Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why I haven't been here

I'm sad about the state my blog has taken recently.

The state of emptiness.  No new entries, no new pictures.  Nothing.

Well, blame it on the Man.  Damn the Man!

I work on contract each semester with our local college, supervising students who are out on field placements.  And this semester I have so many students it is taking all my time and energy.  By the time I'm through with the phone calls and email and marking, I don't want to look at another phone, computer or red pen again. (I'm also sad to report there is a lot of red pen, which just takes up even MORE time. I've got a challenging group this semester.) 

I go to bed, read for half a second and fall asleep.

And unfortunately, since I'm actually paid for that work, it has to move way up near the top of the list of  things I have to do during the day. Before scrub the toilet, but after feed the kids.  You know, priorities.

I'm hoping things settle, but it doesn't look like it is going to any time soon.  So I will try and get back here as much as possible, but I'm sad I can't get here every day. 

Gotta go.  Phones a-ringing, emails a-pinging.


Friday, October 15, 2010

The Shed is Clean!

But my house is a mess.

This is the living room.  That cat sitting on the couch on the far left.  Yeah, if he doesn't get an attitude change soon, he's on the chopping block as well. I kid, but not really.


This is the front hall.  I couldn't get around the corner to show you around the corner, but you get the picture.  Stuff.


I can hardly contain my excitement about tomorrow.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Books in my Dining Room

My husband has put a pile of his books in the dining room.

I think it is a hint.

I keep on stepping around them, pretending I don't notice.

I will not go down without a fight!!!

Hell no! We won't go!!

I wonder if I put the one screw driver set that I own in the middle of the room, if he will start to get rid of some of the tools he owns.  Would he take the hint, or just ignore it...



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shed Update

My husband and I were working on the shed this weekend.  

Well, really, he was working on the shed this weekend. I found a long lost lawn chair and was so happy that I found it again that I sat on it the whole time with my little lady.  

It is a really comfy chair.  

So my husband got a bunch of the bigger stuff out of the shed and came to the realization that we need to have a garage sale.

Let me tell you how I feel about having garage sales.  

With every morsel of my being I loathe hosting garage sales.  I don't like the hagglers, I don't like figuring out change and I don't like setting up with people standing there watching me waiting to look through my stuff. I don't like sitting outside with my stuff on the lawn, I don't like the hazard it causes when people slow down in their cars to see if anything is interesting, and I don't like figuring out change.  

Have I mentioned that I don't like figuring out the change?  It involves math, and I am not a fan.  I'm totally scared I'm going to do it wrong and look like a moron. 

But the garage sale is a necessary evil. 

We have so much camping gear and small household appliances that are taking up room that it really is a good idea.  Plus we have a lot of extra furniture now that most of our living space has been taken over by toy cabinets.  

So while we did work on the shed this weekend, it was more sideways progress than upward progress because everything we took out he put back in again until this Saturday.  Progress pictures will be posted this weekend after we get all the garage sale stuff out.

Garage sale talk has taken over my husband's brain though, and he is starting to evaluate everything in our house.  He has taken a huge interest in all my books.  

This worries me.  I've already donated all the books I don't want to the hospital where I had my babies for their fundraiser book drive.  

I have nothing left to give.  

Yet there is a gleam in his eye that I KNOW is going to attempt to convince me otherwise. 

There could be a war in the near future.  

I'll keep you posted,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The BEST Apple Pie Recipe in the WORLD

We made apple pie today.

I thought I'd share the recipe because it really is the best apple pie recipe in the world.

Really, it is.

Here we go!

Note: I make two pies with the recipe.  If you like deep dish pies, keep the dough in one ball instead of two when refrigerating, and then follow the rest of the recipe.

Pie Crust
5 cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup ice water (I put a cup of water in the fridge while I'm preparing the apples)
1 beaten egg
2 tsp granulated sugar
Two 8 inch pie plate or one deep dish pie plate

Apple Filling
3.5 pounds apples
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Filling instructions:
Peel, core and thinly slice apples.  In a separate bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add to apples and toss.  Set aside.

Crust Instructions:

Mix flour, sugar and salt together.  Add butter. Cut with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture forms pea sized crumbs.

Sprinkle with ice water and combine with a fork.

Shape dough in to two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Go clean the mess in your kitchen while you wait. And start preheating the oven to 350C.

Once chilled, split each ball of dough in two. Make one of each pair slightly larger than the other (you need more dough for to fit in the pie plate than you do the for the pie top)

Roll out the larger ball for the bottom of the pie. It should leave at least two inches around your pie plate so you have enough to sink to the bottom and properly edge the top.

Place it in pie plate and fill with apples using a slotted spoon so you keep the juices in the bowl. Cube the 1/4 cup butter, and place the cubes in with the apples where ever there is a hole, dividing the cubes evenly between the two pies.

Roll out the pie crust tops and place on pies.  Edge with a fork to help the two layers stick together.

Cut off excess dough.

 Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar (I had to use brown sugar because I didn't have any granulated sugar left).

Slice vent holes in the pies, place in middle rack of oven and bake for 75 minutes or until apples are soft when pierced and crust has is lightly browned. Mine actually got a little bit too dark because the kids side tracked me from checking on it regularly. It also looks so dark because I used brown sugar instead of white.  You'll have a much nicer pie in the end.


Enjoy!!!  I have detailed pictures of the whole process if you need more clarification.  I had them in the entry, but it looked too busy so I took them out.  Let me know if you'd like to see them.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Making Babies

I don't need a cleaner house


I just need to have more babies to clean it for me.  Problem solved.

For the record, he volunteered. And who am I to tell a three year old that no, he can't vacuum today.  I'm laying a foundation here people.  Laying a foundation.

His future wife will appreciate this.

I know she will.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Apple Berry Crisp / Crumble

Here is my tasty Apple Berry Crisp recipe.  My mom just called up in need of a fast dessert for her guests tonight so I whipped this up.  It really is super fast, not at all like those fast Rachel Ray recipes (Deb, that was for you!)


I use quick oats and margarine when I make this because I usually make this when a craving hits.  You can use normal oats and softened butter if you have the time, but increase the baking by 20 minutes, keeping a close eye on it.  I also use butter when I'm preparing it to freeze for later because it takes to the freezer better.

Also, if you are using frozen berries, run them under warm water in a colander and let them sit to drain while you cut the apples. I'm all about fast and frozen berries taste just as good as fresh.


6 small, 4 medium or three big apples, any kind
4 cups mixed berries OR one package frozen mixed berries
2 1/2 table spoons corn starch
2 cups quick rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
2 tsp cinnamon 

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples.  Put in to a large bowl. Add the berries and toss with the corn starch until well coated. If you think you might need more corn starch, go ahead and add some more.  The corn starch keeps the fruit from getting too runny.  This is especially important for the berries because they have so much water in them. Nothing ruins my day like a runny berry crumble.

Mix the crumble ingredients in a different bowl with your fingers until you have a moist, almost spreadable mixture.  I don't like my crumble to crumble, I like it to be crisp.  If you think it is too moist, add in a few more oats and brown sugar. 

Put the berry mixture in a casserole dish and spread the crisp on top. Bake at 375C for 40-50 minutes, or until the crisp has browned and the apples/berries are bubbling a bit at the edges.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Money Matters

My husband and I are trying to save a few bucks to do some renovations on the house next year.  So we have saved all our receipts from the last two months and sat down with them to see where we are bleeding money.

Our first problem is the weekend.  We spend too much money up north because I forget things and then have to run in to town to pick them up, which inevitably end up with a run to Tim Horton's. Bad bad bad.

Our second problem is last minute trips to the grocery store.  If I call my husband on his way home from work and ask him to pick up something, he will inevitably end up with a whole bunch of stuff we don't need.  That's what I get for sending a hungry man to pick up lettuce.  I take full responsibility.  "They" always say not to shop hungry.

Lessons learned.

So what does this mean to us?  How will we avoid these pit falls?

It all comes down to my lists.  I basically stopped writing lists.  I'm not sure why I thought I could organize things with out lists.  I've never been able to do it.  Ever.  I'm not even sure why I stopped writing lists.  I think I just got lazy.

So I had to think of a way that I can get back to lists that isn't as time consuming. 

My solution?


What's that?  What does lamination have to do with making lists and staying organized?

Well, I'd be happy to tell you.

Every time we go up north, I bring the same stuff up.  I think that is one of the reasons why I stopped writing lists.  I mean, how hard can it be to remember the same stuff each weekend?  Hard apparently, because two weekends ago we had to drive to the next nearest town to go to Walmart and pick up a baby monitor because I forgot to pack ours.  $30 down the tubes (I know that we can technically take it back but we decided to keep it up there so I didn't have to keep on packing our home unit).

Because everything is the same each week, I made a master list, laminated it and put a piece of velcro on it and a dry erase pen.  Now I have the same list each week, can check everything off and always have a dry erase marker handy (theoretically anyway, as I've already misplaced two because I walk with the marker in my hand and the list on the table.  Maybe I need to stick a piece of velcro to myself...)

This works for me.  No time needed to write up a list each week and I end up packing everything we need.

The grocery list wasn't as easy.

I have set meals each week for six weeks, but sometimes I already have the ingredients on hand, so one master list would be way too large.

My other problem is we shop at three stores within the month.  We have our weekly trips to the grocery store and corner market, and a trip to Costco once every two weeks.  I had tried separate sheets for each list, but I always ended up misplacing them or forgetting them at home.

So what I have done is stuck a magnet pad on our fridge, split the page so that the bottom part is for the groceries and the top is the growing Costco list.  That way I have the Costco list always there and not on a separate paper to lose, and I can just tear the weekly grocery list off when I need it.

There is one other part.  I need a post-it stuck to inside of our front door so that I remember to actually take the list when I go shopping.  Sad, I know, but true.

All this organization has done nothing for my scatterbrainedness (I know, not a word...)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Five Things I Just Don't Get (part two)

1. Boyfriend clothes. 

Not your boy friend's (or husbands as the case may be) clothes.  Those are comfy and cozy and safe and smell good (usually).

Boyfriend clothes.

Basically men's clothes have taken over the woman's section of many stores.

There is a whole slew of jeans with no room for hips, thighs or bottoms hanging on the racks.  There are endless amounts of straight cut button down shirts, Mr. Roger's style cardigans and  t-shirts with collars and breast pockets, all of which do not allow for muffin tops, breasts or arm flubbers.   Why?

2. The word vacuum.

Really, what is WITH those two u's?

3. Why kids don't like to keep socks on their feet.

Do they take them off just because they can?  Is it just to keep us busy?  Are they actually uncomfortable and by taking them off 187 893 789 475 times a day they are trying to tell us something? And why must they take one off in one spot and the other somewhere else?  Do they not like matching socks?  Because what results is a laundry hamper full of left socks and no right sock (or right socks and no left socks). Why?

4. Jersey Shore

Really, are they serious?  Is this scripted?  I only watched eight minutes and that was more than enough.  Do people really act that way?  And are there people that really feel it is something worth broadcasting on television?  And people WATCH this?  I shudder to think that some people probable even chose to act as they do.  Oh heaven's, I worry about society some times.

5. Hair Bands

It isn't really hair bands themselves I don't get.  Just the fact that they won't stay on my head, no matter what I do.  But if you are a soccer player running around the field butting balls and getting sweaty, it will stay on your head no problem.  Doesn't make any sense what so ever. WHY???????  What has my head done WRONG?????



Ten Minute Tidy

I think I have mastered the art of a ten minute tidy. 

Now, please know that the ten minute tidy is not a clean up, just a tidy.  Putting things back in place.  There is no vacuum, there is no dusting, there is no mop.  This is strictly picking up the odds and ends that exploded around the house throughout the morning/afternoon/day.

There are only three steps to the process.  Our main floor has three main rooms, living, dining and kitchen, and I do all three steps for each room.

1. Collect everything off the floor, couch, table, chairs, where ever there is stuff piled or dropped, pick it up and put it all in one central location.  Quickly divide all the stuff up in to like piles and then go put the contents where they belong.  This helps the process go faster because you aren't running from one place to the next back to the first and across to the next.  One direction per pile. 

2. Fluff couch cushions, push in chairs, straighten rugs or tables that have shifted.

3. Wipe down tables or counters.

Presto! A clean living space.

Once you become really good at it, you should be able to do it in under ten.  I can do the three main rooms in eight minutes at the end of the day.  If I do it a few times a day I get it done in under five because there is less stuff to move around each time. 

Try it out!  I find it really makes a difference in how the house feels each day when the clutter is dealt with and put away. 


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Music to my ears

My Monkey Man loves to sing. And boy, does he sing.

He belts it out like no one is listening.  Not that we could avoid listening, because he is very loud.  So loud, he often plugs his own ears and says he is singing so loudly it hurts his ears.

Imagine how we feel.

So I thought I would share him singing a lullaby for our Little Lady, who I was just getting ready for her afternoon nap.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Something I'm thinking of trying

I've been feeling kind of frazzled these days.

Well, I guess not really frazzled, more tired than anything.  And because of this I've been looking for things to do in the evening.  Things that calm my mind.  I already have the Christmas book for my babies on the go, but that sometimes gets me more upset than calm because I can't get my vision for the picture down on the page properly.

Really, half the time I just end up all angry and annoyed.  I'm way too much of a perfectionist and it is way too late in the evening for me to be expecting perfection from myself.  Not exactly the calming effect I was looking for.

So yesterday I felt crafty and came up with this:


Using a reindeer pattern from a Better Homes and Gardens Christmas magazine, I created a handmade Christmas card.

Now please know that I put this together in under 20 minutes so it is very far from perfect.  The edges are frayed (haven't quite figured out how to use my craft knife properly), the glue isn't even dry yet and the card is too big, but it was pretty brainless and fun to do.  It did have the calming effect I was looking for.

I'd like to try and make all my Christmas cards this year.  I was going to try it last year, but laughed myself silly when I realized I had an almost three year old and a newborn at home.  I'm ambitious, not crazy.

I think I have a chance at making them this year.

I think I can do it.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

I think I can make at least enough for my immediate family. (See, I'm already lowing my standards.  I know what I can handle.)

I'll keep you posted!


Shed Pictures

The reason I didn't post these last night is because I went to bed at 8:30.  My kids went to bed at 8:15.  I didn't leave any time in between the kids going to bed and passing out on my bed to post.  Sorry!

Here they are.  Just looking at them makes me nervous.  It is a big job with lots of heavy stuff, big stuff and oddly shaped stuff.  And all this stuff is supposed to fit in a eight by ten shed.

Funny, I know.

From the door:

Left side:

Right side:




And underneath all that mess is a snow blower.  Somewhere on the right side...

This is a big job.  Made even bigger by the fact that I have to enlist my husband's help.  It is hard to get him to work on the weekends.  I'm still waiting for my rocking chair to be fixed, it broke when my monkey was two...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just a Quick Three Questions

I'm not sure if I'm more irritable, irrational or tired today but...

1. Has my husband, over time, become less able to do things, have I just started to expect more from him, or am I just more tired and don't have the patience for his regular self?

2. Is my son asking why so much today because he is attempting to reach some quota I'm not aware of, he really is just a curious little guy who wants to learn everything about the world around him within this 24 hour period, or am I just more tired and don't have the patience for his regular self?

3.  Is my daughter more clingy today because she is going through some type of delayed separation anxiety, she loves her Mama so much and wants to be especially close to her today, or am I just more tired and don't have the patience for her regular self?

Advise immediately, please.

Hint: I keep on attempting to capitalize letters with my space bar instead of the shift key.  I think that might mean something.  But maybe not...


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Photoshoot

Each season I take a picture of the kids doing something ... seasonal.  I started this with Monkey when he was teeny tiny, but the pictures of the two of them have been priceless so far.  Mostly because they feed off each other while I'm taking the pictures and turn in to total goof balls.

Here are some of the pictures from the weekend.  These are the half decent ones.   I took 123 pictures.  Thanks goodness for continuous shoot settings on cameras...


Strangle hold!


My little lady spent the whole photo shoot shouting YEAH!!!!  Thus the funny faces in the next two photos.



Then I started to lose them...






The guy in the back, in the hole, with the shovel?  Yeah, that's my husband.  He spent the weekend digging an eleven by five foot hole.

Other things we did this weekend?

Apple picking


Learning to stand up without pushing up or holding on to anything


And looking at the beautiful fall colours.  It was heavenly up north this weekend.


Shed pictures will be posted tomorrow!!