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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ChristmasTime!!

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold,
I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – St. Luke ii

Well, Christmas is over and its on to New Years and a fresh start.  I will be happy to see 2011 go, it had its ups and had some serious downs, but what year doesn't.  Christmas weekend was quite good, good family, friends to much food and some happy memories.

One was the fun memories, was my cousin bring her new hairless Kitty ... Fluffy!!  Sorry, Crystle I think that name will stick.


We all spent a wonderful evening together, with Fluffy keeping us all entertained.


We decided to try something a little new with our Christmas dinner ... some yellow, red and oranges peppers and Boy!!! were they good.  And I think that this might become a permanent part of Christmas dinner.


My Dad, who says, he isn't a shopper!!  Well, he can always come up with something.  Mother and I, got a great part of new soft jammies as well and beautiful sweaters. 


Well, what can I say, this was my doing!!  I spotted these wonderful boxer shorts and just couldn't resist!!  I do believe however, they have been stuffed into a dresser somewhere that I cant find them!!  ahahah  I did get hit this LoL :)  I however, he did appreciate and the warmer clothes and sweaters that Mom and I found for him this year.  As well as, his box of chocolate covered cherries.

Christmas was grand this year!!  Merry Christmas and All the Best in the Coming Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pineapple Loaf ... & Dam it was Good!!!

I tried my hand at making Pineapple Loaf and it was ssoooo good!!  This was one of the last things I made for Christmas.  And then had to make 2 extra loaves for Christmas gifts, hahah!!  They turn out so good and tasty, it will be hard to give away. :)



Pineapple Bread

Bake: 350 / Time: 1 hour

2 eggs                                      2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup marg.                         3 tsp baking powder  
1 cup Splenda Sugar             1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup crushed pineapple     1 tsp vanilla
1/2  cup chopped walnuts or pecans or both

Beat eggs slightly.  Add butter and sugar, beat smooth. Stir in pineapple and vanilla

In separate bowl, put in flour, baking powder, soda and nuts.  Stir well and pour into pineapple mixture.  Stir to moisten.  Pour into greased loaf pan 9x5x3inch.  Let stand 10 mins and remove from pan. Cool & wrap.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Christmas Baking

Well, I can say that I did have a very productive weekend.  Saturday, I made a round of Puffed Wheat Squares and another batch of Rice Krispies Squares. Also made a large batch of Butter Tarts, consisting of plain, raisin, walnut and pecan.  And all turned out pretty good!!!! 

Saturday, while I was still snugglied in under the warm blankets, I decided that I want to make a batch of cookies too.  Now, in the past, I have not been very successful in baking cookies, always turned out rock hard ... pretty I broke a tooth somewhere along the way.  But I decided I would give it a good try. 

So I did some searching and decided to check out the Robinhood.ca web site.  And found a really good and very simple recipe, just the kind I like. 


For all you kids at heart, yes the dough was awesome!!  Making it very very hard to actually bake the cookies instead of eating the dough!!!


And it smelled ssssoooo good while they were baking, it was truely unbareable!!!


So you know, they were just yummy!!! 

Now for my secret, I did replace the sugar and brown with white splenda sugar and splenda brown sugar blend. And they turned out just fine ... and only baked them for 20mins.  I did make my cookies a little bit bigger but I figured what the heck, they still tasted really good.

Recipe:  Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Baking!!

Well, I have been busy trying to decide what I wanted for some simple but favorite squares for Christmas.  I have been looking for the easy to make but turns out great and I think I was very successful. 

I am not much of a baker, but this year because we are all trying to watch what we eat in regards to sugar, salt ... you know the good stuff.  I have been trying to find recipes that I can substitute sugar for splenda and just eliminate the salt all together.

Now, todays squares, are to fix the sweet tooth that we all have in this house but instead of making lots of them I am only going to make 2 rounds, and when its gone its gone!!  Well, thats the theory anyway, hahaha.


Peanut Butter Marshmellow Squares/Butterscotch Confetti!!  These are a sin and thats all I can say about that!!

1/4cup of Margarine
1/2 cup of Smooth Peanut Butter
1 cup of Butterscotch chips
5 cups of Miniature Fruit Flavoured Marshmallows
Some chow mein noodles on top ... have to find a better method for adding these.

Melt margarine and peanut butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Stir in chips until melted; cool slightly.  Add marshmellows, stirring until coated.  Press into a 9inch square pan lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate. Makes about 36 squares.


Rice Krispie Squares ... I have wanted to do these for ages with the holiday rice krispies but well ran out of time every year.  So this I decided I was going to make them, and I rather like the red and green rice krispies!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Squirrel


This is one of our new Christmas decorations, now dont laugh I can hear!!! LoL :)  But its hard not to isnt it.

This little guy was actually my grandfather's and when he past earlier this year, my Mom claimed this silly squirrel before it went out.  And he was become part of our little family.  I decided today that while we were decorating that he "did" need to stay out for Christmas.  However, I thought he need a little decorating of his own.  And I a vision in my head of him wearing hat, mitts and a scarf.  It was Mom's idea for the peanuts and the apple and well I think it worked out pretty good.  Mom made the little hat, mitts and scarfs a while ago for something else but I think it uses this little guy!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Butter Tarts

I made a batch of butter tarts today, and Dam they are good!!!


I found a recipe online for Splenda Butter Tarts, using Splenda brown sugar.  I had always thought that butter tarts were hard to make well I was totally proven wrong today.


I was quite happy to say that I had this all done and cleaned up within a hour, more or less.



The only difference, was that I put a half of a pecan in my tarts.  And they turned out pretty good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Black & White Photography @ MRU

I signed up for a Black and White Photography course at Mount Royal University, it is only 3 class long, which works for.  One night of lecture, One day of Shooting and Editing and One night of displaying your work. 

The shooting took place on Sunday, the wind was blowing and it was CoLd out but I had a good time.  The shoot was in one of the Industrial parks here in Calgary ... so factories, old buildings, machines, squished cars, railroad tracks etc etc.  Made for some interesting imaginery.

I am to find 3 of my favorite images to take to the last class.  I took over 300 shots so it was a little difficult to decide and I still might change my mind before I head of to last class on Wednesday.


Nothing like weeds, is there.  Well, I guess if you are a gardener, you wouldn't like them much.  But this do make such interesting subjects.


I love these buildings with all the different lines ... gives you eye a work out.


I walked by this pile of rocks several times, and each time I think "Ahh these work make a photo!?" But I think in the end them are very interesting to look at.

I have take several Black & White photos for this class and there will be a few more that I will share along way over the next few weeks. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England


Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

The last of my photos from my trip in May of 2011, to Ireland and England.  Quite happy that I finally finished but quite sad ... I was enjoying reliving all of the sites and things I have seen. 

Seeing Stonehenge was truly an experience, to learn how it was, to try to imagine how in the world those stones were moved from possibly as far as the coast. 


The ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is unique; an expectional survival from a prehistoric culture now lost to us.  The monument evolved between 3000 BC and 1600 BC.  It is aligned with the mid summer sunrise and midwinter sunset, but its exact purpose remains a mystery.  Today, this World Heritage Site is a source of inspiration and fascination and for many, a place of worship and celebration.


1 = The Altar Stone, a six ton monolith of green micaceous sandstone from Wales
2 = barrow without a burial
3 = "barrows" (without burials)
4 = the fallen Slaughter Stone, 4.9 metres long
5 = the Heel Stone
6 = two of originally four Station Stones
7 = ditch
8 = inner bank
9 = outer bank
10 = The Avenue, a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 3 km to the River Avon
11 = ring of 30 pits called the Y Holes
12 = ring of 29 pits called the Z Holes
13 = circle of 56 pits, known as the Aubrey holes
14 = smaller southern entrance



Cute story that I found regarding Heel Stone, Number 5:

The Heel Stone lies just outside the main entrance to the henge, next to the present A344 road. It is a rough stone, 16 feet (4.9 m) above ground, leaning inwards towards the stone circle. It has been known by many names in the past, including "Friar's Heel" and "Sun-stone". Today it is uniformly referred to as the Heel Stone or Heelstone. When one stands within Stonehenge, facing north-east through the entrance towards the heel stone, one sees the sun rise above the stone at summer solstice.
A folk tale, which cannot be dated earlier than the seventeenth century, relates the origin of the Friar's Heel reference.
The Devil bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the Avon, the rest were carried to the plain. The Devil then cried out, "No-one will ever find out how these stones came here!" A friar replied, "That’s what you think!," whereupon the Devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground and is still there.
Some claim "Friar's Heel" is a corruption of "Freyja's He-ol" from the Nordic goddess Freyja and the Welsh word for track. The Heel Stone lies beside the end portion of Stonehenge Avenue.
A simpler explanation for the name might be that the stone heels, or leans.
The name is not unique; there was a monolith with the same name recorded in the 19th century by antiquarian Charles Warne at Long Bredy in Dorset.



And you can't leave with out getting a photo of the green landscape and the white sheep!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SunSet Sky at the End of October

One of the things that I do love about Calgary are some of the Chinook Sky Sunsets.  If you didnt know any better you would think that the world was coming to a fiery end!! 


This was taken just at the end of October, 2011.  And I have just had sometime to work on them. 


And these skies make the trees really stand out, specially now that they do not have any leaves left on them.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bath, Somerset, England

Well, this was a totally learning experience!! I had no idea that such a place existed outside of Greece.  Bath is a place that needs to be experienced, and long that 2hours!! 

The official site of Roman Baths: http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/  Worth checking out.
My Gallery of Bath, Somerset, England

The entrance to the Roman Baths

The city was first established as a spa with the Latin name, Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") by the Romans in AD 43, although verbal tradition suggests that Bath was known before then. They built baths and a temple on the surrounding hills of Bath in the valley of the River Avon around hot springs.

Bath is at the botton of the Avon Valley, and near the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a range of limestone hills designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The surrounding hills give Bath its steep streets and make its buildings appear to climb the slopes.

Bath became the leading centre of fashionable life in England during the 18th century.  During the 18th century Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence lived and working in Bath.  John Maggs, a painter best known for his coaching scenes, was born and lived in Bath with his artistic family.  William Friese-Greene began experimenting with celluloid and motion pictures is his studio in Bath in 1870s.  Jane Austen lived in the city from 1801 with her father, mother and sister Cassandra and the family resided in the city at four successive addresses until 1806.

Royal Victora Park, one of several public parks (which costs 1pd to entry) was opened in 1830 by an 11 year old Princess Victory and was the first park to carry her name. 

Pulteney Bridge is a bridge that crosses the River Avon, in Bath and it was completed in 1773.  The bridge was designated by Robert Adam, whose working drawings are preserved in the Sir Soane's Museum and is one of the only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides.  Shops on the bridge include a flower shop, antique map shop and juice bar.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lacock, Wiltshire, England

Another spot along the country side day tour, that the tour passed through.  What a great little town to see, wish I had had more time to explore and photograph.  It was old and I so have a thing for old stuff!! The abbey that was established in 1232, now with about 160-90 people, there is architecture from 14th century through to 20th century.


The Church of St. Cyriac, Lacock was established in the 11 century.

The village has been used as a film and television set, notably for the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, the 2007 BBC production of Cranford. It has also made brief appearances in the Harry Potter films Harry Potter and Philosopher's Sthone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.



There was a great little tea shop here, picked up some wonderful tasting cookies and other sweets. 

A few links that might tempted you;
  1. Lacock Tourist Information
  2. Lacock - Wikipedia
  3. Photographs of Lacock

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

White Horses

While on my last day in England, I took a tour of the countryside and it was a beautiful day for it.  It was a unique and exciting experience too see sights that are so old.

It was also great to see how green the country side really was.  As we were driving through the country, I spotted something rather interesting, to say the least.


Now not the greatest of shots, but through the window of the bus, I thought it tooked out pretty good.  This is the "White Horse of Cherhill", which was built about 1790's.  Dating from the late 18th century, it is the third oldest of several such white horses in Great Britain, with only the Uffington White Horse and the Westbury White Horse being older. The figure is also sometimes called the Oldbury White Horse.

"A bold theory for the origin of the first Wiltshire horse is that it commemorates Alfred the Great's  victory over Guthrum and the Danes at the Battle of Ethandun, in 878. Another is that it was carved in the early 18th century as a show of loyalty to the new royal house, the House of Hanover, the white horse being a heraldic symbol of the Electorate of Hanover. One writer on the subject has commented "...the hillside white horse can be a slippery creature, and the origins of some are impossible to establish with any certainty." ~ Wikipedia

Check out a couple of sites regarding the White Horse:
  1. Cherhill White Horse
  2. Wiltshire White Horses: The Cherhill or Oldbury White Horse 

Just a little further down the road, not far from the White Horse.  Just love those trees!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Avebury Henge - May 2011

On my last day in England, I spent the day traveling the lush green country side.  I booked a day trip that its first stop was at Avebury Henge.

The Wiltshire village of Avebury is home to the largest prehistoric stone circle in Britain and the most popular megalithic site after Stonehenge.
Like its more famous counterpart, the monuments of Avebury were constructed as early as 3000 BC and have been designated a World Heritage Site. Many travelers prefer the more atmospheric Avebury, with its peaceful village setting, to the heavily-touristed Stonehenge.







The little village that is within this circle is old and very picturesque. It is only during the Saxon period that any evidence of a village at Avebury began to appear. When the monuments were enjoying their golden age the beginnings of the village we now know lay over 3000 years in the future. The builders of the henge could never have imagined the controversy that the result of their labour was to create amongst the later inhabitants of the area and the treatment it was to receive as a result of religious zeal and financial gain. The effect the village was to have on the more recent history of the monuments adds considerably to the fascination of the Avebury story.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Drive

Went for a drive out in the country today, before the snow flies and I am stuck at home yet again.  Many of the fall colors are now gone and winter has touched the mountains.  Cochrane is in the foothills of Alberta just before the mountains, it is a beautiful little town with great views.


The colors of the blue skies and the golden fields made for great images and you almost could think it was spring.  Well, I can dream ... just a little keeps the insanity away.


I love how the lights hits the trees in the above image.  All aglow!!


The above pano was made up of 7 images.  I like the cloud formations and how bright blue the sky was today.

Weeds at this time of year are rather fun to shoot as well.  Partly, because there isnt much for flowers left. LoL :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Golden Autumn

I am still playing around with Panos ... I do like doing this but having a time trying to come up with some different ideas of panos so its not all the same things.  However, though some things don't always fits into the theme but well, I decided to give them a try anyway.


The above image is made up of 13 shots.  I loved the colors of the sun coming through the trees. This was taken last weekend and today there are only have a few golden leaves hanging on.


The above image is made up of 9 shots.  I just love these trees, they are pretty all year around whether was the dead of winter or the high of summer. 


The above image is made up of 7 shots.  This afternoon was beautiful time to head out for a bit of a walk and went with my camera. 


I am heading out tomorrow to Cochrane and I hope to shoot a few more panos as well and anything else I might be able to find.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playing with Panos

Todays attempt was to create a pano of the valley of Down Town Calgary ... with all its fall colors and the great clouds that were rolling through.  I need a little practise with this yet, and unfortunately I over exposed the one side ... so will definitely need to do this again.

I had forgotten Photoshop really doesnt like doing this ... started about 6pm it is now 7:45pm for one image ... Hmmmm??!!  But this might be because I was trying to do other things ... so next time, just one thing at a time.


I will upload the full version of this image and share it.  This is a compressed because the full version is 24.6mb, which in other words ... HUGE!!!! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kelby Photowalk ~ Inglewood, Calgary, Alberta

What an excellent day to be out with a great group enjoying the beautiful autumn weather here in Calgary.

This is my second year being involved with the Scott Kelby Photowalk with Marlene Hielema running the walk.  The walk started at the Hose and Hound Pub and end there as well ... the walk as really good down some of the streets of Inglewood as well as along the river walkway which was really nice.  The trees and all the leaves are slowly changing ... all the colors were awesome today. 


We weren't the only ones out for a walk today .. This little guy was out for his walk as well!!


I have some editing to do yet and will share more photos over the coming week. 

It was a great day, one of my favorite ways to spend a day!!!