Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Backyard Camping

Well, in an attempt to break our little guy into camping we tried some backyard camping this past weekend. It was somewhat foiled by little guy's little stomach bug, but that crisis passed and we continued on in the afternoon.

We set up the tent.

Made nature crafts.

Planted some fall flowers. I love pansies! Especially the tiny Johnny Jump-ups!

And made a fire in the Chimnea, roasted marshmallows and made smores. Big brother enjoyed playing in the fire, as all boys do.

In the end, we did not sleep in the tent. As the evening wore on, little boy decided he wanted to sleep in his own bed. Which turned out to be a good thing, as there was a horrific thunderstorm that blew in after midnight, complete with penny sized hail. We would not have wanted to be in the tent, even if it was just in the backyard. Fortunately, I had the foresight to stake the tent and put the rainfly on before it got dark. the tent remained upright and the sleeping bags were dry inside. Not a bad little tent, I must say!

We will be outdoorsy, dammit!! I want my kids to experience and love the outdoors, whether they like it or not!

They really do. We have much fun when we make the time to play outside. We just have to make the effort. I need to ensure that we make the effort. (It sux to live in suburbia!!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Home Made Laundry Soap

I've made my own laundry soap before, but did the liquid variety where you grate the soap and melt it in hot water on the stove, add the other stuff and it looks like egg drop soap when you are finished. It worked pretty well, but the process was labour intensive.

I was excited to find reference to home made dry laundry soap the other day on another blog I follow - The Sitting Tree. It is the same basic ingredients, you just don't have add any liquid.

So, I used 1 bar of Dr. Bronner's soap, I like the lavender scent, but there are others and un-scented as well. It is totally vegetable based, so no petro chemicals. I know lot of web sites refer to Fels Naptha and Zote soap, but I wanted to get as natural as I could. And then the other standard ingredients are washing soda and borax.

1 bar soap - grated finely
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

Mix well. I found the finely grated soap incorporated easily with the powders and it smells awesome!! The whole process took about 20 minutes from beginning to end.

Mix well and store in an air tight container. I happened to have a large plastic tub left over from some take out Hot and Sour Soup that worked perfectly. (I guess it was probably 1 quart, sized?)

I have been using 2 tablespoons in my machine, which is a HE front loader and it works great. the clothes are clean and smell very fresh. the lavender scent is not strong at all when it's all said and done.

My next green laundry project is to make some felted dryer balls. They are supposed to significantly cut down drying time and wrinkles and no more fabric softener. One more chemical to get out of my house.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grey vs Gray

I didn't really think about this until I was spell checking a previous entry where I typed grey. It got me to thinking about which is correct, grey or gray and if there is a difference in how they are to be used in context.

I am a Canadian ex-pat, transplanted to Texas, USA. I have now been here for 15 plus years and have definitely linguistically assimilated. (somewhat to my dismay) I suppose I have retained some of my Canadian accent, but a lot has been lost. I must qualify that I am from Western Canada, where the accent is not as strong as Eastern Canada - think Bob and Doug Mackenzie from SCTV. I do still drop a lot of "oh yeahs" and "oot and aboot", but the famous "eh!" was dropped from my vocabulary after living in the States for approximately six weeks. I was routinely savaged for using it and quit promptly. But, truth be known, I still think it in my head when I am speaking.

I digress...

Spelling required some re-training as well. It took me some time to drop the "our" and the "re" from words like colour and centre. I noticed recently that I still write cheque if I am in a hurry and not thinking. Also, I will have an occasional Canadian moment when writing the date for example, October 13th would be written as 10-13-11 in Texas, but 13-10-11 in Saskatchewan. Old habits die hard, as these things occur when I am busy, rushed, distracted or tired. (apparently also when I have been drinking)

So back to grey vs gray. After doing a bit of research I discovered what I thought to be true. Grey is the UK spelling, thus Canadian spelling, too and Gray is the American spelling. There was some historical explanation as to how this evolution occurred, but I am not going to get into that. If you are truly that interested, Google it, lots of info out there in cyber land.

Bottom line...

Grey is a colour.


Gray is a color.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trask Project Part Deux - Dream Groovy Chunky

Dream Groovy Chunky - ha!! Makes me think of a Ben and Jerry's flavor, anyway...

So, part deux of the Trask Project - I received one gorgeous, sumptuous, stupendous skein of Dream Groovy chunky yarn, which is this awesome hand painted, super wash, Australian merino, from my blogpal Mrs. Lawton-Trask. It is cream with very subtle pinks and blues. It was calling to me, saying "Mommy needs a new hat!!" (It was, seriously, I kid you not!)

So, a perfect hat was created. It is only missing a tassel. Now, all my boys want the same hat, but different colours, not pink and cream, ha! Sometimes it's fun to be the only girl in the house, I never have to share the cute stuff.

The finished product with my doggie Joey and the Rangers vs Tigers game on the tube in the blinding background. Go Rangers!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Trask Project in Noro Silk

A blogging friend - Mrs. Lawton-Trask at Knit Like You Mean It, was stash busting and I was a lucky recipient not once, but three times. I am now beginning part one of my "Trask Projects", a cowl/scarf using the most awesome yarn - Noro Silk - it is silk, mohair and merino from Japan and has the most amazing colorway. It self striping in a crazy combination of purple, grey and green.

Kathleen sent me two skeins, one in cream/ecru and one in the grey/green/purple. I was able to find two more skeins on-line of the grey/green/purple and thus began the cowl. It is just a plain stockinette, with an occasional reverse, just to do this yarn justice. The pictures just don't represent how lovely this really is. Almost finished. Adding the last of the cream today and will be ready to cast off.

Soon it might be cool enough to use it - ha ha!! Wishful thinking on my part!

BTW - Thank-you again Kathleen, you are the best, I hope you are settling in and having the time of your life!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chai Rice Pudding!!!

Since I am on the VegHead theme today, here is the bestest recipe ever for rice pudding. I must give credit where credit is due, this comes from Vegetarian Times magazine.

3 1/2 cups soymilk or low fat milk - divided
4 chai tea bags
1 cup short or medium grain white rice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 med sized apple peeled and diced
1/4 cup raisins
Sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish

- Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and add teabags. Steep for 5 min, remove teabags and squeeze out liquid.
- Stir rice, sugar and salt into tea mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat, cover, simmer for 10 min.
- Add remaining milk and simmer uncovered for 20 more min or until rice is soft. Add apples and raisins, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 min.
- Serve warm or cold. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you like.

Sooooo yummy!!!! I want to try it next time with brown rice in the slow cooker,if I think of it I'll add an update.

Veg Head for 6 Months

Well, its been six months and I'm still basically meat free. I do occasionally have sushi or a tuna sandwich and did have a taste of some Texas BBQ (does a couple of bites count, ha ha! I'm not doing it for religious reasons so whatever, haters), but all things considered, I have been off the meat wagon. I don't miss it. (except for maybe pulled pork, I miss that a little bit)

I don't even know why really, it's not an ethics thing exactly (but I do object to inhumane treatment of animals and I guess eating them falls into that category), it kinda of a sustainability thing (I do know for a fact that it's much better for the environment), it's mostly a health thing, it's not a trendy thing (in fact I feel a little silly about it) so, I can't really say why I did it. It started out as a "give it up for lent" project and I just continued it. I am really self conscious about it, though. I don't like to draw attention to it or make a big deal about it. It does bug me at work that they very rarely have meat free options (I know I am not the only VegHead in the place), but I have not complained about it. I guess I should just get off my butt and pack my own lunch. I get sick of eating the same salad all the time for lunch. There's a Whole Foods and Tom Thumb very close that I could drive over to on the days I have the car, but that takes up half my lunch time in transit.

So, about the self conscious thing, what's that all about? I guess I'm just getting old. I feel like I'm too old to be doing this. That it is a college student's game and agenda not something a forty-something year old does. It doesn't really make a whole heap of difference if I have an agenda or not, but I still don't want to make a big deal out of it or push it off on other people or even appear like I might be considering pushing off on other people.

Good Gracious!!!!! I need to lighten up!!! Really!!!

It's never too late to make a positive change.

Vive la VegHeads!!! VegHeads of the world unite!!! Haters can go suck it!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011


I will say this one thing and then I am finished, there will be no more about this.... (see princess post below for reference as needed)

When a certain associate says "yay!! its my birthday month, {insert name here}apalooza is about to begin, it makes me want to gag. This particular individual is not 6 or 16 years old, for the record.

That is all....