A Little Goes a Long Way

Posted Friday, December 31, 2010 by Kally83
I wrote this before the holidays and sort of forgot about it, but decided that the topic is always relevant!

I was reading Tales of a Kitchen Witch’s blog today. It was entitled Charity in a Can and talked about how, as thoughtful as it is for us to pull whatever canned food we don’t use off our shelves and donate it, if you’re giving it to a specific person, it may not always be useful. When donating in this way, we need to think about the WHOLE meal, rather than just a few random cans.

Up until now, all my food bank donations have been of the “let’s see what I have in my cupboard” variety. As simple as it seems, her entry was quite eye-opening for me. Now, in all fairness, because I’m donating to our local food bank rather than a specific person, the volunteers there likely put together meals rather than random food items. However, my thoughts became, if everyone donates the way I have been, I imagine they probably receive an overabundance of canned beans, corn and carrots. So, I decided to check out our local food bank’s website to see if they had a listing of foods or items that were in short order. I wasn’t able to find anything, however, they did have this fantastic little gadget that allows you to donate $5 by putting in your mobile number. The donation would be taken off of your next phone bill.

Since I was sitting at home with Bean fast asleep upstairs, I certainly wasn’t going to be able to run to the grocery store, buy food and drop it off for donation. But this little gadget allowed me to sit at my computer and give. Granted, $5 may not seem like a lot but we all need to start somewhere!

Be sure to check your local food bank website this season and see if there’s any way you can help.

Holiday Mayhem

Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by Kally83
The word exhausted barely even begins to cover it!! I thoroughly enjoy the holidays but I can’t say I’m ever disappointed to see them leave. We have one more big family shin dig on New Year’s Day and then we can finally just hunker down for the winter.

I’ve missed you all. I finally sat down and started catching up a bit with the blogs I follow. I was so sorry to miss the Longest Night Masquerade Ball. Yule was very simple this year as I was too busy planning and preparing for Bean’s baptism (do you sense the irony???). We did enjoy ‘breakfast for dinner’ and performed a small family ritual. We also made Hot Buttered Rum (minus the rum so Munchkin could drink some). The days until Christmas were busy cooking and baking with a little last minute shopping and wrapping thrown in for good measure. We spent Christmas Eve day tracking Santa’s route and then spent Christmas Eve with my family. We were so excited to have my daddy home!! We came back to our place that evening and woke up in the morning to lots of lovely gifts under the tree. The boys enjoyed opening their presents and then we got dressed and headed to my in-laws for their family Christmas. We left Munchkin there overnight and came home to prepare for Bean’s baptism on Boxing Day. Bean was baptized Sunday afternoon and we went back to my parents for munchies and presents afterwards. We’ve been vegging ever since! This week will be a quiet one so we can recoup a little!!

How were all of your holidays?

Mommy Milk Rant

Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 by Kally83
This post came about after reading this article.

There are few things that I’m more passionate about in this life than breastfeeding. I openly admit to being a lactivist. I respect that women choose formula but I don’t always agree with their reasons for doing so. I was a formula fed baby, and I certainly can’t deny that the introduction of formula saved many babies who might otherwise have died BUT it was never meant to be the norm. Thankfully that thought is shifting but we still have such a long way to go.

I recently joined a group on Facebook called Eats on Feets. It’s an online resource that connects nursing mothers who have breastmilk to spare with mothers who need it. Unlike milk banks, this milk would not be pasteurized and of course there would be a certain level of risk involved. In light of this, Health Canada has recently issued an advisory about milk sharing. So what is a mom who desperately wants breastmilk for her baby to do? Move to British Columbia where the ONE Canadian milk bank is located. One. For an entire country, there is ONE milk bank. The government pushes and pushes women to breastfeed their babies and then provides no support whatsoever. I have countless friends who, due to a complete lack of knowledge and support in the hospital, have ended up supplementing and often, completely switching to formula. For those who genuinely couldn’t produce milk, their ONLY option is formula because we live nowhere near BC.

If the government wanted to help, they would start making an effort to have milk banks AT LEAST in every province. More would be better. Instead they issue blanket statements , invoking guilt in mother’s who are only trying to provide the best they can for their babies. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

The Intolerance of it All

Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 by Kally83
Since the beginning of December, I’ve shrugged off countless Facebook status’ that all pretty much say the same darn thing. The essence is “I celebrate THIS, so you’d better wish me Merry/Happy THIS or else you must be some sort of illegal immigrant who should go bother someone else in your own country.” Ok so they aren’t ALL exactly like that but you get the jist. It irritates me beyond anything that people, of any religion or culture, can’t just accept well wishing from someone. For a season that’s supposed to be about love, giving and happiness, the amount of intolerance that looms over it makes me sick to my stomach.

To make myself feel better (and I suppose to give an underhanded “stick it to you”), I wrote my own status:

I’d like to wish you my best for the season. So if I say Happy Holidays and you’d rather hear Merry Christmas, or I wish you Happy Yule and you’d rather hear Happy Chanukah, please accept my wishes of happiness and health in whatever way makes the most sense to you, regardless of the words that come out of my mouth.

Apparently, I failed to impress people because no one likes it when you refuse to tolerate their intolerance. Do I care? No. I said what needed to be said and I feel darn good about it!

May your Chanukah be light, your Yule be blessed, your Christmas merry and your Holidays happy! :)

My Misadventures in Sewing

Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 by Kally83
Awhile back I talked about wanting to learn how to sew. I had every intention of making my boys each dream pillows for Yule. Well, I finally sat down at my sewing machine today and figured since I was able to make a decent pair of boxer shorts back in the eighth grade, it should be like riding a bike right? I was wrong. Serves me right for thinking I could sit down and just learn/create a week before the holiday. Anywho, if there's anyone out there that knows anything about sewing, I'd really appreciate if you could troubleshoot these photos for me.

In trying to sew a basic straight stitch, the top looks like this:

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Not too bad, but the bottom looked like this! (Sorry about the poor focus)

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Any thoughts?
(Just FYI, this was just me practicing...thankfully I wasn't stupid enough to actually sit down and start sewing the pillows!!)

Big Thank You

Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010 by Kally83
Not too long ago I won the giveaway over at Ramblings of Newbie Pagan where she was celebrating her one year blogging anniversary. I received my parcel today and am so excited about all the lovely things she sent me.


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Thank you again Jen! I always look forward to reading your blog :)

Got Little Ones?

Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010 by Kally83
Here's a few fun websites for you to check out with them:

Decorate your own gingerbread house (minus the sugar high and mess!!)

Get the lates updates from the North Pole, play a new game each day of December and then track Santa's flight as he delivers gifts around the world with Norad.

Check out the Yule issue of the Pooka Pages.



Planning a Secret Santa exchange with friends this year? Use Elfster to sign up your group, pick your Secret Santa partner (without the organizer having to see who has who) and create a wishlist.

Still in the Closet, but the Door's Open a Crack

Posted Saturday, December 4, 2010 by Kally83
Most of you probably know from previous posts (and my About Me section) that I’m still mostly in the broom closet. There are a lot of reasons that I made this decision but for the most part, it’s due to family members who would never accept me as a witch.

I’m part of a mommy group in my city and have made many incredible friends through it. Obviously, so has Munchkin, but let’s face it, playdates are for the mom’s too! Either way, today was a big day for me. I “came out” as it were to a few of my mom friends. We were talking about religion for some reason or other and I was directly asked what I believed. Up to this point, I typically avoided the whole conversation but since I was asked specifically, I decided it was ok. Wow, am I ever glad I did!! Although none of them know an awful lot about witchcraft or paganism, they knew enough not to assume I worshipped the devil. No weird looks, no backlashes. Just acceptance. One of my friends even asked if she could borrow a few books so she could read up on it.

I admit, it was terrifying. I had never wanted to say anything for fear that I would lose friends and they wouldn’t let their kids play with my boys anymore. I was worried for nothing. I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to be able to talk about my beliefs and not feel judged or harassed.

Beyond the obvious not having to hide anymore, I'm glad all this came about because it's so easy to let your faith fall by the way side when there's no one there to hold you accountable. Not that I'm expecting my friends to ask me if I remembered to do my Full Moon ritual but it motivates me to make sure I'm living my faith daily rather than when it's convenient.

Better Late Than Never....

Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 by Kally83
Ok, I've seen this on a few pages now and really like the idea so here goes:

Age: 27

Bed Size: Queen (hoping for a King at some point though so we can have an actual family bed rather than a rotating one LOL)

Chore you hate: Cleaning toilets

Dogs Name: Tatum

Essential start to your day items: Coffee, coffee and more coffee

Favourite Colour: Pink

Gold or Silver: White gold

Height: 5'3"

Instruments you play: Does the recorder count? I can sing.

Job: Stay at home mommy

Kids: 2 boys

Living Arrangements: Townhome with Boo, Munchkin, Bean, a dog and two cats

Music You Love: Name it and I likely enjoy at least some of it

Nicknames: Minou

Overnight hospital stay other than birth: None...and even for Bean's birth there was no overnight stay at the hospital :)

Pet Peeve: Oh, where do I start? Drivers who don't give you the "wave" when you let them in front of you

Quote from a movie: I don't really watch a lot of movies

Right or Left handed: Right

Siblings: 1 little sister

Time you wake up: Depends on when the boys wake up

Underwear: Yes?

Vegetable you dislike: Tomatoes (ok so they're a fruit)

Workout Style: Yoga and chasing a 2 year old while carrying a 5 month old

X-rays you’ve had: Back and teeth

Yummy food you make: Not sure about yummy but I love decorating cakes

Zoo, best place to visit: Tigers baby!

Christmas, Yule or Both?

Posted Thursday, December 2, 2010 by Kally83
I believe in Jesus. That probably sounds a little weird coming from someone who’s a practicing Pagan, but it’s the truth. I don’t, however, believe everything that Christians, or even the Bible, say about him. I believe he existed. I believe he wanted the best for humanity and tried to share this view but as people so often do, we’ve taken his words out of context and thrown in our own interpretations.

As Christmas approaches, I find myself in the same awkward spot that I have for the past couple of years. As a family, Boo, the boys and I celebrate both Yule and Christmas. I grew up surrounded by the “magic” of Christmas and I hope to give my boys the same thing. Yule has become an extension of that and I hope over the years that we will create traditions that reflect my Pagan beliefs and we can flawlessly mould the two together. But right now, that just isn’t happening for me.

I’m not sure how to look at Christmas anymore. It feels like more than a commercial holiday, but since I no longer follow Christianity, I don’t feel entirely right celebrating the “true meaning of Christmas”. But since I believe Jesus existed, is it ok to celebrate it in a less “religious” way? Do any of you celebrate both holidays? How do you go about it? Is there a way of bringing the two together or must they be kept separate?

Still kicking!

Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 by Kally83
I just wanted to add a quick post to let you all know that I'm still around. The boys and I all had awful colds last week so that kept me pretty occupied (it's hard to sleep when you have two little ones who are sick...actually having them around period makes it impossible to sleep LOL). This week is Boo's last "on-call" week so he's gone from shortly after the kids get up until after they're in bed which doesn't leave me a lot of time to get online. He's on parental leave for 4 months starting Monday so I'll definitely be back around then.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends south of the border!

Hydro Woes

Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 by Kally83
So the providers of my hydro have kindly informed us that effective....well, sometime....if we use hydro during peak hours it’s going to be a significantly higher cost than to use it during non-peak hours. Ok, I get it. I’m all about going green. The problem I have is that non-peak hours are from 9pm-7am.

You see, there’s this thing that I do every day called laundry. I’ve spoken before about my cloth diapers and unfortunately, they don’t wash themselves (though if someone could invent self-washing diapers, I’d be all over that like white on rice!). Now, here’s a little riddle for you....if I’m washing diapers, it means I also have what? You got it! Children in diapers! Now for anyone who has or had children in diapers you know that by the time 9pm rolls around, you’re completely exhausted and the LAST thing you want to be doing is STARTING your laundry. Ok, fair enough. Let’s look at the other possibility...getting them washed before 7am. I rest my case.

Now, they’ve sweetly said that hydro will be at the cheaper rate over the course of the weekend. I appreciate this, I really do. Problem is the weekend is when we’re normally trying to do family stuff...ya know, since me and my boys don’t get to see my husband all week. Plus, this is the time I do those pesky chores that I have to be fully involved in...like cleaning bathrooms....while hubby has guy time with the boys. Combined with the fact that I only have enough diapers to last me 2ish days you have a recipe for a horrendously over-scheduled, exhausted mommy.

But, as the manager of my home, I need to keep our finances in check (by doing the laundry during non-peak hours to save $$$) and encourage green living (by doing the laundry during non-peak hours to reduce the greenhouse gases caused by the power plants). Just don’t expect me to be happy about it :P

Lest We Forget

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 by Kally83
At the beginning of November 1944, my great-grandparents received a letter from their daughter-in-law.
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The letter reads:

My darling Mom & Dad,
So I have lost my darling – what have I done to deserve this parting. I can’t believe it – he was one of the best in the world and how I am going to face this world without him I can’t think. I received the telegram at 8:45am on Monday, Oct 23rd and it said they deeply regretted to say my husband was wounded and died of his injuries somewhere round about Oct 20th and that there was a letter following. I am at Yorkshire just now staying with another Canadian’s wife in the hope I will hear something about him. I received a letter from him this morning, Tuesday, saying he was hoping he would be home for Christmas and what he was going to do. I hope he did not suffer long but what hurts me most is that he went without saying goodbye and I was not able to see my darling. We were the happiest couple on earth and I just lived from day to day in hopes of seeing him one day. Now I have absolutely nothing left in this world that makes me want to stay. Don’t say I am selfish Mom & Dad. I loved him so and I can’t bear being parted from him. Why did he have to be taken? My thoughts are with you too – all of you – and I wish I could be with you to comfort you a little. Don’t let it get you down – he would have said “Keep your chin up” so do try although I know it will seem impossible just now. I can’t write any more now – will write you when I hear more news.
Your loving daughter
Eileen


She hoped beyond hope that there had been a mistake, but shortly after receiving this letter, my great-grandparents received a second.


My dear Mom, Dad & family,
I have received the letter from the Padre. I was praying that it all was a mistake and my darling was spared but now it is so definite. Now Mom and Dad, I know you will be heart-broken at John’s going but please be brave – although my people are trying to comfort me by saying it is all for the best. I fail to see it at the moment. Life is so empty now – no letters to write to him and even now I wait for the post hoping against hope. The Padre said John was brought in the base hospital at 2pm on Oct 18th and he was dangerously ill with abdominal wounds, there being no hope for him, the Padre said prayers and he died Oct 20 in the early hours.
He is laid to rest in Antwerp cemetery and the Padre gave me his grave no and what row. He also sent me his sympathy and God’s blessing. I was hoping John would have sent me a last message but evidently he was too ill. Poor darling he wanted to live so much – we had planned and planned and now I am alone. I feel absolutely lost. Why has such a good living boy to go – and why should he give up his life for the sake of a few greedy imbeciles. I wish I could get away from all this horrible war and uniforms – for me the war can go on forever. Maybe I sound bitter and Mom & Dad I am, but you will understand. I hope I can come to Canada if not to stay, to visit you as I know he would have wished it. I think this is all for now – I will let you know any further news – am expecting a letter from some of John’s pals telling me how it happened. I have been wondering if Annie could come over and then I could travel back with her – is it possible do you think? Keep your chins up and please don’t grieve too much. Forgive me for being such a poor comforter but maybe when I have got over my great loss I will be able to see reason. Please write me as often as you can even if it is only a few lines. God bless you all and keep you safe.
Ever your loving daughter,
Eileen


Both Eileen and my great-grandparents received letters from the chaplain telling them where John had fought and how he had been killed. He had fought in various parts of France (including Dieppe) and pursued the enemy into Belgium which is where a Nazi’s “Flying Bomb”(V1 bomb) landed in Canadian lines. He had been wounded with shrapnel and died from those wounds a little over a day later. He was only 25 years old.

I learned all of this information in the past two weeks in emails from my dad’s cousin. As a mother to two small boys, I can’t tell you that I didn’t cry seeing these photos and hearing this story. We must never, EVER forget the sacrifice that was made for us and that our troops continue to make for us.
On this Remembrance Day, I keep my thoughts on three very special people. My grandmother and grandfather who were both involved in the war and have since passed on and my great-uncle who I never had the pleasure of meeting.
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John's Story

Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 by Kally83
My grandmother and her brother’s grew up on a small farm in Saskatchewan.
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This particular story follows that of her younger brother, John, here shown with my great-grandmother.
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During the Second World War, both John and my grandmother were stationed in England. John was a foot soldier and my grandmother was a telegraph operator.
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While in England, John met the love of his life, Eileen. Despite it being war-time, they were married in 1942.
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They spent two blissful years together before John was sent to the Front Lines........

Our Story - Part Two of ?

Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 by Kally83
For all of the unromanticedness (ok, I made that word up) of our meeting, Boo made up for it ten-fold with our engagement.

The company I was working for at the time owned a box for our local OHL team. Typically it was used to schmooze with clients but once a year our big bosses brought all the staff and paid for all the food and booze we could handle. We, of course, were welcome to bring a guest. Boo came along and we had a great old time with my co-workers. At the end of the evening, the girls and I convinced our bosses to hit the bar with us (do you notice a theme here??) Boo declined the invitation but told me to have fun. We went although didn't stay out late because, let's face it, by the time the hockey game was over, we were pretty much done anyway. I went home (we were living together by this point) and went to bed.

Roughly four hours later, Boo woke me up and told me to pack a bag and get my passport because I was being kidnapped. Obviously, the first thought I my head was "Haha, funny," but as it turns out, he was serious. So I rather begrudgingly packed a bag (and passport) and we set off. Boo told me I could sleep for a bit, so naturally, I did.

He woke me up about an hour later because we were about to cross the Canada/United States border. After crossing, he handed me the directions. Final destination: New York City! I was soooo excited.
We arrived countless hours later and checked into the Dream hotel. It was incredible! We settled in a bit and then headed out to dinner. I can't remember the name of the place we went now but the food was fantastic! After dinner, he suggested we walk through Central Park to burn off some of our supper.

We got to the park and after strolling around a bit, he told me a trip to New York wouldn't be complete without a carriage ride. So we found a carriage, hopped in and settled back to enjoy the ride.

About 10 minutes into the ride, he handed me an old ring of mine (a la Walmart) and told me he'd found it when we were packing to move and thought I might like it back since it was my favourite. It made him sad that I didn't wear it because it turned my finger green (told you it was cheap) so he had had it re-made so I could wear it all the time. At this point, he got down on one knee (yes, in a moving carriage) and asked me to be his wife. I can honestly say that this was one of the few moments in my life when I've been speechless. I just sort of nodded and the poor guy had to ask me "Does that mean yes?". I managed to squeak out a tiny yes and he put an exact replica of my favourite ring on my finger made of real gold and diamonds.
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We stayed in New York for 3 more days and enjoyed countless lovely meals, shopped till we dropped at Macy's and went to see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. It was romantic, fun and just incredible.
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Our Story - Part One of ?

Posted Monday, November 8, 2010 by Kally83
November is a special month for Boo and I. We started dating in November 2005 and got engaged in November 2006.

We met through a mutual friend. She was my supervisor at work and she and Boo were part of a regular group of bar-hoppers. For Halloween 2005, they all decided to hit the club but this time she invited me and another of our co-workers. We all met at her place to “pre-drink” and it was here that I met Boo. Apparently he was interested because he came over and we chatted for most of the evening until we left for the bar. We danced a bit but, frankly, he was far too short for me (I typically only dated guys over 6’...Boo’s about 5’7”). My co-worker and I left early.

A couple weeks later, the plan was to go out again and so my supervisor gave Boo our emails so he could include us in the planning loop. He sent me an email telling me that we weren’t allowed to leave early this time. We emailed a bit back and forth but I didn’t think much of it until my supervisor told me that Boo had been snooping around asking her questions about me. I still wasn’t 100% sure how I felt since he was nothing like the guys I normally dated, but he was cute and built (Why yes, I was that shallow!) I decided to just go with it and see what happened. Since Boo had an apartment downtown at the time, I asked if I could stay at his place after the bar so I wouldn’t have to bus and then walk home (I was much braver and stupider in those days). He agreed. Now I know what you’re thinking...unfortunately, I can’t really answer the question of what I was expecting to happen that night or if I was even planning on anything happening. I guess it was part of my "winging it". Apparently, it worked. We returned to his apartment after a great night (a little too great maybe) and in his highly inebriated state, he asked me if I’d be his better half. Not exactly the most romantic, but it worked.

The next morning, I wasn’t entirely sure what to say. I didn’t know exactly how drunk he’d been so wasn’t sure he even remembered anything from the previous night. Being the brave and stupid person I am, I just asked. He, in fact, did remember but apparently didn’t know the precise words he used (actually, he didn’t know them until I was regaling some of our friends with this story later on).

And thus began the story of Boo and I.

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Our first trip together, Cuba, February 2006

The Peanut Butter Incident

Posted Friday, November 5, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketIt doesn’t happen often, but I really hate having to do a load of laundry twice. Friday’s are laundry day in my house and so I ran up and down stairs all day changing loads from basket to washer, washer to dryer, dryer to basket and then back upstairs for folding.

The first load was Munchkin’s clothes. I typically have enough of his clothes to do his own load and today was no different. I washed them and then into the dryer they went. As I was putting them into their basket after drying, I noticed an empty peanut butter package at the bottom of the dryer....you know, the kind you get at the restaurant. Weird. Then it hit me. Crap. A quick glance at the clothes didn’t reveal anything so I shrugged it off figuring the wash cycle probably cleaned it all away anyway. I was wrong. As I pulled out each item of clothing, I noticed small smearings of peanut butter over every single article. Needless to say, I was highly irritated. So I started thinking to myself, “How does peanut butter get into the wash anyway?” Munchkin is 2 and doesn’t even know he HAS pockets, let alone what to do with them. I called up Boo at work. “What brilliant mind put a package of peanut butter in Munchkin’s pocket?” We thought for awhile before Boo figured out that it was probably his mom (my mother-in-law) while we were at breakfast with them this past Sunday.

I love my MIL. She’s a sweet woman with a wonderful heart. We’ve had our share of head-butting when it comes to parenting, which is understandable since we parented in entirely different generations (although I haven’t always sounded so sweet about it). But honest to goodness, what would compel her to put a package of peanut butter in a 2 year old’s pocket? (In my defence, I know I’m partially to blame here since I didn’t bother CHECKING his pockets first....but as I said before he doesn’t even know he HAS pockets so why would I?)
Anyway, I got the clothes clean without much fuss but I learned a valuable lesson. Despite how redundant the task may seem, do it anyway! Or never trust your mother-in-law! (j/k)



On a completely un-related note, I had to post this link as it pertains to my rant from yesterday. The awful example of journalism has been rectified and she has accepted the cloth diapering communities’ challenge to try cloth. Although I would happily pick apart the blog entry, I won’t. I’m happy to see she’s open to seeing the other side and I wish her nothing but the best of luck. I’ll be watching closely to see what she thinks about the dark side :)

Pardon the Rant

Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketI’m a cloth diaper convert. Munchkin was in disposables until he was 2 and shortly after his birthday, a girl I know was selling her cloth diapers and so I bought them from her. Bean has been in cloth since he was about a month old (technically 2 weeks if you count the time we were using the trial pack from our local baby store). I LOVE cloth! They are easy and cute. It’s also fantastic to know that I’m no longer sending hundreds of disposables to my local landfill where they will spend the next however-many-hundreds of years decomposing.

I write about this now because CBS put up this piece of garbage segment about Cloth vs Disposables. Now, admittedly, I’m no journalist, but watching this kinda made me wonder if the woman doing the interview had even studied journalism. Frankly, I would have assumed there would be a little more research done. And I can’t say much for the paediatrician either. I’m sure she’s great at being a doctor but her knowledge of cloth diapers is practically non-existent so I would maybe have interviewed her on something a little more related to her field...how to prevent the flu perhaps?

To me, a real VS segment consists of two sides. They should have spoken to someone on the cloth side of the fence and one on the disposable side of the fence...ya know, people who had actually USED the products??

That’s not to say that I look down on people who use disposables...as I said at the beginning, Munchkin was in them until he was 2. But it infuriates me that this type of journalism is passed as fact.

One comment after the video wondered about the “diaper origami” that the paediatrician performed and I have to say, she’s right. Cloth diapers come in many shapes, sizes, colours and prints....including all-in-ones (AIO) that are just washable disposables (these are what I use on Munchkin now). Practically no one uses the fancy folds she was doing and I have yet to meet a cloth diapering mom who uses pins anymore (maybe there’s some out there but I haven’t met them).

Alright, I’ll step down off my soap box now.

If you’re looking for good info on cloth diapers, here’s a great website you can check out.

Changes

Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 by Kally83
Well, today would typically be Web Wednesday but I've felt for a few weeks now that I'm over-organizing my blog. I want to provide useful information but I'd also like it to be my musings and so for the next little while, it's probably going to be a little disorganized over here, so please excuse the mess.


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I have a few ideas in the works so it's just a matter of putting some substance to them and getting them posted!

Stay tuned.....

Tuesday Talk

Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by Kally83
What do you think about my new template? I wanted something with a little more colour. There were sooo many to choose from but I decided on this one for now.

Well, well, do I ever have a bit of catching up to do! First off, I received a most lovely package on my doorstep last week. I had won some beautiful products over at Mrs. B’s 31 Days of Halloween from The Sacred Oak. Here are a few pics:
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Samhain weekend was very busy but didn’t end up at all as I had originally planned. We enjoyed both of our playdates, the second of which ended up lasting until past midnight on Halloween. That being as it was, we weren’t able to do a family ritual or dinner. I can’t say I was disappointed though because we had a wonderful time. Hopefully next year we’ll stick to a plan, but sometimes the unexpected can be so much fun!
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Finally, I need to send a BIG thank you over to Loopy at Wandering Along Loopy’s Life Path for sending me my very first blog award!


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The conditions are as follows:
Link back to her blog – done
Choose 10 other blogs that I love and let them know I’ve given them the award.

So here are 10 of the blogs I really enjoy reading:
1) Hedgewitch Hollow
2) Witchy Godmother’s Cottage
3) Ramblings of a Newbie Pagan
4) Mother Moon
5) Dancing with a Spatula Wand
6) Rue and Hyssop
7) The Whimsical Cottage
8) A Witch in the Tea Closet
9) Kitchen Witch’s Wicked Ways
10) The Deepest Well

Please pass it on to your 10 favourite blogs!!

Friday's Fare

Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 by Kally83
Just one and a half more days till Samhain!! Munchkin is getting super excited and, let's be honest here, so am I!! I have everything planned out for Sunday evening so it looks to be a lot of fun. The boys will be spending pretty much the whole weekend in their costumes (well, Bean's is a sleeper) what with two playdates and the Halloween parade at church. Saturday night we're heading over to my in-laws house to meet my brother-in-law's fiancee from the Phillipines which should be very exciting. Hopefully we're able to make her feel welcome, both to Canada and the family!

Well, last but not least, a dessert is required for an evening such as Samhain and what could be more fitting than pumpkin pie...but not just any pumpkin pie....creamy pumpkin pie! I've been making this for a few year's now and my family just love it. It's no bake which makes it even easier! One warning though: make sure to use INSTANT pudding mix otherwise it doesn't solidify properly (trust me, I learned the hard way!)

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

1 cup canned pumpkin (or use fresh of course!)
1 ¼ cup evaporated milk
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger (go easy)
1 regular size pkg Jello Vanilla INSTANT Pudding
1 baked and cooled 8” pie shell (I buy the pre-made graham ones)

PhotobucketCombine pumpkin, milk, salt and spices in a bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat slowly with an egg-beater until well mixed, about 1 minute. Pour into pie shell. Chill until set, about 2 hours.
Garnish with Cool Whip.

Tuesday Talk

Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketThe countdown is on! Just 5 more days till Samhain! I’m super excited since this is the first year I’m celebrating the Sabbat as a Pagan (I had started following the path last year but never got around to really observing the holiday). It’s been fantastic exploring other blogs and getting fabulous ideas. Now I just have to spend some time piecing together what our Samhain will look like this year.

Well, we never quite made it to the pumpkin patch. Boo was sick so Sunday was spent doing a whole lot of nothing....literally. No brekkie, no church, no pumpkin patch. We did, however, have a fantastic family nap Sunday afternoon! That was well worth missing everything else! We’ll look for somewhere local to buy our pumpkin in the next few days.

I’d like to take my hat off right now to anyone reading who practices a vegan lifestyle. I know that everyone does it for their own unique reasons but I’m not sure anything could motivate me enough to give up meat AND dairy. I’ve mentioned before that Bean is a really fussy baby so in an attempt to see if it’s something I’m eating that’s upsetting his stomach, I’m on the breastfeeding elimination diet. For the next week, dairy is out. It’s been two days and I’m losing my mind! Not because I’m a huge fan of dairy, but because there’s milk and/or milk ingredients in EVERYTHING! And can I tell you, my morning coffee just isn’t the same without milk or cream. If it wasn’t for only a week, I’d probably try and seek out some alternatives but for the short time period, it just doesn’t seem worth it right now.

Friday's Fare

Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by Kally83
Gimme a T, gimme a G, gimme an I, gimme an F....what's that spell?
Thank Goodness It's finally Friday! Boo was working his support week and so left every day around 9:15am and got home about 8:30pm (except for Wednesday night when he arrived around 10pm). Munchkin has been go-go-go and Bean has been cry-cry-cry. I really wish I could figure out what was up with that little guy!
We have another insanely busy weekend ahead of us but at least we'll be together as a family! The plan is to go pick out our pumpkin on Sunday (weather permitting) so I'll be sure to have some photos of that! Otherwise it's a couple of get-together's with friends and a playdate (plus brekkie and church on Sunday morning).

Today's recipe isn't actually for food...I figure you need something festive and yummy to drink as part of your celebrations (or perhaps rit if you're like us and keep things "virgin" so Munchkin can partake). I don't have a picture but I'll try and make some up before Samhain and post it...otherwise it'll be part of the post-holiday wrap-up.

Apple Cider Punch

6 allspice, whole
6 cloves, whole
6 oz frozen lemonade
6 oz frozen orange juice
4 quarts apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Tie allspice and cloves into cheesecloth. Combine next 6 ingredients in slow cooker. Add spice packet and heat on Low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Yummy :)

Web Wednesday

Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by Kally83
I’ve decided to learn how to sew. I’ve wanted to for quite some time but I figured I would probably have to wait until we had some spare money for a proper sewing machine so I sort of put it on the back burner. Then, when I was visiting my mom, she told me I was welcome to the sewing machine in her basement that belonged to my grandmother. It’s in fantastic condition and works great (I just need to buy some new needles) so hopefully in the next few months, I’ll be posting about my little practice projects! I’d also like to learn other types of needlework (knitting, crocheting, quilting etc) but I’ll start with this (as if I didn’t already have enough to do!!)

Now for today’s site:

In looking for websites specifically for Halloween, I came across this little place. It’s got most of the basics, but it has them all in one place which is always handy. Their History & Origin isn’t great but at least they don’t claim that it has anything to do with the Celtic God of Death, Samhain.
Really, Halloween Web is great for party ideas (which is where you’ll find a good deal of the content) and fun recipes. It looks like a good starting point if you’re not sure where to start. It’s definitely not a specifically Samhain site but it may help you think outside the box for house and altar decor as well as fun snacks to prepare for the big night!

Tuesday Talk

Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketPhew! This week has barely started and I’m already exhausted! Our weekend was ridiculously busy but, as always, lots of fun. Saturday morning we attended a local La Leche League meeting in the hopes of finding some new ideas on how to deal with our fussy, fussy Bean. We did get some good ideas and I’ll be trying a few things in the next four weeks (the time until the next meeting). After that we brought Munchkin to see some of his favourite TV characters live at a local mall. Too bad the poor kid was already exhausted, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Sunday was the usual morning ritual of breakfast and church. Then it was home for a nap and then on to my in-laws for dinner. Monday morning I had a follow-up eye appointment (I had a nasty reaction to my contact lenses about a month ago) and then we visited with my mom for the rest of the day. The boys and I went shopping with my sister in the late afternoon and got home just in time to pop dinner into the oven. I put Bean to bed, Boo got home from work and spent time with Munchkin and then after a little down time, it was bedtime for us.

I typically use my bit of downtime between the kids going to bed and my bedtime to catch up with all the blogs I’m reading (the numbers grow almost daily!). I was over catching up at The Whimsical Cottage and she talked a little about her relationship with the Tarot. She asked some thought-provoking questions that made me decide to look a little further into MY relationship with the Tarot (which I warn is practically non-existent!). I’ve always been drawn to cards but, growing up, never owned a deck because my mom wouldn’t allow occult items in our house (if only she realized the origins of a deck of playing cards huh?) At a sleepover in high school, one of my friend’s mom’s did a reading for each of us and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. Fast forward quite a few years and I started following my Pagan path. Suddenly, I looked at Tarot in a whole new light. It was no longer a rebellious game, but a legitimate way of learning new things about myself (and perhaps others) through divination. At this point in my life, we’re living on a really strict budget and so using a website that I found through another blog, I had Boo print out the images of the Rider-Waite onto cardstock (apparently he was really bored at work that particular day because he came home with the cards all cut and ready to go too!!) So far I’ve done one reading (yeah, I know...kinda sad, huh?) and I used a few sites online to get rough ideas for the meanings of the cards. I was actually pretty impressed at the accuracy of the reading. Basically the cards told me a little about who I was and who I’ve become....almost like they were saying “Yep, we know who you are and we’re looking forward to working with you”. I know a lot of people prefer to do it intuitively and I’m hoping to do that as well in future but since it was my very first time, I liked the idea of having something to work with and I’m so glad I did. That being said, I would love, one day, to be able to look through some other decks and find one that I really connect with, but until then, my homemade Rider-Waite and I will do just fine :)

Mrs. B's Giveaway

Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Kally83
Hop on over to Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween today and check out this aweome giveaway from I'm Not Hannah.
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"Working with the winner, I'll create a charm catered to a specific need using natural items gathered from my garden or my travels."

Tuesday Talk

Posted by Kally83
PhotobucketOk, so I'm cheating just a wee bit on this post. As I'm writing it's Monday night but I'm scheduling it to be posted on Tuesday because I happen to know that I'll be busy again tomorrow but don't want to let my blog fade in the meantime. I say this because I'm just hoping it'll work right.

We had a wonderful long weekend. It was Thanksgiving up here in the Great White North. Saturday, Boo and I brought the boys to Gatineau Park nearby to walk through nature and collect leaves for some fall crafts I'll be working on with Munchkin. We had a wonderful time...so wonderful in fact that here's a few photos.

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Sunday we did our usual morning ritual of breakfast and church and then spent the evening with my mom, dad and little sister at dad's convalescence home. We had a great time!
Monday was "hang out in our pj's and do precious little" day and it was fantastic!! It seems like we're always on the run so having a day to just do whatever was great.
Now begins a new week so we'll see what this one has in store for us!

Friday's Fare

Posted Friday, October 8, 2010 by Kally83
I was so excited to get this lovely little package yesterday evening
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This is the beautiful giveaway I won from Mother Moon :) Everything in it is just incredible!! Thank you so much!!

Today's recipe would make a nice entree for Samhain.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

1 lb pork tenderloin
½ tsp ground sage
garlic salt to taste
1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut, drained
½ apple, cut in half
½ onion, cut in half
1/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325F.

Rub tenderloin with sage and garlic salt. Place tenderloin in a baking pan or casserole. Cover meat with half of the sauerkraut. Place the apple and onion, cut side down, on top of the sauerkraut. Cover with remaining sauerkraut. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1.5 hours or until internal temperature has reached 160F.

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Mrs. B's Giveaway

Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketI don't have a lot of time this morning but wanted to post about this neato giveaway.
Mrs. B and her 31 Days of Halloween has these gorgeous Ocean Heart Prayer Beads up for grabs from Sithmomma. "Hand made pagan prayer beads, Ocean Heart is crafted from glass beads and silver findings. There are three groupings of ten beads, each separated by a silver spacer bead. Ocean Heart will be a great addition to your meditation or ritual work."

Web Wednesday

Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 by Kally83
I sat down to write this post at 9am and am only now (at 6pm) finally getting to actually writing it! Those boys of mine sure keep me hopping! It's another rainy day here but I guess that comes with the territory of autumn. I love the fall and I love the rain but it's getting a little excessive for my liking :) Moving along....


Let’s face it, one of the most complicated things you need to prepare for Samhain/Halloween is a costume! Costume Idea Zone has LOADS of ideas for homemade costumes for any age! I found a few cute ideas for my Munchkin that I hope I’ll be able to use this year!

Turn a box into any number of things...an aquarium, a box of popcorn....even a skill crane! Need an idea for you and your partner? How about a maid and butler? Or maybe A Roll in the Hay with the two of you in country clothes with straw coming out from random places (this one made me laugh!) The ideas are endless and even if you don’t find one that works for you specifically, it’s guaranteed you’ll get some great inspiration!

Tuesday Talk

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketHere stands another week before us. It's been beautiful here the past few days (finally, after more rain than I've seen in ages!). I'm going to get the boys out soon to start collecting things for our Samhain altar. Once the caffeine kicks in anyway. Bean woke up...a lot...last night so I have that zombie feeling this morning.
This past Saturday, Bean and I participated in our local Breastfeeding Challenge and had a blast. The challenge itself is short and sweet but beforehand they had lots of great speakers talking about topics such as babywearing and breastfeeding resources in our community. They had some great door prizes and I was super excited when I won one (I rarely win anything!). I'm now reading my very own copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding put together by La Leche League. If you or someone you know is nursing, I highly recommend it!!
I'm also very excited because I'm in the process of expanding my Pagan horizons. A dear friend of mine has invited me to join the study group of her Alexandrian Wiccan coven and I've started the process of joining a local women's spirituality group. I have limited contact at the moment with our local Pagan community because they meet bi-weekly on Sunday mornings for brunch (while we're at the UU congregation) and once a month on Wednesday nights (which as of yet hasn't worked, either because it's just not in the budget or I can't get a babysitter) I'm far too shy to attend any of the festivals until I have a few more aquaintances (kind of a catch 22, I know) so these will be wonderful things for me to expand my knowledge and hopefully with that, spirituality.

Another Giveaway!

Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 by Kally83
blog button

I'm starting to think I might have to make Monday's "giveaway" day. In reading my fave blogs today, I saw that jenandollie over at Ramblings of a Newbie Pagan is having a giveaway in honour of her one year blogging anniversary!
Since the traditional one year anniversary gift is paper, she's put together a beautiful bundle consisting of books, a calendar and even a dream catcher from her Littleun :) If you aren't reading her blog already, get over there and check it out.

Saturday Sabbats

Posted Saturday, October 2, 2010 by Kally83
Another busy day today so this is going to be short and sweet. I'm sure no one's complaining LOL

The besom is a perfect symbol for Samhain so why not make your own? I have yet to actually sit down and do this but I'm hoping to have one made in time for our Samhain celebration this year. These instructions are quoted directly from "Sabbats: A Witch's Approach to Living the Old Ways" by Edain McCoy.

Making a Besom

If you would like a Besom of your own, they are fairly easy to find in craft stores, country markets, or folk art fairs. You can also invest your energies into making one, a good idea if you wish to use it in place of a Wand or other ritual tool.
To make a Besom you will need a four-foot dowel one inch in diameter, a ball of twine, scissors, and straw or other long strands of pliable herbs.
Take the straw, or another herb you have chosen for the bristles, and allow them to soak overnight in warm, lightly salted water. The water softens the straws to make them pliable, and the salt soaks out former energies.
When you are ready to make your Besom, remove the straws from the water and allow them to dry a bit, but not so much that they lose the suppleness you will need to turn them into your Besom.
Find a work area where you can lay out the length of your dowel, and begin lining the straws alongside the dowel. Starting about three inches from the bottom, lay the straws, moving backward, along the length of the dowel. Begin binding these to the dowel with the twine. You will need to tie them very securely. You can add as many layers of straw as you wish, depending on how full you would like your Besom to be.
When the straw is secured, bend the top straws down over the twine ties. When they are all gently pulled over, tie off the straws again a few inches below the original tie. Leave the Besom overnight to allow the straw to dry.
The dowel part of the Besom can be stained, painted, or decorated with Pagan symbols, your Craft name, or any other embellishments you choose. Dedicate your finished Besom in your Circle as you would any other ritual tool.

Friday's Fare

Posted Friday, October 1, 2010 by Kally83
TGIF!! Bean decided that 3:30am was a good wake up time so I'm a little sleep-deprived today. I can't wait for the weekend to start!

Well ladies and gents, it's October 1st! The countdown to Samhain is on and the blog party has commenced!
I decided for my recipe Friday's that I would essentially give a complete meal over the course of this month. Today's fare would be an excellent starter. It's actually the carrot soup that I ended up making for Mabon but would work perfectly for Halloween as well. Carrots aren't officially a symbolic food for this Sabbat but, dude, they're orange LOL. This recipe also contains apples (they're the secret ingredient) which ARE symbolic for Samhain so I figured it all balances out.

Carrot Soup

1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 lb carrots, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
½ Red Delicious apple, chopped
½ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp parsley
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups water (or enough to cover)
1 cup milk

Place butter, carrots, apples, cardamom and parsley into a large stock pot and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add stock and water. Raise heat to bring soup to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, adding extra water or stock as needed, until carrots are tender.

Pour soup into a food processor and blend until pureed, adding the milk as you go. Serve and enjoy!
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Turmoil Thursday

Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010 by Kally83
Phew, I finally made it on here! It's been a ridiculously busy day and I'm very much looking forward to it being over!! I'm so exhausted, I think I could crawl into my bed and sleep for 3 days straight! But tomorrow is October 1st and that means we're 30 days until Samhain!! I still don't have the whole month planned out but I'm working on it and really looking forward to what everyone else is posting!

In the meantime, here's today's random post. I'm quite proud of this one actually because this is the first "rit" I've put together (ok so I got the idea elsewhere but I put the ideas into one ritual and wrote the words LOL)


I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy listening to podcasts. One that I’ve been working through is called A Witch’s Primer. In the first episode, he speaks about daily elemental purification and this was something I really took to heart.

PhotobucketJust as it sounds, the idea is to purify yourself daily using the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. I took this idea and made it into a complete daily ritual. In creating it, I took his idea that yoga could be used as the “earth” element at face value. I haven’t done any research on it to know exactly why yoga represents earth but I bring it down to the idea that intent is the most important thing in ritual.

You’ll need:
Yoga mat or something similar
Candle/Matches
Bottle of water
Music (optional)

I begin by laying out my yoga mat and lighting a candle nearby. It needs to be where you can see it, but ensure it’s not likely to be knocked by you or anything else. I then sit cross-legged and on my mat and say the following:
Lord and Lady, I come before you today in perfect love and perfect trust. As another day begins (or ends), I purify myself using the four sacred elements with the intention of also purifying my spirit.

Spend some time looking at the flame. Empty your mind and just observe how the flame burns. Do this for as much time or little time as you’re able (I recommend between 5-10 minutes).

Once you’re ready, begin a yoga routine. It doesn’t have to be long (mine is about 20 minutes). You could even just sit in child’s pose for a few minutes. As you perform your routine, breathe deeply and feel the oxygen filling your lungs and spreading through your whole body.

Once you’re finished, take your water, close your eyes and drink, feeling the water cool your mouth and then going down your throat. Feel the refreshment.

Thank the gods in your own way for another day and blow out the candle. All done!

Web Wednesday

Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 by Kally83
I can't believe September is almost over!! October 1st is on Friday and I'm so excited for The Domestic Witch's 2010 Halloween Blog Party! I was originally only going to participate on Saturday's but I liked the idea so much, I decided to try and make all of my posts (minus Tuesday's of course) somehow related to Samhain.
That being said, today's post is a little shorter because I've been so busy trying to get stuff together for October that I neglected today (yep, totally slipped my mind that we had one more Wednesday in September).


PhotobucketPick Your Own is a great website to find pick-your-own farms in your state (and even your province!!). Considering it’s predominantly an American website, I was really impressed at the amount of farms that were listed for my city in Ontario!! In fact, that’s how we found the orchard we attended. It also has loads of great articles about canning and freezing your produce. It’s not just limited to apples either...you can find just about any berry, vegetable, honey and of course, a Christmas tree. Plus, if you’re looking for organic, they have those listings as well (I finally figured out where to get an organic turkey nearby!) The season is coming to an end but this may help out come Yule when you’re looking for a tree!

Tuesday Talk

Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Kally83
PhotobucketI hope everyone's enjoying their week so far! It's going to feel long for me this week since Boo is on call at work and doesn't get home until after the boys are in bed! This is the first week he's done this since just before Bean was born so we're all going through yet another re-adjustment! But, we will persevere! :)

PhotobucketWe had a ridiculously busy weekend. We celebrated Munchkin's birthday on Saturday with not one, but two birthday parties (now I have to find room for a whole stockpile of new toys!) I have to brag a little, I made Munchkin's cupcakes and I was quite proud of them! As you can tell, the theme was Elmo from Sesame Street....or should I say Melmo (as Munchkin refers to him). But a good time was had by all and I now have enough leftovers in my fridge that I likely won't need to cook for the rest of the week!

Sunday we attended church as per usual and Munchkin attended his first RE class. Boo went with him and apparently they had a great time and are getting to know some of the other little tikes in his class. Sunday evening was our Mabon celebration. I had these lovely ideas in my head of a massive feast....we were going to try duck for the first time, I was going to make squash and sweet potatoes and a lovely dessert of apple and blueberry crisp and pumpkin pie. Well, with all the preparations for Munchkin's birthday, I never got around to buying the duck...or the squash..sweet potatoes or pumpkin. I made the crisp but offered it as an alternative to cupcakes on Saturday and apparently it was really good...so that was the end of that. So, in lieu of our big feast, I made homemade carrot soup and served it with bean salad and leftover pasta salad. We drank apple cider (thank the gods, we saved that from the Saturday pillagers!) and had an incredible meal! We used our rather large coffee table as the dinner table, placing pillows on the floor for each of us to sit on and then once dinner was over, set up our altar on the table and did the Apple Harvest Rite. One of the greatest moments I've ever had happened during that rit. I was trying to get Munchkin involved so after I cut the apple in half, I handed him half to hold for me...well as I continued speaking Munchkin started taking huge bites out of that juicy apple LOL. Boo and I were nearly killing ourselves laughing...I'm so glad the gods have a sense of humour! He enjoyed his half of the apple and then he helped me bring the offering outside. All in all, it was a wonderful celebration, simple yet very meaningful.

Check This Out!!

Posted Monday, September 27, 2010 by Kally83
 Dancing With a Spatula WandI don’t usually post on Mondays but I was reading through my usual blogs and as soon as I saw this giveaway, I knew I had to share it.

The Blue Faerie over at Dancing with a Spatula Wand is giving away the sweetest handmade jewellery frog in honour of the Practical Magic Blog Party that happened over the weekend AND the fact that she now has 50 followers!! She has an awesome blog with yummy recipes, great belly-dancing tracks and a few funnies to make your week! Quick, get over there!!

Saturday Sabbats

Posted Saturday, September 25, 2010 by Kally83
As promised, I have two Mabon suggestions for today since I missed last week. It's a little late for this year's celebrations, but hopefully you can make use of them for next year.

Firstly, I'd like to suggest our annual tradition of apple-picking. It kind of goes without saying that visiting an orchard is well-known for autumn but I wanted to put it out there anyway, along with some photos of our trip this year. We actually went the day after Mabon because that was when we had time! Here's a little info that you might find useful:

PhotobucketApples are one of the easiest fruit to pick and use. They're big and easy to pick, they can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, frozen and made into many tasty and healthy dishes. Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. A medium apple has about 80 calories. Apples originated in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago! They were the favourite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans. Apples arrived in England at around the time of the Norman conquest and English settlers brought them to America in the 1600 and 1700's.

When selecting apples, they should be firm and bruise-free. The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination. It all depends on the variety. And color is not really how you tell when an apple is ripe. Apples should be crisp and firm.

PhotobucketThe key will be to ask the farmer which ones are ripe. He will know because it is calculated from the number of days since the trees flowered. And he will track that date carefully, if he's a good apple grower! The farmer will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular varieties that he is growing.

Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples on the outside of the tree will ripen first. Picking apples directly from a tree is easy. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don't pull straight away from the tree. Don't shake the trees or branches. If the apple you are trying to pick drops, go ahead and pick it up. They’re still good!

You really need to choose the type of apple that is best suited for your purpose. Apples can be suited for eating fresh, cooking, baking, applesauce, storing, etc.

PhotobucketOnce picked, don't throw the apples into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad more quickly.
Don't wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.
Keep apples cool after picking to increase shelf life. A cool basement is ideal, but the fruit/vegetable drawer of a refrigerator will work, too. Kept cool, fresh-picked apples will generally keep weeks, but it DOES depend on the variety. Red and Yellow Delicious apples do not keep well, for example; but Rome, do! High humidity helps to to keep the apples from shriveling, but don't let them get actually wet. A wet towel placed nearby helps to keep the humidity up. A refrigerator is fine for small quantities of apples.
Source-pickyourown.org


Then, after picking all those yummy apples, here's a recipe to include with your Mabon feast (with just a little magick thrown in for good measure!)

As a time of celebrating hearth and home, I believe that Mabon is a great time to work protection magick for ourselves, our families and our homes. The following recipe contains blueberries which are perfect for this purpose. I love this crisp because it’s seasonal and the tartness of the apples balance out the sweetness of the blueberries. Ensure you’re focusing your intent of protection for your family into the recipe as you prepare it.

Green Apple and Blueberry Crisp

6 cups sliced, peeled apples
300g blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
Topping:
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter, melted

PhotobucketIn large bowl toss together apples, blueberries, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon; spread in 8-inch square baking dish.

Topping: In bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, rolled oats and cinnamon. Pour in maple syrup and butter; toss until moistened. Sprinkle over fruit.
Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 45 minutes or until golden and fruit is fork-tender. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes.

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Have a great weekend!