Now that we’re home from our skiing trip, the weekend is full of hockey.  Last weekend of hockey for the season and then lacrosse starts.  Both the boys are in tournaments and the tournaments are in opposite ends of the city, so my hubbie goes one way and I go the other.  The rink that I took my son to this morning is a small rink in a small town.  I’ve been there at least a dozen times but I never noticed the little Salvation Army all tucked in behind bushes on the corner right by the arena.  Caught my eye this morning on the way home from the game, slammed on my brakes and went roaring into the parking lot – much to the joys of the driver behind me.  For that matter my son too – “mom are you crazy, what are you doing?”   “I can’t believe I never noticed this Salvation Army here!”  “Oh great” my son groans “we’re gonna be here forever.”   “Nope not forever but we have several hours between games, perfect.”  So above you can see the beautiful yellow shirt, caught my eye because the weather is starting to co-operate and it looks like we might get some Spring and I need some colour back in my wardrobe – for $3.00 I’ll take all the yellow…  The plaid shirt, I just love plaid shirts together  with a pair  of comfy jeans to hang about – take a look at the detail in the back fleu -de lis, sequins and all. Love it and for $3.00 love it even more…

I love canvas bags you can wear criss-cross over your shoulder – don’t have one – want one – found one today – $2.50…why pay more?

Last but not least – I have this old arborite table from the 60’s that I scored from my mother-in-law’s basement of goodies.  I knew I was on to a good thing when I saw the exact same table featured as good design in “Style at Home” magazine.  I paired mine with some funky Ikea chairs and because the table is small I moved it to the middle of my family room- kitchen.  It looks great, but the problem is the area where the table  is situated is not meant to for a table as there is no light in the ceiling.  I’ve got a floor lamp nearby to give some light, but I came up with the idea to get a battery operated little lamp as I can’t have an electrical plug running across the table.  Could not find one – found one today – $2.50 and it’s the cutest thing – love it – don’t think I’ll ever shop like a normal person again – then again maybe I’m shopping like a normal person and everyone else is not!   

Table was free – benefit of having a mother-in-law who keeps everything and gladly gave it to me.  I have seen this table or close to it for as much as $200.00 – $300.00 in antique stores.  I’ve got a few other antiques around the house as well – another post – another time.  Wishing everyone happy thrifting!



My mother-in law has a cabin at East Gate in Manning Park, BC.  We decided to go skiing for five days during our Spring Break.  If you like to ski, this area has great conditions for skiing.   It’s a no frills ski resort, a place that offers beautiful scenery, great downhill skiing, great nordic or snowshoeing trails and enough nature to last you a lifetime.  If you are looking for lots of restaurants, pubs and bars then Whistler would be more appropriate.  There  is a lodge, one restaurant and a pub located at the resort.  There is one restaurant in the area and it’s a little hole in the wall.  East Gate Diner it’s called and the chef (Dave) makes fabulous food, in my opinion better than anything they serve at the lodge.   Dave and Melody know how to greet guests, make them feel like they are in a country kitchen and  serve some amazing grub.  Check out the link for hours and information.

We are lucky as we have a cabin where we can stay.  It’s a very rustic little cabin, but it’s a place you can hang your head after spending the day on the hill.  At one time there was no tv or computers, but in the last several years my mother-in-law has Satellite TV, dial-up connection for the computer and an extra TV upstairs so the boys can bring all of their games and gadgets.  Technology is good, but there was a time when we played board games or read for a past time, now we can watch all the latest shows.


Considering it was Spring Break, the weather was all over the map.  Most of the days were beautiful and sunny.  We had a blizzard one day that lasted 24 hours and more than three feet of snow fell.  Powder,powder and more powder we’re the conditions of the hills after that snowfall.


This family can’t go away without something happening, this time it was water.  The cabin is old and so is everything in it.  A friend of ours came up with us and he could hear from the well something not quite right.  He opened the hatch and found that a leak had sprung from one of the hoses.  He insisted if we didn’t fix it, the whole thing would blow.  Another friend of ours who has experience with all things water said to him to leave it as sometimes when you fix one thing it leads to another thing.   To make a long story short there was no one small enough to fit in the hole except for my youngest  son and me.  Our friend was talking about tying a rope around my son’s chest so he didn’t fall down this fifteen foot well.  No bloody way, so it was left to me – went down three times because just like the man said – we fixed one thing but ended up with more problems. At one point we ended up with no water and that was the third time I went down that hell hole to patch things up.  No, I’m not that inclined – I had men yelling instructions from the top and I managed to figure things out.  Pretty funny when you think about it – send the deaf chick down the hole and yell at her!

All in all it was good five days and as far as I know the water is still holding!

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About a month ago, my youngest son came home with an interim report card.  It wasn’t bad, but there were a few things that the teacher mentioned that I felt was not like my son.  I didn’t doubt the teacher but I suspected something was going on.   I started to think that maybe  he was having an issue with another student, bullying, teasing or something along that line.  I asked him if there was anything wrong because obviously the teacher was concerned enough to let me know.  He said “well there is one thing wrong but I’m not going to tell you.”  At this point I was thinking the worse and trying to get information out of my son is like pulling teeth out of his head.  I got very firm with him and told him he had to tell me what was wrong.  Got me nowhere he simply looked at me and said “nope!”  Then I tried begging – “please sweetie, you have to tell me.”  He stared at me for a long time and then said “If I tell you, you will make me do something I don’t want to do.”  Again, I’m thinking the worse but not sure what it possibly could be and I asked him again to tell me what was going on.  “Well” he said, “sometimes when the teacher writes on the board, I can’t see the words.”  “I need glasses and I don’t want to wear them.”  I asked him how long this had been going on and he told me “quite a while.”  Makes me wonder what else he doesn’t tell me!  Off we went to get him glasses and we had to push him to wear them to school, after all he’s not the only boy wearing glasses in that class.  Not long after we got the glasses, the family went to a Junior A hockey game.  My son wore his glasses and was smiling the whole time, “mom I can actually see the puck go into the net at the other end.”  Small miracles and one battle down- how many more to go?


A little while back I found a quote on studiolightblue – “Let me ask you something, what is not art?”  Love that quote because it says it all.  You just have to have a love for beauty to admire art and everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!  I love art and I know what I like, but I don’t have money to invest nor  the knowledge to have an expert opinion.  I do have a few good framed prints but my favourite framed art is my children’s’ art:

If you click on the cross to take a closer look, you will see that the whole cross, including Jesus, is made out of clothes pegs!  The innocence in children’s art can’t be bought. Beside showing off your children’s art, framing your child’s art is truly debt free decorating.  I also love photos and enjoy  having photos of my family around. Pictures from my grandparents’  day up to pictures of my parenting days!  I like to surround myself with happy reminders and what better way to do that than frame photos.  I created the space below on a small wall – picked six of my all time favourite pictures:

I also created a wall of old timers, a group of pictures showing past generations.  I like to show my children that a time existed before they were even thought of, for that matter before my husband and I were thought of!


Finally, before I got married I mentioned to a friend that I really liked Caillebotte’s “The Floor Planers” (Les raboteurs de parquet).    For a wedding gift she bought the print and had it framed.  I loved the gift, so personal and I hold the gesture close to my heart.   Something about men without shirts on working – no, no, it’s the brush strokes and detail!  Seriously, I think my fondness for this picture is  because Caillebotte had the nerve to show workers – something artists would not do during his time as this was not considered good taste.  Caillebotte’s floor planers shocked or rather rocked the socialites of the day – they called it “vulgar subject matter.”   Good for you Gustave!




Found this recipe in “Style at Home” – a whole section of recipes with a take-out theme except you don’t take out!  I picked the easiest one for tonight’s dinner and the meal was delicious.  Note:  make sure you  have a pot of rice simmering so it’s ready at the same time as the beef.

Ginger scallion beef with oyster sauce

1 1/2 lbs flank steak trimmed                     1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp minced garlic                                       7 oz snow peas, strings removed

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger                           4 green onions, sliced 1/4 thick

2 tbsp mirin                                                      1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil                                             1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 tbs sake

Cut the flank steak in half lengthwise into 2 long pieces, then cut across the grain into thin slices.  In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger and mirin.  Add the flank steak and marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat the oils over medium-high heat in a wok or large sauté pan.  Working in 2 batches, sear the beef slices until no longer pink, add the snow peas and continue to cook until bright green about 2 minutes.  Add the onions, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sake and cook 2 minutes more until the beef and vegetable are saucy and hot.  Serve immediately over cooked rice.  Best thing about this recipe is that it’s quick and not much clean-up – one pot!

PS – I used sugar snap peas as I had a whole bag in the fridge and didn’t want to waste – turned out well but I think it would of been better with the snow peas.


Ok two pots – one for the rice!


I’ve been power walking with my neighbour for a while now.  We get up at 5:30 am and walk for an hour, sometimes I think our mouths get more exercise than our legs!  We both find 5:30 am the best time for us to get in an hour of exercise.  We work full time, the kids have homework or sports after school, dinner, laundry for the next day and getting the kids off to bed takes too much time in our evenings to get a walk in the schedule.  My oldest has been getting up and coming with us as he enjoys walking with my girlfriend’s dog Rex.  My youngest son gets up every now and then but he likes his sleep.  My walking buddy went to Mexico yesterday, so I asked my boys if they wanted to get up and take the dog for an early morning walk.  This is what we woke up to – snow.  Here my walking buddy goes to Mexico and it snows.  I got up a little late this morning and it was just me, my youngest son and Rex.   I grabbed my camera because  I knew the snow wouldn’t last and there’s nothing more breath-taking than a fresh layer of snow.


It was pretty icy this morning and you had to watch your step.  Half way through the walk, I stepped off the curb onto the road and unknown to me there was black ice.  My feet went out from underneath me and it happened so fast I had no time to get my hands out to break my fall.  The strangest thing happened, my fall seem to go to slow motion and it was as if someone caught me from the fall and laid me gently on the ground.  I landed softly on my butt, then slowly the rest of my body laid back as if I was lying down on a bed and finally the back of my head hit the ground like I would lie down on a pillow, very gently.  I was lying there staring up at the sky a little stunned when Rex’s snout appeared and then my son’s face.  He said “mom are you ok?”  “Yes” I said, “just a little stunned.”   “Why are you stunned mom, are you hurt?”  “No I’m stunned, I’m not hurt, my head should of hit that ground really hard.”  I got up like nothing happened, no pain in my lower back or legs, no pain in my shoulders, no pain in my head, nothing.  Very strange, I’ve had similar experiences before where I’ve counted my lucky stars that someone or something was with me, but nothing quite so drastic as this morning.  I believe in angels and I’m not sure what form they take, but I know angels are amongst us.  Something was with me and my son this morning and I am very grateful.


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When I see a fresh layer of snow I always think that it’s God’s way of laying down a protective cover on the earth and the world seems to stand still.  Maybe he sent his angels out this morning as well….


As I’ve mentioned on this blog several times, our weekends are absolutely crazy.  This weekend was no exception.  The boys are coming to an end of their hockey season and the lacrosse season is just gearing up.  Friday night was the most miserable night, raining, cold and my son had a lacrosse tryout at an open box in the park.  We dropped him off and parked the truck somewhere close where we could watch the practice; armed with hot Starbucks lattes.  I know we’re not nice parents, all these parents were out there with umbrellas, hats, gloves and zipped jackets up to their necks and here my husband and I are sipping hot lattes from the comfort of our truck.  The lacrosse practice went until 9:00 pm and the next morning both boys had to be at the rink by 5:30 am for practice.  I stayed home the next morning, but I was up by 6:00 trying to get a few things done before my youngest son’s 9:00 am hockey game.  The rest of the day was spent running around doing shopping, errands,Saturday evening mass, home to get dinner and then out the door again to my oldest son’s hockey game.  We weren’t home until 10:30 pm that night.  Needless to say I accomplished very little in the house.  I recently wrote, “Sorry you’ve got the wrong number, there’s no Martha here” where I talk about letting some of the house issues go.  The problem is that I’ve gotten somewhat laid back and this weekend all that laid backness was starting to stack up.  My bathrooms were about to grow legs and walk out of the house and that is no exaggeration.    I said to my husband, “all three of you promised at the start of this hockey season that you would contribute to cleaning the house and you’ve done very little.”  He agreed and promised that tomorrow  both he and and the boys would help out.  You have no idea how many times I’ve heard tomorrow, so I said to him, “I’m cashing in on your promise, I need help.”   Sunday morning my husband and the boys played a morning hockey game with my husband’s team and were not home until 1:00 pm.  We were invited out to a dinner party Sunday night and I was asked to bring a batch of my corn bread.  My house was so disorganized because of the painting we recently completed and I was still in the process of putting things back in place.  I spent the morning moving things around and by the time my husband got home I still hadn’t finished cleaning the house nor had I made the corn bread.  We had three hours until we had to leave for the party which sounds like a lot of time to make corn bread and clean, but when you have to clean the house from top to bottom, make corn bread and finish the laundry, three hours just doesn’t cut it.  I did the sensible thing, I split all the work into four jobs and we all had our work cut out for us.  My husband had to finish hanging pictures, put up curtains and I handed him the recipe for the corn bread.   The boys had to clean their rooms, do all the dusting and vacuum the house.  I divided the dusting up, one took downstairs the other took upstairs, one vacuumed the stairs, the other vacuumed the upstairs and they both had to put away their laundry.  I took the bathrooms, dusted areas that the boys couldn’t get too and finished up the laundry.  While cleaning the boys’ bathroom, I hear the vacuum start and finish in a very short time.  My youngest runs by me and I say to him, “hey, you couldn’t possibly have finished the vacuuming in that short time.”  He says, “yeah my room is finished.”  “No, the deal is the whole upstairs” I say to him.  He gives me this look, like mom you could not possibly understand, and says “you’re expecting me to vacuum areas I don’t use?”   I was just amazed by his reaction and I called him over and I said “do you see this toilet, I don’t pee here but I’m cleaning it.”  He again stared at me went to say something, thought the better of it, walked away picked up the vacuum and continued to vacuum the entire upstairs.  We made it to our dinner party, the corn bread turned out well, the house was cleaned and I was at the rink by 8:30 pm for my hockey game – mission accomplished!

Cornbread recipe to follow in another blog!


Cookie Momma reminded me that it’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday today – an absolute genius.  I loved Dr. Seuss books as a child and fell in love with him again when I introduced him to my children.  Perfect day for Dr. Seuss quotes after all his quotes are the best:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”

“I like nonsense it, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living”

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go..”

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

” A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”

“I meant what i said and i said what i meant.  An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!”

“How did it get late so soon?” It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.  How did it get late so soon?”

“If you never did you should.  These things are fun and fun is good.”

It’s hard to narrow it down to just ten – three more!

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…”

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too should have rights.”


Here’s the thing, according to the various home design magazines my house is poorly decorated.  During the week, very little is in its place, laundry sits on a table in the family room until I have time to put it away, my children leave a trail of their shoes, jackets, roller blades, helmets and general sports gear  leading from the front door to the family room.  You might find dishes in the sink, clean dishes not put away, never-the-less not magazine perfect.  All of my furniture is either hand-me-downs, antiques (not even mine – belong to my mother-in-law) and thrift store deals.  The odd time I’ve found some energy and repainted a table or two, it’s a rare occasion, furniture usually comes as is in my house.

Table before


I don’t get Martha Stewart’s magazine but I do get Canadian Style At Home magazine, a Christmas gift from a good friend, orders a subscription for me every year.    I really like the magazine but there was a time my husband would cringe when he saw the magazine in the pile of mail.  He would see me flipping through the beautiful pages and sure enough I would start not being as happy with my surroundings, I’d want this change, this  needs to be painted, I really want the old kitchen out and a new Ikea kitchen in and then try to figure out how we could afford it all.  When reality set in that I couldn’t afford it, I’d go about my business as usual until the next month and then I would start my rant all over again.  There have been times when the magazine inspired me to do good things but mostly I would focus on the things I didn’t have rather than be thankful for what I did have.  Somewhere along the line it all changed and I think I know precisely  the time the change occurred.  I’ve written about the time with my mother while she was sick with Alzheimer’s in Connections, it was during this time and her death that the changes in me took place.  My mother was always incredibly fussy about her house, she cleaned like a mad woman.  When I was a teenager she worked full-time and cleaned all weekend.  She would be really bitchy if things weren’t in order and weekends could just be a drag.  One of the first things I noticed wrong with my mother, before Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, was that she stopped doing housework and didn’t seem to care about cleaning at all.  As we realized her condition and we were living in the same city, I would split my time between cleaning my place and running over to her apartment to clean her place as well.  In between all that my husband was working midnight shift, I was working day shift, and juggling the boys.  Phew – stopped breathing just thinking about how stressful those days were.  The point to  all of this is that my mom was so particular about her house now fast forward to her funeral and people talked about how kind-hearted she was, nice person she was and how funny she was, but not one person mentioned how clean or nice her house was!  The thought struck me on the plane ride coming home from the funeral, I thought I’m worried that I might have a lot of housework, who cares.  From that day forward I’ve been different, it’s not like I let my house get out of control but I don’t feel the same pressing need to have everything perfect.  It’s an exhausting  thing being perfect, Martha Stewart must be unconscious from exhaustion.  For me I try to get my boys and husband to do more to help me, but no more do I worry about everything being picked up every single minute, can’t do it.  Hopefully, when I die my children will have so many fond memories and I hope they forget my perfect always tense stage and remember all the smiles and laughs we had.