9.29.2012

life


Thank you all so, so much for your sweet comments. You guys are great. I saw a few from new-to-me people - thanks for stopping by! It's nice to 'meet' you. And you regulars know that I love you.

I need to round up some addresses from some of you to send out the gull decals, and as I don't yet have all of the addresses or enough envelopes (oops) they haven't been sent out yet. I think that this is the first time I've sat down at our home computer for more than three seconds since the giveaway post. Life has been positively nutty. I love being able to check in quickly on my phone, but there are some things I much prefer the 'real' computer for. I am way behind on blog reading (which I miss - it's my little pick-me-up in a lot of ways) and there's a pile on the desk that seems to be growing as I type. I had both boys all day today while Adam's been shooting a wedding. Most of the day was fine, and I actually got a lot of cooking and baking done while they played and helped, but this evening I wanted to leave them and their yelling and uncooperativeness at bedtime and go far, far away. Of course, I didn't, and now that they're finally asleep, all is well again. But, man. What do you do with a defiant 5 year old? When none of the gentle strategies that should work, do? And a two year old who thinks it's funny to go near the woodstove when there's a fire burning? I'm feeling tired and spent after an insane September. I think I need a bit of time to regroup and settle in to October, which I'm hoping will be much calmer in every way.

I've had a few conversations lately with colleagues in similar situations to mine (married, two young children, working full-time) lately about how people make life work for them. I love reading posts like that, and it really seems like something that resonates with people. I think that everyone is secretly looking for a magic answer, and of course, there isn't one. A lot of intentional thinking and planning and hard work and recognizing what will work for you, to start with. Tonight, though, I'm feeling tired even thinking about it.

We'll all be together tomorrow, though, and I'm hoping that we'll get outside between rain showers. Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

9.22.2012

7

This week, back in 2005 (!) I started this blog. It was under a different name, but the content has always been much the same - a bit of this, a bit of that, pictures, and snippets of my daily life. In short, exactly the kind of blog that I like to read. It's always been something that I do for fun, when I take time, with no pressures of having to post certain things at certain times. I have no aspirations for zillions of followers, no plans of quitting my day job - I think it's still just how I like it.
But this, folks, is what I want to (literally) share with you today. On the walls of our stairwell, we've had a variety of decorative things which have been repeatedly knocked off or broken. I wanted a little something to add some interest, without posing a hazard or temptation. I ordered a *giant* sheet of seagull decals in grey, and put some of them up, which I'm enjoying. I'm hoping that the sense that they might get pooped on will make the boys hurry up the stairs for baths. (Not so far.)

To the point - I only used a very few of the decals from the sheet that I ordered, and I have 10 others that didn't make the cut. On this, my 7th blogging anniversary, I want to send them flying out to you! The first ten commenters, teling me something you love about my blog and / or that you might like to read more about here (no guarantees I'll do it - no pressure, remember?) will receive a decal in the mail. If you see that your comment is one of the first 10, e-mail me your name and mailing address (grahamsherrieATyahooDOTca) and I'll do my best to get those out this week. If your comment is after #10; you might still get a decal if I can't get someone else's information. And I *love* reading comments!

Thank you so much for reading along. I'm so happy that I've had the chance to 'meet' you, and I wish you could all come over for tea. With biscuits and jam. And lots of butter.

9.19.2012

not much is new (even the picture is old)

Adam made these little turnovers ages ago, and the picture has been sitting on my desktop, waiting to be posted. I just couldn't delete it - they're so cute. And delicious. It was a raspberry jam filling, if I'm not mistaken. Mmmmm.

I guess I don't have a whole lot to say tonight - I just missed you.

I have been so very, very busy with work (I'm an itinerant teacher of students who are visually impaired, in case you didn't know) these past few weeks. It's good; I enjoy it and love this time of year in many ways, but I just don't have enough hours in the day, you know? (Of course you do.) Late nights don't suit me for very long, and I've driven over 1000km in three days. (That is definitely out of the ordinary. But it explains the crick in my neck.) I'm pooped.

I also said that I would do a presentation (en fran├žais!) about our organization for an Education program class at a university which was a great challenge (the first one was this morning; another tomorrow) and ate up a lot of time and mental energy. I think I'm ready for tomorrow, and will definitely sleep well tonight.

I hope that you do, too. 

Oh, and if you want to make similar turnovers, just make a batch of this super simple pie crust recipe, roll out and cut into rounds, fill with a bit of jam or fruit, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes or so, until they're golden. They may ooze, so parchment paper underneath is a good plan. They're a nice treat to tuck into a lunch box, too.

9.15.2012

"How old are you?" "I'm two!"




Thomas' reply when anyone asks his name is "I'm two!"

Two is squeezy neck hugs, sloppy kisses, and "Pick me up! Pick me up! I want to see!"

Two is chubby little hands pulling books off of shelves, pushing the just-folded laundry onto the floor, and tearing pages of books.

Two is wanting to help with everything.

Two is sleeping soundly after a hard day of asking "why? why? why?" and getting covered in food and dirt.

Two is dumping any container with anything in it out all over the floor.

And using any long, easily held object as a bat.

This sweet two year old is a delight and joy. And he drives me crazy sometimes. I get over it pretty quickly though. How could you not, looking at a face like that?

*I've been having a bit of trouble composing posts lately with Blogger. Anyone else have things crazily jumping around, several drafts saving of a post for no apparent reason, and pictures going craaaaazy, or is it just me? And this text wouldn't left align. Sorry if this posted a few times in your feed or if it looks strange; I really don't know what's going on. It also published without me telling it to last night before I gave up. Bizarre.*

9.11.2012

lemon honey tea concentrate


I came across this recipe, and made it this weekend. Apparently it's a traditional Korean way to make lemon honey tea, and I think it's just about perfect, in kind of the same way as the delicious chai concentrate I also love, especially now that the weather's getting cooler.

There's nothing more comforting than lemon honey tea when throats get raw, and this ensures that you will always have a homemade version on hand, even if you don't always have fresh lemons in the kitchen. Sometimes a scratchy throat comes on quickly, and the last thing that you want to do is run out to the grocery store to get lemons.

I used a 500mL jar, washed and thinly sliced two lemons and added enough unpasteurized honey to cover them. I also added in a little bit of thinly sliced ginger. (I keep ginger in the freezer so it can be easily grated / sliced without the annoying strings getting in the way.) The honey preserves the lemons, sweetens the concentrate and provides all of the soothing and healing that honey is so good at. The lemons soften and mix with the honey to make a sweet concentrate that can be added to hot water for a comforting drink on a cool fall night.
I hope that you avoid sore throats altogether this fall, but if you're afflicted and have this at the ready, it just might help. It keeps in the fridge for months, and you can top up the honey and lemons as you see fit and keep a perpetual jar on hand. Or start a fresh one once it's used up.

Work is great and so, so busy. Lemons are a good distraction. Hope you're having a good week!

9.08.2012

tomatoes

I bought these little beauties last weekend at the market. They disappeared quickly, but not before I took their picture. Lovely, aren't they?

Phillip is the one in this house who loves tomatoes the most. He would happily eat a pint all by himself, three times a day. Every day for the rest of his life. I bought some more at this morning's market to pack in his lunches this week.

In case you have a pile of tomatoes staring you down and no plans for their fate, there are all kinds of delicious things you can do with them. Of course, there's the soup I posted earlier this week. You can make them into fresh salsa, or cooked, to can. (We love the tomato salsa recipe in Marisa's book.) You can slow roast them, dehydrate them, or make them into pasta or pizza sauce and freeze for later. If all else fails, and you have a pile on your hands that you just can't handle right this minute, you can toss them into the freezer whole, washed and stemmed. Thaw them (the skin will slide right off) and use in soups, sauces, or whatever other deliciousness you can come up with all winter long.

I've been thinking a lot about food lately, with the advent of the new school year and lunches to pack. Adam's also become a bit more restricted in what he can eat, so we're trying to settle into a system that works for us, where the boys and I can eat the foods that we want, and Adam can have what he can, without a ridiculous amount of extra work. Thomas is (theoretically) napping right now (he's actually talking to himself in his crib) while Adam and Phillip are out, so I think I might sit down with some cookbooks for a few minutes and make some plans. (And hopefully he'll drift off.)

*On another note, my first week back at work was great. It's craaaaazy busy, and I have soooo many things to do, but I love it. I am a lucky lady.

9.06.2012

first day of school report

Phillip reports that he had a 'very good' first day of school. He didn't even notice me saying goodbye as he hopped on the bus; he was far too excited to find his seat. Which was right behind the driver, exactly where he wanted to be. (I hope he didn't talk the driver's ear off!) So he did just fine, Adam and I were fine.... Thomas, not so much.


He cried and cried after Phillip got on the bus (which was early; well before I needed to be at work) and we hopped back in the car. "I want to go on the bus! I want Phillip in his seat!" When we arrived home, he dramatically threw himself at walls around the house, and sobbed into corners. He recovered after a little while, when he realized that no one (i.e. Phillip) was around to take toys or books from him and he could play uninterrupted for a change. Later this morning, Thomas went to his initial visit at daycare, where he'll be spending one day a week so that Adam can work, uninterrupted. He had a great time and loved all of the toys. It was a big day for him, too.

My sweet boys. My heart is three sizes larger today.

9.05.2012

tomorrow


Tomorrow will be Phillip's first day of school, and he'll be travelling on the bus. He is excited, and a little bit nervous.  I think I know that he'll be fine, but of course my mind is racing through the non-optimal paths his day could take. Like opening his backpack on the bus and taking out every single crayon, pencil, and other item. And dropping them on the floor. And trying to crawl around under the seats to retrieve them. And that's before he even gets to school.

Oh, dear.

I want him to know the following: 

There is nothing like the promise within a fresh sheet of paper and a newly sharpened pencil on the first day of school.

Teachers don't know everything.

He doesn't know everything. 

There is so much to be learned that can't and won't be taught at school.

Being kind is the most important thing.

The bus smells bad on wet days, and there's nothing you can do about it.


I'll be back with the scoop tomorrow. If your little one(s) are heading off for their first day of school this week, good luck. I hope they are amazing.

9.02.2012

tomato soup



This is one of those recipes that we make whenever we have a pile of fresh tomatoes that need to be used up. And it happens to be that time of year, doesn't it? (I wrangled 30 pounds of tomatoes into submission yesterday and have a pantry full of whole tomatoes and salsa!) I have a few leftover tomatoes from my Dad's greenhouse, so we'll be making this later on today. I have no idea what happens to the tomatoes and other ingredients as it's coming together, but it's positively magical. The flavour is incredible. It's quick, easy, healthy, and delicious, and definitely one of my top three favourite soups. (This is another one, great for this time of year.) The boys are guaranteed to sit quietly and eat everything in their bowls, and that's saying something.

The original recipe is from Everyday Food.



Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 large tomatoes (about 2 pounds total), cored and chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, 4 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to break down, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add broth and 1 cup water. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes. In batches, puree soup in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). (Sherrie note: an immersion blender is much easier and less messy!) Return soup to pot and simmer 1 minute; stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Edited to add: As I was finishing writing this post, I questioned whether I had already posted this recipe. Turns out that Adam did awhile back! Regardless, it's definitely worth a re-post. Enjoy!