Our family took in the sights of Alberta this summer. I lived here for awhile as a kid and coming back was amazing. The closest place to Heaven that I've ever seen is at Moraine Lake near Lake Louise. It is the most breathtaking view I've ever seen.
Yes that really is the color of the water. No retouching. Lake Louise is beautiful too, but nothing can hold a candle to Morain Lake. Here is Louise:
Lovely and iconic, but the water at Morain!
We also saw the dinosaurs at Drum Heller, always fun:
An amazing trip, and I know I'll be saving up to stay at the ridiculously expensive cabins at Morain lake next time. It's worth it.
Thinking today of how beautiful Paris was when we went a few years ago for our 20th anniversary. We had a wonderful time, has a few of our expectations exceeded and a few that were not quite met. all in all a beautiful trip.
We did eat a lot of pastries when we were there as it seems to be the main food group/ No one it seems eats at a regular restaurant unless you are a tourist. Most grab what they want and go sit at a park.
And this is what you take:
From Paul's Patisserie (like Timmies but better)
Thick crusty bread slathered with creamy butter, giant slices of Brie and a bit of lettuce. Heaven
Finish with a giant macaron (chocolate peanut butter for me) and grab a 3 dollar bottle of wine. I'll never forget how nice that was. Being there with my wonderful husband was the best trip we ever took.
So, I'm really crushing on velvet sofas right now. Are they practical? Do they stand up to regular use or are they more of a formal room piece? Do you have one?
I know they were in way back in the 70's in garish orange and yellow combinations with wood arms. My Mom had a set that I can remember so well.
I swear this was our couch!
So no this is not what I'm talking about. I'm thinking glam, soft, modern.. something like this:
or maybe this:
I love the soft colors, the luxurious feel of these sofas. Where do you stand on velvet?
This fall we took our son back to school at the University of Toronto. He decided to apply to stay at one of the campuses and ended up at St Mike's College, a Catholic College dormitory. While I'd seen parts of the UofT I had never seen these beautiful spaces except a fleeting glace as we drove past. this year I got to wander the Catholic campus and see it in all it's beauty.
They even have gargoyles!
My son's room is to the right , the window just beside the arch.
Now if that is not a cool campus, I don't know what is. As close to Hogwart's as Ontario can offer.
We also attended the season opener of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which they graciously won for us. they gave out scarves and bracelets that lit up to the music.
I don't know if anyone else out there has become enamored of the frothy goodness that is Bubble Tea, but I've become very inventive in my ways of finding/making it.
Here is a shot of my very first try:
It was a coconut flavored green tea over ice, and at the bottom are these little bubbles of joy. They are technically called BOBA, and are just rather large tapioca pearls. I remember as a kid my Dad would make tapioca and I thought it was fish eggs. Wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Now I am willing to travel great distances to find these little buggers.
I happen to live in the far North. Just kidding, but it feels like that in the winter. Really we live 2 hours north of Toronto, in a decidedly un-ethnic small town. There is never going to be a time that these are readily available to me. I can travel 40 minutes away to Barrie and get a drink at a tea place with Boba, but they won't sell me the little pearls themselves. I've tried buying online, but the shipping kills you! The best place I've found to buy these little gems is at The Lucky Moose Grocery store in Toronto. Fortunately my son is in University and lives quite near, but I still don't always manage to make it there.
I am going this weekend and can't decide if I'm happier to see my son or the grocery store.Just kidding.
There are many different recipes out there, but I'll share my own lazy girl version. The tea tastes lovely on it's own if you really can't find Boba.
To make the tea.
I get a large mason jar and fill it with boiling water over 4 or 5 tea bags. Just regular tea will do. We want it strong so let it sit.
Now you can remove the bags and once cool pop into the fridge ready for tomorrow. Then the sugar syrup. It's important to make this so that you don't get lumpy bits of sugar in the drink. This makes enough to sweeten tons of teas!
in a small saucepan put 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. Add 1 cup water and stirring bring to a boil. Once it boils turn off the heat and set aside.
Cool and put in a sealed container in the fridge.
The next day, and many days after, trust me, you will want to assemble your drink. I buy only the quick 5 minute tapioca Boba. This is important unless you like standing at a stove for an hour with variable results. I've done the hard detective work for you. Buy the quick stuff!
So you take about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the boba and drop it into a pot of boiling water. You stir and let it burble for a couple of minutes. Then when it looks like cocoa puffs you remove from heat and drain. Rinse and put into a large cup with a couple of teaspoons of the sugar liquid. This is so it doesn't dry out and stick together. Fill the cup 1/3 with the cool tea, and 1/3 cup ice cubes, and 1/3 milk or coconut milk or even a milk cream combo. add 2 drops of imitation coconut flavor and you have the most lovely drink on earth!
You will need some super large straws liberated from the local convenience store slurpee machine so that you can get the Boba up to the top.
You will thank me!
If you are lucky enough to live in a cosmopolitan town go get addicted at a tea shop. Expensive habit though!
Years ago I fell in love with a Highland Policeman and his town of Lochdubh. Constable Hamish Macbeth is the sole policeman of a wee town in the Scottish Highlands and he likes it that way. With a mind like his he should have been promoted out of the area to a big city ages ago, but he's having none of it. With his best pal T.V. John Mackeever he keeps the promotions at bay, by letting aspiring detectives take all the credit for his cleverness.
T.V. John is his police helper, a jack of all trades and with a touch of the sight added in. It is said that until he smells hair pomade he knows his death is far away.
The town is full of characters:
Laclan McCrae and Lachie Junior
a father/son duo hilarious in their ineptitude.Any money scheme has this duo behind it.
Agnes and Barney
They run the Stag bar and are the center of all goings on.
Rory and Esme
A late in life fiery romance between the grocer and the schoolmistress. Always a witty comment from Rory.
Alex, Hamish's first romance on the show, a headstrong rich girl playing with the local bobby's heart.
Isobel, the unrequited love of Hamish. A fiesty newswoman, not afraid to speak her mind.
Wee Jock, Hamish's constant companion.
What a cast and what writers! I hope you give the show a try, and watch twice if you miss something in their Scottish Brogue. Here's the link:
As much as our family loves our house, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we use so very little of it. My son is now in University and my daughter in high school. That leaves 3 of us in a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house. I have a dining room I use about 4 times a year, and an entire back living room that I only use the corner for a computer area. At some point I know we will be relocating, as much as it makes me want to cry.
We will be trying to look for a waterfront property, since this is something all of us love, and a smaller yard would be nice. I'd like to find something that we could pay cash for, to get out from under the burden of a mortgage.
I've found some exteriors of small homes that I find charming. As long as the outside is great you can change the floor plan to suit just about anyone.
This is not set up as a home, but I love the clean lines and open, airy feel.
This reminds me of a New Orleans shotgun style house
This is a side view of the house, but I love the big open doors.