Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
If you are looking for a tender and chewy crust that rises oh-so nicely, this is the recipe to try! I honestly have no idea where I got this from but it is not my original recipe.
PIZZA HUT'S PIZZA DOUGH
Place water, sugar, salt, yeast and olive oil in bowl of mixer and dissolve sugar, salt and yeast. Stir in remaining ingredients and knead with dough hook to form a soft but not-too-sticky dough, about 8 minutes. Remove from machine and allow to rest, covered with a tea towel, about 45 minutes. Prepare pizza as desired and bake in a 425F oven for 18-20 minutes.
*(though I know some will say "It is nothing like Pizza Hut's dough" - hey, that's the name that was on it when I got it and it tastes good so I don't care!)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Back track a few years. A man who was Jay's neighbour while he was growing up approached Jay about 3, maybe 4, years ago to see if we were interested in buying his property when he retired and moved away. His 5 acre property. With trees. Lots of them. We said absolutely were we interested. So, time went on and about 1 1/2 years ago he approaches Jay again and says he is ready to sell. He told us the price and we couldn't refuse. So, we went to our lawyer together to start this whole process. Turns out the man is separated from his wife, has no idea where she lives or who her lawyer is. We attempted to find her but couldn't. Eventually he found out that she had another lawyer. In his mind, another lawyer meant she wanted a divorce and he wasn't about to give one. End of process. Man, were we disappointed. That location would have been so perfect. 1/4 mile away from Jay's parents. 1 mile as the crow flies from Jay's work. 5 acres with lots of trees. And the best part? A house trailer! Yup, this lot has a house trailer so we can move it off or burn it up or tear it down or whatever and BUILD A HOUSE!!!! Can you get any better than that? But it was not to be. At least not then. Over and over Jay kept saying how great that property would be. Over and over I kept telling him to just let it go. It wasn't for us. We should pursue other land options, plant trees, start from scratch. I was wrong. There, you have it in writing, dear - I was wrong!! This past summer the man reapproaches Jay and says he is ready to sell. Again. This time he knows where his now ex-wife is, who her lawyer is, where she lives, all that good stuff. Kind of important things to know when the property is in joint ownership. Since then we have been back and forth in this whole property purchase thing. It gets a little . . . drawn out when the sellers are divorced and have no money. This is their opportunity to get money out of each other. Or booster cables. Or pruning shears. So, the process took a lot longer than we hoped but finally - fiiiiiiiiiiiiinnallyyyyyyyyyyy we have possession of the property as of today!! What a great day it has turned out to be. So, of course, with my curious nature, a field trip was necessary as I had never stepped foot on this property. Jay had been there a number of times but not me. And the curiosity was getting the better of me! So, off we went to my new country home!
The agreement was that whatever was left on the property on possession day was ours. He could take or leave whatever he wanted seeing as we really only wanted the land. So, the question was: What was in the trailer? What was in the sheds? Exploring we went!
Driving on the driveway for the first time! The excitement is mounting!
The front part of the lot. Aren't those tall pines just beautiful?
The back half of the lot. I feel like I am standing in a meadow with all that tall grass. I may just have to go back and get some pictures of the kids in it!
The neighbour's kitty that Ali found - she was in love, squealing with delight! It felt SO right. (The kids have been praying for the dogs and the cats we will have when we are in the country and for the dog food and cat food we can buy when we are in the country!)
2 of the 3 sheds. The first one in the trees is full of garbage and is in really bad shape. The one closer to the front of the picture holds tool-y stuff and is in fair shape.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Yup, 11 loads (because some of those dividers are so jammed full they would fill 2 loads of the washer). And it doesn't contain one piece of J's or my clothing. Just the kids' stuff. And there is no bath towels. Plus I already did 2 loads of bedding. Might be a sign we have too many clothes in this house. Or a maid that is on strike. Most certainly the reason I have never entertained the idea of cloth diapers. But, whatever. Just wanted to keep it real!
Friday, October 16, 2009
- Make supper (you like how I have to put this on the list? 5 pm rolls around and I have simply FORGOTTEN to make supper. I have had this jar of dry chili mix sitting on the counter for days. Today is the day!) I have been much better with this, actually making a meal most of the days and having it planned or made by lunch time! Yeah for me!
- Put away laundry (the laundry that has been sitting in the basket for days). Well, this is never-ending. Yes, I did put some away but created more so I think I won't put this on the list again - it depresses me that it is always undone!
- Clean up my bedroom. (I believe your bedroom should be a sanctuary, a retreat from the chaos that envelops the rest of the house. Our bedroom is the worst room in the house, well, next to the office. See #4). My room is amazingly clean right now (well, for me, anyway). And feels so much like a sanctuary. Especially since I have made the bed everyday - something else I don't usually do. The room looks so pretty when it is clean and tidy! Who would have thought??!!
- Clean up the office. Still working on this one.
- Vacuum carpets. (The only carpets in our house are in our bedroom and the office. Which are so messy you cannot really see the floor. Thus, #3 and #4.) Did the bedroom but not the office. Not clean enough yet.
- Clean up garage from the garage sale. Did a very little bit. Still lots to do. Van still parks outside. You think that would be motivation. Maybe tomorrow?
- Post maternity clothes online. Uh, nope.
- Decorate for fall. (This I would rather have at #1 and then skip the rest of the list). YES I DID!!
- Clean bathrooms. (They are okay for now but won't be when I actually get to this!) Yup!
- Sort lego. (Subject for another post another day!) Done!
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Lea Getaway Bunkbed"
I wish the picture showed the footboard or headboard a little better. It looks really lovely but I think the angle is bad. Plus they state that the newest design of these has changed the finials to flat rather than rounded. Do they mean the whole headboard/footboard? Still very lovely.
I am not as keen on the squareness of it but still find it charming!
"Lea Caroline Retreat Bunkbed"
Still square but a bit softer looking.
"Tradewins The Hampton Bunkbed"
Really like this one! Is feminine, pretty and has a softness to it!
UPDATE: We decided to order this one. I love the curves, the bun feet, the finials, the wainscot look - RJ saw it and said she wanted to sleep in this bed because it looked cozy!
UPDATED . . . AGAIN: A few days after we ordered this bed, we got an email saying that it is discontinued and not available to ship! Hmmpf! So, we ordered the Lea Carolina Retreat instead. Still has the wainscot look, the bun feet and some curves. Still very pretty. And they gave us a 5% discount for the hassle.
"Lea My Style Bunkbed"
This is gorgeous in black but also comes in a white finish. The headboard and footboard aren't quite as solid as the Tradewins but still beautiful.
Turns out Lea is a Lay Z Boy company and some of these are actually made out of hardwoods. Most of them have other color choices as well. So, at least now we have options. I only have to figure out which one I like best. Which is your favorite?
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF WWW.CYMAXSTORES.CA
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A little early, wouldn't you say? And the forecast is for more. Yuck!
Friday, October 9, 2009
As I mentioned in my previous post, I created an autumn wreath for my front door. I had looked around at ready-made wreaths but was either unimpressed with the wreath itself or the price. I decided to make my own. Now, I am generally not a fan of artificial . . . come on, let's call it what it is - fake. I am not a fan of fake, man-made, plastic-y flowers, fruit, greenery, plants, etc. I stretched myself with this creation as I used exactly those things I have always shunned! I decided to stop and browse in the fake greenery aisle at Dollarama. Not something I have ever done. And I was slightly surprised at the various items I found. I gathered a few and thought I could probably come up with some sort of wreath that looked good - or at least better than the ones I had seen in other stores.
Here is what I bought (please excuse the "technical" words - that's why there are pictures!!):
- 3 bunches of fall colored maple leaves with small berries
- 3 bunches of longish leaves with larger berries
- 1 bunch of white "bull rushes" (they are not soft, but stiff and scratchy and oh, so interesting!)
- 2 bunches of long white rods (I have no idea what these are but they looked cool)
- 2 bunches of white flowers
- 1 bunch of red flowers
Next, you need a grapevine wreath. I had this one kicking around the house, probably bought at Michaels on sale.
You will also need some thin wire, a pair of wire cutters and a glue gun. Gather these things and you should be set to go. Total cost (minus the grapevine wreath): $14.
- Determine where you want your foliage to go on your wreath. I only covered about half the wreath, keeping the grapevine exposed on the other half.
- Cut each maple leaf bunch into 3 pieces, cutting where it makes sense to cut. You want to be sure there are adequate leaves on each section. Cut off the extra stems, leaving about 2-3 inches. Stick the now separated and shortened leaf bunches into the wreath, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Continue until all your maple leaf bunches are on the wreath. They should all be facing the same direction.
- Cut apart your "longish leaves with berries" into 2 sections each, making sure each section has sufficient leaves. You may end up with one larger section and one smaller section. Put one larger section at each end of the maple leaves and use the smaller sections to fill inbetween the maple leaves. TIP: All of your leaves should be facing in the same direction. So, the stems should all be facing the same way. However, on the bottom of your wreath, face that longish leaf the opposite way. Does that make sense? This just makes it look a little nicer. You can adjust the maple leaves to cover the "gap" that exists between these two sections and voila! It looks great!
- Cut off each of the "white bullrushes", leaving about 2-3" of wire on each. Tuck into the maple leaves where you think it looks good.
- Take your stems of white flowers and gently pull off each flower in a downward direction. This should cause the flower to come off with a small piece of wire. Once you have all the flowers off, stick them throughout the wreath, filling in holes or gaps and placing them where it looks nice. Try not to bunch them all in one spot, unless that is what you want.
- Do the same thing with the red flowers.
- Strip the leaves off the "long white rods". Cut them so they have a 3" stem. Stick them in at the very bottom of the wreath. I only used three of these rods.
- Create a bow using the ribbon and wire you bought. Since my rolls of ribbon were only 3m long, I used 2 rolls and made 2 bows that I stacked on top of each other and wired them together to make one bow. Hot glue that bow in your desired location. I put mine towards the top of the wreath, in about a 10 o'clock position.
- Fluff and play with all the leaves and flowers and berries until everything is exactly where you want it. Make sure there are no holes or gaps.
- Hang your wreath with pride! You did it and it looks beautiful!
I wanted something at the front door to greet visitors so I created this little combo. Don't you just love the little fishbowl full of gourds? Or the little willow chair holding the squash and the welcome sign? The mum looks a little sad given last night's frost but still adds a nice splash of color.
I got my hubby to cut some cornstalks (which he "stole" from his parents field, roots and all!) and nestled them in the corner. Imagine the candle glowing softly at night. Mmmm. Speaks of warmth and welcome. I am working on a pumpkin topiary on the other side of the door but am not quite satisfied with it yet. I will show you that soon.
On my coffee table sits this tray holding a bowl of mini-pumpkins and gourds, a metal trike and a tealight candle. So cute. (I really love little metal trikes!)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
- Make supper (you like how I have to put this on the list? 5 pm rolls around and I have simply FORGOTTEN to make supper. I have had this jar of dry chili mix sitting on the counter for days. Today is the day!)
- Put away laundry (the laundry that has been sitting in the basket for days).
- Clean up my bedroom. (I believe your bedroom should be a sanctuary, a retreat from the chaos that envelops the rest of the house. Our bedroom is the worst room in the house, well, next to the office. See #4).
- Clean up the office.
- Vacuum carpets. (The only carpets in our house are in our bedroom and the office. Which are so messy you cannot really see the floor. Thus, #3 and #4.)
- Clean up garage from the garage sale.
- Post maternity clothes online.
- Decorate for fall. (This I would rather have at #1 and then skip the rest of the list).
- Clean bathrooms. (They are okay for now but won't be when I actually get to this!)
- Sort lego. (Subject for another post another day!)
This list doesn't include the obvious like teach school, get dressed, make breakfast, breathe. Maybe it should. Then I could check something off!
Wish me luck!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
If it were up to me, I would spend much more time at garage sales. I love the thrill of the hunt, the pursuit of a deal (I am not the type to barter for a better price - either I like the price or I don't - either I will pay what you ask or I won't, simple as that). I also love looking at people's houses, seeing what type of people live where, what do the "rich" people sell, that sort of thing! However, driving from one house to the next in that pursuit loses a bit of its desire when you have to bring 5 little people with you. Somehow it is not quite so appealing when it takes longer to get everyone in and out then it does to actually shop. Maybe some day.
Friday, October 2, 2009
- Get some mint and lots of it if you intend to make a lot of tea.
- Wash the mint.
- Fill a pot about 2/3 full with the clean mint - leaves, stems and all.
- Fill the pot with water.
- Put the pot on the stove element, turn on the element and let the water come to a boil.
- Simmer for 1/2 hour? (I don't usually check how long but long enough to get some good flavor)
- Remove sticks, leaves and stems with a slotted spoon. Don't be too picky as you will strain it later.
- Add sugar to taste. For me it is about 1 - 1 1/2 cups for 12 liters of tea.
- Return to boil and boil for about 2 minutes.
- Strain tea and enjoy.
- Chill for a very refreshing cold mint tea.
This is a beverage that makes me feel very "pioneerish" - you know, picking greens and boiling them to make something that tastes good. It just feels right. And tastes so much better than Nestea! Plus, everytime I enjoy this cold treat, I am reminded of my grandmother!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Fast forward 10 years. 10 magical years. Okay, let's be realistic. Not all of them were magical. In fact, some were hard. Really hard. I remember feeling so angry at Jay, so disconnected, so confused as to why things were so hard. So empty. So ugly. We didn't talk. Life was chaotic. We had 3 kids. He was busy doubling his hog operation. Life was busy and stressful and we grew apart. It was anything but magical. Lots of tears were shed. Lots of hurt feelings. But, we pushed through. We did not give up. We continued to pray and talk and pray and talk and pray and talk. And things got better. Are things less stressful now? Maybe just a little. But is our marriage fun again? Is it full of life? Is it good? I mean really good? ABSOLUTELY!! To celebrate 10 wonderful years of marriage, we went away for 2 nights, without the kids, to a resort located a couple hours away from here called Falcon Trails Resort. Now, when I say the word resort, I get images of shiny windows on huge hotels, shimmering pools, exotic locale, hot summer sun. This was NOT that kind of resort. This was a cabin by the water, rustic, trees, deer, quiet, kind of resort. Absolutely perfect!
Our cabin was called Sunset and it afforded beautiful views of the lake. It was a cozy place - 3 beds (2 in the loft - obviously we only needed one), a small kitchen, livingroom/diningroom with fireplace, TV/VCR/DVD, hot tub in the screened in porch. It was fantastic.
The first night we arrived we stayed around the cabin as it was already dark. We made supper, soaked in the hot tub, watched a movie and went to bed early. Heavenly!
The next day we got busy - we hiked and hiked and hiked, about 4 hours in total.
We kept trying to get a picture of the two of us using the timer on the camera. We finally succeeded. This is us after 10 years of marriage. Older, wiser!
This was us on our honeymoon 10 years ago. Yup, we were at a cabin in the woods then, too. We hiked and we took a picture (one of my favorites - it sits beside my bed!). Boy, do I look young. Innocent. Naive!!
After resting a few minutes back at the cabin, we went canoeing. 2 hours, maybe?
That evening, we watched the sun set on the water (spectacular, isn't it?).