Airplane Activity Book

I asked on my facebook fan page last week, what you suggested for me to bring to amuse my 2 1/2 yr old son on a seaplane and an airplane. It’s by no means a long flight, 30 min on seaplane, followed by 2 hr airplane. Still significant considering my husband isn’t going, and it’s just Mac and I. I’m only bringing a medium sized backpack for the two of us for a week, and it’s cold weather, so it’s bigger clothes.

 

One of the suggestions was for a colouring book, and I figured if I could find a small one, it’d be grand! The more I started thinking about it, the more I realized it’d be hard to find one on our little island, and I’d make one instead. So here goes nothing:

 

Start with 10 pieces of regular white printer pater, and a couple of sharpies. (it was by coincidence that the fabric cutting mat was on the table…)

Fold the paper in halt (it is in the photo) and then cut two holes in the fold with a paring knife. Thread a piece of heavy string or yarn through the holes and tie on the binding

 

Give it a cover page to make it look important!

 

On half the pages I drew outlines with a sharpie, the other half are for ‘free-styling’ with crayons.

Here is an outline of an airplane for him to colour in:

 

Please excuse the bottom wing? Art isn’t my strong point…

 

Mac is starting to be interested in numbers and his and writing names. I’m not into forcing children to read, write, spell and know their numbers. I do believe however, that if they start showing interest, then to make the material and help available when they want it. I did a few pages of his name and numbers:

 

The dotted names are for him to outline.

 

 

I think he will have tons of fun. My brother-in-law Drillerman is going to be on the same flight, as he’s coming home from working in camp. I hope he enjoys drawing! Mac is always drawing pictures of Drillerman and Gingersnap riding horses.

 

What do you do when you’re traveling with children? Do your children enjoy colouring books? 

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Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Daddy! You’re ooooold today! I don’t get many chances to see you, maybe a couple times a year, but I love it when I do. It’s also very special that right now, I’m with you and making you your favourite dinner of roast beef and yorkshire puddings, followed by fresh made frozen yogurt.

xoxo Kate

You don’t have to do it all.

It’s easy to look at all we do for cooking, farming and do-it-yourselfing and be overwhelmed. Honestly? If I was looking at this 4 years ago I would have laughed! What’s this crazy family doing I would have said!

But we didn’t start like this, it’s been a long time coming, starting 12 years ago, before I’d even met my husband. (Keep in mind I’m just shy of my 20th birthday now). My Mom had a garden, but not a veggie garden, and with her help we started some large pots of veggies on our porch. Cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, easy thing along those lines. (Although for the next 11 years I couldn’t grow lettuce to save my life!)

Fast forward 4 years…

I’d always liked animals, having grown up with hunting dogs, cats and rabbits it was something I was used being around. I was 12 years old and wanting to spread my wings as far as animals went, and started testing my Dad like this:

Dad, Can I get a horse?

No

Dad, Can I get a cow?

No

Dad, Can I get a pig?

N-O!

Dad, Can I get laying chickens?

Yah sure.

REALLY?! (suddenly surprised and testing more…) Dad, Can I get sheep?

Yah, sure.

REALLY?

Why not? Your grandparents have fields right beside us and until you were born they ran sheep, so they can help you out.

By this point I was ecstatic. How lucky was I! I did a LOT of reading, researching and networking with other farmers. I wanted to do this right! I figured out that we wanted to get a chicken tractor, it would be best for us, and allow us 6 hens, more than we would need for eggs. When they started laying I was overjoyed. Raising our own food! This was satisfying. This is what I wanted to do.

My parents split up shortly after this and Dad moved out, leaving Mom and I to this. We’ve dabbled in many different things from then until the present, raising everything from weaner pigs, breeding pigs, bottle calves, bottle lambs, breeding ewes, milk cow, beef cows, laying chickens, meat chickens, incubating chickens, a horse, milk goats, guinea pigs, rabbits, quail, and ducks.

We currently have meat goats, milk goats, milk cow and laying chickens. We’re going to do a batch of 3 or 4 pigs this spring, and plan to get a bottle lamb in a month or so for our son to raise. We’ll also do about 80-100 meat birds.

It’s safe to say we’ve done quite a bit. Every single different animal taught me a lesson. Those need their own stories and posts, which in time will come.

The fall I was pregnant with our son, (2008,he’s 2 1/2 now), we made a pact to ourself that we were not going to eat any meat that wasn’t raised or hunted ourselves, or from a good local source. We were going to eat local meats only, no exceptions. (We of course weren’t going to refuse a meal served when out) At this point, we were also given a lactating milk cow by friends of ours. We milked her for about 3 months before she was dried up. We tried making yogurt with very little successs, and mostly just ate A LOT of french toast for breakfast because of all the milk and eggs we had.

The next fall (2009) we decided we would only eat about 90% local fruit and vegetables. We ate a LOT of root vegetables, as we hadn’t put away enough of the other things.  We did garden our butts off, but not enough to put away lots for winter.

In June of 2010 our cow spontaneously started lactating (she was pregnant, but wasn’t due for 2 months) because of piglets sucking on her udders. We were getting 10 litres a day, milking once a day and I was doing almost all the milking. For Mac’s first birthday we had an ice cream part, of 2 dozen different ice creams and frozen yogurts. It was fabulous and so much fun. We quickly found that we had to find different uses for the milk, my Mom started making cheese and we made lots of yogurt.

The following fall (2010) we continued with the local meats and vegetables, and I decided we needed to overhaul or cleaning and beauty products. We researched and tested, finally finding what worked for us. It’ll be different for everyone, but I’ll say we use a lot of vinegar for cleaning! I started experimenting with better baking ingredients, but didn’t even think about a grain mill. This is the year that I started canning my heart out, and I’ve never looked back. I LOVE having canned goods on hand.

2011 brought a lot of things, my Mom is kick-ass at making cheese and makes pretty much every type of soft and hard aged or not cheese you can think of. We are spoiled. For about a year (maybe more) we had relief milkers two days a week that gave us a break and made milking easier. We’ve only ever milked once a day. No more is needed. We’re not going for super high production, our cow isn’t capable of that. She’s a jersey, a sweetheart and a part of our family. She is my husbands cow.

We also got milking goats, and milked for a couple months before they dried up, and they’ll freshen in a few months now. I’m looking forward to my Mom making more goat cheese. When they were lactating she’d make a batch of goat cream cheese every week that rocked our world.

2011 is the year I saved up for a grain mill as well, starting with a handmill, then selling that and buying a Nutrimill. I love my mill, love that I can make such amazing flours that send my baking to a new level.

Eating local is easier than you think, you’ll be amazed when you start looking what you can find. Yes we want uber local and organic, but really? I’m just happy to have BC fruit and veg, because it means that they haven’t been shipped a long long way. I don’t go to California on my vacations, so why should my meals come from there?

It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg either. Most likely, if you start eating only local, seasonal produce, you’ll save on your grocery budget. Here’s the kicker—when it’s in season—-it’s in abundance—when it’s in abundance—-farmers are unloading them at cheaper prices—-so you pay less. It’s the supply and demand! Strawberries are more expensive in December because it takes a lot to get them to grow at that time of year, they won’t be local to our little island and they really won’t taste that great.

You know why the NUMBER 1 reason we eat local is? Because it goll-darn tastes better. Food that is grown in it’s natural season, and shipped very minimal distance, TASTES BETTER. It’s higher in nutrients because they haven’t been picked green, shipped and refrigerated for 3 weeks before getting to you.

Going Away

Tomorrow I’m going away to my sisters wedding and not getting home until the middle of next week. Cowboy can’t come, he’s got to work, so it’s just Mac and I. I’ve got a few scheduled posts to share, but posting will be light! You might have noticed I didn’t post a menu plan, that’s because we’re just eating up what we have to from the fridge. There won’t be one next week either, because I don’t get back until next week. Instead, it’s just other fun posts and recipes. Here is a few photos of Cowboy and Mac hammering and using Cowboy’s impact driver. Which is kind of like a drill just for driving screws.

 

 

 

 

See the hammers in the background? Mac uses a full size one. Why do I give my 2 1/2 yr old a full size hammer? Well, he’s not got a lot of strength to throw it around, so he’s learning how to use it before he has enough strength to really hurt himself. He’s hit himself a few times, but he hasn’t since. He really enjoys himself too! He’s surprisingly accurate as well.

 

While we were out these I said “You know it’s bad when your toddler is better with a hammer than you are.” Cowboy said, “You must mean yourself, because I’m a carpenter and darn good with a hammer!!”

14 days of honouring my Valentine.

I’ve never done very much for Valentines day with Cowboy. Last year I had a teleconference for school at 7pm on Valentines day, so I made deep fried fish and chips, which went over SO well, seeing as I’d never made them before and he was so excited.

 

This year, for the first 14 days of February, I’m going to do a little something for Cowboy. I’m going to share my plan, because I know he doesn’t read this blog. He rarely gets on the computer, and I know he’s not even a fan of Venison for Dinner of Facebook. (WHAT?!, why doesn’t he?! I don’t know…maybe I should suggest it) I didn’t want it to be a hugely material thing, because

 

a) I don’t have the money to spend on a bunch of presents, but

b) Most importantly, we don’t need more ‘stuff’ and I knew I could show my love without big gifts!

 

More than anything, I knew it would be food, making special meals that he likes.

 

So here are the 14 things, not in order, of what I’m going to make.

 

Heart Shaped Rice Krispie Squares

He loves these and I never make them, so I’m going to do them especially for him!

Heart Shaped Rebar Chocolate Cake 

This is a more labour intensive cake, and does cost about $15 in chocolate and dairy products, to make, but is very worth it for the smiles and compliments I get from him. And the marriage proposals from the others who eat it. (Look for this recipe later in the week!)

Love note tucked into the work truck five different times. 

I’ll put these places like where he writes down his hours, where he puts gas money, where is binoculars are. Things I know he uses a lot and will find within a day or two. They won’t be long, maybe just a paragraph or two, but the point of them is to let him know how much he means to me.

3 different favourite dinners

I’ll to 2 different seafood dishes (I don’t particularly like seafood, so this is huge), and 1 Venison dish, made especially with him in mind

Rootbeer in glass bottles

He loves rootbeer and it’s fun in the glass bottles. Crazy thing is I just checked the sales flyers on Sunday and really good rootbeer in glass bottles in on sale this week! Right on! I don’t usually buy pop, so that makes it special as well.

Chocolates 2 different times

I’ll put them in his truck, I’ve already bought these from our local Chocolate shop. They make them here on island!

Rent a movie just for him

He has some space alien movie he wants to see, so I’ll sneakily get it out of him, rent it and make no complaints about watching it with him. I don’t really like alien or scary movies, so I am good about being grumpy and not wanting to watch them. This time, I’ll make popcorn, maybe get out the rootbeer! (I’ll buy extra so he’ll have it one day, and then for this) and enjoy spending time with him, and him enjoying it, even if don’t really want to watch it.

 

I’m not sure if I’ll tell him…maybe it’d be fun not to, see if he figures it out!

What do you think of these? It’s fun to think of ways to show your Husband that you love them, and it’ll be fun for me doing it. Do you think you could do something like this? Maybe you could commit to 3 days of doing it?

How my January Went

I told you at the beginning of the month how I was challenging myself. Instead of $140 a week for groceries for the 4 of us, I was giving myself just $70. Well, how did I do? Pretty fantastic, considering that I even had $50 left after my last grocery shop earlier this week!

Also, 2 weeks out of this month we have an extra male in our house, consuming lots of food. That being said, the reason I have $50 left, is he went grocery shopping with me this week and insisted he paid for groceries. I only had a few things to get, equaling about $35, so I would have been under anyways! Then…he wanted some landjaeger, so on our way to get that, I saw that in the ‘local meats’ section of our grocery store, there was a local ham, on 30% off, and it was 10% off tuesday at our grocery store. I couldn’t resist the 10 lb bone in ham!

It’s neat to know that in a pinch, I can cut our grocery spending by over half, and us not live off of bean soup all month.

 

It also challenged me, to think of what to do with the odds and ends in the freezer and cupboards.

 

My plan for Feburary? I’m actually going to keep myself at $70 a week, and sock aside the other $70 a week for when I need to buy large amounts of grain for grinding into flour, big tubs of honey or maple syrup. Of course, I won’t need $300 a month for that, so we’ll see what else I use the money for…maybe use that money when we raise meat birds, instead of it coming out of our farm budget?

I bought about $150 of grain in the middle of December and I won’t have to buy more spelt or buckwheat for a long time, but can see that I’ll need to buy wheat in the next month or two. Honey? Well, we had a real cold snap where I think my husband went through a 2 pounds of honey drinking ‘honey tea cow juice’ which is mint tea with milk and honey. He makes it by the pot and keeps it warm on the stove drinking it over the course of an hour or so. That really depleted my honey stock!! I’m trying to use less and less sugar, and having good local when possible (can’t happen for maple syrup) sweeteners! I need to check out different natural solid sweeteners that I can use in place of white and brown sugar without drastically changing a recipe.

 

Any help on the sweeteners?! I’d love to know what you use and where you get it!

Cough and Cold Syrup

Something we all need, especially if you have children!, is a cough and cold syrup. It was exciting to see this recipe, and realize that I could buy everything I needed to make it, right at my little health food store! Yes!

Over at Frugally Sustainable, she’s got a recipe that you’ve got to have in your fridge ready for a cold or cough coming on. It’s really helped speed up our one cold we got this year! I feel so blessed and thankful to have resources like hers!