Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Can You Sleep While The Wind Blows?

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast.
He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work
on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across
the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received A steady
stream of refusals.
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer.
"Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him.
"Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, Hired him.
The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the
farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore.
Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed
next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and
yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming!
Tie things down before they blow away!"
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I
can sleep when the wind blows."
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on
the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm.
To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had
been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were
in the coops, and the doors were barred.
The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.
Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand
meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
Moral of this Story
When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically,
you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your
The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the
farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in
scripture and prayer. We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand
to have peace in the middle of storms.
I hope you enjoy your day and you sleep well
even if "The Wind Blows"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm now a crockpotter...

I finally broke down and purchased a slow cooker aka crock pot! It isn't my first fact, I've had two or three over the years that collected dust until I gave them away to some eager friend who mentioned they might like to try one out.

My original dislike for crockpots was mainly due to the fact that everything tasted the same. Meat and veggies all taste identical and I know this will sound even weirder, but the meat tastes meatier...which I don't like!

However, with blogging, I have come across so many yummy sounding recipes and then I recently found a blog dedicated to crockpot cooking called A Year of Crockpotting that finally, I felt inspired to buy one.

The fact that I am working outside the home now and trying to avoid the 5pm "what are we having for dinner" dilemma also factored into it.

I purchased a Bravetti because of the timer and the extra inserts which allows you to cook two items seperately. I will let you know how I make out and what recipes I find success with.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Matthew Mead Halloween Tricks and Treats Magazine

Just wanted to mention that Mathew Mead's latest holiday magazine Matthew Mead Halloween Tricks and Treats has hit the store shelves! Why you ask...because he dedicated this special issue to my amazingly talented sister at Restyled Home. Also, because these are projects that even I can do...and I really am craft challenged! I can't wait to share some of the projects with my little girl as we need to spend some quality mummy & daughter time! This magazine is perfect for that!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My Lovely, Talented Sister

My amazingly talented sister began her blog Restyled Home over a year ago thanks to my constant nagging that she needed to start one! I knew how talented she was in home decorating and writing and the time seemed right that the two should meet.

Well, Linda never does anything mediocre...she poured herself into her blog. She discovered how much fun it is to write about something your passionate about and from writing, make friends with so many wonderful people in blog land.

To me, blogs are one of the best ways to discoverer talented people who might never be noticed because of our distant locations and the limited opportunities to share our passion with other people. Well, since Linda started writing, she has created a true following on her blog, become close friends with many wonderful people including Mathew Mead from Country Home magazine. He recently launched his first magazine and dedicated the first issue to my little sister! Cool!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Ben, Connor their cousin and Sam!

Wow, after over a year of anticipation we finally reached the kids started public school.

Ben, Ella, Sam & Connor heading for the bus.

Last spring, 2007, I/we realized that it was time for Ben & Sam to go into highschool. It would be the perfect time because Sam would start grade nine and Ben grade eleven. They could support one another during this transition and major change in their life. I also realized that my earlier enthusiasm to have them write SAT's, CAT's, the record keeping all to prove what they had learned, so that they could attend University and or Community College, drained me at the thought. After 11 years of homeschooling my kids were curious to give public school a try and I was tired and had many other responsibilities that were pulling me in many directions.

Ella coming off the bus...she didn't want to get off!

Upon hearing that his brothers were going to public school, Jack my middle son then wanted to go to school too...can you see the snowball effect...however, sending Jack was more complicated because he would be starting middle school..a place I really don't want any of my kids attending.

Luckily, last year when I told my friend Heidi about our pending decision so that maybe she would consider it too for this fall...she did one better, and out of the blue put her kids into a private Catholic school about two weeks later! They chose the school started by my very close friends in the city, which is an amazing school with some very dedicated teachers and parents! Jack's teacher is also the principal of the school and a former homeschooler!!! So, Jack is now attending that school because he can get a drive with Heidi. Otherwise, he would have probably had to continue homeschooling. Jack doesn't start till Monday, so he has had a pretty boring week with just me or his dad. Right now he is reviewing his math from last year and moaning the whole time! I won't miss his poor me attitude when it comes to work!

Three handsome fellas!

Ella my youngest also started kindergarten. Last year at the urging of my mother, she encouraged me to let Ella attend pre-school. Well, we did and she loved it! So much so that she insisted on trying out kindergarten! So, we have attended the first day and so far she loves her teachers, the bus ride and recess! She stated the rest is boring...but I know she will settle in and it helps that a family friend is also the Teacher Assistant which helped me in my own nervousness in letting her go. I am hopeful ella will make some new little friends as our neighbourhood doesn't have little girls her age.

Ella rushing to hug grampy & nanny!

This is a huge change for me...when I knew for sure that Jack would be attending private school, I knew I had to get a part-time job to help pay for it. I truly lucked out and found a job in a local baby boutique that I love! They promote all the philosophies that I embraced...attachement parenting, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, healthy toys, family bed, homemade baby food, and truly cool items that I used to order from catalogues or online. To have all this variety here locally is wonderful and I truly admire the owner who is a really great mother, business woman and a school teacher to boot!

Ella following the principal & learning the morning routine.

So, life isn't slowing down at is getting busier in a new way but I feel great, excited, and ready for change!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Window on a Window

Well, I'm not sure how others will feel about my latest little garden decorating. I have a nice big garage that also includes two huge ugly windows on the side of my flower beds. Until we actually renovate the outside, the windows are staying. However, since I moved in, I have hated them!

One of the things that came to me when I first moved here, was the idea of hanging an older paned glass window on top of the big hopes of tricking your eye into seeing something cottagey first before you notice the big ugly windows.

I had two larger old glass paned windows upstairs in the loft of the garage. I had wanted to paint onto the glass to give it some wow...but knowing how busy I get and how I procrastinate, I decided to just go ahead and hang the windows. Well, it wasn't so easy to hang them but I did finally get it done. Here is the end results and hopefully you will like it more than my husband and three sons...thankfully, my smart little girl ella loves it!

Oh, and yes, they are each a different colour which I will be fixing asap! I just wanted to tackle the whole issue of hanging them and having that problem solved. On the next sunny day, I am painting them to match each other! I am leaning towards the green because it matches the door...

before adding window

after adding the two windows

Got the double hammock up...we love our hammock!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Treasures!

There wasn't many yard sales this weekend. It was at our last yardsale that we struck gold...we, being my mother and I is my yard sale side-kick! Sometimes she finds something I really, really love...but often we are both pretty content with our purchases. She totally understands my need to keep things moving along...and we bite our tongues when one of us takes to long.

I found this amazing painting done by a local artist! I was thrilled! I have it leaning against my mirror until I get it up on the wall.

This is another painting I purchased at the same sale...I plan to change the frame and hang it during the winter. It is by an artist from Chipman, NB.

This is another picture of my beautiful glass mosaic I found last weekend. I hung my summer curtains and bought new pillows for my couch in the states.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rooms with the Most Amazing View!

I found these two amazing cut glass mosaic window frames that fit perfectly with my two large windows. The one below fit perfectly within the frame of this large picture window lucky is that!
Cut glass window that fit perfectly into my window panes. I paid $5.00!!!!

This is the second large window with cut glass that now hangs in my diningroom. This treasure was only $10!!! Some of the panes depict a scene which is really cool!

This is another picture of my beautiful glass mosaic I found last weekend. I hung my summer curtains and bought new pillows for my couch in the states. I am one lucky girl!

Monday, April 07, 2008

DIY-Grow Your Own Potatoes in Small Spaces

I hope to put in a vegetable garden this year. I have a nice healthy herb garden and only need to expand on it...but my goal for this year is to grow some potatoes, carrots, peas and beans. I would tuck lettuce and a few other small, complimentary veggies alongside them, but I want to keep it managable.

Because our front and back yards are heavily shaded with trees, it creates quite a challenge. I figured I would have to dig up the middle of my back yard as it is the only sunny spot...except, this is where the kids play so I was feeling a bit guilty. So, when I found this article about growing potatoes in plastic bags I was thrilled. It would allow me to take advantage of the narrow sunny spots available in my yard and move them if necessary.

My only concern was the plastic and how heating plastic allows chemicals to leach into soil. I might try to track down burlap bags and if needed, set the burlap bag inside a plastic bag...but maybe I am worrrying about nothing??

Check out the article and attached link as it is very interesting.

Living in the city, it can be hard to find a place in your garden for potatoes. Potatoes, grown conventionally, take up a lot of growing space and are time-intensive when it's time to dig them up. There are benefits to growing your own potatoes though. You have a much wider selection than that which you get in the grocery store. You will also have a ready supply of baby new potatoes, considered an expensive delicacy if you have to purchase them but just another potato in your own garden. There are, however, many different methods to growing potatoes in your small garden that save time, space, and work. I have tried many of these methods but the Garbage Bag method is the easiest and most productive.

To use the Garbage Bag method of growing potatoes, all you need is a sturdy garbage bag, like Glad Force Flex, some compost, shredded leaves and seed potatoes. You can purchase certified seed potatoes from a nursery or use sprouted potatoes from your pantry. Seed potatoes are your best bet as they are certified disease free and come in many varieties and colors, from yellow to pink to purple and blue. Cut larger potatoes into pieces that have two or three eyes each. Let potato pieces sit out to dry overnight.

When you are ready to plant, fill garbage bag four inches deep with compost. Roll down sides of bag until just above the level of the soil. Poke holes with the point of a pair of scissors around the exterior of the bag just below the soil line. Site the bag where it will get at least 6 hours of full sun every day. It can be by a fence, on your balcony, or in a sunny unused area of your yard. Plant three seed potato chunks into the soil and cover shallowly. Water lightly. The black garbage bag will provide extra warmth to the potatoes in the spring and fall and they will grow faster than if they were in the ground.

cont'd here

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Springs warmth...

Today was finally warm, sunny and smelled sweetly of spring! I left church today feeling pretty flat and discouraged. However, ella really wanted to go outside, so together we went outside and started weeding the flower bed. It is a huge double sided bed with little flagstone steps seperating the two sides. One side is still wild and overgrown with grasses, and I am hopeful that this spring I will have more time to focus on my garden and make it something to feel proud of.

We spent the afternoon outside enjoying the warmth, working away without jackets and happy to discover the plants sending out their little fresh spring shoots! Ella's two little friends stopped over to play with her and while they played I enjoyed weeding and puttering. I always feel as though my thoughts become clearer as I pull the weeds! I can often work out things that bother me and put all those weedy thoughts into their rightful place!

So, even though half my yard still has snow...I feel hopeful that spring is here. No more looking back!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dreaming of Camping...

Every year we take our kids camping...all six of us, two tents, sleeping bags, and a million other things you need to camp in comfort and style! It takes me a couple of weeks to prepare and pack, then another week to unpack and put we limit our trips to 3-4 per summer season.

We always look forward to the meals and the fun times around the campfire. This year I definitely intend to try my hand at making bannock over the fire! Bannock is delicious made in the oven, and is one of those easy breads you can make in a pinch.

Irish Bannock

But, I do look forward to seeing the kids making bannock on a stick as a treat by the fire at night or in a fry pan or a dutch oven for breakfast with some bacon and eggs and fresh brewed coffee...yum!

Here are some interesting details and recipes for you to enjoy...I apologize, but I do not remember where I found these recipes or I would also include a link. I had it saved in my camping file.

What is Bannock?
Bannock is a bread that you can cook using little more than a fire
and a stick though it can also be baked or fried. Names for bannock
include bushbread, trail bread, grease bread and galette.

Bannocks origins are lost in the mists of time, but some believe
bannock was first made by the Scotts from the same oat flour that
gave their horses great strength and endurance. With stomachs fed
with hearty oat bannock those who became explorers and mountain men
in the new world introduced the bannock recipe to the Native
Americans and other outdoorsmen who lived in the wilderness.

The most simple bannock recipe consists of just flour of
nearly any kind and water. Kneaded into a dough and wrapped around a
green stick, this most basic bannock cooks into a fine tasting bread
that can be eaten alone or used as a basis for a full course meal.

Bannock on a Green Stick

The following recipe provides enough bannock for one day. Stored in a
waterproof bag, it is easy to carry a week or ten day supply.

1-cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk powder

Mix all the ingredients well, making sure the butter is evenly
distributed throughout. Sometimes I will melt the butter before
adding it to the mixture. Then slowly add water while mixing until a
dough ball is formed.

Cooking Bannock...Make the bannock dough into a cigar shape and wrap it
around a green stick. Try to keep the thickness of the dough about ½

Slowly roast the bannock over a hot fire, rotating occasionally until
it turns a golden brown. You will hear the butter sizzling and your
stomach rumble as the bannock cooks.

Multi-flour Bannock Recipe
This combination of flours, spices, and dried fruit makes the bannock
a delicious meal of itself and makes me hungry just thinking about
it. It can be cooked over an open fire on a green stick or formed
into a loaf and baked and makes a 3-day supply:

1 Cup Barley flour
1 Cup Wheat flour
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup White Sugar
1/2 to 1 Cup Raisins or other dried fruit
1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tbsp. Coarse Ground Salt
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Cloves
1 tbsp. Nutmeg

Fried Bannock
If you like fried foods then you need to try fried Bannock.

4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 can milk, mix with water
1/4 cup margarine/butter
2 eggs
1/4 tbsp salt

Mix all the ingredients so a dough ball is formed. Break off pieces
and flatten into rounds about ½ inch thick. Fry to a golden brown in
the oil of your choice.

Every camping enthusiast should know how to make bannock and
cook it over an open fire. The recipe your great grandfather used has
not changed and it remains an excellent food for the hungry survivor:

2.5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
One cup cold water
Mix and kneed the bannock ingredients. Then place in a greased pan
over a glowing bed of coals; or better yet cook it on a stick.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prices going up...way up...

Okay, I was at the Superstore yesterday and guess how much a 10kg bag of flour is now...(it was $6.99 at Christmas) drumroll please....$13.49!!!!! I managed to buy the last bag of Five Roses 10kg flour at Walmart today for $9.99! I feel like I got a bargain!

In the US, cattle are being sold younger and young for meat because farmers can't afford the grain prices. Right now beef is affordable...they predict that within 9-12 months there will be a beef shortage and those prices will skyrocket...

So, if ever there was a time to make up a little pantry it is now...if you can afford it on grocery day and you see good nourishing food on sale, buy it...because your guaranteed that grocery bills are going up...way up!

Monday, March 03, 2008

For all those homeschooling mamma's...

I used to have this comic on my fridge when my kids were little...I was uploading photos and came across it...just had to share...

and this one...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Skyrocketing Wheat Prices Hit Home On Arthur Ave.

100-Pound Bag $19.50 One Week, $47-Plus The Next

Kirstin Cole

We've been facing higher grocery prices and gas prices for months now. But some have been quietly dealing with a wheat crisis that is sending prices skyrocketing 150 percent.

CBS 2 HD has learned why you'll be forking over more for some of your favorite foods.

At Addeo's Bakery in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx, you'll always find your favorite bread, biscuits and rolls. But customers lately are swallowing higher prices for their daily staples.

"We were spending $19.50 for 100 pounds. It will go up to $47 and change and there is no end in sight," Laurence Addeo said.

At first Addeo let it slide. But eventually the third generation baker had no choice but to pass those higher prices along to his customers. He's even thinking about shutting the shop one extra day a week. Even worse, he's already heard the dreaded "R" word.

"Ration, ration flour," Addeo said. "So if we got 100 bags in a week, we might only get 70."

It's a perfect storm out of the wheat belt. Farmers planted more corn to sell as bio-fuel grain, which fetches higher prices. But there's been a much higher demand for grain from places like China and India. Meanwhile, other countries have stopped exporting wheat completely. Now, the U.S. is left with a shortage of wheat, causing flour prices to explode.

At Borgatti's they're famous for the ravioli on Arthur Avenue but they're having to learn about trickle down economics with the price of eggs, cheese and wheat all rising dramatically.

Mario Borgatti, 90, opened during the Depression and never saw 40 percent price increases until today. So far, the customers roll with the prices.

"I think they're going to go up wherever you are," one customer said.

But Mario knows eventually the business will suffer.

"Right now, we have to lay off people because we won't be doing the business (if we keep raising the prices)," Borgatti said.

"I hope that we can ride this out, and make our customers understand so we can keep selling bread for another generation."

The price of groceries made its highest year to year jump last year since 1990. And experts don't expect to see a reversal in the trend anytime soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Peek into our previous house

This is the second home we built by ourselves...a lot of sweat equity went into this house...and we lived there for four years...three more than planned! We built the house planning to live there one year then sell and build again. However, I got pregnant and had a very rough pregnancy and after ella was born, we decided to stay.

Our livingroom

I loved my kitchen!

Family Room Downstairs. You could walk out the patio doors to the backyard.

I loved my hammock. I would swing with Ella and Jack.

Our deck where we ate supper every sunny day!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wanna take a peek at my bathroom before I transform it????

Call me crazy...but one thing I appreciate on other people's blogs is real photos...not those perfectly posed, perfectly coiffed rooms that look as though no one lives with that in mind...I have decided to show you my bathroom before I renovate it. It really is a perfectly acceptable bathroom in the scheme of life...I don't plan on spending more than $200 on this room and I hope when I am finished it will look much better.

So, being a nut for honesty, I decided to share my bathroom with you on a typical day. We use this room to do laundry, for the kitty litter, to access my cleaning supplies for the house, for ella to wash her hands fifty million times a day, I put my makeup on here and of course, we use the loo!

Isn't this an awesome shot of my loo..those are my dried hydrangea from my garden. The wall colour is not bad...kind of a coffee cream colour.

These are my white wooden blinds I recently purchased for $5.00!!!! They were a miscut and even though I had to watch and wait, they finally hit a sale price even I never expected! That is my garage in the background.

Okay, I have four kids...doesn't everyone run out of toilet paper...this is being replaced along with the old heater...My sister informed me that the rust is due to pee pee accidents and not condensation as I had always believed...eeew! The rusting came BEFORE we moved in!

Okay, I can't change the tile right now as it runs into the hallway. However, we are painting the vanity a rich chocolate brown and replacing the counter top. Behind the April Cornell fabric is our kitty litter...

I hope to add some moulding around the doors and drawers to give it clean shaker look. Right now the vanity is just a very plain wood.

Okay, why am I showing you is because of the oil leaks we get from our hinges and to point out the lousy paint job done by the last owners...
And they don't even match! We plan to replace the hinges with new dark bronze hinges to match our new door handles.

A shot of your basic door knob...I can't wait to replace them with my rubbed bronze door knobs...they were one of the more expensive items but worth it!

Odd knob number two!

A pile of clean laundry and a shot of my cheap mirror which I will either replace or frame out but going horizontally and centered under the sink.

These lights boxes are a thorn in my side. We have to remove them, gyprock the openings and reposition the light sockets. If possible, we will remove the whole bulk head if we can. That amazing painting of a sunset was painted by my nine year old son Jack!

Another shot of the sink area. I want to position one light socket over the sink. I have new taps to replace the older ones which I bought three years ago when we were planning to build a new house.

We were preparing to paint our ceiling in this shot.

So, there you have it! I could have waited and taken the photos once I had tidied the room and finished painting the ceiling. But, once again, I remembered to take the photos once we got started. I hope my bathroom doesn't offend you all to much!