Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the Kitchen: Gourdian Angel (Pumpkin Soup)

I made this last week and LOVED it.
I promise it is tasty!
Just give it a try!!!

It makes a nice light lunch paired with homemade buns!


(From Eat Shrink and Be Merry)
2 tsp olive oil or butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups of pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup evaporated milk or light cream

Heat olive oil in a large, non stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, curry powder and ground cumin. Mix well and cook for 30 more seconds.

Add broth, apples, pumpkin, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.

Working in two batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Soup will be very thick. Return puree to pot and stir in evaporated milk. Serve hot.

It tastes better than it looks...really.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the Craftroom: Steed Family Bakery Sign

You know my cupboard doors I got??
And how I made this star fish for my bathroom???

Well I made this too....
A chalkboard for my kitchen

And a family sign as well. :)
I love my sign :) A lot.
I hand painted it. And then distressed it after to make it look old. :) I got the idea here.

Both SUPER easy!!! And super cheap :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

In the Craftroom: Christmas Kids Crafts

First up, Carmen I will look for that link - I made those last year but I think I have it bookmarked somewhere.

We've been a crafting up a storm around here!!

Handprint angels:

Nativity Cutting, Pasting and Painting practice from here (lots of good ones on here for kiddos!)

HUGE snowflakes. Made by gluing Popsicle sticks together. If we had that half circle thing from math 7 it would make them look perfect but whatever. :)
Lucy and her friend Anise holding them up

And then the garland on the last post with the trees

And of course one of these!!

What Christmas crafts have you made with your kids so far???

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the Craftroom: Homemade Christmas

I thought I'd share some of our decorations that are around the house.
A lot of them (as in most) I've made. (get ready for lots of pics!)

First up our tree. It is a GREAT tree this year (got it at Save On Foods)
Notice Eli standing in front of it. As soon as i get out my camera lately he wants to be in the picture and then see himself on the back of the LCD monitor. He's a goof ball :) (And our stuffed Nativity set the kids play with! Love it too! MIL gave it to me!

Made these at Super Saturday in Calgary last year. SO easy!!

These stars I found a folding patten online, then downloaded it and cut them out of Bazzill texture cardstock and folded away. Then hung them up! I love them! And can't beat the price! It's all cardstock.

Now these I am ALSO loving!!! I made a whole whack of them! For my birthday Regan got me a slice. (i LOVE IT!) and I saw someone made these last year and I have wanted to do them since! SO easy! Cut them all out and fold them in half and glue four together! Done!

My friend Jena gave me this when I lived in Nova Scotia. I have three different sizes and I love them all! She made them.

A special ornament my mom gave us all last year. It came with a cute little poem about how real Angels don't have wings but to keep this feather to remind us of a loved one gone for Kelly.

Oh how I LOVE my angel. It's so ME! Love love love it!

I love this row of trees! Some are from Super Saturday, some are the craft I did with my SIL's on Reg's side.

My advent Calendar

SUPER easy decoration: Tree garland. Bought a package from Micheal's and then just strung them together on white ribbon! Lucy and I did this one together one morning this week.

Stuffed Christmas Trees: Real easy too!

A yearly tradition at our house. We've been cutting out snowflakes since the year we were married!

An easy little craft I made with the left over stars from my star ornaments. All cut on the slice.

A little banner for the window also made with my slice. :)

And gotta add the tree at night

And for fun effect....

Next up Kids crafts we've done this year so far!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silent auction

Looking for a way to provide service this holiday season? Here is a great opportunity. Starting Thursday, December 10th, there will be a charity auction at BLOOM to benefit Claire and Benson Skinner.

As explained by their parents, "Benson and Claire were born with a rare genetic disease in which their liver produces too much oxalate--called primary hyperoxaluria. Claire's condition has progressed much faster than Benson's. She has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old and is on dialysis 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is now on the waiting list to receive a combined kidney / liver transplant. It is expected Benson will eventually need similar transplants."

You can read more about the Skinners' experience HERE.

All proceeds from the auction at BLOOM will go directly to Claire's COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) account to help pay for her transplant. Please head over to BLOOM Thursday-Saturday for the auction!

I am adding a blogger banner to the auction. I hope you'll go over to BLOOM and read about how you can help out these lovely children and their parents!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dear Alden

(photo by the lovely Rebecca Cooper!)
I just wanted to tell you that I am just enjoying you so much. You have always been an easy kid to have. And easy baby. And easy toddler. And easy preschooler. And now an easy grade schooler. You are easy because you are obedient. You want to do what is right. You aren't demanding at all. But more of a go with the flow kind of a kid (I think you get that from your dad.) Most of the time you are just happy to be.
You are doing so good in Grade one. It just makes me so happy and proud. And your dad too. You are learning to read. A few nights ago when we were laying on your bed doing your home reading and we were laughing from something silly you said; it just filled my heart with love for you. It was bursting out of me. I didn't want to say good night to you. I was having fun and enjoying just to two of us being together. It was marvelous. Sometimes it's hard to get moments that are just for me and you around here. Lucy and Eli demand a lot of attention. And often you are left waiting. And you do it so wonderfully. I try to make sure I get some time of just me and you. I need to try harder and I will.
Your testimony is growing of Jesus Christ. I love that you are always willing to share it with our family. That you are attentive and listening when we having Family Home Evening or in church or Primary. Your teachers have told me how good you are at church. That you participate and are often one of the first to raise your hand and answer the questions. There is nothing in the world that could make me or dad more happy than seeing your testimony growing. Because I know that if your testimony is strong, if you know how to talk to your loving Heavenly Father in prayer and receive the answers he sends, then you will be safe. Always.
You are getting so tall and handsome. Sometimes I am amazed that you are getting so tall and big. And oh so handsome. When I was in your classroom the other day helping, one of the girls asked me who's mom I was. I said Alden's. And she said he is CUTE! I said I know :)
I think one of the best things about you is your ability to just be who you are and not care what anyone else says. At your seventh birthday party the boys were talking about girl movies. One of the boys said they had to watch the Barbie musketeer movie with their sister and how they hated it. They were all talking about how silly it was. You spoke loudly and said "I watched it all and i LOVED IT." I love that you are comfortable enough with yourself to say that. You are just you. And you don't care what anyone else says. Oh how I wish I was more like you in that way!
I love that yesterday you came home from school and the first thing you said when you came upstairs was "Mom, wanna snuggle on the couch?" Of course!!!
I just wanted to tell you how much I love you. How proud of you I am. And how happy I am that you are my boy.

All my heart.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

In the Craftroom: StarFish Wall Hanging

I've been in the crafting MOOD. Seriously.
So besides all the Christmas crafts we've been doing (which I'll show you tomorrow or Tuesday) I've been doing home decor ones too :)

Like this one.

Started with a cheap white outcast cupboard door from Totem. Good times right Jen?? :)
Sanded it down a bit and rubbed it all over with this and then wiped it off with a wet cloth (sorry totally blurry basement evening picture!!)
To get this effect.
(close up)
Then drew on my hanging holes.
And used my fancy dancy drill
Used some cool ribbon from SEI that my nice friend Mary gave me forever ago. Strung it through and tied some knots.

Then Glue gunned on my Nova Scotia star fish. Perfect-o!

I am not joking when I say the entire thing took my... oh about.... 10 minutes. Start to finish. Sweeet.

I bought 3 other cupboard doors and 2 of them are also finished crafts and hanging in my home. I'll show them soon!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Martha Stewart Baking Challenge

I thought I'd give a bit recap of where I am at on my challenge. (If you don't know what I am doing you can read here
1. Banana Nut Bread
2. Chocolate Frosting
3. Yellow Butter Cake
4. Ciabatta
5. Sugar Cookies
6. Rugelach
7. Banana Carmel Cake
8. Mascarpone icing
9. Pumpkin Bread
10. Pizza Dough
11. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
12. Honey Whole Wheat Bread
13. Coconut Cream Pie
14. Key Lime Pie
15. Candied Key Lime Slices
16. Individual Gingerbread cakes
17. Chocolate Ganache
18. One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
19. Swiss Buttercream
20. Chocolate Wafers
21. Coconut Pecan Caramel Sandwich Cookies
22. Martha's Birthday Cake
23. Almond Swiss Meringue
24. Almond Buttercream
25. Herb Baking Powder Biscuits
26. Lemon Curd
27. Pate Brisee
28. Cornmeal Drop Busicuts
29. Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
30. Banana Carmel Cake
31. Mascarpone Frosting
32. Caramel Sauce
33. Tart Dough
34. Lemon Curd
35. Tarte Tatin
36. Tomato Tart
37. Pate A Choux
38. Cream puffs
39. Pastry Cream
40. Chocolate Eclairs
41. Vanilla Whipped Cream
42. Pastry Cream
43. Baking Powder Biscuits
44. Parker house Rolls
45. Cranberry Zucchini Muffins
46. Coconut Cake
47. Seven Minute Frosting
48. Classic Angel Food Cake
49. Gingerbread Men

Both the Angel Food Cake (because I thought it would be harder to make) and the Tomato Tart (because it was really really good and I was expecting not to like it) surprised me.

I have learned quite a bit already! A lot about icings and frostings! And a lot about bread doughs and how my stove cooks!

I've been doing this about 2 months and I've made 49 of the 208 recipes. Over Christmas I can find lots of reasons to cook!

One this is there is a wedding cake recipe in there.... so I need someone getting married who wants me to make them their wedding cake and decorate it..... anyone know anyone who needs that in the next 10 months? :)

And since a post is more fun with a photo.....
A recent from the last posted family session on my photo blog.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent Calendar 2009

For our advent calendar I am doing a combo. I am combing a Christmas book plus an activity or craft. Now this is a list of all our books and crafts/ activities. I am not doing them in this order. I'll do them according to what we can fit in that day. If there isn't a link to the idea then I think it's pretty self explanatory. You are welcome to use the same idea, just adjust it to the books you have. Like using a snowman book for making a snowman, etc. Clear as mud? :)

2009 Advent Book + Activity Calendar
1. Snowmen at night: Build a real snowman or make a paper snowman out of cottonballs
2. What Star is this? Cut out Paper Snowflakes
3. Dora’s Christmas Parade: Make homemade musical instruments and have a parade
4. Franklin’s Christmas Gift: Prepare Secret Santa gifts and drop off
5. Winter Wishes: Write letters to Santa
6. Sam’s Snowy Day: Build a real snowman (if didn’t do it) or make snowman cupcakes
7. I’ve seen Santa: Handprint Santa on cards or gift tags
8. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer: Reindeer cookies or decorate reindeer craft
9. Merry Christmas Little Critter: Wrap presents
10. Nativity: Make handprint angels
11. This is the Stable: Sparkly pinecones
12. The First Night: Gingerbread playdough
13. The Biggest Snowball Ever: Borax snow flakes
14. A Shepard’s Gift: Mittens for Grammy
15. Polar Express: Make Jingle Bell Necklaces
16. Joy to the World: Jesus Cutting and Coloring Page
17. Come and See: Nativity Page
18. Santasaurus: Gumdrop Characters
19. Christmas Trolls: Decorate our tree
20. The littlest Christmas Elf: watch the movie the Happy Elf
21. Russell’s Christmas Magic: Pin the Nose on the Snowman Game
22. The Night Before Christmas: Snowman/ Reindeer cookies
23. The Christmas Story: Rip and glue Paper Plate Wreath (rip green paper and glue onto a paper plate)
24. The Story of Christmas: Felt Gingerbread Boy

Monday, November 30, 2009

32 things at 32

Since it's my birthday thought I'd share some things about myself....
1. I hate socks in bed. (Regan tries to sneak in with them.) I just can't stand socks in bed. Can't explain it, just HATE it.
2. I love avocados. I'd eat one every day if I could.
3. I am not a morning person. I wish I was. But I'm NOT.
4. I always shower in the dark in the morning (see #3)
5. I have been on a crafting kick lately. Made 3 things for my home and other crafts too.
6. I have a hard fast rule I've always lived by. No Christmas until after my birthday. December 1st starts Christmas. But this year I broke down and started listening to Christmas music the beginning of this week. And I even decorated a bit already.
7. I am taking cheer leading pictures for the University Cheer leading team tonight. Totally new experience for me. We'll see how it goes!
8. I'd love to book some more weddings to shoot with my brother Sean. I always have so much fun with him when we do them.
9. I love games. One of my very favorites is Bunko.
10. I have an insanely messy van. Like I'm always trying to open and close it fast so no one sees how messy it is. It's embarrassing!
11. I love cooking for people.
12. I even love cooking for big groups. I've always wanted to try my hand at catering for some big event.
13. I dream about my one day kitchen. White bead board cupboards. Full standing freezer next to a full standing fridge. (it is a dream!)
14. I have three sister in laws that live far away. And I wish all of them lived closer.
15. I don't see my family as much as I thought I would when we moved to Southern Alberta.
16. I "follow" a lot of blogs. Seriously. Lots. But you can just check one screen to see all the updates and it cuts out a lot of time.
17. I love the tv show Lie to Me and the Mentalist.
18. My new favorite thing is to rent movies on iTunes and watch them on my computer. Then I never get late fees.
19. Speaking of late fees I am horrible at getting back books to the library on time.
20. I really have a hard time buying pants. Either they come down way to low (and don't cover my baby leftovers) or they are way to short and are floods. It's a big problem.
21. A couple posts back I posted a list of questions where I said my favorite color was orange. It's not. I missed that question when I copied and pasted it. My real favorite color is green. Martha Stewart green.
22. I am going to sew Lucy a dress for Christmas. I already have the fabric and the pattern.
23. I am making mostly homemade presents this year. And I am SUPER excited about the one I found to make for my SIL....... :)
24. I am already stressed thinking about what to buy Reg for Christmas. He is absolutely the hardest person to buy stuff for. He wants nothing.
25. One of my favorite heroes is Nelson Mandella. I think he is an amazing man. I loved his autobiography.
26. I want a Cricut.
27. Our printer is on the fritz and it kinda drives me batty.
28. I love having blog followers. I know lots of people look at my blog (i have a counter thing that shows a map and the numbers and where the look, etc) and I think it'd be ever cooler to have lots of followers on there. But at the same time that'd be a little nerve wracking.... what if I write lame stuff. (like #19)
29. We watched Transformers 2 last night. It was like an ad for Megan Fox and a car commercial. And seriously if you were running in the dessert from a huge Decepticon WHY would you be holding has while you ran? That's gonna speed you up for sure....
30. I often worry that I am not worthy of the amazing life I have. Someone day someone is gonna realize I snuck in here and kick me out.
31. I love love love love love Micheal Buble's music. A lot.
32. Sometimes when people ask how old I am, my first response is still to say I am twenty five and...... I'm NOT

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Download Day

I made this last week for myself and thought I would share it.
I love having a menu plan. I am better prepared when it is 500pm and Eli is acting like he is going to die if he doesn't eat soon. I added in snacks too since I need to think ahead about planning healthy snacks.


Same deal as last download.
You can download it from flickr or you can download it by going to 4shared and downloading it by clicking on the image below. .


Thursday, November 26, 2009


What a sweet boy he is.
I had parent teacher interview tonight and his teacher told me he is such a joy to have in the classroom. I am around the classroom enough to see him flourishing. He is loving grade one. And I am grateful. He is participating and learning. I am just so proud. He is excelling at math and reading above his grade level. He is a very obedient, conscientious student. He is a kind, gentle, goofy boy. I love him tons. And I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grief is like a wave

Grief is like a wave.
An ever changing wave.
In the beginning it is the constant push and pull of loss you feel.
Constant reminders around you of what could have been,
remember when she said this...
remember when we went there...
A tall, strong, constant wave that is always around.
You get used to the consistency of the ache
the hole that is left
but still
at the same time you can't believe that it happened.
That it's your loss.

Over time the wave changes.
It's there, but you don't notice the noise of it everyday.
When you stop and think about it you always know.
If you are still and listen you can still hear the constant wave.

A wave can catch you off guard.
You see someone who walks like them, Who has hair the same color
Or something in their mannerisms remind you
sometimes you can't even really put your finger on it.
A song or smell instantly taking you somewhere you weren't expecting to go right then
But there you are, caught up in the wave

It can be a soft wave, a calm remembrance of moments you shared.
But sometimes it's a strong over powering wave.
One that knocks you over.
You are blindsided by the strength of it.
It surprises you.
Not that it's there, cause it's always there.
But that it was so strong.
And you are left with raw ache that seems so fresh
so new, so tender.

Last night I was remembering my little sister Kelly.
And it caught me off guard.
I was ill prepared for the emotions that came.
From a simple statement someone else made about the sister relationship they see between their daughters.
Smack it hit me.
Right where it hurts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Honestly Creative Life with Kristi

Hey there! This is Kristi and I normally blog over at Visible Voice. But today I am lucky to be able to share some love here on Rhonda's blog! So fun!
So when Rhonda asked me if I'd like to do a guest post I was racking my brain as to what I should do. I was really wanting to have trick you all into thinking I'm super cool. (That's just the kinda stuff one should admit once in awhile. It's good for the soul.) And I've been wanting to take on this awesome art technique that I've seen in blog land. So I was all like "Oh yeah that's the one! That's gonna make for good coolness factor!"

So I did it and was impressed with myself for attempting it was a total artistic FLOP.

But I decided that in blog land we often only show our best face and our most perfect creations and I thought for a change I'd share my mistake! Because life isn't perfect and sometimes artistic ventures may not work out the way you like. But I like to embrace these sort of things.

I saw this idea first here.

And the technique is called Photo Transfer. If you haven't heard of it before you essentially can transfer photos, or text or anything that you can print to paper onto something canvas. If you HAVE heard of it before....please email me. Remember...this project was a flop.!

Then I did a search and I found this fab ladies blog and found out how to do the technique this way and this is what I based this project off of.

So here's what I used to do this:

A painting that my cute kid did.

Some text that I printed out on my ink jet printer.

Some Gel Medium. (I found this at Michael's on my last trip out to the real world. Did I mention that I live in isolation? Yeah that's a whole other post kids...that's a whole other post.)

And a cute kid. Hi cute kid!

One of these isn't necessary for you to do this project...however it may also not be a choice you get to make.

Oh and a supply of stickers for the cute kid helps as well. Have 'atter buddy!

Now that the kid is taken care of the next step is to take some of the Gel Medium and just spread it all over your canvas.

I started with a thin coat but I think you need to not be super generous but not be super cheap either. Clear as mud right? Thought so.

Next lay your print out - ink side down - on top of your Gel Medium covered canvas.

Just go ahead and pretend there is a photo of me doing this right here.

Then you need to smooth out the bubbles. Now it's probably best to use a brayer rollie pollie thingy but I forgot to buy one of those and since it's a hop skip and a -hour and a half plane- ride to the stores I opted for my pampered chef stone scraper.

It really wasn't that successful. This is when I started to get nervous. This is when the fact that this just may not work out started to creep in.

Once you've smoothed out the paper, let it dry for about an hour.

Then you have to do something super weird.

You have to wet it. You should use a spray bottle or something along those lines. But I like to do things wrong so I used a wet dish cloth.

Then you have to rub away the paper and as you rub it off the ink will stay on your Canvas.

And what will be left is the ink, transparent on top of what you've created underneath.

Okay did you see one of the major flops in this design? Look again....

"i love you" is backwards. Worst part is...I thought of this...went to print it out so that it would work out it...and thought no no I did it right.

Yeah...dumb blonde moment.

Next thing that went wrong is that some of the text rubbed off and the color didn't pop out much because I couldn't rub the paper off properly. And then some of the Gel Medium needs to be cut off the edges.

Moral of the just wasn't what I expected.

But with this "flop" I did some research and found a "fix" and a method that would work if you so wish to try this. I think it will be way better!!

And it comes in video form! Yay!

Because does has a fun effect and looks super cool! You must go see Promise Tangman's blog and Lil Blue Boo's blog to see what I mean.

Sometimes it's fun to just think outside of the box and try something a little bit different. Be sure to watch on my blog....because someday.....someday I may get it right. Maybe........but I did another one last night and it turned out worse. But that was before I found the above youtube video! We shall see my next try someday!

Thanks so much Rhonda for having me. It was super fun to share my mistake with you all!

Happy creating....or flopping...whatev's!