For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A lovely time... (plus library list)


That sound you hear is the sound of peace, comfort and satisfaction. I've just finished having lunch with the girls, which as a sort of mini-afternoon tea.

The tea is a new one we're trying - English Toffee; a very nice dessert tea. We also tried some Double Devon cream. This brand, in fact. I've been wanting to try clotted cream, which this apparently isn't, for years, but haven't been able to find it. Which is fine. This stuff is more than satisfying.

Oh, gosh. I've just browsed that site a bit. I'm in love!!! All sorts of lovely stuff!

Where was I? Oh, right... lunch. LOL

We also had some French bread - we didn't have any scones, so we made do ;-) - with raspberry spread. Actually, the girls had the raspberry spread and double cream on their bread, I just had the cream. I can't stand any types of fruit jams, spreads or jellies. Even though it was sugar free, I found it too sweet, and the texture of any of these gives me the willies. The rest of the family enjoys them, though, so I've started to buy it regularly. The girls really liked it with the cream on their bread.

We also had bowls of fresh strawberries and red grapes, sprinkled with a bit of sugar and drizzled with the double cream. It was glorious!

What a lovely way to spend some time with the kids. Before I crack the whip and they do the dishes. ;-)

While they're doing their chores, here's our library list from yesterday. We didn't return much from our last trip, and renewed most of the dvd's, since we never got a chance to watch all of them. We don't watch tv during the day at all, and in the evening, it just doesn't seem to work out.

First off, I'll list my stuff.

The Deniers; The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution and fraud* (*And those who are too fearful to do so.) Gotta love those really long sub titles. With a footnote, even. *L* I was pretty excited to find this new acquisition on the library shelf. I've read excerpts from the book and interviews by the author and had been very interested in reading it.

Facts, Not Fear; Teaching Children about the Environment - Canadian Edition. I've borrowed this one before and grabbed it again to reacquire sources for some data I was looking for.

The Really Inconvenient Truths; Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About - Because The Helped Create Them. Nice to see a book that dares to actually talk about this.

Consuming Passions; Food in the Age of Anxiety: Not sure about this one - it looks to be an examination of our relationships with food as much from a biological as a societal perspective.

The Little House Cookbook; Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories: A friend of mine has this books and I'd had a chance to glance through it. I found it interesting enough to grab a copy for a more in depth look. :-D

Decorating Eggs; Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye: I grabbed this for design ideas for some Easter paper cutting projects I'm working on right now.

Holidays '92; Crochet, Cross-Stitch, Knitting and More; A New Year-Long Collection: I'd done some searches for crochet pattern books. I was a bit disappointed when I actually saw the book, though. The patterns are pretty lame. Ah, well.

Shisha Mirros Embroidery; A contemporary Approach: Another repeat loan for me. Looking for more design inspiration.

The Food and Cooking of Poland; Traditions - ingredients - tastes - techniques - over 60 classic recipes. Have you noticed that there are hundreds of holiday themed cookbooks for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Passover, even Halloween - but virtually none for Easter? The best I've been able to find are books with sections on Easter, and usually in Polish cookbooks. As someone who grew up with Easter being as big a deal as Christmas, I find this odd. So I borrow Polish cookbooks, instead. ;-)

And now for the girls' selections.

A Tribble's Guide to Space; How to Get to Space and What to do When You're There. The author's name is Alan Tribble, and I love how the title plays on his name. :-D Eldest picked this one.

Full House; The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin. Another choice from Eldest, who's been doing quite a bit of research on the various theories of evolution. She picked this one because the author's name, Stephen Jay Gould, was familiar to her, but she been wracking her brains on just where she heard of him before.

False Prophets; Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine. Another area of interest for Eldest. With so many people banking on the infallibility of science and scientists, I think it's good to know just how fallible the field and the people in it really are.

Words You Don't Want ot Hear During Your Annual Performance Review and Dilbert Gives You the Business: Youngest hasn't returned her previous books yet, but just had to add a couple of Dilbert books to her stack. ;-D

Now - on to the dvds. :-D

Two Fat Ladies, seasons 3 and 4. I just had to put these ones on hold after not being able to find any in our last trip. This show is hilarious.

The Last Man on Earth. This 1964 Vincent Price movie is based on the same books as the new I Am Legend and, from the looks of it, a much better version. But then, it's got Vincent Price. You just can't get better than Vincent Price. Sorry, Will Smith. You're good, but not that good. ;-)

In Bruges; Shoot First. Sightsee Later. I have no clue what this is about. Never heard of it until Eldest found it. A comedy involving hitmen and mob bosses.

Cape Fear: This would be the Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum version of from 1962, not the 1991 version.

The Big Clock: You may have noticed a theme here - my kids prefer old movies over new ones. This one goes back to 1948.

Broken Blossoms
: Speaking of which, this one goes back even farther, to 1919. Eldest had borrowed it before and regretted not watching it a second time before having to return it, so she put it on hold to see it again.

Solaris: At 1972, this one is positively modern! Okay, not as modern as The Bruges, but still pretty modern for the girls' choices. ;-) It sounds positively campy - I look forward to it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My fix...

Ah, finally - since well before our move, we made a library trip! We walked, since it's only a 10 minute stroll from our new home. Whoot! And a nice day for a walk, too.

Unfortunately, it meant limiting what we could take out to what we could fit into the 2 backpacks we brought with us. Not that that stopped me from over doing it anyways. The stack on the left is just my stuff. The stack on the right is both girls' stuff together. *L*I

So this is our first library list since the move..

Scared to Death; From BSE to Global Warming; Why scares are costing us the Earth. This one is a repeat for me. I got it again because I had to return it before I had a chance to write a review on my other blog. I highly, highly recommend it.

Fear Less; Real truth about risk, safety and security in a time of terrorism. I have never heard of this book before, but when I saw it was by Gavin DeBecker, I had to grab it. We've already got a copy of Gift of Fear and have read Protecting the Gift, two more books I unhesitatingly recommend.

The Great Canadian Car Camping Cookbook. This one just looked like fun.

A Taste for Adventure; A culinary odyssey around the world. This one seems as much novel as cook book. After reading a bit of it, I had to take it home.

Gatherings and Celebrations; History, folklore, rituals and recipes for the occasions that bring people together. Easter is coming soon, but I find there aren't a lot of cookbooks dedicated to Easter, like there are for Christmas, Thanksgiving, various Asian holidays, or even Halloween. This one had an Easter section in it, so I decided to give it a go. We're always up to trying traditional dishes from cultures unfamiliar to us.

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen; contemporary and classic recipes. I liked the variety of countries represented; this is "home style" cooking, for me.

Crocheting School; A complete course. There are some pretty advanced techniques in here I look forward to trying.

Crochet for Barbie Doll; 75 delightful creations to crochet. I got this while thinking of Youngest and her perpetually naked Barbie dolls, but I also couldn't resist when I saw it had patterns for teenie, tiny hats.

The Encyclopedia of Things that Never Where. Youngest has chosen this one yet again. If I could find it in the stores, I'd buy it for her, she likes it so much. *L*

Sundays with Vlad; from Pennsylvania to Transylvania; One man's quest to live in the world of the undead. Eldest had borrowed this before and highly recommended that Youngest read it, too. So she will. :-D

The next bunch are Eldest's eclectic choices.

Draw Comics Like a Pro; Techniques for creating dynamic characters, scenes and stories.
A Mermaid's Tale; A personal search for love and lore.
The Essential Darkroom Book; A complete guide to black and white and colour processing
Simplexity; Why simple things become complex (and how complex things can be made simple)
Arguing Comics; Literary masters on a popular medium

Now for the DVD list. I wonder how many we'll actually get to see before we have to return them? We don't actually watch this much tv, even with the girls having their own upstairs.

Bizarre Foods: Collection 1 This is one of my choices, but I was thinking of squid and octopus loving Eldest when I got it. *L*

What the Bleep; Down the Rabbit Hole. Having enjoyed What the Bleep Do We Know, I thought this 4 dvd set worth getting. I do find it funny that a dvd set on quantum physics is in the religion/philosophy section.

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. I have a preference for Tribal belly dance - that, and I totally detest how other belly dance dvd's are now marketed at the weight loss/exercise niche instead of dance.

Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence; Partners in Crime. I've never heard of this, but it's Agatha Christie, so I figure there's a good chance we'll like it.

Life in Cold Blood. One of Youngest's choices, it's a nature dvd about reptiles.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It's been a long time since we've seen this one. Edlest doesn't remember it at all.

The rest of the dvd's and cd's listed below are Eldest's choices.

Das Boot
The Kingdom (she wants me to make sure I say, this one is NOT the war movie. *L*)
Delicatessen (she had this one on hold for almost a year, and it's finally in! She's really hoping it was worth the wait.)


The Black Maria: A shared history of tragedy
The Cloud Room
Close to Paradise: Patrick Watson
Stray Light Run
Menomena: Friend and Foe

*happy sigh*

It feels good to be loaded down with library stuff again. :-D

Monday, March 16, 2009

Growing up

Eldest's birthday has come and gone. She is now 16 years old. Hard to believe that, in two short years, she will be legally an adult.

I don't think that particular transition will be very hard to deal with. She's already very mature and adult-like in her attitude and behaviour. More so than quite a few adults that I know, to be frank. Still, it's sometimes a bit jarring to realize how quickly the time goes by. Youngest will be turning 13 in a few months, and we will have two teenagers in the house.

I still get the odd person who reacts with sympathy when I mention the girls' ages. The teen years are supposed to be so challenging, after all. We haven't found it so. Not that there aren't any rough spots. There will always be times of misunderstanding or clashes of opinion whenever a group of people spend time together. Most home schooling families that I know haven't had a whole lot of problems with the teen years, either. Some do, of course. I think the fact that we, as parents, get to know our children so well goes a long way to preventing potential problems.

I'm very proud of my daughters, and even when we sometimes butt heads and get on each other's nerves, I'm so glad we discovered home schooling as an option and went with that route. We've probably made mistakes along the way, but such is life.

All in all, I love watching my children growing up to be such competent, intelligent young women.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Eldest is turning 16 soon, and the grandparents have already sent her some birthday money. After much agonizing against her frugal nature, Eldest actually bought something for herself.

Isn't this the cutest thing? *L* I love the creative packaging.

It's a 35mm film camera with a fisheye lens. Eldest does have a DSLR, but she's been curious to try film, and has long been pining for a fisheye lens. These lenses for SLR cameras are pretty expensive, but this was surprisingly affordable. Of course, we have to buy 35mm film and pay for processing, but I don't imagine that'll be much of an issue.

I look forward to seeing what kind of photos she takes.

Oh, and for the non-camera people out there, a fisheye lens takes images with a 170 degrees view. The result is a circular, somewhat distorted image. Most digital photo manipulation software has a fisheye effect, but the real thing actually captures more in the image than a non-fisheye lens.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Smelling like home...

Well, we've been in our new home for almost 2 weeks now, and I'm finally making a post here!

We've been enjoying our new home, as well as getting used to its little quirks. We're on the 2nd and 3rd floors with one unit below us and one beside us. So why are we hearing footsteps above us? It's actually the neighbour's beside us, but the sound carries strangely, making it seem like there's people walking around in what is actually our insulation filled attic. *L*

One thing that's great about this place is that we FINALLY have more counter space!! Today, the girls and I took full advantage of it and had our first bread baking day in our new home. It's so nice to have a whole island counter to do the final kneading and shaping, rather than having to work around the mixer (I love my Kitchen Aide mixer's dough hook!)

We ended up doing three different versions of our basic bread dough recipe. Here's the ingredients list for 2 loaves.

1-2 Tbsp yeast
1-4 Tbsp sweetener
1/4 cup butter or oil (optional)
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups warm liquid
2 tsp salt
6-8 cups flour

For today, our first batch was basic white bread (I don't have any other type of flour at the moment) using honey for a sweetener and plain warm water for liquid. Our second batch included 1 cup steel cut rolled oats softened in 2 1/2 cups boiled water. We added an egg as well.

This is our third batch, just before it was set aside for the first rising. We used saffron (a few threads softened in a Tbsp of boiled water), milk and enough water to total 2 1/4 cups, olive oil, 2 eggs and a deep dark honey for the sweetener. I loved how satiny smooth this variation is.

We only have 4 loaf pans, which the first two batches will be baked in. This saffron bread will be made into shapes and baked on a cookie sheet.

We've put all three batches in their respective bowls in a sun spot on the couch. As soon as I finish this, we'll be able to shape the first batch into loaves for the second rising.

Soon, this place is going to be smelling like home.