P hiking

Adam took this video when he and P went out for a little hike a few weeks ago. That kid is so cute.


back to canning and cake for a moment...

Tigress in a Jam posted a fantastic, comprehensive list of stone fruit canning recipes I wanted to pass along. She has another blog, too. Tigress in a Pickle. For - you guessed it - savoury canning recipes. Love it.

I did get my nose pierced again the other day. It was totally fine, aside from the almost-passing-out reaction from my body (certainly not the pain; it wasn't bad at all), and I like it. So there. *Twinkle*

Thomas is 6 months old today, and this morning he figured out how to get his chubby little arms to crawl along with the rest of him. It's a wee bit early in my estimation, but he is trying to keep up with Phillip.

I think that my mother-in-law and I are going to make this cake soon. Yum. (She just delivered me a little dish of walnuts cooked in maple syrup. Ummm... I'm super lucky. And getting chubbier every day we're here.)

I chatted it up with a perfect stranger (oooh, do you remember that show? I loved it when I was a kid) in the natural cleaning products aisle at the grocery store today. I might be a wee bit obsessive.

Hope that you're having a good weekend!



Adam's Nana passed away on Friday. She turned 95 on Wednesday. I am so happy that she got to meet both of our beautiful boys, and that they got to meet her. She is the Nana of the delicious biscuits, the quilt, and hugs, kisses, and cheek-squeezes like you wouldn't believe. The funeral was really a celebration of her long and full life, and a testament to all of the friends and family who loved her so much.

So we're with family for a little bit, which is why I was going to be away from the blog. But I obviously can't handle not posting for more than a few days. So please give someone a hug today and mean it - Nana's life reminds me how much that can really make a difference.


Sometimes I'm glad when the boys wake us up early.
I know, I said I would be gone. But I just can't stay away!

In today's complete miscellany category:

I'm planning on getting my nose re-pierced while we're here. Typed out, it looks kind of silly. But in my mind, I just want a tiny, shiny, pretty dot on my nose that's almost not noticeable. Since I have a little spot there where it was pierced before, I might as well have it look more deliberate and sparkly.

I am really disappointed that we won't be able to make it to Roller Derby this weekend! We'll be back again before long, so maybe next time we'll be able to go. And if we lived here, I would sign up. Seriously.


we interrupt this hiatus for an important message

Holy smokes, folks! Five short years ago today, I wrote my very first blog post. I was twenty-four, we had only just bought our house, and I had no beautiful sons to post about. We did have one fat cat, though. I started my own business, so did Adam. We have made some wonderful friends; lots has changed, and lots has stayed the same.

I love the internet. Really and truly. It can be such an amazing and positive tool to teach and engage people, and allow connections to be made which would otherwise be impossible. It also facilitates keeping in touch with people we already know, and gives us the opportunity to meet like-minded people. I have met some fantastic, intelligent, creative, and inspiring people through my blog, and even one of my best friends, who lives right in my hometown. With complete sincerity, I can say that I would not be the person I am today without the amazing people behind the blogs I read, and connections I have made online.

And the pictures! I have learned to really love taking pictures and sharing them. I chose one of my favourites for this post. My flickr photostream is over here, just in case you want to peruse all 1799 pictures. Or maybe just a few.

I don't know how many of you have been around since the beginning, but whenever you happened to join in, I'm so glad that you're here! I love sharing little things that I'm up to, and it tickles me pink that someone else thinks it's worth reading, too.

So. Pick up that glass of water, tea, coffee, milk, champagne, beer, or whatever else is at hand, and let's toast the internets! Happy blogaversary to me!

P.S. Our hard drive crashed again this afternoon, so we will be having some repairs done this week. I snagged a computer to use to post this. I'll be back next week!



I made a bunch more salsa last weekend. It was lots of fun, but still not quite whatever perfect mystery flavour Adam is looking for. I found it was quite watery as well; is this common with homemade canned salsa? I loved getting the skins off the tomatoes - super fun. And messy.

I'm so paranoid with peppers; I have horrible visions of touching a pepper-oiled finger to Thomas' eye. So I asked Adam to chop them, and he opted for gloves, too. Better safe! (We jokingly refer to him as "Mr Safety" around here.)

I'm going to be away from the blog for a short bit, but I'll be back after next week. Have a great time without me!

P.S. This is the Sesame Street song that is embedded in my head. LOVE it. I think I have to listen to more Stevie Wonder. (I may have mentioned a long time ago that my sister and I used to skate on our pond to "I Just Called to Say I Love You". Neither of us are professional figure skaters yet.)


how to keep a 3-year old busy and other matters

In a little Clifford activity book that Phillip has, there are suggestions for various activities to do. From the first time he opened it, this is the one that P was most interested in, but we didn't have either item. We made a special trip to the grocery store the other day to pick up some marshmallows and toothpicks, and he absolutely loved building with them. Adam built the geodesic dome above; Phillip was happy to primarily poke the toothpicks through the marshmallows, wave them around, and then go on to the next one. He did make a few shapes, though, and was quite proud of himself.

A few cool things I made note of to share:

1. ReadyMade is compiling a community cookbook. You know, like the spiral-bound school fundraiser ones with recipes including canned soup and jello! Fun.

2. I heard about Neighborgoods on Spark's podcast the other day. (I love Spark. Norah's voice is heavenly. Almost as lovely as Carmen Klassen's.) It's an online way to borrow and lend goods that might otherwise be bought new. Makes total sense. It's currently only in the US, but might be in Canada sometime in the future.

3. The current issue (Sept 10) of Everyday Food is AMAZING. Seriously. If you don't have a subscription, you should definitely pick one up at the grocery store. Adam and Phillip are making a cookie recipe from it right now, and there are at least a dozen others I want to make. There are also instructions for freezing summer produce, good ideas for things to make in muffin tins, and a bazillion other things. Love it.

4. Sesame Street Anniversary CD set. Incredible. That's all I can say. We borrowed it from the library, and P is happy to just sit and listen. And we love it, too. This is my new favourite song.

And a question for you:
Do any of you have any tried and true fantastic canning recipes I need to try? I'm thinking beets, perhaps. Or anything else, really. It's been a few days - I need to can something! I think I'll be freezing things this weekend, too, in our new deep freezer! Yay!

One more thing: I'm taking some more soaps to Yarmouth Natural this morning, and at this weekend's Ladies' Spa weekend at Camp Peniel, there will be a display of my soaps for sale, too. Happy Thursday!



We used up the last of our first 20 pounds of local apples via pie. It was incredible. So I ate at least half of it. Not all at once, but still. Over the course of 24 hours. That's why I try not to make it too often.

I have some of the most exciting news of the year: we are getting a deep freezer this weekend! It's an early Christmas gift from my parents, and I am so excited. Really - pie and a deep freezer? Not to mention that Adam included bacon in our lunch? I am giddy.
Okay, get ready to applaud! I'm always thinking of things to blog through the day, and here's one of the very few that are actually going to make it.

I know exactly what John Denver meant when he sang 'You fill up my senses' in Annie's Song. Every time I walk into Thomas' room when he's been sleeping, my heart and head almost physically fill with wonderfulness. It's more than his sweet baby smell; it's like his essence is dispersed through the air around him and I'm breathing him in. I love it.

It's the same feeling I had right after P was born; as though a hole running through the core of my body had been filled with something warm and amazing and right. Like applesauce. Okay, or maybe love. My thoughts on this feel more profound as I'm thinking them, but it's been a long day. That's all I can come up with.



With all of the gorgeous vegetables from our CSA baskets, I decided to make ratatouille yesterday. I made a roasted version a couple of years ago that I'm having a hard time remembering, but this one is stovetop, and it's pretty delicious. The recipe is from a cookbook that I've had for a long time and really enjoy; 1000 Vegetarian Recipes. Although we're not vegetarian, we rarely eat meat - maybe once or twice a week.

I think this would be really good on garlicky, buttery toast. Other suggested uses are over a starch, and/or topped with melted cheese. Yum!

from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles
Makes 6 1/2 cups

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups diced eggplant
1 cup red bell pepper chunks
1/2 cup green bell pepper chunks (I omitted these, since we can't eat them)
3 cups tomato wedges
2 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced yellow squash
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In 6-quart pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add eggplant and bell peppers, cook about 4 minutes, until softened.

Add tomatoes, zucchini, squash, parsley, wine, tomato paste, sugar, basil, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.
All in all, this is a yummy way to eat up some of these beautiful late-summer market veggies. I think that the oven might be a gentler way to make this, so I think that next time (which might end up being next week!) I might try this one from Mark Bittman. I also whipped up a batch of salsa this weekend, along with piles of apple butter. I love this time of year!

It was a day of firsts for us - T had his first cereal (loved it, and no adverse reactions) and P went to his first morning of preschool (also loved it). Hope your week is starting off well, too!



Meaghan and John - wedding slideshow from Adam Graham on Vimeo.

Adam shot a wedding last weekend, and put this slide show together for the bride and groom. I've got people who have never met them crying over it, so get out the tissues!

Hope you're having a great weekend! I tried an oyster at this morning's market for the first time - it was salty and slippery, and not too bad at all. I love trying new things!


and the winner is...

Linda J! Group consensus at our house (we have company) was number 17, and yours was the winning comment. Send me an e-mail (grahamsherrie at yahoo dot ca) with your address and I'll pop those in the mail for you. Yipee! (The picture above is a random soap picture that I happen to like; you'll still be receiving the lavender ones.)

My favourite comment, though, was this one:


Cooler skies
Fewer flies
Apple pies
Leaf demise."

If the commenter is perchance the Tony of the Old World Bakery, let me know and I'll bring you some soap, too. That is one fantastic poem.

Happy Thursday!


fall fabric, hobo P on the harmonica and T learning to crawl

I found this piece of fabric at Frenchy's yesterday, and I kind of love it. It's nice thick cavas-y cotton, and it has me wanting to make something fall-ish with it, and maybe some brown material I think I might have somewhere. Actually, I just realized that it really reminds me of the couch and chair that we had in our living room when I was a kid. Only that couch had pheasants on it. Or turkeys, maybe? A quick Google search turned up nothing, but I'll see if I can find some pictures of it. I clearly recall the sound the springs made when it was jumped on.

And this little snippet for your enjoyment is what goes on around here all of the time. T is just practicing crawling, as of the past few days, and P was putting it to music. (Austen, that is the harmonica you sent! Thanks again!)

Don't forget to leave a comment over here (before tomorrow) for a chance to win some lavender soaps!


our house, befores and afters

Whoa, Nelly! I just found some old pictures of our house, and am feeling quite proud of all that we've accomplished. This is our house now. And this is what it looked like when we bought it:
The shed(s) now:

And then:
The back door in winter:

And when we bought it:

I'm pleased as punch. But I can't find the inside pictures I know I have somewhere...

le etsy

After much consideration, I've decided to reopen my Etsy shop, solely for custom orders right now. I've had a few people on the internets mention that they would like soap, but aren't local, so this will get them their fix, and keep me from feeling the pressure of listing items and all of that jazz, when frankly, I would rather be hanging out with my crowd here at home. As always, if you're local, you can buy my gorgeous soaps at Yarmouth Natural.

Speaking of home, (nice segue, I know!) we had our kitchen insulated today! For some unknown reason, when the previous owners had blown-in insulation put into the rest of the house's walls, they kind of skipped the kitchen/pantry/porch. It's sort of the back part of the house. Anyway, it wasn't until we had a home energy audit done last year that we learned that it hadn't been done, so as part of that, we finally had it done today. The way that it works here (I'm not sure if it's the same now as it was then), we will be reimbursed part of what we spend on the things that were recommended in our report to be done. So, we've replaced a door and a few windows, insulated the kitchen, and done some insulating around the chimney. So I'm excited to get some of that money spent back when they come back to do the follow-up visit. I love it when every person who comes to do work on the house comments on how structurally sound it is. It really is amazingly square for a 110 year old house. Apparently it's balloon-frame construction, which nice and solid.

Happy Tuesday!


my dad, the impatient gardener, has been rewarded

Look what my Dad grew! I am seriously impressed. He planted a little grapevine in his greenhouse, oh, fifteen years ago or so. This is the first year he's had any edible grapes, due primarily to his lack of interest in learning anything about proper care or pruning. They are were delicious.

Don't forget to enter the lavender soap giveaway!

comments giveaway!

A few of you have mentioned that you're having trouble commenting on posts, and as always, I aim to please. (Even if I'm a little slow - and J - I will reply to your sweet e-mail soon!) So as an experiment, I have changed the comment settings so that anyone should be able to easily comment. I'm hoping that this will entice more of you to let me know that you've stopped by!

And in order to entice you further, I'm going to have a wee giveaway! I have some soaps on hand that were an experiment - they're the lavender ones pictured at the bottom. I will send three of them to a randomly selected commenter. The winner will be chosen on Thursday, just because. Tell me what your favourite thing about September is - there are so many for me!

So - give the comments a try again and let me know how that works for you! I hope that you're having a great Labour Day.

Have a great week!


earl and salsa

So, Earl brought us some wind and rain, giving my tomatoes a jaunty list and tipping over a clematis, but it missed us for the most part. We didn't even lose power! The sun has even peeked out a few times since noon, so I'm happy to report that Adam might be able to get some snazzy outdoor wedding pictures today. Surrounding Halifax, though, they've had a lot more damage.

In other news, I made some salsa yesterday. I visited the Thursday evening market (by myself, with both boys - that is not going to happen again!) and got a bazillion pounds of tomatoes. Will a tiny little air pocket like this have the capacity to harbour botulism? I seem to have missed it. When I checked the other jars, I found a couple more. All of the jars are sealed properly, though. Hrm.
So, I hope that you're having a good weekend, wherever you are, and that none of your trees are downed.


Boba carrier

I do love my Moby Wrap, but am really interested to try the Boba soft structured carrier. I've had my eye on it for awhile, and just found a giveaway! Which is why I'm posting this, to be honest. I'm mainly interested in using it for wearing Thomas on my back, and maybe even Phillip, since he's still under the suggested weight and his little legs tire pretty easily. Should I happen to not win, I think I'll be buying one with soap profits, anyway. Isn't it cute?

There you go! So pop on over to the giveaway, even if you're planning to give it to me when you win.

No hurricane yet; just extremely foggy and humid. Wherever you are, I hope that you have a lovely long weekend! Adam's shooting a wedding tomorrow, which will *hopefully* be post-hurricane. Fingers crossed!

hurricane earl

So... just in case you don't hear from me in awhile, I thought I would let you know that Hurricane Earl is headed straight for us tomorrow morning. We're expecting the power to go out, and there are evacuation bulletins issued for low-lying areas. Hopefully none of our trees will go down, and the house (and us, of course) will be okay. We'll be cozily hunkered down, and we have everything we should need for a few days; hopefully there won't be much damage and we'll be back up and running soon. So, take care, and I'll give you an update when I can!