Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goes Intas

These drawings could be designs for the command module for the new moon landing in 2021. They could also be calculations to predict the winning 649 lottery numbers.

But they're not. These many sheets of math equations, geometry drawings, "goes intos" and math notes are the work of an amazing Mathematician in her quest to design, and produce Michelle's wedding invitations the most cost effective way possible.

From the time Michelle and Scott announced there engagement, well over a year ago, we have been talking about all the cool things that we could do for the wedding. Our family are all "crafty" and all my friends are as well. So it is just natural that we all lean towards homemade things for the wedding. And that ole motto "many hands make light work" is only the tip of the reason why we wanted to have all our family and friends be a part of the planning, producing and participating in the wedding.

Jill has worked her buns off, and with Scott and Michelle's phenomenal ability to make decisions and live by them... a design was born and nurtured on those papers above and months of brain work and recruiting.. a date was sent.. supplies ordered and lunch was planned.

Before the team arrives... we have lots of things to get ready....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Linens.. anyone!

Wedding plans are coming along good, I think. Not being experienced at this type of thing, who knows how things will go until we actually get to it..
We have a beautiful venue for the reception, and they provide tables, chairs, dance floor, sound system, easels, microphones and podium. But they do not offer linens. Our caterer, is equally amazing.. and brings everything with them from the city. Dishes, stemware, buffet stuff, BBQ's, fuel and even their own water.. but again, they don't offer or provide linens..
Therefore, our mission today was to find a place to rent some linens. MacFarland's in Halifax rent linens of all shapes and colors and it was fun to peruse their website.. Michelle determined that to rent a tablecloth that would cover the tables nicely would cost $10 to rent.. each. We need about 20, which includes the buffet tables, head table and guest tables. I mentioned to Michelle that I saw a few white table cloths at Sobeys marked down from Christmas, so Terry and I hopped into the new vehicle and went over. There they were, 11 of them. They were marked down from 9.50 to $4 each. That was a great find, so I called Michelle and asked her to go to Sobeys in her neighbourhood to see if there were anymore.
The next morning, after her mid term she went off to the grocery store and sure enough, they had 12 of them. Now they had them marked down to $6.50. Well, Michelle took them over to the customer service desk and asked to have them marked down to $4, because "her mom just bought some at a different Sobeys and they were $4".............. and he did! How cool was that. So we got 23 white table clothes for just over $100... yipee And I happen to know another family who needs tablecloths for a wedding two weeks after ours!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Murder in Greenwood

OK, stole the title from the Knitnut. ... who is watching crows in Ottawa... Drove home last week and when I got out of the car I was greeted by over 100 loud crows. This was a relatively small murder of crows compared to the amount that hang around the PMQ woods, right Mary (bet you don't miss these guys) ? About once a week, we get a small crowd of them that hang around the woods across the street from our house. They are loud and the trees are thick with black bodies, but its usually dusk and you can barely see them. This day though, they were in my yard, and even though they were loud and somewhat scarey looking, they were also majestic and amazing.
I think they are amazing birds. They have had a raw deal over the past many years being linked to so many negative things... but truly, if you take them for who they are.. not what we have made them into.. you have to agree.. they are amazing birds.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pending Storm...UPDATE

So, in all my blogs this winter, I don't think I mentioned all the storm days we have had this year. In a usual year, our school is cancelled about 5 to 7 times due to bad weather or poor roads. The policy here in Nova Scotia is that children's safety comes first and if its trecherous for buses, its also trecherous for parents and teachers to be on the roads, and therefore school is cancelled and neither teachers or students have to come to school. Secretaries and support personel do have to go to work, unless they cancel "worksites" which usually happens halfway though the day or not at all.
Working at school without interuptions from phones, kids, parents and teachers is like going to Disney for me. Its a dream come true and the absolute most productive days I could ever have. I love them, most of the time.
Here's the thing. This year... so far, we have had 9 storm days.. and we have another week of February and the whole month of March to get though!!! I have worked 7 of those storm days.. and now.. even I am getting sick of them. We have not had a full week of school since the second week of January. Here's the other thing.... 4 of those days were planned inservice days for our school. We are trying to complete a program called "Accreditation" where we have like 7 or 8 days were we work towards outcomes and the deadline is March 31. We have only had 4 of those days... the rest have been cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled again, and rescheduled.
Last Thursday... not only did we have an inservice cancelled due to weather.. but I had a lunch planned for 40. This was a fundraiser lunch for Breast Cancer of Lasanga, Ceasar Salad, Garlic Bread and 3 desserts.... 35 people have signed up for lunch and it was cancelled as well. Not much was lost, as I had time to put the sauce in the freezer and every thing else will keep because we have rescheduled our inservice and lasanga lunch for this Monday coming...
Guess what... another storm is coming tonight... 15-20 cms of snow, freezing rain over night and 10 more cms tomorrow...
Stay tuned!
Well, here it is.. a snow day. They took about 15 minutes to decided that, and so therefore, sauce came out of the freezer and into the microwave.. and I jumped into the shower... planning my lunch for 40 in my head as I shampoo'd.
Imagine my shock when I sat down with my cup of coffee to hear... Kings County cancelled... and Annapolis County is open..
The ultimate in crazy...since our school is 1 km from the border...
Well, I am off to work.. a quiet day today..hopefully.
Lasanga on Friday....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hilarious... again

I love the blog "Uncluttered" which you will find on my list of favorites on the right of my screen. I look forward to the useless things they post on Wednesdays which are called Unitaskers. This weeks cracks me up. Its called the Chompr.
Yup... you see it right. It is designed to hold your burger... why... so you don't squeeze it and all the ketchup and pickles fall out. Please check out the link to this product and read some of the comments!!! toooooo funny

Friday, February 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Oh, February is such a fun month. Really. Its true. Wednesday afternoon, the sun was beating in my office window, giving me the fantasy in my head of a summer's day. Bus duty gals were ranting about how glorious the sun was and the heat of its rays was rejuvenating to ones soul. All this, while the radio and every weather speaking adult was speculating about the weather system that was on its way... would school be cancelled. Both Terry and I were fairly sure it would be.. and I had already decided that I would not be go into work if indeed school was cancelled.Thursday morning, very early.... those heavenly words... All Schools are cancelled!!! Yipee. As daylight broke, the sky was grey, the winds were calm. The Temperature rose from -12 to -5 in an hour... and it looked peaceful and welcoming. Terry went off to work and I attacked my list of things to get done. By noon.... the snow started and when Terry got home for lunch, his work was cancelled as well.We are taking advantage of Gail's cool sewing machine and embroidering everything that stands still. Terry made a cool "Shark" design for his bowling team shirts. He designed it the other night and then made his first one. It was a bit crooked on the back of the shirt but he promised to stand crooked in the opposite direction so it will look even!

Mollie sat outside in the lovely snow for a bit until we dragged her back in. She is so funny. She loves the snow. A little snowy on her head......... a lot snowy on her back!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Banana Muffins

When I was a kid, my mom taught me to bake things like banana bread, cinnamon loaf and Lemon Loaf. She had a cookbook from the Salvation Army, Men's Service Club, Grand Falls Newfoundland. Who knows where she got it because we lived in New Brunswick when she taught us to cook out of this book, and it was old then!!!! This book was my introduction to those books that are filled with donated recipes from members of the organization. What was funny about this book is that there were 7 banana bread/loaf recipes on the page. And I always wondered what the difference between "loaf" and "bread" was. I still wonder.Whenever we were in the mood to make one, mom would get out the recipe book and then start to wonder which one she used the last time. It was funny, because they are are similar recipes with just one or two tiny differences. But sometimes that little difference would make or break the end result. And don't think that the recipe with the check mark on it is the right recipe. it isn't. But we fell for it at least 5 times before we learned to ignore the check mark!!! I have vivid memories of my mom buying large brown bags of blackened bananas from Steinbergs Grocery for like .20 cents and we would make 6 or 8 loaves at a time.

When I got married, mom gave me a choice of her cookbooks and I choose this book. But I just couldn't find the recipe that we used for banana bread, that we liked the most. As times changed, muffins became more of a highlight in my house, having little girls with little appetites. Muffins looked so much more fun than "bread", so I started my hunt for the perfect banana muffins. Here's a little trivia for you. In my mom's 1950's cookbook... 93 pages, 7 or 8 recipes on each page. NOT ONE MUFFIN RECIPE. Not one. There are 11 donut recipes, 6 recipes for mayonnaise, even a recipe for Mock Goose... but not one muffin recipe, of any description. Interesting how muffins were not a big deal in the 50s.

I started making banana muffin recipes, and after trying out about 10 different recipes on my kids, we found the perfect recipe. Of course, I cut the sugar in half, turned the butter into oil, changed half the flour to whole wheat, and added a small handful of chocolate chips to the recipe to make it the perfect recipe for us.

My kids grew up enjoying these (even Stephanie who hates bananas). They learned to make these at a very young age. Then, this recipe because a routine event when my little niece Grace came to visit. We always got up extra early, just the two of us, and would make a double batch of muffins for when everyone else got up! It was a favorite, and will always be. Grace was a natural at cooking, even at 3 years old!

The reason for this blog..... I made these muffins the other day. I haven't really bought bananas since Dad died. He ate one every day, but now that he is gone, I don't buy them. Jill has been know to drop me off either a bag of frozen rotten bananas, or just a bag of almost gone ones. But I bought a bunch last week for a couple of kids at school and they weren't eating them either.. geesh. So, I made a double batch and brought them for the kids as well as Chantal. I was so thrilled to know that the kids LOVE them as much as we do, and really nice to hear that Chantal loved them as well. There is nothing better than finding the perfect recipe, and then using it for so long that you forget that its perfect. To get positive reinforcement like that, makes me love the recipe even more. One hint.. though.... I learned. And its really important...

when you add the dry to the wet... GENTLY fold the dry ingredients into the wet.. until its barely incorporated. This stops the binding of things and the muffins come out perfect.

Banana Muffins

3 ripe bananas... mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup flour ( I use half whole wheat)
a handful of chocolate chips

Add sugar to the bananas, then egg and oil. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then gently add the dry to the banana mixture along with a handful of chocolate chips. (I use to use mini ones, and about a quarter of a cup, just enough to say there was chocolate in them) Mix just enough to incorporate the dry.
Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Well, there are many signs that point to the hint of spring coming. Dripping icicles, tulips popping up, little wisps of green grass showing around patches of snow.

Well none of those things are happening yet... so we, at our house, want to know where this thing came from! You can see the temperature outside, and the snow in the back ground but this big bugger was on the inside of the window Saturday morning~
Geesh... and for a person who doesn't kill bugs, what do you do with it! ugh. Well, he is sitting outside in the sun, on the cedar tree in the front yard. He will either be someones lunch or he will have to find shelter~!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Mondays and a Friday!

That's what this week was for me... well, not really. But we had school on Monday.. so it was the first Monday. Then... out of the blue... a big snow storm and schools were closed on Tuesday... and Wednesday... can you believe it.. So.. back to school on Thursday... but being away for 2 days made Thursday feel like Monday and therefore that was our second Monday. And tada!!!!!
The very next day was Friday... which, indeed felt like a Friday... not a Tuesday, which it really should have felt like!!!

Now, to clarify. On the storm days (Tuesday and Wednesday), I went into work, because its the rules. We are not covered by a union (which I am mostly happy about) and therefore, we must be at school on storm days until the board deems the work sites are closed. But being at work on a storm day is like no other experience. Its... quiet..... deathly quiet. The music that plays from my iMac fills the room like a dance hall. And when a good song comes on, I and turn it up really loud and sing.. dance... or cry if I want to. There is nobody else in the building. If the weather isn't really bad, I will see a teacher or two pop in during the day, and a cleaner roaming the halls but generally its quiet. There are very few interruptions, distractions or emergencies and although I love those days, I wouldn't want to work in such a quiet environment every day.

So the treat for me this week was although I worked all 5 days, unlike most of my friends, I was in productivity heaven for Tues and Wednesday and sort of flying high on Thursday, because I was soooo almost caught up.. and then Friday came. Friday started with reconciliation problems with my bank statement, that would be a snap to correct if I was using a pencil and eraser. But since its computerized, web-based and somewhat complicated, it took a few phone calls to get the problem diagnosed... and it set me back 3 months... since we were all learning this system and the manager of the program gave me wrong advice and resulted in her having to delete 3 months of successful reconciliations... While I worked away at correcting that problem, our bus manager dropped by with the news that we are losing a bus. Our administration was so happy about the actual bus we were losing (due to severe discipline issues after school with it) they neglected to acknowledge that it affects 9 bus runs... which I have to update, absorb and communicate to about 100 families.. by Wednesday... Bank stuff... can wait.

Staff Appreciation week is coming up and we had some last minute planning and decision making to do, as well, involving phone calls, "google searches" creating on Microsoft and therefore... Bus Stuff can wait....then lunch time hits... bandaids and puke and poop... oh my... Staff Appreciation can wait!

Our newsletter went home on Thursday and in it, I put a plea for knitted mitts. We give our mitts to kids who forget mitts at home, or just don't have any and we were totally out of mitts! And the very next day I received 6 knitted pairs from my principal's mom and MJ bought 3 nice bright pink pairs from the Superstore! Amazing when you ask for help....

I decided to hang a clothes line up in the hallway for the mitts to be displayed and easy access for the kids to collected and to hang back up to dry. Nice for the kids to learn how to use a clothes line too, which seems to be a challenge for some of them! At one point at lunchtime, there were only 2 pairs of mitts left on the line, and they all got returned after lunch. Very good for the first day.!

And... that was Friday... not much accomplished except a mitten clothesline and some first aid!!!