Saturday, November 21, 2009

You better watch out, You better not shout....

Letter to Santa

Jolly old Santa is definitely good for one thing... keeping the kids in line at Christmas time! *grin*

We're really not all that big on the Santa story but it was fun to watch my 6 year old write her very first letter all by herself :) She only asked for one thing, one of those 'Littlest Pet Shop' animals. I think I can manage that plus they really are the cutest little things with their nodding heads! My oldest is to smart for his own good though and knows darn well that when we drop her envelope into the mailbox Janet down at the post office is going to write back so he's not writing a letter this year LOL.

I'm still trying to dry out the house and with both wood stoves going and all of the moisture in the air it was a bit like a sauna in here today. On the plus side there was a little patch of concrete in the basement that wasn't completely submerged in water. YAY!! A very good sign :)

~ Rosina

Friday, November 20, 2009

Slush Angels & Felt Fun

Felt Presents

To the children's delight we woke up to a little over 2 inches of snow this morning. The usual heavy wet snow that we get on the west coast but that never stops everyone from going out at least three times during the day leaving mom with loads of soggy mittens, scarves, and snow clothes to be dried on demand for the next round of slush angels! *grin*

We're taking part in the Kids Craft Weekly Christmas card swap again this year so we've starting working on our 10 cards that we will be sending out around the globe :) Last year we made felt trees with multi colored felt decorations on them and this year we're getting even more creative and working on a pop up card. So we've whipped out the felt, glue, and LOTS of glitter! I just love working with felt so we're creating little presents out of it right now with felt bows and a ribbon sash :) So much fun! We received some really cool Christmas cards last year from our swap partners and we can't wait to see where they come from this year.

~ Rosina

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flooding and the Aftermath

flood 2009

Well my worst fears actually manifested and we flooded!! Monday morning the phone rang at 6:45 am, my mom asking if we had seen all the water and off course we hadn't. It had come up in the middle of the night like a lion and it wasn't planning on slowing down anytime soon. If anything it was just getting started. The above photo was taken around 7:30am when I had a minute to look out my daughter's bedroom window. The river was now running right alongside our home.

flood 2009

As I glanced downward the murky river water was already climbing up the side of our home. The entire road was a hive of activity. You could hear engines roaring, shouting, and vehicles scrambling for a dry spot. Our front yard is really high since it was filled in about 10 years ago with gravel to stop some of the flooding so we ended up with neighbors cars, trucks, campers & quads parked up and down the little stretch of land that was guaranteed or at least should be guaranteed to stay dry. It seemed to have snuck up on all of us and we only had so much time to make preparations for the worst case scenario.

Our first concern was heading down into the basement to disconnect our water pump that pumps the water from our well. It has to be removed because if it is submerged in water it will most definitely not start again :( So hubby raced down the stairs to find that there was already over a foot of water inside the house. His boots barely cleared the top of the water as he frantically looked for tools and shut off valves. By the time he returned less than 30 minutes later the water had cleared his boots and was creeping up past his knees.

Flood 2009

My oldest son and I headed outside to salvage bikes that we're already going under, garbage cans that were sure to be set afloat and anything else that we could still make it to, which really wasn't much since the water was already up over the back fields and creeping into our immediate backyard right behind the house. We had just stock piled a bunch of hay for our cows two days before and it was going under :( Dh's ride on lawnmower was past the point of no return and there were countless other pieces of machinery that were already long gone. We retreated indoors to wait. It's very eery to sit inside your home and listen to the water gurgle & rush in through the windows as it attempts to catch up with all of the water just waiting to get in on the outside.

Flood 2009

We finally couldn't stand it and had to go outside to see what was going on around us. Our home had become a virtual island as water surrounded us on all sides. Above is the end of our driveway looking towards other homes that were either surrounded or unfortunately filling with the muddy waters.

Flood 2009

The only mode of transportation left now was rowboat *grin*.

Flood 2009

We eventually got about 6 feet of water in the basement and breathed a big sigh of relief that it wasn't going to come right into our main floor where it would be catastrophic. With the power shut off in most of our home we waited for it to go down.

Flood 2009

Eventually by the following morning it was finally only about a foot deep inside and hubby began the process of cleaning up the debris, and trying to pump out the water left behind. Machinery was checked out and started up & damage was assessed.

Flood 2009

It was great to see the water rush out through the hoses but unfortunately it is not staying out. With the ground so saturated it returns immediately so we will just have to wait. Eventually we'll get it all out but for now we will have to learn to live with it. The forecast has been for heavy rains but so far we've got snow! Which on one hand is a welcome reprieve from the rain but on the other hand if it warms up to quickly we're looking at a complete repeat of Monday but with an even more dire outcome. I'm not sure what will happen next but I'm hopeful :)

~ Rosina

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flood Watch

Flooding 2007
(The aftermath of a 2007 flood. Water was finally low enough that we could wade through to the end of our road and see how far the river had receded)

I thought we were going to get lucky and not have to worry about flooding this winter but I guess I was wrong. Historically we have always had heavy rains and the threat of flooding right around November 11th each and every year since I was a little girl and quite often it results in flooding. Sometimes it's minimal and we hardly even notice and other years it hits us hard.

In 2001 we were away the weekend around Nov.11th and it flooded. We returned home to a basement full of water and mud & silt all through our laundry room & garage as it is a few feet lower than the main level of our house. But it didn't stop there. We were hit two more times in a matter of a week!

Flash forward... the raging waters encroached our home again. This time hitting in the middle of the night. By the time we awoke it was nearly to late to escape to higher ground. With my baby on my back in a carrier and my toddler in my arms I waded through thigh high deep water as I made my way to my parents house across the newly formed river where they are high enough on the hill that the water doesn't reach them. You never forget the feeling as you stand on the edge of your yard that has now turned into a full fledged river and watch your house surround with water slowly creeping higher up its walls.

Well here we are 2009 and it's happening again. Mass amounts of rainfall and snow melt are once again causing the river to swell. The pond in our backyard is spilling over the banks and the irrigation ditches around our home are dangerously high. The ground water is coming up and I expect to find water in the basement very soon.

I'm ready no matter what happens. Our clothes are packed so that we're ready to leave if necessary but I'm hoping that it will pass without to much damage.

~ Rosina

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hay Run

Hay Bales

Hooray for hay!!

After an hour of phone calls, four farms later & about two hours of waiting we got the call. We had finally found hay :) I was actually starting to worry that we were going to come up empty after I dialed the last number and with the snow falling this morning it was starting to look like a dire situation if we didn't find some fast.

Luckily the little snow squall didn't last long and just as we were about to eat lunch we got the address of a farm an hour and half from us that still had some hay for sale. We saddled up the truck, hitched the horse trailer to the back and hit the road *grin*. I'm really happy with the beautifully big bales of 2nd cut hay we bought. Our cows are going to be super pleased with us this winter :)

~ Rosina

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Cup of Joy

Red Cup of Joy

I'm in love *sigh*

I don't know how you all do it, living so close to a Starbucks. I might get to into town once a week if I'm lucky but I'm completely smitten with the holiday Caramel Brulee Latte. If I wasn't 60 minutes away I think I may be tempted to make this a daily ritual *grin*.

Hate it or love it... this red cup of joy is pure heaven for the 10 minutes it lasts! LOL.

~ Rosina

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New 2010 Mibo Calendar

I am so excited, the new Mibo 2010 calendar is available!!

When I downloaded a complimentary copy of Mibo's calendar last year I'll admit I just needed a calendar that would get me through another year of appointments & dates but the fun illustrations totally rocked! So naturally I just had to get a copy of the new one and I'm loving it even more than the last one.

It's really reasonably priced to at only $4.00 for a PDF file that is sent directly to you and then you just print it out onto some nice matte paper :) They have a second 'year at a glance' version of the calendar available as well this year and it is completely free to download. I think I'm going to take that one and make myself a nice little mini calendar for inside my purse :) So fun!

~ Rosina

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest we forget....

Red Poppies

In memory of all the fallen soldiers that have fought so bravely for our country....

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae May 1915

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Strips

I couldn't bare to see our Halloween pumpkins go to waste especially since we grew them ourselves. So I've been chopping away at them all day, skinning and cubing them up for the freezer. Of course though instead of just packing it all away like I had planned to I ended up making 2 pumpkin pies and a batch of pumpkin pancakes *grin*.

I thought I'd share my recipe for my pumpkin pancakes which are both delicious & nutritious. Just don't tell my children I put a vegetable (or is it a fruit) in their pancakes! LOL.


1/2 cup raw pumpkin pureed in the blender
2 cups of milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of flour
dash of cinnamon

Mix all of the ingredients together with a whisk until smooth and use one ladle of batter per pancake. This recipe is for a crepe type pancake so you will want to spread your batter out all around your pan to get a nice thin pancake :)

If you like the fat & fluffy type of pancakes I use the exact same recipe except I add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to it when I mix the batter and of course you don't need to spread the batter with these ones as you want them puffy!

These get rave reviews from my kids every time and I'm sure you will like them to :)

~ Rosina

Monday, November 9, 2009

Asian Salad

Asian salad

I'm on a total pasta salad kick lately and can't seem to get enough of my favorite Asian salad! Maybe it's because it brings back memories of warm summer days that would be so lovely at the moment as we're drowning in torrential rain & wind. I kid you not, as I type this there is a lake forming in my backyard and if this keeps up we just might get that indoor swimming pool I've always wanted.... in my basement *grin*.

The beauty of this salad is that you can use any pasta noodles & whatever veggies you have in your refrigerator :) Normally I add broccoli florets, julienned carrots & radicchio, but you can add cauliflower, sprouts, sesame or sunflower seeds and if radicchio isn't your favorite try Chinese cabbage instead. It's delicious!!

The sauce is super quick to make by adding equal portions of sesame oil & rice vinegar. For a large salad bowl I usually add about 5 tablespoons of each and then add 2 tablespoons of a low sodium soya sauce. Mix it in well with your salad and if you have time to let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours it actually helps to intensify the flavors as it marinates into the veggies & noodles :)

Now if only I could get the rest of my family to love it just as much as I do!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Man Fabric

Manly Fabric

I just love having a good excuse to buy new fabrics and since my shop is seriously lacking in the manly fabric department I just knew I had to have these!

The outdoorsman in your family is going to get a real kick out of this one :) The comic strip style pictures have the funniest little sayings to go along with the graphics and are bound to please any hunter or fisherman *grin*.

Manly Fabric

Fabricland was conveniently having a sale on these manly gems so I also picked up a fish one appropriately named 'The Daily Catch' which I know my boys are going to really like. It's a win win situation for everyone *wink*.

I've got them all pre-washed and cut so tomorrow I just need to whip em up, take photos and get them listed in the shop :) Can't wait to see them in sandwich bag size!

~ Rosina

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thinking Christmas

Papercut Christmas Card

I seem to be totally fixated on Christmas at the moment and getting my Christmas letter in order so that maybe, just maybe I'll get it out before December 1st this year! I'm really hoping it will make it to everyone before the holidays are over this time around *grin*.

As if getting my very unorganized holiday letter system kicked into high gear isn't tough enough and I'll admit it's always a major challenge I thought that maybe I might endeavor to hand make all 45 of my Christmas cards on top of it :)

Nah, just kidding! I may be slightly over zealous in my thoughts but I'm going to knock that total down to around 10 close family members that will get one of my new papercut creations. Especially since the scrolling 'Happy Holidays' gave me a wee bit of trouble!

I'm going to see if I can find some new blades for my craft knife or at least a really sharp pair of mini scissors before starting my next ones to see if I can get a smoother cutting effect as this one is a little bit choppy. LOL.

~ Rosina

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boy + Embroidery = Boybroidery

K's Embroidery

My son has been dabbling with embroidery but all of my patterns that I have on hand of course seem to be florals. So he created his own pattern in true boy fashion... a pirate ship being attacked by a giant sea monster!! LOL

K's embroidery

He finished transferring his pattern onto the cotton and is now painting it with thread. Mental note... must get pattern transfer paper for next time :)

I think it's coming along really well & I just LOVE the variegated waves. We're calling it 'Boybroidery' *grin*. The version of 'Manbroidery' for younger boys! LOL.

I know some of you may be thinking that boys don't do embroidery or any needlework for that matter! But hey, I think it's just a form of creative expression and there shouldn't be a gender role applied to it as there are some truly AWESOME men that embroider :) I actually ran across this article about stitching in public & I think it's well worth popping over to read :)

~ Rosina

Monday, November 2, 2009

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

With all of the excitement that has been building on the news about the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay starting in Victoria and making its way up Vancouver Island, I just had to take the kids to see it in real life :) Plus I have to admit that I really wanted to see it myself *grin*. So we made the trip to Campbell River and found ourselves a nice little spot to hang out near the 50th parallel to wait for the runners.

As it neared there were tons of police vehicles monitoring the traffic and then the big red Coca Cola truck was the first thing to come into view :)

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

As the Coca Cola truck was passing by us they started hopping off of it and gave all 3 kids flags & these really cool coke bottles that have fibre optics in them so they randomly change colors from green to blue to red. They were a BIG hit in the car on the way home in the dark *grin*.

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

Next vehicle in the relay entourage was the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) truck pumping out the tunes while they danced around on it. It was like being at a parade *grin*.

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

Once the sponsors had gone by we could finally see the flame! At first all we could see was fire floating above the heads of others watching ahead of us and then it finally came into full view. That baby was really burning! I think the fact that it was starting to get dark really made it look even more impressive than what we had seen on tv :)

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

And there it goes. It was only seconds from the time it came into view to the time it went past us but it was so worth it to see the excitement on the kids faces as it burned right in front of them :) We never made it to the new Spirit Square downtown Campbell River where the torch finally ended by lighting the cauldron on stage because the crowds were so fierce but we found a nice little spot right in front of the fireworks display *grin*. It'll be great memories for all of us as we may never get the chance to see it again :)

~ Rosina

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Newest Papercut

Halloween Papercut

I was inspired by a fellow Etsian's haunted house papercut and just had to try my hand at designing my very own pattern. It's actually much easier than you would think since you don't have to be a great artist to do this! All you need is a vision and if you can draw an outline you're good to go *grin*.

It sort of took on a life of its own as I drew it. Originally it was supposed to be two trees flanking each side of the papercut but somehow the tree on the right ended up turning into a 'ghost' tree as my daughter calls it since the branches resembled a ghost like shape floating upwards. So I gave it some eyes and a bleeding heart and thus the ghost tree was complete :)

Halloween Papercut

It's hard to tell from the top photo but it is actually compiled of 4 layers of papercuts to give it a really neat 3D effect. I'm just not sure how to display it. I have this great vision of it being in a shadow box like it is above but with some sort of light source below it that illuminates it while it hangs on the wall. I've explained it to my husband and he's mulling around the idea of creating something for me so I'm crossing my fingers he'll come up with some ingenious plan! LOL

Halloween papercut

For now I'll have to be content with placing it on a flashlight to enjoy it. It seems like such a shame to tuck it away so hopefully it will get a permanent home soon. If you have any ideas on how to create a permanent illuminated display I would LOVE to hear from you :)

~ Rosina

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween house

Our Halloween festivities were a smashing success! We decorated cookies, licked our fill of icing off of our fingers and made a Halloween gingerbread house. Who said gingerbread houses are only for Christmas! *grin*

Halloween house

It had never occurred to me to make a little haunted house. The kids did all of the decorating themselves but I just couldn't resist adding a skeleton to the grave :)

Halloween Candy Apples

Of course we had our monstrous candy apples.

Halloween Candy Apple

And talk about perfect, a 'mummy' for the mommy! LOL

The Brain

I am totally thrilled with my finished brain to. It turned out awesome!! The jelly covering oozed & dripped like blood and the parts that fell off gave the perfect effect of blood that was congealing or clotting. It was a perfect treat for Halloween!

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween :)

~ Rosina

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Party Preperations

Candy Apples

It's become a yearly ritual to make a special trip to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory just before Halloween so that each of my 3 children can pick out a special candied apple :) I think each year those apples get bigger and better to!

With so many wonderful monsters to pick from it posed quite the dilemma for my 3 year old who insisted he needed more than just one for himself *grin*. With our treats picked out it was time to head to the grocery store to pick up supplies for our Halloween birthday bash.


Hubby's birthday is on Halloween and we always put on a mini Halloween bash for fun. We don't actually go out trick or treating but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy partaking in some of the creepy party foods. So far I've managed to keep my party menu a complete surprise and can't wait to serve brains, eyeball hors d'oeuvres, monster jaws & a nice tall glass of bloody punch should wash it all down*grin*.

I can't wait to see their faces!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sausage & Bacon Soup ~ Recipe

With the snowy cool weather upon us I thought it would be the perfect time to share a recipe for one of my favorite soups :) I actually took these photos during the summer months when I had an odd hankering for hot soup during a heat spell! LOL

sausage bean soup


Roast chicken bones left after meal
1 whole head of garlic
2 or 3 ribs of celery
3 or 4 carrots
5 onions

1/2 pound of bacon
6 sausages
pepper & salt

Making chicken stock

Start by grabbing a large stock or soup pot and add your chicken bones, peeled carrots & onions and the entire head of garlic. I love to cut the head of garlic horizontally across the middle so that it opens up the making it even easier for that wonderful flavor to escape. Don't worry about the skin on the garlic as you are going to strain it all out before finishing your soup :)

Making chicken stock

Once you have all of your veggies in your pot fill it until the water level is just under the rim and place it on the stove. Turn the heat on high until it comes to a boil. As soon as it boils you can put on a lid and turn it down to low so that it can gently bubble away for a couple of hours to infuse your water with all of the yummy flavors.

Sausage Bean Soup

While you are waiting for you chicken stock to cook you can start to get your meat ready for frying. Take your half pound of bacon and slice it up. I cut mine about a 1/4 inch thick but you can do it thicker if you like. There are no rules to how chunky your bacon has to be!

sausage bean soup

I love using our homemade sausage for this soup which is a garlicky beef & pork blend but you can pick up any of your favorite flavors at your butcher. If you want a soup with a little bit of a kick you may want to find yourself some spicy Italian sausages! To prepare your sausage for frying take a sharp knife and slice through the outer casing and peel it off of each of the sausages.

sausage bean soup

So it's been a couple of hours or perhaps an entire afternoon if you got busy and forgot about your simmering stock , but now it's time to strain it. Taking your largest colander and another large soup pot, place the colander into the empty soup pot and pour the hot stock into it. Be very careful trying not to splash any of the hot liquid onto yourself. Quite often I actually wear my oven mitts when I do this to protect my hands from splashes and steam burns :) Let your colander drain a couple of extra minutes to catch the final drips of stock and then place both the stock and colander of bits to the side for later. If you have chickens the boiled veggie leftovers is a delicious treat for them :)

sausage bean soup

Now that your soup pot is empty again, return it back to the stove and add your chopped bacon and sausages to it. You are going to fry them right in your soup pot. That way you won't loose any of the good flavors. Fry until nice and brown :)

sausage bean soup

As soon as you have browned your meat you can add your homemade chicken stock and all that's left to do is to season it with salt and pepper. I LOVE adding basil and usually add about 3 tablespoons of dried basil as I don't have any fresh at this time of year, but that's not set in stone and if you hate basil just leave it out and add your favorite spices :)

Mmmm, so delicious and I think I've got some fresh Portuguese rolls that are just begging to be dipped in it *grin*.


~ Rosina

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swedish Singer Miss Li

Okay I think I have a new favorite band! Swedish singer Miss Li recently released her 4th album 'Dancing The Whole Way Home' and it is fantastic :)

If you haven't heard of her before I'm sure you've seen her on the new iPod Nano commercial singing her song 'Bourgeois Shangri-La' and below you can see her music vid for 'Dancing The Whole Way Home'. Gotta get my hands on this!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer's Sweet Goodbye


Oh Robin red-breast where have our summer days gone?
I can't believe that we are already in *gulp*.... September!! The rains have begun, the blustery winds are swirling and I actually had to light the wood stove for the first times since we finally got rid of our snow only 4 months ago in April. It's slightly bittersweet but there are so many wonderful things to look ahead to as we move into the cooler weather :)

L's 6th Birthday

We've had some fun in the sun though with birthday parties made for princesses,

L's 6th birthday

and summer picnics that leave you longing for more. Oh heck! Who says you can't picnic in the fall anyways? Well technically it's not quite fall yet *grin*, but we were just down at the pond checking out our bon fire brush pile that is looking mighty fine for some wienie roasting and s'mores :)

Before I go I've got to leave you with these incredibly CUTE viking plates that Herzenart is now offering. I must say they're looking a wee bit fall'ish to :) Oh boy do I want these!!

~ Rosina