Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bedroom Makeover

My sons room was in dire need of an upgrade. When we first moved in the room was wallpapered in a very nice safari/African themed paper. Unfortunately, like everything else the previous owners did to the house, it wasn't done very well and it wasn't finished.

The carpet was a scrap that was too small for the room. The wallpaper wasn't glued down properly and they left one corner unfinished to show the pale yellow paint below. Very irritating.

It's taken us a while but we finally peeled all the paper off and have started painting. My son picked out the paint which is a pumpkin pie color and will go very nicely with his belongings.

Lucky for us, the previous owners left some laminate flooring that we're almost certain will be enough to do his floor with. A little crown molding and some baseboards and the room will look wonderful.

My husband and I are planning to get this done this week if at all possible and move our boy back in. Then I get to start working on my soap room! Yeah! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick Tip of the Day - Stick Blenders

Stick Blenders. Immersion Blenders. Handheld Blenders.....Whatever the heck you want to call them! I've got a few un-bloggable names for them right now.

Do not under any circumstance clean a stick blender with one finger on the blade and the other on the power button!

Even with rubber gloves on, it hurts like the devil bit you when you accidentally press on that said 'power button'!

Ouch! Sniffle. I'm a idiot!

My Own Special Weight Loss Program

I'm on a know the kind where you say "I'm on a diet" and then eat everything in sight?

Seriously though, I am trying to at least eat more fruit and veggies. At first I was going to try and actually skip on the sweets but who am I kidding. My sweet tooth is so large it barely fits in my mouth.

When I was little (OK, I was about 14 so not really little) my mother and I stayed at my Grandparents house while they were in England. My Grandfather has an even larger sweet tooth than the rest of us, which must be where my family gets it from.

Anyways, their fridge always has chocolate in it. Talk about temptation. Every day I would walk up to the fridge and tell myself "You will not eat all of Grandpa's chocolates!" and then I would take an After Eight, stuff it in my mouth and leave the envelope behind in the hide the evidence of course.

Well, by the time they got back from England there wasn't an After Eight to be found in that box....nope.....just a whole lot of empty envelopes hiding nothing....absolutely nothing. Totally Busted!!

My Mother is just as bad. As a joke my Dad once hid a chocolate dessert out in the garage before he went to work. What do you think happened? She sniffed it out!! That's right, my Mom found that dessert and of course ate some. Good work Mom!! I think I would have pretended to have eaten the whole thing.

My husband doesn't think I should diet because..... his words.... "I like you soft and squishy." (Hmmmm...I'm not sure that's a compliment) My kids feel the same way.

So okay, maybe I don't need to lose too much weight but just eat healthier. That's probably a more realistic goal for now.

See....Salad for lunch!! A whole 260 calories of rabbity goodness...with a smidgen of beef and blue cheese.

Salad LunchI'll have mixed berries for dessert.....and some chocolate. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dreaming of Summer Days

I woke up this morning dreaming of days such as these. Days we spent on Newcastle Island just off of Vancouver Island in British Columbia on our holidays last summer.

For me these pictures are like comfort food. Giving me that warm and fuzzy feeling. Not to mention a longing for this years holidays. Which can't come soon enough!

Newcastle IslandWhen I was taking this picture my bare feet were buried in the hot rocks and a gentle warm breeze was blowing in my face.

Newcastle IslandMy boy, my man and my dog.....

Newcastle IslandMy girl and my dog....

Newcastle IslandNewcastle Island is such a beautiful place and it's a must visit every time we venture back home.

You can see why I may have been somewhat disappointed this morning when I realized that this is what I faced....more cold, snowy days rather than sunlit warm ocean breezes.

Backyard with snowIt's hard to see in this picture but there are huge, fat flakes of snow coming down in droves.....yet again. Never ending it seems. I'm tired of staying indoors. I think I have the winter blues.

Backyard with snowAh well....soon enough the green will come forth and spring will have sprung. I guess I'll have to learn to be patient.

Instant Gratification...I want it 'now' syndrome.

The following video pretty much sums up our expectations of the world we live in. It seems the faster and more efficient the world becomes, the more we expect everything to happen yesterday. Instant gratification has become normal and patience has flown out the window.

I admit to acting ridiculously impatient myself and this video makes you sit back and think for a minute. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually appreciated the what we have rather than just expected it as our due?

I tried to put in the shorter version of this video but unfortunately it wouldn't work. The center part of the interview is the part I'm refering to.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Out of Commission.....

lady with a coldThis is not me. She looks fine.....I do not. I'm sick and I look horrible, feel horrible and am going back to bed.

See you in a couple of days...after I recover from this lovely gift of a cold my children were kind enough to share.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My dog is bored!

BrockLately Brock has been coming to me while I'm on the computer and he sits and stares at me. Just sits there. Staring. Sometimes he whines.

I ask him if he wants out....nothing. If I was to say "Want a cookie?" I already know the answer. I'll trudge upstairs and get him one and then once he's done he will follow me back downstairs and he'll resume his place. Just sitting there. Staring.

He's driving me crazy! So the last time he did that, I played a trick on him....I'm so mean! As soon as I got up from my chair, he was off like a shot to the fridge (where the cookies are). I however, did not follow. I snuck into my soap room and hid in my curing closet. It's just like a broom closet but has a glass door with privacy glass. He can't see me but I can see him.

It took him a minute but he soon realized that I wasn't coming upstairs. It was very hard to watch him running like a crazy dog round and round the basement trying to find me....The hard part being to not laugh and give myself away. You see, he used to play hide and seek with the kids a couple of years ago and he loves it. One child would hide and the other would seek with the dog.

So I'm standing in amongst my soaps and they're masking my scent...for awhile at least. He must have run about the basement a good 8 times but he did end up finding me. And he just stood there outside the door staring at it....yup, just staring. I sure wish he could talk sometimes. The staring makes me nuts.

Anyways, since it was obvious that what he needed was some play time, we went upstairs to go kill the snake. He really likes to shake the heck out of this thing. And he nips it until he pops the seams and pulls out the stuffing. Hence all the knots...trying to make snake last longer.

Once he got bored of the snake, I sent him out to go get the "kitty". He'll race all over the yard energetically bounding through the snow hunting for the cat. That we don't have. In the summer the odd cat ventures into our yard and he'll chase it but he'd never hurt one. I think he just likes the chase and misses our old kitty who passed away last year. One of the times I saw him chase a kitty, the cat just sat there and our dog ran right up to it and sat down.......and stared at it. Weirdo.

I guess I'm not the only one longing for springtime and green grass. Poor dog has cabin fever. He could probably use a buddy but no way am I cooking dog food for two dogs. One is enough thank you very much. Sure the new dog probably wouldn't need the homemade food but what are you going to say to it....Sorry, you get the crap food cause you don't have allergies.....right.

Brock promptly fell asleep after the fun and games. He left me alone for about two hours. And then came back to stare. It was 1/2 hour away from his dinner time. Fun....a whole 1/2 hour of staring.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Barcardi Peach Cake

A few years ago my Auntie Sally made a cake that I absolutely love. I think it's original name is Fruit Cocktail Cake and it is incredibly simple to make.

Since realizing I couldn't eat gluten anymore, I haven't made this cake and I miss it very much. The other night I decided to see what I could do about making it gluten free. I did a couple of searches online but unfortunately the only thing I found that appealed to me was the Bacardi Rum Cake which of course is gluten-full!

I then pulled out the original recipe and decided to just run with it. This is the resulting recipe.

Bacardi Peach Cake

1/2 Cup Tapioca flour *(replace tapioca flour, cornstarch and rice flour with 1 3/4 Cups regular flour for a non-gluten free cake)
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
3/4 Cup Rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
*(omit if using regular flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 14 oz. can peaches, diced
(including the juice)
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour cake batter into 2 lightly greased round cake pans (you can use a 9 x 13 for the regular flour cake). Allow to sit for 15 minutes while heating the oven. Bake cake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 - 40 minutes or until it tests done. Be careful with the gluten free version...opening and closing the oven door can make the cake fall.

Cool cake in the pan.

I deviated from the original recipe here because I felt like that Bacardi Rum cake!

1/2 Cup butter or margarine
1/4 Cup orange juice concentrate
1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup of Bacardi Rum

Place all ingredients into a pot and cook over medium heat until it boils. Prick holes into the top of the cakes and slowly pour this mixture over them. Don't worry that it feels like your drowning them. They soak everything up very nicely.

Leave the cake to cool tastes best the next day. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Here is the original glaze which is very yummy as well.

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup butter
2/3 Cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Follow the same cooking instructions as the Bacardi glaze.

Makes 12 servings.

We've already eaten one of the cakes and my daughter and I quite enjoyed it. My son however (13 years old) said that the rum tasted too strong and likes the old glaze better. 13 I would have loved a cake soaked in rum....wonder what that says about me? Who cares...the cakes great! Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Melt and Pour Shaving Soaps...So Fun to Make!

Melt and Pour Shaving SoapsOver the last year I have continually read soap makers going on and on and on about how much fun melt and pour soap making is!

I'm a die hard cold process soap maker and have been making my soaps for 10 years without ever considering going over to melt and pour. A couple of weeks ago I thought "what the heck" and ordered some so I could give it a try.

Ohhhh Dear! It was sooo much fun! Look at these cute little shaving soaps. I think I'm in love. I'm going to have to source out a reasonably priced supplier! Since I'm pretty sure I'm hooked on this form of soap making as well!

Melt and Pour Shaving Soaps

Since I had never attempted melt and pour before, I had to do a little research first. That called for a visit to Teach Soap, Anne-Marie Faiola's website on soap making.

I kept it simple for my first try. After ordering the melt and pour soap, I started saving our fruit cup containers to use as molds. Once the soap arrived I made some curls out of my regular white soap (it was a little too cured so it cracked on some pieces) and put them in the mold containers.

I decided to make each soap a different color and scent since I had only ordered 2 lbs of the shaving soap. I cubed up the soap, weighed out 110 grams, added some mica and melted it in the microwave. Once it was melted, mixed and cooled I added the scent.

The next step seemed to be the hardest for me.....I kept forgetting to spritz the embeds with rubbing alcohol! Darn it! I'd say 2 or 3 of these little cuties might fall apart on me later but I don't care. Live and learn.

I also sprayed the tops with the alcohol to get rid of the bubbles. Once I was done making all eight soaps, I put them on a tray and left them overnight to harden. When I got up this morning, they were the first thing I went too! I was that excited.

I grabbed the first one I made and it popped right out of the mold. Yeah! So I grabbed the second...hmmmm.....not budging....the third....nope....and so on! Nuts! None of the rest would come out of the molds. Fine! I tossed them in the freezer for about a 1/2 hour.

Once I took them out I left them on the counter for about 10 minutes so they could warm slightly. I think it's the temperature change that helps to release them. I still had to run a knife around the top edge but they all came out great after that.

I could probably ramble on some more but I think I'd rather go take a bath and try out my new soaps!

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who's a Dumb Bunny?

This is a cute little bunny...I'm the dumb bunny!I know, I know, it's not Easter yet, it's Valentines Day. So why the bunny?

Why I'm going to tell you this is beyond me but I guess it's good to be able to laugh at yourself and let everyone else laugh (at you) with you.

On my way to the grocery store this morning, I realized I was seriously short on gas. I drove into the gas station, hopped out and using my debit card on the pump, started the process of prepaying for my gas. While the machine was verifying my request for a fill-up, I turned around to open the gas tank.

Which wasn't there.

Duh! I've had this car for about 10 years now and I almost always fill the car myself. You would think by now I'd know how to pull into the gas station with the tank on the correct side.

I'm standing there in shock wondering what to do. I've already got the pump ready to go. Oh damn I thought. Jumped in the car and did the drive away only to do a "U" turn in the parking lot and return to the pump. Pretty sure everyone was looking at me by now!

Yup, they're saying, She's one Dumb bunny!

I guess I would have to agree with them. Oh well....we can't be brilliant all of the time!

Romance and Roses

I'd had grand intentions of making a treasury on Etsy in honour of Valentines Day. Something romantic. Unfortunately, I missed the treasury opening and had to make a 'fake' miniature treasury for your viewing pleasure. I admit, it was a bit tedious to create this little beauty but I managed and made it click able as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy....Etsy has a feature called treasuries that are compiled by shoppers and vendors and consist of items for sale that the creator finds appealing. Sometimes they are based on a theme like color or function or object.

You're probably wondering why anyone would want to make one....the reason is to help promote fellow vendors and Etsy. The more people who know about Etsy, the more people there will be shopping for great handmade products.

Petite Victorian Blush Pink Lucite Flower Earrings Melt me - Original Painting 4 Yards of 1920s Exquisite Twinkling and Sparkling Pink Sequined Trim New Old Store Stock g e n o v a
Stunning Fused Glass Candle Shade Shabby Cottage Roses 5 piece towel set Tie it with a Bow. Locket Necklace Romantic Bliss - Dupioni Silk Pillow w Antique Lace
French Pink Rose Brooch I heart U cozy pink. Rose Roll On Perfume PINK Victorian Beaded Hanging LAVENDER SACHET
Tea Stained Vintage Tapestry Fabric Wristlet Pouch Purse He Loves Me He Loves Me Not Rose Shea Butter Soap Rosebud Pomander Ball On the Fringe of Something Beautiful - 5x5 Lovely Begonia TtV Phototgraph Print

Happy Valentines Day! May it be filled with Romance and Roses....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Washing Wonders Never Cease

Just like most North Americans we have a washer and a dryer. Lucky for us it's a nice one and it came with the house when we bought it.

I'm fairly certain the people who sold us the house would have taken it with them or swapped it for a crappy set (like they did with the fridge and stove) but this washer and dryer can't leave. Nope.....they built the walls in after the machines were in place. Thank goodness they're Maytag! They may be old but the commercials tell me they will last forever...sure hope so since we're going to have to enlarge the doorways in order to replace them.

I can still remember when my husband and I first moved out on our own and had to visit the laundry mat once a week. Our choices were really limited ....they all smelt like stale old urine and cigarette smoke, yuck. We finally signed up for our first credit card (Sears Canada) and bought a new washer and dryer. Instead of paying the laundry mat for clean clothes, we just sent the money to Sears. That set lasted for 12 years and they were the cheapest Kenmore washers we could find. Not too bad an investment!

So the point of all of this rambling is this.....we have a perfectly good clothes dryer in our house and this is the scene I am presented with this morning. My daughter in all her teenage wisdom is drying her t-shirt with her hair dryer!

I decided not to question her this time (trying to pick my battles) and just grabbed the camera to take a picture. I couldn't help commenting about 'planning ahead' and 'thinking things through' but left it at that. Not to wish away our lives but I really can't wait until the grandchildren come along and my children finally "get it".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Feeding the Eagles!

Comox, B.C., Vancouver Island , Jan. 2009I was born and raised on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and to this day I love everything about it!

It's a must do visit every year and here is one reason why. Eagles.....lots of big, beautiful Bald Eagles. Aren't they magnificent?

I received these pictures in an email and it seems our overly cold winter is taking a toll on the eagles.

Thankfully some kind souls have taken pity on them and set up a feed station at Goose Spit in Comox. I've never been to Goose Spit but now I think I'll have to search it out on our next visit.

They're fighting over some fish in this picture. Many times I've watched them battle it out in mid flight and it's awe inspiring.

It seems odd looking at the beach and seeing snow on it. Vancouver Island gets snow every year but it doesn't usually stick around for very long....guess I haven't been hanging out at the beach in the winter!

They look so majestic perched there in the early morning awaiting the arrival of breakfast.

Thank goodness there are people out there who not only notice the need for action but actually jump right in and do something about it!


The email I received about these pictures turns out to have been incorrect. These pictures were taken in Homer, Alaska and the lady responsible for the feeding was Jean Keene. Here is a little bit of info I found after a quick 'google'.

Jean Keene, the "Eagle Lady" passed away January 13, 2009. She was 85.

Jean lived in a campground on the Homer Spit since her relocation to Alaska in 1977. Jean began feeding a pair of eagles on the Spit shortly after her arrival. She worked for a seafood plant where she had permission to gather surplus and freezer burned fish for the eagles. After ten years, more than 200 eagles were coming by Jean's place for breakfast. Jean loaded fish into barrels and then into her pickup for the short drive home. Before she doled out fish to the eagles, she chopped them into smaller chunks making it easier for them to carry. Jean fed 200 to 300 eagles about 500 lbs. of fish daily from late December through mid April.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Price of Children

My wonderful kidsI found the following while checking my Facebook account and I absolutely love it. It made me teary eyed (not hard to do since I'm such a mush) and I thought you might like to get mushy with me!

"Copied from Facebook"

This is just too good not to pass on to all. Something absolutely positive for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:

* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741.38 a month, or
* $171.08 a week.
* That's a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be 'rich.' Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?

* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to:

* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs, and
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:

* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and
* wish on stars.
* You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect! spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:
* first step,
* first word,
* first bra,
* first date, and
* first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

My wonderful kids

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Soaping Spaces...current and future.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself but I decided to do some spring cleaning this least in regards to my soaping spaces. We won't discuss the rest of the house.

This is a wall I have confiscated for my soap making bench and all my soapy supplies. At some point I have high hopes of grabbing the other 3 walls as well!

It doesn't usually look this clean and tidy but I thought it might be nice to spruce it up a little for 'picture day'. Most days you would find various soap recipes with all the additives waiting to be made. A block of soap would be on one end waiting to be cut up....pretty much creative chaos in the raw.

That's a skill my mother taught me. If there is a surface to fill, one must fill it. Even if it's the dining room table!

Here is my photography, packing and shipping table. All of my photo props, labels, bags and camera supplies are kept here.

Up above I have all my kids colouring and craft supplies. My daughter likes to draw and paint so we keep her supplies up there....when they aren't in her room that is! She takes the cake when it comes to messy. Her room is usually a whirl wind of disaster. Clothes everywhere. And nothing to wear of course. She's 15 so I guess she's normal!

Now this wonderful little building is my absolute dream of a soap studio. This is where I want to be eventually. Like when it's properly insulated and has a heating system. Since that takes money we don't currently have, my cute little 'studio to be' will wait patiently for me until we can afford to finish it.

There you have it. My short and long term goals for my soaping space. First steal the rest of the room I'm in and then get to work on the outside studio. Once that's done, move everything out there. Sounds so easy but it'll probably take quite a few years before I make it out there.

I can picture myself sitting on the patio (currently buried under 3 feet of snow) in front of the double doors sipping a cup of tea on my break while enjoying some sunshine. How's that for motivation?