Friday, 30 September 2011

A Simple Joy...Boxed Puff Pastry!

The neighbours are away but I popped over to take a peek at a house detail...because I am always trying to decide how I want things finished in my house. Well I couldn't help but notice that there were some apple turnover looking things under the dome of their cake stand. *ahem* Suffice to say there is now one less than there was when I enter the house. Don't judge me, you know you would have done the same thing! ;) Who can resist apple turnovers, especially when me when I've been too lazy to make my own pastry lately. I know it isn't hard but the thought of it is and I really don't have a very ideal "rolling out" surface in my itty bitty kitchen. And besides, the turnovers would be stale by the time the neighbours get home anyway. Maybe I should go save the rest from such a fate...

Ok ok, relax, I didn't. Instead of being a regular thief I remembered I had some storebought puff pastry somewhere in the depths of my freezer. So I decided to take the "easy" route, instead of making my own fresh pastry I dug out the ancient package that had at one point been partially thawed and then thrown back in to meet a different fate at a different time (I refroze it! *gasp*), to make my own turnovers. (Following me still?)

When it was thawed enough I chopped apples in a bowl and threw in some sugar (brown and white because I couldn't decide which) cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger (I use whatever I feel like throwing in at the time) and stirred in all together. I rolled out the thawed pastry and cut it into appropriate sized squares. I added some filling, sealed them up, brushed the tops with cream and sprinkled with sugar. Add bake...

Don't tell me if you found these abandoned at my house you wouldn't help yourself to at least one. I hope you would! Easy Peezy but oh so GOOD!

Now I'd better get back to the rest of my day...which has been made a little brighter by a simple blessing like apple turnovers! Mmmm! :)


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Why we're so good lookin'. ;)

In honour of Mom and Dad's wedding anniversary this past week, I took them out and about for a little photoshoot. Here are just a few shots.

I was pretty pleased with the results.

Dad kept getting distracted by his beautiful wife.  And she didn't seem to mind. =)


Monday, 26 September 2011

The Collection Game

I have a philosophy that says everyone needs a Collection. An obsessive, irrational and embarrassing attraction to one thing…plastic containers, wreaths, tea cups…you get the idea.

I confess to embracing this philosophy frequently *cough cough* and often find myself coming away from a store with certain things clutched in hand. Vases. Blue and white china. Old-fashioned tins. Milk glass. Antique quilts.

Oh yes…it’s bad.

There are of course, rules to the Collection game. Two, to be precise.

The first is that a collection can’t be too useful. The more decorative the better, the type of thing that is for beauty’s sake alone. It’s just cheating to collect pots and pans – except of course if they are rusty, antique or otherwise impractical.

The second rule is that it isn’t a true collection until you spend money on it. Dust balls under the bed or birthday cards you’ve been given don’t count! Having a collection is all about your heart skipping a beat at the yard sale/antique store/thrift shop, and clasping a find to your chest, money no object. You have to invest in these collections, guys. It’s all part of the game.

you have a Mom who knows you better than you do yourself and finds amazing things as gifts. But that is the exception to the rule and I tell you in extreme confidence! Mum’s the word.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lessons Learned from the Matriarch and Patriarch

Today is my parent’s thirty-second anniversary. In commemoration of that event, Dad shaved off his moustache of over thirty-two years! To date, it has not yet been decided whether or not his bald upper lip will remain. Meanwhile, everyone is dealing with the highly traumatic state of moustache withdrawal in which we stare at poor Dad’s face for long periods of time and begin to laugh for no reason at all.
Anyway, because of this auspicious occasion, (their anniversary, not the loss of the moustache) I thought I would discuss the lessons I’ve learned from my parents. The nice thing about these lessons is that not many of them were taught with words. Rather, I gained them from watching my parent’s actions and behaviour.
    1. Giving of your time, treasures, and talents are imperative to being like Christ. Through the years, I have been amazed at the amount of money, time, and resources my parents have given to friends, family, and church. My parents aren’t rich, by any stretch of the word. And yet, they always seem to have enough to donate to those who really need it. Mom and Dad are busy people, both working full time, but they make time to help others, moving around their schedule if necessary. Whether it’s painting rooms, talking people through tough times, or opening their home to others, they always seem not only able, but willing to give these things.
    2.  It’s okay to laugh at people, as long as you laugh at yourself as well. Well, okay, I took a liberty on that one. I’m not sure they would say that, exactly. But, I’ve often been astonished when, even in very tough times, they were able to laugh. Laugh off other people’s idiosyncrasies, yes. But, also at themselves. I think that it is a rarer gift than people think to be able to laugh at the ridiculous found in yourself, as well as in others. To laugh at the strange in people, but never the good.
    3. Go to church, no matter what. Growing up, it was twice a Sunday to church, and NO EXCUSES. I may not have liked it at times, but I’m so grateful that that was nonnegotiable in our house. Now, I wouldn’t miss a church service for the world. I even went to church, at the age of fourteen, covered in chicken pox scars. Beat that, if you will! ;)
    4. Expect nothing from others. Through the years of local church involvement, Mom and Dad reached out to a lot of people. Frankly, they often got hurt for their pains. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t necessarily expect the worst from others. But, in making ourselves necessarily vulnerable to others, we shouldn’t be surprised when we get burned. It happens, but that doesn’t stop us. Mom and Dad have been hurt. They’ve cried, they’ve prayed, but they have stayed faithful. They haven’t been daunted. Our family aren’t really high achievers, in a way. But, on the other hand, we know what’s important, and we go for it. Mom and Dad taught me the joyful art of plodding, slugging through the mud and general yuckiness of this life, and not to be afraid.
    5. Your sister is your best friend. They said this so much when Olivia and I were younger, that they must have felt like a broken record. But, it paid off. Today, Liv and I are best friends, and I couldn’t ask for a better one: all because our parents didn’t treat sibling squabbles as an inevitability, but made us work through them.

My parents taught me how to think. I’m so grateful they chose to not leave it up to public schools to tell me what’s what. They taught me that two and two is four and, though postmodernists may disagree, it’s never five. They made me learn how to write, how to play the piano, and how to bake bread. They snapped me out of my early teenager moods by not treating me with kid gloves.
After almost eighteen years of living with my parents, I still get a kick out of hearing Dad compliment Mom and seeing her blush and giggle. It still makes feel happy and secure to see them spending every day together, talking, drinking coffee, and working in their office. After thirty-two years, they may not kiss as much as they did in their first year of marriage, but they’re a lot better friends.

- Millie

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

It's time for cobbler, folks!

Millie said the other day, and I think it’s true; that Summer is the season for lazing and Autumn the time for productivity.

Does cooler weather do that to you to? That goal setting, that bedroom cleaning, that leaping out of bed (at 9:30 –shhhh!) to go apple picking…

There is a million other things I could say I love about Fall, but I’ll spare you the winsome list that everyone writes, but no one cares about reading. Instead I’ll cut right to the heart of the matter and the core of this ‘busy-ness’. I’ll give you a hint to what we all really love about this season.

Hint: It happens in the kitchen.

Yes, yes…food of course. Good food. The fattening, sweet, fragrant kind. We’re all sick to death of salads, thank you!

Here is what I made the other day…with local pears. I feel so virtuous.

Gingerbread-Pear Cobbler

The Pear Layer:

12 medium pears, peeled and sliced
¾ cup white sugar
2 tbsp. Lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. Lemon zest
2 tbsp. Crystallized ginger, minced
1 ½ tbsp. Flour
2 tbsp. Butter, cubed

The Cobble:

2 cups flour
5 ½ tbsp. White sugar
1 tbsp. Ground ginger
2 ½ tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Cinnamon
¾ tsp. Cloves
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Baking soda
8 ½ tbsp. Butter or margarine
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. Milk
1/3 cup molasses
¾ tsp. Vanilla

The Sprinkle:

½ cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp. white sugar
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter 9 x 13 baking dish.
In a large bowl, toss sliced pears with sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, crystallized ginger and flour. Spread into prepared pan and dot with butter.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking soda with a fork. Work in butter until it resembles the size of small peas. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in milk, eggs, molasses and vanilla. Stir until just blended. Dollop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the pears to create a cobbled effect, taking care to space the dollops about 1 inch apart. Don’t spread the dolloped cobbles out! (Say THAT three times fast – dolloped cobbles, dolloped cobbles…)
Sprinkle the whole shebang with nuts and sugar. Pop into oven. Bake until pears are tender and topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.

If you’re me, eat it with coffee cream poured on top OR you can serve warm with ice-cream and whipped cream. Yeah. Not much of decision, I know.


Monday, 19 September 2011

Here I Am!

So I guess it's my turn now...

I'm quiet. I'd also have to say that of the four of us I have the least amount of writing skill. I get an idea to write about, sit down to write a post, get a few lines down then crumple it up and chuck it so to speak. So we have yet to see if I can hold my own on this blog...

I'm on here because I like real life honesty. The kind that says I am weak but He is strong, look at His glory through me because I fall everyday but His grace is sufficient. It is true that I am tempted to want people to think I have it all together. I'd rather we all read someone else's blog about their “real life”. It's hard to be transparent, leaving oneself vulnerable to the criticism of others but I know I prefer someone who can say, “you know what, I have a hard time with this” rather than try to make me believe they are next to perfect.

And as much as I dislike the picture perfect that often gets portrayed on blogs I do like the way they help you name your blessings. We often miss the “little” things in life because we aren't looking for them but beauty and blessing are hidden in the hardest of days if we would just look for it and stop taking it for granted. Thankfulness for the seemingly small things that God has blessed us with (like pie...some days;) can do wonders for our perspective on life and if they are our focus it is easier to avoid the temptation to be discontent.

This is a journey. I have days that I'm annoyed with my husband, that I'm impatient with my kids. Days when I forget all I have to be thankful for. When I miss the blessing of doing the dishes and scrubbing the floor AGAIN because it just doesn't seem like that meaningful a task. It's a journey of laying down self and pouring myself out for others because Christ did no less for me.

How's that? Is that gut spilling enough for now? :) I think my next post should be a little fluffier...a pie recipe perhaps...


Friday, 16 September 2011


Let me peek out from behind my big sisters for a minute in order to say hi. Even though I'm a teenager, I promise not to burden you all with too much angst. I don't think I've got much, to tell you the truth. How can I complain when God has been so good to me?
I've been given a garden, good friends, little people, music, and stacks of books. Sometimes real life is hard and sometimes it's easy. But it's always very, very good. Why should we expect anything less from God?

Call me Millie. I'm God's child. And joy is my calling.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

"Thrifty" Thursday, anyone?

 Do you ever have old dress shirts kicking around?  Well, don't toss them in the thrift store bin can fashion all sorts of things for your little people with them!  Yesterday, I used an old dress shirt of my husband's and made my littlest a pair of pants for church.
  I had found some cream coloured cotton, leftover from a project, that I lined them with to make them cozier for chilly weather.  And voila, cute little pants for a cute little man!  See, I'm greener than you all thought! ;o)


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Let's get real....(and why recycling just isn't practical). you know those things that people do that make you want to do those same things? But you really don't want just like the idea.  And then you need to come up with reasons why you don't, so you can defend yourself against those little thoughts that creep in, trying to persuade you to do such things?

 Recycling is one of those "things" for me.  It sounds so good.  Saving those cans and papers and bottles and cardboard and sending them off to be re-used, to save future generations!

 First you clear out some semblance of a space in your back shed, with big bins to help sort the goods...out of reach of your dogs, which have the tendency to shred everything they come in contact with.  This is probably going to result in a trip to the hardware store to buy plywood and hinges and screws and hooks that sort of thing. ka-ching!

Second, you then call all over town looking for where you are supposed to take your recyclables.  After you figure that out and learn that you need to take glass here, cardboard and paper there, and metal cans somewhere else, you sigh and set about teaching your kids how to sort the recyclables.  You think all is well until you discover that your toddler thinks banana peels belong in with the cardboard, and your 5 year old has been secretly putting tomatoes from last night's supper in with the tin cans.  You haul everything out of the bins to rinse things off and dispose of half rotted vegetables and fruits (shudder), dodging the fruit flies, barely escaping with your life.  Time and bad smells=money.  ka-ching!

After surviving a week in which you did nothing else but recycle, you muster up the energy to load your recycled goods and with your head held high, (I'm saving the earth, I'm not contributing to mass land fills, I'm doing the right thing!), you drive off to 3 different locations to deposit your recyclables...all the while burning precious gas.  ka-ching!

You realise that you haven't made dinner yet, because recycling took up your whole afternoon and so you pick up a packaged dinner on your way home. ka-ching!

 After supper, you have to look through the recycling instructions your local waste management lady gave you to figure out which part of said packaged supper should be recycled where, all the while grumbling about how if you didn't serve said packaged supper to your family in the first place you wouldn't have to be doing this!  And then in frustration you just throw it all in the regular garbage.

 Let me make a suggestion.  Use those bins for outside toy storage.  Spend your time helping your kids learn how to keep their rooms clean, make a down home from scratch meal your family will love you for, pat yourself on the back for breastfeeding and cloth diapering your baby. Eat pie.  Give up recycling. It's just. not. practical. ;o)


Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I pretend to be a writer. I've always pretended. But you don't have to be fooled!

I'm here on this blog as resident sentimentalist and suspect I will crack out some sappy posts from time to time...But isn't that real life too? The over-wrought emotions, the exaggerated feelings - all part of the build up for those scraped knees. But mercifully, we're also given the Grace of Humour. And that's what this blog is about...the build up, the falling down, and the laughter God sends to help us get over ourselves.

This is our's probably yours. Let's raise a pie slice to that.


Monday, 12 September 2011


  I'm not a writer.  I never have been.  It's not always easy to put real life into words.  It's a lot easier to create this description of what I might wish life to be like. But that doesn't change real life.  Real life is blessings born, scraped knees, sweet kisses, burnt suppers, friends made, broken dreams, good pie, late nights, sunny days, weedy gardens, laundry, fresh bread...thankfulness for all.