Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Puffed Wheat Squares

I know in most parts of North America, there's been a big heat wave.  However, I live in NORTH America.  No heat wave here, people.  In fact, I just came back from a Relief Society social, and one friend put on a second coat.  Over her first coat.  That's right, two coats.  I was wearing long jeans and a thick cable knit sweater, and I was chilly and had goose bumps.  That's right, goose bumps. 

Anyway, for the rest of you who are actually experiencing summer, I have another no bake cookie recipe.  This is for Puffed Wheat Squares, which I have never had anywhere else but Alberta.  I'm not sure where I got this recipe, it's just one of those things everyone knows how to make, like Rice Krispy Squares.  The kids like it a lot, and it makes a really great lunch box treat as well.

Puffed Wheat Squares:

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 cups puffed wheat

Combine first five ingredients in medium saucepan.  Stir continually on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Pour over puffed wheat in large bowl, mix together until all the puffed wheat is coated.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan, pressing down very firmly.  Chill for 2 hours and cut into squares. 

Freezing Leftover Chicken for Stock

There's no way I'm going to share a picture of this one, it's just not pretty.  Enough said.

My tip this week is about saving the leftovers of a roast chicken for making stock.  The leftover bones and meat and stuff, you know.  I keep a big freezer bag in the deep freeze, and every time I have a roast chicken,  I wrap it in cling wrap and add it to the freezer bag.  When I have four or five carcasses, I make stock.  Because there are so many bones and bits of this and that, it makes a better quality stock.  Not pretty, I know, but useful and frugal.  Ta Da!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 100 Days Challenge

Our family has decided to challenge ourselves physically.  I know it's not New Year's Day, or the beginning of a month, or anything like that.  I like to jump right in wherever I am.  (It's just a coincidence it's a Monday, really!)   

Scott and I decided to encourage our family to participate in a 100 Days Challenge.  This means that for the next 100 days, we will aim to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.  Charts will be involved, and stickers.  And a little festivity at the end of the 100 days.  Go, Team MacIntyre!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

"True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of ones companion." - Gordon B. Hinckley

photo:  Scott and Jen, Blomidon, NS, August 2010, taken by Sarah M.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:  and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them..." - Psalm 127:  3-5.

photo:  Jeff, Sarah, Justin, Josh, Jason, Herring Cove Look-Off, July 2010, taken by Scott M.

"For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."  - F.S. Pierpoint.

photo:  Clam Harbour, NS, July 2010, taken by Scott M.

I'm taking part in This Good Life's Attitude of Gratitude Link Up today.  I am grateful for my darling, Scott, who is so kind and thoughtful, and not only is husband, father and sweetheart, but also is my best friend.  I am grateful for five healthy, happy, handsome children, who make my life the adventure it is!  I am grateful for the beautiful world we live in, and for our Heavenly Father. 

A Boy

"A boy is the only thing God can use to make a man."
-author unknown

photo:  Jason's first birthday, September 17, 1993

Flylady Review

I'd like to spend my reviewing time wisely this week, by passing along the link to a website that I have found most helpful over the last many years.  I'm talking about the Flylady, baby!

What is Flylady, you ask?  Flylady is a lovely lady from the southern United States named Marla.  She is a doll!  Marla has created a website that shares her home organization system.  You see, she was one of those people who have a problem with clutter, and in desperation came up with a home keeping system that is so practical, one has to try it to believe it.  Mostly she focuses on forming good habits, and getting rid of clutter.  Because you can't organize clutter.  She is also very positive and encouraging, helping people take babysteps to a neat and organized home.  This is not a perfectionist system, one of her big pet peeves is perfectionism, which she believes leads to discouragement, disappointment, and a messy home. 

I started using her system years ago, when we were planning a big cross country move.  And if you're moving across Canada, that's a pretty big move.  I've been following her ever since, receiving daily email reminders about which weekly zone we're in, with little mini missions for each day.  She does have products available to buy, to help support her site, but I'm dirt cheap and don't order stuff over the internet. 

I invite you all to check out Flylady, I hope you find it as practical and useful as I have.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Dreams

In January, I dream of growing things.  I make long lists and draw up plans.  I dream of the taste of a fresh sun-warmed tomato.  In July, these dreams seem more like a possibility.

In February, I imagine the taste of raspberries picked right off the bush and popped in my mouth.  Jars of jam waiting to be made.  Raspberry sauce over vanilla icecream.  By the end of next week, this will be a reality.

In March, I start buying seeds.  Pole beans, nasturtiums, green onions, sunflowers, sugar sprint peas.  In July I can crunch on pea pods and admire the bright red flowers on the scarlet runner beans.

In April, I start hoping the last of the snow will disappear, and poke around in the garden beds for signs of life.  In July the delphiniums are taller than I am.

July makes everything seem possible.  All the hopes and dreams of the winter come into fruition.  When spring came, this little rosebush was so badly damaged by our cold winter, I thought it had died.  I cut it back hard, almost to the ground, said a prayer, and miraculously it made a remarkable comeback, and now is loaded with buds.  Even more than last year.  Gardens can teach you to never give up on a lost cause. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

I made four of these pies last Wednesday, and delivered three of them to neighbors.  Then, on Sunday, people asked for the recipe.  So here it is!

I got this recipe off the website 

Here's the link:


Family Calendar

Here's one thing I can't live without, a necessary tool for a large family.  A great big calendar on the fridge, with stickers if possible!  We have been using a family calendar for over a decade now, and it is indispensible.  I'm not going to recommend any particular brand, just make sure it has big spaces for writing on, especially if you have a big family.  I usually write our menu on our calendar as well, but decided to wing it for July.  Our kids know, if it's not on the calendar, it's not happening!  A calendar is only as good as the information written on it.  A calendar only works if you look at it every morning and every night (Thanks, Flylady!).  My kids now check the calendar themselves every day, and write their own activities on the calendar.  I know we're in a high tech world, and a calendar is as low tech as you can get, but having a central family calendar posted in a place every person goes more than once a day (the fridge) keeps our family on track.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family Birthday Traditions

Sarah's sixth birthday party.

There are certain things that help build a strong family culture.  Traditions are one of those things that help build bonds between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and extended family.  A lot of these traditions can be found in holidays and in religious observance.  Another area you can build family traditions around are in celebrating milestones.  For example, we have certain traditions built around starting the new school year (another post for later on in the season.) 

We are in the middle of a birthday heavy summer season right now, four birthdays in our immediate family for July, August and September, and numerous birthdays among aunts, uncles and cousins.  I've always loved having a summer birthday, because it means ice cream and trips to the beach, and most importantly, not having to go to school on your birthday!!  (My high school had a not so nice tradition of throwing people in the shower fully dressed on their birthday, I was always thrilled to have escaped this!)

We take birthdays pretty seriously in our house, and have built up a series of traditions that can not be skipped.  I would like to add at this point we've never been big on the "friends" birthday party, and our children have only had a few birthday parties in each of their lives where friends have been included.  We prefer family parties, big or small, depending on whether we are living close to our family or not.

So, what are our family traditions?  They may be simple, but none can be skipped!  Tradition #1, the birthday celebrant gets a special breakfast.  These can be elaborate or simple, but what the birthday person wants is the menu for the meal.  Josh likes pancakes.  Jeff likes bacon.  Justin likes english muffins with bacon, egg and cheese.  And so on and so forth.  Tradition #2, The birthday celebrant also picks the menu for the birthday dinner.  Josh's birthday is tomorrow, and he has requested honey garlic chicken wings, fried rice and ginger beef.  Dessert is also the choice of the birthday celebrant.  Josh wants a star shaped marble cake with chocolate frosting.  Jason always asks for pie.  I like strawberry shortcake.  Tradition #3, presents are opened after the cake has been served.  Tradition #4, long distance birthday calls to grandma's, grandpa's and nanny's are made.  Tradition #5, some sort of birthday activity or outing is planned.  Josh's birthday coincides with the release of a big deal movie, so we will be going to the cinema tomorrow night. 

I know this seems like a fairly simple series of traditions, but they are looked forward to with great anticipation.  Our kids are more interested in the meal preparations than the presents, sometimes!  The birthday (and menu) are written on the calendar, sometimes with drawings or little writings added as well.  I am glad we established this series of traditions in our family while our children were young, focusing on a family meal and meaningful gifts.  What kind of traditions have you built around the celebration of birthdays in your families?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Greatest Jewels

"In the eternal perspective, children - not possessions, not positions, not prestige - are our greatest jewels."  Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

photo - Judy MacIntyre holding Scott MacIntyre, California, 1964

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lord of the Rings - Review

We had a bit of a movie marathon this past week, Scott picked up the new LOTR blueray special edition big shiny box release.  How many copies of LOTR should one family own?  Really?  One set?  We're in trouble, then. 

I first read The Hobbit when I was in Mr. Norville Mitchell's grade four class.  That was a good year.  I read The Hobbit, and all of the Chronicles of Narnia.  I tried LOTR a few times, but never made my way through it until I was 18-19 years old.  A short attention span, I guess.  Anyway, I remember reading in a long marathon stretch, which included a bout with the flu.  (I had some hallucinatory dreams about Smeagol when my fever was high.  Truly terrifying!)

Therefore, it was a very big deal when LOTR was made into a trilogy.  Scott and I saw all three in the theatre.  Then we bought each one when they came out on DVD.  And then the special edition with all the crazy behind the scenes discs.  We got that one, too.  And now, the big shiny special edition blueray, also with behind the scenes, how it was made documentaries.. Sigh. 

So, various groups of the children and parents sat down three separate evenings this week, to watch The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.  These movies really stand the test of time.  I'm sure you all know the storyline, and if you don't, go to the library and check out the books.  Read the books before you watch the movies, please.  I'm a purist.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and say I've never been a huge Frodo/Sam/Smeagol road trip fan.  Both in the book and in the movies, I'm always waiting/wading through their scenes to get back to my favorite parts of the story, which are anything with the riders of Rohan, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, Faramir, Theoden, Merry and Pippin.  All the secondary characters and storylines are my favorite part of the trilogy. 

The new HD version of the movie is great, very clear and sharp.  But the story continues to capture and amaze me, from the time I was a little girl.  That's the true beauty of the trilogy, JRR Tolkien's classic tale.    This one gets a zillion thumbs up!

Rhubarb in July

Yesterday was the day of reckoning.  The rain had let up, and the rhubarb patch looked positively amazonian.  Is that a word?  Anyway, it did look like some sort of Amazon like plant had found it's way into my humble garden patch.  I took my trusty kitchen shears out into the garden, sprayed on a healthy layer of DEET, (cough cough), and started working at the rhubarb.  Did you know it's a vegetable?  It is.  (Knowledge is knowing that rhubarb is a vegetable.  Wisdom is not putting it in your salad.)  I hacked away at the rhubarb until there was nothing left to hack at, and then hauled my harvest back into the kitchen.  Where I stayed for the next eight hours. 

Eight hours + 3 huge rhubarb plants =  24 jars of rhubarb strawberry jam (20 cups of rhubarb), 4 strawberry rhubarb pies (4 pounds of rhubarb), and seven bags of diced rhubarb in the freezer (43.5 cups).  I am grateful!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Italian Spaghetti Sauce With Meatballs

This is a great recipe for the family, and it freezes well!  I can't quote my sources on this one, it is written on a recipe card in my file box, with no name or source written on it.  If anyone knows where it comes from, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.  I've been making it for a few years now, and you can either serve it over pasta, or use it to make an amazing meatball sub, which is what Justin prefers.  Just put the meatballs and sauce on a good sub bun, top with mozzarella cheese, and broil in the oven until the cheese does it's cheesy thing.

Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs:


1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well and form into meatballs.  Store, covered in refrigerator until needed. 


3/4 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cans crushed tomato
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in oil.  Stir in remaining ingredients, simmer for 90 minutes.  Add meatballs for last 30 minutes.

*  I don't refrigerate the meatballs and cook them in the sauce, because sometimes I like to serve the sauce over the meatballs.  So, I cook the meatballs on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.  Then, either add the meatballs directly to the sauce, or spoon the cooked sauce over the meatballs.  Whatever floats your boat.  This recipe freezes well, by the way, and you can double it if you want to make a batch for dinner, and a batch to freeze for another day.  Justin suggested that the next time I make it as a sub, to brush the sub with garlic butter and broil it first, then add the meatballs, sauce and cheese and return to the oven to broil it again.  Sounds yummy, I think I'll try it next time. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tips - No Wipe Window Cleaner (Outdoor Use)

The windows in our house usually need to be cleaned on the outside in the spring and fall.  We have a big willow tree right outside our front door, and it gets very dusty.  Then it rains, and all that dirty dust gets blown onto our windows!  Yuck!  I found this recipe for window cleaner in the Halifax 1st Ward 2008 cookbook. 

2-3 tablespoons laundry or dish detergent
1 tablespoon dishwasher wetting agent (e.g., Jet Dry)
1 gallon warm water

Brush or sponge on window, immediately hose off.  Water will sheet off, no drying necessary.

I have used this, and it works!  I use a squeegee with a sponge on one side, with an extension arm. 

Family Activity - Tongue Twisters

If you are looking for a fun activity for your family home evening, try this list of tongue twisters for children:  Tongue Twisters

This is a fun family activity, and usually has everyone in stitches! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

Dewey The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter.  Published  by Grand Central Publishing, 2008.

My mother gave this book to my Aunt Holly, who is a research librarian, as a gift in the last few years.  Mum recommended I read it, but I always forgot to look for it at our local library.  The last time I was at our library, this was on the recommended reading table, shouting at me to pick it up and take it home.  So I did.

Dewey is the true life story of a library cat.  One cold winters morning, the librarian, Vicky Myron, checked the return books drop box, and found a tiny frozen kitten underneath the books.  She and the assistant librarian cleaned it up and did all they could to save it's life.  Thanks to their valiant efforts, the little cat, named Dewey, survived, despite being half starved and having frost bitten feet. 

Vicky received permission from the library board to install Dewey as a library cat, and the rest is history.  Dewey has become an internet sensation, with librarians all over the world waiting for updates on Dewey stories and pictures.  He has been the subject of documentaries as far away as Japan.  People would visit the little town of Spencer, Iowa, from all over the continent, just to see Dewey.

What made Dewey so special?  He was a cat with a great personality, who loved people, and felt it was his job to represent the library and befriend one and all.  This book is full of great stories about Dewey and the people who loved him.  It's a box of kleenex kind of book, so be prepared at the end.  I loved the stories about Dewey, and the stories about the town of Spencer.  Thanks Mum, for recommending this book!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Love at Home

In the cottage there is joy,
When there's love at home;
Hate and envy ne'er annoy,
When there's love at home;
Roses bloom beneath our feet,
All the earth's a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete,
When there's love at home.

-John Hugh McNaughton

picture taken by Sarah MacIntyre
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Garden Update

My little garden is coming along very nicely, thanks to some good rain and hot, sunny days. I received this new blackboard garden sign as an early birthday present from a dear friend - Thanks, Stacey!! We harvested our first crop of spinach just before it bolted, thank goodness, and the second crop is coming along nicely. The nasturtiums have formed a border around the edge of the garden, and should be blooming soon. As you can see, the pole beans are starting to climb their structure, and the zucchini are doing well, of course. The raspberries are setting their fruit and we'll harvest them starting in about two weeks. The peas are blossoming as well, and the lettuces and chard are just about read to be picked. The only downside this season is that along with all the rain, northern Alberta has sprouted a bumper crop of voracious mosquitos, which is discouraging us from staying out of doors too long. My new perfume this season is Off! with DEET, what a lovely fragrance!
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picture taken by Scott MacIntyre

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake - a polite discussion

So, I have these big aspirations every week to take beautiful, stylish pictures of the recipes I post. I live in a house full of locusts, however, so when I turn around, the yummy food has been inhaled. I've decided I'm going to take pictures of the empty plates from now on, starting next week. I'll never be known for my foodie photos, sigh.

Yesterday my husband had a craving for strawberry shortcake his way. There has often been a debate over this dessert in our house, and in our in-laws house as well. Scott and his dad are in the yellow shortcake shells you buy at the grocery store camp, and his mum and I are in the homemade shortcake camp. Homemade shortcake is more like a tea biscuit, yum! Those yellow shells are more in the dry as the desert tasteless style, blech! But I'm not partial.

There are, of course, more options available. I recently helped out at a wedding where the strawberry shortcake served was made using a beautiful white cake, it was delish. My mother likes to serve her strawberries and cream over pound cake, which is great, especially if it's lemon pound cake. I have also served it with angel food cake, which is what Scott makes for my birthday every year, thanks honey!

Let me know what your shortcake preferences are, inquiring minds want to know. Maybe I'm the only one who feels so strongly about a simple summer dessert, though!

Strawberry Shortcake the right way

6 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk
Whipped cream

Stir together berries and 1/4 cup of sugar, set aside. Stir together remaining sugar, flour and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine egg and milk, add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir just to moisten. Spread in a greased round cake pan. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 15-18 minutes, or until tests done. Cool in pan 10 minutes, remove from pan, split into two layers. Spoon the fruit and cream between layers and over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

This recipe comes from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.

Use frozen butter and grate it to save time and make the shortcake flaky. for individual shortcakes, roll outnand cut with round biscuit cutter, bake for 10-12 minutes.

This recipe approved by Judy and Jennifer MacIntyre, who are right.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Daily Dozen of Marriage

  1. Spend 5 minutes a day thinking positive thoughts about your spouse.
  2. Pay a genuine compliment every day.
  3. Do an act of service daily.
  4. Give a gesture of love every day.
  5. Spend at least 10-15 minutes each day sharing feelings.
  6. Help your spouse when you come home from work every day.
  7. Be supportive throughout the day.
  8. Be courteous every day to all family members.
  9. Forgive daily.
  10. Give your spouse a chance to grow every day.
  11. Study the scriptures together daily.
  12. Pray together every day.
In addition to the daily dozen, here are a weekly and a monthly bonus:
  • Weekly date.  Spend one evening a week together, just the two of you.  And be creative, don't make it a dinner and amovie every week.  Take turns planning something new.
  • Monthly temple date.  Go to the temple together at least monthly.
This daily dozen, plust two, can do wonders.  Try them out and find for yourself!

-Dee W. Hadley, marriage and family therapist, Institute of Religion, University of Utah.

photo - Scott's parents, Judy and Doug MacIntyre, who will be celebrating their 51st anniversary this month.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Faith - Family Home Evening Lesson #2

I was looking out at my garden this evening, and noticed my sunflowers are now about 2 feet tall.  By the end of the season they will reach between 10-14 feet tall.  As I planted the seeds this May I marveled again at the miracle that occurs every time I stick a seed in the ground and nurture it along through our short Alberta summers. 

I thought I'd use this reflection for a family home evening lesson tomorrow night.  This is not a new idea, of course, but is a favorite for a reason.

You will need:  seeds, a measuring tape, and the following scripture reference:  Alma 32:28-43.

"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your hear, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves - It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."  (Alma 32:28)

It's more fun if you pick a big plant, like sunflowers (the variety I planted this year is called Kong, and will grow to 14 feet), or an apple seed which you can look up the height of on the internet, I'm sure. 

Take the time to read through the scripture reference, bringing out the following points:  faith can start with a small seed, or feeling; faith requires nourishment like a plant does; you can neglect your faith (I have had plenty of houseplants over the years that would make a good object lesson on that point!); spiritual knowledge is akin to light; ways you can nourish your faith; and that faith takes patience and diligence; faith will bear fruit. 

Show your family a small seed of your choice, and ask them what it requires to grow (dirt, nutrients, water, heat, light, etc.)  Take the measuring tape and extend it to the height the seed will grow to (either on a wall, or if it's really big, along the floor).  If you can, show them the fruit that comes from the seed as well, and even cut it open to see the new seeds inside.  If you have the space and means, let your children plant a seed and watch it grow.  Help them make the connection between the seeds and planting the seed of faith in your heart.

Keep it simple for little children, talking about a seeds needs and about how they need to keep the commandments, obey their parents, attend their meetings, say their prayers, etc.  Older children can explore the more complex ideas of what makes up a personal testimony, and how you can focus on certain areas of your testimony at a time, and increase your faith in those areas. 

Every year when I plant my garden, I still marvel at the miracle that happens when we put these tiny little seeds of life in the ground.  I'm sure your children will feel the same wonder, and hopefully plant the seed of faith at the same time.

Review - Super 8

Scott and I took one of our kidlings and their friend to the multiplex the other night, and decided to catch a show ourselves.  Super 8 got two thumbs up from our oldest movie critic, so we decided to see it.  What a great show! 

The movie is the story of a boy who has recently lost his mother.  His dad is a deputy police officer for their little midwest town.  Things aren't going great for them.  The boy and his friends are in the middle of shooting a zombie movie on their super 8 camera, when they witness a massive train wreck.  Then things start happening in the town that are very disturbing.  That's all I can say, everything else would be a major spoiler, and I don't want to ruin your fun!

This film was directed and produced by J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg.  And boy, can you tell!  It has the feel of Spielberg movies from the 1980's and the great plot that comes with J.J. Abrams.  Super 8 captures the feel of 1979, with a few anachronisms, of course, but it really did feel like the late 70's.  I should know, I would have been 10.  Sigh. 

Super 8 does a great job of pulling you into that world that exists with kids, the one that the adults have no idea about.  Their relationships, sense of humor, personal goals, feelings, ideals, rules, values.  When I think about myself as an adult making decisions, it starts as a very young adult, like the kids in this picture.  These kids are independant thinkers who have a project to finish. 

The special effects are great, of course, and I have to say the train wreck scene rivals any action scene I've viewed recently, including X-Men Origins.  I also really liked the way for the first half of the movie you never see what's coming, it makes it really scary and suspensful. 

Warning to parents, despite starring some fine young actors, this is not a movie for small children.  There are language issues.  The kids have mouths full of sauce.  Also, there are drug references. 

The adults who are in this movie do a great job of supporting the cast of youths, but are really secondary to the plot.  It reminds me of Stand By Me, or The Goonies, or any of those movies back in the day. 

Since there are three members of our family who saw this and liked it, I'll give it six thumbs up!

Note, stay for the end credits, you won't be disappointed.

Gardens - a to do list

  • weed
  • weed
  • weed
  • did I say weed?
  • dead head the flowers
  • pinch back the petunias
  • weed
  • thin out the beans
  • prune the cotoneaster
  • water the pots
  • fertilize
  • weed

Lemon Bars

This is another old-fashioned recipe.  I think I've had this at every baby or bridal shower I've ever gone to.  I've made it twice this week, for two different occasions, and someone asked for a copy of the recipe, so I figured I might as well post it.

This recipe comes from The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  (It was new in 1991, but doesn't look so new now!)

Lemon Bars -

1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar (optional)

Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar.  Beat until combined.  Beat in the 1 cup flour until crumbly.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x9 pan.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or just until golden.  Meanwhile, combine eggs, the remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, lemon peel, juice and baking powder.  Beat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly combined.  Pour over hot baked layer.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven 20 minutes more or until lightly browned around the edges and centre is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  If desired, sift powdered sugar over top  Cut into bars.  Makes 20.

Confession - I had three for breakfast yesterday!  Lemon is a fruit, right?

Reducing Waste - Cleaning Supplies

Continuing along in our series on reducing waste, I'd like to discuss the massive amount of product that advertisers would like to convince us are necessary for cleaning our homes.

Years ago I did a series of classes on thrift.  Sounds exciting, doesn't it.  Yawn.  As I was preparing for these classes, I realized there are four basic cleaners you need to take care of your home.  I'm not talking about some of the out of the ordinary tasks we are occasionally faced with, which may need something more specific.  I'm talking the day to day ordinary boring cleaning we all have to do. 

Category #1 is a detergent.  We all need some sort of soap for cleaning our kitchens, bathrooms, floors, walls, etcetera.  Soap is soap, so you can use dish detergent, old shampoo, liquid soap, you name it, if it bubbles and smells good and tackles dirt, go for it. 

Category #2 is a disinfectant.  Once you have cleaned whatever it is you're cleaning, you may want to disinfect it.  I learned in a food safety course I had to take for work that you have to wash a dish and then disinfect it, otherwise you're just disinfecting the dirt on the plate.  Makes sense.  There are lots of choices for disinfectants, but the three safest and cheapest are vinegar, bleach, and rubbing alcohol.  (Referencing the food safety course again, according to the gov't, bleach is a safe sterilizer because when it evaporates, it's gone.  No harmful residue on dishes or surfaces.)  My mum says in her early nursing days the nuns would have the girls disinfect everything with rubbing alcohol if there was an outbreak in the hospital.  I have used it in my home when we have our own little outbreaks, and let me tell you, it really makes the chrome sparkle!

Category #3 is a grease cutter.  Something to make things sparkle in your house.  I like vinegar and water.  Windex is most people's choice.

Category #4 is a scouring agent, to get the tough dirt and grime and soap scum.  Comet, Old Dutch, baking soda, even salt will work.  

So there you have it, four relatively inexpensive, safe cleaners, and you should have a sparkling clean house! 

O Canada

 Friday was July 1, Canada Day.  Sarah took this picture at the town fireworks display that night, trying out her camera's fireworks setting. 
She also took this picture at the grade 8 year end camping trip to Banff.  This is Castle Mountain.  The picture is a little hazy because the entire province has been covered in haze from a massive forest fire north of Fort MacMurray.

I'm so thankful we live in Canada, for a number of reasons.  Number one would be the freedom we have in this great nation of ours.  We are a safe, stable, democratic country with great education and healthcare, which I do not take for granted.

Number two would be the amazing beauty of this land.  I have been through most of the country, with the exception of the far north and Newfoundland.  I have seen so many beautiful things, both oceans, mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers, and the prairies, of course!  Many times my jaw has dropped as I have viewed a particular vista.  Right now we are getting ready for the canola to bloom in our province, and the beauty of the yellow fields against the green pines and the massive blue sky is a sight to behold.

Number three would be our people.  Canada is the country it is because of our people, whether we came here in the 1700's, like some of my ancestors, or just arrived this year.  This land, for all it's beauty, is challenging and extreme, and has made a nation of stoic, hardworking, patient people.

I would be remiss to not express my gratitude for this amazing country I live in.  My sister says we won the lottery by being born in Canada, and I must agree!