Monday, February 21

Valentine's Celebration....

Our traditional Valentine Fondue ...with a Sharp Cheddar Fondue, crusty bread chunks, slightly steamed veggies and tiny, cooked new potatoes.

There was a milk chocolate fondue with banana chunks and pound cake cubes for dessert, but I guess I was too busy savoring to get a photo!

We had lots of these pretty decorations hanging. They are just made from strips of can see how they are made by noticing the staples in the photo. We made a few to mail to Naya and Sodie at college. They fit just right into a box with these little gifties:
2 pillowcases made with love !

...and here a the Valentines pillowcases for the 2 sweeties still at home with me :)

Check the purple socks with patent leather slippers...hoo-boy!

Some more lovely decorations for the day.

We recieved this texted photo of a brand new baby cousin born in the evening of this special day!

Toucie wrapped up the day with a candle-lit rose petal bath.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all :)

Sunday, February 20

Heavy Baby

Here's what I've been doing late at night :)

A young expectant mama asked me to construct this Heavy Baby from a kit that she purchased here. She intends to present it to her toddler when the new baby arrives.

This 16 " Heavy Baby is filled with 4 pounds of millet that is scented with lavender essential oil. It was an amazingly delightful sensory experience to work with. The pattern was very simple and straightforward and required only basic sewing skills. It involved a combination of hand-sewing (making the head and attaching the head and hands to the body) and machine stitching (sewing the body and clothing).

I enjoyed making this doll so much that I made a second, smaller 12" one to keep and share with Toucie :)

Thursday, February 10

The Great Backyard Bird Count

February 18 - 21 is the official weekend for this year's Great Backyard Bird Count! I look forward to this every year. Here is a bit from the website:

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.  

It is a wonderful feeling knowing that you are contributing in a small way towards a greater, grander project. Some years I do this with the help of children, some years it is just me. Last year, Toucie wove in and out of my bird-watching interested observer if not a full-blown participant :)
This year, she's the one who puts out seed for the birds each day, so perhaps I'll have a counting partner...we'll see.

Who are we expecting to see? Well, here is a list of birds we've observed  from our kitchen window as the winter season has passed:

I wonder who will show up to be counted?

Saturday, February 5

Winter Hike

This little trooper hiked a steep 3 mile trail (with a few icicles to keep her going) smiling all the way, the day before receiving a blood transfusion at the hospital.
Her beautiful life unfolds into this beautiful world and she just walks forward with her arms flung wide. I love this baby.

Friday, February 4

Chinese New Year

Good luck coin in a red envelope

We are taking extra careful measures with Toucie during this season of colds and flu. Our ventures into public  places are pretty rare, but for the Chinese New Year we made an exception. Sporting a mask (just as good at keeping people at a distance as it is as protecting her from germies), we stepped out on the town!

Toucie-dragon at a New Year celebration at our library with food, crafts...

...and a Chinese dance performance...look at the little bunnies :)

Best seat in the house...perched on Daddy's shoulders

we loved all the bright costumes!

older girls performing a beautiful scarf dance

back home it's time to get cooking!

ambitiously attempting spring rolls from this cookbook

Toucie works on the filling...

...Mado takes on the job of rolling spring rolls

she's a genius at stuff like this

we wanted to try this recipe too

here's how ours turned out

a lovely spread

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Thursday, February 3

Candlemas/ Imbolc recipes

Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese

·          2 cups whole milk
·          1/4 teaspoon table salt
·          2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or lemon juice

      1.    Line colander with four layers of cheesecloth or 2 layers of food-safe paper towels and set over large bowl. Combine milk, salt, and vinegar or lemon juice in microwave-safe glass 1-quart liquid measure. Microwave on high heat until lightly bubbling around edges, 2 to 4 minutes (milk should register about 165°F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from microwave, and stir gently for 5 seconds. Milk should separate into solid white curds and translucent liquid whey. If not, microwave for 30 seconds longer. Repeat until fully separated.
2.     2.    Using slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with plastic wrap, and allow to drain until desired texture is reached. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Baked Ricotta on Flatbread
recipe here

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
one recipe here

Individual Pot Pies
crust recipe here - filling is just homemade gravy and veggies

Sprouted Crunchy Mix and Salad -didn't manage to photograph it :(
sprouts from here

Chocolate Volcano Cakes (in flowerpots!)
recipe here


crepes for breakfast

...filled with sunny apricot jam

acorns stirring

The sweet potato is stirring, too!

first crocuses

new lambs!
sweet mama and baby

anticipating daffodils

making cheese from our fresh raw milk

an oven full of dinner

sparkling grape juice...cheers!

at Imbolc we always burn our yule tree and greenery

looking forward to the coming warmth