Monday, November 20, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How is everyone doing? How was your weekend? Yesterday I woke up to snow. Now, I'm not a big fan of winter but I do love the first snowfall. It is very special and very exciting and takes me all the way back to my childhood; back when I enjoyed building snow forts and having snowball fights and making snow angels. So each year when I open up my blinds and see that first snowfall, I feel that familiar squeeze in my heart brought on by nostalgia. How is your weather?

And how about some humour? Here we go...








Have a wonderful day!



Friday, November 17, 2017

This Week

Heeeelllllooooo...

Ah, there you are! Remember me? It’s been a while since I did one of these posts. Did you miss my blah, blah, blah?

As I mentioned earlier this week, we’ve been insanely busy. Our place is really coming together. All our boxes are unpacked and almost everything is where it should be. There are a few odds and ends to tackle but it looks like a home now.

Saturday we dropped off a big load of donations at the Salvation Army and then went back on Monday and dropped off an even bigger load. As a minimalist, I can’t tell you how liberating it is to get rid of stuff and have an airy feel in the home. I’d like to ditch more items but I’ll get to that later on. Right now I’d like to concentrate on wrapping up the settling of our place so I can focus on the holidays. There are cookies that need to be baked, people!



You know what else we did on Monday? We took a trip to IKEA. !!! As most of you know, I love this store. Yeah yeah, I know...not everyone is a fan. But I am and I make no apologies. Anyhow, we took a drive to the Montreal location to pick up a few things we needed, one being dining chairs, which we didn’t have since we got rid of our old kitchen table and chairs before we left Kingston. It was a fun day.

Incidentally, the most amazing man in the world has assembled so much IKEA stuff over the years that he’s a pro at it. He does it with ease and doesn’t break out in a sweat like many of us, or lose his cool and storm off in frustration. I told him he should be working an IKEA hotline for assembly assistance.



We removed all the wall to wall carpet in the house and replaced it with flooring. So now whenever one of our fur babies yacks it’ll be easy to clean up. Or so you’d think. A couple of weeks ago my tabby, Mocha, threw up and instead of doing it on any one of the floors around the house she decided to walk over to a tiny rug in front of the patio door and unload there. I swear these little furballs of ours do this on purpose and chuckle and snort and giggle as we struggle to clean up the mess.



My baking, cooking, photography and art have all suffered because of how busy I’ve been. But I’ve tried to squeeze in some time for things I enjoy whenever possible. Below are three drawings I did before the craziness began.





Now here's a tiny rant. About the preachy types. Don't they make you crazy? Here’s something to ponder for those who are so self righteous on social media (or anywhere else) it makes me roll my eyes all the way to the back of my head.


Yeah. !!!!!

I have more to say but I’ve run out of time. I’ve got a lot to do today and need to get started. And with that, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. How are you all doing? What have you been up to? How was your weekend? As you may (or may not) have noticed, I didn't blog on Friday. I've had an insanely busy week...unpacking. !!!!! Yuppers, you heard that right. We finished washing and painting the entire house from ceiling to floor and now we are getting it in order. Fi-na-lly. And just in time for the holidays.

🎵 doing the happy dance 🎵

I started by unpacking all our books, and then moved on to all our home décor and lamps and decorative pillows and throws and picture frames and photo albums and whatnots. It took days to open up all the boxes, sort through them and put things where they belong. And you know what else? I got rid of a huge chunk of our stuff: 20% of the books and about 80% of the rest. All of it donated to the Salvation Army. We have been there several times since we moved here and I'm guessing they will see us again and again. Our goal when we moved here was to downsize, get rid of the excess and simplify our lives. So far, so good.

And that's what's been keeping me busy. There is still some work to do but the worst of it is over.

Now, let's get to the funny stuff.








Have a good one!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

And here we are again. Happy Monday, everyone. How was your weekend? Ours was pretty quiet. I had the place to myself on Saturday and kept myself busy with some painting, cooking, baking and drawing. The most amazing man in the world spent the day visiting a friend in Quebec. They hung out and played some music together. On his way back he said he drove through a bit of a snowstorm on one of the smaller roads and had to slow down because he could barely see anything ahead or around him. Thankfully it was a short-lived experience and the rest of the way home was smooth sailing. There are no signs of snow here yet but it's just a matter of time.

Okay, enough blah, blah, blah. Let's get some humour going.






Have a good one!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Best Brownies Ever

One of you - and I won't name names or point fingers - commented on Friday's post that if I didn't post the recipe for the most amazing brownies I've ever had then it never happened. Well now...


So here I am with the recipe. Thanks to that person. But I won't name names or point fingers.

As you'll see in the comments below by Chef Linda, there are many ways to make these brownies, so adjust to your liking and to the ingredients you have on hand. Enjoy!

(And for those of you who have a Facebook account, you can find the post for the recipe here, along with a photo of the brownies, which I forgot to take before we devoured them.)


Esther’s Pumpkin Brownies

Cuisine: Esther Approved Dessert, Baked Good, Gluten-free and Nut-free options
Prep Time: 10 minutes Bake Time: 25 minutes Cool Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 12 (3”x3”) brownies
By: Chef Linda | Esther’s Kitchen

(For these brownies, choose the ingredients that work for you. This recipe has been baked at least 11 times and tested using the following choices: almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, dairy-free butter, coconut oil, almond flour, all purpose flour and gluten-free baking flour blend. Each one tasted great and had unique flavors. All of the ingredients resulted in a moist brownie that held together well. The brown rice syrup had the least amount of sweetness.)

Ingredients

1 cup pureed pumpkin from a 15 oz can or homemade and excess water drained
1/2 cup creamy almond, peanut or seed butter
2 Tablespoons softened coconut oil
1/2 cup agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao/cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour of choice: almond, gluten free baking blend or all purpose
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Line an 8“ x 8“ baking dish with parchment paper. Press the paper along the bottom edge and all 4 corners; set aside.

3. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Use an electric hand mixer or process in the food process until the batter is smooth.

4. Pour all of the batter in the center of the parchment lined baking dish. Scrape out remaining batter from the bowl or food processor. Spread the batter into the corners until you have a level surface.

5. Bake the brownies for 25 minutes. Cool the brownies on a metal rack for 15 minutes.

6. Pull up two sides of paper and lift the brownie out of the pan. Place the paper and brownie on a cutting board. Slice the brownie into 9 pieces or as desired.



Friday, November 3, 2017

This Week

Is it Friday? You bet your last brownie it is. And speaking of brownies, I recently made the best ones ever. Ever. I ran across a recipe that had ingredients in it that I like and had on hand, so I decided to give it a try. And they turned out awesome. We practically inhaled them. Super moist. Super delicious. And totally vegan. This makes me very happy because my younger daughter is a vegan. I’m trying some recipes with her in mind, so when she comes over, I can prepare things she can eat. The recipe is on Facebook and I tried linking to it, but for those of you that don’t have an account, you won’t be able to see it. I’ve decided to make a separate post for it another time. Stay tuned...



Did you hear it yesterday? That enormous sigh of relief that shook the planet? That came from our house. Because you know what? Yesterday we finished painting the last room in the house. OHMYFLIPPINGGOSH...what a thrill. I can’t tell you how happy we are. And tired. But mostly happy. It was the most challenging room with its 12-foot ceiling and a whole bunch of other difficulties, but - holy crap on a cracker - it’s done. We do have to paint the baseboards and quarter rounds but that’s a piece of cake. I’ll take one morning this weekend and finish that up. And next week we’ll finally place all the furniture where it belongs and start opening up boxes that have been piled up in the basement since February. It’s been an interesting, exhausting and sometimes frustrating journey. But we’re both still standing. I’ll post before and after shots of our home at some point in the future.



Next up, art.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to sit down and draw but it’s extremely enjoyable, therefore I make an effort. Here are a few simple sketches:





I like learning things that are totally useless but extremely interesting. Well, they can be useful if you enjoy trivia games. Having said that, here are 5 useless but interesting facts for you:

- LEGO has a temperature-controlled underground vault in Denmark with nearly every set they've ever made.

- Some cats are allergic to humans.

- Space has a distinct smell: a bouquet of diesel fumes, gunpowder, and barbecue. The aroma is mostly produced by dying stars.

- Scientists have found evidence of take-out restaurants in the remains of Pompeii.

- It's illegal for supermarkets in France to waste food. Supermarkets must either compost or donate unsold or nearly expired goods to charity.

- Barcelona is home to hundreds of playgrounds for seniors. The spaces are meant to promote fitness and combat loneliness in elderly citizens.


And with that, I end this post and wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

And here we are again at the start of a new week. How is everyone doing? Anything new going on? Nothing to report here. Today we are painting. Again. We were supposed to have finished the front/living room by now but we ran into problems that delayed the project, the main issue being that the walls needed repairs and then those repairs needed time to dry. I tell you, sometimes it feels like we'll never get done with this place. *sigh* We have finished painting the ceiling at least, so there's that. Today we start on the walls. This is not an easy room to begin with because of its 12 foot high ceiling, something I'm not a fan of because rooms with high ceilings are difficult to clean or paint. Anyhow, today we'll make a lot of progress.

Right now, let's laugh with these Halloween-themed cartoons.







Happy Monday!

Friday, October 27, 2017

This Week

As I type this, my cat Mocha is sitting on my lap. And holy furball, does her little body ever generate heat. I’m starting to sweat with this little furnace sitting on my thighs.

Speaking of furballs...

A few months ago I picked up a lint roller with 60 sheets, the type that boasts about how easy it is to remove pet hair off clothes and furniture and just about anything. I brought it home, put it away and promptly forgot about it. Yesterday I ran across it and decided to give it a try on a sofa that the cats sleep on. I rolled it across the seats over and over and over again. Within a couple of minutes I had used up almost one third of the adhesive sheets. And the sofa was still not free of cat hair. Yeah, that’s not going to work. My tabby cat sheds enough of her fur each day to build another cat. So out came the vacuum and gone was the hair. Sometimes the tried and true method shouldn’t be messed with.

I wish my cats would clean up after themselves.

So here I go again promoting my daughter’s travel blog again. That’s what moms do. Her blog can be found here. Her Instagram account here. And her Facebook page here. Drop by and say hello. She’s fun and sweet and friendly. And absolutely adorable. Just like her mama... *chuckle*

And speaking of daughters, here is something that my daughter has that I don't: natural talent in art. While I have to work at it and train myself, she does it with little effort. I have a first cousin from my mom’s side that’s the same and my brother Steve, the younger of my two older brothers, was also gifted this way. He used to draw people when he was just four years old. No joke. He’d tell you to sit down and he’d make a sketch of you. The grownups enjoyed this so much that they’d tip him when he was done. He was an artist and a young entrepreneur.

Now here are some of my latest (Halloween-themed) drawings that I had to work hard at:





Here’s something I’ve been enjoying very much lately. I pour freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice into ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, I grab a couple of cubes and pop them into a glass of water to enjoy with lunch or dinner. It adds a subtle flavour to water making it more interesting, which in return encourages me to drink more of it. Does anyone else do this? Try it, you might like it.



You know what? I’m going to stop here. Mostly because I can’t think of anything else to say. But before I go, I want to wish you all a wonderful weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How'd the weekend treat you? What's going on with you all? Anything fun or interesting to share? Add it below in the comments.

We are having some amazing weather these days. It's hard to believe it's late October. Here's hoping it stays this way for awhile. Today we will step outside and clean up. We don't have a garden, really, but the grass needs to be mowed and weeds need to be pulled out and the hose needs to be drained and put away, and on it goes. Little stuff to take care of before winter arrives. And that's all I have to say about that.

Now let's get to some funny stuff.






Have a good one!

Friday, October 20, 2017

This Week

Here we are again. How has your week been? One thing I can say about ours is that the weather is once again mild. At least from a Canadian perspective. I hope it continues this way for some time because I’m not a fan of winter, and I’m becoming less and less so as I get older. If we could afford it, the most amazing man in the world and I would spend January and February in a warmer place.

So this week...

A few days ago I ran across an article titled “Worried About Nuclear Explosion? Here's What To Do”. Apparently, Google has seen a spike in searches on “how to survive a nuclear attack” and so now we have suggestions on how to live through one. You know what I think you should do if such a thing were to happen? Kiss your ass goodbye.

If you don’t want to be doing that, reel in chest-thumping, ego-driven politicians who bring on the need for these articles. They are replaceable. Our planet is not.

End of rant.



There is a maddening amount of bad news that we are bombarded with on a daily basis that would have you believe that the world is going to end at any moment. Well, even if that was true, what’s the point of worrying about it? I decided a long time ago that I’m not going to live in fear. If the end comes, so be it. Until such time, I’m going to enjoy every moment I have joyfully and worry-free.



So apparently there are still people out there that believe the earth is flat. They probably never owned a cat. Because then they would know this:
Speaking of cats, mine wake me up early in the morning. Usually very early. Like 5:00 AM. Because I’m such a sucker gentle soul, I drag myself out of a warm bed and feed them. And then the little stinkers settle down for a long nap. They even give me a look that says “What are you doing up at this crazy hour?” Cats.



I'm still drawing and here are my latest attempts, two out of three with a Halloween theme:





And that's all, folks. I’m going to end this Friday’s post with an ode to earth set to “Baba Yetu”, a song by composer Christopher Tin. I’m certain I’ve shared this in the past but it’s so beautiful that it deserves to be shared again.



Enjoy, and happy weekend to all!