Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cranberry Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

I was having a rummage through the sale tables at the book store at the mall and picked up a new recipe book, The $10 Gourmet by Ken Kostick.  Picked this chicken recipe to try tonight and it was simple, I had all the ingredients and it is delicious.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skin on, bone-in (of course I used no skin boneless)
6 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat the oil in a medium-sized saute pan.  Brown the skin side of the chicken breast on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Turn and brown the other side for another 8-10 minutes.

Add the shallots, cranberry juice, basil, salt and pepper.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and dried cranberries.  Allow the sauce to reduce by half.  Serve and drizzle with the reduction.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Here is the challenge:

And here's where it came from:

Sketch Challenge

My newest book has been sent to my publisher.  I'm going to take a break now and enjoy the spring and summer . . . Well except for a couple more book ideas I might start working on.

To celebrate, here is one of my favourite sketches from Scrapbooking With Two-Page Sketches:


My family are not huggers.  We were not raised to be huggers.  Our parents weren't raised to be huggers.  We are trying to break the cycle with our own kids and grandkids . . .

What this means is that I am not a natural hugger.  So of course I went and married an enthusiastic hugger.  His family are all huggers.  I bet his parents were raised to be huggers.

We've been married almost 30 years now and I'm pretty used to all the hugging now.  I still find it very difficult to initiate hugging but I really do enjoy being hugged.  I'm kind of a huggee rather than a hugger.  I'm working on it though.

Most of my friends are used to my husband being a hugger especially if the friend is someone he doesn't see often.  Hubby popped into a social event I was attending on the weekend.  He, of course, began hugging people.

And then he heard someone whisper behind him how disgusting it was for a married man to be hugging women who were not his wife.  He felt awful and thought maybe he was doing something wrong and we had all just been too nice to say anything.  So if any of my buddies were wondering why you didn't get a hug on Saturday, you now know why.

He didn't tell me until today what had happened.  He was still feeling very bad about it all.  But he also worried that he might have hurt some feeling by not giving them their usual hugs.

What an awful thing to do to someone so loving and affectionate!

I told him he has my permission to hug the stuffing out of anyone who would let him.  Be prepared.  He has a lot of hugging to catch up on.

There he is hugging two of my friends.  I'm in the background.


I just finished the second challenge in my online crop today . . . yes, I know I am slow but on this simple layout and had to reteach myself how to use WordArt to create titles and then it all had to be handcut.  Not complaining.  I love cutting paper.  And of course I had to write the story to go with.

Sketch #3


The challenge is to use older stuff from your stash.  I picked up these papers at the clearance section of a nearby LSS.

Here's the challenge:

Here's the original challenge:

12 Hour Online Crop Today

I got some scrapbooking done at the Pink Scrappers Crop on the weekend and it has really put me in the mood to crops some more . . . so I've posted 12 awesome challenges starting at 12 pm EST.  You have to be a member of to get the challenges.  I hope you will join in.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two mystery knit along dishcloths

This is the March 1st knit-along called "Small Basket Weave."

This is the April 1st mystery knit-along called "Growing Up".

I like stitching dishcloths.  They are a fun and useful way to try out new stitches.  Since I make so many I often give them as gifts.  You can find the patterns for these 2 dishcloths and many others at

Lay Me Down Dishcloth

I think this one is so pretty and I do get bored of making square dishcloths all the time.  The pattern was posted on one of my favourite groups, Holiday Mystery Gifts and the designer is Wanda Neely.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sketch #2

I have had a very busy week and this one looks to be shaping up for more of the same.  That's okay because busy means accomplishing.  I just finished uploading my newest book to my publisher.  To celebrate I thought I'd share one of my favourite sketches from More Scrapbooking With Sketches with you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Teddy bears holding two hearts . . .

Two Heart Bears

March afghan block

This square was a bit tricky.  I found the pattern a bit difficult to follow on the white and purple rows.  Thank goodness for a good photo included with the pattern.  Isn't it cute?  You can find the pattern at

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review: King Arthur's Children

I just finished reading King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition It is a scholarly analysis of every known treatment of King Arthur’s children, from Welsh legends and French romances, to Scottish genealogies and modern novels. King Arthur’s Children explores an often overlooked theme in Arthurian literature and reveals King Arthur’s bloodline may still exist today.

Now for my personal opinion . . . I know nothing about King Arthur except for what I've seen in a couple of forgettable movies.  He pulled a sword out of a stone.  He was married to Guinevere.  He was helped by Merlin the wizard.  With this lack of knowledge you would think this is a very strange book for me to read and review.  But in my world I don't want to read books about things I already know.  I want to learn something new.  

Thank goodness Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. has a fabulous writing style which makes so much new-to-me information fairly easy to read and understand.  I think my biggest problem was reading and remembering all the "weird" names of the different characters.  If they'd all been Johns and Marys it would have been much simpler . . . LOL.

So if you are a fan of King Arthur than this is definitely the book to read.  Well thought out, well written and allowing room for question and debate.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I guess you are never too old . . . or young . . . to skateboard . . .

The two younger grandsons received skateboards for Easter.  I suggested that their Dad could teach them some tricks since he used to just about live on his skateboard in his younger days.  They thought he probably wasn't that good anymore . . . ROTFLMBO!!!!!  Even Grandpa had to give it a try.

A weekend in Toronto . . . letterboxing of course

Hal actually had a couple of days off in a row so of course we FINALLY got to do some letterboxing.  This is our very first outing in 2013.  We were going to attend a meet up in High Park on Sunday afternoon and Toronto has quite a few boxes that we haven't yet found . . . we were determined to find as many as possible on our weekend.

First stop was to find Zinnia Up the Garden Path in James Gardens . . . sadly it was missing . . . but we had a great hike and can only imagine how beautiful this park must be in summer.  

Our next stop was to find Global Village Backpackers . . . a quick find once we explained the box's hiding spot to the bloke behind the counter. 

Right across the road from the hostel was a lovely pub called the Firkin on King.  Very nice and pub-bish looking inside and the hamburg and chips were delicious.  Well fortified with hot tea and a great lunch, we were once more on the trail.

Our next stop was to find Family Vice.  I reached way up but could not find the box.  Hal tried as well and not nearly as tentatively as I had.  Nope.  Family Vice is gone.

Our final find of the day was Cora.  We'd made an attempt at this one on a previous trip to Toronto but a special event in the area meant absolutely no where to pull over or park.  This time the way was clear and it was a wonderfully simple find with few muggles about.

Hal had only a few hours of sleep the night before so we decided to call it a day and stayed at a rather nice and inexpensive hotel near the Woodbine racetrack.   Hal found a grocery store for snacks and the beer which he felt he needed . . . LOL . . . and we had a quiet evening and early night.  I warned him I wanted to be up by the crack of dawn because it is so much simpler to find boxes then with a lot fewer muggles and lighter traffic.  We finally made it down to the continental breakfast which really wasn't bad except for the brick muffins around 9 am . . . the rest was pretty okay.  And it was 10 am before we were packed up and checked out . . . sigh . . . so much for the crack of dawn.

 And then Hal decided we needed to wash the van . . . argh!!!

Ww were finally ready to start letterboxing for the day.  First stop was Redpath but traffic was getting heavy and we were having stopping and parking troubles so we decided to move on . . .
to one of my favourite finds of the weekend . . . Chinese Railroad Memorial.  The memorial is stunning to view and so is the stamp.

Next stop was to find Music Garden.  There was an open parking spot right across from the Garden which was sweet.  Unfortunately the box was gone.  Urban boxes sure do have a short life.

And then we headed to High Park.  We found many of the Park boxes on a previous trip to Toronto but there were plenty more to entertain ourselves with including a couple of new ones.  Our first find in the park was Hi! Park which was planted in honour of our meet up later in the day.  What a clever stamp!!  

We met up with our son and his girlfriend for lunch at the Grenadier Restaurant.  We had a great visit until it was time to meet up with some letterboxing buddies at the End Those Winter Blues Meet up.  

We had a really nice visit with Bumble, Fiddleheads, Lone R, Herbivore and Tapehead and a newbie who doesn't have a trail name yet.  After a lovely visit we headed of for our second find in the park was Dog Walk.  That was a tough one because there were just enough muggles on the trails to keep us on high alert.  But we did get it!!

The park was becoming rather crowded because it was a not cold day so we decided to head to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery which we assumed would be much quieter.

We found all three cemetery boxes although the clues in two of them were especially tricky for my brain:  Inky Boy Goes to Toronto, William Barker's Sopwith Snipe and Winter Aconite Up the Garden Path.  We realized we were close to our son's place so we warned him we were coming up after we found one more box.  We didn't find the box though . . . Toronto by Subway:  Rosedale.  A quick cup of tea and we were off for home. 

We didn't find as many boxes as we usually do but it was enough to make me happy.  I can't wait to get out again . . . probably planting our boxes for our May Meet up in the St. Thomas area . . . Honouring the Trails.

March 2013 Scrapbooking

I got to play with my new tool -- the Sew Easy Circle Tool -- love it!!

The charms are from the 50 cent lady.