Tag Archives: movie

Of boardgames and beer… with a little bit of guinea pigs

I am not new to guinea pig introduction, yet every time it goes entirely differently than any other time. When we introduced Bean and Mocha, it was crazy because we didn’t know yet that Mocha was male. Obviously we had to separate the immediately or face the consequences. It was nuts. After Mocha died, we brought home Buttercup. Introducing her to Bean was entirely anti-climatic. They accepted each other straight away.

Buttercup and Spike sharing the clover patch like best buds (hahahahahaha)

Introducing Buttercup to Inigo & Fessik was another story entirely. They had never been separated, so they already had a dynamic. It took some time to sort out their differences, but eventually Buttercup established herself as “boss” of the herd.

Now that I think about it, introducing Spike to Buttercup was similar. They seemed fine at first, then Spike began making a play for dominance. Buttercup was controlling access to the food, and eventually Spike drew blood (or Buttercup headbutted something, which is possible.)

Spike looking very very cute

It took awhile, but they seem to be getting along now. I’ve only had to intervene once in the last week or so. What a relief.

Otherwise, our time has been full of family and friends. That doesn’t sound like news does it? I finally got to experience the splendour that is The Loft. The Loft Board Game Lounge is a magical place where you can drink, eat tasty snacks, and play boardgames. All for only a $5 cover charge. We started off with drinks downstairs at the Lunenburg before heading upstairs to play boardgames until 1AM. Awesomesauce.

Lunenburg pub with friends
Drink at the Lunenburg pub below The Loft with friends (from left): Nathan, Chris, Lise, Alex, Elizabeth, and Stephanie.

And I finally got to see The Giver. The book it’s based on has special meaning for me; it was my favourite book when I was in elementary school. I was so worried that the movie was going to let me down, especially when I saw the critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t pay any attention to them. It’s a wonderful movie.

Poster for The Giver. Movie adapted from the book 2014.
Poster for The Giver. Movie adapted from the book 2014.

Coming up this weekend is a camping trip to Silent Lake with good friends Eric and Alex, and their daughter Kyla. I’m really excited. They make very good camping buddies, and I’ve heard excellent things about this campground.

Silent Lake Provincial Park in Bancroft, Ontario
Silent Lake Provincial Park in Bancroft, Ontario

Movie night on the lawn at Rideau Hall

For someone as busy as I am, I have spent a surprisingly small amount of time and energy exploring the events going on in Ottawa since I moved here in 2007. I was very excited when my friend Stephanie invited me to an an outdoor movie night at Rideau Hall.


They set up a screen on the grounds and hundreds of people showed up for a free screening of The Grand Seduction; an English adaptation of the French Canadian film. We had such a great time. There was free popcorn, beverages provided by a local Scout troop, and even the weather cooperated. The Governor General, David Johnston, said a few words then we all sang Happy Birthday to the director. It was really really nice.

The Governor General, David Johnston, giving his speech

I even managed to get some knitting done. It was pretty cold, and it got dark so I had to put it away eventually.

In-progress hat: Rikke.

I finished it a few days later and it turned out perfectly!

Finished hat!


Recipe: Strawberry Banana Trifle with homemade pudding
Strawberry-banana trifle
Mmmmmmmm trifle

I set out to make a simple dessert, but it ended up being a bit more complicated that I’d intended. It still turned out fabulously, so I’m not really complaining. I bought the angel food cake at the grocery store, but the whipped cream and pudding mix I made from scratch.

Vanilla Pudding Mix

Original recipe adapted from The Brown-Eyed Baker.

Making pudding from scratch. Like a boss.

I substituted for the corn starch and added vanilla when mixing up the pudding on the stove. Potato starch was a little “glutonous” in the end, I wish I had used tapioca or rice starch but it still worked.

1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup starch (tapioca, corn… I used potato)
3/4 dry milk powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk.
  2. Combine 2 cups of milk with 1/2 cup of pudding mix in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Strawberry-Banana Trifle

Original recipe found on Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama

1 store-bought angel food cake, cut into cubes
1 batch of pudding (see recipe above or use instant)
Strawberries, halved
Bananas, sliced
Whipped cream

  1. Cut angel food cake into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Prepare pudding mix with milk as above (or use instant pudding)
  3. Cut up strawberries and set aside. Slice bananas as you layer to keep them from going brown.
  4. Whip up your whipped cream
  5. Layer all ingredients in glass trifle bowl and store in the fridge for a few hours to set, or make it the day before and let it sit overnight. Keep cold until served.

I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top and in-between the layers for a little extra. It turned out great!