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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

out in the garden...

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Gardening is not my "thing".

I wish it were. But I have always been a "drive thru" gardener. Zoom into a space, plant a few flowers to look pretty for the season. Zoom out. And that's about it.

Pathetic. I know.

The gardens at our current home were carefully planned and executed by the home's first owner. Her name was 'Marge' and she was a gardener....the trees, shrubs, lilac bushes, peonies and hostas and lots of things I can't name..... speak to her expertise. If she still lived here, the gardens would look stunning.

Unfortunately the owners between her and us were not gardeners. Our neighbours tell us that these owners did not even own a lawn mower. The gardens, under their care, or should I say lack of care, were untended and became overgrown with weeds.

Enter me. I keep trying to perform CPR on these gardens. I weed and I plant here and there a little. I sigh as I look out the window. I keep thinking these gardens could look much better if I knew what I was doing.

So my goal for September is to spend an hour everyday in the perennial gardens. Weeding, cutting back, pruning, shaping and tending.

In spring, I hope to reap what I sow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Not Me" Monday....

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This blog post is inspired by mommy blogger Mckmama, who hosts a blog carnival called, "Not Me Mondays".

I did not eat a chocolate bar every day this week. I did not eat Aero Mint Bars and then wonder why I am not losing any weight. Nope. Not me.

I did not buy a new magazine almost every time I went into the store for something else. Those luscious fall covers for October issues did not tempt me. Not one little bit. Nope. Not me.

I did not park at Tyler's school in an area where I thought would be safely away from traffic and then watch him open his door into a concrete post and leave a mark on the passenger door. I am much too smart for that. Nope. Not me.

I did not forget to tell my husband about this new mark on my vehicle. Nope. Not me.

I did not fall asleep in yoga class during the cool down at the end of class. I was too focused on the yoga instructor's directions to think about sleeping.Nope. Not me.

I did not have to clean a puppie's poopy bum this week. The puppy was pooping fine and I did not have to use my hands to clean poop from the bum. Nope. Not me.

Nope. I really didn't do any of these things.

Not ME!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

"poop mat"...

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A totally new term in my vocabulary.

Apparently, little puppies of smaller breeds that have a lot of fur can develop a "poop mat" when they poop...which means that poop has matted in the fur and dried. The next time the puppy tries to "go", the poop mat makes doing the job difficult and the puppy often will strain. (Still with me?) This can cause the puppy discomfort, hemorrhoids and constipation.

Our little puppy Rigley developed a poop mat 2 days ago. I noticed it but thought it was "normal". (What was I thinking?) Tyler told me that Rigley was having trouble pooping, and when I looked, I could see that she was straining and rubbing her butt along the ground.

A quick call to the vet and I learn about "poop mats". The recommended at home treatment is a bath to wash away the offending material, followed up by some ointment.

So I filled the bathtub. Washed the puppy. Dried the puppy. Rubbed some Polysporin on the butt. Then proceeded to scrub the tub, wash my hands, think to myself "eeew, gross", wash my hands again. Feel sorry for the puppy. Cuddle the puppy.

After raising two kids,I thought I was done with poop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

my days.....

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I am having lots of fun 'mothering' these 2 little girls. They are so cute & cuddley....and they make your day seem fun and bright. I spend lots time putting the girls out and then bringing the girls in. They have periods of peppy play followed by big naps...they are still babies. The kids are having lots of fun with the girls and they are definitely learning responsibility when I call, "Hunter/Tyler, your dog just peed. Go get the mop please."
On Monday, I spent several hours in the kitchen making pickled beets. This is only my second time making them and this was my first attempt to make beets on my own. I picked up 10 lbs. of beets at the Farmers' Market on Saturday for this project and I was really pleased with how it went. We will probably open our first jar for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Harvest.....

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It's that time of year again. Fall. One of our 4 favorite seasons. Some of the things that happen in our family in Fall:

  • getting out-fitted for new skates for feet that have grown.

  • purchasing new hockey gear.

  • a busy hockey schedule for both little player and Daddy coach.

  • decorating for Fall with pumpkins and leaves and candles.

  • making pickled beets and mustard pickles.

  • wearing socks again.

  • picking apples from the little tree in our yard.

  • getting up early for school and children making beds again.

  • re-organizing the pantry as nesting for winter takes root.

  • tucking the boat in for winter.

  • baking homemade bread, cookies and goodies.

  • soup recipes and crockpot dusted off after the summer.

  • another season of early morning Sundays for a skater.

  • homework and packed school lunches.

  • stocking up on fresh produce from the Farmers' Market

  • and a NEW chore for this fall: poop-scooping in the backyard.
Thanksgiving dinner is only 2 weeks away. I am so excited to have family visiting for this holiday.
It is time to harvest all that is good.
(photo:Pottery Barn)

Friday, September 18, 2009

the house of sick...

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Yes. For a better part of 3 weeks now I have been sick. Desperately sick at first. Aches, pains & chills. Wicked headache. Fever. Followed up by vomiting, diarrhea and coughing. When I was finally able to get in to see my doctor, she sent me for a chest x-ray, and blood work. The chest x-ray showed pneumonia. No x-ray could show just how miserable I felt. So a course of anti-biotics was prescribed, along with lots of rest. I spent most of 2 weeks in bed. Ron had to travel to Toronto for work, but he was able to take Tyler to school on the first day. My friend Josephine drove him for the rest of the week. Hunter made school lunches for both herself and Tyler. We stocked up on frozen Michelina dinners....not the best option...but I don't have a Grandma in my neighbourhood. **Sigh** Thank goodness for girlfriends. Laurie dropped by with ginger ale, saltine crackers, soup, and tea. Theresa came by with delicious homemade chicken soup, bread and flowers. Shelley delivered a pot of steaming borscht...the best borscht I have ever had. Laurie treated me later in the week with the latest magazines...a House & Home Makeover issue, the Martha Stewart Halloween issue and another decor magazine. I am so very grateful for my friends. They really helped me make it through a miserable 2 weeks. I am feeling better now, although my cough still lingers and my energy is not yet up to speed. On Monday, Tyler was diagnosed with pneumonia after 4 days of fever. So I have been nursing him back to health as well. We have been running the vaporizer night and day. Lots of old-fashioned methods have been employed....vicks on the chest, lots of honey, hot water & lemon, lots of water to drink and chicken soup. Naps and many glasses of ginger ale. I have no idea how I caught the flu/pneumonia. It hit hard and fast and knocked me off my feet. I hope that this is my major winter illness over with for this year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

meet the lovely sophistimom...

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One of the blogs I really enjoy is Sophistimom. It is written by a talented mom of 3 named Jaime whose parenting mantra is "Well read. Well bred. Well Fed". She shares a blog full of recipes and the photography is her very own....she has amazing skills both in the kitchen and behind the camera. All of her recipes are so beautifully photographed that you are inpsired to make everything she features because it just looks so dang delicious. I love making my kids homemade treats for their school lunches as I have a strong dislike for pre-packaged things that are full of not-so-good ingredients.
As a back-to-school feature last week, Jaime showcased recipes that would make excellent school bake sale treats. I loved this feature and the Peach Cobbler Bars are but just one of the amazing treats she shared with her readers. The following features both her photo and recipe instructions. Enjoy!

Just a word of warning: in the experimenting, I made them in a 9 x 13 inch pan, so in the pictures, you see a much thicker bar than how the recipe says to make them. After finishing them, I decided it would be better to spread them out thinner so that the cooking time isn’t so long, and you get more bars from the same batch. If you don’t have a nice half sheet pan, though, or want the thicker bars, you can definitely make them in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Simply reduce the temperature to 325 (165 degrees celsius), and bake for about 10 to 20 minutes more.
peach cobbler bars
1 cup (2 sticks or 224g) unsalted butter at room temperature2 cups (380g) granulated sugar1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 teaspoon pure almond extract4 eggs3 cups (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour3/4 teaspoon salt
for the filling:6-7 peaches, peeled and thinly sliced1/4 cup brown sugar1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
for the glaze:1 cup powdered sugar2 tablespoons cream1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 180 degrees celsius). Grease a large cookie sheet (half sheet) with butter or nonstick spray. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar, until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated.

2. Spread three-fourths of the mixture into the prepared pan. Mix the peaches, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl, and distribute evenly over the batter. Drop the rest of the batter by tablespoonfuls over the peaches, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

3. Whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and cream and drizzle half of the mixture over the warm bars. Allow to cool, cut into 3 inch squares, and drizzle over the remainder of the glaze.

Friday, September 11, 2009

eight new little feet in our house...

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The kids have been wanting a puppy for over a year. The request appeared on the christmas list. It appeared in letters written to Dad during summer vacation. It was the request that would not go away. So on Sunday morning, Ron roused me out of bed early to look at puppies on Kijiji. We viewed some really cute puppies which led to a discussion about breeds. Althought we loved our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Brandy, we felt a smaller breed would be better for our children. We wanted a dog that they could handle on their own....take for walks, play and feed on their own. We decided a breed that would be 10 to 15 lbs. fully grown, and that did not shed, would best suit our family. Ron began calls and made an appointment to meet with a breeder to look at some Shih-tzu puppies that were 2 months old. We surprised the kids with the announcement that we would be going to look at a puppy.....they were beyond excited.

Little did we know that we would meet 2 completely adorable puppies...sisters from the same litter and the last of a litter of 6 puppies. Our intention was to go home with 1 puppy...but Hunter chose the puppy with a lot of black, while Tyler chose the puppy with a lot of white. Hmmmm. I looked at Ron and asked if we could take both home. He said, "Are you crazy?". I said nothing more, but the next thing I knew, he was doling out money for 2 puppies and we went home with each child holding a little puppy on their lap. Oh happy day!
This little girl that Tyler is holding is a chunky little puppy who likes to sleep a lot. She is also a very laid-back puppy. He chose the name "Rigley" for her, along with a blue collar and leash, as well as an Oilers bandana. She will be completey ready when hockey season starts!
This little girl is quite delicate in build and full of pep. She gets into things quickly and looks for trouble. Hunter named her "Molly" and chose a pink collar and leash for her.
And by the way, the color of the bucket and mop is red.

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