Friday, May 27, 2011

Week's End

It's been a good week. I had my birthday on Wednesday - I'm now starting a new decade. We had a potluck and gathering (at my house because I have the most room). We counted up who had been there afterwards, and there had been at least 33 people. I am again so thankful that it's so easy to host that many people, when you've got the space for it. My parents showed up, which was a very nice surprise.

The rest of the teachers were on strike Wednesday and Thursday, but because I work at an independent school - we weren't. Which is good. However over half of the Grade 12 class decided to skip Wesdnesday, which wasn't so good. They'll have to deal with the consequences, once we figure out what they are. The main frustration Wednesday was that some bright lights decided to break into the library and remove all the balls from every mouse in the computer lab. This meant that I was forced to cancel my first period class (computers) and we closed the library for the day. Yesterday, the balls had all been mysteriously replaced.

I purchased a dining room set last night. I'm quite excited about it. It's a table with two leaves, six upholstered chairs, and a china cabinet - for $400. I'm thankful for Regina Kijiji. It's in excellent shape. We picked up the chairs last night when we went to look at it, and will pick up the table and china cabinet either tonight or tomorrow. The table is much larger than the one I currently have - it's the same size as my current table, when my current table has a leaf in it, and my new one is at its smallest. Then you can add two sixteen in leaves. It's a double pedestal table and has rounded corners, so you can easily fit 12 and could squeeze 14 in.

I have replaced my bedding plants (thank's for the birthday present, Dad and Mom) seeing as I was too eager earlier in the year and they died in the frost. I carried them in last night, and put them out again this morning. Now I need to get the rest of my seeds planted, and I'll have a garden!

We had 45 at The Party on Tuesday. They've started taking the older kids (grade 6-8) to join up with another group that has a youth group on Tuesday nights. This gives us more room, and allows both of our groups to work more productively. However, we lose a couple of helpers taking the teens to the other group and staying with them there. However, it's a great trade off, I think. There were only five of the older group, so that meant we had 40 kids, which we split into four groups. Before this, we'd only been able to split them into three groups. It makes a big difference, being able to run another group.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Productive Monday

It's great having a long weekend. Bram and I caught a ride to Moose Jaw with Walt and Ruth (Walt was looking at a used car), and had a very nice visit with Mom Thiessen. She's in a new nursing home there - and the new home is so much nicer than the old one! She has a really large private room - with her own washroom and a large window looking out over a good view. If you count the washroom area, she has about double the space of her old room in the other home, and this one is a private - not a shared room! We had one of the best visits we have ever had I think.

Then before we left to drive back to Regina, Walter wanted to go back one more time to see that car, so he dropped Bram and I off at Zellers, as Bram needed some more pants. They had what he liked, on 25% off! That makes me happy. That also saved me quite a bit of time, as we didn't have to go shopping when we got back home.

We went to the airport last night to pick up Rose, but she wasn't on the plane. Apparently she's taking this week off and will fly in NEXT Monday night. I hadn't realized that. I hope she stays on top of her homework!

We're back to work this morning. The rest of the province has no school Wednesday and Thursday, but we do at Western! I'm actually fairly happy about that. I would feel very uncomfortable going on strike, although I do empathize with the teachers (and if they get a raise, so do I!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Evening

It`s Sunday evening. I`ve been sitting at the computer playing mindless games but it`s really time to go to bed. Rose has finally sent me her itinerary, so there`s not excuse for being late to pick her up tomorrow night. I`ll be glad to have her back. Bram`s in the living room (also known as the up room - the family room is the down room) - in theory working on one of his essays, but probably playing mindless computer games on his laptop. I can hear him whistling (Blessed Assurance). I`m a little jealous because I`ve never been able to whistle - and definitely not whistle a tune - however I guess everyone has their own talents.

Bram has two papers due in the near future. One for Christian Ethics (he`s writing about Menno Simmons) and one for Chemistry 30 (he`s writing about organic acids). He was explaining about organic acids to me - and I finally told him I was nodding to show that I was listening, not because I had any inkling about what he was talking about.

We had a smaller group over for Sunday dinner today - probably about 20 or so. A group of them stayed and visited in the living room until it was time to go to small groups. I visited for awhile then went and had an afternoon nap. It`s nice it`s my house, because I can do that. I felt a little bit guilty about it, because I had visitors over, but not guilty enough to not do it. (I needed a Sunday afternoon nap - it`s Biblical! Just ask Eutichus) We had Swedish meatballs, homemade buns and three kinds of salads, plus veggies and dip for lunch. Homemade cinnamon buns for dessert. Bram helped make the buns. We made them last night - the cinnamon buns and the dough; then made up one tray of buns and put them in the fridge before service, and baked them right after service - however they disappeared quickly enough that I had to make up another tray to bake them for lunch - then I made up a tray for Bram`s small group. I still have a bowl of dough in the fridge (need to punch it down before I go to bed). It was a big batch of dough.

Somehow we`ve been getting bumble bees inside the house. We try to catch them in a plastic cup and send them outside. I`ve caught one, Bram`s caught two and David`s caught three - and there was one more in the up room this evening. I have no idea how they`re getting in. All of my windows are screwed shut and cannot be opened!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cooking for the next generation

Several times lately I've been thinking about how I cook so differently than my mother did - and yet she cooked quite differently than her mother. For example, my grandmother frequently made pies - she liked to make pies and she was good at it. My mother also makes pies, when she needs to. However, when we were growing up, she always used canned fillings for her pies. (When you're mom to 8+ kids, some things have to go - and it was the extra steps of peeling, coring and slicing the apples.) I remember the "spitting cherry" pies she made from nanking cherries - which are so tiny that they are the size of blueberries. You didn't serve it to company - but they were good pies. My sisters and I make pies on occasion as well - but we're far more likely to pick up a pie on sale at the grocery store. (When you work full-time something has to go - and it's making everything from scratch).

I made grilled cheese sandwiches the other day; layered the bread with the cheese inside, buttered the outside of the slices, and then fried them. I have to admit though, that when we were growing up - that's not how we made grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, I don't think I had eaten grilled cheese sandwiches like that until I saw them at a restaurant once. We made open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches, in the oven under the grill. (Again, can you imagine how long it would take to make them in the frying pan, for up to 12 people!)

However, many of the things I do the same way my mother does. We don't eat out much - maybe once every couple of months. I know that is very different from the Canadian norm, but that is the way I grew up. I make homemade soup very frequently; and think canned soup is really to put into casseroles, not for eating. If I want really good bread or buns, I make it myself. All of that I learned from my mother.

Even though I don't do it all the time, I still don't feel like the table is set properly without a tablecloth or placemats, all the cutlery, glasses, and the main course in a serving dish (not the pot it was made in). I learned that from my mother.

Ruth and I were making salads this morning. We had missed doing it the past two weeks, and it was good to get back into the routine. That's another thing I learned from growing up in a large family. Things are much more fun, when done with someone else.

Thank you, mom, for the many things I have learned from you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We still read aloud

One of the things I've really appreciated this past year is that both of my kids have been living with me. It's been really good to get to know them as young adults, and I've appreciated the opportunity.

Last night Bram drove me over to the Vance's where there was a get together and farewell for Lloyd and Elaine Jacobs, as they move to Weyburn. When we got home, Bram and I discussed what homework he wants to get done over the long weekend (he has two essays to write; one for Christian Ethics and one for Chemistry). He's writing his CE essay on Menno Simmons, and his Chemistry one on organic acids, and he's got some books out from the library to help him with both.

Then we read to each other. We've been reading aloud since they were preschoolers, but hadn't done it nearly so much since they've gotten old enough to read for themselves. However, I wanted to introduce Bram to a book I was sure he'd enjoy - and the best way to do that is to read it aloud. Now we take turns reading aloud, stopping to comment on the book, the author's writing style, etc. I am thankful that we're never too old to enjoy being read to.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Cold

I've had a bad cold the past couple of days, as well as what I thought was a really bad sore throat. Figured out that the sore throat was actually a canker sore on the underside of my tongue really far back. Doesn't make it any less sore. Anyway, woke up this morning and have absolutely no voice - not even a whisper. Not feeling very well either; I think I'll stay home from church, and not invite everyone home afterwards the way I normally do. I need to be feeling better for school tomorrow.

I've gotten into the habit of carrying my bedding plants inside every evening and back out every morning. None of my tomato plants survived though - I'll have to buy new ones. I'm waiting to purchase new plants until I don't have to cart them outside and back in twice a day though. When it's warm enough that I can just worry about watering them - then I'll purchase them. It was a shame though - I had so many beautiful tomato plants, and none of them survived. (To be honest, Bram does most of the carrying out and back in for me.)

I purchased a new bbq from The Brick - it was a display model and I got it with a good discount, brought it home and tried it out for the first time for Ruth's birthday. It didn't work! However after talking to The Brick and then to 1-800 number that they gave me, we've got it working now, I think. Walter did most of the phoning and checking out for me, and I'm grateful.

The flooding around Wascana Creek has gone down a lot. Bram and I went out for a walk the other evening to see for ourselves. The path has reappeared in most locations, and although the water is still high, it's nothing like it once was.

Bram found his learner's permit - he thought it had been in the jacket he had lost, but it turned up (even though the jacket didn't). So he drove me to pick up Rose from work the other night. He needs lots more practice, and I'd love to not be the one to give it to him, but I guess that's part of parenting too. Oh well, I guess it's good for my prayer life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Last night at The Party we had about 65 kids; that counts three boys that we had to ask to leave. I think that's a new record - we may have had more kids on a feast night, but for an ordinary night, that's definitely a record. We only had about 15 helpers, so it was a fairly wild and crazy time, but nothing out of the ordinary. We had more of the older kids (Grades 6-8) than we normally have, which is really good. We're really trying to reach out to that age group, and it looks like it's working.

I finally found my census form and started filling it out. I didn't manage to get just the short form, and I always get to those questions about how much did I spend last year on heating, and electricity, etc. - and I have no idea. I don't track that. So I decided it was time to quit and go to bed and think about it another day.

I hear my mother-in-law has been transferred to an different nursing home in Moose Jaw (the better one), but is finding the change a little difficult. Hopefully it will be a good move for her. I need to get over there to visit her again. I haven't been able to write her for the past couple of weeks because my printer hasn't been working properly.

I had a tenant wake me up at 2:30 am last night so am feeling a little tired - I think it's time to quit and go to bed.