Sunday, September 27, 2009

now it's fall

I had a marathon sewing session the other night and completed 4 pairs of pajama pants for T.
So he has his fall/winter jammies. Now I have 4 pairs of play pants to make and figure out how to make a backhoe costume for Hallowe'en! (I have a plan for that and if it works, I'll write it out).

We had a busy day yesterday. T had a playdate with this friend D at a new (for T) playground. They had a great time on the slides and swings and trying the monkey bars (with lots of help from their mums!). There was lots of static on the slide so everytime T slid down his hair would stand straight on end. Too funny!

After stopping at the farm market and the bread store, we went home for lunch. After lunch we all headed to Auntie K's house where D (with a bit of help from T) tackled the huge, steaming pile of soil in her driveway and distributed it all over the beds in the front of the house. After a tea and teacake break, D headed out back to pick grapes. So now I have a pile of organic grapes to do something with. In past years I've made a grape jelly which is delicious and some people like getting pots of it as a present. We're not really jam people tho' so 1 jar generally lasts about a year!! K made us supper so we feasted on roast chicken, onions, garlic, potatoes and veggies and then had a blackberry and apple crumble for dessert. Yum, yum. (Our second meal this week from K - earlier in the week I picked up a wild mushroom strudel K made for us. It was delicious.)

This morning T and I are enjoying late local raspberries and strawberries
from the farm market and I'm off to make roasted ratouille soup for supper (roasted garlic with thyme, roasted red peppers, canned tomatoes, roasted red onion, zucchini and eggplant all whizzed together with some stock). Market, park, laundry all await as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

construction up close

T has had some very exciting moments recently. One day last week we came home to find a road grader (rogator) in front of our house. T was so excited. He couldn't get out of his seat fast enough to go and have a closer look. "Wook, mummy - a rogator! At our house!" (The reason that the road grader was parked in front of our house is that they have been replacing a major water pipe on the street above ours and for weeks we have been driving past the backhoe parked at the end of that street. Paving happened yesterday.) He had to take D out to look at the rogator as well, and they went up and looked up close at the backhoe. The grader was gone the following day. Oh dear!

Last Friday, D took T for a visit where his Uncle M works - they build and service trucks and buses so T had a wonderful few hours climbing all over trucks and getting completely filthy!

Sunday, after visiting the market, having brunch with a friend, heading out to the park for T to dig and swing and doing a quick swing through the grocery store, we came home to find an asphalt paver parked on our street. So we had to go investigate the paver up close, to discover that there were two police cars also parked on the street. We never did find out why as they left shortly afterward. T then had to take D out to look at the paver when he got home from work. They also discovered two big steam rollers being unloaded and parked around the corner.

Yesterday morning we watched the paver move up the street and head off to do paving on the next street up. While the paver was moving away, a truck moved in front of our house and unloaded a small roller. T got to watch before heading off for preschool. As we headed home from daycare, we saw a big truck down the hill. On investigation, this proved to be a big low loader being loaded with a big orange Hamm steam roller and the road grader. So we and another mum and her two boys, watched the equipment being chained up on the loader and the ramp going up before the driver waved to the boys and headed up the hill in the big, yellow, Peterbilt cab and low loader. So T has more truck and construction equipment stories to tell today at preschool!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

more kitchen experiments

My guys eat lots of cereal bars so I thought I would see if I could come up with something homemade so at least I know what they are eating. D's been snacking all week on my latest version of an adaptation I did of Nigella's breakfast bar from Nigella Express. I added sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds and raw almonds and cashew pieces instead of peanuts. They are crunchy and chewy and yummy. Today I googled kid's cereal bar recipes and found a no bake one and tried it.

7 cups mixed cereal ( I used cocoa krispies, multigrain cheerios and ground up mini wheats)
3/4 c raisins
3/4 c chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp margarine
3/4 c brown rice syrup
3/4 c nut butter (I used chocolate hazelnut butter I got at the market a couple of weeks ago)
Mix the cereal, raisins, chocolate chips and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Heat the margarine with the syrup and nut butter until the margarine is melted and then pour into the cereal mixture. Mix together and then press into a 9x13 greased pan. Freeze for 45 minutes to get the mixture to stay together. Bring out of the freezer and cut into pieces. T so far hasn't had any, but D was eating them all afternoon! They are falling apart a lot so maybe I'll try freezing them again, cutting and wrapping the pieces.

Another experiment today was a large merangue. I whipped up the merangue as per Delia's instructions (Delia Smith, How to Cook, Book One), and swirled it around on a piece of parchment paper that I had traced a circle on (dinner plate size). Baked as per instructions, 1/2 hour at 275 deg F and then 4 hours with the oven turned off to dry out.

For dessert tonight, I poured sweetened blackberries over the top with whipped cream. It's all gone now but it was delish!

Not such good luck with a potato, bacon and ricotta dish I made for supper tonight - it was bland and runny and I don't think I'll do it again. The ricotta just didn't seem to go with the potatoes. I served it with turkey meatballs from and they were good - just a bit fiddly as they are fried, not baked so next time I think I'll do them as meatloaf muffins - put the mixture into 8 muffin tins and bake and serve with the yogurt cumin sauce. The combinations were good - I just found the meatballs fiddly. And in the middle of cooking T wanted me to come out and look at his worm. He brought it to the back door to show me - holding up his long red worm proudly. My boy!!

T also decided for some reason this afternoon, to wear his Tigger costume. It's designed for 18-24 months so it is way too small for him and he wouldn't go anywhere near it the Hallowe'en he was 20 months (when it would have fit perfectly). He wears it now, instead of putting pants on.

harvesting potatoes

Last Saturday I dug up our potatoes. I knew that the garden doesn't get enough sunshine really for crops like potatoes and beans but still, I was a bit disappointed in how few potatoes we got for all the vines we had. But we did get a pile of purple potatoes.
And lots of stones. And with these potatoes, their colour closely matches stones. This was our first year eating home grown potatoes and while these ones are pretty, they didn't taste great roasted.
For their second outing, I tried potato salad - and I'm sorry to say they were still not very potato tasting, although the potato salad was a very fun colour!

Friday, September 11, 2009

bye bye soo soo

The soo soo fairy came a visiting at our house last night. And left T a backhoe.
He's very excited and as I write this is snuggling up with D and the backhoe on his way to sleep. We have been soo soo (soother) free for 4 nights now - something I did not imagine was possible. We came up with the soo soo fairy a few weeks ago and have been talking it up with T since then but left it up to him to make the decision. Until I looked at his soo soo the other morning and it was completely toast. So it had to go and we didn't have any others besides his baby teething ones so it was crunch time. We didn't say anything about the soo soo fairy until last night - just that his old soo soo was destroyed and had to be thrown away and there weren't anymore soo soos - just his baby ones. Fortunately he didn't want his baby ones - he's a big boy (yes!). It hasn't been too bad, T is sleeping as usual, the only crisis was Wednesday morning when he was crying and wouldn't be soothed. He was scared about something but the soo soo coping mechanism was gone and we have to help him with that piece. But the soo soo is no longer required for going to sleep! And last night we tucked the baby soo soo under his pillow for the soo soo fairy and tonight (we forgot to check this morning) T found the backhoe. Complete little boy joy! And proud mummy and daddy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

movie saturday

Yesterday D and I went to a matinee, to see Julie and Julia. I loved it. I've read Julie Powell's book but I like the movie a lot better and the Meryl Streep/Julia Child bits were fantastic. We can't remember the last time we saw a movie in the theatre so it was awesome to get out. We could have done without the 20 minutes of trailers beforehand tho'! Thanks to Auntie K who played with T and took him to ride the train - twice. He rode the steam train but after his two rides thought he wanted a ride on the diesel train - next time. We all had dinner together (thanks K!) while T watched Cars on DVD - I had been saving that DVD for just this type of occasion.

T started back at preschool on Thursday. He didn't understand why the preschool day was so short - Thursday 1 hour, Friday 1 1/2 hours, on Tuesday it will be up to 2 hours 40 minutes as per usual. Mrs G tried to explain that the new children needed to ease into preschool and get used to it so that was why it was less time than normal and T kept saying "I don't understand". He was very happy on Thursday morning because he got to watch a backhoe on the way into preschool - pure 3 1/2 year old joy!

Busy morning this morning. We did art (painting),
and played Bob with the trucks, T sang the Bob the Builder theme song the whole time he painted and played trucks.
Now we are off shopping, going to the market, going to the art store for more paper, and then to the park to feed the ducks and to play. Hopefully it won't be raining at the park - T won't mind but I would rather not stand around in the rain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

blackberries and steam rollers

Saturday was T's perfect day - for a few hours at least. We went off to the park for a playdate with D. The boys played trucks in the sand and the woodchips, ran after a ball, slid themselves and some trucks down the slide, spun around on the new spinny things and ran up and down the hill and in the bushes. While they were doing all that D's mum and I found some blackberries to pick so when the boys were a bit tired and "fursty", they had blackberries, grapes (from home) and juice. Off they went into the bushes to look at some steamrollers parked up on the road and suddenly there was a flaglady there. "Is there construction?" they asked. There was, the crews were expected any time. So we spent almost an hour and a half watching dump trucks back up, a small steam roller back off a trailer, two big steam rollers move up the street and get water hosed into their tanks, the asphalt paver move slowly up the street and then stop and have the rollers all oiled, the tar get sprayed onto the road by crews and the construction guys walking up and down the street, talking and drinking coffee. For some reason the coffee seemed especially interesting to the boys. They even got to chat to a couple of the steam roller drivers who waved at them as they drove by. Eventually we managed to drag the boys out of the park to take them home for lunch.

On Sunday T got to play with his Auntie K and Uncle T while I went shopping for a bit.

Dinners on the weekend were Saturday night pasta with arugula pesto and sundried tomatoes (from the market) with roasted beans and tomatoes from the garden. Sunday night I made a corn and tomato pie adapted from the zucchini and tomato tart from (here is what the uncooked pie looked like)

and warm mushroom lentil salad with goat cheese from a recipe I ripped out of a magazine a while ago and found when I was cleaning out my recipe stack. I used our basil, rosemary and oregano and they were delicious. I think I could have cooked the pie a bit longer but I need to get a shield for the shell as it gets too brown for my liking. Last week I made a squash and cheddar pie with a few tweaks from my Rebar cookbook - it was yummy. (I didn't have garlic to roast or smoked cheddar so used strong cheddar and less cream and more milk that the recipe called for as I ran out of cream...)

The tomatoes are still coming out of the garden - I make a couple of batches of moonblush tomatoes a week and tonight I made some more tomato sauce. Saturday afternoon I made basil pesto and a batch of tomato sauce but I simmered the sauce a bit too long and it turned into more of a tomato paste. (tomato sauce in the making)

The weather is cooling down and rain is coming either tomorrow or Thursday. T starts preschool again on Thursday - school start is early this year as the district is shutting down schools for the Olympics. I don't know how my baby has become such a big boy - second year of preschool already!

Now I just have to deal with the giant spiders in the garden and soon, I imagine, to be appearing in the house - their usual surprise place is the bathtub. I'm learning so as not to freak out too, too much. I can, on occasion, even deal with them myself. I'd rather not but then sometimes my bug handling husband is not home and I must be brave and do it myself. As T would say - I do it!