April 15, 2009

Hmmmmmmm


So. April showers are supposed to bring May Flowers... which I am totally cool with.. I love flowers, and rain is fun to run in.. Except when you are walking up large, large, large, hills to campus and you fall and get covered in water, and still have to go to class. THEN rain definitely sucks... but back to our current topic. The horrendous amounts of SNOW that are falling outside!? Excuse me!?


I'm going on Summer holidays in six days and finding this last minute push for winter rather hilarious.. and cold... and wet.... and an excellent motivator to be in the library studying for finals! (Except for right this second when I am taking a blog/facebook/news/twitter break... tehe)


Anyway. hurrah to the cold snow for making me stay inside and be productive instead of take a nap outside on alovely sunny day... and snow, you better stop by the time I fly to the Island to enjoy the Sun!!

April 13, 2009

Semester Stress



GOODBYE
Facebook,
Food
and Fun.........
HELLO
Finals
Week!..........

April 12, 2009

Newsies!!!

IN LOVE with CHRISTIAN BALE!!!!! Ladies, you think he is great in Batman!? Try rewinding 17 years and seeing him as a newsie in New York City in 1899!?!?


Everyone has got to love this classic movie...Tonight I watched it with some of my journalism friends because we are just that cool... we watch movies about our major in our off-time :) LOL.
But it's a classical AND a musical. Yay! So go watch it and get all of the songs stuck in your head like I do! Yay!

"Open the gates and seize the day...
Don't be afraid and don't delay...
Nothing can break us...
No one can make us..
Give our rights away..
Arise and seize the day!

Now is the time to seize the day,
Send out the call and join the fray,
Wrongs will be righted if we're united."

April 06, 2009

Spring Stress Shrinker


Do impending final exams, or deadlines at work have
you reading ordinary words like “pancake” as poffertjies,
or even pannenkoeken?

Spring has finally arrived, and so has finals season for most post-secondary students. No worries yet for the high school students; their time to stress out will come… in two months.
College advisors and anyone else who offers advice to busy students stress the importance of maintaining play time during the busy finals season.
One way to stay sane and no commit any crimes involving 10 tonne textbooks is to try making something new for your study group!
One treat that we discovered while on Study Abroad in the Netherlands is the wonderful secret of Dutch pancakes: Pannenkoeken and poffertjies.
Everywhere you look in the Netherlands there are pancake houses that serve these delicious delicacies. Just as good as the Belgian waffles in Belgium, the Dutch pancakes have their own unique flair.
The pannenkoeken pancakes come in a meal or dessert form; think large, thin pancakes with ham, vegetables and cheese cooked into and on top of them, or served dessert style with strawberries and whipped cream.

This week’s featured treat is the mini pancake variety: poffertjies.
Poffertjies are also a traditional
Dutch batter treat. They look like tiny pancakes, but are much sweeter.
In contrast with pancakes, poffertjes are turned before one side is completely done, which results in a much softer core than pancakes have. Typically, poffertjes are served with powdered sugar and butter.
Poffertjes are not hard to prepare but they do require a special pan. This is a special cast-iron or copper pan also available in aluminium with Teflon-coating with several shallow indentations in the bottom.
Here is a recipe so that if you get bored or too busy this spring season, you can try them making some for yourself!

Ingredients
500g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
800ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
olive oil for brushing the pan

Method
Sift flour in a large bowl. Combine milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix lightly. Add the wet mixture to the flour and beat well for 3-5 minutes till the batter is light and fluffy. Cover and let batter stand for an hour.

Pour batter into a squeeze bottle [like the ones you get in the supermarket for sauce]. Place Poffertje pan on the cooktop at medium heat. Brush pan with a liberal dose of olive oil. When the oil is hot, squeeze the batter into each hole, filling it just below the rim. When bubbles start appearing in the batter, flip over each pancake gently in their holes with a butter knife. Cook this side for 2-3 minutes and slide the pancakes onto a plate.

Serve 12 to a place with liberal amounts of powdered sugar, syrup, fresh fruit, or whatever your heart desires and feel a little Dutch spirit as you try this international dish.

April 05, 2009

Life is FRAGILE - handle with PRAYER

Conference is one of my favourite weekends all year, and as usual, I simply loved it!

Hard to believe that already six months ago I was watching Conference in France like two blocks from Versailles. My, how time flies. It was at last Conference that they announced four new temples! Monumental ones for me - Calgary, Alberta! Go Calgary! and the temple in Rome! The Saints in Paris were so excited to get the temple in Italy, and it totally gave them hope that if they worked as hard as the Saints in Rome had then someday they will get a temple in Paris. I totally want to go back to PAris some day, especially when they get a temple. That would be so special.

I love collecting quotations from Conference and everywhere around me - quickly here are some of my favourite ones that I caught from this past Conference.

"Those who don't remember the past, are doomed to repeat it." - Elder Ballard


"If thou canst believe it, all things are made possible." - Kevin W. Pearson


"Discipleship is a journey." - Elder Uchtdorf


"CHANGE is an essential part of life." - Steven E. Snow


"God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and of a sound mind." - President Monson

and many many more...PLUS some of the all-time winners that just can't be left out of this post.

"Come what may, and love it!" Elder Wirthlin

Faith is not only a feeling, it is a decision." - Elder Anderson

"Rise to the stature of the divine within you" - President Hinckley

March 23, 2009

Pre-Graduation TIPS

Everyone can remember this feeling, the just-graduated-from-high-school-and-ready-to-conquer-the-world feeling.
Lately I can see how the school year is winding down, hints of spring coming just around the corner, and 2009 high school graduates are becoming excited to finish high school and move out into the world and on with their lives.

With freshly printed diplomas in hand and graduation tassels dangling, most graduates feel like they know everything they need to know. They have successfully lived through diploma exams, curfews, and super long commencement ceremonies: they’re ready to get out there and tackle the world head on.

While knowing about ionic bonds, centripetal forces, compound-complex sentences, and being able to find the log of any number comes in very handy, here’s a hint: in high school they don’t teach you everything you need to know.

I’ve learned that there are some skills/wisdom you can only learn from experience, luck, instinct, and other people’s bad luck.

Scenario 1: It is 8:50a.m., your first class of the day begins at 9:00, and you walk in to the kitchen to grab breakfast as you walk out the door. There is a large puddle of water pooling into the kitchen floor: What do you do?
Find the source? Crawl around in the water to find the source? Pile every dish rag and the oven mitts on the floor to staunch the flow and leave it for your roommate to find later? Cry loudly, and then call Dad?

Scenario 2: Going to school means you have many books; it would be nice if you could put said books on a wall shelf, but there are no shelves.
Do you wave your wand and shelves appear? Do you find some cheap ones at Wal-Mart and put them together, or go simple and just stack the books in the corner—the eclectic student look is in right!?
If you decide to be super ambitious and put shelves together, be sure to remember these key things:
Be careful, that electric drill you are using goes backwards AND forwards.
Someone invented levels for a very good reason, but if you don’t have one, rolling a pen or mascara tube across the shelf can do a great job determining if it is straight.
Most Wal-Mart shelves are missing a piece or two; maybe even four of the 10 screws: learn to be creative.
Heavy books require heavy duty shelves; you don’t want to wake up to a nasty surprise and a big bruise on the head. Take it from me: invest in the $27.99 shelf set.

Scenario 3: Your white runners are no longer white, and even YOU begin to notice their black hue: but the Laundromat has rules about running shoes through the wash.
You could run out and buy a new pair, you could scrub them for ½ hour with your roommate’s toothbrush, or you could wait until the middle of the night and run them through the dishwasher! They’ll get the ride of their life, they’ll be squeaky clean, lemon-smelling and you just saved $30.00!

Laugh as hard as you want, but I know more than one of you have been in one, if not all of these situations at some point in your life.
I know I sure have!

March 17, 2009

Oh, to be in Ireland at the Oliver St, John Gogarty again...

I
I - R - E - L - A - N - D - ! !
"The luck of the Irish to ya!"
Reason for this lovely tale: I am feeling the St. Patrick's Day spirit, and wishing I was back in Ireland. So I say to you - if you ever get a chance to go: take it!
Even if that includes taking the shadiest airline ever... when they don't assign seats, and make you run out to the plane to grab a seat because they sell too many tickets. You know there is something funny going on. But hey. they got us across the Channel so I'm not complaining :)

Just under four months ago I was walking the merry streets of Dublin, Ireland.

Last fall I was in Paris on a Semester Study Abroad; one lovely week in November we got the news that would wouldn't be having classes that Thursday OR Friday.

It wasn't long before we were scheming great plans to fill those free days, and we came up with a sweet plan indeed. I think it was probably the BEST idea we had over the three months we were overseas: ROAD TRIP!... well.. more like air trip!

We hopped on our computers, looked at the destination list of the cities that ryanair flew to, and choose: DUBLIN. We found flights for only 15 Euro. what a deal. How could we NOT go?

Heather, Jennica, Sydney, and I packed our backpacks, booked a hostel, booked our tickets, and set off to the land of leprechauns and pots of gold.
We had so much fun exploring Dublin and some of the neighbouring countryside.
Our home base was our hostel on Merchants Quay in the centre of Dublin on the River Liffey; we’d sleep there at night (with our valuables in our pillowcases and bags up on our beds with us) pack up in the morning and take our bags with us as we went sight-seeing, shopped, and had an all-round Irish good time without homework, professors or a large group to slow us down.
Because of the history bug that you cannot help but be bitten by when touring Europe, we also had fun seeing Trinity College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the Christ Church Cathedral and other notable historical places in Dublin.
Besides the freedom and fun factor of the whole weekend being “our trip” our favourite thing was spending both of our evenings in famous Irish pubs where we loved listening to traditional Irish music and watching Irish dancing.
Just like in the movies, the music is so lovely and enjoyable and just makes you want to be happy and Irish too—or at least learn to play the fiddle/accordion or learn to dance like them.
I was amazed by the amount of redheads in Ireland.
You always hear that there are so many over there because that is where it comes from, but it still did funny things to your brain to walk into a store and see that every employee was a redhead.
We saw many leprechauns, enjoyed seeing Georgian doors, heard many Irish street bands, and walked many a mile around St, Stephen’s Green, but we did not get to do one of the things that we wanted to do most in Ireland.
We couldn’t find “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” shirts anywhere.
They had real leprechaun socks, hats, mugs, keychains, and every other kind of Ireland souvenir imaginable but they missed out on what could be one of their best marketable slogans; we were amazed!
Not to be waylaid by a lack of “Kiss me, I’m Irish” souvenirs, we found other treasures ... SUPER COOL leprauchan socks..and were very content and Ireland-filled girls getting on the plane back to Paris that Sunday night.
Going to Ireland was definitely worth it; we learned so much, had the chance to relax from school for a couple days, touched the Irish Sea, and got to cross another European country off of our list!

March 09, 2009

Season of Change?

Spring? Winter? Summer? Fall?

I think the weather has had a tough time making up its mind lately.
Yesterday it was warm enough to take a Sunday afternoon nap outside, this morning it was chilly walking to campus, around noon I was outside and had my coat off, and then coming out of my evening class - > I walked outside into a blizzard.

Who knew that you could experience all four - or is it more like seven? - season all in the space of one day.

This last couple of days have been up in the air with changes: the weather, the time change etc. Nothing is ever the same in life, I guess.

What I do know - it is nice to know that no matter what happens with the weather, it is going to change before we know it!! So buck up people, put a coat on for now.. and the real spring will be here before we know it!

March 07, 2009

There is no "Ball" in Ballet


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you
hear the word "ballet?"

Most people would probably think of cute little girls doing pliés, dressed in pink tights and leotards.
Not many would think of strong male/female athletes putting in hours of strenuous pr
actice, the sacrifice, pain and injury involved, dancing while lifting other 110 lbs dancers over your heard, and dance numbers that last longer than a single quarter in any other organized sport.

"Blue Dancers" is a beautiful Impressionist painting by Edgar Degas that I LOVED in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, France. I included it in my exhibition for our Internship Class while we were studying art over there.

Ballet is one of the most disciplined sports in the world. Ballet dancers are constantly thinking about on how they look, if the line of their body is straight and continuously focusing on keeping their toes pointed. Imagine how hard it would be to play basketball if you had to always be thinking about the straight line of your body, leaping in time to music, and trying to keep a bright smile on.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to the ballet Romeo & Juliet where I was blown away by the sheer athleticism of ballet dancers.
Dancers make it look so easy that it is difficult for many people to appreciate all of the hard work and effort that goes into ballet. Hours of practice, strict eating practices, stretching regimes, and even more hours of practice are only a small part of what it takes to be a ballerina.
Can you imagine having to keep moving for an entire quarter/period of a sport game? Athletes in organized sports have time outs, breaks between quarters, and substitutes to give them a break in the middle of the game.

This is not the case for ballet dancers. There is no such thing as a time out, break, or substitute for someone performing in the Nutcracker, or Swan Lake. They are on stage the entire time, moving, spinning, leaping, pirouetting, performing grand jetés and fouetté en tournant (and many other French terms for leaping) until the end of the ballet.
Take it from me: ballets are long! Dancing in one (or even watching it) is definitely not easy, or for the faint of heart.

Some researchers say that ballerinas, especially male ballet dancers, are stronger than most athletes competing at college athletic levels; dancers are definitely not pansies.
I have gained a new appreciation for ballet dancers and the effort they put into their sport. It is hard work to get out there and leap, spin, jump, plié, pirouette etc, all the while trying to smile and look good in a skin-tight pink outfit.
Next time you have the opportunity to go to a ballet, take it and think of the strength and dedication it takes to be a ballet dancer.

February 22, 2009

Who would have known?

Sometimes people don’t appreciate the things they have, until they are gone.

Living in a different country gives one the chance to see things that are different around the world; to experience different cultures, different languages, different government structures, and of course different foods.
It is fun to travel and experience new things, but at times you can miss things that you can only get at home.
Prime Example: Amazing chocolate items: Kinder surprise, the real deal Oreos, Wunderbars, virtually anything Cadbury.
Canadian chocolate is a typical luxury item enjoyed by people who visit from the states, as well as maple syrup, Maritimes seafood, and various flavours of chips; who would guess that perogies would be included in that list?
Virtually impossible to find in the United States, perogies are a wonder that have come to us from the Ukraine.
Boiled and then fried dough dumplings stuffed with varying ingredients: cheese, potatoes, bacon, or whatever else tickles your fancy, perogies are a childhood treat enjoyed by many European and Canadian children.
There are many ways to try perogies; some people enjoy them dipped in ketchup, BBQ sauce, Ranch dressing, with sour cream and cheese, or even just on their own.
So if you are in Canada right now with the option to run to the frozen section of your favourite grocery store, take the chance to enjoy a tasty perogy snack for the rest of us who would have a small—well, actually large—hike to do the same.
While you are at it; introduce them to an American friend. You just might make their day as they are amazed at the tasty deliciousness of a good ole’ perogy.