Sunday, May 14, 2017


Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing Moms out there! I know it's a tough gig sometimes. You sacrifice everything - your lives, your money, your time, your career, even your dreams so your children can have all that and more.

Have you ever struggled on what to get that special mom in your life for Mother's Day? Well, here's a few tips.

First, just ask! She may fluff you off because she is very used to putting herself second but it's worth a try.

Second, a general rule of thumb: if this is a young mother, give her some alone time. Take the kids for a few hours and let her have the house to herself or so she can go shopping or whatever. 

If this is an older mother it's the other way around: she does not want alone time, she wants you time. So hang out with her, listen to her, take her for dinner.

Yesterday, I was able to spend the afternoon with my daughter (I fall into the older Mom category). We went to the County and puttered about. We had lunch and she bought me this beautiful lamp!

Then we went to the Drake Devonshire for dessert. I got the "Affogato". 

They take a scoop of ice cream, pour a shot of espresso over it and to make it extra special, a little shot of Chambord liquor. My, oh my...that's what THIS Mom really wants!

Today my husband and I honoured our own Moms. We cooked up a storm and had them over for lunch.

It's a great privilege to be a Mother and one of the hardest jobs on the planet and it so important to honour and acknowledge them. 

Happy Mother's Day to you All! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017


It seems we went from April Showers right into May Monsoons! We have had SOOOO much rain. My flowers are waterlogged

and tapping out

We are breaking rain records and so far this month (all 6 days of it) we have had 146.7 mm rain. Our average for the month of May - 79.4 mm.

It's a lovely sound, listening to the rain tap, tap, tapping on the window but eventually you are just going to have to get out there.

So, where's that Rain Slicker?

I've been living in this baggy, slick number for most of the week.  Yesterday, rain or rain, I headed out to make the most of it.

I stopped by the Bulk Barn and also did a bit a shopping for Mother's Day. But just to make my soggy day a little easier, I picked up a Chai Tea Latte made with Vanilla Soy Milk at Teavana.

This tea is warm and spicy and not too sweet. I highly suggest you don't start into them unless you are willing to commit. 

The local authorities have warned us to avoid the waterfront regions so, of course, had to go check THAT out. The Moira River is all worked up and angry and did not want her picture taken. 

But the Bay of Quinte, drinking in all that Moira River water is fat and lazy and spreading out all over that place.

There's a trail under there somewhere

Just spreading the love

No, that is not supposed to be an island!

The ground beneath my feet was wet and makes a distinct squelchy sound with every step. With wet socks I decide its time to head back home and make a stick to your ribs supper.

I'm a day late for Cinco de Mayo day but it was still a good hearty meal with beans, rice, hot peppers and chicken. Thanks Marcus and Kelly for the recipe!

Today, thank the heavens above, it is not raining. My slicker finally has time to dry and so do I. 

I don't know about you but I'm ready for Mr. Sun to take the stage!

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Sounds like something you would read in the headlines....

This just in....Memories of Italy Found in a Cooking Class.

But it's true! I recently took a cooking class with my Mom at Seasons Find Foods in Napanee. Our hostess/chef/teacher, Pat is a gold mine of kitchen tidbits and advice. 

Her shop holds a wide variety of products, local, organic, gourmet, gluten  free - whatever you need. 

I could have perused around in there for quite some time but there was cooking to be done in the back kitchen.

Our theme for the evening was Italian and when we arrived Pat had a number of stations set out for us 5 would-be chefs to try our hand at.

We paired up (except for my Momma who managed on her own)
and each prepared a dish.

Mom's was the appetizer: salad consisting of fresh arugula lightly dressed with the BEST olive oil you can get your hands on, a ball of bocconcini, paired with prosciutto and pancetta. 

A simple salad full of flavour!

Next up was a genoa salami and tomato dish. The salami was marinated in the BEST olive oil (Pat made it clear to us the importance of excellent olive oil) with garlic, flat Italian parsley, lemon zest and seasonings. 

This dish would be great to bring to summer get togethers when tomatoes are at their peak of freshness.

Finally, the main course, made by myself and partner Jean.

Meatballs with artichokes and fresh sage - Mama Mia!!

Pat ended our night with a nip of Limoncello and prettily wrapped individual Italian macaroons.

It was the Limoncello that sent me over the edge and back to Italy. Our family took a trip there about 6 years ago and one of our meals was in Sorrento. The meal, to be honest, was mediocre but the view was drop dead gorgeous.

Much like my daughter, Randi. In fact due to the messed up meal and my drop dead gorgeous daughter, we had nearly every male waiter in the restaurant fawning and plying us with LOTS of Limoncello!  We gave most of it to Sheldon and happily stumbled him out of there. 

The cooking class was a great experience and I learned quite a lot. I would recommend it for an evening out for sure. You can go check it out yourself at Seasons Fine Foods in Napanee or find them on Facebook. 

And thanks Pat! Not just for all the great tips but the great trip back to Italy!

Sunday, April 23, 2017


I did a rough estimate. I've been riding a bike for about 47 years now. The one I presently own I bought 8-9 years ago from money earned in a wedding photo shoot. A good bike - but after nearly 10 years, in need of a little sprucing up!

The Bicycle, Season 47, Episode 1

I dropped my Raleigh off at The Brake Room earlier in the week for a spit and shine. 

Much needed new tires and brake pads, a number of rusted cables replaced and a new chain. She runs like a well tuned engine and stops on a dime!

I take a ride down by the waterfront. There are kids up on the hill flying a kite. Tired, happy dogs come sauntering out of the dog park  with their tongue lolling out to one side. 

I stop in at a Bakery I've been told about, The Crust and Crumb to pick up some dessert for later.

I zoom along and under the bridge I find signs of new love!

Heading home, I discover my "Bike-dar" (as in Bike radar) is a bit rusty. I can't read cars and their possibly fatal reactions to me as well as I should. As in Episodes past, I can expect a few close calls!

I've worked up an appetite so dinner is lemon chicken with a salad of warm roasted vegetables and goat cheese. Went well with the Bakery's Date Square and the Salted Caramel Bar!

I expect someday I will be too old to ride a bike. 

But not this year. I'm working on Season 47. 

Here's to the Episodes ahead on "The Bicycle"! 

Monday, April 17, 2017


I headed out the door early Easter Sunday morning to walk Lulu and noticed two things: it was not pitch black out and there was a gentle, summer breeze blowing. The same one that greeted me with a kiss when I walked off the plane in Dominican Republic. 

Finally, I've been waiting for you to show up! It seems we spend a lot of time waiting for something.

Teenagers waiting to be all grown up.
Wives waiting for husbands to come home.
Men waiting for the dream girl.
People waiting for life to begin, waiting for life to end.

And everyday, waiting for supper to be ready, the kettle to boil, the weekend to begin, the pain to be over. 

As I was walking Lulu, watching the colours change on Easter morning I was considering my faith. Here is a God who is so Gracious, Merciful and who loves me despite my short comings. 

How Good He is! Which got me thinking about all the Bad that is also part of our lives. The sadness, broken dreams and promises, blatant evil. Why do Good Friday things happen to Easter Sunday People? 

Sometimes it's hard to recognize the Goodness of God until we clearly see the opposite side of things. If nobody knew pain, how would they recognize joy?

So here is this patient God, waiting for you and me. He took all our pain and screw-ups and bore the punishment on Good Friday. It was underserved. Like the loss of your loved one or the chronic illness you deal with or that betrayal.

The same Easter Sunday God rose victorious and says "Come on! Let me carry those sins, give you rest, new mercies every morning and joy everlasting!" With Him there is forgiveness, new life and new hope!

So....what are you waiting for?

Sunday, April 9, 2017


I'm just finishing a 7 day work-week. Now, with a glass of wine balancing on the bed cover, I'm tucked up in my bedroom, window open because the weather is finally feeling like spring and I'm typing up this blog.

I'm home. 

I can hear the crows, robins and a couple of doves. Sasha is sitting on my makeup box, observing the view. The occasional car drives by on our quiet suburban street. The house has a slightly dusty smell. 

It's what we homebodies live for. The smells, sights and sounds of home. Where I feel most comfortable.

This is a pen and ink drawing my Mom did of our house in Trenton where I lived as a teenager (I know, she's really good). On that big porch ridiculous amounts of teenagers hung out, smoking and making a racket. Supertramp, Thin Lizzy, or Led Zeppelin were usually cranked on the stereo. That little window on the top floor? It was my attic bedroom; freezing in the winter and deathly hot in the summer but I loved it. 

This is a watercolour I did of our house in Foxboro, the first house Sheldon and I bought. Not having my Mom's talent was why I switched to photography! Adrian was 1-year-old and Randi was 4 when we moved here. This old Victorian boasted hot water radiators that were great for sitting on or drying off wet mittens. It had the biggest dining room and once we sat down nearly 30 people for dinner. My homebody heart loved this house.

Once the kids reached high school it was time to move into town so we could accommodate all those after school activities and part time jobs we would be picking them up from. 

This is our house now. I asked Bonnie, a very talented young woman to draw it for me. She is also quite likely the sweetest human being on earth. This one called to my heart. The neighbourhood was a hot one and houses were snatched up as quick as they landed in the paper. But this one was waiting for our family. We have raised our two teenagers plus 9 other ballerinas who boarded with us over the years. 

It was not unusual to have a house full of kids in the living room!

We homebodies, love our homes and they love us back. That love permeates and welcomes others who enter in. 

I'm not sure where my next home will be, but I know it will be where I feel safe, comfortable and where a classic homebody belongs! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017


I had a bit of a late night last night! Cinderella barely made it home before midnight. But it was for a good cause. I helped out as a volunteer for the "Under the Big Top" Gala to raise funds for our local Quinte Hospice. 

So, let me take you behind the scenes to what went on so our generous guests would all have a wonderful time!

The tables were set with great care

Down to the finest details

You gotta have Cotton Candy when you go to the circus!

Everyone looked fab!

The acrobats  limbered up

And lots of directions were given so everyone knew what they were doing!

I love that last moment of stillness before the whole scene changes..

Then the guests started to arrive!

The volunteers were in character

Kingston Circus Arts put on a Great Show!

And Everyone had a lot of fun!

Including the volunteers!

This Cinderella needed a nap on Sunday but I was thrilled to be a part of this event supporting Hospice Quinte!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


We had our Staff Recognition day at work this week. I'm often the resident photographer and before the festivities got underway I was called upon to "Take a picture of the cake!" 

I complied before the cake succumbed to the masses.

I enjoy taking food pics. I have a whole folder of pictures devoted to food (and wine so I remember a good bottle). I will snap a pic before a great meal or I often shoot whatever I'm making  in the kitchen. Here are a few samples:

Mini spinach and cheese quiches I made for Christmas one year

A summer salad with grilled veggies and salmon

Peaches and yogurt with homemade granola!

Chocolate dipped strawberries

Pumpkin Pie!

I'm not the only one with a food fascination. Just look at the influx of cooking shows from competitions to instructional. We have whole networks devoted to food. There are websites, twitter and Facebook sites filled with gastronomic eye candy. In my day your options were Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet!

Why is that? We can't touch it, eat it or smell it - we can only look at it and yet we can't get enough.

There is no doubt food is something everyone is interested in. It reminds us of comfort, connection, celebrations. It tickles our senses from the sensual to the spiritual. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But now we can add to that the vast array of ingredients and tools available to us and our access to global cuisine. Now your cooking with gas!

It would seem someone had a light bulb moment and discovered the goose that lays the golden egg (and how best to serve it) - we now have a multi millionaire industry on our hands.

Working with food is relaxing for me and the kitchen is one of my comfort zones. This is nothing new. Many of our ancestors, men and women, have taken refuge around the fire with some fresh homemade bread and a hearty soup. I will continue to putter in the kitchen, chopping, mixing and experimenting and I will continue to take pics, partly cause they are so pretty, partly because I'm proud of my creation and I'm saying "Look what I made!"

And, don't worry, when called upon, I will Take a Picture of the Cake!

Sunday, March 19, 2017


I have been blessed (thus far) with extremely good health all my life. No broken bones, no chronic illnesses and other than the occasional lump removal (I'm inclined to be lumpy), very few surgical interventions. 

However, this week I came down with a cold.  My throat scratchy, my neck glands tender to the touch, head feeling punky and I can feel the pressure in my sinuses. 

I needed some comfort. Sitting beside me in the big chair is Lulu, cuddled up beside me. I can feel her steady heartbeat on my thigh and it's comforting to have her close. But for a cold, some homemade chicken soup was in order. Something with big chunks of chicken, veggies, rice and parsley.

We all have times when we just need to be comforted. I've been thinking about what I call "the suddenlys." These can be good and bad but without warning life changes and suddenly everything, or a lot of your normal, changes. It's a transition, a bend in the road you did not see coming, a loss or a gain. 

When you are hit with a suddenly, I hope you can find the comfort you require, whether that be a prayer, a hug, or the love or a good dog. 

If you need it, I have some homemade chicken soup in the fridge!

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Before I begin, it's Sunday morning, and I have a question....

Why, oh why are we still doing this time change thing??? Come on Ontario, let's put that one on the back shelf please.

But I digress...I watched a documentary on "Minimalism" yesterday. If you have not heard about this new trend, here it is in a nutshell:

To intentionally live with only the things you really need. 

"Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it" according to Joshua Becker.

Which got me I a Minimalist??? The answer is No, but I am a purger...which is close! 

I intentionally purge nearly every week and I have a continual pile of items ready to go when the charity of choice calls up and asks if I have anything for pick up - you betcha I do.

I don't "collect" anything (except maybe things that are yellow). 

Yesterday was another so not necessary freezing cold day but as I hunkered down in the house last weekend I was not going to be trapped in again so I went to do some shopping. 

Like me, I expect Minimalists do not get a high off of shopping but I did need to pick up a few things:

The honey and spoons were for work. For some reason, spoons disappear at the office. I don't know where they go, but I suspect they are canoodling with socks somewhere.  I picked up the spoons at Value Village along with a sundress for $12. Now since I bought a sundress, that means I will get rid of something. Purgers like to keep things in balance. 

The wafer cookies were a treat for my hubby, and the coconut oil was a necessity along with the wine!

Funny wine story. Went like this:

Cashier to the young woman behind me next in line: "May I see some ID?"
Young Woman: "Of course"
Me to the Cashier: "You coulda asked me too!"
Cashier: "You were borderline"
Me: "I bet you say that to all the girls"

Now that's just funny on so many levels!

I think Minimalism is a good perspective. We really have way too much stuff. My plan is to slowly whittle everything down to only what is important to me before my kids have to move me into a retirement home. 

That should leave me with pets, humans, music, food and wine and all things yellow!

Sunday, March 5, 2017


We had a little glitch when we were heading south for our holiday. The plane was a good 10 hours delayed. That meant we spent a whole lot of time in the airport wandering around aimlessly! 

As it was, I had forgotten my lip balm with SPF and since I had LOTS of time to kill I went looking for a replacement. I could find nothing with an SPF in it and not being a shopper I finally just asked the nice lady to help me pick something out.

She chose this one. And at the till I found out if cost me over $30!!! Yikes!! But when I tried it the stuff was amazing. Who knew?? Went on like butter.

Where Have you Been All My Life!!

Sometimes you just have to try something new and discover your life could be sooooo much better. 

Like this homemade hummus recipe that has been stuck to my fridge for at least 3-4 years and I had never tried it. 

Yesterday was a good day to hibernate in the kitchen (freakin' cold out) so I made Primal Crunch Granola (another "Where Have You Been All My Life moment) and decided to give this Hummus a go.

I chopped up the garlic:

Added the lemon juice. Working with lemons always make for a better day - the colour, the smell, it's all good!

And put it all in a blender. I added some cayenne pepper and sweet red peppers cause I wanted a bit of that hot/sweet thing going on:

A voila, I had a beautiful Hummus

So good for dipping veggies or crackers or Naan bread!

It's always a good idea to try new things. You may discover something that will make your life richer. Like an expensive tube of lipstick, a friend, or a new hobby.  How about exploring your faith? Apparently God is standing at the door knocking waiting for someone to open it, according to Rev. 3:20...just saying...

Or maybe you should just check the fridge door. Might be a great life-changing recipe right in front of you!