A little bit of Christmas spirit?

It’s not a secret that I find the holiday season very difficult and I am usually in the WORST mood before Xmas. Ugh, I just find it very depressing, phoney and fake and this is partly due to work usually blowing up in my face right before Xmas, and my family being a collection of nutbars…

r/a:t5_scdhm - Dashing through the NO!

But I take steps to combat this!

Chiefly by making things I like to do a priority and giving back to my friends, who have had hard years themselves. I also make sure to take time OFF at Xmas, so I don’t poison everyone around me with my horrible mood, lol. (Plus it’s just easier on my mental health if I am not slowly being ground down by work at the same time, so a win-win).

This year we have already been to one Xmas party and we had a BLAST!! Omg it was so fun- at my husband’s work. We made ornaments, enjoyed amazing food (an entire seacuterie!!) and danced and sang karaoke 🙂

And then last weekend we made and decorated cookies as gifts for my friends and trainers 🙂

So who’s been naughty or nice??

This weekend we got a tree! We also watched the Jon and Roy Christmas revue and it was really good, wow it was LONG lol we didn’t get home until after 11pm on Friday!

I also invited a friend/former colleague out to see Oats and have a pony ride and she came on Saturday and they were so good together, makes my heart proud to see people enjoying my pony too!

A nice day!

Soooo bad mood at Xmas or not, I am trying to make the best of things and I am on the home stretch- 2 DAAAYSSS!!! Let’s do it!

Happy cake day!

I do a lot of long walks now as my legs are injured, and on my walk this weekend I came across a ‘free’ table and it had books, toys, random stuff and this beauty: A horse head cake pan by Wilton!

Check out this beauty

So of course we made a cake!! I love it.

Nailed it! 😉

There and back again

So, I’m back from my holidays. They were much-needed, not necessarily that relaxing (are holidays with family EVER relaxing?) and ended with some car drama, but I’m glad I had the time away from work.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

I needed the perspective, quite frankly.

I also needed some time away from my ‘real life,’ an area that bogs me down in the details so much so that I become enveloped from what is ‘important’ and get stuck on the routine. And I can get obsessive about ‘the routine’ to an unhealthy point.

Colossal gingerbread house

Colossal gingerbread house

But, family was stressful. We did a lot of great things, and I enjoyed good company, great food, and other fun activities. However, I also felt the strain of ‘try hard’ and a bit fakey, ‘let’s cover it up with fun and ignore the festering sadness underneath’ that I can be sensitive to…

Oh well, it’s over. Holidays aren’t always Hallmark-worthy, are they?

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

And when I flew back, my car was making a weird stuttering on the highway and stalled out in a parking lot. I was like, how long has THIS been going on?

The remains of the gingerbread house

The remains of the gingerbread house

An entire week, $1,115 later and I think it’s pretty much back to being road-worthy, but jesus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to me! (GAHHHH!!!!)

And my darling pony has been alternately good and bad my week back. Pissy and kicking out some days, relatively forward and willing others. Pissy yesterday in my lesson with 1 kick out briefly, but was nice to jump (tiny x-rails) and we did some interesting work on straightness and coursework. Felt nice to get back in the saddle, even if my old insecurities came rearing back at me!

Now I am kind of dreading my dressage lessons…If he is pissy and bucky doing my regular work, how on earth will the more-demanding work of dressage go for us?????? I am also trying to break in new boots, ouch they are not feeling super great either.

EEK!!!

To be continued next week….

And I am back at work. Not so glorious either…

Caramel Apple recap post!

A huge success! Friends came over on Halloween and we made caramel apples.

caramel apples

caramel apples

They were great, a recipe for diabetes if there ever was one, haha.

I bought 3 small bags of the Kraft caramels, and we had a variety of garnishes (smarties, teddy grahams, gummi bears, gummi worms, Reese’s, Smarties, choc chips, crushed peanuts) and we went nuts on them!

Key things to remember- put apples covered in caramel in the fridge to set a bit before adding garnishes, spray the baking sheet they are placed on with PAM first.

They will still stick a bit.

Be careful with adding melted chocolate, it made our caramel melt right off! Still trying to figure how that one works. Maybe only use it if you plan on covering your entire apple, caramel and all.

Enjoy! I don’t really recommend drinking caramel apple ciders at the same time though, wooooah…My stomach hurt from all the sugar. Too sweet! I didn’t even want candy or anything sweet the whole next day even! And this is ME we’re talking about.

Halloween

Halloween

And a key ingredient- Friends! They make it all the more fun 🙂

Pick one: Make complaints or ask for favours. You don’t get both.

In today’s blog entry, I will do both: It’s a good ride/bad ride scenario.

How Oats feels about me

How Oats feels about me

Ask for favours: Good lesson on Saturday! I started off by feeling anxious again. I’m struggling with performance anxiety right now, a lot of it. Everything seems to trigger it- thinking about past horse shows, looking at my old jumping photos, old videos from horse shows, watching a jumping lesson go before mine…It makes me feel anxious about my jumping, soooo anxious.

And I hate it. I voiced my concerns to Nicole and I was saying that I’m really having a tough time right now- I know I’m riding better, not jumping ahead, but I get SO ANXIOUS thinking about jumping- even just ‘thinking’ about it! Yikes.

She is very understanding, and we went right to it- and worked on gridwork, which by the way I tend to hate! hahah.

Oats flopped through it, and I felt like it kind of sucked, but when we got his ‘on fire’ motion started, the grid started getting easier. I guess we get too ‘blah blah blah’ and humdrum about jumping, and he kind of just flops through a line. BUT when I get him revved up and his energy up, we GO GO GO! And he meets the gymnastic perfectly. (Note: We had very few times actually like this).

This is interesting to me, mainly because I hate riding gymnastics, and I never knew why. Well, the why is because we go into it without enough ‘oomph’ and sometimes I let him canter in, and we flub the whole shebang.

Also straightness- still an issue. We jumped with guide poles, haha.

And now we move on to Sunday’s ride, which is make complaints: It sucked sucked sucked. Sucked so hard I was like WTF we had a good lesson on Saturday? Could have fooled me!

We were just blah, I got too into Oats at the canter and he was blowing past my aids, being rude, and I was getting rude back…UGH.

Jumping, he had a wicked right drift that I somehow DID NOT NOTICE until I took out the entire jump with my right foot. ARHG.

Hopped off, put it back up, hopped back on, jumped it (shittily) and managed to get 1. pop up jump, 1 left-behind jump, and 1 knock-down the whole jump for my jumping of the day. Wonderful. I decided to stop, before I really screwed up any more.

Jesus.

So….The show I have coming up, in October? Yeah, not so sure it is a good idea right now. How do I keep getting worse?

Needs a drink

Needs a drink

In other news, I also went for a nice run with husband, helped the barn girls rake down the new footing for the indoor arena, made applesauce with apples from the barn, visited ‘The Drake’ for a drink in the evening (All Souls Chocolate/Pumpkin Porter from Parallel 49) and made a rhubarb ‘fool’ this weekend.

A productive weekend if I do say so myself even if I was in a BAD Mood after my interesting ‘ride’ on Sunday. Hmm…Needing perspective is a daily, if not hourly, thing for me I guess!

The Saanich Fair- Proud agricultural roots

It’s fair time again, and fall fairs hold a really special place in my heart. I remember when I was a kid, my mom, sister and I would enter the local exhibition for our city- the Central Canada Exhibition. It was the second-longest running exhibition in Ontario and we loved entering everything- baking, crafts, you name it!

Youth showing cows at the Cowichan fairgrounds

Youth showing cows at the Cowichan fairgrounds

And the prices to enter were always VERY reasonable- free for junior entries (which I was when I entered) and I think .50 cents or 1.00 per adult entry. And you won big nice red rosettes for first place, and I think $5 in prize money as well?

Yes, some very fond memories. The older ladies who ran the fair loved seeing us every year and encouraged us to keep entering. It’s people like them who kept the fair running every year like clockwork. So we did enter, until I grew up and moved away.

Sadly, the fair no longer runs. Can you believe it? It was held for so long, and then the city decided to shut it down. Now my hometown no longer has any agricultural fall fairs, and frankly, no agricultural roots to feel close to.

Oats wins ribbons at the Cowichan jumper day

Oats wins ribbons at the Cowichan jumper day

That’s why my adopted hometown is now so special to me- they have a VERY strong fall fair, and extremely competitive categories. It’s not surprising to see 100 entries in vegetables alone, if not more!

I am a little more selective in what I enter now vs. when I was a kid- because I can’t compete with the pro bakers and crafters that enter here! It’s wild! I’m glad to see it, and so glad they keep holding it and that it is SO competitive and so popular. It is a major highlight of my (end of) summer and something I look forward to each year.I also like going to cheer on the kids from the barn who go to compete (there’s no way I would take Oats- he doesn’t play nice in hack classes haha).

Winning!

Winning!

It reminds me of my childhood, and it brings me closer to the agricultural roots of my being. Visit the Saanich Fair, and taste a bit of farm life just for a day.

Nailed it!

So, some Pinterest-worthy fails…Courtesy of yours truly, my mom and my sister. Don’t worry, we did make more (actually, my mom did WITHOUT my sister helping OR me) and they turned out way better. Photos of that to come!

Macaron, oh those sweet little pillows of delicious ground almond. So tricky though. Why did these fail? WELL…
1908357_616999902289_6181012118763395130_n
We used was paper instead of parchment. Bad idea. As you can see, they got stuck.

We didn’t mix the egg whites for long enough before adding in the ‘superfine’ sugar.

Oh and we didn’t have superfine sugar and tried to substitute confectioner’s sugar. It did NOT work.

So, HAHAHA…Fail, Pinterest-worthy. These were just dyed blue, we made them in vanilla flavour. Tasty though! But the better ones tasted fluffier. Yummm

Image

Life is too hard!

Life is too hard!

Gidget is getting all summered-out!

We’re taking a bit of a backseat to riding this week, as my family has been visiting for Canada Day. That means we’re doing a lot of fun stuff like stand-up-paddleboarding, visiting Merridale Cider, visiting the farm, watching me ride Oats (and getting a pony ride off him!) and eating in good restaurants.

Back at work today though, and I have a fun hangover. I’m tired! Like Gidget, I’m so tired haha.

And stand up paddleboarding was fun, but so easy- any moron could do it haha. I am a bit disappointed, as I thought it would be a harder core workout. I don’t really feel it in my abs today, but my pinkie finger hurts (fingie!).

The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday though…Ahhh…perfect day for it!

Summer lovin’

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Friday Funny: Bake a cake or something

Friday Funny: Bake a cake or something

A few weekends ago, I drank a bottle of wine (pictured) and tried to bake a cake.

The cake didn’t turn out that great (something about it being really flat, I think I forgot some flour and left it in the oven for too long)…But it was funny!

And to be fair, this is like the best cake recipe ever- I LOVE it. And I stumbled upon it while looking for easy ways to use up like 4 jars of marmalade. Now, I would buy more jars of marmalade just to make this cake, it is THAT good.

Ingredients:

Yield:
1
cake Units: US | Metric
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/3 cups orange marmalade
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup self-rising flour- I used regular and added in baking soda.
1/2 cup of cocoa.

Directions:

1
Oven@ 350.
2
Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the chocolate and stir until melted.
3
Take off of the heat.
4
Add the marmalade, sugar, and the eggs and combine.
5
Gradually beat in the flour.
6
Pour into a greased 8-inch springform pan.
7
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
8
Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out.

Delicious!!