Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog

A few days ago, I was shocked to see what looked like an over-grown gopher in our roses. When I moved, the critter took off and I managed to snap a few pictures on my phone. I do believe it is a prairie dog, which I didn’t know we had in Edmonton.

Hey Lucy!

Hey Lucy!

I was lucky enough to see Lucy at the zoo again today, and this time, I knew how to take a video with my phone! I did have to learn how to rotate video, but I had the video 🙂 The video is of Lucy eating a snack and having a dustbath.

I put the video here: LucySnacksDustBath.mp4

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies

I was having trouble finding a simple recipe for breakfast cookies, so I adapted a top-rated oatmeal cookie recipe to suit my needs. This recipe is still a little too addictive for me for regular use, but it was tasty with a butterscotch flavour coming through from the brown sugar. Also, I was very happy with the texture, it was very biscuit-like.

Breakfast Cookies With Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Mix together the oil and brown sugar, beat in the egg, and stir in the vanilla. Mix together the dry ingredients and stir them into the creamed mixture.

Grease a cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 375F. Roll the dough into balls and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with a fork.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them from the sheet to either a rack or a plate.


  1. I tried a variation on this recipe: half the brown sugar and 1/4 cup chopped dates added with the dry ingredients. This still makes for a tasty cookie and I don’t find it as addictive.
  2. The original recipe is found here:


New Kobo Forma

Today, I bought myself a new kobo, the largest model, the forma. I did this despite already having a small kobo that I don’t use that much. There are a number of reasons I avoid using it:

  • when using a font large enough that I can read it easily, there isn’t that much text on a page
  • page turning is slow
  • sometimes I hit the wrong spot and the page doesn’t turn
  • sometimes I can’t tell if several pages turned instead of one page
  • putting a book on the kobo is a nuisance
  • the extra expense to get a physical book isn’t that much more than a kobo version
  • all these issues mean I seldom use my small kobo

So far the bigger kobo seems to be solving most of those issues. Most importantly, page turning works better. There is a physical button you can also use to flip pages on the big kobo, however, this bar could have been designed better because the “new page” bar is part of the same bar used to go backwards a page. When concentrating on a book, it is easy to press the wrong part of the bar.

Another reason I got the new kobo is that some of the books at the public library are readily available to e-readers but not in physical form. This new kobo can connect directly to your public library account. This makes borrowing a book and putting it on the e-reader a quick and easy process. And there is a bonus reason for getting the bigger, newer kobo – it is water proof, you can take in the tub or the swimming pool and if it gets wet, it will still work.

There are still frustrating aspects to the kobo system. For example, right now, I have “overdrive” selected which is the name given to the feature allowing access to the public library. When doing a search when within “overdrive”, one would think the search result would be library books available to me. But I’m being shown books that are available for sale instead. I have to re-select “overdrive” to get the correct search.

But overall, I like this new kobo and am getting good use from it.

Quotes from Rapt

Quotes from Rapt

I love good quotes and so it seems like a good subject for blog posts. The reason I’m thinking about quotes today is I just found a couple I like in a book I just started reading, “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life” by Winifred Gallagher.

The first is:
Life is the creation of what you focus on – and what you don’t.

The book talks about the vast quantities of stimuli and information all around us, and how we by necessity ignore much of the overload and pay attention to the little bit that is of interest or importance to us. By being mindful of what we focus on rather than leave it random, we can change the nature of our life.

The second is:
You cannot always be happy but you can almost always be focused, which is the next best thing.

I’m treating this quote as food for thought. When focused, I tend to be at peace which is a good place to be. But my focus isn’t the best these days so this quote can be motivation to grow my focus.

Women on Youtube

Women on Youtube

If you search for productivity and life management types of videos on youtube, youtube promotes young men with a sprinkling of women doing a TED(x) talk. Yet there are some incredible women out there with great ideas. After doing a little searching, here are a few women I enjoy listening to and I think youtube should do a better job of promoting them:

muchelleb channel (Michelle)
Michelle is a very feminine, yet determined woman, seemingly young with a lot of life experience. She documents her life and wisdom in easy to follow detail on youtube. Her videos are among my favourites because they are low key and very easy to listen to.

Mel Robbins
Michelle’s opposite, with more of a tough love kind of approach. She’s older, with some great how-to’s for creating change in your life. I first listened to her doing her TEDx speech on her 5 second rule which teaches you how to get out of bed in the morning! I’ve tried her method and it is very effective at shutting down the complaints my brain wants to bring to my attention as I climb out of bed. Another tidbit – according to wikipedia, she is the most booked woman on the speaking circuit, and I can see why, she is a very attention-grabbing, easy to follow person.

Laura Vanderkam
Vanderkam is a woman with 5 children who has researched how women succeed in challenging careers while parenting too. She plans in 1 week chunks and has great ideas on how to fit everything into a week. She says it is difficult to have a balanced day, but a balanced week is generally do-able. I especially like her approach of planning your upcoming week on Friday. Because by Friday your energy levels are typically depleted, but planning the following week is still an interesting task.

Whitemud Creek

Whitemud Creek

My last trip to the Whitemud ravine with my camera brought me a couple of good luck shots. The first was looking across the pond straight into the eyes of a deer. This was the second time I’ve encountered a deer there, and first time the deer was still enough to photograph.


The second good luck photo was of a yellow bird I occasionally spot, always flying away from me at top speed. This time it landed on some branches ahead of me and stayed just long enough for me to get a picture. I think it is a yellow warbler.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

My third photo is kind of a bad luck shot. I was figuring out how to capture some pretty white flowers, only to realize each one had a bug on it!

White Flowers with Bugs
Arctic Wolf

Edmonton Valley Zoo Trips

I always love wandering the Edmonton Valley Zoo and taking pictures of the animals. Most trips I don’t manage to see Lucy the Elephant, so one of my trips this summer was extra special when I spotted her. I excitedly filmed a beautiful video of her walking, carefully keeping her nicely framed, but, sadly, my phone video function was not properly turned on. Fortunately, I did manage a few regular shots on my phone.

Other treats were spotting the zoo’s new baby Takin, photographing the ever photogenic Meerkats and Zebras, and seeing the Lemur’s in their tree outside.

Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins using Chickpea Flour

I’m eating a low oxalate diet and I wanted to make low oxalate muffins using chickpea flour. I also like the idea of eating food lower on the glycemic index, which chickpea flour is, so it has less impact on my blood sugar levels.

I learned as I was searching for recipes using this flour that it is being used more and more in vegan recipes because chickpea flour works well to bind food and can substitute for eggs. I also learned one shouldn’t to taste the dough (I did anyways . . .) because the flour tastes awful until it has been cooked (. . . it wasn’t that bad).

The recipes I found were all for chocolate cake (high oxalate), so I decided to adapt my Mom’s carrot cake recipe to my purposes. I substituted 1/3 cup rice flour and 2/3 cup chickpea flour for the 1 cup of flour in the recipe. I also reduced the eggs to just one to test how well the muffins would hold together with less egg and chickpea flour.

The muffins turned out really well, especially after they’d spent a day in the fridge. Once they cooled off, they held together nicely and after a day in the fridge, they were incredibly moist.

For my next version of this recipe, I’ll test using a banana instead of some of the sugar. Or maybe making a banana loaf.

Carrot Cake Muffins with Chickpea Flour

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp each baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp chopped pecans

Shred carrots with food processor. Empty carrots into measuring cup. Process together oil and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and process. Mix together flours and spices, then process them into the wet mixture. Add pecans and process briefly.

I baked these as very small muffins at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Test that they are cooked all the way through with a knife. Cool before removing from the muffin pans. Store in fridge or freezer, the chickpea flour probably won’t keep well at room temperature.