odds and ends

Some lovely Spiced Rum shaving soap. I just made a batch on the weekend to fill some 'manly soap' Christmas requests. Just let me know if you'd like to order some soap of any kind - I'm in a bit of a soapmaking frame of mind. Take advantage!

In other news...

Anthology Mag. Awesome, free online magazine with all kinds of goodness. I haven't even finished reading it, but wanted to share the loveliness.

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder. Making it this week.

I love her illustrations! I especially love this one, with the Le Parfait-type jar and Orla Kiely bowl. Mmmm.

I had a great Monday, and I hope that you did, too. Phillip is feeling much better (ear infections kept him down on the weekend) and I think tomorrow will be another ordinary, lovely day.


tree lighting

Our town had a lovely little tree lighting ceremony tonight, and we took the boys to see it. Thomas just squealed every now and then out of pure joy ('light' is one of his favourite words), and Phillip had a great time, too. Being outside after dark is a big deal when you're four.


pantry news, again

I guess there is one empty space there in the cupboard after all. I didn't notice that until I looked at the image on the computer. I still have some fruit that I froze in the summer and fall (pears in particular) that I have canning plans for. Once a few more jars are freed up, I'll have to fill in those spaces. Did I tell you that we opened a couple of jars of those dill pickles? They are AMAZING. Super crunchy, super tasty. I'm especially pleased because they're my first dills, and we eat them year-round. I will be making loads more next summer - it's yet another case where homemade is a huge improvement on the store variety.

Soap! I am still squeezing in some soapmaking in between all of the other busy-ness that fills my days. If you would like to order some for yourself or as a sweet gift for someone you like, just send me an e-mail and we'll sort out the details! If you're local, I'll be delivering some more to Yarmouth Natural over the next few weeks (I'll be dropping off a few tomorrow), or you can always call or send an e-mail. I can even (sometimes) deliver! Now's the time to let me know what you'd like - I'll be making a bunch this week and next, so speak up!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans! I hope that you've had a relaxing, turkey-filled, thankful day with your favourite people.



Today was one of those days that had awesome potential (snow day!), but I got stuck being everywhere but in the present. And kept using the tone of voice with Phillip that I hate hearing from myself.

We made oatcakes together, which was sort of half successful. I got the recipe from a friend, and hers were awesome. Mine aren't. Maybe mine weren't because Phillip and I were struggling to work together. Or maybe because I left out the coconut so Adam would be able to eat them. Either way, I'll let you know when I get the recipe perfected. Good night!


book swap

We hosted a book swap / potluck today, and it was fantastic. Might I recommend that you do the same? We've been doing some rearranging, tidying, and cleaning out of our books, and we discovered that there were 123 books in this house that we didn't feel the need to keep. So we invited a pile of friends over, asked them to bring any books they no longer wanted, and it was a free-for-all.

Phillip did a great job at evaluating his books and deciding which to keep and which to give away. (That picture was taken before anyone came - that's only some of the books that we contributed.) He ended up donating about 1/3 of his collection, which was many, many books. And in return, we picked some of the ones that were brought by others, and the boys have some new-to-them books to enjoy. The left over books will be donated to the library.

Even better than that, we had piles of friends in the house for the afternoon. I loooooove having people over. Now that the kids are for the most part old enough to more-or-less play on their own together, there's an extra level of fun. I can't think of a better way to spend the day.


how to clean one's microwave

Here's my dirty microwave. One too many lasagna reheats left it in a mess. And in classic Sherrie fashion, I got distracted and didn't take an after picture. (It's clean - I promise!) Anyway, it occurred to me as I was cleaning it that you might not know the magic trick, so here it is: heat a cup or so of water (you can add a bit of lemon juice if you like) for 3-5 minutes on high. Let it sit there until you get around to taking it out. (Waiting at least a few minutes helps the magic to happen and keeps you from burning your hand.) The walls and ceiling inside will be wet from all of the steam, and you can wipe it completely clean in a few swipes of a clean cloth. Even the grungiest food goo comes off easily. Done!


the office

I don't write much about my 'real' work here. I think of this as my non-work, fun place. When I'm working, I'm most often in my car, driving from student to student. But I do have a work cubicle that I recently added a $2 Salvation Army thrift store lamp to, and you know what? Using that instead of a small flourescent light above the desk has made a huge difference in the atmosphere there. That and plenty of clementines. It's the little things. There. Have a seat and do some of my work for me, okay?


red berries!

It's red berry season! Yipee! These were foraged as I was driving along last week. I keep pruners (and now Bogs garden shoes) in the trunk of the car for occasions such as these. With that, my love of Jessica Fletcher, (and the fact the we drive a gold Corolla - have you ever seen anyone under 70 driving a gold Corolla?) I think I'm kind of a senior at heart. Oh dear.


gingerbread cake

Have I got a treat for you! This is my go-to fall / winter cake. It is absolutely delicious (a must, of course), super quick to put together (10 minutes), and it makes the house smell incredible. (Yes, there's an abundance of italics. I love this cake!) It's also a perfect vehicle for whipped cream. It's moist and slightly spicy and just plain wonderful. And if you have molasses in your house (I understand that it's not a default item in some places! Craziness!) you probably have everything to whip one up right now. The original recipe is here.

Oh - one more note about molasses in case you don't usually buy it - you're looking for the fancy kind. No, really - it's called "Fancy Molasses". You don't want blackstrap. And heaven forbid you see that 'light' stuff on the shelf. Leave it right there.

Gingerbread Cake
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Greased and flour (important!) one 9 inch square pan.
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add egg, and beat well. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; add the hot water, and mix well.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake for one hour, more or less. Start checking with a toothpick in the centre around 50 minutes. The top tends to darken quickly, so I always put a piece of foil tented over the top during baking. Allow to cool in pan and serve with copious amounts of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


channeling jessica fletcher

I know that some of you are giggling to yourselves at my newfound love of Murder, She Wrote. Well, giggle on! I found this working phone online, and it now resides in our bedroom. On the show, Jessica Fletcher had the exact same phone in her Cabot Cove kitchen. You have no idea how much I love the ring. So please, give me a call! Just not when Thomas is napping. It is a bit loud.


weekend links!

I love driving Phillip to pre-primary every morning. Yesterday, we left with enough time to spare for a couple of pictures. The light will be entirely different next week, with the time change and all. Speaking of which, don't forget to set your clocks back tonight. I'm looking forward to the earlier light in the morning, not so much the dark-by-5:30 business.

A list of things I've been enjoying lately:

I love this post. Of course it sounds unreasonable to expect so much of ourselves when it's all written out, but it's what we do.

I was so excited that Marisa posted a picture of my quince jelly over at Food in Jars! Have a peek at this post - there are some seriously stunning canned goods. Especially that carrot daikon pickle - it's unlike any other pickles I've seen!

Speaking of pickles, we opened a jar of my first ever dill pickles. And they are kind of AWESOME.

We saw Gypsophilia last night, and they were fantastic! I think you just might love them, too. 

I don't use mouthwash, but if I wanted to, I would try this recipe.

Okay, and now for something amazing and beautiful and worth watching: Murmuration.
Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.