Thursday, September 30, 2010

she is two...

Where did the time go?  
Our little Miss Magdelyn is two years old already.

Grammy joined all her little friends...neighbours...
and cousins at a birthday celebration yesterday.

Maggie to most of her friends...
happens to find frogs quite amusing.

And so it seemed there was a lot of green at the party...
and a lot of hopping around as well.

The kids loved the bouncy room that was provided for their enjoyment.

And when they weren't jumping...
they were honing their art skills...

...or eating from the green buffet!

Happy Birthday happens to be her favorite song...
and to have it sung to her was beyond special!

Birthday blessings to my youngest grandgirlie...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

going green today....

Green...what I see from my window.

It's a wonderful change from the grey of the recent past! 
The rain has stopped...and the sun is shining down on us.
 By the end of the day our grass fields will be lying in windrows...
the last cut of the year.

Green...and delicious...the beans we had for dinner last night.
If you are looking for a tasty bean dish...
check out the recipe for Yaletown Beans on the Lepp Farm Market webpage.
Most delicious!

Green...the colour of the cakes I am decorating this morning.... go with the green theme of  my grandgirlie's second birthday celebration.

I'll tell you about that...tomorrow.

Enjoy the day...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ranen meets Ranen...

Ranen...pronounced a Hebrew name meaning 'joyful'. It is also my granddaughter's name...and until very recently she was the only Ranen in my world.

Two months ago, our family friend Marlies, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl...and they named her Ranen. Our Ranen was quite taken with the idea that someone else shared her name...and looked forward to meeting her. Yesterday Marlies came for coffee with baby Ranen...and Lisa came with Ranen and Micah.

And so...Ranen met  baby Ranen.  They smiled at each other...

...and big Ranen wondered whether she might take baby Ranen out to the swings.  We suggested she wait for another year or so! They both agreed to that.

Joyful...a wonderful name to live up to!

Monday, September 27, 2010

a whistler weekend getaway...

It had been in the works for a few months now...a girl's weekend away in Whistler.  The plan was that we would be taking our bikes...and doing some cycling along the myriad of trails around Whistler.  The plan was also that the sun would be shining!  As the weekend approached...the rain was falling and the forecast for Whistler was less than promising.

But we had faith and packed our bikes as planned on Friday...leaving for Whistler by the rain. 

Whistler was once a three-hour drive from our place.  On Friday it took us all afternoon...what with traffic delays...and a Tim Horton's break...

...and a stop at Brandywine Falls.  Though I have seen those falls many times...I'm always game to stop for another quick peek!

Our lodging was everything we had hoped it would be...and so 'Whistler!'  The rain continued all night...but about the time we were ready to leave for our bike ride the next day...

...the clouds lifted a little...and we carried on our merry way!  The paved valley trail winds for 35 kms. in and around the village of Whistler...ideal for leisurely cycling and sightseeing. 

We followed it past lakes...

...ponds courses

...and old growth forests.

And we discovered that we can repair our own bikes.  What a team!

Though we had planned to check out the 'Peak to Peak' gondola...we could see from afar that there was no action between the peaks.  With a big storm approaching...the gondola was down for the day. No worries! We found plenty to do once we arrived in the village.

The fall colours were amazing...and we were so thankful the rains held off until our bike excursion was over (almost!).  Then the skies opened up...and we didn't care! 

We had an excuse for a wonderful weekend getaway to Whistler.  Janet is celebrating a milestone birthday...soon...and we thought we should help her get the celebrations started!  It was a good time...all around. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

the fall garden...

The growing season may be winding down...
but the fruits are still there for the picking.  

We are enjoying everbearing raspberries most every day...
and the blackberry bushes are loaded. 

Our one little apple tree...with five varieties of apples...
still has a few apples left to be harvested.

The grapes are at their best. 

The fall mums are bursting into bloom.

Sunsets...crimson leaves...and corn fields ready for harvest.
Autumn is upon us...
and though I'm always reluctant to turn the page...
I'm liking it!

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
~ William Cullen Bryant

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

sew what?

My sewing machine has not seen much action for awhile...but yesterday it got dusted off.  It all started when four girls showed up on my porch on Saturday afternoon...with scraps of fabric in their arms...wondering if I might teach them to sew.  Well, that seemed like a fine idea...but the timing was a little off, since I was baking and had company coming for dinner.  So I suggested they come back one afternoon this week...right after school.  So we went through all the days of the week...and someone had somewhere they had to be each day.  We finally settled on Wednesday...knowing Emme would have to leave early for gymnastics. 

So...yesterday was the day...and I was prepared.  I picked up some fun fabrics...and they each made a pillow case.  First they learned to sew a straight line on fabric scraps...and then they sewed the straight seams of their pillow case.  One trip down each seam with the serger...a little pressing and their projects were complete.

Emme's was done before she left for her class.

The others took their time...and walked home across the fields with their finished pillowcases.  How fun to have neighbourhood play with...and sew with.  From the sewing room...they moved to the ditch bank...where there is a fort is under construction.  These carefree days of 'summer' will end far too soon!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

doing the salsa...

Yesterday was the annual salsa marathon.  What that means is that I pretty much set the day aside for making salsa. 


Forty pounds of tomatoes to peel and chop...40 jalapeno peppers to mince....a big bowl of onions to make me cry...and all the other goodies that add a little zip and flavour. 

And since I have done this for so many years...I should know the ingredient list off by heart.  So how was it that I was about ready to put the first batch of salsa on to simmer...and realized I had no green peppers?   Since I don't exactly live near a store...that is somewhat inconvenient!  But I thought I would just whip down to the country kiosk nearby that sells peppers...and so I did.  They had red and yellow peppers...but not green.  On to the next roadside stand...another mile and a half down the road.  They had plenty of red and yellow peppers as well...but no green.  By now I had added an extra five miles to my trip to the produce market in town...and that is where I went in the end.  And so my salsa making had a little interruption...but eventually got back on track.

Heidi came to help after lunch...and brought along empty jars...which she plans to take home full.  That's how it works.  Oh...and for our afternoon snack we had crackers and salsa...the last of the 2009 stock.  How's that for timing?

The farmer's almanac says we are in for a cold winter.  We are ready...we have some heat in a jar!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

eating local...

Over the weekend...I took in a local food festival which featured celebrity chefs on the main stage and samplings of menu items from popular local restaurants. 

I watched Rob Feenie...Canada's Iron Chef...demo the Red Kuri Squash Soup that is found on the menu at all the Cactus Club Restaurants, where he happens to be the Food Concepts Architect (nice title!).  I didn't feel much like lining up to sample his soup...

...but I took home an autographed recipe card and thought I would gave it the taste-test in my own kitchen.

This is my adaptation of his soup...with which I took many liberties!   His recipe was a very rough guideline at best...since ingredients were listed by weight, which means little to me.  I used butternut squash, since that was handy...and apples instead of parsnips...and I forgot to add the carrot.  Though his recipe lists no cream...I saw him generously pouring in heavy cream...and so I did likewise.   We quite enjoyed our Rob Feenie inspired soup on a 'soupy Monday'! 

This has been the view from my front porch much too often this September! 

One more thing.  If you happen to live in my part of the might be interested in knowing that the Cactus Club is opening a restaurant in Abbotsford next spring. Oh...and if you sure to check out their washrooms.  They are always special! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

going green down on the farm...

We have a new tractor over at the that suits the driver to a tee!

And here's the is green in every sense of the word.  It is battery operated...uses no fuel.  Considering the size of the annual fuel bill over there...that's a good thing!  The down side is that it needs to be plugged in to be re-charged quite frequently...and not always when it is convenient.

I went over the day he took delivery of his new tractor...and noticed he had already found the puddles.  He was having a lot of fun...that's what tractors are for, right?

Maelyn came for a visit the next we walked over to the farm thinking her cousin might just want to give her a ride on his new piece of equipment.  Too bad...he was not around...

...but we checked out the barns and found Uncle Jeremy working out back on a tractor.  She declined a she held her ears. 

Since there was no tractor ride to be had...she opted for the swing back at my place.  We already know the command..."high"!

Her mom took her back to the farm later...and Ryder was more than willing to give his cousin a ride on his quiet, green tractor.  Apparently they chatted to each other as they rode around the yard.  I'm sure she was saying, "go fast"!

Have a good Monday...

Friday, September 17, 2010

hat trick...a napkin folding tutorial

 Any table can be transformed into a festive one with the delightful touch of folded napkins.  This can be one of the simplest and least expensive ways of decorating your table...and most folded napkins work equally well with paper or cloth.

There are many ways to fold a napkin...most of which I have never learned.  There is one way, however...that I can pretty much do in my sleep. Weddings, banquets and dinners...I have folded hundreds of napkins this way. The finished napkin looks rather like a crown... the ones you see on this table.  Since I have people asking me from time to time how this is actually done...I will attempt to show you.

  1. Fold napkin in half to form a rectangle.
  2. Fold top right corner down to bottom edge.
  3. Fold bottom left corner up to top edge.
  4. Turn napkin over.
  5. Fold bottom edge up to top triangle will extend below bottom edge.
  6. Fold napkin along the top edge as you turn it over...a second triangle will fall free.
  7. Fold right quarter toward the centre, tucking the point under the long fold.  
  8. The napkin will look like illustrated in #8.
  9. Turn napkin over.  Fold right quarter toward the centre and tuck in the point.
At this point, you have a flat hat with twin peaks...which can be stored like this until ready to use. To place on table, open up from the bottom to complete your 'bishop's hat'.  If it all looks Greek to you...check out this tutorial that I found on-line...which explains it much better than I could.  Pull out a few napkins and follow'll soon be a pro.
And while I am at it...let me share with you another intricate way of folding a napkin... which I just learned from my friend Julie a few weeks ago. I came home and practiced a few times. I won't be doing this one in my sleep, let me assure you...but I think I have it figured out.

  1. Lay the napkin flat on the table, and bring each of the four corners down to meet at the centre spot.
  2. Without turning the napkin, fold the corners down again in the same way.
  3. Now turn the napkin over so the underside is up...and again bring each corner down to meet at the centre spot.
  4. Now, hold a small glass firmly on the centre of the napkin to hold the last four folds securely in place. Next...reach underneath and pull each of the four corner points to the outside. Then pull out the remaining four on each side.   

You should end up with a napkin that resembles a flower.  It looks rather like a nest...the perfect spot to add a little dinner favour.  My daughter was over yesterday...and we played with napkins...just for fun.  It seems to work better with paper napkins...but I rather like the look of the cloth ones as well.

Why not include one other simple way of folding a napkin? 

It's great for a buffet service...with the cutlery already tucked into a napkin.

  1. Fold the napkin in half to form a rectangle.
  2. Place folded edge at the bottom.
  3. Bring top edge of the first layer to the bottom.
  4. Turn the napkin over...and bring left edge to centre. 
  5. Fold this section over on itself two more times in the same direction.
Tuck the cutlery (or I would say if I were American) into the pocket...and place on the buffet table.  This method works best with a large napkin...and one that is printed on both sides.

And that, my friends, is your napkin folding lesson for today.  Have a fun weekend!