Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Esther was baptized last Sunday night. A lot of my family came to the service, which was nice, and Esther wore the dress that I was baptized in, a million years ago. I like to think that she will be 'standing on my shoulders;' having the heritage of faith that I have, and growing beyond that. Surpass your mommy, Esther!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And She's Here!

Esther Johanne... 7 pounds of pure Horsman.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Third Trimester Triple Chocolate Brownies

Foremost in my mind, of course, is the fact that I have only 3 weeks to go until my due date. Some days, it can't come soon enough, as I struggle not to complain about my aching bones and sleeplessness. Other days, like today, I don't mind a bit. I slept through the night last night (a victory already), and I'm feelin' fiiine.

It may be the triple chocolate brownie I just ate, though. There is more caffine in these brownies than you might expect. Whenever kids want a piece, I warn their mothers. They never believe me, but I always try.

One day last week, as I stumbled out to the van, dreading running errands and doing laundry, I decided that, in their place, stimulants like coffee and chocolate are not bad at all. It's not as if I rely on them for daily life. And so I made these.

3rd Trimester Triple Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup AP flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup President's Choice Decadent Chocolate Chips (major source of caffine)

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9x9 inch pan.
2. Mix first 3 ingredients, beat in eggs.
3. Combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips), gradually add to wet ingredients.
4. Mix in chocolate chips, pour into pan, and bake for 20-25 min.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup cocoa

Then add:

1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp hot coffee

Mix it up some more, and spread on brownies.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Pinch

Some people find that having less money than average is hard. They wish they could afford those jeans for their children. They buy all the pink sticker items at Superstore, even if they don't usually eat 12 cucumbers in a week. They drive 20 minutes across town to buy 20 cans of the tuna that is on sale at 4 for $3. That's a savings of at least 15%, you know. They feel the pinch.

I've been discovering this attitude lately. A few people very close to me grew up with very little, and knew it. "Being poor" was always a restricting factor, to hear them talk. They remember scrimping and saving to buy the things that everybody else seemed to be able to buy easily. Life was hard, and would have been easier if they had just a little more money.

Seeing this attitute at work made me realize one thing. I can't think that way.

For me, frugality is a sort of game you play, even if you don't have to. You buy on sale, trying to make the grocery money stretch as far as possible, even if there is lots to spend. You rejoice when Lindor chocolates are marked down after Christmas. You make your curtains yourself, re-purposing fabric from another project. Your coffee table used to be something else; you're not sure what, but the top was only 4$ at Value Village, and the legs were on an old side table someone was giving away at just the right moment. Your favorite shades are sometimes someone else's mis-tints. You "buy used, and save the difference," as Michelle Duggar says.

And all the while, you feel terribly thrifty, honing your money-saving skills every chance you get.
Life isn't about how little you have, it's about how much you can do with what you do have!
Don't pinch me.

Does anyone care that the dress was borrowed? She's fabulous!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In honor of an Anniversary

(Dictated by Kevin, a *long* time ago)

It was the first time he went skiing. He didn’t like skiing. He wasn’t ready for it. He wasn’t built for it. He wasn’t the right sort of person for this at all.

People who ski are a special breed. They keep things like snow-pants in their closets. And toques. They know the difference between ski gloves and regular gloves. That sort of thing. Jeremy, as he stood there at the top of the hill, his leather jacket open and flapping in the wind, his gloves no protection from the cold, the cuffs on his jeans fluttering with each gust – Jeremy knew he was no skier.

Kevin knew it, too. Actually, everybody knew it. But Kevin especially. Kevin had his own skis, and the right kind of gloves, and yes, snow-pants in his closet. He watched, fascinated, as Jeremy slipped and slid and crashed his way down to the lift. What was he doing? And why?

He had been discussing the matter with his roommate James, had worked out his own private theory about why. He’d heard a rumor about Jeremy – that Jeremy had asked Nicoline out, the week before. That Nicoline hadn’t been very encouraging. That Jeremy hadn’t given up. Kevin, who had his eye on one of the Stam girls himself, found the whole situation fascinating.

He looked at Nicoline. She was adjusting her toque; about to ski down the hill. He looked at Jeremy. He was falling. Again. The lengths a man will go for a female.

Jeremy lurched down the easiest hill, 10 feet at a time, and Kevin went down beside him. Every now and then he’d smile encouragingly in Jeremy’s direction. Poor guy. He was all over the place. He was falling all over the place. It was painful to watch. It didn’t help, seeing a younger guy like Jasper, wearing the same kind of skis, flying down the hill like a speeding bullet, without a care in the world.

Eventually, Jeremy made it down. And the next time they reached the top, Nicoline happened to be there, and she skied down with them, 10 feet at a time.

Kevin wasn’t sure what to think of the whole situation, but he’s been around, and he knows enough about girls to know that - of course - Nicoline would be uncomfortable being left alone with Jeremy, seeing as she didn’t like him.

So, being the nice guy that he is, Kevin stayed with them as they skied. When they reached the bottom of the hill and went back up together, he went, too. It wasn’t the way he’d anticipated spending the evening, but it was alright.

On their fifth long run down together, they met up with James, John, and Dinah at the lift. James, unobtrusively sliding over to make room for Kevin beside the other Stam girl, convinced him to leave Nicoline and Jeremy to come up the hill by themselves. It was just one ride, after all. Nicoline would be alright.

The lift started up the hill. Kevin sighed and settled his skis on the bar. “I’ve just been going down with Nic and Jeremy.” He sighed again. “He’s not really good at this. I wouldn’t mind skiing straight down a hill without a break every 10 feet. But I guess Nicoline would probably be uncomfortable if we all left her alone with Jeremy. Don’t you think so?” He looked at Dinah.

She had been watching the skiers beneath them, but now she turned to him. She opened her mouth, and closed it again. She looked down. The air was crisp and cold. The sun was setting, and the snow-making machines were on.

There are times, in this life, when you know that you’re about to be told something. Times when you know that whatever it is that the person in front of you is going to say, you’re going to listen. Times when you know, from the way they are considering their response, that you won’t want to miss a word of it.

And Kevin – Kevin, who has been around this world for 25 years now; who’s been in a lot of situations, and seen a lot of life – Kevin knew that this was one of those times. “Surely,” he thought, “if anyone knows the right moment to keep quiet and listen, it’s me.”

He watched Dinah as she looked down at the skiers. Finally, she looked up at him. She smiled. “You know, Kevin,” she said slowly, “I think, if Nicoline was uncomfortable, she’d just stop skiing with Jeremy. I’m sure she’s happy with where she is… not skiing, but watching Jeremy fall down the hill...”

John and James, on either side, laughed. They thought it was funny.

But Kevin was quiet. To him, what Dinah really meant, was, “Hey, Kevin – why don’t you just leave them alone…” To cover his confusion, he looked back towards the lift seat behind them, where Nicoline and Jeremy were. They were close together, probably for more protection against the cold. John and Dinah followed his gaze.

“Oh, look!” said John. “He’s got his arm around her shoulders!”

“Oh – move your skis – we’re at the top; it’s time to lift the bar.”

From that point on, that night, Kevin didn’t ski with Nicoline and Jeremy at all. He’d see them going down the hill, Jeremy, his coat’s zipper broken, leather jacket flapping in the wind; jeans - soaked beyond belief - temperatures well below freezing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Playing Portrait Studio

This is so much fun! I told Juliana (she's staying with us this week) that she could have a 'prize' if she did extra schoolwork. She did, and so we did a portrait studio, complete with Picnik edits.

Monday, May 16, 2011

And again...

Fabulous news! Kevin and I finished the deck on Saturday. He even made a gate with a latch, so that Katherine will have a nice safe spot to play in. I am so excited to have this, and proud of Kevin (though that may sound cliche). He tells me he's not sure what he's going to do to make the railing of the deck, and then he makes a gorgeous one. He tells me he doesn't know where to start on a gate, and builds a nice sturdy one in less than an hour. Obviously "not sure what I'm going to do" means something different to his male mind than it means to mine!
I must do a picture post one of these days, with his new signpost, deck railing, and our crown molding and wall upstairs. This place looks better every day. Kevin gets the itch to improve something, and it happens. I used to tell him that we didn't need it (save that 200$ for something else, I'd think), but one day I was talking a fellow SAHM and changed my ways. She was talking about her husband buying something fairly expensive and announcing it sheepishly, not sure how she would take it. "Well," she said to me, "he's the one that makes the money, and if he thinks we can afford it, then it's not a problem."
*Lightbulb on.* We sure can!
So now I sit back and enjoy it. Life is good!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easy Roman Blind Pattern

I've been struggling to make Roman Blinds for our upstairs windows since we moved here. I think the main problem was that I started with a pattern from Martha Stewart online.
I should have known.
I'm not her type.

The pattern introduced random parts with strange names like batten, without further explanation.

In my defense, I really couldn't find anything else online.

I started one blind, then stopped in despair and put it in the closet. I'll finish it before winter comes and we need more insulation on the windows, I thought. Then, I'll finish it by summer, when the light wakes us up too early. Then, by winter, for sure, this time. And now summer is coming again, and Kevin has been going downstairs after 5am and finishing his sleep on the couch, because it's darker down there.

So today I finished it.

But not with Martha. A friend sent me a pattern, and (although I secretly thought it would be just as hard, from my initial scan of the pattern), it was great! I had to make a few adjustments, in order to reconcile Martha to this pattern, but the finished blind is suitable for hanging (behind a valance in the daytime, fortunately, and in the dark, at night.

I've already started cutting the fabric for the next window. I'll follow the new pattern from start to finish, this time, which should simplify everything.

That was this morning. Now, it's lunch time, and Katherine is in her high chair, putting away vast quantities of food, and I'm snatching a moment online, to check for pictures of blinds with Google Image Search - should I be winding the thread around the little white circles?

I click on a likely image. "Make Shades Out of Mini Blinds," the title says. Hmm.

These look *so* easy! Glue, fabric, an old mini blind...

...on to Plan C!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Acute Appendicitis with Complications

Well, we're home from the hospital. It's been 11 days they've had Kevin locked up in there, but finally, he's home. Not recovered yet, not by a long shot, but getting there.
Wednesday night, he told me not to come in to spend the day with him. "I'm going to see if I can talk my way out of here tomorrow. Wait till I call you before you come."
It wasn't till about 12 that the phone rang. "Dinah;" Kevin said hoarsely, "I'm out."
"They let you out already?" I said.
"No," he whispered in that same hoarse voice. "I'm hiding down in the parking garage. How soon can you come?"

p.s. I know the picture doesn't really relate to the post, but just be glad that you're not seeing the one with all 4 scars that Kevin has ready...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Little House on Lewis Mountain, Part 2

I like my house.

I just wanted to say that.

I like my little family, my smallish kitchen, the dark chocolate in the drawer, my purple t-shirts.
I love that I don't have to go to work outside our home when so many women don't have a choice anymore.
I think my babies are the nicest babies ever, our chickens fabulous (free eggs!), my property full of potential, and I never want to return my husband for refund. Really.

Deserving none of it, loving all of it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Medium-Sized House on Lewis Mountain?"

We're seriously talking about building on to this little house. 'Expanding,' I like to call it.
Here are a few pictures of us all.




Mommy (4th month):

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Katherine at Fourteen Months

Very excited about her new sled from Grampie; also very cold...

That's a smile, behind the soother. She's all done outside; letting herself in! "Look what I can do, Mommy! I can make the door open, all by myself!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life Beyond the Pavement's Edge (Part 1)

In summer, living beyond the pavement's end is idyllic. We work on our property, making it more orderly. I go down to the garden in the early morning to check on the tomatoes and find myself staying too long, pulling out weeds as the sun comes up over the ridge.
In winter, it's beautiful. The snow on the trees contrasts with the winter's extra blue in the sky, and I walk up to the neighbour's and rock a while, listening to her stories of growing up here; sharing Katherine's latest achievements.
Spring is even better, as things start to warm up. The warm micro-climate in front of the house invites us outside. I start seeds inside, which never make it to the garden, but they grow on top of the fridge and make me feel thrifty.
And Fall - I love the fall. It's a time for harvesting and feasting. Jack's Pumpkin Shack fills their roadside stand, and I pick apples from a forgotten orchard. I bake. Apple pies, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, new salsa, and pickles all make their way through my kitchen. Some I keep, some I let Kevin try. We think Thanksgiving.

Sometimes, when I'm enjoying the thought of all that I have here, I wonder what Kevin's view of this place is. Would it be very different from mine? Would his vignette consist of hunting, home repairs, snow-clearing, and relaxing in 'his' chair?
And Katherine; what would she see? Pooh, book, mommy, daddy, cheerios, and dolly. Probably that... she's living the good life.

As we all are.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2 Years Today!

I am so happy to have been married this long! Living with Kevin has always been wonderful, but now there's a relaxed-ness about it that I am really enjoying. We're more comfortable with each other, I guess. That may bring up a mental image of a couple married so long they look the same, but that's not what I meant.
It's something else; something outsiders might not see. We laugh more. It's easier to plan times that we'll both enjoy. I know to make him mashed potatoes; he knows to kiss me first when he walks in the door.
Life is good.

Est. January 1, 2009