Deanne Ouest, Author

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Monthly Archives: May 2015

2014-08-14

Created by Deanne Ouest

Clearing out the clutter

I hate clutter. It sneaks up on you. Today I did some ‘spring’ cleaning in my kitchen. My kitchen corner cupboards were full of plastic margarine containers, ice cream containers, missing bottoms and missing lids, and dozens of other containers I just didn’t need. My husband saves them all. So out into recycling they went. The I reorganized the cupboards so I could actually find things without things tumbling out.

Getting into the grove of it, I tackled the food cupboards next.  I tossed a lot into the green bin.  Either expired or stale. I’m glad I checked as I’m hosting a Jamberry Nails event tomorrow so I decided to do some baking.  A trip to the grocery store ensued to replace and replenish a few items.

It amazes me that with four people in the household, almost all adults, that the exterior of my cupboards get so dirty.  It’s a pet peeve of mine. If you spill something wipe it up and make sure it didn’t drip down the cupboard door. Or better yet, if you actually spilt it on the floor, check the baseboard under the cupboards. Is it too much to ask?  So another hour to clean down the cupboards.

I moved on to the living room and did some tidying up and dusting. Then did my once a year polishing of the tables. My youngest daughter helped and it was much appreciated. A quick vacuum and wash of the floors and we were done. I even caved and moved the hated floor rug to another room.

Now I will tackle the baking. I don’t do it often enough so it’s time to indulge in two of my favourites – Nanaimo bars and brownies.  The brownies will be split as my daughter doesn’t like hers frosted. I love homemade frosting so they’ll be half and half. For the Nanaimo bars, I always use my grandmother’s recipe. It’s the best version I’ve had. I’ve included both at the end of my post.

After that I’ll make my surprise spread and finish cleaning the kitchen. It’s been a busy day.

NANAIMO BARS

Base:
¼ cup *butter  2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup white sugar   1 tsp vanilla
½ cup flaked coconut  1 beaten egg large
½ cup chopped walnuts   1 cup oatmeal (instant / quick oats)

Melt in butter and 2 square semi-sweet chocolate in sauce pan over low-meduim heat and mix in sugar. Cook a few minutes and take off burner. Add vanilla. Add beaten egg, chopped nuts and oatmeal. Spread over bottom of 9×9 pan.

Filling:
3 Tbsp soft butter.   ½ tsp vanilla
2 ½ Tbsp milk (approx)   2 cup icing sugar

Topping: Melt 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate & 1 Tbsp butter and pour over mixture. Refrigerate until cool.

*margarine doesn’t taste the same.

FUDGE BROWNIES

1 cup butter  1 cup cocoa
2 cup white sugar  4 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla   1 1/3 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

On stove melt butter and add cocoa. Blend in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Add nuts. Pour into A 9*13 greased & floured pan. Cook at 375 for 25-35 minutes. Tooth pick should come out clean. Cool and frost.

Frosting: Melt 3 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup cocoa, and blend in ½ cup milk (2 tbsp at a time) and add ½ tsp vanilla and add 2 cup icing sugar – may need another 1/4 cup of icing sugar. Spread over brownies.

Beautiful Spring Morning

It’s a beautiful spring morning. The birds are twittering in the background high up in the trees, their song a mixture of varying calls surrounding me. The warmth of the sun streaks across the deck and where it touches me it takes away the chill. A gentles breeze is rustling through the pine trees. Voices of other campers break the silence.

Mornings like this are what I look forward too at the camp. A sense of serenity. Of just being in the moment. They happen to infrequently for most of the year. I struggle most days to wake in the morning but for some reason once at the campground I awake early.

I truly enjoy the solitude of my early mornings on my deck, coffee in hand, a book to read as the sun rises and burns off the chill snuggled in a blanket. It is the one thing I truly enjoy about ‘going to the trailer’. The bugs and campfires, I could give up.

It is for these precious moments alone with my thoughts before everyone awakes that I appreciate my time here. The other campers are stirring and once again I must be social as they trundle by. My solitude broken.

View from deck

Spring Cleaning – Setting Goals


 

I’m doing some spring cleaning on the writing front. I’ve looked at where I am at and where I am going and am revisiting my goals for the year. Spring to me is about renewal and that is where I am at.

If you’ve been on my blog before, the first difference is I’ve changed my header. I’m a visual person and although I liked my previous header I wasn’t in love with it and it didn’t reflect where I am at right now. I like the new look. It’s clean-looking, the colors are subtle but it’s still distinctive.

On the actual writing side of the business, I am two-thirds of the way through my first book draft. There have a lot of revisions as I’ve made some changes and corrected some missteps. For me, writing is an iterative process. The more I learn, the more I try to apply.

Translation: The first book will take the longest but it will pay-off on the second and third.

Once I get the first draft to an editor, I suspect the hardest part will occur. Rewrites, fixing plot and story arc. Accepting the critique of my work and applying it. That has been my biggest roadblock. I know once I finish the draft it has to be sent out, so I have been a creative procrastinator the last few months.

Part of my spring cleaning exercise is to mentally get over the fear, just do it and move on. So in setting my new goals, I am going to set some timelines for myself. One of those goals is to be more proactive on my blog and put up a post once a week. It may only be a paragraph or two but I am committing to writing something once a week, even if it’s just to say its been an interesting week.

So my first two goals are:
1. Finish the book one.
2. Post once a week.

See you next week.

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