Category Archives: Travel

The scariest day of the year….

Halloween is here! While it may not be the usual Halloween we are used to – perhaps where you are kids are not going out tonight trick or treating. Perhaps they are. Maybe there are families getting together to have little outdoor parties. Whatever way you celebrate – have fun and stay safe!

But there are scarier things about today we should be aware of. Tonight is the first Full Moon/Blue Moon on Halloween since 1944. AND it is also, for some of us, the night that daylight savings time ends. Daylight savings time began on March 8 this year, at the beginning of the scariness of Covid-19. This year has pretty much been a year of scary Halloweens all around! It has been a tumultuous year, and it is not over yet.

The American election happens on Tuesday, and no matter who wins that night, from then until inauguration day in 2021, America is in for 75 days of a lot of social unrest. Let’s hope so many of us who are saying that are wrong. I pray that I am.

In the meantime, let’s look forward to tonight. The excitement, the chocolate!, the costumes that we may see all around us. Let’s make this a night to celebrate the Blue Moon and everything Halloween.

Happy Halloween everyone!

china halloween 2a

I have a dream

Okay so I am a super Abba fan and the two Mamma Mia! movies are two of my favourite movies ever! But I have to say – this song (and video!) has resonated with me for a while, and just recently I sat back and started thinking of just what exactly my dream is.

I know that one of my dreams continues to be teaching English, but until the pandemic either lets up or just goes away (let’s hope for the latter!), that dream is on hold for a while.

In the meantime, my other dream, which has been a constant one since about 2002, has been to own my own catering business, or a cafe. Back in Calgary, I actually did open my first catering company. I did well enough, but I had other dreams blocking it, and one that took precedence (Prague – teaching English – travelling).

Well I am happy to say that I am now pursuing my catering dream full time! I am just in the early stages of it, but I am getting it done and hopefully by January or February 2021, it will be open for business!! My plan is to combine my catering with my Epicure business (which I am just starting) and possibly my Tupperware business. If I could make all three work together, that would be amazing!

In the meantime, I have a dream….. (and please, if you haven’t watched Mamma Mia 2!, WATCH IT! So many great Abba songs and Lily James’ voice is absolutely divine).

These are a few of my favourite things…

The Sound of Music – one of my favourite movies of all time, and this is one of my favourite songs from the movie! I love watching and singing along – I need to go to Salzburg and go on a Sound of Music tour – I will sing and entertain the other tourists HA!

But seriously, a few of my favourite things are walking on a nice cool sunny Autumn day, baking ANYTHING and cooking ANYTHING! I attended culinary school and received my diploma many years ago (2005). With the training I received, I became more aware of what to put in recipes and change them up a bit to my liking. Which brings me to another favourite thing of mine – reading cookbooks! So today – I enjoyed two of my favourite things – a walk on a beautiful Autumn day, and reading a cookbook in the beautiful park by my place.

So what are some of your favourite things to do?

Taco Night!!

I’ve been craving tacos so tonight I picked up the ingredients for guacamole.

Avocado, half of one mashed up with a fork – I like it chunky
One Roma tomato diced up
About 1/4 cup of red onion diced
Cilantro about a tbsp chopped
Sea salt, olive oil

Mix it all together and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

Season the ground beef with your favourite taco seasoning. Layer your shell with chopped lettuce, guacamole, cheese and beef. Sour cream on the side to dip.

Music to make you feel good and sing out loud

I remember the 80s -going out to the clubs – one ironically was called The Library and the college teachers thought it was great that we would go the library (haha) on a Tuesday night! Silly teachers – we went for Ladies Night and free drinks! And of course – the music.

Tonight, I did some reminiscing of my favourite 80s songs, and in particular Van Halen (RIP Eddie Van Halen – you were and still are the greatest guitarist ever!), and so I thought I’d share my favourites, and you can tell me yours!

Van Halen – Jump, Eruption, Panama

Prince – Let’s Go Crazy

Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer

Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (okay so technically this is a 70s song – but it NEVER gets old!)

Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Every single one of these songs gets me singing, sometimes dancing, and always puts me in a better mood!

Memories of my travelling days

I know one day I will be able to get back out into this world and travel. But tonight, it has been a night of looking back at where I’ve gone, what I’ve done and what I miss the most. As a single mom, I was able to take my kids, each alone, on some pretty awesome trips. And of course, my travels on my own. I wanted to share some of my favourite memories from over the years.

My daughter and I had a special memory of going to New York City in 2008. It was one of the first places on my bucket list and was so excited to go!
My son and I did a road trip down to Nashville and some of the southern States in 2009. I love Nashville!
I moved to Calgary in 2011 and one of the highlights in my 3 years there was to go snowshoeing in Banff. Truly amazing views!
My daughter and I headed to Italy in April of 2014, this is Florence.
In 2014, I made a huge move and headed to Prague to get my certificate to teach English. My absolute favourite city in the entire world!! (so far anyway….)
Zizkov, the area that I lived in Prague
After 2 years in Prague, I headed to Changchun China to teach English for a year. While I was not particularly fond of China, these kids took my heart.
The Ice and Snow Festival (biggest in the world) in Harbin, China
Shenyang, China
Before I headed back to Canada from China, I made a 7 week stop in Chile, starting in Santiago
From Santiago, I headed to the ocean, to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
I headed north to La Serena, and then to Antofagasta
I could not visit Chile without heading to the Atacama desert. Pukara de Quitor, just outside of San Pedro
I ended my 7 week adventure in Arica, Chile, on the southern border of Peru. What a perfect place to end my trip to Chile!
In January 2019, after a year and a half of working, I decided I needed a three week vacation and headed to Spain, Morocco and Portugal on a Trafalgar bus tour. Amazing Seville!
Castle in Spain
My travelling buddy Trip came with me to visit the sites in Spain
Costa del Sol
The last trip I went on was to Canada’s Capital city – Ottawa.

I do miss travelling but I know that, soon, I will be heading out for another adventure. I am hoping to get to Turkey and Greece for a few weeks in the next year. These boots have gone through China and Chile – they will be coming with me wherever I head to next!

Seeing this picture, the song “a Horse with No Name” runs through my head – that was the song that they played on our way back to San Pedro after our tour of Valle de la Luna.

Daily Thought – October 1

Welcome to October! My favourite month of the year – there is a chill in the air, the leaves are beautiful and my mood becomes infinitely better than it is at any other time of the year.

This month has started with some strange feelings for me though. I have tried very hard over the past year or so to become more empathetic with people. It has not been easy and has caused many doubts in my mind if I can do that or be more sympathetic. I really like to believe that I am empathetic to all. But sometimes, it’s just too hard. It’s easier to be sympathetic than empathetic at times.

So, at the start of this new month and new season, I am going to be more empathetic. I would hope that others would be the same way as well. Like I said recently, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is what I wish for all of us.

Sympathy is a shared feeling, usually of sorrow, pity or compassion for another person. … Empathy is stronger than sympathy. It is the ability to put yourself in the place of another and understand someone else’s feelings by identifying with them.”

Empathetic vs. Sympathetic vs. Empathic | Grammarly

Shrimp, Mango & Avocado Salad Cups

I was given, by a very lovely lady at my old apartment building, a cookbook called Yum and Yummer, by Greta Podleski, a Canadian author of four very successful healthy eating cookbooks. She and her sister, Janet, created the Looneyspoons cookbooks and I must say they are the BEST cookbooks! Fun to read, exciting pictures of fabulous food and delicious, easy-to-follow recipes for a beginner cook.

I found this recipe and have tried it, but neglected to take my own picture (in reality, her picture looks a lot better than mine would have) and it was so delicious I wanted to share!

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. liquid honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
1/4 tsp. each sea salt and ground pepper
1/8 tsp. each ground cumin and chili powder

1 lb (454 grams) large cooked shrimp, chopped (about 25-30 per pound)
2 medium mangos, cubed
1 large or 2 small avocados, cubed
1 cup peeled, diced English cucumbers
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
2/3 cup green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together all dressing ingredients, refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently to avoid mashing the avocado. Give dressing a quick whisk and add to salad. Mix gently until salad is coated with dressing. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Divide salad among small cups (see photo below) and serve with small spoons. May be served immediately or refrigerated until serving time.

Greta does not recommend using baby shrimp for this recipe. Also, don’t prepare this salad too far ahead of time as avocados tend to turn brown quickly. Fresher is better!

And my own tip – this is great for lunch, and to be honest, I ate it all myself and used a regular plate and a normal sized spoon! I was the only one who liked avocados back home so I had this all to myself! I halved the recipe since I knew it was just for me and it was a perfect sized meal for one !

Photo courtesy of Yum and Yummer, Greta Padleski