Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The weather here has been very unstable. Hot and humid. There is a eerie feeling in the air. I hold my breath and wait for the storm. Lots of lightening. I hear the sound of distant thunder. The birds become still and silent. They are waiting just like I am. Waiting for the rains and the winds.
This is exactly how I am feeling now. On the weekend we are having our Annual BBQ for Paul's side of the family. My side comes in August. We do it every year. I am thinking it is about our 7th or 8th year. We like to gift our families with a nice relaxing time and lots and lots of nourishing food. It is something I look forward to and yet somehow, something I dread. Just like a summer storm.
I feel nervous and uneasy. I am busy from morning until night planning, preparing, baking, cooking. Cleaning, preparing rooms, thinking. Thinking about what has to be done. Thinking about how it will go. Hoping for good weather not only for the golfers (mostly the men) but also for the women who stay back at the house to talk, drink wine and catch up.
It works out well. We all have loads of fun. The food usually turns out great, if I do say so myself. This BBQ will be bittersweet. Paul's sister, one of my dearest people, is moving across the country in just a few short weeks. One of his brother's health is in question. His other brother won't be there as there is some minor feud with yet another brother going on. His mother, who suffers from Dementia, will not be here either. So this may be the last time we all get together. They are all staying the night. I will be dead tired but it is so worth all the effort. It always is.
Its just this "meantime". The calm before the storm. I wait with bated breath.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Frozen Grapes on Skewers
Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to be a wife and mother. When girls my age were thinking about being teachers or nurses or ballet dancers I was the only one who wanted to be a stay at home mom. I am a Cancer of course. What else would I be?
So I have been at this gig for a little over 27 years and not to be boastful or anything, but I am kind of good at it. And I still love my job! How many women can say that after almost 3 decades? There are areas that I have need of improvement to be sure and there are things that I still loathe to do. I love grocery shopping. I don't so much like meal planning. I love changing the beds and sleeping in them on that first night. I change my bed twice a week, that's how much I love a clean bed! I like ironing and cleaning the house. I like to cook, most days. I am not too much into baking, likely because I would rather eat potato chips than cookies. I have, however, started making my own bread. I find it more and more difficult to pay $3 for a single loaf when I can make two loaves for about 25 cents. I enjoy sewing too, which is why today I whipped up a couple of bread bags for my fresh out of the oven bread. Easy peasy. 5 minutes tops.
Speaking of sewing, I also made these summer pants for Athena out of a stained dress shirt of Paul's. They turned out quite good. I could have made the waist a tad bit smaller.
And now the real reason I started this post:
I made rhubarb pie last week and as is my custom, I send a little bit of whatever I make, (soup, cookies, pie,) across the street to share with our elderly neighbors. She called me the next day to tell me that in all her 71 years she had never tasted a pie so good and she did not want to have the baker go unnoticed. Very nice of her to say. She added I wouldn't mind having the recipe if you will give out your recipes. I chuckled to myself. Those days are long gone.
People used to entertain very often. Most women stayed at home and cared for their children and their homes. Women were known for their excellent sewing skills, knitting, gardening and their signature dishes. No longer. At least it is very uncommon around these parts.
Of course I would give her my "secret recipe" which I just pulled off of the Internet that very day. I did, however, use my Grandmother's pie crust recipe. And this made me think of her, Grandma Whilhelmine. The last thing she ever said to me before she died, the very last thing as I was leaving her hospital room was "Michelle, make sure you don't give anyone my Lima Bean recipe." To make this story even funnier, or more quaint I should say, is years later when cleaning out my recipe box, I found the "famous Lima bean recipe" and wouldn't you know it, it was neatly clipped out of a woman's magazine and glued squarely in the centre of a recipe card. :)And now, in her memory, with no disrespect to her intended, I share:
Lima Bean Casserole
2 pkgs frozen Lima beans (10 oz each)
2 cans of sliced canned mushrooms
I medium onion, minced
5 stalks celery cut into thin slices
Saute onion and celery in a half pound of butter (gasp!) until golden. Then add mushrooms. Sprinkle in 2 T flour and 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp pepper. Toss until well blended. Reduce heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream and stir until thickened. (You may need more cream, or milk) Stir in Lima beans and heat. Sprinkle with Paprika (as all casserole dishes back in the day were garnished).
PS I don't use all that butter, but maybe half of it. Works out the same.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sometimes the most interesting guests are those who are univited.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Jen's Potato Skins
We ate almost every meal, including breakfast, outside on the deck. It was good. So good. And today we "edited" the play centre, ran to the city quickly and has some wonderful barbecue for dinner. Athena played outside all weekend. She had a quick dip in the pool but it was way too cold. I wish I would have had the camera on hand to capture the look on her face when she plunged into the cool water. Oh well. We watched Parker eat the seeds we set out for him. He is getting used to us and we can get within a few feet of him and he remains where he is. Athena hopes he'll sit on her lap before summer is done. Perhaps he will.
Our dear Parker. He has lived with us since October.
And my personal favorite. Soup. Roasted Tomato Soup with homemade bread. The perfect lunch on the deck.
And just tonight, we had some grilled Beef Tenderloin steaks with risotto and grilled veg. Made by Paul. Accompanied by a nice Shiraz. What a way to end the weekend!
Friday, June 11, 2010
We have officially completed the home schooling for the year. We began back in March, which we were not anticipating. I scrambled to get some supplies and away we went. Things went pretty well if I do say so myself.
I began teaching her phonics and simple sounding out words. We moved on to the Bob Books. She really liked that she could figure out the words in a book. We finished all 12 books in the first series. A really good start! She knows all her letters, both to recognize and to print out. She knows the sounds of all the letters as well. Good stuff.
She also started a book in which she would draw a picture and then dictate a story to me, which I copied down for her. This was a good exercise. Every one of her stories began with the common "Once upon a time...". We frequently go back and read her stories. She feels a sense of pride to have had them recorded in a book.
We did some nature study as well. We did not/have not done as much as I would have liked but we have the next 12 weeks to do that. We planted a huge garden and started some seeds in the root viewer. They are very lanky and weak but we will see what happens with them over the coming month. We did some field trips and Auntie Jen took her to the Museum in Regina.
We worked almost all the way through the Handwriting Without Tears workbook. I have decided that I definitely do NOT like that book. The letters look odd to me. I am going to be using the D'Nealian script in the fall for sure. It lends itself to a smooth transition to handwriting and it just plain looks better.
We learned some math skills as well. She worked on her counting by ones and by tens. She learned to add and subtract small numbers. We did some measurement with a ruler and with recipes too.
She learned patterns and ordering and has a start on telling time. With a real clock!
We listened to a lot of classical music. She has a knack for picking out the violin in each piece. We did a lot of art as well.
We did some chapter book reading as well. We most recently finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. She absolutely loved that book.
For the coming weeks we will still be learning. I plan to do 20 minutes of reading every day using the instructional book Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. I would like to build her reading skills and confidence over the summer months. We'll be tending our garden and Daddy wants to do some fishing with her too. Daddy and Athena and Uncle Jordan and Abby are planning a weekend camping trip in July , which should be loads of fun. But most of all we'll just be lounging about the yard learning from nature and just letting her be a kid.
I have submitted my formal Education Plan to the Board of Education for the fall. I am just waiting to hear back. I suspect there will not be a problem. I have a lot of work to do this summer with the planning of First Grade. I have all the materials I need, save for the library resources, and now I just want to organize my thoughts and the lessons plans so we can have a smooth running academic year.
I'll be sitting in the shade on my deck drinking copious amounts of wine, I mean lemonade, and enjoying the summer, if it ever decides to show its face around these parts.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Not sure what this is. Saw him at Diefenbaker Lake yesterday.
I think it may be a Cormorant.
Ring Necked Dove
A wasp nest the neighbors found under thier deck and gave to Athena.
This is just a small sample of the birds that have been hanging around the feeders
and wading near the shore. We have an abundance of songbirds here in
the Summer time. I hope to get more and better shots in the coming weeks.