"Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites." - Anonymous

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Even Industrial Heating Is Not Sufficient

This morning I awoke at 4:50am. Hubs was in the midst of getting ready for his day. A day that includes two flights to a warmer climate. A day of hanging out with my Dad. A day that starts the ultimate of their guys' weekend.

I enjoyed getting up early. It meant I had time for a coffee before getting ready. I got to watch the morning news, E and I had breakfast together, and relaxed a bit before I had to drive him to school. No rush, none of the last minute dashing about for misplaced mittens and school forms that usually marks our weekday mornings.

Today my husband and my father fly to Phoenix to attend the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are flying to a 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom house in a gated community that may or may not be on a golf course. They are flying to 20 degrees Celsius.

They are flying out of -30 degrees Celsius. They are flying out of -39 degrees Celsius when wind chill is applied. They are flying out of snow covered sidewalks (too cold to shovel), and ice covered streets (too cold for salt). They are flying out of traffic crawling along at less than half the normal speed because someone decided to not pay attention to the poor road conditions and inserted the front of their car into another car's trunk.

Today, for the second day, I have a shawl wrapped around my shoulders. On top of my sweater. For the third day today, our office building cannot heat enough for any level of comfort. Our windows at home look like the inside of a deep freeze. Inside the house. I could feel cold air coming through the vent as I folded clothes out of the dryer.

This is what this week has for us. We were lulled into complacency with barely negative temperatures for so long. And now, Mother Nature is making up for it. With one week of sub-polar temperatures, she has dragged the average temperature for the year back down to where it should be.

Spring cannot come fast enough in my books.

The getting up early though? Like I said, I quite enjoyed it. Enough that I may try it again tomorrow morning. Maybe not pre-5am, but earlier than normal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Family Game Night

Last Friday we held our first family game night. It's a perfect day for us, as it's my night off from cooking supper, thanks to our local pizza delivery service, and we're not as concerned with the boys' bedtimes.

Our sister-in-law is a big board game fan. Whenever our families are together, and the boys are in bed (or being looked after by an older cousin), she pulls out a game for the adults to enjoy. And she always has some really fun, different games. No Game of Life or Monopoly for this lady. She's more likely to pull out Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, or for the marathon board gamers, Settlers of Catan. Without fail a good time is had by all, and a lot of great conversations have taken place while we play. After witnessing this once again over Christmas holidays, I decided we needed to start bringing this into our boys' lives, hopefully lighting a flame within them that glows with the memories of quality time spent with family and friends.

For Christmas this year, my parents gave both boys their own games. They have other games, which will definitely get pulled off the shelf more often now, but we decided to start with the new ones.

S received Chickyboom. This is a fantastic game. This is our fourth Blue Orange game. I love them. They're wooden, painted pieces, and the games are fun for the whole family, but simple enough that when the kids are only 4 years old, they can understand the rules and play. And there's a level of education too. Chickyboom, for example, is a balance game.

E's game was played after S went to bed. Hubs is a chess player, and since E started reading Harry Potter, he's wanted to learn how to play chess. So, my folks found this Quick Chess game. One side is a smaller board (less squares), for faster games with less pieces, to get the new player used to how the pieces move. E beat Hubs his first time out. The other side is a traditional size, for longer games. E was able to focus for about 45 minutes on this one, which is pretty good for a 6-year old not playing a video game.

I have to say our first family games night was a success. The boys thoroughly enjoyed their game, and as adults we were able to let go of always being in control a little bit, and truly enjoy the evening for what it was, not what we hoped it would be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Prayer Shawl

Last fall I agreed to join the newly formed Prayer Shawl Ministry at church. I'd been looking for some way to contribute that didn't involve being away from my boys a lot, since I work full time outside of the home. This was a perfect fit. Work at your own pace, meetings once every couple months, and something I already know how to do.

My first shawl is a simple garter stitch, and I plan to add some fringe to the ends. The colours are earthy, subtle, and soothing. It will be easy to take care of, so no matter who it is gifted to, there's not a lot of special instructions. I think that's one of the main ideas behind the prayer shawls. Low maintenance seems to be key.

I'm think I'm about 60 percent finished the knitting portion. The nice thing about garter stitch is that it doesn't require a lot of thinking, there's not reading charts, you can truly give in to the meditative process as you knit.

Pattern: Comfort Shawl. Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Mediterranean
For more WIP Wednesday creations-in-progress, head over to Tami's!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sundays are for Quotes

"I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something." Jackie Mason

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Sit back, and prepare to be transported back...to a wonderful time...a time when life was simple...to late September of 2011.

 Confession...I wrote this post right after we picked the apples. And promptly decided to not download any pictures for...four months! Anyway, rather than re-boot this next fall, and since the weather here is pretty much fall-like instead of winter-white, I thought I'd share it today.

Just in time, I think, we managed to get the majority of  the apples off the tree.

On Wednesday night, our mothers came over, we grabbed a couple of ladders, some boxes, and got to work, with the anticipation of Chinese take away food to greet us when we were done.

It only took about an hour for three women, one man, and two children to get as many apples as could be reached and that were actually ready to say goodbye to their home. A goodly portion of that time, it was really one man working, while three women stood around talking about buying underwear, and two children chased each other around the yard.

But it was fun. And look at that bounty! And they're real McIntosh apples, not the transparents (or is it translucents?) that a lot of people in the prairies have. Good, tart, firm Macs. Not like the soft, flavourless ones that come from so far away to the grocery store. These will be great for all sorts of baked goods, but they're also just perfect for eating out of hand.

2 bins like this!
I call this one 'Brave Man on Tall Ladder'


We now have five apple pies, some apple sauce, and dozens of bags of cut-up apples in the freezer. Now that Christmas season is over, it's time to start with the apple desserts again.

I love our apple tree. Next autumn will not come fast enough for me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Food - Warm Lentil Salad

Excuse the quality of the above photo. I'm still a novice when it comes to taking pictures with my phone. I was at work, and this was my lunch.

When I need some cozy comfort food I quite often turn to lentils. Lentil soup is a favourite. But sometimes I don't want to make a big batch of soup. Sometimes I just want something I can whip up in the evening to have at work the next day.

French green lentils are my favourite. I discovered them about 5 or 6 years ago. At the time the only place I could find them was in bulk at the organic food store miles away, or in tiny little bags at the high-end grocers even further away. Then the distributor my food co-op uses started carrying them. Now I am the proud owner of a 10-pound bag of Lentils du Puy.

Here's one of my favourite warm salad recipes with lentils. Easy peasy, filling, comforting, and make-ahead friendly.

Warm Lentil Salad (makes 4 filling side servings)

1 cup French green lentils
1 1/2 cups water
bouquet garni (I like thyme and bay leaf for this)
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
nut oil of your choice
toasted nuts of your choice (preferably the same as the nut oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Put lentils, water, and bouquet garni into a pot and set over high heat. Once it's come to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are al dente. Drain any remaining water and remove the bouquet.

Drizzle with vinegar and oils to taste, and toss with toasted nuts. Season to taste. Before eating, crumble with feta or chevre. Enjoy!

Like I said above, this is a great make-ahead for lunches (and cheap!). I just pack it up, and bring it to work. Warm it in the microwave and crumble the cheese on top.

This is a fantastic recipe for experimenting. Different nuts, different oils, different cheeses or herbs, you could even add a quarter onion or garlic to the pot will the lentils are simmering. So many different combinations for that background essence. My favourite right now is walnuts and chevre. Play around and come up with your own favourite.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Falling Water

My mother-in-law's Christmas present. I finished knitting this ages ago (in, like, September?), but didn't get around to blocking or finishing it until just before Christmas. Then I realized we were actually going to be seeing them on the 23rd, instead of the 24th like we normally would, and in a sudden panic, I had it soaked, measured, and pinned before going to bed on Thursday. Then I raced home from work on Friday to weave in the ends.

Pattern: Falling Water by Bonnie Sennot. Yarn: Estelle Cadenza

Anyway, she likes it. And I'm glad. I've never been able to get a sense of what she likes in clothing and accessories.

It's such a pretty blue, I kept a skein for myself.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I spent 30 minutes yesterday in frustration, attempting to upload a picture from my home computer (iMac) onto blogger, and on to Ravelry. They don't seem to want to talk to each other anymore.

I just did a test on my work computer, and it worked fine.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012

Looking back, I feel much better about 2011 than I did about 2010. Which is a good thing. It's funny though, because 2010 wasn't that bad. I think I just felt out of sorts for a good portion of that year. Out of control and constantly playing catch-up.

The past 12 months brought us some change, but mostly it was about us growing together as a family. For Hubs and I, something about our new house somehow makes us feel all grown-up now. For the boys, it seems that one extra year has brought a new level of maturity. Speaking and listening to each other is easier. Understanding comes sooner.

Christmas was wonderful this year. All the knitting was done in time, cookies were made, and while cards didn't get sent out, notes are starting to be written in reply to the ones that were received.

January brings getting our financial house back in order, which was neglected during December. The Freedom List will also be resurrected, after being forgotten in the move to the new house. The new family calendar has been chosen and sits by the kitchen phone, ready to keep our schedules at bay.

I've never been one to focus on resolutions (and apparently I'm not the only one, I've read that a lot today). However, Hubs and I did agree that our family is in need of one evening a week for things like board games and puzzles. And, after struggling back into my work clothes this morning, a focus on my physical health is definitely in order. Oh, and finish Hubs' sweater. Finally.

With all this, I'm looking forward to 2012. Not in the way I looked forward to 2011, gleefully waving at 2010 in the rearview mirror. Instead, I look back at 2011 with satisfaction and love, and welcome 2012 quietly with open arms.