About Me

My Photo
There are times that I really do feel like The Little Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe. I even call our little house "The Shoe". I am a stay at home mom. I do really think that was my calling. My kids are 13, 10, 10, (yes they are twins) and 5. Our life is an adventure, most times it really is a beautiful adventure.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Our Wedding Renewal


    I realize as I have been reminiscing about my wedding renewal that it was now almost two years ago, and I never did share anything about it.  Sorry, my bad.  It was magical.  So now that I have neglected to share the details, I will do so now... better late than never right?


    Back twenty- two years ago when we got married we were dirt poor.  We were young, and we were poor (not that anything other than the "young", thing has changed).  I did not realize that not having the money for the things that you wanted didn't mean that you had to make do.  I did not realize that I could have creatively gotten almost exactly what I wanted.  I say all of this, and yet the reality is that if my original wedding had been fairy tale perfect, I would not have felt the need to have a do over twenty years later.


    I  we knew exactly what we wanted for a theme this time.  Our best family vacations always involve the ocean.  The ocean in it's self is like a dream for me.  Even thinking about it makes me feel peaceful.
We knew that this had to be a beach theme renewal.  We began by speaking to  Casey Trudeau at Trudeau Park.  http://www.trudeaupark.com  He made everything so easy.  Honestly that is the place to go for your wedding/ parties!  They were so obliging, and helped us with everything effortlessly.


    Once we had our theme, we I began to collect what we needed.  Instead of flowers for centre pieces I went with hurricane lamps from IKEA.  The lamps were filled with shells from the dollar store, and shells were scattered on the tables.  I made my own bouquets with Costco flowers and pilfered hydrangeas ( I stole them from my Mom's garden).  I couldn't find matching dresses for my girls, so I made them.  I bought tropical looking planters and borrowed two more from my friend Julie to decorate the beach.  It looked exactly the way that I wanted it to look but was on a really tight budget.


    We were able to renew our wedding vows for under four thousand dollars!  Essentially we had a second wedding, the way we should have done it the first time.  We told Casey what we wanted to spend for our meal, and he made some suggestions.  The first time around my mom and I made all of the food for the wedding.  It was stressful preparing all of that food,  having the meal catered was not!  
Honestly dealing with Trudeau's was an amazing experience.


    Our ceremony was beautiful and personalized to who we are.  We had a soloist sing us down the sandy isle.  Her voice was like an angel.  She sang Gowan's "Dedication", a song that is our song.  It was beautiful.  We stood with the lake as our backdrop, with the cool sand under our feet.  We were surrounded by the people that we loved most in the world, our family and close friends.  It sounds goofy to say, but I could honestly feel their love radiating around us.  


    After our ceremony and pictures we walked up to the building for our dinner.  It was so beautiful inside.  The night before my sister and Mom and girlfriends had come and helped us decorate.  I laughed so hard, but honestly with that group of amazing women how could I not have the best time?  I knew that the building looked beautiful, and yet when I saw it for the first time after the ceremony, it took my breath away.


    You know that saying "Dance Like No One is Watching"?  For our dance I did that.  I didn't have to pretend that no one was watching, because I was surrounded by love.  Every person there knows me, they know that I'm a goof, but they love me any way.  I could dance with abandon because everyone there loves me.  There is something to be said for being surrounded in love.


    So that's our renewal in a nutshell.  It was beautiful, if I do say so myself.  It was everything that I dreamed it would be and more.  I find myself longing to go back and do it all again.  There is something to be said for being surrounded in love, it does a soul good!



Now that I've shared the nice part, stay tuned for the  make you pee your pants part....

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Long Happy Marriage


    Yesterday I traveled to Scarborough to see my cousin John and his lovely wife Barb renew their wedding vows after 30 years of marriage.  John is actually my second cousin, but he was a surprise late in life baby for my Aunt Mary (my Nana's sister... who I adored) and Uncle Willie.  He is really closer in age to my first cousins and I,  than with my Mom and her brothers, so I have always lumped him in with them.  He also happened to be one of my favourite cousins.  He likes to tell me I was a brat, and he could be right, but I thought he was awesome.  I was so complimented that he and Barb chose to include me in their special day.
    The minister spoke about the difference between a new just married love and the worn in comfy love of long marriage (ok she said it slightly more eloquently than that).  It got me thinking, and it really rang true for me.  Christopher and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage this August.  Not all of those years have been happy, to be honest it was really touch and go for many of those years.
    When we first fell in love, we actually fell in like/ lust.  It then became we were in love with being in love.  When we first moved in together we had fun playing house.  We were both very different people, each unable / unwilling to change or bend.  This was all well and good until the arrival of our first child.  That was the time we had to put on our big kid pants and focus not on our old selfish ways, but to put that beautiful little boy first.  This is where the cracks in our "love" began to show.  We were not changing together.
    Now 22 years later I can tell you a hard won lesson.  A loving, good marriage is not easy, and love alone cannot see it through.  Ours love now is a deeper, almost spiritual love.  We are no longer in lust
 (oh don't get me wrong there is still lust, it's just no longer the pillar of our relationship).  My love for Christopher is very close in depth to the love I feel for my children.  For those of you who know my fierce love for my children, you will appreciate what I mean.  Our love that we have now was not easily attained, we worked hard for it.  We fought dirty for it, and we won.  I now no longer take that love for granted, I cannot let it slide.
     22 years ago we were 22 year old children.  We were both so very different.  We came from very different backgrounds.  We were night and day.  They say that opposites attract, but oil and water are opposites and I think we all know what they do.  In the end we both had to change.  You know sometimes people say that old married couples begin to look the same, I think to some extent that is true.  You change and become more alike.  Our "opposites" are no longer "opposites", but instead complimentary.  We are still different people, with different personalities, but we make it work.  We are like that puzzle where after all the struggle to find the right pieces, we are that perfect connection of sky and water.  We meet in the middle perfectly, but are still so different.  We are different but have the same morals, the same life goals.  I didn't become him, he didn't become me... we met in the middle to become "us".
   A good marriage is a work of art.  It takes hard work and struggle.  In the end it is worth all the fights, the sweat and the tears.  The reward is being married to my best friend.  I'm really proud of us.  The reward is not just a beautiful life together, but we are showing our children what a good, loving marriage looks like.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Losing Gabe's Spirit of Kindness



    I've taken a little while to process this one.  I wanted to share with you how I feel, but I wanted to make sure that I gave myself enough time to make sure I used the right words, and not the words of hurt that I would have used if I'd posted this in February.
    Every year for the last 20 years on February 2 we celebrated Gabriel.  The first ten years were filled with parties and gifts for him.  The last ten have been about remembering him, and what a gift he was.  In 2005 we began the "Gabe Lindsay Spirit of Kindness Award".  I attaching the links, so that those of you have been readers from the beginning don't have to re-read, and those of you who are new can see what I have written about this in the past.





    When you lose a child your biggest terror is that the rest of the world will forget them.  Honestly it is absolutely terrifying.  It still is.  I think about that smart, funny boy and all the things that he could have given to the world, all the things he could have been, and it was all stolen.  The only way his name will ever live on is through us, and by us sharing who he was.  The Spirit of Kindness Award was the way that we thought that we could continue his legacy while respecting who he was.  Originally we had these huge hopes that word of this amazing week long celebration of kindness would catch on Canada wide (foolish optimists that we were), in the end we were happy that the children of our school would benefit.
     The first year we celebrated the Gabe Lindsay Spirit of Kindness Award it was all still very raw.  Gabe had only been gone 39 days.  The principal at the school at the time, I got the impression that she was not sure what to do to handle the death of a student.  In response, the school sanitized him, erased him from the classroom, erased him from the school.  I honestly hold nothing against her (I did), death is a scary thing, especially I see now with the benefit of distance when you are in charge of almost 400 children.  In her defense she allowed us to celebrate the first "Gabe Lindsay Spirit of Kindness Award".  She was also kind enough to allow us to play the slide show from his funeral.  That year the school awarded my best friend's daughter, who also happened to be Gabe's friend the award.  Over the years the award began to look like we had envisioned.  It became a week long celebration.  Class acts of kindness were done and shared at the final celebration that ended on Gabe's birthday.  We even had the Peterborough television station come and do a piece on the award.  It was exactly what we wanted!
     Over the last few years the "Spirit of Kindness Week" began to feel like it was too much of an effort, not to us, but to the school.  I began to feel like we fighting to get the teachers excited.  It felt like we were asking them to do one more tiring thing that they had no time to do.  I suppose we were asking a lot, but honestly I become blinded by my vision.  To me Kindness is something that we should all promote.  It should not be an effort.  It is something that my family lives and breathes, and so I have the childish expectation that everyone should feel the same.  I truly feel that if we treated everyone with kindness that there would be no bullying.  I honestly feel that bullies are really children/ adults who are hurting inside and striking out is the only way they know how to express their pain.  Kill them with kindness is my remedy to everything.
    Since Gabe's death we have had to fight to get everything that we wanted for him.  We fought the cemetery to allow us to decorate his grave.  The caretaker would throw everything we put up there in the garbage, knowing that it was a child's grave, a child' grave that was still freshly dug.  At one trip to visit the cemetery he actually verbally assaulted me, telling me that although he felt bad for our family, we were making a mess, and this all had to STOP.  His idea of a mess was putting flowers and toys at his grave.  We begged to plant a garden on his grave, but we were told that was against the cemetery rules.  We begged to be allowed to sod or put grass seed down on his grave, and were told no.  It was endless.  Eventually after writing a letter in the local newspaper we spoke to the head of the cemetery board and we were allowed to put grass seed on the sandy area that was our baby's grave.  Every time the care taker would cut that new grass he would scalp it.  We began to beg him to allow us to cut that area.  Now many people at the same cemetery have solar lights up there for their loved ones and flags and things that do not take away from the peace of the cemetery, but allow people to feel like they are stilling caring for their loved ones, even after death.
    We wanted to change our street name to "Gabe Lindsay Lane", there are only 2 houses on our street.  On our first meeting we were told flat out no, it would set a precedent and they did not want that to happen.  We set about to obtain written permission from our one neighbour.  We investigated the reason why our road had named "Roscoe Road" turns out, no one knew.  We took pictures of the poor condition of our street.  This time we went to the second meeting with ammunition.  We offered further to pay the costs involved in changing the street name.  Now our road is called "Gabe Lindsay Ave".  Once again we had to fight tooth and nail for our Gabe.
     After a while you become warn down and tired of having to fight for everything.  It would appear that we are not the people who are afforded breaks.  Sometimes you just have to preserve yourself and admit defeat, wave the white flag of surrender.  That is what we did this year for Gabe's award.
     The writing on the wall for the death of Gabe's award came early in the school season.  The Board of Eduction does not want to have memorials anymore.  Apparently at a local Belleville school a child's parents built a butterfly garden in their daughter's memory.  This butterfly garden is world acknowledged for it's role in helping to save the monarch butterflies.  This is a place that the other children can come and see beauty, and learn about butterflies.  Apparently one of this little girl's friends has been traumatized by this garden, and refuses to even walk near it.  Because of one sensitive child, everyone else must be penalized, and the other children robbed of beauty and the parents robbed of the ability to continue their child's name.  It seems so unfair.
    This year Christopher and I asked if we could sit down with the principle and vice-principle of our school and discuss this year's award.  We also asked if they could open the invitation to the teachers at the school, because we really wanted their input.  We wanted to know if we were asking too much.  We met after school in January.  Only one teacher came, and this was her first year teaching full time at our school.  She was unfamiliar with the award.  Honestly I bit the inside of my mouth, trying not to cry.  It was heart breaking that this award meant so little to our school.  Ideas were suggested that perhaps the school felt it was unkind to celebrate this award of ten years, because it would be unkind to the memory of little Emily Trudeau, who tragically passed away this September.  "Shouldn't we be kind without being prompted to" was another response of the teachers.  In the end the result of the meeting was as we suspected, it was just too much work.  Our poor principle.  I so felt for her, she was in a terrible place, she wanted to help us, but to also respect the wishes of her staff. She suggested that maybe we could have this one last award, and then re-evaluate later.  Her face was full of anguish.  We thanked everyone, but knew when to stop beating our dead horse.  Our award was gone.   Our chance to create change and to have at least our small community remember our beautiful boy was gone.  The funny thing is that in my opinion we have some the kindest, most caring teachers at our school.  I know that some buy milk tickets and give the to children in need in their class, I know of one teacher who supplies his students with supplies that he has used his own personal money to pay for.  We have amazing teachers, and yet they did not want to support this award any longer.
    Christopher and I came home from that meeting and were very silent.  We both knew what was coming, and yet still we were shocked.  I quietly went into my room, shut the door and sobbed.  It felt like a death.  After the kids all were tucked into bed we sat together and held each other.  Thank God we have each other.  I sobbed again.  I was full of grief because I had lost the ability to allow our Gabe's name to live on.  So many people think that after ten years, our grief should be gone.  There are those that say that they think of us, and I know they do, but they have the gift to briefly thinking of our loss and then go on with their lives.  The only comparison for losing a child I can think of is that of an amputation.  When you have a limb amputated you are in agony for the first while.  You need to learn how to live without that limb, learn how to do things that used to be easy.  Over time the pain of the amputation goes away, but you still have fantom pains, and you still have that missing limb.  That is how I would describe the death of our child.  Over the years the pain has subsided.  There are times when the pain of missing him is almost unbearable, but it is no longer that agonizing pain that it was at first.  We have had to learn how to live without Gabe, and that was not an easy road.  We have created a new life without him physically here, but like that amputation we are very aware that he is not here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Our Community Re-Use Day


    Now I don't mean to brag or anything, but I am pretty sure that I live in the best town ever!  
This little town of mine is everything you could want for a place to raise your family, and I'm told to retire to, but I'm quite a ways off (who am I kidding, by the time we get Elly out of high school we will be to senile to know if we enjoy retirement).  Our's is a community that comes together in times of crisis.  It's that place that when I have gone to the grocery store, only to discover that I have no wallet in my purse at the check out, the cashier says "Hey Tristan, just bring it by later", or someone behind me says "I can pay for that, and you can just pay me later."  Imagine what would have happened in the big faceless cities.
    Now that I've bragged a bit, I wanted to share a genius idea that I'm pretty sure our Community Development Manager, Rachelle Hardesty has come up with.  It's a "Good's Exchange".  Basically it's like going to a yard sale, but instead of paying you just walk away with your item(s) for free.  It's an opportunity for people to clean out their attic's, garages, or basements and de-clutter, but knowing that someone else has a use for it.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out and about shopping for their new treasures.  Not only is it an amazing way to de-clutter your home, but it's an amazing way to strike up conversations and get to know the people in this amazing community.
    This May 16 (that's this week-end), for those of you living in Tweed, put out your usable items, mark them "free".  Walk around the neighbourhoods, and speak to the people you see, get to know your community neighbours.  I would like to take this one step further and ask that the people in my community who take advantage of this, please send me pictures of your best finds and I will put them on the blog.  Heck, maybe I can try to put together a prize for the best picture.  

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day / Mother load of Insecurities



    Happy Mother's Day!  So often you hear people complain about Mother's Day.  "Shouldn't you be thankful for your Mom everyday, why do you need a special day?"  While this is a good question, the answer is we take our mother's for granted.  We see them as "ours", as possessions and not people.  We understand as adult's that our Mother's are "People", but honestly, I think we all carry that childish notion down deep that they are our possession.


    Mother's Day is that one day in which we reflect on how lucky we are to have our mothers.  It's a time of sadness for some who have lost Mother's or who never had Mother's for which they ever felt blessed to have.  It is a day of reflection and thankfulness.



    Recently I saw a video clip that a friend had posted on their facebook.  It was a church group who asked mother's about how they thought that they were as mothers.  Most of them worried that they were not patient enough, did not give as much as they could.  All of these mother's were crying because they felt so inadequate.  I could so relate to their words.  Sometimes I lie awake at night playing the day over and over again in my head.  Why did I yell?  I could have used kinder words.  Had my thoughtless words caused them damage.  I wanted to be a zen mother, a gentle mother, but somehow I kept getting in the way of my own goal.  After they had interviewed the women, they showed them a video of them asking their children what they thought of their mothers.  Their answers were beautiful, " I don't think she knows how good a job she does", "My Mom is beautiful", "She makes me feel better when I am sad".  All of the mother's were shaken to the core to see their children's answers.  They had been expecting their children to mirror their own insecurities, but instead they mirrored their intents as mothers.


    Today my children were so excited to shower me with their love and with the gifts they had made for me at school.  Two of their teachers had done similar things.  I was so touched at their answers, at how they saw me.  I saw my love for them reflexed back at me, like a mirror.  All the things that I wanted to be as a mother, I saw.  All of my insecurities became transparent.  
    Riley's page struck me the most.  She was asked what her mother's favourite things are and her first answer was "my dad", then "us kids", then "family".  At first I wondered about "my dad", did she feel that I chose him over them?  There were the old insecurities trying to rear their head.  When I thought about it, it made me happy.  She saw how much I love her father, and enjoy his company.  I am modeling a healthy, loving relationship for my children.  I can only hope that they will find partners who compliment them as much as their father and I do each other.  
    Mother's Day is only once a year, but that one day is a gift in itself.  For one day we feel our children's love.  For that one day we can put aside our insecurities and see ourselves in their eyes.  Today I felt like I was doing a good job.  Today I felt like the Mother I want to be.  I do not pretend that I will not torture myself at night, for ways I could have done better, but I think that desire to be the mother that my children deserve, is part of the job.  
    My children gave me a beautiful gift today.  Today they showed me a mirror as to how they see me, and it was beautiful.  It gave me the strength I can carry with me forward to those days when they tell me "they hate me", or the days they have temper tantrums.  

Happy Mother's Day


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Fried Cauliflower - YUM



    Last summer I thought I was very smart, I bought up the cauliflower while it was reasonably priced.  I cut it into small bits, blanched and flash froze it (I tossed it into boiling water for a second or so, then lay out the cauliflower on a baking sheet and let it freeze).  Unfortunately, although my plan was well thought out, the cauliflower was soggy when it came around to cooking it.  I kind of wanted to cry.  I had spent hours feeling like mother earth, laying down stores for the winter, only to have it blow up in my face.


    I am not one to easily admit defeat.  My poor husband can attest to this fact!  I took lemons and made lemonade (not literally, although technically I could).  I took that sad, soggy, albino cauliflower and made it delicious once again (although probably not as health conscious).

    I began by cutting the cauliflower into small florets, and put them into a bowl.  I then heated up my beautiful best friend, my cast iron frying pan.  I put in a generous amount of butter and let it melt.  Honestly at this point I feel like I am writing erotica.  Next I poured in a small amount of the florets.  I let them brown up a little, then added a sprinkle of onion power and a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and fresh ground pepper.  In a perfect world, I should have cooked some nice diced onions and a clove of garlic, but hey.  I let the florets get nice and brown, then tossed them into a casserole and started all over again.


    The almost final step is to add some finely grated old cheddar cheese (or honestly any kind of cheese that you might like) and if you are so lucky as to have it, everything tastes better with real bacon bits.  If you are serving right away you don't have to put them in a casserole, they actually held the heat really nicely.  If there's a little gap in cooking and serving, they can go in a casserole and warm up really nicely.


    So there you have it, my newest favourite side dish.

Tweed & Company Theatre

I sure hope they don't mind me stealing this.....
Don't give up... 'cause you have friends
Don't give up... you're not the only one
Don't give up... no reason to be ashamed
Don't give up... you still have us
Don't give up... we're proud of who you are
Don't give up... you know it's never been easy 
Don't give up ...
'Cause there's a place there's a place where we belong
Peter Gabriel

    A year ago I thought that perhaps I should be singing this song to The Iana Theatre.  Here was this group of amazingly talented twenty somethings, trying to make their mark in the world of theatre.  I still stand behind my statement that Alex Bell was truly one of the best plays that I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few lavish productions in Toronto.  I felt so badly for them.  They had this wonderful dream of creating Canadian productions, something that is in short supply in this country.  It broke my heart to go to one of their productions and see empty seats.  I wanted to walk around and smack people and tell them to get their butts into that theatre, they didn't know what they were missing.  "Don't you know that this group of young people have amazing talent,  go on in try it, you'll like it!"
    It was a little over a year ago that Iana Theatre announced that they were taking a one year hiatus.  I thought this was the writing on the wall.  I felt like this group of talented and enthusiastic new comers were going to wave the white flag of surrender.  The theatre is a difficult life.  It involves travel and wearing your pride on your sleeve.  It involves rejection, who among us can deal with rejection?  For most of us rejection eats away at the soul.  I thought this was it, and it truly broke my heart.  It broke my heart because I felt like we as a community had let them down, we had not supported them, encouraged them.  We had destroyed their ambitious dreams.....
     Earlier this year I was delighted when I saw the notice that Iana had dissolved, but had metamorphasized into tweedandcompany.com .  YAY, those kids have moxi!  They licked their wounds, they regrouped and have come back ready to take a bite out of the world.
    Last night I had the pleasure of seeing "Tweed & Company's" first show... "All You Need Is Love".  That group have the most beautiful singing voices.  Their harmonies set the hair on the back of my neck up.  I am always so blown away by Tricia Black's pipes.  She comes up on that stage ready for comedy.  She puts on funny voices and does goofy characters, and then this huge voice comes out.  Tricia could easily be a recording artist.  I was delighted by the beautiful voice, and even more than that, I was delighted to see our community come out and support them.  It was almost a sold out house! Finally, maybe you don't really know what you've got 'til it's gone.
    Not only has this amazingly talented group come back, they have come back with a vengeance.
Stalkyard Hurts, one of their original productions has made it!  They performed at famed Lee's Palace in Toronto, and this July they are playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  What's the Fringe Festival?  It's this amazing opportunity in Toronto to see 150 shows in 12 days.  The tickets are maximum $12 for adults.  To put that into perspective for you, basically what you would pay for a movie theatre ticket.  $12 theatre tickets are pretty much unheard of.  In terms of volume, they sell over 60, 000 tickets in 12 days!  YEAH Tweed & Company!!!!  The masses are going to see and love, our Tweed & Company.  My only hope is that they don't love them so much that that talented group of twenty somethings forget where they came from.


    What I am saying is that if you have the opportunity to see this play, go.  I'm including my original blog about this play for you to peak at.



    Incase you hadn't figured it out, I'm really proud of our little company that could.  I can't wait to see what amazing things their future holds.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Our First Aid Experience / PUSH for Life


    Many years ago when Christopher and I were still engaged we took a first aid class together.  It was very dry and very serious.  These were life saving measures and there was no fun to be had.  Although it was very dry, I have to say that I walked away from it feeling like I could handle a medical emergency until the ambulance arrived, should the situation ever arise.  It included learning emergency first aid and the heimlich maneuver, but no CPR.


    For the last 12 years I have been talking about wanting to take a CPR course.  I know 12 years, because that is the length of time it has been since my father had his massive heart attack.  It's one of those events that is vivid in my mind, no matter the passage of time.  Dad at that time was working shift work.  It was October 2 when I got a call from Mom, could I come over and take Dad to the hospital, he wasn't feeling well, it looked like the flu.  I was in pjs and pretty grungy.  Gracie was just just over a year.  I showered, changed, and then went to pick up mom and dad.  I was shocked when I saw Dad.  It rapidly became apparent that he did not have the flu, and I should have come right away instead of cleaning up.  He was grey.  We helped him to the car, basically we carried him to the car.  The whole while I'm suggesting that it would be better to go by ambulance, but he said he wouldn't go to the hospital by ambulance.  I don't recall ever driving so fast as I did that night.  Every so often Dad's head would feebly peek up from the back seat to tell me to slow down.... I ignored him.  That night in the sterile, white hospital we didn't know if Dad would make it through the night.  I'm not sure I have ever prayed so much in my life as I did that night.  Mom and I sat huddled and afraid in the waiting room, waiting until they could get him stabilized.  He lost most of the bottom of his heart.
    Last year Dad received a defibrillator/ pacemaker.  It sits like a pack of gum under the skin of his chest.  It's a visible reminder of Dad's heart damage.  That visible reminder of Dad's weakened heart was the final push that sent me in the direction of CPR training.


    I am a member of my school's School Council (it's what we call our PTA, but I honestly like PTA better).  We as a school council decided to host four week First Aid / CPR sessions that anyone in the community could attend.  I was in charge of setting it up.  I surfed the internet and made several phone calls looking for he perfect person to teach our group.  I found that person in Corin Vail.  http://pushforlife.ca  Her credentials were amazing.  She was so easy to speak to, and so willing it fit into our schedules.


    I found myself looking forward to Monday nights.  Monday nights were Christopher and my date night / First Aid night.  We had a small group of 9 which was excellent.  Such a small group allowed us to be more interactive, and because we all knew each other it made it so much more comfortable.  It also made it a more fun night.   There were many a time I found myself howling with laughter (in fairness I have an extremely sick sense of humor and will find humor in pretty much everything.  It was really just nice that the group put up with me).  I especially went into hysterics over the head bandages, just look at the picture below and try not to smile.  I'm pretty sure that would not have been o.k. at the serious First Aid class I took all those years ago.


    So now it's over.  Christopher and I are both card carrying Red Cross First Aiders.  Please feel free to have a heart attack, choke or have a traumatic injury in our presence, we are ready!  All joking aside I am really glad that I finally took the class, it feels good to feel prepared for the worst.  The class was fun, Corin was an AMAZING teacher and put up with my stupidity.  I think that more people would take these classes if they knew that it could be so relaxed and affordable.  Because Corin is an independent teacher, she can come to your home and teach a group of you, and she can make the classes suite your schedule.  Just think how enjoyable learning first aid could be with wine and cheese.  Don't keep putting it off like I did, just do it.



Monday, 4 May 2015

Home Made Crack a.k.a Boursin Cheese Spread


    There is a chance that my title and picture may be misleading.... but did I get your attention?  So I don't really suit up in haznet gear.  We do however call that delicious cheese crack.... here's the story.

    My friend Sheila is the world's greatest host.  I am pretty sure if there were awards for being a hostess, she would win them.  She makes it appear so effortless.  She is not only an amazing hostess, she is an amazing guest (don't tell Sheila I said nice things about her, she might begin to expect it).  We were having a get together, I can't even remember the particulars of it, but I'm pretty sure that Sheila was hosting.  All I know is that Sheila put out Boursin cheese.  As I may have already shared several thousand times, I am really not a keener on trying new things.  This evening however, everyone was raving about the cheese that Sheila had provided.  I don't like to try new things, but am conflicted because I also dislike being left out of things.  I tried said cheese with a cracker, WOW!  I wanted to growl at my friends as I saw them taking bites of what I considered to now be "my" cheese.  We were all going crazy for the stuff.  It was then that being the classy, classy lady that I am, I coined the name for it that has stuck...."Crack".
    The name "Crack" really stuck.  Soon we were all calling it "Crack" (due to the stuff's addictive nature).  One day I met up with my friend Theresa at the grocery store "Crack's on sale" she said excitedly.  I looked in her cart to see several different types.  We both got this slightly crazed look on our faces and started emptying the refrigerated shelf of the Boursin.  As I walked down the isle of the store, my cart full of cheese, I felt like I was on top of the world, high on cheese.  I then ran into my other friend Julie "CRACK'S ON SALE!  CRACK'S ON SALE!!!!"  I saw that same crazed look on her face as she ran to the back of the store, it was for the best that there were no elderly or invalids in our path's that day.  That became out hilarious story, and our other friends were jealous that we had found the deal, and then greedily wiped the store of it's contents.
    Not only were we all calling this delicious spreadable cheese "Crack", but our children followed suit.  I remember Grace coming home dejected "Makayla had Crack in her lunch today.  Why don't you give me Crack in my lunch?" My response was mother of the year quality, (if said mother of the year was that ugly little chap from Lord of the Rings who kept calling that stupid ring Precious) "You're just lucky I share any with you at all.  I love that cheese!" When you say that line in your head, you need to imagine it with a slightly crazed tone and quite crazed facial expression.


    You can only imagine my delight when I found this website, with a recipe for said cheese....
http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/boursin_cheese_spread.html


     I began to call my friends and brag, I emailed them to brag.... I have a problem.  Never one to follow rules, I changed the recipe slightly.  Against my better judgement I am going to share that recipe with you (this is the part where you cower and kiss my feet and tell me that you are not worthy).

This delight to the taste buds begins with a brick of cream cheese, left at room temperature.  It also calls for 1/4 of butter, also at room temperature.  When these are both room temperature I throw them into my Kitchen Aid mixer.  I mix in 1 1/2 tsp of onion power, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp rosemary,  1/4 tsp ground mustard powder, a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, a dash of salt and 1 tbsp of dill weed.  When you have this all blended it's time for the next step.

I line a small bowl with plastic wrap and spoon the delicious mixture into it.  I wrap the plastic over the top and put it in the fridge to set.  This is a really great method for when you are going to be serving it to other people.  It comes out really easily and looks quite impressive.  The much lazier method that I usually use is simply spoon it into little mason jars.  This would make for a really cute gift ... hint, hint mother's day.

One of the most delicious parts of this recipe is licking the bowl, or using crackers to clean it.  It honestly tastes even better (if that's even possible) at room temperature) I mean I don't want to be a dirty waster.  It's almost too easy to make this delicious treat.  The really nice thing about it, is the cost.  Basically for what I would pay for one small round of Boursin at the store, I can make three.



You're welcome!



Thursday, 30 April 2015

Fighting Off Super Mom


     I've been doing this parenting thing for 20 years now.  When I say "parenting", I don't mean being a parent, I mean bringing children into adulthood.  I know that parenting does not end in your child's adulthood.  My first baby was born 20 years ago, and my last will be a "child" in our house for another 14 more years.  This is a total of 34 years in the parenting game.  If this was a paid job, then I would receive a watch or something, but I'm pretty sure I will receive grey hair with bald patches of hair that after having been pulled out, may not grow in again.
    We began this parenting adventure as young people, we were 24.  We had Elly when we were 38.  That is a pretty wide space.  When I first began the adventure I was naive.  I was young, and insecure.  I felt like my child had to be perfect.  He had to be the smartest, the best behaved, the best dressed.  Everything that he was reflected who I was.  I took my self worth, self esteem from him.  I realize now that is a pretty big thing to put upon an infant.  Poor Gabe was my guinea pig.  I needed to show everyone what an amazing mother I was.
     I would like to say that I was able to see the error of my ways early on, but sadly, no.  It is only recently that I have come to see my folly.  We are separate, my children and I.  My self worth, my self esteem has everything to do with me.  I want to be the best mother to them because I adore them, and they deserve the best that I can give them.  I am proud of the people that my children are, and yes much of who they are is reflected on the parents that we are, but much of it comes from the individuals that they are.
     So what has any of this to do with "Fighting Off Super Mom"?  The simple answer is EVERYTHING!  Being a super mom was all part of the feelings of inadequacy, you know fake it 'til you make it.  To be a good mother I had to do it all.  My self worth came from being an amazing mother.  Don't get me wrong, I still want to be an amazing mother, but because my kids deserve it, and I deserve to live a life without regrets.  My self worth no longer comes from the outside, but from the inside.  Why does self acceptance take so long?  I wish that I could travel back in time and tell that younger me to take a chill pill.  
    Back when Gabe was still young, and Gracie was just a baby, I was heavily involved in the school.  I was the one who volunteered for every class trip.  I volunteered in the classroom.  My friend Lisa Carter and I organized the fun fairs.  We gave time away from our families to raise money for new playground equipment for the school, I'm taking hundreds of hours.  We were Super Moms.  I said no to nothing.  Somehow by being "Super Mom", I felt that everyone would think that I was such an amazing mother.  Some of them may have, some of them may have thought I was a bit pathetic.  Now it kind of doesn't really matter.  The only people who I need to impress with my awesome Mothering skills are my children.



    So what this long and blabby story is really about is my new sense of identity.  I no longer "need" to be liked.  Don't get me wrong I still "want" everyone to like me and think I'm great, but I would like to think that I am not so pathetic about it.  Now I have learned the word NO.  I now volunteer for things that I want to do, because they will be enjoyable, as opposed to volunteering so that people will think I'm so great.  I'm pretty sure they didn't really think that I was so great, but rather such an easy mark.
    This year our school is having a Fun Fair.  The kids LOVE the Fun Fair.  I have never actually seen my children enjoy the Fun Fair.  I have planned, organized and worked the Fun Fair for 13 years now.  This year I decided to allow other parents the opportunity.  I let them take control.  I wanted to help, but instead offered to be a sounding block for things they may need help with.  I offered to put together a window display and wrap the Silent Auction baskets, because I like to creative projects.  This will be the first Fun Fair that I will enjoy with my children, I'm kind of looking forward to this new freedom!