Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Taking Healthy Back and Self Control with the Cheesecake

It's been a laid back kind of week for me; reading, making a couple of birthday cards and coffee and lunch dates with friends.
One friend lives around the corner from us and her dog Rocky and Topaz are BFFs. She came for tea and the boys had a play date.
Rocky was determined to have a piece of my tea bread and kept giving me this toothy smile to show how irresistible he is. Mom says it's a trait with his breed and it cracks me up because he's so cute. 
The backyard has a new visitor and the red squirrel is much smaller than the big black ones that frequent our yard. He was busy eating apples left on the ornamental tree. 
I joined a community FB group called 'Take Healthy Back' and above are the guidelines although I don't know what juice plus is yet. Lots of motivation, recipes and support so although I won't be doing their exercise plan I'm having fun. The majority of women belonging to the group are doing Jillian Michael's workouts which I know of because daughter #2 followed her and then moved on to cross fit. (in other words - intense!)  I'm afraid to ask if they have any granny exercises...reminds me of when I was taking yoga classes at the 'Y'. Our regular instructor who was aware of our capabilities was ill and a young gal stepped in and immediately started bending into pretzel shapes. Our group of age 60+ just sat and watched her until she stopped and asked why we weren't doing the poses with her. Seriously? lol
My exercise routine starts before 7 every morning on the treadmill and then progresses to the yoga mat where most poses are stretches to keep my back and other body parts flexible. I am longing for warmer weather when I can do my 2 miles outside, check out the neighbourhood gardens and then work in my own.
A handy chart that was shared with the group.
Today I'm off to a pot luck lunch, held over from before Christmas and I decided to make a cherry cheesecake. Low fat cream cheese means less calories, right? A small piece is every bit as good as a large one, it just takes self control.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Snow Day with Sparkle

Hello everyone, thank you for your comments after my previous post and sharing more about about yourselves. How interesting that there are so many introverts in blogland, a platform which fills the need for friendship at our own pace.
As a true Canadian, I like to talk about the weather and we've had snow for many days in a row with accumulations of up to a foot at a time. There's probably been more this winter so far than all of last year but...we're back to normal which means ice thick enough for ice fishing, the snowmobile trails groomed and happy skiers.
Backyard winter wonderland sparkle. (taken another year but looks the same)
My winter participation comes from inside birdwatching and shovelling the back deck for our dog and to get at the bird feeders. Look at these happy faces; a male American goldfinch on the left in winter plumage and a male purple finch on the right. 
Topaz doesn't like to go in the snow at all except for necessary business, he prefers to curl up in his bed with lamby wrapped around his neck. The poor old guy will be 14 this summer and is struggling with sight and hearing issues. It's a good thing he's small enough to be a lap dog for that's where he wants to be most of the time and there are days when he's following so close I'm tripping over him.
With the purging of unwanted or plain old not needed items continuing throughout the house I looked at the kitchen Lang calendar holder and tried to justify buying a new one for 2017. Since hubby and I use our phones for appointments and such and there is a plain paper monthly calendar on the side of the fridge for quick looks, (can't give up paper completely) I couldn't see the point in having another.
I've been tearing off favourite pictures when a calendar was completed and they look pretty good stacked for enjoyment. 
We bought a new faux tabletop Christmas tree for 2015 and not wanting to give up the twinkle lights, I decorated it for Valente's Day then continued for Easter and autumn. It doesn't take up a lot of room and adds some sparkle to our day.
 After colouring this page in my journalling Bible I realized the spent roses from hubby matched and there was also a coordinating teacup which all became distressed with photo editing. I used Distress FX on my iPad.
Last summer I purchased the lavender teacup and came upon a matching mug the other day at the same floral shop. It will be fun to have a lavender tea when the plants are in bloom using the various patterned mugs I've collected. Of course you're all invited!
We cancelled our bible study meeting this morning due to the weather. It seems to me if all the school busses are cancelled it makes sense that a group of grannies can stay home for a snow day. 

Having the day free to myself, from somewhere came a burst of energy and I made butternut squash soup for lunch, tuna casserole for dinner and a Queen Elizabeth cake for dessert. If you like a date based cake with a brown sugar coconut/almond topping, this cake is worth making. The recipe is from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog and I've added it to my recipe page at the top.
For blogging sisters experiencing the beauty of winter snow stay warm, and for those in the warmer regions,  enjoy your days of sunlight and balmy breezes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Discovering Myself

2016 was a year of discovering more about myself in several different ways. My friend MH who was a nurse and later a psych analyst is a member of our Tuesday morning Bible Study and often we expand on topics to which she has great input. Before Christmas we talked about the hustle and bustle of shopping at malls, the crowds etc. and I said how much it negatively affected me. We went on  with MH's help to examine if we were each an introvert or extrovert.
FB on-line source
It wasn't hard to realize why I feel how I do out in crowds vs sitting alone with a good book and a cup of tea. Yes, I'm quite happy by myself creating cards, reading or baking among other things. 
Earlier in the year a gardening associate admitted she had lots of acquaintances but few people she would call an actual friend. I've thought about that statement many times and have concluded that also describes me. Blogging however introduces a different concept of friend, one who is more like a 'penpal' whom you can visit at your leisure and expand the visit via email. I've met a number of women I consider good friends through this method and when I look at who they are - why we're cut from the same cloth of being Christian women with the same family values and other aspects in common. Hmm, birds of a feather...
Blogging parties can also be a way to meet new people but I've found many linking are not interested in 'mingling' as is the true sense of a party. I'll leave this observation at that.
I mentioned the Journalling Bible I purchased in 2016 and I was waiting to use it for the daily Bible reading program started January 1. Two years ago I utilized the Old and New Testament plan and this year I'm using the chronological plan from Blue Letter Bible. The link is here.
Above is the inside cover with the colouring finished and I can attest that no two pencil crayon brands are alike. I have several artist brands and even the old standby Crayola that I use for my cards and they're perfect for the tissue paper thin pages. Highlighter can be seen on the page behind and some markers will bleed. Yikes, I'll figure it out and hope for any recommendations! One thing a fellow blogger suggested and I'm doing is highlighting any text to do with plants, gardening etc. with green.
My hands tend to shake a bit (maybe more so after morning coffee) which affects colouring within the lines in small places. I keep thinking that years from now when grandchildren or great grandchildren look at (and hopefully admire) this work of art that comments like "Holy smokes, Grandma sure wasn't very good at staying in the lines!" are not spoken aloud. 😁
I received lots of tea samples over the holiday from two card exchange groups and a gift that really surprised me. Don't get me wrong, I received many nice gifts of clothing, perfume etc. but as my daughter said, "this one will be foremost in your mind, won't it?" Having two girls, our first grandchild was a boy, and became the boy we never had. He's close to his grandpa in all 'guy things' but will still enjoy a cup of tea with his grandma. I have the book 'A Cup of Christmas Tea' and although it is about a young man and his great aunt, the story could serve as a relationship between a grandma and grandson too. It is gratifying to know that I have touched the heart of this young man with my love for tea and that he would find this perfect gift for me.
It's no surprise as most of us know that a smart phone can take stunning photos. Through the window, as close as I could get and then cropping, above is a red bellied woodpecker making a first appearance at one of my feeders.

The male and female cardinals are regular visitors and although at this time of year my Canon is usually set up on the tripod waiting for good photo opportunities, I've discovered just how amazing my phone is.
A cross stitched gift of flowers in a teacup and enhanced with Imikimi photo frames. They have delightful ones to choose from, it's free to sign up and brought to my attention by a beautiful red hat tea friend Rose, who uses them on her FB.
My journey continues in discovering more about myself and how I may change what I blog about. Nothing drastic, but a couple of bloggers have influenced me with their content and it will be fun to step outside of my comfort zone. For example Deborah at The Beautiful Matters started a discussion on whether or not to wear foundation. She doesn't always blog about makeup and such but it was an interesting topic and as I become an 'official' senior next month, I was interested in the responses. 
How about you? Looking for new ways or ideas to spark your blogging mojo or are you comfortable with where you're at? 
I'm closing this post with appreciation for the friends I've made since blogging and also to the casual acquaintances who drop in every so often to catch up and say hello.  I wasn't on my computer a lot from before Christmas until now so I hope to drop by and do some catching up myself.
As always, take time for tea.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It is The Time for Home

"Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home." 
~Edith Sitwell~

on-line source
To all my blogging sisters and visitors:
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas !
Remember to take time for tea over the holiday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas is Coming...

“Christmas is forever, not for just one day. 
For loving, sharing and giving are not to put away
like bells and light and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.”
~Norman Wesley Brooks~
 We had a nice Christmas gathering at this month's Christian Women's Connection with sweets, clementines, lots of tea and coffee and the singing of Christmas carols. Our guest vocalist was the sweet lady seen above on the right, and the other, our hostess. I better mention we had Christmas crackers at our place settings too and that's why you see the paper crowns.
I've seen many elaborate nativity scenes in blogland but mine remains a simple homemade ceramic one that winds up to 'Silent Night'.
My #magicmoment this week when I saw a lavender enhanced poinsettia. 
Our local birding store sells these small bags of birdseed that make a nice hostess gift.
In all the frantic activity of the season, be sure to stop for a relaxing cup of tea and a sweet or two!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Snowflakes and Figgy Pudding

Snowflakes
Snowflakes spill from heaven’s hand 
Lovely and chaste like smooth white sand. 
A veil of wonder laced in light
Falling gently on a winters night.
Graceful beauty raining down 
Giving magic to the lifeless ground.
Each snowflake like a falling star 
Smiling beauty that’s spun afar. 
Till the earth is dressed in a robe of white
Unspoken poem the hush of night. 
~Linda A. Copp~
We had our first significant snowfall one night this week and I have to say it was a beautiful winter wonderland outside the next morning. 
The rosemary continues to flourish even after a couple of frosts and almost a foot of snow on it. I used some to sprinkle on a tray of roasted root vegetables for dinner.
An early Christmas present arrived by courier and I was delighted to find the Holiday Tea Collection plus a couple other varieties from our oldest daughter. I highly recommend the Roasted Chestnut. 
 I saw a gorgeous purple wreath on FB and decided to enhance the one a friend made for me.
What do you think, too much purple? I'll keep looking at it until speaks of overkill or thanks for the extra frills. 
In the kitchen the ceramic tree I made back in the 70's contributes to the season's twinkling lights and you can see the snow is dwindling as I type. Not to worry, more is on the way and I enjoy afternoon tea all cozy inside while watching the twirling flakes outside.
Today while I wrapped a few presents Topaz had a snooze in his bed with a shaft of sunbeams dancing over his face. #magicmoment
Fresh figs don't show up at our grocery store very often but when a case of 15 was on sale for $10 I hurried in to snap one up. I cut them in half to eat but thoughts of 'figgy pudding' crossed my mind.  #simplepleasures

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's Tea Time

Hello everyone~
With the gardens lying dormant above ground, although there's lots of activity going on below, my attention turns more to my second passion which is tea.

Two Woman and Tea
Two women met for tea. They talked about life.
Things they were working through and things they were learning.
They showed each other grace and gave each other courage, even though neither of them had all the answers, they knew that God sure did. 
So they laughed and they cried and shared their lives.
And in the end, 
When the cups were empty…
Their hearts were full. 
~Unknown~

I ordered these teacup socks online and when the checkout showed they were half price I ordered a second pair for someone special. 💜

Tea themed items turn up where you least expect and walking past Christmas decor in our local drugstore a light up Tea Shop was sitting on a shelf just waiting for me. 

I won a giveaway of this adorable matching teapot and teacup from Angela who blogs at Tea with Friends. 

They will join the other miniature collectibles on my tea cart.

Sherie who owns Lavender Floral in town has the same love as me for not only lavender but cardinals as well. I picked up the cream and sugar from her shop last week and had a piece of Newfoundland Cherry Loaf (recipe can be found here) with Murchie's Christmas tea one afternoon.

A  #magicmoment from the weekend while at our granddaughter's volleyball tournament. Our daughter and her son were standing together against the wall and I snapped a photo of them. Of course adding a little forest scene from PiZap enhanced the pair. 
Remember to Take Time for Tea
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