Long winter…

 

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It has been a very long winter for me.  I have been sick on and off for the entire winter with hospital visits for help with breathing, dying tooth, chest infection and the last blow was being diagnosed with diabetes…

Now that things are steadying out I am feeling much more like sitting at a computer and writing.. so I apologize for not being very active the last while.

Busy, busy….

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Have been so busy with making candies for Christmas have neglected the blog lately…  We have been having a lot of snow for our area of the world so things have been pretty dangerous on the roads for the commuters.  Very glad I am retired and can decide whether or not to go out and lately it has been NOT!!  🙂

I hope everyone is safe out there and your Christmas is peaceful and enjoyable.  Will try to get some snow pictures from around my area and get them posted.

Baby it’s cold outside…

Yowsers!  Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are experiencing a frigid blast of cold weather and snow that hasn’t happened in years.  We are not used to weather like this and most people do not know how to drive in the snow or ice.  It is beautiful to look at, great to take pictures of, but horrendous to have to go out in.  Thankfully I am retired now and do not have to go out for anything.  I have the privilege of being able to stay inside until this passes.  For those who do have to brave the elements, be safe.  Dress warm and in layers, make sure your car is equipped with snow tires and if you don’t have to drive anywhere, take transit!!

Stained glass candies

My daughter Gwenn and I making our 4th batch (cinnamon) of candies

It took us about 3 hours to do 4 batches.

   3 and 3/4 cups white sugar
   1 and a 1/2 cups Lily white syrup (or Karo, must be colorless)
   1 cup  Water
   Food coloring
   1 to 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons oil based flavorings (such as Wiltons)
   candy thermometer
   Tin foil
   Icing sugar, approximately 10 cups, can be reused
   Sharp pair of scissors
   Volunteers to help cut
  
   Mix the white sugar, white syrup, and water in a medium sized pot.
   Add the food coloring you want (green for spearmint, orange for
   orange) Bring to a boil, and boil until candy thermometer reaches 300
   F degrees. (Can take up to 20 minutes)   Stir to mix all the
   ingredients, but once it starts to boil, do not touch.  Pot must be
   big enough to allow for double, as it rises as it boils
   
   While the candy mixture is boiling, shape a large piece of tin foil by
   folding up the sides and ends.  (I use the large foil about 3 feet
   long) to create a large cookie sheet type shape.  Put the icing sugar
   on the foil to completely cover it, and bank up the sides with icing
   sugar.
   
   When the candy mixture has reached 300F, remove from heat.  Let sit
   about 10 seconds and stir to cool slightly (heavy emphasis on
   SLIGHTLY) Then add about 1 to 1-1/2 tsp of the oil based flavorings
   depending on how strong you want the flavor.  Stir until mixed (may
   boil a bit and DON'T stand over top of pot as flavor with escape in
   the air and up your nose!! 8-} ) Once flavoring is combined, pour
   mixture onto the icing sugar and use rubber spatula to scrape all
   mixture out of pot.  Put pot, spatula and candy thermometer into
   sinkful of hot soapy water.  If you allow it to harden you won't be
   saying nice things about me at all!! 8-} As candy is cooling, keep
   checking by trying to pull up the edges.  Once it gets to the
   consistency that you can lift it a little, start cutting it FAST! I
   cut off a chunk and then cut it up into bite-sized pieces. The
   outside will cool first so you have to watch it.  If it hardens to
   quickly you will end up with a good size lollipop that you won't be
   able to cut. It will shatter like glass. Continue working your way
   around until all is cut. Then I take all the candy and put it in a
   strainer that is sitting over a bowl. Shake some of the excess icing
   sugar off candy and allow to cool thoroughly. Pack in airtight
   containers. I find Zip-Loc Freezer bags pretty good. This recipe
   makes about 2 lbs candy. Once I have done all the flavors that I
   want, then I set up all the bags and put about 10 of each flavor into
   a smaller Zip-loc and seal.  They make great Christmas gifts for
   family and all the various people you give to....mailman, garbage
   man, paperboy, school teachers, your kids friends..etc.  
   
   Origin:  From a lady in the Royal Purple in the mid 1980's
  
   As you can see, when you pour them out onto the icing sugar, it is 
   easier if you pour them into strips.  They cool a bit faster and 
   are easier to cut into pieces as they cool.

Pre Holiday blahs

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I am having a tough time this year getting into the holiday spirit.  I see the Christmas lights on all the houses and all the displays in the stores but somehow still can’t get into it this year.  Perhaps it is because I am so poor this year, more so than I have ever been before, but it is tough to get excited about a season that has so much expectation tied to it.

For a lot of people having to spend time with family is not what they want to do and when you combine families, with their quirks, higher than normal expectations to give, give, give, it can often be a recipe for disaster.

Perhaps it is time we stop buying into what the retailers want…they want profits.  We want to find that perfect gift that will get the oohs an aaahs from the person receiving it but is it really possible and does the high from giving the gift last long?

This year, I am making home made gifts to give…and not many of them.  I have whittled down my list drastically.  There is no need for it.  I stay in contact with who I want to over the year through social media, so a Christmas newsletter is no longer necessary and the price of sending them through the mail has become out of sight between the cost of the cards and the price of the stamps.

Just because you ‘used to’ or it is a ‘tradition,’ does not mean you have to run yourself ragged over the holiday season.  By the time the dust has settled, have you over spent, over cooked and over worked yourself into a January slump dreading the second week arrival of the credit card bills?

Just because you have ‘always’ done it does not mean you have to continue to do so.  Think outside the box.  Find ways to whittle down the costs.  By the time the season ends, you won’t regret having spent less money. 🙂

Giving Thanks

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Life’s journey may seem difficult at times, but never give up.

The picture I chose for today seems to represent life.  It may seem all uphill at times, but the stairs are just a short exertion to get up over that hump.  Who knows what may lie on the other side.  You will never know if you don’t continue the journey.

Living so close to the States, their influence is felt quite strongly here in Canada.  Things that happen in the States are of interest to a lot of Canadians.  I live within half an hour of the border and go to the States a lot.  I take advantage of their lower prices for gas and groceries.

I have been watching the Presidential election process with interest this time as this election seemed to be more vicious and mean than any that I have seen before.  Now the dust has settled and the president elect has been voted in I am watching with interest and a little fear as to what changes might actually occur.

In any event, time does roll by.  Thanksgiving for Canadian has come and gone as it is a celebration of our harvests…  For the States, Thanksgiving is this coming weekend.

I sincerely hope that this Thanksgiving all my friends and family who live in the States can celebrate with their friends and family and give thanks for the many blessings they do have in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope among the debris

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No matter how chaotic or messed up your life has become, there is always hope.

Sometimes I forget to breath and realize there is more to my life than the latest crisis to deal with.  The last 6 years for me has been a terrible journey with so many losses and betrayals that sometimes I forget that there are good people out there and that i will make it through this.  When I look at this picture I took I realize that no matter what kind of a mess you find yourself in, there is always love, faith and truth…  it is just a bit harder to find… and you sometimes have to go looking for it.