Friday, July 31, 2009

This is my purse. It's big. It's turquoise. It fits EVERYTHING in it that I need, including a flashlight (ya never know...), my book and cross-stitching ('cause one can only watch so many baseball practices), wallet, keys, kleenex, bank book(s), notebook, IPod (again with the baseball thing and my ADHD) etc. No different than any other woman's purse.

I went shopping with my friend Lynn today. Visited some neat little shops; it figures that I came home with many more bags that she did. Amongst my purchases is a new black purse. I already have 5 black purses, but I will justify this one in that it is a leather backpack purse. Perfect for the trip to the zoo we have planned as I can carry everyone's "stuff" and not break my back like my big turquoise suitcase/purse would.

In our trek today I found a new favourite thing! It's called a Pouchee and it's like a little purse/wallet all in one. It's meant to sit inside a bigger purse and and make it easy to switch between purses. It's 18cm long by 13 cm high and 8 cm wide. There's room for credit and bank cards, lipstick (2 in my case), keys, my Advil bottle, small brush, change purse, money and cell phone. Each has it's own wee pocket. It looks good enough that you could likely carry it on it's own if you needed to. I love that I can switch from Big Turquoise to my new black backpack in just a second; to get ready to go for an outing requiring a smaller black purse (of which, I am sure there will be many ...)

This is a close up of the pouchee. Purchased at the coolest shop called "Is this Chair Taken?" in New Hamburg, Ontario.

So why the obsession with purses? I'd say it ranks up there with shoes. And I know it's not just me, 'cause too many other ladies comment on my purse(s) or shoes and compare notes. My theory is that with shoes and purses you really only need to consider colour and size and they will always look good. With jeans, bathing suits (heaven forbid) and everything else we buy we need to spend more time pondering body type, big this, not enough that etc. Purses and shoes don't require such consideration -- in that way they are very practical. Can it fit all my stuff? Do I like the colour? Will it match anything I already own? Do they pinch my feet anywhere? Done.

Next time I will take Lynn shoe-shopping. I need shoes to go with my new bag!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

This is Reebok, the wonder cat. She's as much a part of our family as any of the 4 humans that reside at Shady Hall. She is nearly 17 years old. The vet calls her a "geriatric cat" but Reebok takes great offense to this label and refuses to behave as if she is in her golden years. For example, while we have perfectly good doors for entry and exit on the first floor, she prefers to enter the house through our small second story door. This means she must climb our deck, launch herself straight upwards to the awning which she grabs with her front claws, then she flips her hind end up over top of the awning. She then jumps to the roof above our kitchen, walks across that roof and knocks at the door of our small second story porch.
In addition to defying gravity, she denies her age in that she still loves to play like a kitten. I often wake in the middle of night to the sound of a rolling marble, barbie shoe or some other tiny toy that Reebok is batting around and chasing through the house. She catches mice and birds with great regularity, though she has given up bringing them to the door as she rarely got the high praise she was expecting.
This cat is also aware that she is Princess Purrfect around here. She has various demands that WILL be met. The craziest being that she will only drink water from a Dixie Cup placed on a stool in the bathroom. And, it must be a fresh Dixie cup; if you merely refill yesterday's she will knock it over with her paw and give a disgusted look. Also, the cup cannot be placed on the floor (because what cat drinks off the floor?) or it will meet the same fate. I think she likes the cup on the stool so she doesn't have to bend over. We know when Reebok is seeking fresh water as she will knock on the bathroom door, usually while the occupant is "busy." When she is allowed in, she meows and stands on the stool waiting for her beverage.
Crazy cat? Nope, crazy family.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I am pretty excited about some new underwear I just found. It's "boycut" from JoeFresh (purchased at, of all places, Zehrs grocery store.) It's just plain white cotton, but it sits and stays where it is supposed to and it washes well. Underwear is an issue in my life. I've been known to wear a thong, simply because if fabric is going to be "up there" anyway, it might as well be as little as possible.

DH and I made a pact when we got married that included amongst other things, that there would be no "big mama underwear." He said there are few things that are a greater turn off than seeing ladies underwear "big enough to sail a ship" hanging from the clothes line as you are coming home for the day. What, you say? You let him tell you what underwear to buy? Well, when I made the pact I was teeny tiny wearing teeny tiny unders. Had no perspective on child-bearing wear and tear. (I did get a concession to the agreement while I was pregnant. I need the stretch to hold up baby-belly.) Now, believe it or not, I am grateful for this deal. Can't imagine feeling pretty in great big poly-stretch gitch.
However, I am now well acquainted with child-bearing/age-wear-and-tear so my search for acceptable underwear is never ending. And while my boy-cut briefs will never be accused of being "sexy," I figure if Jennifer Anistin can wear them in the movies, they cannot be labelled "appropriate for sailing the BlueNose!"

Further suggestions for my great underwear search are always welcome!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There are only 4 people who live in my house. 3 of those people would like me to be a short-order cook. DH is a picky eater, but he thinks he is easy to please -- meat and potatoes; but no chicken, pork (except sausage), roast beef, steak, fish, lamb, vegetarian anything and as little pasta and rice as possible. In my book that pretty much leaves hamburger. When DS was little he had a severe milk allergy. DD would be happy to survive on yogurt, pickles, crackers, grapes and popcorn. And somehow I have to come up with a single meal (because I'm NOT running a restaurant) to satisfy everyone. Maybe "satisfy" isn't the word, maybe just "feed so they aren't malnourished and I don't go crazy" is more accurate.

My solution? I have created a "Boyd Family Favourites" binder. Each week I try one new recipe. Everyone has to vote on whether or not it is worthy of the title "Favourite." Sometimes I have to make it again another week just to be sure about it. Once voted a favourite I type it out on the computer and it goes into our binder. When I'm looking for something to make I just pull out the binder because everything in there has been agreed upon by everyone. If I hear any complaints I tell them "it was in the Favourites Binder." That ends the discussion. I've saved all of these recipes to disk. When the kiddies are ready to fly my coop, they'll get a copy of the disk so they can feed themselves on favourites.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Planning Monday as organized by
Monday -- Chicken Parmesan, spinach salad, raspberry pie (leftover)
Tuesday -- spaghetti with garlic bread
Wednesday -- Pizza Casserole
Thursday -- Pork Roast with skinny mashed potatoes and vegetables
Friday -- leftover buffet
Saturday -- Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu (recipe below)
Sunday -- BBQ sausage on a bun (weather cooperating)

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
1 pkg stuffing mix
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices deli ham
1 can low fat condensed cream of chicken soup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 440F. Prepare stuffing as directed on package. Set aside. Place chicken in greased baking dish. Cover with ham. Mix soup and mustard; spoon over chicken. Top with prepared stuffing. Bake 25 min or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted
I have spent much time reading and searching other blogs to figure out how to do things. In the process I have learned a lot (not just about blogging) and been inspired by moving stories and beautiful pictures. One blog I especially like is zenhabits which led me to Both of these come under the category of "productivity blogs." To help with productivity one suggestion is to make your "systems" more efficient, or to develop "systems" for work and home if you don't already have them.

Systems. I have systems. Difficulty is getting the other people, big and little, to follow MY systems. I have a laundry system -- one load per day. It's taken to the machine in the evening after I've put the kids to bed. It goes on the line or in the dryer in the morning. It's put away when I get home from work. Simple. Not simple, if you are one of the other people in the house and you cannot find the laundry hamper. I've considered signage with a big arrow, but I fear that the arrow will only lead to the floor beside the hamper because it seems aim is a problem.
I have a dirty dishes system. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. When it is full, turn it on. When they are clean put them away. Apparently this is also complicated and that the other system in the house that runs counter to mine means leave dishes wherever you are -- beside a chair or on the floor in the playroom. I consider myself blessed if they make it to the sink (beside the dishwasher!)
I have a system for groceries. When we are out of something, or almost out, write it on the list beside the frig. I even have TWO pens there in case one goes missing. Invariably I hear "did you get___" and I always respond with "was it on the list?" One would think that if you wanted something bad enough you would write it on the list the next time. Nope. Different system -- yell at mom and maybe she'll remember in 7 days!

Systems for productivity? I have systems. What I lack is either the ability to motivate, or the ability to instill enough fear to make others follow them. It's a toss up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If you follow Oprah you know that one of the practices she follows and advocates is showing gratitude. I believe she keeps a gratitude journal. Many of the books I have read suggest the same. I have discovered on nights when the brain just won't shut off that a silent list of things to be thankful for works even better than counting sheep. In a sermon at church a few years ago, on a hot June day, the minister spoke of things to be thankful for. Someone spoke up and said "air conditioning and round bales!" I think gratitude is different for everyone, and changes each day. Some days it is just as important to recognize the little things, as it is to praise the big ones

Part 1: My gratitude list in no particular order (except the first 2 will always be at the top of list)
-fly swatters
-shiny sink
-soft pillow

Enjoy your Sunday. Be grateful, rain and all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I took my son to see the Stanley Cup yesterday. It was visiting a town near us. He was over-the-moon-excited about seeing it. He kept saying "I may touch the cup that all the greats have touched -- Rocket Richard, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Sydney Crosby...." I was proud that he recognized the historical significance, not just the recent Penguins victory. I could literally feel the energy buzzing off him when they brought it into the room.

The thing about DS is that he truly, truly LOVES hockey. He loves playing, watching, researching stats, the history, all of it. He tells me his favourite place in the world is the arena (sad, 'cause as his mom I'd rather he said "home with you."). Every hockey season I pray that whatever coach or team he has recognizes this passion and doesn't do anything to dampen it. Every year we've been lucky. Come April he is still as enthused about the game as he is in September. It's inspiring, really. There is something magical about seeing someone you love, find and celebrate the thing they love. It's a privilege to be part of that (and I tell myself that often while sitting in another cold arena on another early Saturday morning.)

In Dr. Baylis's Rough Guide to Happiness he argues that "...the very nature of our passions is that they are never mastered, never domesticated, never channelled and always wild. Perhaps passions would not be passions if they were under our control; they would be skills." I'm not sure I agree because I'm not sure passions can be defined; what makes each person's heart sing is so different. Could you say that because Wayne Gretzky is a hockey master that hockey can no longer be his passion? I doubt it. Sometimes I think the pursuit of the passion is part of the attraction, but I don't think that is the end. I look at DS's passion about hockey and I think that it's just a calling to his intellect and heart simultaneously that fuel his energy for the game. Lucky him. Lucky me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I found this quote on The link is at the bottom of the blog. It's quite an inspiring site. I recommend you go to the "Getting Started" link on the right side of Zenhabits if you decide to check it out. This is a huge site and it makes sense to start at the beginning.

The quote: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle. So I figure this is going to be my response when DH or co-workers, friends call me "anal." I realize I am a bit uptight about some (many) things -- shiny sink, not leaving socks on the floor, making beds etc. Now I have a reason -- the quest for excellence is a habit that I am unwilling to break. So there.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I told myself I would learn one new thing about blogging every day. Yesterday I figured out how to post a comment on someone else's blog. Today I figured out how to post a picture. Yeah me! This is a photo of a dragonfly I discovered in my uncle's garden.
DH's (dear hubby) birthday was this week. Got me thinking that in a few years (notice I qualified that) I'll meet the big 4-0 head on. I remember as a teenager being deathly afraid of forty. I feared being "frumpy." I wanted to be sure at 40 I would still be stylish and modern. HA! Someone should have told me "frumpy" would not be the issue -- "flabby" would. Seriously, you know "flabby" when you pull up your pj bottoms and the elastic does a happy snap sound over your belly.
It's not that I'm terribly out of shape, I just don't love exercise. And it's not really the exercise I dislike; I don't mind the muscle burn or effort at all. What I don't like is the sweat. There's something really yucky about damp, sweaty bra and panties. I've (briefly) considered exercising in the nude to avoid damp nether-regions but I'd only do that if I was thin, toned and didn't really need to exercise. Naked flabby is bad. Although, my other thought is that if I were naked on the tread mill maybe the extra miles my flab bounced would burn more calories....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I saw my friend Library Lynn yesterday. I was telling her about my blog and she said "My goodness K, you are as excited about this as you were about Flylady." True enough! I think I figured out the question I posed on yesterday's of the things that makes "life worthwhile, worth getting out of bed" is the excitement of learning something new. When there is challenge to overcome (in the case of blogging the obstacle was absolute ignorance) then the excitement is just that much greater. There, one mystery of my world solved.

So Flylady (link is at the bottom of my blog) was my discovery on my year off. She changed my life, literally. I have always been organized (though DH can't see it) but Flylady gave me a system to motivate me. On Flylady this month's habit is "Swish and Swipe." I used to think that cleaning the bathroom was an hour job. Nope. I swish the toilet bowl every morning (10 seconds) and wipe the counter, sink, shower faucet and tap and toilet seat and bowl top (30-45 seconds depending on how many males have used the toilet since the day before!). Bathroom cleaned 1 minute tops! I give the tub and shower a good scrub once a week during my house blessing. Easy -- life changing, really.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I am reading a great book by Dr. Nick Baylis called A Rough Guide to Happiness; Practical Steps for All-round Well-Being. It's a bit like a psychology textbook, but easier to read. I'm about half-way through, but so far the premise seems to be that happiness is about balance. I remember taking a Psych course in university on Positive Psychology. There I learned that we should continually seek out the positive and you can only know positive because negative exists (not an exact summary, as that was a few years ago.) Dr. Baylis's book says the opposite. Happiness comes not just from the positive. Think how many times we've heard of someone having something great happen out of something bad. I'm thinking Lance Armstrong's Tour do France win after cancer. Lance says he was strong enough to win because of the cancer, not despite it. Happiness therefore is more how you react to an event rather than whether or not the event itself is negative or positive. Hence, balance (wholeness) is necessary to both recognize happiness and to be in the frame of mind to embrace it. (I"m really taking liberty here with this author's work, but you get the drift.)
One particular section of the book has caught my imagination. P. 138 "What is the meaning of life? is a common enough question, but it makes no sense. It's like asking the meaning of air or water or wood. Life, just like those element, is a limited natural resource, so a more helpful question is "What can we do with our life that would seem wonderfully worthwhile to us? ....Who or what excites us that we bother to get out of bed early, break a sweat, be brave and stay sober so we can get a good night's sleep, wake bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and try it all again tomorrow?" That is the question that's been rolling around in my mind; that and, how do I find the time anyway?

Monday, July 20, 2009

menu planning monday

I found a cool blog in my web-searching yesterday. It's found at There is a neat section on Menu Planning Monday. Each week over 300 people post their menu plans for the week. It looks like some have recipes attached. I'm going to follow the advice on this blog and see if I can link and post MPM to mine.
Monday -- DD (dear daughter) away -- Ham and Cheese on a bun, Potato soup, cucumber salad
Tuesday -- Shepherd's pie, spinach salad
Wednesday -- spaghetti supper, garlic bread, salad
Thursday -- CocaCola Chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies
Friday -- hope someone's taking me out....
Saturday -- Pulled Pork sandwiches
Sunday -- big family potluck for birthday party

CocaCola Chicken Recipe
1 cup of coke
1 cup of ketchup
Stir together (don't stir too fast as you don't want it too foamy)
Salt and pepper chicken breasts or pieces. Put in pan and pour coke mixture over top. Cook in 350F oven, covered, for 15 min. Uncover and cook another 15 min. or until chicken is cooked.
I was driving home from swimming lessons today when I noticed a woman (notice I said "woman" not "girl") pushing stroller and walking with another child. Not remarkable in itself; what caught my eye was her trackpants with "Precious" on the rear-end. "Precious?" Come on. So I have a new pet-peeve. Pants with a word on the ass. I've seen "Sweet" and "Princess" too. I wonder if this outfit is meant as a statement? What kind of statement, you ask? I'm thinking maybe a sad grasp at youth. Or possibly advertising the potential for bill-board work on a walking mommy -- you know like 18-wheelers do. Then I ask myself, if I was going to send a one-word "ass message" I wonder what it would be?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I just read an article in the farm paper by John Parsons, called "Rurals keep old-fashioned work ethic alive." Made me think... He says "Farmers over the centuries have measured the completion of a work day by when the chores are finished. Whether it took until just mid-afternoon or late into the moonlight didn't matter. The only use for a clock on the farm was to time things so that one could make it back to the barn for the cows' regular milking schedule." His article basically says that work ethic is going by the wayside as our society is one of entitlement influenced by union and public sector workplaces. Interesting. I was thinking that these sentiments of working until everything is done could be said about mothers. Wouldn't it be nice if the clock said 5pm, or 8pm for that matter that we could just shut down for the day? Leave laundry and other chores for the next 12 hour shift? Truthfully, I don't think think that kind of thinking would sit well with me most days. Maybe there is too much old farmer in my genes.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My challenge for the summer is this blog. I want to join the Web 3.0 world, so that I can intelligently converse with my students. The best way to learn, is to just jump in and give it a try.
I'm told that the best blogs have a theme -- I wanted to call my blog "how I am trying to get my sh*& together," but I figured that might attract the wrong audience. Instead I will use it to post stuff that I have been working on/thinking about/trying to accomplish...all about being busy mom, educator, friend and work in progress. Anything you post or add, can only add to my learning -- as blogger and human being.

I'm thinking I'll post interesting quotes, recipes, great websites to check out, my booklist and random thoughts.