Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Hope you all had a spooky Halloween!

I peer outside, there's something there
That makes me shiver, spikes my hair
It must be Halloween!
                         ~Eve Bunting

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Williams Chicken Noodle Soup

William has been interested in cooking lately, which is a huge help around here.  His current favorites are tacos and shortbread cookies.  While he still needs someone in the general vicinity, he can pretty much tackle those on his own. 

Today he wanted to try his hand at something new, and decided that chicken noodle soup was it.  It turned out wonderfully, and was the best dinner I could ask for on a cold and blustery day.

Here is the recipe in case you have some chefs in your home:

Williams Chicken Noodle Soup

2 1/2 cups skinny egg noodles
12 cups chicken broth
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, pealed and sliced
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 whole chicken, cooked and chopped

Cook noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water.  Drain and rinse.

In a large saucepan, combine broth, poultry seasoning, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then add carrots, onion and celery.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.  Gradually add to soup, stirring constantly.  Stir in noodles and chicken, and then heat through.

Great with biscuits or crusty rolls!

Home Day!!!!!!!

I have been feeling a bit over-worked lately, with too much time out of the house.  Even when I am home, I seem to be stuck on hyper speed trying to get caught up on everything that needs to be done around here, cramming in some work stuff whenever I can, and trying desperately to get some lessons into the mix.  It feels like a long time since we have had a real, relaxing, exactly as I like it, home-day.

Not that it should really take a huge storm to get me back on track, but every once in a while I need a bit of a kick in the pants to get my priorities back in line.  Today, as the wind howled outside and the rain flew at the windows, the boys and I had one of the best days we have had in a long time.  (Jim, poor fellow, slept in the morning and then went off to work.  I am not ignoring him, I swear!!).

We began the day with a lovely sleep in - always a good start.  After breakfast, William went for a walk around the neighbourhood to check out any damage from the storm last night.  We spent a good part of the morning by the front window, watching as a work crew took down a huge old tree that had upended in the storm and reducing it to firewood in less than 2 hours.  We had a relaxed lunch, and then did some math and geography lessons.  Halloween cookie baking was next on the list, a quick trip out the grocery store in town for a some essentials, and then downstairs to read by the fire for a few hours.  William made a great dinner of chicken noodle soup and biscuits for all of us, then we were back downstairs by the fire for a board game.  We even made it into bed in time for lots of stories (with all of us taking turns reading), and lights out in enough time that I am sitting here blogging instead of crashed in my own bed.

I LOVE days like this!!

I think that I should find a way to flag this post for days to come, when my 'real life' hits me full in the face and I feel overworked, rushed, and overwhelmed.  There has got to be a way to make this wonderful day less of an oddity and more of our family 'normal'.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Play With Clay

Charlie especially loves getting hands into crafting, and one of his favorite places to create is Play With Clay, a pottery studio in Guelph.  It tends to be a bit too far out of our rather tight budget these days, but today was their annual open house with great deals (and free cake, too!)

It is always interesting to see how different 2 boys can be, coming from the same parents and the same home.  Charlie picked out his piece (a little Halloween decoration), slopped some orange paint on it, went for a piece of cake, and was happy to sit and watch the rest of the action going on around him.

William, on the other hand, spent the better part of an hour carefully working through the different colors that he wanted on his bowl (in multiple coats, of course).  That boy is nothing if not meticulous.

Regardless of their different approaches, they both had a great time and can't wait until next week when they can pick up their final products, glazed and fired.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Little Things

It really is the little things in life that bring a smile to may face - things like coming out of the office to find that Charlie has done the dishes for me!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family History

I come from a family of wonderful historians, story tellers, and collectors.  It makes me so happy to be able to read journal entries made by my great, great grandfather,  to cook using favorite recipes from my Grandmother, or to hold the steamer blanket used by our relatives on the ship as they sailed to Canada.  We have hand written copies of family genealogy going back many generations, and a lot of things that reflect our history. 

Unfortunately, after all of these generations, those wonderful things have tended to accumulate into more than can be kept and still have room for ourselves in family homes.

Recently, in preparation for a move, my mother had the great idea of donating some of our family heirlooms to a small museum in the town of Otterville, where my grandfather and aunt were born.  Their family was very involved and well connected to that little town so many years ago, and the little rural museum was thrilled to have some more artifacts for their collection.

Today the boys and I went on a little road trip with my mother to see the museum and their family history now on display.

We also stopped at the town park, which my great grandparents were instrumental in building.  The boys' favorite story was hearing about their great grandfather Papa (my mothers father) being the first one into the river in the spring.  

Lastly, we stopped by the home where Papa was born. What a beautiful day, and a beautiful way to give the kids a real sense of how important their heritage is.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Fair

Another wonderful Thanksgiving wekend spent at the Fall Fair with family and friends, then home to turkey and all of the trimmings. I hope that you all had a great long weekend, too!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Guelph Lake Hike

Our Friday Friends group went to the Guelph lake Nature Centre today for a water study that didn't end up happening (darn scheduling conflicts!!).  But never fear, we all went for a hike instead and had fun.  There was hiking, birdwatching, fort building, tree climbing...

And, of course, rolling down the side of the really big reservoir hill.

Is it just me, or did this activity seem significantly more fun at 9 years old than at 39?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Strange Days Indeed

I am sure you are all sick to death of hearing about the crazy weather these past few months.  In our little part of Ontario we spent most of the summer months with almost no rain.  A little worrisome, to say the least.  Never one to miss the silver lining in such 'minor' catastrophes as global warming, William and Charlie decided to take advantage of the situation and explore the bottom of a nearby man made lake that is usually under several feet of water at this time of year.

They found all of the usual rocks, shells, and dried plants...

Some great animal tracks in the mud...

And a few other treasures.  You know, the usual stuff - golf balls, coconuts and golden statues of Ganesha...

Strange days indeed!