Monthly Archives: December 2006

First loaf

A10 made her first loaf of bread yesterday under the direction of her dad. We ate it for breakfast and lunch and it was good. I hope it is the first of many. I believe she is now making a miniature version so the folk at the Villa Caprice can also have some. img_2107crop.jpg

Moving in at the Villa Caprice

There is a new house on our block, in our living room to be precise. A10 is the proud owner. As we are listening to Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright at present the new house has been named the Villa Caprice. The house is not totally furnished yet, but the kitchen is looking cosy.
And there is a comfortable chair by the window if you would like to sit for a while


the inexpressible gift

Last night we enjoyed having friends over. We don’t see these friends as much as we once did and we miss them. We had a great time. The children had things to show and share, we wanted to hear how our friends’ studies, exams and deadlines had gone and they wanted to know what was new in our life. They are the type of friends who feel quite at home here and we feel right at home having them here.

At one stage we were chatting about the different personalities of the children and my friend said, “Your children are so different and they are so much the same. I love your children. They feel like home.” Our children love them too. It was a gift to us to have them here. As the dining room table is covered in quilt scraps we had our meal at the kitchen table but the fellowship was just as sweet.

My friend and I made a dent in the dishes and discussed the gift giving side of Christmas, how hard it is to find just the right gift for some people and the fact that it isn’t the gift that matters so much as the giving. We talked about the enjoyment of baking for people and giving away cookies because we want them to know we love them. We talked about the gifts we can give that can’t be wrapped, our time, our conversation, our homes, a helping hand when someone’s hands are full. We talked about celebrating the season because of the inexpressible gift we have been given.

Give thanks to God for his inexpressible gift. 2Cor 9:15

I hope that you know the joy of God’s inexpressible gift this Christmas.



A few days before Christmas

We are listening to The Blind Boys of Alabama’s ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’ and Angele Dubeau: Adoration and the girls practising Christmas carols for Christmas eve service. Actually the bit about the girls practising; that is only wishful thinking at this stage.

We are cooking Almond and Pecan Brittle partially from memory because no matter how hard I looked I could not find the exact recipe which was so successful a couple of weeks ago. A10 has cooked something for her dad.

The tree looks almost finished as we have been hanging the nativity glass ornaments on the tree and dressing her in her skirt. B6 has packaged up the cookies he made for his Sunday school teachers and written cards.

L12 is working hard on the quilt and her friend is here  to continue work on hers. L12’s  squares are finished and she and is laying them out on the floor working out which arrangement would look best.

I am thinking about the Lamb Roast I am making for dinner with friends tonight. Roasts are not exactly my forte, so I’m trying to plan ahead in order that meat and vegetables are all ready at the same time, I prefer meals where the meat and vegetables are all in the same pot together!

We are decorating gingerbread.
We are putting little circles of fabric and labels on our jars of Three Fruits Marmalade.

The violins played on

Last weekend we enjoyed a lot of music. The girls played their violins at three different venues and attended the necessary practices. Saturday night was the Christmas concert of Stellae Boreales and friends. This is the performance group that both girls belong to and it was a great concert. Listen to a portion here.

On Sunday the girls went one way to enjoy their friends’ Christmas musical while the boys went to our church where Andrew played bass and B6 sang with his Sunday school class. In the afternoon the Corelli players did the first of two concerts, this one at a retirement home. The Corelli players are a group the girls have been part of for six months, it was formed with the goal of presenting a Christmas program of music for strings. The culmination will be tomorrow when they present the concert again for the public and as a fundraiser for CHEO (the children’s hospital in Ottawa).

On Sunday night our church had a family music night where the girls joined up with a couple of their friends who also play violin and gave us three carols. A nice finish to a full weekend.

As it turned out it didn’t stop there, this week has been a week with more performing than practising. And that’s ok once in a while. On Thursday morning the girls played on TV, promoting the Corelli fundraiser on a local breakfast show. On Friday afternoon some friends invited them to play “O SoleMio” at the Italian Retirement Home.

Cover Girl

Harrowsmith Dec 2006 Inset Its not every day you get to be a cover girl. We were invited by a friend to be part of this cover shoot for last year’s Lee Valley Christmas catalogue. The location was just outside of Ottawa after one of the last snowstorms in early 2005. A huge Christmas tree was attached to the sleigh and we took a ride into the woods, smiling and freezing. B4 is sitting on my knee and the girls are next to us but obscurred.

It is strange to see it being reused this Christmas on the cover on one of the national lifestyle magazines.

There isn’t much chance of a sleigh-ride this Christmas. The weather has been above zero for much of the last week and there is little snow left. Normally by now the outdoor ice in the park down the road is open for skating. Maybe we’ll have our first Brown Christmas since moving to Canada.

Dec 2006 Harrowsmith Country Life


Last night there were two 12 year old girls quilting at our dining room table. Snowman and snowflake fabric for one and the blue and red log cabin for the other. L12 and I were showing her friend how to make a quilt. Both quilts are going to be for special baby boys. Of course you can’t make a quilt in a night (well we can’t!) so there will be more cutting and stitching going on.
This makes me smile.


We have begun making gingerbread again. Once we begin we make it almost everyweek until mid January at least. We give it away, we sell it at bake sales, we decorate it with friends and, of course we eat it. The recipe was a Jill Dupleix “Recipe of the Week” on the Doug Aiton radio program in 1995 and I have used it ever since.


3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup
90g butter
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
500g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten

Combine sugar, golden syrup, butter, spices and fresh ginger in a heavy-based pan over low heat, and let melt, stirring. Remove from heat for two minutes, and stir in bicarbonate of soda until light and fluffy

Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add eggs and gradually add the syrup, beating until all the flour is incorporated and you have a dough. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for an hour.

Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius, and roll out dough thinly on a floured surface. Cut into shapes and place on trays lined with baking paper. Bake for ten minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before removing from tray. Cool on a wire rack. This makes about 25 cookies depending on what size cutters you use.