Planning A Dream Garden

I’m having some fun with the new Garden Sketch App, created as a garden design tool. I’ve been inspired to create a visual wish list for a future landscape that I WILL achieve one day thanks to their #DesignThis contest.  They will be holding a contest each week and this week’s challenge was to include a tiled patio space.

Most of you who know me understand that working outdoors with plants and critters is NOT my calling.  This is why you will see that I have made great use of their customized features to create a largely tiled backyard around a swimming pool! Of course, I couldn’t help but add a zip line over the pool for fun! I also love large trees and since moving to California I’ve been dreaming of having a fruit tree.  Our neighbours here have lemon, orange and avocado trees. Though I do realize that having these trees creates further critter battles as you have to harvest your fruit before the squirrels and birds eat them.  The point is, even a gal like me has ‘garden’ dreams.

I love that the App lets you make notes on top of your designs.  I'm already planning the menu for a dinner under my garden lights!

I love that the App lets you make notes on top of your designs. I’m already planning the menu for a dinner under my garden lights!

After all these years, I have yet to be able to do the entertaining at my house that I always envisioned when I thought of the ideal family life.  Our kids are in high school so we don’t have much time left to make this happen before they move away for college.  Seeing this garden plan in full colour has made me decide to put a plan in action!

Do We Attract What We Are Afraid Of?

It’s no secret that I’ve had an interesting array of experiences with critters, but recently things have gotten a little crazy in the spider department. I’d like to know why they like to visit me so much, and not someone who might happen to love them! I’d also like to know why they have to be so ugly, if they were all as cute as lady bugs they could walk around on my wall anytime.

It started a couple weeks ago when I was just waking up, laying in my bed praying.  I said “Amen.” and then opened my eyes to see a spider repelling from the ceiling right above my face! I rolled out of the way with ninja lightening speed and gathered my nerve to look back.  It was a HUGE daddy long leg and it was just hanging in the air right above where my face would have been, as if it was disappointed it no longer had a face to land on.  I ran to get my husband so he could get rid of it and low and behold, it was still just hanging there when he got back.

After that incident we cleaned our bedroom top to bottom, got rid of any clutter, and filled in any cracks in the wall until I felt it was squeaky clean enough to get over the damage to my mental psyche enough to sleep in there again. When I say sleep, I mean with the sheets pretty much over my face, and definitely covering my ears!

We found a recipe for a home made spider deterrent.  Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water. Spray this along the base of all your walls. The smell is amazing for us, but putrid for spiders!

We found a recipe for a home made spider deterrent. Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water. Spray this along the base of all your walls. The smell is amazing for us, but putrid for spiders!

Now, just the other day when I grabbed a small pile of clothes that were freshly folded out of the laundry and sitting on my bed, I noticed something rising up off of them.  It was a spider!  A spider had been hanging out on top of my clothes and was trying to make a mission impossible exit back to the ceiling! Unfortunately for him, (oh I pray it was a him and not a female who may have laid eggs on my clothes) my ninja reflex skills squished him with a shirt. Unfortunately for me, I am now sleeping on the couch again.

The pillow says it all!

The pillow says it all!

Fruit Skewers

I was quite pleased with myself when I was able to make the teen girls at my son’s birthday party go, ‘Oh my gosh! Those are SO adorable!’  I’d like to give you the same power by sharing this really simple recipe for fruit skewers.

fruit skewers

I think these would also be great sticking out of a summer drink!

All you need is a watermelon, a large carton of raspberries, a large carton of blackberries, a melon baller and a package of wooden skewers.

Wash all of the fruit well and pat dry.  Cut your watermelon in half and make little balls using your melon baller.  This was my first time using one of those so I suspect you’d be able to do an even better job than me as mine were more like half moons…but they were still loved!

Pick up a wooden skewer and slide it through the fruit alternating between watermelon, blackberry, watermelon, raspberry, watermelon, blackberry.

That’s it!!! Keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

2014 CBCmusic.ca Festival Tease: Crystal Shawanda, Hannah Georgas, and Arkells

Funny how so often when you are down in the dumps and needing that reminder that things are okay … that you are okay … you happen upon that song that ever so simply reminds you of just that! As I went to discover more music from the 2014 CBCmusic.ca Festival lineup, that is exactly what I found!  Give it up for …

Crystal Shawanda

Thanks Crystal!  Beautiful Day  was exactly the song I needed after having a rather rough day and emotional week.  Very much looking forward to kicking back on the lawn to more of your music at CBCmusic.ca Festival at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, BC this Saturday!

To all of the rest of you, hailing from Wikwemikong Native Reservation on Canada’s Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Crystal will be bringing a bit Nashville and a whole lot of country to the tantalizing mix of Canadian musicians to heat up the summer at Deer Lake this Saturday. And an honour it is, I must say, as in the past year Crystal not only graced Inauguration Day at the White House with a performance, but also won a Juno for Aboriginal Album of the Year.

Crystal will take to the Courtyard Stage at 2:50 pm.

… and the next artist of the day …

Hannah Georgas

I can’t help but smile fondly when I hear Hannah’s name, as I was first introduced to her music by one of Ahimsa‘s summer students years ago, Bronwyn Malloy.  Bronwyn is friends with Hannah and created this tribute video to Hannah’s song The Beat Stuff  with Alyzee Lakhani for some experimentation they were doing in character storytelling:

… and here is Hannah’s official video of The Beat Stuff …

Very much looking forward to Hannah taking to the Lake Stage at 3:20 pm, as despite to being a VanCity gal and enjoying her music for years, I have yet to see her live!

… following Hannah on the Lake Stage at 4:25 pm …

Arkells

A bit of nostalgia, simply because the Arkells take me back to old haunts like Jackson Square!  And what kind of Canadian gal would I be if I didn’t start the summer off with visions of dancing naked around a fire!?!  Can picture the giant bonfire right now in the back fields of someones’ Ontario farm!

Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

PS Stay tuned for more #CBCMusicFest teases as the week goes on, click here for an earlier tease, and for what to expect of the day read on with: CBCmusic.ca Festival Ignites this Summer at Deer Lake Park

Feisty Fireworks

When I was a child, my parents would always have big parties for the May long weekend, which concluded with a fireworks show put on by my dad and his friend on our front lawn.  It has been at least 20 years since we’ve done that, so on the occasion of my dad’s 70th birthday, my siblings and I decided to surprise him at the end of his party.

We totally set the scene.  We very quickly and with ninja-like finesse moved everyone’s cars and set up lawn chairs in the grass. Our set up got stalled for a few minutes when we opened the box of fireworks and had our minds blown by the size of them!  Some of the names had us muttering ‘What are we doing?!’ … quickly followed by ‘This is going to be epic!’

Not a very long fuse on this one!  Hence the name I think!

Not a very long fuse on this one! Hence the name I think!

We brought everyone outside, with them still not knowing what was going on, and had the kids do a little dancing around to trick my dad into thinking this was going to be something different.  We then brought out the buckets filled with sand and two huge firework rolls sticking out of them ready to go.  My brother surprised us all and blasted a soundtrack he had recorded for the event.

We had never lit fireworks ourselves before, but we remember our dad packed them in sand, so we figured it must look something like this.

We had never lit fireworks ourselves before, but we remember our dad packed them in sand, so we figured it must look something like this.

My dad’s jaw was wide with amazement and we very proudly lit the first fuse, me holding the flashlight, and RAN! Oh man, that fuse was sparkling and moving so fast that I panicked, screamed like a little girl and dropped the flashlight – but kept running like the thing was going to blow, all the while unintentionally kicking the flashlight with every step! I’m proud to say that my sister had my kids on Skype, who couldn’t travel with me, and they saw the whole thing. Yep … I’m going to enjoy getting teased for that one!

Needless to say the fireworks went off beautifully and were massively impressive. I came to enjoy the thrill of even lighting the fuse myself!

Needless to say the fireworks went off beautifully and were massively impressive. I came to enjoy the thrill of even lighting the fuse myself!

We ended up drawing a little crowd, so our audience got bigger just in time for the grand finale.  My brother changed the music to a swelling instrumental he had planned for this moment.  He lit the final fuse and BAM! The first flaming ball (as they were described on the packaging) went high in the sky.  BAM! The second flaming ball went in a rainbow arc.  I heard my brother yell, “It’s tilting! It’s tilting!”  BAM! The next one went completely sideways just missing my cousin’s car. BAM! The next one hit the ground and bounced up onto her car. This was not just one firework, this was a grand finale firework tube with 30 flaming balls set to go off inside!

Everyone was hollering and ducking.  My brother ran up and pulled the tube straight only for it to fling itself the other way instead.  In the process he had to hurdle it as he almost ended up with his own flaming you-know-what’s.  Now the fireworks were blasting straight into the bush and bouncing off the street.  My brother then ripped the tube out of the sand bucket and proceeded to try and butt it out on the street like a cigarette.  Luckily he found a puddle and got the thing to go out.  At that very moment everyone burst out with laughter and I really and truly had to lock my legs so I wouldn’t pee my pants!  I haven’t laughed that hard in years!  Oh, and yes … my kids were still on Skype!

Thought you might like to see the aftermath of the Grave Digger. Looks like something made for war!

Thought you might like to see the aftermath of the Grave Digger. Looks like something made for war!

Home fireworks have come a long way since we were kids.  My dad’s face lit up, just like ours used to when he put on the show for us, making this hands-down, the best birthday present.  Of course, the other take-away from this experience is to always pack the dirt down firmly around your fireworks so they don’t go sideways!