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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Summery Saturday - Flowers are blooming

In a few days the month of May will be here.  As they saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. There were definitely a lot of showers because our hills are so green and all the flowers in the neighborhood are just blooming.  I started taking some photos of the ones on our front yard and at the same time I took some photos from my friend Debbie's garden. So instead of talking more, I would really love to share some photos now and more on my Sunday post.

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Traditional Tuesday - Comfort foods

While on vacation in Toronto, my sister was very busy baking, cooking and making sweet treats for our relatives.  They were very happy to see her and spend time since it has been a long time since she was there.  If I remember it correctly the last she was there was 2008.  We could talk on the phone during her visit and she would tell what kind of meals she was preparing.  Since she spent Easter with the relatives, she prepared a complete Turkey dinner.  She enjoys baking bread and sweets that are comfort Filipino foods.  It was good that she remember to take photos so I'll share that with you.  While she was doing a lot of meals, I was doing something similar because my girlfriends from Canada were with us for a few days.  I have prepared lunch, dinner and breakfast for some of the days of their stay.
They were very appreciative of the home cook meals and was quite amazed that I can just whip up meals that are tasty and healthy.  One night I made them deep fried Oreo with strawberries and our home made ice cream.  Viewer discretion advised - might cause hunger pangs.

Chicken Pot Pie I made for lunch during my friends visit.

Ensaymada - special sweet bun my sister made while she was in Toronto.

Before the topping of butter and sugar were added.
 
I finally got a chance to use my Mickey Mouse waffle maker. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stanley Saturday - NHL Playoffs

This years NHL playoffs, Jeff and I decided to have our own hockey pool.  We took turns picking teams from each of the games.  What is funny is that he got four of the Canadian teams and I only got one (Oilers).  Two days ago the first group had their first game and yesterday the rest played.  So far the score is Jeff - 1  and Luckie - 7.  Here's a breakdown of our teams:
  • Jeff's group - Senators, Leafs, Canadiens, Flames, Blue Jackets, Wilds, Blackhawks and Sharks (he's from San Jose so he has to have this team).
  • Luckie's group - Oilers, Ducks, Predators, Blues, Rangers, Capitals, Bruins and Penguins.
There is actually no monetary gains, just a friendly competition to make the playoffs much more exciting to watch.  It was shocking to see the LEAFS in the playoff but maybe it's their turn.  All my friends in Canada have teams that are not Canadian teams.  One friend is a Detroit Red Wings loyal fan while his wife was a Toronto Maple Leafs very loyal fan.  My BFF Percy is a HABS die hard fan.  As for me, when I first started watching hockey when I use to live in Yellowknife, I was a Bruins fan.  There was only one TV channel and on Monday and Wednesday and Saturday night - it's good old Hockey Night in Canada.  Through the years of watching hockey I had switched from Bruins to Flyers, NY Islanders to Quebec Nordics, then Avalanche and now Sharks.  An interesting story - a couple of weeks ago my girlfriend Debbie ask me to watch the Sharks and NY Rangers.  It has been a few years since I had been at the Sharks Tank.  During the game I was telling her the story of my nephew who grew up with this talented hockey players.  The last time I checked he was playing for the Avalanche.  After I checked the roster, I found out he was not playing for them and after texting with my sister, she informed me that he got traded to the Rangers.  His name is Nick Holden # 22 of the NY Rangers.  I met this kid a few times between the age of 8 and 11.  The Sharks won that night on overtime after Nick was penalized for holding.  

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tasty Thursday - MIL oranges

During all the days I was sick with the flu and then the coughing, the only thing that taste good are the oranges from my MIL.  This seasons produce has been so sweet and juicy.  Jeff would peel a couple of oranges and place them in a plastic container so they will be ready for me eat when I want them. Although according to some information I have read that you should not eat oranges when you have are coughing, I didn't care because it made my throat feel cool.  Since I have plenty of oranges and lemons from my MIL, when I was feeling better, I decided to make a batch of orange marmalade. Most of my jars are for gift to friends.  When it comes to marmalade, it seems like only older people love them.  I guess a long time ago that was the thing to do as it's a very cheap way to make jams and marmalade.  One of my MIL's friend, her name is Sylvia, she once told me that my marmalade is the best she's ever had.  Sylvia is 92 years old.  So I have to be proud of the marmalade I make.  The recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, a very easy and simple way to make use of oranges and lemons.
One lemon, two oranges, 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar and you have 6 jars of marmalade.


One lemon

I only did a half a recipe which still resulted in 6 jars.
Two oranges

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tune up Tuesday - Oil Change

Did I tell you how lucky I am to have a very handy man around the house?  I think most of you know how handy Jeff is around the house.  It's that time of the year when I book an appointment with him to have my oil change for my car.  Last week when my car needed to get a smog check, he took it to the place, got the smog certificate then paid the registration on line.  No waiting and no appointment required.  Every April and October, Jeff changes the oil, filter if required.  He also takes care of tires, breaks, and whatever else regular maintenance is needed to keep the 2005 Toyota runs so smoothly.  By the way, he not only takes care of cars, he also takes very good care of watering our indoor plants.  That is why I have to give him all the credit for my orchid plant that has 5 blooms this season and two flowers have already opened.  It's funny sometimes when we would be booking appointments with each other.  Like when he needs a hair cut, he would ask for a time and date when I could accommodate his requests.  There's a lot of things that Jeff and I can do for each other as well as things around the house that we can do ourselves.  Today I am very proud to show you my orchid plant with number one and two flower. As you can see in the second photo, there's three more buds that are waiting to open.  This plant will be two year old next month.

First bloom

Second bloom
 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sickness Sunday - Happy Easter

Two weeks ago I woke up with sore throat, chills and many episodes of coughing bouts.  Unfortunately I guess I had a relapse from the initial flu.  After a week of sleepless nights, lots and lots of coughing, I decided to send an email to my doctor.  Shortly after, I receive a telephone consult from the nurse and end up getting a prescription to help with the coughing.  After reading all the side effects, I was a bit hesitant to take the pill, but I really need to get plenty of sleep in order to get my energy back.  So I did last Monday night I had a good sleep.  On Tuesday since the coughing was back, I decided to take another pill.  Shortly after taking the pill, I got tired and fell asleep.  When I woke up, I didn't feel as good.  I was woozy or groggy like taking one of those Dramamine or Gravol.  After lunch, I got tired and had another nap.  When I woke up, same feeling.  That's when I decided that I can't take it during the day because I felt useless and had worst feeling.  I took one more pill on Wednesday night and then I thought, that's it.  I will just tough it out and hopefully with resting and taking it easy this cold/cough/allergies would just go away.  Anyway, Happy Easter to everyone.  I wish you good health and happy times with family and friends.

Our Easter Tree with bunnies and eggs.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Friendship Friday - Be our guest

Seven years ago when I moved in with Jeff, we were wondering how many of my friends from Canada will actually visit us.  It was surprising that after moving in August 2010 our first guest arrive at the Cranberry Portage B&B.  By the way it is not a real B&B where we accept reservation from the general public.  It's only a B&B for family and friends.  Now that there is a possibility of selling our home aka B&B, we find that we are still have guest booked until May.  There were a lot of friends that said they'll come to visit but never did.  And some of my friends have been here two or three times already.  There was one year where we were very busy and we enjoyed everyone's company.  Today interestingly enough, our first guest is coming back for her second time and almost will be the last guest of our B&B.  Angela and Adele are friends from work.  In fact Angela was my Supervisor during the last year prior to retirement. It will be nice to have guests again and we look forward to their arrival.  Next month one of my girl friends from Ottawa will be with us for a few days.  I met her through my BFF Lorna while working on an assignment at our headquarters.  She has retired recently and I am glad she is able to take a side trip to see us.  I guess she might be our last guest at the CPBB unless my sister is able to wing it and take another week or two from her work.  It has been a wonderful seven years at this home and I will definitely miss it.  Hopefully we can find another CPBB wherever we might end up and continue to welcome our friends and family to our new home.

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Weighless Wednesday - No churn ice cream

What happens when you have been feeling tired and sick and tired of being sick?  You make your own ice cream.  It all began when I saw three mango on our table getting a little too ripe.  I bought five mango as they were on sale but I couldn't keep up eating it specially after I found out that it is not good for you when you are coughing.  That's when I checked Pinterest for recipes for ice cream.  I stumble upon one with only three ingredients: mango, condensed milk and whipped cream.  That's it! That was easy.  Since I had all the ingredients, Jeff and I started our experiment.  I did the processing of the mango and combining the condensed milk while he whipped the cream until if formed soft peaks.  We combined both and started folding the cream into the mango mixture.  The last step is to place in a tray, cover it with foil and place in the freezer for 12 hours.  The next day I could not wait until 930 pm to have it as my snack.  We tried a small scoop in a little bowl and we were both shocked to find out how creamy, silky and yummy the ice cream turned out.  The other good part is that it is not very sweet which is perfect for me being a diabetic.  Now that we know we could make our own No Churn Ice Cream, we can create our own variety of flavors.  The only issue, I only have one nice tray so we can only make one flavor at a time.  The photo does not look that yummy, but I can guarantee you that when you taste it, you won't believe that it's home made and only three ingredients.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Mickey Mouse Monday - Early birthday gift

After receiving an email from my girlfriend in Canada, I realized I have not posted anything new.  My excuse, I have been coughing for the last seven days and it is still lingering.  I am a bit tired since I don't get enough sleep due to the coughing bouts that usually happen early morning.  Around one or two in the morning and again between three and four is when I get them and I am usual up for an hour or two.  So am I a happy camper, of course not.  I guess when you are not interested in taking over the counter prescription, it might actually take twice as long to get rid of the cold or whatever it is they might call it.  Anyway, today's post is about how specially my friend Jean made me feel when we visited them last weekend at Discovery Bay.  Even though I was not in the best of health, we still had a great visit.  Prior to leaving their place, she gave me an early birthday gift.  What a nice surprise.  I got so excited because it was something I have been looking for since December and she found it and bought it.  She is a very thoughtful person.  I can't wait to use it.  It's a waffle maker shaped like Mickey.

My very own Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker.  I will get a chance to use it this weekend when our visitors arrive.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sensitive Saturday - April Fools

Although this seems to be a fun day to do pranks and hoaxes, some people gets a little over the top to the point of causing harm to their victims.  So if you are one of those that likes to play this particular game to your friends and family, make sure that it's all for fun and that you are careful that it's not hurtful as some might be a little sensitive.  Hopefully you will remember that it's April 1 and you won't get prank or get fooled.  This month will be a busy month for us since we will be having guests in our B&B for about a week.  Shortly after they leave I will be busy baking and preparing for my MIL's 80th birthday.  This year we will have an afternoon tea party with some of best friends.  At the end of the month, our neighborhood is organizing a BBQ.  Last year we had something similar, very simple but a great way to meet new and reconnect with neighbors.  The main attraction this year is that one of the new neighbor actually plays in a band which means we will have some live music.  I plan to bring some sweet treats as the main course is already taken care of by our host.  Of course now that April weather is much drier than March, I will be outdoors enjoying a round of golf possibly twice a week.  The flowers are blooming and some of our fruit trees have some flowers as well which is a good sign.  So enjoy the Springlike weather and take time to smell the flowers.  
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Las Positas Golf Course  - One of the course our group will play this month.
 
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Transportable Thursday - RV is the new adventure

To RV or not to RV, that is the question.  Well, actually the question has been answered.  After checking out a few variety this past weekend, Jeff and I have agreed on the size, the make and the model.  It is interesting that we very easily pick very similar layout so there's not much to think about.  Before we actually buy the RV of choice, we have to wait for his son's old car to be removed from the other side garage.  Jeff needs the whole length of that parking area on the side of the our house.  The RV is about 26 foot and although we have that space, currently there's an old card and Jeff's Miata occupying the space.  There's a particular RV that Jeff found that's for sale and it fits our requirement.  Only problem is that it is currently parked somewhere in Orange County, CA.  It's probably about an eight hour drive to get there from our place.  The other option is fly to the nearest airport, rent a car and if we decided to buy it, we can drive it back to San Jose.  It's a little bit more expensive.  The better option is finding one near the bay area so we don't have the cost of flight, hotel and car rental prior to purchasing.  Enough said, do you want to see what I am talking about.

Click on the link below.

RV

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Montreal Monday - My BFF's team

It always amazes me that Spring is already here and the NHL playoff has not even begun.  This year my BFF's team the HABS are in first position in the Atlantic Division Eastern Conference.  I know that he's going to be watching all their games up to the Stanley cup.  When I showed Percy the latest cell phone charger holder, he liked the idea and I thought I could make him his own with his favorite team fabric or logo.  The problem is that fabric store here does not carry anything Canadian.  Then I had an idea, I could ask him to buy me the fabric from Canada and mail it.  Percy thought that was too much trouble for me so he opted just to have one with the HABS colors (red, white and blue).  Since he is my BFF, I needed to make something special because he is not just any BFF, he's like a brother to me.
While searching online, Jeff found a patch that I could use.  As usual Jeff orders it from his store.  He said that it might take a while because it was not Prime and it was going to be coming from some Asian country.  It has been almost two months and the other day a small envelope from Thailand was in our mail box.  That's when I remembered what we had ordered.  So here's my own creation of the Montreal Canadiens aka the HABS cell phone charger holder for my very special friend Percy.  I know he checks my blog often so I hope he will like it.  Unfortunately I won't be able to send it to him since I am waiting for my girl friends who will be coming for a visit and staying at our B&B.  So Percy, be patient and it will get there by end of next month.  In the meantime you can just admire what you see below.

Percy's very own cell phone charger holder for home and for travel.


 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Finally Friday - Yeah, I'm back

It only took 12 days to finally recover from that nasty Influenza A germs.  Is there a lesson here?  Of course.  Maybe next season I'll take that chance and get the flu shot and hope for the best.  Avoid shaking hands, hugging, etc. even though the people say they are healthy.  Aside from sanitizing and washing hands which I am already consistently doing, I'll eat more of the foods that gives some sort of protection.  Do I need to exercise more? Well, I will try to do some stretching as much boring it might be, the muscles have been so inactive that I don't want to hurt myself.  Yes, you heard me, I'll try and do some stretching exercise.  The only benefit I got from this recent bout of flu - I lost 6 lbs.  Hopefully I can keep it off.  My appetite is not back yet and I am still eating the minimum portion just to ensure I don't go low on my blood sugar.  So far so good.  Of course I have to share some of the things I have done shortly after I started feeling a little better.  Yes, I was a little busy crocheting two scarf and baked a carrot pineapple cake from scratch and even made a very yummy cream cheese frosting.  Today is Laura's first year death anniversary and we are having a little get together to celebrate and remember her life. 

A scarf for Jeff in preparation for his first winter.
A second scarf which I will donate to the first homeless I see next winter.
Carrot Pineapple Cake with cream cheese frosting.  It has been many years since I made this recipe.
 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sickness Sunday - It was very bad

Just when you think that your health is back to normal and you start enjoying life again, then you get hit.  Somehow I just wished that there was a little warning.  I know you cannot keep avoiding crowds or gathering in case there are some people who are sick, right  Well, I decided to go with Jeff a little over a week ago to attend a luncheon for one of his coworker who got laid off.  I thought it would be nice to say hello to some of his buddies who I golf sometimes.  What I dd not know was that a few of them were just sick or maybe still is.  That evening Jeff started feeling sick and by the next day he was coughing with a little fever and some chills.  Two days later when he was starting to feel a little better I started with what I thought was just a cold also.  It has been a week and I am still not feeling good.  Jeff took me to see my doctor on the fourth day because of the headache that was excruciating and would not go away.  The doctor did all the checks and the last one was taking a swab from my nose.  Test result came back after a day - it was positive.  I have the Influenza Virus A - the bad one.  There's not much I could do but to just rest and hope for the best.  No appetite, nausea, headache, restless, coughing (one time it was so extreme that I burst a blood vessel on my right eye).  The only benefit of this is I lost at least 6 pounds, not a great way to lose, but I have to find something good on this very annoying sickness.  Question is, would it have prevented me getting it if I had the flu shot?  Maybe, depending on the strain of shot they were giving this season.  A friend of mine got the shot but still had the flu because he got the B shot but got the A flu.  If only all the good wishes and positive vibes that friends and family are sending, can cure the illness - I would be done in a couple of days.  Today is the seventh day and I am still not back to my normal self.  Each and every morning I am trying to feel like I am normal, moving a little at a time, but everything seems to tire me out.  So to all my family and friends, please try and stay healthy, do all the preventative tips and habits in order to stay away from this season's flu as I don't want any of you to suffer the way I did.  Take care and hopefully the first day of Spring brings us sunny skies and warmer temperature. Stay healthy and enjoy each day that you are feeling good.

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Taking any kind of prescription just makes you more sick.  Rest is still the all in one cure but takes longer.

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Failte Friday - Happy St. Patrick's Day

Failte is a Gaelic word that means salute, welcome or hail.  So it's somewhat fitting as we salute St. Patrick's on his special day which is today.  Some of the friends I know loves celebrating this holiday because to them it's all about drinking.  For Jeff, it's about his favorite, Bailey's Irish Cream which is his favorite creamer for his coffee.  Unfortunately they have not been making them or at least we have not found them at the store.  The last time I found three bottles was at one of those liquor store and they were on sale because it was still in the old bottle.  Now they have changed to a much slimmer type but they don't make this particular flavor (Mint Chocolate).  My MIL celebrate this holiday by making corned beef and cabbage dinner accompanied by green beer and having a shot of Bailey's for dessert. This year, we probably will stay home and celebrate it our own way.  Here's my special take on salute St. Patrick's.

Our special twig tree has now become a special monthly theme tree.  Jeff did a great job.
My nail art for this week is almost matching the two colors of the shamrock on the tree.
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One of my favorite Irish blessing specially to you from me.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Munchies Monday - Sweet treats

Now that I have given up all my volunteer work in preparation for things that are changing,  I find myself with more time to bake and try new recipes.  Although I always go back to some of the favorites, it's a nice surprise for Jeff to try new sweet treats.  This weekend I made two different kind of cookies.  Almond Joy Cookie - remember, this is the 4 ingredient cookie, so easy but so yummy. The second one is an experiment because I am using a butter pecan cake mix to make the cookies.  Instead of following the instruction on the box, I used 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil.  I added some chopped walnuts since I ran out of pecan.  To make it interesting I put a splash of rum chatta liquor.  The result was another yummy cookie with a nice crisp outer and soft chewy in the middle.  Since I was in a baking mode, I made a French Tourtiere Pie for our dinner using a ready to use pie crust but the meat filling was from scratch.  We enjoyed the pie with a side dish of my own version of coleslaw.  

Almond Joy Cookies
Butter Pecan Cookies from a box cake mix.

A slice of the French Tourtiere and my own version of coleslaw with Jicama.


 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Springy Saturday - Spring is almost here

Is it really here or am I just imagining it?  A week ago while golfing with my x-golf course volunteer, I couldn't help but admire all the cherry blossoms from the trees surrounding the course.  There's an assortment of pinks and whites.  Surprisingly, while doing this post, I notice that one of fruit trees (Jeff calls it fruit salad as it is grafted with peach, nectarine, apricot and plum) is filled with blossoms.  Jeff was worried for a few days as we were experiencing some cold spell.  Last summer we were able to taste a couple of plum, one apricot and one peace or nectarine was picked by a bird.  Along the roads in our area, they have a lot of these cherry blossom trees that are in bloom now.  Another flowering tree are the magnolias.  These have beautiful big flowers and they are also in bloom.  Not just outside, I notice that my orchid plant that will be almost two years old have about five buds.
So with all the facts, one would think that spring is definitely around the corner.  Although technically according to the calendar, the first day of spring is March 21.  Check out my spring collections.

If you look really close you can see those white flowers on that small tree.
This one is located near the 18th hole tee box at Deep Cliff Golf Course.
My white orchid plant - see if you can count five buds.  Hopefully it will bloom by May.
 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Toxic Thursday - Spring cleaning

Whether it is friends or relatives, this type of relationship is something you should definitely try to avoid as much as you.  You are probably wondering why I am going to the dark side.  Sometimes it a result of recent events that happens indirectly or maybe a topic triggered an experience.  A long time ago one of my BFF suggested that I stay away or give myself a break from a particular friend that was draining my positive attitude.  I'm glad I followed her advice.  It's a little different from relatives but if you find that they are either consistently asking for your help or dumping on their problems, it might be best to take a break politely and let them get back to normal.  Another one that is definitely at the top of my list is seeing friends in a toxic relationship and they can't seem to get away from it.  Sometimes it is easier for other friends to say what they should do.  Most of the time, the people in the relationship tries to break it off only to find new relationship that is similar to the one they left. The difficult part as a friend or a relative is trying to help someone who does not want to listen to you suggest even though they actually ask for your advice.  We are not expert on this but life's experience gives you enough knowledge to know the difference and be able to read early signs.  Life is too short to have people around you who are full of negativity and issues.
Spring is around the corner and it's time to clean up not just closets, sheds and pantry.  

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Travel Tuesday - Toothbrush holder

A new sewing challenge - travel toothbrush holder.  So I said yes, I can do it.  Since I am using scrap fabrics, it was easy to do a trial run but I need a small piece of plastic material for the brush to touch in case it is not dry when you slip it in.  This is not a tutorial but just a little explanation of how I did it.  First, I made the case which is very similar to making the fabric wallet or eye glass case.  Once I have that, I made what I call the insert,  I measured the length of the toothbrush and the width of the case, to make sure it will slide easily.  Then I cut the fabric together and add the plastic piece last. I almost forgot that I glued the plastic to the fabric before sewing it, just an extra step to have the plastic stick to the fabric flat.  Here's a couple of photo so you will get the idea.  If you like new simple and easy project, this is one of those that you can finish within half an hour.  Try it.