Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday Dear Mother

To my beautiful Mother;
The more you age, 
the more valuable you become. 
I think your value is - priceless! 

Happy 80th Birthday! 
Love you dearly...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An autumn forest hike

“After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value.”  
~ George Macauley Trevelyan

The best thing I've ever done this past year is join a hiking group. There are upwards of 20 women who walk or hike weekly together, an amazing assortment of ages and abilities to be sure. Actually, the bulk of these women are in fabulous condition, never "walk" per se, rather "power walk" at a great clip to keep anyone else moving hard just to keep up with them. 

I myself like to be in the lead, either right at the helm with our group's organizer, or just behind. I find this keeps me accountable, and really moving to keep up. It's a healthy feeling to become so naturally adrenalized, even if the ridiculous sweating that happens is rather unbecoming. 

The scenery during each of our walk/hikes has been utterly breathtaking at times, most of the geographical hike explorations have been new to me. So far, we've been along beach shores, lush and thick forest paths, along the Nine Mile Portage, through historical Fort road beds, and along snowy walkways on snowshoe. It's always a little bonus when spotting those secret geocatching locations along our journeys.

I love this group of friendly and motivating gals, and find it so encouraging myself, to be in a position of cheering on new members, who are at times very out of shape but very darned and determined to perk up again. The ladies keep up their paces well, so everyone knows if they can't keep up, linger behind with a buddy and see you at the end.

These photos were snapped last week, during a sunny autumn morning deep within the Copeland Forest. 

Surprisingly while we were houghing up steeper hills, a few joggers came along and ran by us so quickly, we literally felt the silent wind beneath their leafy feet in stunned surprise. 

Also surprising was finding out the pedometer clicked us in at 9,879 steps during this particular hike. Yay! Great workout!   

"If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans... When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man."  

- - Wilfrid Noyce

  “If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”     

-- Raymond Inmon


 “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” 
-- Paul Dudley White


“Thoughts come clearly while one walks.”  
-- Thomas Mann


 Some of the 20 ladies in my hiking club.

 “The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.  That's the best thing about a walking, the journey itself.  It doesn't much matter whether you get where your going or not.  You'll get there anyway.  Every good hike brings you eventually back home.  Right were you started.”

-- Edward Abbey 

"We don't stop hiking because we grow old - 
we grow old because we stop hiking". 
-Finis Mitchell

“We live in a fast-paced society.  
Walking slows us down.”  
-- Robert Sweetgall


Monday, October 22, 2012

Organizing Spices

There's nothing quite like feeling there's a slow brewing rumble,possibly even a war developing in one's own kitchen! 

Yes, I said - a 'war'....(said she with a big wide grin).

True confessions; there are days when I have no clue what I have in my pantry. 

No kidding. 

I never used to have this problem. Not ever. 

But, it has existed for a few years now, and slowly but surely, it's time to end the often, (at the crunch of dinner time fixing and ingredients disappearing) confusion. 

They say you can tell a lot about a cook by opening up and peeking at the goodies within their spice cupboard. I believe that. 

There's one problem however. When "I" open my spice cupboard, I don't always know what's in there either, nor what half of those collected bottles of spice are as a matter of fact! 

You see, there are two cooks in our home, both myself, and my hubby will take the reigns for the family foodie prep. He (as I've shared with you before) has become the food networks prodigy chef extraordinaire. Yes he has. He has a stained apron to prove it. (grin) In fact, he's a fabulous cook! (I love you honey, grinning)

There's a danger, a type of development of a hissy-fitty domain problem though, when two cooks hang out, and cook at separate times in the kitchen. 

My little pantry and spice cupboard problems have festered since my husband decided a food dish is "all about the flavor", thus the increase in spice bottle counts, and even extra bags of spices for when those spice jars run low. Like all that cumin, and cumin seed in there, bags of the stuff to last us an entire lifetime.

There are so many types of spices for use with exotic international types of cooking in our spice cupboard, that I've attempted in the past to segregate the rare ones by placing them on the shelf above the main area from the usual everyday kind, like cinnamon for instance, or parsley. You know, that sort of thing. Well, that worked for a time. And then, "he" mixed all those bottles and bags all up again. Then they seemingly began to multiply, like (for instance) I just discovered we have 3 chili powder bottles. And another bulk refill bag with more chili powder at the back of that second shelf. 

I think there is a danger when one gathers a recipe from the food network online computer site, and then in the excitement (or haste) of wanting to experiment right now, not taking a moment to find out if we have a certain type of spice, or not, well, so why not just buy another? Oh, and the empty bottles, well, there are multiples of those around too, like they're all having babies in there or something. So, I had to perform a kitchen spice addict intervention!  :) (I love you honey...grinning)

What to do? 

Why not re-do! 

So, I re-did every spice container, purchasing all new ones, and filling them up so all would be the same height, and stack-able possibilities came to me in a dream one night. :) 

Our local dollar store was a fantastic supplier for all the spice bottles I would require. That is, they were similar to those in Ikea, but for sale for a fraction of the cost (3/1.00). 

I only bought 21 of them. I figured that had to be plenty, looked like loads when viewing them all laying in a row within my shopping basket in hand.

I was wrong! I had to buy more, like 18 more. 

So, this beckons a loaded question of from me to you; How many spice bottles do YOU have in your cupboards right now? Do you know? 

Go and count, just for fun. You might be surprised!

Today, I finally purchased those 18 additional bottles, and tonight there will be additional spice organizing to complete my spice cupboard intervention task! 

My cherished label machine will be near me, a fresh roll of white tape will continue to produce all the labels I will be requiring to perform this task. 

Oh, I "do" like these spice jars! 

And, I do love all the easy to read labels affixed to them. Oh, and they stack, one on top of another, rows and rows to behold for me when the deed is done. 

There will be a cease fire in my kitchen now, patience and prudence in all matters of organization will allow many cooks to freely express their creative culinary skills, at (often) impulsive tempted timing. 

I'll be heading out next week, spice shopping list in hand, to check out our local "Bulk Barn" for wee bags of necessities to fill all these jars filled to their very brims. 

In the future, if no one remembers to mention a discovered empty spice bottle, maybe that's okay too because at a glance, I'll be able to see through their glass exteriors, and be able to make a notation on my weekly shopping list. 

If foreign spice bottles reappear, it will be time for a kitchen meeting of the cooks, for a further resolve. :) 

Next up? Pantry intervention, but of course. (grinning all the way here...)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catching "Autumn" with a nature craft

When it comes to all this Autumn season's color, 
how will YOU capture the beauty of nature?

While out on a hike with our nature study homeschool group, everyone was assigned the task to first find a branch shaped like a "Y". It is the best shape for the purpose of capturing autumn, with a built in handle to hold the end product, and two arms to weave simple household string back and forth around. 

Once the weaving is complete, get yourselves in the great outdoors, and have a fun scavenger hunt to find all the colorful goodies around you to savor the season for a time. 

Here's mine! I loved this simple nature craft, so easy peasy, and so very naturally colorful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A plethora of springtime this and that...

Bunches of this and that.

It's a springtime photo blitz, a roll back plethora of photos somehow forgotten in a file folder hidden in my Picasa files. These have been beckoning me move on and get them posted, to finally publish them here on the blog. 

Therefore, without too much ado, here are a whole lot of "this and that", nothing in any particular order, just a bunch of fun springtime photos I wanted to clear from my files. 

Maybe a few of them will make you smile, perhaps some will make you wonder, but all are memories from 2012's springtime already gone.

She was having a sweet tooth craving, wanted to purchase something in the dessert department, and couldn't decide which was better - cookies or ice cream. Naturally, they do go together, so she chose both, and then made me pay. :)

Of course one snaps a photo of this when buying a new guitar. 
Right? Apparently, all the intricate details really matter. 

Our new Canadian 50 and 100 dollar bills are now made of plastic materials, filled with holograms, so they are no longer prone to copying or ripping. 

Take a look folks, it's here in my hand, and long gone. 
One photo, one hundred dollars gone. 

Our third ten-session homeschool group swim lessons, along with extra special blocks of time for plenty of lap endurance testings. I love to keep them swimming, just to swim. We are currently in swim lessons again now, each and every Monday afternoon for another eight weeks yet. Keep them working out!

Oh hello! You're supposed to be my Great-Uncle, right? 
Thank you to our niece for making the long drive to introduce all of us to her sweet little boy. 

Yes, and here's another babe. Wasn't she just a lovely petite thing? 
Born March 1, she is now almost eight months old, but this was one spontaneous photo of baby-grandpa conversational talking. 

Mommy felt up to going out to the barn. 
This was baby's first visit to her mama's special spot. 
She won't remember this visit, thus I was quite excited to capture this photo for her to have in the future when it all makes sense.

How to put together a basketball net? 

Well let's see.... seems both had trouble with the assembly part, as it was so very complicated!

After quite some time, they had to enlist others to help complete the assembly, with some 4 hours invested in this project!

Never again we all said! 
But, it's very sturdy, has been extremely well used, and all think it's pretty terrific.

Big sister was always along cheering heartily, and helping out her little sis. Special bonds have been formed, as these two know well the expectations of horse show day festivities. 

She's been such a fabulous coach for both our girls, there with them 
at every step of the way.

Florals in springtime never fail to make me smile. How wonderful they are when blooming right beneath our noses. 

Mr. Tent Caterpillar - what damage you create on all our foliage! 

Here's one of our Happy Birthday boys! 

Results of an ice cream bar set up in the kitchen. Yum! 

When mommy is busy making cookies, my auntie will make certain I can watch too. This is just fascinating to her.

Another birthday boy, sure to dodge the camera every time. 

Our very sweet granddaughter at 6:30am. She's always such a happy little gal. 

And our newest grandson is such a happy boy too. He was all smiles when we met face to face at long last.

Hungry girls awaited our arrival to town, and the entire family went for pizza. Great to be together. 

Our daughter trying to wear in her new horse riding boots. See that pink sticky tab? It's her reading bookmark she placed there, because surely it won't fall off and she can grab it after to bookmark her page again. 

Birthday boy's breakfast outtakes. 
Four photos later, we have a few to make the memory last forever. 

Two blocks from our home, this was the scene one evening after these men were in communication training sessions around central and southern Ontario for several weeks. It was a very cold day, and seeing them all hanging around various parts of the area awaiting instruction at their assigned posts, now that their day was done, I stopped to inquire if I could offer them each a cup of coffee to warm up, or perhaps I could purchase some food for them.


The captain of the crew said; "God love you lady, but honestly, we've been up since 2:30am, and coffee has already been flowing all day long. So, no thank you.".. 

After smiling at his reply, I then boldly asked; "Mind if I take your photo?" And, here's what I got. "How about you get in the photo too?"

Yes, folks, I'll proudly stand with our troops! What a great bunch!
Thank you boys for all you do to protect our country!

So thankful for the fun math sessions our gang were privileged to join in with the others. What a great math teacher this woman was!

Hats off as condolences were offered in this memorial service towards those who died during the "Battle of the Atlantic". 
Talk about living history, we were all reminded of it here this day.

Just my beautiful (oldest) granddaughter and I back in May, the two of us together.  
Love you K.

Little babies are fun to play with, and dolly furniture is really funny to find her sitting on. 

After twenty years of owning trucks, this hubby of mine has made the drastic change to size down to a car! With diesel fuel as the gas of choice, we are saving so much money on long drives and commutes. Yay! 

Archery lessons were an impromptu invitation with the abnormally warmth of the early spring season. What fun they had rummaging through the forest to find life sized plastic animals to shoot with their bows. 

Oh Happy Girl!

Another grandson moment, cozy in his little fuzzy suit with bear ears and all.

Very special to me were the folks at Catholic Embroidery who created these memorable and plush blankets for me, commemorating the baptisms of our last two grandbabies, both born in early 2012.

 Initially though, we wanted to gift our little dying parishioner baby with a similar one, something so tremendously beautiful for her parents to have for use with her during her short time here on earth.

This company offers expedited services, and believe me, when certain death was very imminent for our little friend, Mary placed our order at the top of the heap and shipped it out very quickly. I cannot thank her enough for that huge blessing provided for us, and also for the family involved. My only regret is not taking a photo of that specially ordered blanket before giving it away. I would have treasured that photo forever.

Simply Gorgeous! 

These blankets will become a must have item for all future grandchildren to come, and I'm sure you're in agreement they are something to forever cherish. We asked for full names, and baptismal dates, with the selected Ave Maria symbol as our custom embroidered options. Hidden for reasons of privacy, you'll just have to trust me that when in full view, they truly are stunning! 

Okay, mommy took her baby girl to the barn, and then sat her up on a horse for the first time here. She even has her very own pink little cowgirl boots already. I can only imagine what is to come for this youngun. :) 

He was standing in "just the right spot" to snap this funny photo. 

Just a few weeks old, Uncle came for a work/visit 
and was smitten when meeting his new niece.

Our daughter snapped this photo of us with her children, our three granddaughters in fact, while we were waiting for the restaurant to open at 6:30am. After all, it was our sweet grandgirl's birthday breakfast date, and happened to be the only time we were all able to swing it. Eyes open everyone! 
Happy Birthday, Love you J.

 Spring was in the air, the door wide open to allow fresh air to flow through, and flowers were in abundance in our home. A little happy time before making dinner, with the sun blasting inside to keep everything bright and sunny. 

He was able to get down on the floor, not usually able to perform this body position for a long time. But this day, someone was watching all his movements, following his voice and never taking her eyes off of him. So, together they were able to chit chat for quite some time, right there on the floor. 

And, this gal just completed her very last ten-jump course of that one particular horse show in spring. What a great riding season both our girls were able to participate in together. 
This weekend however, a non-seasonal horse show excitement is in the air, at their own barn with a dress up Halloween theme to boot. Not only are riders to be dressed up in costume, but the horses are also to be donning some sort of themed suiting. 
Mom here is volunteering and looking forward to all the fun!

Okay, that's a wrap on this very long and photo intensive post. Hope you enjoyed that little walk back to a few months ago with me.