Over the weekend I accompanied my cousin to the Toronto Botanical Gardens for a walk. I have been to the gardens a number of times and, while there, have always admired the flowers and the feeling of being surrounded by nature. In one of the flowerbeds in the gardens, we saw a message had been planted to encourage people to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
Not all of my time, however, was spent walking among the pristine gardens. The enjoyable part of the walk is when we pass the streams and untamed parts of the trail.
I love listening to the sound of trickling water and the sound of life near the water. I also enjoy seeing the wild flowers that grow near the edge of the streams.
The sight is really beautiful to behold and always lifts my spirits. Even the steel frames of man-made bridges are made to look beautiful.
Our walk ended as we moved through the controlled gardens once again. The beauty of the flowers may be contained, but they are a sight to behold nonetheless.
I enjoyed our late afternoon walk in the gardens. I am sure that we will go back soon another time.
On Wednesday I went to the hairdresser for a much needed haircut. I was going to wait until mid-August and a few weeks before going back to school. However my hair was getting too long and the weight of it was starting to bother me.
The stylist cut quite a bit of hair from my head – over six months of growth. She layered my hair to make it thinner and lighter – and it feels so much better.
I asked my daughter to snap a quick picture of me – which turned into a lengthy photo shoot as she changed my position a number of times in order to get a photo without shadows on my face.
One of the last photos she took is a perfect picture. I like the background too as it shows the perspective of the city that I see everyday.
A friend of mine has a YouTube channel, Under 300 Calories, on which she posts nutritious recipes. Her most recent post inspired me to follow her instructions and make my own chocolate fruit:
I purchased ripe cherries and baking chocolate as well as fresh strawberries. I decided to take the opportunity to cover some of these berries in chocolate as my daughter does love eating them like this.
My friend melts her chocolate in the microwave but I prefer melting mine in a bain marie on the stove. I feel I have more control over the chocolate this way – and I have less chance of burning it!
I washed my fruit carefully before drying each piece with a paper towel. I decided to take the pits out of the cherries and followed the advice given in the video.
Using the technique described by my friend, I covered the fruit in chocolate. I lay the pieces straight onto the pan as I did not have parchment paper. Next time, though, I will have to purchase a roll as it would make it easier to take the cooled down chocolaty fruit off of the pan.
As expected, the chocolate covered strawberries were a delicious treat after supper. But the cherries were even more so. This is definitely a treat worth taking the time to make – and I will certainly make them again.
My daughters love roti. The few times we ate it while they were growing up, I had bought them from the supermarket – or we had taken an hour bus ride to buy it from the store that sells homemade ones. During the imposed COVID-19 isolation, my husband tried to make some but he did not get it quite right. Now that I am on a school break, I decided that I would try to remember how to make them (before marrying, I used to make them all the time). After checking ratios with my mom, I set about mixing the flour and butter with water to make the dough. After rolling the dough and cutting it into small pieces, I set it aside for a while before frying.
As I rolled out the dough, I tried to remember how hot the plate should be for cooking. I tried different levels until I realised that a medium-high heat is perfect.
I made the balls for the roti small as my frying pan is not large. The small size fit perfectly and I knew that the entire surface would be browned. Once all the roti were cooked, I set them aside and handed the kitchen over to my husband to make the curry.
The chicken curry he made with the right blend of spices was absolutely mouthwatering. And my roti? With some more practice, I will unlock all my memories and make them perfectly flaky. They did taste good, however, and were deliciously soft.
Or dinner last night was perfect even though we didn’t have quite enough roti to eat. Next time I will definitely make more!
Since I made the decision to bake my own biscuits (cookies) instead of buying them, I have spent a few Saturday afternoons in the kitchen. The baked goods that I make are not as sweet as the factory-made ones – and they are definitely more interesting as I attempt to make the biscuits that people I know have shared with me.
This weekend, I attempted to recreate the ones made by a friend of mine. She had explained to me what to do and I tried my best to follow her instructions.
I began with a shortbread base and then, after baking the biscuit for 10 minutes, I covered it with the trial mix my husband buys. Once the base was covered with nuts, raisins, cranberries, and seeds, I poured a can of condensed milk over the covering.
Once the topping had been poured on, I placed the baking tray in the oven for another 10 minutes. The condensed milk bubbled, showing me that it was baked and ready to take out.
I cut the biscuits into small pieces and, when they had cooled, placed them in the mason jar that I have dubbed ‘the biscuit jar’. The treats are now available to anyone who wants something sweet with their tea for the rest of the week.
According to my husband, I haven’t quite got the taste right – it needs to be a little more creamy. I think I need to work on my shortbread mixture and make sure that I have added the right amount of butter to my dough. But that will improve, I think, the more I bake.
This month I could not think of any theme ideas for my journal so I turned to some YouTubers I follow for a little inspiration. I liked the simplicity of using the kiwi fruit as a theme so I put my own spin on it and did not recreate the pages exactly as is shown in the video.
I chose a different quote to the one the YouTuber, Art n Foxes, used because I like linking mine to reading. Reading is one of my favourite things to do and I enjoy linking it to another hobby of mine.
I am pleased with the way the monthly calendar came out: the layout gives a different perspective to what I usually create. I may not be filling the calendar with much this month but at least it looks pretty.
I love my creation of the mood tracker. All those kiwis will look cute, I think, when they are coloured in with different colours – they will definitely give a fun perspective to the tracking!
I tried a dutch door for the first time this month (the videos explains very well how to make one). I like it and I’ll be sure to use one again. I was hesitant at first to make one but now that I have, I can see what fun they are.
My bullet journal this month will be used more as a diary than a planner but I still enjoyed the creation of it.
What theme are you using this month for your journal/planner?
During the COVID-19 isolation period, I spent a lot of time crocheting – I completed one afghan and have almost completed the second. Yesterday my cousin offered to take me to Michaels and do some yarn shopping and I jumped at the chance as I have a couple of projects in mind that I would love to get started on.
Some people may think I am crazy – I came out of the store carrying 34 balls of yarn! But from my perspective I know that I have saved myself a few trips to the craft store. These balls will get me started on my projects even though I know I may need to go back if I haven’t bought enough.
I love the colour combinations I have chosen both for my own blanket and the one I will be crocheting for my cousin.
I have stored the yarn in the box I keep under my bed for that purpose. I look forward to picking up my crochet hook once the heat wave has broken and I am able to get creative once again.
It had been a long while since I had visited my cousin due to the COVID-19 isolation period. As part of my social ‘bubble’, I was able to visit him this past weekend for tea and a chat.
I brought with me some of the biscuits I had baked – a remnant of our childhood as our mothers used to bake these often. As we bit into the shortbread, our taste buds took us back to a time in the past.
We drank Cinnamon Chai Rooibos – another tea that we grew up on. This tea is one of my favourites and I enjoyed sipping the cooling liquid while we chatted about the past and the now.
As we were chatting, the air conditioning unit cooled us a bit. We are currently experiencing a heat wave so we were not keen to sit outside on the balcony.
We did not stop talking for two hours until I had to leave to go home! Seeing a person face-to-face is a much better connection than talking to one another on the phone.
I enjoyed my visit and I am sure we will get together again before the summer is over and I have to get back to my work schedule. The visit buoyed me a bit and I look forward to connecting with others in the upcoming weeks.
One of my favourite things about walking in the neighbourhood is seeing the flowers in everyone’s gardens.
I loved these (name unknown) and enjoyed looking at them every day that I passed by while they were flowering.
The lilac ones, of course, were my preferred colour.
They both looked stunning, however, lining the fence of the sidewalk. The flowers are no longer there and the greenery has taken over. The lush green of the plant has its own beauty, though, to admire.