Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Halloween Party

Today was party day around here as we celebrated Hubby's birthday and had our Halloween party full of ghoulish foods :) There was monster mouths, rotten cheese logs and pumpkin vomit (homemade guacamole flowing out of my mini pumpkins mouth).

Zombie Intestines

The Zombie intestines which were a huge hit! I love how these turned out and they are just puff pastry filled with sausage meat, a little pizza sauce and then some fake blood to really make them fun :) I found the recipe here.


And my grand finale of brains *grin*.
These were so easy to make with icing, cake and raspberry jam. I found the recipe here and the great labels for the top to with little sayings like 'Brains... they do a body good' and 'Brains... never hurts to have extra'. So fun!

Halloween Candy Apples

Every year I treat the kids to special Halloween candy apples and we go to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory in the city where they have a giant display case full of candy apples with funny faces :)

Halloween Candy Apples

They have giant granny smith apples in the centers and are so good. All that apple must counteract the sugar, right? LOL

Hungry Pumpkin

After dinner we headed outside to let off some fireworks...

Happy Birthday

and then have cake to celebrate Hubby's birthday.
I hope you all had a great Halloween to and celebrated it your special way :)


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Fun and Sewing

The Pumpkin Station

The Halloween fun was in full swing here today :)

I had been putting off carving the pumpkins we had picked because we have a rogue bear on our property again right now and I didn't want to take a chance that we would carve them and he would eat them! But with Halloween already tomorrow we couldn't wait any longer so I set up an outdoor carving station for the children this year :) We dragged out a couple of saw horses and an old table top I keep for crafting and put them in the backyard where they could muck about as they cleaned their pumpkins, making as much mess as they like and I didn't have to worry about it getting stuck to the kitchen carpet *grin*.

Ooey Gooey Fun

So much ooey gooey fun!

Pumpkin Seeds

While they scooped I picked out all of the seeds. I can't wait to roast them tomorrow in the oven with a little bit of sea salt and olive oil. Yummy.

This just cracks me up<

With all of the messy scooping finished we moved back indoors where it was much warmer and finished carving their faces. I can't help but giggle every time I see this one that my 5 year old did :) Those eyes are hilarious! I can't wait to show you the one my oldest son did this year to, but he has asked me to wait as it's surprise for the rest of our family and he doesn't want to take a chance that someone will see it on here ahead of time :)

Halloween Gingerbread House

A couple of years ago we started making Halloween gingerbread houses and they are so much fun to build. Who says gingerbread is only for Christmas!

Candy Corn

Of course you can never have enough candy corn for this sort of project. Just don't eat to many of them. Those little triangles of sugar are SO sweet. I had to count out just a few for each of the children or I knew they would free range in the bowl and I didn't want them to eat to many :)

Halloween gingerbread house

After all the pasting of the icing, sticking gum drops, licking fingers and squabbling over who used to many sprinkles we had one great Halloween house.

Sewing Cloaks

All three of my children asked for hooded cloaks this year so I spent most of today repurposing old fabric that we found at the salvation army into hooded cloaks :) We don't go out trick or treating but we do like to dress up so usually I just go and buy them some fun costumes after Halloween is over and they are on super discount but this year they wanted to dress up for our party so mama had some sewing to do.


All of the pieces of fabric were different sizes and weights and I didn't have a pattern so we did a lot of cutting and measuring while each one laid on top of their material *grin*. I just love this heavy brocade with it's greens and golds that L picked out. It is heavy and silky and it just seemed like the perfect material for a cloak. Unfortunately there wasn't quite enough to make it ankle length but I think it turned out well just below the knee :)


And I love the hood! Oh my, I think I need one to *grin*. Her tiny head just gets swallowed up in it as she peers out and she loves it :)

I had hoped to get some of my party food prepared today but no such luck :) So tomorrow I will be a slave to the kitchen until time to unveil my horrific creations LOL. What are you doing for Halloween?


Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Hunting

I think I can, I think I can...

Every fall we all load up into the car and make the trip to Shamrock Farm so that the children can run through clusters of pumpkins still out in the field until they find the perfect one. Usually it's bigger than I would like but I can never say no *grin*.

This year the little guy wanted to be fully in charge of the wagon so he huffed and puffed but kept tugging on that wagon full of pumpkins as it weaved and bobbed behind him over the uneven hills of dirt in the pumpkin patch. He was beaming from ear to ear as he made each stop to load in another orange treasure :)

Pumpkin Ride

By the time he made the last stop he was more than ready to squeeze in anywhere he could fit and let big brother take a turn pulling the wagon and him back to the barn.

Shamrock Farm

Not only do they have the best pumpkin patch but inside their barn it is always decorated for the kids to. There are pumpkins from floor to ceiling, some real, some decorative, flying witches, hairy spiders and the above nook with creepy creaking noises, chairs that rock on their own, cauldrons that smoke and more *grin*. Talk about fun!

Hay Maze

Before we left the children took turns running through a little hay maze they had outside with tunnels and little nooks to crawl through...


and of course we had to check out the chickens to :)


We always have a family party on Halloween since it is Hubby's birthday also so I've been busy planning a ghoulish feast *grin*. This year's menu will include brains and intestines and possibly some pumpkin vomit! Want to come? I promise it will all taste good LOL.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Fall Garden...


is growing strong :)

It is such a treat to pull open my creaking and quite visibly crooked garden gate with my kitchen bowl in one hand and a the warm fingers of my little one in the other as we tromp together through the weeds and grass that have now taken over the paths between the rows and search for the delicious treats that are waiting beneath their coverings.


We have been enjoying the extra beets I planted this summer immensely! Oh my goodness are they yummy. All of the children love them so I've been boiling them up by the pot full for our dinners and eating the leftovers cold in salads and the turnips are a special treat for me :)

The cold weather has begun here and the temperatures have been dropping to just above freezing or slightly below at night. The perfect temperatures to sweeten them up just right. Who new one could get so giddy over vegetables *grin*.


Along with the vegetables there are a few flowers and herbs still thriving. One of my favorite herbs is my Mullein (verbasacum) with it's giant fuzzy leaves and towering spears of little yellow flowers reaching for the sky. The kids love to pick the leaves and rub them on their cheeks as they are just as soft as a bunnies ear :)

They are a wonderful herb for coughs and asthma to. The leaves and flowers contain mucilage which can be very helpful in soothing coughs and acting as an anti-inflammatory for the lungs. I myself make a tea from the dried leaves and flowers and drink it to help with my own asthma :) Another wonderful thing to make with it is to make an oil with the flowers to treat earaches. So many wonderful uses and it self sews rapidly providing fuzzy leaves the first year and flower spears the second year :)


Do you have a fall garden planted? What sort of vegetables are you growing?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yarn Along ~ Bambino

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

Yarn Along

I am so in love with this little baby sock pattern :)

I had to temporarily put down the baby sweater I was knitting as I'm missing the necessary circular needle for the next step so in the meantime I decided to use up the leftover yarn from the shawl I finished last week and make a pair of these adorable socks.

baby sock

There's just something about sock knitting that is so darn addictive! For me it's when I get to the heel, working the rows and watching as the cup of the heel emerges. From that point on I just can't put down my needles as I can't wait to see how it all comes together *grin*. This particular sock had something new to me. The heel and toe were both constructed from the same identical 'short row' stitch pattern and then as the toe flipped up it was finished off with the coolest zig zag stitch of slipped knits and purls to create the finished seam across the toes in the above photo. There is absolutely no bulk inside the sock to bother delicate little baby tootsies *grin*.

The only tricky part I found was getting used to the little size 0 DPN's. Those suckers are tiny!! They flexed quite a bit as I knit and I was a little worried that I would snap them but it all worked out great and I've just about finished up the second sock so that I can go back to my little baby sweater for next week :) I'm still reading Deeply Rooted to. I just haven't had enough time to read this week and I'm dying to find out how it ends!

Can't wait to see what you all are knitting up this week :)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fish Hatchery Field Trip

Hatchery Tour

Each year I try to set up or make sure we join in some fun field trips being offered to homeschoolers here on the island and thought it would be fun to organize a trip out to a nearby fish hatchery this year.

Salmon Eggs

There were about 30 of us total and the children got to watch the harvesting of salmon roe (eggs)...


and the milt (sperm) from the male salmon.

Egg Incubation Room

Salmon roe are incredibly hardy little rubbery feeling balls and can handle quite a bit of touching so the kids all got to hold some and name them :) The little black spots are their eyes and in the incubation room above were trays and trays of mixed salmon roe and milt waiting to hatch and turn into little Alevin in about 3 months.

Salmon Sample

When we were finished in the incubation room we had a chance to watch some of the workers taking samples from some of the salmon. They do this randomly and they were taking a piece of the liver from this fish to be sent to Nanaimo for analysis.

Missing Dorsal fin

Did you know that hatchery fish don't have dorsal fins?

Dorsal fin

I actually didn't know this but when the young salmon they raise at the hatchery are released into the rivers and streams they have had their dorsal fins removed so that they can easily be identified when they are adults. The above salmon is a wild salmon and you can see that its dorsal fin is still intact :)

Black bear fishing

As we finished up our tour we all headed down to the river to watch some of the salmon that were spawning right outside the hatchery naturally and came upon a black bear that had come to check out the salmon as well.

Spawning Salmon

He wasn't there purely as a spectator though...

Bear taking spawning salmon

and minutes later he had snatched up one of the salmon and proceeded to take it into the forest for a little afternoon snack *grin*. I guess it was good that we were on the other side of the river when it happened but unfortunately I couldn't get a clear shot of him without all of the fencing in the way. Still very cool for the kids to watch :)

Hope you all had a great week to!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breathing in Beauty

Off to work

Being by the ocean has to be my most favorite spot to be :)
Yesterday I had one of those rare moments when it was just me, myself and I so instead of catching up on housework that I probably should have been doing I surrendered to the call of the ocean *grin*.


I took my mom with me, a steaming hot cup of coffee, my camera and we just sat and sucked in the beauty around us. Can you truly ever tire of the sound of the waves lapping at the wooden pilings under the wharf, the smell of salt and seaweed or the brisk wind that blows stray wisps of hair around?


When we arrived we were blanketed in a thick bank of fog but as it rolled further away we were greeted by the passing splashes of a pod of dolphins and the cries of the gulls as they soared along the air currents.


The surrounding mountains and islands appeared again...

Squamish Warrior

and the tug boats and fishing vessels became more than just moving gray shadows and echoes of diesel engines.


Definitely a truly wonderful way to spend an afternoon :) How about you, where is your favorite place to relax and breathe in beauty?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shawlette Success ~ Yarn Along

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}


I just loved knitting this little shawlette.
It was amazingly easy and a great little foray into the world of lace knitting and it knit up so quickly :)


I haven't blocked it yet and I'm having second thoughts as to whether or not I actually want to. I sort of like the rippling wave along the bottom where the lace pattern is. What do you think?

I was also going to give it to my daughter right away but now I think I may keep it as a gift for christmas *grin*. So much indecision LOL. We were in the little yarn shop in the city together the other day and she was fawning over pretty little shawl pins and I thought it might be special to buy a nice pin for her and give it all as a gift. Oh and that is my little guy in the photos :) I paid him a quarter to model it for me and to keep it a super secret *grin*.

Yarn Along

Now that I'm falling back into my knitting groove I wanted to get another project on my needles right away and I've chose a little baby sweater called the Tummy Warmer and it has the most adorable little honeycomb stitch in it that my grandmother used to knit all the time. I'm going to put it away for when my sister has her baby in the spring. I don't know if it will be a girl but I'm going with pink anyways because I couldn't pass up this soft baby alpaca yarn :)

The owner of the yarn shop in the city that I go to must find me quite amusing to watch as I shop for yarn. I never have a specific yarn in mind when I go in so she can never really help me find anything and I don't shop by color either. I actually go around and around petting all the wool LOL. Yes, I really did say petting and when I finally find one that feels the best I pick a color. Strange I know but it works for me *grin*.

This week my book is Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa M. Hamilton and I can't put it down so far. The author writes about 3 farmers that are incredibly small scale in relation to todays super farms but they choose to stay the way they are. Her writing paints a picture in my minds eye so vividly that I swear I could nearly smell the cow manure LOL.

I can't wait to finish reading it and I'm looking forward to seeing what you all are knitting this week!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Knitting Lace ~ Yarn Along

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

Shawl ~ Yarn Along

Let the fall knitting begin!
I'm so excited to join in with Ginny's yarn along again. With all of the chores that needed attention around here in the spring, sadly I had to put away my knitting needles but I've dusted them off and have cast on a little girl's shawl for my daughter :)

Knit Lace

I've been dying to try knitting some lace and the Little House Shawl pattern looks like it's going to be just the right size to see if it is going to be difficult. I have to say though that so far this is EASY!! The hardest part was casting on the 395 stitches without loosing count *grin*.

Our homeschool year is in full swing and I think I've finally found a rhythm that works for me and all three of my children as my youngest has joined us for kindergarten this year and I just love his exuberance each morning as he begs to get started :) I'm using Oak Meadow with him and we have been enjoying reading the Waldorf Alphabet by Famke Zonneveld and starting our own alphabet book together. Oh how I love starting kindergarten all over again :)

Can't wait to catch up with all of you again and see what's on your needles this week!