Friday, June 29, 2012

Insta-Friday, June 29

It’s Insta-Friday once again.

School’s out now.

Day one: the kids are bored. Seriously? You poor things.

As I mentioned last Insta-Friday, I didn’t get around to sharing many photos, besides my Ringo Starr photo and video.

So, this week I am sharing some cell phone photos from the past two weeks.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

School's Out

Today is the last day of school for my kids before they are free for the summer.

In less than two short hours, they will be home buzzing about all the things they are going to do now that those pesky classes aren’t getting in the way.

Top priority for my son is time to use the brand new scooter that he just purchased for himself using birthday money and allowance money.

We have all kinds of other plans too, including soccer practices, soccer tournaments, swimming lessons, dance camp (for my daughter) and a family trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

We have never been anywhere near Cape Cod before, so if you have any advice, I will gladly take it!

In celebration of the children’s well-earned free time, I want to share a poem in their honour.

Note: The Sweet William flowers pictured above were given to me by the kind farmer at Spring View Farms, where we picked strawberries. I placed them in my recently thrifted green vase.

 The World’s Music

The world’s a very happy place,
Where every child should dance and sing,
And always have a smiling face,
And never sulk for anything.

I waken when the morning’s come,
And feel the air and light alive
With strange sweet music like the hum
Of bees about their busy hive.

The linnets play among the leaves
At hide-and-seek, and chirp and sing;
While, flashing to and from the eaves,
The swallows twitter on the wing.

The twigs that shake, and boughs that sway;
And tall old trees you could not climb;
And winds that come, but cannot stay,
Are gaily singing all the time.

From dawn to dark the old mill-wheel
Makes music, going round and round;
And dusty-white with flour and meal,
The miller whistles to its sound.

And if you listen to the rain
When leaves and birds and bees are dumb,
You hear it pattering on the pane
Like Andrew beating on his drum.

The coals beneath the kettle croon,
And clap their hands and dance in glee;
And even the kettle hums a tune
To tell you when it’s time for tea.

The world is such a happy place,
That children, whether big or small,
Should always have a smiling face,
And never, never sulk at all.

—Gabriel Setoun

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, June 27

After we went strawberry picking last week, I then had the task of using up all those strawberries we so carefully picked.

I started off by making strawberry muffins. You can find the recipe here.

My son did what he did with last year’s strawberries—crushed them (by hand!) and mixed them in with some orange juice. So as to avoid any further mess, the next time I asked him to run them through the Magic Bullet with the orange juice, rather than crushing them by hand.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Brass Beauties

All of the chain thrift stores, like Goodwill, Value Village and the Salvation Army, seem to be having sales of one kind or another this week.

I am avoiding Value Village’s half price sale today, because it mostly applies to clothing, and we simply don’t need any more!

I will be going to Goodwill’s half price sale this Friday, because it counts on dishes too! Until then, I am saving my money.

So, today I am once again highlighting some of the pieces my mom has given me over the years. I have a number of brass items, including this teapot, above.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Basket Sale

A few weeks ago, in one of my Insta-Friday cell phone photo posts, I showed you a sneak preview of some of the items I had purchased at a basket company's annual warehouse sale.

I have been going for many years now and I have SO many baskets. I would be embarrassed to show you just how many. Yes, I am addicted to baskets. Presumably to help me stay organized, but I have so many that it is an organizational problem in itself.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, Ringo Starr edition

Quite frankly, I forgot to do my Insta-Friday cell phone pictures post today, because I thought it was Thursday for most of the morning. By the time I realized, my husband had taken the cell phone (and with it my photos) to work.

So, I am sharing one highlight from last weekend for now.

I’ll catch you up on the other stuff, including our look at the Nik Wallenda walk across Niagara Falls, next Friday.

Just before the amazing walk, my husband and I watched Ringo Starr at Casino Niagara. Ringo will be 72 soon. Pardon me?

Have you seen this guy? He is in incredible shape! This is a small clip from the show, filmed on our cell phone.

life rearranged

Strawberry Muffins

We just caught the end of the Ontario strawberry picking season yesterday. It’s so quick, I sometimes miss it.

Because of scheduling issues, my husband and I went without the kids this year. We’ll make sure they come with us when we go raspberry picking next month.

Last year, we used our abundance of strawberries in many different ways. The kids’ favourite way was homemade strawberry sorbet on top of peanut butter cake. You can read more about that here.

Once again this year, I will make a quick and simple strawberry jam in the bread maker. I also plan to make strawberry cupcakes and, of course, freeze any remaining strawberries for smoothies.

After a rainy evening on the soccer field last night, I couldn’t wait to get baking with my fresh picked strawberries. So, I decided to try making strawberry muffins. My kids thought that strawberries were an odd addition to muffins for some reason. They are more used to blueberries and chocolate chips in muffins.

This is a vegan recipe, but the Earth Balance margarine gives these fluffy muffins a nice “buttery” taste. I use light spelt flour, but regular flour would be fine too.  I would probably add some nuts if the kids weren’t taking the muffins to school.

I am a big fan of muffins and I enjoyed one of these babies for breakfast this morning.

Give them a try if you so desire and let me know how it goes.

Linking up with Thursday's Temptation at Two Yellow Birds Decor and Happy Hour Projects and My Romantic Home and I Heart Naptime and Lifeologia's Potluck Party:

Ladybird Ln

Dragonfly Designs

Strawberry Muffins

by Joann MacDonald
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast snack bread dessert vegan vegetarian strawberries muffins

Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 2 1/2 cups light spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp sugar for topping
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups diced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cups or spray the pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the milk, margarine, vanilla and egg replacer mixture until blended.
Add liquid mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
Gently fold in strawberries.
Spoon batter into pan. Sprinkle tops with 1 Tbsp sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from pan and allow to cool some.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, June 20

I’m off to a school field trip (outdoors on the hottest day of the year) with my daughter today.

So, here is my quick look at highlights from a week of eating.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chickpea Quinoa Orange Salad

With temperatures soaring, I don’t feel much like hanging around the stove for too long.

So, yesterday I prepared this simple summer salad, which features quinoa and chickpeas for a healthy and tasty vegetarian protein punch. I added dried cranberries for a sweet treat.
This light tasting dish makes a wonderful side dish, or use it as a main meal paired with a green salad. I served it with roasted asparagus as well as tofu slices quickly sautĂ©ed in a combination of Bragg’s (similar to soy sauce) and olive oil.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thrifting Sisters

As I mentioned yesterday, we stopped in to visit my sister on Saturday on our way home from Niagara Falls.

My sister and I indulged in some cranberry-infused vodka mixed with Sprite while the kids enjoyed the swimming pool. And, no, we did not get too drunk to watch the kids.

We did leave my brother-in-law to watch them while my husband (who was not drinking) drove us to a couple of thrift stores. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t even thought of going. My sister is possibly even more addicted to the hunt than I am. But once she mentioned it—different thrift stores in a different town?—I just had to go.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Update

We have had such a busy weekend so far. We went to Niagara Falls on Friday for a Ringo Starr show and the exciting Nik Wallenda falls walk.
On our way home yesterday, we visited my sister and her family (and their lovely pool) and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
Today meant Father’s Day breakfast in bed for my husband, followed by some gifts.
Visit me on Twitter or Instagram (@ziajojo) for some of the photos.
My sister and I managed to squeeze in some thrift store shopping yesterday. Here is a preview picture of the happy finds I am posting here on the blog tomorrow.
In the meantime, happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there, including my dad, Peter, and my father-in-law, Giuseppe! Love ya!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, simple pleasures

I skipped Insta-Friday last week due to a lack of cell phone photos. This week, I am back to sharing some cell phone highlights from the past week, or couple of weeks in this case.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday—Instagram It

While I am by no means a tech junkie (I still borrow my husband’s cell phone), I am enjoying a new addiction to Instagram. Here's an Instagram pic of my son consuming a green smoothie on a recent shopping trip to the health food store. (He was looking tired...the kids had some late night events last week.)

I have discovered a significant benefit to Instagram—I get to look at other people’s food each and every day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mixing it up

My daughter and I managed to hit only one thrift store this week, on the way to an appointment in another town.

She picked out a blue and white wool sweater (yes, with the temperature reaching 30°C/86°F), as well as a Webkinz kangaroo. (Awesome—another stuffed animal to end up on her bedroom floor.)

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Celebratory Breakfast

After a very busy week of dance recitals, a family birthday and a school family fun night, the kids certainly welcomed the PA Day today.  Actually, my son always welcomes a break from school, whatever the reason.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

This week I am looking at a few of the food items I consumed since last WIAW.

This was not the best week for food around the homestead, I guess, because I didn’t snap a lot of photos! Either that, or we were just too busy chauffeuring the kids around to take pictures.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Feeling Blue

Having spent most of the weekend on a (cold, rainy) soccer field for my son’s tournament, I didn’t get any time for thrift store shopping. I even missed the neighbourhood garage sale!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, Instagram edition

This week, I have a few Instagram photos to share.

I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but I have to say I’m glad they created an Instagram app for Android phones.

I am having fun playing around with the photos and tweeting them off, whether anybody ends up looking at them or not.

Of course, it is more fun to share, so if you DO want to follow me on Instagram, I am @ziajojo.

If you are on Instagram and want me to follow you, please comment below and leave me your username. I love looking at other people's photos!

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