Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jambalaya!

It's January in Canada people, it's cold! There is nothing better to chase away the January blues then to invite your friends over for dinner, some wine, conversation, more wine, and a LOT of laughs! Some of my closest friends happen to also live in my neighbourhood, and I love to have them all over -- between all of us we have 8 boys, and one girl -- Limefreckle Jr. calls her "the girl" as she is the only one, I think he has a crush on her (she's 5 years his senior -- he seems to have a thing for older women!)

The kids had fun, the adults had fun, Rufus had fun ---- it was a wonderful night. I wanted to put something on the stove that was easy to fix and fairly quick, although as usual we ended up eating late --- good thing I made some salsa to start. I forgot to take a picture of it surrounded by chips -- here's the leftovers, and here's the recipe:



Lone Star Salsa

4 fresh tomatoes, (peeled)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 small jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped)
2 minced fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 red onions, chopped (the amount you use is up to you)

Peel the tomatoes and quarter them throw them into your food processor. and tomato paste, minced garlic, cilantro, salt, onions and oil. Process until mixed. Add a can of diced tomatoes, and process again. Serve, or let sit for 1 hour in fridge to thicken a bit.

I found this recipe by googling LONE STAR SALSA, there are several sites that list it. If I were to make it again, I would eliminate the tomato paste -- I think it made it a bit thicker, but more "processed" tasting, not quite so fresh. I also didn't add the jalapenos, but will next time. Probably too, you don't really need the garlic powder.

The main event of the evening was Jambalaya. I found this recipe in The Pillsbury Cookbook - circa 1989 -- a book I purchased back in the day when I was learning to cook and living on my own. I think the only thing I've ever made from this book is the Jambalaya? Does anyone else do that? Buy cookbooks, but rarely use them? Anyway, here is the recipe:




2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 lb. cooked Polish sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 lb. frozen large shrimp (I use imitation crab meat instead)
16 oz. can tomatoes, undrained, diced
10 3/4 oz. can chicken broth
6 oz. can tomato paste
3/4 cup uncooked regular rice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I usually skip this)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf.

In large dutch oven, melt margarine, saute onion for 2 to 3 minutes or just until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, blending well. cover; simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. MAKES 8 SERVINGS

I cooked it all in my Rachael Ray pot that I have been coveting ever since her show came on the air. My brother found it when we were recently on a shopping spree in Buffalo, it's great, so big I fit 2x the above recipe (although it JUST fit....as you can see it boiled over, much to Mr. Limefreckle's chagrin.) He got the trusty Vim out and attacked all stains with vigor! Mr. Limefreckle is a CLEAN FREAK in the kitchen, and it drives him crazy, because when I cook, I use every possible dish, spoon, and cup available.....sometimes I do it just to watch him sweat....is that wrong?

Friday, January 30, 2009

I did it!

Wow, I actually organized that space I talked about yesterday - I need to start committing to things on my blog, then they will get done!

OK, so here is the before once again, in case you don't feel like scrolling down to yesterday's post:



Drum roll please...........



the glass jars are all from IKEA, as are the white and green boxes, and the silver boxes. I divided everything up into categories --- playdoh, stickers, paper, crayons etc. are in the glass jars. I like it, let's see how long it will stay like this! Many of the books were edited, and moved upstairs to the bedroom.

Here is the counter hot spot before:




And the after:



I'm just not sure if I like having the counter "decorated" as I'm not used to it yet --- I have lots of other countertops to use for cooking, so it's really just extra space -- I'll live with it for awhile, and see what I think.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still organizing

What is it about January that sparks the organizing gene in me? I'm not alone, I see so many posts at blogs all over that are on an organizing bandwagon. This is a spot I've been planning to get to all week, but for some reason or another, I keep putting it off......so I'm posting my "before" picture, and am committed to getting this done today, so that by tomorrow, I have an "after" to show you.




This is Limefreckle Jr's catch all area in our kitchen -- it's always a mess like this, so I went to Ikea, my favourite organizational store, and bought some supplies to help clean it up -- now that I've put it in writing....I have to do it!



This is my catchall area in the kitchen -- this counter top area has been driving me crazy for years! I've tried dozens of different baskets, and organizational methods to get this area cleared up. I finally decided that I would "decorate" the area, with some finds at Homesense on a recent shopping spree:






Check back tomorrow to see if I get it all done!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stitches are gone!

I know you've all been dying to know how my recovery process has been with the cut to my hand. Well, the stitches were removed yesterday, and this is how my hand looks:



I guess it doesn't look to bad, however clearly any hopes I've maintained of becoming a hand model have been dashed!!! I took these pics myself with my left hand, a bit blurry, but I've become fairly ambidextrous this past week. When I was in grade 5, I broke my right arm (this was the first of a string of many broken arms for me......I was very accident prone when I was a child, constantly falling, tripping over my big size 9 feet......my poor parents spent many an hour in emerg with me!) That first break was the result of my cousin pushing me -- we were walking by the house of a boy I had a crush on.....my cousin started teasing me, and a pushing match ensued....next thing you know I was in emerg!!! Another time I broke my arm because said boy I had the crush on pushed me on the ice.....and there you go, another break.....I broke my collarbone, playing touch football with my friends (said crush included) -- I remember my cousin, who was an army cadet, and my friend who was a girlscout insisted that I had dislocated my shoulder, and both wanted to help me fix it....I chose to go home and get my mom instead!!!

Anyway, I remember when I broke my right arm, I had to do ALL of my school work using my left hand! Hello!!!????!!! This was long before the days of computers folks, so there I was, scrawling all my work out like a kindergarten student! I did learn to rely on my left hand that year, and still do to this day, so this week has been pretty easy for me. Also, the best part of it, is I couldn't get the stitches wet -- so of course housework and dishes were off the roster for me! Notice how my manicure held up on my right hand for over a week (wierdly, the night before the cut I had this irresitable urge to paint my nails!) The left hand didn't survive quite as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Limefreckle labradoodle



Meet Rufus. He's one adorable labradoodle, not that well trained, but lovable non the less. I keep waiting for Caesar Milan to come to town so he can help me be the pack leader --- so far I don't think Rufus is convinced that anyone here is in charge - although occasionally he will listen to Limefreckle Jr. but basically he does what he wants.

He has the most interesting coloured eyes, I've never seen such a colour on a dog. Of course his pupils are not normally this bright, sorry about that, I haven't figured out how to use the red eye reducer in paint shop.

Lately Rufus has been on a mission. This is how he looks most of the days:



He stands looking out at the back deck, waiting for his Nemesis, the rabbit that lives under our deck. This rabbit moved in last spring, such a cute little thing, we'd spot him occasionally in the backyard. There is nothing like a bunny that knows it's being watched -- standing there, stock still, as if to say "What? WHAT?? You think you see a bunny or something???? NOTHING TO SEE HERE....MOVE ALONG!!!"

Well, this bunny has grown, let me tell you, I have no idea how he squeezes himself under our deck anymore, pretty soon he's going to need to call Jenny Craig. He likes to lounge around on our deck, I haven't actually seen him there, but he leaves traces of himself, if you know what I mean. Like having to go out and pick up doggy doo doo isn't enough, we have to clean up after this clown. Who does this bunny think he is? Doesn't he realize who lives in the house??? Most days we hear barking, barking, barking at the back door......if it's not the bunny taunting him, it's the black squirrels running back and forth along our fence --- chattering their crazy squirrel talk, daring Rufus to come outside. It's enough to drive the poor dog crazy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another wall of mirrors

Brassy Apple inspired me to post a picture of my wall of mirrors.....she in turn has posted a picture of her grandmother's wall of mirrors -- another great example of using mirrors to fill up a space and add some interest to a bare wall.....

go check her pics out here. If you've done a similar thing, please send a comment, I'd love to see it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I can see Kate's dilemna

Are you a Sawyer fan?



or maybe you prefer Jack?



How's a girl to decide?? And by the way, how come nobody told me that LOST was back? I mean, come on, I watch more TV than anyone I know, you would think that the Nielsen ratings people would have at least made an attempt to contact me!!! I read in the paper that the show didn't do well premiere night....maybe nobody knew it was back! Thank goodness for my PVR, and reruns, clearly NBC realizes that perhaps not everyone got a chance to see it on Wednesday night -- I taped it last night, and am off to go see what's going on.

A little bit of spring for you.....

I saw this post today at a blog I like to read, and thought "I can do this!!" What a cheap and simple way to do an fun, cheerful arrangement!



I found the instructions here.

This is the culprit!

Here is the apothecary jar that tore open my finger and made my life so difficult last week.....



I've replaced the corks in a much larger jar, because, let's face it, those corks just somehow keep multiplying, and we need a bigger jar, because then it doesn't look like I'm such a lush! My neighbour came over awhile back, and looked at the original jar, and said "there don't seem to be more corks since I was here last....what happened, did you switch to screw top?".....and the funny thing is....I HAVE!!! My new favourite wine is THIS:





I found it at the Wine Rack, in my local grocery store. Now, my American friends (if any are reading this blog!) don't understand the value of being able to buy wine when you get groceries....most of you have always had this luxury, but us Canadians have to go to the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) in order to purchase our wine, so these Wine Racks, which feature Ontario wines, are great!!! Now beer is another story, you have to go to "The Beer Store" for that (yes, it's actually called "The Beer Store") It was once, long ago called "Brewer's Retail" but I suppose as everyone called it "The Beer Store" anyway, it seemed the logical route to go.....

Anyway, I digress......the old cork jar was destined for my bathroom counter, to be filled with unwrapped bars of Ivory soap, however, it didn't make it.....part of it ended up in my finger, the rest shattered all over our stairs.

The whole reason I bought a new apothecary jar was to balance out my new arrangement for my kitchen counter. I'll post about that tomorrow.

My small bathroom...

is your typical tiny extra bath -- sink and toilet, not much else to feature. A couple of years ago I painted the whole room pink (I used a Martha Stewart paint, but can't remember the name). I even painted the ceiling, as I'm not the greatest painter in the world, and it just seemed easier than trying to tape it off. I took down the boring mirror that had been there when we moved in, and replaced it with as many mirrors as I could find. I don't know where I got this idea from originally, I saw it somewhere in a magazine many years ago, and it had stuck in my head - but a couple of months later, the same idea was featured on the cover of "Martha Stewart Living" --- I'll never forget when Mr. Limefreckle saw it on the newsstand....it gave our bathroom legitimacy I think!

Anyway, here are the mirrors....it's hard to really get the full impact, the bathroom is so small I couldn't get a head on picture, but this sort of gives you an idea:



I remember when my father saw it for the first time, he came out and said "which mirror am I supposed to look in???" Perhaps I should put up a little sign that says "look here" with an arrow pointing to one of them. Do you think people would?

Anyway, on the opposite wall, I hung the lids from antique chamber pots (well duh, they must be antique....who uses chamber pots anymore??)



My original intention was to get more lids, and fill the wall in more, but I like just the 3, and have left it that way. It's sort of a tribute to my memories as a kid -- when we would go to my grandparent's camp (yes, I said camp, because if you are from Northern Ontario, you call it a CAMP, not a COTTAGE as I have learned to say down here in Southern Ontario) anyway, the camp had a couple of sleeping cottages, and an outhouse WAAAAAYYYYYY at the back, no sane child was about to head out in the middle of the night to go use it (we saved that adventure for our tweens). I still remember the chamberpot underneath a little stool with a ruffled skirt, we could just pull that out and use it! Thinking about it transports me back to that room, the paneled walls, the 2 twin beds (adjacent to the room with a double bed, where my parents would sleep). The pendants hanging on the wall, and the little saying on a plaque "I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man that had no feet"......WOW, I can't remember what we had for dinner last Tuesday, but I remember that camp like it was yesterday!

Sue

wall of frames

Check out THIS!

As if I don't have enough projects that are not yet finished, I've just come up with another to add to my list! Check out this link and tell me what you think! (hey, I made a rhyme!) I need to find a spot to do this, and of course go through all my frames to see how they look ----- I love the mixture of this grouping, the frames are all different, not the same (this kind of feeling I can't explain..... sorry, couldn't resist, blame my son, he's been watching "Zaboomafoo" lately). Anyway, looks fab doesn't it? Now, off to roam the house and find the perfect wall for this type of grouping. Someone over at the blog where this was posted mentioned she had seen something similar with the letters spelling "home" randomly added in.....hmmmmmmmm......

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do you love to organize?

I've been looking around a couple of blogs today, and find that I'm not the only person that gets a chill up their spine when they see a perfectly organized space....I don't really get why I'm like that, I'm not particularly neat most of the time....if you could see my house right now (I'm using the mangled finger as an excuse to not clean) you would most definitely not think I'm into organizing....but I am.....I like nothing more than the challenge of taking a messy space and prettying it up......give me a labelmaker, I'm in heaven! I wonder why I'm like that? Isn't it odd......why am I so happy to sort, to organize, to do mundane work? When I was working, before my son came along, I LOVED to organize and file (OK, not crazy about the filing, but I liked to put things in order). I came to realize that is a fairly valuable trait...not that many people like to organize. My hubby is VERY disorganized at work (but a clean freak...to the extreme at home...go figure) and I often go in and reorganize, and enjoy it (the reorganizing that is; getting him to participate and part with things is an entirely different matter)! My dream job would be to be a professional organizer, and go into homes that are out of control, and establish peace.....not sure I could handle the emotions of home owners that can't part with stuff though....I bet that can be challenging! But then how come my house gets out of control? If I want to do this for other people, why can't I always do it for myself? Maybe because other people's stuff is much more interesting?!?

Thrifty Decor Chick has some great posts on organizing, is even having an organizing event you can join if you wish. She also led me to this site of a pretty cool pantry as well --- makes me want to clean out my cupboards right now!

lacerations and sutures

Wow, I've only missed one day in my new promise of blogging more! My finger is OK, thankfully no cut arteries or nerves (well, I suppose I would have known right away about any artery problems....but the nerves had me worried!) I basically cut quite deeply between my index and middle finger....opened it right up --- YUCK!!!! The nurse in the ER was standing there looking at it saying "eeew.....wow, what a laceration!" I told her and the doctor that she wasn't helping....I'm VERY squeamish!!! But it did break the tension, we had a good laugh! It's already feeling so much better, and besides looking a bit like the bride of Frankenstein, it's feeling better every day!

I was taking pictures for the blog (don't think my husband hasn't been laughing ever since about that....I'm not sure he gets this whole "blogging" business!) and wanted to move one of my old apothocary jars, so I was running upstairs at 8AM, ( the jar was destined to be filled with soap and sitting on my bathroom counter). I tripped on the stairs, dropped the jar, and when I fell, drove a piece of glass right into my hand.......Thankfully my husband was upstairs getting ready for work, not at the gym where he very often is at that time of the morning. Not so thankfully, he was upstairs, getting ready for work, which proved to be a bit of a predicament, as the stairs were covered in shattered glass. He made it downstairs eventually, and called next door to our pharmacist neighbour, woke him up, and he came over, administered first aid (did I mention that my husband is squeamish too?) Thank goodness for great neighbours eh???? Hubby drove me to ER, my son got a ride to school, courtesy of said neighbour, and everything worked out OK in the end! I've just been lying low ever since, went out today to do some shopping (hey, I can still sign a credit card slip!!!! PHEW!!!!!! -- did I mention it was my right hand??)I'll get back on the posting pictures bandwagon tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

change in plans

I've cut my finger very deeply, 4 stitches and a trip to emerg.....will post again when typing is easier!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Dining room tablescape


This is what I came up with for the dining room. The funny thing is, I went into a store looking for candlesticks, candles etc., and they had a similar arrangment to this on one of THEIR dining room tables! They gave me the idea to use the mirrors underneath. We ate dinner here last night, all the candles were lit, and the lights were off......very nice! It definitely makes you linger a little longer than you might normally, maybe even eat a little slower (I'm not sure, but I bet there are studies to prove it!) Anyway, we eat in our formal dining room at least every Sunday, now we have one more reason to do that a little more often!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Commit to blogging more! Day 1

I'm always telling myself that I'm going to blog more often, that I'm going to get working harder on my business --- if you are a Mom, working from home, I'm sure that's a refrain you hear in your own head, over and over. I've had so many ideas for blog posts, but for one reason or another they don't get posted -- so I'm making a commitment to post every day for the next 10 days --- let's start with mini steps, shall we!

Firt, I'm going to leave you with my latest decorating dilemna -- my dining room! The table is always empty, boring, so traditional, I want to spice it up a bit.....



Here are some purchases I made in my quest to get out of the house and stop hibernating. Nothing says "let's get into a better mood" than a shopping expedition. This day I went to HomeSense, Pier 1, Ikea and Bowring, and here is what I came up with:



Tomorrow I'll post the finished product!

Twilight


Before Christmas, I read the "Twilight" series, and enjoyed it very much. My friend asked me if I would be interested in going with her, her daughter and some friends to the premiere of the movie - "Sure" I said, thinking that would be great. Little did I know what a phenomenon that premiere would be! We stood in line for 2 hours to wait for the show!! I have a personal motto, I developed sometime in my 20's, after countless hours wasted standing in the line of one club or another "I DO NOT WAIT IN LINE TO GIVE PEOPLE MY MONEY!".....but I did it, and it was fun (don't tell anyone I said that, I'll deny it!) I felt transported back to highschool (not that it was a time I care to remember that much) but the feeling of excitement about something was so obvious in all the young girls in the line, that you couldn't help but feel good about it! Watching how excited my friend's daughter and her friends were just made you feel good!! We listened to the soundtrack of the show on the way over, my friend's daughter told me all the facts she had gathered about the series and the movie, her excitement was contagious! Not to mention, the movie was GOOD! I'm looking forward to any and all continuations (and hopefully a continuation of the book series as well!)

For Christmas, I made my own interpretation of a Bella Bracelet, and said friend keeps purchasing more and more, for her daughter's friends etc. I've decided to list it for sale, you can find it here and here if you are interested.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Do you remember all your teachers?

With all the problems I've been having this year so far with my son and school, my mom sent me a bunch of my report cards that she had saved all these years (I'm talking 30+ years for some of them!) I was reading through all of them, and noticed a constant theme among them....basically, I talked too much, and didn't apply myself.....or rather, when I did apply myself, I saw good results.....so there was the constant urging from teachers to apply myself more. I remember my mom told me that at one of their parent/teacher conferences the teacher said that if I would only try a little harder, I could achieve A grades in more subjects.....I told my parents that I would prefer to not have to study, and get B's and C's, but be able to socialize....rather than have to stay home studying, just to achieve A's.....I guess you could say that socialization was the most important thing for me!

My favourite report was from Grade 1, the teacher wrote" She is a great group worker. She feels company and conversation are a "must" during activity time. This is good providing my teaching is not disrupted with another group".....what a very sweet and kind way of saying "I wish she would be QUIET!!!" I remember that teacher....I liked her.

One thing that really surprised me though, for some grades, I think grade 2, and grade 6, I had absolutely NO recollection of the teacher ---- when I saw the name on the report card, I just drew a blank.....I seemed to remember my favourite teachers - Mr. Pagnotta, grade 7, and grade 8, he was the BEST! - and I remember my least favourite teachers - grade 4, whose name shall not be printed here, sent me out into the hall all the time, nose to the wall, for --- surprise! TALKING!!! Also, she seemed to have a big problem with my math ----- kept pushing my parents to work on my multiplication tables at home (can't remember if we did...must ask Mom about that) But hey, look at me now, Mrs. so and so.....I don't NEED those stinkin' multiplication tables....I USE A CALCULATOR!! (ok, to be fair to Mrs. so and so, I really STILL don't have a great grasp on my multiplication tables.......so I guess maybe she was right).

Kind of funny to go through your old reports.....I wonder if in 30+ years my son and I will sit down and talk about all the problems we had at the beginning of his school career....at least this stroll down memory lane reminded me that although what's going on right now at school is of course serious, it's not hopeless, it's not the end of the world, and things can always improve!!IF HE WOULD JUST APPLY HIMSELF MORE!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Starting fresh in 2009

I was sitting here this morning, reading through my lists of blogs that I frequent, and I came across this post from one of the blogs I lurk at (I'm a lurker, I don't post at other blogs....something I need to change for 2009!) Anyway, this post at The Shabby Nest hit the nail on the head for me about how I'm feeling today. PERSEVERE....I'm going to borrow this for my word of the year as well, hope you don't mind, Wendy, I will post on your blog to tell you I'm borrowing your quote!

It's been a very tough year at school since September for my son with PDD-NOS, this 2 week holiday has been a welcome break for all of us. For him, and for me, because I got a chance to spend some real quality time with him, and to remember all the wonderful qualities that he has. School is hard for him, he's a square peg trying to be forced into a round hole (or is it round peg into a square hole...) well, whatever, HE DOESN'T FIT! But unfortunately the only other option for him is to be sent off to be segregated from his peers into a special education classroom, at another school outside of our neighbourhood - something I am not a fan of, and really don't feel comfortable with. He needs a combination of special programming, yet also does well when he's integrated with his friends and peers --- it's a delicate mix, and this year, it's NOT working well at all. The last meeting at our school comprised of my husband and I and 10 people on behalf of the school, with very little positives, and lots of negatives -- it's hard to sit there, as a parent, with all these people looking at you for answers as to why your child doesn't fit in.....At this meeting I was actually asked to write a letter to all the other parent's in my son's class, to explain him to them, as there have been parents with "concerns" about my son, and his behaviour (which, don't get me wrong, can be very out of hand and hard to control if you don't understand where it is coming from), their children's involvement in playing with him, mentoring him, etc. I don't know what their "concerns" are, and frankly don't want to know, I guess I need to explain why he can be so very inappropriate and volatile sometimes, but I'm still reeling from the fact that the school asked me to write this letter! It doesn't sound like a very inclusive attitude, I think the school could do a lot of things to reassure parents about all the children we have in our school that have special needs, without asking the parents of these children to personally write to other parents. It sort of made me feel like I need to justify him, and why he is here, with all the "normal" kids....I'm not sure the people from the school and school board realize how this request came across, I do think it was done with good intentions....but it was still very hard to hear!

I've been sitting here looking at the clock, realizing that I need to get moving, get him ready, and head back to school for a week that traditionally can be very hard for kids on the spectrum....he's been on vacation, settling back in to school is hard at the best of times......but we shall PERSEVERE, - which means to continue in some effort, course of action etc. in spite of difficulty, opposition, etc.; be steadfast in purpose; persist. We will continue to advocate for our son, to get him the help he needs despite the claims that the school board can't afford it, etc. We will continue to work with the school, to help bring them the expertise that they may need to undertand him, and his needs.