Monday, June 27, 2011

Luscious Lemon

My name is Michelle and I am addicted...

to this wonderful yogurt.

This is NOT your mother's yogurt.
It is full fat, full flavour.
Lemony goodness.
No diet food here.

It costs a pretty penny too.
$4 for this small container.
Enough for 4 small servings.

But I buy it every week
and I have it four wonderful days
for breakfast.

The other days I have eggs.
Also not diet food.
PS I hate diet food.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Of Crafts and Groceries

Ah, the first lazy days of summer. So nice. So relaxed. We have been doing more reading and crafting than ever. It seems that time stands still when we are creating something together. Some projects there is hardly a word uttered. Each of us rapt in our creativity. Others, we chatter the whole time, sharing stories and ideas.

(remember this craft from your childhood? God's Eyes.
Athena caught on to this immediately and
being one to make things exactly as they should be
used a lot of white wool for the "white" of the eye.)

Then there is the modelling clay. She is always narrating as she transforms the shapeless pieces of clay into whatever strikes her fancy that day. Good days.

And as I was looking over my grocery bill I was wondering how much some of you pay for every day items. More? Less? or about the same? Here are some bits of my bill.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

May your summer be filled with rainbows and flowers
with joy and laughter
with sunshine and moonlight
but mostly with love.
Happy Summer Solstice.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Its A Seasonal Affair

It is finally time to harvest the rhubarb. I mean really harvest it. I have been working on my little gifted plant for years now. In each of the past few years I have pulled it sparingly so as to really let her take root and settle in. And this year she gifted me with an abundance of fruit (or vegetable to be exact).

Yesterday morning I pulled what I believed to be enough for a pie but after it was washed and chopped I had well over 8 cups.

First I made rhubarb crisp. Easy peasy for sure. I made a small one for the neighbor across the street as her dear husband doesn't like rhubarb but she does. The other I baked up and put in the freezer for another day.

Next I started on the pie. I made some pie crusts weeks before and had stored a pie's worth in the freezer.
In hindsight, I do not recommend doing this. It was crumbly and difficult to work with. Pie is pie nonetheless. Tastes the same whether it looks beautiful or not.

Unfortunately, Paul had to catch a flight and did not get a chance to taste it. "Save some for me when I get back" he shouted as he closed the door behind himself. Of course there will be pie left as he is the dessert person of the family.

Fortunately, he was able to stay for dinner. In fact, he grilled the chicken. Our daughter Jessica was in town so she was able to join us for this wonderful, simple summer dinner. Isn't is just lovely looking? It tastes fantastic too. Even if you are not a curry fan you should try this anyway. I'll bet you will love it.

Chicken Shawarma

Total time: 45 minutes

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced. (I use a microplane for both this and the sauce)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

1/2 cup plain greek style yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini paste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice ( I used more)
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove

4  naan breads (can use pita or any flat bread)

Preheat grill to med-high heat.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temp 20 minutes. (I let mine marinate for up to several hours)
Combine sauce ingredients, stirring with a whisk. ( I also make this well in advance to develop the flavours)

Either thread chicken on a skewer or use a grill pan on the BBQ. Grill until done.
Brush naan bread with olive oil and grill a few minutes each side until warm and slightly browned.
Place 1 naan bread on each plate. Top with lettuce and tomato slices. Top with grilled chicken and drizzle with sauce. Finish the whole thing of with a few glugs of olive oil. That's it. 

I just know this will be one of your favorite dinner on the deck meals. Enjoy!

(Posting along with Earth Mama in Seasonal Affair)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bad Sign

You know it is a bad sign when your husband is finally home...

but leaves his suitcase near his nightstand because he is on a plane again the very next day.

I am beginning to hate you  PUMPS ON TOUR!

But on a much nicer note, are these not just the sweetest things?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This morning I sat on my favorite chair looking out the window and I made some lists. I like lists and I like checking things off my lists one by one. I made these lists in a book, not on loose paper, so I won't misplace them or throw them out. I used a pencil, well, because I love pencils. I love the way they sound as I jot down notes. In fact, on my computer desk in the kitchen I have 5 sharpened pencils in the letter holder and only one pen. On my desk in the school room I have a mason jar filled with the same. All sharp as a tack. I also love sharpening pencils with my trusty sharpener. Oh yes, back to my lists...

(google images)

Master Summer List

Picnic (at least one)
Broadway Street Fair
Visit my daughter in Humboldt
Go to Regina twice. Once to see Paul's sister and once to hear the grand news my brother has to announce
Have my Mom come for a visit
Have my two older Granddaughters come to stay for a few days
Go fishing on Ruby (the new to us boat Paul bought last year that has only run once!)
Paul and Athena go camping
Have a backyard sleep out in the tent (again Paul and Athena)
Host my family BBQ
Have the neighbors over for a BBQ
Pike Lake beach day
3 movie feast nights (more about that later)
Eat dinner on the deck whenever possible

Summer Reading List

Finish Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
Anne of Green Gables (aloud to Athena)
(to be added to)

Summer Movie List

First understand that I am not a TV or movie watcher so this is a huge list for me. I own all of the following movies and have yet to take the wrapper off of them.

Lady Chatterley's Lover
Women in Love
Julie and Julia
Babette's Feast (eat a French meal before we watch, or during)
Big Night (eat an Italian meal before or while watching)
Tortilla Soup (I bet you can guess what goes here, yes, Mexican food)

Summer Job List

Make school lesson plans
Put mural up in bedroom wall
Install bamboo flooring in front room
Finish the kitchen island
Clean garage
Clean basement
Clean and organize school room

Most of these are jobs for Paul to do except the school stuff of course.

My most important goals for summer are to practice yoga 5 days a week and to make some fantastic meals all the while cultivating a feeling of peace and contentment. No schedules. Relaxed mealtimes and semi-relaxed bedtimes for Athena. I am hoping to pull it all off but I will be the first to admit that I love a good schedule. Summer time 2011 could be the summer I turn over a new leaf. Who knows?

Monday, June 13, 2011


I am officially finished!
Finished with the school year.The necessary papers and reports have been submitted to the School Board.
Year end reports. Intent to Home School report. Request for reimbursement, $400 per year per child.
I have even sent in my plans for Grade 2!! I feel a huge relief that these things are done.
Now I can plan the next year at my leisure, the day to day I mean. Scheduling, when to start, the meat and potatoes of each day, each week. This will be less stressful and much more fun to do.

Last year I started out just planning a few weeks at a time and often found myself on Sunday evening, planning the next week of school. Now I have a pretty good idea how Athena works best and how long she is able to concentrate at a time so I plan to map out three full months of lesson plans during this summer break. It may sound ambitious but I think having this much planning done ahead of time will make the year flow more smoothly.

I am finished with my yard.

We just put up our canopy this past weekend and I LOVE it. We bought a new one, more sturdy, to stand up to the prairie winds. If there is one thing I don't like it is baking myself in the sun. This canopy has a complete screen enclosure (read: wasp free dining) as well as privacy panels to block out sun on each side.

 I also set up this area with some rocking chairs. It gets morning shade and evening sun.

 This is Athena's play area. She has an outdoor kitchen play centre, swings and her own little sitting hammock there between the birch and the spruce trees.

 This is my favorite little bird. He is so cute and pudgy and I smile every time I see him.

 I have roses everywhere. All old-fashioned and all pink. Every last one.

 In fact, every annual I planted this year was pink, except for the stocks which are purple and white.

And this is the hammock that Athena pretends is her pirate ship. It is in the far corner
by the woodpile. I stacked all that wood by myself you know.
And back on the fence is the cavity nesting box she built in her young naturalist program.
We have a little male wren who built a lovely nest in it.
He sings his heart out all day long, trying to attract a mate.

And so, I am finished my yard and ready for the summer to begin.
I will only make one more visit to the greenhouse to get
a few shade loving annuals to brighten up the space
under the canopy.
Only one more trip.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Day

A Daybook

Outside my window...
The sun is up already, even though it is 5am. It looks like it will be another nice day.

I am thankful...
That the Pumps on Tour thing that Paul has been obsessed with working on for 4 months is almost over. It sure will be nice to have my husband back. Also thankful that the bad news my sister has received came with some good news as well. I am REALLY thankful for that.

I am thinking about...
What I would like to accomplish this summer. Not a to do list but more of a state of mind that I want to carry through the next few months. I am not very good at doing nothing.

Learning all the time...
We are officially finished homeschooling for grade one! Yeah. The days seem to have several more hours in them now. Go figure. We are planning to start a tree study (at Athena's request) and we just finished reading The Secret Garden aloud. My goodness she loved that book. We also just got some chalk pastels in the mail and already she is experimenting with them. Which leads me to another thing I'd like to learn... to just draw without judging myself so harshly.

From the kitchen...
We have been eating some yummy stuff lately. Lots of grilled breads with various toppings. Some sort of protein (mostly fish) and some veg every night. I love eating "tapas" style as I don't usually go for big meals. Which reminds me, we were on a trip a while back and I had the most wonderful burger. Ground sirloin with blue cheese. I can't stop thinking about it. Of course sitting on a deck overlooking the Okanagan lake in Summerland British Columbia with a glass or two of wine... what's not to love??

This is the restaurant where I had the burger and this
is the 'flying olive' Athena found in her appetizer.

I am creating...
My garden. The planting is all done. I am making a perennial garden for Athena which used to be her Butterfly Garden but now is her Secret Garden. I added poppies, eccinacea, forget-me-not and some mosses this year. We also planted some zinnia's, cosmos,(the awful striped kind, but hey, it is her garden), pinks, love lies bleeding and morning glory of course. Not much in the vegetable garden this year. 6 tomato plants, a pepper plant that my Mom gave me and some lettuce for little A. I am going to rely on the Hutterites for my weekly CSA share this year. They do it best.
I am also still knitting her Spring vest. It is the most lovely avocado color. I am over half finished but I need to get on that.

I am working on...
Getting the year end school reports on to the school board. That and sending in my yearly plans for grade 2. I have given myself until tomorrow to get it finished. Then and only then, after it is faxed off, will we truly be finished grade one.

I am going...
Nowhere thankfully. I am not one for trip as I much prefer to be at home. I do want to go to the lake and paddle my canoe many many times this summer though.

I am hoping...
To get a rhythm going for the summer which will include some work, some leisure, some yoga and some reading/creating every day. Like I said... after those reports are done.

I am reading...
Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence (good book!) This is my third time reading it in 15 years. Each time seems like the first. I am also reading A Charlotte Mason Companion even though I am not a Christian. Looking at those two books typed together in one paragraph seems a little... I don't know... wrong. Makes me giggle a bit.

I am praying...
Now I am really giggling. I have to tell you that my oldest daughter was asking me to 'pray' for something the other day and she said, and I quote "Mom could you send a little bird song on the wind to Mother Nature, or whatever it is you do, for..." I couldn't contain my laughter after hearing this one.
So, my birdsong, so to speak, is for my sister and her family today.

I am hearing...
Sparrows, mourning doves, robins and the little wren who moved into the nesting box Athena built. It is nearing 6am and the girl and her daddy are still fast asleep.

Around the house...
The housework and laundry are done. Bed sheets have been changed. We are putting up a screened canopy today and Paul is building a new screen for our patio doors. It was built over sized and it is now impossible to get replacement parts. We are also putting some bamboo hardwood down on the third level so I'll have to get all of the school stuff out of the way for that. And by "we" of course I mean HE.

One of my favorite things...
Grilled sirloin burgers with blue cheese.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Friday is library day and then I just want to enjoy the weekend before Paul is off on business for and entire week. I will lend my had to get the canopy up though.