school's out!

Today was my last day of work for the summer! I'm officially on vacation. We went out for supper to celebrate, and came home with enough time to play outside and take a few pictures before baths. While I'm enjoying this feeling of newfound freedom, here are a couple of summery posts you might enjoy.

Line drying clothes. One of my favourite topics!

Summer lovin'.

And some more summery goodness. (That post makes me happy in so many ways!) I love Erin's blog, and you should subscribe. Her pictures are gorgeous, and she is just the sweetest person. So there. Go and browse!

And here is what a Mama, thankful for a summer break, looks like!

We're expecting sunny days all weekend, and since tomorrow is Canada Day, there should be some fun to be had around town. Have a wonderful long weekend!



I had a few people tell me that they are interested in a post about how I blog, and since I like reading this kind of post on other blogs, here you go! I'll also include some tips on commenting and a couple of other things people often ask about, so let's sit down with our tea and have a chat. And if you have any questions, leave a comment!

Pictures. Way back in the beginning, I used to start with words, and almost no pictures. I've since discovered that I love taking pictures and have taken some pretty decent ones. You can see most of the pictures I've ever posted over on my flickr stream. I use two cameras: a little Kodak that I'm comfortable taking to the beach, tossing in the car, and generally doing anything with, and Adam's old Canon 20D, which I'm a little more careful with, since it's his backup camera. I review my pictures in Adobe Bridge and edit and save them in Photoshop. That said, I do not edit very many pictures at all -maybe one in 40- I usually only resize them. And the ones that I do edit will only typically get brightened up a bit or colour corrected. It's much easier to take the right picture in the first place than to spend time trying to make it what what it should have been, later on. I take all of the pictures on my blog unless the post clearly says that they're someone else's. That doesn't happen often - usually the occasional photo that Adam's taken of the boys. I save my resized pictures in folders organized by month, and post them to flickr after I've posted them on the blog. (I'm just noticing that the edges seem to be cut off of some of my posted pictures. Hmm. Must sort that out.) There. I think that's about it for pictures!

I have a few 'blogging rules' that work for me.

1. Never post that you're sorry it's been so long since you last posted, you're such a bad blogger, etc. If someone cares, they'll unsubscribe. And if not, they probably don't want to hear your apologies.
2. No schedule. I very intentionally don't do 'Wordless Wednesday', 'Meatless Monday', or any other scheduled blogging. That would absolutely not work for me. When life gets crazy, it's okay if I don't post for 6 days, and when I have lots to share and post every day for a few days, that's fine, too.
3. I try to write as I think, as long as it's semi-choerent (that might be up for debate). I don't follow any particular 'format'; I just try to include a pretty picture or two and some text.
4. Absolutely no income or ads - I do this solely for fun, and I can do exactly what I want.

I've been asked about commenting on posts several times. And in the hopes that some of you who I know read along will now be able to comment, here's what to do!
1. Below each post, there's a line that says '__ comments'. It might be '1 comment', '3 comments', whatever. Click on that.
2. Type your comment in the little window underneath where it says 'post a comment'. (Don't forget to sign your comment if you want me to know who you are, and you're choosing anonymous!)
3. Underneath that, it says 'comment as', and there's a drop-down menu to the right of that. Click on it to drop it down, and choose 'anonymous' if you don't want to use a Google account or any of the other options. Then click 'post comment'. Ta-da!

Links in posts: If text in a post is coloured and /or underlined, it's a link to another blog, website, etc. Just click on that word to see more. For example,
Adam took some sweet pictures of the boys while I was away.
Click on 'Adam' above and it will take you to his main site. Click on 'some sweet picture of the boys' above and it will take you to his post of the pictures. And you should look - they're fabulous.

There! I hope that's been helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions - I'd be happy to answer. And don't you love the pottery tray? I bought it at Value Village in Saint John awhile back, and only realized after I brought it home that it was made by someone with the same name (different spelling) as me!


compost bin

I don't usually share pictures of my compost bin, but by the time I thought of sharing pictures of the peas, it was too late. I ate two one-pound bags of fresh peas from the market this morning, almost single handed. I think sweet fresh peas are my favourite thing to eat.
 This beautiful tree (and another identical one) was in bloom in front of our Department of Fisheries and Oceans building not too long ago. I'm not sure what kind of tree it is, but it was gorgeous.
 I'm back! I had a great time away, and I'm very happy to be home again. I picked up these little wooden eggs for the boys while in Halifax (Phillip has an ongoing 'store' that I thought they would be great for), and that amazing bowl was picked up at Value Village. I am sure that you'll see many, many more pictures of it.

I must go lay down with a sweet little boy for a few minutes to help him settle down, as promised. I'm hoping to share the 'how I blog' post(s?) this week. Only four more work days until summer holidays! Yipeeeee! Hope you're having a great weekend.


the beach

The weather finally was suitable for the beach on Sunday. Well, it seemed like it should have been, but the wind was still freezing! The boys had a great time, anyway, and so did we. It was Thomas' first time really playing at the beach and exploring the sand, and he loved it.

I'm going to be away for work for a few days - try not to miss me too much. Hope you have a great week!

In the meantime, check out this fantastic vintage-theme shoot Adam did! The couple looks amazing, and his photos showed them off beautifully.


Thursday links

On becoming a mama and letting go.

On being a mama. These are the kinds of posts I write in my head. But mine aren't quite as beautifully said.

Doesn't this look like the best place to visit?

LOVE this. People doing what they believe in - there's nothing like it.

I'm thinking about making these refrigerator dills. Anyone tried a similar recipe? How did you like it?

The most beautifully presented recipe I think I've ever seen. (Worth the couple minutes, I promise!)

Love Rachel's post on keeping it real.

Happy Thursday!


tabula and hawthorns

These beautiful mushrooms were in our CSA a few weeks ago and were promptly devoured. Phillip and I ate that giant one like it was an English muffin, and the others I sliced and put in a small cast iron pan with a blop of butter, salt, pepper, and green onions. Adam tossed the pan on the barbecue, and they were delicious. Speaking of delicious, River Cottage Everyday finally came in at the library for me yesterday, and I am swooning over the gorgeous pictures and delicious-looking recipes. I made tabula kisir, a bulgur salad, from it to go with tonight's dinner, and it was delicious. (I secretly call it tabula rasa. Ahh, takes me back to university.) I did some serious substitutions and omissions, but the dressing was almost the same. I used chili powder in place of paprika, and some dried herbs in place of fresh. (Yes, I know what my step looks like, but I don't have any parsley yet!) And some toasted almonds instead of walnuts (which I think was a definite win - crunchier). And I left out the peppers. So maybe it wasn't really much like the original recipe. But it was delicious.

Thanks for your sweet comments on Phillip's guest post! He's pretty excited to do another one. See that tree he's taking a picture of? It's a hawthorn, and it's the tree I asked about earlier in the week (thanks, J!) Here are a few of my pictures from our walk:

 I loved how Phillip's guest post fell into place yesterday. Here on the blog, I try to make it look as though I have endless hours to take pictures, putter around the house, and do everything I love. In reality, this is how I make things like this happen: I was driving home from work yesterday afternoon, thought "I need to take some pictures and tell people what those trees are before they're done blooming", and entered the house, planning to grab a camera and scoot back out for five minutes. Phillip was at the door when I walked in, so I invited him along, and it was lovely. We didn't go for a long walk; just around half a block. Came back home, went through his pictures together and had his post done before supper. (A delicious supper that Adam made with Thomas while we were gone.)It's all about making time where you can.
As I've been writing this, I've been thinking about how I approach blogging. Is anyone interested at all in any posts about how I blog? I totally understand if you're not, but I kind of like reading those sorts of posts on other blogs. Let me know what you think!

 There's sun in tomorrow's forecast! Happy Wednesday.



 (This is a guest post by Phillip. We went for a photo walk, and he took all of the pictures, on his camera, and we worked together to type the text except this sentence. He likes caps lock.)
 Knock knock! Who's there? Tank. Tank who? You're welcome! That's the joke I want to tell to Natalie's kid (Lauren).
 Knock knock! Who's there? Phillip. Phillip who? Phillip the gas tank!



*Edited to add: I forgot to say that I love to jump!*


sunday banana bread and a mystery tree

Today was one of those lovely days when everything just... worked. Does anyone know what these little white flowers are? They're in bloom here right now (shhh, I picked this tip of a branch this morning when I was out for my run). They're on trees, and are beautifully fragrant - kind of a licorice-y scent, and the branches are kind of rough and angular, like a flowering crab, and the branches are completely covered. They seem to grow anywhere. Anyone?
And any day that includes banana bread is just fine with me. This is the recipe I used, and it is delicious.

Banana Bread
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.


more green

 It seems as though a disproportionate number of things in my house are green. It's just such a lovely colour, I can't help myself. I picked up this sweet candle holder at Frenchy's the other day for 75 cents. Specifically to match my little bird on the kitchen windowsill. And it fits my locally made beeswax votives perfectly.
 Inspired by this lovely post over at Tend (aren't those jars great?) I made some herb infused water just before supper. It was very mildly minty with our meal (P and I tossed in several types of leaves), and the rest is still steeping in the kitchen. I'll have the hard stuff with breakfast.
There was some beautiful asparagus with this week's CSA share. To be roasted or grilled tomorrow. Yum. Thomas was completely fascinated with it; touching, smelling, grabbing, and otherwise man(or baby)handling it. It really is one of the most humbling things in the world, to watch your child learn about everything.Those sweet little hands have some serious bruises on them now, though; Thomas was standing on a chair, facing backward, tipped over and squished his sweet little fingertips. Everything's moving fine, but they're pretty tender and have dark purple bruises. Poor baby.

I am really pleased that we have a nice, quiet weekend ahead, complete with dinner plans with other adults! And no kids! I'm really looking forward to it. Other than that, a nice, quiet weekend is in store.


a lot of green

Chive blossoms. Pretty, and deliciously garlicky.
 I love, love, love this time of year. School is winding down, the days and evenings are warm and long, and things are happening in the garden. Since we plan on moving as soon as our house sells, I didn't want to plant a bunch of herbs in the ground and need to leave them. So I plunked them all in clay pots on our back step, and I kind of love how they look together. Above are curry flower plants, and below, some new growth on our lavender.
Rachel has a great tutorial for laundry soap up on her blog. For some reason, I seem to have enough detergent to get me through the next decade or so (including some that I made using a similar recipe), but in case you don't, you should definitely try it out. And I'm super excited that I won a giveaway on Rachel's blog! I've sung the praises of her Baby Wipe Juice before (still love it on T's little bum) and I can't wait to try some of her other goodies. I will definitely post about them when they arrive; hopefully the Canada Post strike won't slow them down too much.
Bee balm, lemon balm, oregano, and a little peek of some summer savory. Yum!

This post made my day today. That sense of home - it's such an important, intangible, sometimes elusive thing.
These are my stevia plants. I've discovered that a couple of torn leaves in cold peppermint tea is lovely.

I tried making mustard awhile back and nearly keeled over, it was so hot. I've since learned that the trick seems to be at least partly in aging it for at least a week to mellow things out. And after seeing this pretty post, I think I just might have to try it again, especially since it's barbeque season once again!
And perhaps we'll get more than two strawberries this year? I'm hoping.

11 artful activities to try this summer. I think Phillip will enjoy these!

Cranberry Orange Rhubarb popsicles? In pretty jars, no less? Yes, yes, yes, please! Three of my favourite things!

I could peruse this blog all day. Every day. I love all of the white with bright pops of colour. I'm thinking of something along those lines for our new place, when we move. Speaking of which, want to buy a house?

And who is that happy Australian farmer, you ask? I don't know, but I do know that one of my pictures (of my sister's spiced crabapples) was published in this issue of Gardening Australia! Tee-hee!

How's that for a scattered assortment? Happy Thursday! How is your garden growing?


home dairy

 If I blogged about every book that I borrowed from the library, there would be nothing else here. Mostly, as of late, it's been non-fiction books. I get most of my recommendations from other blogs and friends, and I seldom buy a book without first borrowing it from the library and checking it out (literally and figuratively). I'll often fly through them quickly. Sometimes, by the time I actually get my hands on a book, it's been months since I requested it and I can't remember where I read about it, or why I wanted to borrow it. I've come across a bunch of good ones lately, but this one absolutely deserves its own post.

It's Home Dairy with Ashley English, and it is the perfect reference for making yogourt, cheeses, and butters. It's beautifully laid out, the pages have a lovely texture and smell like Grade 4 (Mmmm!) and the instructions are clear, well-written and logically ordered. I LOVE it, and will be buying my own copy with my next Air Miles redemption. (That's how I keep myself from spending all of my money on books!) If I had some extra cash lying around, I would give you all copies. But since I don't, go to your library's website immediately and put a hold on it. Then you'll read it and decide that you need to buy a copy, too. I promise.

Ashley English is also on Twitter, and she has a great blog, Small Measure. There are also three other books in this series, which I am assuming are just as excellent (and I've read positive reviews, too!): Keeping Bees, Keeping Chickens, and Canning and Preserving. If one of you has a bazillion air miles that you want to redeem for Chapters gift cards for me, please feel free. I will happily accept! Really, this book is worth your time. I promise.

**Edited to add: I was so excited, I forgot to include three of my favourite things about the book! Firstly, it was manufactured in Canada, a rare thing to see these days, and secondly, there is a section of body care recipes! Third, there are instructions for a cheese press, which I don't know if I'll ever make, but I love that it's in the book.**
I hope that you had a great weekend, and happy reading!


 It was kind of a big week last week. Phillip turned 4! He and Thomas relaxed after the big party yesterday with some bedtime reading with Dadoo.
These are the cupcakes Phillip chose from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. They took awhile, what with the buttercream frosting, toasting the coconut (YUM) and inserting those beady little eyes, but were totally worth it. So amazingly delicious. The frosting has one pound of butter in it. Good choice, Phillip. And a happy, happy birthday to my sweet, caring, smart, funny, and wonderful boy.


on trout, life, and death

 My sweet Dad gave us some brook trout that he caught this afternoon, knowing how much I love to eat them. Usually, with food from Dad, it's already 'ready'. Lobsters are cooked (he's a lobster fisherman), fish are gutted and filleted. Today, there wasn't time, so these little beauties arrived intact.

And I wrinkled up my nose and didn't feel very 'homesteady' at all. I did not want to clean them. These perfect, beautiful little fish - it just seemed so barbaric to cut them open. I thought about it as I steeled myself, and came to the same conclusion I always do: I am recognizing the worth of an animal life sacrificed so that I can eat. And it's kind of uncomfortable. And humbling, and good - that's how it's meant to be.

Then over trotted Phillip. "Those are dead now, right, Mama?"
"Yes, they are."
"But they were alive, right, Mama?"
"Yes, they were."
"And Bompie caught them for us to eat."
"Yes, love."
"They're slippery! And pretty. Look at the spots, Mama."
I cut open one of the fish, and found eggs inside.
"That fish was going to lay eggs. But she can't now, because she died."
"That's right."

I silently thanked the trout for being our supper. And that felt right.