Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh Wow...Sorry

I just checked the comments awaiting moderation (all comments on posts that are a little old get moderated) and there were 179 comments there!! I will not be abandoning my blog so completely ever again. I hope.

Apologies to all who wrote me something (especially those of you who commented on the new dishwasher!) but never had their comments published. They're up now. Better late then never?

However, Mr. Link-Happy Anonymous and Japanese Porn Dude, no apologies for you. Only bad thoughts and rude gestures.

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Slackness...

I bet I worried some of you with my productive housewife post of a few days ago. Fear not! Today I ran to the local Chinese take out to get some food for tonight but they weren't filling any more take-out orders because every other person in the area had the same idea and they'd been swamped. So the kids and I went off to the local grocery store (not before ducking into the used book store where I got a Ursula K. LeGuin book to read to Catherine and yet another translation of The Odyssey) to pick something up for supper.

I picked many, many somethings up and every single one of those somethings was processed or premade and ready to either pop on a plate or chuck in some sort of heating appliance straight away. Frozen lasagna, french fries, puff pastry sausage thingees, salad...the list goes on. And everything came packaged in wasteful excess. Only the salad was sort of healthy and even that hint of healthiness was dampened by the unrestrained application of peppercorn ranch dressing.


Yes, yes. I'm aiming for a healthier, more responsible way of getting and preparing our food but shucks, it's New Years Eve. If I can't go drink to excess and party hard well then I might as well stuff myself and my family with salt and trans-fats, no?

Hope you all are having a good time and I hope the New Years bring good fortune and contentment to everyone!

Now excuse me, I have to wade through plastic wrap and waxed cardboard so I can find the Pepto-Bismal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Homemaker

I had a stellar day as a productive housewife yesterday. I bought myself some new cookbooks with a bookstore gift card from my SIL's family (yes, she and her husband are awesome) and while reading them yesterday got all inspired.

I looked in my freezer, saw two big bones from past pork shoulder roasts and dumped them in a big pot to boil for stock. When it was done I let it cool and skimmed off the fat. Took out the bone and took off the meat. Dumped leftover peas, wilted celery and rubbery carrots into pot along with some pepper, garlic and bay leaves. Let boil for ages, strained, added meat and veggies and made the most excellent soup.

Made Oatmeal Raisin bread in the breadmaker.

Noticed old and bruised apples and plums in the fridge so cooked and mashed both (separately). Put the applesauce in the fridge for next day's breakfast and used the mashed plums to make Plum Quick Bread. Measured out and froze the remaining plums for future baking.

Used leftover mashed potatoes to make hash for lunch - fried them with the fat skimmed from the stock.

Made the world's best tea biscuits to go with the soup for supper (note to self - forget the store brand, always go for Fluffo shortening).

I felt so productive. Stuff I would have tossed out last week was turned into delicious food yesterday. And I had a nice pile of baked goods for meals or freezing. I was a proper, capable and perhaps even talented homemaker.

Then, after the kids were in bed Catherine yelled out to me that it was windy and maybe I should take the snowsuits off the clotheline in case they blew away.

The too-small snowsuits I'd hung up to give them a good airing before sending them to the local thrift store.

3 months ago.

Well, I can handle the food part of homemaking anyhow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've sort of abandoned the blog in the last few months, haven't I?

Part of this has been pure busyness. Part of it has been some personal turmoil (I lost a dear friend this fall. I'll post about her in the future). But mostly I've just lacked the drive to write. I don't exactly have the drive back but I figure it's something I should be pursuing rather then waiting for.

Brief update for now then on some stuff I'll write more about later:

We're in the market for a new car. Sure our house is a little piece of heaven but the road we have to drive on to get home is a special bit of hell. It's a dirt road full of ruts and potholes and come the snow our pour little, low-slung '98 Elantra is scraping the snow and that ends up tearing off pieces of the exhaust system.

Fast forward to the garage where our mechanic lifted our car on the hoist and totaled up what it would take to fix the whole exhaust and the various holes in the underbody. Too much. Waaay too much. So our lovely little car will be retired and we are on the hunt for another car with decent ground clearance. Likely a newer used car but we've been pulling out the calculator on some of the new car 0% financing. And we'll get the next car undercoating and rust checked EVERY year. I promise.

Catherine is doing awesome in violin. She has her first RCM exams at the end of January. At the Christmas Eve service at my church she joined the choir, did a reading AND played a violin duet with the Rev. daughter (who's been playing for years and is awesome).

She's studying geometry from a text from the 1920's which has the best mix of constructive-hands-on-critical-thinking and plain old honest work method I've ever seen. It's the geometry text I'd dreamed of. Who knew I'd find it for $5 in a used bookstore?

We're reading Little Women and The Odyssey (Penguin prose translation by Rieu) out loud. We're halfway through Little Women and our enthusiasm is dying. I LOVE Little Women but it doesn't do so well as a read aloud. We're considering cheating by dropping it for now and renting the movie (the 1949 version with June Allyson as Joe of course). I'll preserve the book for a time when Catherine can read it on her own and harbour all those secret hopes for Joe and Laurie that I used to without the embarrassment of having her mom right there. It has led to some neat finds though. We found Authors (although a Biblical version), the card game Joe took to a picnic, at a local thrift store and Pilgrim's Progress, which we may dip into, at another thrift store.

The Odyssey however has been a thrill. It comes alive as a read aloud. Suddenly everything that needs a name is being called Calypso or Telemachus or Ithaca. Our favourite bit of long-long-dead-author literature since Ovid (although Ovid still reigns supreme. The translation we chose is rip-roaring fun as well and probably the easiest, yet masterful, introduction to the story for a younger person short of one of the children's versions.

Harry is a puzzle. We work on reading an he knows the stuff in context and yet a day later forgets it. I'm thankful he's not going to school though because he has a killer memory and will memorize a book without reading a word. I'm convinced that with any school with the slightest whole reading influence he be one of those kids who'd teachers would discover is illiterate at 17. A brilliant faker. I've decided to excuse myself from teaching him anything and instead pile up stacks of Lego and Star Wars books for us to look through and read. Unschooling. Got to stay with the unschooling with Harry.

Christmas was fun. Having a 10 foot tree was fun and gave me the feeling of being a little kid again for a bit. We bought less but smarter for the kids and they were thrilled. I got beautiful diamond earirings but knew about them before Christmas because neither my husband nor Catherine could contain they're excitement or wait for me to be thrilled. My husband actually said, "Even if you don't like them please pretend to for me!" Not worries. They are gorgeous. I also got a Guitar Hero game and lots of chocolate. Lots. Triple whatever amount you have in your head and you have about half of what I got. I love my husband.

I think that most of it. I plan to write some more detailed stuff about some of the stuff we're doing in homeschooling but I'll get around to that later.

Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas!

(No, I'm not late. We're in the 12 days of Xmas right now)