Happy 4th of July!

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Wishing all our American neighbours a wonderful Independence Day! Loved this tribute to the flag.

Doh!! Sorry to all, that’s what I get for trying to post from my phone. Here is a picture of the flag that I thought was great!

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Heading to the farm!

I’m so excited that you’re going to get a two-part post because I can’t wait until tonight. I’m off to Devon Acres farm to purchase a share in their CSA. Lovely farm fresh, organically grown veggies for the rest of the summer! Hoping the kids will grow to love them more when the see how vegetables are supposed to taste!

I’ll be back to update with more details and maybe even pictures before long!

Creating A Little Inspiration

So for a long time I have wanted to great an inspiration board, a motivation board call it what you will. The main point is to have a gathering space for all those items and things that inspire or motivate you. Some people may create a board for a specific goal – think a wedding or re-designing a room. I’ve had journals where I’ve kept quotes and my scrapbooking is a way of, in addition to documenting my family’s life, is also a way for me to use paper and craft materials that inspire me. I have a blank space above my desk that I have saved to create a place to collect some of the quotes and pictures that motivate and make me happy.

Here are a few for inspiration:

inspiration board 1

inspiration board 2

inspiration board 3

inspiration board 4

There are a variety of ways to create a motivating space. They will reflect your personality. They can be clean or clustered, colour coordinated or based around textures. It can be as simple as sticky notes on your bathroom mirror! The important thing is that it is esthetically pleasing to YOU. Think about what kind of inspiration you are looking for and embrace that. Be sure that when you look at it, it inspires the peace, happiness and goals that you are aiming for.

Here is another source of some great options: http://www.everythingetsy.com/2012/10/inspiration-boards-to-inspire-you/

Have you created a board? I’d love to hear what kind of things make it to your space. I’ll get pictures up as soon as I get finished with mine 🙂

Maple Syrup On A Stick

In honour of family day and the fact that maple syrup season is just around the corner I thought for today’s “recipe” I would post about making maple syrup taffy. If you have ever been to a sugar bush you may have tried this tasty treat. If you live in a region where you have access to a sugar bush, yet have never been, what are you waiting for??? Our family usually hits at least two every season. It’s probably one of our most consistent traditions. Our kids could probably do the tour at the one sugar bush we hit every season.

You can find lots of recipes on the internet. Our family’s only requires, maple syrup, fresh snow, and a few mistakes for good tasting.

So onto the fun!

What you’ll need:

  • Pure Maple Syrup – no ifs ands or buts, it needs to be the real thing
  • Freshly fallen snow. You are going to be consuming this, you want the fresh stuff!!
  • A candy thermometer can be very useful, but is optional
  • A pot, Pyrex measuring cup, plates or cookie sheet
  • A spoon, and popsicle sticks if you have them, we’ve even used chopsticks.

The “technique”:

  • Bring about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of maple syrup to a boil. I prefer a slower boil as I can keep a better eye on it and it doesn’t reduce too quickly.
  • If you are using a candy thermometer, you are aiming for the “soft ball” stage, 235 degrees F
  • If you aren’t using a thermometer, you will be reducing the maple syrup by approximately 1/3. You are looking for when it starts to thicken and the syrup sticks to the back of the spoon.

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Now onto the real fun.

  • As the syrup is nearing this stage, you can have everyone fill their plates with snow. We always give the kids their own, saves on any arguments! If there aren’t any of those concerns in your house (well that just means you’ve never done this before!) you can use a cookie sheet and pack that with snow.
  • Being VERY, VERY careful, this is boiling sugar, pour the syrup into the Pyrex measuring cup. Pour the maple syrup in lines on the snow. Without transferring to a cup, you can also use a spoon to drizzle the syrup over the snow. I tend to use the spoon method because I don’t use a thermometer. So sometimes I find i have to return the syrup and boil it down a little more. Honestly I think the kids enjoy these “mistakes” and they get to enjoy a little more of the maple syrup.
  • Wait about 30 seconds. Using the popsicle sticks, roll the toffee onto the sticks, or you can also use a spoon to roll it into a ball.

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This wasn’t quite ready, as the “balls” were still soft. Too bad, but not really, it was still delicious!

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imageEven if it’s not quite perfect, the memories will be! I hope you get to enjoy this fun, tasty winter tradition with your family!

Sesame Street Treats

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Found this picture on line and thought it would be great to share. Sometimes getting kids to try new fruits and veggies can be made easier with a fun new approach. I know my kids eat more veggies if they’ve got a tray to choose from vs me putting pieces on their plates. It also seems many kids prefer their veggies raw. Keep trying different approaches and fingers crossed you will find something they like. Tomorrow is Family Day in Ontario, for those of you in the province who get to enjoy I hope you all have a special, fun filled, memorable day.