Tuesday, July 21, 2015

random bits

Mike and I finally wrapped up the final season of Sons of Anarchy. Yep, we are late to every cool party. No spoilers, but I was satisfied with the way the series closed out. I miss Nero and his old man cardigans already!

Big news our internet package improved greatly a few weeks ago, so I set us up with Netflix. We can't go crazy with it, but it's super great to be able to catch up on all the cool shows everyone else is watching like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Once Upon a Time, The Unstoppable Kimmy Schmidt and Suits!

Derek is where we landed first. Mike and I are both huge Ricky Gervais fans, so it was kind of a no brainer. Derek is unlike anything else I have ever seen him do. It is incredibly sweet and each episode has been near tears. 

Is it just me or does this summer seem like it's just racing along?

Abby has braces. Maya is on the verge of finally losing a tooth. It's been a big summer so far.

Monday, July 20, 2015

summer loving

Somersby
Lazy summer evening visits
Summer camp
Plants vs Zombies 2
Netflix
Derek
Love Anthony

What are you summer loving?

Thursday, July 09, 2015

keeping it real

So the oldest recently became a teenager and in celebration of that we gifted her with a cellphone. I was super excited to give it to her. I had entered some trusted adults into her contacts and had them text her birthday messages. Then the best part.... I set her ring tone to happy birthday and we planned to call her on it first thing in the morning.

Here's the thing about me, I have an incredible Mom who took the time to make the little things special when we were growing up. She was probably the 70's equivalent of a pinterest Mom. I look back on my childhood with overwhelming fondness despite it being far from perfect and I want the same for my girls. To that end I get ridiculously excited when I put together a plan like the cellphone birthday plan. On the 13 year old's birthday eve I was busting with excitement. So much so I confided in MyPie as I tucked her in.

Me: Wanna know what we got Abbers for her birthday?
Maya: Yes!
Me: Can you keep this information to yourself until morning?
Maya: Uh, yeah.
Me: Okay, we got her a cellphone! She's going to freak out, right?
Maya: Yes!!!
Me: I can't wait to give it to her.

and then, in typical youngest child fashion...

Maya: Uh, could I put my name on that card? I didn't actually get her anything.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

the reptile man

This summer, for the first time, Maya has joined the Summer Reading Program at the library. Enrollment in the club comes with a nifty badge on a lanyard that keeps track of her accomplishments. Not surprisingly she needs to read six books, tell the librarian about one of the books she's read, download a book or magazine to a device and attend a program. Our branch of the library doesn't have a huge selection of programs available compared to other branches but as luck would have it the week we were off they were offering a session with the Reptile Man. Maya was in.

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We've actually had the Reptile Man out to Maya's school for a special educational day. He was great then and he did not disappoint at the library. He had toads the size of dinner plates and lizards longer than his arm. He was great explaining to the kids where these animals originate and how they spend their days in the wild. He had one adorable (and I can say that because it was on the other side of the room from me) little lizard that was very interested in the kids. So interested in fact he took every opportunity to leap into the crowds amid squeals of delight/horror. 

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And then he pulled out the snakes and if you know Mike at all then you know....... there is never enough room between Mike and a snake. This was just the little one.

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That is a full grown boa constrictor he's got wrapped around his body. Mike was seriously considering hanging out in the parking lot for this bit, but he stayed.

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Maya was a cool cat through the whole thing.

Do you frequent the library?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

strawberry jalapeno jam

Summer always signals the beginning of the canning season for me. We begin with jam of course. I am a jam lover and while the grocery store stuff will do in a pinch, homemade jam just tastes like sunshine.

This year had a couple of twists to the jam making process, first being my sous chef MyPie. Who decided that she needed to learn to cook and quick because what was going to happen when she was out in the big bad world all on her own without her Mama to cook her dinner? Obviously we needed to start the "taking care of yourself Life Classes" with a instructional session on jam making. Toast and jam shall always be on grown up Maya's menu.

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Also this year I decided to try a strawberry jalapeno jam that I thought would be the perfect addition to our brie and goat cheese addiction.

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And guys I was so so so right. It was actually pretty tasty on a croissant I'm not going to lie to you. If you already posses jam making skills it was incredibly easy to put together.

4 cups, crushed fresh strawberries
1 cup minced jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered fruit pectin
7 cups sugar (yeah I know but it's jam. Slot it in the sometimes food section.)

I put the berries, jalapeno, lemon juice, and pectin in a pot. I used my own pickled jalapenos for this and it took most of a 500ml jar to get the 1 cup minced just fyi. I brought it to a boil over high heat and then added the sugar all at once. It's a good idea to have to sugar pre-measured in a big bowl so you can quickly get it into the pot. Bring back up to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and divide between your canning jars. I got 7.5 - 250 ml jars of this deliciousness. Process for 10 minutes in your water bath and you're good to go.

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I ended up making 2 batches of regular old strawberry jam, one batch of strawberry jalapeno and one of strawberry maple cinnamon but I am now wishing I had doubled up on the strawberry jalapeno. Notes for next year, I guess.

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I also learned I prefer making jam with powdered pectin versus liquid pectin. The finished product just looks more appealing and the fruit seems to be better distributed. Again, notes for next year.

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An afternoon well spent with my little sous chef. Are you canning anything this summer?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

oh Canada

This year we celebrated Canada Day in typical fashion. We are lucky that the little town right next to us puts together an excellent Canada Day program. We hit up the parade in the morning in our we love Canada/red finery.

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For a smaller town Lynden puts together one heck of a great parade.

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Over the years we've kind of fallen into a nice little Canada Day routine that involves hooking up with some old friends at some point in the day. This year it was for dinner and wine before the fireworks, also in Lynden and it's one heck of a show as well.

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It was a great day lots of laughs with the greatest of friends. I can't think of a better way to celebrate this great country. How did you spend your Canada Day?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

mixed berry scones

Scones! I have never actually made them before, but recently I had an incredibly delicious blueberry one at my cousin's baby shower and then several weeks later thought.... hey I should make some of those, but I didn't have any blueberries and as is often true with me and baking I was feeling too impatient to wait. I haven't been doing much baking lately, things have been busy, but the inspiration struck me and I was unwilling to let the moment pass.

To pinterest we go!

I did a search based on what I had on the house.... frozen mixed berries and was rewarded with this....

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Pinterest was flooded with pictures of these mixed berry scones, I took that as a good sign.

So I grabbed my trusty kitchen aid mixer and got to work.

Into the bowl I tossed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
and a pinch of salt if you'd like

I gave that a little stir to mix it all together and then threw in..
 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

I set my mixer to stir and let it go until it was sufficiently cut in. Think pea sized and smaller butter balls.

Next to go into the mixer....
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream (I actually used greek vanilla yogurt)
 1 tsp vanilla

Again I set my mixer to stir and mix until the dough comes together do not over mix.

Last to go in the bowl...
1 slightly heaping cup of frozen mixed berries
Either fold into the dough by hand and with the mixer until they are just combined.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead it into an 8 inch round disk. If the dough is overly sticky sprinkle it with additional flour. Using a sharp knife, cut the disk into 8 equal wedges. Move to a baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Oh my goodness these were so so good. The kids, of course, couldn't be bothered with them, but Mike and I both thought they were a home run. They didn't even need butter, they were that tasty. Making these in the mixer, they came together so quick and with little mess. My favourite kind of recipe.

You can check out the original recipe at Averie Cooks. I skipped the glaze her recipe called for. I just didn't think it was necessary.