Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5 Things that Make Me Happy, Passing It On

I got tagged today by Tina at Life is Good so I now have to think of 5 things that make me happy to tell you about. Obviously this is over and above family and friends. Tina showed her Vibram shoes which sound wonderful, but are somewhat expensive.

These are 5 things that make me happy, not necessarily in order of importance, in fact they are all very important to me.

1. Spring

blossomI love all the fresh green colours which appear on the trees every spring, the gorgeous blossoms which are so delicate and don’t last very long, the promise of summer to come. One of these days I would like to see the cherry blossoms in Washington – I will never manage to get to the cherry blossom festival in Japan sadly. I used to love the azalea festival in Wilmington, NC.  I have mentioned before how I love to see the glorious green of spring grass mixed in with the warm golden of dandelions. Such rich colours.

2. Sunsets

We are lucky where we live right now because we seeSunset our Balcony lots of sunsets from our balcony. I would also include sunrises, but I don’t see too many of them any more. I just love the colours a really good sunset can produce. This is one of the many pictures Matt has taken from our balcony. He is a much better cameraman than I am but he uses an old fashioned camera so we have to wait to see what the results are. We get very good sunsets in Canada, I have no doubt there is a scientific reason for this, but to me, I just love the beauty they produce and the fantastic colours. You gather I get pleasure from visual things.

3. Good Food

Not something that will surprise anyone reading my blog. I love going to a top clittle-inn-of-bayfield_foodlass restaurant and being served something absolutely delectable to look at and delicious to eat. I love cooking such foods although these days I am unable to stand for very long in the kitchen so can’t do the things I used to do which gave me such pleasure to share with friends and family. Of course, good food needs to be complemented with good wines

4. Wildlife

Matt and I used to sit for hours watching birds in our back yard in North Carolina, unfortunately we are not alloweBirdfeeder2d birdfeeders  on our balcony so don’t really get to see a lot of birds close up any more although we can enjoy their songs. Mainly because we live in an apartment we don’t have any pets any more either. I do enjoy watching black squirrels in the park outside our window. I also love to watch wildlife programmes and am never happier than when I hear of successful preservation attempts whether by the World Wildlife Fund or someone else. Picture is of Cardinals on our feeder in North Carolina.

5. Classical Music

My love of classical music came mostly from my father although my mother did enjoy Rachmaninoff. It was further developed by both my husbands, Matt in particular who has been involved with music all his life. I am not fond of some of the more obscure and/or heavier classics but Beethoven, Bach, operas and so on, I love to hear. Matt always ends up crying from a well rendered version of Nessun Dorma, Luciano Pavarotti was the best in our opinion.

Now I have to tag five more bloggers  who are encouraged, but not forced, to list their own Five Things that Make Them Happy. I would actually like to tag lots more, but I will stick at five.

Jeff Hargett at Strands of Pattern
Yolanda Renee at Defending the Pen
Jenn at Scribbles from Jenn
Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes
Bob Scotney at Bob’s Home for Writing

As it was a lovely afternoon, we headed for Barrie’s Asparagus Farm and bought some asparagus. When I got home, I chopped up 2 lbs of it as the basis for more soup.

Talking of good food, this is what we had for supper last night. We saved half in the freezer. It was very enjoyable, only one problem, the marinade caught slightly whilst it was grilling which rather ruined the picture. You can only just see the dish of sauce, but it’s there and it was good. Told you, I am no photographer.

Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into
1 inch cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs oil
1 tbs curry powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom 

Peanut Coconut Sauce:
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (not fat free or lite)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste

If using bamboo skewers soak them in ice-cold water for 15 minutes to prevent them from burning; set aside. I use metal kebab skewers.

Whisk all ingredients for marinade together and pour into large plastic bag; add chicken and marinate for minimum 1 hour or overnight.
Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan and cook over medium  heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside
Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Thread chicken cubes onto skewers. Over high heat, cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the skewers over halfway through. Remove skewers and allow chicken to rest a few minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - love your five happy thoughts .. think I could happily embrace those. Then asparagus - about time I got some more ...

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Yes I bought 4 lbs yesterday. I do love the stuff and its such a short season.

  2. Those are 5 things I like too. It's been an amazing year for roses here and our place looks like a movie set its so beautiful.

    Those chicken skewers sound amazing.

    1. I miss having a rose garden, had one in the UK and loved it.

      They were, very good.

  3. Replies
    1. They were delicious, but when I think of Thai I normally think hot and spicy, these definitely were not.

  4. The most beautiful sunsets in the world we saw while living in ABQ, NM. Something about the way it painted the desert sky. Absolutely stunning.

    1. Yes, I have heard desert sunsets are magnificent. Never seen them sadly.

  5. Five very happy things indeed.

    1. Certainly to me. Sadly last night we had a heck of a rainstorm so it didn't do the blossom much good.

  6. Nice sunset shot! I love a good sunset. And thanks for the tag. I'll try to get my list up this week.

    1. Matt has lots of good sunset pix. He likes taking them.

      Glad you picked up the tag.

  7. I've been tagged, thank you Jo, I would love to share five things that make me happy. Will let you know when I post. Now to put my thinking cap on. I think the first thing on the list will be a good nights sleep, I'm exhausted! :)

    Now I'm worried, you listed all the great ones, but first to rest my imagination!

    Happy Wednesday in two, one midnight NOW!

    1. A good night's sleep is very important. I hope you can get one.

      Gotta be lots more things that make you happy, I hope.

      If you stay up that late, you won't get a good night.

  8. Jo, it is amazing how much we are alike. Are you sure there is no fire dragons in your past? hahaha. Good food, sunsets, nessum dorma, spring of course! Thanks for tagging me. I'll sure do it on Friday post. Dragon hugs! :D

    1. Maybe I had a fire dragon ancestor, I would like to think so.

      Looking forward to your post.

      Hugs from me too