Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pizza Dough

I got this recipe for pizza dough from my friend, Michelle Grant, who got it from her dear mother-in-law, Jenny Grant.  The date on the recipe card is 1991!  I'm going to give two versions of the recipe, the original, and the one I've tweaked over the years.  I make pizza every Friday night, unless something really weird happens.  Pizza take out for a family of seven would really set us back, but homemade healthy pizza is no big deal on the wallet.

Here's Jenny's original recipe:

Pizza Dough #1

Dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast in 2 cups of warm water with one tablespoon of sugar dissolved in it.  Let sit for five minutes, until yeast is activated.  Add 2 cups of white flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Stir well.  Add another 2-3 cups of flour, until dough pulls away from side of bowl.  Turn out on floured counter, and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary.  Cover in greased bowl, let rise until double.  Punch down.  Divide in two, roll out and place on greased pizza pans.  Add sauce, cheese and toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.

And here's my recipe:

Pizza Dough #2

Add 2 tablespoons yeast to two cups very warm water with 2 tablespoons sugar dissolved in it.  Let sit for five minutes, until yeast is activated.  Add 2 cups of white flour, a healthy glug of canola or olive oil (roughly 1/4 cup, I never measure) and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Stir well.  Add another 2-3 cups of flour, until dough pulls away from side of bowl.  Turn out on floured counter, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary.  Cover in greased bowl, and let rise until double.  Punch down dough, divide in four equal pieces.  Roll out and place on four greased pizza pans that have been sprinkled with fine cornmeal.  Add sauce, cheese and toppings, and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

This recipe originally makes 2 crusts, they are very high and fluffy.  My family likes a thin crust, so I divide it into four pieces.  Adding the oil and extra sugar improves the texture and flavor, in my opinion.  I like the little bit of crunch the cornmeal on the pan adds, but I try to use as fine a cornmeal as I can find. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lunch Box Tip

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike packing school lunches?  I really do!  It's my weekday morning nemesis.  Almost as bad when the lunch boxes come back after school, you never know what you'll find when you open up that Pandora's Box.  *shudder*

Here's my Tuesday Tip of the week:  when you are making muffins or banana bread or other healthy baking, double the batch if you can, and freeze half.  Wrap each individual muffin in cling wrap, then put about half a dozen in a large freezer bag (remember to label and date the bag!).  When you're packing the lunch boxes, throw in a frozen muffin or mini banana loaf.  By the time lunch rolls around, the muffin will have thawed.  They stay fresh in the freezer for about three months.  I like lunches where I just have to grab ready made things and throw them in the bag, it's a real time saver.  This way, you're not throwing in some prepackaged processed food, but something home made and healthy.  Let's just hope the little darlings don't trade it for a twinkie!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School Family Home Evening

First day of School, 2009 (Joshua, Jeffrey, Sarah)

It's that time of year again, back to school!  Some of my children are looking forward to it, some of them are not.  I'm looking forward to a more structured regime, but I'm not looking forward to packing school lunches again!

Every year the Monday before school starts, we have our traditional back to school Family Home Evening.  Scott gives all the children a Father's Blessing, which is a wonderful spiritual opportunity.  Then while we're having a yummy refreshment, I give all the children a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and encourage them to set some goals for the upcoming school year. 

Here are some ideas for setting goals for the new school year:

keeping their agenda up to date
handing in all their homework on time
trying a new activity or subject
learning a new skill
joining in on some extracurricular activities
improving your mark in a core subject that you find difficult
being on the honor role
keeping a minimum average in each class
making a new friend

It's a great opportunity to encourage children to pick 2-3 realistic goals to work on during the school year.  If they want to share their goals with the family that's great, some may want to keep their goals private, it's a personal thing.  If they have shared their goals with you, you can take moments during the year to check in with them to see how they're doing.  Mum and Dad can set their own goals as well, the children can see that learning is a life long endeavor. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


"Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." - Gordon B. Hinckley

Doug MacIntyre Jr., Scott MacIntyre, California, late 1960's?

There's Lead in your Lipstick - Book Review

The other day, my friend Kim lent me her book called There's Lead in your Lipstick.  I've been wanting to read this for a long time, so thanks, Kim!

This book is written by Gillian Deacon, who is a cancer survivor who has researched the toxins that are included in all the things we use on our bodies.  Make-up, perfume, shampoo, body lotion, soap, deodorant, all that good girly stuff that we love!  This book is a comprehensive guide to making your way through the cosmetic industry, and is very helpful in making informed choices about what you buy to slather on your face or body or hair. 

If you're interested in a comprehensive list, you can also go to the Cosmetics Database to find a guide to all the products out there, and a rating of their safety level. 

I know both this book and the database will help me make more informed decisions as a consumer.

The beginning of the end.....

On Thursday morning, I had three (un)willing helpers in our vegetable garden.  You see, some things are really quite finished in the vegetable patch by the end of August, and I needed some help!  We picked the last of the yellow and green bush beans, the carrots (which were quite dismal this year, and I was tired of looking at the scraggly, tiny things), the beets (see carrots) and dug up a pile of beautiful, large red Norland potatoes.  Success in one area!  All that is left right now is the swiss chard, tomatoes and cucumbers.  And the sunflowers, which have not bloomed yet.  They have about three weeks left before frost comes and wipes everything out.  So come on tomatoes, cucumbers and sunflowers, you can do it! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

World's Greatest Apple Pie

This is a recipe I wrote down in my little red book in 1990.  The name World's Greatest came with the recipe, I make no particular claims here.  I can't even remember where I got the recipe!  I can tell you I have made this many many times, and it always turns out beautifully.

World's Greatest Apple Pie

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons water
1 egg yolk

Sift flour into medium sized bowl.  Add baking powder and salt.  Toss lightly.  Add shortening, mixing until shortening forms small balls.  Combine milk and water in small bowl.  Add egg yolk.  Combine with shortening mixture.  Toss lightly until thoroughly mixed.  Let stand for 5 minutes at room temperature.  Remove from bowl; knead until together.  Divide in half.  Roll out pastry; line 9-inch pie plate with 1 portion.  Reserve remaining for top crust.


6 cups tart apples
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

Pare apples and slice thin.  Combine 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, flour, spices and salt.  Mix with apples.  Pour into pastry shell.  Dot with butter.  Place reamining pastry on top, fluting edges.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees farenheit for 55-60 minutes or until apples are done.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tip Tuesday - A Fog Free Mirror

Hi everyone!  We're back from a little camping trip, more pictures to follow in the next few days.  My goodness, there are still sleeping bags and camping equipment all over the place, I'm going to have to work like a beaver to get things put to rights again!  

I'm just going to jump right in with my Tuesday schedule, which is Tip Day!  Ta Da!  My tip this week is on how to make your bathroom mirror fog free.  This is cheap, but takes some elbow grease and a little bit of time.  All you need is a clean cloth and Sunlight dish detergent.  I'm sure other detergents could work, I only ever have used Sunlight, though.

Put a squirt of dish detergent on your cloth, and start rubbing the mirror.  That's right, apply the dish detergent directly to the mirror.  Cover the whole mirror with detergent, and patiently rub it on to the glass, until the mirror is completely polished and shiny.  This takes time and patience, but for the next couple of weeks your mirror will not fog up! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Away from my desk.....

I will be away from my desk for a few days, have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grandma's Taco Salad

Grandma Judy's Taco Salad

This is a recipe from Scott's mum, Judy.  She's a great cook, and I've learned so much from her over the years!  Isn't she cute?  I love this picture!

When Scott was born, the family MacIntyre was living in California, where they were introduced to all sorts of American things, like...taco salad.  This recipe is very flexible, so bear with me on the amounts.  Once again, it's one of those guesstimate recipes.

Brown 1 lb. ground beef, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drain and set aside.  In a large salad bowl, shred one head of iceburg lettuce.  Add about a cup of grated cheddar cheese, one can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, two chopped tomatoes, and a diced onion, if you like.  In a small bowl mix about a cup of Miracle Whip salad dressing with a generous squeeze of ketchup.  Add enough ketchup so it's the color of thousand island dressing.  Or use thousand island dressing, actually!  Toss the meat in with the salad, add the salad dressing and mix it up.  If you have to make a little more dressing, do so, you want everything coated really good.  Then take a big bag of Doritos, smash it up, and mix it in with the salad.  That's it, you're done, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Advertising What You Believe

My family is being inundated with marketing all day long.  So is yours.  Everywhere you go, things are being advertised.  People wear clothes with logos on them, or slogans printed on them, or even brand themselves.  Brand names are written on everything, from cars to clothes to...well, you get the picture.  The internet, television, the radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards.  I would love to know the average of how many advertisements a person sees every day, without even being aware of it.  It's probably mind boggling.  Some of the marketing is probably just branding, some of it is the marketing of ideas.  Some of these ideas are harmful to families, to value systems, or to a persons self esteem.  Our families are being taught things we may not necessarily agree with, or be very opposed to.  We all know we should be careful what we allow in the walls of our homes.  We screen content vigilantly, but stuff slips through.  Our boys may hear or see things that are disrespectful to women. They see violent images in the games they play. Our girls are exposed to images that make them dissatisfied with their  appearance.  The media glorifies celebrities, and makes wholesome family life seem old fashioned, out of date or plain wrong. 

We are careful in defending our families, and in protecting them.  We try to teach them by example, and in the lessons we teach in family home evening.  We fortify our family through prayer, scripture study, and attending our meetings.  We can also advertise what we believe.  Fill our home with good books, good music and good movies, so that our children can have a choice.  Something I've been doing lately is using our refrigerator door as a billboard.  Along with our big old family calendar, I have been posting inspirational pictures and quotes that help to remind our family what we hold dear.  It's started some conversations, and I can see them reading the quotes and staring at the Mormonads I've stuck on the door.  I figured this was a good place to start advertising, because I have five kids, and they're always hungry, so they see the fridge a lot during the day!  I'm trying to change things up regularily so they don't get bored, as well.  And, I'm sure, some of it is subliminal.  They walk by that fridge a whole lot......

Ice Blocking

Yes, I live in Canada.  No, this is not what our summer looks like.  This is New Year's Day, 2008.  I wanted to write a quick post on Reverse Sledding, or Ice Blocking, but I couldn't find any of my ice-blocking pictures anywhere!  How can you digitally lose something?  Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Ice blocking is a great summertime activity for older kids.  All you need is a block of ice, a towel to sit on, and a big old hill to fly down.  We can't buy blocks of ice here, all the ice is cubed, so I make my own blocks.  I just freeze water in a dollar store basin in the deep freeze.  Big enough for your backside, thank you very much.  And no comments, please.  If you want to customize it by dying it with food coloring, or freezing in a rope handle, you can.  In the above picture, imagine it's July, not January, and that the boys are wearing shorts and t-shirts, not snowsuits.  Imagine the grass is green and the trees are green and the sky is blue.  Imagine they're sitting on ice blocks, not saucers.  It's fun to link together on your way down the hill.  The first few runs are a little slow, until you get a nice track going, and then, you FLY!  Short grass is faster than unmowed grass.

Be prepared for wipeouts.  Lots and lots of wipeouts.  Make sure the track is clear before you go down, so you don't fly into anyone.  This is seriously faster than sledding, people.

Pile up at the bottom of the hill!  Clean up on aisle three!  Look, they're laughing, no permanent damage done! 

And, just like sledding, you have to climb up to the top of the hill over and over and over again.  Except no snowdrifts, snowpants or big old snow boots.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My apologies to those who have made comments recently and may be wondering why I have not replied.  I am having the same problem I had before, I can't seem to post comments on my own blog right now!  Grrrr.  Hopefully I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong soon.

As an aside, a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Shudemuppers, which is s'mores with melted caramels added in.  I found a picture today of me eating one, taken by Sarah last summer.  I think I got some on my elbow.  Yep, I did.  Doesn't that look delish?  Look at that chocolate oozing out of the s'more.  It doesn't get much better than that.  See that far away look in my eyes?  That's chocolate and caramel, people.  Good times, good times. 

Attitude of Gratitude - the small things

I am, once again, participating in This Good Life's Sunday link up - Attitude of Gratitude.  I know it's not Sunday, I'm trying to get ahead of the game.  This week I decided to focus on three unrelated, overlooked things that I am grateful for.  Number one, it's not snowing.  I am so grateful it's still summer!  Seriously, look at the snow piled on that bird house.  It gives me a bad case of the heebie jeebies.

Number two, I am thankful for my toothbrush.  I can not imagine life without my toothbrush.  Can you imagine life without your toothbrush?  I hope not!  Thank you Colgate, thank you Crest. 

Number three is often taken for granted, but is not really a small thing.  I am thankful that we have plenty of food to eat.  Here's a picture of some of our Cub Scouts at our ward food drive last fall. 

Here's hoping we all find something small or large to be grateful for, every single day! 

Expressions of Love

Book Review - The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

This is my friend, Georgette Heyer.  Well, she's not really my friend, but I wish she was!  She's written many of my favorite books.  Great hat, Georgette.

Out of the many books I have read by Georgette Heyer, this is my favorite.  The top of the pile.  And it's a big, big pile of books to be on the very top.  The Grand Sophy is the marvelous tale of Sophy Stanton-Lacy, who has spent her entire life following her father, the diplomat, around Europe.  Her father has decided to send Sophy for an extended visit to her Aunt, Lady Ombersley, and her large family of cousins.  The de facto head of the family is Sophy's cousin, Charles Rivenhall, since Lady Ombersley's husband is a gambler and a party animal, who has put the family fortune at great risk.  Charles is sober, strict, and since he has an independence and a mind for business, is trying to improve the family finances.  Charles and his fiancee have pretty much made the lives of the Ombersley family miserable, as they are very severe. 

Enter Sophy, fresh from the continent, full of grand ideas to save the family.  She turns everything upside down in her efforts to fix the affairs of the family, in a series of adventures and misadventures that leaves your head spinning.  Everything is tied up nice and neat at the end.  As usual, Georgette Heyer excels in writing characters that are both absurd and believable, and setting up situations that are wholly entertaining.  She has a command of the history of the Regency period which is to be greatly admired, and her grasp of the slang used at that time is amazing.  However, where she really shines is in her witty dialogue.  The Grand Sophy is definitely on my desert island pile of books. 

Garden Gone Wild!

This is the time of year when I start to think that maybe I overcrowded my garden in the spring.  Everything has gone cra-Z in our little garden!  I think I have enough plants stuffed in there for a garden three times as big.  Sigh.  I pulled my first whopper of a zucchini out of the patch yesterday.  I think its a three pounder, I'll have to weigh it.  Too big to cook with, I'll have to grate it and bake with all it's zucchini goodness.  Don't tell the kids, but there will be zucchini in the chocolate cake I make tomorrow for our Sunday dinner!  The pole beans are still flowering, but I think I can start picking from the lower levels soon.  We had our first batch of yellow beans for dinner on Monday, they were so delicious.  The raspberries are still plentiful, which is a delicious treat.  Gardening is always an amazing experience.  Next week I'm going to share some of the things that went wrong in our vegetable patch this year.  There's always a failure or two every year, and it's a chance to learn something new.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beef on a Bun

Beef on a bun is a really easy weekday dinner, and is also great for company or a potluck dinner, too.  You need a lot of time to make it, because the beef has to be cooked low and slow. 

You'll need:

a beef roast, whatever size or cut you like (this is a pot roast type cooking method, so use a cheap cut.  I use inside round roast.)
a roasting pan
seasoning (I use salt, pepper and garlic powder)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees farenheit.  Season your roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and be generous!  When the oven is preheated, place the roast, uncovered, in the oven for half an hour.  When the half hour is up, turn the oven down to 300 degrees, add a cup of water or stock to the pan, and slap the lid on.  Walk away for several hours, depending on the size of the roast.  I made a small roast today, and let it cook for 3 1/2 hours.  The roast will shrink in size, be very brown, with lots of juices in the pan.  The roast should shred when you poke at it with a fork.

Take the roast out of the pan, place it on a rack and loosely cover it with foil for 20 minutes.  During this time, skim the fat off the pan juices, place the pan on the stove top on medium heat, and when it is bubbly, add a slurry made of flour and water to thicken the juices.  Shred the meat with two forks, and add to the pan.  If you want to add half the meat to another pot with barbecue suace, now's the time.  When the meat is heated through, serve on a bun with your favorite sides.

You can adapt this recipe to use with a crock pot as well.  I prefer the oven, though.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tips - Storing Drinking Water

My tip for Tuesday is on storing water for emergency purposes.  It's important to have water stored in your emergency 72 hour kits (enough for 2l per person per day).  It's also a good idea to have up to two weeks of water stored at home, in case there is a disruption of the water supply.  We've all seen the news reels of people rushing to the grocery stores to clean out the bottled water when a storm is coming, or if a disaster has happened.  Why not have the peace of mind to know you're already prepared for such an eventuality? 

This is an inexpensive family preparedness project that can be accomplished over a long period of time.  There are two types of water you need, drinking water and water for washing.  Water for washing is easy to store, I do what my sweet, smart mother did when I was a kid.  Every time I empty a bottle of bleach, I fill it with water and date it on the outside with a sharpie.  Because the water is stored in a bleach container, it will be clean, and ready to use for washing dishes, etcetera. 

As far as drinking water is concerned, you can re-use soft drink bottles as water storage containers.  We don't drink a lot of soda pop, usually only on birthdays or special occasions, or as a special treat.  When we do have a pop bottle that has been emptied, we wash it out really well with soap and water, then rinse it until all the soap residue is gone.  Then we fill it up with water, label it, and put it downstairs in our storage room.  Over the last few years we have ended up with over 40 2L bottles of drinking water.  Since we are using municipal treated water, we don't have to add a disinfectant to the water.  If you're using well water, you will have to add some bleach to your water.  It's also a good idea to store some water purification tablets with your water storage.  You can usually pick these up at a camping supply store or Scout shop.  Here's a link to the Provident Living website with specifics on how to store water. 

Writing letters to Grandparents

A great family night activity that we do occasionally is write letters to our family back home.  Sometimes it's to the grandmas and grandpas, sometimes to the cousins, and sometimes the aunties and uncles!  The older children are great at writing their own letters to their elders, and drawing little pictures for their preschool cousins.  These seem to mean a great deal to the little cousins in particular, they love to get mail of their own.  Younger children can write a simple letter if they are capable, or if they are preschool age they can draw a nice picture and have dad and mum write a little note for the recipient.  If you have a baby or toddler, even a little handprint or footprint is appreciated by the grandparents.  A good idea for those with school age children is to save up the artwork that often comes home from school and send that along to a great-aunt or grandmother, they love having art for their fridge! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude - Sisterhood

I'm taking part in This Good Life's Attitude of Gratitude link up again!  Please mosey on over to her blog to follow this inspiring Sunday activity.  I chose to celebrate sisterhood in this post, and to share my gratitude for three important women in my life.  In The Book of Ruth, Chapter 1, vs 16-17, Ruth shares her feelings about her mother in law, Naomi, and the bonds of sisterhood that gave her the courage to follow Naomi to a strange land to start a new life.  "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:  for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:  thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:  the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."  Ruth and Naomi are great examples of faith and love. 

The above picture is of my best friend, Stacey.  We have known each other for almost two decades, and have raised our families together.  We have lived in the same city twice, and have at times lived in cities that are thousands of miles apart.  Right now we are a three hours drive from each other.  Yet we manage to stay connected with periodic visits and very frequent phone calls!  Stacey has served my family in many ways, and has always been a loyal and dear friend.  I don't know what I would do without her. 

This is my mum, Sandra!  She is so cute, isn't she?  My mum and I are separated by almost a whole continent, and we stay connected by weekly (sometimes daily) phone calls.  Mum is smart, funny, loyal, brave, creative, educated, musical, loving, kind, organized, talented, and everything that a good mother should be!  She has always been a great example to me, and is always there when I need her.  I don't know what I'd do without her.

This is my sister, Erin.  Happy Birthday porkchop!  Erin is my other half.  We are very much alike, and very different at the same time.  She is witty and funny, brave and loyal, very very smart, crazy in a good way, and often was my partner in crime.  I'm sure we drove my dear mother crazy with our antics.  We also keep in contact with lots of weekly phone calls.  I don't know what I'd do without her.

I should also say I am thankful for a great long distance plan which helps me stay connected with these three fabulous women!  Happy Sunday!

I Am a Child of God

The Blue Castle - Book Review

There are some books that I love to re-read every year.  They are old friends that I love to revisit.  The Blue Castle is one of those books.  It is written by a beloved Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.  It is one of two novels she wrote for adults, although it is usually sold in the YA or children's section of the book store.  Don't be fooled by the cheesy cover art, it's not a Harlequin Romance! 

The Blue Castle is set in the Muskoka country of Ontario, Canada, which is cottage country now, in the early 1900's.  Valancy Stirling has just woken up on the morning of her twenty ninth birthday, an old maid.  She lives with her widowed mother and aged cousin.  Her position in the family is not enviable, she belongs to an old established family, yet is the poor relation:  plain, unmarried, with no way of supporting herself, and no obvious talents.  She is constantly outshone by her beautiful cousin, Olive, who is wealthy, gorgeous, popular, and engaged to a fine young man.  Her mother is cold, unkind and does not love her.  She is bossed about unmercifully by her entire clan.  Valancy's only escape is her dreamworld, her Blue Castle, a land of imagination where she can escape from her unhappy existance.  She also can escape into a good book, especially nature books by her favorite author. 

Valancy has been plagued with a pain in her heart for years, and it has been progressively getting worse.  She visits a doctor, and finds out she has a serious heart condition.  This knowledge gives her the courage to take her life in her own hands, and shake off the restrictions placed on her by her family.  Valancy leaves home to care for a sick friend, and has many adventures as she follows her heart.  There is a great happily ever after at the end, and a fine romance, but the real heart of the story is how Valancy blooms and grows under adverse conditions. 

The character of Valancy is universally appealing, she is a delightful underdog, and watching her true wonderful personality appear is so much fun.  Her family is really awful, Montgomery does a great job of making them really unappealing.  The family dinner where Valancy finally says exactly what she has always thought is so funny, and my favorite scene in the book.  As usual, Montgomery does a wonderful job of describing the beauties of Canada, and brings Muskoka to life.  For years my idea of a Blue Castle was a tiny cottage on an island surrounded by a beautiful lake, thanks to her description in the book. 

The Blue Castle would be on my desert island pile of books. 

White Butterflies

Friday morning a dozen or more white butterflies visited our garden.  Scott ran out with our camera and took pictures, but this is the only butterfly that would pose for a picture!  Apparently it was quite a sight, they were fluttering all over the vegetable patch.  Our backyard is very busy with bees, ladybugs and dragonflies, and now white butterflies! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sweet-Spicy Glazed Salmon

So.  Let me tell you about the things I ate in this last week.  Thursday night Scott and I went to Taste of Edmonton with our friends, JR and Kathy.  We ate a lot of wonderful food, including ginger beef, lemon chicken, crab/cream cheese stuffed deep fried wontons, bison sliders, vegetable tempura, montreal smoked meat sandwich, chocolate filled crepes and molten lava cake with raspberry sorbet.  (Taste of Edmonton is a tasting fair put on by local restaurants.  You buy tickets and get a little plate of food at the different vendors.  We shared the above mentioned dishes, it wasn't a total pig out.  Okay, it was, but it could have been worse...)  Then we took the kids to Capital Ex on Saturday.  We ate poutine, subs, and mini donuts.  Monday was Heritage Day, so we went out to dinner as a family.  I had yam fries with chipotle sauce and a California Chicken Burger With Provolone Cheese, Guacamole, and Applewood Smoked Bacon.  (That's in capital letters for a reason, because it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.  Sarah had the same thing, and ate very slowly and was sad when the last bite arrived.)  Oh yeah, we had pizza on Friday night as well.  All this is to explain why I gained 2 pounds this weekend, when I agreed to a plan to lose 8 kg in 8 weeks (Sorry, Sammy, I let you down this week!) { It's not my fault (yes it is), it's festival season in Edmonton, and I have willpower issues.}  There's my confession, I ate a zillion calories in four days.  Sigh.

Which is why my recipe for the week is for salmon.  I'm back on the bandwagon people, I have a commitment to keep!  I made this recipe last night for the first time, and it turned out really well.  It's from the Cooking Light - the Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook.  You can find it on page 175.  

Sweet-Spicy Glazed Salmon

3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons chinese-style hot mustard (you can substitute 1 tsp dry mustard instead)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
4 6 ounce salmon fillets
cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan' bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Place fillets on a foil lined pan coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle fillets evenly with salt and pepper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Preheat broiler.  Brush sugar mixture over fillets;  broil 3 inches from heat 3 minutes or unitl fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roses then and now

Last week this rose started to bud.  What a beautiful color!  This is the rose that almost didn't make it, that was winter killed right back to the ground.  I'm so relieved it made a come back!

Here's the same rose this week, fully opened, what a beauty!  This little rose bush survived -30 to -35 degree celcius temperatures this past winter.  And lived to tell the tale.....

Oh, what do you do in the Summertime?

Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you fish in a stream,
Or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by?
Is that what you do?
So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime
When all the world is green?,
Do you swim in a pool
To keep yourself cool,
Or swing in a tree up high?
Is that what you do?
So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you march in parades,
Or drink lemonades,
Or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do?
So do I!

-Words and music, Dorothy S. Andersen, 1964

Helping in the Garden

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  - The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Giving our children opportunities to work is really important.  When children help out at home, it gives them ownership in the family, and a sense of pride and accomplishment.  When they have opportunities to earn their own money with a little job (my children deliver the weekly paper every Friday), they learn how to work, be responsible, to save money and to be charitable by paying tithing.  Even small children can help fold or put away laundry, clear the table, pick up their toys or do other age appropriate tasks. 

 I'm still debating the idea of paying kids to do chores (nobody pays me to make my bed!), and our current policy is to pay children for an out of ordinary task, like painting a fence, but not to pay them for helping out in ordinary, every day ways. 

 Getting involved in a family project, like working in the garden, is a great way to build unity in the family as well. 

Another way to teach children to work is by volunteering.  Helping out with the community food bank drive, helping to clean up the town in the spring, or volunteering to help children learn how to read at the library are all great ways to do unpaid, volunteer work as a child.  If children see their parents volunteering as scout leaders, or cleaning the chapel, or teaching a Sunday School class, for example, they will grow up seeing the spirit of volunteerism alive in their own family, and will be more likely to volunteer as adults. 

How are you helping your children learn how to work in your families?

Tip - make your own origami gift card holder

Lately it seems that a lot of the gifts received or given seem to be gift cards.  This seems very impersonal sometimes, but because of mailing gifts long distance, it is also more practical.  In order to make a gift card more personal and unique, why not make your own gift card holder, using a little origami magic?  I like to use pretty paper that has a different pattern on each side, it looks nice when you open the holder up.  You can decorate the outside with ribbon, sparkles, stickers, etcetera.  It's inexpensive and fun, and a great way to dress up a gift card.