Monday, October 3, 2011

i'm moving...

Well, not physically, anyhow. I've decided to try a new blogging host so I'm off to wordpress. You can catch all my newest updates here. See you there!

Monday, September 5, 2011

before the summer ends...

Wow...the last few months feel like they never happened. Not that nothing happened. I had my fair share of adventures, but's September already. I feel cheated. There ought to be at least two more months of summer. Instead, yesterday I mowed my lawn for what will probably be the last time this year. My potato plants are dying. I'm wearing coats. I even considered turning my furnace back on. And worst of all, no more greenery--it will soon be replaced with the slow steady onslaught of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.


There was a point in my life where the advent of fall/winter was met with complete and utter joy. But that particular point in my life was also the intersection of school holidays and parental financial aid, which helped immensely with my pursuit of various winter activities. Such as skiing. Snowmobiling. Sledding. Things that I rarely have time for or cannot afford. Stupid adulthood. Why have you cheated me of such happiness? Now I have to think about paying for heating my house, driving on ice-covered highways with people who should never have been given a driver's license in the first place, and making it to work on time after a snowfall of three feet lands on my driveway.

But not yet. I still have a few more weeks. Maybe even a month. Perhaps more. I know the snow is coming - it always does. But when...that's the question. And I will be ready for it. I always am. I complain about it more than I used to, I know. I even pretend that I hate it. Hate the cold, hate the snow, hate all the extra little inconveniences that the season throws at me. But I deceive myself. Every fall, every winter brings with it remembrances of seasons past, memories of the beauty that came before, of the beauty that is leaving, and the beauty that is to come. For it really is something to behold. The fall colours, with all their bright glory, like palm branches of honor, heralding in the winter months. The winter snow, with its cleansing power, its months of jubilee, its promise of a resurrection.

And spring will come. And then summer again. As they always do. The same yesterday, today, and forever.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


"Will There Be Zombies?" is an interesting article about the coming collapse of the modern world. A few quotes to get you going:

"...self-interest is never something known in advance, but rather something discovered by experience. Who among us has not had the experience of getting exactly what we wanted only to find that it wasn’t what we wanted at all? And who has not feared the worst, only to find that it was all for the best? No, self-interest is revealed to us, not known in advance."

"...we have all been turned into zombies; we are in proximity, but not in community. Like the zombies, we pursue the same goal, our supposed “self-interest,” but we pursue it mindlessly and without cooperation with each other, or at least, not outside of the forced and formal cooperation of the workplace. The zombies gain their power not from cooperation, but from having their goals limited to one thing, which they pursue relentlessly and without regard for others. But when the government and the corporations can no longer provide these workplaces, when we have to solve our problems in absence of these institutions, then self-interest, as understood by the modern world, will no longer serve. You might say that self-interest is no longer in our best interests, if it ever was."

"Men for the last 200 years or more have filled themselves with empty ideologies; the zombies alone are truly empty and waiting to be filled with truth."

"...we must admit to ourselves, that we are all zombies, to some degree we are influenced by the technologies of persuasion and “need-creation.” We are all people who feel a need to work to buy what we don’t need, and then to discover new needs, which we must work even harder to fill. The modernist project ends with post-modernism, and with the true zombie, that is, with the creation of emptiness."

"We need to be looking around our neighborhoods and areas for resources to solve all the problems when the professional problem-solvers no longer can. If we look closely, we are likely to find more than we suspect. But mostly, we need to be looking at our neighborhoods to find our neighbors; all too often our neighborhoods are not at all neighborly, but rather anonymous and temporary housing, not real places but only real estate. By finding real neighbors, we will find real solutions. And here I make the assertion that to find anything real is to find something genuinely Christian. And only in a real Christianity will we build a real world."

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This is simply a must see documentary. It's only up until September, but check it out while you can. More info can be found on the official website.

But this.

Official Divided the Movie (HD Version) from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Monday, July 25, 2011

taste of fall (in the summer)

Two of my favorite things combined into one: cupcakes and chai. I'm not much of a baker (honestly, I prefer cooking, making entire meals instead of a carb-laden treat) but cupcakes are my exception to the rule. I simply adore this little bundles of deliciousness. And when combined with one of the greatest flavor combinations EVER (thank you, India), you literally have a recipe for one of the best desserts I have tasted.

I found the original recipe online, as I do for most of my culinary experiments. My first batch was good, but the cupcake itself was extremely dense and started drying out within a day or so. Not my ideal cupcake. I like the more buoyant kind, the lighter-than-air, melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture. So today, I looked for a recipe that was supposedly more like that. So here's my combination: an altered vanilla cupcake recipe with the extra spices (although I halved the ingredients...don't need that many cupcakes) and the original frosting recipe (white chocolate? cream cheese? cardamom? together? oh my goodness...) and boy, did it work! Om nom nom....

3-1/2 cups AP flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger

1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cloves (I've used nutmeg instead, since I rarely have ground cloves)
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, unsalted
2 cups sugar

6 eggs
3 tbsp canola oil
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, sift to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light. Add eggs, one at a time. (Don’t worry if the batter looks curdled.) Add oil and buttermilk. Slowly add flour mixture in 3 additions and mix until just combined. Try not to overmix!

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

And then you frost it with this amazingness:

White Chocolate Cardamom Frosting

From “Enlightened Cakes’’ by Camilla V. Saulsbury, Cumberland House 2008.

(makes 1 ¾ cup, enough to frost 18 cupcakes)

4 ounces (1/2 of an 8-ounce package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, room temperature]

3 tablespoons fat-free milk

3 (1-ounce) squares white chocolate, melted

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla1 ¼ teaspoons ground cardamom

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and milk with an electric mixer at medium speed until just blended and smooth. Beat in melted white chocolate until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla and cardamom, until blended.

Oh my. Heaven in a paper wrapper.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

33 km off the highway...

Our mission: to go on a roomie camping trip. Success? Eh....almost. We got there in one piece. It was a beautiful campsite: big clear lake, huge green trees, quiet neighbours...really, it had all the makings of a wonderful bonding/tanning/swimming experience.

See? Ain't that a purty sight!

And we even took full advantage of the nearby playground. Or at least, Linda and Joanne did.

But then (horror of horrors!) the campsite threw us lemons. And I mean buckets of them. It rained all night, which was about the worst thing that could happen to people in tents. Slightly leaky tents. And tents that were at a slightly lower elevation than the rest of the campground. At any rate, we woke up pretty much floating and unable to make a fire (which, as you might know, is the whole point of cook over the open flame).
But despite our dampened spirits (har har), we made the best lemonade we could. We set up a makeshift awning with a tarp, some rope, and some strategically arranged trees (which was entirely God's doing). Some friends had lent us a small propane camp stove so we were able to make coffee, eggs and bacon. And then we pretty much gave up. I wouldn't say that we're quitters, but really...there was no sign of the rain letting up and I know I wasn't about to try and sleep in soaking wet blankets. Despite the setbacks, we did have a great time...hopefully the next time we venture out, we'll borrow a holiday trailer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

even more birthdays

My mom decided that this year might be a nice one to throw a joint birthday party for my grandma and my aunt Ester (who actually isn't my aunt...she's my mom's cousin, but really, it's easier to refer to her as Auntie). So she prepared a bunch of food, invited all the relatives, managed to keep it as a surprise for Grandma, and ta-da! We had a party! It was actually a lot of fun. I probably have bought into the whole "beware of the family reunion" idea to a certain extent, so I came with a slight bit of trepidation, but overall, it went over extremely well. The food was delicious, the company was fun, the kids were adorable. The only downside was that some people were unable to attend. But never fear -- the afternoon was such a big hit that the relatives want to go for Round who knows? Maybe there's another party in my future... :)

The birthday girl herself (also known as "The one who was actually surprised by this event").

Her sister (mother of the other birthday girl).

The other birthday girl (also known as "The one who hides behind trees all sneaky-like").

Cousin Alex with nephews Logan and Malachi.

Destiny...always a big smile!

The kids ran around our very wet yard and found lots of little mushrooms. Needless to say, the mushrooms provided a lot of amusement.

Cleo, just posing.

Dear ol' Uncle Greg, manning the burger station.

Kailyn showing off her hula-hooping skills.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

happy birthday, michelle!

Hope it was fun, ol' buddy ol' pal! Except for the movie choice. As a future warning, do NOT under any circumstances watch "Beastly." Worst. Movie. Ever. The only redeemable part about it was Neil Patrick Harris and even his role was completely unnecessary.

Monday, July 4, 2011

food, volleyball, and a 50mm lens

The Fourth of July was a holiday for me...for no other reason than I always have Mondays off...hehehe. But it was extra special since I have lunch with friends and then played several rousing games of volleyball. I haven't played for years, it feels like, so I was a little rusty...and also quite competitive. And there is truly nothing worse than a competitive and rusty volleyball player... And I had more opportunities to try out the ol' (scratch that....the NEW) 50 mm lens. Whee!

And because I'm lazy and don't feel like fighting with Blogger, these photos are kind of in reverse order. Oh well. There really isn't much of a story line with them, so you're not missing out on anything :).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

what a day to be canadian

Linda and I went to the parade yesterday. Overall, I'd give it 2.5 maple leaves out of other words, not that interesting. I can only remain mildly amused by people waving to us in trucks for only so long. Then it gets boring. And slightly insulting. I mean, really...did I come all this way to be pelted by candy, thrown by teenagers wearing facepaint and colourful clown wigs? NO.

Although, to be fair, "all this way" isn't really that far. Less than five minutes by car. And this is the Grande Prairie Canada Day parade, not Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so I guess I can live with trailers covered in balloons and featuring old people in lawn chairs, waving to us like people who have been waving at people for hours. Which they probably had.

But on the bright side (quite literally), I got to try out my new 50mm lens. Being a fixed lens, I must employ a more natural "zoom" if I want to get closeups, but that's okay.

Happy Dominion Day, ya'll.