Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Refreshing & Healthy Fruit Salad with Mint and Wildflower Honey

It was still below zero degrees Celsius this past weekend but the sun was bright and shinning. After cleaning the chicken coop, hubby and I started planning and cleaning {okay, I did the planning and drawing and hubby did the cleaning} the area on our yard where we are going to build raised beds for our vegetable garden. Both of us are very excited and thankful for having a bigger piece of land to till and grow lots of herbs, fruit trees and veggies. But it seems we have to contain our excitement for a little while ,,, every morning the grounds are still covered with frost! 

While hubby was working up a sweat, I "toiled" in the kitchen for a refreshing and healthy fruit snack. This fruit salad recipe is a staple here at home during spring and summer. The fruits vary {whatever we have on hand} but the flavours of fresh mint and honey give this recipe a refreshing taste that we simply associate with spring and summer months!

I always use raw honey whenever I make this recipe. This time, I made it extra special by using wildflower honey I bought from a local beekeeper who taught me a lot of things about bee keeping {#3 on my to do list before I die}. Wildflower honey or sometimes called polyfloral honey is gathered from the nectar of various flowers/blossoms. The taste of wildflower honey is different from season to season : depending on the kind of flowers that are abundant on the field when the nectar is collected.

Refreshing & Healthy Fruit Salad with Mint and Wildflower Honey

1 cup chopped honeydew melon
1 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped ripe mangoes
2 oranges, segmented
2 tbsp raw honey {any kind}
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
10-15 fresh mint leaves. finely chopped {add more for stronger mint flavour}

Just mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Chill for 2-3 hours to allow the flavours to blend. Serve in small mason jars for rustic look and enjoy!

                        THE SCOOP

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DIY Project : Birdsong Spring Wreath

It was a busy weekend for me and my hubby {cleaning and preparing the chicken coop for new chickens} but I finally managed to "conjure" a simple spring wreath that I've been planning in my head for sometime now. Before I decided to make my own, I was drooling at beautiful spring wreaths we saw at HomeGoods and Hobby Lobby the last last time we were in the US but I can't justify paying more than 50 dollars for something that I can probably assemble.


The bare twig wreath was stored in the attic since we moved {I finally found a use for it!}. Embellishments such as burlap and clip on birds were borrowed from our last year's Christmas tree decorations. Hubby got the empty nest from the Japanese maple tree in our front yard that he trimmed last weekend. The only thing I bought is the artificial flowers and greeneries {currently buy one get one free} at Michael's.

Easy Peasy How to:

1. The floral stems came in bunches. Clip them apart using wire cutter.

2. Insert stems on both sides on the wreath creating a bunch of flowers and greeneries on both side. Make sure there is 4 inches between the two bunches to place the ribbon

Note: I tried to get Muning {our kitty} out of my working table several times but she insisted on watching me while I work like she always does so I just let her be!

3. Make a bow out of burlap ribbon.
4. Using a glue gun, attached the bow on the wreath {in between the bunches of flowers and greeneries}.

5. Using a glue gun, embellish the middle of the bow with bird's nest and faux egg.
6. Clip on the artificial bird.

And voila! For less than 15 bucks, here's my spring wreath perfect for our home called Birdsong!

We are so ready for spring! Aren't we all?

Postscript: I guess I am not that entertaining when I work because my audience fell asleep!

Sharing with : Metamorphosis Monday
                       Wow Us Wednesdays

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tablescape | Spring and Easter Inspired

I needed something therapeutic last night to take my mind away from the demands of my day job so I decided to work on our early spring tablescape. I always knew what I wanted in terms of color combination because of this photo I took last summer in our front yard. The robin eggs were so vividly attractive nestled inside the brown color of the nest. The green and yellow foliage provided the balance between the robin blue and dark brown. 

So gathering what I have been collecting since I took this photo, here's what I've come up with ....

Keeping close to my personal decoration mantra : bring the outside {nature} in - the birds {borrowed from our parlour}, rabbit {new from Homesense}, the nest {from the backyard, sprayed with white paint} and the eggs {from my "girls"} became the centerpiece. The plates that take the color of the eggs from my photo are from Target. I have been eyeing them for a long time but I find it too expensive so I waited until the store's closing sale. The upside: I got them 20% off; the downside: I have to go to 3 different Target stores to complete my set! 

For added rustic effect, I put the mason jars inside the wire baskets that I use to collect eggs from the coop. Yellow tulips are the only flowers I have in the house last night but I can easily change this to other spring flowers and colors like daffodils, hyacinth  or Easter lilies. The table napkins are from Pier 1 which I got after the Thanksgiving sale last year - from 6 bucks to a dollar fifty each! {cost effective buying tip : prices are great when stores are clearing for the next season so grab something you like from previous season}. I like how the fall colors of the table cloth napkins complement the various various elements of the the tablescape.

To pay homage to our home called Birdsong, I added a couple of ceramic birds salt and pepper shakers. Tea light candles complete the arrangement.

Now I am truly in the mood to come up with an equally inviting Easter Sunday lunch!

Shared with : Treasure Hunt Thursday
                      THE SCOOP
                      Simple Saturdays
                      Something to Talk About

Monday, March 9, 2015

Country Living | |The Joys of Spring Forward Weekend

This weekend, we "lost" an hour to Spring Forward. Although I know we are going to get that hour back in the fall, I still feel that I was robbed. But hey, instead of  focusing on what could I have done during the lost hour, there were plenty to smile about this weekend.


There is that JOY of driving to church for our first Friday devotion under this beautiful sky at sunset. Nothing beats God's work of art!


There is that  JOY of seeing the temperature on the plus side {it's been a long time, baby!} telling us that spring is just around the corner. Never mind the the two feet of snow in our backyard!

There is that JOY of watching our "girls" getting excited over new straws and pine shavings in their roosting boxes. There is nothing more exciting than the JOY of counting their eggs for the day!

There is that JOY of hearing Katniss' and Peeta's quacking as if asking us when are they going to take a long nice bath in their pond. Oh yes, they too are tired of the snow! I know spring is coming soon because the small birds are happily chirping every morning while feasting on this bird feeder.

There is that JOY of watching Muning {our princess cat} patiently waiting on the window sill while we are working outside. Double that JOY when she finally expresses her happiness {by jumping on our shoulders and embracing us} of being with us again after just a couple of hours of separation! Priceless!


There is that JOY of  tasting the first run of the maple syrup at our local maple farm's Sugar Shack {Cabane a Sucre, as we call in Montreal}. Another nature's sign that spring is on its way is when sugar maple farmers start tapping the trees for its sweet sap. Spring's sweet revenge is seeing the maple trees wake from their sleep. Cold nights and warm sunny days cause the sap to run. The harvest season can run anywhere from 10 days to a month, until the trees start to bud. 

There is that JOY of feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces while the wind is still blowing air at below zero temperature making our lips blue! Ah. soon. spring. will. come! 

As another beautiful sunset signals the end of this year's Spring Forward weekend, there is so much JOY to be relished. I lost an hour but gained countless memories that I will recall when I get that hour back in the fall.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bites and Nibbles @ Harp and Wylie's

Where we live, there is only one convenient store, one general store {where we can buy a limited selection of wine and beer, rent movies and mail our letters and packages}, and one pizza joint. With just a little over 300 total population, this is what we get. Fortunately, just 8 kilometres west from us is historic down town of Port Perry where there are nice restaurants, boutiques, bake shops and speciality stores. A few nights ago hubby and I had dinner in one of the restaurants in Port Perry called Harp and Wylie's.

It was a Friday night so the place was full (our dinner date was just a spur of the moment decision but I will definitely make a reservation next time around) but the gracious host managed to find a table for us in the bar area. The dinning area is much bigger and cozy ("next time we'll sit there", my hubby said). While we were browsing the menu, we were treated with warm and crusty pieces of bread (my kind of welcome treat!).

The crispy calamari which hubby and I shared with Canadian beer is delicious. It was served with grilled lemon to drizzle on the calamari. For dips, the calamari came with roasted tomato ragu and citrus aioli that truly compliment the squid.

The seafood appetizer made me clamouring for more seafood so I tried their Seafood Angelina pasta for my main course. A trio of P.E.I. mussels, scallops and shrimps tossed in angel hair pasta with roasted grape tomatoes and white wine cream sauce. I enjoyed it but it wouldn't hurt to add more seafood pieces into the pasta. Jayvee likewise was pleased with his choice of grilled baby back ribs. The meat was tender surrendering to the tasty BBQ sauce.

We plan to visit  the other restaurants in Port Perry before going back to Harp and Wylie's. However, the call of their crab cakes and the "hoof and sow" burger {stack of burger patties with braised pork belly and spicy pineapple salsa} is too loud to ignore so we might take a short cut and come back sooner than later.

150 Water Street
Port Perry, Ontario

Harp and Wylie's Canadian Grill House Inc. on Urbanspoon

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