Well, it feels as though it's been all 'me, me, me' around here lately. So here are some things I've come across to share!

Love this post on the 'win or lose' parenting myth.

Look at these stunning spring onions. I think I'm going to try that recipe. I love onions almost as much as I love lily of the valley. And roasting things can only make them heavenly!

These unusual rhubarb recipes have me drooling. The rhubarb ketchup sounds especially lovely!

Loved this post of Jenna's.
Oh, my shampoo saga goes on. I'm still using up the 'regular' stuff that I have on hand. But I did an experiment last week, which looks promising. Rather than using potassium hydroxide to make a proper liquid soap (which I tried before and it was a semi-unsuccessful pain), I grated and dissolved some of my unscented soap in water. And let it sit for awhile. And it got to be a lovely consistency! So I'm thinking that I might okay with proportions and such, and come up with something like this. Beautiful, no?

Good for them, indeed. Love, love, love this one.

The second photo in this post makes me so. happy.

I'm still super excited about my herbs this year, and this post on herb-infused water only makes me moreso!

Vanilla roasted berries. Holy.

Happy Tuesday!


mending nicely

I think my photo mojo has come back - yesterday morning, when I finally went out the door to empty the compost bin, I needed to take some pictures to share. It felt so good, and I took enough for several posts. This is actually the only one that I took inside. I love lily of the valley. Love, love, love. And we have literally thousands of them in our yard. They are so delicate and graceful.

I'm sure you'll be happy to know that Phillip woke up this morning on the run and hungry. His version of this bug was much milder than Adam and I had it. I think that tomorrow, we'll be back to our normal selves!

So today, because I was feeling so amazing (I usually feel even more energetic and enthusiastic than usual right after I've been sick, maybe because I'm more appreciative or something?) I completely cleaned the entire house, top to bottom. Adam was up to watching the boys for awhile, so that's how that got accomplished. I also: did most of the usual boy-looking aftering, whipper-snipped, planted seeds with Phillip, tidied and weeded the veg beds and found piles of black ants in one of them - what the heck do I do about those? are they a problem? - watered the beds, went for a run, bathed boys, put boys to bed. I feel like I did something else exciting in there, but I can't remember what. Oh yeah - cleaned the whole house! Some buyers were going to come look at the house last evening, and we had to cancel because P was sick. I felt kind of bad about it, but really, there was nothing we could do. We're hoping that they might be able to come soon.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a short and sweet post, because I must scoot. Hope that you had a healthy weekend!


thyme in a bottle

I have a quick herb tip for you this afternoon, while all three of my boys are sleeping. If you get little bunches of herbs in your CSA basket, or even at the grocery store, you can do a few things with them to help them last. Keeping them in a bottle or cup of water in the fridge or on the counter will keep them fresh for a week or so, if you'll be using them up. You can also chop and freeze herbs, to add to soups and such. But if you wanted them to last a bit longer, keeping them on the windowsill in water will encourage them to sprout some teeny-tiny roots. Which you can then, of course, start your own plant with.
P came down with 'the sick' as he woke up this morning. Poor guy. The washer has been going non-stop, and today I've felt up to some serious cleaning. Speaking of thyme, the disinfectant that I use when we're sick is made from thyme oil. Amazing things, plants!



 Thanks for all of your sweet well-wishes. I'm feeling quite a bit better today, and even ate a bit. I think we're out of the worst of it now; Adam was stricken overnight but is on the upswing. P is still fine, but I won't let that fool me: this bug comes out of nowhere. I think Thomas is over it, but he's been quite fussy all day so far. I think it might be teeth; the one time he really stopped that whiny, whimpery nasal cry was when he popped the end of a broom handle in and had a good chew. He and Adam are both soundly napping right now, and P is playing on my iPod. A very special treat for him, and it lets me sit still for a little while. I feel like we have been sick a lot this past year - you must be tired of my wailing.

Now, on to more pleasant things. Speaking of those sweet boys of mine, I found that amazing wooden paper roll at Frenchy's last week. For $1.50, and with all of that paper! I'm not sure if I'll be able to find refills for it when it runs out, but I'm hoping. Of course, Phillip is having fun drawing stories. See the people he's drawn? The circle around one of them is because he's not real; he's in a thought bubble. The other guy is imagining him. P carefully explained that to me when I asked, and he drew a line connecting them. He likes for Adam to write the words, because "I can't write or spell," he says. Which is only half true.
And if you think there's anything sweeter than a baby's cheek, I challenge you to a duel. Unless it's a baby bum cheek - those are pretty great, too. Thomas often sleeps really hard, and after that particular nap, awhile back, woke with the imprints of his hands, right down to the wrinkles and fingernails, on his sweet cheek. My lovely little chubbers!

Well, we'll continue mending over here in our little nest, and if you're well, please enjoy it! If you're under the weather too, here's to a speedy recovery.

Oooh, and before I go, a bunch of things I haven't blogged:
1) I bought a bazillion herbs last weekend, including stevia, which I'm excited to try with some mint in iced tea. I also bought lemon and chocolate mints, summer savory, curry plants, and rosemary. In case we do end up moving over the summer, I planted them all in pots, and they make a cute little garden on the back step. I'm still on the lookout for tarragon; if you're local and have seen it somewhere, please let me know where I can find it.

That's all for now. I think I might just lay down for a bit. Have a lovely, healthy weekend!


sunny sick days

The sun has finally come out, and I am in bed. After going to work yesterday morning and seeing a couple of students, I was suddenly overcome with the feeling that things were going to get very unpleasant, very quickly. I just managed to get myself home, and to spare you any further details, I've been in bed since. I ventured downstairs once, but for the most part, the painting pictured is what I've been looking at, although that's an old image. Thankfully, it's been nice and warm, so the window is wide open and it's been lovely to hear the birds going crazy, and there's a very pleasant breeze which I am imagining is whisking the germs away. I've slept a lot, and have read a bunch in Farm City by Novella Carpenter. I linked to a video of her awhile back; I was lucky enough to get the book as a birthday gift and am really enjoying it.

My splendid husband has been taking such good care of the boys and I. Thomas seems to have had a dash of this, too, poor little one, but he seems to be okay now. I've been the recipient of frequent popsicle deliveries (thanks to Ingrid for bringing those over!) and Phillip is so sweet. He brought in some jokes to read to me, he and Adam did some card tricks (thanks, JW!) and he just wants to check in with me. Hopefully tomorrow will be even better, and the other half of the house won't be afflicted!


another Saturday night, another cup of tea

Does it seem as though I've only been posting links lately? There are just so many great things out there - it's hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes, and I think that I somehow feel like sharing with you makes it less ovewhelming for me. So thanks for humouring me!

It's a long weekend, and I'm enjoying some happy family time. And some tea. (That's a teacup that I found at Frenchy's awhile back. And maybe a nap, if I'm lucky!

I borrowed about a zillion books from the library this week. Seriously, the stack is about three feet high. I sat down with this one for a few minutes last night, and it looks fantastic. The idea is not only to use local foods, but alternatives to sugar as well. And it's soooo pretty.

A chicken coop tour! What a fantastic idea in a sensible city where they're permitted! Over at A Sonoma Garden, there's a virtual tour for those of us who couldn't be there in person.

Rachel's post on seeing beauty kind of made my day yesterday.

And at Little Homestead in the Valley, they've been making cheeses! Chevre! And cream cheese! I am swooning. And making plans.

Love these tips for getting your canning plan together. Being overly ambitious does seem to be something I struggle with. I am adding one thing to my list for sure, though - I am absolutely going to make this blueberry syrup. I can almost taste it. Speaking of which, does anyone know where I can buy jars like these?

Sometimes, things - random things; it could be a picture, the sun doing something gorgeous, smelling the ocean in a breeze - just make me so unreasonably happy that I want to squeal. Really squeal. Like, out loud. And if I'm by myself, I will. I didn't squeal out loud this morning, but I wanted to when I read this post. Perfect spring lunch, indeed!

I hope that you're enjoying the long weekend, too.


just picked

Our first edibles, other than chives, from our garden this year! The evening is warm and the sun is coming out at loooooong last, so I puttered around for a few minutes outside after supper. I'm thinking about making a few things this rhubarb season. My mother-in-law's Rhubarb Custard Pie is perfection. A rhubarb cake would be lovely. And so would some rhubarb lavender jam. After my lavender peach jam and lavender honey success, and since I loooove Sledding Hill's lavender products so much, I think I'll be making this soon. YOM.

Still thinking about food (when am I not?), I have a quick and delicious smoothie combination for you. Our third CSA basket pick-up is tomorrow, and I know that we'll be getting more spinach. We had some last week as well, and it was still in the fridge tonight after supper. Adam can't eat spinach, so it was up to the boys and I to gobble it up. I don't mind it raw in a salad, although it's not my favourite thing in the world, and I am not a fan of sauteed greens. I will eat them, but I find it difficult to enjoy them. I think it's a texture thing. Anyway, last summer, I figured out that for me, the best way to eat spinach is fresh and in a smoothie. There's no texture to get past, and whatever else you add masks the spinach flavour. And you still get all of the great healthy benefits. I tossed the spinach (2 cups or so) in the blender with a big splash of orange juice, and about 2/3 of a cup of frozen blueberries. That's it - and it was delicious! Not spinachy at all, and the boys both loved it.

Books. I love books and had three inter-library loans to pick up today. (I must have the highest number of inter-library loan requests in our town.) I even skipped a little bit on my way out of the library, I'm so looking forward to reading them. Home Dairy by Ashley English is looking especially fantastic. But this book and this one aren't available through my library. I don't suppose anyone wants to send me a copy? How gorgeous does the Herbfarm Cookbook look?

Speaking of herbs, here's a little bee balm that I picked up last week.

Up there with food and books, butter is another love of my life. It is the easiest thing in the world to make, especially if you have a stand mixer. There's a great little (pretty!) video tutorial over here that shows exactly how the cream changes as it's in the process of becoming butter, and how to knead herbs and such in, to make compound butters. I think I need a cow. Better yet, a neighbour with a cow.

I hope that you've had a Ruby Tuesday


Sunday afternoon and pork chops

Thanks so much for all of the well-wishes on our house adventures! You guys are so sweet.

Adam and P are out for a bit, and T is supposed to be sleeping. In reality, he's happily babbling away in his crib. I just washed the kitchen floor (whoa, Nelly - that really was overdue) and am thinking about a cup of tea and some blog reading, and about cleaning and purging. It seems to be an ongoing theme, I know, but it is so satisfying! Really, if you haven't tried it, start with a drawer or dresser top.

I'm hoping that our house will sell in time for us to move over the summer. In hopeful anticipation, I'm taking the opportunity to get rid of even more stuff - and I really, really can't recommend it enough. The feeling of being able to move through a space and not have stuff crowding everywhere is fantastic. (Of course, with kids, one is always at risk of tripping on one of several things scattered across the floor, but I'm thinking aside from that.) Especially stuff in unseen places like closets and drawers - that seems like the most important, in some ways. If you have a tidy room, but open a drawer and it's crammed with miscellaneous junk, it feels like the whole room is a mess. But if you have a room strewn with toys and books (i.e. our living room) and open a drawer that's tidy, it feels more like the essence of the room is tidy, rather than messy. Does that make sense, or just sound a little bit crazy? Either way, it works for me. I did a number on my closets yesterday, and Phillip and I spent a good part of the afternoon cleaning out the sheds. They just needed some serious tidying, for the most part, and I wanted any propsective buyers to be able to have a good look. And every little thing that I get done makes me want to get rid of more.

And on to the meat. We're not big meat eaters, but when we do eat meat, it's local, happy meat. Meat is included in our CSA share as an option that we took advantage of. This was last night's supper, and it was amazing. I never in my life thought that I would describe a pork chop as amazing. I grew up eating rubbery, chewy, tough, dry, and tasteless meat. These chops were tender and so, so good. And the glaze, from Fresh Flavour Fast (p 209) is so simple, and so delicious, that I had to share. It's right up there with last summer's barbecue sauce revelation. 

2 tbsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp finely grated ginger

Whisk together and slather all over pork chops (would also be delicious on chicken) that have been grilled for about 5-7 minutes per side, when they've reached 145. Thirty seconds more on the grill post-slather, let rest for a few more, and you're set, Bette. Sometimes I'm not a huge fan of ginger-y ginger on its own, but this isn't like that. It's soooo good.

Hope you're having a great, delicious weekend! Do you have any great summer recipes to share?


house news

We've been up to big 'real life' things around here this week: our house is now for sale! The listing doesn't yet have all of the pictures up, but they should be very soon. Have a peek!

We are in a very fortunate situation; the house that we saw with the amazing wood stove is going to wait for us as long as we need to sell our house. Exciting times!

I don't have too much else to say about exciting things (I did make two batches of crackers, one of which was terrible and one was excellent!) but didn't take any pictures. And I worked and did all of the regular stuff. I do have a few links for you, though! Judging from the ones I have to share with you tonight, I think I'm on a food kick this week. Not that I've actually been making any food lately (other than the crackers) - that is really Adam's day-to-day thing while I'm off to work. For which I am very, very appreciative! But I have been reading cookbooks, one of my favourites was The Art of Preserving which I borrowed from the library. Gorgeous.
Just thought you might like to see the sweet message P wrote on the whiteboard for me a few days ago.

Our second CSA share was this week, and I'm excited for our second, tomorrow. We shared some very, very tasty meals this week.

I can't stop looking at the meals on this gorgeous blog.

I want to make these muffins.

And this rice.

And these cookies.

Anyone running along with me? Here's a little update. I'm on week 5, and running a total of 16 minutes, three times a week! (With brisk walking in between, before and after.) It doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it is compared to the whole lot of nothing I was doing 5 weeks ago. And it is a WHOLE lot easier than it was in the beginning, and it is SO much better than doing nothing! I can't say that I have more energy, but I do seem to be a little bit clearer in my head, and my body feels much better. And my heart is thanking me. I don't have any magical way of getting up super early to start my day - that does sound ideal, but when T wakes up at 6 or before, I don't think that's going to work for me. So one weekend morning I go at breakfast time, and two weeknights I go after the boys are in bed, when Adam is home. It's not ideal, but it works, and I'm still doing it, which is the important part!
Mother's Day! I am so far behind. This is how I spent some lovely time in bed with an issue of Martha. And a frog. And Phillip's sweet, cuddly company. Thomas was really into his breakfast, so P and I had a very nice time together. 


old man luedecke

After loving Old Man Luedecke's music for what seems like ages, I finally got the chance to see him live and in person last weekend! I am quite possibly the geekiest, most eager fan, ever, so I plunked myself in a front row seat, went right up to him out in the lobby of the Al Whittle theatre and even asked Adam to take a picture. OML was very kind, gracious, and humoured me. My favourite thing was the way he thanked the audience after each song - he seemed so genuinely pleased and appreciative. It was as if no one had ever clapped for that song, ever, and he was completely delighted.

And in completely related news, this month there's a free download of his first album over on his site. Go download it! (And his others, as well.) Happy Saturday!

*Edited to add: I think I should have been smiling a bit harder.


more tangled garden and catching up

 All of these pictures are from our visit to Tangled Garden on the weekend. Both Adam and I chatted with the woman at the counter as we took pictures. And more pictures. Then some more.  Unfortunately, there was maintenance being done at the garden itself, so we weren't able to go through, but we definitely will next time.

I am completely in love with the place.

I feel as though we haven't porperly chatted in awhile! First, the royal wedding. The bouquet was one of my favourite parts. Beautiful, simple, elegant, and classy. The whole wedding was lovely, if a wee bit resource-consuming and all of that. That aside, it did bring people together under happy circumstances for a change, and there's a lot to be said for that.

The federal election. Well, it happened, and the NDP made huge gains. And I think that's enough about that.

I feel about ten steps behind in just about everything this week. The time away was wonderful, but I'm all thrown off. In my head, we're still back in March. Which really means that I should probably do some therapeutic cleaning. Seriously, it puts me in a good place. Tell me what's new and exciting with you! What's growing in your garden? Made any new dishes lately? That also distracts me, in a good way.

I also have a few links that have been accumulating for you! I'm really enjoying this linky business; it gives me a place to share all of the great things that I keep marking as unread in Reader.

Who wants to pick some dandelions with me? For dandelion sorbet?!

I think I might make some of these for my egg-loving boys.

Anyone know where I can find some elderflowers?

Love, love this post about phenology and what to plant when. Do you know what to plant when the lily of the valley are in bloom?

I am completely swooning over these solitary bee houses - something I didn't even know existed until this week.

I hope that you had a good Wednesday. The highlight of my day was a date I had with Phillip - he asked if we could go to Frenchy's. That's my boy! We bought a 29 cent mini Etch-a-Sketch, and you would have thought I gave him the moon. The best part was an unsolicited "Thank you for getting me the Etch-a-Sketch, Mama. I really like playing with it."

And speaking of cute Phillip-isms, he has a bit of a cold, and had a terrible time last night before bed, complete with a full-blown tantrum, screaming, and the whole bit. Which is, thankfully, very rare. When he finally settled down, he said that his body didn't feel right. I asked him what he meant; what part felt wrong. "The blood in my veins is going the WRONG WAY."

May your blood flow in the right direction and your tantrums be few and far between.


sunday night

Adam and I just got home after a lovely weekend away. His parents were kind enough to watch the boys, and we had a lovely time in Wolfville. More soon, but I really love this picture I took at Tangled Garden. Hope you had a great weekend, too.