Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goodbye old lady

The fridge at our house in Ottawa is as old as the house itself: circa 1988. When we moved into the house the fridge leaked onto the floor continuously. The previous owners in their clear handy prowess had a tea towel stuffed under the veggie drawer to soak up the liquid.

I was determined to save the fridge so I went to the most reliable source of fridge repair information: the Internet.

My friend the Internet said we should flush the hose at the back. My previously-not-handy husband took care of it in minutes. The fridge worked perfectly after that.

Until just before Christmas this year, that is.

Our tenants told us the fridge was leaking. They flushed the hose and it bought us a few weeks. This week the leaking started again and it seems to be finding any fridge orifice it can to make its way onto our sensitive cork floor.

Our awesome tenant tried a few ideas to nurse our senior appliance back from the brink but despite all efforts, she cannot be saved.

And so I'll be going fridge shopping very soon and spending money we were hoping to keep from our tax return but these things can't be helped when you have 20 year old appliances in your house.

At least we'll be going back to Ottawa to a shiny new appliance (fit for a family of five if my bargaining skills are good enough to get me a good price on something bigger).

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, January 22, 2010

The week at a glance

I only have a few minutes before the kids come tumbling down the stairs asking to watch a show (which requires me to give up my computer given we don't have a t.v.). I've been conspicuously silent this week although I have a number of posts circling in my mind. You probably see where this is headed: the dreaded bullet post.

Maybe a short paragraph post instead.


And this is all I had written before I was pulled away from the computer yet again for God knows what reason. And now it is two days later and it has been over a week since I last posted. I'm not really complaining per se. That is the reality of parenthood and we all know it. To be more specific, that is the reality of parenthood WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A T.V. TO DISTRACT YOUR KIDS WHILE YOU BLOG.

So, here is the week that just went by.... at a glance:

- spent Sunday night at Omi's in St. Catharines. John and I had a date night. Saw Avatar. Possibly the coolest movie I HAVE EVER SEEN and that even includes Lucas.

- had 20 week ultrasound on Monday. This baby likes to shake it, shake it. Everything seemed okay to my untrained eyes and the technician gave me no reason to think otherwise although her kind is very good at being stonefaced and unreadable.

- got notice on Tuesday that Emily's Sparks troup will be going skating in two weeks. I'm slightly concerned as Emily has never skated on anything but bob skates and we all know those don't come close to resembling real skates. And so, I am wasting way too much time thinking about how to get her new-to-her skates sharpened when the line-ups for sharpening seem to all be at least 30 minutes and I never have that much time available to stand in line. And also thinking way too much about the high probability that my child will come back from the night in question missing teeth and with multiple lacerations and scarred for life in regards to skating. And yes, I plan to get her on the ice before the night in question but we all know that it takes about, um, 30 years before one is truly comfortable on skates unless you are one of those freakish 5-year-olds, which Emily is not, who skates circles around me on the Rideau Canal let's not talk about that.

- This week, Wednesday, January 20, marked the five year mark since my mum died. It's a miserable day in the year and I am now at the point that I'm not interested in writing a post about it and prefer to not blog at all on that day because I'm now feeling like I'm repeating what I've said in previous years. I miss her. So terribly that most times I think about how much I miss her I start to well up and that just isn't a fun way to spend my time nor does it do anything to make me feel better. I much prefer to just remember her, which I do throughout every day in tiny moments or little things the girls do or ask about or that I laugh about or do myself. I will say this though: five years does nothing to dull the pain of that kind of loss.

- Emily's reading is still blowing my mind. She keeps choosing "more challenging" books to bring home and kicks the shite out of them. Her brain continues to wow me.

- Today, Friday, I looked after my girls and a friend's daughter, who is 4, for the whole day (for moola too!). I made 4 batches of play dough which amused them for a long time, then there were puzzles and colouring and crafts, cupcake baking, lunch, a lengthy trip to the Waterloo Children's Museum (which included the totally amazing exhibit Our Body: The Universe Within - very similar to Bodyworks - where once-live human specimens are used to show the different systems at work within our bodies) and then home to decorate cupcakes. It was a doozy of a day but I'm not that tired somehow. Go figure.

- approaching the car in the parking lot after we left the museum, I asked the kids to all put their hands on the car while I unlocked and put my bag in there, to avoid anyone running into traffic. Emily and our other friend did so. Hope walked face-first into the car at full speed, toppling her over backwards. She cried. A lot. Turns out, she told me later, she was tired so was walking with her eyes closed. AGAIN. This is not the first time she's done this. I'm afraid this kid is going to walk off a pier or a cliff or something simply because she's feeling a bit sleepy. Kind of makes me love her even more though, if that was even possible.

- I'm going yarn shopping tomorrow morning with a friend and with no kids and I'm very excited. All yarn purchased will be for baby things. Very, very excited.

- currently Emily is asleep in my bed, my side, because she couldn't sleep due to continually thinking about Millificent, the witch in Sleeping Beauty. Somehow transferring to our bed resulted in non-Millificent brain activity. And sleep.

And that is my week at a glance.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You capture, I capture

I'm doing something crazy. I'm going to start to (occasionally) participate in You Capture, a weekly photo challenge hosted by I Should be Folding Laundry. I've never done this before, I don't have a fancy camera; heck, I don't even have photo editing software beyond iPhoto (which doesn't count at all).

But, what the heck? I'm just going to jump in.

This week's challenge was Winter.

I wanted to get photos of the cardinals at my new birdfeeder (thanks Dad and Donna!) but I don't have enough zoom ability with my point and shoot to get close enough without scaring the birds away. But, while I was out trying to take that photo, I found a few interesting natural ice sculptures and patterns.

This ice has built up just under our downspout at the front of our house. It seems like an architectural miracle.

And then I found this tucked in behind the other one, just about a foot away.

And finally, as I was walking back inside, I passed our car and found this lovely pattern on the back windshield.

Happy winter everyone! Next week: Love around the house.

What's Cooking Wednesday

Shan made me blush a bit this morning when I read her What's Cooking Wednesday post. I fully agree with her of course that blogging has enriched my life in many ways. The most surprising and important to me is through the friends I've made. I do hope to meet more of them in the future "in real life" and Shan, my bloggy BFF, is at the top of my "to meet" list. Expect me to step up the pressure, sister!

After her post, I couldn't miss participating in WCW this week. I made these cookies this week - not school-lunch friendly but great for at home if you have no nut allergies. These are also great if you have a problem with wheat.

Super easy peanut butter cookies

1cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mis all ingredients well. Form into 1 tbsp balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fork. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Recipe notes: these were really delicious and very easy. However the dough is really gooey. I couldn't really roll it in my hands so I just used my fingertips to get it spherical. Also, do not overbake these. They taste charred if even slightly overbaked. I learned that the hard way.

I think I may whip up another batch of these today!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our 40-year-old 5-year-old

Tonight at supper Hope complained about her booster seat. She wants to be able to sit cross-legged at the supper table (?!) and her current seat doesn't allow her to do that. We were going back and forth about it with her explaining that she has to sit there/you shouldn't sit cross-legged at the table/blah blah blah when Emily (who is almost 5 and a half) offered to trade booster seats with her.

"I'll trade with you Hope," she said. "I'm getting tired of this booster seat anyway."

And then, and I'm not exaggerating one little bit, she looked at John and I and WINKED.


Not only can she now wink, she can wink appropriately like she's pulling one over on someone.

I'll fully admit it.... she scares me.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

3$ pants

Yesterday I stopped in at a Kitchener kids' consignment store to get Emily some new pants and look at the maternity clothes selection. There was a sign in the window that said they were having a one-day 50% off sale. What luck! I bought Emily 3 pairs of pants and a shirt. I bought her a snowsuit for next year for $13! And I bought jeans, a skirt and two shirts for myself. The whole bill came to $63. Poor Hope got nothing because her dresser is overflowing with hand-me-downs.

I put on my new jeans this morning. Something didn't feel quite comfortable in the tiny front pocket - that one you're not sure of the purpose of because it's almost impossible to fit your fingers in there.

I jammed my fingers in and...

pulled out a five dollar bill!

Sweet! Thank you, previous owner of these pants. You just dropped the price of my new jeans to $3!

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Fairway Rd S,Kitchener,Canada

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My name is Karen and I love my ever-expanding gut

The lovely Andrea of the Fishbowl posted this very inspiring and funny post about loving her guts. (Can I also just add that even in my pre-pregnancy state I would be soooo jealous of that gut - with or without the washboard?)

So, thinking along the lines of improving my post-Christmas diet as well as the fact that I haven't really written much about this current pregnancy, I thought this would be a prime time to talk about my own eating regime post-holiday as well as show off my pregnant belly.

Right after the last Christmas cookie was eaten (likely by me) I decided to get serious about what I was eating. Breakfast - high in fibre (a la Andrea); I am going to seek out the Bran Buds she mentions but for now I'm having oatmeal with flax seed meal on it, some cinnamon and maple syrup and milk. Yum! Lunch - a favourite salad of mine which I'm starting up again tomorrow: tuna, avacado, green onion, lettuce and a lemon and oil vinaigrette. Double yum! I won't have this everyday but lots of days until I get sick of it. I really want to lay low on the carbs at lunch - hopefully going carb free but high in proteins and veg (but not the heavy meats - fish and eggs and cheese are more to my liking). Supper - whatever is our fancy. I'm not making any changes there. I do plan to lay low on refined sugar from here on in as much as my will power allows going instead with honey or maple syrup when I need a little sweet. So far, not hard. I had my fill over Christmas.

This is the gut I am currently sporting at 19 weeks pregnant:

Formidable, isn't it?

Well endowed for only 19 weeks pregnant. I hate to think what I'll look like at 36 weeks.

Seriously, I'm obviously not re-focussing my eating to trim any pounds obviously. I love my baby belly right now. I just want to eat as healthily as possible for me to keep up my energy and feed this growing baby right.

As many of you know I have a mystery illness (which I still suspect is fibromyalgia but no one professional has been able to tell me yet) and eating well seems to help me through my bad bouts which, until two days ago, had been few and far between during the pregnancy. Right now I'm in the middle of one: severely itchy skin, rashes, extreme fatigue, sore muscles, very sensitive and painful skin (even where there is no rash to see), sore rib tips and solar plexus. All so odd but from experience I know that this too shall pass.

And for me that's where the joy in my suffering comes from. I know it will pass. It's always an adventure to see what I can do to get it to pass more quickly and I know diet and exercise (hah!) and lots and lots of sleep (double hah!) get me through faster.

And with that thought, I'm going to sit on the couch, knit, drink tea and then go to bed.

Should you want to feel good about your own midrif, I suggest staring at the photos above a few more times.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday

Post-Christmas I'm jonesing for lighter fare: lots of veggies, simple flavours, less meat, no sugar. Tonight I really wanted spaghetti but not with our typical (although declicious and homemade) red sauce. So I pulled out a recipe I made once before and loved. The recipe is Spaghetti al Limone (spaghetti in lemon sauce) from David Rocco's terrific cookbook David Rocco's Dolce Vita (based on his show that I triple love when I actually can see it ie. I'm in front of a t.v. with cable). The recipe is uber-simple but so delicious. I highly recommend you try it when you want simple but not rich but full of flavour.

Spaghetti al Limone

500 g spaghetti
1 clove garlic, for rubbing
2 lemons
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the higher quality the better)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
fresh flat-leaf parsley if you have it
zest of 1 lemon

Put water on to boil for pasta and add pasta to salted water. Meanwhile, cut garlice clove in half and rub large ceramic or wooden bowl with the garlic. Toss the rest or use it for another recipe (this ensures that you get garlic flavour without the bite of a mouthful of raw garlic).

Squeeze lemon juice from both lemons into your bowl. Use fork to pull out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil in a little at a time while whisking it until it emulsifies. Add Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add parsley and lemon zest. Mix.

Drain pasta and add to bowl immediately. Give it a good mix. The sauce will thicken up from the starchiness of the pasta. Taste and add more Parmesan if you like.

Eat. Bet you won't stop! This recipe is best if you use the best Parmesan, lemons and olive oil you can lay your hands on. Please don't reach for a green can!

Don't forget to check out the home of What's Cooking Wednesday!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Winter days

The last two nights John has slept in the spare bedroom to get up with Hope (alias the girl with the tiniest bladder) when needed. Hope is in the bad habit of getting up three times a night on average to go pee. I am nursing a cold and it wasn't getting better when I was traipsing upstairs in the ungodly hours so John took mercy on my and moved up stairs temporarily. He's been able to now train her to go by herself although she's still getting up just as often. The why of it all remains a mystery. She normally gets up once to go to the bathroom. She doesn't seem to have a bladder infection. All this to say that I am indeed starting to feel a bit better. Today I can almost breathe out of both sides of my nose!

This all means that I have the energy and wherewithal to post about the week at my dad's.

We had an amazing time. I knew the kids would be enthralled (as usual) with satellite t.v. since we don't have t.v. with us on our adventure year. I didn't know they'd be so thrilled with all the outdoor time. We walked on the lake which was frozen enough even for snowmobiles (we didn't do that this time but it's on the agenda for our next visit). The wind was wicked but the girls lazed about on the sleds and didn't really notice.

On afternoon we spent lots of time tobogganing on the old road that is no longer used for cars - just snowmobiles, dogs, deer and people - and is right outside the back door of the house. It was great fun - Hope kept going and going and going long after Emily retreated inside. John and I loved it as much as Hope. I was amazed that Hope never asked for help walking up the hills. (No photo of Hope because she was riding with the photographer.)

Following every outdoor activity was time in the outdoor hot tub. Emily's favourite day was when she got to go in there with "the big girls" - Donna's nieces - with no grown-ups intruding. She talked about it for the rest of the day.

Of course we also opened presents and sat by the fire and John and I had a few good games of crokinole. By the end of our visit, we knew we had to come back soon for more. The beauty of my dad's house is that it is very secluded and surrounded by forest - it really is a winter retreat. The only thing that breaks the silence of winter is the sound of snowmobiles going across the lake in front of the house but I suppose that is more on weekends and holidays than any other time. While eating breakfast on our last day I even watched a hawk swoop in front of the deck and down to the trees on the shoreline. You can't get that here. Unless you're walking in the cemetery of course - and then you might see one chowing down on a possum.

Back at the ranch, the Christmas tree is down and outside (as of this morning), the furniture rearranged, the floors swept and everything (almost) boxed up. De-Christmasification almost complete!

And now I have a list of jobs and projects I want to get to this month: sorting through the older toys and giving away things that are no longer played with, sorting and reorganizing all the craft supplies, organizing closets. I need to winter clean!

And then of course, back to routines of preschool and school and swimming lessons and play groups. I do look forward to the post-Christmas return to normalcy.

But with a few new toys to play with of course.