Trippin' on the Hodgepodge

1. Have you done more binge-watching this past year than in 'normal' years? Any plans to break that habit in 2021? Tell us one or two shows you binged last year that you really liked. 

I watch very little tv any more. I am a bit hooked on International House Hunters, but I don't binge-watch it.

2. January 26th is Australia Day. Have you ever visited or lived in Australia? Have you ever tasted Vegemite, and if so what did you think?  Is a trip down under on your bucket list? We answered a question about travel three months ago (the October 21st Hodgepodge), but let's revisit now...where are you when it comes to planning or even imagining travel this year? 
I've never been and it's not on my top places to go. CH & I are hoping to do a big trip this summer. I'll have been vaccinated by then but I'm not sure about CH. He's doing the planning. I'm not telling where we're hoping to go, but guesses are welcome! We will take a vehicle and we plan on being gone about 3 weeks. Any guesses?

3. Something that zaps your energy? Something that energizes you?
I'm going with cold rainy days. Those are the days I'd love to just stay in bed under the covers! Or people who just have to have drama. 
Being around people who share my faith energizes me. It might sound cliche, but there you have it!

4. On a scale of 1-10 what are your eating habits like these days? (1=all junk food all the time and 10= juicing every green thing in the frig) Healthiest meal you've eaten in the last week or so? 
Juicing??? EEEEWWWWW. Right now my eating habits are a 9. If Joyce hadn't mentioned the whole juicing thing it would've been a 10! I mentioned in this post that I've had to have a major diet change. So this was a good time to have that question asked!
I fixed chicken breasts in the air fryer and ate mine on a bed of salad Monday night. CH had mac & cheese...I skipped that and went healthy.

5. What's your most often 'Back in my day....' thing to say? 
That's not typically something I say so I'm drawing a blank on this one. I did think the other day about how most everything used to be closed on Sundays. I remember my daddy taking it easy on that day. After Mass, he'd sit in his chair with the big ol' Sunday paper. Sometimes he'd turn on the record player, but sometimes he just read without any background noise (except for us kids). Now people use it for a "catch up" day.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
Last Sunday, OS & his girlfriend came over for brunch. They live about 15 minutes away from us so we see them every now and then. Since there were 6 of us (CH & I, OS & R, YS & N-his girlfriend) we ate at the bigger table in the dining room. We had a good time but missed MS being there. OS called later & thanked me for brunch; we need to do it more often for sure. I made the individual crustless quiche that I made for Christmas brunch, but I made them in the oven. They turned out pretty well. 
Just in case you missed it:
I posted another installment of our trip to the Canadian Maritimes on Monday. We saw so much that writing a post takes quite a bit of time! 

The Great Adventure of 2019: Halifax

 After we left PEI, we discussed driving up through Cape Breton because I hadn't seen a moose, and my days of seeing one were definitely numbered since there are no moose to speak of in the area of Nova Scotia we were going to. Due to the amount of driving CH had already done and the amount left ahead, we decided to save it for another trip. Our original plan had been to travel to the Magdalene Islands, but we decided we were being overzealous with our plan for my initial Canadian trip. Next time...or maybe the next!

Anyway...our destination was Dartmouth, which is just across the harbor from Halifax. We stayed in an Airbnb for the first time. The condo was right on the harbor and the pictures promised wonderful views. They were but you just had to get in the correct direction to see it. 
harbor with industrial area in background
Not exactly the view we were expecting from the windows at the Airbnb
This condo was nice and modern but came with quite a bit of rules. We weren't very comfortable because we were afraid we would break one of them and get charged! Plus, we were under the impression that the host would be there at night so we kept our bedroom door closed. NS was under a "heatwave" (meaning it was around 70 degrees) and the windows were very small...we weren't sure if we were allowed to open them, so it was quite warm that first night. In fairness, when I contacted the host to see about the air conditioner, he came by during the day while we were out and turned it on for us.
Modern kitchen with white cabinets
modern living room with windows along wall
One night we decided to turn in early and maybe sit and watch a movie. (We're party animals like that!) The problem we had was the tv was a Roku and we aren't familiar with it. We couldn't figure out how to turn it on to watch it and there were no directions. So, we weren't even sure we were allowed to use it.

When we pulled up to park, the area looked a little sketchy. CH wasn't sure about leaving the truck there, but we were assured that it was safe. There was parking behind the building but the truck has a rack on the top and had our tent, so CH wasn't sure if he would be able to clear the deck if we parked in the parking garage. It turned out alright, though. 
View of Halifax Harbor
View of Halifax Harbor from Dartmouth
Our first order of business was finding dinner. We found a place that reminded us of a neighborhood pizza joint that may be found in NYC. It is obviously family-owned, and it was so cool to see people pop in and hear the conversations between the employees and customers. Definitely a neighborhood atmosphere! The pizza was absolutely wonderful as well. So if you find yourself in Dartmouth and want pizza, remember The Hungry Hut!

Just across the street from The Hungry Hut is a bit of history: a huge sculpture of a school chair in front of a brick building. The building is/was called "Greenvale School". Built in 1915, it survived the Explosion of 1917 and served as an infirmary, morgue, and a "place of refuge" by those who found themselves homeless following the explosion. Canada's first Kindergarten was in this building; it eventually became a high school but then was reverted back to an elementary school. Most structures at the time when it was built were made from wood, so this building was a diversion from the traditional buildings in the area. It is now a residential building.
Aluminum sculpture of a school desk and eraser in front of a brick building
Picture of a red brick building with white portico
Since it was Sunday, next on the agenda was Mass. I've been to Mass in 3 other countries (besides the USA): England, Ireland, and Denmark. Even though this Mass was in English, a few of the responses were a little different. We found a church that is just down the street from where we ate dinner: St. Peter's. It is the 2nd oldest Catholic Church in the Halifax-Dartmouth area. 
Red brick church tower
The next day we hit the ground running. We found our way to catch the harbor taxi after a short walk through a park. Apparently, this is the main commute for a lot of people who live in Dartmouth but work across the harbor. Usually, when we visit a city, we'll take the hop-on/hop-off bus so we can learn some of the history of where we are. We also use it as a form of transportation. In addition, we also took the Harbour Hopper tour. This not only took us on a land tour but also did a tour from the harbor.
Amphibious bus in Halifax
Here's my tip: Skip the Hop-on/Hop-off and only do the Harbour Hopper. The land bus stops running around 3:00 in the afternoon, so we found that we were going to be stranded someplace if we didn't leave then. In 2019 Halifax did not have Lyft or Uber so we would have had to take a taxi to get back to the harbor taxi.

Okay, back to Halifax! The big draw history-wise is the Explosion of 1917, The Citadel, and the Titanic. The architecture was beautiful, and the reflections on the glass buildings made for some great pictures.
reflection of Canadian flag in a glass building
Reflection of clouds in a glass building in the Halifax Harbour
Reflection of Halifax building in Halifax Harbour
We timed our visit to Halifax just right: We were able to tour the Government House and watch the changing of the guards. This is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Royals who have been in residence here include King Edward VII (when he was Prince of Wales), King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Princes Andrew, Edward, and Charles (along with Princess Diana). With the exception of Queen Elizabeth II, all of the kings and queens were Princes and Princesses when they were in residence. Visiting dignitaries and members of the Canadian Royal Family stay here while visiting Halifax.
We considered this quite a find, as we were just walking by the residence and saw the banner announcing free tours. We thought it was sad that there were no lines and only a few other people were in our tour group. It was a wonderful tour and very insightful. 
Picture of the Government House in Halifax
Picture of the staircase in the Government House in Halifax
Parlor in the Halifax Government House with bust of Queen Elizabeth II in the corner
Another place of interest is St. Mary's Basilica. The tallest granite spire in North America can be found on the building. 
The altar in the Basilica
During the Explosion, the stained glass windows were shattered, then snow damaged the murals. White paint covered the murals, and when we were there you could see the scaffolding where attempts were being made to chip away the paint to uncover the murals.
Close up of the ceiling of the altar
Always look up in a church!
And always look at the choir loft!
Holy Door from the Year of Mercy-2015. The Holy Door during Jubilee Years is a door "for the purposes of the jubilee year to accommodate its parishioners who do not intend to visit Rome for the occasion. "
Stained glass window in the Basilica
Since CH has a military background, we visited The Citadel. Set high on a hilltop overlooking the city, the views were fantastic. The Halifax Town Clock is predominant, with clocks on all 4 sides so that the soldiers had no excuse for not knowing what time it was.
The tower was built in 1803
The present-day Citadel houses the Halifax Army Museum
The Citadel had the purpose of defending Halifax from attacks from the USA
Re-enactors are staged throughout the property
Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend as much time as CH would have liked since we had to catch the bus. It would be worth spending more than just a couple of hours there. 

While looking at things of interest in Halifax, CH discovered the library. Yes, the library. Take a look at this picture and you'll see why:
The building is designed to look like a stack of books
The library incorporates many energy and water saving design features such as rainwater harvesting for flushing water, computerized building management, use of local species in landscape design, and automatic lighting control.
The staircase is a main feature inside. 
While we were in an elevator, a woman stepped inside with us and must have heard us say something because she immediately identified us as being from the USA. (Must've been the southern accents, which were commented-positively-on throughout our trip.) She immediately wanted to talk politics. I haven't traveled outside of the USA extensively, but this is the only time I've had a stranger be bold enough to ask my political views or views on the President. Whether or not I like him or have strong opinions, I know that when I'm not in my own country to keep my views to myself. (I'm not going to get on my soapbox about people from the USA dissin' the government or the President-whoever he happens to be- when visiting another country...that has to be another post!) She tried to engage me, so I was relieved when the door opened and we could get out of there. I think I was partly in shock that a stranger had the gall to drill me.

Okay, back to the trip. Here are some other cool things we saw in Halifax.
Cool architecture:
I have no idea where or what this building is. I just think round buildings are cool. 
Halifax Provincial Court
Celtic cross grave
The Halifax Public Gardens was a nice place to relax and just stroll. It was amazingly quiet, especially since it's located right in the middle of Halifax (I think!).
The gate to the gardens
The bandstand
A model of the Titanic
The Old Burying Ground is as old as the settlement of Halifax. The sign indicates that the cemetery had 1200 gravesites for 12,000 people. 
The Sebastopol Monument is the 4th oldest war monument in Canada and the only monument to the Crimean War in North America. It is located at the Old Burying Ground.

We scheduled 2 days to be in Halifax, but after the day touring (we did all of the above in 1 day) we decided we'd seen enough. Since we had been on the go the whole time since we left our house, we decided to take the next day easy and explore Dartmouth. We were very pleasantly surprised! You won't want to miss my next post!

Planning Out the Hodgepodge

Time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge! Answer the questions, link up with Joyce, and then visit some friends to read their answers!
 1. What's something we'd find you doing most afternoons?
 Walking GurlDogg…every day. Rain, snow, or shine; in the heat or cold. You’ll find us in the park
Wet dog walking on a leash on a sidewalk with puddles
2. Who do you take after? In what way(s)? 

I find that I’m taking a lot after my mom, especially the older I get. My mom started her day in prayer, which I have been doing for the past few years. I’m involved in the music ministry at church - she was the organist for 40 years. I catch myself saying things my mom did or reacting to things like she would have done. I caught a glimpse of myself on the computer one day and had to do a double-take. I think I look like a mix of both of my parents, but sometimes I really see my mom in myself.


3. 'After every storm comes a rainbow' or 'the calm before the storm'...which phrase do you relate to more right now? Tell us why? 

After every storm comes a rainbow. Aren’t we all living in a storm right now? But I know that there’s a rainbow to come. “Faith over fear”


4. What are your plans for the day after tomorrow? 

First work, then walk GD (see #1), cook supper, and then a Zoom bible study. I have met some incredible women through this study this year, and have gotten to know a few women better. It is amazing to walk through this journey with them. Even though we can’t meet in person, it’s wonderful to have that hour with them; to learn from them, and to share our faith. An hour really isn’t enough time, though. There’s so much to say and so much to hear!

5. Complete this sentence-"After all is said and done_____________________."

I have to look at what is really important in my life and do what is best for me and my family. I have to look at where I’m spending my time and if that will make a difference. Because of that, I’m pretty much off of FB now and am limiting IG time. It’s just not worth it. Comparing myself to other people and getting all stressed about what I think I should be doing (because of comparisons)…it isn’t worth it.


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Does anyone else have a problem with parking space possession? We don't have assigned parking spaces at school, but I've been parking in the same spot for years. I park there so my door won't get banged up by other cars. Yesterday I drove in and someone was in my spot! I asked the secretary if she knew whose car it was, and the principal said she thought I got a new car...because that's my spot! I haven't figured it out yet!


From My Kitchen: January 2021

 picture of a kitchen with words "from my kitchen"
I get tired of making the same thing for supper week after week. I was actually diagnosed with Diabetes a few years ago but was in denial until last June when my A1C was high and my then-doctor prescribed another medication. I took 2 doses and after my sugar bottomed out, I stopped taking it and promptly changed doctors. As a result, I've dropped 40 pounds but more importantly, my A1C dropped 1.6 and is now considered within normal limits (with continued medication). Finding good healthy recipes that we actually like is a bit of a challenge.

I tried a couple of new recipes this month. I found both of them through Six Sisters Stuff; they rarely steer me wrong.

CH really likes Taco Pizza but the only place we have found that has a good one is Pizza Inn. When we were on our way to Canada, the place we stopped for the night had a Pizza Inn close by so we had that for supper. It wasn't exactly the way we remembered it, but it was good. When I saw this recipe for Easy Flatbread Mexican Pizza, I had to try it. 
Flatbread Mexican pizza on a blue plate
Overall, CH & YS liked it. I used Mama Mary's flatbread crust, and I wasn't crazy about the taste. It was quick and easy. I'll definitely keep this one. Keeping my exchanges in mind, I only ate half of one. Since the flatbread is thin and was the only carb, I just watched how much I ate. Half was more than enough!
What I'll change:
  • 2 taco seasoning packets instead of 1. It didn't have a lot of taco taste. 
  • Use a thin crust or make my own. Six Sisters suggest this flatbread recipe, but if you want to make 4, the recipe would have to be doubled.
  • Use a chipotle ranch dressing instead of the salsa/sour cream combination. Or, if using the combination, only use half of the sour cream indicated.
The other new recipe was Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage and Vegetables. Another super easy recipe that was declared a success by CH & YS.

Chicken and apple sausages, onions, zucchini, potatoes, carrots

I used Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage and we were pleased with the taste. I only used half of the carrots the recipe called for because they aren't my favorite. But...they still had a little bit of crunch to them after being baked so they were okay. 

What I'll do differently next time:
  • Mix everything together in a bowl and then transfer it to a pan. It was really hard to mix everything on the sheet, and I ended up tearing the foil. 
  • Double the was that good!
  • Possibly add fresh mushrooms
What recipes have you tried this month that are "keepers"?

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