Saturday, 9 July 2016

Simple Pleasure of the Week

The other night I had a very strange nightmare.  It probably classifies as more of an tailor-made for a Wool Fairy.  I dreamt that I was in my bedroom and spotted a pesky clothes moth fluttering around....and then there were two, and six and ten.  I looked up to see that the entire ceiling of my bedroom was covered in cocoons, with moths "hatching" from them faster than the eye could see.  Somehow my new Miele vacuum (which was a very exciting, recent, long-awaited purchase for me) could not suck them up quickly enough! 

I'm never pleased to see a moth fluttering inside our house.  I found a couple while cleaning out our closet the other day and was quite distressed.  My husband just purchased new wool suits for the fall and moths are the last thing we need nibbling on them. With the doors open and closed (and often left open) by the boys 1000 times a day, it is inevitable.  Ironically, I have moths to be thankful for lately as they have been keeping the kids entertained for a small spell each day.  We have been spotting some very pretty moths lately around our house.  The boys have been leaving the outside night on each night to see what they can attract.  The first thing they do when they wake up is run downstairs to see if they can spot any new creatures.  I love how children can help you stop and take notice of the simple pleasures in life.....even teaching a Wool Fairy to find a soft spot for moths in her heart.  My 9 year old actually remarked, "Wow, there are so many lovely moths today!".  Here are our favorites from this weeks "catch". 
polyphemus moth

Luna Moth

Waved Sphinx

Although I'm starting to see the beauty in some moths, I'd prefer they stay away from my woolens!  Does anyone have any tips for keeping them out of the closet??

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Country Lifestyle and Looking Presentable

A few years ago my mom introduced me to the Madame Chic series of books by Jennifer L. Scott.  Her books are a light, conversational read that provide many useful tips and concepts to assist you in elevating all areas of your life.  One concept I felt I could really put some effort into was the notion of "looking presentable always".  As a stay-at-home mom, living in a rural setting, I found this particularly challenging to get my head around.  That being said, I really felt like I needed to update my look as I was approaching 40.   I was certain that if I put a bit more effort into my appearance that I would feel better about myself throughout the day. 

I spent a lot of time thinking about and working on this concept, as well as her ten-item wardrobe philosophy.  I figured out a suitable daily "no-makeup" look that I felt comfortable with.  I upgraded my wardrobe from jeans and t-shirts to nicer, well-fitting jeans, nicer tops and great footwear (:  I even put a few dresses in the mix.  I felt great....but I was scared of ruining my nice clothes! One wrong move around here and the damages could be catastrophic....from snags to grease stains.  Here were the challenges I found myself faced with:

  • I live on a rural property with animals that require daily care.  We currently have chickens and ducks.  At one point we had four sheep.  Feeding and watering them is messy!
  • I have a long gravel driveway and drive a truck-style vehicle.  Delicate footwear doesn't jive well with this scenario.  Our chickens are free run so my driveway has hazards to be avoided!
  • I have two boys who are VERY active and into a lot of messy activities.  We often go to the skatepark so they can BMX, or to the pond, or to the beach......  Smearing myself in bicycle grease is a common occurrence when I'm helping with the loading and unloading gear.
  • Exercise is a big part of my life.  Most days include two workouts - a weight program first thing in the morning and then a run when the kids are at school.
  • We burn 3 cords of firewood a year.  Because I'm the one home all day, I pretty much look after the ferrying of this wood from the barn to the house on a daily well as running the stove all day in the cooler months.
  • I'm a gardener!  Most years I've maintained a decent sized vegetable garden and flower beds.  This year the veggies are on the back-burner due to an injury, but I imagine they will return.
When I first looked at this list, I thought what is the point?  I'm constantly doing messy things and I will ruin everything in no time.  I was, however, feeling so great about the new me, that I devised a plan that seems to be working for me.

  • Get the dirty work over with first thing!  As soon as I get up in the morning, I work out doing weights and then a run.  I love starting my day this way.  It gives me energy and such a boost. 
  • Feeding and watering the birds is done right after my workout while I'm still in my workout clothes.  This is also the time I would do things like gather up the garbage, sweep the garage.
  • In the winter, my barn chores also involve bringing in a couple of wheelbarrel loads of firewood and loading up the wood box for the day....again wearing my exercise clothes.
  • Black and other dark colors are my friend.  I need things that just don't show the dirt, which is really inevitable.
  • Washable fabrics are also my friend. 
  • Jeans are still the best choice for me.  I think they can look great and a dark wash skinny really suits my figure.  In the winter I wear dark grey, black and dark blue.  They wash well, the fabric is sturdy and they can be dressed up.  They suit my lifestyle!
  • Don't be lazy and change your clothes if the situation calls for it.  If I'm dressed in a nice blouse for the day and the boys beg me to take them to the skate part.....I change my top to a black t-shirt.  It only takes a minute and I usually have dark jeans on that can handle any messes.  I will also change into Converse sneakers over more delicate shoes.  My husband once caught me piling firewood in a pair of $200 jeans....not a good combination.
  • There is no excuse for not taking the time to have a shower, do my hair and put on some light makeup.  I always feel better about myself.  I can still look cute and pulled together while I'm piling firewood or hanging at the skate park!!!  Even if I'm in "work clothes" I can still have clean hair, a fresh face and my sliver hoop earrings on.
  • Jennifer recommends using an apron, and this is what I do throughout the day.  If I'm cooking, doing light weeding,  loading the woodstove or fetching eggs from the coop, I make sure I have my apron on.  It helps if you have one you really love.  I purchased a beautiful Japanese-style linen apron that goes well with my neutrals-natural look.
  • Putting the "birds to bed" at night is usually delegated to my son or husband.  If I need to go out there, I usually have my PJ's on at this point and throw on a barn coat and rubber boots.  Not presentable by any stretch, but I can't be a perfectionist in this situation.
That about sums it up!   I feel like I've managed to fit "looking presentable always"....or at least most of the time, into my life.  I truly feel great about it and it puts a spring in my step each day!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Me, Myself and I Project

With less running around this summer, I'm enjoying more time at home to putter on projects.  The kids are really content right now to stick close to home and are enjoying the chance to sleep in, putter around the yard and work on little projects.  I have yet to hear "I'm bored" which is a good sign.

Today I spent some time working on my bedroom space.  Since we moved into the house 12 years ago, I focused most of my decorating and space improvement efforts on the areas I spent the most time in - the kitchen, dining, living space.  The master bedroom was always a last priority.  Over the last year or so, I've decided to make my personal space (or shared with my husband space!!) a bit prettier.  My goal is a peaceful, serene, soothing, organized sanctuary.  It's a space that's easier to control the clutter because of the lack of kid-related items (in theory).

Here is a photo of my bedside table.  I like to keep current books I'm reading on hand since I usually read a bit before going to sleep.  Lately I've been making the effort to bring in fresh flowers that make me smile.  Our sea roses are in full bloom and are incredibly fragrant.  It is so pleasant to wake up to the smell of sea roses and the sound of morning birds and ocean waves this time of year.  It starts me off on the right foot each morning, making me feel thankful for simple pleasures.  I also keep a little photo of my mother and I when I was about 5.  It's a reminder that I was once a little girl and to be kind to myself each treat myself with the same kindness and patience I would with a child.

I recently acquired an essential-oils diffuser!  I run it each evening for about an hour with a mixture of lavender and tangerine.  It is a very soft, relaxing scent.  I prefer it to candles, which I used in the past.  I don't trust my kids around them unattended quite frankly! 

This is my dresser top.  I love this little antique dresser.  It used to be in my grand-parents' beach cottage and I was lucky enough to get my hands on it.  It's old, stained and the drawers stick, but it reminds me of my Nanny and summers at the cottage.  I like to keep my daily jewelry on hand, which is minimal and simple.  I pretty much wear the same jewelry every day - a silver necklace, silver hoop earrings, a menswear inspired Nixon watch and a meditation ring (can't forget my wedding bands!).  My son made this driftwood whale/tail jewelry holder for me to store my bracelets and necklaces.  I will love this and him forever!!

I'm also working on organizing our shared closet.  Since I started trying to incorporate the Jennifer L. Scott inspired ten-item wardrobe in my life, this has been much easier.  My husband's side is a work in progress!  Good news is that he too is trying out a bit of a ten-item wardrobe (:  It's fun to help him so I cleaned up his side a little.  I keep the off-season items stored and only have what I'm currently wearing hung up.  I like Fiona's idea of hanging everything, so I even hung up my summer shorts.  I like having all options in plain view and this also keeps items that would normally be folded wrinkle free.  I might expand more on my ten (I think I'm at 15 or 16 actually) wardrobe in a later post. 

Our bedroom is a work in progress, but I'm enjoying puttering away at it.  I'd like a new duvet cover and I'd like to hang our art (it's about time after 12 years).  I enjoy the feeling of having a pretty, soft bedroom.  It's the same feeling I felt as a little girl...always organizing, rearranging, decorating.  I realized that my husband could care less how I set things up in there, so it really is my place to play with! 

And yes.....this is what I found in my room last night.  That pet chicken was snuck in the house and ended up in our bedroom room of all places!  He was sent out to the coop immediately.  I don't want to squash my son's love of the chicken, but my bedroom (and the entire house) is no place for this guy.  Maybe my son can work on beautifying the coop!!  There's a's a better idea than the chicken diaper he tried to make.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The "Secret Garden"

It's been over two years since I've taken the time to share my thoughts and contemplations in this space!  Lately I've been getting the urge to dip my toe back into my blog.  With the lazier days of summer officially kicking-off today, I felt like there was no time but the present.  Although the boys are off school and will be keeping me super busy all day, everything still seems to operate at a much slower pace this time of year. 

Much has changed since my earlier days of blogging.  The boys are much more grown up at 10 and 11, so my days look a lot different than they used to.  They are growing into such fun, independent, creative and highly energetic individuals..  Being a stay-at-home mom looks a lot different for me now than it used too.  Gone are the days of toddler crafts and hand-made toys.  These days the boys are making their own creations and adventures, completely free from my guidance and inspiration.  I can now sit back and enjoy watching them "do their thing".

I thought it would be fun to take on a little project of my own for the next month - one that really focuses on me.  I have found that as the children grow up, I really do have more me time in my life!  I'm taking a closer look at my own life and tweaking areas I'd like to improve.  I recently started reading 30 Chic Days by Fiona Ferris of the blog How to be Chic  and am absolutely loving it.  It provides a fresh perspective on the topic of living a more refined, French-inspired chic lifestyle.  This is a topic I've been having fun with over the last couple of years.  I've read the Madame Chic series of books by Jennifer L. Scott., which are also inspiring and practical reads.  Fiona provides so many fun and doable ideas to elevate yourself in both physical and mental ways.  I've decided to work my way through the book this summer by looking for ways to fit a number of her ideas into my life as a stay-at-home mother of two boys living on a little farm-like property.  It's not always the chicest environment, especially when your son has a pet chicken he tries to sneak in the house!

This morning I started with her idea of the "Secret Garden" from Chapter 5.  I've carved out a little time and space designated for morning reading and journaling while the boys are sleeping in.  It's my little corner on the deck, with a peek of the ocean view and the smell of my roses from the garden below.  My son even helped me install a little window-feeder on the glass deck panels so I can enjoy the morning birds!  This will be my sacred thinking spot this summer, weather permitting!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hooray for Extra Long Weekends!

This week has flown by, and I'm only now finding the chance to sit down and collect my thoughts about the weekend.  The community market I participated in was a huge success.  It was a wonderful gathering of creative people and we had a great turn out.  So much positive energy!  That being said, it definitely occupied my entire weekend.  I underestimated the amount of time I required to organize, label and price my items.  This pretty much occupied the bulk of Saturday.  One small snag in my plans occurred in the form of the stomach flu!  Muffy woke up early Saturday morning vomiting.  It was really just a mild bug, but he spent the day flopped on the couch, sipping ginger ale and nibbling crackers.  Sunday, the day of the market, was busy with set up, the market itself and clean up.  Although I enjoyed it, I was definitely drained and exhausted when it was all said and done.  I'm an introvert, so being "on" for that long zaps me a bit.  I think I needed this week to just putter a bit and recharge.

Looking ahead to the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, it is already time to compile my dreamy/practical list!  My long weekend actually begins tomorrow.  I'm dropping the kids off at school on Friday morning and will be sneaking off to my parents' house for a "dreamy" day in the Annapolis Valley -ALL TO MYSELF!  Daddy and the boys are meeting up with me late Saturday afternoon and we will spend the remainder of the weekend visiting, eating...etc.

Dreamy (Where do I begin?)
  • Drink tea and read magazines at my parents' quiet house.
  • Drink tea and knit at my parents' quiet house.
  • Drink tea and just sit at my parents' quiet house (you get the picture).
  • Browse the Wolfville shops.
  • Visit the wool shop and maybe pick up something for a special project.
  • Out for supper with my parent's Friday night.
  • A trip to the Wolfville Farmer's Market Saturday morning.  I rarely go here without the kids so it will be a nice chance to really relax and browse and take my time admiring all the vendor offerings.
  • Run a 10km race on Sunday morning!  This is my annual "race" I do each year.  Sometimes it is the 1/2 marathon, sometimes just the 10K.  This year my goal is to run as fast as I possibly can to see if I can beat last year's time...wish me luck!  I'm feeling pumped and energetic about it and my "rest/getaway" before hand just might give me a boost.
  • Yummy Thanksgiving dinner!  My mom is the best cook and her meals are always amazing.  It is fun (and busy) to get the four cousins together. Four boys between the ages of 6 and 8 makes a lively holiday.
  • Just enjoy visiting with everyone.  The weather looks great so there will be lots of time spent outdoors enjoying the fall colors.
  • Bake two pumpkin pies - my offering for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I am roasting the pumpkin today and will make them on Saturday in my mom's kitchen.  I use a recipe from Canadian Living that is super yummy!
  • Do my produce shopping for the week ahead while I am in the Valley.  I always pack a cooler in the truck for a good load of fresh veggies.

That about sums it up!  Basically, I'm looking forward to some quiet time for myself AND lots of fun and visiting with family.  Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Friday, 4 October 2013


Yay, it's Friday!  Time for the Dreamy/Practical list already?  This week really flew by since it was a short school week.  Although we do have a few things in the hopper this weekend, it should be a bit more mellow than last weekend's birthday party.  I am attending the annual Cow Bay Market as a vendor.  I will be selling hand-dyed wool.  This probably falls into both dreamy and practical.

  • Spend some time knitting Chi-Chi's sweater.  It is slow going right now, but I'm in no rush to finish it.  Sometimes the larger projects are more relaxing as I don't get caught up in doing it at fast as I can.
  • My Saturday morning trip to the Dartmouth Farmer's Market for fresh veggies and a Mommy Treat.  I enjoy sneaking out of the house on this little solo adventure.   Maybe this week I'll bring home treats for all!
  • Homemade Pizza Night on Saturday - I'm taking a break from the kitchen and my husband is making pizza.  This is a tradition I'm hoping to reignite.  I pretty much cook supper 7 days a week, so I've penciled in a night off in our menu plan.  He actually enjoys the pizza making and the boys always like the make-your-own aspect of it.
  • Shop at the market on Sunday.  There are going to be some wonderfully creative people selling goods at the market and I'm hoping to drop birthday idea hints for my husband...thinking jewelry and pottery!
  • First hockey practice of the season - Yay the boys are on the same team this year.  This cuts our rink time in half.  Actually, I will put this on Hubby's practical list and I might just stay home and knit (:
  • Prep for the market on Sunday - I need to label my skeins and get everything ready for the display.  I always find pricing difficult when selling to friends and members of the community.  I need to give this some thought and get all my "goods" organized.
  • Regular prep for the week ahead, which basically involves my lunch box bulk prep.  I like to get some baking in the freezer each Sunday in order to keep my lunch box treat stash fresh.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Weekend Review

The calm before the storm.
Simple cupcakes.

Hike/Treasure Hunt!

New project cast on.

Pretty cake - but I will follow the recipe next time!

Scooters at the skate park!
I'm just decompressing today after a very busy "birthday weekend" for my boy.  His friend party was a great success, but I'm still pretty exhausted..  I kept it as simple as possible.  The fact that we hosted it in the barn made prep and clean up fast and easy.  I kicked it off with a little scavenger hunt, and then my husband took them on a one hour walk/hike/treasure hunt around our property.  I'm finding as the kids get older, you need something to keep them occupied (controlled) at these parties, otherwise things can get a little crazy.  I think the hike did the trick. They were genuinely interested and there wasn't any complaining!

Yesterday the boys had the day off school, which was really quite perfect.  We gave Muffy a new scooter for his big day, so I literally spent 4 hours at the skate park   I'm just happy to see them doing something active and outside.  I spent the time knitting my little heart out - which was dreamy in the moment, until I realized I had made an error and had to rip the whole thing out.  Regardless, I'm happy to at least have a new fall project cast on the needles.  I chose the Little Hoodlum pattern.  It's looking pretty cute!

My parents visited last night for a quieter family celebration.  I decided to pass on the coconut flour cake for now, opting for a more traditional recipe.  Muffy requested a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, so I made just that, from my new book The Homemade Pantry.  I think the cake would have been good.....if I had followed the directions.  It was far too dry.  My mom informed me that "cake flour" and regular white flour are two very different things.  I just used white flour where it called for cake flour.  Something felt wrong before I even put it in the oven,as the batter was unusually thick.  What can you do at that point?    Next time I will adjust for the different flour (decrease by about 1/2 cup) or just source out some cake flour.  Live and learn!

Looking ahead to a fairly standard week, back to school tomorrow and back to our routine.  Wishing everyone a great week!

Friday, 27 September 2013


Scavenger hunt for the party

Backyard beauty

In an attempt to keep up with my new Friday ritual, here’s the Dreamy/Practical list for the upcoming weekend.  Thanks again Mary Beth for the inspiration!  Monday is a PD day for the boys, so this is essentially a long weekend for us.  Muffy’s 7th birthday is on Monday, so it is going busy/fun.  We are having his “friend” party on Sunday and a family get-together on Monday.  He is so excited, he is literally bursting.  So here's my list....what's on yours?
·         Host Muffy’s friend party on Sunday afternoon.  Now that the parents don’t stick around for these things, I actually find them fairly easy to host.  There is less to worry about when you don’t feel like you are entertaining adults too.  The weather forecast looks great, which is a bonus.  The whole party is going to be outside and in our barn.  I’ve got a scavenger hunt planned and my husband always takes the kids on a hike/treasure hunt around the property.  He gets fun and creative with it and the kids always have fun.  Cupcakes are already in the freezer and I’ll just be serving a few nibble treats, fruit and juice boxes. Simple is key.
·         Make a cake for the family party.  I’m thinking of trying out this coconut flour cake for something new. Yikes, it takes a dozen eggs?  Any other suggestions for yummy cakes would be helpful.   
·         Cast on a fall knitting project.  Chi-Chi is asking for a cardigan hoodie.  He and I have his yarn picked out, but need to make a final decision on a pattern.  There is a cute pattern in the latest issue of Taproot that I may run by him for approval.  He’s getting pretty picky about his wardrobe these days.
·         Trip to the Dartmouth Farmers’ Market early Saturday morning, solo!  Saturday is my “day off” from working out, but I still find it impossible to sleep in.  I’m wired to be up at 5:45 am.  While the rest of the house is sleeping in on Saturday mornings, I’ve been sneaking off to the market to buy the week’s worth of veggies as well as a treat for mama.  It’s a nice escape and actually allows me to TALK to vendors/friends at the market, instead of dealing with two sweet boys wrestling in the isles (:  My favorite treat these days is a raw vegan pecan pie that I can’t resist!
·         Prep for the party…which basically means getting the barn cleaned up. I usually bring out a few kid-sized tables and chairs.  It’s going to be a bit strange this time since we have the sheep living in the barn.  They will be out in the paddock, but the barn has a “animal smell”, that I actually find rather charming (;  What will the kid’s think?
·         Regular weekend to do’s including running kids to hockey and bulk prepping lunch boxes for the week ahead.  With all the entertaining going on, I’m not expecting much to happen on the practical end of things other than party prep and party clean up.  Of course, having the party outside the house is going to keep any clean up minimal.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Annie the sheep

Hide and seek in the hay loft

The last of tomatoes and peppers for the season
I've decided to do a little creative shuffling around this space.  I'm not that great when it comes to technology.  I think I have a hard time sitting still long enough in front of the computer to actually figure things out.  Anyway, I decided to freshen things up a bit by changing the name of my blog to "Among the Alders".   "Life on Seaside Farms II" has always felt a bit bland, and I think I chose the name in an uninspired moment!

I've touched on the name "Seaside Farms" before.  I spent my summers growing up on our family's hobby farm, Seaside Farms, in the community of Seaside, New Brunswick, Canada.  When my husband and I purchased our 16 acre parcel of land in Nova Scotia, we thought it would be fun to name it after the place I grew up.  How lucky we felt to find this rural spot just 20 km from downtown Halifax!  At the time, it was overgrown with alders and strewn with about 40 junker cars.  The cars are long gone, but the alders remain, and I have grown to love them.  We always joked around about calling this place a farm, as it was far from it at the time.  As I strolled through the yard today, I finally felt a sense that it was coming together in a very small scale sense, which is really all I want.  I recently found the definition for the term farmette/farmlet, and fell in love with it. 

A farmette is a small residential farm run by an owner who earns income from a source other than the farm. It is sometimes known as a yokelet or a farmlet.  Farmette owners are typically city workers who want to own rural land without operating a full farm. A farmette often includes a large vegetable garden, the occasional barn, tractor, and even farm or domestic animals, such as goats and cats. Farmetters usually rely on their tractor to plow or snow blow their driveways during the winter. Farmettes are usually around 50 acres.  They can have a small hog pen, a few chickens in a chicken coop or a kennel house for dogs.

I don't actually have any aspirations of becoming a real farmer.  I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie books, so I think I'm trying to live out my girlish dream of being just a tiny bit like Laura Ingles.  Farmlet really does sum things up nicely.  We have out  tiny chicken/duck coop, a little barn, a nice-sized garden and FINALLY two pet sheep (a Wool Fairy's dream come true).  It's fulfilling, yet not consuming.  It's a farmlet!  My husband read the definition and noted that we don't have a tractor.....the man wants a tractor (:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Fall Flavours

After a very summery weekend, fall seems to be creeping in this week.  I lit the woodstove for the first time yesterday afternoon, making the house feel so warm in cozy.  It got me in the mood for “fall flavours”. 

I grew ground cherries in my garden for the first time this year.  I primarily used them as toppings on salads, but the kids also enjoyed snacking on them.  The papery husk gives you the feeling that you are unwrapping a little present from the garden – kind of fun for the boys!  I had been planning on trying a ground cherry pie, but never got around to it.  I had a small bowl remaining and thought I might pair them up with apples in a crisp.  I just tossed them into my regular apple crisp recipe.  I think it turned out fairly well.  My husband loved it, but the boys picked out the ground cherries in favor of the apples.  I topped it with Greek yogurt and maple syrup as a substitute for whipped cream.  I’ve been using Greek yogurt in place of whipping cream and haven’t heard any complaints so far.  Maybe it’s the maple syrup on top (:  No yogurt for me, of course, with my dairy-free experiment in the works.
Tuesdays are relaxed in our house because we have no after-school activities.  Since I wasn't on the run, I was able to roast a chicken for dinner while the boys puttered, played and had before supper baths.  I have been thinking more about incorporating a pattern in my meal planning.  Roast chicken on Tuesdays would mean leftovers on Wednesdays and soup on Thursday.  I think it might be my new kitchen rhythm for the fall (or at least until everyone is sick of chicken!!).
Anyone else have creative uses for ground cherries or favorite fall desserts?  Pumpkin pie is next on my list with Canadian Thanksgiving just a few weeks away. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chocolate Chunk Yummies


A favorite lunch box treat these days is chocolate chunk cookies.  I have been making double batches and freezing them (aka hiding them from my husband) so they are on hand to pop in the lunch boxes each evening.  I’ve been experimenting a bit lately with different chocolate chip cookie recipes as I’m currently trying out a 6 week dairy free period for myself.  I recently started using the Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips, and they are getting a thumbs up from all my little taste testers.  Although they are certainly still a treat, they have a more “pure” ingredients list than the Chipits I used in the past.  Since my mom was asking for the recipe, I thought I’d just share it here (:  I’m not sure where I got the original recipe, but I have made some adjustments to make it dairy free.

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup Earth Balance “butter”

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cup oats

1 cup flour (I did ½ white, ½ whole wheat)

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Bake at 375 Celsius for 8 minutes.

I like to pull them out before they seem cooked to ensure a chewy texture. Yum, these are tasty!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Weekend Review

Fall nature table.  I love taking out the same little treasures year after year.

A favorite stop on our way to visit the cousins!

Burgers, milkshakes and onion rings....Daddy would be jealous of this treaty lunch!

Checking out the pond creatures.

Wharf spider - this guy was aggressive!
So fun to ride on a paved road.  Star Wars man in the back cracks me up!

Successfully dressed in full battle gear. 

Roadside score!

Overall, I would say our weekend was a great one, especially considering the fact that Daddy was away on business…..AND I had to navigate through hockey tryouts by my lonesome.  I successfully strapped on a full set of goalie gear for the very first time.  It may have taken me an hour and four tries that initial attempt, but I pulled it off.  Phew, I’m glad that is behind me.  At least I know how to do it now so no more excuses I guess!  In our house, hockey falls under “Daddy’s Department”. 
On Saturday we enjoyed a wonderful visit with my sister and her family.  Although she only lives about 45 minutes away, we don’t see each other nearly enough.  The four boys always have loads of fun and this visit was no exception.  My two are always pumped to be able to drive their bikes on a paved driveway and road!  This is pretty exciting compared to our bumpy old gravel driveway.  Patient Uncle P was kind enough to spend the afternoon “fishing” with them (not a bite, but no one seemed to care).  I just enjoyed the chance to be outdoors to enjoy a summery-feeling fall day.
Today my parents came up for a visit to meet their new “grandchildren”.  We got a couple of lambs a few weeks ago, so formal introductions were in order.  I actually named one of them Annie after my mother, for the granddaughter she’ll never have (:  Nanny and Grandpa treated us to a yummy Thai dinner.  The two hockey players actually filled their bottomless pit tummies!
I can’t say I accomplished much on the practical end of things.  I did pull off a batch of chocolate chip cookies for this week’s lunchboxes.  I made a great score on free roadside “garbage” to assist in my entry way organization.  This old shelving unit was cast aside a few doors down and I could not resist.  It is absolutely perfect for organizing the ever-growing supply of family footwear.  Yay!  I do love free garbage (:

Friday, 20 September 2013


After taking an extremely long break from this space, I have the sudden urge to get back into my habit of blogging.  Truth be told, I find it helps me feel a sense of gratitude in my life.  Looking back over old posts gives me a boost of positivity.  It helps me see all the good in my life in a very physical sense.  I also enjoy being part of a greater blogging community of like-minded people, trading ideas and inspiration. 
With that, I have always loved the Dreamy/Practical lists that Mary Beth of Salt and Chocolate puts together.  It helps her head into her valuable weekends with a sense of balance.  I’m a big list maker, so her approach really appeals to me.  I like the idea of focusing on both the fun and “work” aspects of a weekend.  I have a tendency to get bogged down with to-do lists of chores, so working the dreamy aspect of life into my to-do list is a good habit.  I think it will give my weekends a better sense of focus and balance…allowing me to get them most out of them.

This weekend’s list is pretty light so far…


·         Take a beach walk with the boys.

·         Set up the fall nature table (with help from the boys).

·         Special eat out lunch date to their favorite restaurant.

·         Visit with my parents and dinner out!

·         Visit my sister and her family.


·         Get a bit of bulk cooking done for the week ahead (granola and lunchbox cookies and muffins for the freezer)

·         Tidy up the garage entry way – putting away unused summer gear.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nesting Mode

This year in particular, I'm noticing the intense activity of our backyard feathered friends.  Each morning, the airwaves are filled a symphony of cheerful chirps and calls. As our family observes birds of all kinds gathering dried grasses and twigs, it's pretty obvious that nesting season has arrived.  The boys have been keen observers, providing me with regular updates on their robin, starling and goldfinch sightings.

I thought it might be fun to get Chi-Chi and Muffy involved in a little nesting of their own.  We pretended we were birds and ventured out to gather all the necessary supplies to construct a proper nest.  In no time, we had a hefty pile of grass, twigs, moss and dandelion "fluff".  I pulled out a package of recycled clay I picked up at the Wolfville Farmer's Market some time ago, and we all set to work.  It didn't take long to realize that building a nest is both an art and science!  I think it it gave us all an appreciation for the skill and detailed work involved in nest building.  It's pretty amazing to think those tiny creatures make such beautiful creations.

We were happy with our little nests.  They make a nice addition to our spring nature table, and will like last for years to come if handled carefully.

What spring-inspired crafts are keeping your little ones busy these days?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New!

After making his rounds to most of the Primary and Grade 1 classes in our school, our dear friend the giant water bug (aka water scorpion) is stepping out of the spotlight. Chi-Chi's latest scientific discovery is now taking centre stage. Much to my surprise, the boy discovered yet another monstrous aquatic bug this week - a predaceous diving beetle. Though not as large as the Uhler's water bug, he's still pretty impressive, measuring in at almost 2 inches. As you'd expect, our new friend will also be spending a few nights in our home for further observation and study. I have to admit, I think all this "bug lovin'" in the house is starting to rub off on me a bit. They truly are fascinating and interesting to observe...from a safe distance of course!  I'm not sure what the discovery from the pond will be....should I be scared?? (:
Because I can't help but find a way to sneak in a little crafting when an opportunity presents itself, I've been whipping up these journals for various uses around the home. They make great spaces for little ones to record their discoveries, while encouraging them to write. I use my sewing machine to put them together, with a simple stich down the middle. I think this finishing detail adds a nice touch, making them feel just a bit more special than if staples had been used.
I like to have a few blank ones on hand so the boys can grab them when inspiration strikes. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of Lego Ninjago in the world, but a certain boy is quite smitten with them lately. I do, however, love his homemade Ninjago book, complete with photos! He devised the story in his head and set up a series of scenes, which I photographed for him. This was a great rainy day project.

Happy Friday everyone!