Sunday, April 27, 2008

of salamaders, moles and munchkins

We're in the midst of babysitting! Grandboy and grandprincess are here for 5 days. Nana M is not well and Mama and Daddy are spending time with her and Papa C in Arizona. It's keeping this PopPop and Nana very busy. They are lots of fun, and it's been challenging, totally endearing and downright exhausting all at once. We've gone swimming in the hot tub (complete with swim goggles and underwater dives) we've ridden tricycles, had a hot dog roast, wheedled Grandprincess into eating, covered her with her " Bank-esh" (translation: blanket) just so- countless times. We've obeyed commands of "Up Pwease", "come here now Nana" and fallen in to the trap of the constant query "Why?"

The most noteable crisis came yesterday and believe me, Nana did not star in it. Looking back it was rather hilarious but I failed to see the humour while it was happening. It started just after I had the two muchkins ready for bed - bathed, clean jammies, teeth brushed, stories, songs, prayers finally complete. PopPop came in with a surprise. He'd found a salamader while fixing the drain in the back field. Of course he had to put it into a plastic bin with a little dirt and bring it into the house to show the kids. They were fascinated and had a hundred questions with "Why" in it's usual prominence. The salamader sat (lay, stood?) quietly in the bin, it's eyes blinking ocassionally. the kids were leaning over the bin , , their little noses right on the edge of the bin. They kept inching up higher and higher onto the table until the table couldn't take the pressure and started to tip. Well I'd left 2 (breakable !) pitchers on the table from supper the night before, one was empty but the other was still 1/3 full with apple juice. As the table tipped forward, the pitchers slid toward the salamander in his bin, and it slid toward the children who where totally spooked. Grandboy shrieked at the top of his lungs and ran off crying, grandprincess got scared and started wailing, I'm trying to keep the pitchers from crashing into smithereens and the apple juice is running down the table top and splashing across the floor. Can you spell C-H-A-O-S?? I'm trying to assure Grandboy that, no Salamanders don't bite, and it is still safely in the bin and trying to comfort grandprincess. They come running back to see the salamader again, running right into the sticky puddle on the floor. I pick them up one at a time and dunk their feet in the soapy water in the sink, after which they both run back through the puddle. I'm trying to wipe up the juice and keep them from running through the house with sticky feet. I finally get the mess cleaned up and grandboy comes running back across the wet floor and lands right on his bonky! What a comedy!! This was one flustered Nana trying to keep it together.

It was fun day though. We played toys downstairs, played in the hot tub, rode bikes, played with trucks and tractors, had a wiener roast, played more outside, answered questions about a mole PopPop caught (more why's) and tried to keep themfrom finding out what PopPop did with the mole.

Beleieve me, I'm not sure who was more wiped by the end of the day. The munchkins or me!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

About me

I saw two of these "little known things about me" blogs today and decided to take up the challenge. Here goes:

1.What time did you get up this morning? 7:30
2.Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? It’s been so long that I don’t remember
4. What is your favorite TV show? We only get CBC – I would watch the food channel if I had it
5. What do you eat for breakfast? Half an apple
6. What is your middle name? Joyce
7. What food do you dislike? Brussels sprouts
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Steve Bell – My Dinner with Bruce
9. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Highlander
10. Favorite sandwich? Fresh tomato with mayo
11. What characteristic do you despise? arrogance
12. Favorite item of clothing? New black top I bought in Palm Springs
13. Favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding rings
14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Italy
15. What color is your bathroom? One is blue with a fish theme and the other green
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Whatever fits well
17. Where would you retire to? I have to choose one place?
18. What was your most recent memorable birthday? turning 55...Harv surprised me by cooking dinner for 30 friends and family and presented me with a ‘78 VW convertible bug
19. Your favourite store: Precious Memories scrapbooking store
22. Favorite saying? – I don’t know - Someone will have to tell me
23. When is your birthday? Ides of March
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? Depends on the time I got to bed the night before
25. What is your shoe size? 10
26. What are you wearing: brown jeans, lime green shirt and chunky necklace
27. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? We’re getting another grandbaby in Sept!
28. What did you want to be when you were little? Teacher
29. What are you today? Grandmother to 4.5 and accountant for our business
30. What is your favorite candy? Dark chocolate
31. What is your favorite flower? Love them all
32. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? June 18 – Alaska cruise with my parents and sister and brother in law
33. What are you listening to right now? rain on the roof, heater fan
34. What was the last thing you ate? See #5.
35. What are your wish list items: new windows and floors
36. What’s your plan for the summer? 2 week motorcycle trip, lazy days on our pontoon boat
37. Favorite soft drink? Not a soft drink fan
38. Favorite restaurant? Evangeline’s
39. Spouse? Yes. And best friend
40. Hair color? brown – well I still think of it as brown but I’m afraid everyone else sees grey
41. Siblings? 1 fabulous sister
42. What’s your dream/goal: to be more like Christ
43. What was your favorite toy as a child? Paper dolls
44. Summer or winter? I like all the seasons
45. Hugs or kisses? Grandkids’ hugs melt me to a puddle
46. Coffee or tea? Chai Vanilla/honey whiteTea
47. Chocolate or vanilla? vanilla
48. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes, I love emails
49. When was the last time you cried? I’m sure it wasn’t long ago but I can’t remember right now
50. What is under your bed? Nothing but carpet
51. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Laurena
52. What did you do last night? We had 6 friends over for dinner
53. Favorite smell? Fresh scrubbed grandchildren
54. What are you afraid of? House catching fire
55. Salty or sweet? both - together
56. How many keys on your key ring? Car, mail, shop, plus a couple unidentified
57. How many years at your current job? 15 years
58. Favorite day of the week? weekends
59. How many towns have you lived in? 1 city; 2 places in the country -total of 5 houses
60. Do you make friends easily? yes... I love meeting new people
Who will repost this?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Unusual Appetizer Recipe

I was asked to bring an appetizer to a shower yesterday and found a wonderful recipe in a "Fine Cooking" magazine. I changed it a bit (my family accuses me of being unable to follow a recipe as it is!) and it turned out very good. It is reminiscent of the wonderful Lettuce Wraps served by our local Chinese restaurant.

Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Cups

1/3 cup hoisin sauce
4 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

4 or 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 head Boston or iceberg lettuce

1 meduim carrot, peeled and finely chopped
6 or 7 large leaves fresh basil finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts
2-3 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives

Mix first 3 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

If necessary, pound chicken thighs to an even thickness. Place 4 Tbsp of sauce in a separate bowl and lightly brush chicken on both sides. Place over medium high heat on the barbeque and grill 5 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked through.

Let meat rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime, separate lettuce leaves and tear gently into small cups and place on serving platter.

Cut chicken thighs into a fine dice. Toss with remaining hoisin mixture. Add grated carrot, chopped basil and chopped peanuts. Mix well.

Place a tablespoon of chicken mixture on each lettuce cup and sprinkle with chopped chives.

To prepare this ahead of time, make chicken mixture and refrigerate. Just before serving spoon mixture in to lettuce cups on platter and sprinkle with chives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Home again but where's the SUN?

We arrived home last night from a 2 week vacation in Palm Srings, CA. What a lovely, relaxing time we had. We shared a condo with our friends, Eric and Vange. The grounds were gorgeous with Palm trees, fountains, lush green grass and flowers everywhere. Snapdragons, petunias, pansies and geraniums were all in full bloom and the bougainvillaea in particular were amazing.

The guys golfed every second day, we did some shopping but mostly we lazed by the pool, swam, read and soaked up the sun.

We met several other friends for coffee most mornings - Starbucks was about a 25 minute walk - and had great meals, both in our condo and in some of Palm Springs' wonderful resturants.

We had a marvelous Italian meal one night, served on the streetside patio - 5 delicious courses topped off with Italian opera and love songs enthusiastically sung to us by one of the owners.

One evening we walked through the restaurant/shopping area known as "The River"and admired the wonderful reflections in the water and another night we took Hwy 74 up to the top of the mountain for a fabulous night view of the whole valley at night with all the lights twinkling in the distance.

The best part was the warm sun and blue, cloudless skies. I called Chris in Saskatchewan one
morning and I loved her reply when I talked about the sunny days we were having -"Well the sun is shining here too - at least I think it's the same one."

Now we are back at home and although the sun poked it's head out of the clouds once today, I'm not sure it was the same sun as we experienced last week. It's downright cold here and mostly rainy and it's supposed to SNOW on Friday- for goodness sake!!

Hopefully Spring will show it's warm side soon. It is nice to see the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths here at home. Those are flowers that you only see in pots or vases in CA - never in the ground.

We are grateful for the time of rest and relaxation we had and we are so fortunate to be able to share it with good friends .

BOOKS I READ while on holiday were

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - a fascinating story about the Circus with one chapter I could have done without. I especially loved the ending -

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls - another page turner - a true account of the author's growing up years - parenting that leaves you gasping - definitely about survival against all odds.

The Rock that is Higher by Madeleine L'Engle - the importance of story to our life and faith

The Fiction Class by Susan Green - a novel that includes lessons on writing fiction - I've read better stories

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - a story of how a secret affected a family and their relationships - although you know the secret will come out eventually, the story takes a few unexpected twists

and portions of A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle and To Live is Christ by Beth Moore (both inspirational - the first, from the Crosswicks Journals that follow L'Engles life and the latter on the Life of the Apostle Paul)