Saturday, 30 July 2016

Organizing Spices and Stuff

It started with the spice drawer this morning. This spice drawer has been bothering me for ages. It was disorganized and full of duplicates - a proper jumbled mess in desperate need of cleaning. 
We have a LOT of spices and more were stored elsewhere because this drawer was full. We had planned to bike, but with rain in the forecast, I decided to tackle the spice drawer instead.

I took everything out, wiped down the shelves and combined duplicates into bigger containers. In the end, ALL our spices fit into this one drawer. 
I moved the blender from the counter to the drawer under the spices beside the casserole dishes. One less thing on the counter - yay!
The pots and pans have their own space in this cabinet now. They are easier to access when not stuffed in with the ceramic pans which have been moved to another cabinet.
The ceramic pans are in this cabinet which used to hold jars of dry goods. Pans are easier to reach in this space than jars.
Dry goods, canned goods, oils, vinegar, sauces, condiments and honey are all stored together in this cabinet now. Everything is easier to see and reach because the drawers pull out for easy access. 
It took a few hours of concentrated effort to sort through, clean and organize everything in these few cabinets, but it was well worth the effort. I love the results.

Organizing Spices and Stuff was a great way to kick off our long weekend. Tomorrow we ride, no more excuses. Have a great holiday weekend.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Saturday, 23 July 2016

First Car Love

Our son bought his first car this week. He got a 2007 Toyota Matrix XR hatchback with automatic transmission and 211,000 km. It has a few small scratches and dents, but is mechanically sound and runs like a charm. Our son is head-over-heels in love with this purchase. 
He named his car Shakira. Why Shakira? Because her hatchback makes a great booty. Hugging Shakira is tougher than you might think. Our son has fun posing with Shakira. His smile says it all. He's truly in love.
Our son appreciates Shakira's reflective side. His Dad spent hours with a polisher to make her shine and look her best.
 His Dad explains how to keep Shakira happy.
First Car Love is real. I expect it has to do with mobility and freedom. I imagine our son will enjoy many happy adventures with his Shakira.  

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday. Usually we celebrate with a family dinner, but my parents are going to a neighbour's 50th birthday bash tonight, so we invited them for coffee this morning instead.

Our son drove to show what he got this week. My parents were suitably surprised and impressed. Our son is over-the-top excited to have bought his first car. I'll tell you more about that in a separate post.

My Mom was happy with birthday hugs and kisses from her only favourite grandson. She was also happy to ride in front with our son in his new car as a special birthday treat. 

Where did we go?
We drove back to our house where my husband made cappuccinos using his fancy dancy new espresso maker. Birthday candles on blueberry coffee cake and singing Happy Birthday made this birthday simple yet special.
Last weekend I took my Mom shopping in Port Stanley. I had birthday money to spend and hoped to find something for my Mom's birthday too. We visited ALL the shops trying on ALL the things before selecting our favourites. My Mom picked a pretty top for her birthday gift. I didn't take a photo, but I can tell you, it looks amazing on her.

Birthday shopping success was toasted with refreshing apple cider and tasty appetizers on the patio at Port Stanley's Tapas Bar and Grill. We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon together.
Happy Birthday Mom - I hope you enjoyed your birthday celebrations and wish you a year full of similar simple pleasures. 

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Thursday, 14 July 2016

My Happy Birthday

I've said it before - I love celebrating birthdays with family. This year for my birthday, my parents invited my in-laws and us for dinner. 

I can cook, but tend to resort to quick snacks most nights. We keep plenty of essentials on hand - nachos, crackers, grated cheese and hummus plus home-brewed wine and beer. It works for me and my husband doesn't complain too much. 

Eating a proper dinner mid-week was a special treat for my birthday.  My parents are fabulous cooks. They served barbecue beer can chicken, roasted baby potatoes, green beans, sweet corn on the cob and chocolate mousse cake. Everything was delicious. 
I blew out my candles while everybody sang Happy Birthday. 
I opened gifts. Look what my husband gave me - dark chocolate with sea salt (1 kg), a rechargable flashing red light for my bike, Kahlua and a new suitcase weighing only 3.5 kg - all perfect choices. My parents and in-laws gave me money to buy whatever I like. I will enjoy figuring out what to get.

I also celebrated reaching a personal blog goal of sorts. Two weeks ago with total pageviews on my blog sitting at 94,444, I realized it might be possible to reach 100,000 by my birthday. My blog is not monetized, so 100,000 is just a number I consider big enough to be cool. I mentioned it to my son and daughter, made a wish and crossed my fingers.

The day before my birthday, I received 250 pageviews bringing the total to 99,466. I would need another 534 pageviews on my birthday to reach my goal. It wasn't looking good.

Miraculously with 805 pageviews on my birthday yesterday, I was surpised and thrilled to surpass my goal. I don't know what caused this sudden jump in traffic, but it sure made my day.

Thank you to my parents, in-laws and husband for making my birthday special. Thank you to my son and daughter and friends for all My Happy Birthday wishes. I would also like to thank my readers for helping me reach my goal of 100,000 total pageviews by my birthday. 

What a wonderful way to celebrate My Happy Birthday.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Sensible Sort of Suffering

We haven't been riding our bikes much this year. I blame a combination of poor weather, weekend obligations and a general lack of enthusiasm. This weekend, we decided to make an effort. 

Our first overly ambitious attempt yesterday failed. I wrote about that here if you missed it. This afternoon, our goal was more sensible.

We rode out through Poplar Hill towards Ailsa Craig looping back until we reached Hyde Park Road and home. We rode a sensible distance (71 km) at a sensible pace (avg 24.5 km/hr). 

As cyclists, we're used to suffering. We ride until it hurts then keep going, sometimes for hours. As I've said before, that's what cyclists do. It's this Sensible Sort of Suffering we've been missing lately.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Long Ride Attempt

I planned to ride to Port Stanley with my husband today. It was to be my first long ride of the season. Riding 120 km is a stretch from my usual 20 km to work and back. I was looking forward to the challenge. I was prepared to suffer. That's what cyclists do.

Our printer stopped working, so my husband drew a map. By the time we set off, it was almost noon. It was cool and comfortable for riding. The clouds were dark and threatening rain, yet the forecast looked good. 

It felt great to be riding my lightweight carbon fiber Louis Garneau - a nice change from my Costco 'clunker' commuter bike - until something felt strange after riding up a hill. My handlebars were pointing a bit to the left. I mentioned this to my husband. He suggested we stop and fix it. 
Unfortunately my Thomson handlebar stem was broken - visibly cracked right down the side. It could not be fixed. Since we were only 8.5 km from home, my husband rode back for the car. With a cracked stem, I opted to walk while I waited. 
Eventually, my husband returned with both my backup road bike and his bike. We could drive a little further, park and ride the rest of the way. It was a good plan. We could fit in a long ride after all. 

But then it started to rain. It rained a lot. It rained all the way to Port Stanley. Thank goodness we were driving. 

We drove to Port Stanley where we walked around in cycling gear looking like proper cyclists. We had lattes, visited cute little boutiques, and bought fresh pickerel for dinner. Our spending was limited to $40 cash. My husband forgot to pick up his wallet when he rode back for the car. Maybe that was a good thing. 

Although our Long Ride Attempt failed this time, I am grateful my broken stem didn't cause a crash as further inspection exposed a crack on the bottom too. Let's hope we have better luck next time.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Weekend Celebrations

This weekend we celebrated Canada Day on Friday and our son's 20th birthday on Saturday. Both celebrations involved lots of good food, good company and good fun. 

Last year, we attended my parents' neighbourhood Canada Day party. It was so much fun, we were happy to join in again. This year the party featured a pig roast for the potluck dinner. It took ALL day to roast an 80-lb pig over an open spit charcoal barbecue.
When it was time to carve the pig, a few of the men pitched in.
The rest of us stood around watching and sampling ... very tasty pork.
Our dog Sadie savoured a chewy piece of pig skin.
Once the pig was carved, it was carried over to the food tables set up in my parents' driveway. Dinner was delicious. We all sat around eating, drinking and chatting while the kids played happily together.
Everybody dressed in red for Canada Day - even the dogs. 
We admired pictures from last year's event. The mix of people changes a bit year-to-year, but the core theme of food, fun and good cheer remains. My parents have truly terrific neighbours. I love spending time with them.

* * * * *
On Saturday, we celebrated our son's 20th birthday with a family dinner ... more wine, food, good company and laughter (always lots of laughs). See how our son over-filled my glass? I posed being careful not to spill.
On the menu - bbq steak, fried mushrooms, oven roasted baby potatoes (with butter and Parmesan), and two kinds of salad (Caesar and Mexican).
Birthday gifts are fun and very much appreciated especially if it's a beer-toting backpack cooler filled with beer.
Two cakes (German chocolate cake and caramel brownie cheese cake) ... both yummy.
Feeling full after dinner - the 'boys' took a refreshing dip in the pool.
Our summer is off to a good start. We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend celebrations with friends and family.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below