Friday, October 23, 2009

Hostages and Craftiness

One of these things is not like the other, but they both belonged in my week somehow.

While on a fieldtrip with Beth's class, there were gunshots and hostages taken between our first stop here...

... and our second stop here.

And how did it affect us all? Obviously we weren't allowed to take the direct route through the police blockade. The school board initially wouldn't let us leave the safety of their building. Oddly, the government had no issues with allowing the other class to walk out of the legislature towards us. Hmm. Safety of children is obviously not their concern.

Anyway, we had an extra long lunch while permission was discussed and then granted. Permission to walk down the steep hill and then back up the steep hill, bypassing the blockade and any danger. And KILLING my legs which were still very sore from an exercise class.

Young kids should always be able to outdo me in fitness, but even with my stiff, aching muscles, there were 10 year olds struggling up the hill worse than I. Especially on the return route, which felt steeper and longer.

Hostages were released much later in the day, we had an awesome fieldtrip and all was well. Except my thighs.

In other news, I finished Laura's hat. She's been wearing it all week and now I want one, and Beth wants to learn how to make one herself. I've gone from neophyte to teacher in one week. Not bad progress.

And the girls have two birthdays next week. I'm still trying to make gifts whenever I can. Luckily these girls haven't yet had been gifted with the notepad/pencil cases. I whipped up two of them this afternoon. I must say that the dollar store placemats have been a very good find.

I've almost saturated the market with these and I'll have to think of something else very soon for this year's round of birthdays. Any good ideas? Maybe I can start crocheting doilies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Sometime Sundays are not as uplifting as others.

There are always a few sermons during the year that make me uncomfortable, and I don't think I'm the only one in the congregation that feels challenged. We'd really rather not hear them at all and just focus on love, mercy and grace. Let's forget about tithing, carrying crosses, sin and our own weakness.

I also like to hear the "good works" sermons. I like getting caught up doing things and being busy, with the church people and for the church, but it's easy to forget why we do those things. Maybe that's my Calvinist background. I always think of Calvinists as being really good, hard workers (although I'm pretty sure Calvin himself said that you weren't saved by good works alone). Anyway, I'm not a theologian. I'm not even sure I can spell it.

The topic of this Sunday's sermon was servanthood. We are all called to be servants. Servants of God and servants of each other.

Not sub-serviant though. I liked that part. Not blindly doing unto others, but thoughtfully. There was a special message to mothers to not lose yourselves in mothering. We were not to pick up after children and husbands for years and years and forget about ourselves, thinking we're doing the right thing by being their servant. And I loved hearing that. Yay! I'm going to stop picking up and catering to them all! Again, that's not the point, but I happily cling to the parts that make my life easier.

There was also a story about how the minister had had to care for her mother for three years. Definitely outside of her comfort zone and outside of her personality, she had to serve her mother during a time of illness. And it had turned out to be a good thing. A time of redemption and learning, a time of loving.

Unfortunately, while hearing this, I found myself praying for the opposite. Yvon and I are the appointed guardians of our handicapped neice should anything happen to Yvon's sister. Our neice brought it up over the Thanksgiving weekend. "Please, Lord, don't make this ever come to be."

This scares me. And not just a little. I have no experience with special needs, with ongoing health issues, with mental and physical disabilities. I'm impatient and can't stop myself from sticking unflattering labels to her that really are not her personality but her brain's inability to attach actions to consequence, to think beyond herself and her needs of this moment. Like a toddler in an adult body.

Another message in the sermon was that God will equip us with what we need. He'll be there with me, helping me, I won't be alone. Always the good news with the bad. I still don't want the job, I wouldn't choose it, but it's selfish to pray that it won't happen. And it's pointless to worry about it.

Whether we like it or not, we are all called to serve one another. And not just when it's easy to do so.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Remember this? Super Alice came flying into the room with a surprise this afternoon.

And a happy lot of hugging took place for a few minutes.

Slider will be happy to remove his red dress (no self-respecting bear should wear frilly dresses) and maybe this will solve Beth's sleeping problems. Life in the basement bedroom has returned to its desired state.

And now you know how rarely we clean under Alice's bed!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Changing Seasons

We've been hit with early-onset winter over here. Usually we get a few nights of frost, and then it gets heavier and more frequent and THEN we get snow. This year we had a lovely long Indian Summer with a late first frost, but it hasn't gone away now. While contemplating changing my banner to indicate autumn, we bypassed that season altogether and went directly to winter.

Besides effecting my banner possibitilities, it effected my kale. As with all of my gardening plans, they are not based on experience but just on what I've heard or read. I wanted it to be hit by frost a few times, but this year it was frozen solid for days before I got to it on Saturday.

Besides freezing my hands while snapping off the frozen leaves, it turned out just fine. We have many meals of kale in the freezer now and had our first meal on Saturday night. I also ate my last fresh swiss chard until next year.

With the cold weather came a change in the light. I actually like it. It's a cozy light, making me want to start projects in the house. I started a few projects in the sewing room that I can't talk about here right now. And today I started a project in front of this new fireplace.

Yvon laughs at me because I've got the chair pulled in close. Laura will be the first to benefit. I'm just hoping that my hands don't cramp up before my next free lesson.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Coralee (of The Angry Turtle) had this video on her site. I've now watched it three times and it never fails to make me smile.

It takes about 15 minutes, so make sure you've got time to sit for a few minutes. It's worth it.

Everyone needs a bit of validation now and then. You are all awesome!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am not a Smartypants

I know. Shocking, isn't it? I hate to disappoint people, but there you have it. I am not a smartypants.

Because of my applesauce jars unsealing, I thought I'd freeze my last batches of tomato sauce. I need to know that they aren't going to go bad on me. I've never had trouble with tomatoes, but my confidence is gone.

After simmering my tomatoes yesterday for a good long time, I was ready to put it into bags for freezing. I have one of those bag sealer machines, and I thought I would make a few bags, line a typical jar for sauce so I wouldn't have to measure. Then I planned hold the bag sealer in the air and seal the bag top. How smart is that, right? I mean to lay the liquidy bag on the table would have just spilled everywhere.

Not so smart. Once sealed, I couldn't pull the bag out of the jar because there was no wiggle room for the sauce. I had to slice the top open and try again with a bigger bag. Still no go. Sigh. It just made a mess of my sealer. I ended up putting the tomatoes directly in the jars and freezing them.

Oh well. After all that mess, I thought I'd use up some of my wine-y applesauce to make applesauce oatmeal cookies because I needed something sweet to console myself.

Yummy cookies ready just in time for me to have one from the first batch in the silence of my house, and still warm when the kids run through the door yelling "I'm hungry!!"

They didn't even have time to take off their coats before digging in.

I may not be a smartypants, but I'm not a dummypants either.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm getting a bit bummed out by the costs of groceries in the last couple of months.

I don't budget and I'm not sure what our usual groceries cost, but they seemed incredibly high over the summer. The price of potatoes in the spring prompted me to plant a few and with every shovel of potatoes we harvest I feel a bit better about things. And I've got a huge pan of tomatoes reducing on the stove right now. That happens every couple of days.

I've had a few canning mishaps this week too and I translate it always into dollars or servings of fruit. It's annoying how my mind works. I've had 4 jars of apple sauce unseal in the cool room and I have no idea why. It just seems so wasteful. I'm even being more careful than ever about my processing. Humph. It means a lot of baking with wine-y apple sauce when I'm not in the mood for baking.

I really don't want to obsess about groceries, but it just seems like I must be doing something wrong. It doesn't help that I read a lot of US blogs and it's so much more affordable to shop there. I've heard from friends that they don't have the variety that we have, but at this point I would really welcome some cheap groceries.

A blog I recently discovered is Owlhaven. Through the month of September she challenged her readers to a $75/week grocery challenge. She managed to almost succeed with 10 kids in her house. I did notice that no Canadians took up the challenge. I didn't discover the challenge until last week so I'm going to start in October. Even with only 5 in the house, I'm positive I won't be able to stick to that low budget. Whatever. I'm going to see what happens, and it will force us to eat up some of the abundance in our pantry and freezer.

She's also written a book (Family Feasts for $75 a Week) and is having a contest today for three copies of her book. I wouldn't mind a copy, so I've doubled my chances by mentioning her contest here. If I win, I'll have a contest for one of the other books here (reserving the third as a gift for later).

I may not be able to stick to her $75 limit, but I figure there must be something I can learn from her book. I was happy to note that she doesn't use coupons at all because I don't want to get into that all-consuming pasttime. My current obsession is enough to occupy my mind.

I'll be more perky and happy next post. I promise.