Friday, September 30, 2022

Friday's Fave Five #701

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Here it is the end of September already.  The time is going so quickly this year.  I love fall and as I look back I see there are many things that have been a blessing in my life this last week.  Won't you join me in sharing some of the blessings from your past week?

~ fall decor ~ the past couple of years I haven't been too much into changing out decor except for at Christmas and even that was scaled back a lot from previous years.  Life has just been too busy and  overwhelming to worry about decor.  But when we went to visit my oldest last month and hit up our favorite store I admired these gorgeous pillows, hummed and hawed about getting one and eventually left them on the shelf.  But my sweet hubby convinced me to get not just one but both of the ones I was loving and I'm so glad he did.  I can handle switching out the pillows on the couches and lighting a fall candle.  I love everything about these pillows:  the color, the textures and the print.  

~ first ever batch of refridgerator pickles ~ my friend had gifted me with with some homegrown cucumbers a few weeks ago.  I saved some of the smaller ones to try my hand at fridge pickles.  I remember Hubby's Mom used to make them and liking them.  I tried to follow a recipe I had found but didn't have coriander or mustard seed, so I mish-mashed a few recipes together and they turned out great.  It was fun, quick and easy and it won't be the last time I make these.

~ still blooming ~ here it is the day before October and my deck flower pots are still looking gorgeous.  They bring a smile to me every time I look at them and water them and marvel at how resilient to cooler weather they have been.  

~ relaxing Sunday afternoon ~ we were invited to lunch on Sunday to one of my dayhome family's home.  They live on a acreage just outside of town and we spent a lovely relaxing afternoon.  The day was absolutely gorgeous, they cooked us a lovely steak bbq and then after we took a walk around the lovely property and met some of shetland ponies, donkeys, and a horse.  Lovely way to end a weekend.

~ extra day off today ~ today is a federal holiday, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, but not everyone gets it off.  The current government established the day last year to honor and remember the First Nations children that died and the survivors of a tragedy of Canadian history, the residential schools, where so many First Nations families were separated, some never to see each other again, the children who died while in the care of these schools and to recognize the ongoing impact this has had on their peoples and communities.   I only have one child at the moment in dayhome and his parents got it off so they gave me the day off too.   I may watch the commemorative gathering being broadcast from Ottawa on tv or go to one of the local activities.

What have been your favorite blessings this past week that you are grateful and thankful for?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

One Word Wednesday


One picture.  One word. Join in!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Pact by Jodi Picoult ~ Book Review

I finally got the goal of reading a Jodi Picoult book off my reading goal's list.  And I'm so late putting up a review because it's been a hard review to write.  While some of the story was heartbreakingly good some of it was so unnecessary.  I pushed through to the end because the premise was good and I wanted to find out what really happened that tragic night but the execution was not my cup of tea and because I had waited so long to read this author I wanted to give it a fair shot.  

The story revolves around 2 families, the Golds and the Hartes who are the best of friends.  They have been neighbors for 18 years and spend a lot of enjoyable time together.  When one family has a son and the other a daughter those two children also grow up the best of friends.  But as they grow older there is always an undertone and hope with the parents, their friends and even themselves that it will become something more and as they go into high school it does just that.  But it ends tragically one night when  Emily, who showed no signs of being unhappy, commits suicide with a gun taken from Chris' father's cabinet.  When Chris gets arrested for it, he reveals that  the couple had a suicide pact that went wrong.  But the detective in charge doubts Chris' story and soon charges him with murder.  Denied bail, Chris is sent to prison to await his trial.  As disbelief, shock and anger sets in it drives a wedge into strong friendship between the families as the Emily's mother becomes hard and angry with grief and Chris' mother stands by her son's innocence no matter what.

With all the anticipation I had for finally getting to this author I felt disappointed in the end. The story starts right off the bat with the shocking suicide and then winds its way into the the two family's history together and what led to that point with the teens even as it starts to move forward with the arrest and with Chris in prison preparing for his trial.  While the story in and of itself was a great premise and delved into so much concerning teen suicide and the pressures they face and the confusion and great grief surrounding the families left behind that totally held my interest along with the courtroom drama,  it took a huge downturn for me because of all the s*x involved throughout the story.  The descriptions of intimate acts between the two teens, the parents and even the lawyer were just over the top for me and totally took from the story.  Really can an author not give me the idea without the detail?  Can the feelings, emotions and thoughts of the teens about the intimacy they were involved in not be told to me with describing the act?  Was it really necessary to the story to describe the parent's intimate scenes to me?    And the whole character of the womanizing lawyer who brought women home to spend the night with his 13 year old son in the house knowing what was going on and their discussions about it was just too much and had me saying "Really?".  I spent so much time being angry at this man's bad parenting.  Again, was it really necessary to the story to give me details of the lawyer's time in the bedroom with his women?  Can you not just give me the idea that he is a womanizer for character development without going into the bedroom detail?    To me if felt like the author felt sex scenes were necessary to sell the book so inserted them periodically.  In the end the story was so heavy for me with everything going on with not much to give some breathing space.  Now that I have finally read a book by this author and though she is very popular and deals with some major issues society faces today in her stories, I don't know if she is an author that suits my reading tastes.  What do you guys think?  Should I read another to give her a fair shot?  

Unfortunately I gave it a 4/10 (1 out of 5 on goodreads because of how their rating system is described)

Reading Challenge Goal Met:  July's Read Your Shelf Challenge Prompt: A book you've been avoiding but actually want to read

Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday's Fave Five #700

Did I just really type the number 700?  How could that be?  700 posts of looking for blessings in my life.  700 weeks of being grateful and thankful out loud to God for every one of them over the years here in this little space of the internet that I occupy!  I am having trouble finding the words.  I am so humbled that I have been able to be on this journey of encouraging you all to look for blessings in the good days and the bad, to look for the big exciting ones and also the smaller almost hidden ones in our everyday lives, of encouraging you to be grateful in your hearts and open and loud in your thanking God, the One who gives all good things.  And all you who join in...  You are a huge blessing in my life.  Your FFF posts have been encouraging and insightful and have shown me all the wonderful ways a person may be blessed, things I hadn't even thought of.  Thank you for being here with me in all of this!

And we won't let this week go by without continuing on!

~ neighborly play time ~  for this month I've only got one little friend in my childcare.  And that can be really hard.  But my wonderful neighbor who also has a childcare has been joining us at the playground with her group or else inviting us over to play with them in the yard.  It's so nice, little friend gets kids to play with and I get some adult company.  I'm really grateful for her kindness in having us over.

~ late start days ~ with only the one little friend here this month about 3 days of the week he comes a bit later in the morning.  So I get a few days of grabbing an extra hour of sleep.  And when you are not an early morning person as I am that is a huge blessing!  I don't have to hit the floor running but can take my time waking up which makes for a way better start to my day.

~ ice cream flavor of the month ~  It's been fun the past while trying the monthly changing flavors at local handmade ice cream shop.  They have their standard flavors always available but every month they have 2 flavors only available that month.  For September the one I chose to try was a potato chip and chocolate creation.  Sounds different but it was delicious.  

~ good physiotherapy session ~ I've been seeing a physio for a few months because of an issue with my left tricep.  This last appt was encouraging as I had a bit of a setback at the session last month but we stepped things back a bit and now I'm back on track.  I was allowed 6 sessions but he has given me an extra one because of the setback.  So thankful for his kindness.

~ no covid ~  I was a direct contact with a person who came down with covid last week and thankfully I remained negative and had not one symptom.  Very thankful for that.

What were the blessings in your life this week?

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

One Word Wednesday


Butternut Squash and Black Bean Stew

Well it is officially fall and that means the start of all lovely things fall like autumn colors, comfy sweaters, and the move from cool light summer salad-y fare to warm and cozy soups and stews.  I found this recipe when it came through my facebook feed and it originated from here. (This website has some awesome looking plant based recipes to check out!) I tucked it away in anticipation of the cooler weather coming and on a cooler, windy night last week it made it to the dinner table.  I gave it a few tweaks and adapted it to what I had available to me.  I cannot find canned fire-roasted tomatoes in my area for the life of me but I made do and I think it turned out wonderful.  I also used frozen squash for convenience and less prep time but by all means you can use a fresh butternut squash cut into small chunks and then just add in with the tomatoes as per the original recipe..  Definitely a keeper.  And it also scores points for being vegan/vegetarian if you choose the vegetable broth.  And as I'm hoping to get back to at least a couple of meatless dinners a month this recipe will be going into that rotation.   I don't know about your area but beef is at a ridiculous cost right now which boggles my mind as beef is one of main industries of my province!   

(recipe adapted from Plant Based RD)

- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
-1 rib of celery, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked bittersweet Spanish paprika (or any smoked paprika)
- 1 Tbsp dry basil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (or 15 oz can)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups frozen diced butternut squash
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- brown rice (use your favorite brand, enough to serve 4)

Prepare brown rice according to directions.

While rice is cooking, heat oil in a heavy bottomed or soup pot over medium heat.  When hot but not burning add in onion and celery and a pinch of salt.  Cook stirring occasionally until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.  

Add in cumin, coriander, paprika, smoked paprika, basil, cinnamon and salt, stirring constant for about 30 seconds.  

Add black beans, canned tomatoes, and red lentils.  Stir and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 25 minutes.  Add frozen butternut squash and continue to simmer for  4 more minutes.  Do not cook longer at this point or the squash will disintegrate.  

Serve beside or over the rice garnished with the chopped cilantro if desired.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday's Fave Five #699

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five everyone!  Let's look back over our week and purposefully look for all those good things that God has sent our way.  Blessings don't always come as big thunderclap obvious things, though they can!  More than likely they sneak into our everyday lives very quietly and if we don't stop to contemplate them, they might just escape our notice.  At Friday's Fave Five we strive to have noticing our blessings become the normal, in good times and bad..  And then we always pause to be grateful and thankful to God who has sent them our way.  

~ fresh new candle ~ September is apple season around here and what's better than a lovely new apple spice scented candle to introduce fall.  I know technically fall is not until Sept 21 but in my mind fall starts the day I turn the calendar to September.  This scent is a nice transition to start off the season with it not being too terribly strong!  

~ gift of home grown produce ~ I love home grown veggies but do not like the work of growing a garden.  Long story short it's work for me not relaxing like it was for my dear Mom.  But this week my friend gifted me some delicious home grown carrots and cucumbers.  So delicious!  I'm going to try my hand at fridge pickles this week with the smaller cukes.

~ phone call dr. appointment ~ one good thing that came from the covid lockdowns and has stayed, at least in my city, has been phone call dr. appointments.   I had to talk to my mom's doctor about some of her meds and I just made a phone call appointment.  Instead of having to take time off, book her a ride, meet her there and sit at a clinic, the doc just phoned me at the appointed time.  We discussed what was going on, made some care decisions and done, without ever leaving my house.  Took ten minutes instead of the hour or  hour and half it would have been otherwise.

~ snail mail card ~ my blogging friend, Faith, sent me a sweet snail mail card.  It has some of my favorite things on the cover that made me smile:  a bike with flowers and birds.  It was such a blessing to receive a note from a friend in the mailbox instead of the usual bills and advertising.

~ new warm slippers for fall and winter ~ while shopping at Marshalls for my Mom I came across a lovely soft, fuzzy pair of slippers for a great price.  Seeing as my stinker of a pup chewed up my last pair they came home with me.  I actually love a new pair of slippers.

What were some of the blessings that have been given to you this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Blogger Woes today!

Hey everyone!  Just want to put up here that there seems to be a problem with Blogger and the save button when editing the sidebar.  In other words, Blogger is not saving changes!  And not only is it not saving changes but it is dumping whole lines underneath my new additions every time I try and hit the save button.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't edit your sidebar today until they get it fixed!  Apparently posting is saving fine.  

Or is it just me that get's to experience the privilege of this unwanted random purge of my sidebar?