Friday, November 30, 2012

What a hoot...

So many readers have admired the owl mug I got from my husband and the kids last Mother's Day. That's why, when I saw these hand-painted folk owl mugs at I just had to share a pic with you. They are $14 each. Not too bad.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Apple Crisp With A Twist

Remember when I went to the apple orchard in September? I had all of these plans to make lovely recipes to use up the apples that the kids so lovingly picked that day.

It's now (late) November and I still have a fridge drawer full of apples. The guilt is starting to eat away at me.

So, yesterday I put together this recipe for Apple Crisp With A Twist.You probably guessed from the picture that the twist in this apple crisp is raspberries. But, I really should have said twists plural, because I also added orange juice and flax seeds for extra fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, sushi edition

Happy hump day! This What I Ate Wednesday, I am looking back at a few food highlights from the past week. Sushi, when I can get it, is always a highlight. I stopped and picked some up for lunch one day. That's bean curd and mushroom sushi on the left, avocado and cucumber maki on the right. What's with the salad, though? Where did the tradition of iceberg lettuce with weird dressing come from?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vintage Christmas Stamps

Yesterday, I told you how the kids and I had fun on Friday making our first Christmas crafts of the year. On my last trip to my parents' house, when I was rooting around in the basement (as usual), I found some Christmas stamps that my siblings and I used as children. As I have said before, if I used it as a child, sadly that makes it vintage.

By the way, my mom also gave us the rosemary plant. She is handier than any store. And free!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chestnuts roasting...and a giveaway winner

We had our first snowfall this weekend. Welcome back, my old friend. Please don`t overstay your welcome. If you could go away by February, I would appreciate it. 

We have been enjoying a lovely weekend with family, including my niece, Maple, above. This big, beautiful gal is the chillest dog I have ever seen.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Insta-Friday in Real Life

Happy Friday! How many of you are going shopping? I'm not sure how long Black Friday has been a tradition in the US, but it just started happening in the last couple of years in Canada. Because we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Not that I'm complaining. A sale is a sale, and I am a woman, after all.

It's time to share simple cell phone photos from our week. Around here, we have been spending a lot of time at my son's basketball tournaments. His sister is getting used to watching.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, stir fry edition

Happy What I Ate Wednesday, and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! (And good luck fighting the crowds if you are going shopping on Friday!)

I have not been inspired cooking-wise this week. It happens. So, for healthy and quick, I usually go with stir frys. Here is my lunch from yesterday...a stir fry of mixed frozen organic veggies and extra-firm tofu, with kamut udon noodles and teriyaki sauce. I added some Lundberg Family Farms sesame and seaweed rice chips on the side and washed it down with Silk chocolate soy milk.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Brooches and baubles

Recently, my daughter asked me if granny might have some clip-on earrings for her to play with. She has pierced ears, but I guess she got it into her head that playing with costume jewelry would make for a good time. I knew that granny did have some brooches and baubles, because I used to root through her jewelry box as a child. I'm not a big jewelry fan (that's my sister) but I enjoyed looking just the same.

On our last visit to my parents' house, my mother had put together a package for my little girl. Above, a set of clip-on earrings and a matching pin. And more goodies. She said a couple of them might be real gold. And you are giving them to an 8-year-old? That shows you just how much she wants to clean house.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Lake

A few days ago, I showed you some highlights from "the cottage," otherwise known as my parents' house. No look at the cottage would be complete without a look at the lake.

Last weekend, my husband, the kids and I took a walk down the beach, as I used to do as a child myself. Part of the beach is blocked by rocks that people have poured over the cliff to act as retaining walls. I loved to climb those rocks as a kid. I don't mind now, except I found myself without appropriate footwear this time! Slippery boots are not the best option.

Lake Erie is not a gentle lake. Many people have drowned in it. My mom even saw a body floating ashore when we were kids. In the wintertime, the lake takes away several feet of land and trees each year. My mom's friend recalls a time when there were farmers' fields out over the part of the lake that I swam in as a child.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A gift for my little girl...and a photo book giveaway!

It’s now the middle of November, and I am still in denial about Christmas. The kids are busily cutting out toy ads from store flyers and making lists, complete with prices and store availability. They know me well.  A thorough source of information will better ensure I actually remember what they want. Don’t be like me. Start planning your presents now, so you can better enjoy the days leading up to the holidays. Make some cookies before Christmas instead of rushing to a crowded mall.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, Soup's On...and a winner

Can you believe it's Wednesday already? That means What I Ate me anyway. I'm into stuff like that.

We had an unseasonably warm day a couple of days ago. Well, in the morning anyway. In the afternoon, it turned cold and rainy. All of that is to say that normally, from September to...oh, about May, we have good soup weather around here.

As the day goes on, my enthusiasm for cooking generally wanes. That's why I love the slow cooker. Throw a simple soup together when my energy is high in the morning, add bread and a salad in the evening, and dinner's on the table! On this particular night, pictured above, I paired the soup with a corn muffin, made from a recipe in How it All Vegan. This black bean sweet potato slow cooker soup is based on a recipe in Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, a book I highly recommend. I have mixed black beans and kidney beans and added some sweet potato. I also reduced the amount of thyme, because I don't like a strong flavour of thyme. The recipe follows. If endorsements might convince you to try making this, you should know that my kids actually said this soup was good. That kind of high praise doesn't often come from those two...when it comes to healthy meals anyway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cottage

We got “the cottage” when I was maybe about 9 years old. Back then, it was a little red cabin, covered in red logs and sitting on blocks. I clearly recall that, when a storm would come in off Lake Erie, my dad would get us out of bed to sit on the green vinyl-covered benches around the kitchen table until the storm passed. I’m not sure what he was afraid of, but that guy is the definition of “safety freak.”

We used to visit the cottage sometimes in the winter, setting up portable heaters (which I'm sure my dad turned off at night) and using electric blankets in bed. After my parents retired, they decided to move to the cottage full-time. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thrifting at mom's house again

Last week, I talked about thrifting with my sister while visiting my parents in their small town. Besides the goodies I got at local thrift shops, I also came away with more vintage stuff from my mom.

But, first I want to show you some of the cool things my parents own that I haven't taken home...yet. 

My mom isn't going to be too happy to see the cobwebs in the photo, above, but the collection is up by the (high) ceiling and I didn't feel like dusting all these objects. My parents live by the lake, which means lots of spiders! This is just a part of my dad's collection of beer steins, etc. My favourite item is that little guy who pours shots. He actually moves. I loved it when I was a kid.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The pacifist clings to hope...

Vera Brittain

Remembrance Day, November 11, 2012

"The pacifist clings to hope." I remember writing that in an essay during my fourth year of university. I took a fascinating course about war in literature. We had 10 books to read, and I just couldn't get them all finished. My favourite was English writer Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. The book jacket describes it as "one woman's unforgettable record of the First World War - a haunting elegy for a lost generation." Haunting is an appropriate word for it. I cried sometimes while I was reading it. Vera Brittain's real life losses were many and painful. But this book is also strikingly beautiful with eloquent, poetic writing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, Jolene gets a bath

Happy Friday folks!

I am sharing simple cell phone photos again. On Monday, I told you about the shopping expedition I shared with my sis, during which we argued over a Guess wallet. The cool charity thrift shop we went to had this awesome display of salt and pepper shakers. I didn't buy any though. I am NOT getting into that!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday and The Simply Bar Giveaway

Welcome to What I Ate Wednesday and The Simply Bar giveaway!

My dad had surgery last week, and I knew that mom and I would need some snacks while we were waiting at the hospital. So, I made us date squares (a favourite of both me and my mom), along with these All or Nothing Granola Bars, above. They are not only delicious...they also contain some good nutrients to keep your stomach full in between meals. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thrifting Sisters...part two...with a dispute

Back in June, I told you about a thrifting outing I took with my sister. This past weekend, she and I hit the thrift stores again. Bargain shopping is never far from my sister's mind, and I am easily convinced to go along. We were in my parents' small town, where the thrifty deals are greater than they are in my area.

At the first store we visited, I found this large Blue Mountain Pottery jar, above, for $5. The woman at the store said she thought it was hideous. Luckily, I know what I like...namely bargain-priced home accessories. I love the orange "drips."

The Lady Soma Masque Winner is...

I am happy to announce the winner of the Lady Soma Antioxidant Berry Masque contest. Thank you to all who took the time to enter.

The winner blogger friend Tabetha, who writes lovely musings over at The Closet Intellectual. Congratulations dear Tabetha!

And lest anyone think I choose favourites, I just have to tell you that my mom entered the contest. Sorry mom.

That's why I use Rafflecopter and let it pick automatically!

Stay tuned for more fun contests soon, starting with a giveaway this upcoming What I Ate Wednesday.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 2, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, a football game + more

Insta-Friday time...simple cell phone pics from our week. In my last post, I told you about the girls' night that my daughter and I shared last weekend while the guys were at the football game in Hamilton.

It was the last game at the old Ivor Wynne stadium in our hometown, so my husband wanted to be there. They are going to tear down the stadium and build a fancy new one.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Girls Night In

The boys went off to a football game on Saturday, in our hometown of Hamilton. It rained throughout the entire game, but they stayed strong until the end. Oh, and the Ti-Cats won the game, so that made it all worthwhile. Here`s my son wearing my dad`s vintage Tiger-Cats jacket.

Me and my newly-turned-eight mini me were left with a day to hang out together. Notice she crashed the off-to-the-game picture, above, while still wearing her pjs (and her Junie B. Jones glasses of course).

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