Tuesday, November 30, 2010

my karate kid...

'Getting a new belt' took on a whole new meaning this weekend...when I went to watch Ryder at his karate club. It was testing time...and all those who passed got a new belt!

How fun to watch him and his four and five-year-old friends do the drill!  And when it was all over...Ryder was sporting a new belt and we all went to DQ for a treat. I'm sure his skills will come in handy on the farm...since those calves get frisky at times.  I don't think the white suit will get much use around the farmyard though! 

Have a terrific Tuesday...

Monday, November 29, 2010

the path ahead is not always clear...

During our cold spell last past week...we had a lot of low-lying cloud in the mornings.

Though there were blue patches and sunshine up above...

...the path ahead was obscured by clouds many mornings.

I was thinking once again what a good reminder it was to 'lift up my eyes unto the hills...from whence comes my help'. 

We really have no idea what lies ahead for any of us...in the journey of life.  We can not see what lies around the bend...tomorrow...or even today!

I'm off to visit an old friend today...one who I have not seen in years.  She was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease...not a diagnosis we would wish on anyone.  Another friend is undergoing chemotherapy this week...her second bout with cancer.  And then there is the friend who has been on kidney dialysis for over a year...he is patiently waiting for a donor.  It looks like his wife may just be a match...and early in the new year they could be going into surgery together. None of them saw it coming. 

There are no guarantees in life...but we have this moment today.  Let's make the most of it! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

all on a winter's day...

While many of you were celebrating Thanksgiving...
my thoughts were moving ahead to Christmas. 

Outside the snow was falling...
and the roads were treacherous. 

I stayed indoors and began to unpack the Christmas decor.

The mantle garland is up...
and the tree is half-up.

One strand of lights decided to call it quits...
and so the tree will need to wait for another day.  

I've been sewing napkins for Christmas dinners...
in a few co-ordinating fabrics.
I thought I would get the 'placecards' ready as well...
and am using Christmas ornaments in colours that co-ordinate with the napkins.
 The name tag is attached to the top with gold ribbon.
Quick and easy.  

And...to keep the ball from rolling around...
I attached a little piece of 'tacky wax adhesive' to the bottom of each
(the kind used to keep candles upright in their holders).

And, while many of you were having turkey for dinner last night...
we had chicken and stuffing...
and thought of our 'American cousins'.

You had pumpkin pie...
we had gingerbread with warm lemon sauce.

'Tis the season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a blast from the past...

Rosedale...a picturesque little farming community with a nice name.  It happens to be where we once lived...where our children spent their early years and attended school.  It had one general store in those days...a service station and one restaurant, called Lee's.  We ate at Lee's with our family a few times...the last time being in the middle of a winter blizzard when our power went off and the water supply to our house froze.  We went of necessity that day...some twenty-five years ago.  Meanwhile we moved to our present location, and though Rosedale is not far away...we would never think of it as a dining destination.

I drove through Rosedale not long ago...and realized that Lee's was still in business, looking virtually unchanged.  I wondered if it was still the same inside...with it's somewhat sloping floors and all.  

We got a flyer in our mailbox several weeks ago...a photocopy of a handwritten menu from Lee's Restaurant.  Most flyers don't get a second glance at our place...but 'handwritten' caught my attention.  I actually read the menu...and had a hankering for Chinese food...and decided we might just go back to our old haunt and check it out.  We did just that last night.

It was rather like stepping back in time.  I'm sure the floors are still sloping...but as long as you don't spill...it won't bother you!

It was clean, cozy and the perfect place to be on a chilly winter evening.

There's nothing like wonton soup to warm you through and through....followed by dinner for four.

We found some friends to join us for our dining adventure...friends who once lived in the same community and frequented the same diner with their family back in the day.  So we had a good time reminiscing...

...and enjoying a little blast from the past.  And guess what...we plan to return...one day soon. 

Though we celebrated Thanksgiving here some time ago...I would just like to wish all my American family and friends a most wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day!  My thoughts are with you...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It has felt rather frigid around here these past days...
and so I am staying indoors and keeping warm. 

The view is just fine from my sewing room/office...
where I have been hanging out.  

It seems the internet connection doesn't take too well to the cold temperatures...
and so my computer hasn't been of much use these past few days.  
I'm a little reluctant to go 'on-line shopping' when the shopping cart freezes mid-spree.

And for those times when the power has gone out...
we were not left totally in the dark. 

The moon has been incredible...
a wonderful light in the darkness.

I'm looking forward to more seasonal temperatures by the end of the week...
but am enjoying the view from indoors for now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

oh shoot...

As a cold Arctic front pushed through the valley yesterday...the winds howled and the temperatures plummeted.  Everyone looked for an excuse to stay indoors...where it was warm and cozy and the coffee was brewing.  Or so I thought.

I looked out the kitchen window...and couldn't believe my eyes.  There were sport hunters out in our field...not of necessity but by choice.  Seemingly oblivious to the cold...they crouched...they shot...they gathered the game. 

I have no idea who these die-hard hunting enthusiasts are...but we have granted permission to several parties to hunt on our property.  The flocks of geese and ducks have taken a liking to our fields...and we are hoping a little hunting now and again will cause them to take up residence elsewhere.  Though a flock of waterfowl around a pond look quite lovely...they cause a lot of damage to our crops...and so we like to discourage them from putting down roots.

As I did my shooting with my Canon...from the comfort of my kitchen...I had to wonder what kind of dedication it must take to go hunting 'just for fun' on a day like yesterday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

hot chocolate weather...

Though the first day of winter is officially a whole month away...in reality, winter has arrived in our part of the world.  Coffee, mocha and hot chocolate are the order of the day.  We happen to have a 'hot beverage' machine over the barn...which is seeing a lot of use these days.  I hear it makes a mean mocha...but I have yet to check out the barnyard coffee shop (after two years in business). 

Tim Horton's has a new special...just in time for the season.  It looks like everyone...and their dog...are checking it out.

I watched from inside while the dog placed an order at the drive-through wicket.  Back seat drivers deserve hot chocolate as well!

Enjoy the day...and stay warm!

Friday, November 19, 2010

it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas ♫ ♫ ♫

Ready or not...winter has arrived!
At noon it began to snow lightly...
and by evening the ground was white. 

It seemed appropriate that I was off to a Christmas Extravaganza last night...
where a good friend was doing a cooking demo...
of seasonal appetizers and treats.  

It also seemed OK to turn on the Christmas lights...
and play Il Divo's Christmas Collection.
Bring on Christmas...I'm ready.   

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

post modern monopoly...

The power went out the other night...in the first windstorm of the season.  What's a person to do?  We decided it was as good a time as any to unwrap our new Monopoly game...and play the modern 'all-Canadian' version of the age-old favorite.  We discovered that it took one lantern...one large pillar candle...and two flashlights on demand...to shed enough light on the subject.  How did they do it...back in the day?

Our family tradition was to buy a new board game every Christmas...and for the most part...we have kept it up.  This year we decided to purchase the new Canadian Monopoly game...and because of the storm and all...it got unpacked a little before Christmas! 

We soon figured out this was not the 'same ole' game we were accustomed to...and we played with one flashlight illuminating the rule book.  Inflation has definitely left a mark on this game!  Where we once 'Passed Go' and collected $200...we now Pass Go and collect $2M.  The most expensive property on the original board was Boardwalk @ $400.  One now needs very deep pockets to play the game...with properties ranging from $600K all the way up to $4M. 

Here's the fun part...we are on the board!  Where you were accustomed to seeing Tennesee Avenue on the orange properties...you will now find Chilliwack....adjacent  to Kawartha Lakes and Montreal.  That's my fair city!  And the mountain peak you see featured on our 'square' is none other than Mt. Cheam...the view I see daily from my front porch.

As you may or may not recall...Hasbro had a contest earlier this year, where we could vote for our favorite city...one that we would like to see on their new Monopoly game.  Oh yes...we are a loyal and patriotic bunch over here...and we like our city just fine.  And since I encouraged you all to join me in voting for my hometown ...I would just like to thank those of you who helped put Chilliwack on the new Monopoly: Canada Edition.  Though you may never have heard of Chilliwack...we managed to get more votes than Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Kelowna.  I like that!

I must admit I was more than a little disappointed when I opened the box to discover there was no money!  What fun would it be to play the game without real, hard cash?  

We soon discovered that it was much simpler to swipe a card...a lesson that I had learned long ago in real life.  After about an hour of play in the semi-dark...the game ended with one of us having a balance of zero...and nothing left to mortgage.

What can I say?  If you need a new board game for the season...and you are interested in dabbling in the real estate market...and prefer to spend someone else's money to spending your own...it's a good game for you!  And you may just learn a little about Canada while you play.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

cats that mean business...

You won't usually see posts about cats over here...since we have none around our house. But we have some business cats in our community...that have gained notoriety.

When I saw Nietzsche-the-cat front and center in the newspapers this past weekend...I thought he deserved honorable mention over here.

We know him quite well from our trips to The Bookman...our local bookstore. He keeps watch over the till...or prowls around the stacks of books...and is a favorite of the kids.  And now he is the poster cat for Abebooks.com...featured as the top bookstore cat in North America.  I just happened to have a picture of Nietzsche in my files...and so I thought I'd share his new found fame with all of you.

And then there is the cat that lounges around at one of my favorite garden shops...and can be found napping next to the catnip...or is that basil? 

And the door greeter over at 'Ship Happens' is also a feline. Who knew...that cats are good for business? 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

French Braids and Double Dutch...

Skipping.  It was what we did at recess...or lunch hour...on the playground.  We chanted skipping songs...and jumped to our hearts' delight.  And when we reached the end of the rhyme...we went into a skipping frenzy called 'pepper'.  That was the competitive part of the game...how long could you maintain that speed?  And then there were those who were quite good at skipping 'double dutch'...where one would jump two ropes while they were being turned simultaneously...like an egg beater.  I can't say I ever mastered that!  The skipping ropes of my memory were actually made of  rope.  And we wore dresses to skip...since we we were required to wear dresses to school back in the day.  Our hair flew free and our dresses got tangled in the rope on occasion.  It was all part of the game.

But skipping is a thing of the past, right?  Not so!

Skipping is serious sport these days.  And when they head off for a day of skipping...

...they are required to present themselves in team gear...and with hair in French braids.  And so it was that I rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn on Saturday...to see if I still knew how to do French braids. Soon Emme and her team mates were off to a competitive jump rope competition...with participating teams from our province and Washington State. 

Last time I showed up when the skipping was all but done.  This time, I arrived bright and early...and got in on the action. 

I won't bother posting a whole lot of photos of the actual skipping...since the rope, feet and hands are all a blur!   She is good...she is fast.  Let's just say...this is not how Grammy skipped!

As for the ropes...they are not made of sisal or plastic...but are stainless steel metal cables...capable of 5-6 rotations per second.  Oh...and they cause welts on bare legs.  

I knew about 'double dutch'...but 'double under' was all new to me...where the participant jumps up a bit higher than usual while swinging the rope twice under her feet. It all happens so quickly...it took me awhile to figure out the rope was going around twice for every jump. 

Emme and her team did well...and she came home with a fistful of ribbons. Next weekend they are off to another skipping event...in Washington State.  

I was surprised to learn that Canada has 41 jump rope teams...with about 1400 athletes...and accounts for about 10% of the world-wide jump rope community.  No...skipping is not a thing of the past!

Monday, November 15, 2010

fall foliage finale...

We know that all good things must come to an end 
(according to an old English proverb)
...and so too the beautiful colours of autumn that we have been enjoying this past while.  

There is rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future...

...and so these views of a few days ago will be a thing of the past.

The limbs will soon be bare...
the reds, golds and greens will disappear.

Autumn is a season followed immediately by looking forward to spring.
- Doug Larson

I know many of us can identify with that quote...
at least in a small way!

But winter is waiting in the wings.
The snow-capped peaks are here to stay...for a long while.
 Each season has it's beauty...
let's not miss the delights of winter!

Can I add that I hope the 'delights of winter' don't overstay their welcome?
'Cold' is not my best friend.

Enjoy the day...

Friday, November 12, 2010

the rainbow cake...

Whatever you wish to call it...a rainbow cake or a tie-dyed cake...
it's not really that complicated to make. 

You asked...
so I'll tell you how I did it.

With a little help from Betty Crocker...

 and a good supply of gel colouring...
along with a few basic tips...
you could make a 'rainbow' cake in your own kitchen.

The gel colouring is important...
the liquid food colouring would not produce vibrant shades.

* 2 packages Betty Crocker Supermoist vanilla cake mix
* 4 eggs
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* water (add to eggs and oil to make 3 cups liquid)

1. Empty both cake mixes into large mixing bowl.
2. Combine eggs and oil; add water to make 3 cups.
3. Add liquids to cake mix and beat on low until combined; then beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
4. Divide batter equally into six individual bowls.
5. Add gel coloring to each to create your rainbow of colours...purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.
6. Prepare two 9-inch round pans...line bottoms with parchment paper and spray pans with Pam. Now for the fun part!
7. In first pan, drop half the purple batter into the center. Carefully add half the blue batter right on top of the purple...followed by green, yellow, orange and ending with red. Do not stir at all.
8. In the second pan, use remaining batter in the reverse order...beginning with red.
9. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centre comes clean.
10. Cool completely before removing from pans.
11. Frost when cool.


* 2 packages vanilla instant pudding (4 serving size)
* 2 cups milk
* 1 large tub Cool-Whip

1. Combine pudding mix with milk and beat for one minute.
2. Fold in whipped topping mix.
3. Cut top off one of the layer cakes to level and place on cake plate.
4. Spread with a generous amount of the frosting; top with second layer.
5. Frost top and sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving.

Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles, if desired.

 Then serve to two special girls for their birthday...
or any other fun occasion.
And be sure you have lots of friends to help eat the cake...
since it serves a crowd!

And while we are on the rainbow theme...
why not add some rainbow finger jello...

Have a wonderful weekend...