Monday, 28 November 2011

Duck feet Mondays

There is a little craft shop in our neighborhood that sells adorable handmade things for babies and children. Often, whenever I am in need of a gift for a new baby I make my way over to this little shop and nine times out of ten I find exactly what I am looking for. 

Take these cuties for example:

I have bought at least ten pairs of these duck feet over my years living in this neighborhood.  The first time I saw them I wanted to buy the whole basket full. They've been a favorite baby gift of mine ever since.  Naturally, I had to buy a pair for my boy, and lucky for me he loves wearing them.  Thinking about him running around in them shouting "duck feet, duck feet!" gave me the Monday smile I needed today.  It's just so darn cute seeing him scurry around with these two yellow slippers.

Other weekend memories that made my Monday tolerable included, playing in leaf piles.

Peek-a-boo at dinner (though I wasn't so happy at the time. He was supposed to be sitting in his high chair diligently eating every last morsel of his meal - it never happened that night).

And welcoming Advent.

Yes, he is decorating the tree with his choo choo trains.

Happy Monday everyone! 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Baking with my boy

The other day, late on a cold, dark and rainy afternoon, I was looking for a way to entertain Jake in our apartment. We had played with every toy we own and read at least a dozen books before I remembered this little gem of a cookie recipe that I had never made but was always meaning to try.

Jake has never baked with me before, but I thought this was as good an afternoon as any to introduce him to the joys of cookie baking, and I am happy to say he passed with flying colours!  He stood on his little stool and dumped in measured out cups of flour and sugar, and stole dough covered cranberries out of the mixing bowl when he thought I wasn't looking.  It was a great first experience, and with Christmas cookie season just around the corner I am sure it won't be his last chance to wield a spatula this year.

Here is the recipe: Orange Cranberry Drops

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon orange zest (I just used the zest of one orange)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried craberries

1. Pre-heat oven 375 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheet
2. In a medium bowl, cream togetehr the sugars and butter. Stir in the egg, orange juice, extract and zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix into the orange mixture. Stir in cranberries. Drop cookie dough in heaping teaspoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are browned.

Delicious I say, and the flavors are a perfect compliment to the season that is fast approaching. So far they've been favored by all who've bitten into them, especially this guy:

They say things always taste better when you've had a hand in making them yourself.

Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Just another long weekend

Last week my Boyd boys were sick.  It was hard. There was fever, tylenol, very little sleeping, even less eating, more tylenol, rashes, and one oatmeal bath after another.

I was lucky enough to avoid getting sick, but somehow it was worse seeing my two guys out for the count for more than a week.  There is a very helpless feeling that comes when your family is sick.  Other than administering fever suppressants and making homemade chicken soup, there was nothing more I could do but watch them listlessly flop from one couch to another, uncomfortable and hurting.

It was unpleasant indeed.  But late last week the worst of it was behind us and a long weekend loomed ahead.  Healthy again, we set out to create some long weekend memories that left our week trapped indoors and on the couch in the dust.

It included walks through magical, dewy forests.

Romps in the fallen leaves on windy beaches.

A visit to a train museum that was full of wonderful surprises.

Like a ride on their mini train, and an up close look at the Royal Hudson steam engine.  She might be retired but let me tell you, she's still got it.

But most of all this weekend included one very happy and healthy boy.  Which was the very best medicine of all.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

When life gives you lemons....

Autumn windstorm at Spanish Banks.                               
Make lemonade.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Chocolate cravings and the view outside my window

I realize the Muffin Monday posts have kind of hit the fan.  I am vaguely disappointed in myself for not making it through Fall as I intended, but keep hope alive that I will one day be organized enough again to bake on a weekly basis for an entire season.

Today however, as I was lounging on the couch in one of those rare moments of solitude, the spirit moved me in the form of a deep irresistible chocolate craving, so fierce and demanding that no amount of left over halloween candy could satiate it.

This is what resulted:

And the recipe for these babies my dear friends is as follows: grab wallet, head to nearest grocery store, buy a box of chocolate brownie mix, go home, make cookies out of it.

Shameful I know.  It's not that I am not against baking mixes as a rule, it is more that since I had a child I want to make an effort to fill his childhood with memories, scents and tastes of wholesome and homemade baked treats. Muffins and cookies and cakes that he'll long for in his college years and look forward to every time he comes back home for a visit.  There is just something about things that are made from scratch, and in your mama's kitchen, that are good for the soul, and my goal as Jake's mama is to fill his childhood with as much of these as possible.

But today there would be no organic carrot muffins, or orange cranberry cookies. Today was all about getting my chocolate fix.  And I can happily say that this indulgence was worth every last unpronounceable ingredient on the box.

On another note, Autumn is glorious here today.  All bright skies, and crisp earthy air. The colors are on fire now, with yellow and orange and burnt reds saturating the view out of our living room window. 

Spectacular. Really.