Monday, February 26, 2007

i simply remember...

my favourite things! I baked and cooked up a small storm on the weekend (frittata, blueberry muffins, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, baked beans), and kept thinking about how much I love my pantry. Our house is 120 (ish) years old, and the pantry is definitely one of my favourite features. Especially when it's sunny and I'm working away in there. The drawer pulls are très old and lovely, and the jars on the counter contain most of the standard baking goods - whole wheat and white flours, Speerville Mills oats, bran, etc. They're very handy, and I like how they look, lined up and ready for action. And the storage space is wonderful!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

25 weeks

Here's my 25 week belly picture - I'm certainly getting bigger all of the time! I had a clinic appointment on Wednesday, and got to hear a very wiggly baby's heartbeat again, which still amazes me. 141 beats per minute. Adam had to work, so this was the first baby-related appointment he's missed. Baby G now weighs approximately 1.5 pounds, and is 13.5 inches long. H/she kicks a lot in the evening, especially when I'm going to sleep, and also when I wake up. It's really neat - kicks and movements feel like muscle twitches. I'm getting very eager to meet this little one 'in person'. At prenatal class last week, we talked about the possible interventions which may be necessary during delivery (c-section, forceps, vacuum extraction, etc.) and watched video clips of them. I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed by it all and had a hormone-y (translation: teary) evening, thinking about the (remote) possibility that I would have to be apart from baby G and Adam right after birth, blah blah blah. Thankfully, those moments are very few and far between, and I'm usually back to my old self pretty quickly. Adam didn't get much sympathy for his nosebleed that evening, though, which I still feel a little bad about. (Although, I must say - blood and guts and needles and such can make me feel queasy pretty often, but seeing nosebleeds has never bothered me. Kids would get them in schools and at camp frequently, and it was simply not a big deal. Probably because there's no pain involved. Anyway...)

I try to remember what I thought about how parents think and feel about their children before being pregnant, and find it difficult. Maybe it's all of the hormones, but I realize that most parents probably feel the same way about their children as I do about this baby - that h/she is pretty much the only baby who has ever been born. I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how we can be the best parents possible, and how to care for, raise and teach this child how to get along in the world. And I can't imagine how our lives are going to change, but in a good way rather than a scary one. At the same time as I love this baby ridiculously much, I don't want to become someone who can only carry on a conversation if it has to do with my child. I imagine it's tricky, especially while staying at home to look after the baby (since your world revolves around this little one's itinerary for the first while). But I really, really, really want to be able to hold a conversation about other things without feeling the need to turn the conversation back to me and what the baby's up to. I think that part of that is probably me wanting other people to see me as more than someone who can reproduce, but I also imagine that it will be a defense mechanism to keep myself sane. And who knows, everything might just work out beautifully and in a lovely balanced way and I won't even have to think about these things after baby G arrives. Like most things, we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

ahhhh, Saturday

It's been a few days... I guess that's what happens when you don't have so many snow days to fill up with blogging! Adam and I just got back from a lovely little hike on a local trail - a perfect Saturday morning. I was given these terrific boxes from a teacher I work with - she had them filled with all sorts of sweet things for baby G from Frenchy's! She knows the way to my heart! I don't have specific plans for the boxes yet, but I know they will be put to good use.

Kind of a funny story about the coffee beans: Since I've been pregnant, my senses of smell and taste have been incredibly more sensitive than usual. Which is great when I'm smelling or eating something wonderful, because it's all the better. Something unpleasant, however, is an entirely different matter. On the positive side of things, I was cleaning the pantry last week and found these Java Moose mocha coffee beans. I gave them a sniff, and nearly fell over, they smelled SO good. (Note: I don't drink coffee at the best of times, because I can't stand the taste. But I've always liked the smell.) So that I could enjoy the smell more often, I put a few in a little jar on the kitchen windowsill. Every time I go by, I give them a deep breath in, and it makes everything wonderful. To be completely forthright, I also took a few beans to my office. Adam thinks this is funny.
Other Saturday morning goodness - smoothies! When I have the time and the goods, I love to make a smoothie in the morning. And it really doesn't take much of either time or goods, so it happens pretty frequently.

Loose guidelines for a delicious smoothie, open to as many modifications and adaptations as desired:

Toss into blender:
yogurt (my favourite is Activia vanilla for smoothies)
whatever other fruit is desired (I have kiwi and lots of blueberries in this one)
something sweet (honey or maple syrup)
ground flax seed for those omega-3's
a bit of milk to thin for good blending (especially important when using frozen chunky fruit)

Blend until smooth and serve as soon as possible. Extra smoothie will keep in the fridge for most of a day, but it's just not quite as good after it's been in the fridge for awhile.
I came across Alicia Paulson's blog featuring Audrey the dog (amongst other crafty wonderful-ness) a couple of weeks ago, and saw that her home is featured in the March edition of Romantic Homes. After looking at some of the images, I thought "Oh, I'd love to get my hands on a copy" but thought that it might be hard to come across here in Yarmouth. To my great and pleasant surprise, when Adam and I were on our weekly Globe and Mail expedition this morning, they had one copy left at Toots! Yay, some last-weekend-in-February reading! And might I also point out that daylight savings time changes in two weeks? Hallelujah!
In other house-y things, the avocado plant hasn't sprouted yet, but apparently you're supposed to wait 8 weeks before giving up hope. It's been less than 2, so maybe I'm just a little impatient. I brought in some quince branches for forcing yesterday, and I love how they look even without blooms. And that mug is one of my favourite little things I've ever found at Frenchy's. I'm going to try some honeysuckle vines, too, which I've never done before. My hyacinth in the cupboard is making slow and steady progress - I'll post pictures if it ever blooms!

Monday, February 19, 2007

a sling, a sling, a wonderful thing

Here's my project of the day - a sling for baby G and me! The top picture is the cut material, pinned and ready for the first stitching, and I'm wearing the completed sling in the bottom picture (it's stuffed with a rolled up piece of material to simulate baby G, and should fit a bit better after the baby's born and my belly's a little smaller). The material I used was once a tab-top curtain from (take a wild guess!) Frenchy's, which I made into a shower curtain. When I found the new Martha Stewart shower curtain at Frenchy's, I decided that this one would be great sling material. It's thick cotton, in a nice neutral colour. I found the pattern for the sling here and it couldn't be much easier to make. I'm going to make one for Adam soon. Because this particular one is a pouch sling and isn't adjustable, the one pictured is made to fit me. And since Adam is over a foot taller than me, he definitely needs his own! Although it isn't adjustable for the adult, it can be worn in a variety of ways to accommodate a growing baby.
Edit: I just found a video clip illustrating the proper way to fold and put on the sling, which isn't quite what you see in the picture! We'll get it down before baby arrives!

perfect storm day lunch

I was inspired with warm pancake-y thoughts last week when I saw a clip on Living East of a place called Sugar Moon Farm here in Nova Scotia. It had the most cozy log pancake house and the coolest gravity fed syrup system I've ever seen. It's a year-round, family-run place, and definitely on our list of places to visit, hopefully in the near future. I've been thinking about it ever since, so today for lunch I made the most incredible buckwheat pancakes with this amazing wild blueberry syrup from Granite Town Farms in New Brunswick. Delicious! Any extra pancakes can be frozen between layers of wax paper (wax paper is compostable, you know) and popped in the toaster when you're hungry for them again!

snowy snow day #8

I think it's number 8. I'd have to check my agenda to make sure. They said on the radio this morning that about 20cm of snow fell overnight, making for this winter wonderland. This is exactly what I saw when I sat up in bed this morning. I love how our bedroom window looks out over the garden, especially in the summer when the window's open and the birds are singing.
This is one of my favourite trees in our yard; It's set up for my hammock swing to hang from one of its branches, right in the middle of the summer jungle which we call a garden.
It's crazy how the snow piled up overnight on the rose bushes and the fencing (the roads were clear and most of the snow had melted from the lawns when we went to bed) and especially strange that there was no wind. Even since I snapped these half an hour ago, the wind has picked up and it's pretty wild outside.
Our back step, somewhere in there!

So, I have another snow day to fill. I would definitely like to sew something; I have enough of the sandwich wrap material left to make one more of those, and maybe I'll find a pouch sling pattern that doesn't look too difficult. I'll definitely post pictures if I get it started! Happy snow day!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

craft of the day: sandwich wrap

This past week, I came across what someone had written about her efforts to make her home more environmentally conscious, (I have no idea where it was) and she wrote that her family wanted to stop using disposable sandwich baggies. She found a place on-line to purchase reusable, washable, sandwich wrappers. I had a peek at them and thought "I could totally make that with minimal effort!" So I picked up a couple little scraps of suitable material at Frenchy's yesterday (they were in the form of little flimsy totes - the red one is vinyl to catch mustard drips and the other one is a mystery material), washed them, and whipped this up today. It took all of 20 minutes, 30 tops. I measured our bread (we make all of our bread in the bread machine, so it's not your conventional size), cut the material, pinned and sewed, and stitched on the velcro strips after figuring out how it would fold. Now Adam won't have to wrap his sandwiches in plastic wrap, yay!

delightful duvet & green garden dreams

A much better pic of the colour of the duvet I picked up at Frenchy's yesterday. It's all washed and dried and on the bed to replace the germy one (also wrinkly because I hate ironing). Adam was in bed, so I couldn't get a whole bed picture.

Last night I dreamed that it was spring and I was out for a long walk and saw all sorts of interesting things. I walked through a ditch filled with dollar store cutlery, stomped out a fire someone had started with pieces of a ladder, and saw a Japanese Cherry tree in bloom! I think I'll do some garden planning with Adam today, after a real walk, where I hopefully won't see any of those things. And I'm hoping to get a simple crafty project done - I'll post as soon as it's done! (I promise, the ridiculous number of posts per day will diminish once snow days cease!) I'm really excited about this one!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

linens 'n things...

...from Frenchy's, where else? Here are the treasures I found this morning. I was so excited I took pictures in the bright dining room (the sun is out, hooray!) before washing them. Item #1 is a beautiful duvet cover and giant sham. Because the room was so bright, the colours didn't really turn out quite right. It's a lovely lavender-y purply kind of colour in real life. A nice colour, not even a hint of garish-y purple.
Item #2 is a brand new Martha Stewart shower curtain! The top half is the cream colour you see on the left with the grommet, the bottom half is two horizontal strips of a beautiful green in the middle and mocha on the bottom. I'm particularly happy about this one, because it means we can use just this without a liner. Liners generally produce all sorts of nasty things in their production and eventually need to be thrown away (even after using them as drop cloths) so it will be nice to just have this one to throw in the wash when it gets grimy.
Item #3 is an oh-so-cute Gap tank top which was in the maternity bin, even though it's not a maternity top.
And item #4 is a pair of very good condition Adidas sport sandals, which are extremely comfortable. And green! And a couple other things will wait to be posted until I've worked my crafty magic on them.

24 weeks

Adam took this pic from his invalid position on the bed this morning. 24 weeks, wow! According to, it's the end of my second trimester! It's really hard to believe. Baby G weighs about 1.3 pounds (600 grams) and is about 12 inches (30 cm) tall. And one very nice thing I've noticed is no stretch marks yet! Unless I just can't see them, with this belly in the way!

I went and looked at a stroller this morning, which I liked a lot. Not too giant (VERY important to me!), the wheels will handle rocks and roots, it's well proportioned, etc. The only thing is that because a part of the display one was broken, it wouldn't collapse entirely. Also, I didn't get to lift on it to see how heavy it is, which is another important factor. I'll take Adam with me to have a look-see next week. Yay, baby G - keep on growing!

Friday, February 16, 2007

mean, green, cleaning machine!

As I was boiling the bathroom and house today, (Adam made it from the bathroom floor to the bed and he's been resting there all day) I thought I would post about the natural cleaners I use and am happy with. I don't use all of these every time I clean; I often stick to just baking soda and vinegar. Most commercial cleaners I use are Nature Clean brand. That's because they are some of the lowest cost natural cleaners, they don't use any more ingredients than needed, they're a Canadian company, and they work! (And they're not paying me!) They also have a wide array of products which are difficult to find in an environmentally friendlier form, such as drain cleaner and bleach. I get them at the local health food store, Yarmouth Natural, or at the Superstore. Picture #1 is my bathroom arsenal, which is usually stored in a clementine crate under the bathroom sink. Left to right, back to front:
- 5% peroxide bleach (it's Nature Clean brand, decanted into a spray bottle)
- Kitchen and Bathroom Spray Cleaner (I use on counters, sinks, for spot-cleaning spills, etc.)
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Drain Cleaner (enzyme type)
- Household Disinfectant (Thyme oil base - this was a new addition today. You mist it on lightly and leave it there, no need to rinse or wipe off. It smells like thyme, and many surfaces in our house were well doused today)
- Tub & Tile Cream Cleanser (I usually use baking soda and vinegar in the tub, but this smells like almond extract (yum!) and it works very well)
- baking soda in a shaker I found at Frenchy's (I like the President's Choice Green baking soda because it doesn't seem to clump like some other kinds, which means that it shakes easily from my handy dandy shaker)
- vinegar decanted into a spray bottle, perfect for misting over sprinkled baking soda for some fun fizz!

This is the dish liquid I love. Made by Down East (Dartmouth, NS - couldn't find a web site) it has no scent, lathers up beautifully and does a great job on the dishes.

And laundry - my favourite! The funny looking blue thing is one of two dryer balls Adam picked up yesterday. We have been using Natura Dryer Cloths from Home Hardware for a long time, and they're finally starting to wear out. I saw these dryer balls advertised at Zellers, and thought that they looked like they were worth trying out. I used them today, and at first, I thought I was going to have to throw them to the neighbour's dog. The noise! Oh, the noise noise noise noise noise! But as the dryer warmed up the balls, they got softer and made much less noise. And clothes and towels seem nice and fluffy and static-free, so I'm a happy camper. There are two balls in a package which bounce around in the dryer with your clothes. No chemicals, no waste. I like it! And my favourite laundry detergent is also made by Down East. It sits with the clothespins on the shelf above our washer. The giant bottle, which washes 64 loads, costs about 12.00, if I remember correctly. It rinses out well, is safe for baby clothes and sensitive skin, has no scent, and doesn't fade dark colours. Thumbs up!


I found these two packages of napkins at the dollar store last evening and fell in love with them! We don't usually use paper napkins for eating (or any napkins at all, for that matter) because they seem kind of wasteful. I was really pleased to see that these ones are made with water-based inks and are oxygen bleached (rather than with chlorinated bleach, the production of which releases tons of dioxins into the world). So instead of using them for traditional napkin-y pursuits, I thought that there must be some neat craft-y thing I can create with them, just because I like the patterns so much. Any suggestions?

4.5 day weekend

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with anything relevant to today. It's the tail of an unfortunately dead whale which we went out on my dad's boat to see in August. I just needed to see some sparkly sun and remember what a beautiful summer day is like. That day was absolutely stunning, with a warm, perfect breeze, totally unlike today.

It's another snow day. I know, I know, it's getting a bit repetitive. I'm a little bit antsy already, and it's only 8:54am. Maybe I'll have a chance to work on some crafty things or get some reading done. But perhaps I'm antsy because...

Adam is sick this morning, and I want desperately to avoid his germs but still take care of him. He's actually sleeping on the bathroom floor right now. I must have washed my hands at least a dozen times since getting up at 5 (because of the sickness, not because I'm a keener or anything.) What I really want to do is open all of the windows and wash everything. But since it's well below freezing and is very blizzard-y, I don't think the window part will take place (maybe just a little bit for a minute in the bedroom). The washing part DEFINITELY will take place, and will begin the second Adam's up off the floor.

Those of you who crossed your fingers for snow days: it seems to have worked nicely. Now, if you wouldn't mind crossing fingers that Adam will get better and I'll avoid getting sick, that would be great!

By the way, I'm 24 weeks pregnant today. My apologies for the lack of belly pics lately; I don't think Adam will have anything ready today. Hopefully we'll get some new ones taken this weekend, and get them up and viewable!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

tour, dreams, and another snow day!

We had our tour of the labour and delivery wing of the hospital last night! It was very nice to be able to have a concrete mental picture of exactly what to expect when baby G arrives. I think we both felt more excited and more prepared afterward.

I dreamed last night that baby G had arrived, and it was a boy! My dream began at Frenchy's with a friend of mine, and we were looking at a Snugli. Then all of a sudden, the baby was in my arms. Then I started to realize that he had just been born, and I had given Adam carte blanche to name him, and Adam called him Stuart. He was very cute, but I also realized that he was less than 24 hours old, and I had him with me, out in public at Frenchy's. Also, I realized that at the hospital, they hadn't told me how much he weighed when he was born, they hadn't shown me how to change his diaper, or anything else I needed to know. This was because there were too many people in the hospital, so they just shipped me out as soon as I had given birth to him. I asked a lady who worked at Frenchy's if she had any diapers I could use (I didn't have a diaper bag or any diapers with me) and the diapers that baby G needed (according to the hospital people) were actually rubber bands. Pretty absorbent, eh? Strange dreams! I think I dreamed about them sending me home so quickly last night because the hospital is full, and they're using beds everywhere. So we were warned that we might be in a room with an elderly pneumonia patient when we're there to have our babies. They also said that May / June are much less likely than February to be months when there are lots of people there with infections and so forth. Anyway, I thought that was quite the dream!

And lastly, it's another snow day! I'm losing count... I think this is number 6. I dropped Adam off at work, picked up some much-needed groceries, and just finished cleaning up the pantry shelves. So many things get done when I'm not at work! I'm hoping to complete something crafty this afternoon. A crafty nap, perhaps?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I've given at least one label to every post here at Frenchy's Finds (phew!) to make it easier to find specific posts. For example, if you remembered seeing a recipe for Queen Elizabeth Cake here, but couldn't remember what it was called and wondered where it might be, you can click on the 'food' link under labels (bottom far right) and all posts with food in them will appear. Magic! I realize there are many posts labelled 'miscellaneous'; for things which might be in those posts, it may be easiest to use the search bar. And if you come across a post which could be better categorized (I did this in a bit of a hurry and may have overlooked some things) just let me know and I will happily make them easier to find.

happy valentine's day!

In honour of Valentine's day, here's a post about my Valentine's photography. Adam is going to be featured in Photosho, a Canadian photography magazine which has its first issue coming out very soon! The feature is on some of his Through the Viewfinder (TtV) pictures, and will have a little bio and contact info as well. Copies are available to preorder now for $9.99. My wonderful and talented Valentine also had one of his photos published in FILE magazine (an online 'collection of unexpected photography') last week, which we're also very happy about. In today's mail, one of Adam's favourite TtV images arrived, printed 16x16 on canvas. In the photo above, you can see the texture. It looks amazing! I can't wait for it to be on the wall after it's mounted. To congratulate him, baby G kicked Adam in the belly when we were hugging. How perfect for Valentine's day!

And super V-day bonus - half day of school! The snow and freezing rain have arrived, and it's getting pretty messy out there. Hopefully prenatal class won't be cancelled - I'm really looking forward to our tour of the labour and delivery wing!

happy egg day!

Egg freckles are extremely cute! I bought a dozen eggs yesterday, locally produced and grain fed, for $2.50. From a teacher at a school I work in, and everything! It makes me VERY happy, not only because they're significantly cheaper than comparable eggs at the big box grocery store, but because they're local, aren't waxed because they didn't need to travel from a million miles away, and they're INFINITELY prettier than regular grocery store ones! I see many omelettes in my future!

happy avocado day!

I found instructions for growing an avocado plant from a pit the other night, and thought I would give it a try. Two days ago, I pierced the pit with the toothpicks, and now it's sitting there, partially submerged. It's supposed to take 2-6 weeks for any signs of sprouting. It seems to be a pretty foolproof plan, but some pits seem to be duds. Judging by my amaryllis bulb record, I won't get my hopes up too high. To see what this will hopefully eventually look like, meet Todd the Avocado Plant and see this beautiful shot of the avocado plant's leaves.

Monday, February 12, 2007


The weather turned all melty yesterday and today, leaving plenty of icicles everywhere. These strange ones completely encapsulated the tips of evergreen branches in our yard. I thought it looked pretty neat.

Back to work today, which was really kind of nice. It was lovely to see some of my students again! Too many snow days make for a restless me. Was that me insinuating something negative about snow days? I take it back! (Periods of snow in Wednesday's forecast!)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

23 weeks!

Time for a baby update after all of the snow day craftiness.

I'm now 23 weeks pregnant, baby G weighs about a pound and is about 29 cm from top to toe. Baby G can hear things in there, like my heart beating and loud noises. And us talking and singing silly songs to him/her, I hope! I'm finding it a bit more awkward to do certain things (getting up off of a low chair, bending over to pick something up) and I get tired from physical work sooner than I used to, but I'm feeling very good in general. Baby G just gave a big kick for emphasis.

That's about it for now; I'll post another belly pic soon (Adam's been taking them on Sundays, so perhaps tomorrow). Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 09, 2007

yet another...

snow day! Incredible. Last night for supper, I made my favourite soup in the whole world, a curried butternut squash soup. It gave me wicked heartburn (thanks, baby!) but it was worth it! One of my favourite things in the world is the smell of a cut pumpkin or squash. Mmmmmm.
This poor little cardinal was trying to eat at the bird feeder yesterday during the blizzard and got her face full of snow! I thought it was very cute and slightly pitiful.
This morning I stopped at Frenchy's after dropping Adam off at work, and found this amazing quilt for $5.00 which I loooooooooove. (That's pronounced something like "louve".) It is in excellent condition and in the lineup to be washed as I type.
I also found this little apron, which I won't use as an apron but I thought the material was very fun and useful for all sorts of little projects.
And this little linen curtain with these oh-so-cute embroidered grapes on it! Once again, I think I'll chop it up for crafty pursuits. I also found an off-white and beige striped linen shower curtain (so nice!) and a nice soft cream coloured blanket for laying on the wood floor for baby G to play or sleep or just be cute on. So recycle-y and so cheap!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

tissue holder

It's another snow day for me! I don't want to get too used to it - this is great! So far this morning, I've made two of these travel tissue holders. I got the idea and instructions from Craft Leftovers, and I think they turned out très cutely! I picked up the material, which I love, last summer at Frenchy's (where else?) in the form of a bedskirt, which I then proceeded to chop up accordingly. It's quite thick, so some of the stitching was a bit of a chore for my machine. But it's all sorted out now, and I think some people I know will like carrying tissues in these rather than loosey-goosey in their pockets!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

more flowers

I couldn't resist posting a couple more flower pictures to brighten this February day!

crafty mccrafterson

I made this portable change pad today from a pillow case from Frenchy's, part of a towel which had hair dye on it, and some other odds and ends I had in my crafty leftovers. So much nicer to have your diaper changed on than plastic! The light in the pictures makes it look a lot more red than it is; it's really more of a reddish brown. Above, you see it folded up.
The wooden button and scrap of corduroy (my favourite material!) to keep it closed...
and what it looks like opened up!
There's nothing like a blanket stitch to make something look 94% more friendly. The towel is sewn into the middle layer, to make it more comfy for baby to be changed on, and also more absorbent in case of leaks. It can be tossed in the washer for easy-peasy clean-up, too. I'm pretty happy with it!

no-longer-ominous amaryllis

The amaryllis is opening! How exciting. (I'm trying not to focus on the other two bulbs I have which are duds.) It makes things so much brighter on a stormy day to have tulips, paperwhites, and amaryllis blooming in the house! Once they're done, I'm bringing in some quince and honeysuckle branches for forcing. I forced some quince last year and they were stunning, but I've never tried honeysuckle. And before we know it, summer will be here again!