This has certainly been a “back to reality” week after the peaceful interlude of Christmas!
       Being Montreal in January, the weather has been doing its thing with a vengeance. After last weekend’s ice storm the thermometer plunged down and, even with extreme cold warnings, there has also been plenty of snow. UGH!
       The main focus of the Day Camps world has been preparations for tomorrow’s Team Gathering. Emails have been flying as thick and fast as the snow and, as I write, a huge batch of popcorn is being popped in readiness for the making of Caramel Popcorn. That and orange spiced tea, will be my food contribution to the “Puzzles and Popcorn” theme.Thus it seemed best to get his post started today as tomorrow will be fairly hectic with the physical set up of the house needing to take place: – putting out extra chairs, laying a fire, setting up  he media projector, laying out mugs and plates, etc.
       This week a few more Manual Chapters have (happily) been sent in and there was also a call from a Toronto church asking about available dates for their Day Camp, yay!!
      Afternoons have been crazy busy with the “Changing of the Decorations”; the transition from the reds and greens of Christmas to the cool blues and muted greys and whites of Epiphany/Winter.All is settled now with my dear chubby Christmas tree now lying dejectedly on the front lawn awaiting the city collection (all trees are made into mulch which is used in the municipal parks, a perfect eco-friendly arrangement) and still it snows! Fortunately I’m down to just one neighbour’s house and mine to shovel out as the cat-owning friends returned from Florida this past Wednesday.
       The whole weekend is shaping up to be pretty zooy with the Team Gathering tomorrow, the All Ages Epiphany Gathering at church on Sunday morning and the SYC Bible Study here that evening, which is why I’m  “Baking & Blogging” today. I’m making-Sue’s Bread, Caramel Popcorn, Baking Powder Biscuits, 2 Galettes des Roi, and baking my dinner too!! Exhausting, but fruitful…..
……..So here we are back to finish this post, it being noon on Saturday.
      The baking went well and this morning preparations for the Team Gathering continue apace (albeit for a pleasant interruption as some former neighbours made an unexpected visit for a cup of coffee). The puzzles are laid out in the living room; the dining table is readied for the “pot trust” treats and my own caramel corn, the boot trays are in position by the front door and later on I shall brew the orange spice tea and place it in the slow cooker so all should be ready for the invasion!! More on this tomorrow. Meanwhile it looks as if this afternoon it might be possible to spare an hour or so to return the bridal veil sewing. I now have the ribbon with which to bind the comb so work can begin again after a Christmas break! But first there needs to be another Wil walk and lunch.

Homemade Caramel Corn is really not very difficult to produce and is highly superior to the bought variety, so that is the recipe to share today…
 Caramel Corn
  • 10 cups freshly air popped corn (1 cup kernels)
  • 1 cup each brown and white sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
Place the freshly popped corn in two roasting pans. Combine the sugars, butter, syrup and salt in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir well and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the soda, the mixture will foam up. Immediately pour the hot caramel evenly over the two pans of popcorn. Fold in the caramel with a wide spatula. Place the pans in a preheated 200˚ oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove to racks and stir periodically as it cools to break up the large clumps.Store in a large tin. Keeps for 2 weeks. (if it isn’t all eaten in the first 5 minutes!!)
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