Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

May you all have the most wonderful, magical and blessed 
New Year

See you in 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice & Merry Christmas!

From this....

to this....

Right on time for winter solstice which I seldom pay attention to, except this day gains in more popularity as weather news item like this.

 I went out early evening on an errand and found it a bit hard to navigate. It was rather icy in places. It was also very wet at the street corners. One has to jump across puddles. I used my walking poles to navigate the sidewalks.

From here on in I'll look forward to the increased daylight hours.

Have a great weekend!

Enjoy your Christmas too!

Our World Tuesday

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Sunsets

"The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy."
Psalm 65:8 (NIV)

I captured these photos of the sunset on Monday evening.  

Even the hanging telephone wires couldn't dim the beauty of the sky.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday today.
Enjoy your weekend and have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Party

I'm a bit over due for posting this week. I have been very busy with buying and wrapping some gifts and making preparations for my mother's third move in the facility where she lives. As always things did not go off without a few glitches concerning the move but it is done and she is more or less settled. Now I pray she is going to be okay health wise until we can move her for good to a new facility.  She is eager to get back to where she used to live but because she is already in a facility she is not at the top of the wait list.  If you can remember to say a prayer about her health and about her new place coming up soon that would be wonderful.

Some of the crowd at the Christmas party I attended.  A lot of Asians were represented.

In the meantime, I've also been preparing for Christmas here at home. I posted most of my Christmas cards some weeks back and put up my small decorations around the condo.  I set up my small tree earlier in the week but only just managed to trim the tree on Saturday.  This year it is all in gold tones.

The weather here has warmed up a lot since the cold winds of over a week ago. The bird bath outside had ice in it last week and this week it is back to water.  I'm sure the birds will appreciate it.I can turn my heat off again as it gets a bit too warm inside now.  If I need to take the chill off the air, I can put on the fireplace or cover up.  Of course, I finally covered the vent in my front room which had been blasting very cold air for about 2 weeks. It took a while to move everything from the corner of my living room, tape up the vent with duct tape and heavy duty cardboard, then move everything back in the corner but it is done.  The difference is amazing.

I had a fun time earlier in the week when I went to an annual Christmas party. Apparently this multicultural Christmas Party has been an annual event for about 15 years.  This is the first year I've known about and attended it. I had fun with my friends from Tanzania. It's always nice to experience Christmas through the eyes and delight of children.

The back of the venue.  There were also a lot of people to my right but I didn't capture that section.

was able to go with a number of friends from the neighbourhood and sat in the audience with the family from a place near Mwadui, Tanzania.
The little boy was clearly excited about something on stage.  I think it was the Persian dancer.

These beautiful Vietnamese ladies performed two different dances. There were several other performers but most were moving too fast for me to get good photos.

There was free food reflecting a variety of ethnic groups (East Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Canadian), cultural entertainment from a number of countries (China, Mongolia, Iran, Vietnam, and Canada), many beautiful door prizes and a Santa with toys for all the children under the age of 9.

A dancer from Mongolia.She danced to a slow song but her movements were lithe and quick.

Of course a Christmas party would not be complete without a visit from Santa and toys for the children. They were excited about that. Santa is behind the tree

The little boy from Tanzania really enjoyed the lady from Persia (Iran) and was grooving to the music.
 I captured this video so I could share it with his parents.

Holiday signage at a local, popular restaurant.

Joining with Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. 
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. 

~ Calvin Coolidge

After dinner I enjoyed a short walk in the snow.

It's late and I'm labelling Christmas gifts for my mom before I wrap them. I am also preparing a few other gifts for family and family friends.

I am attending a Christmas party tomorrow and after that I'll finish decorating my small tree as well as put up the other decorations. I'm a bit late this year.

Oh my!  I still have to finish crafting 3 gifts.
Oh well, there is always next week, lol.

I can't believe I started these gifts long ago and still haven't finished them but life keeps cropping up :-).


Where does the time go?!
Best to breathe and savour the days as they pass.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday

Thank you to Lady Fi for hosting!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Life's Blessings

“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

Dr. Steve Maraboli,
Behavioral Scientist

Christmas is always a time when I think of the way God has richly blessed my life.  Things could have been so very different for me had I been born in poverty in a multitude of other countries.  But I was blessed to be born in Canada and to have opportunities that I would not have had in many other countries because I was a girl child.

So Christmas is always an important time of year for me. A time to consider my blessed life and to see what I can do for others beyond my family or immediate circle of good friends.

There are many ways to be a blessing to others.  If we look around in our circle of friends and acquaintances and review their circumstances we can probably think of a number of people who could use a kind gesture, a helping hand, a small blessing or material helps of some kind.

Beautiful flowers remind me of God's blessings.

This week I had a special blessing and I was also able to bless them in return.

It has been very cold here in my city with lots of cold air blowing through the vents in my home.  A serviceman came to check on the ventilation in the building and concluded that my vents are not attached to the building vents.  He concluded that he couldn't help me.

But it turned out that he is also a certified gas technician.  He asked about my fire place and I told him I haven't been able to use it for a few years.  A part needs replacing and I just never got around to dealing with it.

The nice young man offered to try and start it and after a few minutes, it started working!  I was so excited.  I blessed him by insisting he take a small tip.  That way he could buy himself something that he likes. He didn't want to take it but I told him how much he had helped me and that I appreciated it very much. He was also a great blessing to me because he saved me a few hundred dollars.  At this time of year that is a huge help.

A hut in a Kenyan village. It belongs to my friend's Grandmother.

Another friend from a far away land didn't know where to purchase buttons for a blazer she bought in a thrift store.  She has a couple of children and it is difficult for her to go shopping and arrange to be home on time for her eldest child's return from school.

I had the bright idea of putting together a small sewing kit for her.  It included:  a variety of buttons in different neutral colours, sewing thread, sewing needles, pins, a pin cushion, a small scissors, measuring tape and a tin can to hold it all. She was so happy with this small gift because though she has been in Canada for a year, she has not had the time to put a basic sewing kit together. I also put together separate, small gifts for her two children and her husband. I want them to feel that someone is thinking of them though they are far from their homeland.  She had shared with me about two weeks ago that her son misses Christmas because last year (their first year in Canada), the only person that invited them to share Christmas with them was me! In their homeland they are used to family, extended family and friends being together at Christmas.  That story touched me and showed me that our small gestures do not go unnoticed even by children.

Another friend was complaining of how he was so cold this week while working outside as he is employed in construction.  He is from West Africa so you can imagine how very different the weather is here for him.  He said he was so cold on Friday that he was almost crying. I know how cold it has been because the wind has ripped through me like an icy shard several days this week when I had to run errands.  When I went out the other day I saw some hand warmers that can last for 12 hours or more. I bought some for him and will add it to another small gift I've purchased for him.  I'm not sure he knows about the hand warmers so if I give him some samples, he can try them.  At least they will warm up his hands for those few very cold days that we will get this winter.

There are so many other ways to bless people but these are just three small examples of lifting a person's spirit at this time of year.  Sometimes people can feel low in spirit because they are far from family, don't have friends or family, or have family and friends from whom they are currently estranged. Let's look for ways to be a small blessing to someone this season.

Two Kenyan women and their children. They were desperate for some help.

I also want to continue to be a blessing and encourage others to be a blessing to Elvis in Kenya. Elvis is in his final year of medical studies in Kisumu, Kenya.

If you want to be a blessing to Elvis,  Pay Pal donations can be sent to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com
If you want to send Elvis or his mother (who is a single parent) a special word of encouragement, you can send them to the same email address. Thank you to those who respond :-)

I hope to share Elvis' graduation photos when he has finished his studies.

If you'd like to share your blessing stories, I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rest in Peace

Nelson Mandela, was an inspiration to me like he was to so many others around the world. 

Even though his life here on earth is done, I pray his life and light continue to shine brightly as a beacon of  hope and inspiration to those of us left behind.

May God too bless his family and his Nation at this time of loss.

Mr. Mandela, we will all miss you dearly.

You have run your race. 

You have finished your course.

I pray you rest in peace. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

One Sky in September

I went through my archives for these sunset photos. 

These shots were all taken within a few moments of each other. 

I hope you like them. 

Enjoy your week and check out some other beautiful skies from around the world.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Start to the Week

 Friendship isn't about whom you have known the longest... It's about who came, and never left your side...

Another week begins. I am blessed that though we were having cold weather, it has warmed up a few degrees.  Better still we are having clear skies and lots of sunshine.  This is a rare treat at this time of year and it is supposed to last all week! Yah!

On Friday I bought a new pair of flannel sheets. I already have some neutral coloured sheets but I wanted some plaid ones to change them out when I am doing the laundry. I bought this blue, red and white tartan and they kept me very warm during my first night of use.

I've been wanting something in shades of red and gray for some time.  The neutral pillow cases in the back are also made of flannel.
You might remember that on Friday I also went out shopping for a few little gift items and for a food care package for my mom.  I am hoping that she will be feeling a little better by the time the package arrives in a day or two and she will have some thing to eat late at night.  Where she lives they give her a snack after dinner.  But a few years ago she started a habit of having a bite to eat before bed and the care homes do not provide food after 7:30 p.m.  She gets agitated if she doesn't have anything to eat.  My brother and I buy her food for a few weeks during our visits. Once in awhile I post something to her in the mail and other times we have something delivered.  Delivery doesn't work so well because they don't shop for just the right things at the right price. You get what you get.  Sadly they don't seem to be able to provide anything at her residence for late night munchies even though the residents pay a fortune to live there.

On Saturday I prepared the care package for mom and prepared a few other small parcels and cards for posting.  I took them in to the post office though they won't actually get picked up for delivery by the mail man until Monday morning.  It is better if I take the cards and letters in over the weekend.  That way they will go out very early Monday morning before I am even ready to go out for errands.
Parcels and envelopes ready to go. My table is a mess (again).

I am so glad to have some of my parcels done.  Though the real Christmas mail rush has not quite begun I already missed one of the cut off dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery to Africa.  I am still hoping the mail gets delivered earlier than expected.

I spent a part of the weekend resting because I feel like I'm coming down with something.  My tummy doesn't feel quite right and my chest feels very unusual too.  I did get the flu shot but that is no guarantee of anything. My mother got the flu shot too and she is currently fighting a very bad case of the flu.

Saturday evening I continued reading this book I picked up 2nd hand entitled, Below the Peacock Fan:  First Ladies of the Raj. It is a very interesting account of 4 British ladies, all of whom lived in India at different points during the time of British Colonial rule.  It's fascinating to read what their lives were like a few hundred years ago in India.  Soon I will also finish the wonderful book, The Perfume Collector, by Kathleen Tessaro.

I'm looking forward to meeting a few friends tonight for a cooking session.  We cook in pairs and work on different parts of the menu.  Then we all sit down and eat together. It is always nice to see friends.

If you are part of the Crochet-A-Long on Thursdays, I probably won't be updating again until I finish the afghan. It may take awhile.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gluten Free Pineapple Carrot Muffins

If you've been following my recent experiments in baking with millet flour, you may also enjoy this recipe.  This is my favourite of the 3 recipes I've made with millet flour so far.

  • 1 1/4 millet flour (I used Bob Red Mills brand but you may have another brand where you live)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (fresh is always nice but I used powdered ginger this time)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup crushed or chopped pineapple (I used a can of pineapple tidbits)
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (next time I will use half zucchini and half carrots)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine the mashed banana with the pineapple, grated carrot, ginger, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  I used a Kitchen-Aid mixer but you can also just combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and baking soda,  then fold it into your wet mixture.  The batter will be very moist.

Pour into the muffin tin of your choice. I used my silicone muffin tin. When you use silicon muffin tins you must place them on a flat cookie sheet or other flat pan when putting them in the oven.

Bake 20-25 minutes. I baked 9 regular to large sized muffins with this recipe.

Notes:  Let the muffins cool before removing from the pan otherwise they will fall apart.

I find when using the silicone tin, the muffins are always very moist at the bottom, almost like pudding. Today's muffins were no exception.

These muffins are moist and tasty though a bit too sweet for my liking. Next time I will experiment a bit perhaps using only half of the sugar or substituting half of the shredded carrots with half shredded zucchini. I won't omit the banana because that whips up into a nice frothy, liquid mixture in which to mix the dry ingredients.

Here is a link to a site extolling the virtues of millet flour.   These days many people are turning to millet flour because it contains no gluten.  But beware.  Millet contains goitrogens, a substance that suppresses the thryoid activity and can cause goiter.

Cosmos and Cotton

I'm joining up with the lovely Hannapat for her Weekly Bake.
Please click on the photo above to join in.

This concludes my experimentation with millet flour.  I will probably use again in future as I do a lot of baking over the winter months. I will be looking to use it in loaf bread too.
Thank you for following along.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Glorious Sight

Hi friends,

I'm a bit late with the post but it is still Friday where I live so I am posting my Skywatch Friday pics.

I took these about two weeks ago when I was in a different part of the city running errands. I am not usually out at dinner hour looking at the sky so I often miss the beautiful sunsets.

I hope you like these photos of the one I caught that day.

I had a busy day today dealing with my mother and her needs.  There is a flu outbreak at her residence and she and 13 other residents are quarantined. It sounds rather serious. I pray that she and the others will be better soon and that the staff will give them the very best care. In all honesty, I am not pleased with the level of care she has been receiving since she moved in there 4 months ago and I've put in a request to move her to another residence on a priority basis. We are now waiting for an available room.

After discovering mother was in quarantine and that I'd done what I could to ensure her needs were taken care, I decided to go downtown for a few errands and a distraction.  I wanted to buy some yarn, crochet thread, snack foods to send to mother, and a lot of smaller items for gifts to friends near and far.  I also thought I might get some flannel pajamas or some flannel sheets as it is now quite cold where I live.

Despite the fact that I don't really need more yarn, I continue to purchase a few skeins here and there of colours that I like and don't think I will easily come across again.  I'm actually thinking of starting to purchase skeins on line so I can have more colour options.  This way I will have what I want on hand for new projects. I want to make another African Flower Afghan once I've finished with the first one I'm making for a gift (see here if you like).  Truth be told I already have far too much yarn and other craft supplies on hand.  But it is the age old problem of never having quite what you need when you need it. I think other crafters can relate.

Tonight after I got home and had dinner there was a brief rap at my door. I looked out the peephole to discover that there was no one there but something red was sitting on the ground outside my door.

When I opened the door, there was this HUGE RED surprise there to greet me.  I joked that the poinsettia is so huge (you can't really tell from the photo) that it could take the place of my Christmas tree.

My nephew & his girlfriend left this surprise at my door but couldn't stay to visit. He called me to let me know.  I was very touched that he remembered I get poinsettias every year to brighten my home at Christmas.

I had a another happy surprise yesterday when I went to the Post Office. I won this beautiful Christmas book in a giveaway hosted by blogging friend Terra from Terra Garden.

The win was a delightful surprise as I don't tend to win things. The small Christmas book is beautifully presented and chock full of wonderful Christmas items such as recipes, heart warming stories and crafts. Terra also sent me a note card with a delicious sounding recipe on it. Thank you so much Terra for your generous heart!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Brrr, it has been quite chilly here both yesterday and today. On Monday it was overcast and raining. I think it was Monday night when it snowed on the mountain top. On Tuesday it was very windy and by the afternoon the clouds and dull sky had cleared.  I went out and joined a friend for a few hours of relaxation over coffee and a natter (chat).  Last night the temperature went as low as -2 Celsius and I had to turn the heat on for awhile in the living room.  My feet are like ice blocks this week so I also have on a pair of socks and slipper booties and from time to time I put the heating pad on my feet too.  I'm drinking cups of tea and hot chocolate to keep warm late at night.

Today it was another cold day.  I dressed warmly when I went out to buy the week's supply of vegetables and fruit.  I stopped at the Post Office where I posted a birthday card to a local friend and a Christmas card to Joshua, son of my new blogging friend, Tammy from Texas.

Tammy is my buddy for a home made ornament swap.  It turns out her son Joshua is in the Army and he is currently posted to the Middle East.  Sadly, he won't be able to join his wife or the rest of his family for Thanksgiving, Christmas or his birthday.  Being the good mother that she is, Tammy has asked people to help bring some Christmas cheer to Joshua by sending him a Christmas card.  Please read here and if you can, do send Joshua a card.

I was delighted to get a surprise at the post office.  I will write about the surprise very soon.

Today I also made 6 more crocheted hexagons for my blanket.  Yesterday and the day before I made the other 11 hexies and weaved in all the ends from the many other hexies made previously.  If I counted correctly, I only need one more hexagon to complete my blanket (I'll have to do a re-count to make sure).  I'm not excited yet. I'll be more excited when I'm finished joining all the pieces.  I'm joining in with Chrissie at Chrissie Crafts and Marianne at Ladybird Diaries

Chrissie Crafts
Since I snapped this photo I've made 6 more hexies, woven in all the ends of the others and took apart the hexies I joined together in week 1 (to get a preview of what things would look like).  The colour of the blue in the hexies at the front is off. They are a softer shade than what shows.

I made a couple of  foot appointments today. One for my mom's monthly foot care treatment.  I need to see the doctor to get some antibiotics for an infected toe and a referral to a foot nurse.  I've been going for a pedicure for years and years.  About 3 years ago I started getting infections in my big toes after getting my nails done.  I gather this is common for anyone with ingrown nails but it is a real pain, both figuratively and literally.  I found a mail person who was able to clean my nails and keep them infection free for almost two years now.  Then last week she informed me that she can no longer do ingrown nails due to health inspection rules.  When I heard that, I went back to my former nail salon (naughty me).  Two days later, I my toe was infected.  Lesson learned.  I am hoping a foot care nurse can correct the problem for good.  If not, I will likely need to get my toenails partially removed.

Yuck and sad face :-(.

I leave you now with a view from my patio today.

It was very windy yesterday and today. The good thing about the wind is it drives away the cloud cover.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My World Tuesday

In my world this week I am trying hard to juggle everything.  Mostly I find it hard to keep up to housework.  I am never caught up but I try.

I continue to work on 5-6 projects for Christmas.  Most of which will be unveiled on this blog if I remember to take pictures of the finished products.  I'm pleased with the progress I am making so far .

Two projects underway.
It is a very good thing I got an early start on these projects as they are all taking a lot of time and I need to pace myself and do other things in between. 

I've been enjoying reading the book, The Perfume Collector whenever I need a break from crafting.  Sometimes too there is a good movie on television.   I  "enjoy" vacuuming and washing the floors for a physical break every few days.  When I need to run my errands, I  manage to fit in a short walk in the neighbourhood.  Friendships and family remain important in my life just as they are for most people and these relationships all need time.

At this time of year the skies are mostly a dull gray. Now and then we see some clear skies and some sunshine.

It is late Fall in my part of the world.  Most of the brilliantly covered leaves are gone with the winds and rain.

The weather has gotten cold.  It is about 8 or 9 degrees Celsius during the day and about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius at night. On Friday night we had a rain storm to usher in the weekend. Thankfully I missed most of the storm by the time I went out to the pharmacy in the early evening.

About 6 weeks ago I took some flower photos and saved them for days such as this.  Here is one of the dahlias.

Joining up with Our World Tuesday this week. Thanks for sharing my world.

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...