Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Excuses, excuses

Ruth and I normally work out at Curves every morning. Ruth picks me up and we drive across town, leaving my house around 6:30 or so, getting there before 7, and getting back to my house by about 7:45. The time is always tight, as I have to be at work by 8 am every morning, and I need to ensure that everyone in my household has lunches ready before I go. However, for the next two days Ruth is in Saskatoon. The question is, will I work out by myself?

The answer... probably not. My excuse this morning is that the weather forecast was heavy fog depositing ice. I really didn't want to drive across town in such weather. In addition, it was really nice to be able to relax in bed for a little longer this morning. (I did some dishes, and tidied up a little bit, but mostly just enjoyed the extra time without the rushing.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scripture Memorization

When I was growing up, my Grandfather Lidbury appeared to know an incredible amount of scripture. It seemed that if you read him a verse, particularly a verse from the New Testament, he could quote the verse before and the verse after it.

My Grandfather Orr, however, was just as amazing, he was just quieter about it. One of my childhood memories was up at Heritage Camp one of the first years we were there when we were still building the camp. We were to memorize the first chapter of James that year, and Aunt Alice had set me the task of copying out all of James 1. I was only 10 or 11 years old then, and to copy out a chapter of the Bible was a fairly large task. I copied it out and took it to Grandpa Orr for him to see. He read down it (without a Bible open to check from) and pointed out to me that I had missed a verse, which he quoted to me.

One of the things I regret as I age is that it's much, much harder for me to memorize. I remember that as a child, I would read through a passage two or three times and I would have it committed to memory. Now it takes a lot more effort than that.

This year in Bible Quizzing, we're studying Hebrews and I and II Peter. Bram is memorizing total content. He has currently memorized all of Hebrews and is in the second chapter of I Peter. He has to have it all memorized for the first weekend in May, which is the final quizzing tournament of the year. This means that he needs to memorize four to five verses a day - word perfect. I'm allowed to say, "again" which means that he's got a minor error somewhere, and no more than once a chapter, give him a short prompt or correction. He needs to be able to quote the entire work through at one sitting. I'm confident he'll be able to do that, too.

I am continually amazed at the time and dedication that Bram is putting into this. He has me listen to him quote one or two evenings as week, but every single evening he works at it for a minimum of 15 minutes. He has done this all year since he first started in late June last year.

In addition, he's our reference quizzer. This means that when there's a question such as, "According to Hebrews 3:3, the builder of what?" Bram's able to correctly answer, "a house" and differentiate between Heb 3:3, which states "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself." and Heb. 3:4, which has the same phrase, "the builder of".... "For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." Heb. 3:4.

The quiz books I purchase at the beginning of the year are already preshaded with key verses, however Bram's doing his own highlighting to help him with these reference questions. After he's been working on it for awhile, his quiz book looks like this:

"I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11

Monday, March 26, 2012

Some days are busier than others

Today was a busy one. I woke up around 5:30 am, which is my usual time, and forced myself out of bed a little after 6, which is also normal. Made breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, ate breakfast, got lunches ready - then Ruth arrived a little after 6:30 so we could go to Curves and work out.

By the time we've finished working out, I've had a 2 minute shower and gotten dressed (this time in "work" clothes instead of work-out clothes), and driven back across town again it's 7:45. I have to be at work by 8 - so it's making sure the lunches are all put together, grabbing mine, and heading out the door. I couldn't find my keys so went to work without them. About mid-morning I figured out that I was wearing a different coat than yesterday and my keys were undoubtedly in yesterday's coat.

I work from 8 to 4 - with a lunch break from 12:05 to 1; only today it's Bible quizzing practice at lunch, so not a real lunch break. At about 3 pm (when classes were over), I went outside with the students who had volunteered to help rake leaves and helped with that. Left promptly at 4 as I had to get some things for The Party tonight.

Drove to the Dollar Store and Walmart, got a few groceries as well as supplies for The Party, back home by 5 pm. Supper on the table by 5:15; dishes in the dishwasher and make four sock puppets for the Bible story tonight. Back in the van by 5:45 (running a little late). Swing by the school to see if any students are going to come to help with The Party (unfortunately no) - then helping with the program there from 6 to 8 pm. Help pack things up, drop off the brother and sister I regularly drop off, home by 8:30.

Now I have dirty pots and pans filling my sink, but I have just vegged for the past 90 minutes and now it's time for bed. However, this has been my only down time all day, so I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

I have to say Bram's day was even busier than mine I think. He got up at 7:30, had quizzing practice at noon, the same as me, helped rake leaves from 3 pm to 4:40; helped with The Party from 5:45 to 8:30 the same as I did, then once we got home, he had to do homework for tomorrow (assignments in Histoire, Francais and memorize 5 Bible verses for quizzing).


Just home from The Party. I think we had 35 kids tonight; not exactly sure because although I do attendance, we had a group of kids come in late when I had already started the circle time and I never did get their names. Now 35 kids isn't too unusual, what was unusual was that we had only one teenage helper - in fact, we were really short of helpers all around. We had a total of eight helpers - which worked out to one group leader for each of three groups (with 12 in a group, that's not enough); one helper to run each centre (two helpers in the snack centre because poor Debbie had had dental surgery this past week and really couldn't have done it alone) - and me, to be the head honcho, and help out at whichever centre needed the most help.

Tonight was one of those "survival" nights I think. It's always good to have a few of those so that we can appreciate the other nights when everything runs more smoothly. In fact, we're really very fortunate that we generally have enough helpers, enough snack, the kids behave, etc. I guess I can be thankful for our norms because tonight wasn't normal and it was very hectic. And we should all sleep very well tonight.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peace, Perfect Peace

With loved ones far away....
Ruth volunteered to babysit this afternoon - over here. We had two sets of kids; Emmet and Jane Friesen as well as Hadassah, Ahzriel and Scarlet Steiner. The parents went out to see The Hunger Games. The oldest three kids were just fine. The youngest two? Not so much. They exercised their lungs. Poor Scarlet wasn't feeling too well and was very unhappy for about 30 to 45 min. Jane was only unhappy at the end.

Everyone's gone now, except for Ruth and I (and Leo I guess). Leo hid out in his room the whole time - he wanted nothing to do with all of those kids with no parents. We had the crowd over for lunch here today as well. I managed to get lunch cleaned up and have just unloaded the dishwasher. My family room is pretty much in shambles, but it'll wait for tomorrow to be cleaned up I think.

We're all thinking of going to Moose Jaw this evening to hear the travelling chorus sing. It'll be their last performance, and it'd be nice to hear them.

Appliance Troubles

Friday morning I was making porridge as usual in the microwave (Red River Cereal). When it beeped, I pulled it out and it was uncooked; in fact, the water was cold! I thought I must have pushed the wrong buttons, so tried again with the same result. I had no more time, so grabbed a banana and dashed out without my breakfast.

Saturday morning I was explaining to Ruth that my microwave seemed to have died and I put in a small fruit cup to show her - setting the MW for 1 minute. It promptly overhead and exploded all over the inside. So then we started experimenting. What we've figured out is that it works up to 6 minutes but if you set it for anything longer than 6 minutes, it doesn't work. Maybe the numbers aren't working? I dunno.

I think it means that I don't buy a new MW yet - but I don't exactly trust it either.

I had a tenant explain to me last month that her stove wasn't working, so I bought a new one off kijiji for her, to discover that the stove now works but the oven on the new one doesn't. I'm a little disgusted. I guess I'll have to try again.

It's been an expensive month for me at the 4-plex. I've had the boiler go out - the service guy replaced a motor and a connection; and the stove replaced; and then a service man in to look at the stove I bought to replace it. Hopefully things will run smoothly for me over there for awhile now.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Final, final post for today

Have I mentioned how much I like my fridge? I bought myself a new fridge and matching freezer this fall. It's an all fridge and upright, auto-defrost freezer. They have lots of room and I can find everything I put into them. This makes me really happy. Even after doing a week's meals for two families (the Pradzynski's and my own household), I still have room in the fridge. The first picture is of all of our salads and soups. We buy those containers when they have them in the stores before Christmas. They're so nice because they stack easily and they fit perfectly into the fridge. The larger containers hold eight cups, while the smaller ones hold four cups. Unfortunately we always seem to have more bottoms than tops; we accidentally had three lids on the burner when it was warm a few weeks ago and melted holes into three lids - so sometimes the top container of a stack will have plastic wrap instead of a lid on it.

The casserole we made today was lasagna. Now my niece Rachel will inform you that I don't actually make lasagna, I make a nice cheesy casserole. That's because if the lasagna isn't like your mother made, it's not really lasagna. Her mother used to make lasagna with tomato sauce, meat and cheese on top. My kids would tell you that it's not really lasagna without spinach and lots of vegetables inside. Here's my lasagna recipe:

In a large dutch oven combine:
1 lb lean hamburger - This is actually optional; you can do it meatless and most people won't know provided you have enough "chunks" of things in it. I've made it with 1 cup red lentils instead, or just lots of other vegetables, and no one really notices (except Rachel, but I've already explained that).
1 - 300 gr. package sliced mushrooms - This is the standard package from the store. I work full time and don't have time to spend washing and chopping, etc.
3 large carrots cut into pennies
2-3 green peppers, cut into chunks
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 TLB chopped garlic
Any other vegetables I may have in the fridge that need to be used up.

Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic, add the rest of the vegetables. Also add:
1 large can spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce (the 700 mL size)
1 large can water
1 small can tomato paste
Add enough water until the dutch oven is half full and it's all pretty soupy.

In a separate bowl mix together:
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (I usually thaw them in the microwave)
1 L creamed cottage cheese
1 egg (the egg's actually optional, but the original recipe I followed and made my own did call for an egg)

Layer the lasagna:
a layer of the meat sauce
a layer of uncooked noodles
a layer of meat sauce
a layer of uncooked noodles
a layer of the cottage cheese and spinach mixture
a layer of noodles
a layer of meat sauce
grated mozzarella cheese to cover

Cover with a layer of parchment paper then tinfoil. The parchment means that the cheese won't stick to the tinfoil. Much better that way. I don't have my cheese on the lasagna shown in the picture because I'm out, but I'll add it before baking it.

This recipe actually makes two large lasagna pans or my giant roasting pan full.
I usually freeze it at this point or if I'm making it Saturday for Sunday potluck, I put it in the fridge and bake it Sunday morning.


This is (possibly) my final post for today. We also made Ruth's famous borscht today. It's not originally Ruth's recipe, she got it from a Ukranian restaurant in P.A. It is very good though, and really easy, provided you have a food processor.

Beet Borscht
3 beets - shredded in food processor
3 carrots - grated in food processor
2 sweet potatoes cut into cubes (I'm sure the original recipe called for potatoes, but I'm allergic to potatoes)
2 yellow onions - chopped fine
1/2 cup dill pickle juice
1 can pork and beans
1/2 coil garlic sausage cut into small cubes
2 tsp chopped garlic

Put everything into the slow cooker. Because it's all been chopped so small, it really doesn't take that long to cook either.

Fish Chowder

OK, I'm doing lots of posts today (it's either that or get busy and do dishes). Here's Ruth's totally awesome Fish Chowder recipe. Now, to be honest, it's more of a fish casserole than fish chowder; it's really dense, without much broth. This isn't a bad thing though - it's really delicious, regardless of what it's called.

Fish Chowder
2 fillets of fish (about 1 lb - your choice of fish, we usually use a whitefish of some kind) - cut into small cubes
This time we also added 1 fillet of salmon (because I had it in the fridge.) also cut into cubes
2 yellow onions, chopped.
1.5 cups chopped beet greens
.5 cup chopped celery
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 TLB lemon juice
2 TLB oil
1 diced red pepper
1 cup chicken bouillon

Saute onion and fish; add vegetables and broth. Simmer until everything is cooked and tender.

Saturday cooking, post #3

We also updated our Lentil Brown Rice salad, but not by much; we just changed the amount of curry powder; the original recipe called for 1 tsp curry powder; we actually put in 2 TLB curry powder, because if you have curry powder in the recipe, you really want to be able to taste the curry powder. (I guess it also depends on how strong your curry powder is.) Anyway, since the recipe is essentially unchanged, I'm just posting the picture; you can go back and check out the original recipe in my older blog.

Saturday cooking, continued

OK, so you'll have to scroll down to start at the first entry for today; this is actually the second entry.
In addition to the Winter Vegetable Salad (see below), we also made the Green Bean Salad and the Lentil Brown Rice Salad. Now I've already published the recipes for these two salads (see Salad Recipes, or check way back in August), but we felt we needed to update our recipes to reflect what we actually put in the salads. In addition, we weren't happy with the vinaigrette we used on the green bean salad, so we reworked it. Here's the reworked

Green Bean Salad (Second Try)
1 two lb bag frozen green beans (not french cut)
1/4 cup fake-um bacon bits
1 diced red onion
2 red peppers, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup oil
2 TLB soya sauce
6 drops liquid smoke
2 TLB lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp sugar or Splenda

Saturday cooking - with pictures!

This morning Ruth and I made three salads, two soups and a casserole. We were done by 10:30 or so, except for the clean up, but need to take a breather before finishing up. So, what did we make? A new salad:

Winter Vegetable Salad
1 large sweet potato (or two small sweet potatoes) - cut into 1/2" thick slices
2 carrots - cut into pennies
2 parsnips - cut into pennies
2 small beets, cut into 1/2" thick slices

Now I need to digress a little; the recipe we started with had us peel all of the vegetables, cut them into small cubes, toss them with virgin olive oil and then bake them. What we did was not peel the vegetables, cut them into wedges, not toss them with oil, but we did bake them. When they were baked, the peel comes right off of the sweet potato pieces, and we then cut them into small chunks. The carrots, parsnips and beets don't need to be peeled if they're scrubbed really well before baking; we just cut them into smaller pieces. So, the actual baking instructions for the way we make the salad is:

Bake on baking parchment at 425 F for about 20 min. until soft. Cut into smaller pieces.

1 red onion, chopped small.
1/2 cup slivered almonds (the recipe called for walnuts but I can't eat walnuts and I can eat almonds)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TLB lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard

This salad is good either warm or cold.
And... it comes with a picture! (I know this is rare for me, but I actually pulled out my camera this morning and took photos!)

Monday, March 19, 2012


I just don't do things well in the evenings. I'm a morning person - and my brain functions best then. (That's my excuse for putting off putting in the last report card marks until morning). However I have two kids that are the opposite and do their homework, etc. in the evenings. I've been IMing with Rose about the Berlin Wall as she's been writing in German about Berlin. At the same time I've been discussing with Bram the implications of the War of 1812 on the nation of Canada for his Science Humaine 30 class. It means I'm feeling a little disjointed. I think I need to go to bed. Rose is now done her homework and Bram is finishing up his.


I don't have to make supper tonight; there's steak night at school, and then the chorus is singing. However I do have to have report card marks in for tomorrow morning. This means that I can't just take the evening off; I have to do some homework. It's only fair though - Bram has homework most evenings, as does Leo. Tonight's my night.

What I'd really like to do is have a nap - I was a bad girl last night and read a book into the wee small hours instead of going right to sleep. However, maybe I'll go to bed early instead.

Saturday I started some bedding plants - tomatoes (red cherry tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes) and green onions. I'll start some more another day. However I'm a little frustrated because I can't find my leftover seeds from last year and my little portable green house. I know it's somewhere - I just can't find where. I really would hate to purchase more seeds when I know I've got lots left over from last year... somewhere.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday morning

Ruth and I went and got groceries last night and she was here by 7:30 this morning for us to cook together. I had set the chick peas to boil last night and then turned them off and let them soak. This morning they were almost ready, but we set them to boil again as they weren't quite soft enough. While they were cooking, we put some wild rice on to boil for another recipe (I had some leftover brown rice) and we got to work.

We made: Chickpea Feta Salad (which was a new one that we hadn't tried before); Nutty Wild Rice Salad, Cauliflower Salad, and Coleslaw Forever with broccoli stems and purple cabbage. For casseroles we made a scalloped sweet potatoes with ham and a multi-bean soup. I've posted the recipes for all of the salads except for the chickpea feta (check out my recipes, or look in August) so I'll write it up below:

2.5 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 container (about 200 g) light feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 chopped red onion
1/2 English cucumber, diced.

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 TLB chopped garlic
2 TLB lime juice
dash of salt and pepper

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's Next

So the talk among the staff is, "So, what are your plans for next year?", knowing that the choices likely are not that good. None of us particularly want to move, and jobs in Regina will likely be scarce. So we talk about possibilities and how we can trust in God and wonder what he has in store for us.

If I could pick the ideal job, I'd like to go back to teaching in Adult Education. That was what I was doing in Yellowknife before I moved down here and I really enjoyed it.

However, right now I'm just working on updating my resume and making sure it's ready to go out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's March already

I didn't even realize it was March until Saturday when Ruth said she needed to go collect rent - and I realized that I did too! Last weekend was the ROCK tournament here; I ran the canteen, and it was a big job. I had really wanted to go to S'toon for Colin's shower but just couldn't see my way clear to do that. However, will be there this weekend for a quizzing tournament.

It's been so hectic, and nothing slows down anytime soon. This weekend is the quiz tournament. There's also both boys and girls basketball tournaments this weekend; the boys in Gravelbourg and the girls at Holdfast. Then we have a semi-quiet week followed by:
Mon. March 19 - steak night to support Grad.
Wed. March 21-March 25 - chorus tour (no, I'm not going, but Bram is). (For those students not going on chorus tour; we're helping to host the boys provincial basketball tournament at U of R and have to provide 10 students and staff members to man the door, etc.
March 28-29 - ski trip to Assissippi
March 31 weekend - Homecoming

I'm glad I'm busy though. People have asked me how I'm feeling about things; and right now I'm mostly feeling sad. I received my official layoff notice this week due to the school closing. I don't know where or what I'll be doing next year (and I'd really like to know). My lawyer is filing my application for divorce, child support and separation agreement this week as well. I think I'm handling it ok; but it is tough. This is my fourth year working for Western; and it's been a really good place for me to be. I've been very thankful for the Lord for placing me here - and I am confident that he'll place me somewhere else where I will continue to be blessed. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

I had my weigh and measure at Curves this morning (no, I haven't lost any weight or inches) and she was asking me whether I was meeting my goal of feeling less stress. No, I can't say that; although maybe I'm handling the stress better than I would be if I wasn't working out regularly.