Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Bake of the Week: Naan

Today for dinner I decided to make curry, a meal we love and one that I haven't made in probably close to six months (it's just been too darn hot!). But in our house if I am going to make curry, we have to do it right: basmati rice, raita for dipping, chai tea (for me at least!), and of course, naan bread to wrap the curry in. I've tried many recipes for naan, from the Joy of Cooking's version to my first attempt that was flour, water and salt, fried in a pan. Yes, it was as unappetizing as it sounds.

After lots of practise making yeast-risen bread, I finally came around to a recipe that is both easy, and tastes like it was just baked in a tandoori oven. Enjoy!

Naan Bread

3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
6 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp melted butter
about 3 cups of flour, or as much as you need to create a soft, pliable dough, but one that does not stick to your hands

In a small, non-metal bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water, then pour the yeast over the top, but do not stir it in. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes, until the yeast mixture has bubbles on the top.

Transfer yeast mixture to a larger bowl, and add salt and yogurt, and mix thoroughly. While stirring, add melted butter. Slowly add the flour, half a cup at a time, until the mixture is too hard to stir by hand. Pour dough onto a well floured surface, and begin kneading, still adding flour, until you have achieved the right consistency. Continue to knead for a total of 10 minutes. Form into a ball, and transfer into a well oiled bowl, turning once to coat all sides. Cover, and let stand to double in size (about 2 hours).

Preheat oven to 450 F. Remove dough from bowl, and cut into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and flatten to about 1 cm tall. Place on greased baking pans and bake for 5 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool on racks. If you want, you can also fry them just before you eat them in a little butter or oil, but it's not necessary.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autumn Air

Autumn has arrived. Though the leaves have not really begun to change, the signs are here, and you can feel it in the air.

The mornings now have that crispness that so remind me of my grade-school days, and for the first time this summer we are actually chilly when we step out of the shower. We've taken to wearing slippers and socks around the house (which we normally avoid at all costs - we truly are a barefoot family!), and even my cooking has changed.

I have the urge to bake more; this very morning I was up just after 6:00 to make a batch of our oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies and a bunch of squash tarts and a pie. I have also started making more heartier meals; and plan on making some stews and curries for next week's dinners; meals that were just too hot to eat during the summer. Even breakfasts now include hot cereals, though despite my best efforts I cannot make one from scratch that my boys like as much as the Quaker instant oatmeal.

I feel torn though: Autumn is by far my favourite season, yet now that we have the garden I am not sure I want Autumn to come. On one hand, I look forward to the frost in the morning, the crisp sweater-weather days, the blue-grey skies. Yet on the other hand, all those mean the end of our growing season, and that I am not happy about.

You can see the change in our garden already, the once vibrant light and dark greens are slowly being replaced by gold and brown tones:

Right next to a new flower is a sign of the decay to come:

The zucchini, acorn squash, and cucumber plants just about took over half our garden this year, but the yield of zucchinis and cucumbers was well worth it. We lost a lot of squash to blossom end rot this year, so hopefully with some more nutrients they'll do much better next year. Even still we'll get at least 4 or 5 when all is said and done, not bad for our first attempt!


Chris was disappointed in our tomato yield this year, and even as the last few cherry tomatoes cling to the plant, it is already dying:

My herbs however, did amazingly well; here the sage and basil plants threaten the whole bed!

Despite it being the end of the growing season for most of the vegetables, a few winter crops have just sprouted, such as these beets:

Chris dug up half of the potato plants a couple weeks ago, and the rest have just started falling over. They'll be ready to dig up soon!


After a shaky start and a war with some Japanese Beetles our little fruit trees are finally settling in well. We though that one of the cherries trees was dying on us, but it may have simply been a case of over-watering. So far they've done much better.

I am sure we'll have at least one more heat wave before the summer is officially over, but on our walk today the cool breeze coming in off the harbour was definitely not summer-like. The thought has put me in panic mode, as I begin to think of everything I want to accomplish before the next holiday; the Autumnal Equinox (September 22). I have the knitted creatures to finish for the nature corner, the shelf itself to finish, as well as plan for putting in the new floor in the playroom. This in addition to the harvesting and freezing/canning that must be done as the rest of the garden ripens for the last time!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday Bake of the Week: Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Ever since I came accross this recipe over a year ago, this cookie has become a snacking staple in our house. They're so easy to make, increadibly delicious (despite being chok full of oatmeal-goodness!), and even though this recipe makes about 60 1 1/2 inch cookies, they never seem to last very long!

And every time I make these cookies, I'm reminded of the old Pringles commercials.... "bet you can't eat just one!"

Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup butter (the original calls for unsalted butter, but I've always used salted and had them turn out just fine!)
4 cups quick-cook oats
1 package (1-1 1/2 cups) chocolate chip

Combine the first 4 ingredients together in a very large bowl. Cut in butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, and cream together with the flour mixture. The batter should still be fairly sticky. Add the chocolate chips and oatmeal. You'll be able to use a wooden spoon at first, but in order to have the oatmeal thoroughly combined you'll have to use you hands to mix the batter. Trust me, it's worth the messy hands.

If you need to you can add more oatmeal, but the cookies turn out better if the batter is still sort of sticky. It makes for crispier cookies. Shape the batter into small balls (about 1 1'2 inch in diametre) and place on a greased cookie sheet, and flatten them slightly with your palm. Bake for 14 minutes (or until they just start to turn golden) in an oven preheated to 350 F. Let cool on baking racks (if you can!), and enjoy!

I can usually get about 60 cookies or so, though it's hard to tell. The first batch is usually eaten before they're even cool, and each successive batch has several missing too!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Saturday was the first canning day of the season, and was actually one of the most productives ones I've had yet (the bounty we've been harvesting from the garden certainly helped!). I made two preserves, tomato pasta sauce, and raspberry jam. We were interested to see just how much jam we got this year compared to last, as we were pretty sure we had more raspberry canes come up. As it turns out, we got about 10 cups of raspberries last year, and this year, a little over 15! (Not to mention all the berries we ate straight off the bush!)

15 cups of ruby yumminess!

I was a little hesistant to make the pasta sauce, as all my attempt in the past to do so never turned out as good as I'd like. They were either to bland, or bitter, and could just never compare with store-bought sauce. Mind you, I was always using vegetables I bought at the store, so perhaps that was the difference right there. Either way, this is some of the best sauce we've ever had, and is so full of good-for-you veggies (partially hidden for those pickier eaters!) that other than meatballs, nothing has to be added!

This recipe of course yeilds a large amount, but could be cut down to make one or two servings only. And the vegetables used just happened to be the ones that are in season from our garden, so you can pretty much adjust and add/remove depending on what you have available, or what your family's tastes are like. I would have liked to add green peppers as well, but ours just weren't big enough yet. So I'm saving them for salsa.

At the end of the day, we had 4 litres of pasta sauce, and a little over 3 litres of raspberry jam. I would say it was a success! Next week I'll be making my own salsa, and snap bean pickles!

Hearty Tomato Pasta Sauce

4 medium onions, diced
2 handfuls fresh basil, diced
1 bulb of garlic, crushed
6 large mushrooms, diced
5 large swiss chard stems and leaves, diced
1 large, or two medium zucchinis, peeled, seeded, cut into eighths and thinly sliced (if the zucchini is small enough, peeling and seeding is not necissary)
6 medium tomatoes, core removed and diced (or in our case, 9 little ones!)
3 large carrots, shredded
3 tbsp salt
2 156ml cans tomato paste
1 796ml can of crushed tomatoes
1 796ml can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar

Using a large pot (I mean very large!) saute everything but the tomatoes in a little olive oil and water until the onions go transparent. Add the tomatoes, and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours. Transfer to mason jars or freezer containers. If canning, boil jars for 20 minutes before storing. This yeilds enough to fill 8 500ml jars, with a little left over.

Sunday Bake of the Week: Marshmellow Mixed-Berry Pie

Lucien is a huge fan of Maurice Sendak's "Little Bear." And for over a year now, he's gone on about how he wants to make marshmellow mixed-berry pie; a dessert Mother Bear makes often. He even calls our raspberries "marmallows" because he knows they go into the pie. So when I was at our farmer's market yesterday, I was able to pick up a cup of blackberries, and thought I'd finally give the dessert a try. I wasn't too sure how it would taste to have cooked marshmellow in with a berry pie, but the end result was actually quite pleasant. Instead of there being clumps of marshmellow (which I thought would happen), the berry filling got an interesting caramel flavour. All around this experiment was a success, and one recipe that I'll be making again for sure!

I am not quite sure what happened with this photo, I think something was stuck on the camera lense...

Little Bear's Marshmellow Mixed-Berry Pie

1 heaping cup blackberries
2 heaping cups raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbps lemon juice
10 large marshmellows, broken into small pieces (or the equivilent of small ones)
2 tbsp raspberry jam
2 tbsp corn starch

Make ahead your favourite pastry dough, set in fridge to chill. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until the berries start to release their juice. While filling is sitting, roll out dough and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Pour filling into pie crust, and using strips of dough, form a lattice accross the top. Trim excess dough from the sides, and flute the edges to secure top and bottom layers.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for about 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the filling has started bubbling (don't forget to place a large cookie sheet underneith to catch any drippings - or you have a horrible mess to deal with!).

This is a pie that is best left to cool completely before cutting, but is well worth the wait. Thanks Little Bear!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I love old houses!

We are fortunate enough to have very little carpet in our house, but the carpet we do have drives me to distraction. It's hard to keep clean, looks dreadful, and somehow seems to draw every single piece of pet hair towards it like a magnet. And being in the process of house-training a puppy certainly doesn't help, either. It's a good thing we don't have much.

Where we do have carpet is the stairs, upstairs hallway, playroom, and front sunroom. The sunroom isn't too bad, as we rarely go in there (it's still the catch-all of unpacked boxes - one year later!), but whoever decided that white carpet was a good idea not only in a playroom (that is what the previous owners used the room as like us), but in the only room with a door to the backyard; I want to throttle.

So needless to say, I've been looking for any excuse to replace ALL the carpet in the house. Though Chris does not share my loathing for carpet, he has been kind enough to humour me, and last weekend we just went out and purchased enough laminate (in a beautiful rosewood colour) to refloor the playroom. But that still left the stairs, and hallway.

It has been our suspicion that the upstairs hallway at least, perhaps even the stairs, had hardwood underneith the carpet, as the upstairs bedrooms all have what looks like the original flooring. But with carpet as old as we have, there was no telling if that was the case, or if it was hardwood, what shape it would be in. But yesterday I finally went ahead and took up the carpet; if only to discover what we were dealing with. And I found this:

Sure, it needs to be sanded down, the white paint splatters washed off, and there is a spot right in the middle where a previous owner tried to cover a grate-hole with plaster. But it's beautiful! Chris wasn't as impressed, he just remarked that the baseboards now need to be replaced, and the wood needs to be refinished, but I believe in it's potential. I love the old worn look, it makes me wonder how many people and generations have walked across that floor. And yes, the floor is stained a different colour from the bedrooms;

But with a little sweat equity, look how nice they turned out:

I just love old houses!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My first Waldorf-inspired Doll!

I finally did it! I made my first Waldorf-inspired doll! She reprisents Mother Nature, and I designed the pattern myself to go in our Nature Corner. She is completely knit, and I'll be posting the pattern as a free download as soon as I finish her clothes. I gave myself the deadline of Sept 20th to finish her (clothes and all), though I'd also like to have some more mushroom-children and perhaps some acorn ones finished as well.

I am making her so she'll have a new outfit every season (basing her clothing off 18th century patterns), and then by December 20th I want to have Father Time finished; wearing the outfit of King Winter.

If I want it all done though, I better stop typing and start knitting!

Another pattern that will be posted soon is another market produce bag; I'm almost finished!

This last shot was supposed to show the detail of the braided bun, but the camera focused instead on my husband's painting. I'll take some more photos when her clothes are done!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fruit trees and play!

Edit: Chris suggested I try new batteries in the camera, and lo and behold, it fixed the problem. Who knew it would be so simple! So as promised, here are some pictures with better lighting...

I think our camera is dying. Everytime I take a picture outside, or anywhere where there is a strong light source, the lighting turns out bright pink - and looks as if someone has increased the saturation. I've played with the settings and adjusted the flash, but nothing seems to work. So unfortunatly, until Chris or I can fix it, there will not be any more pictures on the blog. Oh the horror!

Of course, the camera died before I was able to take better pictures of the trees.

Oh, that's right, the trees! I havn't yet talked about our trees!

Last week, we got our first fruit trees! Chris and I have been talking about adding fruit trees to the property almost since the day we bought it, and they are just one more step on our journey to self-sustainability. With fruit trees we get the obvious fresh fruit, but also all our own home-made jams, pies, ice-cream syrops, apple butters... my mouth is watering just at the thought of it!

Our cherries to the left and centre, the plum to the right.

Our little pear tree

I want it noted that the poor quality of these pictures is because in my excitement to have photos the day after we planted them, I took this pictures at 6:15 in the morning....

Originally our plan was to plant three apple (one early, mid, and late harvest), one pear and one peach. After some research, we found out our climate wasn't well suited for peach, so we started looking at cherries instead. We'd found a self-polinating variety, but then decided two apples would be sufficient, so we started looking at other types of fruit. Chris suggested plum, so again we started looking at self-polinating varieties.
Then last week I called aroound to our local nurseries and discovered one was having a sale on fruit trees, but that their supplies were dwindling. When Chris got to the nursery he discovered they had no self-polinating cherry varieties, so we ended up with two cherries, one golden plum, and a pear tree. They didn't have any apple trees left, so we're looking at another couple nurseries and if they are out as well, we will have to wait until the spring to plant them.

The types of apples we want to plant are MacIntosh (a proudly Canadian creation!) and Gala, one soft and great for baking, and one more firm for taking in lunches, but both tasty in their own ways.

For me, planting our fruit trees is an important milestone. The gardens are a huge addition to our home, but theres is just something permament about planting a tree. If they do well, they will be a lasting gift for future genrations. And thats why this is really important to me; this is just one of many ways we can better the lives of our children in the years to come.


Another thought that crossed my mind is how amazing is the imagination of a child. Lucien has many toys, in all shapes, sizes and functions, yet it is with the toys of no specific purpose that he has the most enjoyment.

Just recently I went through the toy room to clear out toys that had long been abandoned, or toys that I was just not happy with (you know, the cleap plastic toys that come from fast-food children's meals? I have no idea how he ended up with so many - we rarely eat out!). As I was doing so, I put front and centre his wooden blocks, lego, and dress-up clothes. To my delight I walked into the playroom the other day to see he had made several small "towers" of mega blocks, in varying hights. As I watched him, I heard him refer to the 4 small ones as Frodo, Sam, Pippen and Merry, then a larger one was Strider, and another one Gandalf. He was playing Lord of the Rings! Later on, he had built a tower so tall he had to stand on the coffee table to reach the top (the one time we did not reprimand him from standing on the table), and that was the Balrog.

He also makes his wooden blocks into pirate ships and mountains, and the little wagon that houses the blocks is his skateboard. Chris remarked once that one of the best presents he and his brothers ever recieved was a set of two-by-fours that his father had cut into various lengths and sanded down. I too remember hours of playing "sidestreet, mainstreet" with my dad, using blocks as both the roadways and the houses.

By making toys so specific in purpose, I fear we are in fact robbing our children of their creativity. If a toy car is a car, then the child has no other options. But a block can be a car one day, a loaf of bread the next (I used to do this all the time when my siblings and I played pioneers) or just a plain old block of wood, to be used in building any object they need.

And the things they come up with! It's so amazing; you can practically see new neural pathways being formed each time they play!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday Bake of the Week: Beef Burgers and Buns

Okay, so I am probably the worst person in the world for time management. And something that has supposed to have been posted weekly has been more like every 10 days or so. So I am going to be strict with myself, and say that the Bake of the Week is going to be posted every Sunday. It may be at 11 o'clock Sunday night - but it will be done on Sunday!

So my apologies to everyone who thus far was expecting a weekly post; expect it now each Sunday!

Beef Burgers and Home-made Buns

I have been making our hamburgers from scratch for years now, but never actually took the time to measure out what I was adding. I thought it would be fun to see exactly what and how much goes into these delicious burgers. Because of the flavour of the meat itself, we never feel the need to add BBQ sauce when we cook them, but you can experiment with the taste.

As for buns, they had been one of the baked goods I had never tried. I don't know why. I think I had this idea in my mind that they would be terribly difficult to make, which as it turns out was completely untrue. They are no more difficult to make than bread (and actually take much less time!). And unlike the bread with it’s hearty crust, these buns turn out beautifully soft, with a nice golden top.

Both recipes make 12 good sized burgers and buns.

Burger Buns:

In a large bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1 cup warm water. Mix in 1 package (2 ¼ tsp) yeast, and let stand 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, combine in a saucepan 1 cup milk, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar, 1 ½ tsp salt, and 2 tbsp butter. Heat over low heat until the butter is dissolved, and remove from heat.

Once milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add to the yeast. Slowly mix in 3 cups of all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a well-floured surface and continue to slowly add one more cup of flour (or how much is necessary to make the dough no longer stick to your hands), and knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and place in a bowl coated lightly with olive oil, turning once to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 ½ hours.

After dough has risen, punch it down and on a floured surface, roll into a log. Cut the log into 12 pieces, and shape each piece into small ball, stretching and pulling the top of the ball under, so that the top is nice and smooth. Place onto cookie sheets that have been sprinkled with cornmeal, and flatten each ball slightly. Let rise for one more hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 F, and while it is preheating, mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp water. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the buns are golden and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to cooling racks, and enjoy!

Unlike hamburger buns from the store, these are also great as a replacement for toast or bagels, and with a bit of melted cheese, work great for snacks too!

 Beef Burgers:

1.25 kg lean ground beef
1 medium sized onion
1 egg (plus the leftover egg white from the buns)
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
½ cup course breadcrumbs (I find sourdough ones the tastiest)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice onions as fine as possible, and in a large bowl, combine with all ingredients (there does not have to be a specific order to the way ingredients are adding, just throw them all in!). Using your hands (yes, you have to use your hands – using a fork or any type of mixer just doesn’t get it as thoroughly combined) squish the ingredients together – you want everything as mashed as possible!

Divide the mixture into 12 patties, I try to make each patty as flat as possible without breaking as I find once they cook they tend to come together and get higher but not as wide. I’ve never been able to figure out why they do that.

Cook them in a frying pan or on the BBQ, either way works well. I also freeze the patties I will not be using right away; just put wax paper between the patties and store in an airtight container or zip-lock bag.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rainbows to chase grey skies

Last week we implemented a new part to our daily routine; Craft and Art Time. For the most part it has just been Lucien and I drawing with crayons, but I am wanting to get into some other activities as well.

After reading a post by FroggyMama, I got the inspiration to create some rainbow fairies of our very own! Using food colouring and yes, those are baby wipes, we first dyed all the sheets in the primary colours.

Then we overdyed half of the sheets to create the secondary colours, and when we were done, ended up with 12 sheets in red, blue, yellow, green orange and purple. One colour each for mom and Lucien.

Of course, the moment I hung them on the line the grey skies opened up, and we had to rush to hang them in the bathroom.

It took them a full day to dry, so the next day's activity was to create the little fairies. Lucien was able to help scrunch up the wool for the heads, but after two quickly lost interest. Lego was more important!

I used some dogwood left over from the Holiday Wreath I made last year, and I think it made for a very nice centrepiece! Mind you it wont stay, as soon as I have the shelf up for my Nature Corner, I think I shall move it there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changes to Bake of the Week

I was trying to think of a way I could archive old Bake of the Week posts, and with the seperate page, that just doesn't work. So I'll be making them as blog posts, but then linking to each post on the seperate "Bake of the Week" page. So to start things off, here is the post from last week:

Cheese and Spinach (in our case, Swiss Chard) Scones
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Mix together until it becomes the texture of cornmeal:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 tablespoons butter (or a combination of butter and shortening)

Mix in 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach or swiss chard

Make a well in the centre, and add quickly 3/4 cups milk, and still until the dough just starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.

Scrap out the dough and place on a well floured surface. After thoroughly dusting your hands with flour, begin to knead the dough, adding more flour if neccisary until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.

Roll out to 1/2 inch thick, and cut into small rounds (about 1 1/2 inches in diametre). At this point it is recommended, though not neccisary, to brush the tops with milk or melted butter. This gives the scones a beautiful golden glazed look. Place scones on a cookie sheet, and bake at 450 F for about 12-15 minutes.

Very yummy, and if stored in an airtight container, will keep for almost a week in the cupboard!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


As a mother, I am slowly realising (after being beaten over the head several hundred times by my beloved partner!) that children thrive on routine. They are miniature creatures of habit, and find comfort and confidance in knowing that their little world works and stays the same. Why else do they act out, or have drastic changes in attitude and behaviour when their world as they see it, comes crashing down? (Such as the birth of a sibling, or moving to a new house.)

Routine is something that I struggle with, and always have. By nature, I am a spontanious individual; whether it is a product of my chaotic and inconsistant childhood, or just who I am, I rebel against routine with every fibre of my being. I need the excitement, and even the craziness that routine tends to suppress. And it's not just routine of doing certain things at certain times, I even have an innability to always put certain things in the same place everytime; my purse, for example. (Which always leads to a panic of "Where is my purse?" each time we leave the house.) I know Chris has long had issues with my lack of routine, as he also needs routine and consistancy to be truly happy in his life. But as a couple without children, we just dealt with it. I brought excitement and spark to our lives, and he kept us grounded. Now that we have the boys however, I am slowly (and occasionally doing so kicking and screaming!) coming around to the idea that routine is something very important to have in the lives of children.

I am also realising that routine does not mean you do the exact same thing, everyday. Instead, certain important daily milestones, such as nap, meal, or bedtimes occur at the same time of day or night.

I have tried to install new routines in our home several times in the past, but I always tried to completely revamp the way we did things. In the end they became failures as I could not adjust to all the changes, gave up entirely, and went back to the chaos that was before.

So like all new things, I've had to go about it in baby steps. Two weeks ago, I started by making sure the mealtimes were consistant: breakfast was at 7:30, snack at 9:30-10, lunch at 12, nap at 1:00, snack again at 3:00 (or whenever Lucien wakes up from nap), and finally dinner at 5-5:30. Lucien's bedtime was always supposed to be at 8 o'clock, but before we always struggled getting him down before 9. Since making meal and naptimes the same time, everday, we've barely had a fuss from him. We start toy cleanup at 7:00 (which has had the added benefit of getting him involved with chores), bath/shower at 7:30, and by quarter to 8 we're in bed, reading stories. Most of the time I don't leave the bedroom until 8:15, but we're getting there.

Then last week I started doing my cleaning first thing in the morning after breakfast. With only short interruptions for snack time, I do my best to have all the day's cleaning/chores done before lunch. Except of course laundry, which I never seem to see the end of!

All together, I think this has had a greater impact on myself than anyone else. By the time I get a chance to rest and relax after Lucien has gone to sleep, the house is always clean and tidy, and I feel better knowing that I don't have to catch up on a million things the next day.

The positive effects have also been noticable on Lucien. Nap and bed times are no longer the fight they once were, and all around he is just a more well behaved child. I know it's still early, but I think routine and consistancy of schedule is slowly creeping in to other aspects of our lives. In respect to dissipline, having a routine is also helping me with being consistant in parenting in general. If Lucien knows before he does something what kind of consequence he'll face, he's more likely to think twice about his behaviour. And if he makes mistakes, it will be no surprise what the result will be. Parents it seem, just need to be more like hobbits:

" could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him."

I am always complaining too, that I never have the time in a day, a week, to get in everything I'd like to do done. With this routine, I'm finding that times like now, when both boys are sleeping, I have the opportunity to work on the blog, my knitting, or my artwork. I get a little me-time. On top of that; this week I am adding in a regular craft time, just after afternoon snack, for Lucien and I.

I wanted time to work with Lucien on his ABC's and numbers, and to explore colours and shapes, but before could just never fit it in. It doesn't have to be long, I figure if I can squeeze in half an hour, or 40 minutes focusing on this, then we're doing great!

All-in-all, for someone who is so easily distracted, this is going well. I do not become overwhelmed with the chores, and I find more time to just enjoy being a mom. I do worry what will happen once I have to go back to work, but I suppose once this routine becomes second nature, it will be much easier to adapt.
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