Nana is a guest writer for a few weeks . She is 89 years old and gives advice
from a wealth of experience. We hope you will enjoy her as much as we
do. Dear Maxy , Twenty years ago , my wife had an affair with a co-worker . It ended when he moved back to his home a state 2,000 miles away . At the same time, I asked my wife to go to counselling with me . We made it to one session before she pronounced our marriage "healed." Sixteen months ago , this same guy contracted my wife via email and the began communicating . I discovered they were planning to meet in Las Vegas, I begged her not to go, but she was convinced she loved him and had to know if they should be together . The month before her trip, I endured more pain than I've ever experienced . I set up counselling sessions for us with separate therapists, arranged a meeting with our pastor and lost 20 pounds from the stress . In the end, this creep flaked out on their Vegas rendezvous , probably because he couldn't see himself leaving his children for her . She was also reluctant to leave our kids . However, the breakup crushed her and she initially refused to work on our marriage . Finally we went to a joint counselling session , but when the therapist made a reference to her "profound betrayal," that was that . My wife refuses to rehash what happened . I'm worried that the only reason she is recommitting to our marriage is because the other man gave up on her . Things just don't feel the same . She insists she's done with this guy, but who really knows ? Is it possible to move forward without dealing with the past ? Torn Up Dear Torn Up , Maybe, but not if your wife is using your marriage as her rebound relationship in order to soothe her heartbreak . That's a temporary committment . Refusing to examine the reasons behind her vulnerability to the affair leaves open the possibility of repeating the betrayal ... and this is undoubtedly what most worries you . You cannot force your wife to work on this, so please get counselling for yourself, on your own . You need to learn what you can live with . Maxy Nana says, Sorry, but you both need a little straight talk: 'Torn Up', you are weak and no doubt blind to your wife's problems and she has a bunch of them. You don't need a sometimes wife and the kids don't need a sometimes mother. Your wife needs the excitement of clandestine sex, the wickedness of an affair. She may call it love but it isn't. She will never accept councelling and she will never rehash her affair because it would destroy her illusions. However, she will probably repeat the betrayal at the next opportunity because she knows you are weak and will take her back. She will always use your weakness against you. One or both of you should call it quits. When you see the situation from a distance you will see it more clearly. Dear Maxy , I am a grandfather in my 70s . I was excited to learn about Facebook and start conversing with friends and relatives . I love seeing all their pictures and videos and reading their statuses and comments . I always make comments and give compliments on their pictures , etc . But is it wrong for me to be hurt and resentful when some of them completely ignore me in return ? Is it mainly the relatives that do this . These are the same people to whom I have sent checks in hard times and for every ocassion and it bothers me when I see that they comment to other friends, but act like I don't exist . I don't understand their behavior . They act as if it would cost them long-distance-money to respond to me . I believe you can find out a lot about people by friending them on Facebook . You discover which ones are really interested in you and which ones simply like to post pictures of themselves . It is so self centered . What should I do . Hurt Dear Hurt , Please don't mistake Facebook for genuine friendship and a true relationship . It is simply a convenient way to keep track of others' activities and life events and let them know about yours . Some people are considerate and responsive (like you), and others , less so . Your relatives, in particular, may think that their relationship with you is covered outside of Facebook and therefore doesn't require the same degree of attentiveness online . It's OK to ask when you see them in person , but I urge you not to take this too seriously . I don't believe it is anyone's intent to hurt your feelings . Maxy Nana says, Maxy is right on the dot with his advice. That is what family does. They are too familiar with you so they take you for granted. You are like part of the furniture, a favorite old chair....always there and very comfortable. My daughter has complained of this very problem with Facebook. She tries to keep up with all her grandchildren and leaves loving messages but they don't often reply. They like knowing you are always there for them and supporting them and they appreciate it from the heart even if they seldom say it. Try not leaving a message for a while and see what happens. Dear Maxy , I always felt my mother and I were inseparable . I never thought I would be blessed to marry a wonderful man and that it would damage our relationship, but it did . My mom has had a great influence on my life for 32 years , but this had to end . She only developed a problem with my then-boyfriend when she saw it was serious . She tried everything to break us up, including having him investigated , she told me he was "no good." I chose not to listen to her . I'm happy I did . I couldn't ask for a better husband . My mom did not come to my wedding and refuses to come to my house, saying I chose a man over her . But Maxy , I cannot allow her to continue to be disrespectful of my husband . Please tell your readers that trying to control their children will only push them away and create resentment . My mom centered her life around me and now feels lost . I'm still struggling to adjust to not having her in my life, but I refuse to leave my husband to make her happy . I have made grat choices . Many mothers would love to have a daughter and son-in-law like us .Is there anything I can do ? Missing my Mom Dear Missing my Mom , Your mother's jealousy has clouded her thinking and instead of a close, warm relationship with you, your husband and your future children, she has isolated herself in bitterness . I hope you will give her the opportunity to get past this, although it may take time and a good deal of forgiveness on your part . Continue to periodically reach out to her, inviting her to your home with the understanding that she must treat your husband with decency . Over time, I suspect she will miss you enough to make the effort . Maxy. Nana says, You are doing the right thing. It is your life and you must live it the way you know is best for you. All moms are a little jealous when their daughters marry. Your mom just got carried away by her feelings and she can't get things back in perspective. When she has had sufficient time to think things through she will start to see her behavior as unreasonable and will realize that she may be denied access to her future grandchildren. If you keep an open mind and an open door she will come around. If you were the center of her universe, just imagine how lonely she is right now. But when she is in your home, make it clear that your husband is to be treated with respect. Just don't expect too much too soon. The ball is in her court.
The SPCAs and Humane Societies across Canada are celebrating their first official cupcake day. You can register here to lend your support: Nationalcupcakeday.ca. Here are a few all time favorite cupcake recipes.
250g brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup store-bought or homemade lemon curd
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
6 small strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk
Luscious yet simple lemon-curd folds in seamlessly to this whimsical strawberry and lemon cupcake.
Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, until fluffy. Gradually beat in lemon curd until smooth. Refrigerate frosting and strawberries until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups. Stir flour with baking powder and salt. Beat butter with lemon zest in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Gradually beat in a third of flour mixture, then half the milk. Repeat additions, ending with remaining third of flour mixture. Spoon into muffin cups, filling three-quarters full.
Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cupcakes comes out clean, about 25 min. Let cupcakes cool completely.
To assemble, insert a small paring knife 1 inch deep into a cupcake at a 45-degree angle, halfway between the centre and the outside edge. Cut out a small cone and save for another use. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. Stir 1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries into frosting. Fill and frost each cupcake with a palette knife or spoon, then top with a strawberry half.
SUPER AWESOME CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE
1 3/4 cups large-flake oats
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
100 g pkg good-quality dark chocolate (70%-85%), very finely chopped
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with silicone cupcake liners, then lightly spray with oil.
Pour oats into a food processor. Whirl until very finely ground, about 2 min. Add cocoa, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whirl until combined, about 1 min.
Whisk egg whites with applesauce, yogurt, agave syrup and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Add to food processor along with hot water. Whirl until combined, about 1 min. Scrape back into bowl. Batter will be runny. Let batter stand until thickened to the consistency of oatmeal, about 20 min.
Preheat oven to 350F. Stir chopped dark chocolate into thickened batter. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
Bake in centre of oven until muffins have risen and a skewer inserted in centre of muffins comes out slightly sticky but not wet, 25 to 27 min. Let muffins cool in pan for 15 min. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Frost with Vanilla marshmallow frosting.
Muffins will stick to paper liners; use silicone liners for easy removal. Or spray muffin cups with oil if not using liners.
PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH MAPLE FROSTING
Makes 10 cupcakes
Ingredients for the Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners. 2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. 3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely. 4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.
Ingredients for the Maple Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Directions for the Maple Frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
This is a white long haired fluffy plush dog ( a Bichon Frise). You can make him any size but bigger is easier to make. You will also need black button eyes, a small piece of pink satin or felt for lining the ears and black embroidery thread for the nose and mouth. You can also get eyes and noses for stuffed animals at the hobby or craft store in your area. He looks good with a ribbon around his neck or a cat collar from the dollar store.
This fellow comes with a seam allowance. If you print these patterns out at 8x10", you < should come up with a 1" grid, and he'll have a 1/4" seam allowance. That's a bit slim for some fabrics. I've actually put grainline arrows on these pieces, showing the direction the fur should run.
Cut two of these (one reversed).
Cut two of each of the legs (one reversed) and one of the underbody. Although there's a foldline, don't actually cut the fabric with it folded - trace half, flip the pattern on the foldline edge and trace the other half. The fur pile should run toward the back (right to left).
Cut two of each of these (one reversed) except the ear, of which cut four. If you're using a fluffy fabric, cut the two ear linings out of something else - calico, felt, satin, whatever you like ear-insides to be.
If you're using a fluffy fabric, especially if you have a wider seam allowance, shave it now. Be careful not to shave too far, or you'll have bald spots on the seams. Shave inside the eye darts, too.
Sew the tail pieces together, leaving the base end open. Clip the inside of the curves and turn (a turning tool is useful here). Stuff lightly. Do the same with the ears, but don't stuff them. Sew the eye darts (the marked line is the same line).
Match the side seams on the head, RST, pinning the base of the ear into the seams, and sew. Make sure the ears are symmetrical - they go about where the curve of the head back is sharpest. You may choose to leave them out, and sew them on by hand later.
Match the two head sides, RST, and sew them together. Turn the head rightside-out. If you're using safety eyes/nose, you can put them in now. Or you can embroider the nose and use black buttons for eyes
Match the front legs with the underbody gusset, RST, pin and sew. Match one rear leg - the gusset will only go partway across the top of the leg, so stop 1/4" from the end of the gusset. Match the other rear leg to the underbody+leg, matching the back top corners of the legs and making sure the front top corner is symmetrical with the first leg.
Match the underbody piece with one body side, RST, and pin - begin with the paws, and work out to the front and back ends of the underbody. Sew, then pin the other side, also matching the two body pieces along the dog's back. Pin the tail in the back seam, making sure it's aligned correctly (the tip should point toward the front of the dog). Sew all the way around, leaving a turning opening in the dog's back, and remembering not to sew the neck closed!
You should now have two pieces - the head (right side out) and the body (inside out). Put the head inside the body, matching the neck seam (make sure the dog is facing the right direction - he can face sideways, but backwards is probably a bad idea), and sew all the way around. Turn the body rightside out, stuff, and ladder-stitch the stuffing opening closed.
Trim the fur around the face and paws as desired, embroider a mouth, and you're done!
If you're feeling stressed at work or generally unhappy, you may want to consider turning to tango.
A new study by Australian researchers and published in the journal Music and Medicine found that after just a few weeks of tango classes, participants' "satisfaction with life and self-efficacy significantly increased."
The researchers at the University of New England and Australian National University studied 41 people with say they suffered from stress, anxiety and depression. The group spanned from ages 18 to 73 and was 80 percent female.
About half of that group (20) was enrolled in eight 90-minute tango classes during a two-week period while the other participants were put on a waiting list. The dance required synchronization, improvisation and a "strong connection" with a partner. After taking the classes, most participants reported less stress, anxiety or depression. The effects of the dance classes were still evident when these participants were surveyed a month after finishing their tango lessons.
The symptoms for those who were wait-listed, however, stayed the same or got worse.
The authors wrote that the results of their study "indicated that this activity helped the participants to focus on the present moment and mentally switch off from their feelings of stress and distress."
Interestingly, these are not the only health benefits that tango can offer. Parkinson's patients have been found to benefit from the dance as well.
Believe it or not...this is a mocroscopic animal....They exist everywhere.Tardigrades are one of a handful of animals which can live without water
A strange creature has a trick that could change the delivery of vaccines – and other medical supplies – forever. Water is crucial for life. Or so we are told. Some organisms, it turns out, have a remarkable ability to survive near complete dehydration - a feat known as anhydrobiosis or “life without water.” There is the resurrection plant, brine shrimps, nematode worms and baker’s yeast. Or take a class of microscopic animals known as tardigrades - commonly known as water bears - which live in thin films of water present in soil, mosses, leaves, and more. “They live in water and when their habitat dries up, they dry up,” says John Crowe, a biologist at the University of California. " But they don’t die - instead, they can remain in a state of suspended animation for decades, and when they’re rehydrated, they spring right back to life."
While these remarkable resurrections are interesting curiosities in their own right, they have also inspired a wave of potentially life-saving applications. Now, scientists are beginning to copy these creatures’ tricks to preserve critical lifesaving compounds, such as vaccines, DNA and stem cells. They hope to extend the shelf life of these substances from mere days to months or even years, transforming medicine everywhere from rural Africa to the battlefield.
Early in his career, Crowe was inspired by water bears—and their remarkable capacity for dehydration. “I started this whole business with a curiosity - how do they do this?” Crowe says. “Humans can’t do this.” Indeed, when our cells dry out, they shrink and shrivel. The proteins inside them clump together and the membranes fuse, causing irreversible damage. Upon rehydration, the cells often completely disintegrate.
In the 1970s, Crowe discovered that the secret to the survival of many anhydrobiotic organisms is a simple sugar known as trehalose. As these critters dry out, they manufacture this sugar. The sugar, in turn, essentially behaves just like water inside the cell. As the water molecules disappear, molecules of trehalose slip into the spaces that the water once occupied; the proteins in the cellular membrane that were once bonded to water bond to the sugar instead. In this way, the sugar stabilizes the cell, holding its membrane in place and preventing the cell from shriveling. With trehalose inside the cell, Crowe says, “the proteins remain right where they were in the membrane, as if it were fully hydrated.”
As Crowe developed this “water replacement theory” of trehalose, he began to wonder: If trehalose could stabilize the cells of anhydrobiotic organisms, could it also be used to protect human cells from damage when they were dried? He began to realize that the biomedical implications could be huge. For instance, to stop bleeding and to secrete substances that promote wound healing. Transfusions of platelets can be life saving for patients suffering from massive blood loss, as well as those undergoing chemotherapy or certain surgical procedures. But platelets are tricky to use therapeutically. Refrigeration renders them useless, so they must be stored at room temperature. That drastically limits their shelf life; blood banks discard human platelets after just three to five days, and even then, the cell fragments occasionally get contaminated with fungi, bacteria, or viruses, causing potentially fatal complications in patients who receive transfusions. It also means there’s a chronic shortage of platelets.
If scientists could figure out how to dehydrate the platelets without destroying them, it would be a game changer.
Dear Maxy , I have been in love with Cliff for four years. Two years ago we got a house together. When he lost his job he became angry, indifferent and didn't seem to care about me any more. I tried to tough it out, believing it would get better, but when Cliff became verbally abusive, I took my two kids and left . I asked him if he wanted me to stay and he said no he didn't think things would improve . We kept trying to fix the relationship or at least I did . But Cliff was dating other women and lied to me about it and the whole thing has become a hurtful mess . I still love Cliff, but don't know whether I can trust him anymore. My guilt over leaving him and his son to to deal with the foreclosure on the house we bought together kills me . He won't express any anger, even though I can see his resentment . He also won't address the lies . Is this a lost cause . Am I hoping for too much ? Love Struck Dear Love Struck , You could make excuses for Cliff's terrible behavior by believing his job loss depressed him and he couldn't cope . But that only underscores a certain level of immaturity and irresponsibility. When the going gets tough , Cliff lies and cheats . Life is filled with tough times and your partner should be someone you can count on . Cliff doesn't seem terribly interested in working on your relationship . At some point, you have to make the decisions that are best for your children . Professional counseling can help you work through this and move forward . Maxy Nana says, Phooey! All this angst over a lying, cheating man with no backbone. I am so old I have seen this kind of thing time and again. See a councelor if you can't handle your own life; that's fine. But I might suggest you give your kids a hug, dress up and go out on the town with someone you like ...kick up your heels. The whole world is out there waiting for you. Don't worry yourself sick over someone like Cliff. Let him sit home and sulk about himself. You did the right thing. Dear Maxy, I recently lost my spouse and now attend a grief support group that can be very helpful . However, there are a couple of members of this group who monopolize the conversation for at least half of the time allotted for the total meeting and worse, they repeat the same ting over and over again . We also have a new member who attends to support a friend whose husband died, now we know all about her abusive childhood . Grief groups work well by sharing pain caused by loss of a loved one . Members support one another . This is not possible unless there is an open and caring interchange between members . Perhaps those members who are causing problems will see this . Southern Griever Dear Southern , There should be a councelor of some kind to moderate these discussions and keep order so everyone gets a chance to speak their mind. Although a certain amount of off-topic discussions can be appropriate and healing , no one should monopolize the sessions so often that it prevents other from expressing themselves. Speak to your moderator about it. Another option is finding a group more suitable to your needs. Maxy Nana says, Next time you attend your grief support meeting, perhaps, you could suggest to all the members that each person gets a time limit of five minutes and keep going round the circle of members until the meeting is over. If no one wants to be the time keeper, take your kitchen timer with you. Dear Maxy , My parents and brother live in another state . A few years ago my brother went through a nasty divorce . He and my eleven-year-old niece, "Debra" are still estranged from his ex-wife . The issue is how my mother is reacting to the divorce . She was very shocked by the events leading up to their separation and think it has damaged her trust in people . She seems to be transferring this anxiety onto Debra . Mom wants to protect Debra from all disappointments in life , and together they have developed an "us against the world" mentality . Maxy , there are other family members who love Debra and want to be part of a loving support system for her and yet we feel shut out by the alliance with my mother . Debra goes to her grandmother almost exclusively with all her feelings and I get the sense that Mom enjoys being so important to her . I know that my mother loves Debra immensely , but I'm not sure whether she is helping or hurting . What do you think ? Ambivalent Dear Ambivalent, It all depends on whether your mother is helping or hurting Debra. If your mother acts as Debra's confidante and works through the girl's feeling of abandonment or grief over the divorce she is helping . Debra may find that her grandmother is easy to talk with and seems to understand her best , in which case she is more likely to confide in her exclusively. However , if Mom is deliberately keeping Debra away from family members and encouraging her to blame her mother or father , mistrust others or behave secretively , she is doing harm . Maxy Nana says, An eleven year old is perceptive enough to know in her heart who she trusts with her feelings. Kids are smart. Don't worry about her. Just be thankful she is surrounded by a loving family. Normally she would go to her mother with all her feelings and problems. Since she no longer is close to her mom, her grandma is a natural choice for a substitute. She needs a confidante (singular). You will be able to tell from her demeanor and behavior if the relationship has a negative influence but that's highly unlikely. 'Thank Heavens for grandmas!'
Do you have a bunch of paint chips in your junk drawer? Don't throw them out. They are potential works of art and here are a few examples. Use your imagination and I am sure you will come up with lots more. The birds in the bottom picture are just traced and cut out of old wallpaper samples.
There is something so comforting and nostalgic about a nourishing bowl of homemade soup. It is both lovely to eat, and lovely to make. Many of us rely on a pre-made stock for our soups which is a perfectly acceptable substitution – both convenient, and (depending on the brand) satisfactory in taste. However, if you want to take your soup to the next level, it’s time to make some homemade stock.
Homemade, high-quality stocks are the foundation for sauces, soups and many other dishes in restaurant kitchens. While we don’t need our home kitchens to keep up with restaurant standards, this ridiculously easy process will improve the flavour of your cooking immensely. Soup essentials The first component in a flavourful stock is bones,or vegetables, if making veggie stock. Next is aromatic vegetables – typically onions, carrots and celery. The ratio of vegetables should be: two parts onion to one part celery and one part carrot. Finally, a stock requires some seasoning which comes in the form of herbs and spices – you do not salt a stock! Dried spices and herbs are suitable but should be used in their whole form (not ground). Use herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley. Depending on your stock you may also opt for garlic, but you will taste it in the final product so be sure your final dish will suit the garlic flavour. Herbs and spices can be tied in a cheesecloth sachet, making them easier to retrieve after cooking, or they can be removed once your stock is strained.
Soup ratio The most useful stocks to make are chicken, beef, fish and vegetable stock. It is a good idea to make stock in large batches – it freezes beautifully and then you always have it on hand. In terms of ratio, your stock should consist of 100% water, 50% bones and 10% vegetables. In other words, 6 L of water would need about 2.5kg (6 lbs) bones and 454g (1 lb) vegetables. Fish stock is the exception. It cooks very quickly so less water is required. Fish stocks need half the amount of vegetables to 4L water ad 2.5 kg bones. Often a cup of white wine is added to fish stock…why not!
Tips for making chicken, beef and fish stock It is recommended to cut the bones into smaller pieces (4 inches or so) in order to extract the most flavour and gelatine from the bones. If you’re not in the mood…throw them in whole…life is short. Vegetables should be cut in a size proportional to the cook time of the stock. You want the flavour extracted by the vegetables but don’t need them turning to mush or it will interfere with the clarity of your stock. Beef stocks should be cooked for 6 to 8 hours, so vegetables can go in whole, or halved. Chicken stocks are cooked for 3 to 4 hours, so vegetables should be cut into 2 inch pieces. Fish stocks cook very quickly, so in order to get the most flavour they should be coarsely diced.
Cooking method Cover the bones with fresh, cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any residue that has risen to the top. Add vegetables and seasonings. Keep the simmer low to prevent any residue that rises to the top from boiling back into your stock. Skim and add more water as needed to keep the bones covered. Remove pot from heat and let cool. Strain. Although admittedly this is not technically the “chef-y” way to do it, I find the best method is to now chill your stock and let the fat solidify at the top. The residual fat will rise to the top and form a solid film, making it an easy to remove. Then you are left with a flavourful, clean stock free of fat.
Vegetable stock tips Vegetable stock consist of vegetables, herbs and spices and water. Wine is also sometimes added. Depending on the vegetables you use, the flavour of your stock can vary greatly so be careful with the vegetables you choose. Using particularly strong vegetables (fennel, cauliflower, cabbage) will result in a stock predominantly flavoured with those vegetables. If you are looking for a relatively neutral flavour, opt for onions, celery and carrots. Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes as they will turn your stock cloudy. Also consider the colour or the vegetable you are selecting for stock. If the vegetable tends to leech a lot of colour (thinking beets), your finished product will be that colour. The size of your vegetables should be cut relatively small as vegetable stock generally simmer for only 45 minutes. The ratios for vegetable stock are the same as fish stock.
Now that you’re inspired, whip up a batch of homemade chicken stock.
Dear Maxy, My daughter is having a challenge with her teachr, and I'm not sure how to handle it . The other day she came home and told me her teacher spoke to her in a way that made her feel like the teacher thinks she is an idiot . My daughter is in the third grade . I know this teacher can be sharp and harsh with her students . I believe she thinks this is the way to get them to behave . My daughter has never used language like that before to talk about herself or anybody else. "Idiot" is a strong word, like a curse word in our house . I want to get to the bottom of this to find out what is going on in the class room and what the teacher thinks my daughter is doing . I also wants to tell the teacher I don't appreciate her talking down to my daughter . I am so angry, though, that I don't know how to begin . Mad Mom Dear Mad Mon , Take a few deep breaths and compose yourself . Talk to your daughter again and find out what was going on when her teacher made her feel like an idiot . Gently ask her to explain the circumstances . It is likely that something your child did or didn't do precipitated it , which doesn't necessarily excuse the behavior . You are gathering information . Listen carefully so you can recite what your daughter shares with you later . Schedule an appointment with the teacher and tell her about your daughter's concerns . Describe the scenario as through your daughter's eyes and ask what her version of the story is . Tell the teacher that your daughter is sensitive and that you do not want her leaving school feeling that she is an idiot, whatever that means in her mind . School is where she goes to learn and grow . Her teacher needs to be more nurturing and less judgmental . Ask her can she do that . Maxy Nana says, I agree with Maxy. First, you must lose your anger. It never helps in situations like this. You are faced with an age old conundrum; will talking to the teacher make it better or worse for your daughter? The teacher may not take criticism well and take it out on your daughter. This calls for diplomacy on your part. Obviously, any teacher who would send a little girl home feeling so bad is the idiot in that classroom. A teacher can influence a child for life and can affect the direction a child takes. Children have delicate egos. I think we all have a memory or two of a teacher who embarrassed or hurt us. I do, her name was Miss Salt and by todays standards, she is the teacher of your nightmares. It might not hurt to find out if she has said spiteful things to any of the other children. And don't bring that information up unless she gives you a very difficult time. Keep a little ammunition in reserve. Good luck. Dear Maxy , I've been on a couple of dates with this guy and everything is going great . We touch base on a lot of beliefs and I find myself always happy when I am with him . A few nights ago he kissed me for the first time and it was terrible ! It was almost unbearable . I tried helping him out when kissing , but he was so confident in his kissing that he didn't think anything of it . I want to continue seeing him but don't know how to address the situation . I don't want to keep quiet , nor do I want to damage his confidence . Help ? Bad Kiss Dear Bad Kiss , If you like this guy enough , you are going to need to educate him ...gently . It could be that he hasn't had much experience kissing , so he hadn't developed his skill . It could be that he's arrogant and thinks he knows more than he does. Next time you two go to kiss . Ask him if you could kiss him . Ask him to slow down and let you lead . Take your time . If he tries to take over , remind him thatit is your turn to show him what you like . If he refuses to allow you to guide him at all , that's a pretty good indication of how he will likely behave in the future . Arrogance can cloud one's vision . Do your best to push pass his insecurity / arrogance to see if you can discover how to please each other . Maxy Nana says, I think Maxy was spot on with his answer. That's what I would do. And if he does not respond to gentle persuasion or suggestion, you may never enjoy the physical side of the relationship. Don't put yourself through that. Some people make better friends than lovers. Dear Maxy , When my friend drinks , she has no idea of her limitations . She claims to understand that she shouldn't drink so much, but as soon as she is in that setting, she forgets or is too stubborn to see the effects alcohol has on her . I love her, but it is annoying to be around her when she gets like that . She is already an attention-seeker when she's sober, so you can imagine how she is when she is drunk . My 21st birthday is in a few weeks and she is coming into town for it . I don't want to have to worry about her or spend my whole night dealing with her actions . How can I get through to her ? Drunk-Free Dear Drunk-Free, It sounds like your friend has a drinking problem . Call and have a heart-to-heart talk with her . Be specific about your concerns . Give examples of her behavior, including how she says she will limit her drinking but consistently gets drunk and acts out . Tell her that you are not sure you want her to come to your party because you have no desire to attend to her when you would rather be celebrating your big day . Honestly, you may need to uninvite her . Since she has proved to be untrustworthy in terms of how much she drinks, you probably cannot trust her this time . Maxy Nana says, How much does this friendship mean to you? She definitely has a drinking problem and it is not your responsibilty to be her babysitter when you are in a social situation with her. I cannot guage how serious her problem is but she may need to be connected to Alcoholics Anonymous. If that is the case, her family should be involved. If you really care for this girl and want to remain friends, perhaps you should speak to a member of her family. If that is not feasible, you can talk to a councillor at AA. If your friend is not amenable to help, you might reconsider the friendship. She certainly does not belong at your private or family celebrations. Nana
I shot and directed this short with my buddy Zach Ramelan over the course of a week last August. The two of us were hired by Growing In The Arts, a theater company out of Kitchener, ON, to run a kids' horror/thriller movie camp, and what you see here is the end result. I don't consider this my best work (although I am pretty proud of my editing here), though it does show what we're capable of creating under pressure. We bumped this off in about 4 days' worth of shooting, with around 5 hours of filming time each day, with a group of awesome kids. Imagine what we could do with more time!
I'd also like to extend a HUGE thanks to Alex O'Neil for doing an amazing job on the musical score in such a short amount of time. I am forever in your debt.
Much to our delight, Maxy's Nana (89 years old) will be a guest advisor on 'Ask Maxy' for a few weeks; Providing us with her own unique view on the letters we receive.
Dear Maxy , My family wants to move to another state . The only reason we haven't is because of my dad's job . He has worked for the same company for 18 years and doesn't want to lose his retirement benefits . I understand how important the job is, but the company would easily allow a transfer to another branch . Whenever we try to talk to dad about moving, he gets angry and yells at us or leaves the room in frustration . It's causing a lot of tension at home . We feel stuck and unhappy here and makes me upset with my father for not putting an effort into moving . He has told us many times that he wants to go somewhere else , yet he doesn't do anything to make it happen . Dad was looking at real estate prices in a city we vacationed in last year, but seems to have forgotten about it . How do we help him see that moving is best for all of us ? There is no downside . Other branches of the company pay better than the one he works at now, and there's also the possibility that he could find a job with an entirely different company that's even better for him . I think dad is worried about selling the house, but how will he know whether he can sell it if he doesn't try ? He is also resistant to change . How can we help him ? Loving daughter Dear Loving Daughter , Moving away may seem like a simple thing to you , but for your father , it is fraught with uncertainty . You don't know his company would offer to tranfer him . You don't know that he could find a better , or even an adequate job somewhere else and start from scratch to support his family . You don't know that he could sell the house for enough to buy another one . All of these things weigh on his mind and your constant pressure adds to his unhappiness and stress . Here's how you can help your dad : Tell him you know he is doing what he thinks is best for the family . Don't bring up the subject again . He knows how you feel . Decide to make the best of the situation you have and if you don't move away , you have the option of leaving on your own when you are an adult . Maxy Nana says, I agree with Maxy. At your age it is difficult to understand why anyone would get upset about moving to another state. You are young and bursting with energy and a sense of adventure. Your father, on the other hand, has a family to protect and care for. He has taken this responsibility seriously for all the years he has worked and built up security for you all. He is looking ahead to his retirement now and does not want to jeopardize that. The economy is very shaky. There is no guarantee he can get a job at his age or get a transfer with full benefits. When you get to a certain age it is hard to start all over again: new place, new job, new home. He is aware of all these things and I know most men in his position, in these uncertain times, would not risk it all on a whim. When you are on vacation and relaxed you can look at a real estate pamphlet and dream a little but reality is much different. Give him a little peace and quiet and a hug for all he has done for you. Your turn will come soon enough. Dear Maxy , The woman who sits at a cubicle across from me is unhygienic , in my opinion . She picks her nose and then uses the telephone without ever cleaning her hands or the instrument . She picks her teeth and leaves her used dental floss on her desk . Then she wants to come into my space and touch things . I don't want her hands on anything that I touch . Who can imagine that kind of behavior ? What can I say to her that won't seem rude but lets her know she can't cross the invisible line of my area unless she cleans herself up . Cleanliness First ` Dear Cleanliness First You have to state the obvious; otherwise your office mate will never pick up on your cues . For whatever reason , she doesn't realize her behavoir is unhygienic . She is oblivious to how her actions can make the environment unsafe for others . When no one is around, tell her that you have noticed things that she does that concern you . Run down the list . Tell that especially now, during flu season, you do not want to catch any illnesses . Implore her to clean up her desk area, sanitize it and wash her hands when she uses the restroom . She will likely be embarrassed and even angry, but at least you will have said it . If she does not comply , ask her to stay out of your work area . You may have to remind her from time to time . Maxy Nana says, Maxy is right; however I would try a little subtlety or diplomacy first. You don't want an altercation in the work place if you can help it. Why don't you buy a bottle of hand sanitizer for her desk and yours. Then tell her it is advised to keep your hands very clean during flu season and show her the bottle on your own desk. In fact, say that you use yours all the time to avoid all the nasty bacteria that people spread constantly. That would be a start. If she doesn't pick up on the message you are giving her you can always resort to the brutal truth. Dear Maxy , I got into a huge argument with my husband last week over stupid stuff . I feel like we ague every five minutes about something . I am so sick of him . We have been married about 10 years, but I'm beginning to feel that it isn't worth it . If everything is negative, what's the point ? This time it is so crazy because we were arguing about going on vacation . I had one idea and he had another. I introduced the idea to see if a change of pace might do us some good . Even that blew up on me . I'm nearly ready to pack my bags and fly but feel that is cowardly . This has to stop . What can I do ? On the Brink Dear On the Brink , Too bad you argued about a vaction . Taking time away from the rigors of your life can be restorative for couples who are having martital difficulties . Do you think you can revisit the idea of a vacation from a more neutral frame of reference ? Go back to your husband and ask if he is willing to broach the topic again . If so, do your best to select an activity that you both will enjoy . If you cannot find a way to have that discussion, then it's time for another one . It could start with a frank conversation where, during a quiet moment, you ask your husband what he wants and if that still includes being married to you . Be prepared to admit that you are questioning whether the two of you should stay together . If you can speak openly and honestly about how you feel about your relationship, you may be able to begin a real discussion that evaluates your life together . Getting a counselor to help both of you navigate the next steps is also advisable . You may be able to learn how to speak more diplomatically and respectfully to each other, which can be amazingly helpful in supporting a relationship . Figure out what your triggers are and how you can look at things differently . Then revisit whether you think you can work together or need to separate . Maxy Nana Says, There is an option you might like to try first. It sounds like the spark has gone out of your marriage and you are living in a kind of resentful boredom. I was married for more than 50 years and had that feeling from time to time. Can you remember when you loved each other so much you couldn't live without each other? Maybe you still do. It may be that you are just going through a kind of ten year itch. Perhaps you just need a bit of a change, a breath of fresh air. My husband and I spent weekends apart when we felt that way. I went to Las Vegas with a friend and he went golfing. You find, after a while, that you miss each other and realize you would be having more fun if you were together. It's worth a try before you start a chain of events you may regret and may not be able to stop, once in motion. Nana.
Upgrade your broom closet by hanging a plastic shoe holder inside a cupboard door and filling it with your most-used cleaning products. It’ll be easy to spot what you’re looking for — and might even encourage an impromptu clean.
Debbie Travis over-the-door shoe compartment, $20, Canadian Tire.
1/4 cup unsalted raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir flour with sugar, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with pumpkin purée, butter and vanilla extract. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir to combine.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape into 2 long, flat logs, about 2 in. wide and 1/2 in. thick. (Dough will rise as it bakes.) Sprinkle coarse sugar on top of logs, pressing gently so it adheres. Bake for 30 min, until centres are firm to the touch.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 min. Reduce oven temperature to 275F. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-in. pieces. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet and bake an additional 35 min. Cool completely on a rack.
Combine flour, 2/3 cup icing sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse until just mixed. Add butter. Pulse until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball, then divide in half. Shape each half into a flat disc and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 1/2 hours, or over-wrap with heavy foil and freeze up to 1 month.
Position oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 325F. (Keep discs in refrigerator until ready to roll.) Dust a rolling pin and a large sheet of waxed paper lightly with flour. Roll out a disc of dough on waxed paper to no thicker than 1/8 in. Dip a 2-in. rectangular cookie cutter in flour. Cut out shapes. Transfer to 2 large, ungreased cookie sheets and place about 1 in. apart. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just golden around edges, 10 to 12 min.
Remove to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather dough scraps and form into a disc. Chill until firm enough to re-roll, about 10 min.
Whisk maple syrup with 1/2 cup icing sugar until smooth. Lightly brush tops of cooled cookies, covering the entire surface. Excess icing will drip through the racks. Let stand for 1 hour or until icing is dry. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
If dough softens while you’re rolling and cutting it out, simply stop and refrigerate it on waxed paper, and check on it after 5 min.
Do you have a badly
behaving boyfriend who might fall in line if you slapped him in the face a few
times? Well, now there’s an app for that!
A new game called Boyfriend Trainer encourages players to slap, whip, taze and
mace the game's boyfriend character into shape. His offensive actions include
looking at other animated female characters and dropping clothes on the floor.
It's available at the Apple App Store and for free online.
Some instructions from level one: “Boyfriend’s got a roving eye? Control it.
Click on him to hit him when he checks out the girls. Fill up the Perfection
Meter to get through the level.” Sometimes the girlfriend character leads her
troublesome boyfriend around on a leash.
“It is important to make parents aware that there is an entire industry of
unrated games, many of which make a virtue off being offensive, that exists
largely under the adult radar,” says Matthew Johnson, the director of education
at media literacy group MediaSmarts.
“When you look at the content of many of these sites, you'll find that this
content is more or less par for the course, except for the gender of the
target,” says Johnson. "Sites such as eBaumsWorld, Addicting Games and
NewGrounds are all very popular with teens."
But before you start screaming “Double Standard! Domestic abuse!” about the
Boyfriend Trainer game, know that you have a chorus of news media behind you.
Wired describes the game as one that “lets you beat strangle and
electrocute your partner”, while the Globe and Mail simply asks, “Double standard, anyone?”
Richard Lachman is an assistant professor of digital media at Ryerson
University and he sees the media attention these games get as part of the
“It's not the only potentially offensive game, video or digital content out
there, but its important to notice that these games rarely have many people
downloading or playing them until media-outrage makes them popular,” says
“The small audience that would have noticed a game like this is now a huge
audience wringing their hands about something that, in all likelihood, would
have just vanished into the net in a few days.”
Lachman says that the barriers that used to exist in getting your content
seen no longer exist. Almost anyone can create a product that looks somewhat
professional and then put it on the web, and so quality control takes a
"As a society we are just starting to figure out how we respond to this
content through social conventions, behaviours, expectations and perhaps,
eventually legal practice,” says Lachman.
Many are expressing outrage that Apple, who has a strict no-nudity policy in
their App Store, would allow this game amongst their wares.
“It is somewhat surprising, but I suspect it’s more due to oversight than any
conscious double standard,” says Johnson. “My guess is that this will be removed
from the Apple app store within a day or two.”
Lachman has similar predictions. “Often, once there is enough of a media storm of attention, Apple removes the
content without much comment.”
Let's hope Apple gets around to dropping Boyfriend Trainer sooner rather than
later, lest some impressionable youth get the idea that tazing is an acceptable
method of communication.
This handmade project seems intimidating — especially to those who aren’t naturally crafty — but in reality, it’s super easy and inexpensive to make. Inspired by interior designer Nichole Loiacono, this DIY lantern requires just a few materials, four simple steps and the result is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind light fixture that is sure to make any house guest go ”ooohh” and “ahhh”!
What you need:
Paper lantern - available in most dollar stores
Light cord - cord with a screw in light bulb socket at one end and a plug at the other end (preferably white) available at Hardware or DIY stores
Decorative hook for ceiling, to drape cord over for hanging fixture.
How to do it:
1. First, scrunch up the coffee filter so that the bottom forms a pointed shape.
2. Place a small amount of hot glue on the bottom point of the coffee filter, and place on the lantern, holding it in place for a few seconds.
3. Continue the same process, covering the entire surface of the lantern. Put them fairly close together and don't let any of the Chinese lantern show through.
4. Once covered, screw a lightbulb to the cord and insert into the top opening of the lantern. Secure the cord within the wire holder at the top of the lantern, so that it hangs nicely in the centre.
And there you go: a pretty, glowing, blossom-like fixture to admire and impress friends
Tip: Use a low heat emitting bulb, perhaps a spiral, energy saving bulb...or the heat may soften the glue.
Have you looked at the price of lamps these days? Take an old garage sale or flea market lamp and do a makeover. Easy how-to:
1. Choose a lamp with an interesting shape or decorative features like the scroll pattern on this one.
2. Spray with paint. For hard-to-cover surfaces (like glass), use a primer first. And if your lamp has a decorative knob above the shade, make sure you paint it, too!
3. Fit with a contemporary shade. Look for drum or tapered-square shapes. Most lighting stores sell shades separately. Walmart has the cheapest shades and they are pretty decent Tip: If the shade sits too low or too high, you may need to replace the harp that holds it in place. These can also be found at lighting stores, hardware stores and dollar stores. Get this look: Lamp paint, Coral Isle, krylon.com. Wall paint, Saxon Green, Farrow & Ball.
Middleton sure does seem like she has it all: good looks, stellar fashion
sense, loving husband, baby on the way, a palace for a house, and … the perfect
nose? Yep, it seems that as the public continues its obsession with all things
Kate, many women also want her nose to be their nose. A “Good Morning America” episode that aired on Wednesday
featured an interview with a 21-year-old woman who went under the knife shortly
after Will and Kate’s April 2011 wedding in order to get a nose that resembled
the bride’s. "I try to get in every picture I can," Jessica Blaier, who spent
$12,000 on the procedure, said on the morning news program. "Her nose is what I
modeled with and that's what I got. It was definitely a process, but it was so
worth it." “GMA” also cited a British cosmetic surgery company that claimed that
surgeries with the goal of copying the Duchess of Cambridge’s nose were the
number-one requested procedures of 2012. Likewise, on Tuesday, Britain’s Daily Mail featured interviews with three separate women who
underwent rhinoplasty over the last year and a half, and all requested the look
of Kate’s nose for their new facial feature. “I’d look at the noses of friends, colleagues, strangers and celebrities –
Heidi Klum has a great little nose but, for me, Kate Middleton’s is perfect,”
28-year-old flight attendant Lauren Wright told the publication. “I especially
like the way it gently crinkles when she laughs.” And after years of being taunted about her imperfect nose, Danielle Murray,
24, knew she wanted to change it, but it took seeing Kate Middleton’s stunning
schnozz to convince her to seal the deal. “It was during the royal wedding
coverage … that I decided I wanted Kate’s nose,” the social worker, who
underwent the procedure in October 2011, said. “From every angle, whatever her
facial expression, she looked utterly beautiful. Her nose was adorable and
feminine.” Newport Beach, California-based cosmetic surgeon Dr. Terry Dubrow (who you also might recognize from “The Real
Housewives of Orange County”) says he’s not surprised by the uptick in requests
for Middleton’s nose.
“Her nose is so appealing because it is pretty without being overly perfect,”
Dr. Dubrow tells omg!. “The slightly sloped bridge with the rounded tip is
pleasing to the eye but not overly sculpted looking.