You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

Birthdays only come once a year and so I think it’s a great idea to celebrate them when they do happen along.  Trouble is they don’t always show up at the most opportune times.  Take my father-in-law’s for example.  He had a birthday this week and so DA and I planned a special dinner to celebrate it.  That’s great except that our home is in total upheaval right now.  My in-laws drove up to a driveway largely occupied by a storage cube, entered our home to immediately see a living room virtually barricaded off by boxes and followed a stripped down corridor lined with drywall sheets to get to our dining room.  The floor and carpet showed signs of drywall dust and a sick DA (he started a cold that morning) and I did our best to steer them past all that unsightliness to the table which I had spruced up to look Italian.

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I took the colours of the Italian flag as my inspiration and pulled out whatever I could find that was red, white or green.  The green checked tablecloth, matching napkins and cutlery came out of our picnic stash.  There was only enough for four so I had to pull some cutlery out of one of the boxes that came from DA’s grandparents and use the napkins that I had gotten as a Christmas gift to fill out the table.  The red chargers are the ones I found in the after Christmas sale bin and the red flowers in the center of the table were repurposed from another craft idea that I had disassembled when I moved here.  I intended to use the huge pepper grinder that also came from DA’s grandparents for its intended purpose but to my dismay it didn’t grind.  It took me all of 20 seconds to realize that the grinder minus its innards could be used as a lovely matching vase for my red poppies.

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On the menu was white pizza with wild mushrooms, brie and herbs followed by chicken club pizza.  Both recipes were lifted from recent LCBO publications and both turned out exactly the way they were supposed to.  DA picked a lovely wine to go with my culinary creations.  The meal finished with homemade brownies topped with french vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and marachino cherries.  That dessert may not be traditional Italian fare but it was a sweet ending to a lovely meal.

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In the throes of preparing and serving food I never get any pictures.  You’ll just have to believe me that the edibles looked as good as they tasted.  After prepping for the dinner, I had just enough time to draw up an Italian looking card for the occasion which left a good impression.

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Entertaining is always a whole lot easier if you have a theme in mind.  My in-laws happened to have liked a previous pizza night I hosted so it was a no-brainer to do another one this year featuring different homemade pizzas.  Now I’ll just have to pray that LCBO comes out with more pizza ideas in their upcoming publications so that this can become a yearly ritual.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

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Disassemble filing cabinet.

Sand and clean pieces.

Paint.

Wait 6 hours.

Sand a little.

Clean and paint some more.

Wait 6 hours.

Skip sanding and cleaning and paint some more.

Wait 6 hours.

Look at what you’ve done and decide you don’t like it very much.

Sand until your fingers feel like they are going to bleed.

Think, “Ah.  Much better.”

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I’m still slowly working on getting the pieces of one of those freebie filing cabinets sanded and painted.  What I’ve done so far looks starkly white.  I’ve been dreaming a bit of what I can do to them to make them look a little more interesting.  I may try antique glazing andor sanding them with a wire brush.  I kind of like this look:

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If I can sand down to the original finish you’ll see brown through.  Or maybe an antique stain will leave dark splotches in all the right places.  Anybody out there ever done this before?  I’m experimenting but would really like to create something other than a monstrosity!

If you’re reading the title of this post and imagining that I am going to show pics of my shapely gams (which ARE a lovely alabaster shade this time of year) let me put your fears to rest.  My appendages will not show themselves until the thermometer rises considerably and they almost never show up in photographs.  (I’m very intentional about that!)

What you WILL see are THESE lovely legs which I took off of those free filing cabinets we got.

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O.K.  They are NOT looking so lovely YET but that’s because they only have one coat of paint on them presently.

I’m fairly new at the art of painting furniture.  In the past, I whipped through projects with zeal wanting to get to the finished part.  This time around, I’m slowing things down a bit and trying to do a really good job.  I started by taking one of the filing cabinets apart.  That step alone really helped me to do a better job of sanding.

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I almost couldn’t bring myself to paint these white; they looked so nice all battered after using sandpaper on them.  To be honest, I have never painted anything white before and am wondering if I’ll like the end result or not.  I can’t wait to put another coat of paint on those “milk bottles” but this time around I’m determined to let the paint cure for a full six hours before applying more. I am reminding myself that nothing ever looks good with just one coat of paint.  I am also thinking that “My Legs” would be a marvelous name for a paint chip that is white with just the slightest hint of pink in it.  I still won’t show you any pics to prove that that is a true statement.  Count yourself lucky!

“If the good Lord had meant for us to walk, he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.”
— Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory (the original)

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Willy Wonka may have something there.  I skipped my walk yesterday, put on some old fashioned rollerskates and let my boys skate circles around me.

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Thankfully I’m NOT quoting Miles Kington right about now.  He said,

I have recently taken up two new sports: roller skating and ankle spraining, in that order. I am getting quite good at both.

I happened to find strawberries for a good price while out and about yesterday.  Remember strawberries?

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I don’t think I’ve had any since they were in season over half a year ago.  The ones I purchased weren’t quite the same as the fresh local kind but, boy oh boy, were they tasty with a little bit of melted dark chocolate.

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P agreed to model for my photo shoot which is another way of saying we all had a good laugh over dessert.

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Look at that face!  Those berries dipped in bitter sweet chocolate were “mmm, mmm good”.

It’s not often that one gets a square dancing lesson and a fish fileting demonstration in the course of a few hours but I was lucky enough to have it happen to me.  The church I’ve been attending hosted a Volunteer Hoedown yesterday evening and being a volunteer at said church I went.  Like most church events it started with chowing down on grub.  I have to say that this was the first potluck I have been to where someone brought a platter of frog legs to share.  I wasn’t brave enough to sample those but when it came to the part where we got to learn to square dance I was up trying to recruit a partner.  I snagged one, joined three other couples that I had never met before and off we went whirling and twirling and dosey-doeing.  I certainly didn’t make entertainer of the evening but I did laugh a lot.

While I was dancing up a storm, the love of my life was off ice fishing.  He landed a couple of good sized white fish and some perch.  I came home to find that he had put them out in the snow on the back deck.  Many moons ago I had expressed a desire to learn how to filet fish and my hubbie was determined that yesterday night would be the night I would learn said task.  So there we were at close to 11:00 p.m. bloodying up the kitchen with hacked up fish.  Of course, I had to get the camera out for such a momentous date night.  DA found that funny but didn’t object.

One thing I wanted was a new “DA and fish shot”.   You see, when we first started corresponding the ONLY photos I got of him were ones with a big fish front and center.  Here’s one to add to my growing collection:

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And here’s a beauty of a shot of perch in our kitchen sink:

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Followed by some less than beautiful shots of my fileting lesson:

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DA always wants to cut open the stomach to see if he can see what his prize catches have eaten.  He was rewarded with the tiny minnow you see on the fleshy part of the second fish.

So square dancing followed by fish fileting ( and clean-up!) it was.  It’s a beautiful thing to learn new skills.

Look what showed up in my driveway yesterday!

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Soon my living room will lose this look.

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The idea is that all the stuff still downstairs in the basement will go in the Cubeit Storage Unit so that workers can come and have room to drywall.  Once that’s done they’ll paint and then put down flooring and trim and then, oh joy, I will finally be able to put away all those boxes! Yipee!

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The boys weren’t all that impressed with my supper tonight but I was.  You see, shortly after they ran out the door to catch the bus for school I headed out too.  I volunteered at a local long term care facility for a few hours, scarfed down some lunch in the van and then went to my paper delivery job.  I have five routes totaling 211 papers.  Today was my first day doing them and I spent some time learning the inner roads of Orillia and playing the “find the mailbox” game.  It took me three and a half hours to do all five routes on foot.  I got a ton of exercise pulling those papers through the snow and running up and down driveways and steps.  I almost finished in time to beat the guys home from school.  They were here about 15 minutes before me.  Without missing a beat I got the highlights of their day and started in on making tortilla bowls and homemade chili.  While things were cooking I was chopping veggies and grating cheese and setting the table ever so nicely.

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I think I pulled off a healthy, nutritious and dare I say delicious supper all things considering.  The biggest complaint from D and P was that I tucked in way too many vegetables.  It’s all a matter of perspective I guess.

I invited my neighbour over for tea today and then found out that she had celebrated a birthday on Monday.  Well.  I just had to make this more than an ordinary tea get together.  Birthdays only come once a year after all!  This was the perfect excuse to buy some flowers.

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They will only sit in my living room until this afternoon but I intend to enjoy them.  I almost never buy flowers but I do linger by them often in the grocery store.  Winter is so white and grey and boring.  I miss the colours of summer especially now that Christmas is over and all the decor has come down.  These tulips just add a burst of unexpected Spring magenta to my somber looking living room.  It’s such a little thing but it totally delights me!

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I hope my neighbour likes them too.  I picked up a couple of tiny little bakery made chocolate cakettes in honour of the celebration as well.  Flowers and chocolate.  Can there be a better way to say anything?

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.