Friday, February 28, 2014

A Morning Off?

The times that I am child-less are few and far between.  Going to town?  I've got the kids.  Running errands in the city?  Kids are in the back seat.  Have to pop into Art's office?  You guessed it....the kids are along...
So when I get a chance for a few hours during the day to be out and about without my pretty little ladies, I feel  And excited.  And out of sorts (if I'm being truthful!)  
A retired teacher in the area has started doing some writing workshops for home schooled kids, and since we know her well, we - actually I, decided that it would be good for The Girls to participate in such a thing.  It's nice because there are different sessions for the workshops, so we can pick and choose what works for us.  For this session, every other Monday morning, for 6 weeks, The Girls go and write.  Which means that I have me some kid-free time.  On a Monday morning.  It's....amazing.
Now if I was good, I'd probably drop The Girls off and go right back home to get some tasks done while they're gone.  But I'm not.  So instead, I usually head into the big city to go and browse around a few second hands store.  The thing with second hand stores is that sometimes you score, and many, many times, you don't.  It turns out that the last two times I've gone, I've scored.  And by scored, I mean "Found cool stuff for cheap".  I usually look only look in the housewares, and am always on the lookout for old tablecloths that have some sort of embroidery on them, or cast iron anything, perhaps some milk glass? 
Last time I went, I found a primitive looking table runner.  This week, when I went, I found a beautiful old tablecloth...I can hardly wait for fall to use this beauty!

First thing I did when I got it home was put in through the wash.  Now, it's sitting on my kitchen table, laid out to dry.  It looks a wee bit small in this picture, but what you may not realize it that my kitchen table is massive.  It would look great on the diagonal, or even better spread over a beautiful old harvest table.  Perhaps even on my kitchen island?  We'll have to see....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Love With...

As some of you may know, I tend to be fairly smitten with galvanized tin.  I love that stuff!  It starts off shiny and new, and in my opinion, after it has some years of use under it's belt, the look gets better with age.  I especially love the patina of old tin.  It's excellent. 
I also love using things for something than what they were originally made for.  Case in point:

A galvanized metal feed scoop.  Throw in a mason jar (of course!  How can you go wrong with a mason jar and anything galvanized?!) with a candle, and voila!  Perfection.  It lets off a really great glow when it's dark out.  I love it!  I had to steal this scoop from the chicken feed, but hey, a peanut butter container works just as well, no?  (At least that's what I told the Girls!)  It would also look great screwed to the wall, or with a few different sizes, as part of a bigger display. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bran Muffins

I have a love for a good bran muffin.  Truly...  And, as it turns out, so does the rest of my family. 
In a former life, I got this recipe from the wife of one of my husbands co-workers.  Although the recipe is large, I actually double it, because around these parts, we go through an awful lot of muffins!

These muffins are especially good with some fresh raspberry jam on them, or a slathering of butter....and when they're fresh out of the oven?  I just can't resist!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do...

Bulk Bran Muffin Mix
4 c. bran
4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
Mix in an ice cream pail (or an exceptionally large bowl with a lid)  Add the following:
2 c. cold, black coffee
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. oil
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. raisins
Mix to moisten.  Let this batter sit in the fridge for 4-5 hrs. before baking your first batch.  The batter will be good for 4 weeks (but mind never lasts that long!).  Bake at 350C for 20-25 minutes.

This is a great recipe for kids to make too - it's super easy, and especially tasty.  My Girls love making it, and then every few days, baking up a new batch.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


As some of you may know, our Girls are involved in the Market Lamb project this year for 4H.  What this means is that they must have a bred ewe (sheep), and then the sheep will have a baby, and they'll sell the lamb.  This is the first year that our club is doing this project, and I also happen to be the leader for this project, which is really quite hilarious, since I know not a thing about sheep.  I should rephrase that....I knew not a thing about sheep.  I do know a few things now, and it's been fun to learn alongside The Girls.

We got our sheep about a month ago, and we were told that they would lamb at the end of February.  We also had a sheep rancher come out on Sunday and talk to our 4H kids about lambing, which was super interesting.  I've also been doing a bunch of reading, hoping to kinda figure out what the heck we're supposed to do.  It's a good thing the 4H motto is "Learn to do by doing", because that's definitely what's been going on around these parts.

The other day, Hannah was reading in one of our sheep books, and she read a sentence out loud to me which went something like this: "When it comes time for lambing, talk to your local 4H sheep leader, who will surely be a wealth of information..."  Ha!  Not this leader...

Anyhow, I digress... Let's get on with the real story.  It goes something like this:  Last night, when we got home from AWANA, Hannah and Abby went to go and check in on their sheep.  Abby said that Hannah's sheep, Mary, was acting a bit funny, and she thought it was going to have it's lamb last night, and she wanted to put down a bit more straw.  We told her to go for it, but we didn't actually believe her, since she's prone to a little bit of, lets say, exaggerating/melodrama.... call it what you want.  Keeping on....

This morning, I hear the garage door open, and I know the girls are going to check on their sheep.  A few minutes later, I hear a little person, pounding up the stair to our room.  And I think, "Oh no.  Something's dead." (optimistic, I know!)  Abby comes running into our room, yelling, "Hannah's sheep had her lamb!  I don't know what to do!!"  We sit up in bed, start fumbling around for warm clothes, and remember to ask, "Is it alive?"   It was!!  Art and I get outside, and see this wee little lamb, all dry and cozy and drinking from his mama...

Good grief, this little boy is cute!

The Girls were over the moon....and thankfully, it was only about -15C last night - not too cold!

After the initial shock, we rushed around, stealing a heat lamp from the chicken house, putting up a piece of plywood to separate the 2 sheep so Abby's doesn't try and steal the new lamb...all the things that we had planned to do in the next few weeks, since we thought we had some time....  Anyhow, all's well, and little Lucky is doing great!  Abby is itching for her sheep to have it's baby, and she's hoping for twins.  Based on it's size, I think that's not too much of a stretch...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hooray for Friday!

You'd think that I'd learn that I cannot be all things to all people.  And that it's not good for my mental health to be running, constantly.... (just ask my kids!!)  I tend to turn into Scary Mom when it happens...  But yet, I still sometimes do over committ.  And all the things that I'm rushing to are good.... it's just that it's too much.

This week was one of those weeks.  Cloaked in good intentions and great opportunities and must-do commitments, I find myself longing to sit.  In my pajamas.  And not get out of them.  For days. 

Hooray for the weekend!  Where I can sit.  And bake.  And cuddle with my girls.  And maybe even watch a movie with my hubby? (If I can stay awake, that is....)

Here's to Fridays:  Tonight it's pizza and movie night.  The house is (mostly) clean, the schoolwork has been put away, the jammies have been donned, and we're celebrating....

Monday, February 3, 2014


Here's a bit of randomness for this Monday y'all....
1.  Have I mentioned that we have sheep? (again...)  The Girls are doing a market lamb project for 4H.  And I am the leader.... Nothing like the blind leading the blind.... Anyhow, we picked these ladies up a few weeks ago.  And it was an adventure, that's for sure.  They are due to lamb towards the end of the month.  The Girls are pumped to have some lambs.  Hannah named her sheep "Mary", so when it lambs, she can tell her friends, "Mary had a little lamb!".  Abby, well she just picked the biggest, fattest ewe she could find.  She's hoping for triplets.  Truth be told, I am too....that way, the girls can repay their loan to us quicker!


2.  We've been renovating.  Again.  This time, it was the two upstairs bathrooms.  This was a project done on the cheap!  (and by cheap, I mean it cost us less than $60!)  I sanded down the vanity cabinets, which had already been painted white by the previous owners of this house, many, many moons ago.  It was starting to look nasty and not-so-white.  Amazing how sanding some of the paint off makes a cabinet go from drab-to-fab!  We put in a new sink that we found for $10 at Rona, found an old workbench of Art's in the shop, sanded it down and stained it, and then threw up some bead board we had laying around the house from a previous project.  The mirror is from an old dresser of my sister-in-law's, that the little Girls have in their room.  I've been on the hunt for a few window coverings for both bathrooms.  The girls' bathroom is pretty much a carbon copy of ours, and I'm thrilled with the results.  I've realized that I really do need to be consistently creating something, whether it's a small reno, painting furniture or changing up my house in some way.  It's good for my soul, this creating thing.  And it makes me happy...and sometimes crazy....but mostly happy!

3.  Art brought me home a bouquet yesterday.  Not a bouquet of flowers, but rather, a bouquet of soups.  He wrapped them up like a bunch of flowers and gave them to me.  What a keeper, that man is... Nothing like some delicious soup hidden in my freezer for a day that I just need a little something to warm my old bones.  I'll take soup over flowers any day of the week... (at least in the winter!) 
4.  Last week, we headed out to the barn to ride a few afternoons.  One of the afternoons that we were there, the beloved Buck, the 33 yr. old horse that my little girls' ride, was colicing, and had to be put down.  Oy!  Such sadness!  Here's Molly, saying her final good bye's to this ol' boy.  Buck trucked my girls around for a good few years, and was such a great pony for them.  He would put up with their antics and tricks always.  He will be greatly missed....

5.  For Christmas, in my stocking, I received some merino wool socks.  Why have I never had such things before?  These socks are ah. mazing.  Even for this sweaty-footed girl...They keep my feet dry and un-stinky, and are so crazy comfortable.  I waited and waited to try them out, and only when we were super low on laundry did I put them on.  And after wearing them a day, I went out and bought six more pairs.  Is there anything else life changing that y'all know about that I'm the last one to the party in knowing?   Please, tell me now!