Thursday, January 30

New Breakfast Ideas??? Yes, please!

So Josh and I had the following conversation this morning

K: "What do you want for breakfast?"
J: "I don't know...what do you want for breakfast?"
K: "I don't know either.  I'm so SICK of everything we usually have..."
J: "Ya, me too..."

So after that scintillating conversation, we had toast and smoothies.  We often have toast and smoothies...

I'm in the mood for something new, so if you have any ideas, send them my way ;)

I remembered a recipe my sister Nicole sent to me last week, and I have everything in my pantry, so today I tried it out.  I think it may just be my new favourite thing to make breakfast more interesting.

Paleo Granola


3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (see note)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded/flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Mix all of the above in a large bowl.  To the bowl, add...

3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup honey

Stir until it's combined and then add...

2/3 cup melted coconut oil

Stir everything together and lay out on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  At this point it will look like this:
Before baking
Before baking closeup

Put it in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for 15 minutes more.  When you're done, it will look like this:
After baking
After baking closeup
It's delicious!  Add it to yogurt, salads, or just eat as-is :)

Ok, now who has some other breakfast ideas for us????

Saturday, January 18

Happy Half Birthday Beautiful Abby!

It's hard to believe, but it's been 6 months since we've had our little angel in our lives.  Every day now is bringing something new and something else for us to be in awe of.  In celebration, I baked a cake...

Josh and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Abby enjoyed the little bit of icing I couldn't lick off her finger before it got into her mouth ;)  I think half birthdays are going to become a tradition here in the Henderson house.  Read all about the half birthday celebration here.

Baby girl...I can't wait to see what you're like in 6 more months ;)

Wednesday, January 8

Sewing, and painting, and laundry...oh my!

So what's a gal to do when she's off on maternity leave and the baby is sleeping??

Simple answer: TAKE A NAP. 


I will say that not teaching this year has left me a bit lacking in the direction department.  Don't get me wrong...Abby keeps me all kinds of busy, but I've found myself getting to the end of the day and feeling like I didn't get anything 'accomplished'.  My cure to that has been to start sewing again.  A few years ago I started quilting (or at least piecing quilts) thanks to my Aunt Pauline (aka the QuiltnQueen), and I had a few unfinished projects that I have dug out and started working on.

I started this quilt probably 4 years ago.  Here it is part way through:

All the blocks have been sewn together and the sashing (a border around the edges) has been added.  The backing is done as well, so the only thing left to do is get it quilted together :)

My next project is a 'wonky' quilt that I've been wanting to do from ages.  The original pattern is from Elizabeth Hartman, over at Oh, Fransson!  Mine didn't turn out quite as pretty, but I'm happy with the results.  I think the 'wonky' pattern might be the type for me.  You don't have to be as exact with cutting ;)

The next quilt I'll be attempting is actually my Aunt Pauline's pattern that was featured on Moda Bakeshop.  It will be the finishing touch to our bedroom! 
Isn't it beautiful!!  And it should come together quite This is the colour scheme I'm thinking of...

 I've also been working on some things for Abby...

Here's a double-sided/reversible bandana bib :)

I made 2 larger sleep sacks which keep her nice and cozy in the winter.

It hasn't been all fun and games though.  It seems like the laundry just keeps on coming and coming.  How one little girl can produce SO much laundry, I'll never know.  This is the scene on my bedroom floor at least twice a week!!

Finally, we've been doing some painting around the house.  It was mostly in preparation for Christmas events, but I know we'll be finishing the rest of the house within the year.  Normally I don't mind painting, but I'm dreading this project.  So far we've done our front vestibule and our bathroom.  I will say though that there's nothing like a freshly painted room to make you feel productive ;)

Now that the new year is here, I'm sure that my focus will be returning to getting some things ready for the fall and getting some of my French materials ready for Teachers Pay Teachers.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 10

The World's BEST Bread!

So I have a tendency to pin lots of recipes to my Pinterest board and then never actually try making them (something to do with procrastination I'm sure...).  This bread recipe has been pinned to my 'Recipes' board from almost the day I set up my account!

Now I'm sure procrastination played a part in why it took me so long to try the recipe, but I think I also knew it was going to be TROUBLE.  A bread recipe with only 3 ingredients, that I almost always have on hand, and an infinite number of variations.  Plus it looked so delicious that I was afraid I would be disappointed with the end result.

Well, I was right on one front!  The recipe IS trouble, but I was NOT disappointed with the result.  I've probably made (no word of a lie) over 15 loaves of bread now, and each one seems to be more delicious than the last.  I've gone through a 10 pound bag of flour!

The best part about this recipe is that it is soooooo easy.  It takes no more than 10 minutes of your time for the WHOLE recipe.  There is a substantial amount of time though where the dough rests, so it takes a little advanced planning.  I try to convert people to try it whenever I can.  Since I'm off work right now, I've had the freedom to toy with the recipe, so I'd love to share with you some of the tips I've discovered...

So here it goes....

**Again, the link above to the Simply So Good blog has the original recipe/explanation, but hopefully you'll be able to follow along :)**

You'll need to start this recipe a minimum of 14 hours before you want to eat your bread.  What I do is start it the night before at 7 or 8ish after Miss Abby goes to bed and then I cook it sometime the following morning to eat around lunch.  It's very flexible.

In a large-ish bowl, combine:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast (I use the quick-rise version, but if you only have traditional on hand, I've read you can use that as well)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use coarse sea salt, but again, whatever you have on hand will work)
+ add-ins if desired (see below)

Stir together the dry ingredients and add to the bowl:

1 1/2 cups water

Sometimes I find that there is still some flour left over after adding the water, so I usually add more water 1 teaspoon at a time, until the flour has been absorbed.  I used to think that the extra flour would just absorb into the dough as it rises, but have found that not to be the case.

Here's the fun part....cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit on your counter for 12-20 hours.

 This is what the dough looks like after sitting for 12-20 hours.

When you're ready to bake the loaf, put the container in which you're going to bake the bread into the oven and pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.

Note: The original recipe calls for 450ºF, but I found that bread to be too crusty/crunchy.  After some experimenting, I found 425ºF gives a nice crunch, but not too much.

Note: You need an oven-proof container that has a tight fitting lid or something that can be used as a lid.  Personally, I use a pampered chef round baker with a pampered chef baker bowl.  The original poster uses a cast-iron dutch oven.  My aunt even used a pizza stone as the base and her slow cooker 'bowl' as the lid.  Anything goes!  However, you will need something that is at least 5 inches in height and maybe 10 inches in diameter.

This is the covered baker I use...

While the oven is pre-heating, get a some parchment paper, take your bowl with the dough, gently scrape down the sides and drop the dough onto the parchment paper.  I don't know how to be more specific than that, but what you want to end up with is a 'mound' of dough that's roughly circular (but try not to get too picky on the shape, part of the charm of this bread is the 'rustic' look!).  I don't add any extra flour, and in fact, I never touch the dough with my hands (it's VERY sticky).  Cover the dough with the plastic wrap you used to cover the bowl, and let it sit for 30ish minutes.  Sometimes I add a little coarse sea salt to the top at this point as well.

After the dough rests, take off the plastic wrap, and working quickly, open the oven, pick up the parchment paper, put the parchment paper/dough onto/into your base, and put the cover on.  You want to do this step as quickly as possible to retain the heat, as the heat is what makes the steam, which is what makes the crust crunchy and amazing!!

Set the timer for 45 minutes and enjoy the smell that will soon be filling your house!

 This was the first loaf I made when I used flour and no parchment, but I've found the parchment way so much easier and cleaner.

At the 45 minute mark, take everything out of the oven, and put your bread on a cooling rack.  We're lucky if the loaf stays untouched for 15 minutes around here ;)

Now for the variations...

For all the variations, the measurements are just approximate.  I usually don't even measure, and just put in what I think looks 'right' ;)

Cheesy Herb Loaf

To the basic mix, add:
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
cheese cut into 1/4" cubes (approx 1 inch of a rectangular block of cheese, cut up into small chunks)

Here are some pics...
Sitting on the counter ready to go into the hot oven.

After baking

After slicing

This one I love to make with a pot of chili or homemade soup!

Raisin Cinnamon Loaf

To the basic mix, add:
3/4 cup soaked raisins (soaked in warm water for 30ish minutes, and drained well...I've used golden and sultana, both turned out delicious)
3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar

After slicing (golden raisins)

Cranberry Almond Orange Loaf

To the basic mix, add:
1/2 cup soaked cranberries (soaked in warm water for 30ish minutes, and drained well)
2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Carrot 'Cake' Loaf (makes a dense flatter loaf, but was very yummy)

To the basic mix add:
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup soaked raisins (soaked in warm water for 30ish minutes, and drained well)
2 tablespoons grated coconut
1 tablespoon pie spice
3 tablespoons sugar

I'd love to hear some other variations!  If you give this a try, or have any questions, please leave me a message :)

Saturday, September 28

I have a "very hungry caterpillar" on my hands!

This week was 'baby week' over at my place.  I had visits from 2 boys (and their teacher moms) who are just a little bit older than Abby, one of my good friends had a baby girl, we went to 'baby time' at our local library, and I finally, yes FINALLY, finished the nursery.

Abby is now 2 and a half months old.  We got through 2 month vaccination shots without too much difficulty, but my little sweet pea is growing like a weed.  She's over 12 pounds (up from 7.1 pounds the day after she was born) and 24 inches long!  We've been using the bassinet attachment with our Baby Jogger City Select stroller, and today my hubby had to re-assemble the seat, because Abby barely fits inside the bassinet anymore!  She's getting so big because of all she's eating, so I've nicknamed her my 'very hungry caterpillar' :)

We have lots of things on the "go" over here.  We're working on finishing up the final touches to our house renovations (which have been ongoing over the past year).  I've also been trying out lots of Pinterest ideas (especially recipes) lately.  I think I'll do a summary post about those soon.  But my most rewarding part of the week has been finishing up the nursery.  Let me take you on a tour...
 This quilt is the inspiration to the nursery.  It's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" fabric.  I made this quilt about 4 years ago knowing that when we were ready to start a family, the nursery would be in this theme.  I love the bright colours, and also love that it works for a boy or a girl. 

 This is the view walking into the room.

 This is Abby's most favourite spot in the whole house.  She loves laying on the change table and playing with the blinds.  The change table was MINE when I was a baby!  I repainted it with my mom's help this spring and love how it turned out.

I have also had this clock FOREVER.  Maybe since before I was married.  It was from this cute little shop in Port Dover.  This winter I found the pictures, printed them, and made the frame.

My very comfy rocker and caterpillar plush toy!

This is the shelf above the bookshelf in the previous picture.  For now it just holds some books and....

...Abby's baby journal.  It's a FANTASTIC journal.  I think it'd want it even if I had chosen a different theme.   And it holds...

...Abby's shadow box.  I found this idea on Pinterest (see original post here) and knew I wanted to do something similar.  The hat was actually knitted by my grandma.  She knits many hats for the NICU and childbirth ward at our local hospital.  I'm so pleased Abby got to wear one as her first 'chapeau'.

Here is her crib.  I love it.  IKEA!!!   And a shout out to my mom who sewed all of the bedding for her room.  I am so very blessed to have such a talented 'maman'!

 An Eric Carle sensory toy.

Another Eric Carle Toy.

I was going to get hand-painted letters from Etsy that were 'on theme' but I couldn't justify the price.  So white letters from Michael's it is!

Her mobile!  I love Love LOVE this mobile.  It took me a really long time to find one that wasn't just stuffed animals on string.  This is from Manhattan Toy (love their toys too!!!) and I think this mobile is awesome because:

1. The pictures face down so she can actually see what is hanging, but there are also pictures hanging out so it's nice to look at as you walk in.
2. They are simple black and white (i.e. high contrast) pictures which are perfect for her developing eye-sight.
3. The cards are INTERCHANGEABLE!!  So as she grows, I can switch them out with coloured cards, flip them over, keep it interesting for her.
4. It doesn't clash with my 'theme' ;)

A shelf area beside her crib.
A lovely frame from Chapters.  Her first picture!

 More Eric Carle toys....

 My only real 'splurge' with the nursery.  This rocker I also purchased from Chapters and it has received glowing reviews from the toddlers who have visited her room.  Hopefully she'll love it one day too!

I received this Grobag from a friend.  It's 0-6 months.  She purchased it at Winners.  HELP!!!  If you see a larger size in your travels, PLEASE let me know.  She's almost too big for it, but I love it so much and would adore a larger size.  Google has been of NO help to me!

 A peak into her closet to see some of her wardrobe, which is so much nicer (and plentiful) than mine!!!

 Finally a little "artwork"...which is actually just stretched material over a frame.  Love how they turned out though.

Since I didn't have a classroom to 'decorate' this fall, I've put all my energy into Abby's room.  Thanks for taking the time to tour it with me :)

Sunday, September 8

Back to school...non-back to school style

So this is the first year in I-don't-know-how-long where I have not been in a school for the first day back.  One could argue I was in a better place, at home with my little pudding pop, but I'll admit I was a bit melancholy on Tuesday.

See, the first day of school is one of the most exciting of the WHOLE year, with maybe the exception of the last day of school.  It's a day of...
nervous energy

new beginnings
new friendships
new goals
(usually) a new outfit!

a fresh start
a fresh take on teaching
a fresh group of students
and fresh (and sharp!) pencils

I was missing all of the above on Tuesday.  I even had a few nights of back to school nightmares!  You know the kind where you show up the first day with nothing planned/nothing photocopied/nothing ready.  Or that you show up late and can't find your class.  Or that the principal changes your classroom location the day before school starts (which was my dream this year!).

I know that next year I'll likely be dreading going back, so I'll need to come back and re-read this post to remind myself how great the first day of school truly is!  Until then, I guess I'll just enjoy a bunch of other 'firsts'... and this :)

Thursday, August 22

What have I been up to?

With everyone getting back into the 'swing of things' with school starting up in a little over a week, I feel very odd.  I feel like I should be laminating like crazy.  I feel like I should be making daily visits to Scholar's Choice.  I feel like my days should be spent photocopying, organizing, and preparing.  However, none of that is going to happen for me right now because I have a little something at home keeping me busy...
My little girl arrived into this world mid-July, and the world hasn't been the same ever since.  She's currently taking up almost every spare minute I have, but I'm told this will 'level off' at some point.  I do have hopes though for my year off for maternity leave, and I'm hoping that by recording them, I'll follow through.

1. Prepare and post at least 5 products to my TPT site.
2. Blog fairly regularly about something...maybe teaching related...maybe family related...probably a little of both.
3. Take an AQ course next July.  I'm trying to decide between Reading Part 2 or Math Part 1.

Wish me luck! (both with parenting and my goals)