Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Deck Progress

Jay and my dad built the frame of the deck last weekend, but then they were waiting on the hidden fasteners to arrive. Today we phoned to find out when on Friday they would be arriving so we could make plans and the fasteners were already at the store - thanks for the phone call - duh! Anyhow, Uncle Greg and Kevin were good sports to come over on a spur of the moment notice with their drills and help out! Pam came and babysat kids, while mom and I made supper for all.

Today, during the day, mom and dad were chauffered around by me and we hit about 6 different stores and checked out patio furniture, shrubs and lattices, etc. Lots more to think about and decide before this deck will really be finished. Next step... the steps and fascia!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardening with Gramma!

When gramma had the "day off" she bought the grandkids some pansies to plant in their fairy garden. They love getting dirty, love using the hose, love using watering cans and love getting wet, so this was just awesome all around! They put a small crystal at the bottom of each hole, as that is supposed to help them grow better.

Salad of the Week

Tonight we had company for Salad Night, as my mom and dad are in town from Saskatchewan. Once again, I looked in the Company's Coming Salads & Dressings cookbook and found Peanut Rice Noodle Salad, page 90. Basically, a base of rice noodles with a vegetable mixture of: red pepper, carrots and cucumber all cut into match sticks, then snow peas, thin slices of red onion and fresh bean sprouts (I also added fresh cilantro). For the salad dressing, I made the peanut sauce it suggests, but you could use a store bought one. The sauce has peanut butter, lime juice, chili sauce, gingerroot and garlic. I used the dressing to cook shrimps in the frying pan, but this was really just to add more protein to the salad. (The recipe does not ask for shrimp). Then we sprinkled peanuts and sunflower seeds (which I realized afterwards was supposed to be sesame seeds - oops!).
This was a tasty salad. Love peanut sauce, especially with ginger and cilantro - yum! The shrimps were awesome, but "the company" and my husband thought I should have pre-peeled the shrimps. Next time, I will... no I won't, I never do - I think it is fun, ha!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Deck Building 101

My mom and dad flew in from Saskatchewan yesterday at noon. By 2:00 we were heading to Home Depot to look at deck supplies and then of course we had to head to the Beer Store for "other" supplies! Last night the boys spent hours fixing up the trailor to haul lumber and then this morning realized it was no where near long enough to haul 16 foot lumber, but at least our trailor is now road worthy and ready for camping season. After the trailor and a series of $2 bets on who was right about what, they came in to have more beer or was it scotch by then, and hatch out some serious plans.

This morning they headed to Home Depot for a deck building workshop at 9:00 a.m. They got there to find out the workshop wasn't until 3:00, but they couldn't wait that long. They started browsing and Home Depot didn't have the decking supplies we wanted (and quite frankly we didn't want to shop there - ticked me off during our bathroom renovation), so off to Rona and sorry Jamie, but they didn't have what we wanted either, so off to Home Hardware who finally had our Trex decking in stock - Madeira Contour is our color and style if you want to look it up!
Mom and I offered to help, but mostly got in the way, so this is how we looked most of the time... well actually we went to rent movies and bought Buster Bars! They seemed happy enough with that. Now, off to make supper and take more pictures. Post progress soon!
Day 1 - 4:00 p.m. and this is what we have so far - looking good!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring has sprung!

I say that and hopefully Kharma won't bite me in the ass - it was a lot cooler today and rainy, but overall the weather has been nicer. All the snow has melted and the kid's bikes and swings are out, along with the fairy garden (will post later).
Devin is afraid of his bike. He will sit on it, but does not want to even put his feet on the pedals. My problem is, I can't hunch over for that long to push him. So, tonight I played hard ball and if he didn't put his feet on the pedals it was time to go into bed! So, here I am with time to write this post because he refused to put his feet on the pedals and I am already done the dishes, as he went to bed about 45 minutes early!

Jasmine on the other hand was very sad today when she realized her friend, Nasu,

who is younger than her already has her training wheels off. In fact, when she came home today, she went up to her room for some alone time and when she came back down she had drawn a picture. It had a picture of her with a bicycle and NO training wheels with a BIG smile on her face ... and then a picture of her WITH training wheels and BIG frown on her face - wow! What a way to express your feelings! So tonight we took the training wheels off and Jay ran up the block with her. His favorite saying, "pedal faster". She did quite well for her first time, but Jay already had to establish a few rules like, no talking when you are pedaling. As she was biking she commented on all the birds that were flying overhead. Second rule, no saying, "I'm sorry!"

Hopefully I can take some video of Jasmine on the 2 wheels and post that soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Salad of the Week

Tonight's salad was brought to us by Company's Coming Salad and Dressings cookbook. It's called Cucumber and Avocado salad, which I think is funny, because it features smoked salmon... anyhow.
Lettuce leaf base
Slices of avocado
Slices of cucumber
Slices of red pepper
Slices of smoked salmon
Sprinkle of diced red onion
Sprinkle of fresh dill
Fresh ground pepper
The recipe calls for capers, which I did not use and gives ingredients to make your own lemon dressing, but I didn't have sour cream, so we used the Mango Poppyseed dressing from Farmboy!
This salad gets a thumbs up from us, quite tasty and a nice change from the ordinary!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter - chocolate overload?

As much as I love chocolate, I really do, I don't love my kids to eat great amounts of it in one sitting. I assume I am not the only parent like this, but yet the Easter bunny continues to bring a "honkin" big chocolate treat, plus all the little stuff. Most of our little stuff is gone now, just Caramilk eggs left really, sorry dad, but most all of that pony in the picture is still here.

With Halloween treats we let them eat them for about 3 days and then they get to choose a few items to keep and the rest gets taken to Jay's work. With these big things it is harder to do that. I'm tempted to leave them in window so they melt - then I have an excuse to throw them away - oops, my bad ;)

PS: You can see me laying on the couch here - this is Easter Sunday, I spent the day on the couch recuperating from a night of stomach flu - ugh! Eating too much chocolate this year was not my problem, too bad!

Just do it :)

Writing comments on here is not the easiest thing, I tried a few times and even found it to be a pain, especially since most of you are not bloggers and don't have a google account. Please, don't give up on it, try to experiment, I believe you can post under anonymous and then sign your name at the bottom of your comment. I love hearing feedback and getting comments - lets me know someone is reading it :)

Anything you want me to talk about or see more of? Anyone have a good salad for me to try? Did any of you answer my riddle? (I know Les and gang did) Did any of you think about the 20 years ago... I was post? Does anyone have a children's author they like that I should try with my kids? Don't be shy to respond or share!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Salad of the Week

This week I looked up BLT salad on the internet and came up with this. I used an organic lettuce mixture that also had the odd bit of herbs (dill, cilantro, parsley), to that I added tomato, avocado, bacon and barbecued chicken and then grated cheddar cheese on top. (I used the fine grate, spreads further and uses less cheese) Tomorrow night we will actually have BLT sandwiches for supper! Oh... scrap that, turns out my kids are bacon monsters and now we don't even have enough left overs to make them :( Salad was great and filling!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A colleague from work, Catherine, inspired me to make these cute little bread baskets with eggs in them. You actually put an uncooked egg in there and bake it with the bread! We are planning to try them for breakfast tomorrow morning - hope they cooked :) The 2 on the left are baskets, you can't even see the egg in the back one (that was Jasmine's), the others were actually donut shaped when we made them, but they rose more than expected. Catherine made these with her kindergarten class - isn't that cool!? Unfortunately for Jasmine, she is in the morning class and Catherine teaches in the afternoons :(

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reading to Kids

As a teacher, I often have parents asking what they can do to help their child improve in school. I thought I would share my two cents worth to any of you who want to tackle reading at home.

1) I am willing to make the assumption that most of us read to our children when they are small, but as they learn to read on their own this seems to stray... don't let it! Most all of my students, even in grade 6 like being read to. Love is a strong word for anything they do at school, but they do like it! They especially like it, if the book is good and you share it in an interesting way (change your voices, dialect, etc.).

2) As you read, ask questions, like: "What do you think will happen next?", "Why do you think she did that?", "Do you think that was very fair?" "What would you have done if you were him?" These types of questions promote deeper thinking and help their imaginations develop.

3) You can also take time to point things out as you read, like: "Wait a minute - this word says "there" and this word says "their", but they are spelled differently - how come?" or "I like how she described this character. I can picture her in my head and she reminds me of your Auntie Nanny."

4) With toddlers, small picture books are by far the obvious choice, but quickly they can advance into longer books (Veggie Tales, The original Disney books) and even small novels by the time they are 4 or 5 (Rainbow Magic, Magic Treehouse). Books like The Magic Treehouse Series can be re-used of course when they are old enough to read on their own. The current trend, in even junior language arts, is to teach using picture books. Many picture books have valuable morals to be taught, vivid illustrations to discuss and even grammar and vocabulary to comment and build on. I am currently planning a unit for my grade 5 class using Chris Van Allsburg's picture books - he is the author of Jumanji, Zathura and Polar Express and many other great books. The website link here takes you to a number of his books and even has a teacher's guide printable to help you determine what the themes are and what you could discuss as you read the books (easily can be done at home on a smaller scale). Another author who has units published for his works is Robert Munsch, questions to ask your child as you read his books and activities to tie into what you read - some of these are great for even toddlers.

5) I will assume that your older children are reading to themselves, hopefully, but make sure your younger children (who can't even read yet) are also reading to themselves. Little kids can flip through pages and imagine what the story is about or if the story has been read to them a hundred times say it through in their own words. Tuesdays after supper we have family reading time, where the kids start with their own books and read to themselves - we also read to ourselves at this time (role modelling reading-it's important!)

6) Have friends reading time. Kids who read around the same level should read together. We watch movies together, play games together and hang out together, but we rarely read together. Reading with a friend helps your child learn appropriate reading strategies that you may have forgotten, it helps them feel comfortable because someone else is reading similarly to them (so if it isn't perfect it is okay, because others their own age are doing that too), it gives them a chance to ask questions and get answers from someone else's perspective besides a grown up. My class is currently reading Riddle Poems to each other and working together to try and solve them - Try this one:
We are little airy creatures
All of diff’rent Voice and Features
One of us in Glass is set,
One of us you’ll find in Jet,
T’other you may see in Tin,
And the fourth a Box within,
If the fifth you should pursue
It can never fly from You.

7) Toddler Authors to check out- Barbara Reid, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, David Shannon, Eric Hill, Dr. Suess, P.D Eastman, Matthew Van Vleet and our favorite Sandra Boynton.
That's all for now. Feel free to ask me questions if you have them or suggest your favorite authors/books for us to try.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It is April, right? This is what we woke up to this morning - gross!

Salad of the week

This week's salad had actually been option #2 a few weeks ago when Jay chose sun-dried tomatoes as his ingredient of choice. I hadn't loved the oil soaked version of the tomatoes, so I am trying again with sun dried tomatoes from a package - you have to actually soak them in water before using to soften them up. I preferred this version over the oil soaked ones myself, but Jay didn't seem to think these tasted as strong (maybe that is why I liked them better?) The base I used was a baby arugula/baby spinach mix. I never had arugula before, so it was fun to try it. Didn't taste much different than most lettuce to me, actually it tasted very similar to the spinach? I didn't make my own croutons like the recipe said, but did splurge and buy some that looked big and yummy. It was a bonus that the recipe called for pine nuts, ha, ha - still half a bag left or so.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


At the book fair on Friday, Jasmine was allowed to purchase something of her choice. She of course chose something that I was less than thrilled about, but I had promised... so she ended up with the Super Spy Girl kit. In the kit is a hearing device for spying on other people's conversations and in the little book that accompanies it, it explains how to be a good spy. Anyhow, this morning her little friend Josh came over and this gave her the perfect opportunity to test out her new gear. They started off by whispering secret codes to each other from across the room and seeing if they could hear it on the listening device. At one point I heard Jasmine whisper "green snot" and then Josh yelled back from across the room "green snot" - it was so exciting! Then we decided they needed a real mission, so we used Avery labels to make a secret spy ID badge for each of them and then I gave them a list of words. First they had to figure out what the words said (remember they are not quite 6 yet), then they had to take the old digital camera and take a picture of it - without being caught by my husband. He wandered around the house and they hid behind curtains and under tables trying not to be detected. After a successful first mission, they were given a second mission which was to take as many different pictures of Spiderman as they could. Any picture that they missed, meant they had to do 5 sit ups! In the end they had to do 15 sit ups - too cute!

Scrappin' and laughin' and eatin' and drinkin' = fun

Today's scrapbooking session was a good one, not only did I finish a layout, but we also had good food and drink! My neighbour (and friend) Michelle joined Pam and I for a regular scrapbooking date. It was Michelle's birthday yesterday, so Pam and I decided to go all out and have wine and cheese as part of our date. I think we have decided to always have wine at our scrapbooking dates, so much more "fun" ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Time Travel - blast from the past!

I saw a post like this on another blog I read and thought it was an interesting reflection, so thought I would try it out myself.

20 years ago I was 14 years old and in grade 9 at Shaunavon High School. My sister Leslie would have been 11 and Deanna would have been 9. I was a very innocent kid, not doing much of anything... likely started Air Cadets this year with my dad, worked on yearbook and played badminton and volleyball on the junior team.

15 years ago I was 19 years old and in my 2nd year of univeristy in Regina. I lived in the Luther dorms and this summer I was hooking up with my husband for the first time!

10 years ago I was married to Jay for almost a year and was supply (substitute) teaching in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa where we had our first apartment.

5 years ago I had Jasmine, she would be almost a year old by now. I was still on materity leave and had just started my Stampin' Up! business.

This year I am working half time in the afternoons, teaching English to grades 5 & 6. Jasmine is almost 6 and Devin is 3. Jay and I are tired, but life is good!

Today I had a parent teacher interview with a grade 5 parent, took Jasmine to the book fair at school, put together 5 new X-men figures (Storm, Magneto, Wolverine, Cyclops and Deathbird), picked Devin up from Nursery School, had chicken noodle soup for lunch,put the kids down for a nap, scrapbooked with my girlfriend Linda, consoled a very sad Devin when he woke up from his nap, signed the Direct Engery Forms from the guy who serviced my furnace, I had a good long chat with mom Quirk, had barbecued hamburgers for supper and I am currently completing my blog entry from yesterday! Tonight I need to walk/run my 3rd day of training for this week (run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute - 7 times)

Next year I hope to be sitting out on my new deck drinking a margarita.

In 5 years, Jasmine will be in grade 5 and I could potentially be teaching her. Devin will be in grade 3 - this is crazy to even dream about right now. I could also be back to work full time, but I hope not - I love half time, maybe I will go 3/4 time - that would be ideal! I hope to be an A4 by then, the highest pay scale I can be. With any luck, our house will be paid off and we will be able to replace all our windows and do some landscaping. We hope to have gone on a family trip somewhere exotic by then and we will be planning our Family French Immersion trip to Northern Quebec around this time. (or that's the plan anyways!)

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I guess I shouldn't leave an unfinished post up on my computer. Devin likes to press too many buttons and it seems he has sent that last post without me even completing it. What a kid! I'll finish my latest post tomorrow. Just had portfolio night at school and I am ready for bed! Chat soon!

Try this yourself!

20 years ago I was 14 years old and starting my 3rd term of grade 9 at Shaunavon High School. My sister Leslie would have been 11 and Deanna would have been 9. I was a very innocent kid, likely playing badminton around this time of year and that's about it!

15 years ago I was 19 years old and in my 2nd year of univeristy in Regina. I lived in the Luther dorms.

10 years ago I was

5 years ago I was

This year I am

Today I

Next year I hope to be

In 5 years I hope to be

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've discovered...

that you can't only have salad once a week. Seriously, each week I have lettuce leftover from last week's salad, plus I have 3 different kinds of cheese in my crisper drawer - we need to start eating side salads - what a novel idea! So, I made one for tonight's supper with the leftover from last night's salad - sort of Greek salad: lettuce, cucumber, tomato, black olives, light feta and yellow pepper and we are having the leftover chicken from last night's salad as well - Bonus! When I went to Farmboy on the weekend, I bought rindonkulous amounts of fruit and veggies. We have been eating loads of fruit, adding it to everything. I made this fruit salad, I made banana, blueberry pancakes, I ground up pineapple to add to my muffin mix and squeezed in juice from an orange as well and we've been adding berries to our cereal. And I never buy kiwi's, turns out Devin loves them and ate 3 in one sitting - crazy! (I didn't mean for him to eat 3, I sliced 4 of them up for everyone to share and turns out -Jay had 1 piece, Jasmine had 2 and by the time I got there, there wasn't any left, which means Devin ate 13 pieces of kiwi himself!)