Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Diet Rules

Come on, do I really need to explain why am I talking about it today? Well, with just another day to survive I love to comfort myself with these rules sent to me by my friend Chloé a long time ago. I can't help but laugh each time when reading them and that's a good thing because laughing burns calories, lol.

Here are the new diet rules:

1. If you eat something, but no one else sees you eat it, it has no calories.

2. When drinking a diet soda while eating a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are canceled by the diet soda.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count as long as you don't eat more than they do.

4. Foods used for medicinal purposes never count. ex. hot chocolate, brandy, toast, Sara Lee cheesecake...

5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.

6. Movie-related foods do not have calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel. ex. milk duds, buttered popcorn, junior mints and Tootsie Rolls.

7. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking the cookie causes calorie leakage.

8. Late-night snacks have no calories. The refrigerator light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter.

9. If you are in the process of preparing something, food licked off knives and spoons have no calories. ex. peanut butter on a knife, ice cream on a spoon.

10. Food of the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are spinach and pistachio ice cream, mushrooms and white chocolate. Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year !

At the end of this year, I would like to wish all of you, and especially all of you bloggers out there who inspire me, a wonderful holiday season!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Selma's Gingerbread House

While I was still in Germany in the beginning of December, my sister's 11 year old daughter Selma wanted us to make and decorate a Gingerbread House. She pulled out a box from the kitchen cupboard containing a basic kit for such a house. She wanted it to be colorful, with plenty of decorations, unique and of course the most beautiful Gingerbread House ever. When I was little I was not allowed to do such fun and lovely things so I accepted the proposition readily. We then explored together the kitchen for the existing edible decorations and Selma taught that we didn't have nearly enough stuff so she sent her father to the supermarket with a very precise instructions. Assembling the walls with the hot melted sugar wasn't as easy as I imagined but we made it after several little mishaps. The decoration was entirely Selma's idea - I was only there to help her.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the Christmas tree was my humble contribution. I made it out of Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts) and Smarties, all glued together with Nutella. Isn't it adorable?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

White Christmas in Quebec

One thing is guaranteed in Quebec: we are going to have white Christmas for sure! If you are dreaming of a white Christmas this year, you may want to consider spending a day, or even a couple of days in Quebec City. Even if I'm not really a fan of a cold and long winter, I must admit that the time before and around Christmas in Quebec City area is magically beautiful. The snow is white and crisp, covering everything like icing sugar over the cake. In the evening, with all the decorations and lights, it glistens and glows like a billions of little diamonds covering the city. It pays to get out and to brave the cold, marching slowly and listening to your steps making a crunchy noise in the snow, gasping for breath in the cold air and getting rosy, healthy glowing cheeks. You may have winter and snow in your country and in your city - but the experience of the winter in Quebec is rather unique.
Today we had a very cold day, around -20°C (-4°F) so I finally preferred to stay at home and dig out the pictures from last winter. Those pictures were taken during a stroll in the Domaine de Maizerets parc.

Here is a little description of the atmosphere in the city that I found on the Internet:

Click on the picture to go to the web page.

Sounds wonderfull! And it's true! I'm really lucky to live here...


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Salvation Art

I had an opportunity, completely involuntarily and independently of my will, to build and rebuild what is going to be my home three times in my life. And when I'm talking about building a home, I'm not talking about building a fancy house with an architect and a designer on my side. I'm talking about building a feeling of home after having lost it once for historical reasons and another time for political reasons. I promise I'll explain it all to you one day when I'm ready.
My first home was a very humble rental, I can remember exactly how it was furnished and decorated, but at that time it didn't matter at all. What did matter was that I was madly in love with my husband and so over happy to live with him under one roof after four years of being together. Then we had our first child and two years later our second. I still remember how impatient I was to fill that fourth chair around our little table.
Our happiness was brutally interrupted by an (now) historical event in 1992 and we were forced to leave our home with nothing but our lives - yes, we were lucky.
Then we were installed in Germany for six and a half years, working hard to build from scratch a sense of home for children, to protect them and to give them them a happy life. Tragically, for the political reasons this time, in 1998 we were not allowed to stay in Germany any longer  and we were forced to search for a new country to call home.
Since 1998, we have been living in Canada. It wasn't easy at all, starting a new life from scratch again, learning a new language, a new culture, having to acclimate to the new weather conditions. But from the first day on, I continued to dream about building a home for my little family, I wanted my children to be able to play in their own yard. We started by learning a language first (French, imagine!) then finding a job and saving every penny in order to realize our dream. It took us six years, many sleepless nights and lots of tears to get there. I didn't know we could be so strong...
A hell of an introduction for what I was going to show you today! I can't change it, it's my life...
I thought often about things that make me, make us feel home. Each time when I was confronted with an empty space, aside from getting the basic furniture, I went and bought large plants and art for our walls. This two elements gave me instantly the feeling that I was already there for a long time.
Arriving in Quebec, Canada, I discovered the Salvation Army shops and, to my surprise, I was able to find many original paintings and prints for a couple of dollars only! And so I started my Salvation Art collection that didn't stop to grow since.

This was my first one. It's an original print named "Flammes" ('Flames' in English), 4/5 prints signed by an artist named Marc Martel in 1972. I really liked it so I readily payed 19$ for it even if the glass was broken.

I still like it very much. It hangs in my dining room with two other pieces. I'll continue to present you the rest of my Salvation Art originals collection. Many of the pieces that I found are made by renowned artists and are worth much, much more than I payed for them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Color Escape Neutral

Decorating with the Color Neutral?  I'm the first to tell you not to live in a beige painted house!  Strictly taken, there is no neutral color. Colors called neutral such as beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray and white appear to be without color. But don't be fooled, not only they reflect back the colors around them and enhance bold contrasts, they also have a color hue for them selfs. Neutral colors from taupe, ivory, bone, vanilla, through khaki and mushroom, to sepia and espresso can be used to wonderful effect. If you're not very confident with color, then using beige as the background interior design color for your room is safe. Then you can experiment with smaller items with accent colors which can be changed whenever you want. That's exactly what I'm going to do with my bedroom very soon.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Very sad news - follow up

I write this post from Munich, Germany. Sorry, but I wasn't able to talk about what happened until today. My younger sister had a car accident and she was very badly  injured. She was immediately operated upon arrival at the hospital and again several hours later. However, her state went from bad to worse and she never regained consciousness. Her injuries were so bad that finally there was no medical miracle to save her. We lost her suddenly and in a brutal way, at the age of 46. She left two young children and her loving husband.

Time is the only ting that can make us accept this terrible loss.

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