Thursday, 22 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, la la la la la la la

Last Sunday we cut down our Christmas tree.  
We loaded the boys and Archie the Dog in the truck and drove up a logging truck road to Crown Land where, with permit in hand, we trudged through the woods looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  
This year the snow was not too deep so we ventured a bit further out.  Some years when the snow is thigh-deep we are very happy when we find one on the edge of the forest.  
Every tree looks too small until we get it home and have to cut two and a half feet off the bottom and realize that a tree that is six feet wide is just too large for our little room.  
This year we said 'pick one that is 6" taller than dad and no more than a grandma-hug wide.'

With the tree cut down and dragged back to the truck, we make a small fire to roast hot dogs, have hot chocolate and some Christmas cookies.  We tobaggan down a small hill, gather "treasures" from the woods, tell stories and complain about the ratty looking tree we cut down.

This years tree is tall, narrow, almost void of branches and needles, smells nice and is full of new Christmas memories.

What a great day!

No matter which side of the fire one stands the flame and smoke always blow toward your face.

Son #2 chopping through the bulldozed brush looking for a perfect "fire-poking-stick".

We fed the Whiskey Jacks.

Son #1 making snow sculpture out of a block of snow/ice/dirt that fell off the wheel wells of a logging truck.  That bit of greenery laying on the ground behind him is our Christmas tree!

Archie the Dog loves running through the snow and digging for mice. He whined and paced the entire way up and slept the entire way down.

Son #2 still trying to get the perfect "fire-poking-stick".

Here is the tree.
Did I mention it was free?

Merry Christmas my Friends!
I hope your holidays are filled with love and happiness.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Bah Humbug

The oven repair man just called me from my house to say he has to order the part for my oven.

"It should be here by Friday", he says.

"There will be another $85 service call and an additional $70 travel charge", he adds.

"Plus the cost of the part."

"I'll try to have your oven working for Christmas", he offers.

"Or I can lend you my turkey deep fryer."

Thanks, Oven Repairman.  Really.   I do know it's not your fault my oven stopped working 5 days before Christmas.

Ugly Sweater? You Be the Judge

Here it is. 

 I would like to say that it looks worse in print but I would be lying...

It's wool and it's itchy.

Son #1 seems unimpressed at having to model it for this photo.

As a Christmas gift  this sweater came with forest green suede (!!?) shorts (!!?!).  
Those went out almost right away.

The one he wore for this years Ugly Sweater Contest will be posted after Christmas - it is bright raspberry with an over-sized collar and is a nylon acrylic knit blend.

I wonder what I'll get this year?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ugly Sweater Day

Today is ugly sweater day at the boys high school.

It got me thinking about the first ugly sweater day when Son #1 was in Grade 8.
The night before (because why give the parents any time to prepare) he announced the event and what did we have in our closets that he could wear?
"Not much" was the answer. (we give away to Salvation Army, the homeless shelters and The Boys and Girls Club.)

Could we look anyway?

After digging through drawers and closets I came up with a sweater that I thought might work but was unsure as I didn't think it was ugly and had worn it only a few months prior.
It was dark green heavy knitted wool with an over-all pattern of leaves in gold, rust, brown with some black and red shots of color.  Very woodsy looking.

"Yes!" he exclaimed, "that's great".  

I was perplexed because as I  mentioned before it was one I still wore.  
Not to worry though, the kid was happy that he had something to wear to school  and get points for participating. 

That night over dinner I casually asked how ugly sweater day  was.

"I won", he said.

"You had the ugliest sweater in your class?!!? ' I said incredulously.

"No", he said, "in the school".

Today is ugly sweater day at the high school.  Both of my boys are wearing one of my sweaters and both expect to win.

"In your thank you acceptance speech, please let everyone know that your mom gets the worst Christmas gifts ever and that these sweaters are living proof."

...and please don't tell them that I still wear these sweaters.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Things to do! Things to Do!

I have had a busy few weeks. 

 I did a couple of pottery shows and one craft show.  
 The boys helped me at one sale, unpacking and selling, and then packing up the unsold pieces.  
They then split the profits between themselves.  
They were not asked back to the other two shows.
  I don't like doing sales.  I would rather just make pottery.  

During the shows I got a few  special request orders - nothing too fancy, wine goblets mostly, but also some beer mugs and some coffee cups and had to fill those orders as they were Christmas presents.  
They are done and I don't think I will take special orders again.  However, it might be like childbirth - the more time that passes the less you remember the pain of it all.

My son turned 16 on the 5th, wrote the drivers test, got 98% and now has his learners driving permit. He and I  go driving for 40 minutes or so every day after dinner.  
98% is not a reliable indicator of whether he is a good driver or not.
My car is a 5-speed and after the first day I thought I would need  a neck brace (and a new clutch) but he has steadily improved. 
 I have not improved - I am still a nervous fool.  

We were driving down a country lane, it had several turns and twists.
  Me: " Slow down! Slow Down! the speed limit is 50.  Slow Down! 50! 50!"   (31 mph)
Him: "Mom, I'm only going 43."  (26 mph)
Breathe in.  Breathe out.
The Husband took him out last night and I stayed home and ate brandy filled chocolates.

We have been to 5 Christmas parties in the last two weeks and have two to go to this weekend. 
 I think I have gained 5 pounds.  That is a conservative estimate.
The last party was a stretchy pants party - thanks goodness, because not much else is fitting me. 

I have bought three Christmas gifts and none of them are for the parcels that are to be mailed to Houston TX, Toronto ON or Winnipeg MB.  
Stressed? just a bit......

Last Saturday was a full eclipse of the moon and the boys thought it would be great if we all got up to watch it.  Excellent idea except they got me up at 4:30 AM.  I am still tired.  
A lunar eclipse, while pretty, is kinda slow!

The Husband was away two days learning how to use the Jaws of Life.  Quite ironic seeing that the lesson and arrival of the equipment coincided with Son #1 getting his learners driving permit.

On Sunday we will drive into the mountains and cut a Christmas tree, roast hot dogs on a fire and have hot chocolate.  A tradition we have been honoring since the boys were toddlers and one they will not give up.  The tree we end up with is always too large as in they don't look nearly as big in the forest as they do once they are in the house.

I told a friend I would help her make slumped wine bottles (for cheese trays) as she would like to give them to family members as gifts.  She is busier than I and cannot come to my house with her bottles until the 20th, and then again on the 21st to wire wrap them.  I need to remember to be home those two nights.

  I love cooking Christmas dinner and having a house full of people and I am thrilled when it is my turn to do the cooking.  I have bought the turkey, made the Vinetarta (Icelandic Christmas cake that Son #2 insists on having), I have the carrot pudding ready to steam and serve with rum eggnog sauce, chocolate lava cakes that are frozen uncooked and ready to pop in the oven while we eat, butter tarts and the shortbread for lemon filled shortbread tarts.  
Santa will need to bring me more stretchy pants.  
And, in my usual manner, I have invited more people than there are chairs at the dining table but as usual we will make do.

My kitchen floor has not been washed in two weeks, there is clean folded laundry that needs to be put away from last Friday, there are three boxes of Christmas decorations in the middle of the living room floor and I have a glazed "deer in the headlights" look about me that is scaring the boys who yesterday, roasted a chicken, mashed potatoes, made salad and glazed carrots and had it ready before The Husband and I got home.from work.

I think I'll keep  this glazed over look if it means the boys will make dinners.

Maybe if I really stress out they will shop for the presents, wrap pack and ship them and vacuum the stairs.

Yeah,  I know, stop dreaming.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Skiing in Trail, BC

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.)

I don't know if I am more impressed with the skier or the cinematographer or the mind that thought up this fascinating movie but I am impressed for sure.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Today is the last day of November so I thought I would report on how we did with Movember.

The Husband forgot he was not to shave.

Son #1 tried very hard and only had about 4 very blond, very short, mustache hairs and one really long beard hair on his chin.  He was, at nearly 16,  pretty happy with the results.

Son #2 was happy he was young enough not to try.

I can grow a pretty full corner-stash when called upon to do so but nevertheless kept plucking so that I would have a hairless upper lip.  I don't think that ladies are to grow a mustache during Movember so I did not feel guilty when using the tweezers.
  (Our ladies group have a pact that as we lay dying we will take turns coming in making sure the chins and upper-lips are plucked clean - thank you ladies!)

I did send in a small donation as our family's Movember awareness fell short visually but we were sure there in spirit.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American family and friends, I am grateful that you are part of my life!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lesson #42: Know where the Controls are.

Son #1 is studying the drivers manual in the hopes of passing the written portion of his drivers test in two weeks. This will give him the right to drive a car with another 5 year+ experienced driver in the vehicle.  

This morning he said that he had learned that you should always examine the dashboard of your vehicle to know where all the controls are.

Last Thursday, after arriving home from ladies night, I  turned on the interior light of my car to locate a few things that needed to be taken into the house, gathered them up and turned off the light.  
The light did not go off.  

I opened the car door and then closed it thinking some computer connected gizmo was blocked and the opening of the door would clear the problem.  Light still on. 

 I dialed the switch up, nothing. 
 I dialed the switch down, nothing. 
 I went into the house to get rid of my armful of stuff, hoping that the light would go off based on a time lapse.  No.

I went back to the car and got in and started it. I shut it off.  
Light still on.

I decided to wake The Husband but then realized it was late and he gets up really, really, early so thought that maybe I shouldn't.  But I couldn't have a dead battery in the morning so yes, I would wake him.  
I went back into the house but guilt stopped me from going upstairs to wake him.  
Surely I was bright enough to figure this out. 

 I went back outside and did more dialing and fiddling.

I leaned in close to the dashboard for a better look.

I had been dialing the air vent control.  

Yes.  Know your dashboard  - good advice that came to me a little late.

....and no, I had not been drinking...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Oh Dear!

My son just phoned me.

Archie the dog just ate a bowl of Pot Pourri.

I think I won't go leave work until later. 

 Best that The Husband gets there first.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lessons to Prepare for Parenting

I didn't write this.  
I wish I had read this 17 years ago.......
(and yes, I still would have had my two lovely boys!)


Lesson 1 
1. Go to the grocery store. 
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. 
3. Go home. 
4. Pick up the newspaper.
5. Read it for the last time. 

Lesson 2 
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their… 
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience. 
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels. 
4. Allowing their children to run wild. 
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breast feeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behaviour. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers. 

Lesson 3 
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel… 
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner) 
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. 
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM. 
4. Set the alarm for 3AM. 
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM. 
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off. 
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together. 

Lesson 4 
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out… 
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. 
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. 
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed. 
4. Then rub them on the clean walls. 
5. Take your favourite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it. 
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5 
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. 
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh. 
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. 
Time allowed for this - all morning. 

Lesson 6 
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. 
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. 
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. 
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. 

Lesson 7 
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. 

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children. 

Lesson 8 
1. Hollow out a melon. 
2. Make a small hole in the side. 
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. 
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. 
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. 
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby. 

Lesson 9 
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point. 

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler. 

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Remember, a sense of humour is one of the most important things you need as a parent!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Where is that Pot of Gold?

My photography skills do not do this double rainbow justice - perhaps I'll just blame the camera. 
 In any case this rainbow was so incredible it seemed that everyone in our community was outside looking at, and photographing, this spectacular display of nature.  

Son #2 was shocked that the prisms were so large and bright and that he could actually see every color. 
 Son #1 was away on an Earth Quest adventure and missed this.
 I think he was, at that particular moment, on a school bus which had stopped at a fast food restaurant where he ordered two meals from one establishment on the left side of the street and then walked across the street where he ordered another meal.  He said they get very hungry being so active.  I think it's because he's a teen and is not often allowed that kind of food.  Don't tell him but every few months I sneak into my fav place and order onion rings.  

Off topic!  Focus, Joy, focus!

This rainbow followed an intense and pretty scary thunderstorm.  It seems that summer started with thunderstorms and is ending with thunderstorms.  

The house you see directly under the rainbow belongs to a lovely young couple who have three children.  The window on the lower left is their gym.   He works out in a Speedo kind of thing.  I should have planted a faster growing tree there - he is not Speedo material.  
Like I should talk.
Damn onion rings!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Remembrance Day Tomorrow, Today and Every Day

As at October 31, 2011 the number of Canadian dead has increased to 158 which to some is not a lot but if it's your child, brother, husband or dad, then one is too many.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Today as I was walking to the bank  I noticed that the woman I was following had yesterday's underwear dragging out the bottom of her pant leg.  

 I was going to whisper in her ear except I was afraid - the whisper might initially frighten her, resulting in a swat to my face.  I also felt her potential humiliation and couldn't bring myself to be the bearer of such news.

I really hope that the  underwear fell to the ground and was left behind before she arrived at her work place.

Panties on the sidewalk could really start a conversation - who's, how, why.
Those made up stores might be way better than the embarrassing one of reality.

So,  don't laze around in bed and give yourself enough morning time to check for all and any wardrobe malfunctions - I feel bad that I didn't speak up.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Brothers in Arms

These past two weeks have been a hectic blur of life.  Good things, bad things and just regular day to day things. 

A friend posted on Facebook that  she too has been overwhelmed with stuff to do, her boys have been stressed and fighting and she, busy like the rest of us, lost her cool and yelled at them.   

She is now suffering from extreme mommy guilt as we all hate to yell at those we love.  

 I told her how I dealt with my boys when they would think they hated each other.

When they would argue and pick at each other they would have to sit on the stairs, side by side, holding hands. 

Larger infractions, like a Hot Wheels to the head, required that they sit there hugging each other.

They were to talk about what made them angry, why they thought the other was wrong and should change, what a bad mom I was for making them sit on the stairs and in general try to sort through their feelings of anger and come to a better understanding.  They could also talk about the fun they had sliding down these same stairs on couch cushions. 

 I didn't care what they talked about, they just had to talk - and hold hands, or hug. 

 Sometimes these sits on the stair were brief and sometimes they would last a lot longer.

The trips to the stairs became fewer and fewer as they came to understand my sisters favorite word "feelings".  That its okay to have bad feelings (along with the ability to channel those feelings), how it is not okay to hurt others feelings and that you should only try to change yourself into being a better person and hopefully those around you will follow suit.  

And I tell them to remember that siblings are the most important people in your life.  

"One day you might need your brothers money - or a kidney - so be nice to him".

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Full Figure Fall

Every fall since I was a teenager I have enjoyed eating as if I were going into hibernation.  Pack on the pounds so that they will carry you over the cold and snowy months to come.  
Unfortunately, unlike the bears and other hibernating animals, I continue to eat throughout the fall and winter months, sleeping as often as possible (don't want to burn off that fat!)

 Then Spring arrives and I am disgusted, dismayed, disappointed.  

In any case, all whining aside,  I love minestrone soup and if it weren't for the bacon, cheese, and pasta this might be a bit of a  figure friendly recipe.

Save the rinds from your Parmesan cheese in the freezer and toss them in to simmer with the soup.
 If you buy blocks of bacon, save those rinds too. Magic.

2 tbsp  Olive Oil
4 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into cubes 
1 Onion, chopped
2 - 3  Carrots, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 sticks Celery , chopped
2 tbsp finely minced Fennel Fronds or you can use dill if you don't like fennel
1 1/2 cup  Zucchini  - chopped
1 small bunch Spinach
3 cups canned Tomatoes
1 tbsp dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Parmesan cheese rind, if you have one,
If you don't have one you should  go to the store and buy some - you will be glad you did.
2 cups Stock - chicken, beef, vegetable - you choose (or water if you hate decision)
1/2 cup Wine (red with beef stock, white with chicken stock, veg stock or water)
1  can Cannellini Beans, rinse and drain (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup Pasta, Ziti type
Handful fresh basil leaves (quantity depends on your love of basil)
Ingredient quantities and cooking times are flexible - this is soup, not souffle.

Heat pan and add the bacon.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until softened, 10 minutes or so.
Add the remaining ingredients up to the wine and simmer  for 10 minutes.
Add the pasta and the beans and cook at a slow boil for 20 minutes.

 Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkled with chopped basil leaves and large crusty roll covered with cream cheese and a big glass of red wine and sit on the couch with a blanket and a book and  wonder if seconds are in order and discover that Yes! they are.

And, the vicious circle continues.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Are we Too Old for This?

Tomato Cheese Tarts
1 package thawed Phyllo Dough
2 - 3 tbsp Butter - more or less - melted

1/2 cup chopped (shelled!) Pistachios
1 package Boursin cheese or herbed Goat Cheese ( 6 - 8 ounces)
1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper

 1 pkg Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (I prefer the grape as they are smaller and more bite size)
Sea Salt

Brush melted butter over five sheets of phyllo dough - one at a time and stacking one on top of another.  
Cut the dough into 24 equal sized squares and press one into each muffin cup using a muffin tin with 24 small cups.  
These don't have to be perfect but should be pressed in quite well.  Firm but gentle - just like raising a child. Phyllo rips and tears but sticks together quite nicely when baked so don't stress this part of the recipe.
Bake this in a preheated 400 deg F oven for about 12 minutes until golden and crispy.  Make sure the bottom of the shells are golden and crispy not pale and doughy (like my thighs).  Any over-cooked top edges can be broken off if they get too dark.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and remove to a cooling rack.
Meantime, mix together the cheeses and lemon pepper.
When the cups are cool spoon in the cheese filling, sprinkle with pistashios, top with a  grape tomato in half and sprinkle with salt - not too much as the cheese mixture might be a bit salty depending on the Boursin and feta.  Taste test two or three to be sure you have the seasonings correct.

Put on a Oktoberfest Beer Server costume, take the tarts and The Husband (dressed in Lederhosen and a bad hat) to a Halloween party up the street.

Stay out too late, eat too much food and drink too much beer.

So there will be no pictures of the costumes (probably) and next year's costume will be a 'morning mom' -  pj's, robe, big fuzzy slippers, no makeup, hair in a scrunchie and a big cup of coffee in hand.

No Beer for Me!
and yes, I am too old for this.....

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It's Only a Game

Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference

Last night Son #1 had a volleyball game.  I didn't know that a volleyball game consisted of 5 games to 25 points.    Maybe I knew but was just in denial. 
 I offered to drive him to the game as The Husband had fire practice with the local Volunteer fire department.  

The seats in the bleachers are about nine inches wide - considerably smaller than  needed  for comfort.  And they are plastic and slippery.   There are no back rests.  Five games is a lot of time spent sitting on those seats.  I guess they don't want us to stay too long.

One thing you may not know about me is that I hate competition.  I don't care if I'm number 1 or number 78 and I hate watching anything where the outcome is that one person/team is labelled better than the other.  It makes me nervous.  I don't like to watch.

At last nights game the crowd and players were well mannered,  cheering and groaning and happy with how he games were unfolding.

The score was close.  Home team had two wins and  the Visitors had two wins going into the deciding fifth game.    

I watched a bit, they were down three, up two and then I couldn't stand it any longer and I pulled out my Southern Living magazine that my niece sends me from Texas and buried my nose in it looking for pretty things to do with my house. 

  Every cheer and every groan had my stomach in twists but I didn't look up.

A friend, who's husband is an ex professional football player, was complaining that  her father-in-law didn't go to even one game to see his son play.

 I told her why.
It's because some of us cannot stand to watch their offspring make an error,  miss a play or be disappointed. It make us feel the need to be medicated.

Next time The Husband will do the driving to the games and I will stay home - sitting on a soft and comfortable chair, reading a magazine, looking for pretty things to do with my house.

Country Living Magazine

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Put the Coffee On - I'll be Over for Muffins...

Apple Sauce Muffins 
1 1/2 cups Flour 
2 tbsp Oat Bran
 (you can leave this out but don't as it regulates blood sugars!)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
1/2 tsp Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice 
1/4 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 
1/4 tsp Salt 
2 large Eggs 
1/2 cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 cup Butter, melted 
3 tbsp oil 
1 cup unsweetened Applesauce 
1 cup Walnuts chopped – use Pecans if you like 

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Put paper muffin cups in pan.

Stir together flour, oat bran (use it dammit - it's good for you), baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix eggs and brown sugar in a bowl, then add butter, a little at a time, whisk till creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until just moistened. Stir in nuts, put batter into muffin pan. 

Bake until muffins spring back when touched, about 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool slightly.

This makes 12 standard size muffins.


Not My Reality

This morning the local radio station's impossible question of the day was about reality shows.  The question was,   'if you watch a lot of reality shows, this happens to your personality'.

In quick succession I shouted out possible answers - hoping that one of my boys would call in and we would win a 6" Subway sandwich.

Your brain shrinks - I shouted
You lose your sense of compassion, that chunk of brain that holds compassion disappears - completely!

You leave your spouse, have an affair and your life falls into ruin.
You act like an ass to get attention!
You lose your ability to interact with regular people - or any people... (I was running out of answers)

Call this in boys, we can win!

Boys? are you calling them?

The answer?

'You become an angry person.'

What the fffff.fptt!  Why are these reality shows on television?
The world is angry enough.  

 I don't watch them but just hearing about them makes me plenty angry.

Okay,  I'm over it now - I just needed to vent.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Who Says Stuff from the Freezer isn't Good?

Freezer Biscuits

 just under 1 tbsp regular Yeast
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/4 cup Warm Water
5 cups  Flour
3 tbsp White Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 cup  cold Butter 
2 cups Buttermilk

In a  bowl, stir yeast and 2 tbsp sugar with warm water; let sit for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix flour, 3 tbsp sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter to medium coarse texture.   Stir in yeast mixture and buttermilk, and mix  until dough sticks together. It will be soft and a bit sticky. Flour your work surface, roll out dough to 3/4" thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 in biscuit cutter and poke tops with a fork. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once biscuits are frozen, put in a freezer bag (mark what's inside and the date) and return to freezer. Biscuits can be frozen for up to one month. 
To bake, take out number of biscuits needed and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot and let rise for about 1-2 hours (pretty vague time requirement!) until biscuits almost double in size. 
Preheat oven to 425 deg F or 220 deg.C , and bake for about 10 minutes, watch carefully, as cooking time depends on thickness and size.   Yes, size matters.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Happy Day

Just a quick update on the goings on with our friends after they where figuratively punched in the gut and had their feet kicked out from under them.

My friend had her surgery, did not have a mastectomy but instead a lumpectomy.  The cancer cells do not appear to be in any surrounding tissues or lymph nodes so the doctors feel her future is good.  They will be deciding in the next couple of weeks if treatment is needed.

One day at a time.   
Breathe in, breathe out.

Sean's friend, Austin, came out of the surgery quite nicely, is alert and has spoken a few words.  Something he was unable to do before surgery so everyone is hopeful that there will be no more bleeds or clots and that when the swelling on the brain goes down he will be back to normal.  

He had his dad Facebook pictures of him after the operation with the comment "I can talk, bitches!"
The entire thing brings tears to my eyes and when he's back to normal I will say "language, Austin, language!"

Sean said, "Look, he won't need a halloween costume.  He has the  bandages, stitches, bruises..."

He got 'the look' for that one.

Kids..... they make our hearts burst with pride and break apart with anguish and worry.

So another prayer of thanks and a prayer that you will all be safe, well and happy and that we will all see the  things in life that are joyful.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Parents Worst Nightmare

This evening we heard that one of the boys in the Earthquest program with Sean was in a car accident last night.  He was on his way home from a friends volleyball game 7:30 at night when his truck went off the road and down a 25 foot  embankment and hit a tree.  The Jaws of Life were needed to help get Austin freed from the vehicle.  He has serious head and limb injuries.  Tonight he is having surgery  to remove a blood clot from his brain. 

Austin is 17 years old, a Lacrosse star, likes to joke and laugh and have fun and is very much liked by many, many people.  My heart is breaking for him, his friends and his family. 

We are praying for him.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Three Rights makes a Left

My son will be 16 in the beginning of December and on his birthday he wants to write his driving test so that he can drive our car.  He has also been saving his money so that he can buy his own car.

That got me thinking about my first car.

It was a 1962 Ford Falcon and had been well used.  It's top speed was 55 miles per hour which is fine until you have the need to pass another vehicle.  I learned to follow the slow movers.  
Sit back, relax and follow.

The car was white, automatic, four door and had a grey interior.  It was neither sporty nor sleek.  It was embarrassing for a 16 year old to drive until I realized any car was better than no car.  I drove that car quite a lot.

The antenna for the one station radio it could reach was broken, the big chrome horn honker was loose and rattled,  there was an odd scraping noise that came from the bottom of the car that sounded like I was dragging wire.   I wasn't - I checked.

One day my sister and I were driving to the family farm.  I had told her I would pick her up pretty early as the car's top speed was slow and that we didn't want to arrive mid afternoon.  When I pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex I could see her fiance standing at the window so I honked and waved.  He waved and I saw him telling my sister I was outside waiting.  
After the car was loaded with all her  necessary stuff, off we drove. 

 I turned left to face the exit of the parking lot - the horn honked - fiance waved.  I  turned left around the parked cars - horn honked - fiance waved.  I turned left,  exiting the parking lot - horn honked - fiance waved.  I turned left to get on the main street - horn honked - couldn't see fiance wave.   I turned right to get on the highway - no honk.

Later that day when I dropped my sister off at her home - her fiance said he had several dirty looks and several talking to's about the rudeness of his fiances friend honking the car horn so early in the day.

He thought we were just honking because we would miss him.

A few weeks later I turned left into a parking spot in front of a restaurant where I was meeting friends and the horn honked.   
and honked, and honked, and honked.

Friend came out, lifted the hood, pulled a wire and the honking stopped.

Soon there was a bumper sticker on the car that read,  "Horn Broken, Watch for Finger"

Yes, such a thing does exist.