As 2013 ends and 2014 is just around the corner, I want to share one of my favourite poems by Max Ehrmann written in 1927. In the early 1970’s, I first heard a recording by Les Crane reading this piece of prose.  Its profound wisdom hit me like a brick.  The most endearing part to me is “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Desiderata from ‘Poems of Max Ehrmann’

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;  for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.  

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


Peace for 2014.


Great Gifts


I love Christmastime!  I want to share with you some of the great gifts we’ve shared. Around here, many gifts have been long-lasting and fun, and hopefully a learning opportunity. Many of these gifts are inexpensive and affordable for anyone. Here are a few of my favourites:

Board games have always been a favourite, notably Scrabble, where everyone has spelled the most creative word at one time or another and where ‘house rules’ apply.


Puzzles of all sizes have been hits around here for decades. We have large-size 48 piece childrens’ puzzles, 300 piece 2X3 ‘floor’ puzzles, as well as 500-1000 piece puzzles which take days to complete. I’m very glad that I saved these puzzles over the years because now my grandchildren enjoy making puzzles with me.


My children have always loved to receive sketch pads, doodle pads, construction paper, markers, sketching pencils, and the like. They’ve never been big fans of ‘colouring books’ because they seem too restrictive to stay in the lines……. and heaven knows my kids don’t enjoy ‘staying in the lines of life’.


At various times, most of my children have received binoculars. I usually have given them smaller, children’s binoculars – the first pair of binoculars I gave my babies were from Fisher-Price and I still have them around here somewhere. As they grew older, I gave them inexpensive ones from the Dollarama – they could always use the good binoculars which have sat on the kitchen counter by the back window, at the ready.


A magnifying glass has been a popular gift around here. It’s always fun to look at something up close. Eventually most of my kids graduated to using the microscope. One year, my son Marty received two microscopes for Christmas to add to our collection. At that time he had jars of dead things (shells, crabs, etc. – thanks Fred) in his ‘lab’ which was my desk in the corner of the basement.


We love to play cards around here. Whenever there’s a bunch of us together, we play Euchre or hearts or A-hole/President/or whatever name it happens to have at that time, or cribbage. For many years, every Friday night Chris and I played Euchre with our neighbours. When I was growing up, my mother wouldn’t allow us to play cards on Sunday…..


When my children grow up, I love to give them a copy of my recipe book, Mom’s Recipes, so they will be able to make all the foods that they grew up with. Maybe some day, they’ll pass down these recipes to their children.


Some years, when I’ve been more ambitious or had the time, I’ve painted pictures for my children. A dozen years ago, my son Taylor was living in Vancouver, far from home at Christmas. I wanted to give him something that would remind him every day of his home so I painted him a picture of our house in the wintertime. It was one of my first paintings of the new millenium. I think I’ve just reminded myself that I’d better start painting again.

Home - Taylor

My daughter Nellie is a crochet artist and has created many unique, hand-crafted toys as well as scarves, hats, mitts, etc. This year, I commissioned her to create some well-loved toys through her online shop, The Black Lory (here). I’m very pleased that I will be giving one-of-a-kind gifts to some of my favourite people.



And of course, there’s always my Christmastime baking – coconut macaroons, hello dollies, chocolate chow mien clusters, cherry cheesecake, etc

Cherry Cheesecake

Cherry Cheesecake




Christmas of Years Past

Grammomsblog’s 2nd Anniversary! To celebrate 2 years, 138 posts, and 7,873 viewers on Grammomsblog, I’m re-printing my very first blog:


While getting ready for the Christmas season, I just can’t help but reminisce about all those Christmas’ past:

The first thing I like to do in early December is set up my Christmas Village (now known as the Winter Village as it stays up till March) that Taylor got me one year about 16 years ago.  I still have the same mirror a.k.a. skating pond and have added several “figures” over the years like my favourites:  the Woman hanging the wash on the line with real mini cloth sheets….and the men chopping wood (I made a woodpile from my apple tree branches, glued together )…..and my bonfire made from stones from the driveway glued with crepe paper flames…

I think about my gifting that actually begins long before the Christmas “shopping frenzy” -I’m not a big fan of shopping malls and stores at the best of times.  My kids have commented over the…

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Creamed Salmon on Toast Recipe

This recipe is close to my heart. My late mother-in-law, Florence, introduced me to Creamed Salmon on Toast many moons ago. It used to be a favourite of ours to share when we got together over the years. Whenever I make it, I always think of her and the loving, thoughtful person she was – in fact, she was my best friend for many years.
The only other person who has a passion for eating this delectable dish is my son Taylor. The last time I made it was over 5 years ago when he was visiting from Vancouver. Yesterday, he asked if I’d like to make Creamed Salmon for lunch since Nellie was away at the gym and wouldn’t be around to ‘enjoy the delightful fish smells’. Our cat and dog were thrilled to eat the drained fish oil and bones.
If you are lucky enough to live on one of our coasts, then you have access to fresh wild salmon for this recipe. If you’re like me, I just use a can of WILD salmon. Please do NOT use farmed salmon for the reasons described in this informative documentary (here). Look for the word “Wild” right on the label.

First, de-bone the salmon.
Toast whole wheat bread.
Heat or cook peas.
Next, in a frypan, melt the butter on medium until it just starts to bubble.
Add the flour and stir with a wisk. It will become ‘crumbly’.

Add milk, one third at a time, wisking until smooth.
Add salmon and wisk until completely mixed.

If you wish, add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place toast on a plate and smother with Creamed Salmon. Top with peas (warmed up leftover or freshly cooked). Voila! You have Creamed Salmon on Toast – an incredible feast!


Recipe for Creamed Salmon on Toast
1 Can Wild Salmon or fresh cooked
1 cup milk, more or less
1 Tbsp. or so flour
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper optional

From my cookbook “Mom’s Recipes“.



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