Friday, July 29, 2011

Love you forever, like you for always

When I was little, there was this one book that always made my Mom cry whenever she would read it to me or any of my siblings. 

I didn't get it. 
It was a sweet story and perfect for a pre-bedtime snuggle. 
I read it to my younger brothers and I didn't cry.

And then I saw it, at a library book sale, and knew I wanted it for my own daughter's library. 
To read it to her while we snuggled on the couch. 

I sat on the floor of her bedroom and pulled her onto my lap and began reading the book. 
And I started to tear up. Then I started to cry. I could barely read the words for the lump in my throat. 
And I'm sure she didn't understand why I was holding her so tightly.  

It wasn't just pregnancy emotions that made me tear up that day. It was the sweet and timeless story of a mother's love for her child. The love that my Mom has for me and the love that I have for my little Kilmo-doll and for this new little one. 

Some days are absolutely crazy and we all breathe a sigh of relief when bedtime comes but I think every mum does creep into their child's room, watches them sleep and whispers sweet, soft words of love to their little one.

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CSA: take 2

I confess.
I gave a little squeal of delight when I went to pick up our CSA 
order on a damp Tuesday afternoon. There were lots of bins filled with the beautiful produce. The lettuce leaves glistened in the light, the heads all covered with little droplets of water. The carrots practically begged to be eaten right then and there. You can taste all that went into them- the soil, the rain, the sunshine, the hard work of keeping a garden. 

Oh yum. 

I looked through the bin of swiss chard, choosing a bunch with red stalks over the yellow stalks simply because it looked pretty.

And then there were the strawberries and the potatoes and the beet greens and the radishes. I felt rich as I put all that goodness into my bag and then unloaded it into the fridge. 
I love opening the fridge and seeing all the fresh greens practically popping off the shelves. 
I'm not sure yet how I will use everything. I still have some greens that I purchased from the store before I got the greens from the CSA. Yes, I was impatient. Organic spring greens somewhat satisfied my craving for freshness but I now feel fully satisfied by my lovely heads of butter and leaf lettuce. 
I think I might try out this recipe for lettuce soup. It looks interesting and is a creative way to use the lettuce rather then all in a salad. 
I will definitely be making some salads with all the different greens and dressing them with a simple vinaigrette so that the flavors and textures shine through. 

But that's as far as I've gotten with my ideas. I would love to have some new thoughts on what to do with the swiss chard and beet greens. 

Do you have any recommendations for this bounty?

Monday, July 25, 2011

the gifts

I'm taking a few minutes in the middle of the day to blog. Or rather to continue my list of gifts, my reminder of the moments and the special things that happen Whether I'm watching for them or not. And today I'm feeling the need to remind myself, to look beyond how I feel right now or how my house looks and be grateful.

346- 359

washer and dryer to do all that laundry for me

glass pitcher filled with lemon-infused water, making drinking enough water a pleasant task 

a good night's sleep

a basement suite that stays somewhat cool even when it is really warm outside

a spray park just across the road

friends who have us over for dinner and are totally relaxed about kids and messes 

the way my little girl's hair curls when it's wet

special times with the girls of the family

Kilmeny's delight in her first daddy-daughter date

the way she needs a kiss after she gets an 'owie' 

knowing that this heat isn't nearly as bad as last summer's heat wave

Sunday afternoons to talk and talk and sort many things out

knowing that today is a gift, and I don't have to worry about the rest of the week or month but just enjoy today

What are you enjoying today?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rain, football, and friends

We went on a date. On the weekend. In the rain. And it was fun. 

We had been given tickets to a football game and that was one of the things on our summer list- if we had the money and the time to do so. The tickets were free and since we were already spending the weekend with family, we had the time and Kilmeny was very well looked after. 
I have watched football games and I have played a version of football. And in what has become part of our family's story, my husband and I had our first real conversation throwing a football which resulted in me spraining my fingers which resulted in us spending more time together....anyway.....

All that to say, neither one of us are huge football fans. We enjoyed watching the game and when everyone else cheered, so did we. 
The home team, Edmonton Eskimos just happened to be playing the Hamiliton Tiger Cats- the city we lived in last summer so there was bit of an affinity for the TiCats. But mostly we cheered for the Eskimos. 

It was rainy. And cold. And when it wasn't raining, the seats were still wet. 
But we had so much fun together. We got hot dogs and got ketchup all over our hands. We cheered and we laughed at how little we knew of the game. And we took a picture just to commemorate our first football game together.

On the way home, we realized something important about those couple of hours. We had fun together, we made a memory of our friendship and we did something we haven't done before. We've gone on dates before, we've had fun before, we love going out together. We can get all glammed up and enjoy a nice dinner and good conversation. But sometimes its fun to do something totally different then a typical date night, something that best friends would do together. Like watching a movie with chips and salsa and yogurt. Like going to a football game and cheering when they score a touchdown. Like just reading together on the couch with some ice-cream and tea. 
And just enjoying being friends.

What are your favorite things to do with friends?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Strawberries, potatoes, chives, oh my!

Last night, amidst the rain and thunder, we picked up our CSA (community supported agriculture) produce for the week. This is our fourth week getting fresh vegetables from a local, organic farmer but this is the first week that there has been an abundance of vegetables. 
It was a cold, wet spring and it's been a cool summer so the whole garden has been delayed. 
There wasn't much to write about in the earlier deliveries. The very first one was comprised of garlic scapes and radishes. And the next one had a small bunch of rhubarb to accompany the garlic scapes. Not very exciting. 
But it's all part of the experience. 

Last night though, there was a plethora of vegetables that made me quite excited to think of ways to use them. 
Fresh, new potatoes, a lovely head of leaf lettuce, a big bunch of something dark green and leafy (kale, I think), a punnet of strawberries, radishes, chives, and more garlic scapes.

Tonight's supper will be new potatoes slathered with butter and chives along with a Caesar salad accompanied by watermelon cubes. 
I'm thinking the dark green leafy vegetable will be delightful steamed with butter alongside some brown rice, steak (for which the garlic scapes will play a role in the marinade), and a greek salad for tomorrow night. 

The radishes will be eaten whenever there is fresh veggies served. And the strawberries are the perfect topping to granola in the morning. 

You can taste the soil and the rain and the sunshine in these vegetables. They taste real and full of flavor. 

And like any good thing, they are definitely worth the wait. 
We can't really have a garden where we are right now and with the baby due in a few weeks, this was not the summer to experiment with container gardening. So when there were some shares available through Sparrow's Nest Farm, we were quite excited. It suits us perfectly as the produce is fresh, local, and organic but all we have to do is pick it up each week.

I'm excited about the rest of the summer's deliveries and the inspiration the food will provide for our meals!

What summer foods are you enjoying right now?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happiness is...

....a walk in the sunshine

little toes painted pink

enjoying the breeze wafting off of the river

trying a new-to-us ice cream company

mango sorbet that tastes like a fresh, ripe, mango 

leisurely conversation on a waterfront bench 

my little family 

What's making you happy today?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer cooking adventures or the lack of them...

Last summer I was busy in the kitchen a lot. Making cookies to sell, creating new recipes, trying out new recipes and just generally enjoying myself as we lived in the Niagara Peninsula.
This summer is a whole different story. I think it might have something to do with the fact that as the summer goes on, my energy levels are decreasing and food isn't as exciting to create. Or it might have something to do with the fact that I'm 35+ weeks pregnant and I have an active toddler who loves to be right with me, whatever I am doing. 

Regardless of all that, I spent yesterday in the kitchen. Almost the whole day. I took a few breaks to read some stories and to cuddle my little one and to rescue her from whatever she was into at the moment. 
I am slowly building a stash of foods for after the baby comes and time is a little more precious. 
I made bread, granola, muffins, buns, and meat for Italian beef sandwiches. 
I was done by the end of the day. Quite done. 

I didn't take any pictures of what I accomplished. I wasn't feeling that creative. And my kitchen was not looking like it wanted to be photographed.
There's still some foodie items that I'm hoping to put together this next week- things like salad dressings, marinating and then freezing meat, cooking and freezing beans for a quick burrito supper or hummus. 
And then there's our CSA delivery each week which will hopefully provide us with lots of salad greens so we can enjoy some of our favorite salads. 

I haven't been too adventurous lately in the kitchen. But I have been all kinds of inspired by different books I've been reading and bit by bit I try these new ideas out.

I do have a few recipes I want to try that incorporate all this wonderful, fresh fruit and vegetables that are coming into season. Recipes like this strawberry bruschetta.
 And I'm also going to try a few non-food recipes like bubbles and playdough. I love bubbles think that Kilmeny will love the bubbles. 

What culinary adventures have you been up to? What foods should I add to my list to make this summer?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

these are the moments

On a day when I wanted to write about slowing down and savoring the moments, I find myself stirring oatmeal at 7:30am. 
 Still not quite awake but needing to be awake for my little girl who is very much awake and ready for the day. I kiss my husband goodbye and muster the motivation to do the next thing which would be to get myself ready for the day.
I bustle, trying to accomplish too many things in too short of a time and we go out the door. Little girl all excited about an adventure in the van. I am not excited but worried and frustrated with many things.

And then there sitting on a white couch, sipping chai rooibos tea, I feel at rest inside. This is what it means to let go. To not worry about everything. To know that some things just aren't that important and they will still be there tomorrow. But these moments, these moments of morning snuggles with jammie-clad girl, of lingering goodbye kisses. These moments of tea and cookies and refreshing conversations. Of little boy and little girl playing nicely together, each in their own world. 

Of hearing the strong heartbeat of the expected little one and feeling its feet against my skin. 
Of a friend's generosity in giving of herself and her honest friendship. 
Of having my husband put our little girl to bed and then shoo me out of the kitchen so he can clean it up. 
These moments won't be here tomorrow. 

Sometimes I get panicky and want to hold it all in, I want to freeze life as it is right now. But I take a deep breath and enjoy what I have and then let it go. Let the beauty of the moment pass through me. There will be more moments tomorrow even if they are sandwiched between a fussy toddler and dishes to wash and little energy.

I want to remember that. I want to savor each moment. I want to be all here.

Each day I am given enough. Enough strength, enough grace to do what I need to do. And then tomorrow comes with its moments, its challenges, and its renewed mercy. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

a weekend of loveliness

 We spent the weekend away with my husband's family. It was very nice. So many gifts to add to the treasure box of moments to be remembered. 

grace and forgiveness and honest communication

pouring rain, tons of mud and a warm welcome despite it all

chocolate cake with tea at 11 pm

conversations with little girls at 11:30pm

sunshine breaking through the clouds

tartan to wear for the Celtic Gathering

hearing bagpipes all day

picnic lunch in the garden

little girls in strollers

watching the Irish dancers and having my little Irish girl dance along

buying matching Celtic rings

riding a real steam-powered train

tasting haggis for the first time

riding the carousel with my little girl

free tickets to a football game

grandparents who love to watch our little girl

homemade doughnuts

conversations about weddings and relationships and food


custom-made drinks at Starbucks by my brother-in-law

spontaneous Sunday evening company


tears because we have loved so much

home to our own little hobbit hole 

Friday, July 8, 2011

dream a little dream...

Once upon a time there were two sisters. They liked to do a lot of things together. When they were little, they were sure that their husbands were going to be best friends as well and they would all have fun adventures together. 

Then they got a little older. And one of the sisters got married. Over a late night chocolate fondue, the sisters remembered what they had said when they were younger and they hoped it would still come true. 

Then the other sister got married. And the two sisters lived far away from each other. And they didn't see each other as much. 
But then the one sister moved to where the other sister lived and they saw each other a lot. 
Their husbands are indeed really good friends and their kids think the world of each other. 

There were lots of late night visits that morphed into 'why don't you guys just spend the night?' 
Movie nights, watching the playoffs, spontaneous get togethers for snacks and games which always ended up being snacks and conversations.
Processing our pregnancies together....asking blunt questions...talking openly and honestly about our struggles and challenges...

Laughing....teasing....dinners out and dinners shoots...
Sharing opinions...not always agreeing...encouraging each other...
Stopping for Starbucks....the guys running out for just one more thing for dinner...babysitting...double dates
Pizza on our living room floor when they helped us with the huge job of unpacking in which everything needed to be washed down...

Watching Kilmeny and Ian's faces light up when they see each other....having the same sippy cups...keeping bananas and crackers on hand....having matching Ergos...anticipating the friends that our next two will be...

Scrap booking together...going to garage sales...having a spa date together...being emotional females, laughing and crying together...

Then the one sister and her husband and her little boy had to move.  All of them were quite sad but they had made a lot of memories together. And the dream they had dreamed when the sisters were little girls had come true. 

Thanks for the memories, we love you guys...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

and we're back!

Our hiatus from the online world was a bit longer then we expected but it was good. June was a very busy month around here and it was actually quite refreshing to not have the distraction of the computer.

We read lots of books. All of us. The library became even more familiar as I checked out stacks of books and availed myself of the computers there. When you only have twenty minutes, you check everything, respond to what you can and log off. That and the fact that Kilmeny is only happy in her stroller for so long without anything to do makes one hurry. 

A quilt was cut out. I've got five weeks to get it sewn together before it wraps up our new little one and we learn how to dance as a foursome. 

Lots of scrapbooking was done. Lots more is to be done in the said five weeks to finish up Kilmeny's first year.

Kilmeny with her uncle Abel, my little brother

Family visits were had and enjoyed. Greatly. 

cousins in jammies!
Our first CSA delivery happened and we happily munched on purple, white and red radishes. 

Many, many pictures were taken. Of walks to the farmer's market and cozy cousin time. Of visits with friends and one last sister picture. 

More memories made and treasured.

Ian (my nephew) and Kilmeny, best of friends

And we realized that we actually liked not having the computer around as much. It pushed us over the brink to realize that no, we didn't want a TV on our wall. We'd rather look at a canvas print. 
It helped motivate us to turn off the computer earlier each night and to keep it off certain days which in turn motivates me to use the time I have on the computer wisely. 
And it made me thankful to have it back for inspiration for dinner recipes and figuring out what to do with the mold in the laundry basket.

What have you been up too?

Monday, July 4, 2011

and there are more gifts....

water spray parks and little girl giggles

quiet Sunday evenings of reading on the couch 


texting with family 

saying goodbye and crying because it hurts

six months of memories and childhood dreams coming true


Canada Day fireworks spent with family and friends

old friends who love on my little girl 

refreshing conversations

busy, crazy, emotional weekends 

grieving the loss of my husband's Grammie

cherished memories and shaking sobs

hope of new life

beauty of embracing the simple things 

Sunday brunch with friends 

fresh cinnamon rolls

full memory cards 

a working computer again 

fresh grace


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