bonfires and birthdays and boggles strikes again

Handy-dandy low-risk-of-impaling-yourself-or-someone-else hot dog roasting stick. My first hot dog in well over a year, mmm.

Happy Birthday, M!

Ingrid was there, too.

Our friend M had a birthday this week, so off we went for a bonfire on the beach. My favourite house in the area (pictured above) is in view from the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was much colder and more windy on the beach than we had expected, so we went back to M's house to continue the bonfire in their backyard, complete with fireworks.

Boggles strikes again! For whatever reason, these silly sunglasses which were part of a Halloween costume Adam came up with a couple of years ago (this is who we were), are the only glasses which Phillip doesn't immediately pull off of his face. He loves them.

pain perdu

The French can't call it 'French Toast' - their name for it is 'pain perdu' or 'lost bread'. And rather than eating it for breakfast, as we do here in North America, they (more reasonably, I think) have it for dessert. We had some for breakfast this morning, partly to celebrate Phillip's sleeping until 7:00. Usually it's between 5:30 and 6:00, so sleeping longer was a treat. So was the pain perdu, of which Phillip was a huge fan. Here's the recipe, loosely from The Joy of Cooking.

4 eggs
2/3 cup milk or cream (we used milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

sliced bread

Whisk first four ingredients together. Dip bread in egg mixture until saturated, and cook in a hot buttered pan on medium heat until golden on both sides. Serve hot with maple syrup, fresh fruit, icing sugar, or all of the above.

What a lovely Saturday breakfast!

I spent my Friday evening updating my Etsy shop. I have a Father's Day showcase spot today, so I wanted to have things looking spiffy. And I'll be making more soap tomorrow, so I'll have fun planning that while Phillip's napping today. And while he's awake, we're going to play, play play! Have a great weekend!


new soaps

I made some new soaps last night! You can read about them here. Also, I have a Father's Day Etsy showcase spot on Saturday, so I'll be updating the shop this week. Happy lathering!

p's almost-birthday party

It will be Phillip's first birthday on the second of June, so we had an early birthday party with the grandparents while we were in NB. This is what Phillip did when he saw the cake.
And the candle. (I love all of the adult expressions!) He proceeded to eat all of the raspberries off of the cake, one by one.Phillip also had a photo shoot. Smiling at the forget-me-nots,
And smelling them, too.


munn cookies and Phillip silliness

I made these cookies for someone in Fredericton who I made them for several years ago. They are a delicious cookie, perfect with a cup of tea. They're called Munn cookies, and the recipe is here.
Phillip figured out the whole pointing thing a few weeks ago. He now knows that if he wants something, he usually gets it if he points. So he points to everything. If he's really excited, both pointer fingers come out.
Phillip also figured out that it takes less effort to climb right in to the basket of toys than it does to take all of them out of the basket.

home again!

To these

And these,

And this view.

It's nice to be home.



This was one of the only pictures I had on the computer to share today - the rest of my new ones are at home. Our table at home was full of quince blossoms, lily of the valley, and tulips. How Springy!

I'm having a great time in NB; one of the highlights of my visit was meeting Kristin and her sweet family on Friday at a fabulous restaurant called Calactus. They were every bit as sweet as I had expected, and I'm already looking forward to seeing them again!

Thanks so much to all of the NB people who bought soap! It was nice to see all of you. And now I need to make some more, starting tomorrow when we get home.


soap orders

I hope that you're all having a lovely post-long-weekend week. I just wanted to let you know that I will be in New Brunswick for the next few days, and I'm making a bunch of soap deliveries. If you'd like to make a last minute order, I would be happy to take it along! Just send me an e-mail (info at birchbarksoap dot com) before noon tomorrow (Wednesday). You can see some of my newer soaps on my other blog, which aren't yet in my Etsy shop. I'll be back on Sunday!


almond biscotti and an elephantine gift

I made this new batch of Almond Biscotti soap last night. It smells divine, and I'm really happy with the colours and embedded soap in the top.

I made this little elephant for a friend's baby who turned one! (I'm a bit late, her birthday was a couple of weeks ago.) The pattern is from
Sock and Glove, which is available at the Yarmouth library, since I adopted it.

Happy Birthday, Ingrid! P's waking up now, so we'll be there soon!


ask and ye shall receive

I had determined to make or buy myself a simple reusable Swiffer cover, as mentioned the other day, and who should appear at my house at lunch time today but Ingrid, bearing the gift of this nifty knitted version! Those little bump things are knitted right in, and squish down into the little bite-y things on the Swiffer. I tried it in the bathroom this evening, and it's great! I also had the thought that you could also dampen it if you wanted to do a light mopping. Thanks, Ingrid!

lemon cheesecake squares

I made these dessert squares last evening. They could easily be made with a citrus juice other than lemon, or, since there's only a teaspoon, it could be left out altogether. The nutty base and topping are heavenly! I used almonds rather than walnuts. Mmmm.


streak free

At the craft fair a few weeks ago, there was a very nice couple selling Streakfree microfibre cleaning cloths. I know that in the grand scheme of things, especially given the weather related chaos around the world over the past week or so, cleaning really isn't all that significant. But I also like having this blog as a happy place of tiny things. Just so you know that I'm not oblivious. So here's one of those little happy things. I bought a small cloth (which I think I'll cut in two) and tried it out on our very dirty microwave. Here's the before:
And after:
Here's what I really like about these:
- they're made in Nova Scotia
- they can be used with plain old water (which is how I used mine)
- they're guaranteed for 2 years
- they get Phillip kiss smudges and fingerprints off of every surface easily and quickly
- they really cleaned the inside of the car windows, which makes me a happier driver
- did I mention that you don't need to use any cleaners with them? (You can if you choose)
- they can be thrown in the regular wash (as long as no fabric softener is used)
- there are no streaks
- they can be used on a variety of surfaces (chrome, stainless, brushed steel, glass, etc.)

They cost $8.00 for a small cloth (the size I have, which I find plenty large), and I can give you the information on who to contact in Yarmouth if you'd like to buy one (they also have mops and other sizes of cloths.) You can also order them directly through the website. I'm not sure how they compare to other microfibre cloths, as I haven't really used any other ones, but I'm really happy with this new discovery.

Now can someone make me a reusable Swiffer cloth to complete my cleaning arsenal? I can't bring myself to buy the disposable cloths, but I miss the pleasantly quick swipes around the bedroom and bathroom floors. There are a whole lot to choose from on Etsy, for very reasonable prices, too! Now that I think about it, I could just use a piece of flannel from my scrap pile. When I have a minute, I think this will be my solution. Happy Tuesday!


happy mother's day

Some flowers for you, to celebrate things maternal. (I'm not sure why the two are equated, but I love tulips. So there.)

And since this is the guy who made me the proudest mama, here's an 'ooooo' for you.
And a goofy smile.
And some teeth, for good measure.
I hope that you have a splendid day.

to adam



I couldn't help but feel sorry for this worried-looking plant pot.

Last night I whipped up three batches of soap, including this new Orange Blossom Bar. It smells incredible, and I can't wait for it to cure. It has orange blossoms and orange essential oil in it, and I'm really pleased with it.

Along with our Lily of the Valley, some of the tulips have opened. Phillip loves talking to them, pointing at them, and generally being excited about them.

This is another batch I made last night. More Cherry Almond (which I sold out of at the craft fair), but this time with the addition of fair trade organic cane sugar sprinkled on top. It's looking good!

Happy weekend!



I enjoyed some 67-point planteary action this morning as we whipped up some waffles in the Kitchen Aid. Phillip likes waffles very much, especially when they're dipped in pureed fruit or smoothie.


soapwort and earworms

I nearly danced a jig yesterday when I found this little guy at Spencer's (very nice) garden centre in Shelburne. Well, I didn't actually find it. I had to ask. And the poor woman I asked disappeared for a long time before returning with this. It's called Soapwort (also known as Sweet William, says Wikipedia). You make an infusion in warm water with the whole plant, and apparently can get a lovely soapy lather. The two little plants I bought probably won't be useable for a long while, since they're so small, but I think it will make a nice addition to the garden.

Want an earworm? CJLS, our local radio station, is known for the absurd number of terrible 80's songs they play. Phillip and I laze in bed for a few minutes every morning, and he plays with the clock radio. This morning, he turned the dial from CBC to CJLS, and this song was playing. He really liked it, so we listened to the whole thing, and it's been driving me crazy all day long. Of all the songs to have stuck in your head!

mailbox delight

My friend Sarah drew my name in a blog contest I asked not to be entered in (the original prize was to be soap, in which I was drowning at the time) and I received this beautiful dishcloth in yesterday's mail! I love these crocheted dishcloths, because they really grab the goo off of dish surfaces. This one even had extra ridges. And since we don't have a dishwasher, we need all of the goo-grabbing power we can find! Thanks, Sarah, I love it!


"baby daffodils," said Phillip

I bought these sweet mini daffodils with a pile of other bulbs from Vesey's last fall. We have this one on the table, and when Adam pointed to it and said "Baby daffodils!" to Phillip, Phillip repeated it. It was completely clear that it's what he was trying to say. Heh, heh. My botanical boy.

I love daffodils. I love crocuses. I love tulips. Especially tulips. And hyacinths (less so, but still love) and... umm, whatever other bulbs I'm forgetting. They're so juicy and springy. Mmmm.

Thanks again to you Yarmouth-area blog readers who came to the craft fair and introduced yourselves! It was so nice to meet you. I always kind of wonder who's lurking about out there, and it's so nice to picture you now. Just so you can plan ahead for your next soap fix, I'll be at my second ever craft show in Wedgeport on July 6. I'm planning on making some camping soap/shampoo bars (with lemongrass for bug-repellent properties), so that should be a fun batch. Please feel free to e-mail me at any time if you're in need of some soap - I've usually got lots around. Except for right now, I guess, since I sold most of it on the weekend!

In other news, I finished reading Eat Pray Love last week. Eh. It was okay, but I just found it too self-absorbed and badly written after reading The Spiral Staircase right before it. It's kind of funny that those two books ended up being read consecutively, because there are a lot of parallels between the two women's stories. Although The Spiral Staircase is also a personal and spiritual journey, it just doesn't come across in the same sort of self-centred tone as Eat Pray Love. I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's descriptions of the places she visited, and it was a quick, fun kind of book. She switched between past and present tense constantly, which drove me batty, and much of the time I just felt like I was reading an un-proofed blog entry which I didn't want to subscribe to. There's my two cents. (I am fully aware that I often don't proof my entries here, and frequently make horrific grammatical stretches (which I'm sure pain my brother-in-law, if he reads this.) But I don't get royalties, either. In short, pick up The Spiral Staircase! It was my favourite book in a long time. Next up: The Kite Runner.