Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed

I got a kick out of this article. Now, remember, it comes from The Onion and includes a healthy dose of satire. Enjoy :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Smile of the Day - Healthy Eating

Maddie & I were watching Oprah. This is a very rare event, but since we're down with a tummy bug, the TVs been on and the barf buckets out. Sorry, TMI.

Anyway, Jamie Oliver, who is leading a Food Revolution, was burying a family's deep fryer in their backyard to signal the end of their deep frying diet.

Maddie (having never seen a deep fryer): What's that?

Me: It's a deep fryer.

Maddie: Why are they burying it?

Me: Because it's not very healthy to cook with a deep fryer. He's helping them be healthier.

Maddie: So, are they going to get an up fryer now?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Welcoming Home

There are homes you visit that seem straight from a magazine. The lighting is set just right to create the appropriate mood, scented candles are flickering behind stained glass votives, fresh flowers adorn the matching dining table set while fresh baked cheesecake is being pulled out of the oven by the lady of the house who is having no trouble keeping the conversation flowing.

In contrast, what you might experience at my house is something like this: the candles are stashed securely out of reach from the kids, the curtains are hanging slightly askew, you step over (or kick) toys on your way from the door to the kitchen where I am standing peering into the fridge in a panic wondering what to feed you on your visit. If, by malchance, you need to use the washroom, you may have to use the cheap, plain unscented bar soap - simply because the kids have a crazy annoying habit of playing "melt the soap in the sink while Mommy isn't looking".

I don't lead a magazine life.

I could chalk it up to just having a non-hospitality kind of personality...and that's okay. We're not all meant to be Martha Stewarts. It's true, too. When I shop with a girlfriend, I stand clueless in the home decor aisles and then make a beeline to the clearance shelf in the book or stationary aisle. Pretty paper and historical novels are more my thing. However, as much as it isn't my natural tendency to be Susie Q housewife, I must be honest with myself. I lack organizational skills. Peering into the fridge in a panic is not caused by lack of hospitality skills - it's caused by a mix of lazy and not-think-aheadedness.

I made that last word up. Another of my talents, along with picking out cute stationary.

Anyway, I've decided to be more proactive in my hostess skills. It won't be a big change. I think I'll start with baking some cookies and stashing them in the freezer where the kids and husband won't find them. At a moment's notice, I could just pull them out, warm them in the oven, and serve them. I might pick up some fun teas, too. Perhaps I'll invest in a couple pretty serving trays. I'd like to stay on top of my visible housework, maybe doing my dishes right away instead of all at once. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but like I said, these things don't come naturally to me.

Heck, I might even vaccuum under the sofa cushions.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Many is Too Many?

Who would have thought that having 4 children would be such a controversy? Now that we're expecting our fourth in the summer, the comments are starting up again. I say "again" because there were some people who felt that our third pregnancy was just a tad bit overkill. I'm normally a pretty quiet gal, and I don't usually pick fights. However, I'm wondering how to respond to some of these people.

I don't mind so much about my family or friends' opinions. I know they love us, and I can usually understand their point of view and their own preferences as far as family size. The strangers at the grocery store are a bit much, though. Perhaps it's easier to spout an opinion to a stranger you'll never see again.

Here are some comments that I've received (usually followed by our casual mention of baby #4 coming, or followed by a strange old lady rubbing my belly and asking if this is my first):

1) Oh, geez, I couldn't do it!

2) What? Are you crazy?

3) Yeah, like you needed a fourth!

4) *unbelieving wide-eyed stare*

5) Well I'm glad it's you and not me!

6) hehehe, your husband must be getting his fill *wink wink, nudge nudge*

7) Why don't you just get a pet?

8) Was it planned???!!

9) I'm going to get you guys some condoms for Christmas!

10) Ever heard of a vasectomy?

All in all, I must say that I agree with #5. I'm glad it's us, and not them, too. Will this be our last? Likely, but not necessarily. I don't really think it's our decision in the end. I like our kids. They are smart, healthy, cared for, loved, nurtured, clothed, warm and educated. Richard is an awesome daddy. I try my darndest, and Rich seems to think I deserve a thumbs-up as far as parenting. We aren't perfect, but perfect is boring, anyway.

There are some comments that are worth paying more attention to, though. They sound a bit like this:

1) Aw! I'm so happy for you!

2) I always wanted a big family.

3) Oooh! Another baby!

4) If you need any help, I'll watch them for you!

5) That's great news!

6) I grew up in a big family and it was so much fun.

As far as I'm concerned, having more kids doesn't mean family life quality goes down. Rather, I think it's like love - meant to be multiplied, not divided.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Renovation Pictures!

At long last, here are some pictures of our renovations!

Graedon "helped" Richard. He was fascinated with the screwdriver and tools.

View from the top of the stairs:

Don't the stairs look so much better? The railing really opens the space up, too. We used the colour "Salsa Dancing" by Benjamin Moore. We're wild, us Pattersons.

And, a closer look at the stairs. I love that the linoleum/laminate/wood/metal patchwork look is gone. This is much, much better.

What do you think?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Character Studies

I've introduced something new to our homeschool. After a talk with Richard, we both agreed that the girls (and us) would benefit from Character Studies. I found a simple program for free on the internet at www.homeschoolhelperonline.com

Every week we focus on one character trait that we can strengthen. We did attentiveness last week, and this week is compassion. We talk about what the trait is, we read a little Bible story about it and then we talk about how we can use that in our lives. The girls also have a Bible verse to memorize every week. I am amazed at how quickly and well the girls are memorizing the verses! I think it helps that they get a prize if they can say it perfectly - always a good incentive!

I'm really liking it, and I think the girls are, too. It's simple, easy to understand, and easy to teach. Big thumbs up!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Foyer Renovations Before...

Here are some pictures of what our stairs were like before our renovations.

Here's the evidence of why you shouldn't skimp on cement when you're laying a basement floor. I don't know if they ran out of money or time when they redid the floor, but there was a 5 ft by 5 ft bare patch under the stairs. We couldn't see it because it had been covered up by the stairs and boarded in. Richard was pulling out fistfuls of mud, sand, rotten wood and mold from that hole. And the stink when we ripped out the boards! Whew! You can see the boards and gyprock are rotten.

View from the basement going up. You can see a bit of the fresh cement Rich and my dad put down.
This is what our stairs looked like - a curious mix of laminate flooring, linoleum and brass. It was, um, different.

The half wall going up the stairs and across the floor. There was nothing wrong with it, but it was very dated. It wasn't of any use to anyone as far as helping them up the stairs, though.

Our rejected stairs sitting in the yard waiting for garbage day.

Stay tuned for the finished project!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Today's Smile

Eva: Mommy, how do you say "fork" in french?

Me: Fork is "fourchette".

Eva: And in spanish it's "dingelhopper"?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Remember a post about a year ago where I spoke about the problems with water in our basement? Well, put a big fat circle around today's date on the calendar. Today is the day the Patterson home gets a new stairwell (a not rotten one!!), new stair treads AND a railing!

Because someone lost our camera - still deciding who the guilty culprit is - I don't have any pictures. Suffice it to say that it looks tonnes better. As an added bonus, the stairs no longer bounce when we use them. Looking back, that should have been our first clue that something was wrong with the supports under the stair case, along with the peculiar musty smell. Ah well, it's fixed now!

We've been living at the Grammies' since Sunday night and I am so excited to move back into our house. As wonderful and comfortable as it is to visit our moms, it is difficult to live there full time. I've missed my bed, the familiar noises of our home, even the temperature and amount of light from the window at bedtime. It's funny what little things will disturb a person's sleep and keep little ones awake for hours on end. It's also difficult to get the kids to buckle down for school work when they think they are in vacation mode. The kids and I have been battling colds and sickness and I think a couple nights back home will make a world of difference in our moods. Still, Rich and I are very grateful to have such great family around to bail us out during our reno-woes!

As soon as I can get some straight answers as to the whereabouts of our camera, I'll post some pictures.