Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nova Scotia Artist Maud Lewis

I found a good blog article on Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis. She painted beautiful folk art with oil paints. Her artwork is breathtaking. Maud Lewis lived in poverty and was deformed with arthritis, yet created art her whole life. Read more about her inspiring story here.

I reserved a book on her life from the library today and am going to introduce Maud Lewis to our children. We'll also try our hand at painting her pictures by following the instructions on this great site Art Projects for Kids.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Classic Children's Books Downloads

What a wonderful idea! I often wondered what happens to old children's books once the libraries clean them off their shelves. Now, they can still be read and enjoyed through free downloads available from the Library of Congress here.

Thank you Happy Hearts At Home for sharing the link!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Books from the Library this Week

We love going to our local library and getting books! I love to grab cookbooks from the shelves such as What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn. Our little guy, 3, pretty much loves anything with trucks and our daughter is now into chapter books but I usually reserve picture books to keep her interest in reading. It can be overwhelming walking in the library (with kids!) and trying to decide what to get and, if you're like most mom's, don't have long to pick something.

So, my solution is to reserve books online through the library's website. If the library doesn't have it, then I reserve it online through inter-library loan. Within a few days I get a phone call saying all our books are ready at the front desk.. amazing! All I have to do it pick them up and enjoy!

This week I'm reading Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. I first read about it on one of my favourite mommy blogs Crooked House. This book is so scarey. What a perfect time of year to read a spine chilling book. I love a thriller and it's been year's since I've read one.

Our 8 year old daughter's reading The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Eleanor by Barbara Cooney, The Magic Tree by James & Ruth McCrea, Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney, and One Hen by Katie Smith Milway. I read about these wonderful books on another mommy blog Our Home on the Range. She gives great book reviews and we've enjoyed reading many of her recommendations.

Our 3 year old son has a pile of books withdrawn from the library this week but his favourite's are Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton and Elephant in a Well by Marie Hall Ets. Our theme's for the month with his reading are the colour Red, and Mice. I simply do a keyword subject search on the library's website and get all kinds of interesting book suggestions to reserve.

We are blessed with our local library as it's shelves are still full of very old books. Some might see this as a bad thing but I think it's wonderful to take out a book that was first printed in the 60's and have it be an original edition. Our library is packed full of these little treasures.
So, what's everyone else reading this week?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wonderful Blog, Inspiring Story

I would like to share a link to an inspiring blog, Pass It On, Baby! and introduce you to a lady I am honoured to know, Tammy, and her wonderful story.

First, about the blogsite Pass It On, Baby! which was featured on Oprah's Angel Network.

How we work
We are an online community of kind-hearted individuals who directly donate gently loved children's clothes to mothers who could use a little kindness. The wonderful donating mothers lovingly box up the clothes that they once loved their own kiddos in and send them for another mother to love on her children via the US Mail - Parcel Post. If you are in need, know someone in need or want to help by donating, please contact us at If you can't do any of these but would like to spread our message - thank you kindly! ~ Elizabeth & Heather

My friend, Tammy, was a guest blogger on this site to share her story of how she helped a mother who she'd met on a mommy site when they were pregnant. I'll let it there so you can go read the rest of her inspiring, heart-touching story.
It's wonderful how God leads us in our lives to help others and always has the answers right there in front of us!

Website with Great Slow Cooker Recipes

My mother sent me a link to the 50+ Friends Club Cookbook. This wonderful site full of great recipes for your slow cooker and more. I wish it came in book format. This is now saved to my favourites as I cook with my slow cooker at least once at week.

Recipes from this site that I can't wait to try:

Bean Ragoƻt with Cilantro-Cornmeal Dumplings

Crockery Pot Homemade Chicken Soup

Italian Sausage-Vegetable Soup

Spicy Wine Pot Roast

Crockery Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow Cooker or Oven Bean Salad

I rediscovered my slow cooker when our son was a baby and taking morning naps. I'd decide what was for dinner from our slow cooker cookbooks, prepare it and, just like that, dinner was done at 11:30am and I didn't have to do anything more but serve it up at dinner time! My husband would come home to a wonderful smelling house and I felt like a hero!

Now, I use my slow cooker when we have a busy evening planned. Life can be stressful enough when you have evening errands, but having a nice healthful dinner prepared can make all the difference. This is especially nice when your family members may be eating at different times. No more stopping at McDonald's on these nights!

Happily submited to Tasty Tuesday, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe: Banana Oat Mini Muffins

I take these to most of our MOMS Club playdates as a snack because kids love 'em as they're the perfect size for babies and toddlers. They only last 3 days or so as they are so moist. I let them cool for a long time after I take them out of the oven to dry them out a bit.

1 cup all purpose flour (or can use 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup whole-wheat)
1 cup oats (I use instant)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

2 cups mashed bananas (5-6 bananas)

1/2 cup melted butter (I used unsalted)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine first six dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix well.

Beat egg, banana and melted butter together until smooth.

Add banana mixture to dry ingredients.

Stir together until moistened. Do not overmix. Stir in nuts, if desired.

Drop by tablespoonfull into greased mini muffin tin.

Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Makes 48 mini muffins. Lots for your family and to share!

Happily submited to Mouthwatering Mondays over at A Southern Fairytale!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recipe: Homemade Goldfish Crackers

I found a great link yesterday on The Thrifty Mama's blog for Goldfish Crackers. She linked the recipe from a great blog site Making Due With the Not So New which includes step-by-step photographed instructions on how to make your own fish cookie cutter out of a soda can!

I'm looking forward to giving this one a try. I'm not a fan of goldfish and have stopped buying them because of my concerns with the amount of food colouring and preservatives in them. My kids and husband miss them and will be happy I found a good replacement. I'll be sure to post on the results of my first batch.

Recipe from Making Due With the Not So New site ~

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
4 T. cold salted butter, cut in tiny pieces
8 oz. shredded cheese (I used "Fiesta Blend" generic shredded cheese - Monterey Jack, Asiago and Cheddar I believe)
1/2 tsp. pepperwater

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Put flours, butter, cheese and pepper in a food processor. If it doesn't come together into dough, slowly add water a tablespoon at a time until it pulls together. Wrap dough ball in Saran wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to 2 days. Flour your surface really good and roll it out as thin as possible (about 1/8") for the crispiest crackers. Cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until browned. I put mine on a cloth while still somewhat hot to absorb some of the cheesy oil. Supposed to keep for a week in an airtight container - doubt they will last long enough for me to figure out if that is correct or not.

UPDATE: They got soggy pretty quickly. The thinner the crispier. Really need to have them in an airtight container.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Country Living

Ahh, sweet country living!
This week our 8 year old daughter drew a sweet family picture on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. There's Daddy, Mommy, Sis, Bub and our dog... but wait.. what's that thing up in the corner of the picture by the sun?
It's a squashed mouse.. eeeww!
The morning after she drew this sweet picture my husband must've run over the mouse when backing out of the driveway. Not hard to tell we live in the country, eh?
Happily submitted to Wordless Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Charity: Locks of Love

I did it! I cut off my hair! I've done this a few times in my life and it feels great every time. I first cut off my hair when I turned 30, after our son was born and now. It usually grows back really fast, so that makes me a little more brave I think.
This is the first time I've donated my hair to Locks of Love. I need to donate at least 10 inches of hair that's not bleached and mail it to Locks of Love. They then use the donated hair to create wigs for children who've lost their hair due to medical reasons (chemo therapy, etc.) and can't otherwise afford a wig. I'll be mailing the hair this morning and am so glad it's going to such a wonderful purpose.

From their website:
Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

The best part, our daughter came with me when I cut my hair and has been inspired to grow her hair and donate it as well. Interesting fact from the Locks of Love website, over 80% of their hair donors are children.

Happily submitted to A Time to Give over at Saving and Giving.

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