Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Continuing Saga...

I have such mixed feelings about our new washing machine. It still smells bad. I finally ran a load of bleach through with some old towels and the mildewy smell decreased noticeably. Unfortunately, the stench has not disappeared completely. I have also been leaving the washing machine door open and wiping out the seal between loads. This helps, but it's fairly inconvenient.

I do enjoy the perks of using a front-loading washer, though. Our clothes dry very quickly because a great deal of water comes out in the spin cycle. The dryer always finishes before the washer. (I love the dryer's moisture sensor.) Our laundry gets finished in half the time it used to.

The kids also find the washing machine fascinating to watch. Yesterday our two-year-old sat through nearly an entire cycle (45 minutes) because her special blankie was in the wash. Her running commentary of the entire process was priceless.

I also enjoy the large counter in our laundry room. I've started the habit of folding our clothes straight from the dryer. I can arrange everything out on the counter until I'm ready to put the clothes away. No more piles of folded laundry cluttering our living room couch! It's funny how simple things, like a counter, can make a huge difference.

So there you have it, another fascinating look at my little laundry room drama. The never ending saga continues...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Favourite Quote of the Day

"No, no, no, no, no. Don't rub. You'll get macaroni in your eye."

Sometimes I can't believe the things that come out of my own mouth...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This morning my five-year-old made the following insightful comment:

"Turtles can't chew gum because they don't have any teeth."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Favourite Quote of the Day

"You can use your magic wand to pet my lobster, Mommy."

(Said by an imaginative five-year-old.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
July 28, 2008

Another week, another menu plan. Is it really Sunday night already? Last week's menu was surprisingly successful. I actually stuck very close to my original plan and tried several new recipes.

The pea n' peanut salad was quite tasty. I would bring this salad to a BBQ (if I new allergies were not a concern) and the leftovers kept well in the fridge.

Our family also loved the vegetarian quiche. Our five-year-old son ate three helpings! I've never made a quiche before, so I did run into some trouble with the recipe. I actually ended up making two quiches instead of one because the sauteed vegetables took up too much space. (I doubled the quantity of the egg mixture, though.) I was thankful to have an extra pie crust in reserve!

Here is my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Wild wild rice, green salad
Wednesday: Vegetable frittata, fruit salad
Thursday: Tuna noodle casserole, steamed broccoli
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: 5 minute southwest layered salad
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

Please take a look at Org Junkie for more great recipes and meal planning inspiration.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Workin' the List

I love the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a productive day. Our new house is great but our move has resulted in a looooooong list of things to accomplish. Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who has a hard time relaxing when I see unfinished tasks all around me. I like my house to be just so. The past month I'm slowly learning to accept the principle of good enough.

That said, it feels good to chew through my task list. This afternoon I took an hour to sort through all the documents / unfiled bills / random paper mess associated with our move. The pile on the corner of our counter was becoming quite monstrous. Clutter totally stresses me out. It's funny, but organizing our paperwork improved my outlook dramatically. I now feel like we are finally getting on top of things around the house.

This week I'm looking forward to breaking out my paint brushes. I plan to start with refinishing the fireplace mantle. Within the next couple weeks I hope to repaint the living room and kitchen. Ben and I bought a sectional couch for the living room today and I'd love to have the painting completed before our new furniture arrives.

Slowly, slowly our house is starting to feel like home.

Friday, July 25, 2008


This morning our two-year-old casually asked, "What's shakin', Mommy?"

Where did she learn that? I'm always amazed by the things our children pick up when we think they're not listening.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dance Matt, Dance

For whatever reason, this video makes my husband feel uncommonly happy. I've caught him watching it five times within the past day. Seriously.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Guess It's a Wash...

I've done some digging and I think I must accept my washing machine woes. The problem of smelly front-loaders appears to be extremely common. The manufacturer recommends leaving the door slightly ajar between loads to air out the machine. They also suggest wiping out the rubber seal around the door. (Not much help, I'm afraid.) I've yet to try running a load of bleach through. (I'm scared of bleach hiding in the seal and ruining my laundry.) Several advice sites also suggested using Pine Sol to kill the mildew. (I'm not terribly comfortable with trying that either.) At least my machine isn't as disgusting as some of the ones I read about...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beat the Heat

Our kids are certainly enjoying the new back yard. Today is shaping up to be a scorcher, so the children spent some time running through the sprinkler this morning. They had a blast. I don't think our kids have ever played in a sprinkler before. (I know, I know. They've led a deprived existence!)

I asked my five-year-old to smile for the camera and this is the best I got!

Playing together.

The view from the top storey of our deck.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
July 21, 2008

Sadly, I did not follow last week's menu plan terribly well. This week I've chosen several new (to our family) recipes from the Taste of Home website.

Here is my proposed menu plan:

Monday: Tuxedo pasta, green salad
Tuesday: Zesty salmon burgers, pea n' peanut salad
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Vegetarian quiche, melon cubes
Friday: Chicken pesto pizza, raw veggies
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Whole wheat spaghetti, meat sauce, green salad, cheese toast

Check out Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie for other great meal plans and recipes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

CD of the Week

Inspired by this post, our family picked up the Barenaked Ladies' new kids CD. Do you think our five-year-old could learn the Crazy Alphabet song by the time he starts kindergarten in the fall? The Barenaked Ladies surely represent kooky Canadiana at its best.

Orange soda is to toddlers as catnip is to cats.

Please don't ask me how I know this...

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Big Boy

Our little timbit turned three months old this week. He sure is growing quickly!
Things (I Will Learn To Love) About Our New House: The Paint Job

I love the colours of our new home. I love the paint job a lot less. It's sloppy. It's patchy. It's far from perfect. I've tried to turn a blind eye, but I end up grinding my teeth every time I look at the walls.

Thank goodness, paint is a relatively minor thing to fix. I like to paint walls (when I can get some time away from curious little fingers). Here's to hoping I can survive our messy walls until I have opportunity to re-do them...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things (I Will Learn To Love) About Our New House: The Washing Machine

I have a love/hate relationship with my new washing machine. It's a Frigidaire front-loader. I've dreamed of owning a front-loading washing machine for several years and was thrilled to discover one in our new house. The problem is, the machine stinks. It literally stinks. I don't know why, but the seal surrounding the door leaks. Water pools within the folds of the seal. It's full of mildew and smells like a dirty, old swimming pool.

I've cleaned the seal as best I can for now. (I'm hesitant to use anything stronger than soap and water.) I plan to call the 1-800 number plastered to the machine. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Is it a design flaw, or does my seal need to be replaced?

I've added a new link to my side blog this morning. For a fresh dose of crafty wonderful goodness, take a peek at Indie Fixx. Yum.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things (I Will Learn To Love) About Our New House: Spiders

Who knew? Our new house is overrun with spiders. Really big spiders. Our friend has suggested this is because our property backs on to a huge grassy field. I think his theory is probably correct. At least the spiders will eat all the mosquitos, right? However, I had better not find a creepy eight-legged friend sharing my bedroom...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And That's Why I Married Him

My dear husband has worked the past two days straight (without any sleep in between). He went back to the office yesterday after supper and, with the exception of a quick shower this morning, did not return until supper time tonight.

(When Ben is very tired he gets a wee bit emotional.)

My husband called at about four this afternoon to share that he was sitting at his desk, sobbing his eyes out. He had just purchased Steven Curtis Chapman's latest CD and was listening to the music on his computer.

Apparently, Cinderella was a bit too much for him :-).

Baby Brain

On the day I planned to bake chocolate chip cookies, it might have helped if I'd remembered to buy chocolate chips...
Naked Baby On The Loose (Part 2)

The last vestiges of my pride have been squeezed through the wine press of parenting. I never thought I'd see the day where one of my children would be spotted naked within a public place. (Let alone a trendy public place. On a Saturday.)

The unexpected toxic waste clean-up set our schedule back somewhat. The kids were hungry and Ikea sells cheap food. We found a table upstairs in the cafeteria. I nursed the baby and tried to corral our other little monkeys while Ben, the fearless hunter-gatherer, went in search of sustenance.

The baby spit up on my shirt. I spilled soup on the crotch of my shorts. The kids were cranky. My fuse, it did burn short.

A little voice in the back of my head whispered, "Careful. Stay under control ... you never know who may be watching." I remembered an episode a few weeks back when I had been tempted to lose it on the kids (where else?) in the grocery store check-out line. Unexpectedly, a kind friend from church popped up to help load my groceries. She had seen our family from across the store. I was eternally grateful to my friend, and thankful I had (barely) held my temper.

Sure enough, in the Ikea cafeteria of all places, we heard a tentative, "Ben? Is that you?" A long-lost friend had spotted our family from across the room. He pretended not to notice the soup dripping down my leg. He smiled as Ben introduced our littlest (naked) family member. He showered our frazzled, rag-tag family with compliments.

Our naked baby cooed and gurgled, his exposed legs looking extra chubby and adorable. I thought to myself, "Who cares that we're not absolutely presentable? We are a real family with real weaknesses. Sometimes I forget to pack diaper supplies, and the baby makes a mess, and the kids run wild, and I spill my lunch. We're not perfect people."

The perfectionist inside me cringed. On the outside I mustered my courage and smiled at our old friend.

So did my naked baby.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
July 14, 2008

I must make a confession --- my recipe choices for last week were, shall we say, less than stellar. The curried lentil soup was downright awful. (I still have a large portion mellowing to a fine vintage in my fridge.) So much for experimentation. Our kids did love the cheeseburger pasta, but personally I was turned off by the fact that the dish closely resembles a "helpful" meal-in-a-box.

Here is my proposed meal plan for the coming week:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Shrimp marinara, whole wheat spaghetti, green salad
Wednesday: BBQ with friends (I will bring honey mustard potato salad)
Thursday: Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, melon cubes
Friday: BBQ beef burgers, pea 'n' peanut salad, frozen yogurt
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Chicken caesar wraps, raw carrot sticks

This week I have also decided to try something new. I'm going to plan our afternoon snacks as well. By four o'clock most days my blood sugar plummets and I enter a nearly comatose state. I can barely muster the brain power to dig through the fridge and find a snack for the kids (and myself). Maybe it will help to have some options pre-planned.

Here is my proposed snack plan for the coming week:

Monday: Fruit bars
Tuesday: Graham crackers and sliced oranges
Wednesday: Nectarines
Thursday: Apple slices with peanut butter
Friday: Bananas and arrowroot biscuits
Saturday: Homemade yogurt pops
Sunday: Fruit salad

Hopefully, I will find time to bake these Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies as well!

Check out Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie for more delicious recipes and menu planning inspiration.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Naked Baby On The Loose

When our first baby was born we toted all the essentials --- car seat, stroller, play pen, swing, booster chair and diaper bag stuffed to the gills. We crammed these necessaries into our vehicle everywhere we travelled, across the province or across the street. We were prepared. Our precious boy lacked for nothing.

Fast forward to baby number four. Suffice it to say, our level of preparedness has relaxed just a tad. I'm lucky to make it out of the house with my own purse and keys. Diaper bag? Sometimes it gets left at home. (There's usually a stray diaper to be found somewhere within the depths of the van, right?)

That laissez faire attitude came back to bite me in the bum this weekend.

Our family is slowly settling in to our new home. I can scarcely believe we've been here nearly two weeks already. Earlier this weekend we made the obligatory trek to the urban mecca that is Ikea to purchase goodies for the aforementioned new home. As our van pulled into the parking lot my eloquent husband made the following comment:

"Something really stinks."

Not something, my friends. Someone. The littlest member of our family had filled his diaper. And his pants. And his shirt. And his socks. The movement was epic. I'm surprised the car seat escaped unscathed.

We had remembered to bring the diaper bag along on our excursion. I was supremely thankful to have a large supply of fresh diapers and wipes close at hand. However, had I thought to pack an extra set of clothes in said diaper bag? Of course not.

So we did what any other family-of-six would do in our position. I set up a make-shift changing station in the front of our minivan, wiped down the babe as best we could, slapped on a fresh diaper, and strapped our (otherwise naked) three-month-old into the Baby Bjorn. With the unnatural effort it takes to haul our family into Ikea, we were determined to complete our mission.

So what if the baby was slightly under dressed? At least it wasn't February. Besides, no one would even notice. Right?

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Quote of the Day

"No Mommy, I won't squeeze the chickens. Because then they will cry."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Things I Love About Our House: The Deck

One of the main features of our new home is the back deck. The previous owners built a stunning two-tier cedar deck with wrought iron railings. The back of our house faces east, so the deck is warm and sunny each morning but well-shaded by the evening. As well, the railing posts are topped with solar-powered moon lights. Ben and I hope to host many a BBQ on our new back deck. :-)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Things I Love About Our House: The Field

Our new home's location is spectacular. Our property backs on to a huge, green soccer field. The kids have already spent a great deal of time running through the grass (and they have the mosquito bites to prove it, unfortunately). A few nights ago we sat on our back deck and watched a cricket league play! Every morning I open the blinds on our east-facing windows and am met by a gorgeous sea of green.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
July 7, 2008

We made it! Our move is complete and we are almost settled in to our new home. This house is so beautiful. Next week I need to clean, clean, clean our previous home to prepare for the new owners.

The weather in Calgary has been gorgeous and hot all week. I am very thankful our new house has central air conditioning! We have been pampered by the cool air these past few days.

I am slowly getting back on my feet now that our kitchen is unpacked. I managed to buy a few groceries on Friday and will do my usual grocery run on Monday. Admittedly, we ate out a lot this past week. I was simply too exhausted to cook (or even search for my dishes amidst the boxes). I'm looking forward to resuming our normal routine soon.

Here's my proposed menu plan for the coming week:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Curried lentil soup (slow cooker), whole wheat toast
Wednesday: Cheeseburger pasta, chunky fruit salad
Thursday: Broccoli chicken potato parmesan, tossed green salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Grilled salmon burgers, whole grain buns, baked beans, raw veggie sticks
Sunday: Forage through the fridge

Please head over to Org Junkie to browse through further recipes and menu planning ideas.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Things I Love About Our House: The Colour Palate

The predominant colours of our new house are cranberry, sage, yellow ocre and beige. I am in love with this colour scheme (and it is quite similar to our previous home). For the most part, I plan to leave the paint colours unchanged. However, many of the walls need retouching so the interior of our house will gradually get repainted over the coming months. (Good thing I really like painting!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Things I Love About Our House: The Bathrooms

I cannot believe how wonderful it is to have a "kids" bathroom and an "adults" bathroom. Ben and I have never lived in a house with a master ensuite before. I am especially enjoying our big soaker tub. Bliss!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The New House!

We are still alive :-). The internet service man just left and our new home is connected to the net once again. I've been completely relying upon Blogger's auto post option for the past couple of weeks.

Last night we slept in our new home for the first time. It felt very weird. Ben and I both agreed our house feels more like a hotel at this point. (A hotel with all the comforts of home?) Today I am up to my eyeballs in boxes and the goal is to unpack our kitchen. Tomorrow or Saturday I plan to return to our old house and begin the monumental task of cleaning.

The kids are being terrific amidst all this change and turmoil. We've unpacked very few of the toys as of yet, but they are happy to play with packing paper and tinker toys. This afternoon I will make a point of taking them outside to run in our new soccer field.

There's so much to process at this point. We're just working at it one step at a time...

I love my new house.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hmmmm ... Gross

The other day I brainstormed several ideas for future blog posts. I scribbled the following words in the corner of my paper, only later realizing their potential relationship:

kissing toes
fungus infection

Kind of makes you wonder what's been going on inside my head lately...