Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday, December 26th - hope everyone had a great Christmas!

It's a day early but I thought I would just drop in to say Happy Boxing Day. We both hope all had a great Christmas with friends and family.

Our week was good.  Lloyd and I were the guests at his friend Dave's annual gathering on Friday afternoon at lunch time. Lots of great food to be had, for sure. Lloyd had to work that night so it was home early so he could have a nap. I met up with Brenda around 4:00 and we headed into town to finish up some last minute shopping. Being it was a fairly mild and clear night, there was no rush to get back home, so we found ourselves a little coffee place and had coffee and Bailey's while we waited for Meghan to join us. She was taking a  break from laundry!

Saturday morning we were thinking of going into town for breakfast but Lloyd decided he'd just as soon stay home so I went into town early. I had left a couple of errands from the night before as I knew we were planning on going in on Saturday and you know what they say about the best laid plans!

Everything was open really early. I left home at 7:00 and was back again by 9:30. Now that all the appropriate shopping had been done, let the holidays begin! 

We were invited to join the VanGaals for their annual Christmas Eve celebrations. There were, I think ,17 or 18 people there and a great time was had by all.  What a lovely celebration to be a part of. 

Sunday morning, Christmas Day, got started a little slow as we were out till midnight the night before. Seems we just can't party like we used to! But no worries, we had all day to prepare for dinner guests.  We had invited our friends Jens and Linda for Christmas dinner. Jens if from Denmark and we thought it might be interesting to find out just what a traditional Danish Christmas dinner would consist of. Fortunately the internet was a wealth of information, so our menu was planned:

Roast Duck and/or Roast Pork (we cooked both)
Two kinds of potatoes - plain boiled and  boiled, caramelized in sugar
Red cabbage
(We added green beans and turnip to the veg mix)
Very creamy rice pudding with almonds

Needless to say the meal was a success. Jens was totally blown away that we would go to the effort of doing the research and then actually preparing the meal.  He was very appreciative of our efforts and that made it all worth while.

Patti was in London, due to arrive home on Christmas eve. They almost didn't make it due to mechanical issues with their plane. Fortunately they were able to come up with a solution.They arrived a few hours late but at least they got here. There would have been some pretty disappointed passengers if they hadn't.   We talked to them on face time Christmas morning and everyone seems to have had a great time  and they were getting ready for her dad's family to come over for dinner. She's back to London tomorrow (the 27th) so we may see James if there's any seats on flights heading this way. She can drop him off at Pearson on her way to Heathrow and hope he gets a connection! We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Happy Boxing Day everyone  - have to leave now as I have eggs to deliver this morning... no time for slacking off!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 20th - a roller coaster ride of temperatures

What a crazy week!  Last Thursday it got cold and windy in the afternoon and I'm talking REALLY cold - wind chill of -27'.  Sorry folks but that's mid January weather, not a week before winter actually starts!  Lloyd went off to work in the afternoon but ended up staying and working a double shift cause he wouldn't have been able to get home at midnight anyway. 

In the morning it was bitter, bitter cold with 90 km/ hour winds that practically took your breath away with the cold.  I went out to the barn and it was mighty cold out there but at least it wasn't windy so it really wasn't that bad (I know, Lloyd has to keep reminding me that they ARE farm animals).  Fine snow had found it's way in through any little crack or crevice and when I entered the barn, everything was lightly dusted with a good layer of fine snow - the floor, the hay, the straw, the goats, the chickens, the cats - everyone was wearing a coating of snow. 

For all intents and purposes, PEI was closed for the day!

Lloyd tried to get home but got stuck on the way. Fortunately he was within walking  distance of
Brenda and Bernie's and they graciously gave him shelter till he could come home after the plow had gone by, which wasn't until sometime early evening.  As he'd done a double shift, he was finished for the weekend.

Friday was a little better as the wind had finally died down. It was still cold but much more tolerable. In fact the snow was quite lovely once the wind was gone. Then on Sunday it went up to 9' with rain. Seriously???  But it wasn't enough to take away all of the snow, there's still plenty left. Monday we were back into the chill again with -10' and cold winds.  Up and down, up and down, it's hard to know which clothes to keep at hand.

Speaking of winter clothes, I was remembering way back when I was a little girl. We had one of those big old wood stoves that stood in the heart of the kitchen. There was some kind of line behind it and that's where you put your wet mittens, hats, etc to dry when you came in from playing in the snow.  The other day it occurred to me that I have an island sitting right in front of my wood stove in the kitchen. So I had Lloyd put a couple of eye hooks at each end and I strung a piece of string, added a few clothes pins,  and voila, a small line to hang mitts, etc on when they get wet. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing sight but it is kind of tucked away and you don't see it immediately. And let me tell you, it's mighty nice to have a warm hat and mitts to put on before going outside!

A special Happy 16th Birthday to James on Thursday.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to skip out on a Christmas supper with friends because Patti was in labour.  He's counting the hours, I'm thinking, because he has an appointment to write his drivers test on the morning of his birthday. He can't wait. So best of luck James, Happy Birthday and can't wait to see you over the holidays. He may be the first one to arrive on the island,  but it's early to tell just yet!

 By this time next week, it will be all over. All our preparations will hopefully have been appreciated.  We're visiting friends on Christmas Eve and then we have some other friends coming over on Christmas Day.  The kids will be trickling in some time over the holiday. They all have such busy schedules it's hard to get them all together at the same time - somewhat like herding cats!  But we'll be happy to see them whenever they do get here.

Where in the world is Patti? 

After several  red eye flights to Halifax in fierce stormy weather (and that was just to get to Pearson)
she's at home working on costumes for the schools annual Christmas play. This year they are doing "Beauty and the Beast". I was there a few years ago when they did it and the costumes were absolutely amazing - see December 2012 for pictures from last time they did this story. I was lucky enough to actually be there for that one, as Patti and I had needle and thread in hand till the very last minute. I really don't know how she does it. As we speak she's preparing the costumes for this years production.  To quote Greg "It's the time of year when he forgets he owns a table to eat off of..." as every surface is taken over by sergers, sewing machines, piles of trim and fabrics...
Today is the dress rehearsal so the last chance to finish off those last few stitches.  This is Tristen's last year at Montessori. What on earth will they do next year???

 And speaking of sewing...

A few weeks ago, I came across some really old craft magazines at a second hand shop. One of them
had this large Santa and Mrs. Claus using  a tomato cage as the base.  I know it's a pretty dated craft but I thought they were quite cute and decided to make them. I wanted to use up some of the materials I have in my 'stash'.  You know the stuff, it seemed like a good idea to buy at the time....
I wanted to use a navy and cream fabric for Mrs. Claus' dress but I didn't have any red for her hubby. No problem - who says he always has to wear red? I made my Santa navy blue to match his wife's dress. It's a little quirky but I like it. Mrs. Claus has a basket in her hands and it's a great place to put Christmas cards. 

 So Merry Christmas to all our friends out there, and thanks for giving me a reason to get up early on Tuesday mornings! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday, December 13th - it would appear that winter is here to stay ... for now, at least

Earlier I had reported that we had snow but that we usually get one snowfall in November that promptly leaves. Apparently Mother Nature has other plans this year. Our earlier snow is still here along with even more.  Schools closed early on Monday afternoon and it snowed most of the night. This moring has dawned with 15 cms of new snow but the wind has died down and it's not as cold as yesterday was.

The constantly changing weather has made for some pretty interesting skies. One morning I was sitting in the living room having my coffee and reading a book and I happened to look outside and it was an absolutely gorgeous morning with lots of newly fallen snow. I had to drop everything and go out and try to capture the scene with my camera, but of course, the picture is never as lovely as the real thing.

Then a few nights later as I was washing up the dishes, I looked out the window as the sun was setting and again, it was a very different sight.

Mother nature never ceases to amaze me. 

It was a busy week with trying to get some little jobs done before Christmas. Lloyd has made good progress on his to-do list, as have I. 

Our newest source of entertainment is in the form of a tiny ball of orange fluff by the name of Pumpkin.

Napping in front of the fireplace

Coopers still not sure what to think of having to share his mat AND his people...

He may be tiny but he's certainly mighty, having already caught his first mouse. You should have heard the growling coming out of this tiny critter when I picked him up and he hung fearlessly onto his  prize.  It was quite the sight to see. We have two other new kittens but they are a bit older and reside with the goats and chickens - Smokey and Bandit.   They love climbing among the hay and straw bales and playing around in the barn.  Hopefully they can keep the rodent population to a dull roar come spring.

Patti and the kids spent Sunday at her aunts for the families annual Christmas Cookie Day. They've all gotten together to decorate cookies since the kids were very small.  I love that they have this tradition that they still participate in. It's nice to see they don't think they're too old for it (yet). 

 We enjoyed the company of some neighbours on Sunday evening as guests to Ray and Marlene's annual Christmas gathering. It's usually held after Christmas but their daughter was home for a brief visit so they decided to move the date so she could be part of it. As usual a lovely time was had by all and we ate way too much.  I usually bring something sweet and couldn't decide what to bring this year. Patti's photos from Paris last week had macarons in the window of a shop so that was my inspiration (although mine didn't turn out nearly as lovely as those) but they were still plenty edible. I filled them with two types of filling - chocolate orange and chocolate rum. After I made them I realized they all had chocolate in them and at least one person in the group can't eat chocolate. So I decided to make some butter tarts to go with them. I had some pastry left over and Lloyd suggested that he'd like some mincemeat tarts as well. Then I had some of the filling from the cookies left and I made some truffles with that as it was basically a chocolate ganache.  So one idea turned into several. I put everything into a pizza box and carted it over with us.  Needless to say we were all well fed, so much so that some of us didn't have room for dessert. Fortunately there were some left overs that I could share with special friends!

And finally
"Where in the world is Patti ?"

This week she's doing 6 red eye flights from Toronto to Halifax and back - in 8 days. Does it get any more exciting than that???  I did receive a photo from her on Sunday night of this scene at the airport, as they were waiting to leave, but the weather in Toronto wasn't being very cooperative. 

That's no reason to send it down here!  James had said he wants to set up a Biathlon course here over the holidays and we told him there likely wouldn't be enough snow - he may get his wish yet!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday, December 5 - Community School ends for another year

Our poor weather just kept on keeping on.  We were fortunate to have only lost power for about 5 hours last Sunday while some folks didn't get their power restored until Saturday, a full 7 days later. Poor weather early in the week compounded the issue. In fact we did lose ours again on Wednesday afternoon for about 6 hours, but then it was back, so no major inconvenience. I sat down with my Ipad and a glass of wine and read a book once it got dark. It was all good!

Tuesday was our final night of community school. After a delicious pot luck supper, the guitar class strummed, the fiddle class fiddled, and all handicraft classes displayed their wares. Some of the quilts were absolutely amazing. There are some very talented ladies in that group.  I can learn a lot from them.

This is most of our group. In the background you can see all the quilts. One lady made a beautiful Thomas the Tank Engine quilt for her grandson. I was reminded about how Thomas crazy James was when he was little, before he discovered super heroes.  Tristen missed the Thomas faze  as his big brother was into Batman and such so he missed the kinder, gentler Thomas. He just wanted to be like his big brother.

As you can see, some lovely work by some very talented individuals.

Thursday evening, Brenda and I got together for some snacks, a glass of wine and a movie. A lovely way to wind down the week.  Then Saturday, Lloyd and I went into town to check out the Victorian Christmas craft fare. It was cold and raining so not a pleasant way to spend the day. I'm sure it had an impact on shoppers as well.  We were glad to get back to the car to warm up.

Sunday was cool, around the freezing mark but not raining so it was a good time to do a couple of jobs outside that hadn't got done. Things were put away that were still hanging around outside - lawn mowers, garden tractors, BBQ, etc.  Then we put up the Christmas lights.  You know you're Canadian when you have several weeks of beautiful mild weather in November but you wait till it's below freezing, snowy and windy to put up the lights. But that's what we do!

And finally,  "Where in the world is Patti?

This weekend she was in Paris. She's not been there for a while and she "Went for a lovely walk this evening on the Champs Elysees enjoying  the Christmas lights and went to the outdoor Christmas market. It was very festive".  She does this like the rest of us go to Tim's !

She sent back some lovely photos

Love the colour of the macarons in the background. Inspires me to make some

Her trip to the grocery store - bread, wine and cheese - how very French for her supper!