Monday, July 31, 2006

more pics...isle style :)



Husband, wife and kids (well, not our kids! They're my students from South Korea)

Delicious, refreshing, juicy, sweet raspberries from our garden (sent the kids out picking berries so we can freeze some, eat some and make yummy concoctions with them)

Off to baseball practice with my SIL and nieces

At the beach (our favorite way to spend the hot afternoons)

It's Been A While


...since I've last posted. We just got back from a very short trip to Montreal to visit friends and family. J and I were surprised that it only took 9 hrs to get to Mtl from the island! The drive was a very scenic and enjoyable one. We spent some quality time with family and took my students to Old Montreal and the Old Port. The Old Port is one of my fave places in Mtl. The only prob was that when we went, it was sooooo incredibly HOT and muggy! Ewww! Anyway, here are a few pics! Here's one of my student, Patrick, clowning around at the Old Port :) Crazy kid! lol He made a lot of passers-by laugh :)
Sunday, July 23, 2006

This is what I see...


from my backyard!!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we can view the Northern Lights (aka Aurora Borealis) from our very own backyard! When I lived in Toronto, I used to think I'd have to venture all the way to Yellowknife to see this amazing natural phenomenon.

I can just sit out in a lawn chair, glance up into the sky, and be dazzled by nature's very own fireworks. I have seen them several times in my two years on the island. The best viewing time (as far as I've seen) has got to be from August to sometime in the winter. The skies are much crisper then too and there's all kinds of neat activity going on in the sky then. I've only ever seen the greeny-blue lights. I'd love to see some vibrant pinks and purples someday.

To be honest, my first experience seeing the Northern Lights was the first summer I moved up to the island. I didn't even know they were Northern Lights at all! I was awakened by these bright, flashing lights and I peered out the window to see these lights dancing all over the sky! I totally had no clue what was going on and as funny as it sounds, I thought they were aliens! Hey...I was half asleep, okay??! :) After a friend told me what they were, I felt silly. They are spectacular and I wish everyone gets a chance to experience seeing them in their lifetime. Beautiful

PS. The photos aren't mine. The photographer's name's on them though. They are such pretty photos.
Saturday, July 22, 2006

Things you probably didn't know about me...


1. I sometimes don't separate our laundry (white/brights/darks)
LOL..yeah, I know..and I'm embarrassed!
2. I hang our clothes outside to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer
to save energy/hydro.
3. I buy NoName and Our Compliments brands at the grocery store!
4. I'm sometimes absent-minded and forget things easily.
5. I avoid using my credit card and haven't used it in ages! Yay!
6. I check my e-mail every day, no matter how busy I am with work.
7. I have my own small business.
8. I live exactly 4 minutes and 40 seconds from my parents by car.
9. We don't have a dishwasher because I prefer washing dishes by hand
(funny enough, it actually helps me relax after supper and a long day of
hard work).
10. I'm in bed by 10PM on most nights and up with the sun.

Running on empty...


Ever feel like you just need to get away to a deserted island (oh hey..I AM on a 'deserted' island) or just need to unwind for a few minutes?
Today's Saturday. Saturday = weekend. Weekend = more work :(

Got up at 6:30 AM, did 3 loads of laundry, cooked breakfast for my 2 students and my husband, hung the laundry to dry on the clothesline, had the kids out picking baskets of raspberries and red currants, mopped the kitchen floor, made the kids lunch, drove them to my SIL's so they could hang out with her girls for the day (farm chores, hiking along the fossil trails, swimming), drove to the motel to help my mom clean all of the rooms, and then I have to go home to vacuum, clean the bathroom, take the clothes off the clothesline, and pick veggies from the garden. I still have to cook supper for my hubby (the kids are eating at my SIL's) and take the kids stargazing tonight.

No rest for the weary...lol
Friday, July 21, 2006

Car tunes...


Songs I love to sing when driving...
I was very surprised when our 9 yr old niece started belting out the tunes with me on our way to the beach today!! :)
*You're so vain - Carly Simon
*Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel
*How Deep is your Love - The Bee Gees
*Here comes the sun - The Beatles
*The Sign - Ace of Base
*Every Morning - Sugar Ray
*Dust in the Wind - Kansas
*I want you back - Jackson 5
*Free Bird -Lynyrd Skynyrd
*If you could read my mind - Gordon Lightfoot
*I Have a Dream - ABBA
*California Dreamin' - Mamas and the Papas
Thursday, July 20, 2006

Today I'm thankful for...


1* being married to my darling husband
2* quiet time so I can be alone and just chill
3* Thursday nights because the kids (my students) have baseball until
9PM and I can vacuum my house without them vying for my
attention! :)
4*picking those big, fresh, sweet, juicy, red raspberries from our many
raspberry bushes on our property!!!
5*my new (not brand new though!) set of wheels!! I luv my Ford Explorer Sport SUV!
6*living so close to the beaches (esp. on hot days like today!)
7*my family
8*my friends
9*having that reserve $$$ for rainy days
10*Not having used my credit card in nearly a year!


I know it's super tacky to post a pic of your vehicle...but this is my new baby :) Fun to just kick around in. I don't drive very far anyway! Work is 4 mins and 5 kms away! lol

Update: I did have alone time while the kids were at baseball and my hubby was out working, BUT I never got around to vacuuming my house!!! I ended up taking out the garbage and then picking a few baskets of raspberries and red currants to go in the freezer for the winter and to make preserves. Man, wish there were more hours in the day. I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want (or need) to do! Urrrgh.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oh no....


I'm my mom!!! LOL This afternoon, I realized how much I'm starting to take after my mom :) When we were kids, we never really did anything for ourselves because a) when we made our beds or put away our clothes, our mom would just redo everything we did because it wasn't perfect (ie: her way) or b) our nanny would do it for us (yes, there was a brief time during our childhoods where we had live-in nannies.

Anyway, the point is that we never really learned how to do things because whatever we did was redone because it wasn't done the right way. Today, I saw that I too do the same. *Yikes* My two students were doing such a wonderful job washing my SUV and when they were done, they happily announced that they'd done a great job. Oh, and a great job it was! My vehicle is now black again!! The only thing is, when they went in the house, I snuck back and retouched some of the streaks they'd left behind. I told myself a zillion times that I would never do that when J and I have our own kids and here I am doing it.

I promise that when J and I have our own kiddies, I will let them help with the dishes and cleaning up, I will let them put away their clothes, make their beds and keep their rooms clean...even if they're not always spotless, streak-free, wrinkle -free,etc. because kids are kids and don't do things like adults do and kids learn through 'doing' and shouldn't be discouraged *sigh* Do I have OCD???? Hope not! LOL

Twister???


I've been out of commission for the past few days because: A) Things here are super crazy busy with the students and our nieces :) B) I'm helping a special person through a difficult time, C) we just had a twister...

Yep, you heard right...a twister! Not sure if it is officially classified as a tornado, but we did see a few funnel clouds and the west end of the island has been hit pretty badly. We were out of power for almost two days, which really sucked because I couldn't even take a shower! Ewww! Makes you really appreciate all the things we take for granted. Living by candlelight and cooking meals on open flame...washing from wash basins with water my hubby had in his emergency reserve barrels...yeah, just like the good 'ol days.

One of my Korean students said, "Christine, does this happen often?" I started laughing and had to explain that this was a twister and no, we don't get this often. Trees and power lines were knocked down, homes were ruined, barns were dropped... One woman had a tree crash through her house and hit her on the head. Needless to say, emergency services were busy that night.

This was my first experience with this kind of 'natural disaster' (though not too severe)...and it was actually kind of exciting!! I'm just happy nothing of ours was damaged and no one was too badly hurt!
Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ode to Summer...


With the sweltering heat of summer, what better way to treat yourself than with a refreshing, delicious MANGO SALAD!!?!?

My mom's original recipe calls for watercress, but since watercress is difficult to find on the island, we now use spinach.

You will need:
5 cups spinach
2 unripe mangoes (still green and hard- you want a tart taste to it and if it's too ripe, it's too sweet and can be mushy)

Wash and cut spinach (if you use baby spinach, then no need to cut); peel and grate mangoes (I use a cheese grater to grate mine). Put both ingredients in a salad bowl.

For your dressing:
Mix together 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 c. olive oil, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 or 2 tbsp. minced garlic (depending on your taste. I LOVE garlic, so I go a bit heavy on the stuff), salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing on salad and lightly toss. This is one of my favorite recipes. Soooo nice on a hot summer day!!
Friday, July 14, 2006

The Birds and the Bees...Computer Style


LOL! My hubby got this e-mail today. Thought it was cute:

A little boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"The father answers: "Well son, I guess one day you will need to find out some day. Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo. Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive. As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said:You've Got Male!!!

I hate those FUGLY...


TAN LINES!!!! The summer weather has been perfect beach weather. We've been mostly in the high 20's and low 30's lately, and lemme tell ya, that seriously warrants frequent trips to the beach!!!

I teach from 9AM-12Pm and again at 1PM to 3PM, and after lessons, we're off to the beach or pool. The students have had the option of going hiking, horseback riding, or to the museums, but the beach has been their activity of choice. With my two little neices and my students in tow, we swim and bake in the sun all afternoon long.

Now, I've got hideous bathing suit tan lines :( For swimming, I love racer backs, so I've got this funky T-line on my back. Waaah! Any solutions???? Any recommendations on good sunblocks/sunscreen??? Help!!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hoooooooooooray!!!!


I'm gonna be an auntie!!!!!!!
Hey everyone!!! My brother and his wife are expecting their first child in March of next year! My darling sister-in-law is 6 weeks pregnant! I'm so excited!!!
Monday, July 10, 2006

Look Ma!! I'm a School Marm!!


Haven't had a chance to post in a few days since things have been rather hectic here with the arrival of my ESL students. We were to pick them up at the airport on Sat night, but their plane was delayed, causing them to miss their connecting flight to Sudbury. Well...since it was too late to come back to the island for a few hours and then return to Sudbury to pick up the kids, J and I ended up staying the night at the Ambassador Hotel. What a nice (but short) stay--beautiful accommodations and great breakfast. At almost $200/night, it had better be a great stay!!! Personally, I wouldn't stay somewhere that pricey, but it was the only resort we had, other than a dingy hole in the wall above a tavern (and they call themselves a 'hotel'--I think it's more of a 'burlesque' if you ask me!).

Anyway, the kids made the first flight out of Toronto and we met up with them. They got settled into their new home for the next two months and quickly got into their new routine.

Being the nice teacher I am, I didn't start them on their lessons the first day. I took them to the beach and we went body boarding!! Wooo hooooo!
Friday, July 07, 2006

what a tease!!!


This is sooooooooooo not fair!! Our wedding photographer was so amazing, that we are now having problems deciding on which photos we would like to select! This is no easy task, considering the man's work is sheer genius! What an artist!!!

too serious a topic to post?


I'm not sure whether this is too serious to post about, but it is something I've been thinking about so that I can help a friend of mine. This is not a topic I like to think about, as I know the emotional and psychological trauma it can cause.

The big question is....what is your opinion on abortion?

This friend of mine is quite young and though she has a boyfriend, they are not at a stage that one would call 'stable' yet. She has a very promising future ahead of her and who knows if this guy will end up staying with her in the end.

Now, I feel very strongly that a baby does not choose to be conceived and I know how hard it would be to take away a life like that. At the same time, she has to think of what is best for this baby. Would it be selfish to keep the baby so one would not feel the guilt of having terminated its life? What kind of life would a young parent be able to offer their child if she was not ready to be a mom?

I told her that many women have raised children on their own, without the help of a 'father' and their kids turned out amazingly. Tough decision and I am so glad I do not have to make this choice. I just want my friend to know that whatever she decides, the decision is ultimately hers and I will support her no matter what she decides to do. I do have to say that I may be a tad biased, as everyone knows how much J and I would really love to have kids right now and can't wait to start our own family :)

I can't give any answers or say what she ought to do. Ultimately, it is her decision.

pampered pooches



Anyone out there have any tips on nail clipping for man's (uhh and woman's) best friend? My pooch has a very sensitive back paw and will not let anyone get close to it. I desperately need to clip his nails!!!

Here's a pic of Chance as a baby :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nothing wasted…


In between two loads of laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, doing dishes, gardening/weeding and preparing for the arrival of my two students (organizing final touches for their curriculum and planning field trips, etc), I managed to make use of some remnants of yesterday’s juicing experience. Years ago, I bought a juicer (an awesome Hamilton Beach juicer) and when I first got it, I used it on an almost daily basis…until the novelty wore out! I made homemade juices, smoothies, soups…and then just got tired of the whole thing.

I’ve resurrected my juicer and last night, I made my hubby one of my favorite energy elixirs. My famous carrot-apple juice! I know it sounds like an odd combination, but it is delicious, nutritious and just a boost of energy in a glass.

Carrot-apple juice:
Pop 4 carrots, 3 apples, and a cup of water into the juicer. Blend all ingredients and pour into glasses. This makes enough for two small servings.

My juicer has a catcher for all the pulpy stuff left over from the juice extractor. I hate throwing away or wasting food, so I had three options:
A) Feed the veggie and fruit scraps to the cattle
B) Throw the scraps into the compost
C) Use the scraps for cooking something else

The creative person in me decided to opt for choice C. I took my brand spanking new Kitchen Aid blender (a wedding gift from two of our favorite people from St. Marys) and I made a carrot soup for tonight’s supper. I simply threw in the mushy remainder of yesterday’s juicing stuff, added some vegetable stock and water, pressed the convenient “liquefy” button on my blender, and presto change-o, I had made carrot soup! I will also garnish the soup with fresh chives from the garden, and serve with a salad (lettuce and other veggies from the garden too). Since J’s a meat boy, I’ll probably also serve some roast beef with it.

Well, off I go to take the clothes down from the clothesline! Until next time, I bid thee adieu!
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

frustrated...


If something is right, is there always a right time for it or can something be right but at a wrong time? What if something was so right, but never came to fruitition or never materialized? Would that mean it was not meant to be? And how come sometimes bad things happen to good people? God certainly has a sense of humor sometimes…I just don’t seem to get His sense of humor much of the time though…
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

happy 4th of July!!!


To all my American friends, Happy 4th of July!!!
Monday, July 03, 2006

A funny kid story:


Okay, just one more story before I get back to work!!

Our little niece, Courtney (age 9) was sitting in the backseat of the truck on our way home from a shopping spree. My mom was in the backseat with her and my mom said: “Courtney, do you like reading books?”
“Yeah”, she says with a big smile. “What kind of books do you like?” “I like mystery novels.” My mom says, “Oh, do you like Sherholmes Lock?” To this, Courtney gives her the funniest look ever and says, “You mean Sherlock Holmes?” and the two of them burst out into laughter and they didn’t’ stop laughing until we got home. Guess it’s one of those “you had to be there” moments, but I thought it was too cute.

I love that kid! She’s got so much character and so much spunk. The kid just LOVES dinner rolls because she can’t eat that kind of stuff at home since her sister is allergic to gluten products. Courtney was over here one day and at the meal this little waif-like thing ate FOUR dinner rolls! It’s funny to watch her as she really, really enjoys her food! (Funny, because apparently she’s a picky eater, but we never have problems feeding her!) LOL! Anyway, she slathers butter all over her rolls. She had butter all over her face! (Remember, these are hardworking, outdoorsy country kids and they burn calories like crazy!). We said, “Hey Courtney! Would you like some bread with your butter?” instead of butter with her bread…she had it all over her face! Too cute! What a kooky kid! She and her sister just love coming to our house. We even have a room for them when they stay here and they call it ‘their’ room. When we have kids, I hope they’re as good as Courtney and Elizabeth. These kids are awesome!

What a horrible mommy!!!


I just know that when the time comes, I’m going to be such a suck when it comes to our kids : ( I can just see it already. I know pets are completely different from children, but if you see the way I treat my pup, you can only imagine the way our own kids will be treated. LOL…I can see J shaking his head now.

Today, Chance (my husky/wolf/lab mix) was limping. He had been hopping on three legs since early last week. When J was swathing in the hay field, Chance ripped off one of his nails in his back paw while running through the freshly cut hay. The poor thing was in pain and bleeding, but never once complained. Here comes John today, clambering out the door to get to work, stepping on Chance’s wounded foot with his big, heavy work boots!

Then here’s me, running out the door, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Is my puppy okay?” John replies, “Yeah, he’s okay. He’s just nursing his wound. He’s fine.” “No he isn’t! He’s bleeding and you stepped on his wounded foot!” The guy probably thinks he married a nut case, but seriously, I am severely overprotective of my little baby Chance. The dog’s got a two-bedroom fully insulated dog house with a retractable roof, shingles and siding. He’s got toys to boot and the best food and treats. He’s spoiled. He's my little baby but J thinks he needs to be toughened up a bit. Man, I felt so bad for my little doggy. He’s bleeding!

J’s probably thinking: “Goodness gracious. I hope she’s not like this with our kids!” *sigh*
Sunday, July 02, 2006

New Toys!!!


Upon opening our wedding presents, excited screams could be heard: "Ohhhh!!! A raclette!! I LOVE that!!". Here's me: "WTF is a raclette??"

The friend who gave it to us for our wedding just raved about hers. She said her husband loves using the raclette. Great. Still doesn't answer my question! WTF is a raclette???

Well, friends, here you have it:
"This T-FAL Raclette Buffet Party Grill invites your guests to participate in the cooking. The top of the unit is perfect for grilling while the bottom griddle features 8 single portion broiler trays that allow your guests to prepare their own single portion side dish.Features:Stay cool handles Pre-set thermostat11" round T-Fal non-stick griddle Stainless steel reflector built in for efficient heat distributionUnique High-Low pattern on the griddle channels fats away from food Recipe booklet included A dozen or more single sized servings can be prepared by each person during the mealUse trays to "Raclette", the traditional Swiss way to top brown or melt cheese . "

Looks kinda cool and sounds like it'll be great for entertaining at dinner parties. Man, with all the kitchen stuff we got for the wedding, J has to build me an 'appliance garage'!!! One of my fave pressies is my brand spankin' new blender!!!

Ultra Power™ Series 40 oz (1.25 L) 5-Speed Stand Blender by KitchenAid
Blender Jar
Glass
Controls
Chop
Liquefy
Puree
Pulse control
Mix
Stir
Features
Colours: 5
2 ounce (59 ml) Ingredient cap
Clean Touch™ controls
Electronic mixing sensor
Powerful motor
Rubber feet
Recipes included
Round power cord
Stainless steel blade assembly
Textured jar lid dishwasher safe
Step Start® Feature
CUL Approved
Speeds
5 Speeds


LOVE IT!!!

oooh...smarty pants!!!


Some friends of J's came to the island for a visit this Canada Day long weekend. They're about our age- early 30s and they have two really cute and very blonde kiddies! Cormick is now 5 and Larissa is 2.

J and I once talked about how smart kids can be a handful and with our luck, our kids will probably be a handful and a half!! Kids who are very smart can sometimes be too smart for their own good..lol!

This weekend was a blast, observing Cormick and Larissa. The little guy is soooo smart- what a chatter box! He's a very good speaker and his vocabulary is out of this world! Just moments after meeting me (well, I met him last summer, but he was 4 and I thought he didn't remember me, but he did), he said, "Christine, I'm going to start calling you Chris from now on, okay?" Shocked at his grasp of language and his ease in communicating, I said, "Uhhh...yeah, sure." His mom said, "Cormick, her name is Christine. You will call her Christine and nothing else." "But I want to call her Chris! Is that okay? She said it's okay!" Honestly, I thought it was cute. Then he went out and started flinging stones across the parking lot, each time narrowly missing a parked vehicle.

K: Cormick, that is not a wise decision.
C: Why isn't it a wise decision?
K: You may hit a car.
C: (laughing) I may hit a car? (goes on to flinging more stones)
K: Daddy...
C: Ohhh no!! I don't like my Daddy! He is mean to me! He is not going to let me throw rocks!!

While this is going on, I have little Larissa on my lap. She too is a chatter box and for a 2 year old, she has such a command of language! Pointing to my feet, she says:

L: flip flops
Me: Yes, Larissa! Flip flops!
L: Blue flip flops!
Me: Very good!
L: lellow stipes (I'm assuming she meant 'yellow stripes'!)
Me: Very good! Blue flip flops with yellow stripes! (My gosh! The kid's a genius!)

I then show her some photos of my friend Dina's baby on the internet and I say:
Me: Larissa, what's this?
L: baby
Me: Wow! (I then show her pics of my other friends' babies)
L: (very casually and nonchallantly, while looking at baby bath pics, Larissa says) Penis!
Me: What?? (in disbelief!)
K: (laughing) Yes, Larissa, that's a penis! Christine, she knows all the parts of the anatomy already.
Me: Oh my gosh!! Two years old only..wow!

Anyway, lesson learnt: if you don't baby talk your child, your child will hopefully be able to speak clearly and with ease. The reason I say this is because a friend of mine also has a 2 year old and he cannot string together a sentence! I love my friend, but she coddles andbabytalks and her son simply cannot speak. He can perhaps say a couple of words but mostly uses crying and sounds to articulate his wants.

Wow, I was just blown away by those two little cuties! Can't wait til their next visit or til we go visit them in Sept!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!


(One day late!) I was going to blog yesterday, but just didn't have any time. July 1st has always been special for me because as a child, I had always enjoyed all the festivities of our nation's special day. With concerts, fireworks, activities for kids and just the feeling of shared emotion felt by everyone, it makes it hard not to enjoy Canada Day.

This year was different for me. Usually, I enjoy the parade and festivities as a spectator. This time, I was on the other side...working!! As the wife of a firefighter, I (along with all the other firefighters' wives) helped out with all the Canada Day activities. My job this year was to work at the yard sale. I think we raised over $1000 selling people's donated items. (Lucky me! As I was cleaning our house, I was able to get rid of lots of our junk...and people bought it! For a good cause, of course!)

The entire day was spent watching the kids on the parade floats, manning the yard sale and silent auction (we auctioned off a 16 ft boat!! Can't remember how much horse power the engine had, but it was a good boat!). Later on in the afternoon, there was the annual fish fry. Being from the city, I had never been to a fish fry. It was quite the experience. I'm not a big fish eater, but the fish was really good. Fresh whitefish...a Manitoulin Island specialty! There was lots of food and again, all earnings went to special causes.

The night ended off with fireworks. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday :) Good friends, good conversation, good causes, good times!!

PS. Now I'm worried! I know fundraising and volunteerism is a huge part of J's and my life, but everyone's putting on the heat for me to get certified as a First Response person! Yikes! As much as I'd love to help people in need, I worry that I may not be able to react accordingly should there be a life and death situation. What it boils down to is, I am afraid of being responsible for someone else's life. We'll see how long I can dodge these questions of me becoming certified!! ;p

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About the Blog Author


City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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