Monday, November 28, 2016

First Christmassy Weekend!

Happy Monday everyone! I was telling Ryan last night that the weekend went by in a blink. He said it was likely because we did so much! 

I have been planning our company Christmas party for the last month or so. Friday was the day of the big event and at 3 AM I woke up to an upset boy with a 103 fever. 

Yikes. Talk about panic. He didn't have any other symptoms but it meant that he couldn't go to daycare. Thankfully, my MIL came to the rescue and agreed to stay with our sick boy for our Christmas party which was at noon! 

I had a lot of help though and by the time I went to put the finishing touches, the shop was perfectly decorated for a fun afternoon celebrating a great season and wonderful men and women who make up the team! 

I changed up the door prizes this year. We use to do a $5 gift exchange but it was getting a little stale so I decided to change it to draw for prizes. I changed it up even more this year by making it a half and half door prizes. 6 were good gifts and 6 were boobie prizes! This little elf was cute but most definitely a boobie prize! 

We also had a little texas horseshoe tournament! Here are the first and second place teams! 

I eventually went home, drove Bev home and then put Sam to bed. Ryan stayed at the shop to party some more and play poker. 

It was sometime between 2 AM - 3 AM that Sam's fever broke. The next morning no fever and a stuffy nose but otherwise he was in good spirits! We started our morning off with Mickey Mouse and then got ready to eat at our favorite breakfast place, Gabriel's and then get Ryan a new pair of winter workboots that were on sale! 

When we got home we got straight to work on finishing the Christmas decorations. Ryan, Sam and I headed into the bush to find a Christmas tree for our front porch! Wasn't easy but maybe a fun new tradition. 

We had a quick lunch and then Sam went to bed. Ryan and I worked at finished the front porch. It was a beautiful day to work outside! 

We also decided to finish all the decorations on the inside! We were on a mission. For supper I made a homemade pizza and we ate it early while watching Arthur's Christmas on Netflix. Super cute Christmas movie! 

We got in our warm clothes and headed to Shawville for the parade of lights! Sam was waving at everything that drove by but especially the Big Man in red at the end! 

We opted to turn on Wayne Rodstad, crack open our glass bottle Coke's and put the decorations on our memory tree in the basement. We at first thought we'd get Sam to help but decided to hold off for another few years. The ornaments just mean too much to us. We enjoy looking and talking over the ornaments as we put them on the tree. 

We were all up Sunday morning to homemade pancakes with bacon and then we set up our new Christmas train I got when we were in the states shopping! Reminder for next year to set up the train tracks BEFORE putting decorations on the tree! 

But Sam loved watching it go around and around. I was always so worried about some of my special and breakable Christmas decorations and tree. A 2 year old can really create havoc but we've drilled it into his head that this stuff is special and we either have to be gentle or not touch. So far it's working! 

My parents came over before church for a quick coffee and so we could give my Dad his VERY belated birthday gift! But they were in Nova Scotia for his birthday (November 13) and we never got the opportunity before. 

We had a great church service and afterwards came home and I made Nacho's for lunch. My half and Ryan's half (Sam had leftover pizza). Mine had salsa, avocado, onions, yum! Ryan's half with just cheese! ha ha! 

Ryan did the dishes and I got started on some Christmas baking! It is one of my favorite things! Having an abundance of Christmas treats in the freezer to share with family and friends over the holiday season. I made one pan of fudge and my short bread cookies, yes shortbread Christmas worms included! 

I actually had a supper fun Sunday afternoon planned. Stacy, Mady, Jill and I were all going to watch Dolly Parton's, Coat Of Many Colors! I had never seen it before and the girls insisted I watch it before the new one came out this week. Well I just LOVED this movie!! I laughed, I cried, it was just a super heartfelt movie and I guess that is what I was in the mood for! It was wonderful! 

When the girls left I made Sam's favorite Potato Bacon soup for supper with the same stock from Friday's post. So does that mean 5 meals now, 1 chicken? 

Family tradition is that we don't turn our Christmas lights on until the first Sunday of advent which was yesterday. We went out and Ryan did the first official light plug in of 2016! Sam now says that "Santa see our house now". 

How was your weekend? 


Friday, November 25, 2016

1 Chicken, 4 Meals!

Happy Friday everyone! It is the morning of our company Christmas party and I am likely running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. Which actually reminded me of a post I had been creating and never got to posting. So, since it is a busy morning I thought I would dust it off the draft section and share with you all.

As you are already WELL aware, I love to save some money. It seems like groceries and continue to get more and more expensive! It is really hard to stick to a reasonable budget and get fresh and healthy food for a family. I took note of this awhile ago and made some slight adjustments in the way that I plan our food.

For one, our garden was a big help! Having frozen garden vegetables in the freezer all winter long saves a bundle! I don't have to buy corn, carrots, peas, tomatoes or beans! I also have frozen raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and plums that I picked, washed and got ready for the freezer. I also have jam and pickles galore! We are making the garden even bigger next year to accommodate more! I want to get a years worth of potatoes, some peppers and beets!

This year we had the opportunity to buy some local chickens that my brother helped raise. They were a little more expensive then the conventional grocery store whole chicken. And I can see why, they are HUGE!! You can get so much more meat out of it then from the $10 whole chicken from a grocery store. So I decided to cook one up one Sunday and see how far I could stretch this bird!

Sunday night I cooked the chicken, carved it and had the traditional meal with potatoes, corn and gravy! It's always a labor of love but a meal we all really enjoy!

Ryan had some chicken for his sandwiches the next couple of days too but I was still left with lots of meat and bones!

The bones I put in a crock pot with water, onion, carrots and bay leaf. I put my crock pot on low for 12-14 hours and it makes a BEAUTIFUL STOCK! So easy and cheap! OH and my favorite stock trick, keep the skin of the onion on and throw it in the crock pot too. It makes a nice golden color.

Night two, I wanted to use up some of the gravy. I always remember when mom would roast some meat, day two leftovers always had French fries! So, that's what I planned. Homemade French fries and then one of Ryan's new sides, roasted broccoli.

On night three I decided to show together a little chicken pot pit. A puff pastry out of the freezer. I never use a bottom shell. But on the bottom of the pie plate I put chicken, carrots, corn, potatoes and then the leftover gravy that I had thickened with flour! Roll the puff pastry on top and cook it for about 30 -40 minutes in a 350 degree oven! Super easy and such a comforting food on a cold night. I served it with garden salad.

Finally, I was out of meat. Between 3 supper and multiple lunches. "But Lindsay, you said 4 meals from one chicken?"

Remember that lovely stock? I stored it in the freezer and when the time came, took it out to make some soup! One of my favorite's is tomato! It's super easy and I usually have all the ingredients. 1 onion chopped and sautéed. Add 4 cups of broth and 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice. I also add 1-2 tsp of oregano and salt (because stock has no salt in it). Puree it with emulsifying blender!

So let's do some math.

One chicken cost me around $18. With that $18 chicken I was able to get 4 suppers and 3 lunches. So that's 7 meals! That works out to $2.57 a meal. Add in other ingredients we are still looking likely looking at no more then $5.00 a meal. 

So while $18 per bird seemed a lot more expensive when purchasing this source of protein, when you break it down it is actually a great way to save some money by stretching out the meat available! 

What is your favorite way to save money on your grocery bill? 

Happy Friday! 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Whirlwind Trip!

Happy Snowy Monday, friends! It was inevitable, the snow was eventually going to fly! And fly it did, with 15+ cm of snow arriving in the last 24 hours! So I have gone into hibernation mode with warm wooly socks but the problem is that my 2 year old LOVES the snow and always wants to go out and shovel it! Ugh! 
A couple of weeks ago we saw this predicted forecast and Ryan and I decided that Friday/Saturday would be the day we would drive and have a little mini getaway with Sam. Ryan's favorite store (Royal Distributing) is there and we wanted to get Sam his first snowmobile helmet that fit properly. I'm a bit of a stickler for head wear safety. 

So to make the trip a little fun we booked a hotel with a pool and headed down after work on Friday evening! Sam was actually a rock star the whole drive. He didn't sleep a wink and instead just snacked on french fries and watched Paw Patrol. But was asking for bed by the time we got to the hotel! 

We all bummed around on Saturday morning watching cartoons! We decided to stay in our PJ's but put our bathing suits on underneath! We first had the hot breakfast that was included with the room. There was an awesome make-your-own waffles station but all Sam was asking for was yogurt and plain toast! 

After a big breakfast we stopped by the pool for a swim! Sam was really into swimming around and using his legs to kick. The only problem was that the pool was FREEZING and we could only stay in for a short time! 

We got back to the room, got ready for the day, packed up and checked out. We had a short 2 minute drive over to Royal Distributing and I think Ryan was really excited to take Sam there for the first time. #BOYS 

We got Sam's helmet, Ryan got a new pair of boots and we got Sam a toy Side-by-side too. And before we knew it, we were back on the road home. 

We opted to wait a little to stop for lunch. We did eventually stop at a little "En Route" along the 401 that was awesome! Great options for food then the typical burger and fries. I got a Pita Pit salad and my latest favorite Starbucks treat! Venti, half sweet, chestnut praline latte with no whip! YUM! They also had a take out East sides and Pink Berry at this location. 

We actually had to drop Ryan off in the city for a tour of all the sights in preparation for the next night with snow in the forecast! 

So Sam and I headed home, unpacked the car and then bundled up and grabbed an RTV to get the rest of the outdoor stuff away before snow started to fly! 

We headed inside for a quick supper and then Sam went to bed. Ryan and I watched Eddie The Eagle on Netflix (SO good!) and set up the tree but didn't put any decorations on it! 

On Sunday morning Sam was memorized by the tree and laid down underneath it! 

I got to work on "Decking The Halls" after breakfast and then Ryan suggested I go to church solo and he spends some time with Sam!

When I came home we had lunch and let Sam eat while watching Paw Patrol. We sat at the kitchen table and had a little date. We had these "Not so Newlywed" questions and went back and forth questioning each other. It was really fun! #beat50percent

After church both boys went down to sleep and I put on a Christmas movie (The Family Stone) and decorated the living room tree! Tree 1 or 3, done! 

Sam went and tried on his new snowmobile helmet again and was happy to ride around the house in it! ha ha! 

For supper I made some homemade tomato soup because it was the perfect meal for a snowy day! 

When supper was done we spent some time with Ryan being silly before he had to go and get ready for work! 

As he was getting ready for work, I got Sam ready for bath and bed. Before he left he came to give us a kiss goodbye.

 I was a little sad because it means night shifts are beginning. It means nights alone, empty other half of the bed, solo care for Sam every night and no more weekday nights out. Our lives and schedules now rely heavily on the weather! But I am very proud of Ryan who is going to act as crew leader this year for the first time! 

How was your weekend? 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Being A Girl

I'm still a little shell shocked after the American election and I needed some time to digest it. I was saddened at the outcome and that so many people just south of the border were willing to accept the flaws of Donald Trump in order for there to be a shift in power in the White House.

If I was an American citizen, I wouldn't have voted for Trump because I didn't agree with his racist undertones, ability to divide people and the biggest one for me, his sexism. Prior to the election I heard a Canadian broadcast give an example of his disrespect of a female. It was during his show The Apprentice. A female contestant was telling them how she got a certain task done. She said she ended up on her "hands and knees" in order to do this task. Before she could finish her sentence, Donald interrupted her and said "That must have been a pretty sight".

Right then, I was disgusted with that man and knew if I had the choice, would never vote for someone of that character.

I was lucky enough to grow up with a Mother who was very much borderline feminist. There was never any doubt that I could be "whatever I wanted" when I grew up. Nothing would make my Mother more upset then the saying "The Wife" instead of a man using his spouses name when referring to her. With that great example in my life, it is really not surprising that I grew up to be a confident, out spoken and hopefully successful female business owner. 

When I went to University, I was one of only two girls in my class. The rest were males and the girls very quickly got categorized and alienated. I remember not being included in our class club at first because it was "male" only originally. And a teacher even once mentioned how it wasn't surprising that I hadn't done well on a certain test as I was a girl. I just simply wasn't going to do as well as the male students. 

Well, that is the wrong thing to say to me. I worked my ass off to prove the professors and male students that I could do every class as good, if not better then them! Plant I.D, mechanics, turf science, golf course construction...I was going to excel. And I did. At graduation I was awarded the best overall student of my class. 

I was pretty proud but it was eye opening to begin to see how the world can be so divided between male and female. More so was I first judged on my appearance rather then knowledge or experience. When I came to work at the farm, I started out as a full time Sales Rep. I was excited for this adventure on this new road. 

Over and over I was crushed by the lack of respect by some people just because I was of a different gender. I got comments like:

 "Oh you'll do well as a sales rep because you're pretty." ---Umm...thanks? But guess what I have a brain too! 

"Can the pretty girl be the only one to deliver my product? (instead of the usual guy) I'd rather look at her". ---This was said to Ryan one time. Little did the guy know he was speaking to my husband. 

"I'll only buy from you if you go out with me." 
Me: "No, I have a boyfriend" 
"That doesn't matter. At least let me kiss you." And then he proceeded to try to force a kiss on me. At this point I left the course and never returned, still to this day. 

And the worse I ever faced, "Do not come see me. I do not want you as my sales rep. I need a man who know's what he is talking about, not you!" ---I had yet to even speak to him about any information but I was automatically "stupid" because I was a girl. 

Over and over, I have to work SO much harder to gain respect not only as a female in a male dominated industry but as a young female employer. I am constantly questioned, not trusted and skipped over to speak with a male business partner. I have to work SO much harder to get a point across and listened to. I am also hard on myself and hate to get something wrong because I know I will be judged for it longer. 

I do my make up and hair every morning not because I want to but because I am more harshly judged when I look like I am "letting myself go". Yet, I also wear looser fitting pants and a high tank top under every shirt as I can feel eyes on me, looking at certain body parts when I am trying to have a meeting with a male in the industry. 

Sometimes, it sucks to be a girl and last week I was feeling saddened that someone I perceive to be a chauvinist pig and everything I despise about the male gender, is now one of the most powerful leaders in the world. US was SO close to closing the gender gap by electing their first female president. 

But I realized I can't change it. My only hope is that one day the wrong with be righted and girls everywhere keep moving forward to be as great and sometimes better then any male out there. That I will raise a son to have as much respect for the females in his life as all the males.  

"And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your dreams." 
- Hillary Clinton 


Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend! How can my weekend not be anything but awesome when it starts out with pretty (and delicious) cup cakes for dessert on Friday at lunch? 


It was mostly just Sam and I all weekend and I was so looking forward to that time alone with him! I find I get to really know something new when it's just him and I for an extended period of time! 

Our Saturday morning started out with Mickey Mouse on TV and in bed! Sam loves the weekend tradition of snuggles in the morning in Mom and Dad's bed while we watch Mickey Mouse. This can last for anywhere between 30 minutes or 1 hour! I can usually also take a shower at this time too and I find Sam exactly in the same spot! 

We had a quiet morning with Pancakes for breakfast. We then headed to Onslow Elementary school for their annual Craft and Bake sale! I love to browse the local vendors, get a couple Christmas gifts and this year we were going to stay long enough to see Santa! 

Sam has been wanting us to read a Christmas book to him every night called, Merry Christmas, Ottawa! So, he is all about Santa right now. He wasn't shy at all and walked right up to him! He proceeded to tell him the one thing he wants for Christmas, a side-by-side (brain washed by his father!) and as we were leaving the school, Sam had to go back to where Santa was to say bye. 

Sam told me as we were walking to the car that he saw Santa's reindeer on the roof and wanted to give them the food Santa gave him. I had to explain we had to wait until Christmas Eve. The rest of our day we talked about all things Santa! Should be a fun Christmas season! :) 

When Dad's away, we eat all of our meals while watching Paw Patrol! He loves being set up in this old school desk to eat his meals. 

Some of the things I got from the craft sale! 

Sam and I hung laundry on the line, planted tulip bulbs, took down Fall decorations and planted some basil. I have been really missing my garden over the last couple weeks. Especially the little herb box that I had! I got so spoiled with fresh herbs. I have tried buying some from the grocery store but it is expensive and they don't keep long in the fridge! So I started this week with a transplant of basil! Here's hoping I can keep it alive! My next one to plant is Cilantro! 

I also did a lot of knitting this weekend! At one point after Sam had gone to sleep for the night, I realized I was knitting while Paw Patrol was playing in the background. Yikes! 

Sunday morning after our morning snuggles, we made a special birthday video for my Dad who turned 60 yesterday! 

We went to church, came home for a quick supper, played outside and enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL November weather and then cooked our first farm raised chicken! We got 6 beautiful farm raised chickens and these babies are HUGE! But it was so tasty and I'm pretty sure this one chicken will give us 3-4 suppers this week and chicken for lunches! It seriously took me forever to carve all the meat. I was feeling pretty domestic last night with our supper. Farm raised chicken, potatoes from a friends garden, corn from a local farmer that I froze and homemade bread. Plus the bones are currently being made into stock! 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Random Wednesday Things

I want to say "Happy Wednesday" but I don't know if I can. I never in a million years thought that I would read on my phone this morning, "President Trump". What makes me most sad is that this man believes in taking the choice away from people. Belittles women and those of another race or religion. I am saddened for my southern friends and what is facing them in the months/years to come. But for the most part I am encouraged and proud to be Canadian this morning because for the most part, our nation is saddened at this news. It means that we stand together for human decency still. And that is very positive. 

But moving on... 

It is well into November and things are still booming here at the farm. Sure, some aspects have quieted down but for the most part a lot of work has continued with the beautiful weather! We are very happy with the outcome of the end of this season and extended Fall! It means we can complete many items on the job list and not postpone too many into 2017! 

But even though the weather doesn't reflect it, I have been thinking about about Christmas lately. I guess it just doesn't feel that far away and that it will be here in a blink! I mean our company Christmas party is 16 days away! Which is also exactly 1 month from Christmas. 

I think Sam is going to be lots of fun this year. He has showed a lot of interest and wants to read a Santa book all the time before bed. I think it'll be fun to dabble this year in the magic of Christmas. I can only guess how many times he is going to ask "why"? 

So Sam's excitement has got me thinking of all things Christmas. Not to mention I feel ahead of the game! I have almost done all the Christmas shopping. 1 more solo trip to the city sometime and I'll be finished! I have a list of the baking I want to do this year. And call me crazy, but I think I may even set up some of the bigger decorations around the house this weekend. Like the tree (not decorated) and the garlands! 

Speaking of the house, I am feeling the urge to decorate lately. My kitchen was painted almost 9 years ago and I've been wanting to re-paint it for over a year now but I'm having so much trouble picking a color. Any suggestions? 

I am also wanted to start AND finish Sam's bedroom and paint my front door red. I don't know why but I've always wanted a red door! But the problem is that all of this stuff takes a lot of time and feeling like it just can't happen. Especially in the winter with Ryan working nights soon. 

There use to be a day where I LOVED renovating my home and now while I have the desire for updates, I keep procrastinating. 

Ryan is squeezing in some extra work this weekend which means I get Sam to myself all weekend. This actually makes me so excited! I love when I get to hang out with him! I am hoping the weather will be nice so we can do some projects outside! He is actually getting to be a big helper and I love that he loves to help! He has a serving heart. He loves to help and do things himself. He puts his clothes in the hamper, wipes the table after supper, cleans up his own toys and then helps us with whatever we may be doing outside or inside. 

I've been taking piano lessons again this year. This will be my third year and while I still enjoy it, it is much more difficult. In the past, I could learn a piece of music in one week and get a "star" which tells me to move onto the next piece. Now, a piece could take 2-3 weeks to perfect. As a perfectionist, it is really difficult to not nail a piece of music the first week I practice it. And it's a lot harder to see progress. But last week my teacher gave me a Christmas piece to start to work on and while it is FAR from perfect, I am enjoying learning the festive piece and won't mind practicing it for multiple weeks. I want to build up my repertoire of Christmas music so that I can just sit at any piano bench and play! 

And again back to something Christmas related? Clearly we know where my head is at! 

Happy Wednesday!