Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Still in the January chill

I have done most things inside the house this past week as it's been so darn cold outside!
On Saturday we had Norah for the day and had such fun with her.  She is quite the little character  and a real chatterbox.

Just like Motherhood for the first time, nothing could have prepared me for the wonderful feelings of being a grandparent.  The sheer joy I feel when she comes into the house and runs for me with open arms is something I can't even begin to describe!  We love her to pieces.

She loves her books and has her favourites. When we came in the house, she ran straight to our reading chair and got out "Peepo" and started on it before I had even taken off my coat!

Her Daddy was exactly the same as a child and loved to read.  I taught him to read with Ladybird books by the time he was four and he loves to read to this day!

The smile that melts us every time!

When we get out the camera and tell her to smile, this is the face we get! Sorry, if I'm sounding like a doting grandmother, but that's exactly what I am so really no appologies there then!

I have had some discomfort in my right arm since last summer.  I first noticed it in July when we were at the airport and it hurt to pull my luggage, so I had to push it instead.  I just didn't repeat the movement and thought little of it.  But since then it has increased in intensity and it is a lot more uncomfortable to do more things.  After a normal ultrasond and x-ray, I have been told that the muscles are fine, but it is in the nerves.  On Monday I went to meet the physiotherapist who was wonderful.  She did some accupunture and gave me some very small exercises to do as she doesn't want to aggrevate it for fear it will turn to frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).  I don't want that as it is very acute and chronic pain and can last for up to two years!  So I am doing what she has asked and limiting my activities to below shoulder level.  It's amazing how many things that prevents.  I can't even drive my car right now as it has a standard transmission and the movement of shifting is painful.  Luckily Wendell's car is automatic so I can use that.  One thing I CAN still do is sew, so I have been chain piecing my quilt which I showed the fabric for in the last post.  There a lot of sqaures here, but it will move quickly.


I bought this cart from Ikea which I have had my eye on for some time.  It's the perfect hold all for my sewing tools.
Well, must be off and do some sewing!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A little bit nippy around these parts!

I had a very rude awakening this morning. Wendell left for Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday on a business trip.  It never fails that something happens when he is away. At 5.30am this little baby....

the smoke detector outside our bedroom went off at an ear piercing rate!! It startled the life out of me and my first thought was naturally, that the house was on fire.  I jumped out of bed, knocking my glasses UNDER the bed in the process, quickly grabbed my slippers and robe only to find, when I opened the door, (thankfully, I might add!) that there was no smoke at all.  I went to the main level and also the basement where the furnace is, and there was no sign of anything strange.  I had to get up on a step ladder to turn the darn thing off, so by the time this was all done I was wide awake! After calling the manufacturer later in the morning I realized that it was  out of date (more than 10 years old) and needs to be replaced. Oh well, I guess it's better than having a fire and no smoke detector!

I am driving a friend's children to school this week for her as she has broken her wrist and can't drive.  We are in the middle of what is being called a polar vortex at the moment with the temperature this morning at -36 degrees Celsius.  That is mighty cold when it hits you in the face as you open your front door.  I felt a lot like our car door this morning - very stiff and creaky!

When I got home I felt that hot oatmeal was the thing for breakfast. So I made some up

25 minutes later

I haven't tried this recipe before.  I should have put grated carrots in it, but didn't have any in my frdige as I blanched and froze them all last week, but it was still delicious with just the coconut, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and raisins.

A lovely warming breakfast! Recipe found here

Would you like to see the fabrics for my next quilt?

I still need to cut a lot more of the beige squares as there will be many more of them to add to the colours.  This will be a queen size and I am going to try and quilt it myself.  I want a very old fashioned look, so we'll see how it goes.  Watch this space!

I forgot to mention my cookbooks in my last post on books. Here they are if you're interested. These are the ones I use most

And these are in the cupboard above the microwave.

Wendell is working from his hotel room today as they are in the middle of a blizzard in Halifax, even though their temperatures are way milder than ours in Ottawa. The sun is shining through my window making me feel its warmth, but outside it is freezing!  Stay warm wherever you are!

P.S. My neighbour across the street is having new windows installed today.  -36C and the instalers are on ladders outside - madness!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Books, books and more books!

CJ from Above the river mentioned in a comment earlier, that she would like to browse through my bookshelves.  So I figured I'd do a post on books. We love to read and have quite a number of books throughout the house.  When our children were small we had even more as I have never felt that you can have too many!

Here is a peek at some of them.

My sewing books which I make good use of'

Some classics

craft and home books

Good old Harry Potter - some of my favourite children's fiction!

The bookcase in our guestroom which houses,

More classics

Poetry and historical

My collection of Miss Read

and Rosamunde Pilcher

Currently on my bedside table as mentioned yesterday

Our living room bookcase

CS Lewis collection and reference books

And of course, the children's books

In the playroom

I love books and can't imagine a home without them. I am very picky about what I read though.  I don't use bad language and therefore don't like to read it in my books.  This is getting harder, which is why I stick with the classics and some old standbys which I will read over and over again.  I must admit to liking British authors above others (slightly biased there!) I also have a Kobo reader and have quite a lot of books on that.  I love the convenience for travel and sometimes in bed I will read from it, but nothing beats holding a real book in my hands. I love the feel and the smell of books. I could get lost in a used bookstore for hours.  Our middle son Andrew is exactly the same way.  Whenever we would go on vacation he would always want to spend lots of time in bookstores, much to the chagrin of the others!

Beef & vegetable stew for dinner tonight and leftovers in the freezer.  Love winter comfort food!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Finished baby quilt

Just mailed off the baby quilt to its new home.  I chose a striped fabric for the binding which incorporated all the colours in the quilt.  Our local quilting shop has a sale on this week and I found a panel of labels, so decided to use one of those this time. 

I did very simple quilting on it as I am not one for free motion quilting!  I am pleased with how it turned out and plan on making a lot more items this year.  

Do any of you read Rhonda's blog? I have been enjoying her writings for a long time now and bought her book a while back and have finally made the time to read it.  I am enjoying it very much.  While we have no desire to have chickens and such, I very much want to live a simpler life, spend less and get back to basics.  Rhonda is an inspiration and I recommend her blog to anyone wanting to make this change.

Off now to have a read at what everyone has been up to!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A soup kind of day

Yesterday, as it was cold and damp and I was busy with a church meeting and sewing, I decided to use up some of the meat in the deep freeze and make a soup for dinner.

To this I added some of the freeze dried vegetables I mentioned in my last post.

Some wonderful barley

and some beef stock.

It was a lovely warming meal for dinner.  

We both love soup and just finished the remains of the turkey soup earlier in the week.  I still have a few containers of turkey stock left in the freezer, so I will use that later. I also froze two double servings of the beef barley soup  so we have some on hand.  Sometimes life gets busy and it's good to have something to grab if you don't have time to throw supper together.  We have company for dinner on Monday and I have a very busy day, so I made a lasagna today and put it in the fridge for Monday

It has been raining all day (it's just like being in Manchester!).  We went out to a funeral this morning and freezing rain was falling, making everything like an ice rink again.  We are getting too much of this all at once for my liking - I hope it's not a sign of things to come! 

I am just sewing the binding on the baby quilt now and will show the finished result on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Re-arranging and making

Like a lot of people this time of year, I have been re-organizing our home as we have put the Christmas decorations away and life has returned to "normal". I am a born organizer and love nothing more than a good clear out and organizing session.  Last week it was the food storage area.  I have been purchasing some freeze dried food for the past few months and wanted to get it all organized into categories. The shelf life of this stuff is 25 years if not opened and 1-2 years when it is opened.  I have used the vegetables in soups and chili and they are fabulous!  It sure makes for a great last minute meal from scratch.

My sewing machine has seen some use again as I am making a baby quilt for Alicia's new little nephew who was born Dec 27th.  This is a very easy quilt and I put the top together yesterday afternoon.  Now I just need to quilt it, which I will start on today.

I have a cross stitch project which is ongoing.  I started this for Kelsi when she and Andrew got engaged!  It sits beside my reading chair in my sewing room and I guiltily look at it every day. I enjoy doing cross stitch, but I find that it is so hard on my eyes these days and I can only do a little at a time.  So it will be a slow going process, but I am determined to finish it this year!

I have just finished Susan Branch`s new book, "A fine romance" about her trip to England last year.  It has been my bedtime reading since Christmas and I have really enjoyed it.  Being the Anglophile that he is, Wendell wanted to read it after I had finished, but he couldn`t get into it like I did so gave up, which is very unusual for him.  I think Susan writes in a way that is easy for women to relate to.

Monday was Rebekah's 23rd birthday and as Alex had to work that evening, we all headed over to her apartment with Lebanese food and a birthday cake.  We had freezing rain that day and the parking lot in her building was a skating rink!  I wear spikes on my boots in weather like that, but even so it was dodgy.  As we neared the steps up to the entrance, a huge dog came bounding out of the door with its owner.  Trying to keep our balance while holding a platter of food and a birthday cake and having a hungry dog staring at us was a little unnerving to say the least, but we managed to stay upright! We had a lovely evening all together and playing with Bekah's little kitten Sammy. Did you notice that Bekah & I coincidentally had the exact same sweater on?  We bought them last year at LL Bean but have never worn them at the same time!

Well, I`m off now to shower and clean the bathroom so I can get back to the baby quilt!  Hope it`s warm wherever you are - we are still in a deep freeze here but it promises to be warmer on the weekend at 8 degrees celsius.