Monday, 31 March 2014

Encouraging Our Children



Lately my husband and I have been watching a series about some young people who left their religious community - the one they had grown up in all of their lives. What struck me was how they all said over and over they were never praised, never encouraged. They all had dreams they were never allowed to do anything about. This made me so sad for these young people.
 
It also made me evaluate what my husband and I do as parents. I am so thankful that we have always encouraged our children in whatever they were interested in.
 
My middle daughter has discovered a love for baking. We've bought her some baking and decorating supplies. Two weeks ago for a supper at church she made cupcakes all on her own. I only helped her a little with making the frosting. She's still learning the "feel" for when it's ready. They were wonderfully delicious and looked beautiful. Sadly, I neglected to take a picture so you could see how pretty they were.
 
Our two oldest boys - our oldest in particular - love Legos. I could see my oldest son as an engineer with the things he designs. Sometimes I get tired of listening to Legos being rifled through or stepping on them or cleaning them up, but as long as I see the designs continuing I won't complain. They also love all things soldier. My oldest son can tell you about any weapon used in WWII by either side with all the important statistics.
 
When my oldest daughter was about six or seven she hit a horse phase that did not end for about three years. She knew everything there was to know about horses and gladly shared her knowledge with anyone who would listen. There was a lull for a little while then she started reading Jane Austen. I thought there would never be an end to Jane Austen. It even spawned her blog "Ramblings of a Janeite".  She moved from Jane Austen to Les Mis (not that she's forgotten Jane Austen ☺) and we bought her a ticket to see the concert live with her dad for her 15th birthday. Currently she's writing - all. the. time. We don't mind though. She has an amazing talent for writing, and we want to see her go as far with it as she can. Just today she found out that she won the March Break short story contest at our library. If you will indulge me I'd like to include her story for your reading pleasure at the end of this post.
 
Please, please, tell your children you love them, encourage their interests and praise their abilities. It's hard to see the hurt of a child who just wants to know their parents love them and are proud of them.
 
And now for the story...
 
The old woman turns and smiles.
A smile that quickly turns into a shocked gasp as soon as she catches sight of me.  “Rob!” she cries out, but I push her away.  Now is not the time.  I try to speak, try to warn her of the danger that's coming.  Not a sound comes out.  A knife wound in the chest can do that to a person.  Even someone as stubborn as me.
“We have to get you to a hospital.”  Not 'Who did this?' I think we both know.  I sink down to the plush floor of the library.  The red coming from me mixes with the red on the carpet.  A carpet that, not so long ago, Peggy begged me to have installed.  “It will make the mansion quite complete,” she said.  It's funny what memories filter through when you're about to die.  For instance, I don't remember anything from my childhood – the old saying about life flashing in front of you?  It isn't true.  But I can remember the events that led me to this place so clearly.  So, so clearly.  But not as complete things.  More like little snippets of the bigger picture.  The bigger picture that reveals itself through the little things.

Mother and Peggy arguing.
That, in itself, wasn't surprising.  Mother never approved of my marriage to Peggy.  There were many reasons, the biggest being that she didn't feel Peggy was worthy of me.  The fact that I was rich and she was not probably had something to do with it too.  But we were, as the cliche goes, young and in love.  Everything was good.
I've since been disillusioned.  Money was the main objective in the marriage – for her that is.  Still, I never quite fell out of love with her.  It's a shame.  A crying shame, but that's the way it is.  
Back to the argument: I couldn't hear what they said, but it was flying venom on both sides.  I know.  I've heard enough fights to recognize one when I see it.  And this one was quiet.  That's the worst kind of argument.  You might think that an all-out shouting match with blows and swearing is the worst, but it's not.  It's the silence, the quiet hatred, and the pale disdain that are the worst.
The only phrase I caught was “It won't be a loan.”  This from Peggy.  I sighed and moved into the library.
Money again.

Pale.  
The colour of Mother's face the day her Ruby (yes, it's deserving of a capital letter) was stolen.  Now don't get me – or her – wrong.  She wasn't mercenary.  But that ruby was one of a kind.  'River of Blood'.  That was the name.  I wouldn't have picked it, neither would mother have but that was the name that came with it.  It's one of the most precious gems on earth.  Father's last gift before he died.  And now it was missing.
So, you see, if it meant anything to her, it was Father, not the money.  But that didn't stop it from being stolen. She'd seemed nervous for several days before the theft, but this pushed her over the edge.  Hysterics wouldn't come close to telling what she went through.  And no-one knew how it could've been done.  Lasers, trip wires, heat detectors.  It was all in place.  No outsider could have stolen it.  No outsider.  Which meant...it was one of us.

The start of my investigations.
I felt a duty to mother to figure this whole thing out for her.  She called the police, who came and duly took down notes.  Checked alibis.  Took non-existent fingerprints.  But they didn't hold out much hope.  “Someone who was smart enough to steal this would certainly have covered his or her tracks well,” they said.  They were right.  If it had been an outside job, we would have little chance.  But not if it was someone in here.  There were four of us.  Mother, Peggy, myself, and Jeremy – Mother's brother.  I didn't do it, and I wouldn't think any of the others would have.
I hoped not.
I couldn't rule out the servants either, though I doubted any of them could have the expertise.  But it was time to stop underestimating everyone.  
I had thought Mother would still be in tears when the police came, but she presented a stern, iron exterior.  The interior?  I had little  idea. Peggy was the one who seemed the most rattled.  Not tears, just nervousness.  And Jeremy was his usual, sleepy-eyed self.  Laziness rubs itself off on its user, so it becomes not a thing, but a condition.

A conversation with Peggy.
“What do you think?”  That was me.
She turned around in the seat in front of her mirror.  “About what, dear?”
I knew she knew.  She knew I knew she knew.  It was all a game.  A game I was tired of.  “The robbery.”
“Oh.  Yes.  That.”  Flatly.  She turned back to her mirror.  “Nothing.”
“I saw you arguing with Mother earlier.”  I could see her face in the mirror.  It tightened – a look I was used to whenever anyone walked into a topic she didn't want to discuss.  “I thought maybe you might have heard something that would-”  I broke off as she turned back around suddenly.
“Would what?” her voice was taut.
“Help with figuring this out.”
She laughed, but it wasn't pleasant or happy.  “You are trying to solve the robbery?  Oh, come on, Robert.  That'll never happen.”
“Why not?”
“Let the police catch whoever did it.”  Once again, she turned back.
“So you don't think it's one of us then?”
She didn't say anything.  Of course I was suspicious.  Who wouldn't be?  Her silence and deflection of questions and tension all led to one thing.  But I didn't want to see it at the time.  Stupid, loving stubbornness.  It got me into more trouble than anyone deserved.

Checking the family ledgers.
Even though we can afford a clerk, I've always done Mother's ledgers and accounting.  I don't have a normal day job, and keeping up with the finances is a way to keep myself, as Peggy puts it, 'busy and out of trouble'.  I'd just finished running up some figures the day I heard Mother and Peggy arguing.  Now the beginning of March was here and it was time to calculate everything again.
There was nothing wrong with the figures, as far as I could see.
Mother doesn't trust banks – although I thought she probably would now that her Ruby had been stolen – and we kept all of our money in
a giant safe, with different compartments for each of us.  It was our own personal bank in many ways and I enjoyed looking after it.
I was about to close the account book, when something caught my eye.
Mother's column was decreasing almost daily.  Peggy's was increasing.  I had kept so close to my work and the numbers that it was only when I stepped back that I saw the bigger picture.  Mother was not in the habit of giving Peggy money, especially when she didn't need it.  I was holding a puzzle here.  I only had two pieces.  The theft of the Ruby, and Peggy's newly acquired wealth.  In some way, they fit together.  I knew it.  Abnormalities didn't happen in our house without a good reason.  I was determined to find such a reason.

A conversation with Mother.
“Ah, Rob.  I haven't seen you around lately.”
I stepped into the library.  “I hoped I would find you here, Mother.”  When she gave me a questioning look, I continued.  “I wanted to speak to you.”  She was sitting on one of the plush chairs near the fire – even though it was now March, it was chilly – and I took the other so we could talk comfortably.  “It's about the Ruby theft.”
Her hands clenched and re-clenched together in her lap.  “I don't want to talk about it.  The entire subject-”
“I know how you must be feeling,” I said gently, reaching over and taking her hands in mine.  “It was a gift from Father.  I know that.  But my question isn't so much about the Ruby as about some oddities I found in the family ledger.”  Her hands stiffened in my grasp and she withdrew them.  “You've been giving money to Peggy,” I said.  She shook her head.  “Yes, Mother.  I know.  I just went over the books.  I'm just curious as to why.  That's all.”
“It's none of your concern,” she said stiffly.
The knowledge of what it was hit me.  “She's...blackmailing you, isn't she?”  The look on her face told me I was right.  “Why, Mother?  You have to tell me.  Then I can talk to her – well, I'll talk to her even if you don't tell me – but wouldn't it be better to be on equal ground when I confront her?  You need to tell me.  I promise not to tell anyone.”
She bit her lip and then gave me a weak smile.  “Of course you won't.  It's just-”  She cleared her throat and looked at her hands.  I know from personal experience that not looking at someone while you divulge a painful secret is the easiest way to go about it.  That way, you can't see the shame or guilt or anger in their eyes.  But I was determined to keep all those emotions away.  “You know I never approved of your marriage to Peggy.”  She didn't need an answer.  She knew I knew.  “Before you were married, some rumours went around about her family.  She said they weren't true and you believed her and married her.  She was right.  They weren't true.  I-”  She swallowed.  “I had those rumours circulated.  She found out several months ago and threatened to reveal everything.  To you.  To Jeremy.  To the world.”
“And in return, you were to give her money.”  It was more a statement than a question.
“No.  The Ruby.”
“But the Ruby is-”
“-gone.  And she stole it.”  She sensed my question, but forestalled it.  “She had the Ruby, she has the money, and she'll keep asking me until I don't have anything and then she'll expose me.  I'm only telling you this so that you can stop her.  She might not love you, but I believe she respects you.  But be careful.”
I went off to deal with Peggy.

Peggy.
The knowledge of what she'd done hurt me.  Really hurt me.  I'd always thought that someday things would be different.  That she would come to love me.  That we might even have a family.  But now the entire emotional make-up of our home had changed, and it would never go back to normal.  I confronted her in our room.  Oh, she denied it, but I knew.  I could see it in her eyes.  And the moment I stepped toward her, hoping to assure her that we could work this out if she'd just return the Ruby was when she snapped.
As she pulled out the knife, it seemed unreal.  I knew she didn't love me, but...
The pain.
The pain.  It was terrible.  Worse than I've ever felt.  Or ever will feel again.

“She's coming,” I say, finally able to push the words past the tatters and rips.  “You have to get out.  I'm not-”  I can't continue.
I close my eyes.
A sharp gasp from Mother brings them open again.  I turn my head painfully to see who it is.  Even though I know.
Peggy saunters into the room.  She saunters.  How someone can be so casual after attacking her husband with a knife I will never understand.  But that's how she is.  And now she's come to finish me off and kill Mother.  If only I hadn't let myself collapse to the floor I could do something.  As it is, I'm lying on the floor, almost unconscious – or dead, I don't know which – and unable to get up.
“You wouldn't dare,” Mother says.  Her voice shows otherwise.
“Oh, I would have said the same about you spreading dirty rumours about my family,” Peggy says coolly.  “Since then, I've learned never to give people the benefit of the doubt.  A mind-set you would do well to adopt.  But I'm afraid you don't have much time left to change your ways.”  She looks down at me, disgust in her eyes.  How could I ever have thought-?  “You're probably thinking I won't get away with it,” she says, turning her attention back to Mother.  “I will.  I'll murder you – then him” -she nods down to me- “and leave here.  Someone else will eventually find you, but it won't be for a while.  The door will be locked, and the TV on.  By the time someone forces the door, I'll be far away.  You see, I've been planning this.  I actually have a plan, unlike all those murderers on detective shows.”
I attempt a sitting position.  Peggy puts the knife to my throat.  “Not just yet,” she whispers.  “It's not your turn.”  She smiles and steps over my body.  I turn my head again.  Mother stands at the other side of the room, against the wall.  No escape routes are open to her.  Not even the window.  Peggy stands a few inches from me.  I ease myself over to one side.  Now I can reach out, and-
I grab her ankles and pull her down.
As soon as she's down on the ground, Mother runs over and looks all over the floor.  “The knife,” she mutters.  “It's got to be-”
I can see it.  It won't take her long either.  Or, I can't see it, but I can see the results.  A pool is forming to the side of Peggy's body.  That's all it is.  A body.  Not Peggy.
“You'll have to find a new accountant,” I whisper.  Only I can't say it loud enough for Mother to hear.
But that's okay.  She'll be able to cope with the family records without me.  She-



Pin It

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Library Time 22

 
This week I finished reading Twelve Years a Slave. What a fascinating book...reading about slavery from someone who had been free and had to suppress all he knew and allow himself to be subjected to all the horrors of slavery. Thank God he was able to make it back to his family. I can't even imagine the joy of their reunion. Thank God there were people who believed his story and printed it so we can know what went on. Thank God we no longer have slavery in North America, but the sobering fact is that slavery still goes on around the world. This book was very emotional to read, but I'm so glad I did. If you have a Kindle, you can purchase this book for as little as a dollar. It is well worth it.
 
15-year-old daughter - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. She's in a Jane Austen phase again. To be honest, I feel one coming on for myself. Every once in a while I like to go back and read all of Jane Austen's books again. There is something about them that I can't resist.
 
13-year-old son - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. My oldest daughter really enjoyed this book, and I'm considering reading it.
 
The Little Prince
 
11-year-old son - Terror in Winnipeg by Eric Wilson
 
10-year-old daughter - The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer. This is from a series of books written in the first person who is Sherlock Holmes' sister. She solves mysteries while trying to find her mother and stay out of the clutches of her brother whom she doesn't trust.
 
8-year-old daughter - The Bobbsey Twins and the Talking Fox Mystery by Laura Lee Hope
 
 
6-year-old son - The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter
 
3-year-old son - Horton Hatches an Egg by Dr. Seuss which he informed me is his favourite book



Pin It

Friday, 28 March 2014

Cupcakes and a Camera


This has been an uneventful, quiet week. We all need weeks like that, right? So there's not much to tell you about.
 
I will say that last Sunday we needed to take some cupcakes to church, and my ten-year-old daughter did them about 98% by herself! She's becoming quite the baker. She chose a chocolate cake recipe and baked it as cupcakes. Then I helped her with proportions for making peanut butter frosting, and she mixed it up to the right texture - it's really something you have to get a feel for, and she's doing great in that department. Then she frosted the cupcakes. She used a large star tip and went around the tops in a spiral. They looked great. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures. They tasted wonderful too. It's wonderful to watch your children grow and develop talents.
 
I've been working on planning a week of posts all about breakfast so watch for that coming in about a month. I'll have a guest post, a poll and a giveaway as well.
 
We have a wedding coming up in our church in May. I'm planning a bridal shower and have come up with a unique idea for what we are going to do - no clich├ęd, embarrassing games. The bride is very ladylike and I want the shower to reflect that. I'll take pictures and let you see how it turns out.

I've also been working on lining someone up to do a series on dressing modestly on a budget and stylishly. What do you think? Something you would be interested in?
 
My husband bought me a new camera. He loves a deal, and has waited years for a deal on this camera. So when it came up he was at the store bright and early. Good thing because there was only one camera plus the floor model, and another women there to buy a camera as well. It was a spectacular sale. Anyway, I've been having fun learning how to use. Of course, I have beautiful subjects.
 
pleased with himself for getting the forbidden cream cheese

 

Pin It

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chocolate Macaroons



I mentioned a while ago that I had started making macaroons for my husband so he wouldn't need to buy any when he went through a drive-thru for a coffee. What I came up with isn't the same as what he was buying, but he likes it - that's what's important, right?

I've tweaked the original recipe so that I could make them chocolate and add sweeteners instead of honey. This recipe is easy and comes together quickly. Using my ice cream scoop to shape the cookies I always get exactly thirteen. My oldest daughter believes that each batch needs quality control. She offers to eat the thirteenth to check that the batch is okay for her dad. Don't you love a daughter who is so self-sacrificial. ☺

Coconut Macaroons

3 egg yolks
2 tbsp xylitol
1/4 cup butter - softened
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
2 heaping tbsp stevia
1 tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 3/4 cup finely shredded coconut - unsweetened
1/3 cup almond flour

Beat the egg yolks, xylitol and butter until creamy (about three minutes - I use my stand mixer so I can do other things ☺).
Add the whole egg and beat for another minute. Then add the almond extract, stevia, cocoa, and baking powder. Beat until mixed.
Add the coconut and almond flour and mix by hand or on low speed with your mixer.
 
I use an ice cream scoop to shape the cookies and put them on a greased baking pan.
 
Bake them for 7-12 minutes in an 335 degree oven.

I pack the dough down in and smooth it out around the edges. It slides
out of the scoop easily.
I love how they all come out uniform.
 
On my favourite Snoopy cookie plate





Pin It

Monday, 24 March 2014

My Wonderful Husband


I want to spend a few minutes today bragging on my husband. ☺ Last night we watched our wedding video, and it's been a long time since we have seen it - too long really. Anyway, it made me feel all mushy and sentimental reliving all the memories of our early love. It is so true what they say about love growing and maturing. I look back now and laugh at my naivete. Yes, I was in love, but how much more my love has grown through all the hardships and fun times of the last sixteen years including the births of eight children and early miscarriage of a ninth.
 
One thing I love about my husband is that he is a man who knows what he believes and is willing to make that clear. I learned this from the start. The second time we met he was at my parent's home for dinner. Afterwards he and I talked until after 11. I was pretty sure we had covered everything except a proposal when the next thing he did was to propose. Knows his mind - acts. He's a man of conviction.
 
He's also not afraid to cry. He cried his way through our wedding as I was reminded of last night watching it. He cries sometimes when he's preaching. He's cried with me. I love his tender heart which does not take away from his strength at all but enhances it in my opinion. 

I waited a long time for God to bring Hugo into my life. I am so glad I waited. He's helped me through eight pregnancies, births and recoveries. He works so hard to make my life easier during these times when my body is under so much stress building and nourishing a new life. He was super supportive during my miscarriage - gentle and loving. He's a huge advocate for breastfeeding. It isn't always easy so he does what he can to help. He loves watching our babies nurse as the numerous pictures he takes of them nursing attest to.
 
Our children think he's the greatest thing. I've heard so many people worry about how Daddy will bond with his baby if Mommy is breastfeeding and Daddy can't feed them. Believe me, Hugo has never had a problem bonding. He makes up songs just about the child he's singing to. He reads them books from the very beginning. Lately he and our toddler have been bonding over Sesame Street YouTube videos - the rubber ducky song and some of Big Bird's songs. My six-year-old loves the Cookie Monster because Daddy introduced him to "C is for Cookie" on YouTube. He loves going for walks/hikes and taking the children camping. He works hard to spend one-on-one time with all of our children. And of course, he encourages our children's interests. He enjoys hearing about their day and what has interested them.
 
 
This is a biggie for me - He LOVES to shop. I hate shopping. How perfect is that for me? He does about 90% of our shopping including clothes for me. One year I needed a new winter coat. I told him I wanted something dark and long in a classic look. That is exactly what he came home with. He has bought most of my clothes, and 95% of the time I love what he buys. I'm so happy he's happy doing this because as I said I hate shopping. I think my youngest sister got most of the shopping genes in our family. I quit going shopping with her and my mom when I was single because I was ready to go home about three hours before they were.
 
He makes me laugh even though for the most part he's a fairly serious person. We have a lot of fun together. In fact, if our oldest had been a boy we were going to name him Isaac because that means "laughter".
 
Something else that was so important for me - really above all other considerations - he loves the Lord. It is wonderful to marry a Christian - to be able to pray together, read the Bible together and do some kind of ministry together even if it's just bringing a meal to someone in need.
 
taking our daughter to see Les Mis for her 15th birthday
He has always encouraged my interests. He's also pushed me beyond my comfort levels to branch out and grow in other areas of my life - this blog being one of them. For years he's been saying I should have a blog. I didn't think anyone would be that interested in what I had to say, but finally one day told him I would give it a try. It's been fun, interesting, scary and a huge learning process for me. I'm thankful I listened.  
 
He loves people and helping them which is why I think he makes such a great pastor. He loves to see people's lives enriched and made better. This spring he's looking forward to the wedding of two of our church members (I think he'll cry at some point during the ceremony). We prayed for these two to get together and are excited to see it happening. He prays with people when they have problems. If you called my husband up with some concern, after discussing it with you he would pray with you. I had a pastor who did this with me so I know how comforting it is.

 
Really I could go on and on. Thanks for bearing with me this long. I love my husband and am so glad God brought us together.



Pin It

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Library Time 22


I'm sorry that I haven't been here all week. I've been rearranging my schedule so I could have more time to quilt. I have a quilt for my oldest son that I've been working on for well over a year. I would really like to get it finished. So the quilting has started to progress at a comfortable speed with my change in schedule. Now I just have to work my blogging back into my schedule. ☺
 
Of course, I'm still reading. That is something that always fits into my day. I just finished reading Sky Burial by Xinran. It is the story of a young couple in the early days of communist China. They are both doctors. The husband has to go into Tibet with a military unit three weeks after they are married. A few weeks later the wife receives news of her husband's death, but no one knows the details. She sets out on a thirty search in Tibet to find him or news of him. This is an amazing love story.
 
I am now reading Twelve Years a Slave. You have perhaps seen the movie posters for it. A free black man living in the North is captured and sold as a slave in the South. Twelve years later friends finally learn where he is and are able to affect his rescue. Again another amazing story.
 
On to my children:
 
15-year-old daughter - Embassy by S. Alex Martin. You can read her review of the book on Goodreads. Her review has made me want to read this book.
 
13-year-old son - The Deadly Curse of Toko-Rey by Frank Peretti. This is a volume in the Cooper Kids adventure series.
 
Product Details
 
11-year-old son - Escape from the Island of Aquarius by Frank Peretti. Another story from the Cooper Kids Adventures
 
10-year-old daughter - Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
 
8-year-old daughter - Emma All Stirred Up by Coco Simon. This is one of the "Cupcake Diaries". My ten-year-old received some for her birthday, and they've been a hit ever since.
 
6-year-old son - Curious George
 
3-year-old son - He has been on a huge ABC Bunny kick. He wants it read all the time.
 
 
In case you missed it when I posted this before, here is a YouTube video of someone singing the song.
 


 
 Now it's your turn to share what you're reading.


Pin It

Monday, 17 March 2014

Giveaway Winner



I just drew a name for the winner of the canvas bag.

Congratulations, Denise Domstad! Please send me your address so I can mail the bag to you - healthysimplicity@hotmail.com.

Thank you to everyone who shared and commented and followed. ☺



Pin It

Loving Pinterest

I love Pinterest. I was a little unsure when I first saw it and signed up. Now I feel like I couldn't live without it. I thought I'd put together a list of some of the pins I'm looking forward to trying out. I have a board called "Completed Projects". I put up pins that I've tried, but only if they worked out. I don't want to pass along things I wasn't able to do. ☺
 
So here's my "baker's dozen" list. It's certainly not a complete list of everything I want to try, but it's some of the highlights.  

A cake for an upcoming bridal shower. Yeah.   http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010842506877/

I know my children would love this activity. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843226466/

Laundry soap. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010842965974/

These look like so much fun. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843413356/

I'm doing this for my little boys' bedroom. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843273216/

Essential oils - a fun use. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843203944/

Homemade mustard- this looks easy. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843447374/

Growing more plants inside. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843318728/

Homemade vitamins - I'm intrigued. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843043680/

This is a long time goal to make one. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010842320093/

On my life bucket list. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843017803/

Some lucky boy. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843257551/

I love wreaths. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170785010843405916/




Pin It

Friday, 14 March 2014

Getting It Done


At the beginning of the week I set out a list of my goals for this week off of doing school. So how did I do this week with my goals? Here's the rundown... 
  • organize photos - all done and ready to be printed
  • scrapbook - not as much as I wanted but in this area I consider ANY progress forward progress. I still have nine years to catch up on. I didn't start scrapbooking until 2009. So I'm current with what I've printed, and I've completed through December of 2000. Slow and steady wins this race, for sure.
  • baking
    1. rye bread - The flavour was great. I just wish that it had risen a little more.
    2. homemade marshmallows - okay - These are hands down one of the easiest, tastiest, most fun dessert I have ever made. They taste just like store-bought marshmallows, but they're made with honey so I can feed them to my children guilt-free. I'll say it again, Sarah, thank you so much for creating this recipe.
    3. ginger molasses snickerdoodles - I ran out of time for making these, but I will soon. I love molasses cookies.
    4. red velvet fudge cookies - These were a little dry. I tried to tweak the recipe since I didn't have coconut sugar, and I didn't want to use white sugar. I used some stevia and honey. The taste was fine; the texture was off. I'll have to work on that because these are easy and tasty.
  • put away our grain order - all nicely stored in plastic bins and a small freezer that is unplugged and just used for storing our grains
  • sewing - worked on the quilt I'm making for my oldest son and some tags I'm making for labelling my scrapbooking albums
  • potty train my three-year-old - I almost don't want to talk about this. Let's just say it's not going well. He just doesn't "get" it. I'm thinking about leaving it for a month, and then attempting again. Boys are definitely harder than girls to train.
It's been a great week off of school. Next week back to our routine.
 
Don't forget to enter our giveaway celebrating one year in the blogging world.

 

Pin It

Thursday, 13 March 2014

1st Bloggiversary and a Giveaway


A year ago today I entered the blogging world. This has been an amazing experience for me. My husband had wanted me to start one for years and finally talked me into it. Some days I'm still not sure, but overall it's been an enjoyable experience. I've made some blogging friends and learned some things about myself. I've enjoyed sharing recipes, sewing projects and personal thoughts here. I hope it's also been a blessing to those who read these posts. So what has this year looked like?
 
Some of the most popular posts...
My favourite post was School and Grace. I think this is my favourite because I really share my heart in it.
 
I did two special series. One about breastfeeding, and one about toddler fun. I have some more series planned for this year. I just need to get them out of the planning stage and into the writing stage. ☺
 
My sister-in-law and sister both did a guest post. One on nursing twins and the other on making a doll house. They did a super job, and I enjoyed their input.
 
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. And as a thank you I have a very special giveaway that I'm excited about.
 
This is a canvas bag that measures 14 by 16 inches. I really want to keep this one, but I'll gladly give it away to one of you. ☺ So how can you win this?
  • Follow my blog - leave a comment telling me you follow
  • Leave a comment telling me your favourite post
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook - leave a comment when you have shared

I'll choose a winner Monday morning, March 17th.
 




Pin It

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Skillet Pot Holder



 
 
I saw this idea for a pot holder that fits over the handle of an iron pan. I didn't quite like the design so I spent a few weeks with it bumping around in my head trying to figure out my own design. I think I finally came up with something.
 
The first step was to make the pattern. I traced around the handle of one of my pans.
 

Then I added some extra width.


My first pattern wasn't big enough. I found I needed an extra inch and a half from the original size.


I had an old towel that I had previously cut up into washcloths, but there was still enough left to use as the lining/insulation. I cut the toweling about an inch shorter than the outside and sewed all four pieces (2 outside and 2 lining) together with the outside pieces in the middle right sides facing each other.


Then it was time to turn it right side out. Almost finished. You see the raw edge at the bottom?


I just tucked it up inside the holder. Maybe some day I'll sew it down but for now it works, and it was fast.

Finished product.

Nice, eh? I like things that are functional and pretty. Makes me smile. I made another one in an apple pattern.


Do you use iron pans? I have more than I need and love them. I also have an iron pot that we make our oatmeal in every morning. My husband found it at a flea market for $20. It's from a store that is no longer here in business in Canada. It makes a wonderful roast. I really love my iron pot and pans.


Pin It