slow living update – December, January & February


This has been a long, cold, snowy never-ending winter. Even the dad, who likes everything about winter, says enough already. It was so cold this week that the rear window on our car spontaneously smashed. I’m really looking forward to seeing some green on the ground again.

I have gotten behind in these summaries the past couple of months, so I will attempt to remember what we’ve been doing for three months this time around. I am again using this monthly summary to help me to remember the small things.



We ate a lot these past few months and are going to have to spend the spring taking off the winter padding. The dad has been reading about the Paleo diet and we have been talking about it a bit. I’m not sure I am quite ready to give up all grains. We’ll see. Maybe. It is supposed to be helpful to people who have autoimmune or neurological diseases, so that might be a motivating factor. That, and a bit of diet might help the dad’s snoring situation. A friend of mine commented that if I can still hear him snoring with the pillow over his head, I am not pressing on it hard enough. I reminded him of that comment and he now sleeps with one eye open.

I wrote about chili dip and brownie cookies, and have thoroughly enjoyed eating both while I am still allowed.


There are no preparations going on around here at this time of year, unless you count stockpiling salt for the walkway after the ice storm. We are still working our way through last season’s frozen vegetables, sauces and jams.


Just about everything that can break in our house has broken recently. Once again, we are keeping the dad and the local repair people busy. The dad has replaced the sump pump, fixed the wood stove, drilled holes in the cement basement floor to help with some early thaw flooding, and we’ve had the oven and the car fixed. Our dishwasher is still awaiting parts, but it has given the kids a month of learning how to wash and dry dishes. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I quite enjoy seeing them work away at it. Until the bickering begins, but then it just sounds like it did when my sister and I did dishes together when I was growing up. It has nostalgia value.

I even had a try at fixing the washing machine when the dad told me that it wasn’t working. It turns out that all it needed was a few harsh words and to be turned off and on again. Problem solved.

{Green – cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies}:

There is nothing new to report in this category. We still hang most of the clothes and use the heat from the pellet stove to dry them, although on the days that I am not able to make it down the stairs to the basement, the kids are more apt to take a short cut and put them in the dryer. Aside from a severely shrunk pair of my pants (that is the story I am sticking with – there couldn’t be any other reason for them to be that tight), I am not too bothered by the change. Whatever gets the work done.

We also continue to have only one vehicle on the road while I am off work. I’d say it has saved on gas, except that the tall kid’s extra hockey teams and practices have us on the road just as much.


The snow banks have grown exponentially around the house. The tall kid continues to tower over me and the small kid is turning into the medium kid. Other than that, the only green things around here are bought weekly at the grocery store. I have, however, requested a seed catalogue and am looking forward to it arriving. I also have some seed left over from last year that I will soon test to see if they are still viable.



I’ve pulled out my knitting again and I’m working on some unfinished projects. So far I’ve finished a stack of dishcloths – mostly because they are a quick and easy project that gives an instant feeling of accomplishment. I can finish one in a couple of hours while watching television or the birds from my spot in front of the fire. I’ve also finished a toque (just in time for the weather to warm up) and am working on a pair of socks that I started months ago.


I managed to spend time by the fire reading. I also continue to spend time in hockey arenas learning about the game. I’ve never been a hockey fan in the past, but this is the tall kid’s first year playing with a girl’s team and I’ve been enjoying watching them play. Girl’s hockey is a lot of fun to watch; it’s fast and they have a cooperative spirit that I didn’t always see in the mixed team that she played with previously.


{Enhance – community}

The dad joined in a community chili cook-off competition in January and won first place. He was surprised and impressed with himself. He loves that he has bragging rights over several restaurants in town as well as the local fire hall. Friends that came to visit (thank you Sara and Mike) had a commemorative picture made up to hold him until his plaque is presented by the town. It has pride of place in the den and amuses everyone who comes to visit. They borrowed a photo of him (trying to grow a mustache for Movember) from this blog to make the print. I love it.


oops, we forgot to buy birthday candles


We’ve had lots of visitors, plus a large family and neighbour gathering around our Christmas table. We had a few extras to accommodate neighbours that couldn’t travel due to the ice storm over Christmas, and it made for an enjoyable Christmas Day. The tall hormonal kid’s age finally started to catch up to her height – we celebrated her 13th birthday right after Christmas.

There have also been a couple of hockey tournaments that we attended and a few overnight visits from friends of the girls. As a family, we like to entertain and have friends and family around, so there is rarely a dull moment.

41 thoughts on “slow living update – December, January & February

  1. Seeking Joyful Simplicity says:

    Love the knitting. As far as the Paleo diet – perhaps a modified version would work best? I believe in the benefits, but all the “rule” can be difficult to live by.

    And darn those shrunk pants, hate when that happens…

  2. All my pants have shrunk, too. Maybe it’s not just the washer that’s broken! I love this format for your posts. My daughter mentioned wanting to take up hockey, but I pretended not to hear her. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to get away with that. Fortunately, she’ll be in soccer over the summer and forget all about it. I hope.

    • Good luck with the selective hearing when it comes to hockey. We will be doing soccer too, with the younger daughter this summer. It’s a much more reasonable sport, only requiring the shin pads and shoes.

  3. Geraldine says:

    what a great photo. I agree, enough with the winter!!!!

  4. I’m with you… winter tooooo long. I guess your girls wonder about washing dishes by hand… We never knew any different… ‘oh I find the story coming on about how we had to walk miles and miles to get to school…’ oops that was my mother.. but we did have a bit of a walk and we did wash and dry dishes by hand. When our water went this winter for 3 days we had to empty the dishwasher and get water from our friends and do them by hand… The memories… ha! I like the picture of your husband with his chili…. Diane

  5. Sharon says:

    Having never seen snow I can’t even begin to imagine how cold it is at your place! That is an awful lot of snow!! How do plants in the garden even survive under that? I can see now why spring is eagerly anticipated. Loved seeing your knitting and the pile of dishcloths, so glad you said they are a quick and easy project, that is what I was hoping for. I had to laugh about doing the dishes by hand, that is the only way they are done here as we have never owned a dishwasher. Would be so nice if we could exchange a little bit of your cold for our never ending heat!!

    • A lot of our garden plants are planted as annuals, since they couldn’t survive the winter. But amazingly, some do survive and come back each spring. I’m more than happy to take some excess heat off your hands.

  6. Christine says:

    Oh, I love the award the dad received – congratulations to him on his chilli achievement! Hoping your cold weather comes to an end for you soon – I can’t imagine it being so cold to smash the car window..eek! x

  7. jmgoyder says:

    Delightful post and btw I cannot WAIT for winter down here!

  8. Cath says:

    I had quite a few chuckles reading your witty post, Heidi. You write really well. And as for kitty in the window, beautiful.

  9. Now I understand your comment about enjoying the greenery in my and other Australian blog posts! But to someone who doesn’t usually see snow your first photo with the cat looks beautiful and quite romantic!

  10. One of my colleagues was doing the paleo diet but is having a bit of a reprieve due to the need for comfort food after work at the moment….

    After winter ending so late last year, I can see how you might feel waiting for spring to kick in. Hopefully, not long now 🙂

  11. Wendy says:

    Heidi, the cookies look so yummy! We eat Paleo most of the time unless something comes up like visiting friends (or a craving for fresh bread ;). I love your Kitty looking out at the snow…We have real Autumn weather in Cape Town today, so I am sure a thaw is on the way to you!

  12. I always enjoy these monthly wrap ups. I think I might start doing something similar. It’s a good way to put things into perspective. Also, I hadn’t heard whether or not The Dad had won the chili cook off. Congrats to him.

  13. Fairy says:


    This is a lovely post and I really enjoy reading all about what is happening on your side of the world. Like some of the other Aussie bloggers, it is difficult to comprehend how much snow you have to deal with on a daily basis during the winter. Hoping for some spring weather for you soon.

    I wanted to let you know about my experience with Paleo/modified paleo diet. I started it almost 2 years ago and found that my chronic joint pain literally disappeared within 48 hours. Despite various investigations the doctors had not come up with a definite diagnosis but my blood tests indicated some sort of auto-immune process. I feel as though it no longer matters since the pain is gone.

    I was very strict for about 3 weeks initially and lost 2.5kg within the first couple of weeks. Since then, I stick to it reasonably closely except for dairy (I eat cheese and a small amount of yoghurt) and rice. I certainly stick to a gluten-free diet as a minimum as I found a couple of lapses of a bread roll or garlic bread did result in some joint pain. My weight loss has stabilised at about 7.5 kg for the past 15 months.

    I have found lots of amazing alternatives and my husband now eats the same diet. Please let me know if you would like any recipes or suggestions and I can email you. By the way, I have a gluten-free brownie recipe, although I haven’t made it yet.

    Hope this helps.

    Fairy xxx

    • I would love any suggestions or recipes – the easier the better. I need to read about it some more yet, to get a better idea of what all is involved. So far I’ve mostly read the anecdotal stories of MS patients who saw improvement with the diet. I’ll also look back at some of your recipes for some ideas. Thanks.

  14. Emma says:

    Congratulations to your hubby for wining the chill competition!!
    I did the whole30 last year for a month – no grains, gluten, sugar, alcohol,dairy – I felt amazing during and immediately after but found it pretty hard to come up with meal ideas. I don’t think I could do it long term.
    It must be so cold were your are to shatter your car window!!!
    Getting a wee bit fed up the snow here too! I still don’t understand the rules of hockey!!
    Was that cake as delicious as it looks?

    • I’m still trying ti figure out the hockey rules too – I miss so many things that happen fast. I’m sure I’ll get it eventually. The cake was pretty good – my husband made it – it’s called Dad’s Favourite Chocolate cake and is made with cloves in the mix.

  15. Wendy Meijer says:

    Lovely post, all that snow looks amazing!

  16. Linda says:

    I love seeing your winter posts. Such a contrast to what we are up to! It sounds like your family have been having lots of fun together. Happy birthday to your lovely teenager! Stay warm and we’ll catch up again next month. 🙂

  17. amy b. says:

    I always come here intending to comment and then read the comments and see it has already been said. 🙂 Laughed at the pillow story, smiled at the girls doing dishes together (and wished my daughter had a sister) and apologize for sending more snow your way… we didn’t get nearly as much as was predicted. Yay!

  18. amberwideman says:

    Hahaha, the sisters-doing-dishes thing brings back some not-too-distant nostalgic memories for me too. We never had a dishwasher growing up, and much to my frustration, the dishes were on my sister’s and my chore list. We used to get bickering too, but that’s because she always got the “good” job of washing while I had to dry every single night (the grass is always greener on the other side, ain’t it?). I distinctly remember remarking on numerous occassions: “When I’m a mom, I’m making my kids do the dishes. If I have to do them, my kids have to do them too”. We’ll see if I uphold that promise by the time that day comes around…

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • I always got to wash.. the advantage of being the oldest. And my sister used to try to hide in the bathroom each night at dish time. As a parent, there are certain peaceful advantages to a dishwasher. But its also amusing to watch the next generation figure it all out.

  19. We haven’t had snow at all this winter, just so much rain and greyness. I have to say I do prefer the winters when it is cold, sunny and snowy but they don’t happen that often in these parts.

  20. The snow does look pretty! It so hot here that we have moved our bed outside and have been sleeping on the patio for the last 3 weeks or so. Its finally dipped under 20 degrees at night and is sooooo much more comfortable! I cant begin to comprehend that amount of snow! Since your girls are getting good at dishes, tell them they can come and live with us – we have never had a dishwasher so getting two would be wonderful (do they come with earmuffs? For us, not them though?) 🙂 K xx

  21. Becks says:

    I love your monthly summary! It’s so lovely and simple. It sounds like you’re doing all sorts of good things for yourself. Keep it up!

  22. Hi Heidi! I have a quick question for you and was wondering if you could email me when you have a free moment! Thanks so much. I hope to hear from you soon!! 🙂 Have a great rest of your day!

  23. The Editors of Garden Variety says:

    I truly enjoyed reading your post and looking at your photos.

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