The year was 1972 and I remember my brother was going to see Led Zeppelin, the coolest band on earth. Led Zeppelin rolled through my hometown of Montreal that year and I wanted to go. Of course I was only 8 years old so that was out of the question. My brother and his friends went and I thought he was the luckiest guy on earth. I remember when my brother brought the LP home, I scanned it from front to back and I loved every single song on the album, especially “Stairway to Heaven”. I envisioned Robert Plant on stage, dressed in white with a giant stairway behind him leading to “some place in the big sky” while he sang “and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” Don’t forget Jimmy page – the coolest guitarist ever. My memory might be sketchy but I recall asking my brother, when he got home from the concert, if Robert Plant was dressed in white! President Obama honoured the legendary band at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors along with Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova and David Letterman. Ann and Nancy Wilson did a tribute to Led Zeppelin by performing “Stairway to Heaven.” This has to be the most beautiful tribute ever to a group of talented legendary musicians. Can’t imagine the pressure of performing this song in front of the President and Led Zeppelin. The guitarist was under no pressure either. Funny thing – I showed my husband the video and he said he always thought they were a bunch of long-haired hippies! Maybe but talented hippies! Enjoy below – from the days when you had to have talent to be famous!
Are you still eating turkey two days after Christmas? Here’s a recipe to get rid of a bunch of turkey at one time – recipe and pictures are from food.com. Recipe is also for chicken pot pie – I added turkey instead and a few of my own spices as well. I didn’t have time to make a crust nor did I have a frozen pie shell in my freezer, so I cut up the rest of the croissants I had and layered them on the top – turned out really good – trick – I made sure I cooked the veggies on top of the stove until they were soft – not as much cooking time needed in the oven. That way the croissant topping didn’t get too crusty!
Chicken pot pie (or Turkey pot pie at Christmas)
1cup potato, diced
1 cup onion, diced 1 cup celery, diced 1 cup carrot, diced 1/3 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
2 pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe)
1.Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in margarine for 10 minutes.
3. Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well, cook one minute stirring constantly.
4. Combine broth and half and half.
5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture,
6. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
7. Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and stir well.
8. Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells.
9. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.
With all the fuss and running about – the little drummer boy brings us to the simplicity of Christmas – a little boy and his drum. My favourite Christmas carol is Silent Night but the little drummer boy always makes me smile as this was my father’s favourite Christmas song. Every time I hear it I think of the smile on his face when this song played on the radio. Merry Christmas everyone, hold your family long and tight…Pa rum pum pum pum….
Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see
pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the kIng
Pa rum pum pum pumrum pum pum pumrum pum pum pum
So to honor Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come Little baby
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our King
Pa rum pum pum pum,rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum
Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum pum
On my drum
Pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum,rum pum pum pum,rum pum pum pum
A few pictures from Christmas past. Some wonderful memories, ones to cherish forever. Wishing you and your family many wonderful memories this Christmas and a New Year filled with hope, health and happiness.
Now if you got here thinking you would see naked old men, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. Vintage balls as in Vintage Christmas balls. I saw in “Life as a thrifter” an interesting idea what you could do with Vintage Christmas decorations and I was thrilled to realize that I had already come up with my own unique idea using everything I had in the house. I really did – Life a s thrifter did not inspire me, I came up with this idea all by myself. I have a little vintage corner as you see below:
A few vintage items mixed in with a new modern Ikea lamp sitting on top of a vintage sewing machine. I decided to hang a few vintage balls, my mom used on our Christmas tree when I was a child, on an un-used jewellery stand I had hanging around my room. I think it looks pretty good – I didn’t have to spray paint anything just hung the balls! Mind you, I do like the silver colour “Life as a thrifter” chose for her project…mmmm.. .. Maybe next year…Enjoy….
There is really no recipe involved – this is something I throw together on a whim and depending on what night I’m simmering this soup, you will taste something different every time. To start off – whenever I buy one of those pre-cooked chickens in the grocery store for a quick meal, I always take the carcass, freezer bag it and throw it in the freezer. I do the same thing with the turkey carcass at Christmas. I never feel like chicken or turkey soup just after I’ve finished eating the meat, I freeze it for later. This past weekend, Monday and today, the stomach flu has spread like wildflower through our house. Tonight we were all just beginning to get our appetite back and we felt like soup. In the freezer I had a frozen chicken carcass and voila – homemade chicken soup. Below the steps:
Fill the pot with water so it covers the frozen carcass and boil until meat comes off the bones.
Strain the broth into a pot, separate good meat and add to the broth.
Cut up the vegetables you want to use – tonight I used red pepper, green onion, celery and fresh carrots and carrot tops.
Add more water and a can of vegetable or chicken broth.
Add a handful of pasta or rice
Add spices – poultry, sage, salt and pepper or whatever you fancy – tonight I used just a pinch of chilli powder..
Simmer until vegetables are soft and pasta or rice is cooked – voila – homemade soup in no time!
The picture above is not mine so I have to share the link – who can argue with Rachael Ray – her 30 minute chicken soup looks pretty damn good – No carcass in the freezer – try Rachael’s 30 minute chicken noodle soup….
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Christmas to me is a celebration, a celebration of life and new beginnings. Celebration of Jesus’ birth, sharing his love for us to one another and let’s not forget peace on earth. I love giving gifts, especially to see a child’s face light up upon receiving a gift they’ve been waiting for. I love hanging around the house with my family watching Christmas movies, new ones and oldies. This is why it’s hard for me to admit that at times I can hardly wait until Christmas is over. I hate consumerism, hate shopping malls, hate waiting in lineups to see fake Santa (thankfully I don’t do this anymore), hate when people run me over with buggies while I’m shopping and don’t even bother to apologize. I have this peaceful, lovely Christmas in my head and then I get out of my house into reality and everything annoys me. I try not to spend too much time in the shopping malls, I write everything I need and fast speed through the stores and get everything in one day.
Christmas can be stressful on relationships as well, especially relationships amongst family members where things are strained to begin with, then add Christmas and the expectations of Christmas – one big headache. We have experienced this situation in our family. Family members that we don’t really see all year and when we do see them the situation is definitely strained. I’m not sure what went wrong but it’s one of those situations where it’s pretty obvious that things have taken a downer; nothing has really happened, no fight, no exchange of words but the whole relationship is one of forcefulness when we get together. I have many theories and if I could say it in one word it would be – alienation! Now let’s throw Christmas at this relationship and we’re getting together to exchange gifts and being, I’ll say it, very phony. Pretty much Christmas day was the only day we saw these family members and every year the visit got shorter and shorter. I drew the line to the big happy party the year that the guests’ coats didn’t even come off during our annual visit and someone kept looking at their watch and declaring “we have to go,” took their gifts and went. The visit lasted all of twenty minutes. After they left my husband and I got into a fight because quite frankly we were both upset, I was upset about the insulting behavior and he didn’t know what to say. I had plenty to say and wanted to hear him say the same thing, which led to a fight -tis the season to be jolly, fa la, la,la,la,la,la,la… The next year I told my husband that I simply could not do the whole happy family scene anymore and that we had to put a stop to the madness. He was a little stressed and said “how am I supposed to handle this one?” Neither one of us want the door closed to these family members and I suggested that he tell them that they are more than welcome to come by for the annual Christmas visit, but it seemed silly to exchange gifts as we don’t see each other all year. This is what he did and last year our annual Christmas visit didn’t happen. Even though this is a frustrating situation we are thankful and blessed to have friends and family that we spend time with throughout the year and when we visit at Christmas, it’s more than a 20 minute visit. I really think everyone has to work at getting rid of tensions from their lives, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. I know I’m not the only one who has a crazy Christmas family story – I think most people have similar stories. The fact is life is too short and if someone doesn’t appreciate you or doesn’t like you for whatever reason, you’ve tried to rectify the relationship and it’s not working, get out of the situation, move on, even if it’s Christmas, don’t settle for less just because it’s Christmas. You never have to accept rudeness in any relationship. Christmas is a time for happiness, celebration, peace and tranquility. Keep it that way and spend the time with people who truly enrich your life and while you’re at it – keep away from those crazy malls.
I’ll leave you with a few pics around the house decorated for Christmas. I like very simple decorations at Christmas, my husband likes lots of decorations so we compromise – he decorates at Halloween and I take Christmas – it works – he can go overboard at Halloween with all his ghosts and goblins and I can go subtle at Christmas with my angels, nativity and Santa. Enjoy the coming days, may there be peace and tranquility in your house and hearts this Christmas.
The poinsettia is the world’s renown Christmas flower and many homes will be decorated with this beautiful plant this Christmas. Did you know that the poinsettia was an unlikely choice to become the Christmas flower? It is found only in Central America and blooms just a few weeks in winter. The ancient Aztecs extracted a purplish dye from the plant for textiles and used its sap to treat fevers. The poinsettia would have remained a regional oddity were it not for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico in 1825. A physician and botanist, he sent some of the beautiful plants to his home in South Carolina and began growing them and giving them to friends.
There is a Mexican legend about the plant, in which a little girl was devastated because she was too poor to take any gifts to her church’s nativity scene. An angel appeared to the despondent girl and told her to pick a weed, take it to the altar and wait. The child did as the angel directed. When she placed the weed before the Christ Child, it had been transformed into a tall beautiful plant bearing brilliant scarlet flowers on the top – the poinsettia.
The poinsettia’s medicinal properties reflect the healing Jesus, its deep red color reflects the cross he was born to embrace; its blooming in the middle of winter mirrors the love of God dawning in our sin and alienation, its legend exalts God’s Spirit of generosity and compassion.
..taken from Daily reflections for advent & Christmas – waiting in joyful hope 2012-2013.
My youngest son loves to draw, paint and just about anything to do with art. I think he has a good eye so I encourage him to expand his passion, after all there is more to life than hockey. Just ask our NHL guys right now! Lately he’s taken to his Ipad for art and he’s been creating art work to load to a website he’s creating for gaming. He asked me to paint something with the Ipad last night and the above picture is what I created, it’s a tree and squiggly lines and no the object on the right is not a car as my girlfriend asked me today. If you ask me why my tree has so many colours, I’ll tell you it’s my tree and I’ll do what I bloody well please! I wish I was artistic, sadly I’m not. Below is what my 11 year old came up with, much better than mine! Hey if I was famous, I’m sure someone would give me big bucks for those squiggly lines…
“Let me ask you something, what is not art? Author unknown
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog about my hockey team. As most of you know I play hockey once a week with a women’s league. I started last September, never played hockey before and the last time I skated probably was when I was 10 years old. It was a challenge and pretty intimidating at first. My husband and children talked me into playing and at first I thought I needed to have my head read as I have enough to do with the boys and their hockey. For some unknown reason I accepted the challenge, I think it might have something to do with the fact that as little girl I wanted to play a sport, not any sport in particular, just wanted to be part of a team. Never happened, too many things going on in my parents’ life. My husband kept telling me that once I got the skills out of the way, like skating without falling down, puck handling and passing, he figured I’d be a decent hockey player. Last year I spent most of the year trying to not get killed on the ice, being in the right position and hearing the whistle when I was off side! Being severely hearing impaired it’s pretty tough to do. This is the part of my personality that I think my husband understood when he said I could be a decent hockey player. After I got over the initial couple of games and feeling completely out of my league,the battle started. Ever since I can remember when life presents a challenge and my first reaction is to back away, something inside me snaps and I go to battle. The earliest recollection of the “battle and never let them see you sweat” thing happened, I think I was between the age of 7 or 8 years old. I say this because my parents separated and divorced when I was 8 and at the time of this memory my father was still living with us. There was this kid on my block and I still remember his name – Allan. Red haired freckle faced little bastard, he constantly said mean things to me, told me how ugly I was, made fun of me in front of the kids on a daily basis. Even though he scared me, anger overcame my fear and I would usually come up with some kind of comeback. This was the never let them see you sweat thinking. One day he got physical and it took me by surprise. I just got away from him and went home. Funny thing back then, I never thought to tell my parents. That night I went to bed and that’s when the battle syndrome started, I went over in my head what I could of done, what I should of done and imagined that he hit me and how I handled it. I played this in my mind until I once again met Allan on the battlefield. Like usual I ignored him but he couldn’t just be a nice kid and play, he started the name calling again and then he hit me. I don’t even remember what went down, I just remember standing there with my hands balled into a fist and he was running screaming for his mother. A good soldier doesn’t wait for the enemy to re-group, so off I went… His mother showed up at our house and it turned out my father knew everything and saw from our living room window the whole show of Allan hitting me and me standing up for myself. He essentially told Allan’s mother what he thought of her and her son and told her to get off his property. He closed the door and told me he was proud of me for standing up for myself and he didn’t think I’d have any more problems with Allan. I often wonder if Allan got the better of me if my father would of intervened or let me learn my lesson!
This battle thinking has helped me get through a few obstacles in life, I hit the obstacle head on and then regroup and hit it again. I now know that this is why my husband encouraged me to play hockey – he knew I’d go to battle. After talking to my brother on Friday night and listening to the trials he and his wife are going through (as written in Dear God), I headed to my game on Sunday night with a heavy heart. I almost didn’t play because the game was Sunday night at 10:15 pm and I was feeling tired. It then occurred to me that my sister-in-law would give her right arm to be able to go out and play hockey, so the battle began. The team I play for has never won a game, this is my second year and we’ve never won. Last year we were losing like 17 – 0! Pretty bad I know but we’ve got a few newbies mixed in with some good hockey players and the teams we play against have more good hockey players than newbies, so we lose all the time. We’re all a bunch of hard working lady hockey players and we keep playing hard even when we lose. That night when I got on the ice something snapped in me and the battle began. We were playing lady sharks and let’s just say they are a bunch of Allan’s. Standing on the ice, I imagined all the players as cancer and to get the puck from cancer was a good thing. God help cancer when he tried to take the puck from me. I think all the girls were thinking like that Sunday night because we came out fighting hard and none of us gave up on the puck. Next thing I knew we scored and at this point we were losing 2 – 1, but it was still first period. As the game went on I aggressively went after the puck and each time imagined I was taking out cancer. Once I got the puck I managed to pass it the girls who could do something with it and we came pretty close on a few more goals. Second period I found myself skating to the opposite team’s net with the puck and just when I was lining up the shot, one of my teammates came along took the puck and scored. I guess you could say it’s a debate whether I gave her the puck or she stole it – doesn’t matter as far as I’m concerned, together we tied up cancer. Now it’s 2 -2 and we’ve got to hold cancer off for another period. We made it to the end of the game and held that bastard cancer off and beat him in overtime. First win for us ladies – I think I was screaming the loudest after all in my head we won the battle, we beat cancer. Too bad it’s not this easy in real life..
A couple of months ago I wrote about my brother and his wife coming to visit us from Toronto “feeling at home”, it was a really good visit and we had so much fun. This is my brother’s second marriage and due to the miles between us and just everyday life, I haven’t had a chance to see my brother and his wife as often as I would like. Over the last few years I’ve only met his wife a handful of times, but it seems like I’ve known her forever. She’s just that kind of person, charming, intelligent, genuine and she can handle my brother which brings her up a notch in my books. In no way is this a knock to my brother’s first wife as I’m very fond of her and I will never forget all that she did for my mother in her final hours, but unfortunately the marriage just didn’t work out. My brother is extremely outspoken and I love his outspokenness but lets face it not everyone does well with outspoken people and there are times we outspoken people have to learn to be a little less us… I know I’m one of those outspoken people and I’ve gotten myself in more shit over the years than I can count. What I find amazing about my sister-in-law is that she accepts my brother’s ways and loves him for who he is but she knows exactly how to handle him and get this – he listens! The reason he listens is because he has complete respect and love for his wife and you can see it, you can feel it. This is why writing this breaks my heart, just over a week ago my sister-in-law became ill – she went to the doctor and they gave her antibiotics. However her illness did not go away it got worse. She went to the hospital and she was diagnosed with pneumonia, she doesn’t just have pneumonia she also has leukemia. We’ve all heard how far they’ve come with curing leukemia and the medical community certainly has. Unfortunately, that is if you have the right leukemia! My sister-in-law has acute leukemia and it’s very aggressive. To put it in a few words – she is bloody sick and fighting for her life. The best scenario right now is remission and that’s what’s going to happen – the leukemia will go into remission. The pneumonia is a big problem as she is undergoing aggressive chemo leaving her body not much to fight the pneumonia with. This blog is dedicated to things in life that make me smile – this latest event doesn’t make me smile but when I think of my sister-in-law – I smile. I don’t know why we human creatures do this but when someone is really sick it’s at this time we say the things we should have said when things were well. Let’s face it when life is good we take things for granted, but this past summer I should have said this to my sister-in-law:
I really like you
You are a bright spot in my brother’s life
You are bright, articulate and charming
You are genuine – the real deal
You can put my brother in his place like nobody else can
You have wisdom beyond your years
I completely respect the person that you are
I enjoy spending time with you
My children and husband really like you
My mother-in-law says you’re neat – which is a huge compliment
Ok – let’s face it – if I said this to her over wine she would have thought – what a weirdo and a drunk too!
The hospital that my sister-in-law is in is world renown for their treatment in cancer – so she’s in good hands. The only thing to do is wait and pray so here’s my open letter to God:
I know you can hear me and this prayer is not for myself, my husband nor my children, this prayer is for Sandra,
and I’m asking for you to take a minute out of your very busy schedule. She’s really sick God and she needs your help,
I’ve already asked you to send angels and I think you have, as her body crashed the other night due to the rounds of chemo and
someone was there to watch over her. Please have your angels watch over my brother as well as he is exhausted and emotionally depleted.
I know you receive thousands of prayers similar to this and I know you listen and you treat all of your children the same.
Please add Sandra to your list of many and take care of her during this turmoil. Please heal her body, her mind and make her
whole and well again. Thank you for your time God as I know how much work