Monday, July 21, 2014

Goodie Rings

After supper this evening, CeCe felt that she needed dessert.  She wanted ice cream, but we didn't have much and I just picked up an ice cream cake for Jorja's birthday tomorrow, so I went and looked in the cupboard.  I found a box of Goodie Rings that the girls had twisted my arm into buying the last time we were shopping.  Okay, maybe they didn't have to twist too hard.

I've always loved Goodie Rings.  I remember getting them for a treat as a kid.  The packaging was cool then - white cardboard folded up like an accordion so that no two cookies touched each other.  Once a row of cookies was gone, I would take the cardboard and use it to make little garages and tunnels for my matchbox cars.  Good times.  Over the years, the packaging has changed.  It came in plastic trays for the longest time, still in a bag that you could close up.  The cookies all touched each other though.  Recently, I've been seeing a new box in the stores.  It looks tiny, so I've been avoiding it.  I finally broke down once before today and bought it.  I thought maybe the packaging inside was somehow deceptively hiding more cookies than what seemed possible.  I thought wrong.  I opened it up and there were two rows in there.  Two!?  18 cookies in total!  What is that about?  The price didn't change.  I'm pretty sure I still paid $4 for that first box.  The only reason I bought them again was because they were on for $1.97.

Back to this evening.  CeCe was the first done her meal, so I gave her two cookies.  Julie and I each had a couple (who's counting but maybe my couple was four).  CeCe wanted another, so I gave her a third.  I looked in the box and there were six left.  The older two girls were farting around taking forever to finish their supper.  Julie, CeCe and I were all long finished and cleaned up.  I had had enough.  I gave them five minutes to finish what was on their plates and then I said I was eating one cookie every minute after that.  They thought I was kidding, but I assured them that I was not.  Unfortunately, my threat worked and they were done with time to spare.

So now we're out of Goodie Rings after one meal and I didn't get any extra (well maybe I did, but I'm not counting that closely).  Later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cooking, Paul Simon, jam-in-the-hole and hair cut honesty

Julie and I recently saw some sort of write-up about age appropriate tasks kids should be doing. One thing we realized is that we have not promoted the kitchen as much as we should. The kids clear and set the table, but cooking had been mostly non-existent. Ginny likes to help bake every once in a while, but that's about it. 

So now that I'm home, Jorja has been stepping up and learning some things. Our first endeavor was pancakes. I realized she had never actually cracked and egg before. She tap-tap-tapped in gingerly on the side of a bowl. A bit harder, I told her. Tap tap tap. A bit harder yet. Bam! We had to use an extra egg. Oh well, no worries. I got that cleaned up and we were off. The frying pan was heated and sizzling nicely. She out the batter in and even flipped them. They all turned out. A successful first attempt!

Next up: chicken noodle soup. She put the water on and got bored waiting for it to boil. She walked away. Whoa whoa whoa, I said. You're doing this now, if it boils over, that's on you. She rolled her eyes and came back. She periodically tasted the noodles until they were just the right texture. She took the job very seriously. And the noodles were excellent. 

Today it was time for cookies.  The first step was to put on some music. May as well make this educational on several level. I had already unpacked the record player I received for Father's Day and today I had found the box of LPs. 

I selected Paul Simon's Graceland - one of my all time favorite albums. (I can see Julie rolling her eyes as she reads this.)  Jorja was a bit skeptical - she told me she couldn't trust my musical judgement. But, she didn't hate it, so we've got someplace to start. 

The cookie recipe I selected was 'jam-in-the-hole' cookies.  I'm sure these cookies had a real name at some point, but when we were kids, that was what we called them.  You roll the batter into balls, make a hole in the top and fill it with jam.  Voila! Jam-in-the-hole-cookies!  The name became more than just a childhood nickname when Mom's church women's group made a cookbook.  This was in the early eighties.  Pre-Microsoft word, pre-computer.  It was the typewriter age.  Mom got my sister Candace to type up some recipes, so Candace typed it up as we always said it.  So now, the name shall live on forever in the 'Koinonia Cookery' (greek for friendship or something like that if I recall correctly).  

Jorja did a good job.  There was one poof of flour to the face but other than that, there were no incidents.  Once we figured out how to read recipe abbreviations that is.  She said, 'where are the tablespoons? I need some salt.'  That got my attention.  You need how much?!  'A tablespoon.  It says right here - one slash two tsp.'  We went through the fractions and the abbreviations and we were set after that.  It would have taken a loving parent to choke down one of those with a smile I think.

Half way through, Ginny came in and wanted to make cookies too.  So she made a batch as well.  Then CeCe came in and wanted to make a batch.  She made peanut butter chocolate chip.  So now we have three batches of cookies in the house.  It's funny, but as the afternoon went on and we went from one child to the next, the amount of work I had to do kept going up.  I'm not usually a binge baker.  Usually one batch of cookies is all I do in a day.  By the time this was over, I was spent.  It was chicken fingers and fries for supper. 

After all that baking, I needed a shower.  But my hair was getting kind of shaggy (long enough to have bed-head) so I decided to buzz it off first.  Usually I get Julie to check the back and see if I missed anything.  Today she was still at work, so I asked Jorja to check for me.  I knelt down in front of her (with no shirt on) and asked her if she saw any long hairs.  I guess I should have specified on my head, because after surveying the situation, she said, 'Yup, right here,' and put both her hands on my back just below my shoulder blades.  'I meant on my head!' I replied.  ' you're all good there.'  Sheesh.  There's some honesty for you.  Later. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Trampoline fun

Today I thought I would take my phone out and get some shots of the girls jumping on the trampoline. After all, I did almost lose a nut putting it together. 

I took some while standing up on the deck:

And some from below: 

They turned out fairly well I thought. Crazy hair! Later. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Highlights of our first week in Lloyd...Nuts!

We've been in Lloydminster for just over a week now.  There are still quite a few boxes to unpack, but we are slowly getting there.  The girls are adjusting and making new friends in the park behind our house.  There is also an eight year old girl next door that the girls have been spending quite a bit of time with.  They were actually over in her backyard within an hour of us being in the city.  Jorja is finding it the toughest with missing her friends back in Saskatoon.  But we'll be ok.  We have managed to have some fun too.  Here are some of our highlights from the first week:

The girls enjoying their first breakfast on the island in the kitchen.

Canada Day fun at Bud Miller Park.

CeCe having a snack.

Out cruising in our new convertible getting ice cream.

Looking like tourists at the border.

I finally got around to setting up the trampoline a couple of days ago.  Naturally, I had three helpers for that.  They like to turn the wrench when they can.  Most of the screws just thread into the frame, except for the net that goes around it.  Each pole for it has two bolts with nuts that thread on.  As I was attaching the first pole, my helper was Ginny.  I held the pole upright in position and threaded the bolt through.  I then asked her to put the nut on the other side.  "What nut dad?  I don't see any nuts."  I said, "They were right there in the grass a minute ago.  Did you move them?"  She replied, "I didn't take the nuts.  I didn't see the nuts.  JORJA!  CECE!  Have you seen Dad's nuts?!"  Jorja replied, "You lost your nuts Dad?  Don't you have any more?"  I said that I didn't have any more.  Each pole needed two and they were all there when we started.  "You only have two nuts?  No extra?"  This was getting more and more awkward by the moment.  At least no one else was outside, because it was not a quiet conversation.  I asked CeCe if she had taken the nuts.  She had been collecting rocks and putting them in a hole.  I described them as small, silver and shiny.  "Did you take any shiny things?"  She said yes and went over to her hidey-hole and proudly brought back a shiny rock.  Why not?  In the end, we did find my missing nut and all nuts were accounted for.  If only they knew...Later.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A long spring

I realize that it's been over three months since I last wrote anything again. A lot has happened and it's been an emotional ride. We have really seen God at work in our lives and it's been pretty amazing. 

It all started last December when a friend of Julie's said 'hey, you should check out this amazing clinic that I work at. I think you would really fit in well here.'  That was all fine and dandy, but there was one small issue. The clinic is in Lloydminster. Moving was not really on our radar, but we started praying about it and asking God for direction. Door after door after door kept opening until we were like, 'hey, maybe this is something we are supposed to do.'  Julie had a two day interview/ trial where she was hoping to find things she couldn't stand about the place. There was nothing.  She ended up signing an amazing contract with an amazing radiologist. We listed our house. It sold the next day. We found an awesome house backing a park and our offer was accepted. 

Our friends, families and colleagues have all been super supportive. Leaving our church is one of the hardest things we have ever done. The support and encouragement we received from our friends there over the years has been amazing. But I truly believe God is calling us elsewhere now. Even our latest sermon series on how to love your neighbor has shown me a good starting point for when we move into our new place.

Today was Julie's last Sunday playing piano at West Portal. It was also the first Sunday with no Sunday school, so all the girls were in the service to experience it as well. When I looked over and saw my three girls standing on their chairs and signing their hearts out, I was extremely thankful for what God is doing in their lives. It was emotional too and when the service was over, the girls all went up to the front to see Julie at the piano. 
I realize this picture is a bit blurry, but my eyes were a bit blurry while I was taking it too. To all our friends at west portal, we thank you, we love you and we will miss you.

This week begins our last week of employment here in Saskatoon as well. Julie at her clinic for 11 years. Me at the brewery for 9. Yes, change is not something we normally jump at. Leaving work is going to be tough too. Julie has Kim. I have Colleen. Two dear friends who will be missed. They both made going to work every day that much easier and enjoyable. I just hope we can hold it together and not be too big of a mess by the time week is over. 

So on that note, I do hope to write more once we move. I will be taking some time away from the work force to be at home with the kids. That is exciting and terrifying. In the meantime, we have to finish packing and get moved. Here we go. It's gonna be quite the ride. Later. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kilts, hats and disgusting soup

I went back to work this week after nearly six weeks off. Things went fairly well, except the getting up shortly after 5am was a little rough. But after three days  back, I had to take a day off because our sitter is on holidays. 

I was hanging out with CeCe while the other two girls were in school. She decided we should play barbies. Alright. Then she thought I should be the dad Barbie. Alright. We only have one ken, so I found him and of course, he was naked. I began looking for his clothes and found a shirt, but couldn't track down any pants. Hmm. What to do? I found the skirt that was most kilt-looking and went for that. (It was plaid anyway). In retrospect, it may have been a wee bit short. 
Oh well, it did the trick until we were ready for our next game which involved bean bags, bean bag targets/buckets and my head.  
And of course a photo bomb by CeCe. 

The girls had skating lessons last night, and I was looking to make supper. I asked Ginny what we should have. She said, 'something simple.'  I like simple. I asked her if we should have tomato soup. She said, 'something simple that isn't disgusting.' Alright. I guess that explains why it takes her the better part of an hour to choke down a bowl. Now we know exactly how she feels. Later. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Guilty or great?

After nearly six weeks since my hernia surgery, I go back to work on Monday. This past week, I spent a little bit of time at the school with the kids. 

Let me start the story by backing up a couple of weeks. Jorja was really upset thinking I was no longer the same person and that she would never have any fun with me again. In her defense, I was kind of a downer, but I didn't think it was that bad. Anyway, at this same time, Jorja's teacher emailed everyone saying that she didn't have enough parent readers for the month of February. (Every day, the kids go out into the hall one by one and read a little bit to a parent volunteer.) So I emailed back and signed up for a day. 

On Monday, I went to the school right after lunch and listened to the kids read. It turned out to be ok. They were well behaved for the most part. There sure is a difference in reading levels throughout a class though. Must make teaching tough. Before I left for the school and I was having second thoughts, I texted Julie and asked her why I signed up for this. She texted back that it was because I was a great dad and loved my kids. I texted back that I'm pretty sure it was guilt but I liked her answer better. It's a fine line between guilt and greatness. 

Jorja was thrilled though and spent several days before and after talking about it. This led Ginny to feel that I should come to her class too. So my greatness took over and I emailed her teacher to see if she needed any extra hands this week. I went down for an hour Thursday morning and helped out a bit. Ginny told me the night before that it was going to be a big art project, so I was a little worried, but it was pretty benign. I'm pretty sure it was just a make work project to let me help out. In any case, Ginny was thrilled too. 
It is looks like that that make it all worthwhile. Later.