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Monday, March 29, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes
oft times come gems

Looking though old photo albums...

Niece J:  {points to an old photo taken at the beach}
What is that thing beside your towel?
Me:  That is a transistor radio. That is how we listened to our music.
Niece J:  *giggles* Auntie, iPods looked really funny in the olden days!



Photo credit: Ghetty Images

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happiness Is...


a slice of cake
+
pot of hot tea
+
lazy sunday evenings
......................

Buttermilk cake

{12-16 Servings. Prep: 35 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling time}

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition (batter will be thick). Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire cooling rack, cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir chocolate and butter in heavy saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add corn syrup. Add vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly. Stir while it cools. Put cake on cooling rack. Line the counter underneath with aluminum foil or parchment or something under the rack for a quick, easy cleanup. Start pouring the glaze mixture over the top of the cake.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tea, Mad Hatter & Friday Fill-Ins

Tetley really isn't my brand of tea, but I had to have this tin. 
Oh, how I ♥ Johnny Depp!


Friday Fill-Ins #169
Click the link below to play along.

My answers are in bold.  And...here we go!

1. The right word can capture and convey true feelings.
2. Wake me gently.  And on your way out be sure and shut the door quietly, please.
3. Up Up and Away!
4. Right here is where you'll find me.
5. Ooh! What is that heavenly smell coming from my neighbours kitchen?
6. Sleeping late on Sunday is a good idea.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a night at home with hubby, tomorrow my plans include helping my father-in-law install some flooring in his family room and Sunday, I want to wake up from a good nights sleep feeling refreshed and rejuvenated *fingers crossed*!

What will you be doing this weekend?

... in your wildest dreams

 

I believe dreams are little "calling cards" or subtle nudges by our subconscious. They tell us when it is time to evaluate ourselves and change our attitude towards life, our outlook on life or just on some aspects of our life. So if I'm having recurring dreams, I take note. Sometimes I don't understand the message, but I'm listening just the same.

Now on to the dreams...

Dream 1:

I'm lying by a small stream in a vast forest; the trees enormous conifers, and there is the quiet stillness all around. The sun is streaming light beams though the canopy. Occasionally the light is broken up by clouds pass overhead, then they move on and light splashes over the forest again making the bark and mossy growth glow with a beautiful green hue.

The spring is a clear, and there are fish swimming in a deep pool. My arm hangs over the pool as I trail my fingers over the water surface. The only sound is the sound of my heart beating, the echo of water trickle and the birds singing. I'm content, relaxed, and nearly asleep when I am startled by a blood curdling scream. All goes silent. All I hear is my rapid pulse pounding in my ears, then another scream. I start to pull my body to a sitting position when something grabs my arm and I'm pulled into the water.

I wake up.
.........................

Dream 2:

I'm in a quaint little cafe. I'm enjoying an espresso, reading a book, glancing up every now and again to watch the world go by. I notice my reflection in the cafe window. The light goes dim.

I am sitting at the edge a dock, my feet lightly skim the water surface; it's very foggy and the light is dim, probably late afternoon. There are lights reflected in the water, there is no one around. I feel that it's odd that there are no people around, especially at this time of day.  I feel calm and relaxed while my legs slowly swing off the dock into the salt water. I see the water ripple, then hear a "splash" then a scream. I lean over to see what it is and I'm pulled into the cold water.

I wake up.
.........................

Dream 3:

I'm floating on a raft near the shore of a tropical island; it's very sunny, the water is a clear, a brilliant blue-green. I can faintly hear calypso music. I'm relaxed, at peace. I think I hear someone yell "Jacqueline", then scream... "Jackie, wake up!". I'm startled and fall off the raft. I struggle to get back on the raft, but something is tugging at my leg. I hear screaming again... "Jacqueline, wake up!" and then I'm pulled under the water.

I wake up.
.........................

So what are the recurring elements of my three dreams?
Peace, alone, screaming, underwater

Dream interpretation according to Dream Moods

Peace
To feel peace in your dream, indicates an end or a resolution to an emotional issue or inner conflict. It may signal and end of a cycle and the pause before the beginning of a new endeavor.

Alone
To dream that you are alone, indicates feelings of rejection. You may be feeling that no one understand you.

Screaming
To hear or dream that someone is screaming, indicates that some friend or family member is in need of your help.

Underwater
To dream that you are underwater, suggests that you are feeling overcome with emotions and are in need of greater control in your life. You may be in over your head regarding some situation.

Do yo listen to your dreams?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Untitled

My photo archive is enormous; I have few external hard drives filled with photos that I haven't posted on my blog or uploaded to flickr. A lot of the photos deemed by me "unworthy of views", but mostly because different images appeal to me on different days. Anyway, today I have a few photos from my massive stock pile I would like to share. Really I just wanted to post something that might give me a boost today because this week my mood seems to be in a increasing downward spiral. Insomnia, bad dreams of the re-occurring variety -- my subconscious seems to be giving me little clues, and panic attacks -- I won't bore you with all the sorted details about those today. However, tomorrow I may post the dreams just so I can get some insight from you, my beloved readers.

here are the photos.  all monochromatic to match my mood.

Hope you are all having a lovely week!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Treat yourself to some fun this weekend

I'm just sitting here this morning filling in the Friday Fill-Ins, thinking of what I have planned for my weekend. Weather girl says it's going to be sunny and around 10°C. The ground has finally thawed and the ice on the lakes and rivers is almost all gone. Time to shake all the doom and gloom that winter sometimes leaves behind and get outside, kick up my heals and simply enjoy life.

A dear friend once told me... "You get out of life what you put into it". And he is so right! Life is not a rehearsal, so get out there and enjoy!

Re-connect with your inner child: Go for a hike, hug a tree. Skip stones in a pond, lake, ocean. Grab your camera and be a tourist in your own city/town/suburb. Dig in the dirt. Ride a bike... whatever it takes to brighten your spirit and turn on the laughter.

Meet you at the shore!!!

What are some fun things you have planned for the weekend?


Now on to the Fill-Ins...
Friday Fill-Ins #168

My answers are in bold.  And...here we go!

1. Today I will be at the office 'till about 3ish.
2. Flat tire on my way home last night....grrrr, and I say why not?
3. What do you think of me sitting here writing in my blog when I have work to do?
4. At Starbucks it's free Pastry Day til 1030 Friday! (In Canada it's on Tuesday March 23)
5. People say that what we're all seeking is acceptance.
6. The image I cherish most is of my three children together.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Alice in Wonderland(maybe), tomorrow my plans include an early morning market trip, lingerie store, book store and Sunday, I want to go for a walk, tidy the house, bake a chocolaty sinful dessert (any suggestion?)!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let it go + Let it flow

{Photo of LaHave River, taken with Brownie Hawkeye}

Every one has an outlet of some sort. Some people have many things that release the built up pressure of everyday troubles. "Let it go and let it flow", I always say.  Let it flow from every pore in your body.

There are times when the need for a good cry will do the trick, other times you just need to laugh and laugh and laugh some more.  I often find playing my favourite music and sing like nobody's listening, dancing like nobody's watching.  Or I like to dust off one of my old cameras, load it with film and shoot the whole roll in the span of an hour...  photography can be a great outlet for me.  Then of course there this place - my little spot in the cyberspace - a place I can always come to and write about my angst and woes and it always makes me feel better.

What are some ways you like to unwind/let go?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Feast Day

Celebrating our Irish heritage today 
with a good hearty feast

Crock Pot Irish Stew
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, divided
2 pounds boneless lamb cubes for stew
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 medium onions, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 celery rib, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 turnip, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 pound red-skin or golden potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon thyme in a medium mixing bowl. Add the lamb and toss until evenly coated; pat off excess flour and reserve flour mixture. Heat half the oil in a deep skillet (I’m totally going to admit that I used the bacon fat from breakfast this morning). Add the lamb to brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the onions, carrots, celery, turnip, parsnips and potatoes. Saute until browned and barely tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker; place lamb on top.

Add the reserved flour and remaining thyme to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the flour is slightly brown, about 1 minute. Add the broth, heat to boil, and continue to cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce. Pour into the slow cooker. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hour on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.

Add some Irish Soda Bread and 
you've got yourself a hearty meal for St. Patty's Day

Irish Soda Bread
2 cups (250g) plain flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
65g margarine, softened
½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
½ egg
FOR BRUSHING:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
40ml buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.  
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and the egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.  
3. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baby Sis turns the big 40

Today is my baby sister's 40th birthday.
We celebrated the milestone with her Friday by throwing
a smashing birthday bash at a hotel in downtown Halifax.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

If your wondering why we are all dressed so weird fabulous, 
it's because the party was 80's theme.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
DJ rocked the house and 
we danced 'till the wee hours of the morning.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic 
Happy 40th Sis!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Your Monday Questions #10

This week Monday Questions will be the 10th and final entry.  Thanks to all who have participated by playing along and answering the questions each week... it was fun while it lasted.

Now on to this weeks questions.
Last Monday I skipped the usual "Monday Questions" entry, and turned the question asking over to you.  I got way more responses then I ever thought I would get.  Thank you for all the great questions.

Grand Finale of Questions:
  1. Where are you?
  2. Where would you like to spend your retirement?  
  3. did y'all do the "mummering" this year (and did I spell mummering right)? (*think this one was directed at me.  hehe!)
  4. Why is the 40th such a big deal?
  5. Have you ever tried positive affirmations, and if so, do they work?
  6. Do you daydream?
  7. What are you passionate about?
  8. What can you do to improve humanity today?
  9. What is better, if you had a choice: stability or adventure?
  10. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, or other?
  11. How do/would you share your creativity with others?
  12. What one thing are you exceptionally good at?
  13. If you could master one skill what would it be?

Click here to read my Answers

Questions:
#9, #8, #7, #6 #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    "All art is but imitation of nature"

    ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca 


     {made with Adobe Photoshop}

    Credits:

    Every Friday the folks over at Art Creation Friday post a new challenge, a picture or a background. The challenge is to use that picture or background to make an atc (artist trading card) or card, altered art, altered digital art, or something else you like.


    Want to join in on the fun?
    Click the image above to visit Art Creations Friday

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Wakes old chords in the memory:

    Thus fair earth in the Spring leads her performances
    Robert Louis Stevenson, Flower God, God of the Spring


    Finally Friday and another beautiful day outside; I feel like my mind is finally clearing from the winter fog that has take up so much space in this old bean of mine. There are many reason to be happy today:
    • It is good to be alive.
    • The sun streaming through my bedroom window.
    • I heard birds singing.
    • It's Friday!
    • Little purple flowers.
    • Baby sister's birthday party is tonight.
    • The start of March Break for my baby girl.
    • Time change.
    • And last but not least... "Young Artists For Haiti - Wavin' Flag" was released today. Look what a group of very talented Canadian musicians & artists can do when they gather their talents together. This left me smiling, I like to smile. So I have decided I am going to keep playing this song and continue smiling the entire day  =)
    "And then it goes back, and then it goes back,
    And then it goes back ..."

       Canadian hip-hop artist K'NAAN signature hit "Wavin' Flag" was reworked and recorded by a cross-section of 57 of today's biggest Canadian music stars. They call themselves "Young Artists for Haiti", they include Emily Haines, Avril Lavigne and rap artist Drake. The group gathered on Feb. 18 in a Vancouver studio to record the song in an effort to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

      This new version of Wavin' Flag, which includes new lyrics specific to Haiti and is produced by Bob Ezrin, was to be released today, Friday March 12th, 2010.
      "I think there's a difference between media coverage of an incident and a song. I think a song does something a little more lasting, I hope. I hope we register into people's feelings," K'NAAN said. "Since Haiti is going to be struggling for a long time now to fix this thing, I think we need a song that stays with people a little bit more than the newspapers are willing to commit to the subject."
       Please visit Young Artist for Haiti to download this song.
      Lyrics for the new version.  View the original song here.

      Monday, March 8, 2010

      Turning the tables - Reader interaction challenge

      This week is a  busy week for me.  I am helping plan my baby sister's 40th birthday and am swamped down with the small details that keep getting shoved to the bottom of the list.  So I thought I would skip the usual "Monday Questions" entry, and turn the question asking over to you all.

      Have a question you would like to ask?  Just type it into the box provided and click "send" --you can ask anonymously or you can include your user information and ask as yourself, it's up to you.  I will post all the questions next Monday for "Monday Questions", for everyone to answer.

      So don't hold back; ask away!

      Friday, March 5, 2010

      Whoopie! Pies + Friday Fill-Ins

      Whoopie Pies
      I made a delicious batch of Whoopie Pies this week and they are going fast.  What is a Whoopie Pie you ask?  Well, it is a sinful confection made with two round(ish) chocolate, pumpkin or banana cake mounds, with a gooey, creamy frosting that is sandwiched between the cake.  A whoopie pie, also called: a gob, black-and-white, bob, or "BFO" for Big Fat Oreo.

      Recipe:
      Ingredients
      • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
      • 1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa
      • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
      • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
      • 1  stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 c)
      • 1  cup  sugar
      • 1  large egg
      • 1  cup  milk
      Preparation:

      Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
      Make cakes: Sift flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl of an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat at medium speed until fully incorporated. Change mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients, alternating with milk, mixing until just blended.
      Drop batter 1/2 Tbsp. at a time and about 2 inches apart onto each sheet to make 18 cakes per baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, until mini cakes are springy to touch. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to racks to cool completely. Change parchment paper and repeat to make 72 cakes.
      Match cakes in pairs so tops and bottoms are similar in shape. Spread bottoms with cream filling and cover with top.
      For Cream Filling, combine 1 stick of unsalted butter and 1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar in a bowl and beat at low speed until blended. Then beat at high speed until mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 2 cups marshmallow cream; mix at low speed until blended well. (Makes 2 1/3 cups)

      Note:  If you want to take the time to add the filling to a pastry bag and pipe the batter onto your parchment lined baking sheet, the cookies/cakes will come out in a more rounded shape.

      Now on to the Fill-Ins.
      Want to play along? Click on the button.

      #166.  And...here we go!
       
      1. Why are you making a mountain out of molehill?
      2. I want you to take mother nature and give her a good hard shake for me today (brrrr!).
      3. I'm learning to take control of anxieties and fears, then it will be on my terms.
      4. Shake it up and see what happens.
      5. I could use a record button for my mind these days.
      6. I was feeling pretty confident about my outfit choice and then I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window (Yikes!).
      7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going with the flow, tomorrow my plans include the usual Saturday errands, then spending the evening baking for a wedding shower for my sister-in-law and Sunday, I want to enjoy a nice brunch with the ladies!

      Monday, March 1, 2010

      Another day, another dollar, another question

      I don't know about you, but I always find it so hard to achieve that perfect balance in my life.  I wonder if 'perfect balance' is something that is unobtainable; something that only exists in our wildest imagination.  Just when I think I'm finally getting somewhere, a new week begins and I start to fall behind again..."Sucking hind tit", as my mother-in-law likes to put it.  If anyone out there knows the secret, could you please fill me in?

      Ugh!  It's Monday again... 



      Here are a few questions to ponder over this Monday: 

      1.  What is one character trait you love about yourself?
      2.  How are you feeling this exact moment?
      3.  What song do you think describes your life right now?
      4.  Name one thing that inspired you this past week.
      5.  Do you have any words of advice today?

      My Answers:
      1.  I think one of my best character traits is that I am affable.
      2.  I'm feeling a little... ummm, lost today.
      3.  Oh, I don't know...  How about "Strange Days" by Matthew Good.
      4.  This little etsy shop called "Sea Glass Designs".  Amazing artist and so inspiring!
      5.  "Soak up the sunlight you are given, drink each drop of water, and strive only to be yourself, life shall quicken in your roots, spirit shall raise you into the light, and your bloom will inspire the world." - The Universe

      Monday Questions:
      #8, #7, #6 #5, #4, #3, #2, #1