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February 28, 2014

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400F.

2.  Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

3.  Mix flour, sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and baking soda together in a large bowl.

4.  Whisk egg, yogurt, milk and vegetable oil together in a medium bowl until smooth.

5.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until batter is blended together.

6.  Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.

7.  Bake in preheated oven approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

8.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

9.  Take muffins out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy!  


February 26, 2014

5 Old Fashioned Remedies For The Common Cold

source
I have been suffering from the sniffles for the last few days. While resting, I have been searching for old fashioned remedies to cure a cold. 

1.  Steam

Inhale steam to help ease congestion. Pour boiling water into a bowl. Place onto a table. Sit down in a chair and lean your head over the bowl. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel and breathe deeply. Continue to inhale the steam for about 10 - 15 minutes or as long as you can without discomfort. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water will make this treatment more effective.  

2.  Chicken soup

Chicken soup is wonderful to eat when you have a cold. First, it's comforting and tastes great. Secondly, the hot soup helps increase the movement of mucus, helping relieve congestion. It also soothes irritated passageways in your nose and throat, is full of vitamins and helps you to stay hydrated.  

3.  Ginger Tea

Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and is comforting to drink when you are sick. The honey will help soothe a sore throat and lemon is full of Vitamin C.  

Thinly slice a few pieces of ginger root and place into a mug of boiling water. Let the ginger infuse for a few minutes, then remove. Add lemon juice and honey to taste. Stir to dissolve the honey and enjoy!

4.  Garlic 

Garlic is packed with antioxidants. The active compound in garlic is allicin, which acts as a decongestant. Eat raw garlic at the first sign of a cold, crush and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then eat with a spoonful of honey, add to chicken soup, drink garlic tea or add to salads.  

5.  Rest

Try to sleep for 8 - 10 hours a night to help your body fight the virus. Rest as much as you are able to during the day. Cuddle up on the couch with a blanket, a hot drink and a good book.

February 25, 2014

Fun Weekend Trip to Edmonton

This past weekend we took a trip to Edmonton to take the girls to West Edmonton Mall and have a little fun.  

We visited the Galaxy Kids Play Park.  The last time we came, Miss C was too small to join Miss S in the "big girl" area.  This time she was so excited to be able to play with Miss S.  





The play park is in Galaxyland, which is the world's largest indoor amusement park.  


So after the girls had bounced and played for a couple of hours, we took them on some other rides.  The girls really enjoyed the Dragon Wagon roller coaster.    


We also saw the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster.


After all that activity, we were hungry.  We ate a quick lunch and walked around the mall taking in the sights. 



The mall also has an underground aquarium which houses sharks, sea turtles, penguins and sting rays.  We all had a great time.  We were even able to touch bamboo sharks, starfish and the sting rays.  



The highlight of the day was watching the sea lion show.  



On Sunday, we drove to the science centre to see the Harry Potter exhibition. This is a travelling exhibition showing the various props and costumes from the movies.  There were no photos allowed in the exhibition, so I cannot show you what it was like.  But it was wonderful.  If you're a fan of the books/movies, I highly recommend that you attend if you can.   


Our tickets also included access to the rest of the science centre, so we had an explore for a couple of hours before driving home.



Super fun weekend and I can't wait until we can do it again!


February 24, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - February 24, 2014


As I look outside my window...
Bright blue sky and sun outside the window, although it's deceiving as it's -32C with the wind chill.  

Right now I am...
Unpacking from our weekend trip away and starting the laundry.  

Thinking...
About plans for my blog.  

On my bedside table...
Once in a Lifetime by Cathy Kelly

Listening to...
Happy by Pharrell Williams

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Baked chicken with asparagus and salad
Tuesday: Tomato soup and BLTs
Wednesday: Spaghetti bolognaise
Thursday: Barbecue pork chops with broccoli and butter and herb pasta
Friday: Leftovers/buffet night
Saturday: Hamburgers
Sunday: Chicken fajitas

On my to do list...
Laundry / Ironing
Fridge/pantry/freezer inventory
Write grocery list
Empty paper shredder
Download photos from weekend

Plans for this week...
Grocery shopping
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Sort through children's toys and books (donate / save for garage sale)
Trip to the library

What I am creating...
A clean and tidy craft room.  It's a bit of a mess and I need to organize it, so I can find things easier.    

My simple pleasure...
Looking back at photos of the girls when they were young.  

Looking around the house...
Miss C resting on the couch watching Despicable Me 2, washing machine whirring away, dishwasher is on, breakfast dishes to clean and crumbs to sweep up.  


From the camera...


If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

February 19, 2014

Week in Review - February 19, 2014

*  DH has been travelling for the last few weeks, so of course that is the time that the house decides to have fun with me.  I noticed that my shower was not as hot as I would like.  Then when I tried to do the washing up, the water was not running hot.  I ended up boiling the kettle a few times and using that water to wash dishes.  I phoned a few plumbers, but most would not be able to come out for a few days.  One plumber was available to come that afternoon and actually worked around my girls' school schedule!  


We have two water tanks.  One is very hot and the second is luke warm and feeds into the hot tank, so that we never run out of hot water.  Apparently, the hot water tank has a broken part and the only tank feeding the pipes water is the luke warm one.  A short term fix was to change the luke warm tank into a hot water tank.  The plumbers advised that we think about replacing our tanks as they are nine years old and tanks generally only last between 7 and 11 years.  I think we will replace the part that needs replacing and see whether we can get another year of life out of the system.  In the meantime, we will research what kind of hot water tank we would like as technology has changed since we moved into this house.

*  The sensor lights in my garage are supposed to come on when they detect movement, but they have not been working properly.  I can't tell if it's because it has been so cold and the sensor is not working properly or if the electrics are going awry, as it sometimes works, other times not and sometimes just gives a little flicker before turning itself off.    

*  Miss S had Thursday and Friday off school as professional development days and then Monday was Family Day, so a nice long weekend was had.  A lovely friend dropped off her girls' outgrown clothes for my two.

A small selection of the clothes that were donated
She has two girls who are a couple of years older than Miss S, so I was very grateful for the huge bag of clothes that we received.  The girls had a fun time playing fashion show for me.  I have now sorted through their wardrobes and added new to her pieces to Miss S's clothes selection and passed down items to Miss C.  The clothes that have to be grown into have been sorted into boxes and placed into my storage cupboard in the basement.  

A clock that was donated by my friend's girls now has pride of place on Miss C's dresser

*  I decided to round off the week by running over a huge nail and creating a hole in the back tire of my car!  I'm not sure exactly where I ran over a nail, but it happened when I drove Miss C to school on Friday afternoon.  When we returned home, I got out of the car and heard a hissing sound.  I located the sound to the back tire, but couldn't find the hole.  It must have been pretty bad, because the tire already looked flatter.  Miss S and I walked back to school later that afternoon to collect Miss C.  I didn't feel confident trying to change the tire by myself or driving on it to get it to a garage so that they could fix it (especially with the girls in the car).  DH returned from a business trip later that night and put a quick patch on the tire to slow the release of air.  He took it to the garage the next morning and the lovely people fixed my tire for only $40.  Yay! 

*  Monday was Family Day and DH took the girls sledding while I stayed home.  They had a great time, until Miss S tried a new move on her sled (on the advice of her dad!) and fell off the sled as it bounced over a bump in the snow.  She ended up with a bloody nose, chin and bust lip!  She was a brave girl though and only cried a little bit.  She cheered up when DH invited her to eat an ice pop and watch the first Harry Potter movie.  Miss C and I played upstairs and watched Jungle Book, then DH and I swapped places and I watched Harry Potter while he stayed with Miss C.  

*  Tuesday was a hugely important day for me.  I had my citizenship test and interview!  I decided a few years ago that the time was right for me to become a citizen of my adopted country.  I was sent a letter acknowledging my application and a study guide.  This is a 65 page guide all about Canada.  It covers from 1497 to modern day and includes all kinds of facts and dates to remember (history, geography, how parliament works, inventors and other notable Canadians, etc. etc.).  A month ago, I received a letter telling me when to come in for my interview and test and I have been studying hard ever since.  Yesterday was the big day.  I was sick to my stomach with nerves.  Poor Miss C was also sick.  She decided that it would be a good day to have a stomach bug.  Poor little thing threw up all morning until there was nothing left in her tummy.  She was a little trooper as DH drove me to the test and collected me afterwards.  I am so happy to say that I passed the test.  A letter will now be sent advising me of my oath ceremony time and date.  

Today, I'm hoping to get back to some kind of normal.  Back into a routine without having to study at every spare moment and maybe trying to come up with new products for my shop to help support this lovely family of mine.  


February 17, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - February 17, 2014


As I look outside my window...
Warming up today.  Mix of sun, clouds and snow this week with highs of 4C.

Right now I am...

Working my way through the laundry pile.

Thinking...

About what to do today with my girls.  It's Family Day and they are both off school.  

On my bedside table...
Sheer Mischief by Jill Mansell

Listening to...

The Olympics on the t.v.

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Baked chicken with asparagus and salad
Tuesday: Fish and chips
Wednesday: Baked tortellini and salad
Thursday: Homemade pizza
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Roast beef and trimmings

On my to do list...

Laundry / Ironing
Write grocery list
Enjoy Family Day!

Plans for this week...

Grocery shopping
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing

What I am creating...

Nothing specific planned yet.  

My simple pleasure...
Reading in bed at the end of the day.

Looking around the house...

Piles of clothes in my hallway.  I have been sorting through the girls' wardrobes and have to put the clothes away for Miss C to grow into and donate the other items.    

From the camera...
My artist at work
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

February 12, 2014

Ten Household Tips



1.  If you break a glass on a hard floor, pick up any large pieces carefully.  Sweep the area using a dustpan and brush.  Take a slice of bread or a disc of playdough and gently press it over the area to remove any small shards of glass.



2.  Save the water from boiling eggs.  Cool it down and pour it onto your garden plants (especially tomatoes).  Eggs have a high amount of calcium in the shells which transfers to the water when boiling and the plants love it.



3.  If your shoe lace is frayed, create a new aglet by twisting the lace and dipping the end of it into clear nail polish.  Allow to dry and it will be as good as new.



4.  Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes.  Add into gravies, casseroles or whichever dish you need a little wine in.  



5.  Try using washing up gloves to help twist off a stubborn jar lid.  



6.  After cutting onions or peeling garlic your hands may smell.  Wash them with soap and rub them on the faucet and the smell will be gone.  



7.  Use WD-40 to remove crayon marks from walls.  I use a Q-tip and gently remove the mark.  



8.  Place a folded tea towel at the bottom of your sink before washing delicate china or crystal.  



9.  Place a few grains of rice in your salt shaker.  The rice prevents the salt from clumping in the shaker due to humidity.   



10.  When baking, always measure the oil in a recipe before the honey.  The honey will slide out easily.    




February 10, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - February 10, 2014


As I look outside my window...
Cloudy and cold.  -25C this morning, warming up to -9 this afternoon.  The rest of the week is between -11C and 0C.

Right now I am...

Looking after an ill Miss S (tummy bug), then cleaning up my kitchen.  

Thinking...

about future posts I want to write.  

On my bedside table...
Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

Listening to...

Miss C giggling as she watches Wallace and Gromit "A Grand Day Out".

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Chicken fingers and baked beans (caesar salad for me)
Tuesday: Homemade hamburger helper
Wednesday: Sweet and sour chicken and rice
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Homemade ham and mushroom pizza
Saturday: Burgers and salad
Sunday: Roast chicken and trimmings

On my to do list...

Laundry / Ironing
Inventory fridge/pantry contents
Wash my kitchen floor
Clean my kitchen
Write grocery list

Plans for this week...

Grocery shopping
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Clean oven
Wash make up brushes

What I am creating...
Gifts for the girls for Valentine's Day.

My simple pleasure...
Spraying lavender linen water on my pillow before bed.

Looking around the house...

A bit dark today.  Time to light some candles.  

From the camera...
Nothing new yet this week!

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.


February 08, 2014

Jam Pillows (also known as homemade pop tarts)


Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water
egg for egg wash
Filling ideas - strawberry jam, raspberry jam, cherry jam, stewed apples, nutella

Directions:

1.  Place all the ingredients, except the water, in a large bowl.  

2.  Combine together with a fork, pastry cutter or your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3.  Add in the ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.

4.  Divide the dough into two equal portions and flatten them into discs.  

5.  Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour (or overnight).

6.  Preheat the oven to 375F.

7.  Grease a baking pan or line with parchment paper/non-stick liner.

8.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften for approx. 15 - 30 minutes.  

9.  Roll one disc approx. 1/8" thick and into a 9" x 12" rectangle.

10.  Trim the edges and cut into 2 1/4" x 3" rectangles.  

11.  Repeat with the other disc.  Make sure you have an even amount of rectangles.  

12.  Place half of the rectangles on your baking sheet (or as many as will fit).

13.  Beat the egg and brush over these rectangles.    

13.  Place a heaping teaspoon of your filling into the centre of each rectangle.

14.  Place a second rectangle of dough on the top as the lid and gently press around the edge to seal.  Use the tines of a fork to press down, if desired.  

15.  Prick the top of each tart with a fork to ensure that steam can escape.  

16.  Brush the tops with the egg wash.

17.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown.  

Cool and enjoy!


February 04, 2014

February 03, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - February 3, 2014


As I look outside my window...
Sunny and cold.  -14C today.

Right now I am...

Typing this post, then cleaning up my kitchen before collecting Miss S from the school bus stop.

Thinking...

About summer and my sister's visit.  I'll have to start planning some fun things to do. 

On my bedside table...
The Bridesmaid by Beverly Lewis

On my tv tonight...

Not sure yet. 

Listening to...
My quiet house!

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Baked chicken with asparagus, peas and mashed potatoes
Tuesday: Shepherd's pie
Wednesday: Butter chicken and rice
Thursday: Spaghetti bolognaise
Friday: Leftovers/buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Chicken fajitas

On my to do list...

Laundry / Ironing
Wash my kitchen floor
Clean my kitchen
Write grocery list

Plans for this week...

Grocery shopping
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Buy scrapbooks for the girls

What I am creating...
Freezer meals and gingerbread.  

My simple pleasure...
Visiting the library.

Looking around the house...
It's a bit of a mess from the weekend.  Toys have to be put away, papers to be filed, floors to be swept...

From the camera...


If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

February 01, 2014

A New Day

Source

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense…"
Ralph Waldo Emerson