Film: I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight

It is time to write out the recipe for another cake! This is not actually my cake, it came from some Swedish cultural society website years ago. Which? I don’t know, the recipe was printed out and verbally translated and adapted for me by my friend Anna. I copied it down in my notebook but it is getting rather ragged so it is high time to digitize it. My apologies for plagiarism, my only defence is that with so many other recipes on the web, the three people that visit are probably not here for the taste of Sweden.

Swedish Strawberry Cake

Sponge cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2oo ml sugar
  • 100 ml wheat flour
  • 75 ml potato flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Fillings and decorations:

  • ripe banana mushed with spoonful of sugar
  • frozen strawberries mushed with several spoons of jam
  • whipping cream (beat cream with a few spoonfuls of sugar)
  • fresh strawberries for top off the cake

Grease and sprinkle breadcrumbs in a 26cm diameter form pan. Beat eggs and sugar well. Sift two flours and baking powder together than blend into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in the lower part of the oven at 350F for less than 40 minutes. Let the cake cool down then slice into three layers. Banana mixture goes between bottom two layers. On top of the second layer spread strawberries with jam than some whipped cream over it. Put the top layer on then ice the whole cake with whipping cream. Place strawberries on top of the cake like they are little gnomes (this is very important).

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Archive photo – don’t cut the strawberries, I just got a little deconstructive there

Film: The White Tiger

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Kinzel Pond

With Bytowne Theatre closing I am going to make an effort to watch new releases that I might have gone to see at the cinema. Art home instead of art house.

Speaking of staying (close to) home, January was all about exploring nearby places. Have you been to Kinzel Pond? It is beautiful! I have been mountain biking on the paths. I keep getting lost but I hope to learn all the turns by the summer.

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Extra room to fight!

The golf course has been the place to be this winter though. People have made skating mazes on the ponds, climbing structures out of snow and ski jumps in the sand pits. There are a lot of skiers so set tracks are a given. I sometimes wish for machine groomed trail, but that would be just too much!

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Cold, clear, sun filled day

Often, as I ski, I think how much the golf course these days reminds me of Maksimir, the large urban park in my old Zagreb neighbourhood. It is not really anything but it is not nothing either. Some sort of green mirage in the middle of a busy town. The picture above reminds me so much of this one.

Onward

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2020

This was a difficult year in so many ways but I think it is important to remember good things that came out of it. The life slowed down and we were able to spend a lot (a lot!) of time with the family.  Chris did away with the brutal commute and while I will be happy to go back to the office daily, I would be lying if I did not admit to enjoying the charms of working from home.

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Homework club

When I first heard of the social distancing concept I was shocked, but, in the end, I was probably just as social as I am any year. We moved our knit night online and I don’t think we missed a single week since March which wasn’t the case when we had to make sure the kids are taken care of before we went off to whomever was available to host at that moment. 

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Trev took up photography

Once we figured out how to do socially distant walks, bike rides and backyard visits, things were so much easier. For a nature loving introvert this was no problem. When I remember how lonely I was when we first moved to Canada and letters took days, or even weeks, to reach friends I can’t even being to complain. I did spend a lot more time biking on my own but I used the opportunity to explore new routes and set little challenges. I put on about 3000km on the single speed bike. 

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New kitchen

The complete kitchen reno took a lot of our attention this summer. I am still painting and renovating the other half of the ground floor, file that under continuous improvement. I even did some gardening and moving things around in the back yard. 

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The ultra domestic bend of the season was perfect for knitting. I completed fifteen different projects this year. In the spirit of doing things “from scratch”, we cut a Christmas tree that grew wild on our front steps. I am so pleased with this tree that I regret not planting an evergreen every year we lived here for future Christmases. 

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I wish you all much happiness in 2021!

Summer 2020

A summer without BBQs, pool parties and campfire singalongs? Somehow we have made it. Lots of time with the boys and lots of outdoors.

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Mini putt and driving ranges were all the rage until Markus got better than Owen.
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Fishing remained popular all summer.
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Trev is now taller than me, a few more millimetres and he will be taler than Chris.
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We went on an epic backcountry trip. Rip in canoe, more portages than you can shake a frog at, deer flies, hornets, leeches but also beautiful lakes, starry skies, happy children and great company.
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Bubbling with friends.
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Brotherhood at its best and worst. Trev makes a lunch for Markus.
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Bike rides and treats are our specialty.
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All the sports are also our specialty.
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There is always something new to discover, like sand dunes in Ottawa!
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Even while enjoying the last long weekend of the summer, we are ready for the fall – check out the new hiking boots!

A few months of staying close to home

And somehow it is summer.

First things first, remember this lady?

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This is where I am thinking “One day I will home school my children”. NOT!!!

That was twenty years ago. I have been living like a grown up for two decades now.

We wrapped up home schooling. Apparently actual schools are going to open up in September.

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One room schoolhouse

Of all the things I thought I would do in my life, home schooling was not on the list. It turned out ok though. There was a lot of yelling, sure, but at the end of the day everyone handed in their assignments. Markus was working with nona which meant on a good day he would finish all work before she showed up so he could get out of doing the lesson. On a bad day they would argue for two hours about having to do twenty minutes of work. Ultimately, his reading improved so I guess it was all worth it.

Owen somehow managed to get behind and had two months of assignments to catch up on. I worked with him a lot on this and I am glad I did. It helped me understand what kind of things he finds hard to do and where he gets frustrated. I kept an eye on Trev as well, but once he got used to doing work from home, he was quite independent.

I also instituted physical ed class and got the boys to bike or take a long walk every day.

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After school team practice at Britannia

They got really good at it to the point they can go get ice-cream at Britannia beach by themselves.

We were not able to have friends over to the house, but some ducks came by for a few weeks.

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Houseguests

Since then we have been busy with home renos. The boys are somewhere between fighting and having the best time with each other. Trev made a list of things he wants to accomplish this summer and one of them is to get Markus to like him.

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Best frenemies

Trevor has been busy creating new things like train layouts and aquarium stands.

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Diarama

I was able to get back into randonneuring after a short break last year.

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Before the brevet

Breathe

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In the lineup for groceries last week.
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Shutdown notwithstanding this was a really easy winter with lots of outdoors fun. We got out for a nice family ski before Quebec separated.
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We are in full biking mode now. Paths are fairly good now but I am worried they will get crowded as warm weather establishes.
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We have been walking a lot.
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There has been a lot of knitting.
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But most of all, we are being clever smartasses. Yes, he is wearing a kilt because pants are so pre-virus.