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Gratitude & Happiness

Winning at Whisking.

W  is for Whist.

As a child, one of the first games I remember playing was Go Fish or Old Maid. It was a fun way to learn how to count and make patterns. Later on, games became fun in a more competitive way. My friends and I would try to prove our intelligence using strategy. In high – school we often spent our lunch hour playing cards. Sometimes it was crazy eights countdown, sometimes president,but the favourite seemed to be hearts, a game similar to Euchre, but that I could never quite understand. At holiday dinners, my cousins tried teaching me how to use bidding in games. Never good at math, I’d become easily confused trying to keep track of suits and tricks and plan my moves. Despite this, I still played and am considered a good sport. Perhaps Whist is the card game I can learn to enjoy.

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Really, That Rare?

R  is for Rarebit.

Here is my attempt at a Welsh Rabbit. Though it looks a little funny, it was delish! ;P

image  image

I remember as a child sitting in front of the television watching Sesame Street after school and nibbling on my favourite snack, grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in ketchup. Our black lab, Trixie, often helped me finish them by licking the crumbs off the plate. Sometimes, she would eat the whole thing in a gulp before I could get to it. I would be left with only a puddle of drool on the plate, distracted as I was by the images and songs on the screen. Dog scolded and another plate later, I would eat the second before she could get at it, faster and often resulting in a stomach ache.  Neither of us could help it. The combination of bread, butter and melted cheddar oozing together with a slight crunch was just that good!

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Queries on Quality Querns.

Q  is for Quern.

One of the things I do in my efforts to eat healthier is to avoid processed and refined grains, such as corn and wheat. In my search to replace these, I have found many interesting variations created from nuts, seeds and gluten free grains. Have you ever heard of coconut flour? Or Teff? Finding grains and products that have not been modified, are sprouted and use the whole grain is important. This is because of the way the other versions break down into sugar and gluten causing illness, irritation, inflammation and difficulty losing weight.  Now, when I think about how our ancestors used to make flour, and how it was probably of a more natural variety, I see why the quern is so valuable.

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Purrrfect Purrsuasion.

P is for Purring.

Yes, I’ll admit I wanted a reason to include my three cats in a post and “P” provided the purrrfect topic. Meet Cannonball ( R.I.P. 1998 – 2013.,) Star, and Squeaky!

Cannon - staring! B-Wcopy - Version 2  Star close up copy - Version 2  Squeaky Attitude copy - Version 2

If you are a pet owner I don’t think I need to explain how they each have their own unique purrrsonality – Cannonball was a baby and a bit of a loner, Star is a spoiled princess and Squeaky has wild cat in him. In return for your care and affection, they offer unconditional love and comfort. Blessed with many years of joy from these three, one of the things I love best about them is cuddle time and purring. There is something so soothing in that sound. 🙂

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O, The Ones Who Are Forgotten.

Ois for Oubliette.

I enjoy reading and watching stories in the fantasy genre, particularly if there is a Medieval aspect to them. There is always the romance, the hero’s challenge and a rescue. Some might say that the dragon is a scary feat for the knight to face, but I can think of something more terrifying. It comes in the form of a dungeon.  Yes, I know when you compare them dragons are all scaly and big and fire breathing, and the dungeon seems like just a far off room. The kind of dungeon I’m referring to, however, is not your friend if you have a fear of tight spaces or being buried alive.

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Nemo’s Nemesis?

N is for Nautilus.

Some of you may have never heard of this amazing undersea animal. For those who have heard the word before, perhaps you only know it from its association in literature as Captain Nemo‘s ship in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, written in 1870 by Jules Verne. Check out this beautiful, relaxing video as an introduction to this unique shelled being.

I have always been fascinated by the continuing spiral pattern found on the inside of this creature’s shell and what it is thought to represent. The myths, legends and symbolism attributed to it never really occurred to me before. As someone who enjoyed playing on the beach and collecting shells, I just enjoyed the nautilus for the tiger striped pattern on the outside and the pearlescent beauty hidden beneath. More intriguing, I think, is that these creatures have been around for over 500 million years!

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Introducing an Interesting Art Form!

I  is for Intaglio.

I remember in elementary school learning about how the Inuit told stories by carving into soapstone. I was fascinated by the figures that came out smooth with hints of green, grey or brown in that beautiful rock. In art class we got to make our own engravings in a bar of Ivory soap. Somehow it wasn’t quite the same, but our hands smelled good after. One of my friend’s grandfathers made beautiful carvings of nature from wood, often of birds and very lifelike.  I have great appreciation for the detail that goes into creating through a sort of recycling, turning one thing into another by etching and picking away until the image reveals itself. I wish I had that talent. For now, I will content myself with learning about the process.

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Hello, What’s That Weird Noise?

His for Hiccups (Hiccoughs.)

Everyone has done it. Perhaps it was after enjoying a large meal and eating too fast. Maybe you got over excited or nervous and started laughing hysterically without pausing for breath. Is there a reason for that odd little squeaky, suction cup – short of breath sound we make? Often difficult to get rid of and a source of great amusement to our friends, there are many myths and folktales surrounding why we do it.  A list at shares some of them:

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(We Are Not) Amused! Or Are We?

A  is for April Fools!

I love reading comics for the inside joke or ‘punchline’ making commentary on today’s society and world.  I’m not one who can come up with a good joke easily or ideas for a prank, but if you ask me to participate, as long as no real harm is done, I will. I remember the pranks we used to play as kids at sleepovers. A popular one was waiting for someone to fall asleep and sticking their hand in cold water or drawing ‘makeup’ on their face with markers. I always tried my hardest not to be the first to slumber. I will try to be a good sport when I’ve been made a ‘fool’ as long as the joke isn’t cruel or disgusting. Fair warning, though, if you do plan to pull a prank on me, I will at some point make an attempt to get you back, and the best part is, you won’t know when it’s coming. 😉

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Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

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