Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grapefruit Curd

I tried my hand at grapefruit curd. I wanted to see what it was like. Usually Little Jamey and I love grapefruit while Arthur and Big Jamey can't stand it. I thought that since we all are nuts for lemon curd, that there is a good chance that this might be a winner.

I used this recipe which uses up a lot of eggs. I'm in luck - I just happen to have a lot of eggs! But, for the most part it only needed the yolks. What to do with all those egg about an angel food cake to test the curd out on.

The results? Mixed. Big Jamey loved it, Arthur thought it was okay, but prefers lemon curd. Little Jamey wouldn't try it as he is an angle cake purist. And me, I didn't care for it. I guess I will stick to fresh grapefruit and leave the curd for James to devour.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pictures with Santa

This weekend we went to get pictures with Santa taken. The boys were lucky duckies in having their very own dad as the photographer. And he did a great job capturing their cuteness!

Jamey asked Santa for farm supplies and Arthur asked for more Bakugan. Mrs. Claus gave them each a candy cane after their visit to complete the event.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

living is a bit different here

Ever since the rainy weather started it has been nearly impossible to convince the boys to play outside. On Thursday, much to my surprise, they got fired-up about farming. Suddenly they yearned to become one with the land. Jamey had spent some time reading up on permaculture and visions of utopic and bountiful harmony with the land filled his head. Soon he had infected Arthur with a fever for farming. So with warm clothes donned and shovels over shoulders they sallied forth to bust some sod.

They must have been out for an hour, just getting warmed up, when I received a call. A cougar was seen ambling along Cedar Ridge Road. The neighbors are providing car-rides to every child to and from the bus stops. Everyone is keeping their children inside today.

"Boys!! Time to come in!!"

Dutiful, but sullen, their momentum interrupted, they trudged up the hill.
"Why did you make us come in? We were having so much fun!"

Such are the cruel twists of fate. Just when the boys spontaneously engage in an activity near-and-dear to my heart, it is tragically I who must call an end to it.

If we had a Great Pyrenees this would not be a problem. Hmmmm.

BTW: A big thanks to James for helping me with this post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

simple winter decoration

I absolutely love rose hips for decorating. I got a bunch of them from the Ladybug Bazaar this year and put them on our dining table. They start out fresh and plump and as the winter goes on they begin to dry and shrivel. Through this entire process they manage to still look beautiful. I find myself leaning more and more towards natural holiday decorations - a crisp evergreen wreath with holly, a bowl of pine cones, dried orange slices, colorful dried leaves, and such.

What winter decorations do you like to use?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

daffodils en mass

The annual fall sale at the grange occurred this past Saturday while James and I were away. Knowing that they always have the best prices on flowers, I asked my mom to pick me up daffodil bulbs. I have a plan on eventually looping our island with them and got started on this last year. Mom was able to get me some bulbs. Lots of bulbs, in fact! She got me 5 paper bags full of them.

I was very anxious to get these in the ground before it got even colder outside. With the enthusiastic help of the boys (bless their hearts), we cut through sod, mulched and planted every last bulb. We were wet, muddy, and very tired but also proud of our accomplishment.

With that task behind us we headed in for showers and a cup of hot tea for me and cocoa for the kids. I sit down and check my emails and find I have an email about - daffodil bulbs. Apparently there were left over bulbs from the sale and they saved them for me. A total of seven more bags.

Round two coming up!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On vacation

Tomorrow James and I head to Las Vegas to see Leonard Cohen. It is our first vacation without the kids beyond a weekend. We are excited, the kids are excited, and I think we all need this break in routine to reset ourselves.

I won't be posting until next week when we settle back into our daily schedules. See you then!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quick bird feeder

Today we made a simple bird feeder for our feathered friends. We started with a clean, empty soda bottle and then used a knife to cut holes in our bottle. We made the holes bigger where the fat end of the spoon sticks out so the bird seed can fall onto the spoon for the birds to eat.
After the spoons were in place, bird seed was poured into the bottle with the help of a funnel and an extra pair of hands.

The cap was put on and I punched a hole through a plastic plate and pulled the string through the top for hanging. The plate will act as a roof to keep rain from collecting on the spoon heads and seeping into the bottle.
Now it is ready to be hung on the tree out the living room window for easy bird watching. We can't wait for them to find their new restaurant.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

pumpkin butter

Today I tried my hand at pumpkin butter. I used the recipe from my copy of Blue Ribbon Preserves, which is a most excellent book. This butter is spicy and sweet with brown sugar goodness. I think it will be great on so many things - oatmeal, breads, ice-cream, parfaits, smoothies, etc.
Just when I think I'm done canning for the year and am safe to put my canning equipment away in the loft, recipes like this come along and must be tried.

Coming up in canning world - grapefruit curd!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

high fashion

Jamey sets the trend for fall outdoor fashion.

Friday, November 6, 2009

got eggs?

These are the eggs collected this morning and freshly washed. The ladies are starting to really produce and with 13 hens, this is about what I am getting daily. I have been serving eggs every which way I can think of and baking like a mad woman. Now, I believe it is time to start selling them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

my little quilter

Jamey decided that he wanted to learn to sew this week. You could have bowled me over when he made his announcement. After a discussion on what he wanted to sew and what are good beginner projects he chose to make a quilt for his beloved Bitum Bear.

Jamey wanted to do it all himself, and he really impressed me with actually being able to do most of it alone.

He went through my stash of fabrics and picked out the ones he wanted to use and proceeded to cut them into squares.

Somewhat randomly picking squares, Jamey began to sew them together. He really liked my 1/4 inch foot with a bar which helps keep straight and accurate lines.

Here Jamey is showing the completed top. He was so eager that he managed to get to this point in one day. I was amazed with the way he stuck to it!

Day 2:

After sandwiching the layers together, Jamey began tying the quilt. He said that he prefers the sewing parts, but he stuck it out and got the blanket all tied together.

We worked together on the binding as I felt it was too tricky to have him do by himself. And voila - the quilt is done.

The final test was how it looked on Bitum. It looked very nice and Jamey let me know how pleased Bitum was with his new quilt.

Jamey was so tickled with himself, and rightly so in my opinion. He is now asking me to take him to a fabric store so we can get more fabrics for more quilts. My son wants to go fabric shopping? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

log cabin squares

The quilt group is making a log cabin baby quilt together. Each of us needs to make 7 squares out of scraps and then we will assemble all of the squares together. I can't wait to see how everyone's blocks turn out. Here are the seven I made below. I used mainly reproduction prints from 1930s fabrics. They turned out so cute, that I am now thinking I might have to make myself a log cabin quilt!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Booing Update

I've been asked a few times now about how booing went so I thought I'd post an update.

The boys had the their treat bags all made up and put in the car for the great boo event. We waited until after supper when it was dark enough to not be seen easily and we were off! James drove us all around and when we got to the people's driveways, he would turn off the lights so we would not be detected as we coasted toward the house. The boys took turns hopping out of the car and running a bag of goodies to the house and then running back and off we went to the next house.

Sounds easy right? Yeah, well theory and reality are sometimes not in sync. We get to the first house and Jamey hops out to boo it. They have a nice, but loud dog that barks continuously as Jamey tries to hang the boo bag on the door. This prompted the father to come to the door followed by three kids to see what the fuss was about before Jamey can make it back to the car. We explained what we were doing and the kids were delighted and we got thanked very nicely. Not too bad - we got caught, but it was still fun.

Second house - they have a dog, but we know the dog and he is both nice and not a barker. We think Arthur will have this one in the bag. We did not account for the pet goose. Arthur runs up the porch stairs and there by the door, stands a goose. Arthur stops, thinks about it and decides to go forth anyway because it is just a goose, after all. As he tries to leave the treat bag, the goose bites him! Poor Arthur comes crying back to the car boo bag in hand. After calming him down, James gets out and hucks the boo bag past the goose onto the doorstep, and we are off.

Third house - now these people have a shepard that has bitten big Jamey before, so this led to a discussion about whether we should skip it or not. As this was Jamey's best friend and he really really wanted to boo him, we went ahead. It is decided that big Jamey will brave this one. We feel pretty confident because the dog usually goes in at night. So, James leaves the bag and as he is walking back to the car, the dog slinks out from nowhere (did I mention the dog is black?) and James barely gets into the car in time. We drive away with the dog trying to bite our tires.

After such a rocky start, the rest of the night is smooth sailing. No more dogs or geese to fend off. Arthur recovered from his trauma and ended up having as much fun as Jamey booing the other houses.

We did learn a few things:
1) skip booing people who have loud dogs, mean dogs, or geese (even if they are at your best friend's house)
2) as much as the kids liked it being a surprise, write who it is from. We ended up causing some folks to worry about the safety of the candy when they weren't sure where it came from. Of course, we also had some people eat all the candy before calling us and asking if we were the ones that booed them!

Overall, it was a great time and I'm glad we did it. The kids loved the sneaking of candy onto doorsteps and were jabbering away about it all week after doing it. They sure were proud of their hard work and they were delighted with the fact they got to surprise others and make them happy. And yep, I think we will try this out again next year.