Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yarn Along ~ Cowl Licious

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

Yarn Along

Here we are again for the weekly yarn along and I'm not sure what happened to my week! I know we weren't overly busy unless you count playing in the snow and flying kites as hustle bustle *grin*. Hubby was home for a couple of days though and that is always a joy since he is away for so much of the year working so that must have been it! I was in a cocoon of happiness with us all getting to be together *grin*.

I finished off the last little baby sock that I was knitting and I now have two completed pairs. There is still yarn left so I know I'll go back in a bit and knit up a couple more but I needed a break from those teeny tiny size 0 needles and something that was easy and needed minimal focus LOL.


You would think that with all the things I have faved in my ravelry queue it would be easy to pick something new but it was quite the opposite. I hummed and hawed, checked to see if I had needles that would work, sighed over my meager yarn stash and then fell in love again with this cowl. I had saved it planning to make it for my 8 year old daughter and then promptly forgot all about it *grin*.

It’s a one size fits all pattern but I’m using a larger 5.50mm bamboo circular needle and with the chunkier yarn I’m confident that this will fit her quite well. Plus I don’t plan on blocking it as I love the textured ripple of it as it is and it also helps to keep it on the smaller size :)

The chunky marble yarn by James C. Brett is gorgeous to the touch. It’s soft and squishy, 100% machine washable and I know my daughter is going to enjoy having it around her neck. Not at all itchy!

As for my book this week I actually haven't done a stitch of reading unless you count my lazy perusing of January's edition of the British Country Living magazine reading :) I just LOVE this magazine and all of the beautiful photos and articles.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you all are knitting this week!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flight of the Dragon

Dragon Kite

A couple of weeks ago the kids spotted some really cool giant kites at Costco and decided that mama just had to get one for them. They actually wanted one each but I managed to get them down to just one and home we came with a very colorful dragon :)

Lift Off

When I said giant I wasn't kidding either! Just getting the thing off the ground with its 6 foot wing span was a two man operation with one holding the kite so it was ready to go when the wind gusted and the other was in charge of tugging the line and guiding it up into the air.

Dragon Kite

It took us several failed attempts to get the hang of coaxing our dragon higher into the air and finding out the hard way as it nose dived back to earth that we were going to need a much windier day to really get it high up but when it did soar above us it was so much fun :)

After about an hour and a half of running and laughing we had snow in our boots or soaked running shoes in my case from trodding through the field and the little guy even fell over at one point tripping on the uneven ground as he took his turn pulling the kite. Thankfully he didn't fall into one of the many cow patties that littered the area like land mines *grin*.

With all of us tuckered out and getting cold we spent the rest of the afternoon warming up in front of the fireplace and munching on warm cinnamon buns that my mom had made and shared with us. Mmmm, now that's one lovely way to spend a Sunday :)


Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Snow Day

View from my window

The weather man had been hinting that we might be due for a flurry of the white stuff towards the end of this week but I hadn't really given it much heed since his forecast has been a little wonky lately but when I awoke this morning this was what I saw out the kitchen window.

Snow again

I must be being punished for having started turning over the soil in the garden for spring planting to early *grin*. I knew full well that there was still the possibility of frost and snow when I got in there to weed and make the beds but still seeing it covered in 4 inches of fresh snow sort of sucks.


Hubby had to go down to the wharf in the afternoon to check on his tug so we tagged along and enjoyed the scenery. You can't beat the clean, bright look of fresh snow. It just makes everything look so pretty :)


Halfway to our destination we spotted flashing lights from a local police truck and the fire and rescue truck lodged in the ditch. It seems that he had a little incident and slipped off of the road. No one was injured except for maybe their pride.

Fortress Walls

The kids had a blast outdoors building fortresses with giant snowballs for the walls and building snowmen all over the front lawn. The snow was heavy and wet, just the perfect consistency for those lovely 'slush angels' of the wet west coast *grin*. Mega fun was had and now I have 3 sets of sopping wet snow dripping and drying in front of the woodstove :)

How's your weekend shaping up?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yarn Along ~ Socking it Out

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

Yarn Along

My little stash of socks is growing!
I decided not to stop with one finished pair since I have tons of yarn still to knit with so three down and at least one more to go to make a matched pair *grin*.

Baby Socks

They are so stinking adorable that I may just have to make another pair when this one is finished to :) You can find the pattern here. For my book this week I just got a copy of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent by Andrew Nikiforuk.

I've been all riled up lately over the Northern Gateway pipeline that Enbridge wants to ram through our province and I shared some videos here last week and I've got another one to share with you today below.

The tar sands are sort of 'out of sight, out of mind' for most Canadians. Even for myself I hadn't given them a heck of a lot of thought in the past but with the pipeline possibly being built through the Great Bear Rainforest, our coastal temperate rainforest, in ecologically sensitive land I wanted to get a bigger picture of what the tar sands and their sticky bitumen means to the rest of our great country!

What does environmental devastation actually look like? In this video above at TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat. Please, please take the 17 minutes it takes to watch it and learn a little more about the tar sands. Those pretty commercials they show on television of the environmentally friendly mines with gorgeous forest in the background won't be there for long and is not a true representation of what it truly is.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox... for now *grin*.

Can't wait to see what you all have been knitting this week!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Monkey

Happy Birthday

Today was Monkey's 6th birthday. My baby is growing up so quickly. First he lost his very first tooth a few weeks ago and now he's six! I just wish I could keep him small forever *grin*.

We woke up early to head into the city to visit with good friends of ours and then we treated the birthday boy and the whole crew to an afternoon of ice skating and hot chocolate. So much fun :)


I cheated and picked up a special birthday cake with Wall-E and Eva on it because he had been checking out the birthday cake book at the supermarket every time we went and had his little heart set on having a Wall-E cake. I just knew I wouldn't be able to find the little characters for the top so I ordered it secretly on Friday and when I pulled it out of the box tonight he was so excited.

But that wasn't the biggest highlight of his party! The boys are absolutely crazy about everything Star Wars and I can't tell you how many times they've watched the old VHS movies that I found for them at the second hand store. So when he opened up his gift from his dad and I his little eyes nearly popped out of his head to find a light saber just like Yoda's and it lights up and makes the real sounds to boot. No more wrapping paper tube light sabers for him. LOL.

I caught it all on video so that when Hubby comes home he can watch it and feel like he was able to be there for his special night to :) Plus it's going to be hilarious to show him when he's older :)


Sunday, February 19, 2012


Fairy Lantern

Somehow we were spared the deluge of rain that was supposed to hit our end of the island and instead we had nearly two full days of sunshine!! So out we went to enjoy seeing our shadows and exploring what was left in the garden :)

As the kids ran through the secret pathway and tromped through the knee high grass that has taken over a neglected flower bed they found some fairy lanterns. Well poppy seed heads actually but the winter had left nothing but their skeletal innards and my daughter thought they would be perfect little lanterns for fairies to use to light their way through the long winter nights *grin*.

Ice whales

Their next exciting find was the 'Ice Whales' swimming in one of the frozen buckets of water :) The thick piece of ice covering one of the pools of water had formed some mysterious shapes that we could think were none other than the dorsal fins of miniature ice whales that were visiting our garden :)

Towering Mullein

As the kids continued to poke around and dance around the giant mullein stalks still standing in the garden I thought I would get busy and take on the mega job of digging up and turning the soil in the garden for spring planting.


I usually have it rototilled but as I was plucking some of the weeds I noticed how many wriggly fat worms there were just under the surface layer of soil mulching and fertilizing and I made up my mind that this year I would take it upon myself to save those precious little workers from being chopped up in the tiller tines and turn it all by hand.

I only got a quarter of the way finished today and my shoulders and back are aching a bit from the strenuous activity after a lazy winter but if I can get it all finished I'll actually have it ready for planting even earlier than usual since I usually have to wait longer for the soil to dry for tilling so it doesn't cake up to much as it is turned.

I think I'm going to see if I can get my strapping young teenager to help me out though when I return on the next sunny day *grin*.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yarn Along ~ Baby Socks

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

Yarn Along

It seems like ages since I've joined in with Ginny's yarn along but then I haven't been doing to much knitting lately *grin*.

My sister is pregnant though and due to have a little boy around the end of April so I thought that I better get my knitting needles out again and get cracking on a few special baby gifts for her. I couldn't resist making another pair of the little Bambino socks that I made last year. In fact the adorable little pink and purple pair that I made the first time around were meant for her but now that we know it's going to be a boy I guess they just aren't going to do! So I picked up this lovely multi colored cotton sock yarn by Super Soxx and I'm halfway to having one pair finished :)

Baby Socks

I know I raved about these socks the last time around but I've got to say it again that this pattern rocks. The toe and heel are worked in super easy 'short rows' and they just form the toe and heel cup so that there are no bulky seams when you finish off or anything.

For my book I'm reading The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua and it is HILARIOUS! I'm only a few chapters in so far but the mother is Chinese, born in America, but wants to raise her two daughters the Chinese way vs. the western way and the stories of music lesson practice and the battle of wills with her youngest daughter Lulu have me in fits of giggles as I read it because in some ways I see myself when my first son was born as I was very determined to raise the brightest, smartest and most achieving little boy possible. Over the years my parenting goals have changed tremendously but I can't help but find humor in the things that used to drive myself bonkers LOL. I'm really looking forwards to reading more of it :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine Candy Apples

Oh did we have fun today!
We munched on our special candy apples...

Chocolate Fondue

stuffed ourselves silly with fruit and chocolate fondue...

Mini Whole Wheat Pizzas

enjoyed mini whole wheat pizzas...

Chocolate fondue

and got really, really, really sticky *grin*.

Hope you all had a great Valentine's day to!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Am A Radical

I've never truly thought of myself as a radical. Maybe a little out there and opinionated when it comes to things that are close to my heart but not quite radical but then I read this on Annie's blog today and I had to share it here with you to.

"On January 9th 2012 Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, released an open letter to Canadians in which he stated that anyone who speaks out against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project is a “radical” and has a “radical ideological agenda”. In his letter he implied that such radicals are also opposed to all mining, forestry, oil and gas and hydro-electric development in Canada."

So I ask you, are you a radical? If you are one of these 'Canadian Radicals' as we have been officially named then please take a minute to go to this website http://iamaradical.ca/ and let our government know just what you think! I did and I hope you will to.

If you are unsure of what Enbridge would bring to our beautiful province or are sitting on the fence as to whether you are for or opposed to the Northern Gateway Pipeline then I ask you to please watch this short video and see just what BC is gambling with and why we should stand up to protect our coastal waters, the Great Bear Rainforest and all of the life that it would pass through. This video actually makes me cry and just tears my heart out :(

And maybe listen to this fantastic song by Rachelle Van Zanten that was inspired by images of Tahltan women blockading Shell in defense of the Sacred Headwaters in northern British Columbia.

You can find out more and join the BC fight against Enbridge at the following websites.



PS. If you are receiving this via email you may have to pop over to my blog to view the videos if they don't show up in your email.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Let's Get Planting!

Tomato Seeds

It's that time of year. The days are slowly getting longer, the sun is peaking out a wee bit more and I feel the bloom of spring just itching to burst forth from the soil *grin*.

I know, it's barely the middle of February and we could get snow and frozen temperatures at any minute but I can't help myself but want to will spring to come now. So to fill the time until it finally does appear I pulled out my box of seed packets to see what I had, what is needed and to sort out all of my tomato seeds because it's time to get planting :)

Soaking my jiffies

Our growing season is wet, cool and rather short so anything I can do to help things speed along a little quicker before it's time to get things in the ground outdoors is always welcome. Last summer you probably remember that Hubby built me a little greenhouse and it will be perfect for growing an early crop of tomatoes in. So I pulled out what I had left of my little jiffy seven peat pots and soaked them in some nice hot water to puff them up for planting.

Planting tomatoes

I planted Bonny Best, Italian Paste, German Red Strawberry, Polish Paste, and Rocket so far but I also need to start some Black Krim which is a wonderful meaty heirloom variety that we love for sandwiches.

You can find some of them in my favorite seed catalogues like West Coast Seeds, Seeds of Victoria, Salt Spring Seeds and of course all of the wonderful ones I find every year at the various Seedy Saturdays (click for listings) scattered over the island :)

With my little seeds tucked away in a nice dark spot itching to sprout they will be all ready to harden off in the greenhouse nice and early so we can make the most of this summer. I can't wait!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Nibble Nibble Little Mouse....

Fresh Eggs

Who is nibbling at my house?
The kids found the hole in the photo below chewed through part of the wall in our chicken house and it was nearly as big as a tennis ball. Something was trying awful hard to get in to either eat our chickens or steal eggs :( Either way not good but we found it in time to board it back over again to thwart any further attempts to break in. I definitely don't want anything to happen to our girls!

Nibble nibble little mouse...

I have to say I have thoroughly been enjoying the egg laying winter lull that the chickens have been in though. In the warmer months when we are getting 12 eggs each and every day it can be tough to be come up with creative new way to use them up! I do sell some to my mom and sister when they need them but quite often we have more than we possibly eat and getting 5 or 6 each day is such a nice treat *grin*.

But even with the drop in egg production I ended up with an extra 3 dozen in the fridge the other day right after we did our big two week grocery shop and space was pretty tight so those eggs had to go. Not to worry though they weren't headed for the trash but a recycling of sorts *grin*.

I put all of them into the largest soup pot I had in the cupboard and hard boiled them. Next I popped them into my food processor, shell and all, by the the half dozen and pulsed them into a lovely egg salad buffet loaded with calcium rich chunks of egg shells that would make a delicious and nutritious treat for the chickens :)

Extra eggs?? No problem! LOL. And I know the shells on their upcoming eggs are going to be tougher and healthier for it :)


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mini Heart Bunting Valentine Cards & One For You

Valentine Heart Bunting Cards

Each year the kids and I have fun making valentine cards to give away to friends and family and in addition to this we decided that it would be fun to participate in a valentine card swap this year as well that will provide us with oodles of mail which is just plain fun anytime.

What I hadn't anticipated was making 38 cards! Yes, that was definitely more than I ever could have imagined but creating things with the kids is always fun :)

Sewing Mini Bunting

I love making bunting and my daughter always wants to use my sewing machine so I thought I'd combine the two together and so our little mini heart bunting cards came to life :)

We started by cutting out little rectangles of burlap fabric slightly smaller than the face of our cards and pulled out a few threads from each of the sides to give it a frayed appearance. Then between the two of us we traced over 120 miniature little hearts onto the paper side of some Heat n Bond paper that we would later iron onto an assortment of red fabrics.

With our hearts traced, ironed onto our fabrics, cut out and then permanently affixed to the top of our burlap rectangles in a semi circle formation it was time to get stitching!

Mini Heart Bunting

Using a nice bright red thread my daughter stitched on the string for our bunting so that it no longer looked like our hearts were just floating all alone finishing the mini heart bunting...


And then she took each of the finished burlap rectangles and stitched each of them to the front side of each of our little note cards. So much more simpler than mucking around with glue and then waiting for everything to dry! Plus getting to use mama's sewing machine is always such a treat :)

Valentine Heart Bunting Cards

I just love how they turned out with their little red stitching from the sewing machine and I was so happy that my daughter had so much fun sewing them. Originally I thought that she would maybe make it through half of the cards we had to make but she just wanted to keep sewing and sewing which actually turned out to be a good thing because we now have extras to share with you!

So if you or your children would like a little surprise Valentine card sent to you in the mail just let me now in the comments below and make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you for your address :)

The first five commenters will have one personally sent to you by my happy heart stitcher *grin*.

All of the Valentine cards have now been spoken for :)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I've Got A Teenager!!

Hamburger Cake

On Monday my son turned 13!!!
I can't believe I have a teenager in the house already. It sort of makes me feel old *grin*. On Saturday he had a couple of friends over for the day and we had his big cake, party food and presents and on Monday the actual day of his birthday we kept it pretty low key. I made his favorite meal of hamburgers and as a joke I stuck a candle in the top of one of the burgers and sang happy birthday to him as I brought it out to him for lunch :) You should have seen the grin on his face. I'm actually looking forward to his teenage years as it brings a whole new set of experiences and he is such a great kid that it can only get better :)

Valentine Cards

Today we all worked on our Valentine's day cards that we are making for a swap we are participating in. My daughter traced out hearts on some heat n bond paper and then we transferred it to the burlap rectangles above which are going to make the front panel of our cards.

I just LOVE all of the red fabrics and can't wait to show you how they turn out. Last year we made cute little handprint heart cards and we shared our extras with some of you lovely readers and we're going to do it again! So make sure and check back as I will have 5 of our new cards ready to hit the mail just for you :)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sunshine & Sausage Making

Johnstone Strait

Now that is an odd title I do admit but since my photos include a little bit of both I thought it fit *grin*.

The sun graced us today with its warmth and light and it felt so good after the last bout of rain we were soaked with. After lunch we bundled up and set out for a walk to burn off some extra energy from being house bound and searched for interesting finds along the way. We admired the snow still clinging to the highest mountain peaks, spied on little Sparrows and Spotted Towhees and at one point my 5 year old even ripped his boots off so that he could walk barefoot over a bunch of clumped moss along the roadside LOL. Now that would have made a good photo. Oh how I wish I had brought my camera with me!!

Homemade sausage

We have finally finished putting our cow into the freezer which is such a relief. It was two very long days of cutting and wrapping from morning till night and tired aching feet and backs but the sight of our freezer bursting to the top with those brown paper packages makes it all worth it.

Our favorite part of the whole process though is making sausage :)
I use a mix of 3/4 beef to 1/4 pork, fresh garlic and onions run through the grinder along with the meat and a bunch of spices mixed in to make our sausage meat. I don't add any extra fat or fillers, just the basics and then once its all mixed together Hubby feeds it into our grinder which has a handy little sausage stuffing attachment and I control the sausage casings, filling them uniformly for twisting into links later.

The whole process moves along quite quickly and if you ever need to buy a very economical meat grinder with a lot of punch I highly recommend Moulinex. We have a Moulinex HV6 and it has two plates for course and fine grinding, sausage horn and a reverse function in the even that it jams and we have been using it for the last 9 years. It has ground all our beef that has been butchered since purchasing it and we finally had to sharpen the blade this time around as it was a bit dull. I'm not sure if you can still get the HV6 but I see there is a newer model now available :)

Making Links

So here they are all twisted into links and portioned into dinner sized amounts. They are drier than a normal store bought sausage understandably since we don't add any additional fat but they make up for it in taste and I know exactly what is in them :)