outtakes of an almost-birthday boy

I was looking through the pictures I took with P a few days ago, and some of them made me chuckle. So I thought I would share.
I love how he is clasping his hands in this one.
This was his response when I asked him to smile.
He was running in for a hug in this one.

And this is what he does when he's really, really excited about something. In this case, it was in anticipation of running down a small hill. It's similar to what he used to do when he said "strong".
This has nothing to do with outtakes. I found these fun wooden fruit at Frenchy's last week, and P likes to play with them. His birthday is coming up on Tuesday (hence the gifts in the photo), and when asked what he wants, he says only one thing: "Pasta and MEATBALLS!" So the meatballs are all ready in the freezer for the big supper party on Tuesday with the grandparents. The gift in the photo is from P's aunt and uncle. He hasn't paid the slightest bit of attention to it since it arrived.



There are literally thousands of lily of the valley in our yard right now. I love bringing them inside to enjoy the delicate fragrance.

Some blossoms from a shrub I found in a ditch while driving for work. (I really am a shameless ditch-scavenger - my red berries, willows, forsythia, and now these.) I've seen lots of them along the roads I travel, but still don't know what they are. The leaves are coming out as the blooms are finishing, and the flowers have a light, sweet scent. I think they're adorable.


happiness is...

A cherry tree in bloom, a sunny afternoon, and the sweetest boy to share it with.



Original photo here.
Original photo here.

These images are from Vintage, a beautiful blog I stumbled upon last week, which I immediately fell in love with. This, despite the fact that I can't understand a single word in any of her original posts. Google Reader has a translation feature under "feed settings", which helps, but some bits of the text are still gibberish. The photos completely make up for it, and you should definitely head on over to swoon.

Speaking of vintage, I picked up a few fun things at Grandma's Collectibles in Weymouth last week, on my way to Tatamagouche for work last week. I don't seem to have the energy to jump up and take pictures right now, but there's some fun new storage potential for my essential oils, and a fantastic new crock thingy. And might I add that Tatamagouche is beautiful? I took a few pictures while I was there; the lilacs were just beginning to open and the apple trees were in full bloom. Lovely.

I feel as though I've been neglecting you - our cherry tree is in full bloom, as is the quince, the peonies are coming along nicely, and I haven't even shared them yet. (Edited to add: see a beautiful photo of the cherry tree and chair from Adam, here.) Now that I have a very comfortable chair out there under the blossoms, I've been spending former blogging time reading The School of Essential Ingredients in it. The book is okay, but the experience of reading outside on a beautiful day under a magical canopy of pink is incredible.

Have a lovely week!


Saturday in Shelburne

Ingrid had a birthday on the weekend, so we went to Shelburne on Saturday to celebrate. Of course, we ate at Charlotte Lane. And took pictures of our food.
This was my dessert - an English Toffee Pudding, I think it was called. Amazing. Much like the Queen Elizabeth Cake I make (which is my favourite dessert of all time), except with an amazing buttery sauce rather than the crunchy pecan topping.
How nifty is the toilet paper holder in their washroom?Of course, I kept stopping to take flower pictures. I was surprised at the difference between the spireas here and in Shelburne - we're only an hour's drive apart, but some there were in full bloom. I haven't seen any here in bloom yet.
We also stopped at Spencer's Garden Centre. I "ooh"ed and "ahh"ed over this magnolia - it was probably fifteen feet tall. I prefer the paler ones, but this one was quite lovely. And the scent was amazing.
We also stopped in at The Whirligig Book Shop, where I picked up this book. It's got information on everything from making soap, to

trellising blackberries, and just about everything in between. I haven't had a chance to sit down properly with it yet, but I think it will be a good reference book.
Oh, and of course we went to Frenchy's. That's a given.

I'm off to an in-service for the rest of the week, so that's it for a few days - I can't wait to get back and catch up with you!


blooms by the sea

The boys and I went to Blooms by the Sea a few weeks ago. Guess which was my favourite display? Yes, indeedy, it was this antiques one. But for some reason, perhaps because I was looking so closely, I only took two pictures. I love the hutch with teacups and glass jars; not so much that rooster thing on the floor in the second picture. I am very much opposed to rooster decor. (But I think I could still be your friend if it's in your house... maybe.)

The other booth that grabbed my attention was this 'Recycled Garden' one. I wanted to speak with the woman who was wo-manning (ha!) the booth, but she was deeply engaged in conversation each time I passed by. It was full of everyday items, repurposed for the garden.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to see at the show, and how many displays there were. Even though I didn't win any door prizes, there's always next year!



I love herbs. I love how they look, smell, and taste. This year I have a few new additions to our kitchen garden (which is, incidentally, ideally located directly outside of our back door). One is eucalyptus. I'm a big fan of the scent of tea tree and other 'medicinal' herbs, and I'm hoping that this wee plant will grow well and that there will be plenty to dry later in the summer. I'm hoping to infuse some oil in a fantastic new soap I have brewing in the back of my mind. And, it's beautiful! I love that it looks so very delicate, but the leaves are tough.

I bought this eucalyptus at Blooms by the Sea, a local garden show which was held for the first time a few weeks ago. Adam and I took a grand total of $5 cash in with us; I wish we had taken more. There was some great composted seaweed made in Bear River (I can't find a website, but it's available at Ouest-ville Perennials in Pubnico) and a terrific booth set up by a local antiques dealer, with a garden theme. Think tea cups, glass jars, and old windows.

I'm heading out on an adventure today with Ingrid, so I should have lots of pictures to share soon!


recipe-a-week #17: monkey bread

This is a recipe I originally posted last summer, but since it is so amazingly simple and delicious, and since I'm planning on making it this weekend, I thought it would be perfect for this week's recipe. I think I might need some larger clothes next week if I eat all of the things I'm planning on making on my solo weekend. I also don't think that it's humanly possible (even for me!) to accomplish all of the cleaning, organizing, gardening, and relaxing I'd like to. So I just might focus on the relaxing part. I'm more likely to look back and remember that as having spent my weekend wisely. To make the most of the relaxing part, I'll be enjoying some fun spa treatments, too, including this scrub and making some more lotion and solid perfumes. On to the recipe!

Monkey Bread

I had never heard of Monkey Bread until I was in university. At a friend's wedding shower, I tried and fell in love with it. It's a very simple sweet bread, perfectly designed so you can pull off perfectly sized pieces to eat. This recipe uses the bread machine to make the dough, so a bit of planning is needed. I set it last night to be done the dough cycle first thing this morning, so by 8:30 we had a fresh bready treat to eat. Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp water
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (instant rise)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter

Add milk, water, egg, salt, butter, flour, yeast and 4 tsp sugar to bread machine. Select dough cycle. When cycle is complete, cut into a bunch of little balls. Roll each in melted butter, then brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place coated dough in bundt pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. (If you're using a non-ring pan, it may take longer for the middle ones to cook.) Invert onto a plate, and serve warm.

Yeast tip: Rather than buying the $4 113 gram "Bread Machine" jar of yeast from the grocery store, at Yarmouth Natural (and probably most other natural foods or bulk stores) they have "Instant Yeast" which is the same thing, for a lot less. A 125 gram bag costs $1.25.

Let me know if you try making it - especially if you modify the recipe. Happy Friday!


recipe-a-week #16: jamaican chicken curry & some fun mail!

I believe that it is pretty much impossible to take a nice picture of a stew or casserole. It usually ends up looking inedible at best. So here's what was left on my plate after making this delicious recipe, from the May 2009 issue of Everyday Food. Since eating at Curry Village a few weeks ago, I'm still dreaming of that heavenly butter chicken. And I think I'm still tinted yellow.

Jamaican Chicken Curry

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves (10 to 12 ounces each), halved crosswise
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Jamaican)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, brown chicken, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, cumin, curry, thyme, and 1/2 cup water and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and chicken with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Serve curry over rice.
Note: I used regular curry powder, and it was delicious.

As part of the bloggy pay-it-forward giveaway that was making the rounds a little while ago, Teresa and I agreed to swap. I won't tell what I sent her, since I'm sure it hasn't arrived yet, (and I'm thinking it's lame in comparison to this!) but here's what was delivered to my door yesterday. It's a beautiful dish that she made, with a white pine imprint. It is so very me! In fact, it's a little bit similar to one I picked up at a yard sale last September. I love it. Thanks so much, Teresa!
Also in the mail, today, was this fun book that I won from the Make & Do blog! I'm planning on sewing up a storm this weekend, and there are a couple of things I would like to whip up, in addition to the travel tote I mentioned before.
Look what Adam bought me for our anniversary! We're also going to be getting a picnic table soon, and probably another chair, so it won't be quite so lonely. But I'm hoping to get in some reading and tea drinking this weekend if the weather is nice enough.

Why do I keep mentioning this weekend, you ask? Because A & P are going to NB, and I'm staying here. An entire long weekend by myself at home. I'm a little bit giddy, but I know that I'll miss them as soon as they're out the door. I have a list as long as my arm of things that I want to do, but maybe I'll just sit and read. Go for a walk on the beach. Have birthday lunch with Ingrid, who has a birthday on Sunday. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Happy Tuesday!


flowers, books, and snack bags

I neglected to post this little beauty the other day. I can't remember what it's called, but it was Adam's special request a few summers ago when we were ordering fall bulbs. We have a couple of them, and I love how they droop so elegantly.
Books! Firstly, I found Simple Soft Furnishings at Value Village a few weeks ago (the pattern for the Swedish Roll-up Blind is in it), as well as Baby Gifts. Linen Wool Cotton was a birthday present from Annie, and it is gorgeous. Right up my alley. I love it. Thanks, Annie!
Also, I ordered these great little snack bags from evelynfields. They're perfect for a granola bar, a handful of raisins or almonds. And how cute are those little birdies?
I love this picture, too. I picked up a few tiny chamomile plants today, along with some mint, thyme, and curry flower. I'm hoping to have enough mint and chamomile to dry and save for tea.
Remember that lovely antique platter I had? It hung on the kitchen wall over the stove, until it fell off a few weeks ago and is now gone forever. I found this fun little artichoke at Wicker Emporium on my way home from work today, and I think it looks just right.

Happy Monday!


and it's here!

Hop on over to Birch Bark Soap's new site and see what I've been working on, with lots of help from my sweet husband.

My new soapmaking blog, to which all of my previous soapy posts from the old one will be added, can be found here. There's a limit on how many posts can be published per day, which is why it's not finished already.

We had a fun night away, complete with vomit in the car, spilled hair products in my bag, and lots of singing. It was a grand time, all in all.

almost ready


the garden this evening 05.08.09

The rain finally let up today, and it was bright enough after supper to take a few pictures of what's been happening in the garden.

Firstly, something or someone took the tops off of ten of our tulips last night. I am not impressed, even though we have a few hundred other ones. The poor tulips went to so much work and didn't even get to bloom! It doesn't seem like human intervention, though, because of the strange pattern the missing tulips follow, and also the relative difficulty of getting those particular ones while skipping past many more accessible ones. I think it could have been a deer, which is a wee bit strange, since we live right in town. I have seen a few deer crossing our street before, though, and I choose to believe that over the thought that someone walked up our driveway and into our backyard to thieve some flowers and they only took stems that were a few inches long.
The soapwort I planted last summer is doing really well. It's gotten quite a bit larger, and I may try lathering up some of the leaves later in the summer. I can't wait for more of those sweet blooms!
The johnny-jump-ups are taking over a section of our lawn, which I think is terrific. They're so cute and cheery, and I especially love that I didn't even have to plant them.
The hyacinths are up, too, but they don't seem to have much scent. Maybe the rain had something to do with that? I'm not sure.
And the chives are doing fantastically well! The rain beat them down quite a bit, but there are lots. They are so tasty. Having a little herb garden right outside of the kitchen is one of the best ideas I've ever had.

I also came across some fun sites to share with you. Thinking of gardens, Urban Homestead is a fun place with an amazing garden story to read about. Beekman1802 is a very cool place with fantastic garden information, stories, and they even sell soap.

I came across the Simply Natural decor blog today, and had a lot of fun reading through past posts. It's mostly posts full of gathered pictures on a particular decor theme; although I'm all for purchasing great art, this is one post I especially liked.

Oh, and I have some exciting soapy things I've been working on that I want to share with you next week! It's been keeping me busy, but will definitely be worth the effort.

Have an excellent weekend! And if you took my tulips, just ask next time and I'm happy to share.