Tales of Home…SNOW DAY! on a Sunday?

Hi!  I’m Melina – homeschooling mother of 11, Grandmelina to 4 1/2

This is always the question in this weather, isn’t it? Very few make it, sometimes only those who live closest to the Church. We live right next door to our Church, so no problems for us. But our priest doesn’t. He lives in a nearby town and has 3 churches to serve. He can’t always make it when road conditions are bad, and today we are supposed to have a replacement retired priest who is driving even farther from his home. We should know soon enough if we will be having mass today.
Yes, we live in an old rectory in a small town. We bought our home over 17 years ago. I can always remember how long, because David will be turning 18 in March and he was the baby when we moved. And we moved on September 29th. I always remember this date because it is my sister’s birthday. Our home was built in 1885 and is a piece of local history.
What is it like living in an old rectory? Sweet! Six bedrooms. Two full baths and a half bath. A large kitchen, dining room and living room. Perfect for our family of 13. The larger dining room meant we didn’t have to eat supper in shifts anymore, and as the kids got older more could gather around the table to do their school lessons. The additional bedrooms meant fewer kids to a room. Our last house also had 3 bathrooms, but it is still very sweet. And red bricks. Old bricks have so much character.
But did I mention it’s an old rectory? So it came with old house challenges. That first winter we were sooo cold. No insulation. Blew some in the following summer. Much better. New windows came after a large tree blew down on our house in a storm. A blessing. House was still standing and thank you God nobody got hurt. We bought and installed the windows ourselves with the insurance money. No more old, brittle glass wooden windows. Another heating savings. Installed a gas furnace and got rid of the oil fired boiler. Another huge heating savings. Most of the brown paneling has been replaced with insulation and drywall and new paint. More recently, the orange shag carpet is gone. Looking better all the time! Roof is now metal so that we’ll never have to worry about it again. Then there is the basement. It flooded with a river that first Spring thaw. Now we’ve got it down to a smaller trickle. Unfortunately, we still have a wet basement every Spring. It’s build right on rock so we can’t get it better than it is, even with a sump pump and digging up around the house. Oh, well. I still love our house. And my husband, because he did all this for us. Isn’t he amazing? I am blessed beyond deserving. God is good.
And did I mention we live next to our Church? Yup. That is AWESOME! It is my home away from home. And small towns rock. I’ll tell you more about it soon. Right now I’ve got to go get everything and everybody ready for Church…just in case! HAPPY SUNDAY!

11 Tips for Valentine’s Day from a Mom of 11

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 4!

A little inspiration.

Valentine’s Day is a great day to say, “I love you,” to your kids as well as your husband.  Some homemade treats can go a long way.  Start off with a Valentine’s Day card with some scripture.  End it with some yummy treats.  Let’s see how many I get done this year!












Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8





Hi!  I’m Melina, mother to 11 and Grandmelina to 4!

This is a great way to get away from the regular leafy green salad and expand our taste adventures.  I particularly love the sunflower seeds in this salad.  The salad also adds nice colour to a meal, gives us a serving of raw veggies and it also makes a wonderful meal on its own.

Right now one of my boys is on a restricted diet with supplements to fight Candida and we’re working with a naturopath to try to route out the effects of his Lyme Disease.  Needless to say, he really enjoys this salad, so I’ll be serving it with our supper of chicken legs and Party Hash Browns.

I’ll be making this salad today with bacon bits to avoid the natural sugar in the raisins.  I used to always make it with raisins but am quite happy with the new taste of the salad with the addition of the bacon bits.


  • approx. 8 cups of broccoli, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of bacon bits, raisins, or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper to make the dressing.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, toss the first 4 ingredients.  Pour the dressing over top and mix well.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.  Feel free to add more salt and pepper if needed.


You might also like to try our Raw Cauliflower Tabouleh, a grain free version of this classic salad.



raisin oatmeal

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 4!

These cookies aren’t only for Christmas.  They’re perfect for any time of the year.  But let’s face it, Christmas is for desserts.

And we like our Christmas desserts.  No doubt about it.  Each of the kids (at home) makes a dessert to share at Christmas.  The kids who aren’t home get a tin of our favourite desserts to enjoy too!  And of course, we make a double batch – eat half now, freeze half for Christmas.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins

Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until frothy.  Beat in both sugars.  Add the cooking oil and the vanilla.

Dissolve the baking soda in the water, then stir into the mixture.

Add the oats, the flour and the salt.  Stir well.  Add in the raisins and stir well again.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350°F  oven for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Variations:  leave out the raisins;  spice them up with 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. allspice;  add 1/2 nuts.



Butterscotch confetti

Coconut macaroons – grain free

Melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies

No bake cheesecake

Spiced doughnuts

And all our recipes…




Garlic Spare Ribs

Hi!  My name’s Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 3 1/2!

My mom made this recipe when we were growing up, and she got the recipe from my Auntie Joyce.  Some of my kids will request this meal for their birthday.  I like to serve it with rice.

I’m teaching my youngest girls to cook, so this will be their creation today as we celebrate the opening of the Lord’s Day.  Served with rice and veggies and cake for dessert.

And of course, I have to quadruple the sauce to cover all our ribs!

I cut up my pork ribs and boil them for 15 minutes, drain and add them to the Garlic Sauce below.

GARLIC SAUCE for ribs:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup Cola
  • 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • garlic – to taste

Combine all ingredients in a tall pot.  Heat to boiling.  Boil 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat. Add your cooked ribs to the sauce.  The longer you let the ribs sit, the more flavour seeps into them.  Reheat as necessary and serve with rice.

The ribs are even better made a day ahead and allowed to soak in the sauce in the fridge overnight.

Auntie Joyce says that after coating the ribs in sauce, she bakes them in the oven for an hour to caramelize the sauce.  My cousin Danny called them candy meat.


Note:  we have different food restrictions in our house, so I change up the sauce a bit. I use caffeine free cola and eliminate the soy sauce, but add salt.  Still good!


Pumpkin Pie (with gluten/grain free options)

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Years ago, when I was first asked to bring pies to our church Supper, I had never made my own pie shells but had watched my mom do it many times.  It couldn’t be that hard, right??

Now I know it’s not, but that first year, and for many years afterwards, I struggled with it.  Too much water or not enough water, too much kneading, ripped then patched-together dough…I could make bread, how come I couldn’t make pie crust??

One year my husband rushed into the kitchen after I had let out a blood-curdling scream. Instead of finding me cut and bleeding, he found me crying with dough stuck to the walls (which I had thrown there in frustration).  Yup, not a pretty sight.  He led me out of the kitchen and took over the pie making.  And that’s what he did for many years, and he still usually makes our pies for the Harvest Supper, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  But not always.  As for me…

This year I just poured the filling into greased ramekins, but I have often resorted to frozen pie shells, with homemade filling.  Still tasty, and mostly homemade.  I have mastered the art of pie crust making…but often take the lazier (and still tasty!) way out. Life has enough stress already, wouldn’t you agree??

Here’s our family’s favourite recipe!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

Makes 2 large pies.

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. mace
  • one 28 oz. can pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups 10% cream or whipping cream, or a combination of the two
  • two 9″ pie shells (homemade or frozen) (or skip the pie shells for the gluten-free option)

With electric mixer on low, blend together brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, mace and pumpkin.  Add your eggs, mixing well.  Blend in the cream.  Pour your mixture into the ready pie shells.  Place the pies (and ramekins) on the bottom rack in the oven (I like to place them on a cookie sheet in case of overflow) and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes more or until firm and crust is well browned.  A knife inserted into the center of the pie should come out clean.  The pie will often crack near the center when it is done.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

GLUTEN-FREE OPTION:   Instead of using pie shells, or if I have too much pumpkin mixture for my pie shells, I like to pour the mixture into greased ramekins.  It makes a tasty, gluten-free option.