Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Baking: Sugar Cookies

So I did manage this year to make all the Christmas goodies I had on my list.  For the final cookie I made sugar cookies.  I used this recipe that I found in a What's Cooking magazine a few years ago.  These are a soft, delicious sugar cookie.  The addition of cream cheese makes them a bit more expensive to make but it also makes them oh so good.  They are easy to roll out as well.  I always get the kids to help with these.  This year we cut them out with a star and tree shaped cookie cutter.  I then made some icing, divided it into two, and coloured it yellow (for the stars) and green (for the trees) and let the kids decorate them with candy and sprinkles.  They turned out very tasty and were a lot of fun to make too.  LK even helped to decorate them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Baking: Butter Tart Slice

Well here it is January already.  I hope everyone had a good holiday.  Ours was busy, fun-filled and over too fast.  I know this is late in going up but I wanted to finish posting all the recipes for the Christmas goodies I baked.  I am back dating this for December so that next year I can find all the Christmas baking posts in December.  All of the goodies went over well and I had plenty to put out a large tray of cookies at least 3 times over the holidays.

Today I am sharing with you a recipe for a butter tart slice.  I love butter tarts!  However, I don't always have the time to make a crust, roll it out, and cut out circles for tarts.  So instead I throw together this butter tart slice.  It is simple and easy to make.  The only thing I suggest is lining the pan with parchment paper as the filling is quite sticky.

Butter Tart Slice

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine and press into a 9 inch pan.  Bake 15 minutes at 350* F.

1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. cream
1 cup raisans
1 egg beaten slightly

Mix above ingredients and spread over baked base.  Bake again for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350*F oven.  Cool and slice.

I doubled this recipe and made it in a large approx. 9" x 13" pan.

Friday, December 23, 2011

LT is 3 Months Old!

I can't believe LT is 3 months old already.  The time has just flown by.  She has been a very happy baby (except when she was sick the other day but that is to be expected).  This month she has learned how to roll over and can roll from front to back and from back to front.

She is also discovering her hands and is starting to grasp objects and toys.

While discovering her hands she also found out that her thumb is perfect for sucking on.

And this month she reached one of my favorite milestones, sleeping through the night.  I am not getting too excited as I know this can change but for right now I am enjoying the nights of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep.

What a wonderful little girl she is and such a blessing to our family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Baking: GIngerbread Boys

Here is another one of our Christmas recipes, gingerbread boys.  I got this recipe from my mom.  My kids don't like regular gingersnaps as they are not a fan of the molasses flavor.  However they really like these gingerbread boys as they have no molasses.  We had a lot of fun making these this past weekend but for some reason the cookies expanded into gingerbread blobs.  So no pretty pictures of fancy cookies but we had a lot of fun laughing at our gingerbread blobs.

Gingerbread Boys (or blobs)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp grated orange peel
2 tbsp corn syrup
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs; beat until light and fluffy.  Add orange peel and corn syrup; mix well.  Sift together dry ingredients, stir into creamed mixture.  Chill dough thoroughly.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with gingerbread man cookie cutter.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375* oven for 8-10 minutes.  Cool 1 minute before removing from pan.


If you are in a hurry I have made these No Chill Gingerbread Cookies and enjoyed them.  However they have molasses and weren't such a hit with the kiddos.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Baking: Vanilla Walnut Crescents

This week I got another item crossed off of my Christmas baking list.  I made these delicious Vanilla Walnut Crescents.  This is not a traditional family recipe but one I started making a few years ago after coming across the recipe in a Country Woman magazine.  They have quickly become a favorite and are one of the most popular items on my Christmas goodie tray.  You can find the recipe here  They are delicious and very easy to make. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: The Ride of a Lifetime by Kitty McGregor

I received this book from to review.  In The Ride of a Lifetime Lucas McCade, a superstar rodeo cowboy, has retired and is trying to make up for lost time with his family.  He moves with his wife and teenage son Conner to Oklahoma where he takes a job at the Falling Star Ranch.  His wife is happy but Conner is not impressed.  He misses his life back in Texas and feels this effort by Lucas to be a father is too little, too late.  As the McCades settle into life in Oklahoma they find a church but feel something is not quite right in the community.

This book is a modern western featuring a battle of good versus evil.  It is rich in description and the author does a good job of drawing you into the story.  The book does jump around from setting to setting a bit but it is easy to follow as the author skillfully brings you along.  The plot is interesting but I was a little a taken a back by the evil spirits in the book.  I am not a huge fan of books about the occult and was surprised to find it in this Christian book (I guess I should have read the product description a little better).  Overall, I found the story engaging, the scenery lovely, and the book was full of action.  However, while I enjoyed the beginning of the book I was a bit disappointed with the ending.  I thought it was melodramatic and a bit over the top. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Baking: Shortbread Cookies

So last week I got another item of Christmas baking completed.  I made a large batch of shortbread cookies.  I think shortbread is one of my most favourite Christmas cookies.  This a cookie that we only ever make at Christmas time and I love the way it just melts in your mouth.  This is the recipe that my mother made.  It was also found on the back of a box of cornstarch for many years.  Some people fancy them up by adding candied cherries, sprinkles or other things but for me I just prefer them plain.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)

Sift dry ingredients together then add butter.  With large wooden spoon work butter in thoroughly.  Work with hands until soft, smooth dough forms.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet, flatten with lightly floured fork.  Bake in 300*F oven for 15-20 min. or until edges are lightly browned.  Store in tightly covered container.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yarn Along - Turtle

Yarning along this week again with Ginny from Small Things.  I am still working on this turtle for Sky.  I have a lot of the pieces done I just have to sew them together (which is my least favorite part of the process). 

As far as reading goes I am reading Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  I know I don't have a really large family but she has some good tips in the book that are helpful for families of any size.  My biggest complaint about this book is that it is a large hardcover book.  Most of my reading these days is done while nursing LT and it is difficult to hold that large of a book while nursing a baby.  Also on my Kobo I am currently reading The Ride of a Lifetime by Kitty McGregor that I will be reviewing for

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Baking: Date Squares

I don't do a lot of Christmas baking but I do love me some cookies.  So I try to make a few extra goodies for Christmas.  Some of these only get  made at Christmas time so they are an extra treat.  Also I try to let the older girls help with baking so it can become a fun family time (it doesn't always work though as mom has trouble giving up control but we try).  I thought I would share what is on my Christmas baking list for this year along with some of the recipes.

My baking list for this year is:

Shortbread Cookies
Gingerbread Men
Sugar Cookies
Vanilla Walnut Crescents
Butter Tart Squares
Date Squares

Yesterday I made some Date Squares.  This isn't the most Christmassy goodie but I really like Date Squares and I hardly ever make them.  Also this is one of the more healthier recipes I make for Christmas.  It is full of good fibre, iron, and magnesium.

Without further ado here is the recipe:

Date Squares

5 cups (2 3/4 lb/1.25 kg) pitted dates, coarsely chopped
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups water

3cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted

For filling: in saucepan combine dates, lemon rind and juice, and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until dates are very soft.  stir mixture well to mash dates.

For crust: in bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in melted butter until thoroughly combined and crumbly.

Pat half the crust mixture onto bottom of lightly greased 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.  Spread filling over crust evenly, sprinkle with remaining crumbs.  Bake in preheated oven 350*C for about 45 minutes or until deeply golden.

Cool before cutting into squares.  I then place them in paper muffin cups.

I make this recipe pretty much as written.  I didn't have a lemon on hand though so I just put some bottled lemon juice in the filling.  Also I like oats so I added an extra cup without changing any of the other ingredients.  I imagine this might have made the crust a bit more crumbly but that was okay by me.  Enjoy!

What are you baking this Christmas?

Here the girls are making Sweet Potato Whole Wheat Gingersnaps.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Daybook - Nov. 28, 2011


Outside my window...the trees are bare of any leaves, there are a few white patches of snow that haven't melted from our last snowfall, and the windmill is turning swiftly in the wind.

I am thinking...about celebrating advent and the upcoming Christmas holiday.

I am thankful...for a kind, loving, helpful, hardworking husband.

In the kitchen...I have some banana's that are going to be made into banana bread today and some ground beef that is going to be made into meatballs.  The meatballs will go into the slow cooker so as to be ready when we get home from skating today.

I am wearing...gray sweatpants and a gray T-shirt.  I am all about comfort when I am at home.

I am creating...a crochet turtle for Sky.  Also we are starting to put up a few Christmas decorations and I have to get a Jesse tree put together today.

I am going... to take the older girls to skating tonight and on Friday.  Tomorrow I will do some shopping and take LK to the tot spot.  Hopefully the rest of the week I will be able to stay at home.

I am wondering...why on the slough there are spots where the ice is so clear it almost looks like open water when the rest of the ice is white (the clear spots seem to be frozen just as hard as the everywhere else but it looks so different).

Here Star is checking out one of the afore mentioned spots.

I am reading...Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  I don't think I quite qualify as having a large family but it has some good tips.  For light reading I am enjoying Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber.

I am hoping...that we continue to get some nice weather in December.  It is much nicer when we can spend time everyday outside.

I am looking forward to...having some company on the weekend and celebrating Sky's 8th birthday.

I am hearing...LK watching TV in the background.  Time to get to get off the computer so as to turn the TV off and have him help me do laundry.

Around the the living room needs vacuuming and laundry needs to be done.  Hubby was wonderful and cleaned the porch and the kitchen yesterday.  I have the advent wreath out but still need to set up a Jesse Tree.

One of my favorite things...the Christmas season.  I am excited advent is here and we start the countdown to Christmas.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  I am hoping to get started on some Christmas baking this week.  Also I have to go through LK's clothes.  Most of his pants are too short.  I have lot's of hand me downs for him to wear I just have to go through them and get them into his dresser and the too small stuff put away.

Here is picture (or two) for thought I am sharing...

Two of my most precious blessings.

LT sure is growing fast.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Skating on the Slough

Remember in the spring we were able to canoe on the slough near our house.  Well this past weekend we were able to skate on it.  It was a beautiful day with temperatures right around 0*C.  The girls were quite excited and we had a good time.  Unfortunately I didn't skate as I was wearing LT in the wrap but Daddy joined the girls for a skate when he was done vaccinating cows.  LK enjoyed walking on the ice for a while and when he got tired he got a ride in the sled.

A beautiful day for skating.

Sky doing a spiral.

Star doing a spiral.

It is not often that the slough is this full of water and that it freezes into nice ice.  We were lucky to get this opportunity.  Living in the country definitely has its challenges but it also has many blessings.  We hope to find more time this winter to take advantage of this ice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn Along - Stroller Toy

So I am once again joining in Wednesdays Yarn Along over at Small Things.  This week I finished the fish stroller toy.  The fish came from this Lion Brand pattern for a fish mobile, but then I decided to make them into a stroller toy.  The pattern for the stroller toy is from the book Amigurumi Two, Crocheted Toys for Me, You and Baby Too.  It turned out pretty good I think.  LK is always stealing them from LT's car seat and waving them them around saying "sh, sh" (he can't say fish yet).

The next project I will be working on is the turtle from the same book Amigurumi Two, Crocheted Toys for Me, You and Baby Too.  Sky has been asking for it for a while so I plan to work on that next and hopefully it will be done in time for me to give it to her for Christmas.    With two little ones I don't have a lot of time to crochet these days.

The book I have been reading this week is The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.  I enjoyed this book.  It had a lot of ideas of how to encourage creativity in our children and ourselves.  It really focuses on enjoying the process of creating rather than the end product.  I've never really considered myself a creative person but I do think there is some creativity in all of us.   And we all can find joy in creating if we let go of any expectations for the end product.

That's all for this week.  Be sure and check all the wonderful projects over at Small Things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brush Cut

LK has thick hair that grows pretty fast.  He has had 3 or 4 haircuts already and he is not yet two.  He hair was once again getting pretty long so this past weekend  hubby decided it was time to cut it.  Now LK has never been good about getting his hair cut.  He won't sit still, tries to grab the scissors, and it usually ends in tears and screaming.  This time was no different.  He was not about to let us cut his hair.  So hubby decided it was time for a brush cut.  I wasn't too sure about it, thinking the clippers would frighten him and it would still be a  problem.  However he didn't seem to mind them that much.  Now I am not saying he sat perfectly still, but hubby was able to get the job done.  I kind of miss his long hair, but he still looks super cute with his brush cut.  Hopefully it will be a while now before we have to cut his hair again.

Sorry I don't have any before pictures but here is LK sporting his new hair do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yarn Along

I was updating my Ravelry page and thought I would share with you some the crochet projects I've been working on.   Since reading is another one of my favourite pastimes  I am joing in with Ginny over at Small Things by participating in my first Yarn Along.

This little mini-pouch is cute and super quick to crochet.

I made a few pairs of these mittens for the girls to wear.  We keep these in their skating bags so they always have a dry pair of mitts for skating.

And I am currently working on this Fish stroller toy for LT.

As for reading I am currently reading the 10 Habits for Healthy Mothers on my Kobo.  Also on my Kobo for light reading is About That Man by Sheryl Woods.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



Outside my is cool outside and a little cloudy but I can see a bit of sun peeking through the clouds.

I am thinking...about living a simple life.

I am thankful...for cool fall days, little smiling faces, and warm food.

In the kitchen...pumpkin muffins are in the oven and a batch of cornbread is awaiting its turn.  There are plastic containers all over the floor as LK emptied my cupboard.  The broom is also laying on the floor as he then attempted to sweep them up.

I am blue sweatpants, and a badly stained white cotton ginny t-shirt.

I am creating...I just finished some crocheted mittens for the girls and am currently working on a fish.

I am the tot spot tomorrow (toddler playgroup).

I am reading...the Secret Refuge series by Lauraine Snelling. Enjoyable light historical fiction set in the time of the civil war.

I am hoping...for this nice fall weather to continue.

I am looking forward to...not much.  Just trying to enjoy each day as it comes.

I am is pretty quiet.  I hear the oven as it turns on and the faint voices of the girls and LK as they play downstairs.

Around the house...I am going to try to clean the porch this week and bring out the winter stuff.  It has been pretty nice here but it is getting cooler and I know winter is on its way.

One of my favorite things...nursing my adorable little girl and reading a good book.

A few plans for the rest of the week: going to the tot spot tomorrow, taking the girls to skating on Friday, and other than I will be trying to keep a certain 21 month old out of trouble, and snuggling a sweet one month old as much as possible.

Here is picture (or two)  for thought I am sharing...

A sweet smiling LT at one month old.

LT and LK

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Camping in the Pasture

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather here in Saskatchewan so this past weekend hubby wanted to take advantage of it and go on a little camping trip.  With having a baby who was not quite two weeks old I was a little uncertain.  However hubby did  all the packing and it was decided that we would camp in the pasture at our ranch so I could take the little ones home to sleep.  It was gorgeous out and I think the older girls really enjoyed it.  We did some hiking in the hills.  I carried the baby in a wrap and she slept peacefully.  In the evening we sat around the campfire and a copious amount of marshmellows were consumed.  Then I took LK and the baby home to sleep and Daddy and the girls slept outside.  They didn't even set up the tent and decided to just sleep out under the stars.  We could hear coyotes howling in the distance and the cows came to visit us.

In the morning the girls and dad enjoyed breakfast cooked over the campfire.  I joined them a little later and we went on another hike through the hills and then enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading home.  It was a lot of fun and something I think the older girls will remember.  A big thanks to hubby who did all the packing and cleaning up.  He has been a great help as we adjust to life as the parents of four. 

Checking out the campsite we picked.

Going for a hike.

Me with the baby in the wrap.

Sky enjoyed traipsing through the brush.

Playing in the dirt.

Star caught a frog.

Tending the campfire.

Sitting around the fire.

LK on the beds with the cows in distance.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A New Baby Girl

Last Monday Sept. 19 we welcomed a new baby girl to our family.  She weighed 7 lbs and 15 oz. and was about 19 1/2" long.  We were so excited to meet her.

She is doing well.  She latched on right away and continues to be a great nurser.

Star and Sky love her and are enthralled with her sweet face.
(LK is not so interested but he tolerates her).

What a precious blessing!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doll for LK

I just finished crocheting this doll for LK the other day.  It is to be a gift for him when the new baby arrives.  He is a true boy and definitely prefers playing with trucks rather than dolls but I made him a doll anyway.  I used the pattern from the book Amigurumi Two: Crochet Toys For Me and You and Baby Too. The materials used didn't cost more than a couple of bucks, so if he doesn't like him I am not out much. But I think the doll is sorta cute and the girls like him (although they wish he had hair).  It was a simple crochet project and I find crocheting relaxes me.  I am sure I won't find much time for crocheting once this baby is born as my hands will be full.

PS. Yes, today is my due date but no sign of baby yet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daybook Sept 13, 2011

When you haven't been keeping up with your blog for a while it is hard to know how to jump back into it.  So I thought I would just do a Daybook post and go from there.  Although truth be told I don't know if there will be any more posts as I am awaiting the birth of my 4th child any day now which I'm sure will keep my hands busy.

Outside my window...
It is sunny but cool.  This pregnant mother is glad for some cool weather after the plus 30*C we have been having lately.  Also the combining is finished so fall can come now!

I am thinking...about having a new baby in the house.

I am thankful...for a loving, healthy family.

From the learning rooms...the girls are off to school these days and the year seems to be going well for them so far.  LK misses them but has been pretty happy overall. 

In the kitchen...I am raosting a chicken tonight so we will have leftovers for the rest of the week.  I am also hoping to make a large pot of applesauce for the girls lunches.

I am wearing...maternity jeans and a baggy blue T-shirt.

I am creating...I just finished crocheting a doll for LK for when the baby comes.  Not sure what my next project will be yet.

I am the city tomorrow for an OB appointment.

I am wondering...when this baby is going to arrive.  Also I have been really curious as to whether it will be a boy or a girl.

I am reading...Rivers of Gold by Tracie Peterson and Caring For Your Child From Birth to Age 5.

I am hoping...for an easy labour and delivery and a healthy baby.

I am looking forward to...meeting this new child.

I am hearing...some country music playing on the computer and crickets chirping.

Around the house...Hubby did a lot of working cleaning out our basement and now the girls are sleeping down there.  So I have nearly empty room to work with upstairs. 

One of my favorite things...reading.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Not much, a trip to the city, and then just trying to stay on top of things at home.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

LK as a newborn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Camping Trip

Well we are back from our annual summer camping trip.  A good time was had by all.  This year was a little different for us as it was just our immediate family.  Usually some of my siblings and other relatives join us.  So I had plenty of food packed as my girls don't eat nearly as much as my brothers. 

The first day of our trip we drove to Little Bow Provincial Park in Alberta.  We spent the next day at the beach there.  It was a nice beach area and the weather was hot.  We spent the whole day at the beach as it was much to hot to do anything else.

Daddy throws Sky into the water.

Star and Sky play in the sand.

Daddy takes LK for a ride in our inflatable kayak.

LK has a snack on the beach.

The next day we headed off to Kananaskis Country where we were staying at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.  One nice thing about travelling by yourselves is that you can stop where ever and whenever you want.  We made a number of stops along the way, including a stop at a cool looking playground we saw with this climbing apparatus.

The first full day we were in Kananaskis it was cool and rainy (quite a contrast from the heat we had at Little Bow).  We didn't do all that much.  The girls and Dad had their bikes so they went for some bike rides.  (This was an excellent place for bike riding as there are lot's of bike paths and many of them are paved.)  We don't usually have room to bring bikes along on our camping trips so the girls were really excited to have them.  We also attended a family event on being Bear Aware which the girls really enjoyed and at night they went to a talk given by someone from the Windriver Bear Institute.  The next night they went to another interpretive program put on by the park which they really enjoyed.  The programs put on by this park are excellent.  Really entertaining and informative.

Being over seventh months pregnant and having a 17 month old I wasn't able to do quite as much as I would have liked but I still had a lot of fun and felt pretty good most of the time.  LK wasn't  much for sitting around the campfire but he did love to hike and explore.

LK hiking along a trail.

Daddy was there to carry him when he got tired.

LK loved throwing rocks in the water.

The next day at Kananaskis the weather was slightly warmer and not so rainy so we were able to do a number of different hikes.  Including one that was over 5km and had an elevation gain of over 700 ft.  I wasn't sure about hiking up that steep of a trail but I made it and it was worth the effort as we ended up in a beautiful alpine meadow with rocks and waterfalls.

On our hike.

The wildflowers were spectacular.

Star on our hike.  What beautiful scenery!

Daddy and LK on the hike.

As you can see I was usually trailing the pack as I mostly got pictures of peoples backs.

The next morning we packed up camp as the forecast was for rain all day that day.  We were lucky that it wasn't raining in the morning when we packed up but a lot of stuff was still wet from the rain we did have.  We headed in to Calgary and got a hotel room with a small pool and water slide.  (This is treat we usually allow ourselves after camping for a week in a tent.)  We spent the afternoon at the Calgary Zoo.  We saw lot's of animals.  Of course it was raining which made it not quite as nice but there were a number of buildings to duck into and view the animals.  Near the end of the day we just braved the rain and wandered outside.  We ending up getting some great close up views of the bears and cougars.  All the kids enjoyed the zoo, especially LK.  We saw giraffes, hippos, lions, tigers, and more.  How ever I think LK's favourites were the fish.  He kept pointing out all the fish and saying "dsh" (fish) to anyone who would listen.

LK looking at the fish.

A giraffe at the zoo.

We drove home the next day. And that was our trip.  Camping is great family time and the girls really love it.  I wonder where we will go next year.