Sunday, January 31, 2010

On friendship...

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I found out some news late last night, a very good friend has breast cancer... again. I know I need to be strong and keep a happy face for her and her children, but it is very difficult. I am struggling with the fact that things like this happen at all... and that they seem to happen to the people who are most undeserving.

My friend is the bravest person I know. She is a wonderful mother to her three beautiful children...and I can only hope that I am half the mother that she is. She is a generous friend, one that anyone would be happy and privileged to know. Always thinking of others and I am sure she is angry that she has to deal with something so utterly stupid and unfair.

It's just another bump in the road B... family and friends rallying with love and support can help to overcome great obstacles. WE CAN BEAT THIS... it's totally do-able... "you know what I mean?" ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For the little lady....

I've wanted to make something yarny for my little lady for a loooong time... something other than a hat, that is... so I dug through my stash friday evening and found a good amount of cotton yarn that would be nice worked up as a little sweater or tunic. I've always liked a nice wide, boatneck-cowl-type neckline and thought it would look extra cute on Hammy.... and it does!!!!
I like this little tunic so much that I am actually going to retrace my steps and try to write my very first crafty tutorial... anyone with beginner crochet skills can make one of these little sweaters... I promise! This worked up soooo quick, I started it friday evening and was finished saturday morning... love that! I'm a self professed impatient crafter... I am in love with the art of crafting things; but not in love with lengthy-time-consuming-all-encompassing projects... I need the quick fix project. The one that allows me the satisfaction of doing something with my hands and then sets me free to move on to my next endeavor.
Still corking away... and promise will post the scarf as soon as it's done, hopefully sometime before the cool weather leaves us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pancake mornings and a mixed bag....

Pancake school day again... so since my little men and little lady love these pancakes so much, I feel obligated to share the pancake love... I found this particular recipe on my favourite-favourite recipe site, all And the reason it's my favourite site is because all of the recipes are rated and reader reviewed... LOVE that. So here it is....

Fluffy Pancakes submitted to by Kris
3/4 C. milk
2 tbsp. white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 C. flour (I like w.w. and w. blend)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I omit, but it's up to you)
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter (I use becel)
cooking spray (I use a non stick griddle & no spray)
1 tsp. cinnamon (this is my add-in, we love cinnamon)

Combine the milk and vinegar/lemon juice and set aside while preparing the remainder of ingredients. (You could also just use a little more than 3/4 C. of buttermilk, essentially the sour milk takes the place of buttermilk)

Combine all dry ingredients and whisk to break up any lumps. Whisk egg and melted butter into milk then pour into dry ingredients. Mix until moist and there are no visible floury bits... but don't over mix!!!! Let sit for about 5 minutes or so... chemical reactions will take place... and when you return to the batter it will have risen and be full of bubbles (that's the air that makes them fluffy!!!).

I usually set my griddle to 350 degrees, I think that's about medium on the stove-top. If your pans or griddle are too hot the outside of the pancakes will cook too fast and become too hard by the time the middle has cooked. Pancakes need a little time to cook, so be patient... I guarantee these pancakes are delicious! I can usually only get about 7 medium sized pancakes from this recipe... which is perfect for 2 growing boys and their girl-baby sister.
OK... so on to other things, yesterday was a very productive day (craft-wise, that is)... the corking project is still being corked... I started and finished a crocheted hat yesterday... finished a scarf for my skinny little man, also crochet... did a re-con (reconstruct) on a pair of overalls that had stains on the legs for girl-baby, she now has an uber-cute skirt-all with ruffled trim... and last night... after dinner.... CRASH!!!! I did nothing. Ask me if I feel bad about it.... I don't. Not really!
Today... more crafting and playing with babes...I love it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mmmore Mmmini Mmmuffins....

More muffins!

I LOVE to bake... you may or may not know this by now... And it's difficult for me not to bake when I have three little babes cheeping like baby birds in a nest with their mouths open wide waiting for mama to feed them... And I prefer to bake for the kids myself as I can control what goes into whatever I'm making... anyway...

Carrot Bran Muffins
(I know, you're thinking yummy bran muffins??? But they are, really!)
1-1/2 C. flour (again, your particular blend)
2 C. flakes of bran cereal (I say flakes of bran because I buy a store brand... cheaper)
3/4 C. brown sugar (or white, or splenda)
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt
1 egg
2 tbsp. white vinegar
3/4 C. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 apple grated with skin (or 1 motts unsweetened applesauce cup-roughly 1/2 C. applesauce)
1 large carrot grated (about 1 C. grated)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare your pan.

To your 3/4 C. milk, add the 2 tbsp. of white vinegar and set aside... this makes sour milk which is a great and cheaper substitute for buttermilk. You could also use lemon juice in place of the white vinegar.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients ensuring there are no lumpys in your flour, soda and powder... a wisk will break up any lumps and bumps.

By this time, your milk will be ready to use... add the egg to the sour milk and beat with a fork til egg is mixed in. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients along with the oil, mix until moistened then fold in the apple or applesauce and carrots. Fill your muffin cups to just below rims, this ensures great muffin tops (my favourite part!!).

Throw them in the oven and bake... baking times will be dependant upon the size of muffins you make... my oven bakes minis in about 8-10 minutes... when you just start to smell the muffins, do the spring test (press a finger gently in the middle of a muffin... if it springs back up, they're done... if it doesn't, they're not... easy peesy weesie!)

Happy Baking... let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Corking Update....

Okay... so I haven't actually managed to get much accomplished on the corking project... remember the SCARCE spare seconds?.... Well, spare time has been filled lately with everyone and everything else but myself.

I have a beautiful baby girl who is gracefully (by day) cutting 7 teeth, three of which are molars, OWWWWW... By night she is not coping quite as well. I am up with her 3-4 times a night; although I must thank my husband... last night he stayed up all night getting ready for night shifts, he bottle fed her... but she still wanted mommy cuddles. I physically didn't have to get out of bed to get her, he brought her to me. I feel a little more rested today than I have in about a week... ahhhhhhh, thanks hun ;)

Today is a different story, fevery boy cuddling with some buddies on the couch watching cartoons... I think he's okay... and is quite enjoying all of the tv time... this is a rare treat... tv is usually left for when mommy is getting dinner prepared... usually! I have been known at times to use the tv as a distraction so that I can get some stuff done around the house.... and I don't feel guilty about it either. We all need our mental-health moments.... my mental breaks involve me, baskets of laundry, sunlight and borax. I seem to be able to clear my head when I'm doing the laundry, sometimes these are epiphany moments for me... anyone else like that?

Anyway.... I do plan on getting to the corking project today... it's going to be some kind of free-form, organically-shaped scarf... yeah, I know, makes no sense at all... just like me :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From craftings past....

What is it???

It's a corker.

Remember back to when you were a little girl just emerging on the crafty-yarn scene? I do. This was my first introduction to anything to do with the knitting world. It's a little tool that lets you create loooooooong knit-stitched wormy tubes that you can coil into hot pads, throw rugs or anything else your crafty little mind can think up.

This particular corker is only about 8-10 years old, I can't quite remember exactly when I purchased it, but I do know I purchased it through a Regal catalogue for like 6 dollars. The corkers I remember from my childhood were plastic as well, but much smaller than this one. The one in the picture is a jumbo corker, meant for use with chunky yarn. I've also seen much-much older corkers made of wood with metal or nail pegs.

I found mine yesterday, nicely tucked away in it's original unopened package, at the bottom of my yarn bin. I've pushed it aside for the past, well, 8-10 years, and just yesterday, while looking for something new to craft, I decided it was time to break it out. I also found the yarn, a nice fall-ish coloured variegated soft acrylic, in the yarn bin.

I spent every spare second I had yesterday with my corker in hand... mind you, every spare second in my world doesn't really amount to much time at all. Sooooo, between changing diapers, readying snacks, playing with three babes, throwing on a load or 5 of laundry, yada-yada-yada, blah-blah-blah... I managed to cork a worm that measures about 2 metres in length....phew!

Now! What does one do with a 2 metre long knitted worm, you ask? Well, let me tell you....I spend every spare second today, and the next day, and possibly the next day adding more metres onto what I've already got in hopes of getting enough out of the probably-discontinued skein of yarn that I'm using, to hopefully end up with something useful so my scarce spare seconds aren't completely wasted.... wow! say all of that 10 times fast!

But, seriously, I have something special in mind for the yarny worm, maybe for me or a friend.... and I'm quite excited to see the finished product.... stay tuned for a picture of the wormy masterpiece, lol ;)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I was feeling a little ambitious this morning and wanted to make something special for the boys for breakfast. Sometimes on school days they prefer something a little more exciting than hunny-nutter cheerios. I can't blame them really.... cheerios tend to get a little boring at times.

My wonderful husband gave me the best mini muffin tin for Christmas... it's a Wilton Elite non-stick dark muffin tin.... I LOVE IT! It makes 24 beautiful mini muffins that release from the pan wonderfully. I adapted my pumpkin spice muffins, I ran out of pumpkin, and made apple oatmeal spice instead... all three babes loved them (I say loved as there are only a few left from a batch of 24).

Here's the recipe.... try it and tell me what you think....
Oh! Sorry, I didn't take pictures... but trust me... they were the cutest little guys!

Apple Oatmeal Spice Muffins

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. oil
2 eggs
1 c. unsweetened applesauce (I used 2 motts unsweetened applesauce cups, the lunchbox size)
1/4 c. water
1-1/4 c. flour (I use a blend of white and whole wheat, but you can use what you prefer)
1/4 c. oatmeal
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and prepare your pan with liners or grease if you don't have a fantastic pan like me ;)

I generally like one bowl recipes... less mess... sooo, first mix all of your wet ingredients together very well with a fork, then sift your dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients. I think this is the most important step as it ensures there are no lumpys in your baking powder or soda. If you don't have a sifter, then I do recommend that you mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl with a wisk or fork to break up the lumpys.

Mix everything together just until the dry ingredients are moist and there are no visible floury bits... don't over mix, you may end up with very tough muffins :(

Spoon into your muffin pan... I almost fill mine to the top as these are muffin tops that I really don't mind bulging, if you get what I mean... wink-wink! Bake until you can just start to smell them, open the oven door and press your finger in the middle of one... if it spring back up, it's done... if it doesn't, it's not, bake a minute more then test again. They will be a little golden when done. I'm sorry but I generally don't use baking times... I tend to do the spring and smell tests. And! Every oven is different, mine cooks very hot and very fast.....

Have fun baking. I hope you enjoy them, we sure did ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas is gone and a new year has begun...

This was my tree, the last morning before we took it down. I spent a quiet morning with my tea in hand and wishing I could keep it up all year; but knowing that would just be insane... what would my neighbours think seeing my tree still up well into the summer??? I'd be known as the crazy Christmas tree lady or something silly like that.... Oh well, I have my pictures to remind me... until next Christmas.

Christmas came and went really it always does. We had so much fun. We don't go crazy with the gift giving, but the kids don't go without either. I think there's a line that sometimes gets crossed when it comes to the getting of the presents. My husband and I are striving to raise well adjusted children who are grateful and appreciative for what they have and what they receive. So far I think we've managed fairly well. The kids are ok, I guess we'll keep 'em... just kidding, they're the best!

My mother-in-law and father-in-law stayed with us for a week and that was great. The opportunities to see and spend time with them are few and far between so we relish any time we get with them. The boys thought getting to wake Gran and Gramps on Christmas morning was just about the best thing in the world. They've flown back to where they came from, as all snowbirds do; but we'll see them on skype from time to time and they'll return again in the spring and stay into the fall.... not with us, but at their summer place.

I did manage to get all of my crafty gifts done...the day before Christmas! Next year I hope to get everything done just a little earlier... less stress that way. And! I made a super cute tutu for my beautifully sunny niece... no pictures of it though... had to wrap it almost the moment it was complete.

2010 resolutions???? No, I don't make resolutions, they never stick. I do however plan to be more crafty, stock my etsy, and pick up some more courses so I can finish my early childhood diploma sooner, rather than later. We'll see...I have a whole year to accomplish something.... right?

All the best for a fantastic 2010! Cheers!