Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Backyard Flower Bed and Fern Diggin'

Welcome to the backyard.  Our tree is dying and our grass is patchy.  But, every year I am determined to get this little flower bed looking pretty to beautify this place up a little bit.   The area under the tree is tricky, it probably only gets a couple hours of sun a day and trying to find a hole to plant something in between tree roots, it almost next to impossible. 

The ferns, hostas and lillies are prernnials but the coleus I planted this year to fill in some gaps and add a bit of colour. The hostas in the front row were new last summer, the lillies started randomly popping up last year and two summers ago, Mr. Loonie and I planted the ferns in the back row which were collected down by the river. The ferns have struggled to establish themselves since but they are looking good this year so far (as long as Stryker and Bella stay out of there).  I want them to be full and lush one day.  Either I could wait which could take years or head back down to the river for some good ol' fern diggin.


The Clearwater River, a 5 minute drive from the house has more ferns than you could ask for.  It was a beautiful day in May, probably the best kind of summer day because the mosquitoes and horseflies are not out in full force yet.
Just off to the right, there is a path leading down to the most perfect little beach (when the river level drops later in the summer).  The path is lined with ferns so you don't even have to bushwhack to start your digging.

 FERNS, FERNS and more FERNS!!
 We tried to collect smaller, shorter ferns with new growth (fiddleheads) rather than ones which have already opened up.  We dug straight down all around and under the root mass; lifted the mass straight out and placed in a bucket to bring home and plant immediately.  Ferns cannot dry out or be exposed to heat for long periods of time, they like a shady and moist environment. 
I will do an update post once everything gets growing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Geocaching: Fort McMurray, AB <----> Brooks, AB

Near Site of Scona School in Beaver County
Sneaky Fence Pole
Kinbrook Island Provincial Park Entrance
Kinbrook Island Roads - Treacherous!
Fossilized Cypress Trees - Mining Interpretive Center off Hwy 855
Stryker says NO! to pollution! Sheerness Coal Power Plant (Hwy 36)

Viking, AB

Bruce, AB

Friday, May 25, 2012

Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade

Lemonade has always been my drink of choice.  PC brand makes the most delicious sparkling lemonade and Mike makes a pretty good hard version! Trust me, as I have probably drank 68098980890984 bottles since my high school drinking days.  Although I am currently in a state where I can not add a shot or two of vodka, I would highly recommend it to those who can!

 The strawberry lemonade recipe is from Heather at Heather's dish, a blog which I have been reading for years.  I followed her recipe exactly.  The watermelon lemonade I found on Pinterest from a blog called Joylicious (she has the most beautiful pictures!) but I made a few changes to make it more like Heather's recipe.  Rather than zesting and juicing lemons, I just added one whole lemon to the food processor with the watermelon. 

Enjoy with a ceasar salad with grilled chicken and homemade garlic croutons.  Prefect for a summer evening on the patio!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Main Bathroom Progress

So the main bathroom reno has been progressing pretty slowly but with all things considered (Mr. Loonie's work shift, road trips, delayed delivery times of our orders and our friend's help limited to the weekends), it hasn't been too bad.  Let's first have a look at the old cabinets in the process of being removed.  Note the lovely pink paint, at least the pink walls and blue counter top matched the linoleum the previous owners (or maybe even original owners) chose.

One modification that had to be made was to the second drawer on the left to accommodate the pipes and valves shown in the picture above.  All Mr. Loonie and his dad had to do was shorten the drawer depth.

After the mirror and cabinets were out there was a lot of mudding and sanding to be done. This took quite a bit of time as it always does. 

Some wall repair also had to be done up the stairs from when the shower wall was brought in.  The architects were absolutely brain dead when they designed this house.  We have the most narrowest stair case with the sharpest corners.  We couldn't even get a queen size box spring up the stairs when we moved in, thank god the previous owners left theirs which was probably brought in through a window!

We chose "grilled sardine" by Benjamin Moore's Origin collection available at Crappy Tire.  


Cabinets, bath, sink and counter tops
Lights installed (Martha Stewart Seal Harbor Collection from Home Depot)
Wall painted (sorta)

Left to do: 
  • Sand, mud, prime and paint a few rough spots that were noticed after painting.
  • Fix a few electrical issues
  • Install mirror
  • Install hardware on cabinets (I am thinking something like this)
  • Tile floor
  • Install wainscoting and trim
  • Silicone counter tops, ceiling paint line, baseboards and trim. 
  • Decorate and Accessorize! (the best part)
Feels like it will take forever but it will get done!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confessions and Sunomono Salad

I have to admit I have not been the most disciplined pregnant lady.  While I have not had the obvious like alcohol (besides 1 cooler - it was the first camping trip of the summer!!!) and cigarettes or even raw fish, I have eaten feta cheese, runny eggs and probably too many cups of coffee.  I have also dyed my hair, lifted heavy things and most recently painted the bathroom.  Yikes, just laying it all out there makes me feel just a little guilty. I would never want to harm little Penny and I feel like the choices I've made have not been TOO reckless. Hell, has anyone watched Mad Men, Betty gets wasted all the time and I know way too many ladies who have smoked throughout their pregnancy so my few indulgences should be easily forgivern, right?

My friends and I frequent the Japanese restraunt, Fuji's, in town quite often and since my raw fish days are over for now a Sunomono salad and a yam tempura roll usually hits the spot.  Latley, their serving portion has went from a large soup bowl to the size of a dipping bowl! On a day when I was craving this salad and didn't want to spend 5 bucks on 10 noodles, I thought "Why don't I make my own!" and so I did.

I used this recipe, with some changes which I thought were necessary like more vinegar and sugar, less noodles and a squirt of lemon juice.  I also took out the crab, I just didn't like the thought of it breaking up in the bowl and would rather keep it clean.

Sunomono Salad (my variation)
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 4 tablespoons suagar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 lb cooked shrimp
  • 1/2  cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 200 g of thin rice noodles 
  • 2 green onions, sliced on a sharp diagonal
  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Bring water to a boil and put in noodles, Stir noodles for 3-4 minutes until cooked . Drain the noodles in a colander and cool under running cold water, drain as much water off you can.
  3. Mix cooked cooled noodles, green onions, cucumber, shrimp in a bowl. Pour liquid mixture over noodles. Mix well, cover and refrigerate allowing the flavors to combine (just an hour or two). Serve cold.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Geocaching Sunday - Mother's Day

Sorry for the short break! Mr.Loonie, Stryker and I have been busy.  We drove across the province for Mr. Loonie's grandmother's beautiful memorial.  It was a sad day but we were happy to celebrate her life and visit family from all over the country.  My preggo body couldn't take the hours of sitting involved in the long drive so we broke it up and took our time geocaching! We found 22 caches but didn't find 4, not too bad.  I will do a picture summary of our trip this week. 
The main bathroom reno is still in the works when Mr.Loonie is not working.  The tub, shower wall, counter top, cabinets and sink are in.  Mr. Loonie is on his third and final mud and sanding round so we should be able to paint this week.  An update post will be coming soon.  
The in-laws were in our neck of the woods this weekend.  The father in law helped with the bathroom reno and played his game ;) And the mother in law attended my family baby shower, and kept herself busy as always.  On Sunday Mr. Loonie treated us to Mother's day breakfast, a shoe shopping trip and a nice afternoon geocache (picture above).
I finished work up last Thursday so I am now officially on mat leave!! We are on the 6 week countdown to baby Penny's due date and I feel like I have so much to do. I have made a list and look forward to crossing things of the list but many backyard reading days will be squeezed in there too.  More blogging is definitely on the list so stay tuned!

 - Mrs.Loonie

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Greek Pork

This recipe is courtesy of my Mom's ex-boyfriend, Greg.  Greg was one of those guys who never lost the thick 80's glasses, wavy mullet or crotch hugging 501 Levis.  He smoked like a chimney and drank Club beer.  Who drinks Club, seriously? One time my friend did and she puked in our basement bathroom sink.  The worst part was she didn't clean it up and neither did I.  By the time my Mom used the bathroom,  the puke somehow turned into a dry web of pink fungus that I was able to just peel out (yay to laziness). Come to think of it, Club beer may not have been the only factor in her queasiness, we were smoking butts from the butt can under the kitchen sink.  Oh man, that's nasty...probably not the best story to share right before a delicious recipe.  So back to Greg.....he was a pretty good cook.  He whipped up a bad ass batch of fried green tomatoes and amazing greek ribs.  Today I used the same sauce recipe he used on the ribs but on boneless pork.

Step 1: Mix sauce ingredients (makes enough for 3 pork chops)

1/3 c Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Dry Oregano
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Step 2: BBQ pork until no longer pink and glaze with sauce a couple times on each side.

Step 3: Serve with a quick and easy greek salad.