happy halloween!

 One ferocious shark...

And one sweet elephant. (Those two photos are Adam's. You can read his Halloween post and see another picture here.)

The sweet elephant thought that the insides of the pumpkin should go back in when we were carving yesterday. And you know what? I didn't take any pictures of the finished pumpkins!

 The ferocious shark can't tolerate apples very well at all. So I made some pear sauce for him yesterday. Delicious.
 And even though it will be November tomorrow, the garden is still giving us beautiful things to enjoy.

Happy Halloween!


those cheeks!

I've been away for work for most of the week, and I am so very happy to be home. Telling everyone how cute my boys are made me miss their sweet little cheeks which are so perfect for kissing. And isn't Thomas adorable in that fox sweater? He was playing with a pop-up ghost in a styrofoam cup that Phillip made at school. So cute. Seeing Phillip's face light up when he saw me was the highlight of my week. I love my boys.

I did have fun while I was away, though! I met up with Alli and found some treasures at Value Village, and we had a phenomenal dinner at Morris East. (I highly recommend the pear pizza.) Today, I got together with Rachael (Movita Beaucoup) on my way home for a delicious lunch at Epicurean Morsels. (The lamb sliders were AMAZING. Thanks again, R!)

The work part of my week was pretty great, too. We had a terrific (and to put it very mildly, knowledgeable) speaker, Dr. Christine Roman, who literally wrote the book about Cortical Visual Impairment. (She's also a lover of all things handmade, so we had a nice chat about that, too.) I'm feeling inspired and excited to do some new things with some of my students. This is good.

On that note, good night!


quince jelly

 I adore quince. They sound magical and nostalgic, like Christmas goose, sugar plums, and other lovely English things. And they smell so wonderful - like a combination of apple, pear, and pineapple. They can't be eaten raw, but they make a delicious and gorgeous jelly. I made some for the first time last year, and it was the first thing on my list to make this year. I'm feeling quite a bit better, and making the jelly was actually a great thing to do, since I got to stand still in a very steamy kitchen. I was worn out afterward, but quince wait for no man - they needed to be preserved, and quickly!

Here's how it's done:
After delighting in the amazing scent of the quince sitting in your kitchen, wash and quarter them.
Boil, covered by about an inch of water, for an hour or so, until soft.
 Tie up in cheesecloth bags or proper jelly bags, and leave overnight to drip into a bowl. (Edited to add: don't squeeze any juice out, or your jelly will be cloudy!)
 Measure the juice you have, and add in almost a cup of sugar per cup of juice. Just over 3/4 of a cup for each. I mix mine together and let them sit for a few minutes while I do something else, so the sugar will dissolve really well.
Slowly bring to a boil, and boil until it will set on a cold plate. This took quite awhile; at least 45 minutes, and probably more for the 8 cups of juice plus the sugar that I had. I kind of lost track as I was making two things at once. (Edited to add: 1 tsp of butter added in will keep the foaming down. Worked like magic!)

 Seal in sterilized jars, and just be happy looking at it. Isn't it the most gorgeous red?

Add some cute labels, and you're good to go!

With the other quince that I quartered and cooked (I had 12 pounds total), I made a quince paste. I took the cooked quince, ran them through a food mill, mixed with an equal weight of sugar, and cooked it down until it was really thick, and canned it. I can't wait to have this on homemade crackers with some gorgeous local cheese. Or with pork. Yum.


strikes like a man-eating shark, indeed

Isn't this the best poster? I wish they still made ones like this. So, it turns out that I have pneumonia. And all I feel like doing is lying in bed, watching Murder, She Wrote on Netflix. (Which is, as you may have guessed, not my usual modus operandi. But lying perfectly still and breathing in just the right way keeps the coughing fits down.) I am falling in love with Angela Lansbury (well, Jessica Fletcher, really) and especially Cabot Cove, her sweet little hometown (which is, ahem, much like mine.) Did you know that Angela Lansbury is 86? And she did a movie this year? What a neat lady. Should you need to cuddle up and watch an episode (or several), my absolute favourite so far is Season 2, Episode 10: Sticks and Stones. I love all of the little house scenes. And Jessica's green phone! I think I'm going to order one on Etsy for the boys for Christmas for their 'store'.

So if I owe you an e-mail or a blog post (sorry, Mad - I'll try to get to it soon) I'll get to it. But right now I'm going to start another episode while Adam's gone to pick up the boys at my Mom's and to get my new antibiotics. I don't like taking them, but it's definitely preferable to this!



Today turned out to be a beautiful day, when I was fully expecting cloud and drizzle. I love it when that happens. Adam's shooting a wedding today, so I had the boys to myself. I took them to a playground for most of the afternoon, and when Thomas was napping, Phillip and I played games. Including Mille Bornes, which you should get. It's super fun.

Odds and ends:
I have never grown sunflowers successfully until this year. A blue jay has been helping himself to plenty of seeds, which is fun to watch. That is the lone survivor after hurricanes and other windy weather events. Anyone know the best way to save some seeds?

In other yard news, our oak tree has acorns! Neither of us remember this ever happening in the six and a half years that we've lived here. They are so. cute. P and I are going to make some felted balls and glue the little hats on. Adorable.

Those gorgeous maple leaves on the table were scavenged when I locked myself out of my car in the middle of nowhere and was waiting for CAA to come and rescue me on Thursday. It's a ridiculous story (the thing that I wanted from the trunk was actually in the front seat all along), but all's well that ends well. I still arrived at my student's appointment on time, and it wasn't raining while I waited. A very kind lady in a silver Dodge Caliber stopped and let me use her phone to call for roadside assistance. Thank you, kind lady!

Lastly, I'm either having a reaction to an antibiotic I've been taking this week (that's another story, ugh), or I'm coming down with something very unpleasant. I am soooo sore all over - it hurts to move or be touched, and I have a fever. I'm waiting for our telehealth nurse to call me back so I'll know what to do. In the meantime, I'm so thankful for usually being so healthy! It's so easy to take for granted.

I hope that you have a very healthy weekend. Enjoy those fall colours - they won't last long!



Happy Thanksgiving! Here in Canada, we celebrate it a bit earlier than you folks in the States. It makes perfect sense to me - the harvest is abundant, and there's a longer break between turkeys than if it's at the end of November. But if you're like my sister, who lives in NH, you celebrate both days - now that's clever. We have stock simmering, turkey and dressing waiting to go in the oven, cranberry sauce made, and pie crust waiting to be rolled. And so very much to be thankful for.

 This crow sat there, at the top of that tree and cawed at me the whole time I was hanging out clothes yesterday. I thought he might want some attention, so I got the camera. And he promptly took off.

Happy Thanksgiving!



The weather was dramatic today. It was warm and rainy yesterday, then suddenly cold overnight. It cleared through the morning, and we enjoyed sun for much of the afternoon. But just on the edge of the sun were these dark, ominous, lovely clouds. To top it all off, just before supper, there were snowflakes! Only a few, but still. I took a camera along with me as I drove between schools, and wondered what I would find to take a picture of. This was at the edge of a school parking lot. I love that little stand of trees.

I am tired. I'm looking forward to some sun (every day in our seven-day forecast shows full sun and much warmer temperatures), time outside with my boys, and a Thanksgiving celebration. We have so much to be thankful for. Especially little boys who are up and out of their beds again, and reading what Mama's typing. Right, Phillip?

I'm off to tuck a boy in. Again. Good night!


pumpkin dip

I mentioned in my last post that I met some new friends this weekend. We were invited to a potluck at their place on Saturday, and although Adam had met them once, I hadn't. Making food for people you've never met can be kind of tricky. There's all of the "What do I want them to think of me as reflected by the food that I take?" angst, accompanied by the facts: I didn't have time to make anything quite as elaborate as I would have hoped. But I decided to go for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and cross my fingers that the others would eat dairy: dips. I made two dips, a sour cream and salsa kind of nacho dip and this sweet pumpkin one. With two cups of sugar, it makes no bones about the fact that it's a treat and is certainly not a healthy dip. (Maybe next time I'll make hummus.) It's the kind of thing that you (ahem, I) just might be tempted to eat by the spoonful and skip the chips altogether. Oh, and the chips! Tortillas cut into triangles (you could, of course use cutters and make cute shapes), lightly brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and toasted until golden. For you fellow Canadians out there, thinking ahead to Thanksgiving next weekend, who may want to try something new: here it is.

Pumpkin Dip
1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) (the big one that's about 2 cups' worth)
1 block cream cheese (softened, if you think of it in time)
2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 teeny pinch cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In mixer, beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla, and mix until blended, scraping down sides if needed. Serve warm or chilled with sweet toasted tortilla chips, and refrigerate any leftover dip. This recipe makes 3 1/2 cups, which is a lot. So plan to share!


how to clean a dirty bottle

Quick tip: if you have a thing for little glass bottles, as I do, and you have a dirty bottle on your hands (see above), there's an easy way to clean it. Shake some coarse salt down into the bottom, fill halfway with warm water, and shake it like crazy, in all directions. The salt is abrasive enough to scrub off the grime, but won't scratch. Also, it dissolves, unlike rice which I've seen recommended. Ta-da!

I hope that you're having a lovely weekend. Ours has been packed with plenty of fun and birthday parties, and a potluck (and board games!) with new friends. Today we're having a nice quiet day, relaxing at home. You know, doing things like making yogourt and letting the milk boil over while I change my profile pic on Twitter. (Which I can't seem to crop within Twitter. Bah.)

Phillip says: I had a great time reading books and playing games and also doing things with the other kids [at pre-primary]. - PHILLIP