Monday, January 31, 2011

Frugality versus Miserliness

"There is a vast difference between practicing frugality and being miserly.  To be frugal is to set higher standards for your thoughts, behavior, activities, surroundings, and possessions.  A frugalite (a word of my own making) is one who enjoys comfortable, attractive surroundings and endeavors to transform the simplest foods into a feast.  You exult in keeping the bonds of family and friendship alive through simple yet elegant entertaining.  You enjoy quality accoutrements to daily living, although many frugalites have a (sometimes stringent) limit to their income.  Frugalites prefer to make wise decisions on how to spend money and time and hold a respect for the principle and disciplines of frugality.  They know that money, saved by wise spending, can be used to enhance their lifestyle, contribute to worthwhile charities, or both."
"Born from the Latin word for "wretched," miserliness is the absence of generosity.  A miserly person will spend money reluctantly and deprive himself of all but the barest of essentials, for the sole purpose of hoarding money.  In my humble opinion, to live a miserly existence would truly be wretched.  To wait for "someday" is the ultimate futile exercise."

Frugal Luxuries:  Simple Pleasures to Enhance your Life and Comfort your Soul by Tracey McBride

I would like to be a frugalite.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Should it stay or should it go ????

I was thinking about taking down these shelves and framing and hanging my Clark MacDougall print.  My sister Lori says I should leave things as they are.  What do you think?

Decorating is hard work . . .

You may recall that one of my New Year's resolutions is to decorate our apartment.  I started with what I thought would be the simplest room . . . the entry hall.  Well it's been 2 days and a little help from a son and a brother-in-law . . . and the entry hall is nearly done.  I'm just waiting for touch up paint from the building superintendant and hopefully a new globe for the ceiling light.  The only things I need to buy . . . a "brass" handle for the closet door and some broom and mop holders to install inside the linen closet.  I'm pretty pleased with my simple pine and brass decor. 

I will probably spend the next 2 days just cleaning up the mess in the rest of the apartment.  Why is it when you clean up one room all the mess just seems to move to ALL the other rooms . . . LOL???

Nighty Night,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Broken Knees and Basketball . . .

I had so much trouble falling asleep last night because I couldn't stop thinking about everything I wanted to accomplish while Hal is on the road.  So I had a nice early start . . . okay 10 am . . . early in my world.

When I am in a purging and scrubbing mood I always pick a corner to start from and work my way out.  I chose the entry hall.  It is a tiny space unless you include the huge hall closet and linen closet.  So I started in the big closet and just pulled EVERYTHING out. 

I got down on my knees with a scrub brush and scrubbed the closet floor.  What a mistake!  About halfway through this little job I was shaking because my knees hurt so bad . . . seriously I'm not THAT old yet am I????  But I did manage to finish.

All the Christmas decorations are now together in one tote. All my craft supplies have been relocated to the walk-in closet in the bedroom and my picnic supplies and coolers are now in the front hall closet . . . and I now have room to put the shoe rack, boot tray and all our jackets and coats in the entry hall closet . . . imagine that!!!!! And I found some really cool old coins I'd forgotten I had in my engagement ring box (which also contained an old love letter from Hal).

So I moved on to cleaning out the linen closet . . . that was another chore.  Didn't find any exciting treasures in there though . . . just a strangely large amoung of household ammonia and suncreen.

In the morning (hopefully) Greg and the boys are going to come over and finish scrubbing the entry hall floor for me so I can finish putting this little room back together.

My brother-in-law, Jay, is coming to touch-up the drywall where a shelf used to be.  I'm hoping to get some paint from the superintendant to touch up the repairs.

And then one little room will be done!!

I went to watch an exhibition game between London Lynx (the team Greg coaches and Austin plays on) and St. Thoms Shock.  London won.

Good night,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sticky hugs . . .

You know you've been hugged by a passel of sticky candy fingered boys when you go to sit down on a chair and the back of your shirt sticks to the back of the seat.

And Mom still has her cell phone.  The record is 2 weeks.  She's made it to 2 days . . . LOL . . .

Breakfast out with my Red Hatted friends and Mom.  A ton of errands run.  Lunch at the Stationmaster.  And I've started cleaning the mess which used to be my apartment.

So how's your day been?


It's Wednesday and I have finally taken control of the apartment back . . .

. . . and I will be days getting the place cleaned back up again.  But it sure was fun making the mess.  Hal was off duty for 5 days and we spent them doing things we enjoy and relaxing a lot.  Today was spent running errands, visiting, and spending the evening with the grandsons.  We had a pretty great time . . .

watching cartoons
playing cards
making personal pizzas
eating apple pie and chocolate ice cream and whipped cream
making and eating snow candy
talking and telling stories

Hal went back on duty this morning but just got called out for his first load tonight.  That's the way it usually goes.  Welcome to the trucking industry.  And of course we have freezing drizzle tonight so I will worry about Hal all the way to Toronto.  He promised to call when he arrived so I will be able to relax and sleep.  Once he is in his big truck I don't worry so much.  So its going to be a long night tonight.

I made Hal take the rest of the apple pie leftover from supper with him.  I don't want it in the house.  I just finally made it back to my pre-Christmas weight so hopefully I'm back on the road of weight loss.

It is really going to be a late night tonight, waiting for Hal to call and let me know everything is all right.  And the worst part is my alarm is set for 8 am so I can turn on the VCR.  I'm sure there is a way to pre-program it but anyone who knows me knows that probably wouldn't go well.

I'm taping Tim's Canadian television premiere (although this isn't 100% true since a couple of movies he extra'd in have been on television) in Dual Suspects:  Ties that Bind.  Hint:  Tim is the killer.  I had this great idea to have a TV and popcorn party tomorrow night and invited some friends and family over to watch with me.  I had to cancel the party when it turned out I had the time wrong . . . 9AM not 9PM . . . argghhhh!!!!!!

So I won't be watching the show in the morning, just taping it because I'm heading out for breakfast with some friends.  Then I have about 5 million errands to run and then I have to clean the disaster which is my apartment.  Right now it looks like 4 tornados have come through -- and their names are Hal, Austin, Taylor and Cameron . . . LOL . . .

Mom bought a new cell phone today.  Why is this funny?  She loses them.  The last one ran away in just a few days.  So we made some interesting suggestions to prevent the loss of this new phone.  I'm taking bets on how long she will have it before it runs away . . . LOL . . .

When Hal is home I set my own projects aside so we can spend our time together.  That also means setting aside the Dreaded To Do List.  It comes back out tomorrow.  According to the Dreaded To Do List it is December 24th . . . ooooooo perfect excuse to go shopping.

I just finished reading my second book for 2011 . . .

I have never read anything by Hemingway before.  It takes him a long long long time to tell a story . . . but you don't really mind because the words are almost like listening to music . . . or watching a movie . . . because the narration is so vivid that you can picture everything and hear everything . . .

I'm now reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munroe.  I'll let you know how it is.

Good night all,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Insomnia, Men of a Certain Age, My Rogue's Gallery . . .

I hate insomnia.  It doesn't happen to me too often, but when it does it seems to take 3 days to recuperate.  Because I was so tired I didn't accomplish much yesterday . . . including the first time I slipped and didn't post to this blog.  At 11:58 last night I did remember to take a photo.   Hal and I spent yesterday going through old family photos and identifying the people and locations.  And then the rest of the day was spent cathching up on some episodes of Men of a Certain Age.  Love it.  It's by Ray Romano.

We had to set the alarm this morning . . . grrrrrr . . . I think you all know how I feel about that by now . . . LOL . . .

And Hal went back on duty this morning so he will be "on the road again" by midnight . . . we had a really good time the past few days off.  Nothing too exciting happened but sometimes that is a good thing. 

We are picking the boys up for supper and a little grandpa time because they really miss Hal when he's on the road.  We had Cameron for a few days.  We had Taylor for an afternoon.  This will be the only time to get all three boys and Grandpa together.  I know Hal is looking forward to it.

My Rogue's Gallery

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hewson Family gossip . . .

Okay, so I don't have all the facts yet but I am having fun finding them.  It seems my great-great grandmother was charged with bigamy in 1915.  Hal and I searched through the microfilms at the local library and found several articles in local papers during the spring of 1915.  Don't worry, she was found not guilty . . . LOL . . .

It seems she was still married to my great-great grandfather when she married husband #2.  A couple years later she married husband #3.  Husband #3 is the person who had her charged.  She was released on $1000 bail.

According to the court because Husband #1 (my ggg) was still alive when she married Husband #2, Marriage #2 was null and void.  Because Husband #1 was no longer living and Marriage #2 wasn't legal, therefore she was not commiting bigamy with Husband #3 . . . and that's all she wrote.

This story brings up so many unanswered questions and we are looking forward to digging into more family stories in our quest for our family tree.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oooooo look . . . it's the curly-ing look . . .

Okay  . . . a horrible title but my brain is on holiday.  Three highlights to my day . . .

1.  Taking Cameron to curling lessons . . . he is so cute.

2.  Being hugged by my almost 13-year-old grandson and finding out he is taller than me . . . yikes.

3.  Seeing The King's Speech . . . wow!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What? Another PJ day?

Yeah, I hate to admit it but we had another pyjama day today.  It was so cold and snowy and blowy out that we decided just to chill around the house.  We watched tv, movies, played on the computer, cooked, tidied, laundry, played cards, read . . . absolutely nothing exciting happened today . . . but sometimes that is good.  We all need a little down time.  And Hal really needed down time.  And I think that Cameron enjoys when we have a quiet day.  I did manage to scrap one layout today and spent a few hours working on my tablecloth . . .

Nighty Night,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two finishes of note . . .

Had a lovely pyjama day today.  And Cameron arrived this afternoon to spend the weekend.  The "boys" always have a good time together.

I cooked a lovely supper but I'm getting sleepy so I will post the recipes tomorrow.

Hal has been on the road for 2 weeks so he needed sleep desperately.  I didn't want to be rattling around the house and waking him up this morning so I decided to just read.  And I did.  This is the first time in a long time where I have read an entire book in one day.  But once I picked it up I just couldn't put it down.  I loved the characters.  Jack and Ma seemed so "normal" and real in the Room.  It wasn't until they were Outside that you realized what they were lacking.  Their journey is absolutely fascinating.  I think it really helped that the book was told in Jack's voice.  Loved, loved, loved this book and recommend it highly.

I also had a knitting finish today.  I've been knitting toques using a WWII pattern.  It is a great project to work on while traveling.  I just finished another one today.  Don't know who it is going to go to yet though.  Cameron took a few minutes out of his busy card playing schedule to model the toque for me.

Nighty night,

Hal's home . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rather a wasted day . . . except for supper . . .

I don't know why I woke up at 7 am.  My usual wake up time is 9 am or so . . . I'm a bit of a night owl.  I'm wondering if it was snow shoveling.  When I went to sleep last night the sidewalks were a mess.  When I went out at 10 am the sidewalk was cleared . . . and that didn't happen while I was awake.

So I've been tired all day . . . sigh . . .

And Nanna and Mom wanted me to go shopping with them.  I hate shopping unless it is a huge sale and then I can't resist.  But I had Mom's van so I went and picked up Nanna and drove to Mom's to hand over the keys.  Fortunately, they dropped me off back at home.  I was kind of worried that they were going to kidnap me and drag me off to Tender Tootsie . . . LOL . . .

I've been tired all day . . . yawn . . .

I've only been picking away at the Dreaded To Do List today but managed to accomplish a bit.  I did finish a layout I had started last week.

But even though I was tired I did have a good time cooking today.  Here's my supper menu. 

Click on each item to go to the recipes.  All three are absolutely delicious!!

Watching a little TV tonight and then early to bed.  Nobody better wake me up tomorrow!!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's been a froggy day in St. Thomas . . .

It was quite "froggy" here in St. Thomas today . . . with the warm temperatures and rain and all the melting snow there was some fog (also known as frog when my kids were young) around . . .

And then I went to Ladies' Day Out where I took my photo of the day of Charlotte "frogging" a scarf.  Frogging is knitting terminology for ripping apart a project or several rows of a project . . . "rip it, rip it" . . . get it???

Deb's daughter Judy was at Ladies' Day Out because the buses were cancelled for an "ice day".  She made her mom a lovely necklace featuring . . . A FROG !!

I didn't think to take a photo of the necklace this afternoon.  It only occured to me tonight when I got the idea for the froggy blog post.  But Deb is used to my craziness and didn't even question me when I called her at 10:15 tonight and asked her to photograph the necklace.  In fact here is her Facebook status:  "weird request for 10:15pm! Of course it involves scrapbooking somehow I am sure!"

Definitely a froggy day!  "Rib-bit"


Monday, January 17, 2011

Hot coffee, not-so-green thumbs and knitting along . . .

I have just described my day in a few short words . . .

I had to set my alarm this morning.  You may have noticed that I am a bit of a night owl just by looking at the time of night I do my daily blog posts. 

Mom is an early bird . . . really early . . . So if I want to hang out with her I have to get up early.  I went on a little shopping excursion today with Mom and Sandy and we hit quite a few stores.  I picked up some sweet bargains along the way . . . nothing too too exciting except . . .

Mom took one look at my purchase and thought it was hysterical.  I was sort of offended . . . Okay not really . . . I cannot grow plants indoors in this apartment. 

Christmas 2009 Connie bought me a Chia pet (Spongebob Squarepants) and I tried to grow it.  I actually got a few sprouts before the whole thing croaked and the seeds turned to slime.  This past summer I had a lovely little herbery on my patio as well as tomato plants and 2 kinds of peppers.  They did awesome.  So I tried the Chia pet again . . . sigh . . .

So why would I buy these adorable little herb pots?  Hope springs eternal I guess.  I know I can grow herbs outside but I've never tried inside.  So maybe . . .

Maybe I should have tried growing the Chia pet outside first . . .

Stay tuned.  I'll let you know how my mini indoor herbery goes.

We stopped at Coffee Culture for a snack this morning.  In My World because this muffin contains two fruits, oranges and cranberries, it is 100% fat free and very nutritious.  Definitely tasty!

Spent some quality time with my family tree and did a little crocheting this evening.

My last accomplishment of the day was to finish off this knit-along project, a lovely dishcloth.  I belong to a Yahoo! group that posts a mystery knit-along dishcloth every two weeks.  This dishcloth is the mid-December 2009 project. 

Well good night all!  Tomorrow is Ladies' Day Out so I had better set my alarm and get some beauty sleep.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Introducing my brand new most favourite salad in the whole world . . .

Lettuce, Clementine and Fig Salad
2 servings

Preparation 10 minutes
200 calories per serving

1/2 Boston lettuce, or curly leaf
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Clementines
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnuts
2 dried figs, cut into small pieces

Rinse and spin-dry the lettuce and spinach, then put them in a salad bowl. Squeeze the juice from one clementine into a small bowl. Peel the remaining clementines, separate into segments, then add them to the salad bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the clementine juice, pour in the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Whisk well using a fork until the dressing is emulsified. Pour over the salad. Add the walnuts and chopped figs. Toss well. Serve.
Pasta in a Bolognese Meat Sauce
2 servings

Preparation 5 min / Cooking 15 min
450 calories per serving

160 g tortiglioni or pene
2/3 cup Bolognese Meat Sauce (recipe below)
2 tbsp pasta cooking water
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking , heat the meat sauce (which has bee prepared in advance) in a saucepan over low heat. Add the specified amount of pasta cooking water to dilute the sauce a bit, and warm up just a few minutes. Put the drained tortiglioni back in to the pasta cooking pot, add the sauce and mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve in warmed dishes.

Bolognese Meat Sauce

Makes 750 ml (3 cups)
Preparation 30 min / Cooking 1 hour

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 slice bacon, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 tbsp olive oil
360 g ground beef, lean or medium-lean
1/3 cup milk, 2%
1/3 cup white wine (I used red wine)
1 cup canned tomatoes (diced or chopped)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste.

Finely chop the onion, carrot, garlic, celery and bacon. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and bacon, then cook until softened, 5-6 minutes, whit some stirring. Add the meat, then salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat with a spoon until it loses its pink colour and starts browning, about 7-8 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, then add the milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, then cook, stirring frequently, until the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano, then cover and simmer gently over low heat for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add some water as needed to prevent the sauce from becoming too dry. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. It is important to simmer all the ingredients until the sauce is think and the beef very tender.

The sauce can be stored up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Delicious, that's all I am going to say . . .

It has been a very quiet day which is okay because I accomplished a lot.  Besides the boring chore of tidying the house and dishes, I also:

3 hours working on my sketch book,

At least 3 hours working on our family tree,
2 hours on my tablecloth,
and I'm nearly finished a dishcloth knit-along.
According to the Dreaded To Do List today is December 19th.  Wow I'm just less than a month behind.  Here's hoping tomorrow is another productive day.

While I'm thinking about it, here are the layouts I completed the other day while cropping at the new LSS:

I hope you have also had a great weekend.  I'm heading out boutiquing with Mom and Sandy in the morning.  Perhaps I will have some wild adventures to share with you.  You just never know.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Farfalle with Tomatoes and Brie, Fennel Salad, Sugared Oranges

Sugared Oranges, Farfalle with Tomatoes and Brie, Fennel Salad
Fennel Salad

2 servings

Preparation 5 min
140 calories per serving

1 fennel, very thinly sliced (360 g)
2 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stalk and feathery leaves. Thinly slice with a mandolin, then place in a serving bowl. Pour the classic vinaigrette over the fennel, then add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve immediately.

Classic Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-1/2 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Shake or mix well for 1 minute.
Will keep at room temperature for 1-2 months

Recipe is from

I thought I might like this salad because I have had cooked fennel before but . . . it was just okay . . . I doubt I will make it again. I found that fennel has a flavour that is a little too "perfumy" for my liking. If I was served this salad at someone else's home I wouldn't spit it into my napkin though . . .

Farfalle with Tomatoes and Brie
2 servings
Preparation 10 min / Cooking 15 min
520 calories per serving
150 g farfalle (bow-tie), or other short pasta
80 g brie cheese, rind removed, cut into small pieces
2 tomatoes, Roma type, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
To save time, the sauce preparation and the pasta cooking can be done at the same time.  Start cooking the pasta.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the Brie's rind, cut the cheese into pieces, then put them in a serving bowl and set aside in the oven at the lowest setting so cheese will melt without cooking.
Seed and dice the tomatoes, mince the garlic, then add them to the cheese.  Mix in the oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the drained farfalle into the serving bowl.  Mix well.  Adjust the seasoning and serve in the warmed dish.
I really enoyed this dish.   This would be perfect for a lunch served with a green salad.
Sugared Oranges
2 servings
Preparation 5 min / Standing 10 min
70 calories per serving
2 oranges
2 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp sugar
Cut the oranges into bite-size pieces.  Put in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar.  Let rest a few minutes.  Toss well and portion out into individual cups.
I love this dessert.  It is especially perfect after a meal with strong flavours like cheese and garlic.  And it is healthy and simple to make.

It was all about books today . . .

I rode the bus (with a transfer) to spend the afternoon with my grandsons.   Kate was home sick so we stole her van and took off.   After lunch we went to the book store at the mall.  You may remember me telling you about this store in an earlier post.  This is one of of the stores where I received great customer service.  I gave Taylor his gift certificate to purchase a book as a belated Christmas present.  I love that the boys all love books.  I think we could have spent all day just looking through all the books that caught our interest.   Taylor asked that one day we could go to one of the big book stores.  I think that might be a little overload for them . . . LOL.

While we were at the mall the boys volunteered to help me shop for groceries.  I haven't been eating as well as I should and I think that is why my weight loss has stalled.  So back to healthy, home-cooked meals as of tomorrow.  We had adventures in the produce section looking for all the different veggies and fruits I needed.  It became a challenge to see who could be the first to find the zuccini, etc.  So much fun.  Stay tuned for the good and the bad of the recipes I will be trying.

After we dropped my groceries at home we headed to the library.  I had to drag them out of the library at supper time.  Cameron in particular amused me by selecting 3 different versions of the Three Bears (but not in French . . . LOL).  Austin picked a very eclectic mix of books including the history of the world in French.  Taylor also had an interesting mix of sports and sea monsters and other subjects.

I was tired when I came home but also really happy.

Cameron snores

Good night all,