Moose Relocation Program

We have finally relocated, phew, done.  Now I have to admit there are a few boxes kicking around still, and my office looks a bit like a tornado, but things are shaping up nicely.
We moved on November 1st, and I can almost see our old place from my kitchen window now that the trees have no leaves, so we didn't move far!!

We got in just in time because November and December here have seen a lot of this....

Luckily we just installed one of these....
(The woodstove, not the dog)

The cat has found a new favorite spot among my collection of coffee pots.


This is what the front yard looked like on Thursday morning...

This is what I looked like by Thursday at noon...

Sometimes life is hard to understand.  But I'm really happy I managed to get so much unpacking done before this happened!
Enjoy yourselves... but watch that ice!


Trip to The Enchanted Forest Studio

My husband and I took a trip to The Enchanted Forest Studio for the Westport Studio Tour.  Our friend David R. Maracle was playing and showing his sculptures.

The house, built by photographer Brian Mantrop, was simply amazing and I had to share some pictures.  He built it from the ground up using tons of recycled and repurposed materials.


Faithful dog guards the apple basket.


The house is 4 levels, the main floor living area, office area, and two bedrooms.

There are amazing outbuildings on the property that serve as studio's and sheds.


Kathy Cashman's studio, she makes amazing clothing!



The front porch of the main house, including a stone seating area for your morning coffee....



 The main living area, tons of windows let in natural light.


 The amazing woodwork comprising the ceiling on the main level.


If you ever get a chance to visit this amazing place I promise you won't be disappointed!

Mailbox Makeover

Happy Fall to you all!  Thought I would post some pictures of my latest project!



Our mailbox has been in some need of TLC for some time now and I finally managed to pick one up on sale at TSC (sorry that was a lot of abbreviations!)


So, a mailbox, some white rust-proof paint, a paintbrush and your're ready to go!

The reason I haven't put it up yet?  We are MOVING!! At the end of October we are moving just down the road and into the woods.  We are SO excited,  The mailbox is getting packed up and is moving down the street with us!




Blooming

I love this time of year when everything is growing, blooming, and so alive!


My lavender is doing really well this year.  Last year, not so much.  I tried wintering it in containers but the roots froze and that was the end of that.  Soooo, last year we planted lavender in the ground where it wintered just fine!

The rest of the garden is coming along nicely...


Storm Front & Quivering puppys

We had quite the storm front come through tonight.  Threats of tornado's and hail ~ we got thunder, lightning, and HUGE rain! After the storm moved on I got a few pictures of the evening sky... 


My poor shivering mass of a Golden Retriever was finally brave enough to go outside for a pee. (She's not so good with thunder)

The sky almost looked like it was on fire...

Now if you will excuse me I need to make sure none of the dogs pee'd in my shoes this time around.

Charcoal

I recently rediscovered charcoal.  I love working with it.  I had forgotten.

If you've never used it I highly recommend trying it.  It's available at any art supply store and it's so easy to use.  I love the ability you have to shade and really get your fingers dirty. I was introduced to the idea of adding white pain at the end to add highlights and I think it's brilliant, not to mention another opportunity to finger paint as an adult! 

Below is a youtube video on the basics of getting started with charcoal. 

!

Life Emerging

Happy Easter/Passover! Been spending some time out in Creation enjoying watching it wake up from this winter.
 Napanee, ON
 Napanee, ON
 Napanee, ON

Sandbanks Provincial Park

Overnight Oatmeal ~ love it.

I'm sure you've seen this floating around facebook.  I decided to try after my 28 day Clean Gut cleanse as a way of eating oatmeal again without the gluten.

Overnight Oatmeal
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1/2 cup whole oats (large flake)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. raisins
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seed

Mix everything in a mason jar. Screw on lid and place in fridge overnight.

By morning the chia seeds have softened and all the milk has been absorbed. I really love it. My husband prefers dried cranberries.  I like mine cold but I have a co-worker who warms her's up and loves it.

Are oats gluten free?  Well it actually depends on the company you buy them from.  Quaker says that can't help some cross contamination and testing shows gluten in their product. What companies are gluten free?  Here are a few:
Bob's Red Mill 
Cream Hill Estates
Only Oats 

Check your local bulk food or health food store!

I JUST found this recipe at theyummylife.com ~ Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal.  I will be trying that out! (Click on the picture below for the recipe)  For a link to a bunch more varieties of overnight oatmeal check out The Yummy Life website HERE.

Make Your Own Suet Cakes

I remember when suet cakes were less than a dollar each.  I realize I sound like some old woman complaining about the price of gas, but seriously!

If you are cheap like me here are a few easy steps to feed those ravenous winged creatures outside.  The ones who even now are making enough noise to wake the dead because my suet is chilling in the fridge...

All you need is some fat ~ I use bacon fat.  I never throw out bacon drippings, it's something I learned from my grandmother and I could never shake it. I let them cool a bit and spoon them into a mason jar that is always in the back of my fridge.

Where were we?  Right, suet for pig-birds.

3/4 cup bacon fat (approx.)
1/2 cup peanut butter (anything you have, they are NOT picky)

~Melt these together.  (I often just use the big fry pan I used for the bacon, that way I only have to wash it once.)

6 cups wild bird seed (approx.)

~Mix in enough wild bird seed to fill the pan but you can still see a fine layer of liquid over the top.


Use a big spoon to put into containers.

I kept all my old suet containers so I just re-use those.

If you don't have anything that shape you could cut off the bottoms of old milk cartons and fill those. They are waxed and pop out easy once the suet is chilled.

When looking online for a recipe with more precise amounts I came across this one:

Suet Cake

  • 2 parts melted fat (bacon fat, suet, or lard)
  • 2 parts yellow cornmeal
  • 1 part peanut butter
Mix all ingredients together and cook for a few minutes. Pour into small containers (tuna fish cans are good), and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Mixture can also be stuffed into 1-inch holes drilled in small logs to hang from trees. The recipe can be made all year long as long as you accumulate fat. Fasten containers securely to trees or feeders.


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Permanent Doodles

My father will tell you I'm a doodler.  Every piece of paper left on the kitchen table became unrecognizable if I was bored, or heaven help you if I was on the phone... nothing was safe.

This habit/hobby took a more permanent turn last month after using my tattoo sketch pen on myself.  I love that pen.

I spent the evening doodling on myself while watching TV, proceeded to go to bed, and woke up with half the image on my face.  It seems I sleep on my own arm at times.  Good to know. Dave informs me I drool... like Niagara Falls.  This might also be a contributing factor.

That pen is NOT easy to get off.  The whole point is your design stays visible while you work on it.  So after much scrubbing the image remained on my arm but NOT on my face. A few days later I decided I liked it enough to make it permanent.

I like it. A lot. It's not done.  I will eventually carry it up my arm to blend with what's already there.  That's another doodle session....

Gluten Free Quinoa Cake

Following my gluten-free lifestyle change I tried this for a party I was going to....



Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
*turn out more like a brownie

2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 dry + 1.5 cups liquid = approx. 2 cups cooked)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter or Earth Balance
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup white sugar (I used organic raw)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9"x13" OR 2 round cake pans with parchment paper.
In a food processor or blender combine the eggs, milk and vanilla ~ blend for 10 seconds.
Add the cooked and cooled quinoa, melted butter, melted coconut oil and blend until smooth.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet and mix together until well combined.
Add to pan and bake approx 30 min. Cool.

Clean Your Gut ~ finding your triggers.


In January I cut gluten out of my diet.  I read Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger and did the 28 day cleanse, eliminating sugar, alcohol, wheat, corn and dairy. I will admit that I was NOT willing to eliminate caffeine. The heart wants, what the heart wants.
Anyway, the only dairy I ate for the 28 days was cream in my morning coffee.  It's pretty much 28 days of protein, vegetables and berries. 

It completely changed the way I felt.  At the end of the 28 day cleanse you introduce certain foods back to see how they react.  Turns out wheat and I don't get along. Eating processed sugar was also like taking a hit of cocaine, all I could think of for the rest of the day was getting another "hit" of sugar. So those two things are on my banned list now. I highly recommend this to anyone who suffers from digestion issues, bloating

*For the record, I didn't buy all the supplements the book recommended. I simply took a multivitamin every day as usual.


The WARMTH of wool



It's been a pretty cold winter this year.  It's for that reason I'm so thankful for my Christmas present.  I actually picked it out in June.  I managed to keep it a surprise from my husband until Christmas morning.  Who knew we would need it SO bad 8 months later!  

Check out their other blankets here:  Pendleton Blankets

I got mine at Native Renaissance 2 in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, so if you're looking for one...

Dogs Shall Not Pass....

We have two dogs that don't respect the "Don't sleep on my bed" rule, OR the "don't drink out of the toilet" rule, or the "don't chew up my lego" rule.  For that reason we found it necessary to put a piece of plywood across the bottom of the stairs to keep them from sneaking up.


The problem with a piece of plywood is that it typically doesn't stay standing by itself so I had to prop a chair beside the plywood, beside the staircase.  You get the idea.  A lot of crap at the bottom of the stairs and everytime I wanted to go up or down I had to hop this fence of assorted "stuff". It got irritating. Anyone who visited over the summer can tell you how hideous it looked.

I figured it was time to make something more permanent.  It took a few pieces of 1"x6" and two hinges but I finally have a permanent "keep off my bed" gate!

It only took a few hours

I got the original idea from this website:  http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/09/diy-barn-door-baby-for-stairs/

The plans were for a baby gate but I used the general idea, scrapped the closing mechanism, and voila! When we installed it we tilted it slightly so it always swings closed.  The cats have actually figured out how to push it open and run through before it closes on their tails.

I'm a Draft Dodger!

It's FREEZING.  Like minus 30 degrees freezing. So last night I whipped this up for the front door where it seemed we had some cold air leaking in. Probably because the wind was at 100 km/hour.


SO simple... just some left-over polar fleece stuffed with foam, fibrefill and marbles to make it heavy and hug the floor. It probably took about 10 min to make. The cat slept at the front door this morning for the first time.... ever.

Homemade Caramel Recipe

Every year I try to make some things to give away at Christmas.  2013 I opted for Homemade Caramels, Peanut Brittle, and Cinnamon caramel sauce.

I have had a number of people ask for the recipe for the caramels so here ya go...

Homemade Kahlua Caramel

Homemade Caramel

1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (or substitute two cups half and half or light cream BUT factor in a longer cooking time)
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
*1/4 cup Kahlua ~ optional


1. Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper, even up the sides.
2. Cut butter into smaller, even sized cubes for even melting. Melt over low in sauce pan.
3. Carefully add sugar by pouring it into the center of the pan. Stir slowly until well combined with melted butter.
4. Mix in corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk (or cream).
5. Cook and stir on medium for one minute, then to med.-high until boiling. You want to change temperatures slowly. Once boiling, insert candy thermometer
6. Reduce heat to about medium, adjusting so that you keep a moderate, steady boil. Stir frequently!
7. Watch thermometer closely!!
8. When thermometer reaches 244°, remove caramel from heat (this is low firm ball stage; reaching this stage from boiling takes about 30 minutes with sweetened condensed milk ~ longer with cream)
9. Stir in vanilla or Kahlua. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
10. Allow to cool for several hours. I let it cool to room temp. and then put it in the fridge.  Once it's well set I pop the parchment paper out of the pan and cut it with a pizza cutter.  Allow lots of time to wrap them... it's a pain in the butt.

** The picture above I doubled the recipe to make more at once.


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014!  At midnight I was standing outside looking at this....

No moon, no clouds,(no writing) just stars!  It was beautiful.

Wishing you all an AMAZING year full of possibilities, adventure, love, and creativity!

No Waste shopping at Bulk Barn

I recently viewed a video on Facebook of a supermarket that creates no waste.  All of the containers are reusable and you simply fill, use, ...