Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to School

Today was Emily's first day of school -- grad school that is. She's started the adventure of becoming an Occupational Therapist.

Something celebratory was in order, and flowers happened to find their way (free of charge) into my hands!

Michael hung up the beautiful maple mirror I found at Goodwill last week for $7.50, and voila, Emily's room was transformed.

Day One of school was a success. Now Emily just has two years to go!

Friday, June 26, 2009


It' s been 12 days since my garden looked so very sad:

Twelve days since the Miracle Gro was first applied. Wouldn't you agree -- there's a huge difference!!!!

While we were at church camp everything sprung to life and GREW! We even have baby squash!

And we actually picked our very first radish yesterday:

Everyone was so eager to try it so we cut the radish into 5 bits. Our excitement ended in tears when we realized how spicy these radishes are! I guess just the adults will be enjoying them.
I'm so happy that the garden is doing so well!!! I was beginning to think it would be a disaster but now I'm pretty confident we're going to have some good produce.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Uncle Bill's Birthday

Uncle Bill was in town for a short visit at the beginning of June. With his birthday just around the corner, a family dinner was in order.

We opted for hamburgers with various toppings (avacado, mushrooms, tomato, cheese, onion, prosciutto), oven chips, salad, and dessert:

Having a large group around the table, with good food, is always a treat:

The colors were very summery:

David has decided Miss Suze is his best friend:

There were presents:

And cake.
Em made the cake from something she saw in Real Simple magazine. It was a rice krispie crust (melted chocolate chips and rice krispies) filled with icecream, topped with fruit and chocolate sauce over all. Pretty impressive (and pretty easy too).

For those who preferred less sugar, there was strawberry shortcake -- my most favorite, and most-used early summer dessert:

Everyone enjoyed dessert:

Especially Uncle Bill:

With all the excitement, there was no time to put the little boys to bed. Eventually nature intervened:
And now Uncle Bill is off for the summer to Long Island where he'll be enjoying the beautiful water, good friends, and hopefully good food too!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Church Camp

We all had such a wonderful time at Church Camp last week. We hadn't been in 8 years (due to various circumstances) and it sure was great to go back!

Food was definately a highlight for the children -- a cafeteria line with free reign!

Mornings were spent in sessions -- the adults in the main auditorium hearing talks on Proverbs and the kids in age-specific classes, which they loved!
In the afternoon there were organized sports and swimming.
Here the kids try kickball for the first time:
Camp was held on the campus of Asbury College in Kentucky. A very lovely setting.

The town of Willmore lined their streets with these beautiful hanging baskets.

Mommy and James braved the 95 degree weather one day to walk into town for an icecream at the soda fountain:
We spied a random pot of basil sitting on the main street -- must be for someone's kitchen!

The children loved being surrounded by so many friends!

I enjoyed the architecture and the roses planted everywhere:

And I tried to turn a blind eye to what the children were eating. They NEVER get this stuff at home:

I helped out in the preschool class a few times. It was very well organized with plenty for the children to do. James and David had a great time!
Rachel discovered she matched her friend!

Pool time was definately a favorite:
David insisted on spending time with Calvin and Patrick whenever possible.

We all enjoyed seeing many friends who live far away, and making new friends as well.

I think we'll be making an effort to return much sooner than 8 years!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cherry Picking

We went cherry picking today -- spur of the moment. It was a delightful activity for children, filled with tree climbing, tractor sitting, and ladder standing. And after all that fun, we have some fruit to enjoy too!

The hot weather has arrived. It's now mostly in the upper 80's and low 90's. The humidity is present as well. But, we braved the weather for the cherries.

Then there were kittens to play with.

What child can resist a kitten?

The best part was being invited inside a cool house for lemonade and a slice of cherry pie. Fresh cherry pie is SO good.

So now I'm trying to decide: pie or jam? The jam might be winning, but the pie is pretty persuading.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Full Life

Life has been pretty full around here lately with little time to blog about it all. A favorite time from last week was when Rachel and I snuck away to the Village Yarn Shop for some knitting and a "girl outing."

I have lots of good food and books to blog about but they'll have to wait as we are off to Church Camp this week. The kids are so excited and we parents are too, but there is still ALL the packing to do before we leave at lunch time. So I better run...... Have a good week!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I've just come across this wonderful book: The Gentle Art of Deomesticity by Jane Brocket. I believe I have Brenda to thank for the recommendation, and I don't know how I've missed this book before (it's been out for a year).

Jane is the author of the Yarnstorm blog, and this book is essentially "back issues" of her blog. Initially I thought I would glance through the book for inspiration from the lovely photos. Then I started reading and realized I would be reading every word. This book is so inspiring to me!

Jane loves photos, food, knitting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, etc. She's not afraid to dabble in anything related to the arts and crafts of homemaking. She inspires people to dive in and enjoy domesticity.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Garden is Ill

Well, my garden is looking quite ill. It's very sad. Nothing seems to be growing, and everything seems to be turning yellow. :(

I called the Dirt Doctor and he ordered tests, which we duly performed. The results are in and waiting to be interpreted for the best diagnosis and treatment plan.

It doesn't help that when I look across my yard I see my neighbor's lush garden:

At least my zinnias are growing nice and green and strong. If we don't have any tomatoes, at least we'll have flowers! :)

And the rhubarb's coming along too. Maybe next year we'll actually get some to harvest?

I guess we'll just need to wait and see what happens. It could be I need to give the dirt a few years to develop. Maybe my green thumb begins and ends with violets.......

Monday, June 8, 2009

From Charity Shops to Garage Sales

When we lived in Scotland I LOVED visiting charity shops -- uncovering antique embroidery, finding beautiful china teacups, and shopping for our clothing needs.

My friend Rachel enjoyed the very same thing (except she knew more about fashion than I did). We lived in different places, but we met up in various towns to explore their charity shops.

Here's what our outings looked like with us dressed for the weather and our children buckled into our "vehicles" (neither of us had cars):

Fast forward a few years to this past weekend. Rachel's sister, Rebekah, now lives in the same city we do!!! And, we met up to go garage saleing together this past Saturday. We piled our 6 kids into our cars and set out for 6 hours of fun! (Mind you, the children were graciously watched by a good friend for several hours so they only had to endure 3 hours in the car, and they were very, very good).
I came home with a car full of finds, my favorite being these yellow chairs which I got for $10 each. They've already found their home in Christina's living room. Aren't they adorable!!!

Another favorite find was some china which Rebekah and I split. There were 6 teacups and saucers and all these extra bits. And the design was so lovely and cheerful. In much the same way that Rachel insisted I must buy the Laura Ashley plum tweed suit we found on the day pictured above, Rebekah insisted I must buy the depression glass cake plate for $2, especially since I already had dessert plates at home to go with it. I'm glad, on both occassions, I took their advice!

Ah yes, then there were piles of clothes for Andrew, a few shirts for Michael, a dress to wear to a wedding this summer and at the next sale brand new shoes that went perfectly with the dress. There were lovely gifts which are being saved for holidays, a tiny teacup for Rachel, a skirt from Zara (thanks to Rebekah, I now know that is a good name brand), fabric and craft supplies, a war-time edition of the Woman's Day cookbook for which I paid 50 cents and I see is selling online for around $30, and a number of other lovely and useful things.
We pulled into the driveway around 2:30, exhausted. But, that might be it for the summer (I usually only focus on the particular sales that were on this past Saturday) except for the odd, unplanned stops now and then. It was just way too much fun! Can't wait for next year!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On the Topic of Knitting

Yes, there have been some lovely yarn developments at our house recently. Our long-awaited craft day with Christina was on Tuesday. I've spent a good bit of time unravelling sweaters in recent weeks so we would be ready to skein them up in preparation for washing it all.

Auntie C brought the Knitty-Knotty and Rachel helped to skein some of the yarn:

How very satisfying to see this start to the project at the end of the day:

In the mean time, Christina brought her dyeing equipment and we set out to dye some felted balls for flower centers. Our goal was yellow, but we got orange. However, they dried in such a way as to result in lovely varigations of yellow to orange, which will look perfect in the center of my flowers.

There was also plenty of work to be done with the yarn winder. Several sweaters were ripped out directly onto the winder and a load of yarn was readied for knitting by being wound up.

Andrew especially enjoys the yarn winder:

Our Knit Night was a success last week with 9 of us enjoying each other's company. We had another new knitter. She learned quickly and wrote a few days later to say she'd already completed her dishcloth! What next?!

Another exciting development from knit night was the completion of this hat by one of my friends. It started a year ago as a birthday gift of yarn and needles. With Knit Night beginning in January, the hat got started, and it was finished last week! It is to receive a pom-pom on top as well. We were very excited!

Knit Night also included goodies:

Last, but not least, I won my first bloggy giveaway last week! I was SO excited. Susan B. Anderson hosted a yarn giveaway of a new line from Blue Sky Alpaca called Spud & Chloe. Isn't the yarn just gorgeous!!!

It's not often that I get yarn brand new from a yarn shop and so this is a real treat! I can't wait to knit something with it. Susan's blog is all about knitting and she's written several great books. I have two from the library now: Itty-Bitty Nursery and Itty-Bitty Hats. It looks like Susan has an Itty Bitty Toys coming out in November! The books are adorable and there are some easy patterns that many of you could do. Have a look!