May 14

A broken dishwasher + a Crazy Cowboy = a new KITCHEN!

And the renovation begins!  What I’ve learnt in a renovation is that all the boring shit goes first.   So the electricians were here and put in the pot lights.  The painter was here and took out the popcorn ceiling out while we were getting the house painted.  It looks great but there is no wow factor in pot lights.

I realize now that I should have taken complete before pictures.  I didn’t.  The whole idea of the renovation started because the dishwasher died.

I hung a piece of fabric over the hole and thought when we could afford the one I want (versus a regular dishwasher) we would just buy it and move on.  But my boyfriend is Cowboy so we all know that’s not what happened.

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So our kitchen is 10X11.  It’s not a big kitchen but it’s a smart layout.  There are lots of cupboards.  The only issue we seem to have is counter space.  There isn’t a lot of it.

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And there is this completely useless open wall.  Notice the fridge.  It’s a delightful fridge.  It’s also ENORMOUS!  And completely unnecessary.  So I’m getting a smaller sized fridge.  More on that later and the life long dream that is being fulfilled.

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Thankfully the wall into the dining room was opened up before us so we don’t have major structural stuff to do.

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So this is the before.  Next up, hardwood floors for the entire main floor INCLUDING the kitchen.  Those go in pretty quick here.  I’m hoping to have them in and then immediately after have the cupboard people put in the new cabinets so that the disruption is minimal.  Right now they are projecting July as a date for the cabinets.  So really it’s about how long I can go without a sink.  With 5 people and no kitchen.  Ugh.

 

Next up! The choices so far and why I am waiting for a fridge to come by boat from Italy.

Apr 04

….and like that *poof* he’s gone…

And he’s gone….

In 8 days I man can get a lot done.  I didn’t know this before but I do now.  The Cowboy came home and worked like his ass was on fire and now I have some completed rooms.  Wanna see?  Tough.  You are.

The first room finished was the main bathroom.  Cowboy painted it and put in new floors!  We took out the medicine cabinet and replaced it with floating shelves.   Cowboy is a genius.  No plans just “how far apart do you want them darlin'” and boom!  I get exactly what I want!   The neutral in the house is grey so each room has that as a sort of ‘base’.  I’m trying to tie all the rooms together for nice flow without the house looking all matchy matchy.   So the walls in the main bath are yellow with grey and orange accents.  It’s the bathroom Mr. Magoo uses and his favourite colour is orange.  I think it adds a nice POP.

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Then he moved on to the master half bath.

I picked a soft lilac colour and it came out just beautifully.  I would have done the floating shelves in this room as well but we’re both old and need a place for our drugs, lotions & potions that keep us moving.

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There was an ugly mirror in the bathroom with an old fashioned ornate frame that just wasn’t doing it for me.  So I asked my beloved if he could make a new frame for it and well of course he did.  With no pattern.  Out of barnwood.

So here’s how I’m doing the house having flow and yet not ‘matchy’.  The neutral in the house is the colour grey and there is a recurring  vintage/farmhouse theme throughout.  Hence the barnwood.  I’m trying to strike a balance between warming up the space and “holy shit why is there barnwood EVERYWHERE”.  It’s a delicate dance.  So far I’m doing okay.  The main rooms will have some features in them and some light touches without it being over done.  Well that’s the hope.  The light fixture was another bargain hunted out by ME the bargain hunter.  Met some lady at the Peavy Mart parking lot and bought it off her.  A $130 vanity light from Lowe’s for $30.  Score!

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And finally the most amazing master bedroom I have ever had!  It’s almost complete but already looks so fantastic.

We are going with a iron bed but this is what it’s like so far.  This is the wall that will have the feature barnwood wall so it’s painted but very roughly.  Cowboy wired the bedroom lights directly into the wall AND gave us each an outlet on the sides of the bed.  I’m now in the process of figure out what type of bedside tables I want.    The bed I want it called the Coleman bed and is from Pottery Barn and I’m hoping to order it soon!  I need simple and small bedside tables NOT super expensive 600 dollar bedside tables….hmmm Pinterest it is!

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I was going to spray paint the metal closet doors but Cowboy has suggested we take it to an autobody place and get them done professionally.  So I’m taking them in soon.  I’m thinking white but I may go with a silver.

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See our originally bedroom makeover item that changed the whole house?  Those his/her barnwood hooks for our robes got the whole process started.

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I thought I hated all ceiling fans but I LOVE this one.  It was that horrible brown with rattan inserts…see?

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Then Pinterest happened and I did THIS!!!  This is probably the  most successful Pinterest craft thingie I’ve ever done.  The crafts usually it turns out kind of meh…but this was a homerun.  Without pinterest I never would have realized that the rattan thing is only on one side until I took it down to throw it out.  Thank you pinterest, you saved my wallet!

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Also I’m in love with Edison lights.  Fits our vintage/farmhouse theme perfectly.

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The house is taking shape.  I love every inch of it and I’m so glad that my Cowboy is on board with letting me create a space that is a little bit him and a little bit me and 100% us.  He may question some choices I make but as it comes together and he sees my vision become reality he loves it.   And now he’s back on the road…with a huge load and very sore from all the renovation work.    He’s a good man my Cowboy.  I’m a good woman too,  I’m trying REALLY hard not to come up with a bunch of new projects for his next trip home….

 

 

Mar 30

The year of the house is getting messy….

Yesterday I took off with some of the olders to see Book of Mormon.   If I wasn’t on the fast track before I’m going somewhere hot at some point I am now.  I texted my oldest today saying at least if we end up in the eternal flame it’ll be a good time because Trey & Matt will be there to keep us laughing.  His response? ” Word”.  It’s brilliant.  WILDLY inappropriate and deserved every single Tony it won.   Now if only Broadway Across Canada would tour Kinky Boots my life would be complete.

My boy and I drinking a Stella during intermission.

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So while we were away my beloved Cowboy held down the fort with the two youngers.  And by held down the fort I mean he just kept on doing all this crazy reno’s for his week off.  See I keep having BRILLIANT ideas that make more work for this man.  I decided that we should do the one wall in our bedroom with old barnwood.  What you say?  Why the HELL would you do that?  Because I’m crazy.  I found a dude on kijiji who was selling an old granary and bought 300 feet of wood.

Since I was busy laughing my ass off and singing “Hello! My name is Elder Price” I needed a back up camera man.  Mr. Magoo went with and took pictures so I could see how it all went down.

His description follows.

“This is the guys truck….and his arm.”

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“This is in Cowboy’s truck.” (he didn’t say Cowboy he said his name but whenever I refer to him by his name people get confused)

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“This is Cowboy just looking at the wood.  Why did you buy so much wood.  It’s really old Mom.”

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“This is me, why am I sideways?  I didn’t move the wood cause I was busy being the photographer.”  (Very true as there were 36 photos of wood on his iPad, I narrowed it down)

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“I didn’t take this picture did you use my iPad?  Ugh.  You need permission next time.” ” I didn’t dude,  I used my phone” “oh.  Okay you’re forgiven” “forgiven for what?  I didn’t use your iPad” “for whatever you do wrong next time then”

 

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And for those of you who are thinking Gee I wonder what that Cowboy can get done in 6 days…here’s a list ( SO FAR he hasn’t left for work yet)

1. Main bathroom second coat (first coat reacted horribly and he had to sand the whole thing)

2. Main bathroom new flooring.  Which then meant it had to be caulked and siliconed every where (isn’t that the same thing)

3. Master bathroom patched and painted.

4. Master bedroom panelling taken down.

5. Master bedroom rewired so we both have outlets and lights on our side of the bed.

6. Master bedroom patched and painted.

7.  Oh wait…too much time to sit while patching of Master bedroom is happening so he made a barnwood frame for the horrible mirror that was previously hanging in the master bath.  Seriously.  I’m writing this as I THOUGHT he was taking a break waiting for the patching to dry and boom he went outside to make a frame for the mirror.  I had to run out there to document it cause he’s so crazy.

THIS was the horrible frame the mirror HAD on it….

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This is the new barnwood frame he is currently making while waiting for the patching compound to dry.

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Stay tuned to the completed bedroom.  I imagine the barnwood will be up the next rounder home.  He’s a machine.

 

Mar 23

On a quiet Spring morning surrounded by snow….

Mrs. Pressmann: I’m thinking of changing back to my maiden name.

Walter Carpenter: Can you still remember it?

 

i am WAY to good a blogger to just stop blogging for MONTHS. Geez, why didn’t someone message me and beg for a new post.  Oh wait, someone did.  Several someones and yet I still didn’t get off my duff and write one.   I do this sometimes and then my fingers itch and I can’t NOT write a blog post.  So here it goes.

Something has been rattling around in my head for a few months now so it’s time to put it to paper.  I’m not ever getting married again.  I know there are many people in my life that don’t get that but I’m not.  At any time I expect my kids to show up with #teamcowboy T-shirts on and a justice of the peace.   I am FOREVER A CUPID and I’ve finally really figured out why.  Does anyone remember that movie with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.  No, not that one…the other one.   It was called Runaway Bride and it was adorable.  In it there is realization of Julia’s character that she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs.  Whatever relationship she is in changes her egg order.  So much so that she has NO idea how she likes them.  If she’s with a harp playing tree hugger who eats scrabbled eggs?  She is buying Birks and beating those eggs.  If she’s with a wall street money guy who only eats poached, then she’s wearing Chanel and poaching.  She has no real identity.  That’s is how I feel inside of a marriage.  I adapt to ‘make the other person love me’ and by the time I realize how far away from myself that I am, it’s too late.  I’m no longer the person they fell in love with and more importantly I am no longer me.  The change is subtle.  Over time.  Similar to when you put on 1 pound a week over a year…you don’t really SEE it.  It just happens and then 52 week and 52 pounds later it’s a fucking shock to the system.  I was not remotely the person I was 10 years into the marriage than I was at the beginning.   So stating that I’m never marrying again IS NOT a reflection on my loving and sweet partner.  It’s a promise to myself.  To remain true to who I am.  To have the most AMAZING relationship of my life and keep ME within that relationship.  And how I do that, is by staying unmarried.  This in no way diminishes this relationship.  It in fact ENHANCES it.  Because I stay the person he fell in love with.  I stay me.  And he gets the benefit of that person because I love her.  I treat her with respect.  I value her.

So I’m in a life long committed partnership with a loveable man who I can’t imagine my life without.  It’s exactly what I’ve dreamt of my entire life.  It allows me to be my best self.  Someday we might stand up and face each other and say vows of commitment and even exchange some rings.  He LOVES that idea.  So do I actually.  But marriage?  It’s not on the table.

Maggie Carpenter: When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who didn’t have any idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person’s fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted. So it was good that I didn’t go through with it because it would have been a lie. But you – you knew the real me.

I want to stay this person.  This person that Cowboy loves completely.   Not just for him but for me as well.  Not out of fear but out of a lack of fear.  I’m not changing who I am any more.  There is a comfort in that…I no longer have to pretend to be something other than who I am in order to have love.

My life is EXACTLY how I want it.   I’m at home in a home I love with all my heart.  I work part time.  I’m here when my kids come home after school.  That moment when everyone comes charging through the door and there is a storm of backpacks and after school snacks?  It’s my favourite part of the day.   I’m active in my small community.  Yesterday I joined yet another society.  A community garden here in my little town is launching and I’m a director!  I signed up for a fitness class that sounds fun and I’m learning to spin fibre ( a LIFE LONG dream).   This is my life.  This is the life I never thought possible.  I’m living it everyday.

I AM FOREVER

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And I like my eggs over easy.

Jan 03

2015 The Year Our House becomes Our HOME.

And so the Year of Style comes to a close.  Gone are my ridiculous spending sprees at Modcloth.  Now I have a full closet of beautiful dresses!  Okay, that might be a little premature considering I currently have two orders waiting for me at the US post box.  What it really means is I have turned the corner and now I KNOW without a doubt that my style is important to my mental health.  That I deserve to have my outside match my inside.   I feel more beautiful than I ever have….I hit that intention out of the park!  So I have been thinking for a few months about what the heck I want to do for this year.  The one thing I’ve learned is that I suck at resolutions but I really love having a yearly intention.

I should make it to be less of a bitch on a day to day basis but everyone out there knows that is so not going to happen.  Just ask the sales girl at Hollister from two days ago.  Side note when you have a BIG ASS SIGN that says that all you need to do a return at Hollister is a receipt AND written all over your damn receipt is all you need is a receipt,  you can not then decide to deny a return because the tag is not attached.  Well you can try, but I’m walking out of Hollister with my damn money and you are holding my kid’s sweater that didn’t fit her properly.   So um, the Year of not being a Bitch is a dud and it’s January 3rd.

So this year I am setting my intention for our HOME.   We bought the house 18 months ago and we both love it.  We are settled. We will be here together, forever.  BUT we have dreams of how we want the house to look and how we want our styles to join together into OUR home.  A little bit Cowboy and a little bit Allison.  This year I’m focusing on changing our house into a warm, country house.  With reclaimed wood floors, with beautifully home made curtains and antiques in every room.  This year I am going to spend all my energy and skills making our house into our home.

It’s starting….first off was Cowboy making these amazing robe holders for our room.  I love the feel of reclaimed barn wood all around us.

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Then lighting  started to happened.  Ok, so I’m a gal who loves a bargain and if you are buying new there is NO store like Canadian Tire for good deals.  Seriously.  If you are patient you can get the most awesome deals at Canadian Tire.  Currently they have Debbie Travis lighting on for 85% off.  You read that right 85% off.  So these floor lamps were orginally 129.99 and we picked them up for 18.99 .  I only was looking for one, but at that price I got two.

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Hey look!  Cute Cowboy alert!

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Next we needed a new chandelier.   The one that came with the house was too dark and heavy for the space BUT I had no idea what I wanted.  I kept putting it off…but since we are having electricians in this month I was getting near the end of the procrastination window….so this Debbie Travis chandelier which was originally selling for 249.99 is on sale for 34.99.  So glad I took the risk as I didn’t know what I wanted but it looks amazing in the space.  Exactly what I wanted, without knowing what I wanted.

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Here it is looking the other way.

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So this year?  What you are going to see?  A lot of changes in our beautiful home.  It’s going to become more ‘homey’.  More wood, more natural, more handmade items.  It’s going to be amazing!  How do I know?  Because when I set an intention, it happens.  That is what is so great about setting an intention versus New Years resolutions.  Best decision I ever made…welcome to the journey.   Feel free to follow me on pinterest if you want to see the vision forming.  I have the kitchen almost complete on vision boards and the floors I know exactly what I want, now to find them!  Well now to find them for a reasonable price.  Because not only will I be transforming our home, I’ll be doing it on a budget….

Allison on Pinterest!

 

 

Dec 28

Honey? Honey? Um….do you think you could stack the washing machine and dryer?

I have a vision of how I want our home to look.  I want our house to be a mix of Cowboy and me.  I don’t want someone to walk in and think “this house is ALL Allison” or “Man, clearly Cowboy lives here”.  I want people to walk in and say “this is the perfect mix of this awesome couple”.  We are slowly making our house “ours”.  A few months back we were in a little store in Carvel AB and found hooks for our bathrobes.  I had an idea to make them more ‘ours’ by mounting them on barn wood.  Today my sweetie did just that…

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See?  Not Allison or Cowboy…..OURS.

This is how most things start in our house.  With me getting a brilliant idea and Cowboy having to implement it.  Today it was the laundry room.  When we bought our house 18 months ago the number one thing that made me fall in love with the place was the laundry room/mudroom at the back of the house.  I have ALWAYS wanted a mudroom.  I think they are the most useful rooms in a home.  But new homes don’t usually have them and old homes had them and they have been converted into something else.

So of course I didn’t take a very good ‘before’ picture but what we had before was the washer and dryer side by side with a bank of cupboards above them.  Super good set up BUT I found it awkward to get to the dryer. There is another bank of cupboards that constantly got in my way.

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Cowboy came up with the idea of moving the cupboards to the other side of the mudroom.  The problem (as in every house I’m sure) is there are never enough cupboards so losing this bank of them meant we would have a whole lot of shit with no where to put it.  He’s brilliant this one.

 

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Note how I remembered to scream for Miss Thing to take a picture part way through so you can get the full renovation experience!  I’m such a giver.  *Yes I’m wearing pajamas.  No I  don’t give any fucks.

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We NEED these cupboards.  So glad he thought of this!    This is the pile of stuff we had waiting to go ‘somewhere’ if we couldn’t keep the cupboard.  I had NO idea where this ‘somewhere’ would be…

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Finished project!  We now have much better flow in the room.

*Yes I already put pyrex up on top of the cupboards….shut up.  I’m writing this blog post and looking up wood working plans for Cowboy to make me  recycling centre of our bottles and such.  Ooooo maybe with barn wood!  He’s so lucky that I can constantly come up with amazing new ideas for him to do in our home.   He would be so bored if I didn’t.  I’m doing it for him really….

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And most importantly I can reach the clothes in the far regions of the dryer without putting a hip out.

The electricians are coming next month to move our panel I’m going to have them move the dryer 220 plug in as well.  But all in all a very quick but super important and useful house reno.

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I know there are so many of you out there who are jealous of my amazing man and his ability to get shit done.  To this I say “SUCK IT BITCHES!!! HE’S ALL MINE!!”  Because I’m mature like that…..

 

Dec 18

All About That Bass…..

So I decided I should update exactly how my yearly intentions have changed my life.  A couple years back I made the intention that I would have a Year of Awesome.  It was a pretty brave statement.  I was coming out of my second failed marriage.  I had two children and a mountain of debt.    I was starting from scratch.  Again.  So what the fuck was The Year of Awesome going to be?  But I was determined, I was going to have a great year and no matter what my circumstance I was going to embrace it.   Within WEEKS of making the intention, I met my Cowboy.  Literally weeks after I sat down and said “i’m going have a year filled with awesome experiences, people and just plain fun.  I am no longer going to settle for bullshit and stupid and men who don’t think I’m amazing.” I met my sweetheart in the rows of the local Wal-mart store.

This guy right here?  Yes I would consider that hitting it out of the ball park.

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Fast forward a year and it’s time to make my intention for the year.  I decide that I’m FINALLY going to make my outside match my inside. So I set 2014 to be the Year of Style!  So I set about buying a whole new wardrobe.  I started REALLY looking at how people dress.  I started finding my own style gurus and then I copied them.  After a few months I started to gain some confidence.  I started to really find what MY style was and how to buy clothes that work for me.

And guess what?  A funny thing happens….as the year progresses those silly little frocks I’m buying for myself change how I feel about myself.  I stop focussing on my tummy and how fat my ass is.  I stop caring about the number on the scale and started a serious shopping addiction to Modcloth.   I start buying ridiculously bright clothes and silly little cat print dresses.  I start saying things like “oh my god I love that blue dress, I need some yellow tights to go with it” and “you know what this occasion calls for?  a JUMPSUIT!”  I also start getting stopped in the street and told how amazing I look.  A normal trip to the local IGA has at least one or two people saying “oh my god I love your dress”.  I start getting refered to as “that black chick with the amazing clothes” when people are trying to find out who I am.   I am known in my little town because I look so fucking gorgeous when I leave my house.  Every time.  No seriously…even if I’m just running to get gas,  I do it in style.  Even my wellies are stylish.

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And then I realized that there was a hill left to climb.  I can be this person loving myself in adorable clothes but I had one other thing that really wanted to do. I wanted a professional.   I wanted to lay on a bed and roll around while someone said “that’s it, perfect!  YES!  MORE MORE MORE!  You look gorgeous!”.   I mean to be fair that’s pretty much what Cowboy says every night  (sometimes TWICE or THREE times a night) but I wanted a second opinion.  I wanted someone who didn’t have a vested interested to see me half naked and tell me that yes, I am enough.   So I called.  Ha!  Wait.   That makes it sound easy.  It wasn’t.  I was scared as hell but I knew that I could no longer run from who I am.   I was going to conquer this fear.  I was going to wear very little clothes and let someone take pictures of me.  And on top of all that, I was going to LIKE IT.  I could be scared, NO, I could be terrified but it wasn’t going to stop me.   I wish I could tell you of some exhaustive search but I already knew who I was going to trust.  Months ago I had ‘met’ (virtually on facebook) a lady named Star.  I adored her immediately and I knew from looking at her work that I could trust her.  I was right.  If you happen to be in Alberta, anywhere between Red Deer and Edmonton then you NEED to spend some time with Star.  Bouncing on a bed while she tells you how fantastic you look.  Using her camera as a way to show you that you are enough.   Trust me, you want a professional and Acts of Beauty is exactly that…..The thing that stuck out in my head was when she said “you don’t worry about what YOU perceive as your ‘trouble’ areas…just BE and I’ll do the rest”.  And oh let me tell you, she did.  I did this photo shoot for me.  And then because I have been so fortunate to meet a man who loves me and sees me as the most beautiful woman he has the pleasure of loving I gave this gift to him.

Today is his 50th birthday.    He loves me completely.  I am the most loved I have ever been.  And for his birthday he received a book of the most intimate, beautiful, real pictures of me that have ever been taken.

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That is all I can show to the world.  Although now that Cowboy has the album I’m pretty sure every trucker between here and Texas is going to get “Wanna see something? THIS is MY woman” as he thrusts his new album at them.   So, that is me.  That is me at 45 years old.  That is me LOVING myself.  Yes.  He IS a very lucky man.  And yes, he knows it.

 

Oct 12

Awesomeness in a wonton package!

Every so often I get a craving.  It is all consuming and it is will not go away until satisfied.  Every once in awhile,  I NEED wonton soup.  But the problem with needing wonton soup is that I can never find GOOD wonton soup.  So awhile back I decided that I’m going learn how to make my own.  So today was a day for wonton soup.  A beautiful autumn day with falling leaves and a quiet house.  Perfect.

So making wontons is ridiculously easy.  Mix it all together and make wontons.   I kid you not.

Here is the recipe as I’ve tweaked it over the times I’ve made it.

1 12 oz package wonton wrappers
1 cup ground pork
20 (or so)  shrimp raw  (10 chopped & 10 for soup)
6 cups chicken stock/broth
1 bunch green onions (1/2 sliced, 1/2 left in longer pieces)
3 bunches baby bok choy (chopped loosely) If I don’t have baby I’ll use regular
1 tbsp fresh ginger – minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce or so
a few shakes of fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
10 mushrooms, sliced

 

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Chop shrimp very finely (save about 10 whole shrimp to add to soup), and add ground pork, the small sliced green onions (I like to add long chopped pieces to the actual soup at the end), brown sugar, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce & the rice wine vinegar & fish sauce.  Mix it all together.

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Next up making the wontons!  This picture is pretty self explanatory.  If you wet the sides the wontons stick into awesome shaped packets of goodness!IMG-20141012-WA0007

Next up put the chicken stock into a huge pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the whole shrimp, green onions, mushrooms and any other bits and bobs you want in your soup.  Add in soy sauce & a few shakes of sesame oil.  Reduce to medium.  I add the baby bok choy here but I have also done it where you add it at the end to keep it crispier.

Add the wontons to the broth continue to cook soup to a for approx 7 to 8 minutes.  Shrimp will turn pink.

 

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Eat.

Because making the wontons is a long (albeit easy) process I have started making double the recipe and freezing the wontons for quick and easy soup.  Make sure to freeze them on a cookie sheet over night NOT touching each other and then throw them into a ziploc freezer bag.  When you want to use them, defrost on a cookie sheet ( again not touching each other) and then drop into soup and enjoy.  If you don’t freeze them on a cookie sheet first they will freeze in a big blob and you won’t be able to use them.

Serious awesome goodness.  The downside is you will never be able to truly enjoy restaurant wonton soup ever again.  Sorry.

 

Sep 24

My kids are just fine, thank you very much….

Okay I get that everyone has the ‘right’ to raise their children as they see fit.  I also get that not everyone agrees on every issue.  I also understand that there are different methods that work AND there are different methods that do NOT work.  But here’s the thing. you will never convince me that physical violence against children ‘works’.  I understand that people do not believe that “a little tap on the bum’ isn’t the same as whacking your kids with a belt but I’m sick and tired of people defending physically hurting someone with little to no power to defend themselves under the guise of discipline.  The only people who win in that fight are the over tired, over strained parent.   Do I really believe that a little tap on the fingers will forever damage a child?  No.  I just think it’s wrong.  I think it’s the wrong message to send to a child that if you are bigger and in charge you can do what you want to another human being physically.   Do you really want to teach your daughters that if someone is bigger they get to hit you?  Do you really want to teach your sons that if you don’t get your way just hit someone?  If a man said “I told my wife over and over NOT to burn my toast, and she just keeps doing it so I smacked her.  I mean it wasn’t hard, just enough so she knows I mean business”.  Dear lord we would go INSANE.  But say the same thing about little Johnny and his inability to listen and it’s a-ok.  WHY?  Is Johnny less of a person than the MOM?  Well to be fair, that was exactly what men said about their wives just a couple of generations ago….

And no matter how many times I hear someone casually mention how they ‘spank’ their kids, it still hurts my heart.  Not for them really, cause I’m sure they think they are doing the right thing…but for the loss of what could have been.  I picture a little toddler staring up at the mother who kisses his booboos, terrified of her hand coming down and hitting his leg.  Not understanding WHY?  Why is my mommy hurting me.  It pains me for the girl who is already struggling to fit in with her friends coming home to the place she’s supposed to feel safe and getting slapped for ‘talking back’.  I just don’t get the logic.  I’ve never wanted my kids to fear me.  I’ve always thought that we are partners in this life.  I’m here to guide them into adulthood.  It’s my honor to do so.  I’m the one with the life experience, I’m the adult.  So it’s up to me to model the behaviour I want them to follow.  I don’t want them to be subjected to bullies on the playground, so why would I be a bully at home.  The definition of bully….

noun – a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

verb – use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

As SOON as I start talking about not hitting my kids someone always brings up that kids who aren’t ‘spanked’ have no discipline.  I have THREE wonderful kids.  They have never been hit in their lives.  They also have a very strict mother.  I have high standards that I expect my children to live up to….and they do.  Every day.   Do my kids back talk?  Of course they do…they are learning to stand their ground.  They are learning to negotiate for what they want.  They are learning when things don’t go their way they need to voice their displeasure at the situation.  They are also learning that the MUST do that in a respectful manner.  If they chose to be disrespectful to me, the conversation is over.  That I’m not willing to engage in conversations that aren’t mutually respectful.  I don’t talk over them, and they don’t talk over me.  If I haven’t listened to them, they will point that out to me, and because I believe that neither of us is “above” the other, if they are right in a disagreement, I tell them that.  If I’ve messed up, I will apologize, and I expect the same in return.    And there are punishments for repeat behaviours.  My middle kid would HAPPILY inform you of the many varied and horrible punishments that she has had to endure.  Granted they were mutually agreed upon prior and SHE is usually the one to come up with them…but whatevs.  My kids are sweet, intelligent, witty people who can be annoying little shits.  I get frustrated with them just like every body does.  There have been times when I wanted to just haul off and hit one or more of them but I don’t. Just like I don’t hit my boss when he says something I don’t like or I don’t backhand my mother for a snarky comment.  Cause you know….it’s NOT what a mature, respectful ADULT does.

I just wish that more people were open to the idea that the little life that you are lucky enough to be guiding to adulthood is able to get there without the constant threat that if you mess up, you get smacked.  I mean you might get the reasoned explanation but you know…you’ll still get smacked.  Don’t worry, they have a great reason why they are hitting you, and most times THEY were hit too so you know, that has to be reason enough for it to be okay.  Sigh.

 

Jul 26

I’ve got a great set of cans…..

How long did I sit here TRYING to come up with a double entendre for the whole ‘canning’ thing?  Way too long.

I don’t know what YOU do on an rainy Saturday morning but for me and my new addiction today was a perfect day to try out a new canning recipe I saw.

ROOT BEER JELLY!

Honesty abounds I started with thinking I would make Wine Jelly but I REALLY want to use Merlot and I don’t have any in the house.  Stop laughing, I really don’t.  I have Cab Sav, Pinot Norir,  Apothic Red,  Shiraz,  Malbec,  hell I even have a pinto grigio in case weirdos drop in and like white wine (shudder)….but no Merlot.  And the recommendation for the best tasting wine jelly is to use Merlot.  So I made Root beer jelly instead.

There are only three ingredients.

Root beer (or any other soda)

Sugar

Liquid Pectin (must be liquid or it won’t set)

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There is stirring…lots of stirring and standing and watching so it doesn’t burn.20140726_085015

I’m a 50’s housewife. Look at my apron.  God I’m adorable. Yes I realize I’m probably the only person under the age of 75 that still wears an apron.20140726_085227

Processing!

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Finished product.  Sitting quietly for 24 hours to set.  20140726_092852

I KNOW that I’m not the typical 40-ish year old but I really LOVE all the ‘home arts’.  Canning and cooking from scratch, baking and sewing and knitting. But with the advent of Pinterest and the internet I have found that there are more people out there doing this stuff than I ever imagined.  Thankfully I have the sweetest Cowboy who appreciates all the things.  He’s even building me a pantry so that I have space to hold all the Canning and preserving that I do.  Of course, everyone else makes fun of me….but I’m starting the mango salsa, red pepper garlic jelly, beets and pickles soon so those comments will turn to “Can I have some?” pretty quickly….

I used a recipe that I found at From the Garden Table she also has the Wine Jelly recipe on her site.  Please go over and show her some bloggy love if you’re going to use her recipe!

 

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