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 ...