Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Look What I Have

When I bought my Cherry Tomato plants, one of them had two little tomatoes on it, this is one of them. 

The other one developed a crack (from too much moisture) so I pulled it off  for two reasons: 1) there was no sense letting the plant pump energy into developing a tomato that would not be good anyway, and 2) I was fearful that the crack would attract bugs and then thee bugs would like the good tomatoes too.

But this little one has decided to turn orange and I am sure in a few days (if it stays hot here) we will have a nice red cherry tomato - which I am sure we will let Little Girl eat.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The First Harvest

After a bird stole our first ripe strawberry before we could eat it ourselves, we had to wait quite a while for another one to be ready.

The day finally arrived.

If you have more than one child you know that it is hard to give one child something and not the other - at least when you are trying to not have a temper tantrum on your hands. 

It had been decided a long time ago that Little Girl would get the first strawberry and Little Boy gets the second, but try and tell Little Boy that his is not ready yet, and he has to wait 4 more days.

So I woke up early, went and woke up Little Girl, who is normally quite slow getting out of bed, and said "Do you want to go and pick the strawberry?"

You should have seen her jump out of bed - look at me with questioning eyes. 

So downstairs we go, putting sweaters on and out onto the dew covered grass to the garden.

I was kind of hoping she would eat it right out of the garden, but there was a little bit of dirt on it, so we had to wash it off before it could be consumed - oh and I wanted a picture too.

So here is our first harvest! 

Eversweet Strawberry

She said it was yummy.  I have to wait until the third strawberry is ready to get my taste.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Garden - 6 weeks

Week 6 - wow time has really flown.  We now have everything up - second batches included.

I did some thinning of the beets, but still have 3 row of carrots I need to thin - this is much harder than you would think since if I am in the garden I have 2 kids trying to come in too.

Yellow Onions


 Look at my tomatoes - they are huge - this is the biggest cherry tomato plant.

I tried to get a picture of the tomato clusters, but it was much harder than I though - as you can see in the picture above there are 2 fences in the way, but look at these babies.  I can't wait to eat them.

Our strawberry netting / cage has been very successful - look at this beauty.

The strawberry plants are doing super well - almost all of them have sent out shoots, this is the biggest one so far with roots already showing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To the best Dad in the world!

Happy Father's Day

On a side note - don't you just absolutly love her nighty, I got it just last weekend at Gap.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Garden - 5 weeks

Here is my garden at 5 weeks.  I am beyond excited about it. 

Strawberry cage!

My super awesome, amazing hubby built this for me on the weekend.  We have another strawberry starting to turn red - this time no birds are stealing from me!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Growing up we never went camping, correction, we went twice, the first time I remember a lot of rain, the second time I remember swarms of mosquitoes.

When I left home and ventured out on my own, none of my girlfriends were into camping, rather our idea of camping involved a nice hotel with a great lounge where we could camp out in the evening.

So when I met my husband and found out he was big time into camping with his friends, I was more than a little leery.

I remember the first time he took me out, I had to go and buy a pair of Tivas; the only sandals I owned had a minimum 2 inch heal.
We went to a no services campground with 2 other couples.  No services means outhouses, but I am not a complete princess – I have used them before – I grew up visiting my grandmother and that was the only washroom at her place.

But we had lots of fun that first time out, swimming in the river, lots of laughs and maybe a few jell-o shooters.

The 2-man tent we used got a lot of use those first 2 summers, including a trip out to Tofino where he asked me to marry him at sunset on the beach, but after we discovered the tent had more holes than a brick of Swiss cheese, I started making noises for a trailer.

Our first trailer was bought after we got married, a 17 foot expandable.  We were in heaven!
A furnace, a fridge and a freezer, a washroom – with a flushing toilet.  I might add and we could stand up to get dressed.

We decided right away that we were going to bring our children camping as early as possible.  We camped with Little Girl when she was 2 months old and Little Boy when he was 6 months old.  We would have gone sooner but in Alberta there is only so early even we get out camping.

 Little Girl - her first camping trip - 2 months old that day - I love how little she is on this bed.

This is one of my favourite pictures.  There is a great Dad!

Same camping trip - this is my first Mother's Day!

We loved that little trailer, we only had it for 2 season, but it was fantastic.  Light weight, but still had everything we could want / need in a trailer – we took some great vacations with it into BC.

But camping has changed for us.... more to come on that soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We have very shy children.

Hubby is not shy at all.  He is very outgoing and social – trust me this man can make friends anywhere.
Growing up I was very shy, but I am not really anymore, every once in a while I feel intimidated, a little afraid of what people will think of me, but usually I have no problem talking to people, joining a large group of people where I know almost no one.

So when we realized not one but both kids were shy, we were a little shocked.

Going to someone’s house party has never been fun.  Having my family over for Christmas was not fun for Little Boy who woke up from his afternoon nap to discover a house full of people – and none of them looked like Santa.

So this past weekend Hubby’s company hosted a Surf & Turf Family BBQ.  We tried to get our babysitter to stay with the kids, but she was busy, so we reluctantly brought them along. 
We were pretty sure it would be an evening where we spent more time with the kids than socializing with the other adults.

It turns out, they must be growing up – we had a fantastic night.

They got to say hi to all the lobster, they played with other kids, they played by themselves. 

We were beyond proud of them – we did not leave until 9:45 – almost 2 hours past their bedtime – and they were still doing great!

There is hope for us still – the glue that they have been using to attach themselves to our legs jsut might be weakening.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On My Nightstand - The Postmistress

The Postmistress - By Sarah Blake

On the back cover:
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...
The Postmistress is a tale of two worlds-one shattered by violence, the other wilfully naïve-and of two women whose job is to deliver the news, yet who find themselves unable to do so. Through their eyes, and the eyes of everyday people caught in history's tide, it examines how stories are told, and how the fact of war is borne even through everyday life.

My thoughts:
I have read a lot of books in the past year / year and a half set in World War II; the thing I like about all of them, is they are all from very different perspectives, covering very different parts of the war.  Needless to say, I have learned more about the war in reading all these books than I ever did in school.
Maybe it is because when you are reading historical fiction, it puts a much more real element to the war, something that is hard to achieve in a history class / book.

I found the parts about the war fascinating; I really hope most of that is true because if it is, I learned a lot.  But I honestly did not think the book was titled properly, nor was the back of the book description really accurate to what the book is really about.  This book has so little to do with the Postmistress and way more to do with everyday people handling their emotions and issues with the war.
But still read it – it is a great book – just not titles properly.

My rating: 4 out of 5.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kids and TV

I grew up without a TV in our house.
I know, shocking!  Who does that?

As weird as it sounds, I don't look back and think I missed much, yes I don't have childhood memories of certian TV shows, I never watched Fraggle Rock, or The Smurfs, but I know even if we did have a TV, my parents would never have let us watch much anyway.

But now, no TV, I would go insane.  I love my TV, hubby loves his TV and I know our kids do too.

When I was home with the kids on mat leave, I watched a lot of TV.

Okay, that is an understatment, I watched TV all the time.  If I was home, the TV was on.
I was not always sitting on the couch watching TV (rarely actually), but it was on in the background.
I learned to love Regis and Kelly, The View, Ellen and loved watching old drama show re-runs durring the day.

So now it is funny becasue I would preffer the TV off.

We do allow certian times the kids can watch TV, on a week day, they can watch TV in the morning but only if they are dressed (otherwise they would stay in their jammies all day).
On the weekend, they get to watch TV in their jammies when they wake up (trust me - they love this).
At night time, once they are in their jammies, they get to watch 1 or 2 shows (time dependant on when they get into their jammies) and have a snack.

What are your TV restrictions?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Champagne Tomato Cream Sauce

The other day I picked up Lobster Ravioli from Costco - I love these, they come with 2 packages, and one is just enough for our family for one meal - of course if you have a bigger family or company over, you can cook both packages.

Anyway, I needed a sauce to go with the ravioli, and after some inspiration on line - I created this one.  It was lovely.
Nice flavour, but not too much - it did not over power the lobster in the ravioli at all.
I happened to have some left over champagne in the fridge, but I am sure it would be just as good with white wine too.

Champagne Tomato Cream Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large Roma tomato, very finely diced
¾ cup champagne
½ cup half and half cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add diced onion and sweat for a few minutes, when soft add garlic and sauté for another minute before adding tomato.  Salt and pepper a little bit, the salt helps draw the moisture out of the tomato and allows it to breakdown.
Sauté for 4-5 minutes, until tomato is soft and no longer in cubes, add the champagne and reduce for approximately 10 minutes but do not allow to reduce all the way, if necessary add more champagne or water.
Reduce heat to low and add the cream, stir and taste; add more salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat, toss with freshly cooked pasta, chopped parsley and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


A New Toy

If you know me, or have been following for a little bit, you know by know that I love to cook.  I cook, I bake, I can – I generally do it all.

So how does someone who does all this in the kitchen NOT yet have a food processor?

Iam extremely picky with my small (and large) kitchen appliances.  I take my time, do some research and figure out what I want, then I have to generally wait because the one I want is not the cheapest. 

The other day I got a brand new 12 cup KitchenAid food processor!

This thing is huge!  I wanted the 12 cup one because we are a family of 4 and I never make a small batch (well, hardly ever), so anything smaller would not have been a good option, and this one comes with 2 smaller bowls - a 10 cup one and a 4 cup one!

There are a bunch of other bells and whistles I am not sure I will ever use, but who knows – a egg / cream beating attachment – I guess if I don’t want to get out the stand mixer or it is being used by something else this could come in handy? It also has a citrus press attachment – so if you are now looking for fresh lemonade or orange juice – you know the place!

I will let you all know how I like it as I start using it more.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Wanted Dead or Alive

Okay maybe I don't actually want him dead, but remember this beautiful, almost ready strawberry...

Well this is what it looks like now...

We discovered yesterday that a bird had stolen our one almost ripe and ready to eat strawberry.  So today I am buying some nettings and protecting the rest from our bird thiefs.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

In The Clouds

My friend Dee Ann has been posting a picture everyday of the clouds.  Inspired by her I took these picture this past weekend out at our campsite.

I have been wanting to get this picture for quite a while now - a completly blue sky contrasted by the treeas.  Of course this one is hard to get - the weather had to be perfect.

These were all the clouds in the sky that morning - you know it is going to be a good day when you have a hard time finding clouds.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Garden Update - 3 1/2 weeks

I know I promised I would take a picture of my garden at week 3 - but I got busy and did not get around to it - so this picture was taken on Sunday night - 3 1/2 weeks from initial planting.

This past week was busy, on Monday I planted the second crop of peas, carrots, spinach and green onions.

Sunday, I finally put the last of the tomatoes into the ground - I am sure they will be much happier in their new home.

Yellow Onions


Green Beans - these guys finally came up - and look at what they did - considering a week ago it was hard to tell anything was there at all.

Tomato Alley - in total here I have 7 tomato plants - they might be a bit crowded, but this is my first year so we will see.
If you are noticing that they are in a corner and might not get the best sun - this corner actually gets mid morning to late evening sun - so it is a pretty good location - now I am also hoping that the hail comes from the opposite direction so they are protected!

Strawberries - I intended to buy 5 of the same type of strawberries - I accidentally bough 2 different kinds - I realized this as I was planting them - so it will be interesting to see what we get - this one is Eversweet.

This strawberry is called Fraisier Tristar - can't wait to try it!