Monday, 27 March 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Breath of Fresh Air


The first tastes of spring
are like a breath of fresh air.
When the wind blows hard from the south
and the sun shines bright and warm.
It is just the time to take blankets out to the clothesline
to air and refresh after winter's chill.
I like to do this with all our blankets 
as time and the weather permit.
There is still snow in the forecast
so we take these bright warm days
with pleasure as they come.

This week I have also been 
working to re-fresh the freezer.
It's time to dig deep and get all the older food
out and used up.
One of those foods was some blueberries.
Blueberry buckle is one of my families favourites
so I made up a big batch of it.
I am pondering some more canning to use up some 
of the meat that is in the bottom.

With all the fresh air I have enjoyed a couple days 
of just sitting in the hammock and listening
to the music of the birds and squirrels and the wind chimes.
So refreshing!

With the feelings of spring
I've started making veggie platters again.
It's so nice to have fresh veggies with dip to add
to any meal.
It's also a fun time to try out new types of dips/dressings.

With lots of fresh cucumbers coming through 
the grocery store, I've grabbed a couple extra packages
to make fridge pickles.
I love how they are so easy and add a 
lovely fresh crunch to snacks and meals.
Now to just wait a couple weeks to try them out.
I use the Prairie Homestead recipe from her cookbook.
That said it's fun to add other veggies to add variety.

This past March break my boys have been participating
in a Youth Cafe learning experience at our 
local community centre. 
Learning to cook and prepare commercial 
meals in the commercial kitchen.
The finale was yesterday as the youth put on 
a special dinner for the seniors in our community.
Everything went very well and it was a delight to see
people come out and visit over good food.

I hope that you are enjoying some 
aspects of springtime where you live...or fall if you're 
on the other side of the world.
Sometimes change is beautiful.

Thank you for dropping by!
Love and Prayers,

Monday, 20 March 2023

Homemaking Mondays: A Touch of Green and a Butter Keeper


How does your spring grow?
It's been so warm here the last couple days that there is a 
symphony of dripping water 
that delights the ears.
The smell of spring is in the air!

Inside the seedlings are coming and the 
bright green enlists admiration
and frequent checks to make sure all is well.

I always plant more then I need.
For two reasons: 
One is that I love to plant seeds,
and the other is that Lord willing I will
be able to sell the extras to cover the price
of the seeds and soil I need to purchase
to get things going.

The tomatoes when they get their true leaves will be 
separated out and up potted into bigger containers
with real soil.  That happens soon.
Then I have lots of other lovely seedlings
that will be moved into other containers to give their 
roots lots of room to grow.
That will be a bit as they have to have their true leaves as well.
I find the tomatoes grow their true leaves faster then the herbs.

On the kitchen windowsill I have 
leeks and onions growing. 
This is my first year growing onions from seed
so we shall see how this adventure turns out.

With all the herbs starting I look forward to using
fresh herbs in my cooking again.
I think that if someone wants to just grow
a few little things for their kitchen
that herbs should be high on the list. 
They just make for delicious meals.

This week I've also been working on my newest knitting project.
It's called a Birch stitch and I really love it.
It's simple, just four repeating rows.
I find it relaxing and easy to leave off when I 
have other pressing needs to attend to.  
Then when I come back it's clear where to pick up from.

This weeks score at the free store
was this butter keeper!
I have seen them online and when I saw it on the shelf
I was absolutely delighted to see it in person.
So of course I brought it home to try.
I really love the colours of it as well. 

I tucked a bunch of butter up under the lid
which I had softened to room temp first so it would
stick to the container.
Then I added a bit of water to the bottom and put the lid on.
I am interested to see how much better this old fashioned 
method works in comparison to my other covered
butter dishes.
Do you have one of these? 
If so how do you find using it?

Fun new things for the kitchen.
Today I'll be preparing some leek/potato/bacon soup.
I'm going to be making more soups in the next little bit
before the real warmth comes 
and no one will be interested in soups.

Yesterday I checked on my greenhouse
and even though I got a lot more snow 
off the roof there is still a lot up there....melting.
I pushed the excess off the roof and will need to remember 
to continue doing that till it's all gone.  
I haven't set up the rain barrel
to catch the water yet.  It's buried under too much snow.
That will be something to do in a week or so.

How is your week looking?
What kind of homemaking are you up to?

Thanks for dropping by!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 13 March 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Washing Woollens and Greenhouse Maintenance


With the ups and downs of March
bring us the hope of spring and the still reality
of winter in all it's glory.

The need for our warm clothes 
but also the transitional time of layering.
This week I tried a new thing. 
I found this delightful wool sweater at our free store.
It needed a good wash but I've not ever washed anything 
quite like it. Our wool socks 
have some nylon so they just go in the washer
and then are hung to dry.
So my daughter picked up this SOAK from the yarn store.
I was so incredibly amazed at how it cleaned out 
so much dirt and smell without scrubbing.
It's almost dry enough for her to wear now.
I have found I do need to get a special dryer
that I can lay things flat on.

With the ups and downs of March 
the sunlight has started to become warmer
and last longer.
So...seeds are now planted in their trays,
set out in front of the windows to catch the warm rays.
I have a hard time waiting for germination
and the Lord is gracious and gives me a few little seedlings 
that pop up within a day or two to ease my tension. :) 
There are little chamomile, calendula, and comfrey seedlings.
The tomatoes and herbs will take a bit longer. 
This year I discovered some lovely new tomato seeds!
Sunrise Bumble Bee
Who could resist planting some of these?
Yes, I also bought a bunch more seeds. 
We'll have four different varieties of kale
and some more beans this year. 
I'm also trying to start some onions from seed
just to see how that goes.
So like every year--- some old, some new.

I discovered this beautiful painting by Chuck Black 
on his Facebook page.
He is one of my favourite artists 
and this painting reminds me of our little lake.
Serene and vibrant.
Dreaming of spring when the wildflowers
come out in full bloom and the water shimmers in the sunlight.
Well...because by that time there will be no moonlight.

I've been doing a bit of greenhouse maintenance.
There is a ton of snow on the roof.
The support beams we put up last fall are doing a good job
and I don't think we have anything to fear.
I still wanted to get a bit of the snow load off so that it'll melt faster 
and allow more light in so that I can start 
some gardening projects earlier.
This year I want to try growing peas and spinach in the greenhouse.
I saw in a gardening video where someone 
used bubble wrap to help insulate the plants from the cold
in little hoops. That I'd like to try.

For now there are millions of little frozen water droplets
that glisten on the ceiling. 

There is now less snow on the roof...
and I'll be getting a longer shovel handle to get more off.
Spring outdoor jobs.  
Soon snow needs to be moved away from the house 
to protect foundations as well.

Snow amazes me in how it can accumulate from such 
small perches. 
The little puff ball on the greenhouse door had
just a half inch of space from the door being just a tad ajar.
Then the moose antlers had it stretching out beyond the eves
as iff it was reaching for the light.

There are always good treats to eat
when coming in from the cold.
This past week there were carrot cake muffins.
SO yummy with or without icing.

So what keeps you busy in March? 
What kinds of things do you as we come to  this transition period?

I pray you have a blessed day! 

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 6 March 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Getting the Gardening Itch


The days are getting longer
and the sun is getting warmer.
Time to start gardening again.
I've gone through my seeds and figured out what
I need to buy new. 
I also have decided what I'd like to grow that is new.
This year I'm going to try growing tarragon,
then I also want to see about growing
some new squash and some comfrey.
Of course not all the seeds can be started early.
I just put my garlic into the fridge along with my comfrey
seeds to get their "winter" time. 
I have to get a bit more soil to start my seeds
and then we'll get those going.
I love having this gardening activity 
in this later part of the winter.
I do enjoy winter...but I'm starting to dream of spring.
As you can see below...we have a lot of snow.
Our squirrel in the feeder seems to like
having the feeder to hang out in.
Sitting in the warm sun munching on sunflower seeds.

I finished another project to keep warm.
I now have a new pair of lighter wool socks. 
This was fun yarn and I have a bit left over
that I may make some ankle socks with at some point.
The self striping yarn keeps it interesting as you go along.
I have a knitted scarf that I'm working on now.
It's always nice to have a yarn project on the go.

The fresh tomato soup was such a hit that when I found 
tomatoes on sale at the store again I made another batch. 
I do love this little tool my friend gave me.
It makes coring and taking tops off tomatoes 
and strawberries so easy.

It's been a nice week with homeschooling as well.
My boys started a cooking program at our local community centre.
I love that there is so many opportunities there for youth.
Even for the drop in times, my sons often get to help with odd jobs
learning new skills and being able to volunteer.

I hope you have a wonderful day! 
Love and Prayers,

Monday, 27 February 2023

Homemaking Mondays: A Pretty Tea Cup and Lemon Basil Cookies


It's a beautiful cold morning here today.
Last night the sky cleared and 
the northern lights were dancing. 
Today we are to be getting more snow. 
All of this makes me enjoy the warmth inside all the more.

This week I was gifted this beautiful tea cup set
by a dear friend.
I love the blue flowers and it's a really nice size.
Also like you see below
there are the ridges on the plate that help to keep 
the cup in place.
This is so helpful as I do carry my cups about the house. 
I shall really enjoy using this set and thinking of her.

This past week my daughter's boss made some 
delicious cookies and shared some with our family.
They were lemon basil cookies.
You can find the recipe HERE! 
I was sceptical at first, but oh wow are they good.
They are particularly good with Earl Grey vanilla tea. 

This week I've made butter again out of some 
cream I've had in the freezer for awhile.
I absolutely love how it changes to yellow as it forms.
I also like to use old tea towels or sheets instead of cheesecloth
as the butter seems to hold together better.

I washed the butter first and then
 I form it into blocks and wrap in parchment paper.
Some for the freezer and some to use right away.
I read this tip for washing butter 
and it was after the butter has formed in your mixer
just drain the buttermilk out and then switch
the attachment from whisks to paddles or bread kneader
and then add ice cold water 
and it washes the butter for you.  
I shall try that next time.

I used some of the butter
to make grilled sourdough & cheese sandwiches.
These went perfectly with the 
homemade tomato soup with a dollop of sour cream.

For days that are cold and often snowy.
Soup is a perfect meal to serve our families.
Warm, hearty, & filling.
This past week we also had bacon mushroom soup.
Then three of my kids and I went to help at our community centre
for a ski event and there was chilli there. 

Thanks for dropping by!
I hope you have a great homemaking week!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 20 February 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Waffles and Breadcrumbs


I hope you are enjoying your day. 
My family has a tradition of pancakes on Sunday mornings.
This week I decided I'd try something new.
I did make the usual pancakes but then took
some batter and added cocoa to it for the waffles.
I know there are tons of waffle recipes...but hey 
pancake batter works great as well.
I didn't have whipping cream so I beat up some cream cheese
added a bit of milk and icing sugar to it and yum! 
I splurged this week and bought strawberries and blackberries.
Sometimes it's nice to spend money on these little treats.
Then drizzled some maple syrup over top 
and wow it was delicious! 

I'm like most people, I want to be wise with my money
and to make wise choices at the store. 
Food is getting more expensive all the time 
and so thinking about how to save money is important.
For me I think of how to use things up or make things stretch.
I think it's important to be prudent, but also to remember
that splurging here or there is important as well.
To do this I find ways to counteract the extra expenses.
One way is to make simple ingredients at home so that they don't 
need to be bought at the store.
One easy one is breadcrumbs.
We all have those ends of bread that no one is ever going to eat.
I save them, chop them up, bake them, and then crush them.
They can now be made into breading for meat. 
Or instead of crushing them they can be used as croutons, or 
made into stuffing.
Making your own dairy products like yogurt, kefir, sour cream, or buttermilk 
is also helpful as those items cost quite a bit more then homemade.

I know it's not for everyone and shopping sales can contribute 
the same benefit as homemade.
For me it's about being thoughtful of things.
Not shopping mindlessly but purposefully.
If you want to make something for your family that cost more
what can you do to save that same amount in other ways.
There is a balance.
Sometimes the balance comes in you spending more of your time
to save in finances.
Your time is worth it! 
Some may feel it makes you a slave to your kitchen.
To me it's a joy to be able to spend my time
making sure that everyone eats well
and for a cost we can manage.
For me the kitchen seems to be the heart of the home
in that it is a place we all gather.
Where we eat and share time with each other.
It is a wonderful place to be.
Is your kitchen a happy place to be? 
If not, I encourage you to create 
an inviting atmosphere there.
Either by decorating it in a more pleasant way,
making it more accessible to get something to eat,
or have more delicious smells coming from it.
Having your family welcome to join in with kitchen activities
is also a wonderful way to make it inviting.
If you are going to spend lots of time there,
it needs to be a pleasant place to be.

Thank you for dropping by! 

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 13 February 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Tea with Shortbreads


As most of you that have been with me for awhile
know that I love tea...and cookies. 
It's nice to have tea
in it's many forms and flavours
tailored to each day.
Then there are the cookies-
this week I baked some shortbreads.
I used the Scottish Shortbread recipe in the 
Joy of Cooking cookbook.
I used my fancy rolling pin to add some detail to the tops 
and the bottoms turned out a lovely golden colour.
Melt in your mouth.
Perfect to enjoy with tea time,
and perfect to share with others.
I have these little blue papers that I like to use
to quickly wrap up treats for others.
Below I tucked up a few cookies to go to the couple 
that bring us eggs every week.
Just a little thank you for their free delivery they do for us.

Do you have little papers or containers 
that you use to be able to quickly 
put together treats for those that stop by?

I enjoy salami and this past week 
at the store they had German salami on sale.
It's delicious on crackers with cheese
or on sandwiches.
I love the "floral" design it has when you slice it.
I had found some Swiss cheese on sale as well so 
thought I'd try it with the salami on grilled sandwiches. 
Well that is now a new favourite lunch of mine.
Do you like grilled sandwiches?

I love collecting some little 
delightful tea things.
One of my favourites that I know 
I've shared before is this little tea spoon.
I just love the delicate stitching that went into it.

Then I acquired this beautiful pansy tea cup and saucer. 
It has a lovely handle and there are
little scalloped edging details on the top of the cup.

I had found this beautiful little sugar bowl at the free store
but didn't use it much as there was no lid. know I love the free store. 
I went there this past weekend and voila 
there was this sweet glass lid sitting all by itself.
It fits the sugar bowl perfectly! 
Now I know that sugar bowls don't need lids per se.
I find that it's just nice to keep out some sugar without
getting dust and other "floaties" in it.  

It's snowing outside today 
and is just a bit below freezing.
Shovelling will be on our homeschool
schedule for today.

Thank you for dropping by! 

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 6 February 2023

Homemaking Mondays: Embrace the Details


This Monday morning has been delightful! 
The sun has come out and blue sky is all around.
The wind has picked up and is blowing the frost off the trees.
This is creating a snow-globe effect to the forest around us.
So the urge to go outside is strong...
but alas the need to be inside doing things is stronger.

School lessons are on, 
there is bread baking in the oven,
and knitting mistakes being fixed. 
Outside time will wait till after lunch.

This week I wanted to share with you a little project I did.
It started with me switching out dryers in the laundry room
as our old one finally bit the dust.
Behind the new washer that we had saved was a board.
It was just the right size and colour for an idea that I'd had.
So I brought it upstairs and cut it to length.
I went out to the shed and found a couple hangers that I had saved.
Then I put up this little shelf in my hutch so that the baskets
finally had their own place in the kitchen to belong.
My son thought of putting the hangers on the top 
so as not to infringe on the cookbook space.
Below you can see what it looked like before I started. 
This is a space that accumulates all sorts of things.
It needed to be cleared up so timing was perfect.

I took some pictures of the frost before it started to blow away.
I was feeding the birds and their bird feeder had some
beautiful frost on it's swirls.

Our old dog is never far from us.
She loves to plop herself down and from time to time
she slightly opens her eyes to check on us.
To inquire as to our reason for making noise. 
Yes, we are a home that makes noise. :)

Precious details in each day.
Sometimes we miss them.
Today I caught the light on coming in 
to help warm the buns while they rose on the stove.
Little dustings of flour still around
cooking stains around the burner...of messes made.
I need to pull out some baking soda and take care of those.
It may seem strange, but these are some of the details 
that I love to embrace.
Each day has something special
each job has a benefit
each little effort we put into our home
and into the lives of those we love,
those details are beautiful!

I hope you have a beautiful day
taking notice of those special details in your day.

Love and Prayers,

Monday, 30 January 2023

Homemaking Mondays: View Through My Window


There are so many wonderful views 
from our windows. 
I found this cute window pane picture frame
and wanted to add some fun 
pictures to it.  
One big picture would be fun
but I thought these little pictures would add
some great colour and memories.
Three of the pictures my friend took,
one is from my daughter and the others are mine.
I love pictures because they capture not only 
beautiful things, but also memories.
Someone had to stand somewhere and click the picture.
Firstly they would see it for themselves.
The picture is just to share that with others.
I love this frame because the pictures 
can be changed out from time to time.
I just have the frame leaning against the wall 
on one of my little tables in the living room.
One day it may be put up on a wall.
If you had such a frame or have one
what kind of pictures would/do you add?

At the free store I found this pretty little serving basket.
It's a silver plated one with lovely details.
It's also made in Canada and I thought that was a sweet detail.
I gave it a quick wash, but I need to polish it up.

It is really cute and would make for a fun little tea party.
Whether for one or many, it's nice to have 
pretty things to enjoy with your tea times. 
Now I need to make some pretty cookies to go on it. 
I baked some banana muffins but they are just delicious and not pretty.

As for pretty and a fresh spring feel.
I bought some lovely mini daffodils this past week.
They don't last long but their colour is so cheerful
the smile it brings is worth it.  
I put it on my kitchen counter with some of my other plants
so that I can enjoy it throughout the day.
As with some of you I also spend a lot of time in my kitchen. 

This week I've already started a new pair of socks.
Knitting I find is relaxing when there is no time limits.
I suppose that is with most projects. 
I think that time pressures seem to stem the flow of creativity.
Although in the kitchen when you need supper fast...
creativity seems to abound. ha!

I hope you have a wonderful week
enjoying caring for your homes.

Love and Prayers,