july 31

Oh, summer. I love you.

The boys and I spent the afternoon at the beach today, since the sun finally came out, and we had friends to visit and play with. There's no better way to exhaust my boys than to let them loose at the beach for a few hours. We had a lovely time, and I even had a sweet visit with some friends who we met up with. There's nothing like the seeming unlimited expanse of a summer afternoon at the beach.

We're having our first cookout and campfire at the camp tomorrow, now that it's finally clean and inhabitable. I think I'm more excited than the boys. In fact, I know that I am. And I'm hoping to spend some time in August just enjoying it. I'm just so thankful that the boys have this space to explore and love and grow up in. A local woodworker is building a couple of tree swings for us, and I can't wait to find the perfect branches to hang them from.

Speaking of planning, we are making some fun ones for our forever home. Oh, the dreams in this mind of mine!

I hope that you're having a week full of hopeful expectation, too. And some relaxing beachiness, for good measure.



These are from a few weeks ago, while we were visiting some wonderful friends in a beautiful part of the province, on Saint George's Bay - the same place I took the sunrise pictures. The sunsets are equally magical. Those are two verrry happy, dirty, and tired boys of mine (can't you see just what Phillip will look like when he's older?), covered in sand and s'mores, sweat and sunscreen.  All of the best things about summer.


no bake snack balls

Somehow, summer seems busier that the school year. It's always funny how that happens. It's in all of the very best ways - visiting friends, playing outside, sitting on the beach - it's just lovely, and the time seems to fly. In addition to hanging out with those (usually) sweet boys of mine, I've been spending some time at the camp (our camp!) cleaning, cleaning, painting, cleaning some more, and then painting. That place is getting some love. And it's on the verge of inhabitable! A couple of coats of paint on the floor (and the cleaning of the floor beforehand) and we'll be good to go. This is the kind of work that I am literally bouncing out of bed to do on the mornings that I go. Quiet time on my own in the woods to putter and make things homey? Yes, please!

A few days ago, I took a minute to have a snack on the porch and watch the birds, between coats of paint. In the midst of a thundershower, and covered in sweat, grime, cobwebs, and happy as a clam, I had a couple of these for a snack. Since it's summer and all, I thought I'd share a flexible recipe that packs well to take on hikes or in the car, is tasty, filling, will keep the kiddos happy, and it takes ten easy minutes to make. How does that sound?

No-Bake Snack Balls

3/4 cup peanut butter 
1/2 cup honey
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed 
1 cup dried cranberries, coconut, almonds, chocolate chips or any other ingredient you love

Melt peanut butter in microwave for a few seconds until it's softened. Mix with honey, and stir into other ingredients. Shape into balls, and refrigerate. 

You may find that you need to adjust the peanut butter / honey amounts to suit your additional ingredients so the balls aren't too dry or wet. My peanut butter was quite dry (I used some crunchy natural stuff, which was great, but a bit on the dry side), and I assumed that perhaps they would stick together better once refrigerated. Not so - it seems that they'll stay about the same amount of stuck together as they are when you put them in the fridge. So play around a bit, and find some ratios that you love! Enjoy!

And if you like these, you might also like these date rolls I posted awhile back.

And I finally did get that rhubarb jelly made! (The gluten free cracker experiment still hasn't taken place. The stars of me feeling like tackling it, and having time time and space in the kitchen just hasn't happened yet. But now that the jelly's piling up, we'll have to have some crackers to spread it on!) The jelly didn't turn the pretty pink that it has before, but it is delicious, and I kind of like that colour.

Happy Wednesday!


house news

I have the very best kind of news to share - we have found our forever home! And it's ours! There it is above, as seen from the back field. Our current house hasn't sold yet (feel free to buy it!) but we have the most perfect place for us. An old farmhouse, with two big new barns (hello, chickens!) on 40 acres, including fields, woods, and a camp on the lake. I know. The house needs a lot of work, so we're not really sure of timelines for moving or anything, but it's ours! Here are a few pictures I took this morning.

The lake, perhaps my favourite feature. Above, looking North from in front of the camp.

And looking South. Isn't it lovely?

And here's the 'before' shot of the camp, as it was early this morning when I arrived to clean up, whipper snip, and generally make it fit to be in. It will be properly Sherrie-fied over time, but I kind of love its rustic-ness. That's the whole point of a camp, really. It's now a lot tidier, and after round two tomorrow morning, will almost be inhabitable. Any suggestions or ideas for an extremely rustic camp with very limited space, an outhouse and no electricity? Camping tips? Must-have gadgets? Outhouse maintenance? This is all quite new to me. I'm so excited that we have the camp to use this summer. The boys will love it. They haven't been there yet - I can't wait to see their faces.

We're soon going to need a name for this little farm... there's skunk cabbage in the woods, but that doesn't make for a very pretty name. We'll come up with something wonderful.


yarrow tea

Did you know that this 'weed' (as I used to think of it) has a name? It's called yarrow. Right now, it's blooming in full force in this part of Nova Scotia. As a kid, I would pick it along the roadside, pull it apart, put the flowers in my hair - you know, all of those things that kids do.
A couple of weeks ago, I was coming down with a cold-ish sort of thing, and since I'd been reading about yarrow in one of my herb books, I decided to try making some tea with it. The scent of the plant may or may not be appealing to you - for me, it brought back memories of sitting on the rocks in the ditch by the road in front of my parents house (one of my preferred places to play). It's a really herbal sort of scent, and the plant has these lovely, juicey, feathery leaves, and a tough, ridged stem.
I washed it well, chopped it up, flowers and all, and steeped a pot of it. I enjoyed the taste, and I have no idea whether it's directly related or not, but when I woke up the next morning, I was feeling much better. (Of course, read up on it before you consume it, and all of that good stuff.)
In somewhat related news, we've *really* been enjoying the Nature Guide to Atlantic Canada. It's concise, well-written, and is packed with fascinating information and detailed colour pictures. (No one is paying me for that plug - it's just a great book.) I can't wait to learn more about so many of the plants that I've grown up with but had no name for.



This is what happens when you wake up to a July sunrise overlooking the beautiful Saint George's Bay while visiting friends at their beautiful oceanside cottage. 5:56 am is a beautiful time of day in the summer.



Good morning! We've been amassing a little collection of pretty rocks and shells on the kitchen windowsill from trips to the beach. I love looking at them while I'm cleaning up - I always notice beautiful new little details, depending on the light. I love living here!

Despite the less-than-beachworthy weather as of late, I took Thomas to the beach at the bottom of the hill my parents live on on Sunday. All he wanted was to use Bompie's hoe to dig in the sand. 

 Happy Thursday!


rainy days & happy canada day!

There have been plenty of games in our house over the past very wet, very rainy, very dark week or so. It turns out that Go Fish and Old Maid are perfect games for six year olds. I remember playing Old Maid for hours by myself when I was a kid. Sorting and rearranging the cards into assorted types of piles, and betting with myself where the Old Maid would be. Exactly the sort of thing Phillip likes to do. He's so excited to be done school for the summer.
And a little bit more peony loveliness for you. I'm especially excited that they're blooming because I picked up the near-dead plant at the end of the season three years ago for a dollar or so, and we've been waiting ever since for something to happen. Adam almost gave up and mowed it down last summer, but I'm so glad he didn't. It's a good thing I'm bringing them inside, because the weather hasn't been cooperating very well for enjoying them outside.
One brighter day I took yet another picture of this corner in the dining room. I found the plant pot and saucer (there's a better picture of it here, but the green is softer than it appears) at Value Village. They're just right.

Happy, happy Canada Day! (You came to mind, Teresa!) A few Canuckian things I'm enjoying today:
- Butter tarts. This recipe looks gooood. (I prefer pecans to raisins.)
- Jian. Oh, Jian.
- Frenchy's
- Red Rose tea.

Enjoy the day, rain or not. Happy Canada Day!

Edited to add: And how could I have possibly forgotten my all-time favourite - The Log Driver's Waltz!