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Things I would like to do in my house…

January 28, 2012
If I had all the time in the world to do DIY projects and organizing in general I would do ALL these projects in my home!

Master Bedroom:

  • Make a sunburst mirror for above the bed
  • Put up a gallery wall over the desk
  • Sew the pillows to create a ruched looked
  • Switch out the lamps
  • Stencil behind the bed
  • Put up a bag holder
  • Give Chiara my clothes hamper
  • Organize on top of the closet
  • Organize the linen closet
  • Hem and hang curtain

Master Closet:

  • Put on another clothes rack
  • Make ring and bracelet holders
  • Make a scarf rack
  • Put up shelves for purses
  • Make an earring holder frame

Living Room:

  • Buy 3 yellow pillows
  • Dye curtains yellow
  • Hang curtains
  • Refinish furniture
  • Sew rugs together
  • Make a gallery wall
  • Make a pouf

Chiara’s Room:

  • Mend rug
  • Put up shelves
  • Put up gallery wall
  • Sew curtains
  • Organize clothes
  • Organize on top of shelves

Luca’s Room:

  • Organize bookshelves
  • Put up shelves
  • Organize clothes
  • Organize on toys
  • Make poufs
  • Make gallery wall

Kitchen:

  • Organize pantry
  • Paint
  • Make message board

Laundry:

  • Paint
  • Hang hooks
  • Organize random stuff

Attic:

  • Go through boxes
  • Organize stuff in sections

So, I will let you know how I manage with all these little projects and maybe show a picture or two!

New Year – New Outlook

January 16, 2012

I did not think too much about making New Year’s Resolutions this year, but they just kind of came about naturally. I decided that rather than just “unpack” I would organize things beforehand. So far, I have followed what most people consider to be the first steps towards organization: attack one thing at a time. I am now happy to say that I have organized our desk area. I was so unhappy looking at it, but I didn’t have the energy to get up and do something about it. I now look over from the bed and see a stream-lined look with just the computer, printer and calendar. I also tackled the bedside table and cleaned out all the drawers. It really IS amazing how many books can accumulate in one bedroom! As I was tackling my bedside tables, I decided to try a trick my mom told me about. I had a nasty water stain on the table. Mom said just put down a tea towel and iron over it. I did it and it worked like a charm! It is so easy and so effective; I started ironing my dining room chairs too! They obviously have a more complicated problem. Speaking of complicated problems, I have been looking at a little ridge of dirt on the refrigerator door for about a year and yesterday I got out a toothbrush to clean that ridge. Oh scrub and scour – how great you are! Okay to keep it real and not seem like I need to be locked up, let me tell you that I still have not unpacked as yet. Yup, the kids did, but I still have everything in my suitcase and it is still locked up the way it was when I arrived 05 days ago. I just can’t seem to bring myself to tackle the mess that is my closet just yet. I wonder when I will be able to stop living out of my suitcase?

Well, here’s a reason – the kids can’t put their Christmas lego together because I haven’t unpacked the instructions yet – DOH!

About Maple Syrup and a boy in the 1950’s…

November 5, 2011

Here is a guest post from Dad.  He wrote this for Chichi since she is doing a project on maple syrup.  This post is almost as sweet as the stuff itself.  Thanks Dad…

Maple syrup is a brown, sweet and sticky fluid. It comes from a special maple tree called red or sugar maple. The sap is used by the tree to make flowers, leaves, branches and growth of the tree. The province of Quebec is the major supplier of syrup in the world. Ontario is second and some is made in Vermont and some in Maine. It is put on pancakes and sometimes it is used as a dessert. It is much, much better than the fake syrups that are in common use. It cost about $25.00 a litre and takes a lot to boil it down. Forty (40) litres from the maple tree makes one (1) litre of maple syrup. It was first used as a sweetener, along with honey by the Indians. They hollowed out logs and put the sap in the log to freeze first. They did not have iron kettles. The water in the sap would freeze first and they threw the frozen water away. Then they put very hot rocks in the remaining sap to cause it to boil and to turn into syrup.

When I was a boy from 6 – 12, I used to watch my father make maple syrup in a more modern method. We had a “sugaring off” building in the bush that held all of our wood for burning and the evapourators. During my teenage years, in the 1950’s I used to make syrup on the Saturdays by myself. It was very peaceful and quiet. It was a good place to study my Shakespeare and Latin for my Easter exams at school. The snow was about 1 metre deep in March (it is only about 10 cm or less these years in March).

We drilled holes into the tree and then put “spiles” in the holes to collect the sap. The spiles had hooks on them that we hung buckets with lids. We would use a team of horses and a sleigh with a tank on it to collect the sap. The snow was too deep to use a tractor, but they could use a tractor now. The horses and sleigh would go up high on an incline so that we could run the sap downhill into the evaporators. The sap would travel back and forth about four times before we placed it into a smaller evapourator. It was starting to resemble maple syrup. When it was done enough we would finish it in a second smaller pan and then we had maple syrup! It would take about half a day to turn sap into syrup.

To-day, the use pipelines, stainless steel tanks and propane gas to make maple syrup.

Viking Invasion

May 19, 2011

Yes, it is “The Dead of Bloody Winter” again with temperatures dropping down to a startling 12 celsius.  That has been enough for the kids to pull out their winter gear.  Today they decided to put on woolly hats to keep the chills at bay, hence the photo on the side.  It is funny to see the “cold weather phenomenon” here.  Some people are still walking around in shirt sleeves while others have pulled out the woolen mittens, scarves and hats.  The range in temperature tolerance is marked – one of the Canadian teachers is still pressing on with shirt sleeves while other teachers have pulled out knee high leather boots and 3/4 length wool coats.  It seems the kids are confused too by this untropical weather.  Some insist on wearing shorts and a spring jacket even though others seem like they are on the lookout for flakes!

I remember when my family would travel to Myrtle Beach, SC from southern Ontario during the March break.  When we arrived there, the temperature was balmy for us!  However, for them it seemed like what we affectionately call “The Dead of Bloody Winter”.  We laughed our heads off at their toques and such while we were running around in our shorts and tees trying to get some colour on our cheeks. 

So, you could say all that jeering has come back to bite me on the butt!

Gymnastics or soccer?

March 17, 2011

Chi is one of the only girls who regularly plays soccer at school. The other day the P.E. teacher told me  he thinks it’s funny that she is the only girl on the field in the middle of all the boys.

I do too, but I think it’s great.

It’s not the first time I have heard a comment like that.  Several people have come up to me at different points and said how cool they thinkt it is that Chi plays soccer.  It really IS that weird here! 

(It blows my mind that in the land of the beautiful game, girls DON’T play!)  But that is another story…

At the sports club Chi and Lu both take gymnastics. However, Chi has convinced herself that she does not want to do gymnastics anymore.  Lu, on the other hand, has no problem continuing and does not seem the least bit fazed that he is the only boy!

I tried to convince Chi to continue by mentioning that the current teacher is some kind of gymnastics pro – that did nothing .  One of the other girls who does gymnastics thought that the new teacher was so good at making the difficult things seem simple.  I thought I would try the old strategy of “Well, Bia’s mom says she LOVES the new teacher.”  Chi listened, but later told me, “hmmm I don’t know” when I asked about her opinion on the teacher. 

I did gymnastics as a child and gave it up pretty quickly after I started and so maybe this is karma.  I want to fulfill MY gymnastics dreams through my daughter!

You see, she says she wants to do soccer and we have no problem with that, but we want her to be able to do it with Lu. He has to wait until he is five on May 18th to start and consequently so does Chi.

Chi doesn’t think she can wait that long. But, we can’t start soccer for her before, or Lu will not have anyone to play with when she is training.

It’s called sacrificing for the greater good.

Oh! And this was classic. I told her that if she wanted to quit gymnastics she could, but then she’d have to take up either jazz or ballet. 

Yeah, so she decided to stick to gymnastics!

For now…

…really lost in translation…

March 3, 2011

I love it when I get home and my kids start singing to me. To understand what they are singing is a challenge that I welcome. Sometimes I can recognize the song because they stay surprisingly close to the tune, other times I am tipped off by the words. I have to admit I was stumped the other day though when my son arrived home singing,

“…my boney lies over the ocean, my boney lies over the sea…”

At first I thought maybe I had just heard wrong, however he insisted on repeating the song with those exact words. The fact that he was calling my bonnie, “boney” was a little more than I could take, so I corrected him. He insisted that since Teacher Alex taught him the song, that was the proper pronunciation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary bonnie is defined as:

chiefly British : ATTRACTIVE, FAIR; also : FINE, EXCELLENT

Okay. Now try telling that to a four year old. Lu kept on insisting that I sing the song with him and so I homoured him, however I sang the correct version, something like this:

But, he preferred his version. I just can’t bring myself to sing “boney” in mixed company. It reminds me of this

and that just brings back crazy 80’s inspired cringe-tastic memories. Call me an old fuddie duddie but I just can’t sing it like Billy!

…lost in translation again…

March 2, 2011

In keeping with my previous post, I thought it would be interesting to draw a contrast between myself and my kids. Obviously I am old enough to be their mother and they are young enough to be perfectly bilingual. They slip back and forth between English and Portuguese with ease. Translating from one language to another is not something they do often or willingly, but they certainly do it with effortlessly. I find it amazing to watch my nine year old do her homework. Once she has finished all the tasks for the English program, she can sit down without missing a beat and complete a fictional story in Portuguese. For her there is no lag time. However, for me there certainly is. The day I arrived back from Canada after three weeks of only speaking and hearing English, I went to a party. I was in the middle of a long explanation of how much I had enjoyed this book when my friend grabbed my arm and made me stop talking. He said to everyone in ear shot: “Holy smokes, listen to how thick her accent is now!” I was shocked. First, because I was so into André and his book, I couldn’t believe anyone would want to stop me. (I do have a tendency to over-share rant, though!) But the other reason for my shock was that I have been here for seventeen years. I have been married to a native for ten. Why are we even discussing my accent? Or, why does an accent fluctuate SO much? I have been told that my accent is part of my charm, but really, do I need to be reminded of it constantly? Also, why does an accent seem like a failure? Accents can be cool, right? I remember my brother speaking on the phone to friends in Northern Ireland once, when he suddenly turned on their accent. I thought that was hilarious, but in a good way. And then there was Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins – that was cool, right? Or, what about Desi Arnaz from I love Lucy who gave us such unforgettable lines like

“Lucy you got some splainin’ to do!”

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