Thursday 30 June 2016

Garden Notes

We really need rain. It has been weeks since we have had a proper rain and it has been a bit of a struggle for the garden. We put the sprinkler on the veggies every night, but I still think a good natural soaking would do wonders. And for the grass as well; our once lush lawn is looking a little fried at the moment.

Lack of water aside, things are growing well. The broccoli and cauliflower are huge. No crowns yet, but the size of the leaves looks promising. Did you know you can eat broccoli and cauliflower leaves? I have a recipe for roasting them that is absolutely delicious, when we get to that point in the season, I'll have to share it here.

The spinach is all but done, just a few remaining leaves that I will pluck off and add to a salad. And we have been harvesting our chard leaf by leaf as well and adding that to our salads. We are eating a lot of salads at the moment between what is in the garden and what is coming in our produce box.

Also, there are some small peppers hanging on the plants; I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the pesky squirrels leave them alone and let them ripen.
The beets and the kale are thriving. And thanks to the cage surrounding the strawberries we have been able to harvest a small bowlful.
How is your garden doing?

P.S. They are forecasting rain for tomorrow, when we are planning a camping trip...isn't that how it goes, you can't have it all, can you? 

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Off to a Good Start

Wreath decorating has begun:
There is so much more to do, but I do think I am off to a good start. I love how cheerful and happy the colors are and how well they look together. I learned a lot about color combinations while I was working on my Cozy Stripe Blanket and I am excited to use what I learned as I crochet decorations for my wreath.

If you are interested, the patterns that I used for my decorations are as follows: Triple Layer Flower and Leaves, Teeny Tiny Flowers.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday 27 June 2016

Local Produce Box: Week 3

In regards to our local produce box, I am going to keep showing you 'what we got and what I made', does that sound okay?

I love to read about what other people are eating, what recipes they are trying, what ends up on their dinner table on a random Wednesday night, and I hope this is of interest to you as well. Getting a selection of local produce every week makes me feel connected to the local farmers that grow it and to the season when it comes to harvest, and I hope that sharing what is happening in my kitchen with you helps to connect us to one another through the common task that is preparing and serving healthy food to our families. Or maybe it just helps you with what to make for dinner this week, and that is okay too.
In this week's box we had: salad greens, romaine lettuce, chard, snow peas, radishes, strawberries, and green onions

And here is what I made:
 (from left to right)
  1. Cucumber and Strawberry Salad with Snap Peas - recipe courtesy of The Forest Feast, with a few variations to use what I had on hand
  2. Pea Stir-Fry with Mushrooms and Almonds - recipe courtesy of last year's produce box
  3. Romaine Salad with Shredded Carrots, Dried Cherries and Pecans - my own culinary creation
  4. Rainbow Chard Quiche - recipe courtesy of The Forest Feast for Kids
There were also many other salads on the menu this week - an absolute necessity to use up all the salad greens, romaine, and chard that we got in our box, plus all the spinach from our garden....

And with those huge radishes, I made more radish butter toast....a new family favorite, for sure.

Tomorrow it is time to pick up our next box and I can not wait....

Sunday 26 June 2016


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Bridget: sketching flowers in the garden

Claire: counting down the days until your 7th birthday

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Now is Now

Some silly and serious things that are making me happy right now (it's important to have a balance, don't you think):
  • Fresh sheets on the bed
  • Laundry drying on the line
  • Fresh spinach from the garden
  • This article - so honest and raw
  • My daisy in bloom
  • Air-conditioning - it has been hot, hot, hot the last couple days
  • That there is only a week left of school 
  • A trip to the bakery planned for this weekend
  • Wearing sundresses
  • Watching the girls play in the pool
  • Making meals from what is in the fridge and pantry
  • A good conversation with Steve
  • Peonies in my mom's garden
  • Rhubarb muffins
  • Breathing deeply and taking some time to just relax
  • Game of Thrones
  • Hugs from my girls
  • Resolving to set aside some more time for me to crochet
  • Crochet project ideas
  • Clean windows 
  • Cool evening breezes
Lots of happy things right now, what about you?

Sunday 19 June 2016


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Claire: Off to her first sleepover excited, and a wee bit nervous.

Bridget: "Mom, I like colorful, bright, funky things." Really, I hadn't noticed....

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Friday 17 June 2016

Local Produce Box: Week 2

On Tuesday afternoon I picked up our second produce box.

Our pickup location is inside a local garden center. With hundreds of hanging baskets, rows and rows of flowers, veggie plants, herbs, and gorgeous planters, it an amazing place that I am happy I get to visit weekly for the next several months. I love wandering the aisles and looking at all the plants, which I did on Tuesday because as luck would have it they were having a huge 40% off sale at the time so some pretty flowers had to come home with me, you know how it is.

Driving home on a sunny afternoon with fresh fruits and veggies and new plants for the garden made me very happy.
In this week's box we had: kale, butter crunch lettuce, chives, peppermint, rhubarb, green onions, radishes, strawberries, salad greens and maple syrup.

Now I thought I would do something a little different this week and not only show you what was in our produce box, but also some of the dishes I made from it. My absolute favorite thing about getting a produce box is cooking and preparing meals from what comes in the box each week. So fun.
From left to right:
  1. Spring Green Salad with Mint Vinaigrette - butter crunch lettuce, green onions, grape tomatoes and a delicious mint vinaigrette dressing (the recipe was included in last week's box). 
  2. Rhubarb Muffins - using a recipe I got from my Mom. These muffins are absolutely delicious and between last week's and this week's box, I had enough rhubarb to make four dozen muffins. 
  3. Radish Butter Toast - This was so good; I could not make it fast enough, the girls were just gobbling it up. Recipe courtesy of The Forest Feast
  4. Spring Green Salad with Fruit - my own creation using salad greens, strawberries, blueberries, mint and pecans.
I also added mint to some cubed watermelon, dressed it lightly in olive oil, and sprinkled pecans on top to make a simple salad.

Likewise, I added the kale to a bunch of veggies I had on hand which I then cooked and stirred together with some wheat berries - a personal variation of this salad recipe from The Forest Feast (have I mentioned I love this book and blog)   

And I have plans to make a chive salad dressing...

Like I said last week, happy times in the kitchen making delicious food.....

Tuesday 14 June 2016

And Now for the Fun Part.....

A few nights ago I sat down on the sofa to sew my wreath cover around my wreath form. I had butterflies in my stomach, and there were a few moments when I truly thought it was not going to work out, but in the end all was well, and I now have a blue wreath....
I am glad to be done crocheting the wreath cover as row after row of blue was sort of dull work. That being said, it was the perfect project to take along to the pool and work on while the girls were at swimming lessons.

And now it is time for the fun part....decorating. Flowers, leaves, pom-poms, butterflies, etc....all need to be made and added to the wreath. I am not exactly sure how full I want my wreath to be, but am leaning towards a middle ground approach - not too empty and not too full. I will be faffing around with this forever, I am sure...the perfectionist in me will likely obsess a little bit until I get it just right.

Alright, I am off now to soak up some inspiration and look for patterns for all the bits and bobs I'll add to my wreath. Fun stuff...

Saturday 11 June 2016


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Claire: With the jar of candy you won at the school carnival; to say you were excited would be a bit of an understatement, I thought you were going to burst.

Bridget: Biking further and further from home all the time. You are craving independence and while I want to grab you and hold you close, I feel in my heart that you are ready, and that it is best that I let you go just a little bit. 

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Local Produce, Happy Kitchen

Today was a very exciting day. After work I hopped in the car and drove a few minutes out of town to pick up our first produce box of the season. Funny enough, I felt a little like a child on Christmas morning, so eager to see what I was getting, in this case, what delicious produce was waiting for me.

Oh, I was not disappointed:
In this week's box we have: rhubarb, chives, pea shoots, lettuce, salad greens, maple syrup, green onions, red beets, and peppermint.

We participated in this program last year and loved it. It is so much fun, and quite educational, to get a box of locally produced food every week and then prepare our meals from that.

There is always a little note included with the produce, sharing a little bit about how things are growing, as well as a small collection of recipes; some of the recipes from last year have become family favorites.
Having cooked mostly plant-based/vegetarian for the last few years, I feel very well equipped to cook up delicious meals with our weekly, local produce. And when in doubt I will be referring to my all-time favorite cookbook, The Forest Feast.  

Tonight for dinner, using ingredients from our box, I made a beet salad that was a huge hit; even Claire, who is quite a picky eater, devoured it. And later this week I am going to bake some rhubarb muffins. Happy times in my kitchen making delicious food.

I absolutely love that all this food is organic, grown in a sustainable way, and locally sourced...and it tastes incredible. We have committed to the program from now until November and I am really excited to see what we get each week...  

Sunday 5 June 2016


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

A few inches of hair cut off and suddenly you both look a lot older. You are so happy with your new hair styles and there has been a lot of hair flipping going on. 

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Thursday 2 June 2016

Garden Notes

I'm sitting here this evening with a steaming cup of green tea. I've just come in from watering the garden, it was a hot day and the ground was quite dry. 

So far things are doing very well in the vegetable patch. I am so excited to see progress so soon after planting, and while I do not want to get too far ahead of myself, I am already thinking about how we will eat all our amazing produce - doesn't a kale salad with roasted beets sound amazing?
Of course the flowers are coming into bloom in turn, and this makes me so happy.
Especially my bleeding heart. I have wanted one for years and this year I used some of my birthday money to buy one.
We may head to the garden center this weekend to get new strawberry plants (what we had shriveled and died within a few days of planting), a thyme plant which I forgot to put in the cart the last time we were there, and I think I need a few more annuals to fill in a few holes.....

How is your garden doing?