Caveat.. this post is going to be a bit of a catchup/ stream of consciousness post..
a bit of a mishmash if you will…
so bear with me… or just don’t bother reading,
and just scroll to look at the pretty pictures. 🙂
On a recent weekend trip to the US, I picked up 2 letter boards for our home. I have seen these often on Instagram & Pinterest, and every time I saw them, I was drawn to having at least one in the house. We found 2 different sized ones for a great price at Target (pronounced with a French acccent “Tarje”) and i set about lettering them up. The first is in our front hall, the 2nd in our kitchen.
#1 has a portion of our life verse on it (2 Chron 29:11-12 – and #2 is a tongue in cheek complaint about winter… with the date stamp of “January 47th” It’s funny to me..but after i’ve had to explain it several times to people who don’t get it, it’s not so funny anymore.. time to change it up! I have yet to come up with the right thought or phrase for my next display.. suggestions welcome.
i mean, this has been the longest hardest winter we’ve had in a long while. Extended periods of really really cold weather, ice rain, snow, rain, snow, ice rain, snow, rain repeat.. for weeks and weeks and weeks and WEEKS on end. And very few sunny days, which makes it even harder to stomach… so we’ve been sharing flus, colds, viruses.. you name it. It makes making plans pretty difficult. The last 2 weeks have been just about hiding out at home surviving and recovering. We just kicked Norwalk to the door.. that was last week for me, this week for Bill – he’s still feeling unwell, but better than a couple days ago. So yah, it feels like January 47th. A very very long winter.
BUT!!!! TODAY is March 1st! SPRING is on the horizon.. I can almost SMELL it. There’s something psychological about that turn of the page from February to March that gives hope. Yes, there will still be storms, cold weather, unpredictable weather.. but March also ushers in Spring. New growth, sweet grass, rain, flowers.. oh i can hardly wait. Today hit +2 degrees.. it started at -13.. but it was gloriously sunny. I was greeted with this view when i stumbled out of the bedroom this morning. The sun certainly cheers the soul when it streams in like this.
Thinking about Spring, I contacted our landscaper yesterday to set a time to finalize the outside work when the ground allows for it. I’m really looking forward to finishing our steps, grounds, driveway, back decks and gardens. I can hardly wait… we’ve still got quite a messy dirty construction zone around the perimeter of the house.
2 weekends ago, right before I got sick, we had a “House Blessing”. 28 of our nearest and dearest from church and nearby family visited on a Sunday afternoon, and we broke off into smaller groups to pray for this home.. for our ministries here, for the people who enter in, and for us as a couple. One group gathered in the kitchen, another in the living room, dining area, and one in our bedroom. It was truly a wonderful time – we felt so very blessed and a bit overwhelmed with love. We had a few children there and 2 beautiful babies as well. We had the kids set up at a table with crayons, stickers and some fun packs to keep them busy. Interestingly, this is where the adults wanted to congregate as well.
So fast forward 2 weeks later, now that i’m finally feeling better, i really wanted to bake/create again, and play in the kitchen. I haven’t made Bill bread in a very long time, and was also itching to get my pretty Kitchenaid mixer out.. So while shopping today, I bought yeast and some 12 grain cereal to make him a couple loaves of 12 grain honey bread. If you know my dear sweet William.. you know he has a bit of a love affair with bread. The sweeter the better. It’s been a long while since i’ve baked bread. the smell in the house in enticing, and partly why I do it. Mainly just because I love to bake for Bill. I found a pretty great recipe on Pinterest a couple years ago when he gifted me with the gorgeous red Kitchenaid for Christmas, and made it several times then – but not since last winter. I was a bit sad to pack up the mixer when we moved out of the house, and quite excited to unpack it a few weeks ago, but hadn’t used it yet, until today.
Unrelated.. but on the stream of consciousness…. I’ve been on a big blueberry kick lately.. I couldn’t resist these gorgeous berries today. I learned a while ago that the best thing to do with berries, (actually any fruit & veg) is to immediately wash and dry before storing. They’ll last longer, and we’ll be much more likely to snack on them if they’re ready to go. Best way to wash fruits & veg? In a clean sink with vinegar and cold water, and a couple drops of either lemon or other citrus oil (I use doTerra) I soak the fruit for at least 10 minutes, rinse.. and then leave out to dry for a bit before repacking into the fridge. Aren’t these beautiful?
Speaking of essential oils– I used to be a big Bath & Body Works soap fan.. i would stock up on trips to the US.. but over the last few years, i just couldn’t stand the smell in those stores anymore. Funny… i used to look for a BBW store when in a mall, just to go in and wash my hands. I’m a VERY frequent hand washer.. almost compulsive.. but not quite. BBW stores have handwashing sinks in them where you can try out their soaps, and then moisturize afterwards if you wish.. (you’re welcome for this tip.. if you’re into fake smelly things and washing your hands) SOO.. when i started buying and using essential oils (doTerra) I kept my old BBW handsoap dispensers, cleaned them out.. and made my own handsoap. I’ve been reusing these same containers for 2 yrs now.. usually making a batch of 3-4 dispensers about once a month, each a different “flavour”. I typically use a lemon one in the kitchen, and an On Guard blend in our main washroom. Our guest bath soap was running empty, so I refilled it today, using peppermint and eucalyptus, just like the original container.. but so much better for us.. pure castile soap, vegetable glycerin, pure therapeutic grade essential oils, and water. NO crap. I sometimes add fractionated coconut oil as well if we need some moisturizing in our soap.
OH.. that reminds me.. have I shared our guest bathroom art? I started purchasing Canadian Contemporary Art cards about 13 yrs ago, on my second trip to Vancouver. I bought the first 3 then which i had framed and hung in our old kitchen, and picked up a few more over my next several trips that just remained in storage, until recently my sister Judi who lives in Van, gifted us with the last 3 I was hoping for to finish my collection. They are finally all framed and displayed together in our new guest bath. We leave the door open when not in use, so when you come in the front entrance, you will see this wall display right away.. but the toilet is hidden behind the wall.. so it’s kinda perfect. I’d hate to hide these pretty pieces behind a closed door.
This morning I made whole wheat cinnamon apple pancakes for a special “day off” breakfast (I have every Friday off, Bill has every other Friday off….. at least theoretically he does…) i had practiced a week ago with blueberry pancakes on the centre grill pan of our new gas stove, and they worked out really well. It’s a habit I won’t make.. we haven’t had pancakes in years… but they’re so easy from scratch and the grill does a fantastic job.. i couldn’t resist doing it again.
One of the interior things we have yet to do, is to choose and arrange to have backsplash tile installed. I’m 95% sure I want glass subway tile, so I picked up a few samples today.. and am really torn.. I think we’re going with the colour of the small tile (far right), but using the style (wavy larger tile) of the middle tile pictured below. It’s so hard to choose, but i really need to get this done to finish off the kitchen.
Last thought in this current stream of consciousness.. i’ve been a frequent Bulk Barn customer lately. I pack up my empty & clean mason jars in a wine bag (works great to separate the jars, no need for paper or extra packaging between them) and head to the store every week or two, get them weighed and filled up. Nuts, seeds, spices, candies, currants… you name it. I found this amazing loose leaf tea there about a month ago.. it’s got licorice root, carob and some other stuff I can’t remember (i should have written it down). I received this gorgeous diffuser tea mug this past Christmas from a work colleague, and have been enjoying it a lot this winter.
If you haven’t tried out Bulk Barn’s Reusable Container Program I highly recommend it. It’s almost no work before you go, but saves you all the work & mess afterwards at home. When I have a container that empties, I wash it right away anyway.. and now just put the empty clean containers I know I’ll reuse together, ready to go back to the store. I’m saving plastic, and the work/mess of filling the containers when i get home. Plus.. I’m buying the right amount.. not too much, not too little. I went recently with a bunch of my spice jars, and filled those right in the store as well. SOOO much cheaper and fresher than buying spices in the grocery store.
Well.. the timer just went off, and the bread is done.. one last pic to end this meandering post… I wish you could smell it… it’s quite heavenly.