Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Quick Hello

Just a quick hello before I head back outside for the day. The big garden project is almost done and I am so excited!
My basement bathroom is almost done as well.
All that's left to be done now are the new windows.(Which hopefully come before it gets too much colder!)
The sun's shining and the forecast is for 16C.(60.8F) (At the end of October!)
What a lovely blessing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This post is for my sister Lisa, a HUGE dog lover. (snicker)
I made soup for supper the other day. It's one of Jada's favorites. I don't normally give her people food but, with Sunday soup I make an occasional exception.
I ladled the soup into her bowl and realized that it was still very hot.

No problem, I'll just throw in an ice cube. I used to do it for the kids all the time.

The instant I threw the ice cube in the bowl I saw my sister Lisa beside me.

"You're giving soup to a dog!! And you're adding an ice cube?!!" Her voice rose incredulously.

I started to laugh.

Spoil my dog?
Not me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Fall Gardening And A Little Spookifying

I've got just a second to post as Henry and I are working on the big garden project by the light of both a floodlight and a flashlight.

I've been sent in the house to make coffee. (tea for me)

My mom came over today and helped me clean out the garden. It was a beautiful day and they are calling for two more days of above seasonal temperatures so. . .

I've got to garden while I can!

While mom worked in the garden, I did a little spookifying.

Although it's hard to tell, I have bats and spiders hanging from the webs.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall In Alberta

What does fall in Alberta look like?

Well today. . . .

It looks like this.

Snow, with winds at 76 km (47 miles)an hour and wind gusts up to 101 km( 62.7 miles) an hour!

I'm grateful Henry decided not to go fishing today!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Violas In The Back Garden

Here's a quick peek at the back garden. It's mostly brown now, with a few exceptions.

The trusty viola is one of them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Fall Fun

I decided yesterday, the windiest day we've had in ages, to decorate the front stairs for fall.

I have been gathering things for a couple of weeks now and brought everything up to the kitchen.

I like to buy things after the season is over and last year I picked up some new fall decor very cheaply.

These baby gourds were grown in my trial vegetable garden. ( I've come to realize that, as much as I like the idea of vegetable gardening, the reality is I am not a vegetable gardener!)

Once I had gathered things together I started putting them out on the front steps.

Buying white pumpkins this year was fun and it had many ladies asking me what I was going to do with those odd looking pumpkins? Did they make good pie?
I wouldn't really know as I don't actually like pumpkin pie!
The dried cornstalks came from my veggie garden. (I harvested about 10 tiny corncobs from them .) The tall, dried, starbursty things are dried allium stalks that were the the front garden earlier in the year. I put them all in a vase when they had finished flowering and dried them out in the garden shed.

Jesse made me this little wishing well in Home Ec which he took in grade 8. It usually hangs out in the back yard but I decided to let it share in the fall fun.

I rather like how things turned out. For a modest sum I've brightened up the front entry and, next week the kids will carve/decorate the pumpkins for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Picture's Worth. . .

Not much if you ask me!
Some of you may have visited my sister Tamara yesterday ( and seen this picture:

There I stand in between my two fabulous sisters looking. . . well weird!
I mean, look at my face!
I couldn't let this pass.
My sister Lisa thought I should find a terrible picture of Tamara and post it for the world to see.
Unfortunately the are no terrible pictures of Tamara, so I have to do the next best thing.

Here is the picture on my camera of the very same event.
See! I'm almost as normal as the rest of you.
Don't worry Tam, I still love you.
We both know hard hard it is to get a picture of me without a weird experssions on my face!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Days

I've settled into the pleasant busyness of fall this week.

We've begun planning the winter bazaar for my kid's school. My cousin and I are organizing it and it's always great fun.

Jesse and my mom are going to be putting together the kids games area. Jesse was confidant that he could do it on his own including recruiting enough volunteers to keep it running throughout the evening but I reminded him that there would be some driving involved to pick up supplies and what have you ,so he conceded that a little help from Oma (Grandma) might not be a bad idea.

Morgan, our resident video gamer will be holding a wii tournament which should be fun and the girls will be helping out here and there as well.

I've also got a BIG garden project which is almost done and I will hopefully be showing it to you soon. It opens up many possibilities and I am thrilled at the prospect of learning something new about gardening!

Who knows. . .

I may even start posting actual gardening posts again!

Now I'm off, I've got a few dishes to do before I head back to school to bring the kids back home.

The flowers shown in the picture above are no longer blooming I'm afraid as we had a few too many frosts. A prairie fall quickly goes from golds and browns to mostly browns. But don't worry, before we know it the brown is covered with snow and we all settle in for a long winter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quiet Sundays

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When All You Want To Do Is Pull Your Hair Out. . .

Being a parent to older children in their late teens and early twenties can be hard sometimes. So many of the decisions they make now can have far reaching consequences and as a mom I sometimes struggle with worries about whether I'm doing a good job in dealing with the various issues that come up.

This is what greeted me when I came home after a terrible afternoon dealing with a bus breakdown.

(Holly didn't know I had had a bad afternoon.) The card reads 'Just because I love you! and happy Thanksgiving Love Holly

Over the weekend Morgan and I ended up at home by ourselves on Thanksgiving Monday. (don't worry, we had already had 2 dinners)

After running around a bit together and having his help to get some cleaning done I thought it would be nice to take him out for dinner.

While chatting Morgan says, "I've got something to tell you but don't get mad."

As you can imagine, my heart starts racing and my mind goes right along with it.

What could it be? Is it something terrible? Do I even want to know?!

He blurts out "I got a tattoo!"

My heart slows.

"But let me tell you why I choose the tattoo I choose!"

"Uh huh. . . ."

My mind starts to focus again. . .

"Well, I had an awesome childhood, right? "(You did? I did something right?)

"Yeah, we always had everything we wanted" (this from a boy who always wanted the great new toys his friends had, that we couldn't afford) "and, it was just great! So, I thought about what some of those great memories were and what would remind me of those days and I thought, Playing video games with my friends! "( courtesy of Aunty Lisa who gave the kids her old game system when her kids got a new one for Christmas)

So. . .

without further ado. . .

I give you Bowser from Mario Brothers. . .

I ask you. . .

Could you be mad with a kid who just told you his childhood was awesome?

I couldn't.

And really, with all the things he could have chosen to decorate himself. . .

I think I got off easy!

But Lisa. . .I blame you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Adventures in Canning

I had meant to write this post yesterday, but as I had the day off, I ended up in the garden and didn't come back inside until late.

In case any of you were wondering what I forgot to put in the double layer chocolate cake I was making for Thanksgiving it was. . .

Sugar! Thankfully I tasted a piece. I had had decided to just use both small layers for the black forest cake.

Blech! was it ever terrible!

So Brenda, I did not actually make lemonade from lemons. I just tossed them both and made something else!

Now on to canning.

I had come across the recipe for this pie filling over at Brin's ( in April and I was determined to give it a try once my apples were ready.

The day finally came.

We had a lot of hail earlier in the season and the apples had suffered. We used most of my apples to make applesauce (and I use the word we rather loosely as my mom made most of the applesauce. All right, truthfully, she made pretty much all of the apple sauce!)

My neighbour offered her apples in exchange for some of whatever we made with it. As she picked all the apples as well, I figured we couldn't go wrong.

I looked at what she brought over, did some counting and figured they would make about 8 recipes.

That sounded good to me. My mom would get some, some I planned to use as Christmas gifts and the rest we could enjoy during the long cold winter months. No problem.

Time to get started. Mom chose apple peeling duty.

I was the chief sauce maker.

Mom had found these cute lids at Wal Mart which went on the jars to be used as gifts.

I got off to a bad start. While making the first batch of sauce, it occurred to me that my new measuring spoon looked rather large. Sure enough it measured at 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons! Ack! What to do? I decided to make a double batch of sauce and adjust the spices that way.

It was a busy day.

I decided to get some chili going in the crock pot for dinner so that it would be one less thing to think about. Then I figured we would need something sweet to keep us going so I quickly baked a coffee cake. Then the tile guy showed up (finally!) to work on the downstairs basement. Henry dropped by for lunch and Jada was constantly wanting to go outside and then come right back in.

Whew! Sometimes the only thing that kept us going was another piece of coffee cake!

Syrup duty was sticky work.

It took a while for the syrup to fill all the nooks and crannies in the jars.

But eventually the jars were ready for the canner.

We were starting to get somewhere.

But at what cost?!
What is that in mom's hand?! Oh no, the job has driven her to drink! What have I done?!

Quick! Let's get some food into her. It's a good thing I made that chili. . .

We started this process at 10:30 in the morning and it was starting to get late. We began to question our sanity. (As did the kids.)

WHAT were we thinking?!

Eight recipes meant we had 48 quart jars to do. I asked mom if she had ever canned that many jars in one day.

"NO, never!"

"What!. Then what are we doing?!"

"Do you want to stop?"

"No, do you?"


So, we soldiered on.

The bag of apple peels started to bulge.

I started snoozing while stirring.

But in the end. . .
Nine hours later. . .

Success! 48 quarts of Brin's Magical Apple Pie Filling!

Would I do this again next year?

Ask me next year!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baking Disaster

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's last night and I offered to bring dessert.

My plan was to make black forest cake. I serve a wedge of chocolate cake topped with homemade fudge sauce, cherry pie filling, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

When I'm in a hurry I sometimes cheat and use a cake mix (gasp!)

This time I thought I'd have some fun and try out a new cake recipe from my new favorite cookbook (I found it at the library) The New Canadian Basics by Carol Ferguson with Murry McMillian.

This cookbook has a little of everything and I have already tried out several recipes with great success.

Imagine my surprise when this is what came out of the oven!

I just couldn't figure it out!

Then I looked over the recipe.

Yep, you guessed it, I had forgotten something!

Bet you can't guess what it was. . . !

Obviously we weren't going to be having black forest cake for dessert, so I opened my first jar of Brin's Magical Apple Pie Filling,( whipped up the topping for apple crisp (also out of this cookbook) threw together some nanimo bars and we were on our way.

The apple crisp? Delicious!

Tune in tomorrow to see how my mom and I canned all those jars of pie filling.

You won't believe how many jars we made!

*And I'll tell you just what I forgot to put in the cake. You may be surprised. I was!

Friday, October 10, 2008


My mom's coming over soon and we hope to spend the day canning quarts and quarts of Brin's ( )Magical Apple Pie filling.

With that in mind I have to run.

There are pots and pans left from dinner last night and I want to throw a coffee cake into the oven so we have something sweet to go with our tea later.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Simple Things

The air was crisp and the sun shone brightly on our morning walk.
While Jada sniffed and occasionally bounced on the other end of the leash, I just breathed it all in . . . Content and at peace with the world.

It was free, this lovely interlude, something these days that I no longer take lightly.
If you watch the news, read the paper, or even experience in a personal way, you know that times are getting tough and the signs point to it getting tougher before it gets better.

It's hard not to worry is it?

Thankfully, we know that God is in control.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink: or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Mathew 6:25-27

Easier said than done though, isn't it?
I've chosen to watch and read only what I need to to stay informed.
Then I focus on what I have, faith, a home, a job, a wonderful family, and good friends.

And I'm making a list of the small things that make life beautiful:
Flowers, gardens,
fresh baked bread,
a pretty fall vignette,
art, books, good food, sheets fresh from the line, autumn leaves and

silly hairy dogs.

This is only the beginning of my list.

What's on yours?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Lesson Learned (Again!)

Remember how one of the things I had to do yesterday was come up with a delicious quick meal?

I did. (at least, I thought I did.)

Leftover roast beef with gravy from the freezer, scalloped potatoes from a bag (sidekicks), corn, beans and homemade apple sauce.

Yum, right?

Just one small problem.

Once heated the 'roast' and gravy turned out to be pretty much only gravy.

Looks like Henry's eating mostly vegetarian tonight.


Lesson learned? Always label things going into the freezer. You really won't remember!

* and by the way, don't knock my potatoes from a bag. They are actually very tasty!
© A Life of Whimsey