Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chocolate Cheerios

There are, apparently, people who do not like chocolate. I have met some of them. It's beyond my comprehension, because I think everything is better with a little chocolate. 

Like Cheerios. These are a riff on the ubiquitous Rice Krispie squares - made with marshmallows and butter. Add a little chocolate to the mixture and substitute another cereal and voila - a whole new treat!

I have had a hard time concentrating this week. Our roof is being replaced and it sounds as if Santa and his reindeer are clattering about all day above me. 

Yesterday I joined the tech-age. I've had a little flip pay and talk phone that I use rarely. But I found that even being called for substitute teaching is changing and I was missing calls/emails because teachers sent them out to several people and whoever replied first got the job. So....I now have an iPhone and will be connected at all times. Unless I choose otherwise. Perhaps it will become second nature, but for now, I'm finding texting awkward. I'm sure anyone under 40 reading that would laugh hysterically. 

Choosing a phone and a plan was VERY stressful. I needed some data but not much. What a rigamarole it all is. Now I have to learn how to use the phone. 

I think I need to make some more Chocolate Cheerio squares since the batch pictured above was devoured during camping last weekend.

Here's the recipe if you are feeling the need for a little chocolate:

Chocolate Cheerio Squares

1/4 cup butter or margarine
10 oz marshmallows (40 regular or 5 cups mini)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
5-6 cups Cheerios

Melt the butter, marshmallows and chocolate chips together in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop. Stir to combine well. Add the Cheerios. 

Press into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Chill. Eat.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do You Ever Note?

Pinterest is great for lots of visual inspiration and information. But it's very public. I don't always want everyone to know what I'm interested in. For example, if I'm planning a party for someone who is following me on Pinterest, I might not want to pin my ideas. Or, I may just want to keep some things private.

There's always the option to bookmark sites, but I find that cumbersome. My son-in-law and daughter introduced Ever Note to me this summer. It's been around for awhile and I don't know why it hasn't gotten more press time. Probably because it's private, not social. 

If I read a post on a blog, or an article somewhere on the web, or find a recipe I'd like to try, I clip it just the same as with Pinterest. The source is automatically recorded on the clip. Ever Note downloads the information to my computer so that I can retrieve it at any time, whether I'm on line or not. I like that. I can organize the information and photos into folders that make it easy to find the information.

There's a free version which I'm perfectly happy with, and an upgraded one for a price. 

Have you heard of Ever Note? Do you use it?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Last Bit of Vacation

We returned from our trip to Alberta Wednesday evening. Thursday I did laundry and tended to the urgent in the garden. Friday we packed up and went camping with Little Miss A and her parents. Two nights in a forest campground just steps from the beach. 

The rest of the family came out on Saturday for the day. One of them brought a most welcome accessory. On Friday night our air mattress leaked. Tim pumped it up before we went to bed and it slowly, slowly leaked air until it was almost flat by 1 AM, at which time the sweet man pumped it up again, with a foot pump. In the dark. In the cold. I just lay there feeling the mattress inflate. Our Saturday night sleep was much improved by the mattress borrowed from Little Miss S's parents. 

Our camping set up is simple. A tent, an air mattress (with sheets and blankets, not sleeping bags, which I detest.) A campfire to sit around and use to heat water and cook bannock on a stick and smores. A camp stove for pancakes and bacon. 

We don't do much on our camping trips. Books are packed and hardly read. We saunter to the beach and stroll along the sand, looking at the scenery. We talk. Or not.

 We take turns supervising and amusing Little Miss A. I forgot what camping with a toddler is like. No toys needed. There is the forest for playing "me hide, Nana hide - Boo," the sand for "dig, dig," a playground with a slide, logs on the beach to pretend walking on a balance beam, and rocks to place in holes in the driftwood scattered along the shore. I thought she was adorable in this hat - reminds me of Paddington Bear. 

For a weekend of doing very little, we came home tired. But tired in a good way - the tired that come from being in the outdoors, from relaxing and laughing. Today, it's back to normal. Tim's gone to work, I'm tidying up the house, hoping to get to the garden. Plans for fall have made their way into my mind - scrubbing cupboard doors, painting projects, garden clean up. 

I'm not quite ready to let go of summer, are you?

Linking late to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at the Little Red House.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garden Explosion

After 12 hours on the road home from Alberta yesterday, we were glad stretch our limbs and relax at home. I wandered out to the garden and noticed that while we had been on vacation, the garden had kept on working. But I turned my back on it all until the morning.
This is what I harvested today. That pile of green beans is now in neat containers in the freezer, ready for soup or stew this winter. The potatoes are drying in the garage, and with some of the plums I made a fruit platz. The tomatoes will keep - we had some for lunch with toasted foccacia bread, mozzarella and pesto. A perfect summer sandwich. 

Still to deal with - Savoy cabbage and red chard, both of which will keep. Squashes are ripening, beets are growing. I love this time of year - choosing what's for dinner according to what's ready in the garden. Just now, it seems like everything is ready!

What's happening in your garden these last days of August?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Companion on the Mountain

We're spending a couple of days in the Rockies. Today we hiked for 5 hours, climbing 600 metres from the end of the lake seen at the top left of the photo. We perched on a rocky peak to eat our lunch and this cheeky fellow joined us. 

Hope your week is going well. I'll catch up with reading and commenting next week, I hope.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Barn Study

August. A barn in a wheat field. When I saw it, we stopped so I could take a photo. I wanted to compare it to ...

this photo, taken mid-September, last year. What a difference!

Maybe we could return in winter, and early spring, to complete the study of seasons. Maybe. Or maybe not.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sweetness Along the Way

Our travels on Friday took us from Red Deer to Three Hills, Alberta. Along the way, we kept our eyes open for the turn off to Dry Island Buffalo Jump Park, where we spent some time with Tim's sister last summer. Clicking on the link will take you to our visit there.

We didn't go as far as the park, instead, we looked for the big blue silo, indicating the Huxley Hutterite Colony. Last year, driving along the same road, we saw a sign advertising honey. We turned in and purchased 10 pounds of sweetness. It lasted us about 9 months. 

This year, we called ahead and ordered 50 pounds of honey - 20 pounds for ourselves and 10 pounds each for our three children.

The gentleman who helped us reminded me of Santa Claus, a bit rotund with white hair and beard. But instead of a red suit, he was dressed in a blue shirt held up by suspenders. He said, "This is the best honey in Alberta!"

Tim said, "We know - we drove all the way from BC to get it!" 

The air was dizzy with buzzing. Golden bees carried their nectar into the hives. 

While catching up on line I discovered that in the USA, today, August 18, is National Honey Bee Day.  It's also my mother's birthday. A sweet day, indeed.

"Eat honey, my child, for it is good."
 Proverbs 24:13

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pretty in Pink: August Note Card Party

"I believe in pink.
 I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. 
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
 I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. 
I believe that tomorrow is another day and
  I believe in miracles.

Audrey Hepburn

Vee's fourth-Wednesday-of-the-month Card Party has little to do with shuffling decks. Rather it's a Note Card Party, where attendees choose four photos previously published on their blogs to create a set of virtual note cards.

As summer winds down, I thought a bit of pink would remind me of those heady days of the first blooms, of fresh flowers everywhere, of pink delights in gardens and homes.

The first rosebuds are long anticipated and we watch closely as each petal unfurls to reveal the beauty within.
I read here that sweet things taste better when served out of pink pastry boxes. Apparently pink makes us crave sugar.

On this last Wednesday of August, enjoy the color pink, and nibble a little sweet alongside! And don't forget to visit Vee's Note Card Party for more sweet treats.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the Road

5:30 AM Mount Cheam taken from a moving car. We're heading through the coastal mountains to the interior plateau.

7:00 AM Forested mountains give way to sage-coloured hills and scrub brush. We pass through the Nicola Valley.

8:00 AM Time for a stop at Starbucks, east of Kamloops. Breakfast sandwiches, pretty good. But did you know that all the vegetables in a "Veggie and Cheese" egg sandwich consist of one miniscule piece each of tomato and pepper? Coffee for him, steamed milk for me - which I drank while walking around the mall parking lot. 

10:00 AM We pull into Yard Creek Provincial Park and spend 20 minutes walking through the trees, gazing at the rushing creek, and 

admiring small, intricate bits of nature, like these tree lichens.

Mountains appear once again, small at first, with pristine lakes at their base. Here's a lovely photo including the concrete barricades at the roadside.

Sharp, jagged peaks appear. We climb higher and higher, and travel through Mount Revelstoke Park and Glacier National Park.

11:35 AM Pacific Standard Time/ 12:30 PM Mountain Time We stop for lunch, a roadside picnic and admire the views, grand, as above, 

and delicately small and beautiful wild chicory flowers. We continue on, east through Banff National Park and on to Calgary, then turn north to Red Deer.

Massive peaks change to rolling foothills and green fields of ripening canola, hay and grain. 

After stopping for dinner en route we arrive in Red Deer at 7:30 PM, thankful for a safe trip and exhausted.

Today we're back in Calgary, and as I type we're in Tim Horton's watching a sudden storm. Rain pelts the windows and the Icy Berry Smoothie I'm drinking seems a bit out of place. But the sun is scheduled to return soon.

Thanks for your comments recently. I hope to visit you soon. But for now, it's time to enjoy my drink. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cruising Harrison Lake - Mosaic Monday

Our plan was to walk along the shores of Harrison Lake. A sign offering a cruise caught our attention. We took advantage of the moment and stepped aboard the Laroan for a 2 hour cruise around Echo Island. 

Harrison Lake is at the end of the Fraser Valley, a couple of hours inland from the city of Vancouver. On hot days, the air from the city funnels up the Valley and is trapped by the mountains, creating a hazy smog, clearly visible in these photos. 

The colour of Harrison Lake is a beautiful green at present, made so by the glacier water which feeds the lake. The colour is created by minerals ground to dust and deposited by the glacier. Later in the fall, when the glacier freezes and ceases feeding the lake, the colour will revert to blue. 

The photo above was taken from the boat, looking towards Mt. Cheam and the town of Harrison. Judy, of Judy's Front Porch shows a different side of the mountain on her blog. 

Such a lovely weekend. Relaxed visiting, dinner with my siblings and their spouses at my parents, and a trip to Harrison Lake this afternoon. Tomorrow, we're up at 5 am and heading east - an 11 hour trip in the car. Good thing Tim and I enjoy each others' company! 

Mary's Mosaic Monday linky is not yet up, but I'll post this for now and link up later, if possible. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Of Lavender and Reading

I'm not all that fond of the scent of lavender. Too much of it gives me a headache. But I do like the faint whiff I get when I open a drawer or linen closet containing a lavender sachet. A couple of weeks ago I cut some lavender and dried it, along with lemon balm leaves. The two mixed together well and I stitched together some sachets from leftover silk dupioni.Tied up in sets of two with scraps of ribbon, they make pretty packages.

As you surmised from the previous post, we're off on a trip. We're here for the weekend in Chilliwack, and on Monday morning, early, will be heading east, through the interior, across the Rocky Mountains, to Alberta, to visit family and and to attend the wedding of a friend's daughter.

I've never posted while traveling, but my computer is along for the trip, and we'll see what happens. Internet accessibility might be hard to come by.

Choosing what to take along for reading material is always an important part of packing for a trip. You'll see that I have the magazine I wanted to get to earlier this week, a classic to revisit, and a new book, Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. It's a book I've heard of from a number of sources recently, including Pondside, and my youngest daughter. Thus far I've read the introduction and it's shaping up to be an interesting book.

What are you reading? 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Karma Cheese, or Words in a Family Lexicon

Date: December 26 (Boxing Day), probably 2004
Setting: 7 AM, on the ferry from Victoria to the mainland
Characters: One bright-eyed father, one dopey mother (DM), one newly daughter (DD1) and her husband, one university-age son, one university-age daughter.

DD1 (seated across the aisle from DM): Did you bring any karma cheese?

DM: Huh? What's karma cheese? Is it a Dutch thing?

DD1: No, you know, Mom - Karma Cheese

DM: Huh? (it was very early, the day after Christmas) I have no idea what Karma Cheese is. Is it good?

DD1: (patiently) Not cheese, Mom. C A R   M U N C H I E S - You know, food for the trip. I brought Banana Bread.

DM:  Oh. 

And thus, a new phrase was added to our family lexicon. Now, when heading out on a trip, someone is sure to ask about the Karma Cheese. 

Our bags are packed and we're ready to sail on whatever ferry we land on this afternoon. We have books to read if we have to wait, as is likely this time of year.

The bathrooms are scrubbed, the floors vacuumed, the plants watered, shirts are ironed. With time to spare I thought of Karma Cheese aka Car Munchies. I had some pastry shells in the freezer so I thought a few butter tarts might not come amiss. In the oven within 5 minutes. Easy.

What's your preferred Karma Cheese (car munchy)?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

What I'd Like to be Doing

We've just had a long weekend (BC Day yesterday), but I feel like I need a holiday. I'd love to be sitting outdoors, nibbling a little chocolate (just a square or two), drinking tea and perusing this British magazine I recently purchased. 

Instead, I'm sitting at the computer editing a paper for my husband. (Yes, I know I'm really composing a blog post, but surely I'm allowed a little break.) And I have that mug of tea beside me as I write. The magazine is the carrot dangling at the end of the stick for when I finish the paper, hopefully today.

In my previous post I mentioned the taking down of a tree at our rental home (yes, it's rented as of the 15th of August - houses are not selling in the area, so we decided to take it off the market, rent it, and hopefully sell it in a year or two.) 

The before photo, above, shows how it overshadows the house. The front door is virtually hidden.  

And here's a glimpse of the last bit of tree being cut up. Perhaps in the fall we'll plant a shrub there. I'm thinking a Nandina would look well, and it's deer proof. The lawn is dried out, but will turn green again once the rains begin.

So, back to the editing. How do you reward yourself after completing a task? Or do you? Perhaps I'm alone in this. I hope not.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Another Walk on the Beach

"The beach is not a place to work: to read, to write or to think."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift From the Sea

Saturday saw us drive up island, to our home there, to take down a willow tree. The tree is beautiful, but too close to the house, and there is danger of the roots infiltrating the drainage system and causing troubles. So down it came.The yard looks starkly bare now.

Little Miss S is two months old tomorrow, and this was her first road trip. Her mother and I observed her father and grandfather work hard in the hot sun. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a walk on my favourite beach. 

Wide stretches of smooth sand alternate with barnacled rocky patches. The tide rushes in over sun-heated sand and we wade in the warm water. We're together, but each of us apart. The harmony of sea, sand and sun speaks to the individual. Cares fall distant as the white-fringed waves undulate along the shore.

Just an hour or so at the beach had all four of us (Little Miss S slept through it all) sighing with contentment as we got in the car to return home. I'm positive that if doctors prescribed such beach jaunts to be taken regularly, the need for high blood pressure medication would decrease. The seaside is a place to simply be.

Linking with Mary of the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Friday, August 03, 2012


Impromptu: off-the-cuff, spontaneous, unplanned

That was dinner earlier this week. The family gathered. We played on the grass, sat around the table, ate barbecued chicken, grilled vegetables, quinoa, and Blueberry Struesal Squares for dessert. (The link will take you to the recipe, but I warn you, there is no photo - I'm still updating, resizing, etc. It will likely take me years.)

Earlier in the day, Little Miss S and her mother, along with this Nana and Little Miss A went to the park, pushing matching strollers. Little Miss S spent most of the time sleeping peacefully on the grass. Isn't her hat darling?

Not the most flattering view of Nana, who accompanied Little Miss A to the edge of the spray pool. It was very cold and very strong. If the picture had been taken just a few seconds later, one could have seen Nana move very briskly as she's right next to a spray valve. Silly Nana.

Never could I have imagined how wonderful being a grandmother would be. I feel like I'm getting a third chance at the magic of childhood - the first chance was as a child, the second as a mother. Now, I can hardly tear my eyes away from watching these tiny beloved creatures explore their world. 

As many of you know, we raised our children in South America. Taking a stroll to the park, visiting a petting zoo, and going to a spray pool weren't options where we lived. We did other activities instead. Life was full and I have no regrets. But now I have the chance to do these fun activities that I'd read about in letters and books. Such joy! Such blessing!

What's giving you joy these days?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Dans mon jardin - In my garden

The garden beckoned. Before breakfast, the grass damp and cool under bare feet, I grabbed a few photos of flowers, dewy from their morning sprinkle. This dahlia is HUGE. It's not called a Dinner Plate Dahlia for nothing. Perfect creamy white blossoms.
Not really invasive, but slightly pushy, these Cornflower, or Mountain Bluet flowers pop up everywhere in my garden. The plants are easy enough to dig out if they grow somewhere I don't want them. I like their cheerful insouciance. 

Fragrant phlox is just beginning to bloom, and survived transplanting amazingly well. I had them in a corner which is now a field of weeds as we're leveling out a spot for a new garden shed.

The always reliable hydrangea - how I love these bushes. They bloom all summer long, and then the blossoms dry beautifully for fall arrangements.

Today I'm at home, at my sewing machine. Finishing up some languishing UFOs and fitting a dress for a wedding in a couple of weeks. A puttery sort of day. 

What's going on in your day?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Photo Storage Fees

Just a quick post to ask a question - several bloggers have said they've paid $5 per year to Google and upgraded their photo storage. When I click on the options, I'm offered $2.49 per month for 25 GB or $4.99 per month for 100 GB.

I would be happy to pay the yearly $5 but somehow the monthly fee rankles. I don't want the hassle ( and yes, I know I could do an automatic charge), but still....

Am I missing something? Where do you go to find the yearly fee? Or has it all changed?

On Blogging, Friendships and Apricots

Two plates, two forks, two china mugs, one pot of tea. This week a fellow blogger came by for a visit. Pondside and I have met several times and I always enjoy her perspective on life and blogging. Her blog is written with grace and humour. She is one of two bloggers I've met in person - the other is Myrna.  

It's apricot season, always short, always sweet. Click on the link to the apricot tart recipe - just the thing to share with a friend, or your family, or both. It didn't last long around here.

Apricot jam was another project earlier this week. I always use my mother's recipe which has the addition of an orange and a little crushed pineapple. It's simmered long and slow the old-fashioned way, with no commercial pectin for thickening. Opening a jar in the grey days of winter is like experiencing a fleeting summer moment.

Vee of A Haven for Vee posted recently, on her fifth blogging anniversary, some thoughts on blogging. During the week I didn't post, I didn't feel like reading many blogs, or commenting much. And I was surprised at how much I missed it.

As an introvert who likes her solitude, blogging has been a way for me to connect with so many of you. I'd like to think that if we met in person we would immediately carry on the conversation started through blogging, but in reality, there would probably be a bit of awkward silence on my part, and a tentative feeling my way to developing a relationship in real life. I would like to meet you in real life. You've challenged me to think about things in different ways, to read books you've recommended, to pray for you, to create and to attempt new activities, just for the fun of it. 

So, I thank you for being a part of my life through blogging. And if ever we get a chance to meet, know that it just takes me awhile to warm up.

A Bit of This and That

  Off in the distance Mount Baker, in the USA, gleams in the sunlight. My best guess is that it's about 100 km away as the crow flies. T...