Thursday, September 30, 2010
All over the grounds – affixed to buildings and free standing sign posts are warnings and messages. “Care for our air: all engines must be turned off or face penalty”, warnings about not smoking near building (air) intakes and other signs with messages about the University being “Green” and going the extra mile in caring for our environment. All events and groups (on campus) are encouraged to use recyclable plates and cutlery (made of sugar, I think) and recycling stations are provided. The use of Styrofoam has been all but banned as well.
This all sounds fantastic. Except it’s just a little bit hypocritical.
On my walk this morning, I wished for my camera – not to capture the magnificent sunrise or the splendid colours, but to capture the grounds staff using gas powered leaf blowers to blow leaves and dust off the sidewalks (and right beside the sign that professes the U’s love of the environment and doing their part to save the world)… And even as much as I detest leaf blowers, I know the argument can be made that it is cheaper to power one person with a leaf blower than five with brooms. But what I cannot entertain is that the person was wearing a dust mask with carbon filters (for his safety, I’m sure) but I was not wearing one and neither were the fifteen or so people around me and he blew the dust and debris right at all of us. I started to choke as did two others and then the fumes from the blower hit and I started coughing again.
So this event got me thinking about the people two blocks before who were blowing out the water lines for the underground sprinkler system… Campus does have the greenest grass, likely because it’s watered daily all summer – which I’m hoping is the reason we haven’t any weeds (healthy, lush grass can choke out even the most persistent of weeds) and not because they douse the lawns with egregious amounts of chemicals!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Last Christmas, my mom gave me a small desk calendar (365 Daily Thoughts and Inspirations). Each day has a different quote from a famous person and most were cute, some amusing. But as the year wears on, they become more poignant and seemingly directed at me specifically.
The quote above was from September 24th. And it wasn’t really deep or thought provoking until I saw it this morning when I got to work.
I spent the weekend not doing the household chores that were calling my name or organizing the spice cupboard. I didn’t clean the pile of stuff off the kitchen counter that has been blocking the microwave for days. I didn’t sort my closet shelf, clean the bathrooms or bake muffins as I’d intended. I didn’t finish planning the upcoming basement renovation or straightening up my sewing room. I didn’t sort through TroubleMaker’s clothes or toys and I certainly did not wash the floors I’ve been sticking to for a couple of weeks.
What I did do, however, was far more rewarding, memorable and enjoyable than anything else I could have imagined.
Saturday morning, TroubleMaker and I went grocery shopping. Quite mundane, really, but I got to spend 2 hours with my son doing nothing but wandering the isles of the grocery store talking, laughing and playing silly games. He wore the goofiest hat that made his ears stick out. His face was a little sticky with the jam from his morning toast and his clothes didn’t match (he likes to dress himself when given the opportunity). He asked me questions like why my shirt was purple and what we needed a ‘tuuurrrrkeee’ for. He selected the green onions and wanted to buy 17 pounds of carrots. We had an accidental avalanche of apples that set us both giggling like two year olds. He said “Hi” to anyone and everyone and a courteous “mornin’” to the produce clerk who greeted us. He pointed out the many balloons we saw and identified their shapes.
The afternoon was spent picking apples together before his friend came over to play. The evening was quiet with a “Mak-e-roan-e” supper.
Sunday I woke with the intention of catching up all the stuff I didn’t so on Saturday. We finally rolled out of bed at 8:30 and I made omelets. We went for a short walk to gather some fall leaves. By noon I lamented to my husband all the things I didn’t do (and needed to) and it was getting late in the day!
TroubleMaker then asked me to play trains and build him a new layout.
We did. Together.
So the floors are still sticky and the basket of apples will sit another day. I put the new sweaters on my husband’s side of the closet and he nearly caused an avalanche of his own jockeying stuff on the counter trying to gain access to the microwave.
But we danced as a family this weekend and I think that is more important.
I wrote this post upon my arrival to work this morning... Later in the day, I was checking out some blogs I read and happened upon The Organic Sister's Inspiration Monday and decided to link this post. Check our her blog - it's awesome and things dreams are made of!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Of the recipes we tried, I have high praise for the Chicken Biryani - BUT we omitted the Cayenne Pepper. Although we are fans of spicy, I thought with the Garam Masala, it would be good enough (especially feeding it to a toddler). I was right - although my Husband and I decided next time we'd add 1/2 the cayenne.
The Pork Lo Mein was another very good recipe BUT I doubled the salad dressing and I would not ever use frozen stir fry veggies again. I would add my own fresh (shredded carrots, celery, snap peas, cauliflower & broccoli and maybe even some bean sprouts and mushrooms) vegetables instead.
We also liked the Sausage & Tomato Rigatoni but I had to make my own sauce and add some vegetables. I really liked the red onion in it - it added a nice sweet flavour to the dish.
This week is my husband's birthday so we are celebrating with a barbecue! TroubleMaker is excited - he's two and a half on Monday and is starting to really love "Happy birfdays" so it should be a great week around here!
I hope you have a great week - thank you for stopping by! For more great menu planning ideas, check out the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!
September 27 to October 3
Monday Chicken Fajitas
Tuesday Slow Cooker Hamburger Casserole
Wednesday Tuna Melts & tossed salad
Thursday Tater Tot Casserole
Friday BBQ hamburger's & chips
Saturday Honey Chipolte Ribs & BBQ Vegetables
Sunday My Mother in law & dear friend are coming to cook dinner for my husband! YUM!
Menu planning goes much easier for me when I don't have to think of lunches for my boys! With TroubleMaker at the sitters again and my Husband working, I just have to fumble and toss food in my own bag before running out the door to the catch the bus!
Toast, bagels, muffins & cereal
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
And I still do – those things haven’t necessarily changed for me. And although my planned post for today was to be about “Learning your Design Style”, something happened to me yesterday that made me give pause for the things that go bump in the night.
While off measuring and photographing a building here on Campus, I had a weird thing occur. No ghost-l like images or haunting noises, not even flickering lights or ‘cold’ spots.
Most likely, it was a camera malfunction but what if it wasn’t?
Exhibit “A” – Picture Taken 2:36pm
First picture taken of the area – low light conditions. I had been photographing another building prior to this with no issues. As you can see, this picture is fine too.
Exhibit “B” – Picture Taken 2:37pm
Five pictures after the first and the big circular flash of light in the upper left corner was what first alerted me to the fact something was “wrong” with the camera (I saw it on the display after the picture was taken). I really thought it was just a reflection – even though there was nothing there for the flash to reflect off of.
I did try cleaning the lens with a soft cloth, it made no difference.
Exhibit “C” – Picture Taken 2:38pm
Three pictures after “B” – all the pictures between we in the same area and filled with the many spots of light seen on this photo. This is the ‘best’ in the sense that there were so many spots on the other photos that the picture was out of focus.
Exhibit “D” – Picture Taken 2:39pm
Seven pictures after “C” and in the same area but looking due North (previous were North West) as you can see, there are no spots and the camera appears to be ‘back to normal’. All the pictures I took after this were fine.
Exhibit “E” – Picture Taken 8:03am (the next morning)
I believed that the camera had malfunctioned and was broken so I started taking random snaps of my work area and cannot recreate the issues I saw the day before.
It got me thinking about the experiences I had before (when I was younger) and I felt no chills or weirdness like I remember feeling before (I can’t believe I’m admitting this ): when I had experienced ghost-like encounters in my youth, I always felt a ‘presence’; yesterday, nothing.
Was there something there? Was it a trick of light? Was it a camera malfunction?
I can’t say as I know for certain but maybe I wasn’t alone…
Sunday, September 19, 2010
First off, thank you for coming and checking me out - it makes my heart sore each time I check the 'Feed-it' and see visitors from far and wide (and close to home too) and to see my first two "non family" followers resulted in an exuberant celebration both in my workstation and later at home with my husband and TroubleMaker. The comments tickle me pink - thank you!
As I sat in my chair at the end of August preparing to plan our September menu, I visited Cooking Up a Family's blog and she presented an idea I hadn’t thought of – “Theme Night” meals… Themes like “noodle night” and “Salad night”. Back ‘in the day’ (that’s code for “before TroubleMaker”) I would very often plan a theme night dinner and make all the food specific to one country – we did countries as our theme - like Cuba, Italy, and China. I also recall I always did them on Saturday as they were usually all day cooking events for me and required special ingredients and often trips to quaint out of the way shops in different areas in town.
I liked this idea and imagine my surprise when a couple of days later (with the thought of another month of meal planning ahead of me) I received an email from Kraft Kitchens outlining the same idea but with quick, easy one course meals for different countries!
I knew September was going to be a great month at the Barefoot D’s household - and the food will be even tastier! This week is my salute to Courtney at Cooking Up a Family's and my thanks to the cooks at Kraft Kitchens for allowing me to marry "Theme Night" with a visit around the world!
Here is our delicious tour of the globe meals for the week of
September 20 to 26
Monday England Shepherd's Pie
Tuesday Mexico Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Wednesday France French Onion Soup & Caramelized Onion & Olive Tart
Thursday India Chicken Biryani
Friday China Pork Lo Mein
Saturday Italy Sausage & Tomato Rigatoni
Sunday Spain Vegetable & Cheese Empanadas & Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Skewers
TroubleMaker will be spending the next six weeks or so at the babysitters during the day so I can save up my lunch ideas!
Toast, bagels, muffins & cereal (quick, easy things my Husband can give to TroubleMaker before heading off to the babysitters for the day!
And if you are still with me, I'd like to thank you one more time for coming to visit! Have a great week!
TroubleMaker's fall portrait from September 2009 - Fall Harvest
Photo courtesy of Blackstone Images
Friday, September 17, 2010
Well, not really. Of all the mornings for TroubleMaker to sleep in, he picked this morning so we carted him off to his grandfather’s in his ‘night time underwear’ and his PJ’s. But of course we had a hard frost last night and I spent 10 minutes scraping and waiting for windows to defrost. OK – we’re on the road!
I drop the boys off, give my dad the run down and take off to catch the train…
Which was packed so I had to wait for the next train! I get on the train and it fills up and off we go – more or less 20 minutes behind my usual schedule. How bad can it be? I’ve been commuting with the University students all week and although I was ‘warned’ about how bad it would be I didn’t really see any problems.
Until this morning, when simultaneously, all 30 000(that’s thirty thousand) returning students came to the University all at once and on the same train. I had to wait and wait and wait and push my way to the stairs (once I escaped the confines of the train). I even had to push someone who was trying to cut in front of me, out of my way. But I got on and up and waited at the next set of stairs to go up. But I emerged, victorious to the fresh and reasonably un-crowded grounds.
photo courtesy of Shaun McGregor from Flikr
I decided to try and get a coffee in the Student’s Union Building – which isn’t normally too busy (when I get to work) but all bets were off this morning. But lucky me! The shop was deserted and I got my LDRC (Large Dark with Room for Cream – I have to make up my own acronyms so that I can compete with my work place).
As I walked, a crowd of students pushed in. The exit loomed and people were being courteous and holding the door for the person behind… One young fellow held the door for the guy behind him – he let go, assuming of course, the hooded fellow ahead of me would catch the door and hold for me. The Hooded Fellow didn’t – he let it drop. Thankfully, I had a free hand (and a lid on my coffee) and I caught the door – as the Young Fellow jumped back to catch the door (but missed). He looked apologetic and scowled at the Hooded Fellow. I smiled and thanked him for trying.
So chivalry is not dead everywhere – except for the Hooded Fellow and Dill Weeds on cell phones (but that’s another story).
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Second, I had nothing on the menu for this past Sunday night so I robbed the chicken dish from the coming week. I want to make a chicken pot pie but it again has to be simple and easy. I'll have to do some looking this week and I'll share if I find anything.
And speaking of chicken, a few weeks ago, I posted the Frog's BBQ recipe. That same night, I also harvested some peas, beans and potatoes from our garden and served with the grilled chicken. I took a quick snapshot of the meal that night and I'm finally getting around to sharing it! The chicken was tender and moist and the new garden vegetables were DELICIOUS!
Here is our week at a glance As always, underlined items have the recipes posted below
September 13 to September 19
Tuesday Swiss Steak & egg noodles
Wednesday Tuna Wraps & Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursday Something with Chicken (may pot pie?)
Friday Take Out!
Saturday Crockpot Meatballs & mashed potatoes
Sunday Roast Beef with potatoes & vegetables
Farmer's Breakfast, Bacon & Eggs, Muffins & Cheese, Toast, Cereal, Bagels
Alphagettis, leftover pizza, grilled cheese
Hope you have a great week and check out more Menu Plan Monday cooking and meal planning ideas over at Org Junkie!
Crock pot Meatballs
Use your favourite meatball recipe (or use prepared meatballs) put in the crock pot RAW (that's right, you don't have to precook your meatballs for this recipe!)!
2 cans mushroom soup
3/4 cup water
1 can mushrooms (if desired)
1 package of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
Add soups, water, mushrooms and soup mix to crock pot, stir well and then add your meatballs. Turn on low and cook all day. Delicious served over egg noodles!
1 lb hamburger
1 jar pasta sauce
1 medium onion, chopping
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 can mushrooms, drained & rinsed
spinach, thawed and drained
mozza cheese - shredded (lots of it)
9 oven ready lasagne noodles
Scramble fry hamburger, when nearly done, drain well add onion, mushrooms, garlic and celery. Saute until pink is gone and veggies are tender. Add spaghetti sauce and spinach, bring to a light boil. Add spices - oregano, basil, parsley, season salt, garlic powder, pepper - generous 'sprinkles' of each (probably 1/2 to 1 tsp of each - except pepper - about 1/4 tsp of pepper).
Layer in 8x8 glass baking dish:
sauce, 3 noodles (broken to fit), more sauce & meat & cheese. Repeat alternating direction of noodles. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove cover and bake 1/2 hour more.
*I usually make my own sauce using this excellent recipe Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. I often use my own home grown tomatoes - I wash the tomaotes when ripe and freeze on cookies sheets. When frozen, I toss about 10 in a bag and then thaw for a day in the fridge. They then get mooshy enough to squeeze out of their skins and they yield about the amount of canned tomatoes called for in the recipe mentioned above.
Friday, September 10, 2010
With Fall approaching, the campgrounds in the area are primarily filled with retirees. In the summer, the more than 1000 spots in the area are packed week in and week out with families and people of all ages. There are many things to do in the area - museums, coal mines, Hoodoos, and live theatre (just to name a few) - it is a paradise for the young and young at heart!
Our first touristy order of business was to see the World's Largest Dinosaur. Standing 86 feet tall and 151 feet long, the dinosaur towers above the town and it certainly caught TroubleMaker's eye! He continually refers to it as "my first dino-store" every time he sees it - in person or in picture! He and his Dad ventured up into the T-Rex's belly and peered out it's mouth. I don't think he quite understood where he was but he emerged happy and carrying to rather large and ferocious dinosaurs of his own so I think the trip was a success!
We poked around town a bit more, went to the Hoodoos and let TroubleMaker catch a nap. Only my kid could sleep in a lifted, soft topped, mud-tired Jeep YJ but never in his own bed...
Today was a new and exciting day and the weather continued to agree with us! Sunny and warm, we headed out to take in more of the sites. Horse Thief Canyon, the Atlas Coal Mine, and the Suspension Bridge were all on our list of things to see. This brings me to the things I've learned for today...
Things I've learned today:
1. Two year olds are scared of nothing - unless you introduce fear (so this means a 36 year old can overcome fears).
2. If a boy finds a ramp - or a thing that might resemble a ramp - and he has a bike, he will inevitably figure out one can be used to ride over or jump the other.
About twenty years ago, my Mom, sister and I were in this area on vacation. If I recall correctly, we ventured out to the Suspension Bridge and promptly turned back around and went some where else. I am not really afraid of heights but the swaying, suspended bridge was a little more than I cared for. Today, my Husband was going to take TroubleMaker across... Until, that is, TroubleMaker grabbed my hand and said "Mommy, you come."
And off we went. Across the swaying, suspended by cables bridge. And he even jumped and pulled me. And the worse was looking behind me (to find out why the bridge was rocking like a rocking chair in the hands of a toddler) to see my darling Husband carrying our 50 pound scaredy cat Schnauzer across! We got to the other side and I was OK! We poked around a bit and went back and I was even able to look around! We got back on terra firma and TroubleMaker wanted to go again...
The dog and I stayed on this side and off he and my husband went.
Brave little TroubleMaker in the middle of the suspension bridge
The Bleriot Ferry is one of the few operational ferries in Alberta. Built in 1913, it is maintained to this day as a crossing point on Secondary Highway 838 across the Red Deer River. As we rounded the bend, I said to my husband "I can't do it..." I said I'd stay on this side and he could pick me up on the way back. He explained the ferry did not come back. We was going to turn around and allow me to chicken out.
Then I boldly said "NO! Let's go... How bad can it be?"
You know what? We were half way across before I even realized we were moving! So two of my fears overcome all because I didn't want my darling little boy to see his Mom scared.
My brave husband got OUT of the Jeep and took this picture of us!
And as I wrap this up, I wish we could stay here forever. Just capture this moment in time - the muddy shoes, the scraped knees, the little hand on my cheek saying "Mommy, I don't want you to go to work." I wish I could freeze this moment and never have anything change.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Things I learned:
1. Never take a child who loves dinosaurs through Drumheller and then tell him you're not stopping.
2. "Mommy! This is da first time I ever be here in my WHOLE LIFE!" ~ TroubleMaker on his first day in Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Once we convinced TroubleMaker we first needed to see Dinosaur Bones before learning about dinosaurs, he agreed and got back in his car seat. He loved Dinosaur Provincial Park - and everything he saw and did for the next two days involved digging up "dino-store bones!"
Looking for Dinosaur Bones!
After a windstorm that sent our shoes to the next camp site, we headed further south - to the Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park. We'd been there four years ago in an early fall blizzard - nestled deep in the heartland of Alberta, it's a beautiful little place. During our trip, we'd wanted to take the back road into Saskatchewan but the wet slushy snow kept us out. this time, we came fully prepared with our beloved "Jeep"...
Things I learned:
1. Where there's mud, there's TroubleMaker
2. When my Husband and I spend lots of time together, he catches my giddy excitement for seeing things that aren't there... "Oooo! OoooO! Oh. It's just a cow... I thought it was a moose."
3. Cattle gates are dangerous if you're two and your parents make you get out to take this picture (learned after TroubleMaker made a mad dash for the Saskatchewan Border and nearly went head first into cattle gate that prevents the Saskatchewan Cows from contaminating the Alberta Beef (I'm joking - I <3 Saskatchewan - Go Riders!)).
But it's late and we are back in Drumheller so TroubleMaker can see his dinos... But more on that tomorrow...
Friday, September 3, 2010
Well, I can't link this next week as I'm going to be out in the sticks camping with my Husband and TroubleMaker (and the dog too) but I thought I'd post it so those who visit me can see it!
This past week was good - the home made
"stew-p" was a success and the tacos turned into Nachos at the last minute (and they were oh-so-good!). Thursday we had an impromptu Roast Turkey Dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy with broccoli and cauliflower with homemade cheese sauce... YUM!
My Husband pulled up the carrots this week... And the two days I spent hand weeding the carrots paid off - we had an amazing carrot harvest this year and will happily be munching our Nantes carrots for weeks to come!
Here is our week at a glance
September 4 to September 12
Saturday Ravioli from a Can!
Sunday Hamburgers & chips
Monday Minestrone soup & grilled cheese sandwiches
Tuesday Smokies & baked beans (also from a can)
Wednesday Steak, rice-a-roni with Corn on the Cob
Thursday Hamburgers & chips
Friday Chicken & open fire cooked veggies
Saturday Pizza Party!
Cereal, toast, pancakes & sausage, bacon & eggs!
Crackers & cheese, granola bars, Trail Mix Yogurt & fruit
Hope you have a great week and check out more Menu Plan Monday cooking and meal planning ideas over at Org Junkie!
This morning, as I'm rushing to get out the door for work, I knew I needed a hot lunch. I venture down to the Freezer to see what is has tucked away in its darkest corners for hot lunches - namely, soups.
There were three containers of homemade Split Pea Soup, which I've since decided I don't like but tucked way at the back was a baggie filled with flecks of poultry, the gorgeous orange of carrots and the odd bit of celery, parsley and pasta. I drew the conclusion that it was soup... And I assumed I hadn't labelled it because how could I not recognise soup?
Well, I heated it today and it is soup. It is really good soup. But my inexperienced pallet has no idea if it's chicken or turkey and I honestly don't remember making it so I also don't know how old it is... But it tastes fresh and warm and it's like a hug from your favourite Grandma... And just what the Momma ordered.
There are a few things I do well in life and soup making is one of them. I just have 'the gift' - my issue is a toss things in a pot and don't write or measure what I toss in the pot! I did, the other day, make homemade chicken "stew-p" (pronounced "steww-ooop" - a made up word that combines "soup" and "stew") and I did record what I tossed in... But what I forget is I will randomly pull spices out of the cupboard and adjust the taste - so, I will share my 'recipe' (I'll add it to this post when I get home) but note a 'sprinkle' of this and a 'sprinkle' of that cannot be accurately measured.
So here is a lousy picture (the joys of cell phone camers)of my Mystery Lunch - paired with a tea biscuit and a slice of sharp cheddar, could life get any tastier?