Friday, July 29, 2011

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom where you are planted. Sounds like a good concept. I don't know where I heard that phrase but I am thinking it was somewhere in my old Christian days. Bloom where you are planted. I like that. To me it means make the best out of any situation that you find yourself in. It means to flourish, be your best, do your best with where you are, with what you have, with whatever comes your way. Yes, I do like that phrase.

But this is not what this post is about. It is about coloring and creativity. Yes, you read that right. Who hasn't heard a million times "Mom, will you color with me?" And who among you hasn't colored your fair share of Winnie the Pooh, Carebears, My Little Pony and the like? And really, who doesn't like to color from time to time? (Lyse, I know you do) So I am going to let you in on a little secret...

My friend Heather has offered, for free, a printable coloring page just for grown ups although older kids may like to color one too. Let me instruct you on one of the ways this thing is done.

#1 Put some Josh Groban on the CD player. (I was going to say stereo. How dated is that?)

#2 Pour yourself a glass of Merlot, or any other grape varietal that you prefer.

#3 Get out your best pencil crayons or markers. Heck, you can even use crayons.

#4 Spend then next hour or so just doing this simple, lovely thing and really enjoy it.

I sure did. You can find the printable here on her wonderful blog Beauty that Moves.
She also sells some of her "already colored in" artwork. I have two pieces myself. So on these dog days of summer when you feel hot and sticky and uninspired, head on over and check it out. I dare you not to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Berry season. I'll bet you are all eating a lot of these.

I just had to share this easy summer recipe.
Put all you see here in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
(thinly sliced lemons, peppers, green onion, grape tomatoes and thyme sprigs)
Toss to coat. Heap on a baking sheet.
Add raw shrimp that has been tossed in same bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper
and some paprika.
Nestle shrimp in vegetable mixture. Bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.

Serve over pasta or rice.
Add grilled chicken on the side if your daughter is not a fan of shrimp.
She did, however, eat these as they are so tender.
Easy peasy for a hot summer night.
I suppose you could do it all on the grill too.
No need to heat up the oven.

My first CSA share from the Hutterites.
Can you almost taste those creamed turnips?
I know, a lot of plastic but they sell at the markets
so they bag everything.

Don't you just love buying from work at home moms shops?
Look how pretty the packages always are.

I love all of these products and feel such relief that I don't have to spray
chemicals all over our bodies each time we venture outside.
The Hey You Shoo spray works so well!
I am one happy Mama.

Another victim of last weeks storm.

Our first "nature drive" (remember that girls?) of the year was quite good.
A young buck Antelope was our first sighting.

A ruddy duck with tail feathers on display.

Moo. They look so gentle and sweet.
I have always wanted to touch a cow.
I know. Weird.

And take a look at these beauties.

And again.

Girls, this is huge. Your father has admitted he needs reading glasses.

An odd cloud formation out the front window.

Out for an impromptu lunch with the whole family, less Eden, Jess and Dann,
This is one of the benefits of Jen and Jordan's recent move
much closer to home. Yay!

Little punks.

And now I am off to Humboldt for a few days to check out Jen and Jords new place
 while Paul is in training in Kansas City.
Then back on Thursday and off to Regina for a family
BBQ/ announcement on Saturday.
Then, I am staying home for the rest of the summer
because, truth be told, I haven't even
started on my homeschooling plans yet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garden Tour

I don't know if I told you this already but I planted mainly pink flowers this year in my gardens. Lots of different kinds of roses. Pinks, stock, geraniums, impatiens, nicotiana. All lovely shades of pink. I meant to take pictures of them yesterday. They looked so beautiful yesterday. Maybe it was the morning dew or maybe the way the light was filtering through the trees. I don't know what it was but I should have taken the pictures yesterday.

Oh well, I took them this morning. Allow me to show you around my garden.

These are my impatiens. This is the first year I grew double impatiens. They look like little tiny roses.

This is my favorite rose bush. Its blooms are prolific. It is called Morden Blush.

Another first for me, Ivy Geraniums. Reminiscent of Italian balconies.

Ferns in a shady spot given to me by my daughter Jill. They were growing profusely in her back yard.

My front annual flower bed. Last year in Victoria we saw a bed entirely planted with stock. The smell is so lovely and it looked so nice I wanted to plant one myself.

Tumbler tomatoes, specifically grown to be planted in pots. We have had a few already. Beautiful lush basil to the right. I was going to harvest it yesterday but decided to wait for today.

Peppers. I have grown chilis and jalapenos but never sweet peppers.

 You'll notice that I have all of my houseplants out under the canopy. They like a little fresh air and sunshine so I bring them out each summer for a month or two. Really helps them grow.
And on the canopy there, those are leaves from my birch. You could find them on the birch tree normally but today they were all over the side of my house and stuck to the windows too. Go figure.

So, how do you like my beautiful pink garden? Not so nice you say?

Well, that is what we woke up to this morning. Minor by comparison to those who lost trees and had flooding. There was a huge storm with unofficial report of a tornado last night in Delisle. I have never seen anything like it. To make matters worse, our roofers finally showed up yesterday, completed on section of roof but decided it was not necessary to put the cap on the shingles. Needless to say we had water dripping out of the attic into the hallway upstairs. The garage also flooded due to the 5 inches of rain that fell in 15 minutes and the water came into our third level. We spent about 5 minutes in the stairwell just in case. And then... Paul got the roofers air nailer(electric), went onto the roof (yes in a thunderstorm. Do not try this at home.) and tried to nail up some shingles so the roof would stop leaking. It worked and he is still alive. Then his pager started to go off for multiple fires and downed power lines.

But we are all fine and the damage was minimal. I have been cleaning up outside almost all day already. And as I said this morning to a friend, I have learned to take these things lightly, shrug my shoulders and move on. I attribute that, in part, to my yoga practice.

And now, Athena is at her summer playground program, Paul is in the city giving some training to a group of Hutterites and I don't know whether to practice yoga or plop myself down on the deck and have a cold beer. I should enjoy this lull while I can because I just noticed at the bottom of my computer screen that we have been issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for this afternoon. Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

That Girl

This girl is something else.
She is never bored.

She makes her own fun.
All of the time.

She talks to herself in the little games she creates.
She is a whiz at animal sounds.
She knows a lot about animals.
Her stories often begin "Mom, I gotta tell you something..."

She sings all day long.
Or hums.
Or makes up stories.

She day dreams.
She thinks.
She imagines.
She is a truly happy child.
In fact, she says she is the luckiest girl ever.

I guess she is right!

(All of the photos above were taken on the same day as she moved around the yard after dinner.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Grandmother

I have been thinking a lot about my Grandmother lately.
I don't know why, I just have been.
Please allow me to tell you about her.

She was born in 1914 in Kendal, Saskatchewan. I think she was the 4th of 11 children. Or maybe it was the 11th of 40 children. Hard to tell way back then. Her parents were immigrants from what was once Italy but was taken over by Austria. The last name was Righetti. Doesn't sound too Austrian to me.

She married my Grandpa in her early twenties. Both he and she were school teachers in rural Saskatchewan. They made their way to Regina where they had two daughters, one being my mother. There they lived their whole lives.

She was a very fancy woman. She always wore dresses except when we were on the family vacations at the beach. She always wore a hat when she went out of the house. She always wore high heels, even in the house. I can still remember the sound of her shoes on the linoleum floor as she moved around the kitchen. She had a collection of purses too.( Must be where my sister got the idea as she has more purses than anyone I know. I have three. One handmedown that she gave me, one for summer one for winter.) In them she carried a comb, an aspirin and a tissue.

She was a good cook. Like most women did back then, everything was made from scratch. I was the lucky recipient of her recipe collection. Almost all of the recipes had side notes like 3 Tbsp of cocoa (2 is okay). And some cookie recipes have quantities and costs and the year written on the back. I'll never get rid of these. I remember all of us Grand kids, both my family and my aunts family getting together for family dinners. We would eat so much that our bellies ached. All of the adults would go to the front room for drinks and coffee and all of the kids would go to the den after the meals. We always had pimiento stuffed olives and celery with cheez whiz.

She was very strict. We daren't cross her, or heaven forbid, talk back. I don't know what she would have done if we did though. We wouldn't even try to test her to find out. She expected children to behave at home and in public. No difference. And behave we did.

Her house as always sparkling clean. She had a little bottle with a pierced lid like a salt shaker to sprinkle water on her ironing. She had a routine. One day was wash day, one was baking, one was the day she would go downtown. She used the very hottest water to wash dishes with. Scalding hot. She used Ivory dish liquid. I bought some a few years back and was disappointed that the scent had changed. She used Crest toothpaste and Promani hand lotion.

My Grandma had a jewellery box full to the brim of "expensive" jewellery. Later we found out it was not expensive at all. When we went to visit, my sisters and I inevitably would ask "Grandma, can we look in your jewellery box?" She always said yes. We would also get to play "office" at her desk. She had a desk area with the neatest telephone attached to the wall. Her sewing machine was stored under the cabinet which was her desk. Fun stuff.
When I was a young mother with three little girls, she would take the cab to our house every Thursday and help me out. She would play with them and read to them and always take a nap in the afternoon. She was still as strict with my children as she was with me. And they adored her. After supper, Paul would drive her back home. In fact, he gave her her first ride in a pick up truck and to the dump her one an only time. Like I said, she was very fancy.

She taught me about gardening and gave me the love of it. My Grandpa grew Gladiolus and she had Mums and Lilies. She taught me to make plum dumplings. I recall her asking for my meatloaf recipe, which I considered an honor.

She and my Grandpa would always spend the evening in the front room having coffee, reading the mail and listening to the news. She taught me that it was not necessary to talk to my Grandpa all evening, just being together was the gift. Years after my Grandpa died I was visiting her and she was looking for something in her bedroom and we were talking. She picked up a little green angel whose wing had been repaired and tears fell down her cheeks. She told me that Grandpa had bought that for her many years ago, back when money was tight. She chided him for doing so, telling him it was a waste of money. And now, it brought tears to her eyes.

I never did appreciate how hard it must have been for her after he died. I was 19 years old when he died. I figured he was old and she lived with him a long time. Old people die. How wrong I was. She loved him. He loved her. I never saw them hold hands or kiss. They just didn't do that in front of people. But make no mistake, they loved.

When my Grandma was dying of cancer in the hospital only 6 years after my Grandpa died, I remember the very last thing she ever said to me. She spoke of how proud she was of me and of Paul's new job and of the kids, but the very last thing she ever said to me was "Don't give anyone my Lima bean recipe."
It is true. Seems funny now, especially since I have that recipe and it is not hand written but neatly clipped out of a woman's weekly magazine.

She died Christmas morning, 1990. She was 76.