spell USE). And so the sign means DO NOT USE IT! But I will plead the pantry and fridge are very hard to stay out of.

The sun showed up late yesterday afternoon... the fog rolled in to cover the neighbourhood. Sun and fog...a perfect ending to a winter's day!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

my low tech kitchen favorites...

I'm not usually one to rush out and buy the latest gadget...and I definitely think twice about all things high-tech. High-tech means I'd have one more thing to learn to use. So I tend to stick with the tried and true! But I do have some low-tech (no tech?) favorites in my kitchen...which I use on a regular basis. In my early days of setting up house, I picked up a V3 vegetable slicer at a home show demo.
It quickly became a favorite...and I use it all the time. If I'm making a pot of soup...all the veggies get sliced on this gizmo. The onions are chopped in a jiffy...almost painless. I happened to see them at the flea market in Palm Springs a few months ago...and so I have my next one all ready to go when I need it. Who needs a food processor...

...when they have a Boerner slicer at their beck and call? It slices, dices, chops and juliennes...and comes in it's own caddy. And no...I don't sell them!

Ten years ago we took a road trip to Alaska...and my favorite souvenir was this Ulu knife (pronounced oo'loo) and chopping block combo.

It is just perfect for chopping a handful of nuts...or a can of water chestnuts. Everything stays in the bowl. If you ever visit Alaska...don't come home without one!

My most recent kitchen favorite is this La Provencale garlic grater...another Palm Springs flea market find (I think it is now called a street fair).

It is a wee ceramic bowl with a very rough bottom...made in Italy...and perfect for grating a clove of garlic or fresh ginger. You simply rub the garlic clove on the bottom of the dish...and create the finest minced garlic paste. The brush can be used to gather the grated garlic or ginger into a ball. Garlic butter is ready in a jiffy...and I've been adding fresh ginger to all kinds of dishes.

While others bring home jewels and designer bags from far off places...I collect items that make life easier in the kitchen! So those are my three no-tech gadget recommendations for today.

Well, let me add one that each of you already has in the drawer. Rather than putting out the big bucks to purchase a gizmo to break up ground beef while browning...

...why not just use your potato masher? It works great!

In this progressively high-tech world...many of my best kitchen gadgets are decidedly low-tech...and I like it that way.

Have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snow day fun

Yesterday's snow fell off and on all I left the confines of my office at hubby's bidding...and joined him on a run to town for this and that.

It was rather wet snow...but oh, so pretty as it stuck to every twig and pebble it touched. It seemed our route took us right past the airport coffee shop...and it happened to be lunchtime...and so we stopped by for a wee bite to eat.

As luck would have it...our favorite tables were available...

...but it seemed there was no service on the patio, so we found ourselves an inside table with a view.

It was a rather quiet day at the seemed no one was flying anywhere. Most planes weren't moving...

...and those that were needed a whole lot of help. We had a lovely lunch...and a nice visit with friends from 'back in the day' who just happened to be on a lunch date as well.

The airport cafe is famous for it's home baked pies...and folks fly in from afar just for a slice.

As for me...I'd fly in for the spinach salad!

With one last glance at those pies...(we'll save room next time)...we left to make our obligatory stops for farm supplies, tools, batteries...and hubby's new glasses. Things are looking much brighter now!

No sooner was I back home again...when I noticed I had guests coming across the fields for a visit.

Grammy's place was the final stop on their snow walk . I thought I'd meet them with the camera...

...but soon retreated inside of the patio door as the snow balls came flying.

Ryder got a little impatient...and hitched a ride for the final leg of the journey.

With snow clothes discarded at the back door...we fixed a quick afternoon snack in Grammy's test kitchen. Emme loves pumpkin loaf...but it actually takes a long while to bake. But, after learning from Jill yesterday that waffle irons can be used for baking all kinds of delicious treats (not just french toast)...we mixed up a quick batch of pumpkin spice muffins...and in minutes we had our pumpkin waffle off the press. Strange...but true...and actually quite yummy!

And that is how I spent my snow day! And here's the funny thing...exactly one year ago to the day, I also blogged my 'snow day fun'. My memory may not be that good...but I'll always have an alibi in the archives of 'My Front Porch'!

Have a wonderful Wednesday...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

waffled french toast

I'm not sure why this had never occurred to me before...but my sister Kathy told me that she often made french toast on the waffle iron. Why not?

    We've had them a few times now...and love 'em! Use your favorite french toast recipe....use any bread that appeals to you...and give it a go.

    I like to use a somewhat custardy dipping batter....sort of a cross between french toast and waffles. This recipe is perfect for four large 'french toasted' waffles.

    French Toast Waffles

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 4 large slices bread (8 small)

    1. Preheat waffle maker and spray surface with non-stick cooking spray.

    2. In large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy, then add remaining ingredients and whisk until well mixed.

    3. Dip 1 slice of bread into mixture and turn to cover both sides. Place in waffle maker and cook until golden brown.

      Serve with sausage and syrup...

    ...or loaded with strawberries and whipping cream. They are a great twist on an old favorite!

    We had a skiff of fresh snow looks like the perfect day to accomplish something in the office. many possibilities! The thing with having an office/sewing room combination is that it's a little difficult to concentrate on completing the employee T4 slips for the business...when there's a fun project happening on the sewing machine. We'll see what the day brings.

    Enjoy the day...

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    our family literacy event

    Unknowingly, we chose the perfect time to visit the Bookman with our grands over the weekend. It was Friday evening...and the Bookman was in preparation mode for a huge family literacy event the next day.

    Robert Munsch was the feature author...and his books were on display everywhere. It took only minutes until they had each found their favorite Munsch tale...

    ...and we settled down for story time.

    How fun that Emme and Spencer can now read for brings them great joy!

    Ryder wandered off to look for the cat...every bookstore has one, right?

    Ranen wasn't about to let go of the kitty book she had picked out...but just had to check out what was on all those adult shelves. One hour later...we left with a few Robert Munsch books to take home with us...and everybody was happy.

    It's Family Literacy Week here in Canada...and to kick off the week's event our community participated in an attempt to break a Guiness world reading record of some sort. Schools, libraries, literacy groups, families, YMCAs and other organizations all read Munschworks 2 ( a collection of five Robert Munsch stories)...and that was what was about to happen at the Bookman the morning after our visit. Over 190,000 Canadians signed up to participate and break the U.S. record of 78,791 adults and children reading together. We were not signed up...we are not into breaking any records...but we had a fine time reading Munsch to our little munchkins.

    I must admit I knew very little about 'our' most famous Canadian author. I mostly knew him as the author of "Love You Forever"...a most beautiful children's story, and one I have given as a gift on several occasions. Munsch’s stories are the most beloved works of Canadian children’s literature of all time, and his books (over 50 of them) have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Here's the thing...he was actually an American...but moved to Canada at age 30 to work at the University of Guelph, Ontario. He is now the number one selling Canadian author of all time and a member of the Order of Canada.

    As I was about to do this post...I checked out his website and read his biography...and had a good laugh. (Check out his biography right here.) Now I know why kids like him...he is just too funny!

    I think he might even see the humour in my little story. When our twin granddaughters were about two years old, I decided I needed to add some reading material to Grammy's library, and ordered the Munschworks Grand Treasury. This rather large book has (or had) fifteen of Munsch's favorite children's stories. At the time I bought the book, I was really only familiar with "I Love You Forever"...and found most of the stories in my new storybook a little zany...especially for two-year-olds. The girls, however, immediately decided that it was their favorite book...and their favorite story was one Grammy didn't think quite appropriate. Rather than hide the book...I found a solution.

    My treasury now has fouteen stories instead of fifteen (and a wee fringe of paper where pages 55 through 75 once were)...and I never get asked to read "I Have to Go" anymore! I do have two girls who think it is all quite funny though.

    In honour of literacy week...let's all do some reading this week. I found an Elizabeth Goudge book at the Bookman...and since I have never read any books by that author...I am looking forward to checking out her historical novel. Go read a may be contagious...and we'll all do our part to promote literacy!

    Have fun reading...

    P.S. For those who are wondering what ever became of the son with pneumonia...he is doing A-Okay! Right now he is on two weeks of bed-rest...but I don't think he has any idea what that means. Thanks to all of you who prayed for him when he was so very sick!

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    The Lord's Prayer

    Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
    For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory for ever.
    Matthew 6: 9-13 (NKJV)

    These verses are also known as the Lord's Prayer...the most widely known, recited and recognized prayer in the Christian faith. They were also the verses that concluded Rick Warren's inaugural prayer this past week. How refreshing to know that believers around the world were praying those words together with Dr. Warren...words that we rarely hear in public places anymore these days. We are still free to pray...let's use our freedom!

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    No Bookman ~ Go Bowling

    We have a wonderful used bookstore in our town, called The Bookman...and it is has also been a favorite spot to take the grands since they were wee little.

    The girls have loved books from early on...and we usually leave with another book or two for Grammy's collection.

    The resident cat is a drawing card as well...and always comes out of his hiding place when the kids arrive!

    Last Friday night, while their mommy was with daddy in the hospital...we promised we would take them on an outing to the Bookman. Ryder even ate all his veggies...just to be sure he could join in the outing. Everything is open until late on Friday night...right? How disappointed they were when we arrived to find the door locked...and the sign saying closed.

    No amount of rattling the door latch would make any difference...although it did bring the cat to the door. What to do now? Hmmm...there is a bowling alley right across the street....and it's open until the wee why not take them bowling? We found shoes for everyone...and had a wonderful bowling session.

    Ryder still wasn't quite sure about this...since he really had wanted to visit the Bookman. But after a little sulking...he warmed up to the idea quite nicely.

    It had been two years since we took the girls bowling...

    ...and they had improved immensely. It was also two years since Grammy had gone bowling...and her bowling skills had deteriorated greatly. So we made a great bowling team! We let Grandpa win the contest...and we three girls were in a dead heat. I think we'll go again soon...maybe just us girls.

    But it's Friday again...and we are going to try visiting the Bookman once more. This time we will go before dinner...just to be sure they let us in!

    Have a great weekend...

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    still skating along at 86!

    We know that no matter what our age my be...we can't take good health for granted. Last week, as my seemingly strong and healthy son lay sick in the father drove out from his home 30 miles away to visit his grandson...and I was struck by the irony of it all! It's usually the grandkids who are visiting the grandparents in intensive care units across the country...not the other way around.

    My dad is in his eighty-seventh year and still going strong. Don't ever tell him something can't be done...because he'll find a way to do it! I grew up in a household where there was nothing beyond repair...with a dad who could fix anything and everything. We never needed a repairman, a mechanic, a welder, a plumber, or even an upholsterer...they were all in-house. Since his retirement more than twenty years ago...he has kept busy doing things he loved. For the first dozen years he restored old cars...not just any old cars...but vintage Fords were his passion. He did everything himself...including the painting and upholstery. One of his 'projects' (a 1947 Monarch) now sits in our garage...going for a Sunday drive on occasion. These last few years he has tried his hand at woodworking...

    ...making wonderful treasures for us...his children and grandchildren.

    When he retired from farming, he kept an old TD6 bulldozer...which stayed on our farm but was technically his. We used it occasionally...but that resulted in the firetrucks showing up in full force more than once. It sent clouds of blue smoke billowing into the sky...and well-intentioned passersby alerted the fire department. It had been parked for the last few years...and last summer dad decided that he would fix it up to sell. Not only did he solve the smoke problem...he spiffed it up quite nicely. Once it was ready for sale...Jeremy decided that we really should buy it, since it was Grandpa's should stay on the farm, where it belongs!

    At age 86 he restored this bulldozer...that is quite a feat. But did someone tell him that you don't go ice-skating at that age? It seems they must have...because he decided to prove them wrong. I'm thinking his ice-skating adventure may have been more of a snow-plow experience, judging by the blanket of snow on the ice-rink. We do know, however,that he donned the skates and gave it a whirl...because someone sent me the photo to prove it.

    He's always up for a challenge...and I like that about him!

    We're planning a family cruise in a few months time...Dad and all us kids...and some of the grandkids. Ten years ago he took us on a this time we are taking him. It's a great way to have a family reunion...without any of us doing the cooking! We never know what tomorrow may let's make memories while we can.

    Have a wonderful day...