Tag Archives: baking

Be surprised by a radical sabbatical

Do you like surprises? Have you ever been surprised so much that it makes you jump and shriek? (I used to love surprising my mama!)

I am jumping for JOY over this radical sabbatical right now.

As a volleyball player I was never known for my vertical, but I think I can fly right now.

The boys driving their “learning”!

I love seeing my boys happy.

Truly happy.

No more morning stomach aches before school.

I love living this small space, small refrigerator and no dishwasher life.

Hands in the warm water and our family working together to get cleaned up.

I love wandering with no direction.

Walking out the door, into the woods and then deciding which direction to head.

I love being so far away from town that I don’t pop anywhere.

At. Any. Time.

I love the relationships I have that are growing deeper through fascinating conversations and not just two minute fly bys in the school parking lot.

Facetime. Phone Call. Texts. They all keep us genuinely connected to those people who are embracing our radical sabbatical and supporting us on this journey.

I love perspective brought on by the time and space of stepping out of life’s routines and the mundane moments of life.

Time.

Space.

To do the work that I need to do to accept the death of people I have loved deeply, to accept the direction that my family of origin has taken, and to accept where I am right at this moment.

Acceptance.

I love learning acceptance.

I love less laundry. We wear pretty much the same thing every day, except when we go into town.

I love making a weekly meal plan, ordering my groceries, picking them up and sticking to it.

Like I mentioned, we don’t pop anywhere. Nothing is open at the ski hill right now, so we are flying solo or relying on the generosity of wonderful neighbours, if we forget anything from the grocery store.

I love our simple super food nutrition that gets delivered to our door.

I love saving money.

I love being stretched to try new things. Living a small refrigerator life has caused me to find an alternative to the gluten free Costco pizza crusts we used to devour. I have been making sourdough spelt bread and pizza crust from scratch. Can you believe it? And I love it. It is incredibly simple to do and takes only a bit of prep time either the night before or the morning of. Small spaces need simplicity and I am finding it through baking.

Our family loves to walk, no matter where we are in the world. We love to explore on foot and see what we will see. No agenda, no timeline, just walking, talking and seeing what is around us. We have noticed that there is a rhythm in the mountains that is more in touch with the seasons. There is a flow that reminds me of squirrels. Right before the season change in autumn, people were bustling around chopping wood and preparing their homes and cabins for winter. It was a beautiful thing where families worked together and often ended the day with time around a fire. The city doesn’t really have this flow. It seems that most people have similar routines and rhythms no matter the season. I encourage everyone, as you read about our radical sabbatical, consider the seasons of the year that exist where you live and what could those different seasons look like. I believe that change is a great things for human beings to feel fully alive, and noticing the seasonal changes can help us live in the present moment.

I love watching my boys learn and seeing where their learning takes them. I am surprised at how much they love learning. My boys previous love of schooling involved recess as the highlight.

Amongst ALL of these surprises the largest have been my absolute delight to step outside of the “school system” and the holiday of Halloween.

I am jumping and shrieking as I write these words.

Eeeeeekkkk!

These were scary to jump out of culturally, but oh so wonderful now.

The “school system”.

All Hallow’s Eve.

Schools are filled to overflowing with delightful teachers and parents as well as amazing kids. But anywhere that there are more than a few people gathered, there are bound to be systems in place to make things “easier”. A system meaning “procedures, principles or methods in which something is done”. These ‘procedures’ and individual teacher’s ‘principles’ often are there for the greater good of a class. From personal experience as an elementary school teacher, I know it is really hard to truly individualise learning in a school system and to really see our students every single day. Not every child’s needs can be met on a semi-regular basis. Teachers do need to have eyes on their students, so they can’t have them zipping around the neighbourhood or even the school grounds during class time. We are truly grateful to be outside of this system for this year of homeschooling. As I write these words, my eight year old is researching bakeries in Paris, my ten year old is learning about “Game Theory” in Math and my twelve year old is zipping around the online program IXL learning about Grammar. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. They are fully immersed in their learning. Soaking it up and working hard. The past seven years in the school system, I have 2 times per month, taken my boys out of school to ski or enjoy a day at home or to go visit relatives, but I didn’t feel good about it. There was this tension that they would “miss” something. As we have stepped fully away from the “school system”, I don’t feel that we are missing ONE. SINGLE. THING. Truly.

The boys meeting with their teacher.

My other huge surprise this fall has been realising the energy and thought that went into the holiday of Halloween for our family. How do you feel about Halloween? For me, it has always been a holiday with a spiritual ramification that I try to ignore. Is it a dark holiday that creates more bad than good? We may have to ask a law enforcement officer to answer that one. I don’t know the answer to this question because the optimist in me always creates good from every situation that I encounter. I have chosen to embrace Halloween because I love the opportunity it provides for my boys to be creative with their costumes and meet our neighbours. How often do neighbours get a knock from a child to say “hello”? Yes, my kids do love the candy too, but for me, I love the opportunity to say hello and get to know our neighbourhood. I wonder if my boys will miss it this year. We will be standing on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France on October 31st and most likely walking up the 674 steps. We thought this would be a fun alternative to Halloween this year! We did have our eleventh annual pumpkin carving get together with friends, which is always a highlight. Other than that, we are stepping aside from Halloween this year. Whew!

Jumping for joy.

Happy boys.

Small space living.

Less laundry.

Simple super food.

Saving money.

Shrieking.

Jumping.

Grateful on this Thanksgiving 2019 for this opportunity to be surprised on this radical sabbatical.

Be Slaying Cake Demons

Two years of buying cakes.  

Ice cream. 

Fondant. 

Chocolate.  

Vanilla. 

Cakes. 

Made by professionals.  

Two years ago was the first time that my boys did not have a birthday cake made by my mom.  

Elmo. 

Bert. 

Pirate.  

Digger.  

Cakes.  

Whatever the boys requested, my mom would lovingly and happily create.  

My boys most memorable birthday moments have been their cakes. 

Tonight, I slayed some cake demons.  Often the hardest things create the most freedom within us and around us.  

Tonight, I made my newly four year old’s request for a fire truck cake.  

Tears in my eyes.  

Heart racing.  

Knees trembling.  

Pink icing and all. 

(Who knew red icing was so hard to make?) 

I MADE A FIRE TRUCK CAKE! 

Soul cleansing.  

Mind moving.  

New habits.  

Overcoming.  

Triumphing. 

Cake making.  

Happy Birthday OC. 

(My mom’s namesake.) 

  
What hard stuff will you push through today?   What freedom will you create? 

Be Making Angel Cookies

How about angel cookies to enjoy on this sixth day of advent?

These are super simple to make. If you are going to try making a Christmas cookie with your kids I would try these. The boys love making the dough into triangles and sticking in the pretzels.

We made these on the weekend then decorated them at Nana and Papa’s. These are yummy in our tummy kinda cookies. We decided to use the icing in the recipe book and banana chips for a head. Mom checked out the action from her chair.

Enjoy:

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Be a Muffin Watcher

The friend who gave me the Jesus calling book in my previous post also made muffins for our family. My banana avoiding son, JC, devoured these muffins and now asks for them almost daily.

Here’s the muffins:

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*I use spelt flour in place of flour.

Here are my muffin makers watching these yummy muffins cook.
Actually now that I look at the photo, I think JC was getting ready to poke or tackle his brother.

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We have been blessed. Thanks T.B.

Be Having A Baking Cupboard

I love our new house! Yes, I said it.

This 1960’s well built home is on a dead end street and is reminisce of my childhood home. Sexy Neck and his crew have done an amazing job renovating to rid the house of its smoke smell.

One of my favourite parts of the house, is the kitchen. We renovated the kitchen for under $5000 with half of that budget being a mix of old and new appliances. We found a Bosch dishwasher online for only $200.

We have an amazing amount of cupboards in the kitchen plus a Dutch door pantry.

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We decided to have one cupboard for my baking supplies. I can’t decide whether I should leave the doors off or put them on. They are currently in the basement waiting for their next coat of paint.

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Baking cupboard in the morning sun

Any opinions – doors off or on?

Be A Cookie Recipe Sharer

Hands up (or hands down depending what time of girl you are!) the best cookies I have had in a long time!

My neighbour brought over some freshly made cookies and the recipe.  I love this as you get to see and taste the finished product, plus see how it was made.

Chocolate Chip Seed Cookies 

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(From Betty/Lizzie, my tea drinking neighbour)

These are big and yummy and freeze well, if they last that long! 

Back at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (mine were smaller and only took about 12 minutes)

1 1/2 cups of butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 egss

then add 2 cups of cold water

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour (I used 2 1/2 cups of spelt flour)

1/2 tsp soda

3 cups chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

5 cups quick oats

*You can also add sesame seeds/millet/poppy/flax seeds or whatever you wish.

This is a stiff dough that needs good mixing and makes lots of cookies.  Some people make them large.  I don’t… plop them on the cookie sheets… you can flatten them, but I don’t.  

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Thanks neighbour.  I have made them twice in the last week to share with people.  YUM!

Be Snowing in the Kitchen

Today, we were making cheese and ham muffins for lunch.  The big boys pulled over their Stokke’s to the kitchen counter and then started to add all the ingredients into a big bowl.  (Our KitchenAid does all the mixing.)

Baby OC was on the floor sitting on his plasma car and looking in our treat/baking cupboard.  I looked up to see what the big boys were doing when suddenly I heard a giggle from the floor.  When I looked down, I saw  two pounds of spelt floor all over the floor.Image

JC jumped off his Stokke and immediately started yelling “It is snowing! It is snowing!”

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Usually I find accidents where there is major clean-up quite frustrating, but today I grabbed the camera and laughed.  Accidents happen and I realize that I can control my reaction to them AND have fun along the way.

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Welcome to our chaos.  Snow and snowmen in the kitchen while trying to make lunch. Hahaha.

Be a Dough Eater

This is a little post for my dear friend Ang, who would never, ever eat cookie dough!

I absolutely love cookie dough, even more than eating a baked cookie.

Yes, I do know that there is raw eggs in the dough, but I figure that certain people eat cupfuls of raw eggs, so it must be okay. At least I include a little butter, sugar, flour, and other things with my raw eggs.

My boys have learned to love to bake with me. I never really baked until I had children, well I never really cooked to tell you the truth! I heated things up.

Now, when I tell my boys that we are going to make cookies, muffins, popcorn they come running, grab their stokke chairs and push them up to the counter. Our middle guy CC is beside the fridge grabbing the milk, eggs, and butter and our big boy is beside the bowl getting ready to add the dry ingredients. It is an amazing time! They take turns mixing and, of course, when it is all done, they each take turns have a taste of the cookie dough. They take licks of the beaters, they sneak their fingers into the dough and they even get spoonfuls sometimes.

We were surprised the other day when our youngest, non-walking baby boy, climbed up, pushed his way between his two big brothers and reached for the dough.

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Yes, Ang, we start them young around here!

Be a Granola Maker

My cousin, my friend, and one of the people I most admire in the world lives in Spain with her Spanish husband and two little boys. Let me introduce her:

 

 

You can find out more about this chicky micky lady at: notsospanish.wordpress.com

 

 

Every summer she makes the humongous trek across the Atlantic with her boys, stroller and only ONE suitcase! She comes with her Canadian heart and her Spanish lifestyle. The one thing that always surprises her is how much sugar is in our packaged food, including cereal and granola bars.

This summer she encouraged me to start making my own granola.

Now once per month, I pull out the ingredients and make it. It is incredible and my boys love it. Every time, we make it the boys like to try putting in new things and the flavour changes. Today we added clove. We will see what happens.

I wish I could make it once per week like my Jedi-Foodie friend, Diana, but I am not quite there yet!

PS. The spoon I made in woodworking in Grade 8!