SPREADING THE WEALTH!

Lately I’ve been de-cluttering.  Painting the pumpkin room has led to cleaning and getting rid of the clutter.  I had too much stuff in that room and once I calmed the colour I needed to calm the clutter.   I’ve made several trips to the Salvation Army and I said to my husband “we could of had a really profitable garage sale with all the stuff we’ve gotten rid of.”  He said “we’ve been so blessed with what has been given to us” and he reminisced to the time we found out we were pregnant with our first child.  We looked at cribs and baby furniture and marvelled how we would afford it all.  Out of the blue this man that my husband knew from his past, called him up and said we’ve got baby furniture and if you and your wife want it you can have it.  He gave us a perfectly good crib and changing table and wouldn’t take a cent.  My neighbour got a new couch and gave me her old one, my mother-in law gave me quite a few antique pieces and many other people have given us things.    We have saved a lot of money on furniture.   My husband’s right, we need to spread the wealth.  That couch that my neighbour gave me a few years ago really had to go and I’ve thinking about replacing it, when out of the blue a girlfriend of mine tells me she’s getting rid of couch and do I want it?  Today we finished putting the pumpkin room back together and took many boxes, an old coffee table and the old couch to the Salvation Army.  While there  I had to take a browse through the store and it was packed with browsers.  It was 50% off day and people were buying everything.  I found five Ikea dishes that I currently use as my everyday set and I paid $4.00 for all five, I usually pay $3.50 a piece.    A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a new canister set for my counter.  I saw something in a tupperware brochure and the ones I wanted were $54.00 for a set of 5.   I took a browse through Value village and there I found two canisters very similar to the tupperware ones.  $1.00 a piece.  I looked around a little more and found a few more canisters that I mixed and matched with the tupperware wanna be’s!  The whole set cost me $8.00.

     

Of course while I was there I found a few other things too!

   

A scarf, some jewellery, a pair of ski gloves for one of the boys, a couple of frames plus the canister set – all for just under $50.00.  I’m not knocking tupperware, the product is very good but Value Village gave me more bang for my buck.

Around Christmas time my husband got a great deal at Value Village that saved me quite a bit of money.   I have a beautiful nativity scene by Willow Tree and  I wanted the manger to complete the set.  I looked at a Willow Tree manger in the store and it was over $120.00.  I couldn’t justify paying that so I resolved to having a nativity scene without the manger.  My husband and mother-in law went to Value Village one day and came home with a manger for $2.00 – big savings there!

Looks so much more complete with the manger – Willow’s did not have a palm tree!

There is so much good karma in thrifting.  You get rid of something you really don’t want only to be someone else’s treasure and that someone else’s throw-aways become your treasure.  To top it all off if you want to get rid of any of your treasures – back to the thrift store you go only to delight someone else – you can’t feel guilty about that.   So go ahead spread the wealth!

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW!

After work as I sat on my porch watching my boys playing roller hockey, I turned to the sky and saw this – it’s been such a miserable couple of days and I’ve been feeling rather exhausted and here is this beautiful rainbow showing me that things can improve.  This quote says it all:

“Life is like a rainbow, you need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear”

Looking forward to the weekend!

A FEW FAVOURITE QUOTES

Quotes inspire me and I feel when you find one that touches your heart, it is your duty to share  – I plan to share quotes in the future.

I found this one while searching blogs – studiolightblue – This lady’s blog inspires me!

“Let me ask you something, what is not art? Author unknown

Another favourite in the artist category

” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”   Michelangelo

SHROVE TUESDAY, PANCAKE TUESDAY, FAT TUESDAY OR MARDI GRAS HOWEVER YOU CELEBRATE FROM WHERE YOU COME FROM!

I can remember being a very young girl in elementary school and being excited all day about having a major pig-out of pancakes, sausage, hash browns and whatever else my mom threw together for Pancake Tuesday.  I grew up in Quebec and the English called the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday Pancake Tuesday.  Also, big with the French Canadians is Mardi Gras and the Quebec Carnival.  The Quebec Carnival does not necessarily fall around Pancake Tuesday but the carnival spans for two weeks and is usually in January or February – the 2012 Carnival just ended on the 12th of February.   Just in time for another party, Mardi Gras.  All in all as much fat as possible is eaten to prepare for fasting and abstinence of meat during the Lenten season.  I continue the tradition for my children and they look forward to having pancakes and sausages for dinner.  Today was a good day for the boys as  the school they go to served them pancakes for lunch and then a little Quebec Carnival celebration for the afternoon.  Pancakes for dinner again – all the sugar they can eat! This recipe is one I use all the time.  I always have ripe bananas around and I throw the really ripe ones in the freezer for pancakes or banana bread.  This recipe is from Crazy Plates.  If you haven’t experienced Crazy Plate recipe books look it up – well worth it – really good low fat recipes.

Peter Pancakes

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

2 tbsp reduced fat butter or margarine (melted – not fat free)

1 egg

1 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

Strawberry sauce (recipe follows)

Combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl – set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, honey and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in mashed banana.

Spray large wide skillet or electric griddle with non-stick spray – heat over medium heat.

Use a big spoon and pour a good amount of batter on the griddle.  Cook until undersides are lightly browned and flip and cook until other sides are lightly browned.  Serve with syrup or strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

2 cups diced strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice mixed with 1tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar.

combine all ingredients over a medium saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until liquid as thickened and strawberries have softened.  About 6 to 7 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

            

BYE BYE GREAT PUMPKIN!

It’s done – I’ve sent the great big pumpkin room to a room in the great big sky!  Gone forever, although I have to appreciate that the great big pumpkin served it’s purpose for my need of bright colour at that time of my life.  I now want something soothing, relaxing a place where I can breathe – think I’m getting old.  I posted So Inspired as I was inspired by the Schmitt house.  Cara does deserve a medal though she did all the work herself.  I was all set to paint the room and trying to figure out how I was going to fit it in to my already busy weekend schedule and then my girlfriend told me she hired a painter.   Got the painter in to give me a quote and hired him on the spot. I’m not use to hiring someone for something I can do, but have to say it was worth every penny – done in one day!  Would of taken me two weeks!  Here are the results – I’m still trying to get the room back together:

Pumpkin – gone, gone!

Still trying to figure out what pictures to bring back -has to be the right one!

Gone is the lego battleship!

Not Better Home and Gardens but it works for my family.   My son’s artwork framed – can’t get much cheaper than that!

Bought this baby at Salvation Army for $24.00 – painting it white – I’ll show results when it’s finished!  Good productive weekend at this house!

ALZHEIMER’S REVISITED

When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was still living close to me – I spent some time reading about the disease so I could prepare myself and other family members for the eventual fate of Alzheimer’s.   One book that meant the most to me was “Losing my mind” by Thomas DeBaggio, a well known herb farmer in the United States.  When he was diagnosed with the disease he set out to write a book about the various stages of the disease – what makes this book so interesting is that he was going through the stages as he was writing about the disease.  At times he said he couldn’t remember what a word looked like never mind write it.  The book fascinated me, saddened me, frightened me, taught me much about Alzheimer’s and about the journey we were about to embark upon with our mother.  Below is a poem he received from a woman who wrote this poem dedicated to her husband as she watched his mind being robbed by the disease – the poem struck a chord with me and I kept it close to my heart.  Two years after reading it, I included the poem at the end of the Eulogy I said at my mother’s funeral.  As the disease robbed my mother of the joys in her life, this poem reminded me of her because she fought the disease with all of her heart – determined to try and remember.  For anyone who is suffering of watching a loved one waste away with Alzheimer’s or anyone who has been through this experience I believe it may bring you some comfort.

Alzheimer’s Revisited

Today I hear the voice of a 58 year old man,

As he spoke of losing his memory,

Word by word, thought by thought,

He said “The only thing I never forget

is that I have Alzheimer’s disease.”

As he spoke of exercising his mind,

I pictured, once again, my husband

sitting at his desk, writing his name,

over and over, letters missing,

writing fading into a meaningless scrawl.

Then a group of near-perfect signatures.

Strong will and determination to not let go,

Beaten by the inevitable progress

of a mind-stealing illness.

At that moment I wanted to reach out

and tell this family that I too could

never forget that I loved one who

had Alzheimer’s disease.

I wanted to tell them too,

That times of pure love and closeness

will be theirs to savour and enjoy.

The simple accomplishments

are like a mountain climbed.

A victory against all odds.

That the act of unlearning

is like a book read backwards.

The words and stories there

to be unscrambled, interpreted,

and imprinted on the minds of others.

Author Anonymous

http://books.google.ca/books/about/Losing_My_Mind.html?id=X5NqTZTVwgMC

My mother pictured at our wedding – one of the last good times everyone was all together before she got sick.