Happy New Year 2021

 Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. For most of us it was much quieter and more restful than usual due to the travel restrictions during the ongoing pandemic.

I took a break from almost all social media over the Christmas holiday though I did sneak in a bit of blog reading and commenting here and there.  I'm glad I took a break because I was a bit tired from all the activities of December.

I'm actually still on break as I'm now working on a project which takes a lot out of me. I get easily distracted and I don't want distractions so I can get this thing out of the way as quickly as possible.  A lot of detail work is involved but once I'm finished, I will be able to return to blogging and visiting your blogs. But I wanted to make sure to stop by and say how much Christmas food was appreciated by the Kenyans who received it. Thank you for prayers and for the one who gave toward this cause.  It truly was a blessing. There are still other needs if you are wanting to donate. Rather than repeat them here, you can read more at the bottom of this post (click the link) if you like.

I also wanted to stop by and wish you all a very Happy New Year.  I hope that the new year will be kind and gentle and help us all recover from 2020 which took a lot out of us all.  We had to learn new ways of living, working, relating and being. Some lost loved ones.  I even know fellow bloggers and former bloggers who themselves got very sick with the dreaded Covid and thankfully are now in recovery.  Sadly some of this hardship will follow us into 2021 despite the readiness and availability of vaccines.  Even so I think people feel much more hopeful at the moment with the release and approval of several vaccines.  Please do continue to take good precautions as you go about your daily lives.  It will take time to vaccinate the world at large and to see how people react afterwards.

 

 


I'll be 'seeing' you soon. 

Love and hugs. xx





A Very Merry Christmas

Hi friends,

I hope you are all well since my last post. I've been getting things ready in my home and running errands all related to Christmas.  

Sky Watch

Before I get into the news I want to share a few sky photos.  The first photo was taken on December 14th in the late afternoon.  The next photo was taken a few days earlier on Sunday, December 12th mid-afternoon after a particularly wet weekend.

Over the next 2 weeks the forecast is for half rainy days and half sunny days.  That's better than what we usually get at this time of year.




I'm grateful for the odd days of sunshine and the glorious views but truthfully the rainy days haven't bothered me much because I'm indoors and keeping busy.

Christmas Preparations

On Sunday night I finally got out the Christmas ornaments and did the decorating.  I'm glad to have the decorating done. Now I can enjoy the twinkling lights every day as I await Christmas.

 
The small tree, the mantle and bookshelves have all been decorated. I love my little tree because it is pre-lit and doesn't require many baubles. I gave away my larger one and this is the second year I've had the small one which is a perfect size for the living space.

This is the Chinese armoire I moved to the empty wall. I've added a few sparkly lights and glittery balls though I have yet to hang the elephant head mosaic on the wall.

 
 
The plants at the top of the mantle are a new addition. They were not doing well on the floor as the space is too drafty.  They are all tropical plants and I hope they will do better at the higher level.  The poor ficus lyrata (on far right) have been having a really rough year and I'm amazed they have survived. Some of the leaves are still recovering.

I painted one wall and touched up some doors. I have more to do but this will be it until after Christmas. I wanted to move the small Asian amoire to the wall so I painted the one wall first.
 




Before I added a few glitter items to the Chinese amoire, this is what it looked like just decorated with Kenyan artifacts and a Himalayan salt lamp for a Hygge-ly glow during the winter nights.

 

 
This is the Christmas mail I picked up at the post office today (Tuesday).  I'm always happy to receive cards and letters since hardly anyone I  know sends a card these days. I too have drastically reduced the number of cards I send.


 
I'm expecting 5 more parcels to be delivered to the post office and at home.  Most deliveries have been late and I'm hoping these ones will be delivered before Christmas as two of them contain Christmas presents. I also have a box of chocolates which I ordered for a Christmas fundraiser that I need to find time to go pick up soon.
 
 
Home Projects and Activities
 
I tried to put this box of shelving together. It's missing some pieces but I tried anyway. 
 
 
I need more time to figure it out since the pictorial instructions were somewhat useless and the snaps that hold each shelf up won't stay closed. If I cannot figure it out I may have to return it but I'm hoping I can figure it out. I bought the shelves with castors so I can roll it out of the way when I'm cleaning.
 
 

On my reading list:
I completed this book by Kristen Harmel. I highly recommend it.



I am now reading, The Girl with Seven Names. It's very interesting and is about a young activist from North Korea about her early life and ultimate escape from North Korea.  I found out about her on You Tube through a Ted Talk video when she was invited to California to speak about her experiences.

This is what I've been making and eating for dinner this week.


Ginger stir fried chicken with onions and snap peas served with brown rice.



Fried bannock bread to accompany the leftover ham and bean soup.


Pork chops roasted with capsicum and onions served with penne pasta in pasta sauce

Submarine sandwich and an orange

 Fried pork chop with brown rice and stir fried Baby Bok Choy, yellow peppers and onions



Kenyan Needs

Last but not least, I want to mention the needs in Kenya which are great at any time but especially now after the great floods, the locust invasion, the Covid pandemic and the Christmas season.  Many more people than usual are without any form of work and there is little government help. 

If you are in a position to help at all please consider doing so. It would mean a world of difference. This year my help will be more modest.  In recent years I have always worked with Pastor Jonah to do something special for a needy larger group be it widows, orphans, school kids or the internally displaced people (IDPs). Most of the latter have now been given land to start life anew and though they are likely still in need we have lost touch with them or they have moved out of the general areas where we try to serve people.

The list of recipients I can try to help is shorter this year and I've itemized the basic needs below. If  you would like to contribute to any of them kindly contact me at my email or send a Pay Pal donation to kerichojoy [@] gmail.com (the address is without the square brackets of course but I have put them there so the bots and spammers don't pick up the address).  If you have difficulty leave a comment  below as to how I can reach you back. If for some reason you still have difficulty accessing, I can also send you a Pay Pal request for payment to the email of your choice and in the amount of your choice.  It would be lovely if we could make Christmas a bit brighter for these people.  

All dollars amounts are given in Canadian currency.  If you need assistance with converting these amounts to your currency let me know and I can help you.  Most of these listed needs are ongoing needs but some of them are specific to Christmas, like food and clothing.  It is customary in Kenya to have at least one meal of chicken on Christmas day and a treat to buy one new change of clothing. The clothing takes the place of a gift since the village people have very little in the way of clothing or material goods.  The dollar amount beside each item is the bare minimum and does not cover the cost of the chicken in the food amounts (food amount covers things like tea, sugar, maize flour, rice and oil). If you want to add a chicken it will be another $15-$20 Canadian). Things in Kenya are expensive but we do our best to keep wants and needs to the barest minimum.

Here are the needs of people I help through the hands and feet of Jonah and Alvin in Kenya. Some of them I help each month and some I help only when I am able to do something more.

People I have been consistently supporting each month

Eunice - in hospital - contribution of any amount for medicines (blood $55 Canadian dollars a pint; medicines for blood pressure and blood thinner - approximately $40 Canadian dollars each) + special diet ($205 per month).

Ernest - diabetes medicine $55 monthly; vitamins $30 monthly; food $55 monthly; food for Christmas week $25; new change of clothing (thrifted) $25, transport ($20)

Alvin - food for Christmas week ($25); data bundles ($25-$30); clothing/shoes ($50); transport ($20).

Jonah - food for Christmas week ($25); vitamins ($30); data bundles ($50); clothing/ shoes ($50); transport ($40)

People I help intermittently

David - married travel tour operator with 2 children and a wife. His business has been greatly affected since Covid started. Food is the main need and beyond that, education costs.

Sarah - single mother with 3 children living in one of Nairobi's slums. Food is the main need and like any parent in Kenya there are costs associated with educating the children. All kids return to school in January 2021.

Stephanie - single mother with one child under 1 year old. Food is the main need and baby things.

Carolly - single man who recently began working as a doctor. He only makes $256.00 Canadian per month at a maternity clinic in a small village.  The money must stretch to cover his food, housing, data and transport needs, and the needs of his sister and grandmother (3 households). I also help him from time to time with things like phone or transport costs). Sadly Carolly lost his grandmother yesterday.  She suffered a stroke in the spring and gradually got weaker.  She now rests with the ones who have gone before. Please pray for her children and grandchildren as they are devastated.

Update:  I have now sent Christmas food package to several people: Ernest, Alvin, Jonah and Sarah.  Since it is Christmas I added a few hungry people who were not on the list above:  Elijah (with 7 family members), Charles (6 family members) and Rose (several family members). I also intend to add David who has 3 additional family members. I gratefully received a donation from one of my blog readers. There is still time to send a donation so please don't worry about when you can send it if you are planning to send something. The people will be glad to have some help to buy food and medicines at any time.

 ~~~~~

Things are moving along here and I still have many projects to complete. I'm hoping that before and after Christmas I will have accomplished a lot more and can start the New Year with a clean slate. I am actually a bit behind but I am pleased with my progress and I think after Christmas dinner is done I will be able to accomplish a lot.

I will be taking a break from posting until after Christmas but will still access email daily. Update:  I had a lot of difficulty posting photos, centering them and even typing out this post so I apologize for any misspellings as there are more than usual. I've tried to correct them after posting.

God bless and give you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. 

~~~~

Linking to Skywatch Friday








Another Friday Has Come and Gone

 Hi friends and fellow bloggers,


I hope you are all doing well and keeping happily occupied as we move on toward Christmas.

I'm keeping busy but not feverishly so. This year I have been thankful for being made to slow down and get a lot of 'old tasks' done. I have enough to keep all my waking hours occupied.

It was raining very, very heavily earlier in the day.  When it stopped I took a few photos to share.

First up is this little beauty.




On Thursday night I made ham and bean soup with the leftover ham I roasted on Sunday or Monday. I made Métis style bannock bread to go with it. It was not the best bannock I've made but it was tasty nonetheless.  If you would be interested in making it, there is a recipe or two on line.

The box from Amazon was delivered on Tuesday and contains the shelves I have yet to put together. I haven't done it yet because I've been painting one of the walls in my entry way and touching up some of the bedroom doors and bathroom areas. I have more to do along those lines. The main priority is to get the entry way properly painted and move a small armoire from the living room to the wall area so I can rearrange the seating in the living room.

Well I better go and eat my dinner while it is fresh. Tonight I've made steamed rice, salmon and a few cut up veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes sprinkled with lemon juice.


One last look at the sky before I go.  I zoomed in on the mountains. You can see all the fresh snow.

Enjoy your Friday. 

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

A Journal of Activities

 Hi friends and fellow bloggers,


Just checking in here to see how things are going with you. Since my last post I've been busy trying to get things done. I've also been getting back into reading which is one of my favourite activities.

I finished reading, The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel.

 


It is a very touching and poignant book in so many ways. The story line involves an American woman who marries a French man and settles in Paris. Shortly thereafter the Germans occupy the city and her husband becomes involved in the resistance movement unbeknownst to her. When she finds out she wants to help too but her husband vetoes the idea. After his death she does get involved in harbouring members of the Allied forces and helps many get to safety. The rest of the story revolves around her love life and what happens to her as she is sent to concentration camp in Germany. I highly recommend the book. Now I'm reading a few others including another book by Kristen Hormel called, The Winemaker's Wife.

 


In  non-fiction books I've been enjoying a large coffee table book devoted to the late Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery collection and the stories behind the pieces. The other book I will be reading is called The New Bohemians Handbook, a book about the Bohemian style of decorating.  I will have a lot of eye candy to look at as I get ready for Christmas.

Of course this year we will not be able to get together with loved ones or invite others over for dinner. Today (Monday) the Covid 19 restrictions were extended until January and for weeks people have been encouraged to refrain from getting together with those they don't live with due to the very high Covid-19 numbers.  For me this isn't a big change because I've been doing this since last March.  The only real change is the directive to wear a mask in all common or public places.  So whenever I leave the house I must put a mask on.

Given that there isn't a need to do a lot of preparations for others this year, I have been concentrating on mailing Christmas cards both locally and abroad and finding and wrapping presents for mailing. All of that has now been done.  I just have a few presents to hand deliver to my nephew and his girlfriend. I'm waiting for one package for his present and it is supposed to be delivered in about 10 days time then we will get together in a socially distanced fashion to exchange gifts.

Before I could send my niece her Christmas parcels I had to do some sewing.  Since the sewing machine was out on the table I decided to do some much needed sewing and hemming of trousers. I've been procrastinating about it for ages but I finally completed 4 of them on Monday night.  It's so great to get this done.  I have at least 4 more to do. One of them is the red one lying on the table. I purchased it on clearance (no returns) and it is both too long and too large so it will require taking the waistband apart and redoing it all to take it in a bit. The pants is palazzo style and the material is stretchy so it requires different needles and is more finicky than I like to do. I am not a seamstress so it always takes me time to work up to the effort involved

I've also been getting a few home deliveries for things I need personally and things needed around the house.  I've been waiting a long while for some of the items and managed to get a good deal on everything. One of them is a new towel set though the hand towels haven't arrived yet. I love the blue colour. Normally I'd like blue but it is never the right shade of blue and I get tired of white or gray towels.  These towels arrived at around 5 p.m. and I washed them right away and put them out. They are very soft and larger than my usual towels.

I'm hoping to paint my bathroom soon and put up some shelving and so on. that will be for a future post whenever I get to it. On Wednesday I'm expecting a set of metal shelves on casters which I'll need to put together. I finally decided to purchase the unit after eyeing it for many months on Amazon. I'm hoping it will help me organize my kitchen a lot better and make the work flow far more efficient.

There are 4 pair of pants on the hangers.  The printed leopard is for Fall wear and the white print is palazzo summer wear, it's very nice and lightweight for those hot days.  The other two are yoga pants or athleisure wear for around the house and local errands.


It reminds me I have another purple leopard athleisure pant which I really like but it is far too big and requires significant alterations.  I think I'd like to try and make them over but they are not just straight legged design so it required more work and will have to wait until the new year.

In my effort to help the environment I never put the returnable bottles and containers in the garbage. I save them all up and take them to the recycling depot.  If I am not up to it I put them in the recycle bins or give them to the people on the streets.

I found out that one can put cans and bottles in these blue bags and return them to the recycle depot for drop off rather than wait around. The depot then deposits money into an account that you set up rather than you have to wait at the depot for them to count and give you cash.  A few weeks ago we delivered a lot of cans, juice containers and so on and I got back $20. This was after saving the containers for quite some time.

You can see the big wheelchair is still occupying space in my home. I really wish it was gone but my friends haven't fully raised the funds to purchase a new new battery and charger so the chair will be with me for awhile yet. I believe they have raised about 2/3 of the needed funds.  The woman who needs the chair, really needs the chair because she is paraplegic and has already been waiting about 8 months.  I hope they will be ready to collect it soon.

Last but not least, on Friday night I was shopping at a different grocery store than the one I usually shop at.  I ran into a friend there whom I have not seen for many months. He said he wanted to send me a gift card but since we bumped into each other he would give me cash instead.  What a nice surprise that was. I decided to buy some fresh salmon and made it for dinner on Saturday night. It was delicious.

For the remainder of this week I will continue sewing; hemming, 1 or 2 pair of pants and possibly making a few cushions inserts for the kapok filling I have.  I am hoping to sew up some muslin squares and stuff them.  These are cushion inserts only and I will have to buy or make the cushion covers later. One cannot wash kapok so if the insert covers get dirty you have to take them apart and then you get kapok fluff all over the place. For those that don't know what kapok is, it's a tree fiber that looks like cotton, feels silky to the touch and is sustainably harvested.  The other thing I want to do is wash the carpet and bring up the Christmas ornaments from storage. If time permits I hope to put together the metal shelving and organize it.

We are back to very heavy rain so I won't be going anywhere. Besides I must stay home to receive the items to be delivered.  I was able to capture these scenes on December 4th while it was still dry. These were taken around 7:20 in the morning and there was a pretty pink in the sky.









I may not be posting on line in the next week or two but as always I hope to visit some blogs.

Thank you for stopping by.  Enjoy whatever you are doing this season and keep safe.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.


 


Welcome to December

This beautiful scene greeted me Monday. 

There will be more scenes like this for another week or so as I've read that we will have dry, relatively warm, sunny weather until about mid-December. Thereafter it should get a lot colder due to the effects of  La Niña, the colder counterpart to El Niño.

Welcome to December!

 


I started reading a new book. It's digital and from the library but for some reason it won't download for offline access. It means I have to read it on my browser. It's an easy read of the romance genre. One of those books that you don't have to think about while you read.  

 

I wanted to read that kind of book right now since I'm  busy with lots and lots of  'to dos', sending Christmas mail, household tasks, and looking for deals on things I need for the house.


Some sewing was involved in preparing one of the packages so I was a bit late it getting it prepared. Now that I've dusted and cleaned the grime from the sewing machine, I really should try to sew up a few other items before I decorate for Christmas.

I finally folded and boxed the too large patio cover back up. It fit into the box much easier than I was anticipating though not as good as when I bought the item new.  That's usually the case so it will have to do. By tomorrow I hope to have it returned and refunded. I'll try again and this time order on line though it may take a while as all packages are slow to be delivered right now. Canada Post is dealing with a record 2 million items delivered daily. This far surpasses their usual 1 million items delivered during Christmas. The postal business has been booming during Covid 19.


Right now I'm cooking up some cabbage, onion, potato and ground beef soup in a tomato broth. I was going to skip the ground beef but this will be our dinner so I decided to add it for more satiety.  There will be plenty left over for Friday although I have plans to make fish and chips for dinner.

 

Late at night, when I cannot sleep, I get out the app and colour. It's so addictive and I love the pretty colours.



I hope you all have a pleasant and safe weekend. Thank you for stopping by.


Joining up with Skywatch Friday.

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