Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and health and happiness for the holidays. It may be old fashion but since my beliefs include Christmas I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. In recent years it seems to have become a faux pas to say anything but Happy Holidays. I am sure that will become incorrect to say even that. I respect the beliefs of others but I would hope they would respect mine.
It has been a quiet day with all the kids home for the morning. We opened gifts and then had waffles. Maybe not a traditional breakfast but it was very good. It was a wonderful morning with everyone home and sharing the holiday. The evening meal will be considerably smaller as our youngest had to go to work and our oldest had other commitments.
It will be turkey with the fixings. When I was young we always had goose but they have become had to find and extremely expensive. They used to be cheaper or close to the same price but geese are not popular anymore. There is a duck farm not far from where we live, so we can always a fresh duck. They also offer a lot of duck-related products that are wonderful. My favorite is their duck and orange sausages 🙂 Their pates are great on crackers and rye bread.
Time to go fill the bird. I made stuffing yesterday so that saves a lot of time today. Into the roaster sir turkey will go and while he is basking in the heat the side dishes will be made. The stress-filled meals of days gone by will be replaced by planned simplicity – and a few new gadgets that were not available when I was little 😉 With the roaster on the counter the oven is available for other dishes. No more Tetris in the oven, yay!!
Hope you all have/had a wonderful day!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Busy Time

I had a second request for a handmade gift from our oldest daughter. The gift is for another daughter but she actually found the pattern for me LOL. She found a video and the directions were linked to it 🙂 Any ideas on how to get more hours in a day or some way to not need to sleep?
I got most of the things sorted from my Mom’s room. That was extremely difficult as every item brought back a memory. There is still a lot of things to go sort through but most of the things that I planned to send for donations have been packed and dropped off. There were some things that just had to be thrown out. The area we live in only does garbage pickup once every three weeks. By next week we will have enough garbage to fill almost three bins.
I am ready to sew the project I mentioned the other day, but I lost my sewing table as it was repurposed last summer. Now I will need to wait for everyone to be finished in the kitchen and take it over for an hour or two. I think I have it set up so that I can do all the machine sewing in one session then hand sew the rest. Wonder if anyone would mind if I use the sewing machine around 3 am LOL
As for the second project, it is almost all crochet. Okay, so I will have some hand sewing at the end to hide all the yarn ends. I am trying to spend a few hours a day crocheting. That is working to get the project done but while I am crocheting I am not doing everything else that is on my list. It is not a difficult project just large 😉  I am almost to the halfway point 🙂
Back to the panic. Hope you all have a great night 🙂

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Goodbye Again

Being the last is the worst. Everything evolves and becomes new but being the last one of the old means you are the one that has to say goodbye to the past. How do you pack up someone’s life? How do you decide what to do with the things that remain? The clothes are pretty easy, donation, garbage cause they are worn out, and pass down to who they fit. Then comes the other things that we all have, books, souvenirs from trips or received from friends, photo albums, memories from years long gone. How do you look through someone’s past and pick what should be kept, respected?
It takes time to sort through and say goodbye. To feel and see the memory things bring to mind.  For someone looking in, everything is just old and worn and only worthy of green bags. An old box that was bought at the fair when you were young, brings back the warmth of the sun, the colors of the leaves in autumn and the joy of a treasure found. Okay, so it wasn’t anything special but the warmth of the wood conjures the image of the warm smile as we paid the vendor.
I guess the first pass will have to get rid of the actual irrelevant things. The worst part is the things I haven’t found, where did they go? How did they vanish? Will I find them tucked away with something else? Will it ever get easier or less painful?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Back in Time

I have celebrated Christmas with children for 30 years. Every year I have been delivered lists that include all types of the new toys or newest fashion wants or, in more recent years, electronic updates. The ability to buy all the requested wishes was never possible without winning at least one lottery LOL.
This year I am hunting for a pattern because I have a request for a handmade gift. After the initial shock, I was thrilled to be asked to make something. Now the search for the pattern and supplies. I love the idea of handmade gifts, something that you put a part of yourself into, something you create.
While growing up I was the youngest in my parent’s circle of friends. They had all immigrated to Canada after surviving and escaping a war.  Political unrest had erupted and homes were lost. All the other Children were older than me by at least 10 years. I was spoiled with all kinds of gifts but the ones I valued the most were the ones that people made for me. I party dress, a warm scarf, doll clothes for my dolls or a keepsake like a doily or crocheted tablecloth. These were gifts that did not cost a money but had more value because their value was the time someone had put into creating the gift.
We have moved so far away from the spirit of the holiday, I am not sure we can ever get it back. When my older girls were young an indication that Christmas had become a commercial venture was when stores, desperate for revenue, started Boxing Day Sales two to three weeks before Christmas. The sales were wonderful for low to no income families, but what did it say about the spirit of the season?
I remember listening to people complaining about what they received as gifts. It wasn’t made by a certain company. It wasn’t the color that they had requested. It was a cheap knockoff instead of the brand name. It changed Boxing Day to whine day. The lines at the stores for exchanges kept growing. For an exchange, you need a receipt, no problem they were usually put into the box before it was wrapped. So what was the point of wrapping the gift anyway if it was just going to be returned? A much better idea, that would have saved time and money, would have been to put the money you were going to spend in an envelope with a picture of what you were going to buy glued to it. You didn’t have to go to the store and the person receiving the gift didn’t lose half a day in the returns line. That would have been a win-win situation. A season of joy, goodwill, and happiness, was transformed into one of greed and selfishness. I can understand why a lot of people who grew up in the last few decades are materialistic.
I thought the value of a homemade gift was lost. That made me sad. When I was asked to repurpose a pair of socks into a sock monkey, I was thrilled. Maybe there is hope.
Enough rambling, back to searching for a pattern. The great thing in today’s day and age, the internet. I should be able to find a pattern I can follow in just a few clicks 🙂

Wish me luck 🙂

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It is Cooold out there

It has taken to literally the middle of December for the winter cold to find us.  We have had some cooler days but now we have a bit of snow and freezing temperatures. the furnace is working tonight. There, it just turns on again. Luckily, where we are located, the winds have not come to visit – yet. Years past, the winter winds have blown so hard that I’ve worried about the roof staying where it is supposed to be.
I am lucky to still be in the house I grew up in. I remember winter nights with the winds twisting the snows all over the yard and through the trees. My father getting up every little while to check the windows, the doors and that the furnace was working properly. I would hear him moving quietly from room to room before going back to bed.
The storms we had when I was growing up brought a lot more snow than the winters we have now. I know several people say it is because I am taller now but the fence posts are still the same. The snowbanks were so high that they would hide the car from view. My father would get up extra early, around 4 am, to make sure the walkway and driveway were cleared. Especially if my Mother had to leave for a morning shift. If it snowed during the day, he would put his work things in the house and re-shovel everything before coming in for supper.
The yard was like having our own snow maze every winter. Thinking back I am amazed at the amount of effort my father put into making sure we could get out and then back into the house. We never had a snowblower, just a couple of hand shovels, a larger one for pushing and a smaller, lighter one for throwing the snow up onto the high mounds.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Quick Supper Casserole

There are evenings where the day does not want to end but supper still needs to find it’s way to the table. Working both outside the home and from home has its advantage and days with disadvantages.
Last week I had a busy disadvantage day. Worked outside till 4 pm and then about 3 hours of work to do once I arrived. Supper turned into a variation of a recipe I found online a few days before.
Quick Supper Casserole
1 lb browned ground beef
1 envelope spicy taco seasonings
1 can cream of celery soup  – 2 cans if you want it saucy
1 – 2 cups frozen vegetables – I use mixed vegetables but corn or peas will work if that is your preference
1 small bag tater tots or potato pancakes or something similar
2 cups shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350
Brown ground beef with taco seasonings. Keep cooking until liquid is cooked off.
Spread the beef in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish
Cover evenly with frozen vegetables
Cover with the cream of celery soup. Do not dilute the soup. Using a spatula to spread the soup over the vegetables and beef.
Finally, place a layer of tater tots to cover the top of the casserole
Bake uncovered in a 350 over for about 50 minutes or until tots are crispy.
Once removed from the oven, cover with shredded cheese and serve.
It worked out very well and is on my list of repeat recipes for rush nights. It only took about 10 minutes to get ready to put in the oven. Oh, and there were no leftovers 🙁  Might try doubling the recipe next time, for evening snacking 🙂
If you try it, please let me know what you think.

Friday, November 04, 2016

20 Uses for Coke

I like re-purposing products, that I might normally have around the house, for other uses. It cuts down the number of products I have to keep at home. It also helps the budget 😉
The other day a friend sent me a new list for my ‘collection’. Well, I am not sure how new the list is but it is new to me. So, here goes .. .. ..
Of all the soda currently available, Coke is my favorite. I usually have a few bottles around, even though I have gotten away from drinking soda I still have a stash on hand lol.
20 uses for Coke  (hmmm I don’t think there are 20)
  • Clean blood stains from your clothes.
  • Soak pennies to polish them. (Well, not in Canada LOL)
  • Use it to descale a kettle.
  • Pour it in the toilet bowl, leave it for a while, and then flush clean.
  • Eliminate the grease stains from your clothes and fabrics.
  • Clean the oil stains in the garage, pour some on the floor, and then hose off.
  • It can kill slugs and snails.
  • Eliminate the rust stains from your pool. Pour 2 liters of Coke in the pool, and let it work for a while.
  • Soak a sponge or a cloth, in Coke, and you can remove rust and loosen rusty bolts.
  • Pour a bit on car battery terminals to clean them.
  • To get gum out of hair, dip the hair in a bit of Coke, keep it there for 2 minutes, and wipe it off.
  • Use it to clean engines.
  • Remove paint from your metal furniture. Dip a towel in Coke, and apply it on the paint stains.
  • To clean the grout around tile, pour coke on it, leave for a bit and then wipe.
  • Coke can help you fade or remove the hair dye. (might be an interesting way to streak hair ?? )
  • Coke, combined with aluminum foil, can efficiently polish Chrome.
  • Use it to clean the stains from vitreous china.
  • In order to clean the marker stains on the carpet, pour a bit of it, scrub, and rinse with soapy water.
  • Burnt pans – pour in some Coke, leave it to soak, and rinse the pan to clean it.
Some of these sound reasonable, others I am not so sure about. Please leave a comment if you try any of these and your results.
Going to go look for other hacks to post.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Dad's Dumplings

I grew up with parents that worked a variety of shift. Except for an hour, or so, a day during weekdays, there was always a parent at home. Both my parents were very good cooks, dad was a weekend chef :) He had a limited repertoire of things he cooked but his meals were wonderful. Once the autumn started to arrive, and the cooler air rolled in, my dad would do more cooking. My mom usually worked the day shift on the weekend. Saturday mornings dad would do the groceries for the week, come home and start something for supper.

My fondest food memory of my dad was his chicken and dumpling soup. During the week we did have canned soups but weekends it was slow cooked homemade soups. Dad didn't use recipes, he cooked from the heart what he knew. I am still trying to recreate his chicken soup recipe but I did find a recipe that is very close to his dumplings. I am still going to try to make it more like dad's but below is the recipe - so far :)

1 cup ap flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (2 pinches)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes (2 tablespoons fresh work better)
1 tablespoon butter, or margarine
1/2 cup milk

Sift together first 4 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. If you are using dried parsley flakes, add them to the milk to hydrate them slightly. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Stir milk, and parsley, into dry mixture to make a soft dough.
Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Now, I think I need to go make some soup, might be canned today, and make some dumplings to go with  :)