Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gripings of a working mom

Not sure what gives as of late, but I've been getting in some real scraps. Oops!! Good thing this blog does not have a far spread because I would never share the following story otherwise. :)

The last week of school before the holidays, I became one of "those" parents to my daughter's kindergarten teacher. By "those" parents, I mean the parents that cause trouble and squabble with the teacher. Yes, I did that. But let me give you some background.

I am totally cool with this kindergarten teacher. She is sweet and kind and somewhat unique. My daughter loves her and she is firm with my daughter (which is a good thing) so I am happy. However, the monday prior to school breaking for the holiday, I got a note home. It was stapled directly to my daughters fabric lunch bag so I guess I wouldn't miss it. It was hand written on a small bit of lined paper and it said I was to bring layered jello jigglers to school on Friday - enough for 20 children. The colours of the layers were specified and a picture was coloured for me even. I think my jaw likely dropped! There was no ask involved, just inform me what the expectation was.

I hadn't signed anything and this was the first warning. I work full time as a high school teacher (read: I work a million hours per week), have 3 little kids, a husband who just started a brand new job that week (and actually got sick as a dog that week too) and I was to make layered jello jigglers for 20 kids??

I thought about this for a few days, I even picked up jello (tons of it!) from the store, but by Wednesday, I knew there was just no possible way (as I googled how to make the things and learned that each layer requires a few hours to set before doing the next layer). I went in Thursday morning to beg forgiveness from the teacher and ask if there was anything else I could bring (that Safeway has already made on the shelf).

Before I could even make this offer though, I was being admonished for not letting her know ahead of time that I could not make the jigglers. What the ?????? I could not even get a word in at all until I finally spoke very sternly to her. The conversation had not gone as planned. I had not intended to get in a fight over JJ's. I was left feeling very put out.

That evening, I mentioned to my daughter that I would be sending carrot sticks with her to school for her party. She was surprised and looked even worried as she said "But you were supposed to bring jello". I told her "You love carrots right?" (nods) "And I love you, right?" (nods again) "So since I love you and you love carrots, I thought I would send carrots." Huge smile, big hug and an "I love you mom".

The next day, my daughter proudly took 2 large bags of baby carrots to school.

I opened her backpack that evening when we all got home and took out 2 unopened bags of carrots. LoL! I saw that one coming!

I feel really bad for the mom who was informed she must bake cupcakes with a specific pattern or picture iced on top!!

ps. I made the jigglers on Saturday since I had all the stuff at home. Know what's still sitting in my fridge? The jigglers. Know what got eaten by the 2nd day of break? The carrots. And for what its worth, 3 layer jigglers take about 9 hours to make!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Planted at the same time and receiving the same level of care, I suddenly understand where calling someone a PANSY has come from. Wimps!

And my petunias....

Guess what we won't be planting next year.

Friday, June 17, 2011

School lunches

As most of you know, I've been back at work for the last 7 weeks. I am fully enjoying being back at it, but on the home side of things, I need to be a bit more creative in my family's care.

My house shows the lack of love (which I'm cool with at the moment, I'm too tired to entertain anyway) and the care and forethought that once went into packing creative, nutritional lunches for my children has also gone down the tubes. Sigh.

My boys LOVE their veggies. Sending carrots & celery for lunch was always well received. Not the pre-peeled baby carrots either - they wanted the biggest, fattest one in the 5 lb bag in the fridge. The bigger, the better. And they WILL measure with each other and this IS a source of taunting. "My carrot's bigger - neener, neener, neener".

Lunches as of late look pretty much the same, and pretty boring. A jam sandwich (although peanut butter is not banned at their school, I am still in MB mode where pb is not allowed in any school or childcare facility - I think that is a good rule of thumb and I'm so thankful my children are not afflicted with a life threatening allergy as such). They also get a granola bar or cookies and a plant form that usually consists of fruit leather or fruit gummies. (The Mott's REAL fruit gummies - not just the candy - b/c I'm sure there's a difference!)

Part of my teaching job involves supervision (I'm teaching elementary now! Never done that before!!) Lunches have gotten VERY interesting. I supervise grade 4 students eating in their class. I am beyond intrigued at what some of them will bring in those fancy little licensed lunch kits.

Some go quite healthy and some are way off in the other direction. Either or, I felt a bit sorry for my own kids with their plain jam sandwich. These kids bring hot dishes of all manner and many with a bag of popcorn to pop & take outside for lunch recess with them!!

One day I looked around and saw in one class, no less than 11 (yes, I counted) kids with a little fruit shaped plastic container full of sugar. I kid you not. I know my own lunch prep skills are lacking, but even gummy fruit badness beats out a container of 2 tablespoons worth of straight up sugar. Wow!!! I have no further comment on that.

What do your kids take for lunch? A little help here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gert's Tea

My memory was jogged a few days ago. I'm not even sure what jogged it really, but I started thinking about Gert's Tea. Of course this will have been nothing you would have ever heard of. It was just a fancy of a friend and I maybe.... 20 years ago??

We were still in highschool and this memory places us in her living room, sitting on red shag carpet, in front of the cassette deck stereo, fantasizing about the group Pearl Jam. Remember them? I think we were mostly talking about the brilliance of the group and wouldn't it be sweet if WE could come up with something nearly as witty (we would have had to find some musical talent as well I suppose, but that's beside the point).

For what it's worth, I have similar fantasies in my modern life, but moreso those reflect the genius and plain out right stupidity of the current crazes and WHY could I not have thought of them first. Zhu zhu pets? Really?? It's a hamster! And those Go Go Bones? A hunk of plastic!! Marketing genius - like a pet rock or Chia pet! I digress.

My friend said she heard that the brilliance of the name Pearl Jam was that the lead singer had a grandmother named Pearl who liked to make jam. I'm sure you follow the connection here.

SO! MY Grandma ALSO had the name Pearl. But, we didn't want Pearl Jam to feel we had copied, so we felt we should consider other options. I'm not sure why we didn't consider either of my friend's grandma's names, but my other Grandma (we called her Gran) had the name Gertrude. I recall her serving coffee when my family would visit, but we figured every grandma must like tea - at least deep down.

Thus was born "Gert's Tea". Obviously we never made it big. Pearl Jam stole the market for granny named rock groups, but I'm sure we stood a chance if PJ hadn't gotten there first.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I have decided, now that I am working, I need a new, bigger kitchen. No, there are no major reno plans in process, I have just decided that this kitchen (really my counter) is too small to hold all my dirty dishes that don't get done nearly as often now. I laugh that I literally have to clear a tiny corner of left out breakfast things at 5pm to give myself exactly 1 square foot of work space. (Actually, if we're being honest here, I'm not laughing, it's irritating and I've wished for a cleaner more than once!)

I'm thinking we may need to take advantage of the nearby Kifk for supper more often.

We've never had terrible kitchens. Even when we lived in our various apartments along the way, we always lucked out (as far as apartment kitchens go) - I've seen way worse.

When I was a young, naive, tiny bit stupid newlywed, my kitchen was pristine! I anally counted each of my dishes & pieces of flatware as I lovingly hand washed each and every one. If one was missing from my count, I would go searching for the wayward piece. (I think I included anal in there?)

Every week, my counters were bleached (only the power of bleach would suffice). I think my floors & bathrooms got the same treatment.

I wouldn't go to bed until my kitchen was spotless.

And then I had kids.


I found my dream kitchen in a flyer recently. I can't realistically see that ever coming to fruition though as I'm sure that kitchen would require about the same square footage as my whole main floor. Who needs a bedroom really, we could each have our own pantry space!

There are sadly no kitchen plans coming - mostly, while we know our house needs work, we lack the eye to envision & create. The grunt? We can do that (or more so my hubby can), but the ability to pick it out of air? Moving walls & building a space that is not currently there? Not our specialty.

If you are gifted like that and within travel distance, give me a shout out! We should talk!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Fish

This is what happens when I hand him MY rod. Standing on the shore, 10 minutes from our house (pre-move).

Monday, May 23, 2011

That Crazy House

As promised, this is a continuation / elaboration on the house we lived in across from the cows.

We picked this house up during a transitional point of our lives. We were between direction and this house needed lots of work. We figured it would keep us busy until we figured out the next step.

When we first went and looked at it, there were many wow moments. It was all a little scary really. This house was old. I don't think the oldest we've lived in - there was a house that was older and was almost as crazy. Maybe a future post.

This house was built in the early part of 1900 and had actually been moved to this location many years later (the details of time are hazy - sorry). The original plans of the house existed and fell into our possession though and the design options included "Insulation - if you should choose". Living in southern MB, I can't imagine someone choosing not, but whatever. The insulation we actually had was sawdust.

As I had mentioned, the neighbours (who actually were the original owners of this house) had a dog. A massive border collie (I'm not sure if there are different breeds, but this boy was huge). He was also trouble. Toby liked to hang out in our yard, he was friendly so I'd be leaving for work and he'd be jumping all over me. He found that our garage door didn't click shut properly and we'd wake up to junk pulled out all over the yard. Trouble!

This house needed mega renos. We were pulling out carpet, flooring (full of asbestos I'm sure - oops) paneling etc etc and dumping it out on the deck. Toby would take to following his owners up their drive (their house was at the back of the lot) and hanging out on our deck (where he could watch the road). That pile of rubbish was pretty comfy.

At one point I looked out the window and saw Toby eating from a bag of dog food. My first reaction was annoyance at my hubby "You're feeding the stupid dog now?". Nope! Apparently Toby brought a snack. Border Collie's are pretty smart.

We complained to the owner who said "Shoot him with a 22 - that'll sting and he won't wanna come by". Umm, not going to shoot the dog thank you. Even if he is a pain in the butt. I did get a boat fog horn though, just the little canister type, and I did chase him out of the yard with that a couple times.

The neighbours themselves were a piece of work. Apparently when they had the house moved to this spot, it actually sat on it's side for a week as the truck moving it broke an axle. The truck owner told our neighbour he'd better pay to have it fixed if he wanted his house put proper! Our neighbour complied.

We beautified that house so much! Put in new flooring, moved walls, new woodstove & surround, new kitchen, new bathroom & a new roof & exterior!!! It looked fantastic compared to the state it was in. We had zero reno experience prior to this place, but it was in such awful shape when we got it, our them was "We can only make it look better!"

The neighbour liked to pop by for coffee occasionally. After we had just done all this amazing work and the house looked wonderful, he comes by, shrugs his shoulders & says "Well, we did it up how we like, you do it up how you like".

Well, to each their own. We bought that rickety old farmhouse with mice for hardly more than a song (that price would be unreal to consider in today's market - especially with 10 acres attached). We turned around and sold it for about double that.

And moved into the Malibu Barbie house.