Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Stuffed Pork Chops -Deja vu

    I don't know about you, but sometimes a certain food can take me back to a certain memory.  I like it best when it's a good memory, and not a bad one (like the time I ate a whole bunch of fair food and then decided it was a good idea to go on the Tilt A Whirl.  The boy I really liked was sitting in the car behind ours and when I barfed, oh man did I barf, it sprayed all over his car, oh and all over me.  Godd times, good times).  Stuffed Pork Chops is a really nice memory.  It takes me back to our many trips to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.
    Have you ever been somewhere and it just felt like home?  It's like that for Christopher and I in Lancaster County.  I feel like I have lived there before.  I have this feeling of complete peace come over me there.  It is a stunningly beautiful place.  There are horse and buggies all around the streets (it's Amish country).  There are people dressed in their black clothing scooting around on these funny little scooters.  It is just a really beautiful place.  You can find such good and different types of foods (whoopie pies, shoe fly pie...ect, ect).
    On one of our many trips we stopped at this little family run restaurant.  It's called "Pennsylvania Dutch", but there is nothing "Dutch" about it.  That area of Pennsylvania was settled by the Germans.  The German people call Germany "Deutschland"(pronounced Doych - land), thus "Dutch".  It was good German food that restaurant sold.  We decided to be adventurous and try the stuffed pork chops.  They were delicious!

    When we got home from that trip I craved those stuffed pork chops, and so I found this easy recipe, that I adjusted to fit my laziness.  

    The first thing that I do is make the stuffing...

1 loaf of white bread                                           1 large chopped onion
4 pieces of celery chopped up fairly fine             1 medium red pepper chopped up fairly finely
salt                                                                       pepper
1 tsp of garlic power (you can adjust this to suit your taste)
1/2 cup of parsley flakes                                      1 cup of chicken broth

Mix it all together until it sticks.  I like to use my hands because it feels doughy when it's ready.

    After the stuffing was made I arranged my 5 pork chops on the cookie sheet.  Honestly there is lots of stuffing left and I could have done at least 4 more chops.  I then thickly lay on the stuffing mixture, mine was about 3-4 inches thick.  

   After the stuffing was on, I put a second chop on the top, like a pork chop sandwich!  I popped it into a 350 degree oven for about an hour.  You can adjust this to suit yourself, but I like to make sure that my pork is REALLY cooked.

    It is at this point that I feel like I should warn you.  Those chops smell like heaven when they are cooking.  They look really pretty, and taste pretty good too.  I served it with loaded mashed potatoes which I will share tomorrow.

This is the part where I ask for your help... yet again.  I really just want to make the top 25, and I'm slipping, so I really do need your help.  All you do is hit that pink button,
scroll down the list to 
"The middle Aged Woman Who Lived In A Shoe", and click the little pink vote button.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

80's day

    Friday was 80's day at the kid's school.  80's Day!  I'm not sure if I should be happy, or worried.  Weren't the 1980s just last year?  It just cements the fact that I am getting old.  I've become my parents ranting about how great the 80's (they said 60's) were.  How our music was the best, our clothes were more fun.  As I write this I am convulsing with fear, and saying in my head "But the 80's really were Totally awesome dude!"

    Christopher and I set out Thursday night to Value Village in search of 80's clothes.  It turns out that it was much harder than I thought it would be.  The hardest part was finding clothes for Rowan.  It then dawned on me that boys clothes have not changed that dramatically.  I mean their pants have gotten bigger (I'm talking they borrow their Dad's pants) and ride much lower, but they still wear polos.  The polos no longer have the collars turned up, but they still wear polos.  At one point I shouted over to Christopher "What did Bill and Ted wear?'  He just shrugged.  

    After what seemed like an eternity of searching we left with a bag of semi- 1980's clothes, and a receipt for $25.00.   We spent our car ride reminiscing about each of our 1980's experience.  I had desperately wanted to wear the more daring clothing, but just did not have the courage.  I was too afraid to be judged.  So I played it safe with my clothing choices.  I hope my girls have the courage to be who they truly want to be.

    Friday morning I got the kids all dressed and then began the monumental task of tackling 80's hair.  Riley is a brick wall.  You cannot make Riley do anything that Riley does not want to do.  She was bound and determined that she would have a side pony tail.  I kept trying to tell her that it did not go with the Madonna look.  You will notice that she won.  I did talk her into the larger than life bow.

    As I stood doing Gracie's hair giggling.  I LOVED doing her hair.  She was sporting my exact hair style.  I teased her bangs so that they would stand.  I hair sprayed, and then hair sprayed again, and again, and once again.  Today's hair spray just does not have that same rock solid staying power I am sad to tell you.  When she was about to leave, I pulled out the best part yet... my denim duster jacket.
I had wanted that jacket, wanted it with every fiber of my being.  I would open that Sears catalogue, and just look, wanting.  I got that jacket for my 16th birthday.  It was my most prized possession.  I donated all the old things to the thrift store, all except my duster jacket.  That duster jacket lay folded in closet waiting.  It was waiting for that special day when it could make it's return to glory.

Me in the 80's
    80's day.  It still feels strange that it's in the past.  It feels almost surreal to think that I am no longer that teenager, that I am the parent of a should be teen, and a pre-teen.  How did this happen?  Christopher told me a funny story yesterday.  He told me that the Chicago Blackhawks had just been awarded The President's Trophy.  The sportscaster had said that they had not won this award in 22 years.  Christopher knew that they had made a mistake, because they had won that award when we were at university.  He then had this terrible realization that it had been 22 years since we had been in university!  God we're getting old.

This is that part of the story, where I ask you to click that little pink button and help me out.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The 2013 Great Canadian Cheese Festival

    We spent Gracie's birthday last year at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario.  I felt badly because I thought that her birthday might stink a bit.  Just days before her birthday, I had surgery reconstructive surgery on my nose.  I had really wanted to cover the Great Canadian Cheese Festival for my blog, and so I promised Gracie that I would make it up to her.  We would celebrate her birthday in grand style, it would just have to be later when I was not on pain medication.  We arrived at the festival on the warm June day, my nose bandaged, and hopped up on pain killers.  It turns out that Gracie had an amazing birthday, and asked if she could come back next year.   Every time I looked over at the kids they had great big smiles on their faces.

        If you missed out on my blog from last year, feel free to take a little peekie.

    This year's festival will be June 1 and 2 at the Crystal Palace in Picton, Ontario.  It will be even bigger and even better (to be honest, I'm not sure how that's possible).  We had such an amazing time last year, and that was with me in pain.  I am really excited to go this year, and be pain free.  The kids are really excited too, they all want to bring a friend (as a parent, that's how you know that something is a success).  We plan to go for the Sunday, which is "Family Day".  
    I highly recommend you throw your family in the car and take a road trip.  There are so many different and wonderful cheeses to sample, and ultimately buy.  It's not just cheeses, but gourmet foods also.  Your taste buds will thank you profusely... trust me.  Because I have the world's best readers, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is offering you a very special treat.  If you go to the website, and put in my special code, you will save 25% off of your admission, if you order your tickets on line.  Who does not like to save money and eat cheese?

Get 25% off tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by entering the promotional code CF13SHOE before starting your online ticket order at <http://cheesefestival13tickets.eventbrite.ca/>. Good only on tickets purchased online in advance of the Festival on June 1-2. Visit <http://cheesefestival.ca> for information on the Festival. Go for the day or make a weekend of it!

    Keep your fingers crossed, but there is also a rumor that I will be giving away tickets to this event, so you will just have to wait and see (and cross your fingers and toes).

So here is that part in the show where I tell you that I am in a contest for Mom's of Multiples, and I really want to make the Top 25 (very prestigious) and so I need your help.  If you could just hit that little pink circle, then scroll down and hit the little pink heart to vote for me, 
I would be most obliged.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Our Mini Montreal Adventure A.K.A The Cure For Cabin Fever

    The word "SPONTANEOUS" is not really in my vocabulary.  I am by nature a planner (which drives most of the people around me nuts).  Honestly it's difficult to be spontaneous with 4 children.  I mean I sometimes fantasize about just getting in the car and going somewhere, but it's just not really in me.  That is until this past week-end.

    Christopher (my husband) is a funeral director for a family run funeral home.  He is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (yet another reason why "spontaneous" is not in my vocabulary).  Basically we are used to his crazy schedule, but there are times that it begins to get to you.  This past week-end Christopher booked the week-end off.  He was in full fledged cabin fever and needed to get out of the house.  He had no idea where he might like to go, he just knew that he had to "GO".  We considered going to a hotel, but Christopher has stitches in the bottom of his foot (don't even ask) and Riley is in a cast.  There is no point in going to a hotel if you can't enjoy the indoor pool.... so that meant that a hotel was out.  The other problem is with our little dog Fergus.  We can't leave Fergus overnight, and kenneling him can get expensive.  Where could we go?  Christopher sat on the computer, while I had the lap top out.  Together we combed the internet looking for some family fun that was within a reasonable distance.  Just when we were about to give up, I came across Montreal's Biodome.  biodome.qc.ca  It looked amazing.  Now the trick was to see how my husband felt about driving to Montreal.  He was in.

    We got up Saturday morning, with four really excited kids.  They were up for an adventure.  For the most part they were all really good for the drive, although Rowan kept whining asking "How much further" every five minutes ( I will neither confirm or deny that I offered to throw him out of the moving van).
    As we arrived in Montreal, the kids little face's quickly became glued to their windows.  Elly kept squealing with delight and pointing out beautiful castles (can you tell that we are ultra religious by the fact that my daughter mistook churches for castles).  They loved the newness, the big buildings, the everything.

    When we walked into the biodome I thought that there must be some kind of a function, because people were lined up for what seemed like miles.  No, there was no function, it is always busy like that we were soon to find out.  If there was one draw back it was that the place was just too crowded.

    The Biodome was amazing.  It is basically three different world climates, all in one building.  My favourite was the rainforrest which was our first stop.  Everything was lush and green and tropical.  Over top of us were monkeys and parrots.  I looked over at the roof and saw a sloth.  It was amazing!  Honestly it was like playing the eye spy game, because everywhere we looked was a new and amazing creature.  The next area we traveled to was the Canadian landscape.  I will be honest, the Canadian landscape did not float my boat, only because we live in a rural area and all I have to do is drive two minutes and I can see that.  I say that the "Canadian" area didn't float my boat, but that is not entirely true.  I was fascinated with the lynx.  As a child the lynx was my most favourite animal.  It just sat there looking regal and bored, up on it's rock, it's face turned away.
    The most favourite exhibit of the kids was the penguins.  We were only separated by glass, and the penguins were mere feet away from us.  I always think of penguins as comical, but when I saw them in their environment I was amazed.  I had no idea that they were such fast swimmers.  They frolicked and played, much to all of our delight.
    The Biodome was amazing!  It was busy, but that was o.k.  The price was certainly right.  We took advantage of the joint ticket with the Planetarium, and our admission for both, for all of us was under 100 dollars.  That works out to less than the price of a movie admission.  The nicest thing was that they offered complimentary wheelchairs.  That meant that Riley could thoroughly enjoy the visit too.

    After we had finished up at the Biodome, we walked over to the brand new multi-million dollar Planetarium.     http://espacepourlavie.ca/en/planetarium I was really excited about the planetarium.  Christopher and my very first date was to the ROM Museum in Toronto, and then we went over the to Planetarium (the Toronto Planetarium no longer exists).  We sat back in reclining seats and watched Laser Pink Floyd.  Christopher didn't know that the seats reclined and so he had his neck all twisted so he could see.  I knew that the seats reclined, and had mine reclined.  I too had a twisted neck because Christopher had put his arm around my neck in an affectionate way, and it was killing me.  We were still new and I didn't want to tell him that he was giving my curvature of the spine, and so I quietly suffered (I bet he wishes that I would occasionally still quietly suffer).

    I walked into the Planetarium expecting what we had seen in Toronto all those years ago.  The sight that greeted me was completely different.  I felt as if I had been transported onto the deck of the HMS Enterprise.  The walls glowed like stars.  There were touch screens everywhere, inviting children to come and learn.  On the back wall was the largest collection of meteor rocks in Quebec.  I was in complete awe, and at that time I did not know that the best was yet to come.

    We lined up to go into the theatre and watch the movie about stars.   I expected the chairs that reclined.  I was shocked to see Adirondack Chairs all around the outside, and beanbag chairs that resembled rafts in the middle of the room.  The floor looked like it was polished glass.  The kids all ran for the beanbag chairs.  As we relaxed in our chairs, the lights slowly dimmed and it looked like we were in the forest, and that polished glass floor began to look like a lake.  All around us was the sound of the forrest, the crickets, the frogs.  I could feel my blood pressure lowering as I listened to that beautiful symphony of the woods.  All that was missing was the blood thirsty insects.  At one point it felt like we were floating up into the stars.  It was absolutely amazing.  If we had more time, I would have gone to see the movie again.

    After that theatre, we walked across the hall to another more familiar theatre.  There were the reclining chairs, the starry ceiling.  Our guide directed us through the constellations and their history.  She told us where to find the stars and when they appeared.  This part was not as entertaining, but it was very interesting and educational.

    We drove home, all of us still floating on the wonderful day.  The kids kept shouting out what their favourite part of the day was.  Midway through their best part of the day, they would interrupt themselves to adjust what their favourite part was.  I sat in the front smiling over at my husband.  We had done something spontaneous and it had been a huge hit.  We had found the cure for cabin fever.  As the kids slowly drifted off to sleep, we looked forward to our favourite part of long drives.  The best part of a long drive home, is that quiet talking we do when the kids are all passed out in the back.  We had coffee in hand, and lots to talk about.  We congratulated ourselves on a job well done, and basked in the beauty of the day we had just put in.  We vowed to make a return trip to Montreal.

So here is that part in the show where I tell you that I am in a contest for Mom's of Multiples, and I really want to make the Top 25 (very prestigious) and so I need your help.  If you could just hit that little pink circle, then scroll down and hit the little pink heart to vote for me,
 I would be most obliged.

Monday, 22 April 2013

My Earth Day Cupcake Disaster

    Happy Earth Day!  I'm going to level with you on this one, I'm not really sure how I feel about Earth Day.  I'm conflicted on this one.  I feel like we should be making strides to protect our resources without needing a reminder.  I'm not a granola eating tree hugger, but anyone with any kind of intelligence can see that we are on a bad course and it needs to change.  It's all pretty much common sense, and yet sometimes I wonder how common sense is.  Now that I've had my rant....

    It's no secret that I am addicted to Pinterest.  As I scroll through those wonderful bright and beautiful pictures, my mind soars with all of the possibilities.  I imagine myself as more talented that I truly am as I look at those pictures.  One of those pictures was of "Earth Day" cupcakes.  They were fun and adorable, and I knew that my kids would feel like big shots if they took them in to share with their class.

    I started by making my cake mixes (I made 2 French Vanilla), and added blue food colouring gel to one bowl, and green food colouring gel to the other.  The colours popped.  I smiled, and congratulated myself on that plaque that the kids would soon be having made, "Mother Of The Year".

    I scooped green blue batter into the cupcake wrappers.  I then poured green cake batter into a mustard bottle.  Again I congratulated myself, but this time on my genius.  That smile fell away when I realized that I had no clue what the "earth" looked like.  Oh who would check, I just started making shapes.  The colours looked great, and very earth like.

    I popped those bad boys into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.  While I waited for that batch to cook, I repeated the whole batter process again.  I was so excited to see my master pieces when they came out of the oven.  In my head I imagined the kids in the class all congratulating Riley, Rowan and Grace on their Mother's genius.  The kids were all smiling as they received my accolades.  They were thinking how lucky they were to have such a great Mom (hey it's my fantasy I can make the kids think unrealistic things if I want to).

    DING!  I took a deep breath as I slowly opened the oven door.  I peered in, that stupid smile on my face fell off quickly.  I had forgotten that when the batter cooks, the mixture changes colours and darkens.  My "earth" looked more like paint splatter, yucky coloured paint splatter.  I kind of wanted to chuck that tin full of traitors against the wall, but I kept my cool and set them down.  Well they don't look the way they did in that beautiful picture that was posted on Pinterest, but let's face it kids would eat dog poop if it had icing on it.  I soldiered on.

    So there you have photographic proof.  Not everything that you see on the internet is true.  It turns out that I am not Martha Stewart.  My Mother Of The Year Award will just have to wait.  The kids were pretty happy to take cupcakes in for their class, even if they did look weird.

So here is that part in the show where I tell you that I am in a contest for Mom's of Multiples, and I really want to make the Top 25 (very prestigious) and so I need your help.  If you could just hit that little pink circle, then scroll down and hit the little pink heart to vote for me, I would be most obliged.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Burger Revolution - Oh So Yummy!!!!!

    I have driven past this little burger place for almost a year now.  Every time I would drive by I would think to myself  "I should stop in there sometime."  I would then drive by and forget.  I then began to notice my friends sharing posts on facebook from "Burger Revolution".  Oh those burgers looked good, but still I drove past.  A month or so ago I went out for coffee with my friend Glenda.  Glenda asked me "Have you been to Burger Revolution yet?"  I then told her my long winded story about continuously driving past.  "You have to go!" she told me.  "Troy and I go there for date night."  She then went on to tell me about all of the delicious burgers that she had tried, and that she was now addicted.

    Last week Christopher and I actually got out of the house for a date night (it's a rare, but wonderful occurrence).  We were going out for a movie, but where should we go for dinner?  We didn't have time for a nice sit down meal, but I really didn't want garbagey fast food... where should we go?  "Glenda says that we should go to Burger Revolution" I told Christopher.  It was decided... Burger Revolution.  We got there and parked out back.
   The first thing that I was aware of was the heavenly smell of meat  before I even walked in the door.  It smelled like a neighbour is barbecuing something really good (you know the phantom barbecue smells of summer).... and then we opened the door, Oh Mama!  I wish that I had the right words to describe the heavenly smell that greeted us at the door.  I turned and gave my husband a big smile, knowing that we had made a really good decision.  We walked up to the counter where we were greeted by a really friendly, attractive man.  We just stood there like a couple newly escaped from a mental institution.  The selection was almost overpowering.  We just stood there mouths open gaping at the menu.  Finally I swallowed and asked the friendly guy at the counter to recommend something that would suite the tastes of an unadventurous child (I can't do spice).  He gave me a big smile... "For you I would recommend "La Revolution".  It was a 5-oz grilled house ground patty.  Nice choice... I ordered.  Christopher is so much more adventurous than I am (to be honest he doesn't know his limitations.  More than a few times he has given himself a nasty case of heart burn).  He ordered "The Rebel",  a 
5 oz grilled house ground patty, topped with roasted garlic mayo, potato chips, lettuce, cheddar, jalapeno slices and avocado spread.  I shuddered, just saying jalapeno is enough to give me heart burn.  "Are you sure about this?" I asked him.  "Oh YA" he said, the saliva already dripping down his chin.
    We grabbed a seat and waited for our burgers.  Let me tell you that is a busy little hot spot.  While we waited, a constant stream of people came in and left with smiles and bags of deliciousness.  Great music played in the background.  We just sat enjoying our wait, and enjoying talking without the kids interrupting us.  Before we knew it the friendly guy from the counter yelled out our numbers and then brought us our burgers.

    If I thought that Burger Revolution smelled good .... oh my that burger, oh that burger (I am drooling as I type this, just remembering it)!  It came out on a pretzel bun.  I didn't even know that you could get pretzel buns, never mind use it to highlight a beautiful crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside little bit of heaven on earth.  There was just the perfect amount of condiments.  Sometimes when you get a good burger there is just so much of everything that it all runs down your arms and coats your face, oh and clothes that you are hoping to look like a grown up in... no this was not the case.  The condiments were they should be on the burger, and not where it should not be... my face, my arms, my hands... you get the messy picture.  I literally sat making little groaning sounds as I took each bite, and thanking Glenda in my head.  Christopher would have been embarrassed, were it not for the fact that he himself was on cloud nine eating his own little bit of paradise.
    That night and every day after, I found myself having hamburger fantasies.  I would imagine myself biting into that perfectly grilled burger, and imagining the way it would taste.  I found myself looking for an excuse to get back there.  That day came last Friday.  My house looked like a dirty bomb went off, and so the most logical thing that I could do was run away!  I texted my friend Theresa and asked if she wanted to go to Belleville.  She was busy, so I kept bugging her until she agreed.  We had a great time at the mall.... I then asked if she might like some lunch (all the while knowing what I was about to suggest.)  We headed over to Burger Revolution.  She was a Burger Revolution newby.  

     We walked up to the counter, greeted by a different really, friendly attractive guy (maybe they only will hire attractive friendly people).  I knew what I wanted right away, Theresa was hit with the same feeling of being overwhelmed by all of the delicious choices.  She settled upon "The Amnesty", a poutine featuring local cheese curd (from the Wilton Cheese Factory), bacon, pulled pork, and BBQ Sauce all on top of house cut Yukon gold fries . 

    Once again the friendly guy from behind the counter called out our numbers and then delivered our meals.  I enjoyed seeing the look on Theresa's face when she saw her meal.  Why is it so much fun to see someone seeing something that you love for the first time?  As Theresa dug into her poutine the cheese was forming great long stings.  My burger was just as good if not better than I remembered it to be.  

    I owe a great debt of gratitude to my friend Glenda.  She introduced me to my new addiction.  Here's the thing, and I know that I sound like a broken record on this one, but I like to know what I am eating.  I like, no I LOVE that Burger Revolution uses locally sourced meat (they get their beef from a farmer here in Tweed, and use Water-buffalo meat from Stirling).  They use freshly ground meat (if rumor is correct, they grind it right there in the restaurant).  They make their food slowly, there are not hot lamps, no frozen foods.  My meal is made for "me", not the person who may or may not come in.  The staff are friendly and helpful.  How often do you go to a fast food place and have your cashier friendly?  This is good food, that is made the right way.  If you are near Belleville, or want to make a road trip to Belleville, I would really recommend a trip to 300 Front Street ... you'll thank me for it... trust me on this.  Did I mention that they have gluten free selections?  Do you need more inspiration to go and give them a try... well what are you waiting for?

    I would like to thank Theresa McCann for her photography for this blog
(I forgot to bring a camera).

(check out their menu)


So here is that part in the show where I tell you that I am in a contest for Mom's of Multiples, and I really want to make the Top 25 (very prestigious) and so I need your help.  If you could just hit that little pink circle, then scroll down and hit the little pink heart to vote for me, I would be most obliged.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Mother's Intuition and Persistence

    It was Monday night after school.  The weather was nice, and Riley and Rowan wanted to play outside (the twins).  They got wrestling in the front yard ... a big thanks to their father for introducing them to the love of WWE.  I had the window open a crack to let some of that fresh spring air into the house.  I could hear giggling drifting in through the window.  The giggling then became replace by screaming... "Oh my foot..... Oh my foot".

    Rowan had fallen onto the outside of Riley's foot.  My Riley has very low pain tolerance and so I always use a grain of caution when assessing Riley's injuries.  I brought her in the house, propped the foot up on a pillow, gave her some children's Tylenol and iced the foot.  An hour later I asked her how the foot was... "It still really hurts."  Off we went to our nearest local hospital when Christopher got home from work.
    We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 p.m.  We had brought books and Riley's tablet, we were prepared.  After three hours we had still not been taken in to see a doctor.  I pushed Riley in the wheelchair over to the desk to see if there would be much more wait, the nurse told us in a polite voice that it would "only" be another half hour or so.  HALF AN HOUR MORE!  I am pretty sure that our medical system is broken... but that's for another blog another time.  We finally did see a doctor who was lovely.  She sent us off to X-Ray (something that in my opinion should have been done as soon as we came in and would have saved a lot of time).  The X-Ray came back, and there appeared to be no break.  The really super nice doctor told us that it wasn't right that a child could not bear weight on her foot, if it didn't get better to come back in a week.  Sometimes with children breaks don't always show up on an X-Ray right away.  At 1:15 a.m. we arrived home.
    All week Riley was on crutches.  She still could not put any weight on that foot.  It just wasn't right.  I got her to try to put weight on it every day, but she just couldn't.  Sunday afternoon I drove to Kingston, Ontario to the big university hospital.  It was time to bring in the big guns.  This time I had barely finished the paperwork when Riley was called in.  We didn't even have time to look at a magazine that we had brought before we saw the doctor.  Again, luck was with us because he was really nice.  He sent Riley off for another X-Ray.  This X-Ray came back again showing no break.  he also told us that it wasn't normal for a child to not be able to bear weight.  He thankfully referred us to a pediatric orthopedist.  It had taken us less than an hour to see a doctor, and get an X-Ray.  The doctor told me that we were just lucky, normally it's a much longer wait time.
    Yesterday (only three days after seeing the ER doctor) afternoon Riley and I went into Kingston to see the pediatric orthopedist.  Because it is a teaching hospital we saw a resident first.  He poked and prodded at Riley's foot "Does it hurt when I touch here?  How about here?"  Her response "no, no YESSSSSSSSSSS".  We then saw the doctor, a really nice lady (we were having really great luck with really nice doctors).  She felt Riley's foot.  I told her that it was swollen, not horribly, but it was swollen.  The doctor nodded.  "There is a difference in the two X-Ray's.  The second one showed a small buckle right where Riley is complaining of the pain."  The bone was cracked in two places.   She needed a cast.
    Off we went to get it casted.  Casts have come a long way since the heavy white plaster ones that they had in my day.  The new fiberglass casts come in a rainbow of colours.  Riley selected purple... her most favourite colour.  The girl who does the casting was amazing with Riley.  We left the hospital with a purple cast and a little girl on crutches.  We stopped off to buy silver markers so that everyone could sign her cast.
    I knew that something wasn't right with Riley's foot.  I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training.  I am just a mother.  Riley knew that there was something that wasn't right with her foot.  We just had to be persistent.  It took a lot of steps, but we found out was wrong, and now little girl can begin to heal

I sure would appreciate it if you could click that little pink button down there,
 and give me a vote.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Dinner Exchange

    I don't want to throw around the word genius, but I am pretty sure that I am one.  The problem is getting others to buy into my genius.  What am I talking about?  So yesterday I was talking about making my own natural cleaners.  As usual I got off on one of my tangents about wanting to make meals from scratch, but not having time.  I realize that it sounds insane to say that as a stay at home mother I'm never at home, but unfortunately it's the truth.  I am always at the kid's school, or driving the kids to appointments, or who knows what.  By the time it's nearly time for dinner I'm either exhausted, or I have run out of time to make dinner.  I end up making hot dogs and a veggie tray and feeling guilty.
    At Christmas every year, thousands of women participate in cookie exchanges.  Why?  Because it saves them time making a lot of one kind of cookie and then just swapping with other cookies.  Usually these exchanges involve a get together of some sort.  At the end of the night those women made 5 dozen of the same cookie, but leave with 5 different types of cookies.  Why could this same principal not apply to meals?
    Here's where my genius comes into play.  I've read about women who rent a large church kitchen and all get together to make massive quantities of food that they all take home with them.  In theory this sounds great, but now start to think about it.  That means that there are a ton of you under foot.  If you are like me and have the gift of gab, then you will not accomplish as much.  What if instead you made several lasagnas.  It's not really that much more work to make 5, I mean you just increase you time slightly.  So you make Lasagna, Betty Sue makes meat loaf, you get it.  You arrange a day to make the exchange.  You spend a few hours in your kitchen one Sunday afternoon, but you take home a weeks worth of meals.
    I think I'm going to see if anyone I know wants to try this.

Here we go again kids... I'm asking you to hit the button below to vote for me.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Home Made All Natural Cleaners/ Lemon and Vinegar Cleaner

      When I was pregnant I took my vitamins religiously.  I did not drink, or take drugs other than the occasional Tylenol (incase you are wondering, I am not normally a recreational drug user.  When I say "drugs" I mean cough syrup, pain killers type of things).  It was important to me that I give my babies their best start.  When they were infants I agonized over what they ate, was it too soon?  I made my own baby foods, carefully selecting farmer grown, and when possible items from my parents own garden.  Before you begin to think that I am super mom, let me assure you that I also bought baby food from the store.  As much as I would have liked to make everything from scratch, I didn't always.  That's why it's called "convenience" food.
    Now that the kids are no longer babies, I am not as careful, and maybe I should be.  Somehow surviving infant-hood was the goal, and when they did I felt like I had survived the test.  Ever so gradually I became less vigilant.  I mean don't get me wrong, I don't let them have knife fights and drink beer... I've just gotten lazy if truth be told.  I have a busy life, and I rely on the fast and easy foods all too often (i.e hot dogs...a.k.a mystery meat).  Lately it feels like I'm never home long enough to make a meal from scratch.  I have that feeling of guilt that I am filling them with questionable ingredients, but at the same time...  well you know.

    When I can I try to make my families meals from scratch.  I like to be able to pronounce the ingredients in the foods that I feed my family.  Although I have always tried to prepare my meals from scratch until recently I never really thought about cleaning products.  If I were being completely honest I guess that my thinking was that the stronger the chemicals, the better the clean.  I began to slowly change my thinking when my friend who has a degree in museum studies told me that they are not allowed to use Lysol when they are storing museum items.  The chemicals break things down too much.  If the chemicals leave too great a trace for "old" items.... what are they doing to my kids?

    You would think that after that discussion I would have quit the chemical cleaners cold turkey... but I didn't.  My fear of germs was stronger than my fear of chemicals.  I felt like the alternative was to use "natural" cleaners that would not disinfect, or clean properly.  I did buy some of the "green" cleaners.  The problem with the "green" cleaners is that they are generally more expensive than the non-green cleaners.  Sometimes I would lapse and buy my tried and true chemical cleaners.

    My turning point came a few weeks ago.  I volunteer in Elly's classroom one morning a week.  I was cleaning the tables after the kid's had had their snack.  I sprayed the bottle and out came that familiar aroma of vinegar.  Vinegar stinks.  I don't know what the rule is in our school board, but I have since found out that the Toronto School Board only allows the use of non-chemical cleaners in the kindergarten classrooms.  Although I don't care for the smell of vinegar, I had complete respect for the fact that they were using all natural cleaners around little people and their relatively new immune systems
    It was shortly after that I saw one of my friends post a picture of homemade cleaner on Facebook.  They had put white vinegar in a jar, and then placed orange and grapefruit peels in it and soaked it for a week.  Hmmmmm, it's not like it would be expensive to try, and if it was an epic failure, I was only out virtual pennies.  The next day I pulled out my mason jar and another prettier jar.  I filled them with inexpensive white vinegar.  In one jar I placed lemon peels, in the other I put a combination of grapefruit and orange peels.  I put them in the window and then let them sit for a week.  Each night I would take the lid off and take a sniff.  Each day the smell of vinegar would gradually disappear.  It looked really pretty when the sun would shine in through the window.

    When a week had passed I took the peels out of the jars.  The smell of the lemon/ vinegar was heavenly.  There was no trace of vinegar smell, only the fresh clean smell of lemons.  In the orange / grapefruit and vinegar,  there was bit of vinegar smell still.  The colour of both of the mixtures was a sunny yellow colour.  Over the week some of the peel had gathered in the jar, leaving white specks.  

    To remove the specks in the mixture, I used a coffee filter and strained it.  This is not a job for the impatient.  My first try I placed the filter carefully in the top of a Powerade bottle.  This was a bit messy.  On try number two I washed out the now vacant jar, and put the filter over the top.  This was much faster and more efficient.  
    At the end of the week I had two Powerade bottles full of cleaner.  It smelled beautiful and fresh, and it was all natural.  There was nothing in them that would cause any sort of respiratory distress.  There are no chemical residues.  Both vinegar and lemons are natural antiseptics, and inhibit mold growths.  I actually feel good about using this around my kids.  It cost so much less than harsh chemicals, and less still than the so called "green cleaners".  The time it took me to make the both batches was minute.  It seems to be a pretty job cleaning to boot.  I think I'm sold.  Now I am wondering what other things that I can soak in vinegar to make cleaners with.

It's that time of year again when I ask you to vote for me.  Last year I made it to the top
 25 for the Top Mom's of Multiples.  I'm asking for your help again this year.