Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reality Check

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal
into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our
past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie
In the name of gratitude and truthfulness I’ve decided to post a little piece of reality here once a week. Likely just a single picture.
My sweet little, not yet 6 month old baby girl has discovered an escape route from getting her diaper changed-the hand towel bar in our bathroom. I can't believe she's standing (with assistance) already. I knew that time would fly by and that she'd grow so fast, but even in knowing it, I still can't believe it.
I suppose this week's reality check is two-fold. Not only is she growing insanely fast, but she's been picking on that ugly wall paper that I swore would be the first to go when we moved into this house. My, how priorities change

Joining Rachel in this week's reality check.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mawesome Weekending

I know, I know, my title is pure fromage. I apologize...but not really.

I'm such a sucker for mossy covered ground ground, trees, fences, and any thing else that Moss happens to be growing on.  Including bathmats...

I'd absolutely love to have one of these, but Mark would probably have me committed. 

I've been known to make my children go out to the sidewalks and alleyways with paper bags and pick the green wonder out of sidewalk cracks and bring it home for reward money. 
I've also done this with acorns and maple keys... I have issues.

While out on our most recent walk, it took everything in my power to not pilfer just a little morsel of these beautiful growths that were bursting out on and between everything. But alas, we were in a conservation area where everything is "look but don't touch". That-and I had nothing to take any of it home with anyway.

I fully intend on taking the boys out for a walk in the woods after church tomorrow, weather permitting, and putting them to work.
I've been wanting to mossify (ok, now i'm just making things up) an area in our back yard, and our fence. (speaking of fences,
click here for yet another super-duper idea.)

I've found several recipes, but the two that stick out the most are this one, and simply using yogurt pureed with some moss. I think i'll try both and see which one works better.


I can't wait to try this on my back fence that faces the alley-I'm just trying to think of something clever to write.

I don't have too many fantastic pictures of our weekend just yet, but hopefully after tomorrow I will. 
I'll leave you with this though. She just loves her evening baths in my old tupperware cake carrier.

Friday, March 23, 2012

{This Moment}

. . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
                                                                           . . . . . . . . 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yarn Along

While my book from last week is finished, I regret to tell you that the scarf is not. That, however is to be expected.  I really didn't think that I'd have it finished yet, I give it at least another month, at the rate that I've been knitting lately. I held it up to my Dad last weekend and I think I still have about a third left.

  Charlotte has been helping out with the knitting around here, pulling strings when ever she can, tangling her sweet pudgy little fingers up in whatever falls into her sweaty grasp.

Why are baby hands always so sweaty inside? And why does baby sweat smell so delicious? Sometimes I like to pry open her tiny little hands just to sniff her palms.

I even caught her helping Daddy this week.
I'm so thrilled that I got a picture of Mark actually sitting down and making I-cord. I think he's more enthralled with the little machine (Embellish Knit) than the craftiness of it.
Zeke was also a little miffed that something that once took him ages to knit on his little corker, now takes a completely unskilled-in-crafts Daddy and brother only seconds. 
I will say, that it does make beautiful I-cord, very quickly. It's a touch finicky if you make it go too fast though- It can create messes that will give you nightmares.

Hopefully next week I'll have more of this scarf done, and have found another book that's worth reading!


joining Ginny in this week's yarn along

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reality Check

Joining Rachel again this week with a Reality check of our own...

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal
into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our
past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie
In the name of gratitude and truthfulness I’ve decided to post a little piece of reality here once a week. Likely just a single picture. 

Someone around here is getting to be quite the master of disaster with her great rolling abilities. She managed to flip herself right onto her little noggin, earning a decent sized goose egg, and a lot of kisses from sympathetic brothers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Creamy Dill Asparagus Soup

Aside from grilling it, this is by far, my favorite way to eat Asparagus. Not that I'd ever complain about eating Asparagus at all-it's one of my favorite vegetables. But in a creamy soup, paired with some tangy dill and black pepper,  you just can't go wrong.
This Recipe serves 8 pretty generously, but between Zeke and I,  it's gone in no time. We'll eat it over the course of a couple of days until it's gone...and then we'll make more.

Spring Creamy Dill Asparagus Soup

2 slivered shallots
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
4 whole sage leaves
8 tbsp of flour
1 tbsp ground black pepper
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
6 cups whole milk (Keep 1/2 cup aside)
4 cups chopped asparagus
4 tbsp dill, plus extra for garnish
Sea salt, to taste.

Melt butter over medium heat, and add shallots, garlic and sage,  and increase the heat. Let the shallots and garlic fry, while stirring continuously. Allow them to brown until they're almost crispy. Add in black pepper.
Reduce the heat, and slowly stir in 4 of the tbsp of butter, until  you have a creamy paste.
Once you have a flour paste with an even consistency, slowly stir in 5.5 cups of milk.

 I like to use a whisk at this point to avoid lumps. Once your milk is mixed thoroughly with the butter paste, add the stock and bring to a low boil. Add the asparagus and the dill and let cook approximately 5 minutes (or to whatever point YOU want the asparagus at. I like to leave mine a touch crunchy.) 

Whisk together the remaining half cup of milk with the remaining 4 tbsp of flour in a separate bowl until smooth. Then slowly add to the rest of the soup while stirring.
Keep it over a medium heat for another couple of minutes while it thickens.
Season with salt to taste and you're all set.

Garnish with dill, (and sour cream too, if you're feeling extra fancy) and serve it with some good,  crusty bread.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012


I hope that you're all having a relaxing weekend. We've been spending ours cozy around campfires, cooking, (even  managed to squeezed in a little thrifting at a nearby auction!), learning and creating together.

See you Monday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

{This Moment}

. . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along

Here sits the scarf that I'm STILL working on-I think I'm just past the half way point.

(Also, notice my cool thrift store find that Mark hung on the wall for me a little while ago and I forgot to post about it-It holds wax paper, plastic wrap and tinfoil...and frees up a lot of space in one of our kitchen drawers! I don't know what the "P"s stand for, but little do I care. I love that it's avocado green!)
Ok, back to the scarf. It isn't going to be the world's longest scarf or anything, It's just my own fault that it's taking this long. I only put a few rows in a day, sometimes not even that. It's not that I'm bored of the scarf, I've just been so busy with other tasks that take priority. 

It always seems that the little extra time that I'll find to knit ends up being trumped by last minute mishaps, unplanned errands, a fussy teething baby, or a boy who "really really really" wants a "sewing-lesson-right-now" because "it's-not-fair" that other brother got one the week before...those kinds of things.
 I'm sure all of you with children can relate though-I'm preaching to the choir.

I'm still reading through Organized Simplicity, which is proving to be a really good book with a lot to say for common (or not so common) sense.

I tend to be an all or nothing person when it comes to organization. When I do organize, I go over the top, I just have to. But if I don't have time to organize it so meticulously, It sits and waits until I do have the time. As a result, it rarely happens, and I have little piles of "to do" everywhere.

I'm learning to deal with those piles, slowly but surely. Even though they aren't  going to be alphabetically sorted, I've grown to learn that those papers are much better off in a file folder than on my kitchen counter. It's bittersweet, really.

I also really like the book's suggestion of organizing a to-do list for each day, or "daily docket". It makes the tasks seem much less overwhelming. The author even offers quite a few downloads (cleaning lists, grocery lists etc) on her website, simplemom.org.
This is just a library book, but it's one of those books that I might just have to buy. I can see myself coming back to it quite often.

 On a side note, We've been blessed this week with incredible weather, and have been spending a good deal of time outside. Lotte is really enjoying being able to really play outdoors for the first time. 
She was so delighted when I let her touch the grass for the first time that she squealed and cooed like a baby pig in mud for a good hour. I just love how curious babies are.
She's also making really good use of the hat that I made for her a few months ago. I'm really glad that I made it a touch big, we can fold the brim down now and get a few more months out of it, hopefully!

For more Yarn along stories, visit Ginny
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Friday, March 9, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wires Wires, Go away {a little DIY love}

Sometimes, when I just can't get my brain to shut down, I lay awake at night thinking of things that I need to do around the house. Sometimes it's just ordinary housework, but sometimes it's random things that are bothering me that I can't seem to find the time to fix, or don't know exactly how to fix.
One of the things that had been stewing on my mind and driving me to decorator's insanity was our breakfast nook. Not the nook itself, but the massive, undeniable eyesore that hung before me, laughing at me daily. 


I can't stand having wires hanging down the walls of my kitchen-or anywhere for that matter. They're ugly, they're tangly (I now declare that to be a word) and they stand out like a sore thumb.
And not only were these wires hanging down the wall, but they were hanging all the way down to the floor. Something just had to be done. (Aside from moving the T.V.-I love not having a television in our living room.)

I've seen wire covers made exactly for this type of thing, but everything I've seen have been almost as ugly as the wires themselves.
I wanted something that looked intentional, decorative even. Something that didn't make me shudder a bit every time I walked into my kitchen.
So late one night I went to bed thinking about what I could possibly use to cover up that horrible, horrible mess.
I finally came to the conclusion that it must be pvc piping, and it must be painted very shiny red. Satisfied with my plans, I was able to fall asleep. (Does anyone else dream up home decorating/renovation plans while laying awake in bed??)

In the morning I told Mark of my desperate desire to do this. To my surprise, he liked the idea and set the plan into motion. He even thought of a way to hang it without any ugly and bulky brackets, and used a dremel tool to cut tabs at the ends of the pipes to screw into the wall. (see below.)

I may take it one step further and cover up the outlet as well. Just give me a few nights to think about it!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow...

This is the time of the year that I start itching to be able to go dig in the dirt and start my garden. The seed catalogs start arriving and I start picking out my 
favorite heirloom varieties that I know I won't be able to find locally. 

I usually start my seeds indoors to give them a head start. Here in Ontario, we still get frosts occasionally as late as the end of May, which isn't too easy on tender young plants.
Once in a while, I'll grab a few tomato and squash plants from the garden centre as well, If I have extra room for a plant or two. While they most likely won't be heirloom, I usually don't mind having a few extra tomato plants, as we love having extra vegetables.

It didn't occur to me though to check and see where these plants were coming from. Sure, I wondered, but never really thought of digging deep to investigate.

Last week, while reading a favorite website of mine, I found the answer to my question.
As it turns out, a shockingly large list of seeds come from Seminis, a company of none other than than the dirty and corrupt Monsanto. 

I won't be giving this company a single cent this year. I plan on printing this list off to take with me to the nurseries and keep handy while shopping.

Sadly, the list is long. If you'd like to see the list directly from Seminis's own site, click here.

Beans: Aliconte, Brio, Bronco, Cadillac, Ebro, Etna, Eureka, Festina, Gina, Goldmine, Goldenchild, Labrador, Lynx, Magnum, Matador, Spartacus, Storm, Strike, Stringless Blue Lake 7, Tapia, Tema
Broccoli: Coronado Crown, Major, Packman
Cabbage: Atlantis, Golden Acre, Headstart, Platinum Dynasty, Red Dynasty
Carrot: Bilbo, Envy, Forto, Juliana, Karina, Koroda PS, Royal Chantenay, Sweetness III
Cauliflower: Cheddar, Minuteman
Cucumber: Babylon, Cool Breeze Imp., Dasher II, Emporator, Eureka, Fanfare HG, Marketmore 76*, Mathilde, Moctezuma, Orient Express II, Peal, Poinsett 76, Salad Bush, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success PS, Talladega
Eggplant: Black Beauty, Fairytale, Gretel, Hansel, Lavender Touch, Twinkle, White Lightening
Hot Pepper: Anaheim TMR 23, Ancho Saint Martin, Big Bomb, Big Chile brand of Sahuaro, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Large Red Thick, Chichen Itza, Chichimeca, Corcel, Garden Salsa SG, Habanero, Holy Mole brand of Salvatierro, Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot, Ixtapa X3R, Lapid, Mariachi brand of Rio de Oro, Mesilla, Milta, Mucho Nacho brand of Grande, Nainari, Serrano del Sol brand of Tuxtlas, Super Chile, Tam Vera Cruz
Lettuce: Braveheart, Conquistador
Melon: Early Dew, Sante Fe, Saturno
Onion: Candy, Cannonball, Century, Red Zeppelin, Savannah Sweet, Sierra Blanca, Sterling, Vision
Pumpkin: Applachian, Harvest Moon, Jamboree HG, Orange Smoothie, Phantom, Prize Winner, Rumbo, Snackface, Spirit, Spooktacular, Trickster
Spinach: Hellcat
Squash: Ambassador, Canesi, Clarita, Commander, Dixie, Early Butternut, Gold Rush, Grey Zucchini, Greyzini, Lolita, Papaya Pear, Peter Pan, Portofino, President, Richgreen Hybrid Zucchini, Storr’s Green, Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Taybelle PM
Sweet Corn: Devotion, Fantasia, Merit, Obession, Passion, Temptation
Sweet Pepper: Baron, Bell Boy, Big Bertha PS, Biscayne, Blushing Beauty, Bounty, California Wonder 300, Camelot, Capistrano, Cherry Pick, Chocolate Beauty, Corno Verde, Cubanelle W, Dumpling brand of Pritavit, Early Sunsation, Flexum, Fooled You brand of Dulce, Giant Marconi, Gypsy, Jumper, Key West, King Arthur, North Star, Orange Blaze, Pimiento Elite, Red Knight, Satsuma, Socrates, Super Heavyweight, Sweet Spot
Tomato: Amsterdam, Beefmaster, Betterboy, Big Beef, Burpee’s Big Boy, Caramba, Celebrity, Cupid, Early Girl, Granny Smith, Health Kick, Husky Cherry Red, Jetsetter brand of Jack, Lemon Boy, Margharita, Margo, Marmande VF PS, Marmara, Patio, Phoenix, Poseidon 43, Roma VF, Royesta, Sun Sugar, Super Marzano, Sweet Baby Girl, Tiffany, Tye-Dye, Viva Italia, Yaqui
Watermelon: Apollo, Charleston Grey, Crimson Glory, Crimson Sweet, Eureka, Jade Star, Mickylee, Olympia
* Marketmore 76 is a very old cucumber-variety.  If you are ordering it from a seller of heirloom veggies,  check with the dealer to make sure the seeds were not purchased from  Seminis/Monsanto. If you buy the seeds from a big-box garden center, odds are they were purchased from the evil empire
If you're concerned about the growing list of our foods that are being harmed and are not sure what to do, please read here
Also, if you're new to hearing about Monsanto, and  you haven't already, I really suggest watching the documentary "food inc". That's only one small window into the Monsanto world, but it's a good start. 

Monday, March 5, 2012


We were blessed with a good weekend of togetherness, spending some time cooking together, playing, thrifting, singing together, and getting in some good cuddle time. Exactly what we all need before heading into another, often busy week.

How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

DIY Royal Sprouter Tutorial

We've hit that dull point in the year where winter isn't quite over, and spring has yet to show any real promise that it's here to stay.
I start getting anxious about now for my garden. wishing that I could just go drop a few seeds in the earth, but I know much better than that.

One of the things that keeps me preoccupied during the winter months is sprouting seeds in my kitchen.
At first I was buying my sprouts at a local health food market because they're delicious...but then I realized how simple they must be to grow.

There are many methods for spouting, from canning jars to expensive sprouting systems, but I wanted something that looked pretty on the counter top in the kitchen, and I thought "what better than a fancy cake plate?"
Of course, you could keep them in any room in your house, but my kitchen happens to be where the most sunlight is.

To make a sprouter of your own, you only need a few simple things.

  • A domed cake plate (and this won't damage it for other uses later.)
  • Some stainless steel screening

(If you're planning on sprouting smaller seeds, a skillet splatter screen works wonderfully, as the mesh is finer. Just make sure to get stainless steel, otherwise it will rust. I wouldn't suggest getting the plastic/ synthetic screen as they're chemical coated. You probably won't want to be eating off of that!)

  • Rubber/silicone chair leg pads
  • heavy duty scissors
  • ribbon (very optional. This just depends on how fancy you want to get!)

First take the chair pads, and stick them to the plate as far out as they'll go, or where ever the dome rests. The purpose of these is so that the dome doesn't close all the way down-the seeds need a bit of air circulation, otherwise they can mold.
Next, trace your dome onto your screening.
Now, with a strong pair or scissors, cut inside your trace mark by at a least a centimeter. You need it to be slightly smaller than your dome, so that it fits inside.

Once it's cut out, carefully bend the your screen edges up. This will provide a bit of an edge for your seeds, so they don't escape when you rinse them. Place the screening in your cake plate and close the dome, and you're set. 

You can trim the edge with ribbon if you don't want the screen to show. Once those sprouts start growing though, you'll hardly notice the screen. 

All there is left to do now is decide which seeds you'd like to sprout!
Depending on what you choose, you'll need to either soak your seeds before sprouting, or just give them a first rinse.

For sunflower seeds, I soak them for two hours, and then place them on the screen, trying to get them evenly separated. You don't want your screen packed with seeds, but you can get quite a few on.
Once they're on the screen and wet, you can put it back under the dome and leave them. 
Each day, they'll need rinsed twice. I rinse them around noon and again at night before I go to bed.

To rinse them, simply remove the screen,  hold it with both hands and run it under cool water, making sure that all the seeds get a good rinse. It doesn't matter if they shift around much, once they establish some roots they won't budge. Be careful though that your water pressure isn't so high that you blast them out of the screen. ( as I did once...)

Over the next few days you'll go from this...

to this!
We start snacking on ours once they're about 2 inches long (about 5 days sprouted.) You can let them get much longer though if you like. And remember, the entire sprout is edible, both the root and the shoot.

Ways to eat your sprouts (other than straight out of the sprouter)

on top of soup
on pizza (really, this is delicious. Just don't bake it on the pizza, put them on after the pizza is baked,)
in wraps 
on sandwiches

Somewhat oddly, I like them as they are, along with a pear with some black pepper& balsamic vinegar.

I'd love to hear how your sprouter turns out!
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