The Knoxville Farmers’ Market

Today is our second day at the Hoyt reunion in Georgia. Since I’ve last blogged we’ve visited the Holders in Knoxville, and some friends in Atlanta. I hope to blog about that soon, but I need to catch up with sharing some of the things we did in Knoxville first!

We had a great time in Knoxville. One of the highlights of our time there (for me, at least!) was to visit the local farmers’ market. I had a blast taking photos of all the beautiful produce and the way it was all displayed.

On the Saturday morning, we girls (Aunt Marti, Hannah, Eva, myself and a couple of Hannah and Eva’s friends) went out for breakfast at The French Market, where we had crepes for breakfast. The café was really cute and the crepes were fantastic.

Here are some of the photos I took at the farmers’ market. Because they are a bit numerous, I made them smaller. If you want to see any of them bigger, just click on the picture.












After our time at the farmers’ market, we joined Uncle Ron, Ben and Marica and Esther at some fountains nearby where much fun was had by all getting nice and (cool! and) wet.

The fountains were followed by some drying off time at the playground across the road, where (most of) the adults had some fun playing too!


Well, that’s it for now. We’re about to have an after dinner hymn-sing soon. With around 55 family members here (and a few more to come!) I think it will be amazing.

A Christmas craft afternoon

On an unseasonably warm Saturday late in November, a few women from our church gathered at our friend Jen’s house to make some Christmas crafts. It was bliss… lots of good chatting and food while being enjoyably creative and productive. I thought I’d share some photos of the fun!

Here are Jen and Julie trying out different things.

One of Julie’s creations in the making:

And the lovely, sweet Shannon (Julie’s daughter).

A Christmas card that Shannon made:

Glitter was definitely involved in this whole affair. Oh yes.

Oh, and paint. It was a gloriously messy endeavour.

Jen had bought these really cool plain glass balls and had some neat things available for us to use to decorate them either on the inside or the outside.

Here are some of mine. I was going for the Glitzy Rustic look. Never heard of it? I invented it just that weekend, so it still hasn’t taken the world by storm.

(Sorry, Damaris, it seems I neglected to take photos of you and Elijah… the above shot is all I have! Shocking, I know. But… I have some pics of you I’ll post later in the week, just you wait!)

Summer is here!

And we’ve well and truly been out and about enjoying it. We’ve only had two very hot days and for the rest of the time it has been pretty much perfect weather (25 – 30 C). We’ve been spending as much time as possible outside, which of course means that blogging has been put on the back burner a bit! I haven’t forgotten you all, though, and I have a bunch of blog post ideas floating around in my head.

I’ve also been very busy with lots of extra choir rehearsals (Ben has been a trooper here at home!) because this weekend the choir I’m part of is performing Brahms’ German Requiem. It’s a beautiful piece, but tiring to sing because you’re on your feet, fully concentrating and singing for the most part of 1 hour and 10 minutes. It’s been great to be a part of and I’m looking forward to the concerts this weekend!

Anyway, let me give you a taste of what we’ve been up to. (Forgive me if you’re on dial-up!)

We’ve been making good use of our zoo pass, and we visited the Prospect Park Zoo,

(Esther hasn’t quite decided that she likes animals yet. She keeps a safe distance!)

and the Central Park Zoo.

We’ve been exploring some of Central Park,

and we’ve developed a deep love for the beautiful Prospect Park, only about 20 minutes walk from our place.

We’ve been making good on our goal of discovering playgrounds in the city, and have so many more to explore!

We’ve been to the Underhill Playground,

The Harmony Playground,

The Imagination Playground (in Manhattan),

and The Third Street Playground, not to mention a couple of playgrounds nice and close to our house.

See, we’ve been busy, so if we’re quiet, don’t worry, we’re probably outside playing! :-)

More cereal box fun

When we looked for ideas for what kinds of crafts one can make with cereal boxes, back when we made Glitter Girl, we also came across a cute idea of making sandals. I promised Marica we’d do that, and here’s the result. We found the idea here, and modified it a bit to make it prettier.

Here’s how you do it:

First you have to eat up a whole box of cereal. Preferably not in one sitting.

Then you open it up and trace a couple of shoe prints.

Then do the same on some colourful paper. Your possibilities are endless: princess shoes, brown shoes, fire truck shoes, striped shoes. We went with the latter look.

Cut the shoe prints out.

Cut out some straps, then glue the pretty paper to the cereal box cardboard.

Measure the length of the strap on your child’s foot, then stick it to the sole with some strong sticky tape.

Ta-daa! You’re done!

Pretty stinkin’ cute, and usable too!

Grocery challenge: week 4. I’m done!

Let’s just say I’m glad to have life returning to normal! It was a good little exercise in sticking to a budget (or close to, anyway), but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again any time soon. To be honest, if I literally had only $25 a week to spend on groceries, I’d be visiting food pantries for help! As I’ve said before — I could only do it because I already had some food stocked up in my cupboards and a few things in my freezer. I didn’t have loads (I don’t have room for loads!) but certainly enough to help us get through this last month! Now the challenge will be to restock without breaking my usual budget!

But I guess you all want to know by just how much I went over. :-)

As you’ll remember, I had $10.50 left to spend on groceries for the last week of October to be able to meet my $100 challenge for the month. I didn’t make the challenge, I’m afraid to say, but I didn’t exactly go over by too much.

Here’s what I bought the last week:

fruit & vegetables — $10.82
gallon of milk — $3.39
butter — $3.29
cheese — $4.58

cream cheese — $0.99
cream — $1.59
bacon — 4.69

(The last 3 extravagant items were for things I made when we had guests over. :-))

Total for week 4: $29.35

Total for October: $118.85

Crazy stuff. Thanks for keeping me accountable. I’m glad it’s done!

Grocery Challenge: week 3

This past week seems to have been shorter than the others. Strange how that happens sometimes. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to cook very often! The flu was still having a field day, uh, week at our house and even Ben stayed home for 2 days from work. I didn’t make all the things that I planned for because the pizza was enough for 2 nights and we got a dinner invite for Saturday night, and we got Chinese on Friday night. Three nights not having to cook, wow! And it would seem as if I won’t have to cook too much next week either because I have a bunch of meals in the freezer that I’ve made extra and froze over the last month.

So, here’s what I bought:

fresh fruit & veggies — $10.84
gallon of milk — $3.39
curry powder — $0.99
salami — $3.99

Total: $19.21

So far this month I’ve spent a total of $89.50, which leaves the generous amount of $10.50 for the next week! Haha, I guess I’ll go over, but let’s see with how little, eh?

Here’s what we’re eating for the last week of the challenge:


Mexican soup and cornmeal muffins


Spaghetti Bolognaise with garlic bread and salad

Wednesday (we’re having guests):

Beef roast with roast vegetables and salad. Pumpkin cake for dessert.


Chicken pasta bake and green salad


Visiting friends, so I don’t have to cook. Yay!


Ben and I hope to go on a date night. Not sure what we’ll give the kids yet, but maybe nachos.


Sandwiches or left-overs for dinner.

Just keep in mind that we’d never be eating this amount of meat at $25 a week if I didn’t have stuff in my freezer already! I’ll be glad when this challenge is over. It’s just SO not realistic, but that wasn’t the point, was it? The point was to teach myself that it is possible not to always overspend on my grocery budget, and one that I think I’ve learnt. :-)