Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Letter

Well, it's cuppa tea time! Go on, get a nice cuppa and then we'll chat!

Merry Christmas! Typically I write this letter every year, and have done now for many years - only this year will start my new format - my Christmas Letter will no longer be 'formal', it will be my blog. This way, I don't have the additional pressure to write a 'special' Christmas Letter to you all, but rather you can keep with with our families antics and we move along throughout the year! So welcome to my blogsite. You can 'bookmark' it if you like, or you can received my updates 'hot off the press' by requesting it ... just don't ask me how!!!

I'm not the world's most technologically savy person, but I can type! My ideal is to blog with photos, however, I'm still 'challenged' to get the photo from the camera to the blog .... work in progress ...

This year has zipped by. We kicked off the New Year in India with Pierre's family and we'll be ending this year with family and friends at our home for Christmas! Warm memories ...

Cody is now eating us out of house and home - he must have hollow legs ... and growing taller everyday it seems! He has a new passion in life - Karate. And, he's actually picking it up fast and is good at it. I enjoying watching him in class. His Karate School is very, very good. In fact his Karate teacher's husband has just last month returned with a gold medal from the Karate International Championship held in Italy. December 23rd is Cody's first Graduation at the school and he will be receiving his first Ranger Yellow belt. He's just as thrilled that his Amma will be coming especially to watch this 'mile stone' in his life!!!

Cody's year has been filled with school, friends, family, travel and lots of belly laughs! Love the belly laughs! We're still homeschooling and it works great with our family life.

Pierre is also doing well. He's truly been 'Bob the Builder' this year! Seems that most weekends are filled with projects around the home (money pit as he calls it!) We plan on redoing the kitchen early 2010 and maybe an addition out the back as well. That should be fun! As for work, the 'freeze' is slowly coming off for State Street, so we are hoping to see his promotion come this year. He's a saint really as he puts up with me and Cody. I like to say 'at least we keep your life interesting' :)

As for me. I'm also doing well. I feel blessed and stressed at the same time! Life is full. Our friends here are just the best and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. Schooling Cody is a large part of my day, but the school district here is supportive and I know that if I needed any assistance they would be there to help me too. So far that just hasn't been necessary as our homeschooling support system is phenomenal and once again, I feel very thankful and blessed!

Molly is loving being an only cat. She's a strange one and now is the apple of Cody's eye and (as I said before - strange) visa versa!!!! Who knew there was a loving friendly cat in there! Her fear threshold has changed dramatically and she is now the main resident in our home.

As for the rest, let me see. The veggie garden produced well this year. I still suck, but am learning and we are eating alot produce that we produce. This year I need to work more on harvesting and preserving .... we expanded greatly, so we're good to go for next year. The pool has been upgraded, so as our newly found 'fish' has a new swimming confidence and experience, it's going to work great! Look out Uncle Stewart - he's ready for you this time!!!!

Well that's it in a nutshell ... I'm only half way through my cuppa, but like I said, this blog site is mine and this is where you'll be able to keep up with me best. (That and facebook!) So farewell annual 'Christmas Letter' and welcome blog site!

From my family to yours, wishing you all a wonderfully special Christmas and all the best in the coming New Year!!!

Kiwi, Pierre and Cody

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's been a while!

Time is one of those commodities that I don't seem to have enough of - especially at certain times of the year. Evidently, this has been one of those times!!! That should also mean that I've got lots of juicy life's happenings to share with you ... but I seem to be drawing a blank. Brain worm I do believe that is called.

I see that my last post was in June - 2 months ago by my calculations. So what have we been up to?

July was very important to me. My brother whom I hadn't seen in the last 7 years came and stayed with us for 3 weeks.

It really is the first time I haven't tried to be the perfect hostess - I think it has something to do with age, maybe preCheck Spellingmenopause, or both. Normally I do it all. This time there were choices to be made - either have exotic yummy meals and hang around home while being waited on, or go shop and see the world. My brother Stewart chose the later - yeah! Waiting on folks isn't my thing, and apparently, I can't do what I used to in that area!

It was a whirlwind! We crammed 7 years into 3 weeks ... I think he had to go back to Australia to have a holiday from his holiday :) It's funny as it seemed like forever until he got here and then in the blink of an eye, he was gone again!

The first week-end he was here we went with good friends to Boston's North End - Little Italy, and followed some of the Freedom trail into town. I tried Boston Bibb - inside joke! And Stewart purchased Crocs for his souvenir. Sunday was the first 'shop' day - we kicked it off at the outlets. When Stew arrived he was wearing the same clothes we had shopped for 7 years ago ... only they were the worse for wear. Stew brought them over so I could find recycle them. I assured him that they were way past recycling!!! Monday saw us shopping at Costcos - this time shopping for eye glasses, very much needed eye glasses - 7 years is a long time to be wearing the same glasses ... and oh, it's a good thing they were titanium or they would never have survived!!! They were an interesting shape to say the least!!!

We saw a Book Report movie followed a hot delicious baked potato bar at a good friends for lunch followed by a 'playdate' and berry picking. We picked blueberries at another good friends - and it was the first time Stew ate freshly picked Blueberries! The berries are in my freezer waiting to be 'processed'.

We took Stewart to Nature Club and it was my turn to teach it. We went to Houghton's Pond, made bamboo fishing rods and attempted to fish. It's a good thing none of the kids managed to 'hook' themselves! The next day we enjoyed the day at Demarest Lloyd Beach .... my brother informed me he had already had his 'birth control' for a while. I'm sure it was quite a shock for him to be thrust into the world of 'playdates' and children without volume controls.

The following week we flew to Buffalo, NY to meet up with mum and spend a couple of days together with her. Coming home we went straight into preparing for Cody's, Fun in the Sun - Return of the Waterslide , birthday party. I think we went through close to 4 crates of booze and had lots of fun! We love spending time with our friends.

Then the last week we went to Plymouth to see where the Pilgrims first landed, Six Flaggs, another Book Report Movie followed by a wonderful birthday surprise at my good friends house. Ice cream cake, baked potato bar and lots of fun!!!! You see it was Stewart's birthday that day. And he was absolutely chuffed with his surprise celebration.

With not much time remaining, we still had the Rodger Williams Zoo to fit it! The Zoo is an awesome place to visit, but when you have a new camera, it's just one photo opportunity after another - he had to go back with something in that camera!!!

Friday saw the end of the visit :( So now we have memories and photos to help remember our time together ... now, also from this visit, a fish was born! Oh yes, during Stew's stay, he and Cody swam a lot in our pool ... I don't believe he realizes how profound an impact he had on Cody, but swimming was one area which motivated Cody to improve in. After Stew left Cody has been in the pool preparing for Uncle Stew's next visit (????????) . He's gone from now being able to put his head under water to not getting his head out of the water! He's a fish!!! And actually has taught himself how to swim. He's got areas for improvement, but truly an amazing transformation! I'm very proud of his personal growth.

August saw us commencing Homeschooling. As Cody is now 2nd Grade, the work load has increased considerably and as such takes us a lot more time to fit it all in. I managed to send in my Letter of Intent on time. Funny thing about that. I was on target to sending it in to the Public School Superintendent, until I got a letter stating that the deadline was September 1st. So I took the extra month - and got it in August 31st - one day to spare!

Our second week of Homeshooling turned out to be a treat! We had a weeks field trip to Washington D.C. We met up with Pierre's sister and her family there. Cody was able to spend time with his Cousin and we got to help celebrate Pierre's brother-in-laws birthday. There just wasn't enough time to get around and see all that we wanted to see! What we did see turned out to be rather ambitious!

So this last month - August - we've been getting back into our school grove, enjoying the weather, swimming, fitting in trips to the beach and plenty of ice-cream treats! As for September, we'll be busy again. This time in New Jersey/New York and then off to Canada ...

More adventures on the way!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kiwi's 'Job Description' - NO VACANCY!

The following is my job description. Please note that the following list is by no means the extent of my 'to dos' and neither do I do them all at once. Please note these functions may be performed in any given 24 hour period 7 days a week. No 'vacation', no 'sick days', no salary. This position is not available.

I would also like to mention that I LOVE my job. It's untold harder than any other position I have held. I wouldn't give it up. I am so privileged to have a husband who supports me in this role and has given me the greatest gift ever - spending time with my son.

Grocery shopper/Budget manager
Taxi Driver
Daughter in Law
Sister in Law
School Teacher
Educational Administrator
Child Physiologist
Project Manager/Labourer
Care Giver
House cleaner
Snow Shoveller
Decorator Floor Layer
Toilet Trainer/Bum wiper
Provider of guidance: incl: manners, spiritual matters, values, disciplining/training (consistency)
Fashion merchandiser
Co-Interior designer
Hair Dresser

I plan on updating this list as more roles come to mind. (If you think of anything I've ommitted, please let me know). And, I'd love to see what your 'Job Descriptions' looks like if you feel like sharing!

I'm definately not on top of things and I do get overwhelmed/stressed. But it is kinda nice to sit back and look at my list and say to myself - 'not too shabby girl!, not too shabby?'

Making Good Choices by Dontay Hall

We all have choices, you and I.
One is to laugh, and one is to cry.
One is to be wrong, one is to be right.
One is to be peaceable, one is to fight.
One is to love, one is to hate.
One is to be early, one is to be late.
One is to be truthful, one is to lie.
One is to fail, one is to try.
One is to quit, or to follow things through.
The final choice is up to you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I do like projects!!!

Recently while on vacation in Canada, my friend L face booked me a question which made me stop and think. Her question was ... 'are you there as a hired hand? Or do you just love to do projects?' You see I had gone to Canada not only to visit my mum, but to work through her 'to do' list of jobs she physically is unable to do.

When I think back, I've been doing 'projects' ever since I can recall. Everything from wall papering, to building hen houses/calf houses, helping with the gardening, welding alongside my uncle, preserving with my Grandma, raising and looking after calves, cows, sheep, goats, hens, mowing the lawns , etc ... well before 10 years of age. We didn't have much money, so, as necessity is the mother of all inventions as the saying goes, we always, always, did it ourselves - or lived without.

Back then my Uncle Des was one bright cookie - he had even built his own bass guitar, and speed boat in his earlier years - seems he always thought outside the box, and then my mum was always a 'crafty' woman. She was a seamstress among many other things and could (still can and does) make paper 'talk', bake up anything yummy (notice I said bake, not cook .... ) and again, had/has the ability to think outside the box. [My grandma did the cooking and cleaning in our extended family.]

I have to stop here and interject my own blog to say, that never in all those years did I hear them complain or whine about what they didn't have. They either made it happen or were thankful for what they had. And in spite of what we didn't have, they were a wonderful example in giving. They always gave. They gave when they had 'it' and they gave when they didn't ... there was love and love was there.

So, I grew up with great examples of project work and a true work ethic. I learned that working hard was important and I was always left with a great deal of satisfaction from what I had accomplished and invigorated from a hard days work!

That being said, I don't always like what I do, I don't always want to do it, and I don't always like the outcome ... but mostly I am left with satisfaction. I find that when you do it yourself you are able to use up more of what you have lying around, get better attention to detail than if you hired someone, save the high costing of hiring someone else - big time, which means able to get more done.

So, what types of things do we spend our time doing? Everything from installing fans, plumbing, replacing the forced air furnace (my husband was offered a job on the spot for his work there), hardwood flooring, tiling, painting, car maintenance, fence building, gardening, installing roof fans, replacing windows, etc, etc ... and then of course is regular maintenance of our home. Last Christmas my gift was a Ryoby power tool set - sweet!

Upcoming projects include but not limited to - tiling the lower level, taking out a kitchen wall and redoing the cabinets, hard wooding the floor - basically gutting and remodeling the kitchen. Putting hardwood in the master bedroom and 2 other bedrooms, building an outside shed for the lawnmower, remodeling the master bathroom ... just a few things that come to mind. Some of these are pretty pricey, so we'll be slowly working through the list!

So after some serious thought to my friends question, the truth is that I mostly enjoy it - not always, but mostly. I don't enjoy the balancing of other jobs like cleaning and cooking when I'm doing a project as everything else falls apart ... but yes, I do enjoy it ... not so sure about the maintenance though ;P

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What day is it anyway????

Each day for breakfast we start with Organic eggs (from my friends Moonsong farm - yum!) and Turkey bacon with a nice homemade cafe late. We drink raw milk and try very hard to eat a nutritious organic diet. My son loves his bacon.

This Tuesday morning was no different until Cody looked at my plate and must have noticed that my plate was short my share of bacon this morning as indeed it was. To my surprise my son reached over to my plate with a share of his portion. I was dumbfounded!!! I asked him 'why?' ... his response was my performance appraisal ... because you are a good mum today and everyday. Priceless! It was refreshing to get a positive appraisal.

I think that ongoing performance appraisals are important as they help us measure what we have done and where we plan on going. This wonderful moment quickly passed as we taxied PJ to the train, did school, ran errands, met friends to go see the 'UP' movie in 3D and before I knew it my mind was living my Wednesday schedule. And I was racing to get home, cook dinner, go to the train to pick up PJ and pick up my milk and eggs from a friend on the way ...

Of course one must make sure that the milk and eggs have been delivered and that my mini co-op buddies are there for either the pick up/drop off - refrigerated goods ... so I phoned my friend L to see if I could stop by on the way and do my pick up. I left a message and then closer to the time, left another ... cell too ... it was getting close and I was going to let it go until Thursday - and then the light bulb came on ... how can tomorrow be Thursday when today is only Tuesday and how on earth did my days blend????

So I emailed my friend L and apologized for my brain fart and that I was a dork and that I was working on tomorrows schedule ... and I got this wonderfully gracious response:

dork = busy, devoted homeschooling Mom
knowing the day of the week is overrated!

Thanks L for your wonderful perspective :) I just love that definition!

Another really great thing today is that my friend H is doing Canning classes which I'm very excited about (Yeah H!!!) Will let you know about that when it happens ...

So that's my 'days' today. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but glad to say, never a dull day!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Expansion of the Vege garden ...

One of my favourite things is to garden. There's no other feeling like it in the world. The toil with the earth, the feel of invigoration of the manual labour and the return of that labour in the form of fruits, veges and flowers. Yet it never seems to end, just cycle.

Then when I have so much to do that it would be full time, I go ahead and EXPAND again ... yes, the rain is a wonderful time to get gardening done!!!

This week-end PJ and myself expanded one of the vege gardens from 4 x 16 to 12 x 16, 98% complete - I just have to find more stones around the property for pathways ... and then plant/transplant. Planted a bunch of perennials (Lowes clearance racks). We built and installed an arbour from which I plan on having honeysuckle and passion fruit vines on either side. And also we added another 3 weedstrips/mulch next to the house - still have a ways to go with that.

It's been much easier with hubby's help! This week's plan includes more of the same as well as putting up the swimming pool on Saturday. We're waiting for the salt water filter to arrive at Wal-Mart. Excited about that!!!

So that's it for now. Back to the weeks routine of school, cooking, playdates, gardening, etc ... and before I go I just want my friend K to know how proud I am of her. She is now officially a Registered Nurse. Congratulations!

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Diet and Vacation don't mix!!

I was going to put ' Diet, excercise and Vacation don't mix' - but that was just too funny!!!!

For me the word vacation invokes grandures of - bikinis, beaches, catamarans, exotic locations, interesting peoples, delicious foods, clubing, living on a whim, and I could go on ... this was my world b.c. (before child).

Vacation to me now is cooking, cleaning, taxi-driving, laundry, cleaning up the vomit from my travel sick child, and early nights in (also mum's fix-it list when I'm with her). The 'glamour' part is a different scenery, beach if I'm with mum, shopping, and fitting a few activities that make vacation fun for Cody. Not that much different to being at home when I think of it!

Only when at mum's, there is no weight loss program in the world that you can stick too - not even starvation :) So here lies my dilemma. I fell off the weight maintenance wagon in lieu of a great vacation ... and with the flight home tomorrow ... the guilt is starting to flow my way! 2 weeks of piglet going to show once I step on the scales Thursday morning ... do you think my hubby will notice the difference?

Thursday I dust off the iphone and start with the 'Lose It' application once again, eat nutritious and healthy foods once again, and hopefully see a reduction in the numbers on the scale .... p-l-e-a-s-e ... once again.

As for exercise - that's a whole different kettle of fish! Will venture on that topic another day. I like to put excercise in the catagory - you can be healthy and not be fit, you can be fit and not be healthy - needless to say I like the first part :P

For all you folks who have a fast metabolism, good for you and this post won't mean a thing to you. For the rest of us who struggle with their weight, thanks for your empathy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

'Gramma B' - Delicious Bread Recipe

Gramma B - Oh, Gramma B, Where to begin with Gramma B!!!

Gramma B is at 93 years of age, one of natures most amazing and formidable forces!!! One of those woman who live in the moment and touches the lives of everyone she meets. She just knows - her years of experience are truly motivating. As she enters a room her presence is felt. Gramma B is in the 'priceless' category ... we love you Gramma B!!!!

Talk about a 'green thumb'! If Gramma B wants a plant, she grows it herself. In fact, always more than one as Gramma B also knows that if she likes it, chances are there will be others that she can share with. And don't think it can't be done because - like everything else in life - Gramma B will show you it can!

Gramma B plans on being on this earth at least until she's 100 years of age. With her determination, courage, enthusiasm for life, as well as the lives she reaches out and touches, I would love for Gramma B to be around for another 100 years!

Now, Wednesdays are 'bread making day' for Gramma B. Each and every week she bakes bread for those she cares for and is her very special way of letting someone know that she appreciates them. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones to know and Gramma B, she'll even ask you whether you would like white or wheat! You can't say no because it's not an option. And if it's your birthday, Gramma B gives bread.

Even Cody just can't get enough of Gramma B's bread. She makes him special miniature loaves that light up his face and last a day at most! Cody knows that Wednesday's are Gramma B's bread day!!! If you happen along on a Wednesday afternoon, just remember, that you might be volunteered for 'bread delivery duty'. Quite and honour to be on 'bread delivery duty', but be warned, it's going to take a few hours to do the rounds!!!!!

Now Gramma B was very gracious to share her recipe with me and I would love to have her recipe on this blog as one of Gramma B's many legacies. She did tell me that the secret to her delicious bread is the potato flakes. She uses a brand (she swears by) called Natural Mash by Paradise Valley.

Gramma B's Bread recipe as follows (makes 2 loaves):

In a small bowl:
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
Stir and let rise

In a larger bowl:
1/3 cup sugar (white)
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons potato flakes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups warm water

Mix together well and add 3 cups flour when well mixed add yeast mixture and continue mixing. Add 3 more cups (all purpose) flour.

Keep mixing and kneading (heal of your palms only) it no longer adheres to your hands.

Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Knead again and shape into 2 loaves. Let rise again about 40 minutes.

Put in oven preheated at 375* and bake approximately 40 minutes.

***For a wheat bread replace 2 of the white flour with whole wheat flour.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The fish that got away .... NOT!!!

As I write this, I'm still amazed at the strangest fishing experience I've ever had.

Today I was to install a beautiful new white Moen faucet in my mum's kitchen, but as I cannot find the water tap to turn off the water, I have to wait to install it later this week. So, instead Cody and myself went down to the lake (Mum lives on Lake Erie) decked out and carrying equipment to dig (his new gardening tools), stones to throw - not that we need them as there are plenty on the beach, bags to hold the sea glass - evidently lots of beer drinking in and around the lake make for a lot of sea glass - pretty much everything, except the fishing rods and equipment!!!

Cody's fishing experiences to date have been very frustrating for him with the exception of fishing on the iphone. So he was determined that he wasn't flying home from his Amma's until he had caught a big fish.

So, after building a moat around a rock, playing battleships, skipping stones and saving Gypsy Moth Caterpillars that were heading for immersion, we were looking for sea glass. Cody was following behind me when he let out a frightening scream and nearly jumped out of his skin as a giant fish found him!!!

It was over 2 feet long and I'm guessing with a 10 inch waist. I have no clue what type of fish it was, but it was big!!! The fish was scared, and Cody wanted to make sure that we go him back into the water as he had somehow beached himself. I could have scooped him up and carried him up for dinner ... instead I quickly found a strong stick and gently moved him into a little more water as he was gasping for air ... it was a battle to save him as he was so heavy. Fortunately I managed to get him out enough in the water that when the next wave came he finally could get his body erect and swim away. Cody was thrilled the giant fish was saved.

What are the odds that we would catch a fish without fishing? How bizarre is that? And what are the odds that the fish would luck out beaching next to the only people on the beach that the eye could see? And then, what are the odds that the fish found people who would care enough to get him back safely in the water?

.... so if Cody tells you he can catch a fish without a rod, he did. And if he tells you that the fish can pick you, they do. And if he tells you about the giant fish that got away - it didn't - it needed our help!!!!

And as for Cody and me, well ,we did the right thing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Go Fish Guys!

We're in Canada ... visiting my Mum at TripleC. So far, what a ride. The whole plane thing went smoothly this time (I know, we still have to get back, so don't talk tooooo soon!), but strangely enough, this time it was the Canadian Immigration that was rude!

My son has been wanting to see his favourite group - Go Fish - in concert and Grand Island, NY was the closest venue at the time. So we decided to visit Mum and go to the concert!

Go Fish is a trio of guys that sing kids music - but not how you would expect kids music to be sung! There music is a mixture of your normal kids song not sung normally and Sunday School songs. (Which I was expelled from when I was a kid :P )

It's music that doesn't drive me nuts, is funky, great to listen to, and is fun! Here's a song for all the 'Mommies' - . Their music is only available online or at their concerts ...

I will post photos when I get back to USA and have hubby's help. The concert was so much fun! Cody had a full aerobic workout! Because we had travelled so far to the concert, they gave us a backstage pass to meet the Go Fish guys. NICE guys! My mum was the oldest 'kid' there! Cody and myself both have kids T-Shirts to help us remember the concert. Anyways, I've checked their concert schedule again and it looks like there is a concert in CT some time in October that we might go to.

Our Fishing experience has had it's moments. We started with two fishing rods and are now down to one - again, will need hubby's help to get us back to two rods again! Cody is frustrated that the fish aren't all lined up to jump on the fishing hook ... but we have caught some fresh water weed on the line!!! Maybe this week our fishers luck will change! I think fishing on the iphone definately set up some false expectations!!!

We've shopped. A lot. Mum's been lavishing on Cody as is usual ... played mini golf, riding the golf cart, eating wonderfully fresh home made bread made specially for us, catching bugs and insects, working on my 'list to do' for mum - have a kitchen tap to install either today or tomorrow, playing Frisbee, watching a baby raccoon down at the lake, spending time on the beach collecting sea glass (can you call it sea glass if it's from the Lake?), and any other things. Today we'll be going to Waterloo to get the car fixed as the engine light is on. Hoping it's covered by the warranty.

So that's it in a nutshell. We're not doing a lot of any one thing, rather a lot of everything. As with all holidays, they seem to take ages to arrive and then once they come they seem to go too fast! So off I go to enjoy my day! Hope you enjoy your day too ...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vege Garden ...

Well I'll tell you up front, I suck at vege gardening and am known amongst my vege guru friends as the 'virgin vegetable gardener' ...

It's a funny thing to think that I grew up in a family who vege gardened and that vege garden provided us with much sustenance and yet, I know nothing about the intricacies of vege gardening. I'm hoping it's 'in the genes!'

So last year I started late and my vege garden surcame to the sunflowers (from the bird feeder) and weeds. My successes were peas, and tomatoes. Now before you think I'm blowing my own horn, I DID NOT plant the tomatoes ... they were in my compost and just came up! I also grew some plants from seed which came up this year - green onions - so mum transplanted those for me. But I am thankful to those tomato plants as they have spurd me on to read, build, and get bigger :) - the vege garden that is!

I like to be creative - like growing potatoes in a trash bag, using the many rocks around the property for walkways, and recycling plant/tree pots into mini herb gardens and potted veges. My friend H. put me onto Patti Moreno who is a pioneer of urban sustainable gardening, so I do snoop her website and hope to get to see her place one of these days. (She is on the Farmers Almanac gardening cable show - although we only have basic cable and so don't get to see that show).

So this year I have the original vege garden (a perennial garden that I had to move), 2 vege boxes, and a lot of pots! I'm working on some of the 'Square foot Gardening' methods in Mel Bartholomews book. So far so good! My mum gave me the kick off with actual plants, helping me build some trellises, and getting the pea seeds in the ground. Such a boost to see something already in the ground, that I just kept on going. Now I know there is such a thing as 'planting times' - but as a virgin vege gardener, I'm not there yet, I'm still on a whim and trial basis - that's why the plants were good.

Where I'd like to be is with a vege garden that really helps with cutting food costs down, saving my own seeds, canning my own foods, cold frames and storage, while crossing over to a pure 'organic/heirloom' vege garden! So I'm starting to see what books are out there to help me upskill in these areas.

I will be adding some up to date gardening photos as my garden progresses. In fact I just walked the garden and realized that I'm needing to plant more lettuce seeds and bush bean seeds in the next day or two, in order to rotate the crops and keep the veges coming all season long. So there you have it! Lets just hope that I learned from last year and can keep up with it all!!!

The Virgin Vegetable Gardener

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Difference by Shel Silverstein

Here's a great poem that we had at school yesterday. I thought I'd share it as it speaks to how even though we are all different, we are all the same.

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Week-end ...

Well, before I start, I just wanted to say a very big thank-you to those individuals and families that have fought so that we can live in a free land - I appreciate that for many the sacrifice was great. And the families who struggled while their loved ones/ones were away, thank-you too.

We were supposed to be in New Jersey this week-end and this week helping hardwood floor our friends hallway and stairs. But their sons operation was moved forward so we'll be rescheduling the week to NJ. Instead we trenched. Last week-end and this week-end we've been adding to the sprinkler system. PJ kindly reconfigured the sprinkler so that my vege garden gets it's own TLC, and now we're adding a new line for the lawn also. It's taken longer than we had hoped and it didn't help that I used my favourite pick-axe, which is great for trenching, and broke 2 existing pipes ... ooopppps!! So that delayed us, as we had to repair those pipes also. It looks like another week-end will see the job completed.

Memorial Day itself we had some friends over. The kids got to have their extended playdate, and the parents got to relax and hang. Cody calls them his 'squishy friends' and they play very well together. The food was great, the relaxation was enjoyed by all, the smores delicious (I didn't have one), and the company awesome! Thank you squishy friends!

As for friends, I am constantly thankful for the amazing friends I have bee so blessed to have in my life! It's not like the ones at work who are there because they are there and work where you work, it's the kind that choose to be with you and have similar interests. And it doesn't just stop with the kids, many are friendships which involve the families.

I definitely value the friendships I have with the mum's. The kind of friendships where you know you can just pick up the phone and call for help, knowing that you have a network of support ... and visa versa!!! The topics for conversation are wide open! We discuss everything from schooling, parenting, food, toxins, gardening, politics, fertility - you name it! The information I learn is amazing, and they constantly help me challenge the way I look at life and approach it!

That's it for now ... off to solar dry my clothes, cook food, clean up from the party and the list goes on ... and thanks to those out there who are my friends! You are very special to me and I just am very thankful each day that you are you and that you are in my life! Thank you ... Kiwi

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The month of May!

Since I'm just a beginner at this whole blog thing, I'm thinking I'll start with a snap shot of May. The obvious milestone was that Cody turned 7 years old. Where the heck did the time go? I'm so thankful that I get to spend my days with him and enjoy his company! I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. I am blessed and very thankful to hubby for his support and his great gift to me.

We're still waiting to hear from DSS to see if we are a match. Even thought we are waiting for our daughter, we are continuing on making the most of each day. It seems silly to put life on 'hold' when we could miss out on so much!!!!

It's been enjoyable having our hummers back - I do miss them when they go away south in the fall. And they talk to me at my kitchen window telling me all about their journey. Amazing little creatures! I still look out my kitchen window in absolute awe of them! And as go and come each year back to me, we actually have quite the friendship going on.

I didn't enjoy having my second molar out - ouch! Still in a lot of pain and it's been over a week since the torid event. Now what to do????? I have only 3 months in which to make up my mind. Implant or no implant - that is the question!

Pierre's been helping alot in the garden. We're going to expand the vege boxes later this year in preparation for next year. We've installed some new sprinklers that take great care of watering my veges, and also we're in the process of moving around some other sprinkler heads to maximize the watering of my fruit trees and other perennials around the edge of the lawn. I'm very lucky to have my own 'handy manny'!

We've been very busy with Homeschooling as normal. We are so blessed to have such a wonder ful group of friends! I'll blog another day about those special friendships, but needless to say, we enjoy meeting with our friends and playdates. The Nature Club went to Houghton's Pond this month. J taught the kids about tracking animals, identifying tracks, and how to walk appropriately around wildlife ... which Cody has been perfecting in the grocery store! With the weather being so accomodating this month, we've been able to get outside and get lots of work done and a lot of play in. Again, notice I said outside, the inside is desperately in need of some cleaning ... which I must do before tomorrow as we are having some friends over for Memorial Day for a BBQ and playdate.

This month has also been intensive in the garden - more vege than perennial, but in either case, the weeds don't care and seem to come up everywhere!!!

that's it for me and this blog ... hope it was a good kick off. The countdown is on before Cody and me head off for 2 weeks in Canada. Cody's wanting this computer for the Lego instructions for the Power Miners ... take care and will blog soon ... back to the sprinkler trenching ...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can you believe it! I started my own blog!

I'm feeling quite chuffed with myself ... I actually did it! Started my own blog that is! I'm not sure where it's going or why I'm doing it, but I'll figure it out as I go!

I'm thinking that if you're interested in what I'm up to, then you'll 'check in' and see what we're all up to.

You'll be able to follow our homeshooling adventures, travel escapades, and generally our lifes adventures ... hence the name Kiwi's Odyssey ... since that's what I drive :)

So welcome aboard for the ride. I don't know where it's going, but it should be interesting and fun!