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I am not ready to give her up!

It may be ridiculous, but all I can be right now is sad.

Summer hasn’t even started yet, and already it’s too short.  Two months?  That’s barely enough time to picnic, forget finishing our unpacking, fixing up the house, gardening, heading to the lake, and all the other things we want to do.  We’re going to blink and it will be time for school again.

Autumn used to be my favourite time of year.  I loved the weather, the leaves, the fact that most folk stopped coming to the lake – leaving it just for us…  I loved everything about it.  Now I’m dreading it.

Autumn this year means my baby is leaving me.  And the kicker?  I’m the one who convinced her to give grade one a try, she wanted to stay home and have me teach her.  But Ms. Jackson, the grade one teacher at Mayfair?  She’s fabulous.  Is so obviously passionate about her kids, and I just know Lily-Ann could learn so much from having her be a daily part of her life.  I’m just so not ready to give her up.  Not even close to ready.

Moving from Pre-k to Kindergarten was hard enough.  I still miss our Friday afternoons.  But the idea that come Fall I will only have my girl for a few hours every day???  It’s just too much.  I honestly cried myself to sleep last night.  It’s ridiculous, I know.  I can’t help it though.  I am not ready to give her up.

We haven’t even started Summer holidays and already I’m depressed and upset over Summer coming to an end.  How the heck am I going to make it through?  There isn’t enough time in the world to prepare me for giving up my daughter full time to the school system.  Can’t she go part time?  Honestly?  Truly?  Is that an option?  Because THAT would make it all better.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – DIY

We roast pumpkin seeds every year.  Along with carving the jack-o-lanterns, it’s part of our rituals on the eve of Samhain (or Halloween, if you prefer).  As we were boiling our seeds, a few questions started coming in on FB – where I’d been sharing videos.  So I figured a blog post was in order.  Which brings us up to date.  😉

Home made, roasted pumpkin seeds are my very favourite Halloween treat.  Candies, chips, chocolates may be nice…  but nothing beats the yummy crunch of pumpkin seeds done right.  And to be honest?  I find the process of harvesting the seeds, washing, boiling, drying, and roasting them to be very zen.  I just enjoy the whole thing, which only adds to their natural goodness.

Tonight we’ll cover the basics, and by the end you’ll be on your way to developing your own way of seasoning and enjoying home roasted pumpkin seeds.

We were rather grateful that Damon had purchased two great big pumpkins this year, as we discovered our first one was partially rotten inside – which meant we wouldn’t be harvesting anything from it.  It still made a good jack-o-lantern, but I wouldn’t have trusted anything to be edible.  Thankfully our second pumpkin had such a wealth of seeds that we’ll have as many from one pumpkin as we often get from two!

So, the obvious steps to this process:

  • harvest your seeds
  • wash your seeds

freshly harvested and washed pumpkin seeds

Now, this next step is the one that seemed to generate all the questions:

  • boil your seeds

Yes.  I boil my seeds.  I didn’t always though, and I had the same problems many people report when doing their own home roasting.  The seeds were tough, and inconsistent.  I started boiling them six or seven years ago now, and it makes a world of difference.  My pumpkin seeds are crispier, lighter, and more flavourful.  It’s definitely worth the extra step.

I use a medium sized sauce pan, and add a couple of inches of water.  Roughly enough to cover your seeds and allow for an extra inch or inch and a half of water.  Bring it to a boil and add your seeds.

This is also when I add my seasonings or spices.

We try something different almost every year.  It’s fun to experiment with different spices or seasonings.  This year we kept it pretty simple and went with a tablespoon of garlic powder a teaspoon of salt.  Seasoning salt works nice, and things like dill pickle popcorn seasonings are even pretty good.  Try taco blends too.  There are lots of options – I’ve yet to find a dud.  LOL

Click the links below to watch the progression of our seeds as they boil:

All told, they boiled for about 25 minutes.  You’ll notice the colour change, then keep boiling until most of the liquid is gone (the steam clouded the iPhone lens):

seasoned and boiled - pumpkin seeds

At this point you have two choices.  You can pop them directly in the oven (on a buttered, oiled, sprayed cookie sheet or on parchment paper)…  or you can dry them first.  If I know I’ll have time to babysit them I’ll often pop them in the oven.  Kid kid has a hard time having the patience needed to dry them out any other way.  So at 350 degrees it will be between an hour and an hour and a half – and do watch them carefully because cooking time varies.

We didn’t get started on the process until the evening (we usually start on them in the afternoon), so it means I get to do them up the leisurely way – which I prefer.  I spread them out on a sheet to dry, and then put the girl to bed.  Which is where we are now:

the boiled pumpkin seeds, spread on a cookie sheet to dry overnight

Tomorrow morning, when they’re nice and dry, I’ll pop them into the oven at 350 degrees for about fifteen minutes.  The house already smells yummy from having them boil, but tomorrow will smell even better as they roast.  I’ll pull them out to cool for a wee bit, and we’ll have my favourite treat.  Some we’ll bag up in a ziplock to keep in my bag as a treat for when we’re out and about and happen to feel snacky.  But most of them will get eaten before they have a chance to be bagged…  though…  I will stash away a small handful or two, just for me.  LOL

So that’s it!  That’s how you make the very best homemade roasted pumpkin seeds – from scratch.  Follow the steps I’ve outlined here, and they’ll be perfect, every time!

Joyous Samhain and Happy Halloween!

I Miss Friday Afternoons!

With Halloween parties, Samhain, and Yule all just around the corner it feels like I’ve got a million projects on the go.  I’ve got four costumes to put together (the girl needs two – one for our group theme, and one for trick or treating and school).  I’m also collaborating with someone on my Yule gift for Damon, and I’m in the planning stages for some holiday crafting.

Autumn has always (at least as far as I can remember) been my favourite time of year, and now that it is officially here I’m starting to feel like myself again – all the holiday crafting and planning definitely helps with that.  The last few weeks had been filled with a lot of anxiety.  This time of year never used to include sending my girl off to school, and I really miss having her around.  Now that we’re getting into a routine again, while I still miss her a ton, at least the stress of transition is over.

I have to admit, I really preferred kid-kid’s pre-k schedule to her kindergarten schedule.  Yeah, okay… so there isn’t a huge difference.  We’re on afternoons still, and Thursday is still early dismissal, but now she goes five days a week instead of four.  You have no idea how much I treasured our Friday afternoons – just the girl and I.

Fridays have been my favourite day of the week for a couple of years now.  Yeah, I like that Friday night is sleepover night and the girl is off at my parents place…  but even more than that?  I loved Friday afternoons.  It was the one day a week when the girl and I would spend a few hours baking or crafting or playing card games.  The mornings are filled with routines, getting ready for the day type of stuff and then getting lunch made.  Friday afternoons were all about the girl and I just doing something fun, for the sake of fun.  I really do miss that.

So I’m glad I’ve got holidays to plan for.  Things to sew.  Things to bake.  Things to create.  Things to make.  It keeps me busy and takes my mind off of Friday afternoons.  Not sure how exactly to fit those afternoons in anywhere else during the week, but I have to try something.  Chances are, if I’m missing them, the girl is too.

Neither here nor there…

There are a lot of things I could write about tonight… but honestly?  I’m feeling rather pensive and mellow without any leanings one way or another.  It’s been a crazy week, and I’m starting to settle back into my, already busy, normal routine.

I have to admit, following Samhain I always find myself feeling a little lost – not in a bad way.  Just serenely pensive.  And tonight is no different.  The coming of the dark half of the year spurs a quiet mental preparation.  A solemn adieu to the warmth and light that fills us so completely during Summer and Autumn.

Stepping out the door to walk the girl to school I was quickly chilled.  Suddenly, my fleece (that yesterday, even out trick or treating at night, was plenty warm) just wasn’t enough.  The wind whipped around me and drew my gaze upwards at the few snowflakes that braved a first meander from the heavens… melted before reaching my face.  How they could disappear so quickly in such a brisk, frosty, breeze I’m at a loss to explain.

My gaze again settled on earthly things, like my daughter, waiting for me to lock the door so we could begin our promenade:

bow to your partner then join hands

together now, up one block,

cut through the park

throw some leaves, hide behind the trees

back together, hands held tight

look to the left, then the right.

across the street, now do-si-do

It’s a good thing I don’t call out instructions for a square dancing group…  we’d all be in trouble.  😉  Anyway…  it was a chilly walk.  Seven blocks of runny noses and cold fingers (well, for me anyway.  the girlie had mittens).  I’m glad it’s only seven blocks.  But if I learned one thing today, it’s that I need to put away our Summer and Autumn gear.  It’s time for the heavy duty coats of Winter (though I’ll continue attempting to put off the scarves, hats, ski pants, and boots for as long as I can).

Welcome to November!

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canucks!

Hope it was full of family, friends, and food.

The girlie's turkey centerpiece for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Note to self: Choose colours you OWN.

So…  I’m planning two four generation photo shoots which will happen concurrently.  I will photograph my cousin Jamie, her son Finn, my Auntie Kathie, and GG (mine and Jamie’s Grandma, Lily-Ann and Finn’s Great Grandma, and Auntie Kathie and my mom’s Mom).  Jamie will photograph me, the girlie, Mom and GG.  This has been in the works since Mother’s Day.  It is a gift for Mom, Auntie Kathie, and GG.  So Jamie will burn three discs, and so will I.

Now.  Pretty much from the get go, we figured we’d do an Autumn shoot.  I have to admit, I’m always shocked when clients want an outdoor, mid-day, Summer appointment.  It takes a special kinda crazy to actually WANT to be out in that heat (of course, I’m right there with them, camera in hand – anything for the right shot).  But there was no way I was about to get in front of a camera on a day like that.  😉  Besides, Autumn is just sooo much lovelier for any number of reasons.  So we waited.

The day is chosen.  So is the time.  And I’ve got a location in mind too (some place I don’t usually shoot – figure I should mix it up a bit).  Then what do I suggest?  Let’s keep it casual (that’s not the bad part.  Jeans and nice shirts is perfect photo shoot attire), wearing the colours of the season:  browns, rusts, oranges, olives.  The problem?  I don’t own a “nice” shirt in any of these colours.  LMAO  And this evening when I went shopping at the Sally Ann (a non-profit thrift store) they had NADA!

Okay.  Lesson learned.  Don’t suggest colours you don’t own!

Sure, I’ve got lots of rusts and oranges.  They’re some of my best colours.  But they’re all t-shirts that I’ve worn to the point that they are just WAY too grubby to consider for this use.  Gardening?  Sure.  Walking the girl to school?  You bet.  Playing with the dogs?  No problem.  Four generation photographs?  Not on your life.

This means I can try again at another store tomorrow (the shoot is on Saturday), or I can just wear a zip up sweater over whatever.  Now.  I like my zip up sweater.  It’s an olive green with a rust and yellow argyle pattern on the front.  I actually love this sweater.  But it’s another one that’s mostly good for hacking around.  But hey!  It’s the right colours.  LMAO  And as long as I stay tucked in the back it might blend okay.  Oh boy.

It Snowed!

Initially I planned to write about taking my FoodSafety course.  I have my certificate from the CHEP leadership training, so now only need my FoodSafe certificate in order to lead a Collective Kitchen group.  I took a quick pic of my notebook and some of my notes, and was all set to share.  Then I got home.

Well…  you couldn’t see it downtown (where I am taking the course) but once I was home, you couldn’t miss it.  There was snow.  Albeit a thin layer of it, but it is there.  Shining white like diamonds in the moonlight.  Shimmery, beautiful, new.  Chances are it will be gone by noon tomorrow (thankfully), but that first bit of snow really is a pretty sight.  A little touch of faery magick in the otherwise dreary and dark late Autumnal world.  🙂

So while I’ll be happy to have it melt away, the new snow still puts a touch of magick into an otherwise drab and boring night.

It Snowed!

Moving on…

Lily-Ann finally figured out how to peddle her bike, just in time for her to have outgrown it.  LOL  Isn’t that always the way?  So as we head ever closer to Winter, we are now on the lookout for a new-to-us bike for the wee girlie.  The one she has outgrown has 8″ tires, so probably something in the ten to twelve inch range would be right.  We’ll be passing her old bike on to someone who needs it, and hoping someone will do the same with one that their little one(s) have outgrown.  🙂  Guessing we’ll probably find one just as the snow hits, and then by Spring, when she can get out and ride, we’ll need the next size up.  LMAO  So cross your fingers for us, that we find the perfect new-to-us bike sooner rather than later… so the wee girlie actually has time to get out and enjoy it.  😉

Moving on up...

Prairie Machismo

There are some people who doubt it’s existence…  but I believe today’s photo of the day will prove that it is alive and well here in the heart of the prairies.  Prairie machismo is that force that fuels everything that some men do.  The force that compels them to be “bigger than”, “stronger than”, “tougher than” the next guy.  It is the force that inspires jokes about rednecks on the prairie.  It goes beyond testosterone driven displays well into the range of blatant stupidity.  It is the crushing of beer cans on the forehead while pouring gasoline on the bbq and wearing nothing but green and white body paint stupidity…  It is, as this man has done, wearing shorts and a tank top when it is five degrees celcius out.

So kudos oh great and mighty prairie man.  For proving, once again, that “real” men are all about scaring little children by displaying way too much flesh.

Real Men Don't Get Cold

Seriously though?  Come on guy…  cover up.  It’s cold out there.  You don’t look tough, you look silly.  Everyone else is out with long pants, jackets, hats, and mittens….  dressing like it’s still Summer is just plain goofy.

Autumn Anyone?

Okay…  I know it’s A photo a day (A as in ONE)…  but I didn’t know which one to share.  So here’s three.  All of the exact same leaf, the exact same berries.  A little touch of Autumn for you.

ONE

TWO

THREE

I’ve been indecisive lately… a little more so than usual.  And today’s blog post is a perfect example of that.  Seriously.  I took three pictures, and couldn’t decide on one, so shared them all.  LOL  So which is your favourite?  I couldn’t pick one.  At least not today.  LOL

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