Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Post snapshots on a sunny Canada Day

Greetings from The Humble Bungalow.

Before you read much more be warned that The Hostess is feeling a wee bit GRUMPY
you may even want to click away and go read another blog and I don't blame you at all...

Look away from the computer screen...

Last Sunday two hornets stung me on my right hand...
Mr. HB drove me to the clinic as the swelling was immediate and then the redness starting going up my arm almost to my elbow.

Three days later I am still  puffed up like a balloon.
Itchy, hot and the worst thing is that I need to take antihistamines to try to control the reaction.

I've iced it and put a soothing salve to help calm the itch 
but I don't feel much like doing anything else...

So instead of gardening today I took some pictures to share with you.

Our birdbath has seen better days
the concrete is falling apart so we popped a flat pottery dish on top to keep the water in
the birds are very thirsty and I am trying to do my bit so I have a few spots where they can drink.

Some annuals for instant colour to perk up the patio extension...

The Garden Shed
we have left the grass to go brown as we are very aware of the water situation
 and with this drought we all need to do our best to conserve.

"Grampa's Peas" are ready.
We'll have to pick a bag and deliver them to Isla and Henry so they can taste garden fresh peas.

fragrant sweet peas 

Abraham Darby, a David Austin Rose


Hosta ~ White Astilbe ~ Bleeding Heart

the name of this plant escapes me...
I have a foggy brain with these antihistamines...

I'm so grateful 
that the exterminator was able to stop by and take care of the hornets nest 
 he had to gear up in a white suit, mask and a hat with mesh netting.

He needed to cut away some of the clematis as the nest was secured to the fence behind many many branches.
He sprayed the nest and then knocked it down before sealing it in a bag and taking it away.
I hope they don't decide to rebuild...
my little vintage French chair and table are right beside the fence just a few meters away...
we want to feel safe when we are outside in the garden and I certainly don't want the grand children getting stung.

Here's my new weapon for wasps and hornets...
and now that the pity party is over 
I'd like to share with you a blogger who will confirm that the attitude of gratitude is alive and well...
meet Ellie who lives in Paris and has serious health issues (ALS) but it does not prevent her from living life to the fullest.
Go and visit her blog and say hi...
you'll be amazed by her strength and creativity.

I challenge you to share random acts of kindness...
I'd love it if you could report back on the things that you did....
I think we can all benefit and be inspired to make our communities a better place to live one random act at a time.

Happy Canada Day!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Busy as Bees and a nasty Stinger!

It was a really hot weekend and Mr. HB and I spent most of it in our Humble Bungalow Garden.
We have some projects on the go and Mr. HB finished installing the railings on the front stairs...a project that he started while I was away in Paris. Besides weeding and deadheading the roses I have been wielding a paintbrush!

He will be painting the porch and treads one day this coming week as it was far too hot to do it today.
He has done a fine job and I am so grateful to be married to such a clever and handy man.
Thank you sweetheart!
I painted the planter on the porch black and bought some flowers to fill it.

They are bright and cheerful.

I made this fresh tomato and mint salad with balsamic cream...
Summertime and salads ~ so tasty and WW Friendly!

I know I have shown you Jude the Obscure  in our Humble Bungalow Garden many many times 
but for me this rose never gets old...

The Calla Lilies are amazing this year.
We have three big Callas in the front garden and one in the back.

Dusty Miller is in flower and I only grow it because I like to put it into flower arrangements.
The grey/silver foliage is a fabulous filler and looks wonderful with roses!

The Romneya Coulteri
aka the fried egg plant is looking so pretty.

The petals are very paper like and dainty.

It's a stunner.

and it thrives in poor soil...even gravel and sand.
Once you get it established it will be a star performer.

It's been a real scorcher of a weekend and we are all tried to stay cool...
some of us have fur coats which makes it much harder 
Mr. HB has been guzzling Gatorade while working outside and I have sipped several bottles of Perrier.

I phoned and checked on Mother 
just to make sure that she was keeping hydrated 
seniors are at high risk for heat issues
and she walks most afternoons

fortunately she was home with the fans on, sipping a cool beverage and reading a book
she postponed her walk due to the high heat.

I did not go for my walk either as I was in the garden all day.
Lots of weeding and dead heading was done...
and I painted the French vintage metal table and chair black!

Here's a sneak peek of our patio extension with the freshly painted table and chair.
I'm going to get some black pots and fill them with pretty annuals and place them at the edge of the space...
I can see myself sitting here with my book and a cup of tea or a glass of Perrier.

I got stung twice by a  hornet...
I don't remember having such a nasty bite and I had an allergic reaction.
My wrist got really red and swollen in no time flat
Mr. HB zipped off to our local pharmacy to buy some antihistamine.
It made me very drowsy...

Our Birthday dinner went ahead as normal...
On the menu:
maple syrup ~ ginger ~ soy glazed salmon
tabbouleh salad
spinach strawberry salad
roasted veggies
garlic bread
chocolate cake

I over cooked the roasted veggies and spilled half the salad dressing...
I blame it on the effects of the drugs!

We had a lovely evening and the grandchildren were a delight.
It's my favourite thing...getting together as a family.

Hope your week is off to a great start.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Watching my Weight...the UPS and downs.

Maintaining the Weight Watchers goal weight has proved to be a challenge...
my weight is on an upswing and I am not happy about it at all.

My weight fluctuates a bit each time I step on the might be the time of day or what I'm wearing or if I have just eaten a big meal or skipped a walk.
I weigh myself regularly and I try to be mindful about what I drink and eat.
I need to be accountable to ensure that my weight does not get out of control.
Weight Watchers helps to keep me motivated...and it's discipline that helps me stay on track.

Since returning from Paris I have neglected to go to a meeting or to weigh in....

Life is full of tasty temptations!
I don't like to be too obsessive and avoid everything that is offered to me.

I need to remind myself of the rules.

There are many strategies that come in handy when dining out.
~ choosing low point foods during the day so a splurge at dinner time is within the WW range
~ eating a small snack to ward off hunger pangs when you know that dinner out will be late
 it's difficult avoiding the bread baskets when you are ravenous!
~ you may even amp up your exercise in anticipation of a colossal caloric encounter
~ order dessert and share it...take a few bites and savour the flavour
~ my husband often orders fries which I LOVE so I'll sample a few of his instead of ordering my own
~ develop a love for colourful salads and add some lean protein on the side
~ ask to have the dressing served on the side
~ if you know where you are going to be dining go online and check to see if their menu has          nutritional information on their website so that you can determine which options would be best
~ opt for baked, broiled or grilled over battered and deep fried foods
~ put your knife and fork down often and chat over dinner
~ avoid over eating...take home leftovers for lunch the next day
~ if you really want to indulge, do so and then get right back on track the next day!

I try to eat simple and healthy meals.

Island grown strawberries and plain yogurt.

To start my day I often opt for fresh fruit and yogurt.
Danone make a low point count one with Stevia as the sweetener...
Weight Watchers logo and point count is stamped on the tub.

Silver Hills Little Big Bread makes a great WW friendly base for a sandwich.

I have loaded this bread with grainy Dijon mustard, a slice of cheese, lettuce and pickle slices.
Some days I opt for tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts and slices of lean chicken or turkey.
I find these sandwiches satisfy and I rarely feel hungry before dinner time.

On days when I do experience hunger pangs I will snack on an apple with two wedges of Laughing Cow low fat cheese or a few carrots and celery sticks with a couple of tablespoons of hummus.

Dinner usually consists of lean meat, vegetables and a salad.

I rarely eat potato chips or other salty snacks.
Cookies and cakes are a rare treat.
Chocolate, however, is eaten in moderation and enjoyed immensely!

One thing that keeps me on track are my walks.
Walking = exercise.
We live so close to the ocean and the scenery is beautiful 
so it makes my job of getting out the door and "just doing it" much easier.

Walking with a friend or my spouse is enjoyable as we chat while we walk.
When I am on my own I seek out the beautiful details along the way.

Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy.
The rewards ARE worth the effort.
Less hip and joint pain have been an unexpected bonus.
I feel more confident in my appearance and my doctor and I are both happy that I no longer require high blood pressure medication.

I could not have lost the 30 + pounds if I had not taken a leap and joined Weight Watchers.
I went alone because no one I knew was interested in going...
most of my friends are slim and trim and keep active and are fit.

I met a wonderful and supportive group of women leaders and "losers" and we all attended the meetings with the same goals in mind.

If you are struggling while trying to lose weight on your own and need some help
 I'd suggest you attend one of the WW meetings...
you'll find out how easy the program is and the only thing you need to do is follow the rules...
and in time you'll succeed.
It took me the better part of a year to get to my weight goal.

It's time for me to get on track again and go back!

"Anything worth doing is worth doing well."

~ Hunter S Thompson ~

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Sounds of Silence on a Sunny Wednesday Morning.

it's so quiet...
So quiet that I can hear my breathing and the beating of my heart.
Days with no breeze or wind are rare in our's because the ocean is nearby.

 I tip toe outside...
the warmth and light of the summer sunshine
on my back.

our deck is bathed in sunlight
one of  summer's gifts

shadows come out to play 

The garden is a chaotic riot of greenery
the side yard has been taken over by Lady's Mantle 
it's a massive lime explosion!

our local deer wander by for a nibble here and there
if I left the back gate open perhaps they'd help me out...
dead head a few plants and do some weeding
but if I did I am sure that they'd head straight for my roses!

Jude The Obscure a David Austin Rose
sits out front in our Humble Bungalow Garden
vulnerable to the deer...
a doe and her two babies have been dining here.

One of the stags in our vicinity
and we live fairly close to town
the deer are thriving here in Victoria as there are no predators
(other than man)

urban development has taken over their habitat
forcing them to be resourceful and creative
in a city with so many gardens that offer up a salad bar 
the deer seem quite happy.

the neighbours are building fences
placing nets on their favourite plants
erecting chicken wire barricades

Oak Bay has performed a deer cull and it has been met with a lot of criticism.
There are signs up in the areas where fawns cross the roads... 
"slow down fawn crossing."

It's curious how when we are in a peaceful and quiet setting
 that our thoughts can wander
as we take time to ponder 
life's bigger issues and questions
being in the moment
to live in harmony with nature.

Monday, June 22, 2015

OOTD ~ Washday observations...

It's wash day again here in our Humble Bungalow.
Mondays more frequently are washing, ironing and domestics days...

Club Monaco jeans
Monoprix grey linen Tee
silver necklace from Paris

This inexpensive Parisian necklace gets lots of compliments.

I love white and silver together...
so icy and cool.

Our white orchid is in bloom again..this must be the 4th year that it has re-bloomed.
Orchids, the window sill variety are a great bargain...just a wee bit more than a bouquet and they continue to perform for years. 
I water mine every Monday.

Our grey and black back door rug... from Target.

The Christmas cactus is looking healthy.
It usually blooms twice a year and not always at Christmas!

Mr. HB and I both spent a lazy day on the boat this weekend.
We read our books and the cats snoozed...

I bought a new mat for the galley.

and some new melamine plates designed by Nicole Miller.
Home Sense and Winners are the source of the nautical inspired accents pieces for our boat.



The view from here...

There were many opportunities to reflect...
and honour the memory of our Fathers
both gone but not forgotten...

I'll be starting this book soon...

I want to learn how to make a French omellete...
I need to find a non stick pan first.

The time has come to say adieu

There are linens to launder and cottons to iron...
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