Friday, November 30, 2007

Foster Kid Project

The other day I was reading about a young guy who developed a program for foster kids. Because of the often quick removal of children from the household many foster children come to their foster homes with little more then a garbage bag with a few items in the bag. This young man didn't like the idea of a garbage bag so he created a program so that every foster child receives a bag for their belongings. It is such a small thing but so special for each child during what can be such an emotionally unsettling time. I wonder if it is being done around here and if not what it would take to make happen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gingerbread Biscotti

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the ginger. In another bowl, beat the sugar, butter and molasses until smooth. Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time. Stir the dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Turn the sticky dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Knead and shape each half into a log, about 12" long and 2 1/2"" inches wide. Place the logs, spacing them several inches apart, on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and then cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Carefully move the logs to a cutting board. Cut at a slight angle with a serrated knife, cleaning the blade from time to time, into 3/4" thick slices. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake 10 minutes more. Cool to room temperature and store in a tight-sealing container.

I whipped these up last night. Recipe courtesy of Thrifty Foods weekly flyer. Took a plateful to work and they were quickly devoured. I guess it's a keeper!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let it Snow

The first sprinkling of snow came to us last night. She dropped big fluffy bits of delight on us for a couple of hours. I sat inside with a cup of tea, indoor lights off, outdoor lights on and marvelled at the beauty of it all. This morning the sky was clear and from the warmth of the hot tub I enjoyed watching the sky turn from the darkness of night to a beautiful blue. The silhouette of the snow covered trees against the dark sky was truly breathtaking. What a perfect way to start the day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And the Stockings Were Hung...

So the stockings are finally made. I have been working on this project since I graduated high school but let's not dwell on that. The important part is that they are completed and that I love them. Andy's is the partridge in a pear tree and mine is the angel. They each are backed with the same fabric that makes the cuff (forest green for his, burgundy for mine) and are lined with an off-white satin fabric.

I also spent this weekend making bread (6 loaves), buns (1 dozen), and pumpkin shortbread (3 1/2 dozen). I got the shopping done for the Clarke Christmas hampers (we are supporting two families this year), got the presents together for the little girl that I am personally buying for and wrapped them up in ballet slipper pillowcases to do my part to save the environment and she gets something useful too. Sunday we had brunch with Verna. We went to Samuel's and had an enjoyable meal. We then went to Verna's were we continued our conversation and enjoyed a chocolate fondue. Finished the evening with a movie. All in all an enjoyable weekend

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Aunty Time

Monday night was Aunty night. That means that I get my two darling nieces for an evening. They are full of energy as all 5 and 6 year olds are. And running around the house kept them fairly well occupied while I threw together a pasta casserole for dinner. Yes, the house is still standing and other then a leaf or two off the poinsettia's I think all the plants made it through - they weren't so luck last time. After dinner we did our traditional baking time. Not quite sure how it got started but I always bake with the girls when they are over for an extended amount of time. Usually it is cookies but this time we went for pound cake. I got them to each stir their own bowl so we were able to make enough for them to take home several pieces and I got a couple to put in the freezer. Especially helpful as I had eggs galore and needed to use them up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bold or ???

So this little cheeky girl was sitting right in
front of our living room window on Sunday morning. Andy and I both walked right up to the window and took about two dozen pictures of her before she finally got up and walked away. Her male friend atleast had the decency to sit on the front lawn on the other side of the parking area. It truly is a love-hate relationship I have with these creatures. If only they could leave my plants alone. I do have an entire acre of grass that they can eat to their hearts content. I must admit I will miss them when I fence the yard but I will have vegetables and flowers so not too much.......

Friday, November 9, 2007

Precious Moments

This is the little something I picked up for the shower I am attending this weekend. If I had thought about it in advance I might have motivated myself to make something but I have been a bit on the disorganized side as of late and therefore had to buy something ready made. I do like this little piece though. Hopefully the receipt does as well.

This morning I just happened to look out the office window into the fields surrounding the barn and just at that moment the most incredible rainbow appeared. It looked as if the rainbow started at the farmers house and ended at the open air market.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

To Do and Have done

Sometimes I get frustrated with all the little things I want to do and feel like I never get to them. But I think it isn't that I never get to them it is that there are just always things on the "to do" list and every time you complete one something else takes it's place. So I have decided to have a "to do" and a "have done" list. I haven't decided if the "to do" should have a limit or not - I'll see how it works for me first. As items are completed they will be moved to the "have done" list. That way I can reflect on what I have accomplished and therefore motivate me further for the other projects on the "to do" list.


Decoupage puzzle blocks
Curtains for eating nook and kitchen windows
Curtains for bedroom
Wedding album
Strawberry towers
Square foot raised beds
Learn how to make really good bread (not just average)
Finish my diploma


Christmas stockings for Andy and I
Finish my Business certificate

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Farmer's Market

Sometimes you see an item that you absolutely love. This would be one of them. Soft, colourful, fabric vegetables for the kids to play with and a handy bag for carrying them in. I really like the idea of having play toys that reflect a healthy lifestyle. Now to have a child to play with the toys.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mini Getaway

From midday Saturday through midday Sunday Andy and I enjoyed a mini vacation. We escaped the house and drove down the road to Cowichan Bay for a romantic weekend all of 15 minutes from our home.

We stayed at the Oceanfront Grand thanks to the generosity of my boss Geoff. The rooms have been recently renovated - creamy coloured flooring and walls with black granite countertops in the kitchenette and bathroom.

We enjoyed wandered the storefronts in the village and had a midafternoon snack and drink. The cookies came from the bakery in the village that makes the most wonderful breads and sweets from organic grains that are milled on site. The chocolate chip cookies are made with spelt grain and the cranberry cookies are so filling you feel like you have had an entire meal.

The views from the room are breathtaking.
As the sunlight slowly faded to darkness we watched the boats coming in and out of the marina. We enjoyed a delicious and filling meal at the restaurant and relaxed for the remainder of the evening. Just enjoying each others company and being in the moment - no chores to distract, things needing or wanting to be done. Absolute heaven.

A relaxing morning of hot tubbing and newspaper reading was capped of with an amazing brunch. I enjoyed seafood, sushi and waffles while Andy found eggs benny, bacon and salads. Truly a buffet that pleased us both.

Saturday morning sweetness

Saturday morning was a Clarke family brunch. I really wanted to practice the breadmaking skills from my course so I decided to make the cinnamon bun recipe. I mixed it all by hand - unlike at the course. I never did get the dough to pass the window test and gave up.

The dough had no problems rising and the end result was almost as good as class day. I used our wood stove for the proofing stage - worked like a charm. They could have used the icing sugar glaze that they are normally served with but I ran out of time so an apricot glaze was as good as it got.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Zander's Blankie

I have had this picture on my computer for awhile and didn't want to show it until after I gave Patricia and Albie their baby present.

I actually gave them the blanket before Zander was even born but then I forgot I had it. Today I came across it is my picture file and thought I would post it to remember that I have indeed made something in my life. Patricia told me that the blanket is being used so hopefully all those hours were worth it!

Last night was our annual Halloween Howl at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre. Hours of setup for 2 hours of chaos. I believe the several hundred people that showed up had fun so the tiredness of today is soothed by the knowledge that a lot of little kids had a great time. The haunted house was spooky fun, the craft table was a huge success (helium bats and popcorn hands) and free food and candy always goes over well.

I just got two new books and can't decide which to read first. By Peter Reinhart, they are both cookbooks but they are cookbooks that include stories and learning of techniques not just simply recipes. I imagine I will probably end up reading them both at the same time in my impatience to learn what they both have to say.