Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Books and Audiobooks

We love books, and they are a massive part of our learning around here. Our eldest can read well and reads part of his chosen book every day. He also reads other books, but I showed him a handful of books that I wanted him to read this year and he can pick which order he reads them in. My seven year old is doing pretty well with reading, but still needs a little help on bigger words. The girls and I read together, in fact we all read together, a lot. Each child has their own book that we are working on, and then we work on some together as a family. We have shelves of books, baskets of books, and quite often books all over the floor. We learn from nature books, historical books and biographies and even cookbooks (got to love learning measurements and fractions by baking cakes). We also love audiobooks. Everyday the kids have a quiet “resting” time where they play in their rooms and listen to stories. We also listen to them on car trips, as I get motion sick from reading while we are moving. Often when the kids are working on art projects we put one on as well. Here are some of the audiobooks we are loving at the moment. The boys are really enjoying The Chronicles of Narnia, and seriously who wouldn’t like to listen to Kenneth Branagh read tales of amazing far away places. Next up on the boys’ list is Our Island Story (I did get this one cheaper at They all enjoy Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, again with Judi Dench and Stephen Fry reading, what’s not to love. The girls are also loving A Bear Called Paddington and More About Paddington also read by Stephen Fry. So, these are the audiobooks that are in heavy rotation these days and I look forward to sharing more of the titles in our audiobook library in the future. These are some great stories, even if you don’t have kids. Do you listen to audiobooks, and if so, what are some of your favourite audiobooks?

books, family, homeschooling • Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 • 5 Comments »

Jamie’s Pot Roast Meatloaf

Here’s another one, Jamie’s pot roast meatloaf, and boy was it good. I promise, I do cook from other cookbooks and other recipes, but this is another one in my streak of excellent recipes from Jamie’s Food Revolution. What can I say, the man loves chickpeas, which makes me a huge fan of his food. They are my all time favourite bean, and I really do love them in this meatloaf sauce. The meatloaf was truly delicious with the chunky sauce and bacon, served up over mashed potatoes with some peas on the side. Yum, another scrumptious dinner. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough leftover to have meatloaf sandwiches with. I know meatloaf can be a heated debate. Do you love it or hate it?

books, food • Thursday, April 29th, 2010 • 7 Comments »

Homemade 3-Year Gardening Journal

I love the idea of having a gardening journal that will last for several years. To be able to look at the same week for three years in a row sounds really great to me, because as I am really just starting out and learning what I am doing I think it will be invaluable to compare notes whether things go right, or wrong. I looked at journals to buy, and there were some really beautiful ones, but to be honest, I know it would bother me to see them get dirty. So I did what any self-respecting do-it-yourselfer would do, and made my own. I bought an inexpensive spiral bound sketchbook, drew some straight lines, and started filling it in. I think I am really going to like it, and it’s kind of fun to make notes of exactly what is happening. I also think it will be neat to look back after a couple of years and see how much I have learned. I have used one page for each week of the year, and left the back side blank to be able to make additional notes if necessary. I plan on using the back of the pages to keep all of the info of the seeds etc. so that I can use the chart to mostly measure progress and what we are doing. Do any of you use a gardening journal? Any tips on things for me to do? Oh, and as a side note, see the green grass in the background? Yesterday it turned green, for the first time this year there is finally some green around, wohoo! I think we are well on our way to spring. Unfortunately our last frost free date for planting is June 1st, so it’ll still be a little while till I can get anything in the ground. Well, we’ve got a busy day today, so I’m off. Enjoy your day, I hope it’s a great one.

books, gardening • Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 • 9 Comments »

Sewing for Children

What do you get when your five year old buys her very own Sewing for Children book with some Christmas money? When she gathers up a pair of mama’s old flannel pajama pants that shrunk too short (and they also happen to have a lovely pink velvet ribbon as a tie), and a pink glove (the other has been missing for a long time), some thrifted crochet trim and a pair of mama’s old stripey knee socks that had a seriously large hole in the heel? You get a beautiful bunny made out of thrifted and recycled materials, and one very happy little girl who made her very first doll. She is doing much better now, all the welts and swelling have gone and she is off of the meds. Thanks for your well wishes and concern, she’s her happy little itch free self again.

books, sewing • Monday, April 19th, 2010 • 19 Comments »

One-Cup Pancakes, Tropical Yogurt, and Mango

Sorry I missed everybody yesterday. I feel like all of my days recently have been taken up with new recipes and seedlings, which I did not want to bore you with again. I have some longer posts I wanted to write, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and do that, so once again, I am going to show you more food. All of my creative energy lately has been going into cooking. I felt like I had gotten into a rut with the same old boring meals so as I’ve had so much success with new recipes lately I figured I’d just keep on going. I don’t know about you, but I really like to see what other people have to say about cookbooks before I buy them, especially if I can’t actually look at the book and see for myself if I like it, so I figured I’d just keep posting about Jamie’s Food Revolution as I make the recipes. I will try to throw all of the posts in a new category about the book sometime this weekend and then maybe someone who is interested in the book will have a whole bunch of recipe posts to look at. Anyway, I have always been a bit afraid to make British style pancakes/crepes and I didn’t have a proper pan to make them in so I just haven’t tried. When I saw these in the book however, I knew I was gonna have to try it. I did end up making the batter even thinner with more milk to get really nice thin pancakes, and I just used my heavy cast iron skillet to cook them. It may have been to heavy to pick up and swirl around, but I just put the batter in and swished it around with a spoon and they turned out great. The yogurt is plain yogurt mixed with smashed bananas and unsweetened coconut and the combo of the thin pancakes, yogurt, mango, and a splash of lime juice is spot on. They were absolutely delicious and we have already had them a couple of times. You don’t really even need a recipe if you just use a normal pancake recipe and it was a nice change from butter and syrup. It is healthier and tasted summery, so I could pretend I was on a hot beach somewhere instead of in my cold, windy hometown.

books, food • Friday, April 9th, 2010 • 10 Comments »

Chicken Korma

And they’re off……. the braces that is! I can’t tell you how good it feels. It’s been a long 2 1/2 years and they are finally off. Sorry no pic yet, trust me, I did not want the way I looked yesterday to be immortalized on the blog. My teeth looked fine before, but my bite was off which was causing extra problems with my TMJ issues, so now that everything is where it is supposed to be, things should be fine from here on out. I will always have some muscle soreness where my jaw joint slipped out of it’s socket when I was in college, but for the most part, I should be pain and problem free. Now, what does this have to do with chicken korma, you ask? Well, let me explain. We paid a little bit extra to have clear braces on my top teeth so that they would be slightly less noticeable (as if). The only problem is, that apparently even with all of the technology today, they can’t make elastic bands that are clear and don’t stain. So one cup of tea and they turn a dingy brown. Not good when I had to wear the same elastics for 5-6 weeks. Soon after I got them on, I made the mistake of eating a curry. It must have been the turmeric in it, but it turned my bands this luminescent yellow which I then had to deal with for the next month. Not good, not good at all. I love curry. Absolutely love it, and have had to avoid it for the last couple of years. When I was little we ate Japanese curry in Japan, and then when we moved to England, we ate Indian curries. I have literally been craving curry this past 2 1/2 years, so for supper on the day I got my braces off I made a curry. Boy was it good. I used the recipe in Jamie’s Food Revolution. I know, I know, more Jamie. What can I say, I love this book. I’m making my way through it and every single recipe I have made has been a keeper. Next time I make the curry, I will try making his recipe for the curry paste as well, as the only kind I could find was a teeny jar for not such a teeny price. The recipe was super easy to make and it was a big hit. I ended up putting just a bit of the curry paste in while I was cooking it and then taking out the kids portion at the very end before adding more curry paste to spice it up for Hubby and me. I will definitely be making this again, though I think I will try the Chicken Tikka Masala next. I’m on a curry making mission as I’ve got several years to make up for. If you like curry, what is your favourite kind?

books, food • Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 • 12 Comments »

Adventures with Sea Shells/Rocks

This was one of my finds on my thrift store run on Saturday. Aren’t they great? I just love the boxes as well, I have a thing for vintage illustrations. Adventures with Sea Shells has both the specimens to look at and the book. Unfortunately the Adventures with Rocks is missing the book, but the kids are still loving the rock and mineral specimens and we have several other books where they can look up the information. They were both a steal at $1 and 50 cents (because of the missing book), and the kids (and I) are really having fun with them. On a side note, I did get some of my braces off on Thursday (the receptionist was as sweet as could be), though they were only the back ones that you can’t see anyway. One more week and I get the rest of them off, wohoo! Hope everybody had a great weekend, anyone have anything exciting going on this week? Just more of the usual here.

books, homeschooling, nature, thrift store finds • Monday, March 22nd, 2010 • 6 Comments »

Invisible Ink

I am a huge fan of Jane Brocket. I love her books, her blog, and always turn to The Gentle Art of Domesticity when I feel I need a boost in inspiration. I am about halfway through Ripping Things to Do, and really enjoying it. A couple of weeks ago, after the boys learned that invisible ink was used in the early history of America to pass messages back and forth, I pulled out the lemon juice, paper, some q-tips and a candle. I learned how to make and use invisible ink in Jane’s book and the boys thought I was the coolest mom ever when I showed them how to write secret messages (thanks, Jane!) The boys used q-tips to write messages in lemon juice, and left them to dry on the table. After their papers were completely dry, they took turns holding the paper very carefully over a candle (always supervised by me). Jane suggests using an iron, but my boys aren’t quite tall enough to do that safely. They were so excited, and it was a fun new skill for us all. You never know when you will need to write a secret message.

books, family, homeschooling, kid's art • Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 • 14 Comments »

Look What I Won

Recently I won a little giveaway over at jennyflower, and it arrived yesterday. Look at all those goodies. I knew about the book and the card, isn’t it gorgeous? I will have lots of fun going through the book and trying my hand at ribbon embroidery, and look at the extras. My two girls love the hair pretties. The babe grabbed them all in her chubby little hands and started patting her head (what she does when she wants something in her hair). They are all hand crocheted or stitched and they are gorgeous, what a lovely little surprise. Also the fact that the book was wrapped in fabric was so exciting to me. Now I have some pretty new fabrics to work with and I think I know just what they will end up as. Thanks Jennyflower, it was such a treat. If you aren’t familiar with Jennyflower,you should definitely pop on over, she is such a sweet gal and does beautiful work. On a side note, my brother leaves today, we had a really nice time with him, and will miss him. The rest of our week should be fairly normal and back to our routine, though I’m hoping for some better weather as it would be really nice to have the kids play outside some. The problem with winter here is that it gets really windy. The cold wouldn’t be so bad by itself, but the wind can be brutal. Most of the time it is too much for the kids to go out, or dry clothes on the line, they just get whipped off, so I am really looking forward to warmer, less windy days. I am making good progress on my crochet project and hope to have it finished next week. Also, I am trying to decide on what our one small change for March will be. Oh, and we have to take our eldest to the dentist again as he needs another repair on his braces (second one in one week), which is a bit of a pain as it is so far away. So maybe it won’t be such a normal week after all.

books, gifts, sewing • Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 • 6 Comments »

Valentine’s Bookmarks

I must admit, we aren’t huge Valentine’s Day celebrators around here, and I have been feeling very uninspired by all things red and hearty lately. Until this morning that is. I couldn’t sleep this morning and it was pretty early, and it hit me. Who doesn’t use bookmarks? I wanted to do some sort of project that wouldn’t be tied to one day in February, but could be enjoyed all year round. I think I may have found my crafty calling. This was the first time I ever did any machine embroidery and I just adore it. A couple of weeks ago, I had an amazon gift card burning a hold in my pocket, and I finally decided to get Free and Easy Stitch Style. I really love the look of machine embroidered items and thought I would jump in with both feet. I’m so glad I did. Here is an excellent tutorial by my friend Marmalade Rose to help you learn the basics. These were such fun, and after I got the hang of the embroidering, they were very quick. One of the best things about machine embroidery is that it doesn’t matter if your lines are a bit wobbly, they look perfect however they turn out. I made some heart bookmarks, but I also made some flowers. I am more of a flower gal than a heart one, which kind are you? Oh, and here is a tutorial for the bookmarks, I’d love to see any if you make some up.

books, gifts, green, sewing • Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 • 10 Comments »