Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How NOT To Make Pancakes...

How NOT To Make Pancakes

Who doesn't like pancakes? ... Well my daughter Ruby. Actually she likes them with just butter but no maple syrup, she's weird like that.

So once again I was single parenting. Once again the kids were sick when hubby was conveniently 'away working.' I'd spent the afternoon and night on the couch racked with stomach cramps, interrupted only by sprinting trips to the bathroom. ... Why is this book always about poop? ....

Elias was sick with stomach cramps too. Ruby, two days previous, had had it easy; fast and furious vomiting. Eli and I weren't so lucky. .... Finally got the kids to sleep at 9:30pm. Hungry but not hungry I tried to get to sleep, but couldn't. So I downloaded free 'tetris' on my phone and played for 45 minutes, until I was interrupted by Eli, 'Need to sleep in Muma's bed.' .... And then a few minutes later, Ruby joined us, along with the dog, and then a cat. I was already unbearably hot and uncomfortable, but what's four more bodies when ya really just don't want to be touched?

Long night, continually disrupted by requests for glasses of water, or covers or snuggles.

Eli woke up early and watched show on my phone, but quickly fell back asleep. Ruby and I got up at 8:30 am. Practically unheard of, the day felt half over. But the stomach cramps remained so we took it easy....until trapped in the bathroom with no tissue paper I called for Ruby to rescue me by grabbing some tissue from the downstairs bathroom... and she wouldn't. So, I did what any mother would naturally do; started yelling that I would 'come out there and wipe my bum on you, if you don't help me NOW!'

A screaming match ensued and Elias was woken up. Still sweating and angry from Ruby and I's altercation I turned off the tv as punishment. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

Elias was fevered and sniveling about pancakes, Ruby was jumping up and down wanting the tv put back on.

I'll behave! I'll behave now!' She wailed.

Mammaaaaaa! Mama! Puleez can I have pancakes?' he cried, holding onto an empty plate.

Mum! Mum! MUM! I MISS daddy!” Ruby cried, attempting to change her tactics to gain sympathy.

I WANT PANCAKES NOW!” Elias, shouted over top of his sister's cries to be heard.

The dog cowered in the corner. I always wonder what the neighbour's must think?

And on, and on it went. While I tried with my foggy brain and cramping stomach to start making pancakes...

Got most of the ingredients correct, except for twice the necessary sugar – oops? And three times the needed baking powder – shit.

Whatever, stir it up, have kids fighting over stirring while I make sure that I haven't forgotten anything. Tummy still cramping, brain still foggy, kids still at 100 MILLION decibels...

Manage to pour two pancakes into the hot pan; they meld together making one big one. -Shit.

Fight ensues over the one glass of water left on the table from last night and who gets to drink out of it first. Get another glass, but it isn't the same as the existing glass so no one wants to drink out of it.

Pancakes, super bubbly, baking powder foams and then deflates... Great, rock hard, overly sweetened pancakes – yum!

Both children still sniveling, crying and generally causing a hullabaloo.... I slather butter on the pancakes, syrup only on one and serve.... Elias devours his, Ruby says it's 'too squishy' and wont eat.

I pour the rest of the batter into the pan and realize I've just made a GIGANTIC burning mess, that I can't flip, can't salvage and can't eat. - Perfect.

Everybody still crying, sniveling, whining, and yelling I turn on the tv I had already said they'd lost privileges too. -Fuck it.

A fight over which show to watch and who's turn it is to 'pick' ensues. ... I ingore it, and the mess of the pancakes and start writing.

Good morning! Have a fantastic fucking day!

Buy my book when it comes out!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Bat houses, bird houses... Everything AND the kitchen sink!

Another week in paradise! Too bad the flippin' weather can't make up its mind! 

    This weekend turned out to be both beautiful AND productive!

      Kids and I had a nice day Frida puttering about the house. I managed to actually fold and PUT AWAY a week's worth all by myself. The rest of the house went to rat shite but hey, I'm only human!
Nick's Dad and Step Mum came over Friday night to deliver Elias' new big boy bed! Got him a double so that one of us could crawl in with him and the other have a good night's sleep.... so far the plan is only working so so... Ruby still manages to sneak in our bed!  

He looks SOOOO tiny in the dang thing. I got all emotional making it and putting him to sleep. ....*sniffle* .... And then our 42 year old neighbour, bless her heart, had her third child this weekend and I have NO QUALMS about closing the 'baby' chapter in our lives. (Love ya B but NO thank you!)    

Nick threw out his back cleaning the exterior of the RV trailer. Ladder broke from underneath him, as he leaned too far over. He didn't get too hurt but it was SOME shenanigans! Had another neighbour help us remove the canopy from the truck so as we can get some river rock and soil for the sailboat project.... if ever we get the money together!                        

Nick pressure washed the patio under the back deck for my 'Cabana!' SOOOOOOO excited!!!!!!! Then he made us some bird houses and Ruby and I spent a lovely afternoon painting them in the backyard while Elias slept and the Canadian SnowBirds ROARED overhead practicing their aerial manouvres!!!

I'm investigating some 'Bat Houses' as well.  Bats are actually an INTEGRAL part of the eco system, but being nocturnal they are often overlooked and practically forgotten. Much like frogs, which numbers (like those of the bats) have been mysteriously decimated in recent years.     Well perhaps not so mysteriously, we humans continue to destroy habitats and poison the ones we don't destroy leaving little behind for our fellow creatures. And then we find out usually too late that the species on the brink of extinction we actually NEED for one reason or another. Plus having a bat house just sounds freakin' COOL!

Now I know what some of you (mother and mother in laws) are thinking.... RABIES!... But you all need to relax.... Rabies is a virus carried and spread by many mamals including; cows (which live up the street at the dairy farm), pigs, dogs ~ we have one but she's vaccinated, cats~ have 2 they're vaccinated and the raccoons living under our shed. The likely hood of the bats (which are also mamals) contracting the virus is rare and the probability that myself or the children will ever touch a bat is like 0.1%

There are any one of three kinds of bats found in North America  which may inhabit our 'Bat Houses' aka roosts. The information I've been able to gather from  indicates that on average it can take 9 months to 2 years for our bat houses to become inhabited. But the three kinds of bats in our region have the ability to individually eat up to 1000 mosquito sized insects per HOUR. So if you're having issues with mosquito's in your backyard, perhaps think about adding some bird or bat houses. Nature has it's own remedies, no need to look further than what options she already provides!

We'll have our work cut out for us... er... Nick will.... the dimensions of the roosts have to be quite precise for optimal occupancy. As does the temperature, colour and humidity level of the bat box. We may have to make  3 or 4 boxes and test them in different areas to see what is preferred. Because of our microclimate in the Valley I am unsure what will be necessary. The bats will want to remain cool in our warm summers but warm in our cold winters for hibernation, finding the ideal location in the yard which provides both will prove an interesting mystery. I have half a mind to contact some local wildlife resources for someone who might be able to come look at the yard and give me some intel.

I'm kind of giddy with this project! Can ya tell?

We'll definitely be adding more bird houses. I've seen some great plans on Pinterest for a row of 4 bird houses, on a pole but the neat thing about them was the back panel on hinges. Underneath was a piece of plexiglass and by lifting the panel one can view the birds nests inside without disturbing the birds. Pretty cool!

I've also seen on Pinterest ~ yes I know I'm an addict~ a Ladybug habitat!!!! Using 1 ft length of 4" diameter PVC pipe (painted brown or red), stuffed with some bamboo rods and twigs of the same length and suspended from a tree. I believe adding one or two raisins is essenial to attract them. Ladybugs are WONDERFUL little creatures helping to pollinate and eating the aphids which can decimate veggie crops, especially tomatoes.

I need to make a hummingbird feeder also. Several have come up to my kitchen window in the last week, leading me to believe at one point a feeder was hanging there. Hummingbirds have memories and return to food/shelter sources year after year.

Nick has been following our local farmer's market via their facebook page. From it we've met a woman round the corner with an AMAZING front yard. She herself blogs and has the facebook page  Well we technically haven't met her, but we'd LOVE too! We see her posts and walk by her house to the park all the time. From one of her posts Nick saw she had made an outdoor kitchen sink to wash veggies in... AND she had extra sinks! So we made sure to stop by and pick one up! Following her instructions Nick made a BEAUTIFUL sink! I'm THRILLED! Eventually he plans to run some copper pipe under the lawn 10 ft so we can have a spigget on the sink but for now we'll be just using the hose line.  The water will then be recycled and used to nourish the veggie garden. UBER coolness!

For now I'm home with the kiddies... Ruby woke up with Pink Eye so we couldn't go to gymnastics. We'll just wait for Elias to get it and then we can resume life! We're enjoying the sunshine!

Bird House Plans

Other project on the list
Elias's Race Car Track   Should only cost about $65 and an afternoon!

Please leave a comment I'd love to hear from you!
The kidlets being 'goombas.'

Helping Daddy put together Eli's new 'big boy' bed.

Ok, excuse the language but that's some 'Redrum,' shit right there.

The beginnings of my 'cabana!'

The 'kitchen sink!'

Hmm pics are out of order but I'm too lazy to fix it... this is the clean patio that hubby power washed! Ain't it purdy?



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring 2013 Pictures

                                                     Helping Mummy vacuum!
FAVOURITE part.... emptying the bin!
Camping Easter weekend.... Gypsy found a new place to sleep.... her bum is on Ruby's bum....

Egg hunt at Grammie and Papa's!

Being a 'goomba.'

More 'goomba~ness.'

The bugs from Grandma Mo and Papa Dan!

Mexican Dress from Grandma Mo and Papa Dan.


First time eating Daddy's favourite ~ "Dippy eggs and soldiers."

Swings while camping.... had the entire place to ourselves after Easter Monday!

Our family trip to MARS!

The 'Mysterious' Pink Turtle

Our trip to MARS, Strawbale Gardening and the 'Mysterious Pink Turtle'

Celebrating our first anniversary in the Valley!!! So excited! April 2nd we moved in! One year later life is still good!

It was spring break for the kids. I was a bit concerned about how it would go, the kids being easily bored etc, but alas my heavenly father had other plans for me!

Sunday the 24th of March, the kids both came down with fevers. I then promptly rolled my ankle and Nick packed his suitcase... he shipped out first thing Monday morning. And I spent the next 72 hours glued to the lazy boy chair, kid on each knee watching Disney's 'My (freaking) Little Mermaid' 15 million times. AAAAAAAHHHH!

I don't even think I got a shower on the Tuesday! Managed to get myself dressed and shoot the kids full of IBprofen Wednesday to take them grocery shopping because the fridge was bare! Nick came home, I threw dinner on the table at him and the children and promptly left for an hour long dog walk just to breathe fresh air!

Thursday their fevers spiked to 40 degrees, and I was just plum lucky that the Dr was able to get me in as THAT was the very day they were moving offices!

Mother in Law arrived, kids were happy for the distraction and the hub of activity she is. I was grateful to get 5 minutes peace! Nick and I packed up the trailer for our first camping trip of the season!!

Poor Mother in Law got home Saturday and promptly came down with whatever the kids had. Sorry Nana! You never seem to leave without being afflicted with some ailment!

Easter Sunday down and my mother's house in Victoria! What a show! Truck was acting funny on the way down, before we even left I accidently broke a bloody cupboard in the trailer and it was just RIDICULOUS! But the cousins showed up, the food was AMAZING! Turkey, lamb AND ham! Grammie's famous 'Petite Pots Aux Chocolat,' Aunty Sarah's warm cheesy artichoke dip, Aunty Chantelle's TO DIE FOR, pineapple graham cracker pie whip thing. HOLY heck I filled my face and then felt awful for the rest of the night!

Ruby slept over at Aunty Sarah's and she and the cousins climbed Christmas Hill before heading back up to  Chemainus to meet us for a weinie roast.

Spent the next two nights at the campground, surrounded by eldery people who adored my kids' antics as we were the only ones left in the park! It sure was nice to do NOTHING! Lots of family naps, movies, a trip into Chemainus where we were able to get Gluten Free pastries at a local bakery. I think my favourite part was just letting Elias navigate around the campground... he'd climb up into the golf carts of the maintenance men, go barefoot in a diaper on a 'walk about' and knock on random RV doors just to say 'Hello!'   UUUUBER cuteness!

Ruby had an awesome time riding her bike down 'hills.' She's really very good at riding her 'Run Bike' which is essentially a bike with no peddles. Sit on the seat and push yourself along, at the proper speed lift up your feet and VOILA! Kids learn to balance on a bike, skipping training wheels entirely!

Nick's dad and step mother came for a quick visit over dinner to give the kids presents from their recent trip to Mexico for Nick's brother's wedding. The coolest gift was a mesh 'box' filled with 'bugs!' Kids have had an absolute BLAST with it!

We were booked in until the following Saturday but the forecast called for rain and being cooped up in a 23 ft trailer with two kids in the rain didn't sound appealing. So Grammie and Poppie, my mum and dad, brought up frozen pizzas for one last dinner and we headed home Thursday afternoon. Stopping in Nanaimo for me to pick up some fabric paint and stencil at 'Michael's' for my 'cabana' under the deck.

Friday we didn't do much, I did a flippin truck full of laundry, and went grocery shopping GASP ... alone!

Saturday I did a massive clean up of the trailer, lifted mattress' to vacuum underneath, scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed. And it is beautiful!

Today, our last day of spring break we took the family to MARS.

The Mountainaire Aviation Rescue Society's open house! Where the kids saw a wolf dog, horned owl, red hawk and more. I think my favourites were the ICU cabin where they had displayed yellow bath duckies in a bathtub filled with wood chips to simulate rehibilitation. A stuffed pelican with tinfoil 'fishies' under a heat lamp, and a stuffed white owl inside a cat crate with bandages on it's feet. Made for a wonderful, vigniette for the children. I also liked the craft of a pinecone 'owl' that Ruby made!

Came home and mowed the lawn and started some yard work...

Nick decided that the 'hugelkultur' bed wasn't going to be ready in time for planting. In hindsight we should have made the bed in the fall so it would be ready for this spring. So instead he has researched, purchased and now has our 'straw bale' garden well underway.

Here is the info

Nick has used a 'Urea' Fertilizer, which I'm not thrilled about as we wanted to be organic and not used synthetic anything, but we couldn't source anything organic for under $200. He's pretty certain that it's made from horses urine but who the heck knows? It's 'high nitrate' fertilizer. Like I said, not thrilled but we're not made of money and I still can't find where to buy seeds for a 'moneytree?'

I think we plan to plant tomatoes on the top, but I'm unsure of what we'll be planting on the sides... can you tell who's the 'planner' in this household? Cause it sure as heck ain't Nick!

I have shown him a pinterest picture of using stair risers to hold rectangle planter boxes for my herb garden. Today he made me the seat I asked for, on the corner of the strawberry bed so I can sit with the kiddies.

Then he made the sunflower bed, in between the raspberries and the strawbale garden. Ruby and I planted the seeds that she'd started in her green house a few weeks back. Most had already started to sprout!

And then Elias woke up from his nap, I put them both in the wheelbarrow and had fun pushing them 'rickshaw' style around the yard while Nick used his saw. The pink paddling pool was lying in the yard. Elias discovered that not only was it an EXCELLENT hiding spot but he was also the PERFECT size to carry it on his head, turtle style!

I LOVE my kids!... But where did they get their weirdness from? ;p

Couple of small projects I'd like to do include a ladybug feeder and a racetrack for Eli. Should be fun!

                                                    The Strawberry bed, with new 'seat.'
                                         Rhubard has taken off! The black pot was covering the whole plant just a                          few                                      weeks ago!
                                          Raspberries, starting to shoot.
                                          Sunflower bed!
                                                 Strawbales overtop of the hugelkulture bed.
                                            "Redneck" slide... woodpile has two uses!                                                         ...........................More pictures in the next entry!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hugelkulture and bikini babes

What an AMAZING weekend!!!!

Nick was supposed to be working more OT on Saturday so I made arrangements with some friends (Ruby's school chum) to travel down to Coombs and visit the Errington Wild Life Recovery Centre.

He ended up not having to work so he came along on our adventure...Met up with Ruby's school chum and had a BLAST! The weather was 'iffy' for a few moments but the kids got to see the resident black bear up close and personal, as well as, ferrets and a hawk named 'Emily.'

Then we headed up the highway to Coombs and the 'goats on the roof.'

Stuffed our faces with yam fries (which unfortunately gave Eli and I tummy troubles from gluten cross contamination) and ice cream. Twas a great day!

Sunday proved to be a GLORIOUS sunshiny day! ... Too bad my children didn't want to cooperate with us! Elias having tummy troubles and his bottom 2 eye teeth were swollen and poking through the gum line. He was MISERABLE. ... Like want to toss him out the window miserable! Managed to get him to play outside for a tiny bit, but then he was clingy again. When Ruby finally did come outside it was in a freakin' bikini in the middle of bloody March!!! At least it was 10+ outside but sheesh! At that point Elias took a face dive into the 4 inches of rain water that were at the bottom of the paddling pool. He had fun for oh 4 minutes and then FELL APART.

Shrieking, crying, screaming fell apart. As if it were my fault he chose to go swimming in flipping freezing cold water!!!

Gave hime a bottle and sent him for a nap. Thank the heavens he woke up happy, if he hadn't I was taking the dog for a loooong walk and leaving Eli with his father...

Nick and I got a SHITE load of work done! Strawberry bed and blackberry bed built!

Thought we were going to extend the raspberry bed another 12 feet but instead we've decided to put in thornless blackberries. Quite excited about this! Nick also had put black pots over top of his seemingly dead rhubarb plants and to my absolute amazement they have shot up! ... Now I think I've forgotten to get a picture of them... dang. Anyway he read somewhere that this method will 'force' the plant. How that happens I'm unsure. I wondered at it being a black pot and heat absorbtion to awaken the plants but Nick wondered if it was the darkness that awakened the plant to climb higher to seek light? I'll have to look it up. Still it was pretty freakin' COOL!

Which sort of leads me into 'Hugelkulture.'

How my husband comes across these bizarre yet interesting hairbrained ideas will remain a mystery.... he came across this link...
Needless to say I found it an interesting read. And bada bing bada boom, I find an '' package in the mail which contains Sepp Holzer's book on permaculture. ... Thanks for the gift honey!

So we took some ideas from this 'hugelkultur'.... after Nick cut and assembled the lumber for our new raised beds, he filled them with the left over stumps from last springs cut down maple trees. 98% of the wood he split and stacked but there were some that were too large or irregular to be used that way. So we buried them 'hugelkultur' style in the bottom of the beds. Then I had the brilliant idea of using all the leaves we'd composted in the front yard, I took about 8 wheelbarrows full and dumped them on top of the wood. Spread some mulch over, and it's ready for dirt and seeds!

Nick will have to fiddle with the blackberry bed as it had many logs and he feels like we should have mulched first then spread leaves, but I'll let him tend to it.

Looks like a few of my other plans are being sidetracked for the season. Life is funny, one minute your 'flush' the next broke? I don't get it, but whatever!!!

So we're going to put the green house on hold for this year. Nick said he didn't want me to use the canoe for the kids as he really wants to go 'portaging' but I've asked him to revisit this idea for 'realistic feasability.' Ahem.

I'll have to pare down my seed/plant order as well. *Sigh* ... REALLY WANTED my Lignonberry and Nanking Cherry Hedge as well as my Hardy Kiwi fruits but it may just have to wait another year. ... Freakin' KIDS! .... Needing to 'eat' and crap like that! ;p

Took Nick's bike into the shop to get a tune up and he's starting to cycle to work in another week.

Life moves fast and oddly slow when one has small children. But it was a GLORIOUS weekend! I can't wait for the nice weather to move in and stay!

Finished strawberry bed.

One fine day I'll put the male kiwi plant (which is foliage only) at the back of this stump. It should vine up and be quite attractive with some 'Fairy Houses' tacked in along the way.

On the right is last years raspberry bed, left the new blackberry bed. When in full foliage it provides a nice privacy hedge along the fence line.

My workin' man, blood hound and bikini babe!

'Hugelkultur' inside the blackberry bed.

View from the deck.

Hoping to be able to get one last raised bed before spring time and the money run out!

Another view from the back deck.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Wow! Didn't realize that it's been SOO long without a post! In all honesty, not much has truly been going on! Hum drum, monotony of life with wee children!

I've been day dreaming about the garden as I always do, but it wasn't until this past week that the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun did SHINE!

Kids and I had a GREAT week! I walked downtown in the sun twice and the kids and I spent two afternoons outside, in the backyard. It was FANTASTIC!

I think the best part was that they are now both old enough to be left outside for a few minutes while I tidy up without them underfoot! Now I have to keep the windows and doors open and read Ruby the 'Riot Act' about playing nicely but both of them seem to have a darn good time diggin' in the dirt! Apparently Elias thinks the mulch pile makes a great 'slide!'

Nick has been working mega OT, and while the extra $$ is nice, I get tired and irritable. The kids behave badly and poor Nick is bombarded by demands as soon as he gets home.
"Daddy! Up! ... Tickle me!... Colour with me!.... Nicholas, I need this FIXED!....." Ce la vie!

Still haven't done any work on the green house, which is making me frustrated but I understand that he's really just TOO tired. So I sprinkled some grass seed with Ruby (it was interesting with 'help' from the three year old), I weeded the raspberry patch, aerated one section of the large veggie bed and planted spinach and swiss chard. And then I built my teepee!!!

Yep! Ruby also 'helped' with that project and it looks AWESOME!!!! I was at Canadian Tire and purchased 3 bags of 6, 6' bamboo rods, for $6.50 a bag. I only ended up using 2 bags, but I figure I'll use the rest for something garden related. The project took me longer than I had expected, over an hour I'd guesstimate, but it's pretty freakin' COOL!

I covered it with garden mesh as the pinterest site suggested, this makes it easier for the plant to really take over and give it the 'living' look. I'm hoping that it'll be wind resistant as we can get quite big wind storms living this close to the beach but I dug the rods 2 inches into the soil and then back filled them so I have enough 'good' soil to plant the cukes in another few weeks.

I just read on West Coast Seeds website that the danger of last frost is typically March 28th, for our region. So I've bought a 'green house' tray for $5 to get some of my more delicate seeds started early. I'll now start collecting my egg cartons to use as well. Filled with dirt the egg carton can start seeds, once germinated just cutting the 'pods' and placing them directly into the garden bed is an excellent way to recycle!

I'm also waiting for my mail order seed catalogue from TandT Seeds in Manitoba. I have researched high and freakin' low for Lingonberry and Nanking Cherry plants for my 'edible hedge' and was just about to give up when a random forum suggested this Canadian company. SOOO excited! They appear to specialize in 'hard to find' but easily grown in our climate plants.

Nick has cleaned up the wood pile, he has a few more afternoons of chopping and stacking before we're all done but we're well on our way. This week if the weather holds, I'll need to clean up the lawn debris from Nick pruning the apple and cherry trees. Gotta get ready for that 'first mow' of the season!

I've 'tilled' the remainder of the large veggie patch and transplanted the onions that were planted this past fall. FYI, onions are like icebergs...only 10% is showing on the top, the other 90% are under the surface. Learned this the hard way! Hopefully they survive!

I also planted some seeds in the 'green house' container I'd bought. But some of my seeds didn't look to healthy so I didn't fill up the tray. I'll wait for my catalogue and pick out some new ones!

We're going to take our trailer out for our first 'camping trip' of the year around Easter. CAN'T wait! While there is MUCH to do around the house and yard we need a BREAK! The routine with small children is VITAL but it is also draining. An odd double edged sword. Hoping to pack their bikes and just sit back with a GF Brewski and relax!

Life is good! Spring is nearly here!

The Teepee! ... Apparently 'Eli' proof! Nick saw him just 'reefing' (?) on it and was himself so impressed by its sturdiness he went to inspect it with a closer look.

Raspberry/Rhubarb patch weeded.

Bottom of the Cherry tree which I planted bulbs last November

Freshly tilled

Soon to be Swiss Chard and Spinach coming up!

Ruby's Greenhouse tray

Mama's Greenhouse tray

Grass Seed... instructions say to 'spread evenly.'

Ruby's contribution to 'spreading evenly.' *Sigh*

Hubby's Organizational skills! ... He impressed me!