I decided to dedicate this post to my father.  I never really talk about my father because some of the memories surrounding him are hurtful.  My  father died of a heart attack when I was 18 years old.  To say I miss him is an understatement, unfortunately, I have spent most of my life missing him.    Today I was at a memorial service for a young girl who passed away this past weekend.   As I watched her parents I wondered to myself “how do you say goodbye to your child?”  As happens quite often in times of death, we reminisce about our own lives or people we have lost.  My father crossed my mind today.

My parents were divorced when I was eight years old and I can still remember the day he walked out the door, I was devastated.  I absolutely adored my father and I couldn’t understand why he was leaving.  As I grew up I came to understand that my father had committed a cardinal sin, he had an affair with another woman.  My mother found out about this affair and my father broke up with the other woman and was determined to make it right with his family.  He couldn’t do it; he once told me that he loved this other woman so much and he couldn’t pretend at home anymore.  He started to see the other woman again and my mother gave him a choice – “me, the children or the door,” he chose the door.  My adoration for my father was replaced with utter confusion.  I still adored him and loved him very much, but everyone around me was furious with my father and it seemed like not one person liked him.  To voice my love for him felt wrong to me because it meant hurting my mother, so I remained silent.  Finally after much confusion my father was granted visiting rights  He could come and pick up my younger brother and I every Saturday from 8:00 am and we had to be home by 8:00 pm .  Not 8:10 pm, 8:30 pm or Sunday, every Saturday from 8 – 8 and there were no exceptions.  Looking back I know this was not enough time and I felt that way as a child.   There were two older siblings from the marriage and they could not be forced to visit him.

As I grew up life moved on and my mother, stepfather, younger brother and myself moved across the country.  My brother and I flew east to see Dad once a year for two weeks.  Not a lot of time when you think about it, but we always had a good visit.   As we neared toward the end of our visits, a great sadness always came over my father.  As we drove to the airport he would be very quiet in the car.  We would get to the checkout and gate for us to leave and it was here that I realized how much my father loved us.  When I hugged him to say goodbye it seemed like he held onto me forever and he would sob into my shoulder.  Then through his tears he would say “I love you more than you will ever know.”  I can remember thinking everyone is looking at us because this grown man is just sobbing his heart out – he didn’t care he wanted us to know how much he loved us.  This is why my father came to mind today – he couldn’t bear to say goodbye to his children.  Every time we left that airport to fly home for another year, a part of him died.

My father wanted to be happy but couldn’t because he was torn about his children.  Right or wrong he was a father, a father who loved his children more than they knew.  Now as I look at my own children I can only imagine his pain driving home from that  airport and knowing he wouldn’t see his flesh and blood for another year and this daughter loves her father more than he ever knew!

Mom and dad before any of us!

I’m the little one holding my mother’s hand and staring at my Father.

First picture – my older brother and sister with my dad at Christmas – a year before I was born!

2012 Planner – The First 30 Day Challenge : Crystal Wilkerson

For anyone who wants to add more balance in their lives and needs reminders to do so – this is the planner for you – plus part of your money goes to a worthy cause. Can’t beat that!

2012 Planner – The First 30 Day Challenge : Crystal Wilkerson.


Recently I’ve come across a few blogs about thrifting and what people can do with a $1.00 item to spruce up their house.  Life as a thrifter shares so many wonderful ideas for decorating on on a budget and everything she does looks completely unique and chic.  The Schmitt House has inspired me to re-paint my family room which has just thrilled my husband to pieces – I’m including him in the plans and the work!  Cara Schmitt painted a feature wall red and she loved it when she first painted it but grew tired of it.  I fell in love with the colour terra cotta 5 years ago and decided to paint our kitchen and family room this colour.  My husband told me in 5 years I would tire of the colour, here we are 5 years later and I’m tired of of the colour.  He’s right and I’m wrong – betcha Cara’s husband told her the same thing.  I’m adding another category to my blog  – thrifting and what I do with my finds.  I’ll start out with my living room – I’m going to paint my pumpkin room and show before and after pics.  Here’s a few  before pics of the pumpkin room – don’t hold your breath for the after pics – it may be a while.

Cara thought her mantle was busy  – take a look at this – I’m not even sure how this happened – there is still a Christmas decoration up there and how about that lego ship – my son decided it looked pretty good up there along with the art he drew and shaped into a ball… Keep you posted..


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it’s a good way to start your day off right.  One of my guys eats breakfast immediately when he gets up, the other one sits there and stares at me for a good 20 minutes before he touches his food.  He always complains that he’s not ready to eat but we don’t have time until he is ready to eat, so it’s a struggle every morning.  I read a blog by yoonanimous entitled what a crock.  Simply put she writes that crocks are over-rated and I agree with her on some points.  But in this case the crock pot comes through and makes your morning simpler;  you get up to a big pot full of  creamy oatmeal all ready to go.

2 1/2 cups Large flake rolled oats(old fashioned)

5 Cups of water

1/2 tsp Salt

Mix all three ingredients in 31/2 quart slow cooker. Cover cook on low for 7 – 8 hours overnight.  Makes 5 1/2 cups.

Add some frozen blueberries and nuts and you’ve got a very healthy breakie!


I thought it was about time for another post about my experiences with my hockey team.  As I mentioned before, I joined a women’s hockey team this year;  I’ve never played hockey and I haven’t skated since I was a youngster.  When I first joined this team I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous playing for the first time.  I find most of the women on our team fairly accepting of a newbie but just as starting a new job or being in a social situation where you don’t know anyone, some aren’t so accepting.  Frankly, I’m there to play hockey and whether these women like me or not is of no consequence to me.  I’m learning and I’m improving every game, my skating is getting stronger and I’m not afraid to go after the puck – sounds easy, going after the puck, but when a 6’4 woman is on the opposite end of that puck – not so easy.  I’ve been run down and shoved around more than a few times.  You are absolutely right in what you are thinking – doesn’t sound like a place to get some me time, but for some reason when I’m chasing after that puck and fighting for the puck to stay out of our end – I lose all sense of where I am, I don’t think about anything, work, kids, husband, bills absolutely nothing except getting that bloody puck.  I’m somewhat surprised how much I enjoy it and it was my son who put it into perspective for me.  Before I joined this team, at dinner one night I was talking to my husband and the boys about why I shouldn’t commit to this hockey team and I was using all the excuses that busy mothers use – I don’t have time, I have housework, dinner to cook, laundry to do and I hardly get any time to myself so maybe I should use the time I would be playing hockey to sit down, relax and have a cup of tea! Brendan (my twelve year old and always philosophical) says “you can do that when you’re eighty!”  I have to admit – that hit a nerve with me.  I’ve never played any sport and as a child wanted to join something but there were issues with my parents that made playing sports impossible(long story – another blog).  I sat there for a minute and thought, “he’s right, why not right now!”

It’s certainly not a glamour world this world of hockey.  Let’s just say most of the woman are very natural – no makeup, jewellery, come-as you-are  type of woman.  If you think that men are the aggressors when it comes to sports think again.  A couple of weeks ago we were playing lady sharks (yep – the name of the team – and sharks they can be) a group of extremely aggressive women.  Our team consists mostly of  beginners with a few more experienced players so I guess you can say we don’t make the cut!  We never win and we’re just happy if the score is not 15 – 1.  So these lady sharks come along and they play really hard and really aggressive, they hit and whack their way to goals.  Not really necessary since we’re not a very good team.   It’s nothing personal –  it’s hockey.   At the game a couple of weeks ago against lady sharks, one lady shark in particular was skating around the ice and hacking our team with her stick on the back of our legs.  Back of the legs are exposed as you don’t have any padding there.  She hit one woman from our team at least three times – the fourth  time lady from our team yells at the lady shark – “excuse me, but what the hell are you doing?”  Lady shark says “it was an accident!”  “Bullshit” lady from our team says – “an accident happens once not four times, if it was an accident apologize.”  Lady shark refuses to apologize, because that’s what lady sharks do, so our little lady shoves lady shark and lady shark shoves back.  I thought I was going to witness a full-out fight when all of a sudden our little lady skates to our bench and gets her composure back and in a very calm voice says “sorry about that ladies but that woman made me very mad.”   That was the first time I thought of my boys during that game.  The boys get into silly fights all the time – you apologize, no you apologize, you did it not me and then they start shoving!


This morning I woke up looked out the window to see that we got some snow, some but not too much.  Not enough to make it bad driving, not enough for them to close the schools down.  See that’s what I prayed for, I prayed for enough snow that the schools were closed down, I wouldn’t have to go to work and the kids wouldn’t have to go to school.  I headed to the kitchen to get breakfast and before I started breakie I thought – “hey you never know – I’ll check the website and see” – answer to my prayers – school was closed for all of us – snow day, lazy day, relaxing day, morning to sit back with a cup of coffee and watch a movie on netflix – yes, yes, yes – God came through this am!  About 10:00 am I decided we better get out of our pj’s and head to the hills and we ran away….

It started to pour rain but we didn’t let the rain dampen our enthusiasm.  Great day with the kids and good friends – a little bliss in our crazy schedule, a little piece of heaven. I never got to that pile of laundry that is currently taking over my laundry room – tomorrow is another day…

Lazy Man’s Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil – It’s all about semolina

I had to press this recipe – haven’t made it yet but I’m going too – such simple ingredients, simple recipe- the recipe looks like a keeper..

Lazy Man’s Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil – It’s all about semolina.


You can measure the chaos in your life by your laundry.  How many loads a day, every couple of days or every week can be a tell all about your lifestyle.  If you are blessed to be doing laundry once a week then you probably don’t have children who are playing sports or changing clothes two and three times  a day.  If I were to leave my laundry to once a week, mountains of dirty laundry would be everywhere.  When I’m busy running out of the house and don’t have time to do laundry on a daily basis, it only takes about four days before the boys start saying “I don’t have socks” or “I’ve only got one pair of underwear left”.  I’m embarrassed to say that there has been the odd morning where the boys have fished socks out of their dirty laundry pile – I mean they have to have socks right.  Below I’ve posted my before my boys life in laundry and after my boys life in laundry..



Confession – I cheated on the first picture – I’ve never owned a laundry room like that but you get the drift.  There was a time when I folded laundry it went away immediately and my laundry room always looked neat and not the chaos you see there now.  Everyone is healthy and happy and that’s the most important thing – it will be a few years before I get my before laundry room back….Until then I’ll close the door.


Both my boys have I-pods and of course like all kids their age – they love their I-pod – the other day on the way to school they had their I-pod plugged in listening to I don’t know what – Dog Snoop, hip hop – when all of a sudden Elvis’ Jail House Rock came on – I said “you have Elvis”.  They said “we downloaded the album for you mom”.  Paid for it out of their own money too!  Here’s a little bit of the King himself   – Enjoy!


At 8:30 pm the kids were in bed, my husband was napping before his midnight shift and I found myself alone  – the kitchen was clean – time for me  – I fixed myself a snack:

I turned on the tv and this is what I watched:

No sound except the crackling of the fire.  A cup of sleepy time tea, a piece of pomegranate fruit –   a little piece of heaven.  All is quiet, no bosses to deal with, no co-workers, children are quietly asleep, husband is most likely snoring and it’s just me – my fire, my tea and my pomegranate.  I swear I feel the heat from the fire and I think I have an understanding why some people choose to be hermits!  Unfortunately, the couch I am sitting on is along the wall that is adjoined to the laundry room and I can feel the vibrations of my washing machine completing it’s last spin, just waiting for me to move the clothing to the dryer – damn machines!


This recipe goes well with the chicken souvlaki:

1 cup long grained rice

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup water

2 tbls Olive Oil

1 tbls butter

3/4 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves minced

2 tbls lemon juice

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fresh oregano

6 cups baby spinach  washed and spun dry

Fresh ground pepper – to taste

Feta cheese – as little or as much that you want

On medium heat combine rice, broth and water – bring to a boil – reduce heat and simmer for 15-18 min. until rice is cooked.

In a skillet melt butter and add olive oil, add onions, minced garlic cook until onions are soft.

Add lemon juice and oregano

Stir in spinach and cook until spinach slightly wilts

Add crumbled feta and let melt.

Add mixture to cooked rice mix throughout rice and serve immediately.



This is one of my favourite recipes.  Cooks up in no time and I always make extra so I can use the chicken in a different recipe the next day.

Chicken can be barbecued or cooked in a 375 – 400 degree oven.

4 chicken Breast

2 tsp Oregano

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp season salt

1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

1 lemon, juice of

vegetable oil, same amount as lemon juice

Cut chicken into skewer sized pieces

Mix chicken with oregano, garlic, salt and pepper

Marinate for 3o min.

Put chicken on skewers (if using wooden  – soak in water for 30 min.)

If cooking in oven- place skewered chicken on an oiled grill pan

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is done but moist.

cooking on barbecue – cook until meat is no longer pink but moist

Once out of the oven or off the barbecue, pour vegetable oil and lemon juice on every piece of chicken and serve immediately.



The other night I came home from work and my husband had taken out a large fillet of salmon.  That was his contribution and now it was my turn to figure out what to do with it!  This is what I did:

I covered a baking sheet with foil and oiled the sheet with a bit of olive oil.

Put a few garlic cloves through a garlic presser and spread all over the salmon.

Next – mix some Dijon mustard, soya sauce,  lemon juice and a bit of honey in a bowl until you like how it taste.

Pour on the salmon – if there is time –  let it marinate for a bit, but if not,  no worries fire the salmon into a 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until fish flakes but moist.

Serve with some rice and asparagus and you’re set.


hubbie pulling salmon from the freezer and placing on the counter – 2 minutes.

From counter to the table, including rice and asparagus – approximately 30 minutes!

No one died and everyone said it was good as was evident by second helpings!

Ok – I confess I cheated on the picture but by the time I thought of taking a pic – the salmon vanished!


I watch her everyday,

walking through her life at this moment so strong and bright,

but underneath it all, she’s starting to become undone,

I see it in her eyes, body and gestures,

she’s trying to be so strong, but she’s slowly falling apart inside,

she has to be strong for her husband and her child, but somewhere

inside there is a little girl just begging to have this all over,

I try to just be there, without reminding her everyday of her worries,

I sure hope she knows that I’m there to lend a helping hand, a good ear and

a shoulder to cry on.

I think she knows that I’m there, but she has other worries right now

not a time to be selfish or needy, it’s a time to just sit and wait,

things will get better and she will get stronger,

she doesn’t realize that she’s already stronger,

through her fragility, vulnerability and  emotions,

her strength is shining through,

I’m very proud to be her friend and even though there is little I can do,

my prayers are with her everyday.

Johanne Fraser


God speaks to me, yes he does.  Not in an obvious way and no I don’t hear voices, but he speaks to me through people.    It seems like all of my life things happen, strangers tell me stories, people come into my life and every time something  like this happens,  I’m left with the strongest feeling that God just spoke to me.  It happened again this past New Year’s weekend.   As typical with our family life right now, we are busy running around and this past New Year’s weekend was no exception.  Both boys were in a tournament starting Thursday and ending Monday.   We had no plans for New Year’s eve because we had to be up by 6:30 am New Year’s Day to get to the rink for 7:00 am.  At the last minute a good friend invited us for dinner and the whole time we were there I kept checking my watch.  At 9:00 pm I kept telling everyone we had to go, nice to visit people but not a relaxing time.     My youngest son played for his atom team and was asked to play for his older brother’s pee wee team as well because the team was short benched.  He was very excited to play up because it confirms that the coach thinks he’s good enough to play at a higher level.  Consequently, between both children’s games and our volunteer hours,   my husband and I would be at the rink all weekend.    By Monday morning I was feeling very tired and my son’s pee wee team made it into the medal rounds.  Both boys would be playing this game and if they won this game then they were playing for the gold, silver or bronze that day – three games total that day if they won.  If they lost then they were out and we would have the rest of the day to ourselves!   Here we are on the way to the rink for a 10:00 am game and all I could think about was the disaster area we call a house!  I had a mountain of laundry, bathrooms to clean, beds to make, vacuuming to do and I secretly wished that my sons’ team would lose their game!  Just before we left the house I told my husband that maybe I should stay home as I have to go back to work the next day and not a bloody thing was done in the house.  He said you can’t miss this game, the boys love it when you’re there.    There have been a couple of games during this season where I’ve had to meet my husband at the rink and I’ve missed part of the game and my husband tells me that both boys keep asking him if I’m there and keep scanning the crowd until I get there.  Important for me to be there –  yes, feel like I’m drowning in housework – yes.  Everyone does pitch in to help, but if you’re never home the work doesn’t get done.   We get to the rink 45 minutes early and I’m equipped with my kobo reader, coffee and I’m on my way to the lounge to read for a precious 45 minutes.   As I enter the lounge I see a grandfather of one of the kids on my son’s team sitting on his own.   I always say hello to him, however, I’ve never really talked to him.  He’s at every single one of his grandsons’ games.  He has two grandsons playing hockey and he never misses a game.  He also takes great pictures of all of the boys during some of the games and e-mails copies to the team.  So here I am on my way to kobo and coffee heaven,  I look into this man’s eyes and something makes me stop and sit down beside him.  We were just yapping about hockey and kids when all of a sudden he grabs his ribs just under his heart and his face is grimaced in pain.  I thought, sweet Jesus this man is having a heart attack.  I touched his arm and said are you ok?  He put his arm down and said yeah, I’m ok.  You scared the shite out of me,  I thought you were having a heart attack I say.    Been there done that he said – I’ve had heart surgery and now I have a heart pacer.  The pain is more like muscle pain and it’s a part of my every day life.  But let me tell you something, it’s a hell of a lot better than being dead.  He then went on to tell me that when he was a younger man and working, he worked shift work and many hours to pay all of the bills.  He said for seven years he didn’t really see his children, he told me he missed so much time of his children’s lives.   He mentioned that he and his wife divorced and I assumed it was because he was never home.  He then said to me that many of his friends have said to him – what are you doing spending so much time here at home – travel and see the world – come with us on this trip or that trip.    He tells the would be travelers that his children, his grandchildren, his family are his life now and then he said to me – realistically I’m just counting my days!  I’ve missed so much time already and really what else is there but family.  At that point the stress that I was feeling earlier that morning about my house and the work just fell away.  My husband and I spend all of our spare time with our boys, we go to all of their hockey games, my husband helps coach their teams and yes it is very busy but we are so blessed!   We are able to do this and this time really is short, it feels like it’s forever but it’s not.   The game was a great game, my son’s team was not tagged to win anything during this tournament and they upset this team by winning 3 – 2.  By the end of that day they came in 4th, they didn’t win a medal but it was one hell of a  hockey day.   At the end of it all I realized that realistically I’m just counting my days and I’m going to make sure that every day counts!