Sunday, December 31, 2006

out with the old...in with the new


Parting is such sweet sorrow. I always feel a little blue this time of the year. Not down in the dumps or depressed...more like wistful and nostalgic. For some reason, I'm the type of person who likes to cling onto the past and try to soak everything in so that it's etched forever in my memory. It's weird because I also feel excited about what the new year will bring. I guess deep down I'm too much of a sentimental.

With new beginnings and the end of things that are old, we are also parting with a kitchen piece that's been in Hubby's house since he bought the house almost a decade ago. The former owners used a Findlay wood cook stove to heat the house and cook their meals. I was surprised, as it seemed to me so "Little House on the Prairie"! That's how they did things back then though. The stove is so cool. It's an antique now and it's really beautiful. Though we have a stove/oven and our house isn't heated by the cookstove anymore, I still like having it around. I like the "look" of it. I also love the idea of something so old being in our house. I think of all the stories this stove has heard from the people using it. I think of the meals it's helped prepare for the family who lived here way back then. I think of the gatherings in the kitchen, the warmth it gave...and basically the connection it has with the past.




Since we don't use the stove and it's only in the kitchen taking up room (I think it's there for aesthetic purposes), Hubby's had a few offers from individuals wanting to buy it. Stoves like that are worth quite a bit of money and this one is in excellent working condition. I guess I ought to be less materialistic and let go of the stove since people actually want to buy it.

Right now it serves as extra counter space and storage space for all my kitchen stuff. Here's a photo of our Findlay cook stove and a pic of my preserves!!! My friends from the city will never believe all the baking, preserving, and canning I'm learning how to do! LOL (Sorry about the poor quality photos. They were taken with my cell phone camera)
Friday, December 29, 2006

Babies of 2006


Just wanted to give these little cuties a great, big welcome (and to show them off because they're so adorable)! 2006 has definitely been a great one for many of us. Most of these little angels were born around the time Hubby and I got married (6 months ago) with the exception of little Ryan. Congratulations to all my new mommy and daddy friends out there.

Aren't these little guys (and gals) adorable???? Please welcome: Ryan, Elie, Samantha, Lily,Nathanial, and Chase!!!



















Thursday, December 28, 2006

Some like it HOTTTTT


Hubby and I have been testing out our tastebuds the past few days, as mealtimes with our Korean students are proving to be verrrrrrry interesting. The boys seem to always want to add Gochujang to their food. Gochujang is a spicy hot pepper paste that is pretty much present in a lot of Korean dishes. A small amount goes a lonnnnnnng way!

I don't know if these students are trying to play games with us, but they add an insane amount of pepper paste to all of their food. They've added it to their soup, their pizza, their rice, their tuna...everything. I must admit that Hubby and I are beginning to like the stuff. It's quite good, but boy is it ever hot on the tastebuds!
Last night's supper was tuna, rice and gochujang with a salad.
-cook a few cups of plain white rice (depending on how many people there are. We have a rice cooker so it's really fast and easy to cook rice)
-in a bowl, add a can or two of tuna
-stir in a few teaspoons of gochujang (not tooooooo much, because it's hot)
-mix everything together and serve with salad

Kudos to Hubby for trying out new types of food! The Scotsman that he is, he hardly ever tried any "ethnic" food before he met me.
Since Hubby loves dessert, we had a nice fruit salad to wash away the spiciness from the pepper paste! lol
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nuthin' says "I Love You" like a biscuit


This may sound silly, but the first time I ever tried toasty, warm, delicious, fluffy, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits was when I was visiting a friend in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving one year. He told me that at Thanksgiving in the US, biscuits are a must. They were soooooooooo good! I noticed that at many restaurants, they had biscuits on the menu too. My friend and his buddies went to KFC and there were biscuits on the menu. I wondered why we didn't have biscuits like they do in the States! Upon my return to Toronto, I was obsessed with biscuits! LOL!

When I moved to the Island, I was excited to see that my mother-in-law made biscuits for her family's meals. She said that biscuits were a staple for farm families. Yippeeee!! Whenever I go to my MIL's, her house smells of wonderful, hot, fresh out of the oven baked goods. The time and effort that goes into making homecooked food for family and loved ones just makes you feel warm inside.

Here's an easy biscuit recipe for you:

2 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
5 T. butter or margarine
2/3 C. milk

Preheat oven to 400°F.In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter. Add milk and stir it in with a fork.Put dough on a floured cutting board. Knead about 15 turns into a ball. Roll out to about 3/4 inches. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on a ungreased cookie sheet.Bake 12 - 14 minutes, until medium brown.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jill's tiramisu recipe


As mentioned in my previous post, I borrowed Jill's tiramisu recipe. It was a total hit and I think I'll make it again for our next dinner party or get-together.

Thanks again, Jill! It tastes heavenly and was so easy to make :) It's also a lot less time consuming than my specialty cheesecakes I make for special occasions!


five-minute low-fat tiramisu

Ingredients

1 lb low-fat ricotta (available at most major supermarkets)
1 egg
1-2 oz rum
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup espresso or very strong coffee
1 package savoyardi ("ladyfinger" biscuits, look in Italian groceries, may be in supermarkets)
1/2 tsp. cocoa

Instructions

Combine first five ingredients in food processor and whiz until smooth (a minute or so). Arrange savoyardi in a single layer in the bottom of a 9x13 pan or casserole. Drizzle half the coffee over them. Spoon half the cheese mixture over top, evenly. Repeat with second layer. Dust top with cocoa. Refrigerate for at least a day.
Monday, December 25, 2006

good times


A pic of the boys before the little one ate the lump of coal! LOL!




Opening presents...
The boys thought it would be funny to give PJ a magical fairy wand as a joke.
I somehow got stuck frying all the lumpia (filipino springrolls). I always get stuck doing the dirty work! LOL :)


The Christmas spread (minus the dessert: fruit salad and tiramisu)
Thanks for the recipe Jill! I tried your tiramisu recipe for last night's dessert and it was a hit...and so quick and easy to do!!!

BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!


We picked up the students on Saturday. They actually arrived in Canada on Friday, but with it being the holiday season and so many delayed flights, they were stuck at the airport for almost a day. Those poor kids! They are both sleeping still. They've had a busy night with last night being Christmas Eve. We went to my parents' house for Christmas supper. We all ate wayyyyyy too much - the food was so good, it was hard not to!! Then we went to my mother-in-law's to open presents and then back to my parents' to open presents there.

Oh! My dad is such a character! He pulled a fast one on the boys! After they opened all of their presents, there were candies under the tree for them. Patrick grabbed one and was opening the candy. We were all focused on Patrick that we didn't notice that Paul had taken a candy and popped it into his mouth! I was just about to say, "Don't eat the candy!" when we looked at Paul and he had it in his mouth already. Bahahahhahahahahaha!!! It was a lump of coal!! OMG! We didn't think any of them were actually going to put it in their mouth! My dad was playing a practical joke on the kids. Anyway, Paul ran to the bathroom and spat it out and washed his mouth out. He's fine. He was laughing. EVERYONE was laughing. I think I laughed so hard, I almost split my pants! John then told the boys that traditionally Santa gives kids a lump of coal if they have misbehaved. OMG. I asked Paul why he ate the coal. Like, wouldn't you look at it and say, "Ewww!" and throw it away? He said he thought it was a new kind of candy.

Ahhh...this was the funniest Christmas ever. I have a feeling the next few months with these students are going to be fun.
Saturday, December 23, 2006

Congratulations, Kelly and Jude!!!


I am soooooooooo excited!!! Just got off the phone with one of my closest friends and she got engaged today!!! We're so happy for you guys! Love you both very, very much!!!
Thursday, December 21, 2006

Through the years...


I was just reflecting on my 31 years of existence on this planet, and thought it would be fun to look at some old photos. *sigh* There was a time when I was a skinny little toothpick! LOL!

I love the first pic the most :)

PJ's Polar Bear Recipe


To get you in the festive mood, my little brother has revealed a tasty little gem for the holidays.

Each serving:
1/2 oz creme de cacao
1/2 oz peppermint Schnapps
in a shot glass

It's a wonderful minty chocolatey treat for the taste buds...and I don't drink often, so this is gooooooood stuff! LOL! Remember those York
Peppermint patties? Chocolate on the outside and creamy mint on the inside? That's what this drink tastes like. Uhhh...yeah. There are no calories in this drink. None at all. LOL!

Another good chocolate recipe is:
1/2 oz creme de cacao
1/2 oz Frangelico
This is called a Crispy Crunch.

A big fat merci beaucoup


While some of my friends are off jet setting around the world, I get to live vicariously through their adventures. This was a lifestyle I once had. I remember being able to pack up, get on a plane and go to places that were exotic and remote, culturally rich and full of history. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my life. I wouldn't change it for the world. I realize that I'm in a place in my life where responsiblilities keep me rooted to where I am. I do sometimes get nostalgic for my days of traveling though.

A great big thank you to my wonderful friend, Curiosity Killer for meeting up with one of my great gal pals, Pamela while she was visiting Hong Kong. When I found out Pam was going to be in Hong Kong, I immediately asked CK if she'd meet up with her since P didn't know the place and it's always nice to know someone when you're in a foreign land. How I longed to be able to join my girlfriends and hang out in Hong Kong. I wished I could go shopping, sightsee, try out all the cool food there, and just share some laughs with CK and Pam. *sigh* It just seemed so unfair! LOL!

This happened to me the other year too. One of my Aussie friends was doing a world tour. I love this girl! She is my super hero! She has been to sooooooo many countries (even some I'd never heard of!) and all the continents. The 11 countries, 4 Canadian provinces and 22 US states that I've been to seem like nothing compared to her travels! Anyway, she stopped in to see me when I still lived in Toronto. We ate at a Japanese restaurant, since we had met in Japan while we were both teaching there. Then off to Churchill she went. After her North American tour (which included places in Canada and the US), she finished off with the last leg of her world tour being South America. I knew she was going to Brazil and I have a lot of former students from there, so I hooked her up with a wonderful student/friend of mine. My friend got to spend time with my student and got the tour and first class treatment. I'm so happy she was in good hands. They sent me a short video via MSN messenger and it looked like they were having sooooooo much fun! Again, I wish I were able to be there! Brazil looks like another place I may have to add to my list of places to visit!

tomorrow


The past few days have been absolute chaos! LOL!

1. I helped Hubby vaccinate cattle. We did 43 head but still have 40 something more to vaccinate. I'm going to ask to be excused from helping him dehorn the calves! I can't stand the sight of blood. I know that it's imperative that the cattle not have horns because they can hurt themselves, other cattle or us, but I still can't watch. Vaccinations are okay and I can handle that.

2. We attended Toad and Pook's Christmas Concert at their school. Both girls performed very well and the concert was very entertaining. The junior kindergarten kids were so adorable! The girls were so happy to see their fan club in the audience. Both their grandmas were there, along with a handful of aunts, uncles, cousins, and my mom and brother. The girls just love it when PJ's home for the holidays. Everyone loves it when PJ's home for the holidays!

3. We went out for my birthday. Just a little get together at the Island Pub for some pub grub, conversation, good laughs, and the hockey game. Sorry if I offend some people, but the Leafs suck!!! (Can you tell I'm not a Toronto Maple Leafs fan?? I'd get shot for saying that, living in Ontario! Hey, I'm from Montreal and even if the Canadiens don't always play a good game, I'll always be a Habs fan).

4. We spent the day in Espanola yesterday, doing all our last minute shopping. Poor hubby was stuck with my mom and me. Now he knows why my dad never comes with us! We were gone from 9AM to 6PM, doing nuthin' but shoppin'...we did take a lunch break though! I am happy to say that all the presents have been taken care of and wrapped!

5. I stayed up until 3 AM helping my little brother with a university paper. Luckily it was only a 30 page paper he had to write! We poured over books and articles, doing research. Ahhh...to be a student again (and to wait until the last minute to write a paper!! Sound familiar?).

6. Tomorrow we pick up the students. Changes in plans are always fun. They'll be studying English here and living with us. We went from just having canine and feline babies to having two human children to care for. They'll be here for a few months. At least my new life keeps me on my toes! There certainly leaves no room for boredom! Always something crazy and exciting going on here! LOL
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Oh mahhh lorrrrd!!!


Okay, I'm a creature of habit. I'm not a fan of surprises and last minute changes. I like order, lists and schedules. Sound a bit stuffy and anal? I wasn't always like this. I used to thrive on the unknown and thought it was wonderful to be free-spirited and just go with the flow...go wherever the wind takes me. Last minute joy rides and road trips with friends to NY, Vermont, (or wherever) were not uncommon practices. Masterminding surprise parties for loved ones was my forte. The best one was the surprise 50th bday bash I planned for my mom with the assistance of her sisters and brother. The theme was Hawaii 5-0 and everyone donned Hawaiian leis, shirts, skirts and drinks in coconut shells. She was surprised and had no clue I'd been planning this for a year.

Anyway, I guess I do like surprises...If I'm the one in control. If it's a surprise on me...I'm not a fan. Hubby and I just got an e-mail stating that the student we were expecting in January is coming in two days. Two days!!! Holy smokes. Talk about last minute changes! Oh, and not only is this student coming for 8 months, but now his brother is coming as well (for 2 months). After getting over the initial shock of the last minute changes, I'm happy to accommodate the brothers. They're good kids and they really want to study English and experience living in Canada. I've taught them before and I firmly believe that the best way to learn a language is to go to the country where that language is spoken. I think it's great that some parents (from countries where English is not the primary language) are able to send their kids to Canada, the US, England, Australia, etc.

Anyway, now it's a mad scramble to get ready for the boys. Must drive to town to get some extra Christmas presents so they won't feel left out!!
Monday, December 18, 2006

birthday ramblings


I always thought I'd feel miserable being in my 30's, but to my surprise, my 30's have been full of wonderful events and much happiness and excitement. I also realize that my outlook on life and everything seem so different from how I saw things when I was younger. I really value the simple things in everyday life. Little miracles amaze me--things that I probably wouldn't have noticed or appreciated a few years ago.

For example:
1. Today, I had to get my sticker updated for my vehicle licence plate and get my driver's licence renewed. Little things like appreciating having a vehicle to drive just make me happy and thankful. Why do they make us always renew our licences and stickers on our birthdays? lol

2. I have gotten used to seeing deer cross the highways here. There's nothing uncommon about seeing deer on the Island, but I can't help but always think how spectacular and gorgeous those creatures are.

3. I laugh at silly little things. Today, on my drive into town (about 15-20 mins from where we live) there was a partridge running back and forth across the highway. It was the funniest thing ever. Crazy bird. I was just thankful I didn't hit it! What amazes me is that no one else hit it as it was dashing across the highway!

4. I'm a total push-over when it comes to our nieces : ) I'm also the aunt who partakes in silly car games while en route! Toad and Pook manage to get me to hold my breath when passing a cemetary or lift my feet when crossing railroad tracks. Yes, we even play the "punch bug" game when we see a Volkswagen Beetle.

5. Silly things like receiving Christmas cards in the mail just make my day. We've had a steady flow of greeting cards the past few weeks, but today we had a record of eight in one day! I just poured over the cards, reading each heartfelt note. I got all sentimental (poor Hubby) when I saw that some people had included family updates and photos!!! Our fridge now has heaps of baby photos on it!

There you have it. Here are today's birthday reflections and ramblings : )

31


In honor of my 31st birthday, here are 31 things about me:

1. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life
2. I’m married to a wonderful, kind, good, hardworking man
3. I’m really close to my youngest brother
4. I love my puppy more than I like some people
5. Before I die, I’d like to visit Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Alaska and Churchill
6. I’d like to go to Churchill to see the polar bears
7. I’m hypersensitive
8. I can’t take criticism of any kind
9. I’m scared of spiders and insects
10. Every Christmas, I watch The Sound of Music, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman
11. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since the summer
12. I love our house. It’s so cozy, comfy, homey and very ‘country’
13. When people wear strong cheap perfume or cologne, I get massive headaches
14. I do like Ralph by Ralph Lauren
15. I confess. bought a knock-off bottle of Ralph for 500 pesos when I was in the Philippines
16. I’m pretty good at Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy
17. I really cannot stand nosey, obnoxious, pushy people
18. I’ve got wonderful friends and family
19. I think I annoy my husband with me wanting to keep the house spotless all the time
20. Papers on the dining table and things not where they’re supposed to be annoy me
21. I love having lots of plants around the house
22. I’m a good cook and love entertaining whenever we get a chance
23. I can sign my name with my right hand and my left hand
24. I love teaching
25. I enjoy baking, even though I don’t particularly enjoy eating sweets
26. I’ve got a tattoo (LOL! I tried to keep it a secret from my mother-in-law for the longest time)
27. Ever since we got married, Hubby and I have been trying to go to church on Sundays
28. Eating meat makes me think of consuming flesh. It sometimes makes me sick thinking of the fleshy carcasses.
29. Even if I get sick eating meat, I’ve had to start eating some meat again since I had anemia and required weekly B12 shots along with extra vitamins and supplements (and started losing my hair by the clump-full for a while! Scary!)
30. I really don’t feel like I’m in my 30s. People think I look way younger than I really am
31. Now that I'm older, I've developed a little bit of lactose intolerance. I absolutely love dairy but cow's milk gives me really bad stomachaches. I don't know if all those years of not having any animal products did me in. I drank only soy or rice milk for years so now having regular milk, maybe that's making me sick? I can, however, have cheese and yogurt without the pain (thank goodness!)
Saturday, December 16, 2006

I've been elfed


I thought this was cute. Melissa sent it to me earlier today and then I saw it on Dylon's blog. I couldn't resist. Take a look at this and have a laugh :) Make sure your speakers are on.
Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Festive Season


In the past few years, I've tried to come up with different ways to greet people during the holidays. Since Hanukkah, Eid and Christmas all more or less fall in the same time frame, I try to be sensitive to all religious celebrations.

I originally began writing "Happy Festive Season" in greeting cards and letters. It just sounds so weird to say that when you meet people on the street though. "Hey Joe! Happy Festive Season to you and your family!" Nah. It sounds awful. Au lieu of saying "Happy Chrismukkah!!" (which I can't stand!), I've opted for "Happy Holidays". Happy Holidays seems to be a pretty 'safe' greeting. *sigh* It's so hard to be politically correct (or try to be, at least)!
On the news today, a professor in the United States was saying how as a culture, we've become overly sensitive when it comes to religion. There was a lot of coverage on the 'holiday war' and how Christmas trees have been taken down in certain public places and how employees were told to not say Merry Christmas to customers. I'm kind of torn. I can totally see why and how this may be upsetting to people who don't celebrate Christmas. At the same time, I don't think it's particularly 'hurtful' to wish someone a Merry Christmas.

Our family is not hardcore when it comes to Christmas. We do send out cards and letters to friends and family. We have a big supper with turkey and the works. We have a Christmas tree, lights, carols, and presents. For me, Christmas is all about the kids. I love seeing their faces all aglow when they see that beautiful tree all lit up, and how they wait for Santa to come and deliver their presents. I remember leaving cookies and milk out for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer. For me, Christmas is all about family and friends, giving and sharing :) My grandmother would say it's about the birth of Jesus Christ though ;)

Anyway, whatever your faith is, happy holidays!
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tonight


I just returned from Toad's ballet recital. That little girl is so good! You should see the look of concentration in her facial expressions. She's very agile and graceful. After Toad's ballet, my MIL and I drove around town to see all the Christmas lights and decorations that everyone's put up. Where we are, there aren't too many lights up. You have to go to town to see all the festive lights! There were cute candy cane lights and inflatable Santa Clauses and reindeer. There were blow up snowmen and yes, every neighbourhood needs a house that looks like the Griswold family's house in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)!!
Hubby and I didn't decorate outside our house this year. Perhaps when we have kids we'll get all festive, but right now, all I can think about is the electricity bill for lighting a house that looks like the Griswolds'! Plus, our driveway is sooooooooo long and soooooooo far from the highway that no one would see our lights unless they drove down to the house (our driveway looks like a lonnnnng street).
This weekend Toad and Pook have a basketball tournament and Tuesday they have their Christmas Concert at their school. Busy, busy! You know you're an auntie when you've got heaps of activities to attend and stuff to buy for school fundraising! LOL! Thank goodness we only have two nieces at the moment! :)
Wildlife count on the drive home: four deer and one rabbit (nearly hit them all! I hate driving at night!)

Sooooooooooo embarrassing!!!!


I feel like hiding under a rock and hibernating there! LOL! Today, I was in such a rush before going out to work, I was in the midst of getting the compost to throw on top of the garden and then in the afternoon I had to pick up my mom to take her to the hairdresser's for her haircut. Just as I was headed to the front door, all frazzled because the past while has been way too hectic with so much stuff that needs to be done all the time...*ding dong* Someone was at the front door.

It was the Purolator guy delivering some parts for one of Hubby's many machines on the farm. The delivery guy said it was for Mrs. M (my mother-in-law, not me) so I told him she lived at the farm before ours. I should have just signed for the darn thing because when I called her, she was at choir practice.

Here's where the embarrassing part comes in. When I opened the door, the Purolator guy gave me the strangest look....like I was an alien or something. When I got outside, I realized why! My dog had found parts of a deer in the woods or fields by us and had proudly displayed them as trophies for all to see.....right on our front step!!! The poor delivery guy must think we're absolute hillbillies or trailer trash! "Hey, Pa wuts fer dinner? We gots us sum deer parts out front 'o our house." OMG! Soooooooooooo embarrassing! It was sooooo gross! Meanwhile, my dog's all proud of his find---deer pelts all over the yard, and two legs (one partially eaten and the other fresh). Bleeechhhh...why do animals have to be so gross??

I must get Hubby to get rid of Chance's trophies by tomorrow. Our pastor and his wife are coming for supper! Now, that's one way to lose some dinner guests! LOL! OMG...life on the farm....it sure is interesting!

Chrissy's Country Kitchen


Curiosity Killer's got a link for a cool blog called Carol's Paris Breakfasts. Inspired by this blog, I'm going to post some of the food I prepare up here. Since I'm no longer in the city, I don't have the occasion to dine at all sorts of restaurants like I did when I lived in Toronto. I do miss international and 'ethnic' cuisine, but at the same time, I love the idea of cooking homemade food. Food that really sticks to your ribs and gives you energy to work all day long. Hubby needs to eat well since working on the farm takes a lot of energy. We spent all day and evening yesterday processing cattle. Meaning, we sorted cattle into groups- some had to be out on pasture, some in the barn, and the cute little bulls had to be sorted so they could get castrated. Poor little guys. They didn't complain- gosh, are they ever cute! We also had the vet in to do pregnancy checks on the cows and we had to vaccinate all the animals. Busy day! Hubby was exhausted!

Lunch menu for today (or as farmers call it, 'dinner'--supper is your evening meal)

-homemade biscuits
-devilled eggs
-vegetable soup (eventhough Hubby hates eating cooked veggies, he never complains! He prefers raw veggies because they keep more of their nutrients)
-cabbage salad (kind of like coleslaw)
-to drink: lots and lots of H2O!!! Water is our drink of choice :)
and a raspberry-apple crumble (Hubby grew up eating dessert after every meal, which is a big change for me, since we weren't really a big dessert family)

There's a good feeling knowing that you've cooked your meals from scratch. You know exactly what went into your food, you can control the sugar, salt and fat content. If you don't have time to cook things from scratch, you can always get the assistance of canned or frozen foods. I don't like making anything from a box since I enjoy cooking. I don't really think it takes that much extra effort or time. I'm able to cook in between teaching and helping Hubby on the farm.

Barring the fact that I love cooking for my husband and loved ones, I still can't wait to go to Toronto and have some pad thai with Dina and Jill! I'm seriously jones-ing for some pad thai! LOL!

If anyone wants recipes for any of the above dishes, I can post them. In the meantime, I'll leave you with Hubby's fave part of the meal.
Raspberry-Apple Crumble!!!

3 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples (about 3 apples)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 9” baking pan or 1 1/2 - quart casserole. In medium bowl, toss apples, sugar and cinnamon. Add raspberries and toss gently. Spread fruit mixture in baking pan.
Mix oats, brown sugar, flour and butter in small bowl with fork or pasty blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake until top is golden brown and fruit is tender, about 35-40 minutes.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Boy, how times have changed...or have they??


Have any of you ever watched Degrassi Junior High? I grew up watching Degrassi as a kid when the series ran from 1987 to 1991. I had a tremendous crush on Joey Jeremiah and later on I had a soft spot for 'Snake'. I thought Caitlin Ryan was the prettiest girl ever and 'Spike' was my hero. I also thought it was cool that 'Spike' and I shared the same first name. Degrassi was a showI was able to relate to at the time. It dealt with very real issues that many teenagers face, like peer pressure, alcohol, drinking and driving, sex, teen pregnancy, date rape, parents going through divorce, death, eating disorders, etc.














I admit, if I ever catch an old episode, I watch it just because it's so nostalgic. It reminds me of high school and being a teen. In 2001, my little brother told me about Degrassi: The Next Generation and how most of the kids in the show were his age. He's an actor too (I think he may have even appeared in a few episodes...if not Degrassi, then Instant Star). Anyhoooz, I was trying to compare the Degrassi of my time to the one of my brother's generation. The Degrassi kids from my generation have all grown up and become parents. Snake's a teacher at Degrassi and he's now with Spike! Spike's baby, Emma is now one of the main characters in the new series. Joey and Caitlin are finally together! The problems the teenagers face are still ones that most of their viewers can relate to. This is just a newer, more modern Degrassi, but the problems are still very real. I think it's so funny how my friend and I were talking about the show we watched when we were kids and now her daughter (14 yrs old) is watching the new series.
Monday, December 11, 2006

2 Cool Recipes...


My MIL couldn't wait to give me my birthday presents. My birthday's next Monday, but she was too excited, she just had to let me open them today. I received several really amazing gifts from her, but the one that stood out the most was the one she had made for me. I'm a sappy kinda gal and just love homemade presents. I feel like they've got more value - perhaps not monetary value, but sentimental value. It really shows you that someone took the time, effort and love and put it into creating your gift. I love that! Mehhhh...I guess I'm just easy to please! LOL!
Recipe #1:
So one of the gifts my MIL gave me was a jar of homemade
bath scrub.
To make this, you will need:
- Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (any good exfolliating substance)
-Olive oil
-Essential Oil (any fragrance of your choice) My MIL didn't have any essential oils so she used vanilla extract, which worked out really well and it's got a more natural smell :)
The measurements are 1:3, so if you have 1 c. salt, use 1/3 cup oil. You want the salt to soak up the oil so it doesn't come out too greasy. Add a few drops of fragrance, and store in an air-tight jar with a good lid. You can decorate the jar with ribbon or get fancy if you like. It's a natural body scrub, not too harsh on your skin, and it smells really good! Mmmmmmmmm...vanilla!!! LOL! (You can opt for sandalwood, rose, lemon or whatever scent you like).
Recipe #2
Again, another recipe from my MIL. We both don't like using harsh chemicals when we clean and I was trying to wash the walls down because I was in a cleaning frenzy. I don't know what got into me the other night! Anyway, my MIL dug out this brilliant pantry potion for me:
Household Cleaner
1 gallon water
1 cup household liquid ammonia (you don't need to use it if you don't like to use ammonia)
1/2 c white vinegar
1/4 c baking soda
There you have it! An easy, not so harsh household cleaner :)
Have you got any homemade potions you find worthy of sharing?
Saturday, December 09, 2006

Betty Blue (1986)



also known as 37.2 le matin (or 37.2 Degrees in the Morning in English), is a French film directed byJean-Jacques Beineix. Betty Blue is a passionate love story about Zorg and Betty. Zorg is a quiet handyman who lives in France and maintains, paints and repairs bungalows for a living. He also dabbles in writing but doesn't think he'll get anywhere with it as an author.

He meets Betty and they have an all consuming love for each other. Theirs is a very passionate kind of relationship. Betty turns his quiet life upside down with her fiery, unpredictable character. Betty is beautiful, sexy and...wild.




Zorg's perv of a boss (total slime ball!) and Betty get into an argument and she sets fire to the bungalow. She and Zorg end
up fleeing and staying with Betty's friend in the city. They end up working at a restaurant and Betty persuades Zorg to get his writing published because she truly believes in him. Betty's unpredictable ways get out of control and as the story evolves, the condition of her mental state becomes more and more apparent. Zorg helps Betty through her rage, but he grows increasingly helpless and watches as the woman he loves loses her mind.

This is a very beautiful story. It's filled with love and passion. The village landscapes and cinematography are gorgeous too. Betty Blue is definitely one of my fave films. Note: This film contains foul language, graphic nudity and sex scenes, as well as some violence. The ending is quite shocking. Make sure you have your box of Kleenex close-by!!! This is a must see! If you rent it or buy it off the internet, let me know what you think :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mos bagaa








I was perusing a few of my favorite travel sites and was wistfully thinking of my days teaching overseas. The adventure, the never knowing what the day will bring, the new people, the new culture, the not knowing how to read Japanese hiragana, katakana or kanji. Don't worry, after two years abroad, I did eventually learn a bit of the language. I just loved trying to read the menus at restaurants and enjoyed trying all sorts of new types of cuisine. There was a time when I went to McDonald's *gasp*! I know, sooooooo wrong! That was because I couldn't read menus in my early days in good ol' Nihon. At the time, I was vegetarian but almost every dish in that country contained some sort of meat product or meat by-product! The soups with 'no meat' had beef broth as their base, and 'no meat' or 'vegetarian' entailed seafood!! I ended up eating seafood while I was there for two years. Anyway, I didn't like fastfood places (I really didn't like McDonald's) but I was introduced to Mos Burger. It's a Japanese fast food chain.


For some reason, today I was thinking about the time my Dad came to visit me in Fukuyama (in Hiroshima Prefecture). Some of my Japanese friends and fellow gaijin (foreigner) teachers introduced my Dad to....Mos rice burger with shrimp (pronounced mosu raisu baagaa ebi tatsuta). For 340 yen, you get a scrumptious ebi (shrimp) burger (it's more of a shrimp patty) with a deliciously sweet sauce all on a bun made of rice! It's the coolest thing! I always wondered how they got the rice to stick together to form that bun! Dad was hooked on Mos Burgers and tried to reproduce the dish for my Mom when he returned to Toronto. He said it just wasn't the same. I tried to figure out the Mos Burger secret, but to no avail. I guess some things are supposed to be left a mystery. Grrr...so does this mean I have to fly to Japan for an ebi burger??

Oh Canaduh


The other day, Canine asked me what a 'tuque' was. Here you go :)

This Montreal Canadiens tuque has to be the coolest thing ever (just because I'm from Montreal). Hubby would disagree and say, "Why not a Toronto Maple Leafs one?" Do you know, 'til this day, I still have yet to find out why it's the "Leafs" and not "Leaves"?! Being an English teacher, this has bothered me for quite some time! LOL



This is what my face looked like when Mom made me wear a tuque to go outside when I was a kid! LOL

The photos used were taken from Google Images and are not my own photos.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Warm Winter Fuzzies


Well, my previous post was just me venting about how I can't figure out my new blog template and links. I figure I'd better end the evening with a positive blog entry- not because I'm superstitious about projecting negative vibes or anything. I just don't like negativity period.

Seeing that our farm is a gorgeous, picturesque portrait of a Winter Wonderland, and reading
Dylon's blog, I was thinking of things that are on my "Necessary to survive the Winter" list. It looks something like this:

1) Good, warm, high boots. I do have a few pairs of "good" boots for going out, but I find it is imperative to have boots that keep you warm...especially if you have to go out and shovel mountains of snow or dig your car out from under a pile of snow. Luckily I haven't had to do that...yet!

2) A tuque! How Canadian, eh? J/K! Sure, when I was a kid I absolutely refused to wear any type of hat. I would cry when my mom made me leave for school with that stupid looking thing on my head. As a teenager, I'd rather freeze my buns off than be caught wearing a hat! "That is soooo uncool, Ma!" Now, I don't care! I'm 30 (31 in 11 days!) and would rather look ridiculous than freeze! My, how times have changed. Anyway, now there are all kinds of cool, unique, fun types of Winter stuff and it doesn't have to look nerdy.

3) Hot apple cider to warm you up when you come in from the cold. Either that or a nice mug of hot chocolate!

4) Flannel or fleece bed sheets and a heavy quilt or duvet Keeps you toasty warm at night. Only drawback is you won't want to get out of bed in the morning.

5) A bed buddy I've got three! My trick is to get into bed after Hubby's fallen asleep. I do the dishes later on in the evening before bed, and by the time I get to bed, the bed's all nice and warm because Hubby's been sleeping already! The kittens, George and Fred keep my feet warm.

6) The Internet! I rely on the internet to be able to communicate with friends, family, students, etc. I need it for activities and curriculum development. I need it for general research. I don't know how I survived without it. What did we do before the internet was invented? LOL!

7) Mi familia True, most of my family members are in Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, New York, Wisconsin, Florida, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic (and in other places around the globe), my parents live a few minutes from us and my mother-in-law is on the farm next to our farm. One of Hubby's sisters lives near my parents' (and her hubby and 2 girls). It's comforting to have family close-by.

What's on your Winter survival list?

Annoyed


Okay, I still can't seem to figure out what's wrong with my blog! I went into my template and tried to put links into categories and everything looks fine on my template...but then when I publish, the links aren't there!!! *sigh* If I can't figure it out, I may just end up not putting categories like friends' links , family links, etc. I may just lump them all in together if it's too much of a hassle! LOL! Grrrr.

PS. I still can't get my bloglog back! Where did it go? LOL!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Just switched to Beta


Still getting used to the new Blogger Beta. So far, I think it's easier in some ways, but complicated in others. I can't get my brain wrapped around certain things like"

a) How to get back MyBlogLog . I thought that was such a cool little feature, but I can't seem to get it to stay on my blog! I thought I added it when I updated, but alas, it is no longer there.

b) How to sort my links into Friends, Family, My Links and Cool Links. Right now they're all lumped together. Hey, at least they're in alphabetical order. *sigh*

Other than that, I think the new Blogger Beta is better than the older version. I like the idea of having labels and categories for posts.

Jill or CuriosityKiller, a little help here? Pleeeeease? LOL
Monday, December 04, 2006

Vending Machines


People frequently ask me about my life abroad and my experience teaching in Japan. I always tell them how I fell in love with the Japanese culture and how rich in history, art and spirit the country is. I just love Japan! I could go on and on about tea ceremonies, calligraphy, kimonos, geisha, the language, the people, the beautiful countryside, the crazy busy big cities, the advanced technology and all my crazy everyday experiences.

One of my friends asked me about vending machines. "Is it true you can buy used school girl panties in vending machines there?" Surprisingly, the answer is "yes"! You can purchase almost anything in vending machines there. Why one would even want a pair of used panties is beyond me! There are so many different types of machines to cater to your every whim. From hot or cold tea, chocolate milk and coffee, beer, beer, and BEER...sake (Japanese alcoholic beverage that seemed to me as strong as tequila!), toilet paper, food items...and yes, even porn. I was shocked to see men buying everything from magazines to other unmentionables from the machines. There are vending machines everywhere. I'd never seen so many in my life. You can even choose from dozens of brands of cigarettes and they're super cheap in Japan. I don't smoke, but when my mom came to visit me when I was teaching in Japan, she just thought it was so cool to get her smokes, Coke, disposable camera, and stamps for her postcards all from vending machines. *sigh* That's one of the cool things I miss about Japan. Very convenient!

Here's a site I found where a guy named PhotoMann has pics of all the neat vending machines you can find in Japan. http://www.photomann.com/japan/machines/
Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Top 10 Challenge


WikyLion proposed a challenge of listing the Top 10 Movies on your list. This was quite a difficult feat, because I have sooooooooo many favourite movies!!! ARGH!

Here's my Top 10

1. West Side Story
2. Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zefirelli version, 1969)
3. Forrest Gump
4. Shawshank Redemption
5. The Notebook
6. I am Sam
7. The Lover
8. Stand By Me
9. The Sound of Music
10. Amores Perros

Now for the runners up (sorry, WikyLion...this was just too hard!!!)
Lunch With Charles (Canadian/Hong Kong film) and Betty Blue (French film) are right up there too! Oh, also Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (though I know many people who have HATED that movie). I also loved Dead Poets Society, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Bride and Prejudice (I love all the Bollywood movies), Love Story, House of Flying Daggers.

So, what's your Top 10?

Seriously...Am I an Old Fart???


It's 2AM, we just got home, my puppy is snoring at my feet, the kittens are going nuts (they seriously look like they're on speed or something- they're CRAZY! One's hanging off the curtains and the other one's taking running jumps from the sofa to the table near the window and plucking all my aloe plants out of the pot!!!). Hubby's playing a video game that a friend lent him tonight and I'm blogging because I can't seem to fall asleep.

This morning was a lovely day. Blue skies, fresh snow, crisp air and a little excursion to the Snow Flake Fair with my mother-in-law. It's so nice to see all the vendors selling their crafts and creations. I walked right pass the freshly baked breads and preserves from Maja's Bounty. She always has wonderful, delectable treats that are organic and of the best quality ingredients. Maja takes special care as to what goes into her products. (The reason I walked right past this time is because I ALWAYS end up getting something and right now I don't neeeeed anything!)

I was very happy because I got to see
Dylon there. Everyone who knows him says that he is such a wonderful guy. I know this firsthand, because there were a bunch of really cute old ladies at our table for lunch who were all gushing over him! LOL! "Dylon's amazing at computer stuff!", "Dylon's a talented artist!" "Dylon, Dylon, Dylon!" They were too cute! I kind of chuckled because I glanced over at him while he was concentrating on a piece of jewelry, totally unaware of the chatter taking place at our table. So, this is what a "hen party" is like! LOL! They were the cutest little hens though! Dylon, if you're reading this, you've got heaps of fans :) I was happy to find out that I can wear Dylon's jewelry because the earrings are made of hypo-allergenic material. Yippeeeeee!!! I took special note of this beautiful pair of earrings with bluish/turquoise accents (Dylon, were they handblown glass beads? I'm not sure what they were, but they were gorgeous).I've been dropping not so subtle hints to Hubby that my birthday is two weeks away!

I was also very happy to see
Wiky Lion and his wife. They were selling their Watkins products. I did get their black pepper, but was seriously tempted to buy sooooooooo much more! Very bad! At least I've got my very own dealer if I ever need a Watkins fix! LOL! Seriously, if you're reading this, Wiky Lion, it was great seeing you and your lovely wife! She's awesome!

Now, this brings me to the old fart thing. In the afternoon I made some white chocolate/dark chocolate swirly bark and put them in plastic baggies and tied them up with a card and ribbon for all of our friends. Plus, I needed a nice gift to bring tonight since Hubby, my parents and I were invited to an early Christmas party tonight at our friends' house. It was an awesome party- great food, great people, great conversation, lots of laughs...We got there at 6PM but supper only began around 9PM (and Hubby and I are used to eating around 6PM because I don't like to eat after 7). The food was amazing- a grand 'ol Trinidadian feast. Cheers to the host and hostess for a wonderful evening. One of our friends plays Caribbean music in a band and was up here for the weekend and sang and played the quatro for us. Good times. I think I mentioned that Hubby and I RARELY go out because we're always up early to work. By 10PM I felt myself getting very, VERY tired. I resisted sleep because I didn't want to be a party pooper. We ended up leaving a few hours later and just got home at 2PM. I used to be able to go out and have a good time with friends until the wee hours of the morning, but it seems that now I just need more sleep! Yikes! Am I becoming an old fart???
Friday, December 01, 2006

I've been tagged AGAIN!!


...this time by Jill AND Dina :)

The ABC meme...

A - Available/single? Married 6 months...still a newly wed!
B - Best Friend? I'm going to be sappy and say my husband!
C- Cake or Pie? Keylime Pie!!
D - Drink Of Choice? mango juice or chocolate flavoured soy milk
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? toothpaste
F - Favorite Color? Indigo Blue
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Neither
H - Hometown? Toronto (okay, Scarborough!)
I - Indulgence? the occassional white hot chocolate from Tim Horton's
J - January Or February? January.
K - Kids & Their Names? No human babies YET! But 3 felines and 1
canine (Nala, Fred, George and Chance)
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? love
M - Marriage Date? June 17, 2006.
N - Number Of Siblings? 2 brothers.
O - Oranges Or Apples? depends on my mood- usually apples (Royal
Gala)
P - Phobias/Fears? heights, snakes, fear of losing my family
Q - Favorite Quote? "Everwhere is walking distance if you have the
time."
R - Reason to Smile - watching my husband while he's sound asleep.
Too cute!!
S - Season? Spring
T - Tag Three or Four People? MsMamma, Curiosity Killer, Northern Mom
U - Unknown Fact About Me? I'm allergic to green apples and cheap
jewelry (seriously, I can only wear real gold or silver and
nothing else and green apples make me break out in hives and
make my lips look like a platypus!)
V - Vegetable you don’t like? Kolrabi (I don't even know how to
spell it!)
W - Worst Habit? getting mad at stupid things
X - X-rays You’ve Had? Teeth, uterus, skull
Y - Your Favorite Food? pad thai
Z - Zodiac Sign? Sagittarius

Holy Blizzard, Batman!!


Well, it's not reeeeally a blizzard. I just looked outside to see lots and lots of snow! Crazy! We haven't had snow and it's been pretty mild and all of a sudden....WHACK! All I can see is white outside. Everything is white!!! I feel like I'm in one of those snow globes and someone's turned it upside down and shaken it! Weeeeeeeeee!!!

I guess I'd better get back to work! LOL! Lots of paperwork and organizing to do. I've got a student coming for 8 months. Hubby and I are skipping babyhood, the terrible twos, the tweens...and going right into having a teenager! Since the student will be studying here from overseas and is a minor, we've had to become his legal guardians. Should be fun!

PS. Jill, thanks for helping me sort out my blogging issues! You're the best! Oh, and I finally switched over to Beta! Thanks a bunch!

I'm okay....really...


The other night, I was driving home from my parents' house and enjoying the quiet, peaceful drive. The Island is such a magical place. I was thinking of how lucky I am to be living here. Three years ago, I never even knew this place existed. I was a Torontian (but Montrealer in my heart), an ESL teacher, a world traveler...and now fate has brought me to this wonderful place.

My thoughts were interrupted, and I thought I was going to die. Two very large deer appeared a few feet in front of my vehicle. I honestly didn't know if I could stop in time. I don't even know if I was more worried about wrecking my vehicle or dying than hurting those beautiful creatures. I felt my heart jump into my throat and panicked. *phew* My SUV stopped two feet in front of the deer. They looked into my headlights, stayed a moment and sauntered away into the woods. They were beautiful. They were probably really hungry because they were in hiding from the hunters for a week or so.

Anyway, I'm okay :)

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About the Blog Author


City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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