Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Journaling Prompt 1 Apr 2020 ~ April Fools!

Your Tanka (but not) Tuesday prompt for today is April Fool's.

nervously waiting
who will April prank me first
I hope I don't jump
or scream out loud spill my tea
it's all fun and games until . . .

Smoked Sausage and Lentils

Delicious meal . . . Hal did not like the lentils, which surprised me, until he explained it was too "hot" . . . I must have been a little carried away with the seasoning . . . 
Had some leftover Tomatoes with Oregano to add to the plate and a few raw carrot slices . . .

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 dried chili peppers, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup green-brown lentils (dried)
2/3 cup chicken broth **
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 smoked sausages
1 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh, finely chopped

** I didn't think there was enough broth in the pot so I added a little extra **

It is not necessary to soak the lentils in advance.

Prepare the vegetables.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the vegetables, sauté 2-3 minutes until they are slightly softened.  Stir in the lentils, cook 1 minute.

Pour in the broth and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked al dente, about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally and check that the lentils remain moist, adding some more broth or water if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the sausages on a medium-hot grill until brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Alternatively, sauté the sausages in a grooved grill-pan, ten add them to the lentils.  Cover then cook an additional 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley then serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Cabbage and Apple Salad

St. Patrick's Day Recipe: Apple and Cabbage Slaw with Mustard Seed ...

A delicious salad . . . we really enjoyed the dressing . . . 

2 tbsp white vinegar **
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3/4 cup Savoy or green cabbage, thinly sliced **
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced **
salt and pepper to taste

** I didn't have any white vinegar left so I used apple cider vinegar.  I like my salads lightly dressed so I added an extra handful of sliced cabbage and the leftover 1/2 apple to the bowl. **

Put the vinegar, brown sugar, oil and water in a saucepan.  Heat 4 minutes over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat then add the mayonnaise, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.  Set aside.

Prepare the cabbage, green onions and apple and put slices in a salad bowl.  Pour in the vinaigrette and mix well.  Adjust the seasoning.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Movie Review ~ Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

When we started watching Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (it's making me nuts not adding the U) I thought it was a biography of Fred Rogers.  I was disappointed when it was not . . . but not for long.  It was actually based on the friendship between Mr. Rogers and journalist Lloyd Vogel, a man in need of healing.  Through the story we learn about Mr. Rogers in a beautiful way which does not include first he did this, than that, and then the next year he . . . 

Loved it!

I think you will too.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) - IMDb

Journal Prompt 31 Mar 2020 ~ The Beach

Tanka Tuesday: the Beach

It's time for the next installment of Tanka Tuesday!

Tanka is a form of poetry similar to haiku. It's short, and the lines don't need to rhyme. The just must have a set number of syllables: 5/7/5/7/7.

Today's tanka Tuesday prompt is The Beach.

a day at the beach
is not my idea of fun
sand caked everywhere
sunburnt smelling like dead fish
Unless I can get Mackie's

Monday, March 30, 2020

Book Review ~ Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I am so glad I finally read Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne portrays Hester as a woman who is strong, faithful and true. When a moment of indiscretion is made public by the birth of her daughter, Pearl, she is sentenced, first to the pillory and then, to wear the letter A on her chest. Even in her shame and sorrow she remains remains strong and penitent. While she could have just sewn on a little A on her dress, she chose to embroider an extravagant A which she wore every day even after it was no longer required by the law.

I found myself really believing the characters even when I felt some of them were less than likable. I though Hester's long-lost husband was an evil person who played with the minds and emotions of Hester and the minister. I thought the minister was weak and shameful. He could have saved Hester but insteadd he let her live in shame and sorrow for many years, never admitting his part.

It is nice to read a classic novel where the woman is the strong character. Good for you, Hester!!

I wasn't sure what the last words of the novel meant so I looked it up online: The last words of the novel—ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A GULES—describe a coat of arms on a shield. The sable field is a black background; gules means red. Thus on this shield, the coat of arms is a red letter (letter gules) appearing against a black background (sable field).

Journal Prompt 30 Mar 2020 ~ Compliments

Today's Writing Prompt: Compliments

What's the best compliment you've ever received?

I hope the originator of this message doesn't mind that I'm sharing it . . . but it was the nicest thing anyone has said to me for a very long time and I treasure it . . .

Hey Pam. I wanted to take a minute today to encourage you. You're always on the go, running errands (for yourself and others), working on craft projects, doing things around the house, encouraging others, and taking care of your family. You are a real inspiration!!! And you'd rival the Energizer Bunny in terms of energy, lol! I love reading about all your adventures each day, and seeing all that you've accomplished. I like how you take care of yourself, too, by treating yourself to lunch, making sure you foster social relationships, and challenging yourself to try new things. That's something that every woman has to be reminded to do, and I'm glad I have you as an example of that. I'm glad I have you as a Facebook and real-life-although-we've-only-met-a-couple-of-times friend!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Using Quotes in your Art Journal

Quotes are a great way to express what you’re feeling, but without the work of coming up with just the right words. In fact, pages made to showcase a favourite quote are the ones I like doing best.

Let me share a few examples:

Friday, March 27, 2020

Journal Prompt 27 Mar 2020 ~ Betrayal

Today's Writing Prompt: Betrayal

Have you ever been betrayed by a loved one?

People do lie, cheat and stab you in the back

I think we have all been betrayed at least once in life.  I choose to put those memories in a basket labelled "history".  I have too many awesome people in my life . . . and I have a pretty good life.  Remembering those who aren't worthy of my time is a waste of my time.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Journal Prompt 26 Mar 2020 ~ Amusement Parks

Today's Writing Prompt: Amusement Parks

Did you have a favorite amusement park that you liked to visit as a child?

Top 10 Fastest Rides & Roller Coasters at Canada's Wonderland ...

I don't remember ever going to an amusement park as a child.  Hubby and I took our boys to Canada's Wonderland about 20 years ago.  I think they enjoyed it.  I just thought it was a long hot day and a lot of money spent.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Grilled Chicken with Caraway and Black Peppercorns

4 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin 
1/2 tsp peppercorns, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, coarsely ground
1 tbsp gingerroot, finely chopped
1-1/2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp paprika
1-1/2 tbsp canola oil
salt to taste
1/2 lime, quartered

The chicken must be marinated at least 6 hours before cooking.  The chicken may be cooked, using either an outdoor grill or by broiling in the oven.  (We used the grill)

Score the chicken pieces deeply using a knife to allow the marinade to penetrate, then arrange the pieces in a shallow bowl.

Grind the peppercorns and caraway seeds using a mortar and pestle or using a pepper mill or place the spices in a plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin.  Finely chop the ginger and garlic, then add them to the mixture.  Add the sugar, paprika and oil, then grind into a paste.

Spread the mixture over the chicken pieces, making sure to coat them well.  Cover the bowl with a plate and let the marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.

Cook the chicken on a medium grill for about 20 minutes, basting with the marinade and turning the pieces once.  Alternatively, put the chicken on the rack of a broiler pan, then roast it in the oven under a preheated broiler 7-10 cm from the heat.

Season with a little salt and serve with lime wedges.

Makes 2 servings.

Journal Prompt 25 Mar 2020 ~ Phobias

Today's Writing Prompt: Phobias

What's worse:  Spiders, snakes, or rats?

Image result for spiders snakes rats

The only thing worse than spiders, snakes, and rats are BIG spiders, snakes, and rats.  They are all disgusting . . . ewwwwwww!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Journal Prompt 24 Mar 2020 ~ Stars

Tanka Tuesday: Stars

It's time for the next installment of Tanka Tuesday!
Tanka is a form of poetry similar to haiku. It's short, and the lines don't need to rhyme. The just must have a set number of syllables: 5/7/5/7/7.

Today's tanka prompt is: stars.

Image result for stars

distant stars tinkle
white lights in ebony skies
never changing place
reliably chart your course
always lead you to your home

Monday, March 23, 2020

Six Words

Six Words!

Describe your life or current situation in exactly six words.

Image result for Covid

This shit is getting too real!

Book Review: Lifting the Silence: A World War II RCAF Bomber Pilot Reunites with His Past

Image result for Lifting the silence book

Lifting the Silence: A World War II RCAF Bomber Pilot Reunites with His Past
is written
by Sydney Smith with his son, David. This book tells the true story of Sydney Smith, a young bomber pilot who is shot down over the French countryside during the Second World War. With the help of the Comete Line (Belgian Resistance) he is able to get out of Occupied France by means of a grueling trek through the mountains into Spain and return to his base in England.  Sydney, who later became a dentist, and made his home in Thunder Bay, never spoke of his unbelievable experiences.  It wasn’t until his son David began clearing out his grandfather’s effects that he found a letter that Sydney’s father had kept since 1946 from one of the women who had assisted him.  Together father and son research and write this amazing story and in the process are actually able to find some of the daring resistance heroes who helped him and many other allies to safety.  Sydney was able to reunite with several of these brave souls.

I love this book.  It is a great story of a son learning about his father.  The story is well written and flows smoothly.  I was drawn into the story for many reasons, but especially because it is true and it is simply and yet completely told and there are some great family photos which help even more to make the characters real.  St. Thomas is even mentioned in the story which gave me a little thrill.

Give it a try.  I'll be returning it to the local library in a day or two.  You'll probably find it on the New Release shelf.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

My Three Cardstock Mini Album is Finally Finished

A few months back I posted the instructions for a 3 cardstock mini album at .

I finally had time to finish that little project off using photos from a fall road trip Hal and I took through Elgin County.

Sketch Challenge 21 Mar 2020 ~ 9 photos 2 pages

Movie Review ~ 1917

Hal and I watched 1917 the other night and it was stunning, unpredictable, and a great story.

Image result for 1917 movie

Plot:  "April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap." (IMDB)

This epic movie had to be filmed in one shot.

Academy Awards, USA 2020
Oscar Best Achievement in Cinematography
Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Guillaume Rocheron
Greg Butler
Dominic Tuohy

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Mark Taylor
Stuart Wilson

Oscar Best Motion Picture of the Year
Sam Mendes
Pippa Harris
Jayne-Ann Tenggren
Callum McDougall

Best Achievement in Directing
Sam Mendes

Best Original Screenplay
Sam Mendes
Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Naomi Donne
Tristan Versluis
Rebecca Cole

Best Achievement in Production Design
Dennis Gassner
Lee Sandales

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
Thomas Newman

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Oliver Tarney
Rachael Tate

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Journal Prompt 20 Mar 2020 ~ Welcome Spring

Today's Writing Prompt: Welcome Spring

What does spring look like in your neighborhood? Is it spring where you live, still winter, or already into summer?

I am at Windswept Retreat House in Port Lambton ON this week. It is spring.  It is dreary, 4 C, overcast. We don't mind.  We are scrapbooking.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Meatballs and Sauce

Remember the good ol' days when ground meat was cheap??

From the "Ground Beef Mini-Session" from Frozen Assets Lite and Easy by Deborah Taylor-Hough: 

Image result for meatballs and sauce

Meatballs and Sauce
Serves 6

1 cup dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1-1/2 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup apple juice (or white wine)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
32-0z. canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup water.

Mix bread crumbs and milk. Let stand 5 minutes. Add beef, zucchini, 2 tbsp apple juice, cheese, tomato paste and 1 tsp oregano. Mix well. Form into 36 equal meatballs. Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat. Add meatballs, cook over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Remove meatballs from skillet; set aside. In same skillet, cook remaining apple juice over medium-high heat, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add tomatoes, remaining oregano and water. Reduce heat to low; add meatballs. Simmer, covered, 30-40 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Per serving: 270.8 calories; 11.5 g fat; 15.8 g protein; 26.8 g carbohydrates; 40 mg cholesterol


Journal Prompt 18 Mar 2020 ~ Six Words

Today's Journal Prompt:  Six Words

Describe your day or current situation in just six words.

Comfortable in my pyjamas at Windswept

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Journal Prompt 17 Mar 2020 ~ Tanka Tuesday: Spring

Tanka Tuesday: Spring

Tanka is a form of Japanese poetry thousands of years old, very similar to haiku. The 5 unrhymed lines go in syllables of 5/7/5/7/7.

Image result for buds on the trees

new buds on the trees
brave sprouts search out the sun
new life has returned
to proclaim the new season
welcomes us out into light

Monday, March 16, 2020

Journal Prompt 16 Mar 2020 ~ Flirt

Today's Writing Prompt: Flirt

Do you like to flirt, or are you shy?

Image result for flirting

I could be wrong so you should probably double-check with my husband, but I don't believe I flirt.  I am far too shy for that and I have a bad habit of tripping over my words and forgetting my nouns when I am nervous.

Woman's Work: Is there life after birth? by Sylvia Mulholland

Image result for Sylvia Mulholland's Woman's Work

An excellent read and I think Eva Tihanyi so I'll leave her to it . . . 

Sylvia Mulholland's Woman's Work will likely strike a chord with any woman who has juggled family, career, and home ownership and wondered in the process whether a course in time management might be not only helpful but essential. Mulholland, a Toronto lawyer and frequent contributor on women's topics to The Globe & Mail's Facts & Arguments page, knows of what she speaks. The novel is in many respects unapologetically autobiographical. Claire, the novel's protagonist, is a lawyer too. Her husband, like Mulholland's, is a plastic surgeon who used to play semi-pro hockey in Sweden. Fortunately, in this particular novel, the personal experience is put to good use.

The plot is rather simple. Claire is thirty-nine and married to Ben, who is seven years younger. After giving birth to her son Harry, she returns to work but not without trepidation. Ben has insisted on hiring as a live-in nanny Brita, with whose family he became acquainted during his stay in Sweden. She is a stereotypical Swedish beauty if there ever was one, and Claire's insecurity increases with each passing week. She hasn't been able to lose all her pre-maternity weight, she is chronically tired, falling behind at the office, worrying about a troublesome client, indulging her shopaholic tendencies, and becoming alarmingly forgetful. In the meantime, Ben and Brita are getting along far too well for Claire's comfort.

Mulholland's narrative voice is clear, confident, and at times laugh-aloud funny. The one notable weakness is in the plot itself, specifically, the resolution of the Ben and Brita relationship at the end. Fortunately, Claire herself is amusing enough to make the book a satisfying literary entertainment. 

-- Eva Tihanyi(Books in Canada)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Movie Review: The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

I love Christmas movies. I watch quite a few every December.  But because it is Christmas I didn't have time to review many of them.

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas is a great Hallmark movie.  Just the right amount of silly drama and goodwill to all men . . . and women and kids and elves and Santa Claus'.

Santa Claus leaves the North Pole one day early and crash lands in the Fox family's back yard.  An important piece of equipment is broken on his sleigh and his bag of toys is missing, but Santa doesn't care because he's too busy trying to remember who he is.  Santa is taken in by the Fox family but only the young son believes he really is Santa.  Of course, by the end of the movie the whole family has learned that family is more important than anything else and they are able to help Santa regain his memory, find his bag of toys, repair his sleigh and send him off just in time to start delivering Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.

This movie, released in 2010, was filmed in Toronto.  The son, Toby Fox, played by Gage Munroe, was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 2011 for his work on this movie.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Journal Prompt 13 Mar 2020 ~ Music is Forever

Today's Writing Prompt: Music is Forever

Image result for 80s bands

Who was your favorite band or singer when you were young?

I had many many favourite bands when I was young.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Spinach Couscous Salad

I love this recipe:

Image result for spinach couscous salad

1 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. couscous
1/2 c. Italian salad dressing
2 c. shredded fresh spinach
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 of 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
Spinach leaves

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to boiling; stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add salad dressing. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours or until completely chilled.

Before serving, toss couscous mixture with shredded spinach, tomatoes and water chestnuts. Serve on spinach leaves. Makes 8 servings.,1843,155162-246194,00.html

Journal Prompt 11 Mar 2020 ~ Politics

Today's Writing Prompt: Politics

It's not an election year, so I feel safe talking about politics!  What one issue is the most important to you when it comes to voting for your representatives?

Image result for voter turnout canada

I have to say my biggest concern or issue is lower voter turnouts.  People seem to bitch and complain about governments and politicians but when they have the opportunity to voice their concerns and effect change they just don't.  They just don't vote.  I cannot understand it.  I think all active voters should get a pin that says "I voted so I can complain.  Where's your pin?"  The turnout for a recent and very boisterously and sometimes viciously debated municipal election was 35%. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ladies Night Journal Prompt ~ In the Theatre

What characters would you most like to play if you were in theatre?

Image result for carol channing

Could I be a favourite Broadway actor?  Because I would definitely pick Carol Channing, particularly as Dolly in Hello Dolly, every time.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

Ladies Night Journal Prompt 9 Mar 2020 ~ Animal

What species would you most like to be reincarnated as and why?

Image result for spoiled kitty

I'm pretty sure I want to be a very spoiled kitty, loved and fed and taken care of without a care in the world.  Plus, my people would even think I'm cute when I am misbehaving.

Book Review: Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales

It only took a couple of evenings to read and enjoy Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales:  A Knitter's Stash of Wit and Wisdom edited by Kari Cornell.  A very enjoyable read for the crafty person, it shares the personal stories and thoughts of knitters and crocheters.

If you love to knit this book is a must-read for you.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Scrapbooking Trends for 2020

I found this interesting article online and decided to share it with you.  I am already starting to notice some of the trends they are talking about.  You will have to use Google translate to read the article.

Following a calendar – coming back to celebrating important events

The world gains momentum and it doesn’t want to stop. We are in a hurry every day, we don’t want to spoil any minute because there is so much to do! Luckily the society is more and more aware of the gist of rest, interpersonal relations and celebrating the important moments. Scrapbooking trends for 2020 are clearly showing the increase of interest to handmade keepsakes connected to a certain celebration. The society will branch off from sending drive-by wishes in phone messages or emails. Face to face meetings, personalized keepsakes and sentimental gifts will become the most important. This year, people who go into scrapbooking will not complain about the lack of clients on birthday cards and projects connected with Grandma’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas. The interest in handmade albums ( both those big ones with lots of photos and mini ones which can be carried in a handbag ) will also be bigger.

To read more . . . 

Sketch Challenge 7 Mar 2020 ~ 6 photos 2 page layout

125 Rooms of Comfort

I subscribe to a Facebook group You know you grew up in St. Thomas Ontario when . . . and I really enjoy the variety of conversations.

A while back we were talking about movies made in St. Thomas:  125 Rooms of Comfort (1974),  Mr. Headmistress (1998), Silent Hill (2006), Total Recall (2012) to name a few.  

I lived a few doors down from Alma College on Moore Street for many years, including the time they were filming Mr. Headmistress.  We were witness to a great deal of excitement during that week or so.  My youngest son Tim, who at that time didn't know he wanted to be an actor, kept trying everything he could to get on set but they caught him every time.  He was only 9.  My niece was in one of the scenes and was paid $75 for the day's work.  Her bit ended up on the cutting room floor unfortunately.

Well, one night the production people asked that we not park on the street.  They placed safety cones up to discourage parking and they brought in a local volunteer security group to keep an eye on things. Wouldn't you know, there was a disturbance during the wee hours of the morning when a neighour arrived home in less than sober condition and ran right over the cones so she could park out front of her home.  The security people tried to get her to move without success and then the police were called.  After a bit of an argument, the neighbour took a swing at the police officer and she was handcuffed and taken away.  We went back to bed because we wanted to be up to watch the early morning filming so I can only assume a tow truck was called to remove the car.

I loved watching Mr. Headmistress, pointing out any people or locations I recognized.  So I was very interested when 125 Rooms was mentioned on the Facebook group.  I can barely remember what the Grand Central looked like.  I was never inside.  My ex worked there for about a week on the demolition (1979) before he quit or got fired (depending who you asked).  He did bring home a newel post from the stair case.  I kept that piece of wood for years but cannot recall whatever happened to it.  I knew some of my friends had squatted in the Grand Central during the late 70s but at the time was not curious enough to ask questions or see it myself.  Now I wish I'd gone in.

So my curiosity was aroused when I heard that this film, 125 Rooms, was filmed in the Grand Central.  I immediately went online and bought a copy of the video.  I paid more for shipping than I did for the actual tape.  It arrived yesterday.  The movie was so bad I can't even tell you what it was about except that it was definitely a man's movie with nudity and stupidity abounding, even a scene where the "star" is cross dressing for no reason whatsoever . . . but there was a lot of great scenery including a Talbot Street parade.  I miss the good old days when parades had lots of bands and clowns and majorettes smiling and tossing their batons.  There were quite a few shots of Port Stanley, St. Thomas and the psychiatric hospital in the film.  And it was a great tour of the Grand Central in its last days.

And guess what?  I found the entire movie online.  If you have absolutely nothing to do for 1-1/2 hours you should give it a try.  I'd love to hear your comments afterwards.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Journal Prompt 6 Mar 2020 ~ Horoscope

Today's Writing Prompt: Horoscope

If you could make up your own horoscope for today, what would it say?

My March 6 horoscope according to the Globe and Mail is:

LEO (July 24 - Aug. 23):

If you have been entrusted with a secret then you must keep it to yourself. If you let too many people in on what is going on it will dilute the effect and maybe even damage your bargaining position. Remember, knowledge is power, and money.

Now if I were writing my horoscope it would say:
I actually think I will stick with the Globe and Mail's horoscope.  I could use some knowledge, power, and money . . . and I definitely need to improve my memory.