Thursday, November 29, 2007

planter

I snipped some red berries from an overgrown hedge that threatens our eyes every time we walk by. I think they look quite festive with the yew branches.

trunk


We added a wood stove to our home a year and a half ago to reduce our oil consumption (my dad has a woodlot and we get free wood which is much appreciated). This trunk was a fabulous $5.00 find at a yard sale, and it is the perfect wood box. The whole trunk if covered in leather (the light coloured outer part), and the dark strips are metal. There's even a broken key in the lock, how neat is that?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

decorating






Some Christmas decorating has been happening around here, in between napping, playing, laundry, and other regular activities. Pinecones, twigs, and red berries are among my favourite things. I'm over the kitschy stuff and like a more natural and cozy LLBean flavour these days.

Other than that, not too much exciting has taken place, other than the arrival of two Toast catalogues in today's mail. Ahhhhh. An expensive and beautiful assortment of necessities and un-necessities. And beautiful images, like this one, which stole my heart. I saw the catalogue mentioned on this blog, as part of a discussion about whether catalogues and images like this are beautiful and inspirational or made to make an average person feel inadequate (check out the comments). This was in response to a Times Online article. I think they're lovely images to enjoy and I am fully aware that standing in these beautiful socks (on a table?) with perfect artisan toast is not something that is part of my daily life. I also think that the vast majority of people are clever enough to realize that this isn't real life and it's a bit of an insult to assume that we (beautiful catalogue, magazine, and Martha junkies) are all dumb sheep. On to the catalogue perusing!

Monday, November 26, 2007

free rice


I found a new multiple choice choose-the-correct-definition word game to play today. In a nutshell, by playing I 'earn' grains of rice which will make their way to someone in the world who needs them. I'm a bit of a skeptic and wonder if it's really that simple. From the FAQ section:

"Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people."

"The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger."

I like to think it is that simple. Check it out!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

bib fashion shoot





Phillip and I had a photo shoot the other day as he modeled a new bib I very quickly whipped up for him. The drool, the drool! I took a bib he had which was large enough to cover most of his front, traced the shape on a nice thick towel I picked up at Frenchy's, attached some velcro and we tried it out. It works very well - I especially like that it's thicker than most bibs, and I incorporated the line-y bit of the towel for a bit of visual interest. Out of the one towel, I can make at least six bibs (as many as he could go through in a day).

frenchy's jackpot and first 'solid' food

"I can't believe it!"The best thing that can possibly happen at Frenchy's is that you find exactly what you were looking for. This almost never happens. My sweet friend Annie and I went yesterday, and found not one, not two, but eight 8oz glass baby bottles. Eight! We stopped at two Frenchy's (I don't think they're even 1km apart) and found three at the first one, and five at the second. Fifty cents each. I nearly imploded. Phillip's been drinking about 6oz when he has his late evening pumped feed so the larger bottles make things much easier. And I'll be pumping and getting some extra milk stored up in the freezer for when I go back to work, so it can be stored in these. And if there are just too many for me, I can give some to other mums.Speaking of Phillip eating, he had his first taste of 'real' food this morning. Pears. He made an hilarious face (nope, didn't capture it) but seemed to like it. I'm planning on making Phillip's vegetable foods, and have plenty of local squash and pumpkin pureed in the freezer. Lots of apples, too. But there are many fruits you can't get organically in the produce department, but you can get the jars of organic. I think it will work out to be cheaper for many of them, since fruit can be very pricey, especially in the winter. Organic fruit especially. It was on sale yesterday, so I bought several jars. The jars can be reused to freeze homemade food, too, which I like very much. I think we'll try some organic brown rice cereal in a few days, after we make sure the pears agree with Mr P.I found several other treasures at Frenchy's yesterday, but since they involve Christmas and surprises, I won't post them. Ah, Frenchy's has come through for me yet again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

a new way to nap





Phillip's found a new way to nap! (He wasn't suffocating, I checked.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

vice


While we're usually very careful and conscious of what we eat in this house, today I just couldn't resist picking up my all-time favourite complete junk treat, which I haven't had in a long, long time. Strawberry Toaster Strudels. Every bit as delicious as I remembered.

when all else fails...


post a picture of Phillip saying (in a Dr Nick Riviera voice) "Hi, everybody!"

Really, nothing new or exciting has been going on around here, aside from my maniacal purging of stuff. Which is exciting, I guess, because it feels so good to get rid of so much unused stuff. If someone else can enjoy it, all the better. (Yay, Freecycle!) I've completely cleaned out my desk and all of my craft supplies this week, have gone through all of Phillip's clothes and things, cleaned our games cubby, and on and on it goes.

I have some crafty projects in my future, so hopefully I'll be posting some of them soon.

Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers, by the way! Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

yay! let's move to Ontario

I just read here that they're considering banning bisphenol A (a carcinogen found in many baby bottles, sippy cups, and other plastics) altogether in Ontario. That's a great start. Now it just has to go through, be implemented, and applied to the rest of the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

christmas cards



I've resolved that this holiday season, I will not buy any gift wrap, cards, ribbons, paper, etc., but will use what I have (which turns out to be much more than I realized)! I cleaned out all of my craft supplies and gave a big bag of things away on Freecycle before getting started on the cards. I've also resolved (if something so vague can be called a resolution) to make this holiday more meaningful by buying less, focusing less on gifts, and just enjoying family and friends.

eco-friendly packing material

Adam bought me a Christmas gift from the Museum of Modern Art. I don't know what the gift is, but the packing material is pretty neat. It's these little cylinders which are starch-based (presumably corn starch). We used a corn starch weed rug from Lee Valley this summer in the garden, and it held up remarkably well. After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I'm a little bit concerned with the mass growing of corn crops, (and more and more are being grown for ethanol now) but I think that these are still better than plastic. They can be reused, composted, or flushed. I think that's pretty versatile.

Here's the card that came in the box.
So I put some in a bowl of water, and waited.
Okay, so I couldn't just wait. I poked them a bit.
And after about a minute, they looked like this, and then they completely broke apart. So I swished them down the drain with some more water. Neat!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

*sigh*

Burt's Bees has been purchased by Clorox for $925 million. Cash. Sigh.

spicy pumpkin bundt cake


This is perhaps the ugliest bundt cake in the history of bundt cakes. It was bundt day (how many times can I type 'bundt' in a single post?) on Martha yesterday, which I found out because I was watching to see Anna Maria Horner (whose blog I read) and her craft du jour, which was lovely fabric silhouettes. Anyhoo, I had been looking for recipes to use up the butter I made recently, the buttermilk from the process, and some extra pumpkin I roasted the other day. Turns out that Martha's recipe, Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake, could use everything up. So I made it, and it is AMAZINGLY delicious. The reason it's ugly is because it stuck to the pan, kind of fell apart, and the crumbs made the frosting crumby. Speaking of frosting, I added some cream cheese frosting (because that makes anything even better) and the combo is really, really good. And for both the cake and the frosting, I actually directly followed the recipes and didn't modify them at all! The cake recipe is here, and the frosting is here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

laughing baby

video
We discovered this evening that Phillip laughs hysterically at packing tape. Kind of like these babies, only there are more of them so it's that many times cuter.

giraffes

Before we get to the giraffes, this is what I sometimes see when I check on him after hearing Phillip peep when he is supposedly asleep or going to sleep.
On to the giraffes. They're on his shoes (from Ingrid),
On an adorable shirt I just bought for him for when he's a bit bigger (complete with pronunciation),


And check out this clip on YouTube of fighting giraffes - before looking at it, how would you guess that giraffes fight?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

sunset



Since Phillip was sleeping in the car on our way home and I didn't want to wake him, I stopped by Yarmouth harbour and took a few pictures tonight.

Monday, November 12, 2007

crafty afternoon

We had a lovely crafty afternoon. Ash and Annie crocheted and knitted,
Ingrid sewed,
(and made pie).
I made fruit pizza and a wall hanging for Phillip's room to match his new blind. (Thanks for the tree inspiration, Vera!)

making butter

I made butter today! Well, Ingrid's beautiful KitchenAid stand mixer did most of the work (since my stand mixer is dead), but I did a little bit to help it along. She was kind enough to bring the mixer along to our crafting afternoon, and it was put to good use (and Phillip had a great time watching it.)

It's unbelievably easy, and I'm way more excited about this than is reasonable. I poured some whipping cream (or heavy cream, as it's also known) into the mixer, and mixed on medium-high. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes, tops. Here's the butter separating from the buttermilk, after it goes past being whipped.

This is the buttermilk, after it's been separated from the butter (I know, buttermilk in a white bowl does not a great photo make.) After the butter was squeezed a bit in cheesecloth to extract the remaining buttermilk, I made it into a little lump, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge. I made this batch unsalted, so I'll use it for cooking. I'm not sure what the salt to cream ratio would be if you wanted salted butter. Yum!