Archive for the ‘family’ Category
We’ve all been down with nasty colds these past two weeks and everyone is now recovering except for me. I’m still resting, trying to shake the stuffy head and harsh cough. I have been able to get quite a bit of knitting done though, using that stash up bit by bit. I’ll show you some glimpses of completed projects soon.
We are all loving the feeling that the seasons are changing soon, it’s no longer pitch black when we sit down to eat supper. There are some warmer days, and the sun seems to be shining that much brighter. This will be our first spring in Maine and I am definitely looking forward to watching things bloom.
For now though I will enjoy hot oatmeal, and plenty of cups of tea. Rest is easier said than done but Hubby is brilliant and has been doing most everything around here on top of his work while I am trying to recover. I love him so!
Baking bread is about so much more than nourishment. Sure it tastes great, and fills up hungry bellies, but it is as much about the process for me as the end result. I have made my own bread occasionally for years, not every loaf, but quite often. In the last month I started making all of our bread, I used the bread machine to knead and rise the dough, but then would take it out, shape it, and bake it in the oven. I loved the result, but have wanted to get into baking my own truly from scratch for a while now. A couple of weeks ago, we made bagels, and they could knock the socks off of any store-bought bagels. I found I truly enjoyed the process of working the dough by hand, feeling it change from lumpy to smooth, fragile to elastic.
Seeing the dough rise in a bowl and gently pushing the air back out to shape it and let it rise again. Putting the loaves into the oven and the smell of bread baking, and the warmth from the oven warming the kitchen. I also love that I can make enough dough for two loaves in one batch, which means that I won’t necessarily have to make bread every day, or at the very least all that hard work won’t be gone in one sitting. Not to mention the side effect of a good workout, kneading dough for 10-15 minutes is very good for the arms.
I am looking forward to getting into the rhythm of baking bread from start to finish with my own hands, or like this morning, with the help of my two girls. I think I’ll put the boys to work on the next batch.
We are snuggling in for a cozy weekend of blankets, movies, yummy food and snuggles. I hope you have a great one too!
We’ve been a bit under the weather here, first I was down for a couple of days and then one of the girls was down with a bug. Everyone seems to be fine today, but I need to catch up on some basics like laundry and dishes. I hope to be back tomorrow, see you then.
Back in October we all went to an apple orchard about an hour away for a day of apple picking. It was a gorgeous autumn day and the orchard was beautiful. We had such fun picking apples, the only problem was that it went way too fast. Picking apples is a lot less time consuming than picking blueberries.
We enjoyed a tractor ride out to a couple of different locations in the orchard, which the kids loved. We were invited to sample the apples, the best you’ll ever taste he said, and he was right. After filling baskets and bags of apples we brought our haul home.
After eating more apples than we could count, and making half a dozen crumbles over a few weeks I was also able to freeze nine quarts of apple pie filling and also can four quarts of applesauce and use a few apples to help make a batch of jelly as well. This was the first year I have really canned anything, I have done a few things before but I never really felt like I got the hang of it.
I used several different varieties to make the applesauce and they were plenty sweet without using any sugar. We just opened the first jar last week and boy was it scrumptious, just like autumn in a jar. We picked forty-seven pounds, but next year I want to do more now that I feel a little more confidant. I would love to be able to do quite a bit more applesauce and even some apple butter. I have to admit it is quite exciting to see jars of food in the pantry that we picked and made. It’s so much more than a jar of applesauce, it’s the memories that went with the day and the knowledge that something we did with our own hands has provided food for our table.
Children of the Forest is one of the babe’s favourite books. It’s about a family of tiny forest people who happen to have four children, two boys, two girls, just like us. Daisy, the littlest has platinum blond hair just like the babe. They live in the forest, our house backs up into forest, and my littlest just loves blending into things just like the forest children have to do sometimes. They gather nuts, berries, and mushrooms for the winter and their mama knits them hats and sweaters too. They have toadstool caps so that if they need to blend in and not be seen, they can just squat down and disappear into their surroundings.
I knew that the babe would absolutely adore to have her own toadstool cap, so the search was on. I couldn’t find a pattern that was quite right until I found this pattern. I tweaked it slightly by eliminating the little tail at the top of the hat and it turned out perfectly. Then I needle felted some creamy roving into little toadstool spots all around the outside. She adores the hat, and I am so thrilled that I was able to pull it off. This was my first time needle felting and despite the fact that I broke a few needles, it was a lot of fun.
The babe always wants to take pictures with mommy’s camera, so I knew this adorable wooden camera would be absolutely perfect. It is used on a daily basis as she goes around snapping her own pictures. It’s really well made and the detail is fantastic, I know it’s going to get lots and lots of use over the years.
This summer has been a bit lacking in routine as we are still familiarizing ourselves with our new home. It has been so much fun, and I am trying to squeeze in a few preparations for the coming winter. I can feel just a tiny hint of autumn in the mornings and evenings when there is a slight nip in the air. Several weeks ago we went blueberry picking, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have so many farms etc. close that we can go and harvest our own food, even if it isn’t from our own back yard. The day turned out hotter than we thought it would be, but we did manage to pick 23 pounds of blueberries. We all had a wonderful time, even the babe is now an expert blueberry picker. I got all of them in the freezer, freezing them on cooking sheets, before storing them in bags so that they wouldn’t freeze into one giant lump. Now we have plenty of blueberries to use in muffins, and pancakes, and any other way we can think of. This last week I took advantage of a good deal on basil to spend some time with our 8 year old who loves to cook. We made 5 batches of pesto, minus the cheese, and froze them for some scrumptious still feels like summer meals in the middle of the cold Maine winter. We moved here in time to pick our own strawberries, but I wasn’t set up enough in the house to make jam with them, and I hadn’t ever had success making jam, the high altitude in Wyoming caused me many problems, so I just gave up after a while. We have however been stashing small handfuls of blackberries from the brambles out back in the freezer so that when we have enough we will have a go at making some jam. We’re almost there, the kids can’t wait, and neither can I. Next up apples, yay, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to all that peeling, my least favourite kitchen job.
I still have to keep pinching myself when it dawns on me that this is our new home. I never imagined that we would be able to live by the sea, it is such a dream come true. The amazing scenery, the fresh air, the tremendous amount of vegetation, it’s all just so wonderful. The kids love going to the beach and I love visiting all of them that are fairly close, and some farther afield as well. Splashing in the water, searching through the rocks for sea treasures, even the sandy mess in the car is something I wouldn’t trade at all, not to mention all of the fantastic fish and shellfish straight out of the water. We have been doing more than just sightseeing, but mostly we have been trying to get a lay of the land so to speak and check everything out while it’s summertime. I’ll fill you in on some of our other adventures soon, but for now, just more scenery.
It has been far too long since I’ve blogged, but life got a little bit crazy and we have made some big changes. I’ll make a long story fairly short, so here goes. Hubby had been working from home for about a year and we were talking about where we would want to be if we could be anywhere. We aren’t tied to a job or a school because of homeschooling and our kids are growing up fast. We were both disastisfied with the area with lived in for several reasons. Honestly, the reason we went to Maine was to make our final decision, and enjoy a family vacation which we hadn’t had in a long time. We fell in love and decided to up roots and plant them somewhere new. When we got back from our trip Hubby had to fly to Boston for a conference and then out to California to meet up with his team. We were going to start looking for housing when he got back, but we had no idea that things would happen so quickly. We applied for a rental home and were thrilled to get it within the week, the only thing was it was available immediately. Rather than miss out, we finished packing quickly and off we went. Since we arrived we just keep falling more in love with Maine. We live in a gorgeous area, just a short drive from the water and every day we grow more sure of our decision to move. Most days the kids and I are at the beach, it is so amazing to be so close to the water, their energetic little bodies slowly wearing themselves out in the waves and sand. So, apologies for the long absence, and I really appreciate your concerned e-mails. We are all just fine, brilliant in fact. I should be around a lot more now that we have gotten settled in a bit. I look forward to exploring our new home and sharing it with you.