Menu’d challenged

We’re coming up to a year of living in Saskatchewan.  I’m not gonna lie – it’s been a tough year.  Depression, coldness, bullying (my heart still breaks over what the kid went through), family back home, friendships missed, etc…  We all, especially this winter of coldness, really liked our food.  And as I’m not the biggest fan (read I hate) of the cold and snow, we really didn’t go out and exercise the way we should have. I’m not going to write we should have done this or should have done that.  Or I should have done that or I should have done this for the family.   I do wonder about food addiction – it would explain a lot.  Life sometimes sucks the big one though.  We all make decisions that aren’t the best.  It is what it is.   What matters is what we do next.  ….  ….. ….. or what we at least try to do 🙂

I came up with the idea of a menu plan.  (I absolutely love the fact I’m taking credit of an idea that dieticians, doctors, and the medical field has been spouting for decades). One week at a time menu plan.  Honestly, if we did one for a month, we all would have run screaming in terror from the table from the effort we would have had to put in for it.

The three of us sat in front of the white board and started to discuss ideas. The kid might only be 12, but it’s important her opinion about what we put into our bodies counted. (Note: the sidekick and I had veto rights if candy was a daily serving suggestion).  I figure it’ll help her with food decisions in the future if she see’s how all of us try to make better decisions.

And holy batman was this hard to do.  Even though there are only three of us, the different personalities and different food likes became very apparent.  We also realized we aren’t very creative in the kitchen.  We apparently like our staples.  This hopefully will get us out of that rut and try new things. … … maybe … the kid is quite stubborn – a trait I blame on the sidekick.

We may not be nutritionists, but the sidekick and I took what we have learned the past mumble mumble years and tried for this first week to bring veggies to the front of our plates and carbs left behind on the shelf.  Little steps…. little steps… My taste buds are already missing the chips I vetoed from the sidekick 😦

Our white board looks like this.

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Notice what the kid wrote under june 27th? 🙂

I think we’re menu challenged.  Is it suppose to look so scary?

I am all for this new change in our lives.  The sidekick has mixed feelings.  The kid – well I think she’s wondering how to write candy in my handwriting on the board.

I want to hear from other food/menu/challenged people.  You have the info, but you well .. lack the discipline 🙂   How do you do it?  How do you make your meals?  Do you have a food addiction?  Are you doing it on your own?  Honest truth please!!  I went to a nutritionist a couple months ago and she gave me a great relearn about what I already knew so that helped.  What has helped you?

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Toddler Fight Club – Where have we gone?

I know I’m late with this post. Contemplation the last few days.  l have been thinking and pondering about alot. Thinking about where we are. Thinking about people around us.  Thinking about stories we’ve heard from others around the country. Thinking about how people interact with each other.

Thinking…….

I read the paper and it seems that my pondering has gone into full smoke out of my ears pondering lately.  It hasn’t been the best couple of weeks for the younger generation.  I’ve read about 12 year olds trying to murder each other.  But I can’t write about that as I have a 12 year old who has bullying in her sphere. It just …Why? …. So young… I can’t even comprehend …

I came across another article that had my jaw dropping.  Allegedly a daycare in the United States had a toddler fight club happening.  Adults were having the toddlers fight each other.  Adults….not children … adults….and not even children but babies.  Again, I can’t even comprehend.  Video hasn’t been released, but in it you apparently here a child cry saying another kid pinched me.  An adult voice says no pinching, only punching.

I know that ….stupidity isn’t even the word for it… goes on all the time in this world.  We don’t hear the worst of it.  I truly thank God for that.  Though I am sorry for the police, firemen, and professionals who see it up close on a daily basis.  I can’t even fathom …..

Children and the elderly …. they’re our vulnerable population.  Yet we pay those who work with them very little.  (Excluding teachers here from this post.  They are awesome and going to put the kid through university with all the knowledge they are cramming in her head.  This will allow the kid to take care of me when I’m old.. JOKE JOKE JOKE NO HATE).

I know there are bad seeds in every profession.  I know that there are awesome people in the profession.  I know that it costs a mortgage payment to put a kid in daycare.  I know it cost 3 mortgage payments to have your elderly mother or father in an awesome long term care facility.  I know the paperwork, and the numbers to pay workers more ..budgets…. allocations…. I know… I know… I know…

My head space went into overdrive as I thought about this all.  When I worked in Ontario I loved working with seniors in the community and in the day program.  Here is Saskatchewan I’m working with kids/teens.  I know that if your mother needed recreational/community care, you’d probably really want me on your team.  I’m really good.  I enjoy the companionship of those I serve.

But I’m a main bread winner.  I need to take care of my family.  I got accepted into university to finish my degree (Right now I have a college diploma).  If finances work out I will be attending classes in September.  I don’t think when I finish I will be working in the same capacity at all.

Which is a shame because the community will lose a valuable person.  There are so many of us that are moving on because the economy, life situations, … it’s hard.  A lot of valuable people walking away from taking care of your loved ones.  It’s hard for a lot of people on both sides of the fence.

Broke my heart.

I don’t know….. a post that may or may not make sense.  Things I heard about just from family and friends – and then news … Ideas here … Ideas there….

I’m curious – what do you think about this news item.  Tell me.  How would you change it for the better?

 

Entering contests will not pay for your bills in Canada

I’ve decided I need someone like Ellen DeGeneres in my life.  Before her receptionist was her receptionist, Jeannie entered into every single contest that Ellen had.  She won squat.  Ellen sent called her to say she still hadn’t won, but was sending her to a red carpet event.  As they sat on the red chairs talking about the experience, Ellen offered her a job of a every working non celebrity persons dream (at least my dream!!) of being close enough to celebrities to stalk meet them .  Plus Ellen sends her on cool little trips for work!!  I don’t know any other company that sends receptionists on work trips!!  I wonder if it’s at least business class…….

I remember a few years ago there was a show about people who won a whole bunch of stuff through contests.  That was a cool show.  From what I can tell though, the US has way more contests then Canada to enter.  That hasn’t stopped me though!!

I always have entered contests.  Now I have a little bit of a system down to keep track of it all. I’m entering everything I can!!

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Current every day list. It’s exhausting keeping track of this stuff 😉

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SO MANY CONTESTS!!!! This list of expired contests I and the kid have entered.

The kid and I have entered about 100 contests since I have started keeping track like this.

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Most have been daily entries.  So 100 x 30 days in a month x 3 months average for each contest… carry the one … minus the 6… add the circumference of the sun … well, we’ve A LOT of contest entries.  Hilton, Aspirin, travelocity, 1dsummer, chrysler, Ford, trips, … The kid and I have made a good dent with all the businesses in Canada.

Contrary to the contest show, you cannot pay your bills while only entering contests.  I have only won one contest and that one was one I had to work really hard at it.  I’m quite proud of my yummy mummy club / playtex entry and you should go read it.

Though I haven’t won anything more yet, I’m gonna keep entering contests. Dreams can be dreamt with the winnings.  Hope can be visualized.  Life can be pondered more with a trip to some tropical beach. It’s free!!

You can’t win if you don’t enter 🙂

And I’ll keep waiting for my Ellen Degeneres!!

 

 

 

Hope

The past little while I’ve been going through a phase of thinking the world is the most asinine place to be. The kid went through bullying here and the constant meetings. Every time I turn on the news something horrid beyond horrid is happening. Every time I look at our local paper I read about stupidity. I find myself getting old because I don’t remember acting like the youth of today. It’s been exhausting 🙂

Couple of weeks ago I was online when I came across a plea on our facebook city garage sale. A woman was asking if anyone had children’s allergy medicine. You might be wondering why I’m writing about this. There is a point. You see living in a small rural city, things shut down really early. Our mall closes most days at 6pm. The post office at Shoppers closes at 5 or 6. We do not have emergency dental. I think you have to drive minimum 2 hours to Regina or Manitoba. Just reading what I’ve written makes me miss Toronto even more 😦 Our hospital has an ER, but this wasn’t a case where she needed to go see a doctor. She just simply needed something that living in northern rural Canada, she couldn’t get that late at night.

What happened next made be smile 🙂

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That’s what this world is suppose to be about!! Not the drivel people seem to be showing each other 😦 So thank you ladies!! Thank you for reminding me there is hope for a better tomorrow!!

Past Canadian Nudist Pacifists

Is my tittle alliteration? How many P’s do you need to have alliteration?  🙂

You ever have one of those weeks where you look at the world and think wth?!?!?  That was my week.  This weekend I knew we had to get out of the house and far away from where we live.

So today’s adventure saw us viewing the Doukhobor world of the early 20th century in Canada.  Long version – click the link to find out who they are.  Short version – they were hardcore Russian pacifists. Living under the Russian government at the time probably wasn’t the most ideal situation for them.  They immigrated to Canada.  In 1903 the group actually marched nude in protest against the government.  Pretty  shocking for that time period.  Because of their beliefs and protests, children were taken away from them.

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Their motto

The Doukhobor village was actually pretty interesting.

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The Prayer house.

They had a Tolstoy exhibit.

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The bricks are not laying the ‘normal’ way. They are on the side.

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The outside oven.

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Ring around the rosey – Tolstoy statue 🙂

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Dirt floor – for real. The bed goes from one wall to the other which must have made for interesting sleeping.

Though not exactly what I was hoping for a get away from reality, it was a really neat little historical village.  We were the only ones in the compound and had every building to ourselves.  Speaking with the employee who let us in, sometimes not a lot of people come and visit this area.  I guess because the proximity to other towns is not near.  Veregin once a town of 500, now has a population of 42.

I hope this week is better. I’m running out of close by attractions to flee to.

life moves on

This past week has been a really difficult week.  If this past decade I wouldn’t want to repeat, this past week I wish would disappear into the abyss of hades.

Sadly we are still currently trying to resolve the bullying issue at the kids school.  Bullying needs to be eradicated.  However, that will only happen when adults stop denying its existence.  Which should right now tell you how disgusted I am at the whole situation and the community.

For a long time as well, I’ve been close to a mental health issue.  Watching the struggles has made me think more about the inability of the world sometimes to really understand.  It’s not you, it’s not them.  It’s a matter of understanding the experience of what a person is going through.  It’s a matter of empathy if not understanding.  It makes me so sad the relationships that are strained or not good, due to people not understanding that those living with a mental health issue sometimes do not have control over their thoughts and actions.  It absolutely kills me.

We have so much to do before we can call ourselves a progressive society.

In the meantime, even though these thoughts and experiences are my reality…. life moves on for others.  The world is a funny place isn’t it?

Even in captivity only the strong survive #lifelessons

I wasn’t going to write about mother’s day.  I figured there are so many bloggers posting about it, the world didn’t need another one.  Plus the fact, the bloggers I follow have said it all more eloquently then I ever could.  But then today happened.  And it was good.

I did not receive any material goods today.  Best present EVER!!  (Diamond store trying to market to me on my tv – we don’t have the money for it anyway 😉 )   The morning saw homemade cards from both the sidekick and kid.  We then drove over to my parents.  My mom has lived in Saskatchewan since 2007.  She hasn’t had any of her 7 (yes, that’s right I typed 7!! not a typo!!) children with her here to celebrate in that time.  She was beyond happy that she was able to spend time with us.

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That was what today was about.  Just spending time with each other.  We drove to Fort Qu’appelle to explore more of what Saskatchewan has to offer.

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Our adventure begins.

We found a ‘fort’ of sorts to pose in front of.

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Actually the entrance to a camp ground which is pretty cool.

I realized the kid will be driving in 2 1/2 years.  #mindnumbing

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Where does the time go?

We found hills!!  There are hills in Saskatchewan.  You just have to look for them!!
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I was able to watch my family and give thanks for what I have.

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And come on??? WHO doesn’t want to visit a fish hatchery?

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Fort Qu’Appelle Fish Culture Station. Opened for 100 years this year !!!

We had a lovely tour guide whose name was Ben.  He was 12, and was extremely knowledgeable about the whole process.  I was quite impressed by him.

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Feeding the big fish

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher's have enough stock in our lakes.  Even though it was disgusting  at some points, it was actually a really good stop.  And best - FREE!!!

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher’s have enough stock in our lakes. Even though it was disgusting at some points, it was actually a really good stop. And best – FREE!!!

The other fishies bit off his tail.  Bad fishies :(He went down the drain :(

The other fishies bit off his tail. He went down the drain 😦

This one actually had me thinking.  Even in captivity, only the strong survive.  Which today sadly is also the human race today.  We have everything we could desire, but it’s starting to look like only the powerful have the resources to survive.  That revelation I had made me a little sad.

The day ended with ice cream.

Be Jealous.  This stuff is good.

Be Jealous. This stuff is good.

For me it was a reiteration of how much you don’t need gifts to show a person how much you love them.  The time my family and my parents spent together – that’s something I will treasure more then any flowers, diamonds, or massages….well maybe not the massage.  I’ll save up some more money for that one myself though 🙂

Week in Review

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It snowed…again…#snowbegone #ihatesnow

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Finding solutions to keep everything neat and tidy.

 

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Family time. I won 🙂

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A little bit of Ontario home in Saskatchewan 🙂

This week I’ve been silent with my thoughts.  Hence a post full of pictures.  It was a slow week but a lot was accomplished.  I can’t begin to describe how much I hate snow.  SUMMER PLEASE COME NOW!!

The Wonderful World of Cisterns

A long time ago people used to think of ways to conserve water, thus helping the environment and the sustainability of the earth.  Groovy huh? 🙂  And we thought recycling was a new concept!!

It’s been interesting finding out about our house.  It was built in the 50’s.  We’ve been able to step back in time and see how people on the prairies lived not that long ago.  In our basement we have a cistern.  Cistern’s have been used for centuries.  We may think we are the guru’s of sustainable living, but our ancestors were pretty up on the ballpoint.

A cistern was used a lot in the prairies to collect rainwater.  Usually it was used for laundry, washing the dishes or flushing the toilet.  Some were built of brick, some of stone.  Ours because of the age was built with cement.  There probably was a trap door or something to access it from the top.  Probably a pretty good place to hide the evidence.  What’s really neat, is I learned that some cisterns from yesteryear actually had partitions for filtering particles.

Our cistern does not look like this 😦

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:El_Jadida_cistern.jpg Description : Portuguese cistern El Jadida in Morocco/ Português: Cisterna manuelina em Mazagão, Marrocos. Date 28 February 2007, 13:46 Source El Jadida : Citerne portugaise Author Axel Rouvin from Bordeaux, France used with persmissions granted from Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic l

Our cistern looks like this

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Side view

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You can see how people of cut through the stone.

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The walls are quite thick.

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now used for storage.

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Would have been interesting to see what this looked like 60 years ago.

In the 50’s in Toronto, piped water and electricity were the norm.  Here in the prairies – rural (which mean 98%  of the land), those modern conveniences ….. I don’t think they were here actually.  All the museums I’ve been to they show life on the prairies with oil lights and pumping water.  I know my dad in the 40’s on the farm did not have any of this.  You went to the outhouse and were happy with your outhouse.  You pumped water for the sheer exhilaration of pumping water…… I’d die if I ever went back in time.

A teacher I work with was telling me how in the 70’s, there were still party lines for farming communities.  (Party lines are shared lines.  Meaning if you picked up your phone, you might hear your neighbour talking to their sister from another province and you could join in the conversation.  Think the 1950’s movie Pillow talk with Doris Day.  Awesome movie by the way.  You should watch it).

Cisterns are being used all over the world right now.  I was actually surprised to see how many people did not know what a cistern was when I brought it up. Considering how beneficial they are, it’s kind of sad only 200 000 are in use in the US and not enough data is available to let us know about Canada.

Living so far from cities in present day is a pain in the ass.  (The sidekick had a hospital appointment in Regina.  We left at 9am and came back at 6:30.  His appointment lasted 1 1/2 hours. )  I can only imagine that living life out here must of been a pain in the ass back then – (says me who loves her creature comforts).  But living in a small house, downsizing, and learning about all this cool stuff is showing me how far I need to go to truly have a smaller carbon footprint … a simpler life with less “stuff”.

…….I still want a bigger master bedroom….just saying……

 

 

My journey in a small house.

On facebook, I think people were trying to figure out why for the past little while I was posting so much about small houses. They are actually making quite a mark on society right now. People are starting to live in them for different reasons. To be mortgage free, simpler way of life, of loss of income are just a few of the reasons.

We just moved into our small house. 600 sq feet of house. That’s right!! You read that perfectly!! No need for an eye test!! We moved into a 600 sq foot, 2 bedroom house with a washroom that is so tiny I can sit on the throne and brush my teeth at the same time. At least its not a 325 sq foot house!! Theres a family that did that. Crazy!!!

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See, I wasn’t lying 🙂

I’ll be honest, we didn’t move into this house for the greater Earth good. Some people move into small houses because it’s better ecologically. We didn’t move into this house for the simpler life – though my cleaning is cut by 93% as it’s so small. That’s a plus.

We moved here for the plain and simple fact, it’s affordable. I’ve written before, when the sidekick lost his sight due to diabetes, our world got turned around. Finances were the biggest thing. Why we moved to Saskatchewan was the affordability. Getting this house – it was the affordability. We can afford life, and don’t use a food bank back home. (Sidenote, there are no food banks in my small town. I had to tell them what it was. There is just an organization that brings you food.) If I told you how much my mortgage is and how big my property is, your head would explode it’s that cheap!!!! It still slays my mind that our house is worth 3x as much back in Ontario in our old neighbourhood.

Is it an ideal situation? Honestly, no. There’s a lot of snow here and we are summer people not winter people, so we probably will be cooped up for a large part of the year. We have begun to let go of things that meant the world to us. We have begun to learn how to really downsize. Our garage sale this May is going to be KICK ASS!! Maybe enough for a moving truck back home LOL 🙂 JOKE…..maybe….. 😉

Maybe if the dimensions of the rooms were different it would be a little better. Forgive the mess but we just moved in 🙂 We also are trying to figure out storage ideas. We do not have a linen closet, so the ottoman in the living room is our towel storage! It’s been interesting coming up with ideas on how to store things.

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This is the main bedroom. Our queen size bed is pushed up against the wall in order to have room to move. We only have two cupboards, and a small night table in our room. There is no more room for anything else.

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The kids room also is really devoid of furntiure. Her bed is the main feature and she loves her bed 🙂

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Our living room is just the right size. We had so much fun getting down to the original floors.

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Small space but functional. The family photo was done by my friend Jennifer Gilbert. If you live in the GTA, check her out. She is a wonderful photographer as person. The photo montage was the first thing we put up 🙂

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The kitchen is large, but no room for a small table. It’s a functional small kitchen.

That is our house – minus the horror set in the basement. We actually are the proud owners of a cistern. It is cement, and wierd and decidely an awesomeness piece of history of how people lived on the prairies. I shall take a picture of it for a later post 🙂

We are making due to our tiny house. It’s affordable, and I know Gail Vaz Oxlade would probably,hopefully give us accolades for making a move to gain better financial freedom 🙂

Though between you and me, I’m hoping for a miracle to go back home. I miss the convenciences of the GTA. It’s a hard life out here in the rural prairies. My hat is off to those who are living it. Imagine driving 3 hours just to go for a specialists appointment. I have a friend on twitter who has to drive 6. Way different life out here 🙂 But just like our tiny house, we will make it work somehow.

Crossing our fingers for a bigger ‘master’ bedroom though LOL!!!