My Sweet Marie

Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

I first should apologize for not writing for a while. Sometimes a girl has to deal with real issues in life, be it health, work, or family or all of it and just go day to day. But I am back and will try to post more often.

Every year Denis and I try to get away for a camping trip with our kids and grand kids. This year two of my sisters came along and fun was had by all. We booked this trip way back in February and I hope next year, even more of siblings will be there too.

We arrived a day early to settle in and enjoy a day of quiet as surely the next couple days were going to be chaotic to say the least! Turns out, unbeknownst to me, my sister Colette had the same plan. So we had an evening of just hanging out together, huddled under their canopy in the light rain watching a lightning show in the near distance. We had the perfect view. My sister Colette and her husband Greg live a few hours away from me, so any time alone with them, is a gift. We laugh, we cry but mostly we eat! Some things just don’t change.

Melanie and Jim, and their two little girls arrived first Friday afternoon. They tent it so stay on our site, so while they got organized and set-up, we took the girls on a walk to see Aunt Colette who can’t wait to see them and shower them with love and gifts! Denis and I left them too their party, chips and juice, music and Aunt Colette, those kids could spend all week with her and love it. We headed back to camp to help out and by help out, I mean stay out of the way!

Next to arrive was Monique and Gaston. They had a little surprise with them in the form of Brock , their grand-son. He is the sweetest, funniest little guy you will ever meet! Holly and Evy were excited to see their cousin and welcomed him with open arms. Coco (Aunt Colette) was greeted by huge hugs and I miss you’s. I got a wave. Always a dang wave. More gifts from Coco and me back to the site to wait on Melissa.

Very shortly after Melissa and Dan arrived with their crew, Heidi and Blake and Marco the Xilo dog and their pop up camper. They were so excited to see their cousins and aunt Colette. I’m pretty sure we came in at a close second. Aunt Monique was greeted with hug too. Aunt Monique knows how I feel with Brock, Aunt Colette gets lots of love because they think she’s a kid like them!

When dinner was ready, I went in search of the grand kids who had wandered off. I found them of course in Aunt Colette’s trailer, dancing, eating junk food and laughing their little faces off, what more can you ask of in life?

Finally later in the evening Natalie and Johnny arrive, Brock’s Mommy and Daddy. With them came the party trailer, I mean come on, it has a full shower, a toilet, a vanity in the bathroom, full kitchen, tv, microwave, the works! She also had with her the ‘cousin’ t-shirts I had her design for me. All 5 kids got a cousin shirt regarding camping. One said ” God made us cousins because Mommy couldn’t handle us as siblings” One said Camp where cousins go to make memories’ other ones said ‘ Cousins are best friends we have for life’. And the last one said Camp life. Very cute.

Friday night was a fairly quiet night, a few drinks, some hot dogs on the fire, mostly everyone off to bed early. Stories were told around the campfire, sisters scaring sisters in the dark, kids giggling, you know, camping fun.

Saturday morning as we sat with our teas and coffees, Aunt Monique and Brock arrived to invite us to Brock’s birthday party. it was going to be at 10. I, of course knew all about and was prepared with gifts for Brock. As were the other Moms. We all head down to Monique’s site to find a screen tent turned into party land! There were balloons, party hats, loot bags filled with awesome goodies and cupcakes! All this and it was only 10 am. ! Brock was so excited and tore at his gifts and he would declare ” I’m a lucky boy” every once in a while. But do you think I got a hug? Dang before this weekend is out, I’m getting me a hug!

After the party, the kids rolled over to our camp and we had craft time. They made stress ballls filled with dry beans and then we made glow in the dark bugs out of water bottles with google eyes, pipe cleaner wings and glow sticks to light up at night. That kept them busy till lunch time!

We all called out that we’d meet at beach 1 as that’s the dog beach and with Marco being a Mexican breed, he loves the beach. Just sitting in the sun and smiling, hilarious. The kids were happy to dig and dig and dig. Jim was in there like a dirty shirt helping us with the castle and the moat. I took pics, and went in the water when the kids decided to just run straight in. It was a bit wavy and I never trust 5 kids on their own as Lake Erie undertow can be dangerous. Johnny was in there with me keeping an eye on Brock. He was far too brave for a 3 year old.

When we got back to the site, the kids were running, riding and walking back and forth to Monique’s site, Natalie’s site and Colette’s site. They were pretty busy right up until they were called for dinner. Natalie came around and invited us to their site for the fire that night, we agreed and promised to bring the camera and tripod for a group pic.

Denis was walking back to our site with Brock and the other kids, and Brock stopped and looked up and says “Whoa, that’s a big tree!”. I love when little people point out to us the very beauty right in front of our eyes, which we take for granted, I love seeing the world through their eyes. Try it, it is amazing.

We got to Nat and Johnny’s campsite and most of the gang had arrived. The fire was roaring and we had some good coals for our S’More off! I brought along rice krispy squares that Holly and Evy helped me make, sliced them in half and you put in a roasted marshmallow, a piece of chocolate and squeeze together. I made quite a few of those that night. Melissa made hers with those cookies that have the chocolate right on them. Same deal, marshmallow, two cookies, yum! and then Heidi says, can I just have a regular one Meme with the graham cracker? Of course you can kiddo and I even had gluten free ‘graham’ crackers too! It was S’more heaven!

More drinks and stories around the campfire, laughs and giggles galore, more junk food not long later, it just never ends with us, food, food, food. Denis had the tequila out, passing out shots to any takers and there were a few, you could pick them out Sunday morning, easily. It was a cool evening but sitting around that roaring fire with my sisters, hubbies and our kids warmed me to the core.

Sunday morning was good bye time and that’s not always easy. Saying good bye to my sisters can be hard because I live hours away from them both, luckily we talk often. Hugs and kisses and even a few tears were shed but all agreed let’s do this again next year. As Brock was walking away, I got down at his level, put out my arms and begged for a hug, he came in and said bye Aunt Mie. I’ll take it, bye sweetheart, I’ll miss you.

To any of my siblings reading this and would like to join us next year, please just reach out. The kids loved it as did us big kids. Miss you all and hope to build more memories in the future.

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

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So have you been out to the London Fringe yet? Seriously, why not? It is fun, cheap and so accessible! Here in London, we have 8 venues, each with several shows a day! You can stay at one venue and hit 3 shows in 4 hours! Seriously…sooo much fun!

So far we have seen “I sound like Mom“, which was very good. If you’re a MOm or a daughter, you will relate and surely laugh!

We have seen “Hotter than Potter“, our local Keith Brown doing magic tricks that will astound you and leave you scratching your head thinking, what just happened? A must see, good for all ages!

Last night we saw “James and Jamesy” a comedy in the dark! It took me a few minutes to catch on, but not to worry, the laughs that come once you do get it, are well worth it!

Finally, my favourite so far by a long shot is “Woody Sed“. This is a show about Woody Guthrie,  a true story that will grip you right from the start. His songs, his stories, the sad tales, all of it will keep you captivated! Thomas Jones is brilliant, his singing exceptional and his timing, excellent. There is audience participation as well, which just adds to the fun! If you can see only one show, I’d say, see this one!

Gotta run, I have several shows to see! Now, call the sitter and go! For more info, go to http://www.londonfringe.ca

Sweet Fringing,

Sweet Marie

Have you ever been so excited about something that you just count the sleeps? Well, it’s 6 sleeps till the London Fringe Festival starts! My husband and I have been audience members many times over the years but this year, we are billeting. That means we’ll be having an actor stay with us for the duration of the festival. We look forward to the experience and this year, we will get to see many of the shows! Last year, I only got to one show as my Mom was very ill and that kept me very pre-occupied.

“The London Fringe Theatre Festival is dedicated to the promotion, production, and prosperity of independent artists. We create a unique and inclusive environment where the arts will be enjoyed in the present and developed for the future.” They give unrestrained creative freedom to participants, they provide artists with audiences, artists from the community and from outside the community as well, from all over Canada and from around the world! The Fringe provides technical, promotional support and even educational opportunities. To see more about the festival, please go to http://www.londonfringe.ca

Our billeter is Thomas Jones and his show is called Woody Sed ! His show is a new play about the life and times of Woody Guthrie and the songs he sang about them. This play was born out of the sheer astonishment he experienced learning about Woody’s life and the relevance he saw in his work and his story to the world we live in today. Woody Sed is loaded with songs both well known and obscure and each song is framed a theatrical context.   You can see more about his show on his website http://www.woodysed.com or look him up on Facebook.

Please join me in first welcoming all the out-of-town performers to London, and secondly spreading the word about the festival. It’s going to be fun and sure to put a smile on your face! Please join me at one or ten of the shows, I would love it! There are comedians, magicians, singers, actors of all genres! Truly it’s a wonder!

So if you’re trying to reach me in the next two weeks, you might as well look me up at the Fringe, that’s where I’ll be!

Cheers!

Sweet Marie

 

So I just posted the recipe for Zoom. Now you ask , what the heck do I do with Zoom? Simple, you can use Zoom anywhere you would use stewed tomatoes! Here’s a favourite in my house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of Zoom ( stewed tomatoes if you don’t have zoom)
  • 1/2 -1 lb of cooked meat ( chicken, pork, beef, turkey or tofu shaved, diced, pulled etc)
  • 2-4 cups of veggies ( brocc, cauliflower, green beans, corn, zuch, squash, cut any shape or size)
  • 8 cups of broth (chicken, beef or veg)
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 can or 1 cup of beans ( black, chick, kidney, lentil etc)
  • 1 cup ‘carbs of choice'(potato, pasta or rice)
  • spices (thyme, oregano, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper) to your tastes

Directions:

  1. If you are using any raw veggies, feel free to sautee them in a tbsp olive oil.
  2. Add the broth and zoom
  3. Add in the rest of your veggies, beans and water. Boil.
  4. Add your spices. Taste, adjust as needed.
  5. Once the veggies are cooked, the taste is right, shut off the heat.
  6. add the starch of choice, stir, cover and let sit for 15 minutes with NO HEAT.
  7. Ta-da  you have Zoom soup!

 

Today at our WW meeting I mentioned that I have a snacking problem! Understatement of the century! I love to snack! I will eat anything if you call it a snack! I asked the ladies if they could share their favourite snack ideas with me so that at least I could make better choices. Now for my Gluten-free and/ or dairy-free followers, I apologize, not all these snacks are GF or DF friendly! But here are some ideas for all the WW friends! No excuses this week as now I armed with great options. If you have healthy options, I’d gladly add to the list! Just comment and I’ll add them! Sweet snacking…

  • celery dipped in salsa =ZERO points
  • jello 1/4 pkg = 0 points
  • dried cinnamon apple slices= 0 points (dry 2 hours at 200)
  • Baked Kale chips= 0 points ( spices and kale, bake till crisp!)
  • Applesauce= 0 points
  • Frozen grapes= 0 points
  • Watermelon chunks with mint and red onion = 0 points
  • turkey mini bites= 1 point
  • Deli turkey slices 2 oz = 1 point
  • guacamole with carrots/celery 2 tbsp.= 1 point
  • banana broiled with Cool Whip 3 tbsp. = 1 point
  • apple with laughing cow cheese= 2 points
  • Hard boiled egg= 2 points
  •  2 tbsp. hummus with carrots/celery/peppers = 2 points
  • zucchini slices with 1/2 oz shredded cheese= 2 points
  • Roasted chick peas+ 3 points per 1/2 cup
  • Dare’s Veggie crisps= 3 points for 14 chips ( I bought them and bagged them )
  • ants on a log- celery with 1 tbsp. peanut butter topped with a couple raisins= 3 points
  • cottage cheese with celery 1 cup= 3 points
  • dark chocolate 1/2 oz= 4 points
  • almonds 1/3 cup = 4 points
  • apple with 1 oz cheddar = 4 points, go light cheddar and cut points!
  • 12 rice crackers with 1 oz skim mozza shredded =5 points
  • ice cream sandwich( graham cracker with cool whip) = 5 points
  •  1 cup cheerios with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk= 5 points

It’s that time of year again…antipasto anyone?

My Sweet Marie

It’s that time of year where I cook up a storm in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. I make my Christmas cake, my pepper jelly and sometime my antipasto. The antipasto is awesome for when you get that unexpected company and you have nothing to feed them, you just go in the cupboard or fridge, pull out the antipasto and grab a few crackers and ta-da, instant appetizer. It also makes a great gift for those hard to buy folks! Here’s what you need to do:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spanish onion chopped finely
  • 3 cans chopped mushrooms, drained
  • 500 grams of cut green beans, chopped small
  • 2 x 13oz jars pickled onions, chopped
  • 48 oz jar of sweet mixed pickles chopped
  • 16 oz can/jar of black or green olives
  • 500 grams of cauliflowerettes (I use frozen, easy to chop too!)
  • 4 x 6oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 green pepper chopped

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Hi there….I know it’s been a while. You see my mother had been very ill and well, she was my priority, sorry. Any free time I had, I would drive down to see her. Mom lived 2 hours away. I am sorry to tell you all that she passed three weeks on October 16th. Here’s my eulogy to Mom;

Mom’s Eulogy

Pour nos amis et famille francophones, nous vous remercions d’être venus aujourd’hui , aussi pour vos cartes , vos dons de nourriture , vos appels , les fleurs et surtout votre support durant cette temps dificile.

Friends, family and Father Dwayne, thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of a wonderful, exceptional woman, my Mother Beverly Mercedes Talbot,  also known as Bev Quenneville.

Mom was many things to many people, she was a daughter, a sister, a wife first to Philippe then at a difficult time in life, she met her loyal friend Fred and they had 20 happy years together. She was a loving aunt to many, a fun friend to several, a caring boss to hundreds over the years at SPT, a loving Meme or grand-mother to many, a great grand-mother to even more , but most importantly to us 8 siblings, she was our Mother.

Mom was a loving, caring and most of all, a giving mother. She had a way to make you feel like you were her favorite, in fact, I bet all 7 of my siblings would tell you that they are the favorite and truthfully they’d be right.

I asked Mom one day to tell me the truth, who was her favorite kid? She replied that at the moment I was but she qualified that with “but tomorrow if your sister shows up with a happy meal, she’ll be my favorite then the next day if your brother shows up to cut my lawn, he will be.” You can see how this game goes, don’t you? She adored all of her kids and was very grateful for all they did for her. I’m sure many would attest to that today as they were likely privey to her bragging about us, non-stop.

Mom was a Meme to many, she adored her grand-kids and each of them could tell you a favourite story, you will have to ask each of them their favourite, as I can share only one today. There are many stories and I encourage you all to share them today to anybody who’ll listen.

In the summer of 1993, we took Mom on a camping trip with us, she slept in our camper and on the first morning there, she took Melanie, who was 6 at the time, to the washroom for their morning routine. So they got their toothbrushes out and put their toothpaste on them, and then….. we heard the laughing from our campsite! Denis and I were sitting at the site, a good ways away, and at first we thought she was crying, I ran into the washroom to see Melanie and Mom laughing their fool heads off, Mom had forgotten her teeth in the camper! She was gathering a crowd and told the story over and over, breaking into laughter before the punch line a few times. That weekend, Mom was known as the funny toothless Meme by all in the campground!

Because I lived out of town for the last 20 years, Mom and I had a standing Sunday morning phone call. In these conversations I learned a lot about Mom’s life and there was always a lesson if I listened real carefully. Mom didn’t have a formal post-secondary education but she was far smarter than most people knew.  It didn’t take me long to figure that out.

In one of these conversations, I asked Mom; in all your years of cooking for people, what did you like cooking the best? Her reply was that it depended on who was showing up! She had a sense of humor too! Her one dish that shall go down in history were her chicken and glissants, or sliders. People have tried to replicate but I’m not convinced anyone has duplicated them. Time will tell. Over the years she turned that into chicken and bow ties, it was much simpler and faster! Mom could get an un-expected meal on the table in no time, this when the bow ties came in! Mom’s key ingredient in all she cooked was love. Mom was a fantastic cook and I am happy to tell you that she passed on many of her recipes.

I asked her another time, what was her favorite trip she took ? To that she replied: her trip out West with Monique, Gaston, David and Natalie. She said she was awed by the beauty of our country, Canada. The lesson is perhaps we should see more of our own country before we traipse all over the world. She was so grateful for the time she spent with Monique, Gaston, David and Natalie!

In one of our later conversations, I asked her if there was anything she wished she had done more of? She didn’t hesitate to say “play more with my kids when they were little”, I was so worried about a clean house, making the perfect dinner, being a good wife, working so much, I didn’t play enough with them. There’s a lesson in there for all you young Moms! Meme’s orders, put the mops, vacuums away!

Our phone calls came to end this past spring and we’d have our conversations face to face, from then on. I had so many questions and knew my time was limited. I wanted to know everything about her, all her ideas, her recipes and all of her advice. She was so wise.  In one of these talks, I asked her what she was most proud of in her life.

It came as no surprise to me when she answered quickly, her family.  She was so proud of her 8 kids, how we all had found love, had wonderful children, how we are all contributing members of our society, how we were all good kids, as she put it.  Family was her number one priority in life and she felt good about the job she’d done, and she could leave us all, knowing we’re all going to go on living well and passing on her traditions, her morals, ethics and her stories!

Mom was an awesome story teller; she had a great sense of humor and had great timing. I asked her in one of our talks, which story was her favorite story to tell? She had to think as she had many, but she decided on the church and mouse story!

If you’d not heard it, I will give you the Readers digest version. Picture our family at Sunday mass, all 6 kids (at the time) with Mom and Dad in a pew. She was pregnant for me; she had her winter coat on, which had just been taken out of storage. They were standing for prayer and she felt something run up her back. She threw off her coat and my father gave her a look. Yes, that look. Turns out there was a mouse in her coat and Dad, let’s just say took care of the mouse and handed Mom back her coat with the dead mouse inside it. She said No way, I’m not wearing that. So, to not make a scene, they switched coats, Dad wore Mom’s coat home that day and Mom wore Dad’s trench coat. I’ll bet he looked handsome in that black lamb’s wool coat!

On yet another trip to Belle River, I had another question. I asked her if she had any advice for us all, her kids. She said forgive people, don’t carry hate, resentment or anger, it’s not good. Forgive one another. Then she used her magic little words: “Please tell them, do it for me”! Mom knew that anytime she’d use that line, no matter who she was talking to, or what she asked, we’d do it.  She continued with, it may be hard at times, but you’ll be glad you did.

In one of our later chats, I asked Mom how she’d want to be remembered. She replied that she’d like people to remember her kindness and generosity.I assured her that would be exactly the case. I have been told exactly that by many people in the last several days. I told her that surely even a blind person could see…. how kind and generous she was.

I wanted to share with you all a story today about Mom’s kindness as I’ve been told so many over this past week, so many. But the one that sticks in my mind is one a friend pointed out. She said with Bev It didn’t matter your race, religion, your size or color, she would be kind, loving, or funny with you like she would her best friend.

Approximately a year ago, Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. She was about to face the battle of a lifetime but this battle she wouldn’t fight alone. Her 8 kids were all with her every step of the way wanting to do what they could, however they could help. Mom faced many struggles in her lifetime, this one proved to be very daunting but she fought none the less with grit, grace and honor.

So my friends and family, I want you to leave today not reminded of Mom’s long haul of pain and suffering but of Mom’s many attributes, her kindness, her generosity, her wisdom and please carry those traits into your life. The world needs more “Bev’ness”, go out and spread the love, forgiveshare, laugh and tell her stories,  she’d be real happy you did!

Mom, you made the world a better place just by being in it. We all know you are now pain-free and having the reunion of a lifetime with all your passed loved ones. We will sorely miss you.

Thank you, God bless.

 


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