Monday, February 28, 2011

I Love...looking on the bright side

This month has been great- thinking about the things that fill my days with love has been uplifting, and it's been a great way to put a positive spin on what could otherwise be a pretty grim month. There's always a bright side, and I have buckets of thanks for Kerry and everyone else who shared their loves this month.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I grown up she's getting

(carrying baby Elmo in a sling- she's very attentive to her babies)

N has been having a few tantrums lately, I don't know when it started but suddenly I realized she's not just crying when she doesn't get her way- she's a little out of control. So yesterday I read some advice about them- and I think we're on our way to dealing with them. The main reason for most of her outbursts is when she can't tell us what she wants, you see she has some pretty specific requests, and they're hard to interpret with grunts and hand gestures, which is where she's at. She makes lots of sounds and does a few 'words' (ca for cat- aipe-for diaper), but when she wants things she makes hand gestures or pushes us and moves our bodies to make us see/pick her up/walk over there- she also does a great dismissive wave and head shake if the things we're offering are not what she wants.

And what she wants is not so easy anymore- they're two or three step maneuvers hard to interpret- such as-" want to get that eraser from the office and put it in the mouth of the doll in the living room the one that sings while you press it's tummy- all while sitting on my lap, not on your own, in this chair- not that chair- definitely not that chair, and I press the tummy, and you put in the eraser, not the other way around, and then we clap". I think she's learning and she's developing these skills and she understands us and I wasn't challenging her enough. I was still at the last stage and she's moved on- moved on to helping wash dishes and counters, to sweeping and dumping flour in the mixer, to making her own art instead of just watching me- and she was getting bored, and then frustrated and then mad.

I need to find new activities for her- I need to challenge her- and seriously at this rate she's going to be keeping me on my toes- I feel sorry for her future teachers. Yesterday I let her help more and I was shocked by what she could do, and at how her attitude changed so much just by me explaining things to her, and asking her things. It's a beautiful thing to see a person grow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I love...this image

From Martha Stewart Magazine- the colours on these bowls are so inspiring to me- I'm feeling like I need more colour in my life right now. Those of you who know my house will think that it would be impossible to do that- it's pretty bright- I have a no white rule for my walls because we get so much white in winter it's enough. White is an accent colour around here. But still- I want soft spring colours right now, and something brighter, something that hints about how spring is right around the corner, because it's snowing again here today- and that is too much.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I love...Meringues

These cookies are so yummy and light and melt in your mouth, perfect for kids actually, and low fat too- though not low sugar, still...delicious. Recipe here enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Love...Nursing

N is 18 months old now, and still nursing, sometimes only a couple of times a day, and other days it seems like she's tugging at my shirt every hour. I thought I'd be doing it for a year- but soon after she was born I knew it would be longer- whenever she's in pain, or grouchy, or just out of sorts we can nurse and the quiet cuddle time acts like a re-set switch. I know that we'll stop around her second birthday, or sooner if wants to, but for now I'm just enjoying our quiet time- and loving that I can soothe almost anything this way, because there won't always be such an easy fix to her problems, not to mention an easy way to distract her while I'm busy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marshmallow Recipe


3 pkg unflavoured gelatin
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup (regular corn syrup works too- has a faint molasses-y flavour)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1Tbsp Vanilla extract
1 cup water (or fruit juice if you want to flvaour these that way)

confectioners sugar for dusting

(A stand mixer is not essential for these-but there's a lot of mixing involved- so it's very very handy, I've never made them with a hand held mixer)
Combine Gelatin and 1/2 c of cold water in the bowl of mixer with a wire whip attachment. (I've used fruit juice in this step to replace the water and make a flavoured marshmallow- raspberry is especially good).

Meanwhile combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in medium saucepan (mixture will bubble up quite a bit), cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, raise the heat to high and cook until it reaches 240 on a candy thermometer, remove from heat, on low speed mix syrup mixture into the gelatin, add the vanilla as it's mixing, put mixer on high speed for about 15 min. or till very thick- you should see strands of marshmallow slightly stick to the sides of the bowl as it spins. It should hold it's shape fairly well- like a meringue - but not be too solid. Dust and 8-12 pan with icing sugar and pour marshmallow mixture in- dust the top with sugar and allow to set.

Once set- you can cut into squares- or use cookie cutters- dust with icing sugar- or icing sugar and cinnamon and store covered- for a couple of weeks- they last a surprisingly ling time- and freeze well too.

I also make viva puff style cookies by piping the marshmallow mixture over sugar cookies dolloped with jam- then dipping the while thing in chocolate- or coconut flakes. In order to do that you have to work fast- and have all the cookies laid out with jam, and the piping bag- I use a giant zip lock bag with a corner cut off-ready. The marshmallow needs to be still workable but stiff enough to hold it's shape, this is easiest to gauge after a few runs- and if it's too runny you can simply pop it back in the mixer for a minute or two. It makes a lot of cookies- maybe 10 dozen 1.5 inch cookies. You can also pipe these into shapes, like the hearts I made for hot chocolate- I dream of using it to make snow on a gingerbread house- one day...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Love...Warm Winter days

This weekend it was so warm we spent a lot of time outside, we even slid down some snow banks, and built our snow lady, who promptly melted.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Love...My Babe

(I can barely believe that those pictures are of the same girl-how fast they grow)

Prayer For a Daughter
God of man and God of nature,
Shape my daughter like the seasons.
Give her all the song of springtime
And the subtlety of April,
Generosity of summer,
Warmth and all the sweet fulfillment,
And the sparkling wit of Autumn,
Color like October hillsides.
Lest her charms may be too many,
Give her something of the winter:
Stars and distances and silence,
Courage of the open spaces,
Wisdom of the waiting branches.
Don't forget to give her winter.
Esther Wood

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Love...My Sweetheart

It's true- I do love my husband- a lot- he's my best friend and partner, and I don't know what I'd do without him. I had a realization this spring- that as much as K and I share interests- we're very essentially very different- and when we butt heads about something it usually comes out of the mix a little bit more complete because we have both sides of it figured out individually. And that's a beautiful thing, not only to love someone but to love someone who shares your passions and pushes you to make something of your passions.

We've been together a scant 8 years- but during those years we've been busy- building our life together- putting together piece after piece, working towards common dreams, and a better, if more 'real' relationship. We're not overly romantic as a couple and honestly haven't had a date night yet- without our daughter- or felt the need to really- we connect every day, in a million little ways, and I love that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Love...Garden Tomatoes

These ones were destined for roasted tomato soup using this recipe. It was good but I had to do a bit of fixing because my tomatoes were frozen so I took out the liquid half way through and roasted for an extra hour to get the garlic cooked through. Delicious and easy and it was a hit with all family members.
The tomatoes were just washed and cored and any bad bits taken off then frozen in zip locks, they took up a lot of freezer room but were so easy to put away- and have been really easy to use too- I've even just put one in a saucepan with some onions and Swiss chard and let it thaw out and then eaten on pasta. we froze them according to colour as well- yellow and orange together, and red together, just for the novelty of it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Love...Winter

I get a little sick of winter by this time of year it's true- but really I do love it. I spent my teenage years in Vancouver, which is beautiful for sure, and I'm jealous when my mom talks about the bluebells opening in February. But I love Manitoba winters, they're cold- really cold- freeze your eyelashes together cold- but the sun is out a lot, and the sky is bright clear blue, and I find that so reassuring.
I also love snowdrifts, I love the way they are records of the wind, and their fluid, yet icy nature. I love the glittering surface of the snow and the deep blue shadows they form. I love the way that they can be small yet monumental, and also unbelievable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Love...Houseplants

These flowers have made the house feel so much more welcoming and warm than it usually does in February. It's a luxurious feeling to have plants inside- one that I haven't had until this year because the cats have habitually eaten all the plants I've ever brought home. Nelson will even pull flowers out of vases and run through the house with them clenched in his teeth like he's doing the tango. But they leave things that smell alone for the most part and these Paperwhites smell a little like burning wire (K identified the smell- he said he was looking for any possible causes one day, until he finally realised it was the flowers).
I have no idea what the first flower is though -it's a tree like plant with not very many leaves but lots of flower buds- maybe a double flowering hibiscus?? any ideas??

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Love...the reading corner

We put this bed out in our porch mainly because there was no other place for it- but it's actually a very niceplace to sit and chill and read a book and look out the window. I've put all of N's books in the cupboard next to the bed and she uses the rubbermaid tub as a step stool (fancy I know) so she can get up and down off the bed easily. She loves it, I love it, it's all good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Love..Happy hair

N was born with a Mohawk like swath of hair on top of her head, which has not changed- the top is long and the sides...well not so long- they're growing, but they're not in any kind of hurry. She's also got sweet little ringlets at the back- which are cute but will eventually have to go or a mullet will be on the horizon, and that simply won't fly. But for now she's got this hair that can be either Kewpie Doll or with a little bit of lotion-Punk Princess, It's fabulous, and so indicitive of her nature.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I tea

I've been using this travel mug for tea and coffee lately- even though I'm not going anywhere. Part of motherhood that's been really frustrating me is the fact that it will take me all day long to drink one cup of coffee- it seems like N has a radar for things like that. As soon as I've got it warmed up- she'll need a nap- or some milk- or to go outside, and I'll get back to it just as soon as it's stone cold.

Sometimes I'll still be working on my morning coffee at 4 p.m- so this mug has been the perfect solution. The tea bags were a little treat as well Organic Pukka Love tea- It's got Rose and Jasmine and all those lovely flowery flavors- so appropriate for February.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Love...the wildlife

These guys have been hanging around our yard for a couple of weeks now. The snow is so deep that they've been eating anything they can get their mouths on, sometimes the blade scrapes up a bit of grass when they plow the lane and they go wild, it's a tough life being wild. Every time we see them we run around to the window and check them out- N even says 'dee', and then she makes me tap the glass to get them to look at us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Love...heart garland

This month I'm joining In Kerry's 'I love' project, starting each day by highlighting something that brings the love into my life. It's a great month to reflect about love and happiness- not only because of Valentines- but because here in Manitoba, February can be a soul crusher, Spring is far away- tax time is coming up, and I've always kind of hated valentines-(oh the expectations!). But I think I could wrap myself around this concept.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Comfy Cozy days

N has been shuffling around the house in these slightly too big moccasins for a couple of days now. It's been so cold here that we've been staying in mostly- spying on the wildlife from the windows. These are the days for cozy wear- leggings, slippers and a mama-made micro fleece top that's a little too big, and super soft and warm, and lightweight too. I'm almost ready to make one for myself too but I've already sworn never to make myself matching outfits with my daughter- it's too creepy, even for around the house.