thank you, thank you! and some weck love

Thank you all so much for the sweet birthday wishes! I'll pick a winner at the end of the week. It was so nice to read such sweet comments from all of you first thing on this sunny, gorgeous morning. Birthday breakfast from my sweet husband consisted of crepes (his newfound specialty) topped with Liberte plain yogourt and some Meyer lemon and vanilla jelly which I whipped up last night. YUM. And poured into my new Weck jars, with confidence thanks to this post.
 When properly sealed, the rubber tab kind of points down and looks like it's sticking its tongue out. I love that.
And the glass lid is held in place by two little clamps for the sealing process; these are removed for storage.
 I ordered the jars from Kauffman Mercantile in the States. Amazing and prompt customer service, and free shipping for orders over $25 in the US. And a $7 gift card when you sign up for their newsletter. I also ordered a beautiful broom to clean up around the fireplace. They even have gorgeous snowshoes. Definitely have a look!
With all of the crazy picture posting difficulty I was having with the iPad last night, I forgot to post this sweet lilac bloom that I forced! The scent is amazing, and makes me really excited for May.

I hope that you had a lovely, sunny day, too!


birthday love and a giveaway!

Tomorrow is my champagne birthday! I will be 30 on the 30th. I like to think I've accomplished quite a bit so far, and since it's my birthday, I'll brag a bit. Over the past ten years: three university degrees, check. Amazing husband, check. Two beautiful, funny, adorable, smart and charming boys. Check. A career that I love and in my hometown, check. A wonderful old house that I also love, check. Oh, wait - did you catch that? I HAD BABIES. That's a big deal. And it makes anything else feel possible. I've discovered that I love to take pictures, make soap, and bake, bake, bake. I can grow things. I know what foods are in season, when. I know what I like. And what I don't. I love looking for the beauty in every day, and sharing some of that with all of you.
 I've been forcing some snowball bush and lilacs in the house. Not really intentionally; they had to be pruned to avoid gouging passersby, so I plunked them in some water. Lovely, aren't they? And although they're paler and smaller than if they had bloomed outside, the lilacs still smell! Happy birthday to me!
I LOVE birthdays. Anyone's - I think it's a great way to recognize the passing of time in a life, just like the seasons. (Which I also love.) And so, a giveaway! I'm going to make the best CD mix, ever. And I want to send it to you. With some tea that I've blended, and maybe some soap if I can figure out how to pack it without it making the tea taste soapy. Just leave a comment with some advice for this year - what should I do in my 30th year on this lovely planet?
Also, a few fun birthday links!

This is one of the most interesting recipes I've seen as of late. And since sweet potatoes are right up there with sliced bread and a good night's sleep in our house, I think I'm going to try it. And it's fast!

This is exactly how I hope my cowl turns out. Only a different colour, and in wool and all.You know. Love her boots, too.

Giant pom poms! Fun. I think I might make these, just because.

Going to have this combination next time I make lemon curd.

Homemade creme fraiche - going to try.

And how gorgeous is this creamsicle jelly? Super easy recipe, too, and perfect for this time of year. And in Weck jars! (Mine arrived, and have meyer lemon & vanilla jelly in them! Yipeeeeeeee!)

This jam pudding business sounds interesting.

Since I found exactly the Spring coat I wanted at Frenchy's for $5 (Old Navy, right size and colour and with some great buttons) I bought this to go with it! Yes, it's green, just like everything else I own. But fun and bright and Spring-y.
What's your favourite thing about this time of year?

*Edited to add: sorry if this post appeared a hundred times in your feed; I was having trouble trying to post using the iPad.*


first birthday

Happy, happy birthday to you, my sweet, beautiful, happy boy. You have made the past year infinitely richer, more joyful, and sweeter. I love you, silly monkey.
Thanks to Adam for the beautiful pictures.


gaspereau valley fibres

 Good morning! I forgot to do a show-and-tell from my visit with Ingrid to the Valley last week. Firstly, though, there are still snowdrops in our yard. A few crocuses are up too, but they weren't quite so spectacular and lovely.
 I'm not really a knitter (still working away on that cowl, though) but Ingrid is. So we went to Gaspereau Valley Fibres near Wolfville, and I loved it!

 A knitting group was just arriving as we did, which made it even more fun.
 I almost tucked these ladies in my bag. Almost.

Also in the Valley, Foxhill Cheese House is an amazing place. I stocked up on the most beautiful, smooth, creamy, and delightful gelato I have ever tasted (I recommend Coconut!), bought some of their pasteurized-but-not-homogenized milk in these beautiful glass bottles, got some quark, cheese curds, jalapeno gouda, and cheddar. Yum, yum, YUM. Their products are available in some different places around Nova Scotia; definitely worth seeking out.

I'm going to be away for a couple of days for work, so have fun without me!


heart of the matter

My heart is aching for the people of Japan and Libya. And many other places and situations around the world. I don't want that to go unsaid, amidst the happy moments that I am so blessed to experience and that I share here. Twice yesterday, I heard stories of tragedies that people were suffering through, and I literally burst into tears. But you know, the pain in my heart came first; the tears came when I heard about how they handled what they were dealt with such grace and fortitude and how others were so generous, kind, and compassionate. The reason why I appreciate what I have so much is because I am mindful of how fragile it is - how fragile it all is. So by celebrating new lambs, by admiring each snowdrop and crocus, by kissing sweet baby cheeks, playing pretend and taking deep breaths of this lovely Spring air, I am drinking it in and recognizing it for what it is. How temporary and fleeting and beautiful it is. And I am oh, so thankful.



So, not only is my handsome husband handsome, but he's quite a cook and baker, as well. He's made crepes a few times lately, and they are heavenly.With natural peanut butter and sliced strawberries, or stewed rhubarb (would be even better with whipped cream!) - they're delicious. And easy! (Or so he tells me.)

He's also made his Nana's biscuits, using the heart cutter from Austen. Aren't they beautiful?

And soap! (I handle the soap, not so much Adam.) Tomorrow is the March Winds market at Beacon, from 9:30 until 1:00. My soaps (not these particular ones, obviously) are wrapped and ready to go - I can't wait to see everyone! There will be freebies with sales until they run out, so be there early!

I've been having a lovely week off - Ingrid and I went for a drive yesterday and ate at Tempest for lunch. It was delicious, and the service was amazing. I also stocked up at Fox Hill Cheese - more about that soon. Also, I now have tickets (and a handsome date) for Old Man Luedecke in Wolfville on April 29! I am SO excited.

I hope that you've had a good week, too!


candied lemon peel

March Break, Day 1: candied lemon peel. (And maybe lemon curd later today, if the stars align.) I'm thinking that I just might try to do or make one thing I haven't before for each of these glorious days off. I thought that the lemons in the pantry would be a good place as any to begin.

I used a recipe from Everyday Food, and it was really simple. Orange or grapefruit could also be used. It takes a bit of time, but that's mostly waiting time. And I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to use these for... any suggestions?
First, the peels are cut up and boiled. This removes that bitter flavor. Then, they're briefly cooled, and boiled again, this time in a simple syrup. (Which I saved the leftovers from - yum!) After that second boil, they're beautiful and translucent.
Then, after cooling for about an hour, they're ready to be tossed in sugar.
Aren't they gorgeous?

Stored in an airtight jar, (thanks again to Austen for the jar... I think it will see a lot of use!) they will keep for three weeks.

Have you tried anything new lately? Have any suggestions for things I should try this week? I'm certainly not limiting myself to the kitchen! It's supposed to be a beautiful sunny week, so some outdoor activities would be fun.

Hope you're having a pleasant Monday!


swap box, crewel cowl, and link love (grab a cup of tea, it's long!)

I received the most fantastic swap box in the mail this week from Austen! I sent her a beautiful bowl and a few other little things, and she sent me the most gorgeously wrapped, perfectly perfect assortment of things that I adore. Including that sweet little white cup which fits perfectly on my kitchen windowsill, delicious granola in a vintage Crown canning jar (I didn't have one in my collection until now!) and dish cloths which she knit! With little loops on the corners and everything! And a sweet little heart cookie / biscuit cutter and a teeny Moleskine notebook... I had so much fun opening it, and I love that little reminders of her are all around my house! Thank you, Austen.
Last night, I whipped up a linen crewel cowl (try saying that five times fast!) from a chair cover I found at Frenchy's ages ago. In true Sherrie-in-a-hurry fashion, I eyeballed the entire thing - not a measuring tape or straightedge was used for the entire project. And I love how it turned out.

Nice and light and Springy, I think.

Thanks so much for all of the sweet well-wishes for Phillip! The total visit time at outpatients yesterday was 1 hour and 15 minutes; quite unlike the 6 hour marathons we had before. A minor miracle, folks! The doctor said that his ear is still not healed, but is better than Tuesday (also to be thankful for: he's miraculously seen the same doctor all three times), so he prescribed a different antibiotic for a shorter time. He's pretty much back to his old self, Thomas and I are fine - I think we're pretty much over this one!

I'm in a blessedly quiet house right now. A and P are at soccer, Thomas is napping. I have the windows open, I hear birds at the feeder and the bulbs coming up. Okay, so maybe I don't hear the bulbs, but I know they're there are growing, and sometimes that's enough.

I have some links that I've been saving up to share this weekend. I know that I've been sharing lots more links than usual as of late, but I get such great feedback from readers that instead of keeping them to myself, I'm happy to pass them around.

Everyone's blog posts these days seem to be about garden planning. You know what? As much as I want to be a planner and execute everything exactly as I envision, that's just not the way I roll. (See crewel comments above). And that's okay. I might have a vague notion of what types of things I want to plant, I buy some seeds, and just kind of, well, plant them!  One thing we tried last year was seed tape. Although it's a bit more expensive than seeds, it was much easier to plant with Phillip's 'help' than loose seeds. Guess what I came across this week? You can make your own seed tape.

My hair tends to be oily. I'm thinking of trying some dry shampoo; maybe just using cornstarch? The break next week might be a good time to do some testing.

I still haven't done any freezer paper stencilling. There's a great tutorial over here. Maybe I'll get something fun done over the break. P has a birthday party to go to, so maybe we'll make something together.

I've been wanting to try grinding my own flour for awhile. Looks like fun! Anyone have a grinder out there? How do you like it?

Tea infused oatmeal. Definitely on my to-try list for my break next week.

How to parent without labels. Love, love, love this article. Singing my song!

I've been meaning to tell you about the Makers for weeks now. Go and soak in the beauty.

Austen did such a great job on this that I want to try it, too! I'm thinking a giant version to hang on the wall would be awesome.

Novella Carpernter's Urban Fam. Those goats are SO cute. I want some goaty kisses! I love how matter-of-fact and straightforward she is about everything, especially related to slaughtering animals.

There. I see that the sun just peeked out, so I think I might go sit on the step with some tea. Do you have any great links to share? Leave them in the comments, if you do. Have a great weekend!


snowdrops, sewing, Spring, and soap molds

The snowdrops are as sweet as ever.
  One more day of work, and it will be March Break. I am absolutely looking forward to it! I have some plans. This linen / cotton chair cover I picked up at Frenchy's a long time ago is going to become a springy cowl. I'm super excited for that.
These were the Lily of the Valley yesterday. I am really, really, really looking forward to filling the house with their sweet breath later in the Spring.
I bought a few of Bramble Berry's 12 bar square silicone soap molds to try out, (Hi, Anne-Marie!) and they're pretty great. This is a custom batch I whipped up a few days ago, and I'm really pleased with how actually square the bars turned out. Getting the top perfectly smooth is always the elusive trick, but I think these are about as nice as you'll find. And the price ($12.50) is pretty nice, too. 
Seal of approval!
And these Amy Butler fabrics are going to cover a wreath form. I'm excited for that, too.

I am not excited, however, to take P back to outpatients tomorrow. This second antibiotic is causing serious digestive distress, so the pharmacist recommended not giving him any more and getting a new prescription for the little guy. Which means another day spent waiting with a bunch of other sick people. I can't wait for him to have his family doctor! (He's on a waiting list and will be in... sometime.)

I wish I had a magic wand and could do a few things tonight:
a) have everyone healthy and in top form
b) have the house spotless from top to bottom (it's really not that bad, it would just be nice)
c) have everything done on the lingering list of work things to do at my office
d) have all of my soap for the Beacon Market on the 19th magically wrap itself

I hope that you and yours are healthy.



Here is the other Nikki McClure print, Seal, purchased via buyolympia.com and in my pantry, that I have and adore. ADORE. In case I haven't made my point, I love it. Edited to add: and that's an Abby Powell print on the shelf. I really, really love that one, too. And another Nikki McClure, Congregate, in our porch:

Thomas' first birthday is coming up in a few weeks! I don't know yet what we'll do. Any suggestions?

We're all feeling much better today - it seems like the antibiotics started to kick in last night, exactly 48 hours after starting them, for all of us. It's so nice to be on the mend.

Suzy, over at One Small Change, (and born in Halifax, yay!) posted my lotion recipe earlier this week. I included a few more details in that version, so check it out!

And the Spring edition of Rhythm of the Home is up! Yay, Spring! It's full of all kinds of crafty projects and techniques, fun ideas, and good information. Enjoy!

I expect you'll hear much less from me next week, since I won't be home and wanting to do nothing more than sit still. Hope you're having a great weekend!


on the mend

 P is definitely feeling better this morning. I'm still not quite there, but some fresh squeezed orange juice helps. And the gorgeous morning light at breakfast time helps, too.
Both P and I are quite stuffy and are having trouble hearing. A typical conversation with him goes something like this one we had earlier:

(As I'm pulling a chair over to the cupboard to reach something high)
"I'm using it to reach the cupboard."
"I'm using the chair to reach the cupboard."


link love and snowdrops

This is a picture I took  few years ago - someone favourited it on my flickr stream the other day, and I remembered how pleased I was with how it turned out.

Before the link love, a quick family health status update: I am so very thankful for our health care system, for prescription coverage through my work, for being able to get in and see doctors promptly this week, for very kind, caring and helpful pharmacists, and for the availability of medication in this rich country of ours. Phillip was almost himself again today, after a couple of days of antibiotics. Thomas was having some trouble breathing yesterday and now has a puffer and antibiotics, poor little guy. Turns out he had chest and ear infections. We never would have guessed it was that serious - he doesn't act sick at all. I was just concerned that the cold just wasn't getting better. We took him in again this morning to be checked, and the doctor was satisfied with his progress, so he'll be checked again on Saturday. Poor little guy! I think that my antibiotics will kick in and I'll start to feel better tomorrow. Thanks so much for all of your kind words and caring, and for listening to me ramble on! (I guess I have more time to do it, since I haven't been well enough to work this week!) On to the link love!

Soule Mama's post captures perfectly the anticipation of Spring, without wanting to wish this moment away.

There's something about this kitchen that I love. (Also, her sweater-thing in the first picture is amazing. What do you call it, anyway?)

Do you have a child whose default response to a question is "I don't know?" This post has lots of concrete suggestions that just might help.

The day after I started a hunt for some Matcha green tea, The Kitchn posted this tutorial on how to prepare it. They're always timely!

Rather than using scary airborne chemically stuff to polish your wood, try making this.

Here's a site with TONS of DIY cosmetics recipes.

A (gorgeous) real house, mess and all!

Someone please buy me this. My birthday's coming up, if you need a reason! And while you're at it, I'll take one of these, too. (L) I'm loving my Nikki McClure prints so very, very much, that I think I need something else to go alongside. And the profits go to support notfarfromthetree.org, whose work I've mentioned before.

Speaking of things mentioned before, if you've got some coughs going around your home you can make your own cough drops. Or you can make some for me. I was all gung-ho to make these last week before we got sick, but actually feeling rotten puts a damper on ambition.

Imagine Childhood is a lovely, lovely blog to visit with plenty of fun ideas.

I hope that you're having a healthy week!