Friday, January 31, 2014

Our winter ... so far

One kind word can warm three winter months.
.Japanese Proverb.

To me that word would be SPRING!

.... I don't think spring will be coming any time soon at least in our neck of the woods. 10-15 cm of snow is coming our way Saturday night. Wohoo! Bring it on. Blanket of fresh snow is the best!
Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Project Life 2014 | Week Two and Three

I am hooked! Project Life is an excellent way for me to digress from the demands of corporate rat race. I just finished weeks 2 and 3, now I can't wait to start week 4. There are so many options to do this project which makes it more interesting. There's no right or wrong. Its definitely an avenue to exercise your creativity without spending too much time.   

For week two, I wanted to highlight a beautiful photo of the dense fog along the entrance of an apple farm near our place. My hubby was driving the car when we noticed the beautiful scenery so we turned back and he drove really slow until I was satisfied with my photo {captured here}.

For my journal, I used a thick piece of lined paper  I got from a hotel conference room and cut it to fill a 4x3 pocket on the page. I attached a snow-shaped button to match the theme of the week.

For week three, I continued on with the black and white photos at least for the first half of the page and started introducing bold colors on the 2nd half to pave the way for memories captured during my  business trip to sunny San Francisco.

I am also jotting down event notes, places and even dates directly on the photos before printing. This is helpful if I want to put more pictures than fillers on the page.

Parapapapap .... I am loving this!

Monday, January 27, 2014


We've been calling Canada our home for the past 14 years. We had snow storms, plenty of it but never an ice storm. Until last December ..... it was like magic. So gorgeous to look at but so damaging to our plants and trees.

Sharing photos with Our World Tuesday

Project Life 2014 | Week One

Honestly, where did January go? While putting together my Project Life {week one} spread, I thought these photos were more than just three weeks old. With our busy schedule at work and at home, days go by so quickly. This is another reason why I am enjoying this project. It gives me the time to breath and enjoy the highlights of the previous weeks - whether an old tradition or a new one.

For week one, I ended up with a spread simply because there's a lot I want to capture. New Year's eve alone is always big here at home sweet home. We made a promise years ago to make sure we will be at our own home to welcome the new year. We will go parties at friends' house as early as 6PM on Dec 31 but we will head home around 11:30 so that we will be home before the strike of midnight. Friends call us the "Cinderella" couple.

I am also enjoying making my own 4x3 inserts using stash from the card making materials, or creating a digital designs and printing them to capture my thoughts.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

WInter Soup Medley

Last Friday night, I got back from another trip to San Francisco where the temperature was hovering around 18 degrees Celsius. When hubby picked me up from the airport, he brought me my thick winter jacket  with a warning to brace myself for the cold weather outside. He wasn't kidding! After 6 days of sunshine and mild temperature, if felt like I was transported to Siberia!!!

I spent whole of Saturday and Sunday cooped up in the house in my polar fleece pajamas and wool socks asking my hubby at least several times to remind me the reason why we moved to Canada while looking at big snow squalls piling up on roofs and streets. Every time I asked, he would give me a big hug and I know in my heart I am home!

Speaking of home, ours is always filled with delicious smell of hearty soups in the winter months. One of our favorites is what I named Winter Soup Medley simply because it is a medley of everything I have in our vegetable crisper plus lentils, peas, rice and barley.

Winter Soup Medley

2 tbsp cooking oil
1 large onion, minced
1 large carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2-3 ribs of celery , diced
1 cup soup mix {lentils, split peas, rice and barley}
4 tbsp tomato paste 
6 cups pork bone broth {recipe below}; can be replaced with any kind of broth
sprigs of rosemary
1 tbsp sugar 
cooked shredded pork meat from pork bone broth
salt and pepper

Heat the cooking oil in large stockpot over medium-low heat. 
Once hot, add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. 
Add soup mix and tomato paste. Mix well.
Pour pork bone broth  into the stockpot
Add sprigs of rosemary and sugar.
Cover stockpot and simmer for 30-40 minutes {or until lentils, peas, rice and barley are tender} while stirring occasionally.
Add cooked shredded pork meat from pork bone broth
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve while hot with rustic bread.
Pork Bone Broth
1 kilo pork bone with meat {available in Asian store, meat section}
1 medium sliced onion
salt and pepper
8 cups of water

In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients.
Cover and boil for 45 - 60 minutes {or until meat from bone is very tender}
Strain broth  through large sieve {can be used as soup base in soup recipes}
Remove meat from pork bone {meat can be used in any soup}

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Project Life {Cover Page}

I am not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. After failing for so many years, I switched to making resolutions to listing the projects I want to accomplish by the end of the year. Number 8 on my list this year is :
  • Develop photos! {yes, I am guilty of taking lots ands lots of photos but procrastinate the printing}
I pushed the "envelop" a bit further. I am now working on my first Project Life album. And I am loving it!

I have not gone to the store yet to buy some items from Becky Higgin's Project Life collections which I intend to do this weekend in the US (unfortunately, same items will cost me 30% more if I buy them here in Canada). The good thing is, I have accumulated plenty of craft materials from previous trips to the United States {that my hubby said "will last a lifetime"} to finish an album or two or three if I want to :-).

I can see  the fruition of this project because I am having a great time putting it together. It really is a simple yet artistic way of documenting life events and memories.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shades of San Francisco

One of the highlights of our recent trip to San Francisco was running across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. Hubby and started half past 6 in the morning - just as the sun has started rising. 

Capturing the play of colors as the sun rises was beyond awesome!


Share with: Weekly Top Shot,
                   Our World Tuesday

Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Tradition

When we were growing up, Mama and my late Papa made Christmas so happy and memorable for me and my sister. That said, I love Christmas - its significance and all the trimmings! On the other hand, the Feast of The Three Wise Men marks the end of the Christmas season making it my least favorite Christian celebration.

That was until yesterday.

While attending the Mass of the Epiphany, a message was revealed to me through our Assistant Pastor's homily. He shared that the spirit and celebration of Christmas should not end on the Feast of the Three Kings. Rather, it should be the beginning of another journey towards the next Christmas. As we take the journey, we are told to imitate the determination of the 3 wise men. There will be bumps along the way but remember the STAR is shinning so brightly guiding us to reach our destination!

Today, Dec 6, hubby and I decided to start a new tradition - every Feast of The Three Kings, we will give each other an inexpensive present to celebrate the beginning of our journey. The gifts will be displayed at home throughout the year to serve as reminders of what we are anticipating.

Cold Buckwheat Noodles & Edamame with Scallions and Sesame Dressing

In our thirteen years here in Ontario, we had our share of  nasty Canadian winters. BUT I have never experience the bone-chilling arctic temperature we are having these past week. This morning I worked from home instead of facing the chaos on the road caused by slash freeze. The worse is not over yet - Environment Canada issued a warning that temperature tonight and tomorrow could drop to -41C with wind chill factor. Ha! Looking at the bright side, we are luckier compared to some parts of Manitoba where temperature {with wind chill factor} dipped as low as -53C {apparently colder than Mars!}.

I remember what my dear friend Tracey {who's born and raised here in Canada} told me years ago - the only way to survive winter is to love and embrace it, winter storm an all! Today I am hugging it with  a cup of steaming freshly brewed ice wine tea {yes, the fruit of winter, why not?}. I also made a bowl of cold buckwheat noodle salad to go with my tea. Couldn't get any better than that!

Cold Buckwheat Noodles & Edamame with Scallions and Sesame Dressing
8 oz buckwheat noodles
1/2 cup cooked edamame beans {without shell}
2   Nori sheets, shredded {optional}
Scallion and Sesame dressing {recipe below)

Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a bowl,  combine noodles and edamame beans.
Add shredded Nori sheets.
Pour half of scallions and sesame dressing. Toss well to coat noodles.
Add more dressing according to taste.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with hot herbal tea and enjoy!

Scallions and Sesame Dressing
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp Thai chilli sauce
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup scallions, minced
1/2 cup cilantro {leaves and stalk}. finely chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Set aside until noodles are ready.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Where in the World : Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is one of our favorite day trips every time we are in California. Who can resist the drive along the the picturesque rolling hills, the visit to the abundant vineyards and of course the wine tasting offered by  some of the world best wine makers?

The Beringer Vineyards


Robert Mondavi Winery


Shared with Weekly Top Shot

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