July 22, 2011

Packing for the Journey

Well, the road trip to Ontario anyway.
When we drove to BC in spring, I was faced with packing clothes for 4 people for 10 days(9 nights), including a wedding.  The solution I came up with was this...
I designated one suitcase for toiletries.  One for 'on the road stops', one for the 2 night stay with my brother and sister in law (thank you for having us) in Vancouver, and one for the 3 night stay in Langley (thanks Atchisons!) where the wedding was.  And by suitcase, I mean the rolling ones that can be carried on a plane.
This worked pretty well for us, because then we didn't have to bring in one case for everyone every time we stopped for night.  The kids each had a bag for books and toys that they were supposed to keep track of - and mostly they stayed in the van.  We did do laundry somewhere I think.  So I actually had at least one suitcase of clean clothes when we got home.
This trip is a couple of days longer and has the added complications of including a wedding, a big birthday bash, and camping.
I'm planning on using the same general idea, just adding another piece of luggage for clothes.  I'm pretty sure I don't have enough clothing to last 2 weeks without doing laundry, so I hope I'll have the opportunity to do that. Then the camping gear will go in as well.  We bought a big tent, but I managed to pack it back into the bag it came in without too much trouble.  Now I just need to decide whether the weather will warrant a warm sleeping bag.
I make lists.  Lots of lists.  I don't always check them off, but just making the lists helps to organize my brain.  So, in this case.  I will check things off, so that when Paul wants to pack something or know where something has been packed, he can look at the lists.  I often start making lists a week or two in advance.  As the list gets bigger, I rewrite it several times, in different orders and formats, which helps me remember items that we'll need.
I'll take a picture once we have the van packed up.

July 20, 2011

So ... Here's my problem

I have a beautiful 7 year old daughter.  She is cheerful and kind and mostly obedient, she has long legs, and sharp elbows, and sparkly brown eyes.  I would like to dress her in nice clothing that doesn't cost too much, that doesn't advertise for major corporations or pop stars, and doesn't display her body in ways that are inappropriate.    So, since she has outgrown many of her clothes, I go shopping.  Our nearest town has 2? stores that sell clothing for girls her size.  Walmart & Superstore.  I have scoured the racks.  The most modest stuff usually has a large picture of Justin Beiber on it.  I am not the most conservative of women.  I wear shorts on occasion and pants at home most of the time.  I  have issues with women who wear skirts that are shorter than my shorts.  I don't want my active little girl to wear such short skirts.  As a toddler and preschooler, there were slightly more options, now as a size 7?!?  I get angry every time I shop for clothes for her.  At Christmas, she needed a plain, black shirt.  Nothing(except the one with JB on the front - why do 6yo girls know who he is? and why would parents want them to wear shirts that say "Future Mrs. Bieber" on them?).  By the way if you know where I live and think  that I have missed a store, please, please let me know so that I can try there.

I have, on occasion, done some sewing.  We'll just say I didn't make any heirlooms.

I think, in our area at least, there could be a market for pretty and practical clothes for girls.  Not just denim skirts, or fancy dresses.  Modest bathing suits, shorts and shirts, every day skirts and dresses, pants, that aren't low rise or skin tight.  So, anyone with money, time, energy, talent ... go for it.  I'll be there.

July 19, 2011

M's glasses


My glasses are pink and purple. I have a White hankie too. I like my glasses so much

July 18, 2011

Pantry

Hey, I know there are lots of pantry posts out there, but I was cleaning out mine and thought I'd share.  Lots of pictures here - I decided against posting the video.  If you feel you can't live with out seeing video of my pantry just leave a comment and I'll send you a free dvd of the riveting footage.
food

more food

Top Shelf - stuff that is rarely used

rice, pasta, cornmeal, beans, barley and noodles
nice and tidy on the shelf

Our cereal shelf 9 different kinds


Baking supplies take up two shelves


Miscellaneous stuff on two more shelves  -
 the drink mixes are above the baking shelf
I think I counted 12 peanut butter containers that I have filled with something else (and one waiting to be washed).  We use a lot of peanut butter and these 1 kg containers make good canisters.  Here is where we keep our peanut butter.  Above the toaster - we have the simple sandwich makings, and quick oats, sugar & salt.
Breakfast centre

July 15, 2011

I had very little to do with these cuties


Madeline's cat, Ring, had kittens are few weeks ago and Paul finally found them (in a hole under the barn floor)  There are 5.  The top picture is the largest and looks like one of the cats that was here when we moved in.  The bottom picture is the smallest and he has his father's colouring.  Now we just need to find the kittens that Thumpbump (Gideon's cat) had on Sunday.

July 14, 2011

My baby is 5!

We had a couple of the neighbour boys over for cake this evening.  Gideon is a purist when it comes to cake.  It must be chocolate and either have chocolate icing or no icing at all.  So that makes for some simple cake decorating.  I made a small cake, 5 star cupcakes and 20ish cakepops.  Gideon was thrilled with it.

July 13, 2011

Mmmmmm Brownies!

So, my favourite dessert since childhood, is these brownies from the Mennonite Treasury cookbook.
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
vanilla
3 tbsp cocoa
3/4 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking powder
Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the dry to the wet.  Pour into 8x8 pan (don't bother greasing it unless you skimp on the butter).  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350F.
In this case I tripled the recipe and used bigger pan

  I usually double the recipe and bake it a little longer.  Sometimes I go easy on the sugar and butter, it doesn't affect the taste too much and it's less greasy.  I've even forgotten it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes longer and it gets a little hard around the edges, but doesn't burn. Some people put icing on it, but I never do.  It's quite fudgy and rich all on its own.

July 11, 2011


I'm thinking I planned this fairly well.  One plant is winding down and another takes the stage.  At least until the frost comes.  I'll have to get in there this fall or next to divide the larger perennials.  I'm pretty nervous about that, maybe I'll take out some of the daylilies (which get massive really fast) and irises (which die in the centre), and add something for fall.  I'm not sure what though.  Then maybe something structural or evergreen for winter?  I don't know about that though, most of the snow we shovel away from the door goes on top of this.

July 8, 2011

Before - summer  spring 2006
After - summer 2011

July 7, 2011

Butter is Better

Yesterday, my neighbour brought us some cream that she'd separated from her raw milk.  Today, we made butter and buttermilk.  The kids love to do this.  They also love buttermilk, and they say the butter is waaaay better than the stuff we buy in the store (of course we usually buy margarine, so what do they know).  Anyway, about 1 cup of cream, made 1/2 c butter and 1/2 cup buttermilk.  We did salt our butter when it was done.  There was some disagreement about that, but after tasting the plain butter, we agreed that we preferred salted.  It took about 5 minutes of shaking and then 10-15 minutes to drain the buttermilk completely out and rinse the butter and then salt it.  That's with the kids "helping".

July 6, 2011

Just so you know...

I really enjoyed the salad that I made the mayo for.  No one else did ... but they ate it anyway.

July 5, 2011

So, what do you do when you need mayonnaise for a recipe, but don't have any?  Well, if you've got time and the internet, you learn how to make mayo.  Of course, I didn't have all the ingredients in any one recipe for mayo so I had to mix and match with the recipes - guess what a particular ingredient is supposed to do and then try to find something that will fill that need.  Which meant I looked for egg free recipes and saw they use xantham gum (who has xanthum in their kitchen?)  So I added a touch of cornstarch - not sure if it will work, but I'm ok with a thinner mayo in this case, because I needed the mayo for a salad dressing.  Now, I've gotta say... cooking bacon right before lunch is not good, when said bacon is for supper and I don't have any extra.  There really is no good substitute for bacon.

July 4, 2011

Well, another Monday cleaning.  It took 2.5hrs today.  Of course the kids did their own rooms mostly and then they helped with the rec room.  I think this strategy is working for us.  The kids aren't as overwhelmed (neither am I) by the cleaning, so they do more daily tidying, and I can get right to the actual cleaning without having to pick up a lot of stuff before hand.  I guess technically I'm not done yet.  The sheets and blankets are still in the dryer. I'll have to check on that.

July 1, 2011

The shrub is spirea, I think.  The columbine is still going strong.

I'm really happy with how this corner turned out.  I'll have to find a before picture.

Standing in the doorway, looking south east.