Lens Artist Challenge #57 – Taking a Break

….thanks to Travels and Trifles  for hosting this week’s Lens Artist Challenge

Last week my daughters and I took a break from city life and spent four days at the cottage with our dogs. Frances (my dog) and Olive get along very well despite the large age difference (10 years). I’m very much a water person and love living by large bodies of water, both at home and the cottage. The cottage is on Christian Island in Georgian Bay which is part of Lake Huron. We had a wonderful time swimming, playing with the dogs and trying to put together an impossible 1000 piece puzzle of the moon.

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During our stay these two lovely ladies put together the new barbecue while I read the instructions. After it was completed Josie made us a fabulous dinner on the barbecue. I do all my cooking outdoors when I’m at the cottage. Great food, lots of wine and spirits (but not too much) and time spent with friends and family; I can’t imagine a better way to ‘take a break’.IMG-3177
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When it was all over Frances needed ‘a break’ from all that running and playing on the beach. She is after all 12 1/2.

SuperDogs and the Midway

….more fun from the CNE

All those years at the CNE and I never once managed to find the time to see the SuperDogs show. This year my daughters and I made it a priority and we weren’t disappointed. The show is free and the stands always fill up quickly. This show is fun and not meant to be taken seriously.

The CNE would not be the same for me or my girls if we didn’t walk through the midway. We’re not big on the rides but we like to look at them. We do, however, enjoy playing some of the games. At $5.00 a pop, Whack a Mole didn’t hold our attention for too long. We each tried it once but there was always someone with faster reflexes than us. We also liked playing the water guns but seat #12 always seemed to come in first. The Birthday Games also didn’t bring us any prizes this year.

After the girls and I parted ways I couldn’t help myself and I went back to the water gun booth and sat on chair 12. Success!

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Share Your World – Week 32

…..more great questions from Cee at Share Your World

Do you prefer ketchup or mustard?

I like both but over the years I’ve grown to like mustard more than I did as a child. Now I prefer mustard on my meats and ketchup on my eggs, fries, grilled cheese and mac and cheese.

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

This is a tough question. It certainly wouldn’t be an action or science fiction film. It would have to be a combination of the first three genres. The romantic comedy would be my teenage years and my relationship with my husband. The comedy portion would include the years raising my children and my years teaching children. Finally the drama would occur when dealing with the deaths of parents, friends and colleagues and the break-ups and disappointments suffered by our children and the divorces of friends and family. Luckily there is more comedy than drama in my life.

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

The gifts I would most cherish would be peace of mind and happiness.

For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?

This depends on the day and the time of year. If the party is on a week night and I’m working  I will purchase something special from a deli or take away from a restaurant. I will cook something myself if the party is on the weekend or in the summer when I’m not working.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for time together with my daughters and their significant others. G and her husband had dinner with us last Friday and A and her partner came by the house on Saturday and helped us clean out the garage. Cleaning the garage and taking everything to the city transfer station was a huge job and I can’t thank J and her family enough for all their hard work.

Later on Saturday G and I drove up to the cottage together and spent a couple of days enjoying each other’s company and the fantastic weather.IMG_2195 IMG_2199 I’m also grateful to D at the cottage for helping me dig a new outhouse hole.

This week I’m looking forward to visiting my aunt again, helping my friend A organize her basement and garage some more and seeing my friends G and L. I’m also looking forward to working on more art projects from my on-line summer camp.

It’s also our 39th wedding anniversary this Saturday and I’m looking forward to anything that my husband and I will do to celebrate.

Father’s Day – Part 2

…..honouring my husband with a little fun at a local pub

After spending lunch with my father yesterday, my husband and I drove back to Toronto and got ready to go out a second time. We made reservations to have dinner at a local pub and watch the Italy vs England game with our daughters.

We knew that the real action would be down in Little Italy but it would be next to impossible to get a table reserved unless we were willing to arrive four hours before the game. My husband is not keen about driving downtown or waiting for anything so we picked a pub closer to home. We knew that when we went there that we would probably be in the minority cheering on Italy in this part of Toronto.

We arrived 30 minutes before the game and the place was pretty empty but it started to fill up quickly. Luckily the table next to us was also filled with fans of the Azzuri but the rest of the place was clearly filled with English fans. Before the game started my husband opened up his Father’s Day gifts from me and his daughters. Unfortunately we couldn’t convince him to wear his Italian jersey. He said it was too small but when he tried it on this morning I thought it was fine. During the game J wore the shirt so that there was no doubt which team our table was cheering for.IMG_1807

The game itself was fantastic. So well played. No dives, dirty tricks or unfair calls. Yeah Italy! This afternoon I’ll be cheering for Argentina and tomorrow I’ll be wearing my Germany shirt and supporting my birth place.

Today has been a glorious day weather-wise. We’ve done a little gardening and our grass was cut and trimmed by D and his dad who will be coming all summer to keep our yard neat and tidy. Our son called from the Netherlands to wish his Dad a Happy Father’s Day and he spent some time speaking with me as well. Thanks B!

 

Frances’ Perfect Day

…..a lot of running, a little swimming and wrestling with her buddy Lucy

Yesterday was a cool but sunny day…. a  perfect day to walk the dogs down by the lake.

Earlier in the day we picked up our daughter, G, and her basset hound, Lucy. G’s husband was away on a business trip. She needed some help buying plants and she was hoping to see her older sister who was coming home from her three week vacation in Argentina.

After buying the plants we had some time on our hands before we had to pick up A and J from the airport. We got the dogs ready for a nice long walk and headed out for Colonel Samuel Smith Park.

Both dogs love to play with each other and run. The biggest difference between the two of them is that Frances loves the water and Lucy hates it. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that Basset hounds have short legs and long ears. After a long exhausting run, even though she was surrounded by water, Lucy would not drink from the lake. She came close but changed her mind as she approached the water.

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Frances on the other hand would live in the water if we let her. She dives right in. The following pictures of her clearly show off her joy as the waves roll onto the shoreline.

ImageImageWe took a few detours off the main path today and when we got home we discovered that our walk was 5k long. The dogs of course probably doubled that distance with all the running they did, back and forth through the grassy knolls and up and down the rocks.

Today Frances was very quiet. Every time we looked for her she was off somewhere sleeping. What a life!

Frances, yawning.

Frances, yawning.

Frances, sleeping again.

Frances, sleeping again.

My 300th Post and A Great Day After All

…. but not because of the weather

My 2.2k running route

After walking 1k this morning I started to run. I hadn’t planned on running, in fact I haven’t been able to run because of my cold. I’m not sure if it was the rain or what but something spurred me on to start running and I kept running and running. I didn’t stop until I got home. I felt good the whole time and I think I could probably have gone farther but I decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to push myself much more than I already had.

One year ago I could barely run 50 metres and I remember feeling like a bowl of Jello. Today it felt completely natural and I wasn’t the least bit self conscious about how I appeared in public. I’m not fast but I’ll work on my speed after I can run 5k without stopping. I’m almost half way there now. It’s been 8 hours since my run and I still feel good, no sore muscles or aching joints.

After our walk/run my husband and I picked up our daughter and her partner and headed over to The Junction. It was recently renamed The Junction Triangle but I haven’t heard anyone use the new name. We parked the car and checked out the old record store, the art store, Articulations, and then we crossed the street to The Sweet Potato. We picked up some kale, avocado, almond milk and a few other healthy foods.

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There is a new restaurant that’s opened in the Junction and we had heard great things about it so we headed over there to get some lunch. The restaurant is called 3030 which also happens to be address on Dundas St. W.. When we got there they were serving brunch and we each chose different items off the menu. My choice was a spinach, proscutto and bacon rotolo topped with a sweet tomato chutney. It was delicious. It’s basically an omelette that is filled with the ingredients listed above and then rolled,sliced and baked in the oven.
After lunch we continued to head west along Dundas and took in some more of the sights and other little businesses. I’ll post more photographs of our great day tomorrow.
Happiness File:
1. I ran 2.2k without stopping and I feel great.
2. I spent quality time with my family.
3. I treated myself to a new bracelet.
4. I’ve written 300 posts since I started blogging one year ago.
Cheers!

Sunny and Warmer

…. it seems like everybody around the world is commenting on the unusual weather

Yesterday was the first day that we ventured out onto the deck to enjoy the sun after our delicious Easter lunch. We decided to do dessert and coffee outside. As you can see from the photographs the temperature wasn’t all that warm and we donned our coats, vests and sweaters but the sun felt good on our faces as we tried to absorb some of that natural vitamin D.

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Yesterday we also skyped our son in Rotterdam and spoke with him for a good 30 minutes or more. It was a video call so we showed him the table setting, and the food as it was coming out of the oven and he showed us the new blinds he put up in his apartment and then he went out onto his mini balcony and showed us his view of the street. Isn’t technology wonderful?

One of the things that B mentioned was the bitter cold they were experiencing and how the winds were relentless all week in the Netherlands. My cousin in Germany also told me about the unusual amount of snow they were getting for this time of year and my blogging friends in Dublin and Prenzlau also commented on the cold, snow and wind. None of this is that unusual for those of us that live in Canada or the NE sections of the U.S.A. but in Europe it’s a big deal because they’re usually well into spring by now with the flowers blooming everywhere.

And speaking about blooming, the mini daffodils that I bought for the table started to open today. I think one of my favourite things about Easter is the selection of all the wonderful flowers that you can purchase from the market this time of year. I treated myself to more tulips today.

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When the tulips open up they should be a beautiful pink colour. The only other thing that would make this scenario perfect would be the addition of some pussy willows. I’m on a mission. Till tomorrow. Enjoy the day, wherever you are, regardless of the weather.

Cheers!

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

…. this bread made everyone happy today 

Happiness Files – Day 8

I was prepared to add raisin and currents to my bread today until I read that traditional Irish soda bread has only 5 ingredients: flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and buttermilk

4 cups (1000 mL) all-purpose flour

1tablespoon (15 mL) sugar

1 tsp. (5 mL) salt

1 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda

2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk

P10007451. Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Nothing is worse than biting into a clump of baking soda. Make a well in the middle.

P1000746 P10007482. Pour the buttermilk into the centre and then using your hands move the flour into the liquid and mix together until all the ingredients come together.

3. Using your hands gently knead the dough a couple of times until you form a nice smooth ball.

4. Place the loaf on a lightly greased cookie sheet and with a sharp knife cut a deep cross through the middle of the loaf.

5. Bake the bread in a 425 degree oven for 35 minutes. Cool on a rack.

6. Slice and serve with butter.

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Dinner today consisted of a beet, wilted greens, and feta salad. I used the beets and steamed greens that I prepared last night. I added feta cheese, a splash of olive oil and freshly ground pepper and salt. I felt like I was in a fancy restaurant enjoying a gourmet salad.

The main course was the Guinness Irish stew and a dollop of champ (mashed potatoes with sliced green onions) that my husband made. It was amazing.

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Before dessert we took the dogs, Lucy and Frances, for a nice long walk to help burn some of the calories from the stew and make room our fresh berries and cream and hot steaming coffee.

DSCN0004Here are 5 more reasons why I had a happy day today. Bringing people who love each other together to enjoy a meal, regardless of the occasion, is always a happy moment. Sharing food with people who appreciate your efforts is very rewarding. Hope you had a lovely day, whether you were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just enjoying a regular Sunday.

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Kevin enjoying a Guinness with his Irish stew.

Kevin enjoying a Guinness with his Irish stew.

Cheers!