Monday, April 25, 2011

Sping has Sprung

Hi, this is Laura. I'm blog-jacking mom's blog.

Today I went outside and took a bunch of spring pictures.

(this is mom's favorite)



and MORE tulips!

This is Bugsy. Bugsy says "hi".

(also mom's favourite)

Can you guess what this is?

If you said a pussy willow (or a true sign of spring) you are correct!

Good bye and I hope you you had a good Easter weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2011

This is My Father's World

Last weekend was Laura's final spring concert.

Part of it was dedicated to songs about God's creation. A typical theme in the spring when (normally) we would be seeing new life emerging in our gardens, spring lambs and calves. Or in the miracle of Christ's resurrection on Easter.

But this song was amazing. I listened to them sing it through about three times and then just quietly said "wow". As did my friend in the pew behind me.

I totally forgot to record it, so this is a quickly done version by Beth and I (on the familiar tune) and Laura reciting the portion entitled "What Have We Done?"

This is My Father's World (What Have We Done?)

It was more effective done by the children's choir, but maybe you can hear the social message there. It's not subtle.

We're going to miss the choir director. She's decided not to continue with the choir and even though there may be a replacement, it cannot be the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy Granola

One of the things I love about staying home is that I can get a fair bit done without stressing about any of it or planning it.

Have you heard the alzheimer joke that's been going around the internet for years? I can't remember it exactly, but basically a woman starts off with one task in mind. Let's say it's taking out the garbage. While reaching for the garbage bag, she sees that the bin needs cleaning, so she reaches under the sink for the cleanser, and notices that she's almost out of bags. She goes to the basement to get new bags from her storage room and passes her laundry room. She remembers that her husband was almost out of clean socks so she goes back upstairs to get the dirty laundry basket.... And so on and so on. By the end of the day she hasn't taken out the garbage (her original task) but she's too tired to do it and goes to bed.

That's how my days can go sometimes, and it's totally okay.

While looking in the fridge for something for breakfast, I noticed two things - an overabundance of eggs and two almost empty pickle jars. So instead of making breakfast, I started some eggs boiling. The girls could have used something extra in their lunch today, but it will have to be tomorrow's lunch.

While they were boiling, I continued to think about breakfast. This morning I didn't feel like having oatmeal and we were out of granola. I decided to make some before I ate.
Having laid out all of the "extra" ingredients, it looked very much like what Alice calls the "Power Snack Pack". I put extra on the cutting board and divided it into two piles. Half got put into a jar and I added a handful of chocolate chips and some Cheerios. Power Snack Pack done and ready for lunches.
I added oats, vanilla and honey to the rest and fried it up for granola. I used two frying pans and had it all done in about 10 minutes.

Sometimes I add an egg and some extra honey to a couple of cups of the final granola and further bake them, turning them into granola bars. Beth gives hers away usually, to a friend who says "Oh-my-gosh-is-that-your-Mom's-homemade-granola-bar?!" because she's nice that way. I pack two for her in her lunch so that she can share. Today I didn't do that though. Remember, I still hadn't had breakfast.

Remember the eggs? They had finished boiling, so I peeled them and put them in the two almost empty pickle jars. However, there wasn't quite room so I removed a couple of pickles. Now I had two small jars of pickled eggs, but some pickles on the counter and two eggs that really didn't fit in the jars.

Hmmm, there were some leftover roasted potatoes and mayo in the fridge. I quickly diced the pickles, potatoes and eggs, added mayo and salt and now I had some potato salad ready for dinner.

Finally I had my breakfast (with some peaches that were already out since packing the girls' lunches), but I'd also made snacks, granola, pickled eggs and potato salad. Not bad production and done by 9:30.

Now I had egg shells that needed to be scattered for the ladies and since it's windy, maybe a load of laundry.

I love it when I allow myself to do what feels right rather than dealing with my list of things. It's much less stressful when it just falls into place and is no less productive really. It feels jarring sometimes to go from one item to another on a list without a natural progression.

Unfortunately, I do have taxes to do and that never fits into my day without forcing it to. Pooh.

Oh, do you want the granola recipe? It comes from Julie Van Rosendaal's book, Grazing, but I altered it a bit.

6 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts or seeds

1/4 tsp salt pinch of cinnamon

1 cup dried fruits (I just guess the amounts)

1 cup honey (I just guess that too because I hate making the cup all sticky)

1 tsp vanilla

Toast it in a dry frying pan for about three minutes on medium, stirring all the time. Done. It's pretty easy and quick if you're not sidetracked by eggs, potatoes, pickles, etc.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Things on my mind and in my camera

It's Random Friday. Did you not know that? I just thought of it while I sit here watching TV on this fine sunny morning. My kids are on Breakfast TV this morning. I wonder who watches tv at 8:30 in the morning?

See? That was random, right? This randomness is mostly inspired by Blogger in Draft, which isn't allowing me to move my pictures around in a logical order. You can think of this post as a coffee break with me. It's approximately how my brain is organized and how the babble might actually emerge.

The snow is melting. Although it seems slow, there is a lot of water lying around so it is definitely happening. The sodden boots, socks and pants are also at an all-time high in this house. I mean, why bother having a puddle if you can't step or splash in it?

I have enough wood to make a proper cold frame, but inspired by a note from last year stating that I'd planted spinach and lettuce on April 7, I thought I'd attempt the same yesterday with this makeshift coldframe. Although not proper (I've never seen a plan involving a plastic shovel), it did get warm under there yesterday. One day I'll do it properly.

Beth stuck this label on her deodorant.

I'm going to have to make her some baking soda/corn starch deodorant. No one should spread "stick o' chemicals" on their body. I didn't think she still had this or used it.

These are the last of my shallots from the garden. Once I moved them out of the cold storage and into a warmer spot, they kept well. They were pathetic and small, but I'm going to plant a lot more this year and hope they do better. I would have used them faster, but there were so tiny and hard to peel the thin papery stuff off. Tasted good, but were a bit of a pain.

The lilacs recognize that spring is coming, but...

...the rest of the yard still has about 2 feet of snow.

Yesterday was "Wacky Hair Day". Perhaps it looks more like "Wacky Face Day". I should have left the tin foil in her hair because the Koolaid dye didn't take.

Last night's supper was fabulous!! The best stuffing I've ever made with sausage and cranberries (inspired by a loaf of very dry bread and a container of cranberries that fell out of the freezer). The squash was also amazing and I hope I get some in the garden this year. The girls ate one Delicata Squash that successfully survived the winter in the cold storage. It wasn't as good as this acorn squash though.

This is the fourth load of laundry on the line this week. It takes 24 hours to dry right now, but I've just started to hang them outside again. No more frozen fingers!

No more pictures, but we've got a lovely, sweet mouse visiting in the house this week. I'm hoping it's a short visit because I was totally grossed out by the idea of them being in my pantry earlier this year. I'm armed with a lot of glass jars for storage now, but I've gotten lax about always using them since they moved out.

I totally forgot my camera when I did my stint with the symphony a couple of weeks ago, but I must tell you that it was a great experience. I wanted to get a shot of the orchestra from behind. It was interesting to see the orchestra up close. Non-fitting tuxes, wrinkly tuxes that the audience wouldn't notice, non-shiny loved french horns. It was interesting to me that they aren't as perfect and lovely up close as it looks from the audience's perspective. That could have dimmed the experience maybe, but I like to be reminded that the musicians are just people like me. And then they play and they are not at all like me. Awesome!

I felt like the country mouse visiting the city though, surrounded by people who were not awed by the presence of talented musicians in a lovely space. I had to quickly make a black jacket because I didn't own anything that covered my pasty white arms. From the front row diva, "A long black outfit is a must for a chorister - don't you own a black jacket or long skirt?" I'm not really a chorister. I just play one on tv. Surely she knew that. In spite of the divas, I'd do the whole thing again, but I don't have time to do it more than once a year.

Last Saturday Rosa and I spent the day at a Permaculture workshop. Although lacking a bit in the practical experience of preserving and gardening, the instructor was a very good teacher. Members of the Permaculture Edmonton group joined us for a potluck dinner and a permaculture video at night. I came home with new inspiration to grow food for my family and work smarter instead of working harder. I've since finally joined my two front rain barrel and bought wood to make potato bins for on my unused sunny driveway.

Well, it's time to go and get on with my day. Breakfast TV is over and I heard my kids sing on screen. Now I have to figure out how to stop the VCR and play it back to them when they get home.

Have a great weekend!