Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Paul picked the crab apples off of the tree on Sunday afternoon. The ones he could reach anyway. I was determined to use them this year. Last year they were quite small and hail damaged. This year the weather has been much too cool for hail. The apples were larger without damage.

So I turned this:

Into these:

Not quite as much as I had hoped but 4-500 ml jars of Crab apple jelly would have cost me about $25 at the Farmers Market so all was not lost. I used to make a lot of jams, preserve peaches and pears, even made my own Mayonnaise and syrup and such. That was way back then. One disappointing note, I wasn't in the kitchen to hear the oh so satisfying 'ping' of the jars sealing.

Oh, and just look at what came in the mail today from Amanda. I can't wait to look through it to see which projects I'll try first.
And by the look of these pictures, my camera lens needs a cleaning. I'm off to do that right now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's the...Weekend!

Before and After

Thank you for your comments on my homeschooling post. I have decided that I will send her to school and help her to follow her own interests at home. We will have every other day together so that will be good.
This week we will be practicing eating from her lunch kit. I made some soup a half of a roast chicken sandwich, some cucumbers a slice of cheese and two small cookies, along with her water. I am going to give it to her in about 45 minutes. I am curious to see if she can open the containers, what she will eat first and if she will spill her soup. I'll let you know.
So, in preparation for school, which for her starts September 1st, we got her hair cut so it won't be a bother to her. She is an active little girl who dislikes barrettes and pony tails. Plus, she has a teeny weeny face. I think her shorter hair looks so cute and it suits her personality totally.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homeschooling, Again.

Aghhh. I can't get this off of my mind. I just feel like sending my little one to school is the wrong idea. The wrong choice.

I am looking for opinions. Any opinions. For or against. Homeschooling or public school? I am not so weak that I need others to make my decisions. I know what I want to do. Or do I?

This is driving me so nuts. Only a week or so away.

She wants to go to school. I want to have some free time.
I home schooled my older 3 children, for a time, way back when.

I am older now. More tired.

Wiser? For certain.

My instinct tells me to keep her home.

My old tired 44 year old self who has been there and done that says to send her off to school.

My husband says to home school if I want to.

But do I?

Should I?

Dare I?

Sew What?

I know summer has been crappy and I have been spending more time indoors than normal. Seems its been a poor summer in a lot of areas. I used another rainy day to do some more sewing.

I cut out a dress for Athena. Long sleeved this time. I made her a red floral a few weeks back which I was going to make with long sleeves as well, but the fabric pattern looked too summery. This fabric is decidedly not summery. In fact, it is not girly even. She picked it out at the fabric store. It is a type of camouflage. Browns and rust. I don't know how it will look as a dress but we will see.

I also made a "Magic Bag" filled with organic buckwheat, scented with Lavender oil. While I was at it, I made an eye bag too for Savasana or any time.

Last night I heated it up and laid it on Athena's back after she climbed into bed. I went into her room an hour and a half later to find her still on her belly, fast asleep. She hadn't moved an inch as the bag was still right where I put it. I got that idea from Jen who uses the same trick with Abby. I think I'll do that more often. Very calming, especially with the lavender.

You'll see that I used some remnants from the dress I cut out. Yeah, I don't know how it will be as a school dress either. I am hoping to have the time to put it together over the weekend. It is supposed to be hot here, at long last so I'll be hiding inside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When it Rains...

When it rains around here, and man has it been raining lately, the mushrooms poke their heads out of the soil.

We have many types in our yard. The Internet says that they are edible but I will not be taking any chances with that.

So... we just observe and hunt for them.

Daddy took Athena on a rainy mushroom hunt and they found an old tree stump covered with mushrooms and what appeared to be black truffles. Wouldn't that be a grand find if it were edible and I had the courage to use them? But, I don't and I won't.

But, the sun always shines after rain. Its just got to. Doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home Schooling?

Fall is just around the corner. I have seen a few bright gold leaves scattered on the lawn from the crab apple tree. The nights are growing cooler, the days, shorter and school is just around the corner.

Athena is so excited to start Kindergarten. Her first day is September 1st. I have been trying to put together her fall wardrobe piece by piece. It is coming. We bought her an insulated lunch kit, stainless steel water bottle, a stainless steel container to take warm food in and I searched high and low for glass sealable lunch containers. Finally found some. She is all set to go.

Here in Delisle, the kids go to Kindergarten full days, every other day. 6 long hours. Even though she lives only a few blocks from the school, the children stay for lunch as they have 40 minutes instead of an hour for lunch. Did I mention, 6 LONG HOURS?

I know she will love being with kids all day. I know she will love recess and gym class. Art and music. Aw heck, she'll love it all. This girl has such a sweet spirit. She loves learning. She is imaginative, creative, excited about every single day. She loves gardens, flowers, birds and animals. She has an unending joy in the ordinary. Yesterday we were walking to get the mail from the post office and as we walked, hand in hand, she said "Mom, isn't this a wonderful day? And isn't Delisle just the best place to live? Aren't we lucky? The only thing that would be better was if Dad came with us." Like I said, joy in the ordinary.

I'll be watching her like a hawk. I will. I'll be looking for any sign, any little change, any loss of wonder, any lack of enthusiasm. I'll home school her in a minute if I find anything "off". But, I will support her teachers, help where I can and cross my fingers that this public school thing works for her.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy Day


Today we headed to the city for some grocery shopping. I planned every little bit of our meals this next week, hoping to lessen the wasted produce and reduce the weekly cost of food. I must say, my cart was not that full. I bought what I needed and what I planned.

There was a young couple and their mother in line ahead of us at the checkout. They were obviously of meagre means as they had reduced produce and all "no-name" brand food in their cart. They also had a package of diapers on the counter. What they didn't do was put the baby formula they had up on the conveyor belt so the cashier could add the cost to their bill. They left it on the bottom of the cart. The female pushed the cart through and the male stood directly in front of the formula so as to hide it from the cashier. I saw them do it. The mother knew that I knew. She told the man.

I knew they were stealing it. They knew I knew it. My husband knew it too. I looked at them. They looked at me. I said nothing and let them go. It was food for a baby. My husband mouthed to me "Should I pay for it?" To which I shook my head "N0." Later that night while I was having a shower I started to feel guilty. I think I did the wrong thing. I think I should have agreed to pay for it.

What would you have done?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Books for Children

Since school is about to start again for another year, and Athena's first year, I have been thinking a lot about books...and reading...and language skills. I am taken aback by the lack of quality books out there for little ones these days.

I recall purchasing some books from Scholastic through her pre-school program last year, only to end up tossing them out. Those David books by David Shannon come to mind. What a bunch of... well, I won't say here. Just recently I started to read one of four Junie B Jones books to Athena. Again, garbage. The grammar is horrible. I know they are trying to speak as a little kid would but how can one learn proper English if what they read is incorrect? Rubbish.

The books that Athena has been drawn to are old books. Published way back when. Long before public schools decided to go with Whole Language and drop phonics. Long before schools decided that perhaps we don't need so many English classes after all. I read somewhere, and I can't recall exactly where, possibly Dr. John Rosemond's column, that one school system in the United States has decided that no child will learn computer skills until they can read. How great would that be?

Some of Athena's favorites are the Billy and Blaze series by C W Anderson. Great books about a boy and his horse and the adventures they get into. She also loves Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. Again, old books. But I must say that her favorite book is The Children's Hour First Story Book. I picked up this book at a used book sale for $1. Each story has been read over and over again. The volume is a collection of some of the best Children's Literature available. It was published in 1963. The stories are good good stories. There are old fashioned values scattered throughout the pages. They are engaging and exciting. Excellent stuff.

Just the other day I was reading the Word to Parents at the front of the book. I must quote a very insightful part for you.

"Children, when given a fair chance, choose the best. This is a well established fact among educators today. Young children, exposed to both good reading and shoddy reading, really prefer the good. It must be readily available, of course, and it must ring true, be simply told, and be of genuine interest to them."

And further down it says, "The Children's Hour thus covers a wide range of boy and girl interests. Its readers will find fun and information and inspiration in imaginative folk and fairy tales, in heroic myths and legends, and in courageous tales of pioneers and days of long ago."

And lastly "Thoughtful parents realize the importance of surrounding their children with good literature and good art. They know their lasting values. They know the ideas and ideals children gain from them enrich their lives. They know that great literature and great art will expand a child's horizon, will open windows to a world of beauty, of ideas, of adventure, and of high achievement.. It is the hope of the editor that The Children's Hour will do just that and will lift its readers far above the average in character, intelligence and culture, as well as give them, during their impressionable years, one of the greatest joys in life- the love of reading when they are young."
Enough said.
So, do you think kids should read whatever they want, as long as they read? Or do you think otherwise?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day... Oh forget it

I can't even remember what day it is on the "New Me Program". I guess I'll quit titling my blog post with a number.
Things have been quite busy around here. In a good way. We have been enjoying the company of our families both immediate and extended. We have been hosting quite a few barbeque's and family sleep overs.
First, Paul's brother Gil and his wife Carol came to Delisle, from Regina, for one night. We ate dinner on the deck under our ever useful, oh so wonderful, keeps the bugs and sun out canopy. They have 3 adult children who still live at home so I think it was nice for them to come up. It was nice for us too. We hardly see them so it was great to catch up.

A few short days later, my brother Mike, his wife Kendra and their little gal Ella came for the day. They brought my Mom with them. Mike and Paul went golfing on our town golf course and the rest of us sat outside. We had dinner together and they headed back to Regina later that night.

We made a trip down to Regina (as you may have guessed, we are from Regina originally and that is where our families still live. Most of them anyway. Hi Lyse.) My sister Tamara and her husband Craig hosted a family BBQ/golf/ hot tub for the wee ones party. Oh it was great! The food was yummy, the company fantastic. It was hotter than you know where but as soon as the sun went down it was glorious. Athena had loads of fun in the hot tub, which they graciously allowed to get full of grass, mosquito spray and sunscreen, not to mention four little ladies. I wish I would have taken a picture but I didn't.

And just this past weekend, we had my other sister Keri, her husband Don, and their kids Katie, Nick and Eric for the night. Paul and Don golfed, as usual, and then we ate outside under the canopy of course and we had a fire in the fire pit, over which the boys and Paul roasted marshmallows. Eric who is 11, I think, played with Athena the entire time. Not unlike my other niece Olivia, from North Carolina, who also played with her non-stop when we were there last spring. It was so great to have them. It is so refreshing to be around genuinely good kids. These kids are really really nice and polite and kind. Good job Keri and Don.

Later in the evening the moon rose and it was so beautiful. It has been that way a lot lately. Again, no pictures but I will enclose one or two from a couple of nights back. I think it is called a Corn Moon in August. Am I mistaken? Anyway, Katie, Eric and I walked onto the 7th hole of our golf course which is right across the street and just stared at it. Amazing.

And alas, Paul is back to work. That means he goes downstairs to his office most of the day, unless he is making calls or out of town on business. And I am in an organizing/cleaning/de-cluttering way. I tackled both of our fridges today. I have a before and after of the main one. Time to get groceries? I am ashamed to mention that I haven't cleaned the downstairs fridge once in the 3 years we have lived here. Hey, it is mainly a beer fridge. How dirty can it be? I have more plans for cleaning in the days and weeks to come. I always thought fall cleaning was more expedient as everything gets so dirty and dusty and sandy in the summer.

"Super Fun Program", as Athena calls it, resumes tomorrow. Three days this week. Three days next. I'll be able to get back up into the yoga studio this week, which is good, cuz... I need it.I am starting to stiffen up already and I have only been off the mat for a week. I look forward to that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 22, 23, 24 Holidays

Today is actually Day 24. 24 days already.
Little progress has been made this week, if any.
Why? Why, indeed. My dear husband, Paul, is on holidays. On his first day I came downstairs for breakfast and he asked why I was dressed in my yoga clothing. "Because I want to practice today". "Oh", says he. "But I am on holidays." Humph.

As I told Kai in an email this night, he wants me to be with him every minute. Every minute that he isn't golfing, that is. Aah, to be a man on holidays. How come I don't get holidays? In fact, today he biked for an hour and a half, albeit, he took Athena with him. Then he had lunch. Athena wanted to watch Snow Buddies on TV and then he got some "love". After that he golfed for a couple hours, had a few beer on the deck, had a nap on the hammock, ate dinner and now is out with his old Firefighter buddies for wings and more beer. How sweet is that? Yes, he says I am the perfect wife. Disgruntled? Yes. Perfect? No. Anyway...

We have done a bit of bike riding this week. We went out of town on the grids and up some hills. I barely made it. Okay, truth be told, I walked halfway up the second hill with my bike. I actually had to spit when I got to the top. Totally disgusting, I know. At the top of the aforementioned hill stands the Delisle Cemetery. We have driven by many times but never stopped. Today we did. I walked down the rows of the dead. Dead way too soon. More than a handful of families lost children before they were 5 years old. More than a handful lost more than one child. Keep in mind, the number of people who live here now is less than 900. These deaths were recorded in the early 1900s. How sad. I further noticed that so many husbands and wives died in their 40's. Several were younger than Paul and I am. So sad. We are very lucky that we live in this time. Very lucky.

The weather has been on the cool side, especially for this time of year. We haven't broken 20 degrees in days. I have actually had to turn on the furnace in the mornings a few times because I kept the windows open all night. Furnace in August? Come on. I hesitate to complain because if you have read this blog for any amount of time, or my previous one, you would know that I am not a fan of hot weather. Thank goodness we didn't move to Olathe Kansas like we planned. I don't know how I would have handled that heat.

The mosquitoes are dreadful now too. We cannot risk walking outside without slathering our bodies with mosquito spray. My natural sprays only work for a short time now. We are using Family Off. We still have to re-apply often. Makes one want to stay inside. We eat organic food, use organic body products, drink Reverse Osmosis purified water and then put DEET all over ourselves. I know, sounds crazy, but is West Nile Virus worth getting? No. I thought not.

So, that is my abbreviated update to this series of posts on "The New Me". Next week Paul is back to work and Athena is back to her Summer Playground Program and so I shall resume taking care of myself.

I wish I got holidays...