in the garden

It's been a damp, gray week here. I see some sun in the forecast for next week, which I'm looking forward to. But there are some beautiful things about this time of year, even if it's damp and the leaves are almost all gone. The thyme is still green, and it will be all winter. I didn't know that until I planted this little beauty a few years ago.

I'm making this a super quick post - one boy is napping while the other is out with the husband. Which means as long as I'm not too noisy, I can do what I like here in the house for a bit! I have a wee list to accomplish, and then I just might sit still and read. Maybe. Or I might make bread and bake a few other things. Or, or, or...

Have a great weekend!


maple oat scones

If you have seen or talked to me lately, I've mentioned these delicious maple oat scones. You must make them, pronto. End of story. The recipe is here. Need some more convincing? They are flaky, fatty, perfectly lightly sweetened with maple syrup, and the perfect excuse to have someone over for tea. That will also give you a reason not to eat the entire batch by yourself. If you're hankering for something like those adorable little maple sugar leaves, you can just cut straight to the glaze, make it a bit thicker, and eat it by the spoonful. If you're into that kind of thing. Ahem.

Can you tell by the frequency of my posting that we have a grandparent in the house? It's fantastic. I un-guiltily ran some errands by myself this morning, and it was lovely.

Happy Wednesday!

old things, part the second

I am incredibly fortunate. For a variety of amazing reasons, but today I'm feeling particularly appreciative of some 'new' cookbooks that were given to me after Nana passed away. They're about as different as you can get from my somewhat sterile, super-perfect Martha collection. And that's what I love about them. Nana has written all over them, spilled and splattered on the pages, and enjoyed the meals made from them.
One of the books is the Barbour's cookbook, a New Brunswick household staple in years past, it would seem. Turns out that there is a reprint of the 1950's edition that you can purchase. The latest edition was printed in 1988. I especially love the quotes throughout, and the vague instructions.
In true Nana form, this book was opened to the doughnuts page and held there by an elastic.

I am so pleased to have these little pieces of Nana's life to relive and enjoy with my own family and friends. I think she would be pleased, too.


old things and perfect boiled eggs

I can't help but love old things. Especially old, beautiful things. A friend of mine (Hi, K!) asked me if I would like to have some things from her grandfather's house. I was happy to welcome them in.
One of my favourites is this lovely wooden bowl. It has become our 'nature bowl', since we don't have a surface area to make into a nature table. P is always collecting one little thing or another when we're out, so it's perfect.
I also love these gorgeous glass insulators. They're on a windowsill which gets lots of sun, so I'm enjoying them very much. Thank you so, so much, K!
We've also instituted a napkin basket on the kitchen table. Phillip loves flicking out his napkin and spreading it on his lap. So cute.
And incidentally, would you like to know how to boil the perfect egg? I heard someone who had written a cookbook about boiled eggs, and thought I should try it. Turns out that she was right! Put eggs in pot of cool water, covered on stove and bring to a boil. Turn the burner off, leave the eggs in the pot for 15 minutes. That's all there is to it - they're perfect. I always pour out the boiled water, then fill the pot with cool water so they're easier to handle. For easier peeling, I also give them a little crack on the bottom of the pot (submerged in the cool water) and the shell pops right off. A teeny bit of water sneaks in when you crack the shell, which is what releases the shell from the egg. Yum!



A cold seems to have arrived in our house - Thomas hasn't napped all morning, which is very unusual for him. Phillip's at the end of it now.

And check out what Thomas started doing not too long ago:
If he hadn't had slippery-bottomed PJ feet, he would have been up. And then fallen over, I'm sure.

If I can fanangle some computer time later on, I have a few really terrific things to post. They'll take a bit more time and consideration than this quickie. No promises, of course. But I'll try.

Have a great week!



I love October. Especially when it's warm and gorgeous like it has been lately. We went for a lovely family walk yesterday out at Ellenwood Park; it was the perfect day for it.

Phillip had a good night after that last post; then last night he woke up screaming "No, no, no!" but snapped out of it pretty quickly, said he didn't remember why he was saying "no", and went back to sleep. Hopefully it will pass soon. Thanks so much for all of your sweet comments!

I feel as though I've been kind of absent here on the blog. I've been busy making soap, sending out some custom orders, and the usual - cooking, cleaning, laundry, laundry, laundry, and hanging out with the fam. It's fun, and busy, and tiring. No new canning escapades to fill you in on, although I'm hoping to can another batch of ground cherry jam very soon.

Ack! I just realized that it's garbage night. I'll go peek in and see if P is asleep, then take it to the curb. Have a great week!



Awhile ago, Phillip woke up in the night, crying. He had been dreaming that I put Thomas out on the back step and was going to leave him there. He wanted me to take care of Thomas.

The night before last, Phillip yelled out in his sleep.

"Don't go, Dadoo! Don't go, Papa!"

Last night, he woke up screaming at the top of his lungs and crying hysterically. (Thankfully, T didn't wake up. I'm still not quite sure how that's possible, but it's true.) When he finally could get words out, Phillip was telling me not to burn his book, that I shouldn't burn his book, and that we had to put the fire out. I had to reassure him several times over that it was okay, and that the fire was out. It did not work at all to tell him that it wasn't real; knowing how I feel in the middle of the night having just had a very realistic dream, I can understand that. Apparently, in his dream, I had taken one of his books and it was "halfway burned up" and he was really, really upset about it. He was wide awake for a long time, and kept asking me to stay there with him. Which, of course, I did. I thought that after a few minutes, he would give in to sleep, but he didn't - his little eyes were wide open and he was hugging my arm fiercely.

Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, it's fire prevention week, and when we were in Saint John, a firefighter was at Home Depot and gave Phillip a fire prevention card game with safety tips. This morning at preschool, they did fire safety activities.

It makes me so sad that all of these horrible things are happening in his little mind while he's sleeping - that he's being abandoned and people are doing terrible and frightening things. (Goodness knows, if there's a home where book-burnings would never take place, it's here.) I wish that I knew what to do to reassure him.


ahh, apples

I know that I've mentioned apples before. I love them. We're so fortunate to have a local farm, Wallace Bros. in Ireton, that we can go to and either pick our own (which didn't happen this year) or buy a bag that someone else has done the hard work of picking for us. We've gone through about 40 pounds of apples so far (sauce, butter, frozen), and there are about 30 left in the fridge and pantry, waiting to be dealt with. My go-to thing to do with them when I want to whip something up in a hurry is a crisp. It couldn't possibly be easier, quicker, or very much more delicious. And it makes the kitchen smell heavenly.

As usual, I don't have a real recipe, since this is one of those things that I just eyeball. If your eyeballs are like mine, it will be lovely; if not, I'm not sure what you can expect.

Peel and slice a pile of apples (depending on size, maybe 7 or 8) into a 9x13 pan. I try to fill the pan about 2/3 full; the apples cook down beautifully and I like an apple-y crisp. I pour in a bit of water to help the apples along, maybe 1/3 of a cup. Mix together about 2 cups of oats, 1/4 cup flour, a pinch of cinnamon, and maybe 1/2 cup (I probably use a bit less) of brown sugar. Take about 1/3 cup of cold butter cut into chunks, and blend it in with your fingers (this probably came about because I didn't feel like taking the three steps into the pantry to get the pastry blender). You want to leave some little clumps, but have it mostly uniform. Evenly sprinkle that over the apples, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the apples are gorgeously mushy.

For epic deliciousness, serve warm with a bit of cream.

I hope that you've had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. Things here finally are starting to feel as though we're settling back into a routine after all of our travelling lately. I will say that I'm feeling a bit out of sorts. Maybe because it somehow is October 15th and my mind is somewhere back in July. The morning after we came home after our last trip, I canned cranberry sauce and apple butter, made bread, unpacked and caught up on laundry. It helped, but I still sort of feel as though my head isn't quite on straight.

So I'm looking forward to a quiet-ish weekend to hopefully get me back to rights. Have a lovely weekend!


November Canadian Living

Once again, I'm famous. Pick up a copy of the November issue of Canadian Living; I'm on page 28!

woodsy walk

The goat with the funny teeth may seem out of place, but our walk was at Rockwood Park in Saint John, where they keep horses and goats. My handsome husband and I had a lovely time.

Hope you're having a good week!


quiet afternoon

The ferry was completely booked for today, so we had to extend our visit by one day. And it is perfect. MIL took the flower pic; we've been sitting out here in the sun with the bugs, eating leftovers and enjoying the sun and a last taste of summery weather before the cooler fall weather sets in.


Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a perfect Fall day for having a delicious meal with people I love. Including this guy below, who loves to 'help' Nanny. One of the things we're having, which is one of my favourites since becoming a part of my in-laws' family, is a jello salad with pineapple, toasted pecans, and a cream cheese and whipped cream topping. It is amazing. Phillip liked the topping, as you can see,

I have some really exciting things to post this week; I hope that you have a lovely Thanksgiving if you're Canadian, and a lovely regular weekend if you're not.

P.S. This is my first post on our new iPad! I am completely smitten.


cranberry sauce canning thrills

Cranberries are one of my favourite foods. I know that I refer to a lot of things as my favourites, but I just love so many things that I can't help it! Firstly, the colour is incredible. Secondly, we live in a perfect climate for growing them, and there's a beautiful little spot called Cranberry Head not far at all from where I grew up, and I've always thought of it as the perfect setting for a book. A nice, tart cranberry sauce is my favourite way to eat them. No orange juice, no spices - just cranberries and a bit of sugar.
To can these, though, I did add a bit of lemon juice, just to make sure that no one would be botulized. It's imperceptible. It was by far the easiest canning that I've done so far (maybe because I'm starting to get the hang of it), and I'm definitely looking forward to eating it the most. I usually make fresh sauce for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and whenever we roast a chicken and I have cranberries on hand - this way, it's done already and won't require a stove element, and I'm hoping to have some with every chicken we eat until next October. (A friend of mine has a relative with a cranberry bog, and I'm hoping see her on the weekend, and get a truckload! Yipee!)

Things around here are continuing on busily and pleasantly; I have a few great cookbooks checked out of the library right now. Today I borrowed the Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook, which looks like a fun read, not to mention educational. Martha's Healthy Quick Cook was recommended on someone's blog, and it's good - I even ordered a used copy online after looking through it. I think I mentioned Gourmet Baby Food before; it is superb. Love Soup and Jamie at Home are the others, and I'd better get back to reading them before they're due. I just might have to try to hunt down copies of those last two -they're pretty fantastic as well.

Hope you're having a delicious week! And if you're getting ready for (Canadian) Thanksgiving this weekend, happy planning!


updated bread

Okay, folks - I think I've been using the easiest way to have fresh crusty bread in very little time. I usually make it this way, but I wanted something requiring even less time on the day of. I think this fits the bill, and less dishes are dirtied on the day the bread is baked. I also think it's the same thing that Amy Karol does; I found her post after I tried this out. I borrowed Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from the library. Let me say that the book is fantastic, and if you're looking for a million recipes based on no-knead dough kept in the fridge, definitely check it out. The idea is that you mix up your dough, plop it in the fridge (it keeps for a long time), cut off a blob, rest it once and bake it. I don't use the peel or cornmeal; just bake it the same way as my usual loaf, in the dutch oven. I love having that dough sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be baked!
This ambitious seed, about the size of an egg, drifted into the house the other day. Anyone know what it is? It was so beautiful; I hope it finds a good place to grow.



Whoa, Nelly. Things around here have been busy, to say the least. And it seems as though I've been doing things like roasting pumpkins and other household pleasantries after dark when the light is not lovely for pictures. Speaking of pictures...
These gorgeous canvases of the boys arrived last week! We haven't yet settled on the perfect place to hang them, but aren't they great? Adam took the pictures, and we had them printed trhough Canvas Canada in Newfoundland. He's ordered lots of pieces from them, and loves the service and quality of product. Highly recommended!

Germs have arrived in our household - poor Thomas woke up with a super runny nose this morning. Adam's getting over his version, and Phillip said that his throat is sore. Mine's a wee bit scratchy, but nothing too serious. So we're going to take it easy until we're all better.

Have a great weekend! If you need a cute fix, meet Marcel the Shell with shoes on. "Guess what I wear as a hat? A lentil."