February 9, 2016


February is the month of quiet(ish) coziness, a crackling fire, warm soup on the stove and busy hands. For me, that means spinning Turnip's black wool into yarn, and for the boys this means hours - literally - of drawing, drawing, drawing. Jude likes to create elaborate scenes in which superheroes are battling bad guys, including lots of wind and motion marks, inanimate objects flying through the air and amazingly intricate outfits. Ollie likes to make comic books, and will artfully cover at least 10 pages of paper - both sides! - with his own version of superheroes versus bad guys, and then I will staple them all together before he runs off to start another one.

The homeschooling 'block' usually happens late morning, after breakfast, a shower for me, and barn chores have been completed. We are all thriving due to this daily routine, and once learning time is finished (usually around 2 pm), we have lunch and then the boys play happily together for the rest of the afternoon. I love the play of winter, which seems to me more imaginative than that of the warmer months because there are no extreme variables really, just the same toy props and same inside space. It is wondrous to me how wrapped up and carried away the boys get by their play, and I make sure there is tons of time in any given day for this sacred growth.

And of course, every day the kiddos make use of our wonderful hill!
The top starts just behind the house and is quite steep, ending at the line of farm fencing enclosing the pasture. Jude has learned how to ride his sled down and curve around so that he doesn't crash into the fence, but instead carry on beside it. Ollie, not. But they sure do have fun!

January 30, 2016

Best lunch ever! Chili and gluten free corn bread - a recipe

I just found this recipe which I had created and never posted two years ago!
I haven't made this cornbread for quite some time but I will do so now!

We still have so much corn stored from when Jason grew it, and this, aside of masa for tortillas, is a great use for it! 

Yummiest ever gluten-free cornbread!

1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup milk (any kind of milk is fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 heaping TBSP of sour cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 cup gluten-free cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease an 8x8 inch pan.
Drain the water out of the can of corn. Add the corn plus a bit of the milk into a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender (you can also do this in a regular blender). Keep adding milk until the corn is well blended, and then add oil, sugar, sour cream, eggs and mix well, until very smooth.
Next, add the flour, salt, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda. Mix very well!
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (A few crumbs are fine, just as long as the toothpick is not gooey)


Sam's Chili recipe

1 lb of ground chicken, beef or turkey (or moose!)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
3 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP gluten-free flour (or corn starch)
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP cane sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 shakes of cinnamon
1 shake of ginger
2 shots of gluten-free soy sauce
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 large jars (or 2-3 large cans if from the store) of canned tomatoes
4 cups of soaked beans (3 large cans of kidney beans if from the store)

Brown the ground meat with the diced onion, garlic cloves and olive oil in a large pot.
Add flour, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, soy sauce and red wine vinegar. Mix until completely combined.
Next, add all the tomatoes and kidney beans and very slowly bring the chili to a gentle boil. Stir often to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Simmer for 20 minutes, until everything is good and hot. Serve it up with hot buttered cornbread! Yum!

January 28, 2016

late afternoon sunlight

After our formal lessons and lunch were done, Jude and Ollie settled in before the woodstove, Ollie drawing yet another comic book and Jude sewing himself a little felt bag for when he goes walking in the woods.

January 22, 2016

Sheep, yarn, winter fun and homeschooling

Here is a picture of the Christmas full moon, peeking through the trees in our front yard.

The chickens in their new inside-the-barn coop. They are loving the new nesting boxes!

This picture was taken before Christmas. The boys made Christmas trees using chocolate, pretzels and various toppings (gluten free graham crackers + marshmallows, crushed candy canes, cranberries + slivered almonds). They had a blast, and they were yummy! We made lots and gifted them to our local friends :)

This wonderful fellow was standing upright before a lot of rain came, but I liked him even more so when he was leaning back and happily peering up at the winter sky! The boys created him while I was working away on my chores. They are quite adept at snowman-construction!

On Christmas day, there was a foamy heart in the center of my cranberry sauce!

Jason's homeschooling charts - mostly letter blends :)

All tucked up in the barn, cozy and warm! Turnip (my black sheep) is rarely in photographs because she runs straight to me for snuggles and nibbles on my sleeve while I try to take pictures!

The quail in their winter-home. They have lots of room in there, and the boys 'decorated' the space in quail fashion, with a play castle, bark tunnels, a bucket full of warm hay, etc..The quail get quite excited when I do the morning and evening rounds, peeping and running to the door. They are very sweet. 

Bean, tomato and noodle soup. Beans, tomatoes, onions and chicken stock all from our homestead!

Blocks of tens and ones that Jason whipped up to help the kiddos.

There was an ice storm and the world was so very beautiful.

I love our barn door.

We'll be getting to this pile of firewood next year, I suppose!

THIS is my very first, very lumpy and crazy-looking skein of handspun wool.
I made it!
Using Turnip's lovely black wool, I taught myself how to spin, and then wrapped it on my niddy-noddy. I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally be spinning the wool from my sheep!
I ordered myself a bran-new spinning wheel to learn on (and a drum carder! I really treated myself!!), as the antique wheel I was gifted was just too difficult for me. 
My second skein is already much more uniform-looking so I am actually improving, thank goodness. Spinning on a wheel has got to be the most cathartic activity I have ever done. I love it.

Jason and Jude going for a walk.

Turnip, Noble, Teapot and Pippin, waiting for their dinner :)

Jude working on his 'marshmallow math'.

And Ollie too!

Ollie is only four, but he wants to do everything his big brother does, and so he does!
Such a clever cookie!

Jude's new favourite thing - cross-country skiing!
He practices on the road, as it is fairly flat and there is snow along the sides. I walk with him and pull Ollie in a sled. Lots of fun!

Jolly Ollie!

Jude has fun whether he is skiing or falling down!

And this is really something - Returning to the house yesterday, we spotted a rainbow seemingly streaming in - or beaming out of - our house. What a sight! On a cold and wintery and totally rainless day, a rainbow! And really not a rainbow at all, because there was no bow, but a line going straight up and down. Beautiful! 


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