Five things

We had our share of adventures last week, starting with the kids’ first trip to a strawberry farm. We went with a friend and her seven-year-old daughter one warm, breezy evening.

strawberry picking james

The girls picked much faster than my guy, who’d show me each strawberry as he picked it and ask “Is this a good one, Mommy?” before putting it in his basket. It took us about an hour to pick three 4-litre baskets, as I wanted plenty of berries to make jam.

Three baskets

I’m not entirely impressed with the strawberries. They look and feel ripe, but a good lot of them are on the sour side.

jams

But as it turns out, they make a fine jam. I tried three recipes on Saturday: a quick strawberry jam from Sweet Potato Chronicles (they wrote one of my favourite cookbooks, How to Feed a Family), a strawberry, chia seed and honey jam (I swapped the rhubarb for more strawberries) from Thankful Expressions, and a traditional strawberry jam with pectin from Bernardin. All of them are delicious in their own way, with the chia seed jam the less sweet of the three. The first two come together in less than 30 minutes and keep in the fridge for about three weeks, while the third, more traditional jam is a little more tedious with the boiling of the filled jars, but those keep for about a year. And I’ve got plenty of berries left, so I may make a few more jars this week.

pom poms 3

The summer surprise garland has been a huge hit. Each day after the supper the kids argue about who gets to open a bag and then we do the activity on the note inside. We’ve painted pictures with some new paintbrush pens, made pom poms following an easy tutorial in the summer issue of EMMA Magazine, gone out for ice cream, stayed up late and done the limbo in the living room. And more surprises to come!

cherry pie

One afternoon I tried this easy cherry pie recipe. And I do mean easy — I used a ready-made crust and frozen, pitted cherries. You could say it was more “home assembled” than “homemade” ‘tho you do have to cook down the cherries. Next time I’d cut the sugar down to a half cup and add a couple of more tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up. What’s your favourite kind of pie?

finished pillow

And my second DIY for So Fawned is online today! Will you take a peek at my personalized pillows? Better yet, give them a try!

Five things

Don’t you love it when you get together with a friend you haven’t seen in ages and it feels like no time has passed? That’s how it was when I met my girlfriend Kirsten for tea last Monday.

kirsten monday

I love the smell of coffee but just can’t get on board with the taste so it’s English Breakfast for me and a vanilla latte for my friend. What do you drink?

toesies

Tuesday I used a gift certificate for a pedicure that a girlfriend had given me many moons ago. Like the colour? It’s Hey Baby by OPI.

sneak peek one minute miracle

Wednesday a fab prize from an Instagram contest arrived in the mail — a $430 box of carefully curated beauty products (aka “one-minute miracles”) from The Kit magazine. Do you want to know what’s in the box? Tell me and I’ll share the deets in the comments.

jamesy milkshake

My guy loves smoothies any time of year, but the heat wave we’ve been having makes them particularly refreshing. Do you have a favourite recipe? Our fav: two handfuls of fresh or frozen strawberries + two big spoons of vanilla yogurt + as much milk as you like for one delicious (and healthy!) strawberry drink.

2b

Saturday morning I finished another DIY for So Fawned, with a little help from a certain fella who loves to colour. I’ll put a link up when it appears on the site in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and that Canada Day 10K I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Yeah that’s not on. Literally. The event doesn’t run anymore and Tanya and I haven’t been running much either so we’ll set our sights on a race in August or September. There’s plenty to choose from then.

On one other note, now you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Are you running this summer? What’s ahead for you this week?

Mini strawberry shortcakes

As a woman of a certain age (*cough* 40 *cough cough*), invites to bridal and baby showers are few and far between. Nearly all of my girlfriends are long married or on their second marriages and done having kids. And here I have all kinds of recipes that would be perfect for a shower! Luckily many would be just as appropriate for a birthday, a barbeque or a cozy dinner party at home.

Take out the good dishes and celebrate the everyday with these pretty mini strawberry shortcakes inspired by EMMA Magazine.

BeFunky_shortcake.jpg

I used graham crackers crumbs for these but found them too dry and suggest you first mix them with a little melted butter like you would for a graham cracker crust. And why not a dollop of whipped cream on top?

Mini strawberry shortcakes

Serves four

Ingredients

8 to 10 large strawberries

1 to 1.5 large plain vanilla cupcakes (I had some in the freezer so these were easy peasy to throw together)

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

pinch of cinnamon

4 generous tablespoons of whipped cream

Directions

Combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter and set aside.

Slice strawberries and cupcakes into small pieces.

Layer graham cracker mixture, strawberries and cake.

Top with whipped cream.

Five things

How do you spend your Sundays? I can’t get moving before a couple of cups of tea, so I like to nurse those while browsing the Interwebs and entering online contests, then strike off to the farmers’ to pick up a few veggies and see what’s new.

hanging plants

I’ve got my eye on these beautiful hanging plants, which the vendor told me are begonia (begonias? Is begonia the plural, or begonias?) called illumination apricot. Which means nothing to me other than a pretty name as I know next-to-nothing about flowering plants.

And plants.

And flowers.

But they’re lovely, aren’t they? And apparently very easy to care for.

jams

It’s still too early for strawberries, but when they finally arrive I’d love to try to make some jam. This one looks fairly straightforward. Do you have a recipe to recommend?

running

Now that the weather’s warmer I’ve got to start getting out earlier for my runs. That, or go in the evening when it cools down a little. I try to do 5K every other day but this week I invited a friend to do a 10K on Canada Day so I’ve got to start upping my game.

Wish I didn’t sweat like a hog. Running in the heat? Not my favourite.

caprese.jpg

Are you too hot to cook and looking for some new dinner ideas? This caprese panzanella salad from EMMA Magazine might be a refreshing change. Love the mozzarella balls tossed in.

Miriam-Toews-All-My-Puny-Sorrows

And good news! This week my review of Miriam Towes’ fanastic new novel, All My Puny Sorrows, was published on BrazenWoman. (While you’re there, check out my sister-in-law’s wicked recipe for protein balls.)

For the next one I’m thinking Emily Giffin’s The One and Only or Heather O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, both hot new reads. Which one would you rather see?