just under the wire

and made by request:


A couple of last minute trick or treat totes to help the boys on their way tonight. I
finished putting these together last night. I think Master J and Master B will be pleased with the results. I'm still working off the denim from the placemats. I can't seem to put a dent in the amount I have. Hmm, what else can I make?  

Happy Howling on Halloween! 




We made a haunted gingerbread house over the weekend.  I whipped up the gingerbread on Friday evening while the kidlets were dreaming of candy & costumes. 
Fall is such a fun time of year for us.  It all starts early in October with Thanksgiving then moves right along to Halloween.  The kids have a lot of fun thinking about what they want to dress up
as.  Most of the time it usually involves me creating something that
isn't available for purchase like a JubJub - what exactly is that you ask?...maybe I'll make a previous halloween costumes post.   

We've made the traditional Christmas gingerbread houses in the past, but this year it
dawned on me that the idea could be re-translated for Halloween.  Thus
our hauntingly, sweet gingerbread house.

Decorated by Master J & Master B with oodles of cavity decaying sugar, icing and more.  My teeth are already aching for them.


bumps in the road

If you visit on a regular basis you would have noticed that a banner change was made a couple of days ago.  Spurred on by a much needed walk in the woods the other day - I was having a dysfunctional mummy day and so I needed some fresh air.  Being that the kidlets are my shadows, where I go they follow, they came along.  If they had their way they would live in the woods: climbing, exploring, stick and bug hunting.



This time I have with my children I know is fleeting and so I do my best to try to enjoy the moment.  Many, many times I fail at it, but I press on towards creating and discovering what makes us a family.


And then I remind myself, in a particularly difficult moment, that it is not the perfection of the day that matters but my ability to
engage, adjust and respond to the (little) people around me throughout the course of a day.


more fall soups

This post is going to be photo heavy so I won't say too much except, here is another family favorite recipe: Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup.  My kids love it and as long as they have been eating more toddler friendly meals, this has been a staple in our recipe box.  It freezes well and if you are making it for the older baby/toddler, it will freeze nicely in ice cube trays for later use.  Just omit the pepper if using it for young children. 

1/4 cup          margarine (we use half olive oil/half margarine)
1                    onion, chopped
1                    carrot, diced
1                    rib celery, diced
1/2 lb             raw chicken, diced
1/3 cup          flour
3 cups            chicken stock
1/2 tsp           salt
1/4 tsp           pepper
2 cups            milk
1 1/2 cups      pre-cooked rice (don't forget to pre-cook your rice!)

Step 1:
In a large saucepan melt margarine.  Add onion, carrot and celery, as you can tell from the photos below, we go heavy on the vegetables (usually doubling or tripling the amount required).  Cook gently 5 min. until vegetables are fragrant and tender.


Step 2:
Add chicken, or if you like set your vegetables aside and then add chicken (I did the latter this time).  Cook 2 to 3 min. until chicken loses its raw appearance.

Step 3:
Sprinkle with flour, re-add vegetables at this point if you removed them earlier.  Cook 3 to 4 min., browning lightly.

Step 4:
Add chicken stock, bring to a boil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cook for 15 min. 


Reminder Step: Don't forget to pre-cook your rice, you will need about 20 to 35 minutes for this stage depending on which rice you use.  I used brown and wild rice for this recipe.  It makes it a bit chewier.  If you are making this with an older baby or toddler in mind, I would recommend using basmati rice. 

Step 5:
Add milk and bring to a boil.  Add pre-cooked rice and cook for another
5 to 10 min. (If soup is thicker than you wish, add a bit more milk; if
it is thinner than you like, cook uncovered for 5 to 10 min to reduce
it).  Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley or sprinkle with a bit of dry.  Enjoy.


et pour moi

The chilly, fall weather has me bundling up a bit more right now. Part of that bundling is the scarf accessory. I am perpetually looking for a scarf that doesn't make me feel itchy especially with the eczema that keeps flaring up on my neck. *scratch, scratch* Seems that out of the numerous scarves that I own only one is a keeper but it is too heavy for the fall season. Off I go to my fabric stash.


I found a dark grey fabric that is so super soft and perfect fit for my black corduroy jacket. I picked a few reproduction prints and paired them up with the grey for a patchwork motif. I'm loving the red leaves and the scotty dogs in the next picture are too cute. The opposite side is basic grey for those conservative moments *hah*, with a little extra decorative stitching here and there.

This was my late night treat to myself while my hubby was up late singing up a storm in his studio. I think I'm going out today for wee bit of time to myself and you can bet I'll be wearing my scarf :)   


basic black

I've been wanting to make the girls some black leggings. Oh I know I could probably go out and buy a pair, but sometimes "going out" really isn't all that convenient when there are a million other things to do like sewing. I dug through my stash of fabric on Saturday and found some stretchy, black knit that looked like it would do the trick. I didn't have a pattern so instead I made a pattern by following the outline of a pair of leggings that they already own. After a bit of tweaking this and tweaking that, it was rather straight forward. Without a serger, sewing with knits is a tricky endeavor. However, I went through the manual on my machine and found a serging stitch that I put to the test.  I was pleasantly surprised that it worked out (I've only owned my machine for over a decade and never used that stitch *geez*). Now I'm itching to make another couple of pairs.


Here are Miss A & Miss J modeling them for me (butt view) on our trek to the YMCA yesterday.


The boys were wall climbing and the girls were doing their best to be a captive audience.


The boys really enjoyed working the wall and are becoming quite comfortable with climbing. My oldest son J, went all the way to the top and touched the ceiling. Way to go! It's his birthday today so I think we will head out for a bit to the local book store to cash in one of his gift cards. We had his big family party last week, so it will be a bit low key today. I'll make him a cake, sing the birthday song to him with his siblings and
marvel that my once wee baby boy is now 10. *sniffle* 


comfort food

It's that time of year when the colder weather always makes me think about comfort foods.  Foods that warm your insides on a cool, damp fall day.  Foods that speak of harvest time in both their color and texture.  One food I'm particularly thinking of is soup.  I dusted off my crock pot a well used item in my kitchen during the fall and winter months, and made a very hearty batch of Old Fashioned Barley and Lentil Soup. 


Admittedly it is not a favorite among the children, but they will endure for a bribe of homemade buns along side.  Yummy.

I'm hard at work trying to get some menu planning done.  In the summer time we tend to fly by the seat of our pants eating light meals with snacking throughout the day.  Now that we are indoors more cooking becomes a bit more planned.  Most days I enjoy cooking and find it satisfying to feed the ones I love.  I nourished my children at my breast when they were small and decided back then that I wanted the best nutrition for them.  I still feel that way now that they are older and while we aren't without our sweet moments (the cakes last weekend are proof of that), generally we are stocked up on veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc.   

As for the menu, it tends to make cooking a bit easier for me, in that the decision of 'what to cook' was already made earlier on paper, with meals that our family enjoys.  It also makes it easier to shop because I know just what to buy for that week and it is economical .  All very good reasons . 

Well I'm off to do a bit of planned grocery shopping today and then over the weekend some wedding party celebrating into the wee hours.  Have a lovely, warm weekend full of comfort and love.  xoxo

are you scared?

I gave you a few peeks at my spooky wip last month. They are finally done.

I made 4 "placemats" as a surprise for my kidlets. Very appropriately Halloween festive.

Don't you just love the pocket? It can hold either a napkin or cutlery. Since I never got around to making napkins, cutlery it is for us. The kids are really going to enjoy using these :) 


what I love

~freshly hemmed pants


~ a night out on the town with my sweetie.


~ what could be better than going out with your best friend, mid-week in new duds.  

This be a good time to fess up that I purchased those pants over a year ago and they have been sitting in a laundry basket waiting to be hemmed, along with two other pairs. I'm just going to blame it on the fact that I rarely have to hem pants due to being so tall, so when I am confronted with the task I avoid it. Yeah, that works for me. On the bright side of procrastination I now have a brand new pair of pants that I really like. If I hem the others, it could be three pairs!! 


birthday baking

I mentioned yesterday about the parties we celebrated over the weekend for three of my little and not so little kidlets.   Having a party of course means having cakes.  I like making my own cakes and have a lot of fun decorating them.  For the girls first birthday the novelty of twins was too much to pass up; I decided to create a "two peas in a pod" cake for the wee girlies.  It ended up in the end looking like this:
I made instructions but have yet to put them in pdf format.  They are lopsidedly handwritten and so messy, oh well.  Fast forward to this year and I wanted to make a bit of a princess cake for the girls since they are really into dress up.
With mixer whirling the cake was underway.  I used a recipe from Martha Stewart's website.  I have used it for cupcakes previously and decided to give it a go as a cake.   While these cakes were baking, I went to work on my final cake.   It is from Mrs. Fields "I love Chocolate Cookbook"   

While cakes were cooling I made some buttercream icing for the vanilla
cake and some chocolaty icing  for the really chocolate cake.  My son loves, loves, loves chocolate cake.  That is all he requested and that is what he got.  So rich and chocolaty it could be called death by chocolate.  Yummy!
As for the vanilla cakes: Spread the icing, use a few fancy piping tips and voila you have a cake fit for two princesses.   I even tried a few large roses this time. 

Oh and if you are wondering where their names are, I photo shopped them out, I love that program. 

I try to decorate my cakes while the wee ones are asleep.  It's hard on them to see all this cake and yet not be able to eat it.  It's hard on me too!  This time around I was decorating them with everyone around.  It made for an interesting adventure.   These are sweet days in more ways than one. 


one month later

The de-cluttering is done, rooms are re-arranged, one grandma is moved in, 3 parties are completed and all excess items in our home have either moved onto a new home, good will or are packed and ready for a future move.  How's that for progress? 



Did you notice I just slipped the "future move" part in? Yes, I think it is time for another (local) relocation. Our home has been wonderful, but with the addition of my mum moving in, it won't take long before we need a bit more elbow room. The prospects of home buying right now are pretty crazy. Homes have doubled in price since we purchased ours 5 years back. The buying market is "hot" which means if you are looking for a home you better have no strings attached to the one you are in. Sales need to be clean and with no conditions. It is better to have sold your own home first. Scary prospect for a family of 4 kids, 2 parents, 1 grandma, a dog & fish.  I think that is why we are avoiding the actual listing of our home until next spring.  I feel a bit freaked by it all and need the winter to process. For now we will enjoy the time left in our quaint little home. 


Sometimes I get a bit misty eyed when I think about leaving this little gem behind. But I know that it is the people inside the structure that make it a home and not the walls. Still, we have spent so much time beautifying the walls and making it what we want it to be. It truly has become a "character home". In the early days when we found her, her beauty was hidden behind a white exterior and outdated painting. And so began our 5 year journey of metamorphosis - re-done stucco, roofing, driveways, painting both inside and out, landscaping, a basement renovation and so much more.

When I look back on these photos I wonder if I have it in me to make another house my home. A place where my family will be comfortable to grow & live life.  A place to call our own. I feel a bit afraid of it all but am determined to go forward. Life doesn't work when we stand still too long. We either move along (with life) or get left behind. I see this so very evident in my children. Yesterday we celebrated three birthdays. My twin girlies turned 3 back in September but we were having such a difficult time  scheduling their birthday parties. Before we knew it October had crept up on us. In the end we decided to combine the girl's party with my son's party, his birthday is towards the end of October and it seemed a bit ridiculous to do two parties one or two weeks apart. Everyone was fine with the plan and so party we did yesterday. Snow white & Belle even showed up in the form of Miss J & Miss A.

And my son J, what can I tell you about my son? He is now 10 years old and we are so far away from those younger years. That is what I mean about going forward. I am constantly adjusting my parenting to meet the needs of my ever aging family. These days J is a wonderfully creative boy who longs for a listening ear. Not such an easy task for a mum who hands are always busy. But I am learning and I am grateful that he is teaching me to develop other aspects of myself. I'm determined not to be left behind.  Not even in my parenting & definitely not in any life adventures, even if it means a hectic move may be on the horizon.

Well, I didn't mean to ramble on here, but I did and so I think I will just leave it instead of pressing the delete button.  I'll be back on a regular basis now, thanks for your patience and for reading.  xoxo. 


fall frolicking

A bit of frolicking in the leaves last week was on the menu.

The boys had their neighborhood friend over for a bit of rambunctious leaf playing. One should not attempt to play in the leaves when one has big hair like my dear son J. 


Fall is 'very' here as you can see. We have mountains of trees in our neighborhood and so many of them are Oaks which reluctantly give up their leaves. That's okay though, we usually spend our time making leaf piles for the kids to jump into until the last moment when we quickly bag them for compost or other creative adventures. More on that later.

Our birthday party plans for the girls didn't work out over the weekend. My hubby was feeling ill so another postponement was necessary. We are giving it another whirl this weekend and are combining J's party with it, as his birthday is right around the corner. I'll be busy making cakes towards the end of the week and knitting socks with these balls of this wool that are sitting around really needing to be used up. (I never did knit what I originally purchased the wool for.)  All for now :)


oh my...

I am so missing my blog time right now.  It represents so many things for me.  It is a quiet place in a home full of voices & activity.  It is a glimpse into my day.  It is record of the things I create & enjoy.  It is a place of lightness where the real work of life seems far away.

It has been a grueling 3 weeks of re-ordering the inside of my home and it has been worth it. I even spontaneously painted the laundry room to brighten it up; washed the windows, hung curtains, it looks so much better. I suspect that everything will be done in the next day or two. Just in time to get ready for (one month late) Miss A & Miss J's 3rd birthday celebration.  Where has the time gone? I still remember the days when my wee girls could lay side by side in a bouncy seat.

I'll be back early next week for some regular blogging & crafting, as well as birthday photos, me hopes. Thanks for your patience.  xoxo 

Blog Archive