Sunday, February 28, 2010

Being Neighbourly

Now that was a great dinner party! Everything went better than expected.

I got all the prep work done in the afternoon.
We had an Italian themed meal accompanied by Italian Folk music.
Garlic Soup with Crostini
Caesar Salad
Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Lasagna with Italian Sausage
Garlic Bread
Tiramisu and Coffee.
Wine. Red and White.

And for the first time ever in hosting a dinner party, more people drank red than white.
They are finally seeing things my way!

We had some of our neighbours over. Two couples live across the street separated by one home, and they had never met. Both have lived her for many many years. Hard to imagine, but not so hard in this day and age.On another interesting note, the neighbour that is between them, who has also lived on this street for years and although he was unable to attend thought having some neighbours over for dinner was " a great idea!" as if it were something new.

The guest list was diverse and Paul and I were the youngest at the table. Except for Athena who handled herself very well.

We had Cec and Vivian. They are in their 70's and are still as spry and sharp as ever. Vivian has Athena help out with the garden in the spring. Nice folks.
We had Bob and Rita. Bob is on the fire department with Paul and reminds me so much of my Dad. And Rita, Mrs. Mayor of Delisle.

We had Steve and Lori. Steve, we just met that night, and Lori was Athena's play school teacher. Needless to say, Athena spent most of her time with Mrs. Coleman. I think Mrs. Coleman likes Athena just as much as Athena likes her.

And then we have Paul. Being none other than he always is. The "Life of the Party."

Good times. Happy Days!

Friday, February 26, 2010

What the Girl Has Been Doing

Mr. Incredible and Violet
And we are having a dinner party with 8 guests this weekend so I'll be back next month with the pictures. Next month! The days are flying by.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vegetarian Comfort

Soup Day. I would love to have soup day around this house.
I only see one problem. The only soup Athena likes is Lipton Chicken Noodle. LIPTON CHICKEN NOODLE!
Me, I love soup. All kinds of soup. Cream soups. Tomato based. Pureed. Chicken soup. Tomato macaroni soup. Carrot Habanero soup. You cook it, I'll eat it. Well, no soup with pork. Or beef. Wait, I like Borscht so cancel that last one.

And then there is mushroom soup.So creamy, earthy, hearty.

And what is soup for supper without a little salad. Seared Haloumi Cheese with roasted red peppers. Drizzled with Olive oil and lemon.

And bread. Home made bread.

That's what I call Soup Day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lending Library Love

Isn't it great that we have access to public libraries? All virtually for free? Well, maybe not for free if you count the home owners taxes that we pay.

But still. We would have a lot less money in our pockets if we had to buy every single book we thought we may be interested in. Much much wasted money.

How many times have you put a book on hold at your local library, only to find it was not what you were hoping for at all. If you are like me, many times indeed.

But just look at all the information we can get. For free! (Like I said, virtually for free)

We can cook. We can craft. We can learn. We can escape. We can simply be entertained.

And really now, who doesn't love the movie The Big Chill?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knitting (Hopefully) Without Tears

Knitting without tears. What a joyful notion. Seems simple enough. Does it not?

As I have mentioned before in this space, I like to knit but my repertoire is limited. Limited to slippers, scarves and wash cloths. Also a few leg warmers, fingerless gloves and finally a hat.
It is time. Time to expand. Time to venture out. Time to attempt my first sweater. Small size, for Athena of course.

So I plan to turn these:
Into this:

And with such vague instruction as this:

I hope to do it like this:

It is a seamless pattern, save for the under arm, with only garter stitch. Easy Peasy. (she says as the crosses her fingers and knocks on wood)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Break

Yes, I called it a weekend break. What else could it have been? My house was totally cleaned, top to bottom on Friday and yet as I sit here this morning it looks as if a tornado blew through it.

I started to clean the toy closet. I wanted to weed them out. Only keep the really good stuff. But, alas, I got lost in old photo albums and folders of loose pictures. My memory box full of items from as far back as 1980. Mementos of the man I was sure to marry. I knew I would marry him at the tender age of 15. (I did, by the way almost 27 years ago). In the box was a piece of the wrapping paper from the first gift he ever bought me. Some cheesy craft that said "P & M". Pictures of us, taken on an old film camera when we were very young. Also in the box were every single letter he had ever written to me from his travels. Being married to a salesman means you sleep alone. A lot.

Needless to say, the toy closet did not get cleaned. Boxes half full, sat on my sewing table all weekend. Athena's slippers and movie watching blanket were strewn on the floor of the family room. Paul had a sweater hanging on the back of my computer chair and there are wood chips and bark pieces all around the fire place and his gym bag was thrown by the back door, its contents spewn all about. See, I told you a tornado struck. ( Yes, I am that crazy about having a clean home.)

The reason the house seemed so askew this morning is that we had way too much fun this weekend.

The weather was warm, relatively speaking, especially if you stayed out of the wind.

We built forts.

Paul taught Athena to play shinny.

I baked an apple pie that turned out to be disastrous that all I will let you see are the before pictures. (Note to self: Do Not Mess With Grandmas Pie Crust Recipe!)

We went to the city for lunch. We ate calamari and sushi. Walked around the book store and visited my daughter Jill and granddaughter Eden. And Eden presented me with the most thoughtful gift ever. She found a dried up Oak leaf outside her school and picked it up to give to me. She knows it is Grandma's favorite leaf. Her mother didn't. Hmm?

We spent a lot of time in front of the fire and I am pretty sure I drank an extra glass or two of wine. I don't know what it is with me but as soon as Paul starts a fire I head for the wine rack. Good thing winter is almost over. ;) We played, we snuggled and read the first six chapters of Stuart Little, by E.B. White. She is loving it I tell ya.

I made that Mac and Cheese I was talking about and we ate some beef tenderloin steaks with grilled shrimp. And the pie... well, Paul will chip away at it this week. If it ain't great, it ain't worth eatin'.

And now it is Monday afternoon. The laundry is done. The sheets are changed.The toy closet all done. The house is clean and Athena is at school. All back to the everyday weekday. Happy Days!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Year of Lovely Things

Food is a lovely thing. Isn't it? I thought you'd agree. I've been back in the kitchen cooking up my kind of comfort food. This past week has been one of lots of outdoor time and lots of yummy cooking.In fact, just the other day we had a delicious healthy meal of:

Panko Crusted Salmon Cakes

Garlic Scented Broccoli (with a sprinkling of Parm/reggiano)

And Basmati Rice Pilaf with Turmeric

And then Indian food was on the menu yesterday:

Tandoori Chicken Breasts with Naan bread

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices

Chickpea and Spinach Curry and Basmati rice

Indian food is so colorful and fragrant isn't it? The house did smell like curry all night and even when I awoke this morning, which, by the way I hate. But it was worth it. And lots of leftovers which I had for lunch this very day.

Yes, lovely indeed. I am thinking, oh maybe, some Homemade Mac and Cheese and some Chili this weekend. Yes, I think I've got it. Enjoy your weekend. Remember, warmer weather is on the way and these hearty warming dishes can only be appreciated fully when it is cold outside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Since the new year arrived I have been thinking more and more about creativity. More specifically, my creativity. I know it is within me, waiting for me to give it expression. But then there is the "if I can't make it look just how I imagine then I am not even going to attempt it" me who often wins over.

I am really excited about the Inside Out Course I am going to take, but that doesn't begin until April. Instead, I am slowly letting my creative side manifest itself, no matter the out come. This is not easy.

When I was a girl, I used to draw and write long stories. And play the piano. A lot. And now, my creativity is mostly expressed through cooking. I dabble in knitting. I have made some Waldorf Wee Felt Folk. I do some sewing too. Paul bought me an artists easel a few years back, complete with all sorts of paints, brushes and canvases. I used it once, about a year after. I attempted to copy another artists method, failed, and put the whole lot back into the closet. I really really want to bring it back out.

My daughter Jill bought me some charcoal pencils, drawing pencils and some sketch pads. I remember having a few sketch pads all filled up with whatever I wanted. Not any more. But this past weekend, I took it out, and USED it! Of course I was not thrilled with my initial attempts but so what? I did it, I loved it and I will most definitely do it more often.

Athena used the water color pencils and she was so excited with the result. She has no fear of a piece turning out poorly, she just takes joy in the doing of it. JOY IN THE DOING OF IT. A good lesson for me.

So the weekend was one of bringing beauty into being by several different methods. It was so relaxing and so... joyful. I even had some time to go on the elliptical trainer and practice yoga. We did some weaving with a "new to us" loom from ebay, some Lincoln Log construction. Some Mandala coloring from Threading Light.

We even made some time to ride exercise bikes and I did some Yoga as well. (FYI I nailed Revolved Triangle and Half Moon asanas. Just goes to show you how a balanced life leads to more balance in the poses.)

Couple that with a glorious Crab leg and Beef Tenderloin feast made completely by my dear husband. Dessert of Harden and Huyse Chocolates. Some Petit Syrah. A roaring fire and you have the makings of bliss here folks.