Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Now, who am I trying to kid....

I am not what you would call a stunning beauty... and I am totally ok with it all.. except as I get older I am amazed at the age spots, the lines, the droops. Over the last few years... some vanity in my looks started to kick in and I started going to a beautician to get my eyebrows waxed because my failing eye sight wouldn't allow me to get it done myself. I quite enjoyed going to Leah at Starks, and started branching out from eyebrow waxing to pedicures, and the odd facial.

After my hairdressing shop had their awful fire, it came to me that I would have to start doing my own eyebrows until they got back on their feet. How does one pluck their own eye brows when you need to wear your reading glasses to do it! Well... my solution was to get one of those big ass magnifier mirrors and my Mother in Law just happen to have one she didn't need!

That's when it happened.... that when I actually saw the spots, the blemishes, the lines, the facial hair.. the "old" coming out of me.. oozing like a volcano .... ARRRGGGGH. What an eye opener.. and I instantly wondered how people could stand to be in a conversation with me, while looking at this face. After a bit though, I came to the realization that they were quite use to my face that they looked at each day... it was just me that was shocked that I wasn't the 20 year old beauty I use to be!

This began my new routine in the morning... pluck pluck, tweeze tweeze, squeeze squeeze... I bought foundation, and mascara... started wearing my one 4 year old tube of lipstick more regularly. But, as all routines go.. I did this for a month or soo.. and then it got lame. I put foundation on when I thought of it.. and suffered through trying to put mascara on, like once ever week or so.. and the lipstick.. well, I stuck with that pretty good.. but I only put it on once a day.. thinking it will last all day!

All that said, just to explain my morning routine this morning.... got dressed.. looked in the mirror.. and thought I looked particularly pale today.. so I gave my lips a swipe of this new lipstick that came in a sample pack that Jacquie got for free somewhere.. didn't really like the color but didn't have time to change it. I thought I would attempt the mascara today...
I am not great when it comes to eye stuff.. creeps me out totally.. so mascara is such a struggle for me... and sure enough... went in too deep with a big blob on the wand and touched my eye...
I immediately slammed my eye shut.. and voila...
After my laughter stopped, I thought I might.. first look for my camera, and second, look for eye makeup remover.. which I was pretty sure I bought when I bought all the other crap when I started my "new" routine! Got the picture... found the make up remover.. and spent a minute or two trying to get it all off... realized I forgot to brush my teeth.. so I did... smearing my new lipstick all over the toothbrush.. and my lips... removed that and went back in.. put on my old lipstick and went to work with mascara on just one eye!

PS.. don't look at my eyebrows.. that part of the routine wore off too!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rhubarb, Anyone!

*I originally wrote this blog last July and never finished it. I was about to write this very blog again, and had a feeling that I had already blogged my rhubarb... and when I did a search, I found this blog, only half written, and never published. Sadly.. nothing has changed, so the first paragraphs are the exact same as last years!

**I have grown Rhubarb for the past 20 years. The same rhubarb plants. I dug them up from my neighbor's yard over 20 years ago and planted it in my yard. She NEVER picked it... she was happy to get rid of it. The funny thing is... I don't really like rhubarb. I love watching it grow, I love that its the first thing up in the spring... and my plants are very large. I am not sure if its a large variety or I have a great spot for it.. but it grows gigantic every year.
Peeking out of the ground on March 15
6 weeks later-April 30th.

3 weeks later May 24

Every year... I pull some, chop it, freeze it. I pull and give away much of it, as well. But eventually, the stocks get woody because they don't get pulled fast enough, and then its done for the year.

There are only two recipes I make with rhubarb... and once I make those, I don't do another thing with it. This year... things will be different. My goal is to use every bit of it. Make things, give it away.... freeze it for winter use.**

So here it is, a year has gone by since I wrote the first two paragraphs.. and I suspect the reason I didn't publish my blog from last year, was that I never did a freakin' thing with my stupid rhubarb. But .. this year.. I will be! (oh, the pictures are from this year, I never got around to taking pictures last year!)

First off... I actually planted MORE rhubarb... even though I don't really like it... I wanted to try going the "strawberry rhubarb" kind...
you can see the little stocks of bright red planted next to the big one. Thanks Cynthia, for the gift of your dad's rhubarb, by the way! Once the little ones take hold and start growing next spring, I will be digging up the monster 'barb and bringing it to my sisters house for her to grow!

Back to the recipes... I make an incredibly yummy Rhubarb cake... so easy its embarrassing... and I also make a yummy Rhubarb muffin. That's about it.
As mentioned above.. I am going to use EVERY bit of my rhubarb this year... and this weekend I started using it up. Made the cake for dessert on Saturday and brought the rest to work today.
Tonight I made 30 Rhubarb muffins (recipe below) and I started them right after I made 30 banana chocolate muffins. Its the last week with students at school, and that always means we need a few little treats in the staff room.. so why not use up some of my dreaded rhubarb, as well as those nasty blackish bananas the kids won't eat in the snack bin.

Stunned moment.... I start the muffins, while baking supper, talking to Michelle on the phone, watching Jennifer Aniston on Oprah and tripping over the cats. There are several stages to the muffins.. and as I get to the last stage of sprinkling buttery brown sugar and cinnamon over them, before they go in the oven, I realize... I forgot to put the FLIPPING rhubarb in the batter!. They are now, in the tins, with brown sugar on them.. and there is NO RHUBARB in them.......ARRRRRRRGGG. So, I start poking the little chunks of rhubarb into the muffins... without disturbing the brown sugar too much... They cooked fine.. but I am telling you, each muffin doesn't have very much rhubarb in it... and as you can see, I hardly made a dent in my monster rhubarb plant!
A little butterfly visitor yesterday morning before the weird weather hit! After the big rainstorm, and thunder and lightning, we had a flood in the back yard. We have never seen so much water collect in the garden! It drained within minutes.. but geeesh! Sure flattened the rhubarb!
Rhubarb Muffins
(recipe given to me from Bertha Gubernt)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk.. beat well. Stir in Rhubarb. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Add dry ingredients to rhubarb mixture, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full. (Don't over fill) Scatter cinnamon topping over filled cups and press lightly into batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes.

Cinnamon mixture
1 tbsp melted butter (or Marg)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

*note from experience- when the muffins come out of the oven, take a spoon and move the melted brown sugar that might have leaked onto the muffin tins back onto the muffins while soft. let the muffins sit for a few minutes in the pan before you take the muffins out. If you wait on the brown sugar thing.. it becomes like cement onto the muffin tin, and make a real mess of the muffin tops as you try to get the muffins out of the pan. All in all.. though.. so worth it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How much fun can you have with a name?

What do you think of when you hear the name "Jack"

Jumpin' Jack Flash..... Jack & Dianne....Captain Jack..... Jack & Jill... Jack and the Beanstalk.... Hit the road Jack..... the game of Jacks... Jack Daniels.....
When I hear the name Jack... I get this warm tingly feeling all over my body but mostly in my heart!

This is "my" Jack. He was unveiled today when Michelle and Scott went for their ultrasound. He is 12 ounces right now, and 20 cms long. While they were at the appt, the proud parents had the most amazing experience watching him roll, kick, fold, bend and lay still. He was totally showing off for them and allowed the technician to take lots of pictures and lots of measurements too. The due date is right where they thought... just before Halloween.
We have had lots of fun with planning baby things.. but it will be even more fun, now that we know who he really is.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

on Demand...

Being the parents of three cats... is not an easy task. The demands on the back door operation is getting out of hand. We have Paralax and her new found hunting skills. Then there's Pika and his 'need to be in, then out, then in, then out" and finally Tonks and her 'want' to be out, but her 'need' to have the door open at all times to feel safe. This spring has been a chore for Terry and I to keep them all happy. If Pika doesn't get what he wants... he usually tries to destroy things like our carpet by the door. Paralax lays a beating on Pika if she isn't let out when she requests... and Tonks, well, she is vocal about her needs, but far less destructive.
We felt it was going to be a long demanding summer... and we needed a solution! I bought this cat door a few years ago, mostly as a joke...and, sadly, I don't even remember the joke. But we decided the other day that it wasn't really a bad idea.. and on the spur of the moment, Terry got out his power tools and within 15 minutes.. we had a cat door.... This door has a magnetic latch at the bottom, it swings in and out.. and even has a lock on it for when we need to keep them in (or out). Now the trick was to teach them to use it. We decided to tie it open for a few days to let them know they have free reign to come in and out without having to wait for us to open the door, plus for Tonks' sake, it would always be open to allow her a quick escape when something spooked her. Pika was the first to figure it out, and enjoyed going in and out.. and Paralax caught on pretty quickly after Pika.

Tonks on the other hand.... just couldn't believe that the door wasn't WIDE open for her.. and therefore she hung around the little door for a very long time. This was something she would have to figure out on her own... because she wouldn't let us near her to guide her... she doesn't trust us. After the lure of cat treats, cat nip and jealousy (cat treat envy)... she popped through the door.. had a few treats and then slid back inside.
You know though, after that first little adventure for her... she tried it again.. and ventured farther out onto the deck and over to the catnip... always keeping her eyes on the little door. She would then tear over to it, and slam her way through it.. as noisily as a dog would. I think she would go into a mini panic before she got to the door, thinking it might shut before she got there... After a few days though, she was in and out, roaming the deck and the yard, for that matter. She seemed to get braver than we expected!!!Its been installed now for about a week, and we now have it closed but unlocked. Paralax has the whole concept figured out... being able to push the little door open just enough to get her head out and then she slips out quietly and effortlessly. Pika is not interested in trying.. and Tonks is pissed. We still have some work to do... but there is hope!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cottage Heaven

Cottage living is simply the best livin', really. There is always work to be done at the cottage, but somehow, it doesn't feel like work. Opening the cottage is a ton of work, especially for my sister and her hubby.. who drag an entire van full of stuff to the cottage each day for a couple of days, just to get it open. Bedding, towels, food, the TV, sewing stuff, cleaning stuff... etc. Gail spends the whole day making beds, vacuuming, hanging curtains, dusting and washing all the flat surfaces, stocking cupboards and the bathroom. Her hubby does repairs of winter damage, fools with the water and hoses, the pumps, the lawn furniture, the yard... etc
But finally, after a week or so, it is ready for the fun stuff.... my visit!!! Meanwhile, at my house, I am digging up plants, making suppers, finding my garden gloves and tools... and this year was no different.. I was soooooooo excited to hit the road and drive 6 hours for the cottage. I had plans of gardening, digging up stuff, yard work to clean up the lake damage! Spending time with my sister and my daughter were the bonuses to the weekend.
We arrived late Friday night after a long rainy drive... and went to bed shortly after we got there... all excited for a day of outside fun in the morning....
And it rained... rained all day.... cold.... windy... rain. There was no hope of doing any outside work, so we sat. We talked, we planned, we waited for Michelle and Scott. And we drank coffee... we sat... we talked....
One of the things we noticed was.... we had no Internet. When we talked about quilt plans... we couldn't search for the proper pattern. We planned some Grammie camp events... and we couldn't search for ideas.... We couldn't skype with Stephanie, or Patience..... we couldn't email Michelle and ask when she was coming... I couldn't show Gail Pinterest..... we couldn't check the weather forecast or find out information on movies coming up at the show. After a while, we seemed to be obsessed with how we could get the Internet at the cottage without it costing an arm and a leg! We couldn't wait for Scott to arrive, so he could tell us how to get it.... alas, when he came.. he had no good news on the subject. We said the entire morning, afternoon and evening... waiting for the rain to stop... And, finally... we went to bed.!

Sunday morning, arrived... cold and grey... but it wasn't raining. It didn't take long for the whole house to eat breakfast and get dressed and we were outside... in the chilly weather, and we started cleaning the yard and gardening.
The lake comes up pretty high every spring, and most of this flowerbed gets covered in water and eventually all the mulch floats away, along with loose soil. We usually have to rebury most of the plants, and top with more mulch. This year, even though the water was high, it didn't cover this garden!
After about 2 hours, and 6 of us working, we got everything pretty well looking great. We spent the rest of the day doing fun cottage stuff... the boys fished, and we worked inside the cottage, and on the deck. Michelle learned some great jewelry making lessons from Gail and got hooked on making bracelets.. She is now recruited for our Grammie camp to teach the kids a new craft!

Just before supper, Scott, Terry and I headed out on the kayaks and went for an hour's paddle. The water was so high, we had the opportunity to paddle through tree branches about 5 feet in the air! This was an adventure that Scott has always wanted to do, and he took a pretty intense shortcut through a pretty thick stand of trees and came out the other side soakin' wet. He had a few tricky spots to get through, but he loved it just the same! Boys will be boys!.

I always love the cottage.