Thursday, July 26, 2012

Energy Efficient life style??

I have been inspired.  This topic has been on my mind for years, and I feel like it is time to write something about it.

A friend of mine at The Year of Less has challenged me (and all of us) to stop using our dryer for the month of August.  My first thought was - "It's not August yet. I can wash and dry a couple things today."  That is a terrible attitude. I am kind of embarrassed.

I honestly don't use the dryer a lot.  I like to use it for bath mats, stuffed animals and towels. I have one little girl who had a favourite bunny and I like to use the dryer after I wash it, and right now the bunny is filthy.

Last week Seth and I had a lengthy discussion about reducing your carbon footprint. (this discussion started when I found him cooling off in the chest freezer) He is aware of the state of the ozone layer and being environmentally friendly, but it never occurred to him that sitting in the freezer made any impact on this.

This discussion led to other discussions of reducing our waste and trying to encourage others to do the same.  I helped him to realize that the earth could be a very scary scary place 30 years from now.

I realize now that my family has been making changes as long as I have been alive. (and even longer)

There are a couple things I remember very clearly about my Oma, one of those things is that she never wasted water or food. She ate the skin of Kiwi's and the core of the apple. She NEVER drained the bath tub. The water left in the tub (after used my myself and my brothers if we were all visiting) was left in the tub with a jug which allowed her to pour the water into the back of toilet to flush it. She had reusable ice cubes and I don't recall ever seeing paper towel at her house. I know Air conditioning was not as popular when her house was built, but I am sure she didn't have one. (I should mention that she lived in Germany during the second world war. I think coming close to starvation makes you use things a little differently)

My father tells stories of sharing his bath water with his siblings.  The youngest went first, so he, being the oldest, got the dirtiest water, but that is nothing soap couldn't help. My nana has always picked berries at local farms and made her own jam. Same goes for the A/C at their house.

When I think of my mother in-law I realize that she is extremely environmental friendly. No A/C, hang dries all of her clothes, even in the winter because they have a wood burning stove to heat the house. I know she often buys her meat from local farmers and she grows and cans from her own, HUGE, vegetable garden.

My parents; we didn't get a second car until I was almost a teenager. We lived in a small house (yes, inconvenient and stuffy at times but most certainly energy efficient). Now they don't have A/C, and they raise their own cattle and sell it locally as well.  They now have a vegetable garden that my dad works to maintain and freezes food for the upcoming winter as well as canning and jamming (yes, Jamming it both senses of the word, haha)

Now I have been using my A/C like a crazy woman, granted it has been ridiculously hot, but I have been hang drying our clothes and as much as it pains me to say this, my kids don't get bathed nearly enough, so I am saving water! There is a reason that we, as a 5 person family, avoided purchasing a van and use a nice little station wagon instead. One car family here, which is relatively unheard of in our neighbourhood.  At the park I am constantly asked how I have not gone stir crazy and how I can stand being stuck at home all day with all the kids.  Plain and simple, I don't have an other option.

So here is my point.  Every time one of us makes a small decision to do something a little environmentally friendly we may be prolonging our children's future (or grandchildren's) on earth for a nano-second. If we are all making these choices, maybe the 30-40 year battle against carbon emissions will finally see a small victory.

I read a report that stated, yes, most households in North America have switched to using incandescent bulbs in their home, but have also made a switch to less energy efficient, big screen televisions. Thinking about the choices we are making in our home makes a huge difference.  I encourage everyone to join the challenge and stop using their dryer for the month of August.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Birthday Brownies!

OK, well, a few weeks ago I made these brownies, took a photo and now I can't seem to find it anywhere on the computer.  Yet, it is still my hubby's birthday tomorrow.  This is my go-to recipe for scrumptious, delicious brownies.

Even though I know I won't have time to make Eric these brownies (because we have rugby early am and then we are headed to my parents for the evening) I will share the recipe in honour of his birthday.

I found my photo!

This is the only photo I have of it.
 It is crumbled along the sides of the cone

Amazing Brownies
This is the only thing you need to know in order to try this recipe.

1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp Cocoa
1 cup white sugar

Melt in a pot.  Once smooth remove from heat and add - 

2 eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1/2 cup flour

Put it into an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min

Let cool and then lightly dust with icing sugar! (you can make chocolate icing too, but I love them by themselves, I find the icing sugar is the perfect addition.

That's it.  Serve! and Serve!  and Serve!  An 8x8 pan is never enough for us, we always need to double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan.  if I make a single batch during the day, Eric may come home and there would not be a trace that I even made them!

So try these next time you are craving some amazing brownies!!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Day!

I feel this captures the essence of "beach day"

Time for a big sand castle!


If you want to read more about our weekend and our trip to the beach, click HERE!

Also find me, and 'like' me on Facebook - HERE!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

In the middle.

I know I write about Miriam, a lot, on this blog. But - she is such a character. She always says the right thing, at the right time. Even though she is the middle child, I often feel (ok, and maybe hope) that she will never have a 'middle child' complex.  Miriam is too, in-your-face, too, LOOK-AT-ME, too all encompassing, to ever feel like she was ignored or neglected as a child.  Plus, her daddy thinks she is the greatest thing in the world and he spoils her, even when he shouldn't.

Yet, there is one place where Miriam is in the middle, and that is in the car!

We tried to have Lucy in the middle for as long as possible because Seth can be pretty good at calming her down during long car rides, and Miriam loves looking out the window and watching her baby sister. But when Lucy outgrew her infant carrier and still needed to be rear-facing, we had to re-organize the seating arrangement, even though we knew putting Miriam and Seth beside each other would cause some fighting on those long trips.

We decide to escape, and take a drive on Saturday evening. We (meaning, I) packed up our dinner and we headed to a beach about 45 minutes north of us.  Getting there wasn't a problem, both girls fell asleep and Seth kept himself occupied by staring out the window.  We ate, and played until it was late, hoping the girls would fall asleep in the car on the way home as well.

I think we made a mistake.  We brought jelly beans with us to the beach, and the car ride home was a realization that my kids, who never get caffeine, should really not be allowed sugar either!
There was a lot of crazy behaviour, a lot of good laughs and a whole lot of silliness.  Which I really don't mind. It was fun, and Seth was laughing along with her and they weren't fighting.

Sunday was a different story.  Seth had a rugby festival in Lindsay.  Which according to google was almost a 2 hour drive, but we made it in 1. As we drove into Lindsay we passed a Dairy Queen (this is 8am) and Eric says "If Seth scores 3 try's today, we will get ice cream on the way home!"

I think this was a joke. We have never witnessed Seth getting a try, although my brother assures me that he did, in fact, score one last weekend. Seth is not all that athletic.  Either he doesn't try to be or he is just not talented in that way.

So Seth started the 4th game of the day.  He loves the games of rugby, so he has been playing with  smile on his face (unlike when he played soccer or ball hockey). First couple minutes and he gets himself a try. the crowd (i.e.:the parents) go nuts. I think everyone is aware of Seth's lack of abilities/effort and we are all happy and shocked.  Minutes into the second half he scores again. Here is where he looks over at Eric and smirks. Eric and I look at each other and I say "You promised ice cream for 3!"

Seth says to his team mates, "I need one more try and then my dad needs to get me ice cream!"

So I don't know whether it was his team helping him out, but he put forth a mighty effort and scored within the last minute of play!  Coach says to Seth, "In hockey we call that a hat trick!" Seth replies to coach, "My dad calls that Ice Cream!" bahaha!!
So we get ice cream. It is a total disaster. I don't know WHY we thought Lucy needed her own ice cream cone, but that won't be happening again for an other year!

We wash all the children thoroughly with the water we have left, wipe them off with baby wipes and change clothes as needed.  We get back on the road and Miriam falls asleep.  Here is the downfall to sitting in the middle.

Poor little Miriam.  Seth was making her make funny faces, moving her lips to say funny things, pulling ears and opening eyes.  Lucy got in on the action too.  Lucy started poking her face, grabbing her shirt and pulling her hair.

Here, Miriam is definitely the middle child!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome to the garden.


Of course, my girls pick all the flowers and throw them into the kiddie pool!

This is what happened after being left in the pool overnight. It was white!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wedding weekend!

This weekend my husband's cousin got married.  They had a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful, fun filled reception. 

My husband and I went without children.  We were trying to recall the last time we spent a night together without our children and decided that it was before we had Lucy.  In fact, I found out just days before my friend's wedding (weddings are a good reason to leave the kids at home apparently, so who wants to get married next?) that I was expecting Lucy! So it was almost 2 years ago.

Enjoying a kid free car ride, Eric is singing (no, he isn't good)

We had a LONG drive. 4.5 hours.  Thank God we had no children in the car! With just us two adults we managed to only stop to pee once, and get gas once. We made it to the hopping town (can you call it a town if it is only home to 8,500?) of Renfrew!  

I kept looking out the window, hoping to find a chip truck on our journey, but alas, we found all the chip trucks on our way home today, and none on Saturday. The first place we stopped at in Renfrew was a little celebration in the downtown, and Eric and I continued to explore the downtown area and grabbed some super duper delicious sushi!

We tried to check-in, but we were told there was no room ready for us, so we pulled over to a vacant side street and changed in the car! We are pretty good at that! I did my makeup in the mirror of the car, and TA-DA!

We are such a good looking couple!

The bride and groom are also a good looking couple! They played great 70's music (I am 26, so I am not re-living my youth, I just love that music) and looked 'oh-so' in love!

We enjoyed the wedding in it's entirety! We tore up the dance floor until the wee morning, and couldn't have had a better time!

What we could have done was got a little more sleep! Ha ha ha! Morning came early.  We planned to leave at 9am. 9am came and went. We planned to leave at 9:30am instead. 9:30am came and went. We ate breakfast and planned to leave at 10am. 10am came and went and with it came all of Eric's relatives that were staying at the same hotel. So we finally got out of Renfrew by 10:30!

I was tired after chasing gophers all night (seriously, there are gophers all over the place!) They were digging in every grassy area in the 'town' of Renfrew! I didn't catch the kids a new pet, but was tired out and promptly fell asleep once the car was moving.  

About an hour later Eric says, "Do you remember going through this place?"

I open my eyes to see a little place called Eganville and to find that my husband has been going the wrong direction for the past 30 minutes. (This happens to us A LOT! Feel free to read THIS for an other interesting story about us getting detoured)

So I failed my job as Navigator but was able to redeem myself and get us back to our original route, and we only wasted a couple minutes (according to Eric. In actual fact, we lost approximately 30 minutes). So we left 1 1/2 hours late and took a 1/2 hour detour. We could have been home 2 hours earlier, but that is just what a car ride with the Seaborns is like!

But, we made it home alive. Our kids were alive too! Well taken care of by my brother and my mother. Seth scored his first try at his rugby festival on Saturday morning. I guess he was showing off for his uncle! My mom and brother packed up and took Seth with them for a couple days and Eric and I were left with the 2 BESTEST girls in the whole world, so we took them out to the park/splash pad.

They missed us!

And we missed them too!

We certainly enjoyed a rare weekend away from our children, but I love getting them back into my arms for some good cuddles!  

If you are interested in watching, take a look at this video of Miriam singing us an awesome song. I call it "I love my mom, I love my dad. I love them a yot!"

Thanks for reading!