Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Nickleback - "When We Stand Together"

Nickleback: "When We Stand Together"
I have heard this song playing on our local radio station over the last couple of weeks and finally stopped to listen to the words yesterday. 

I was so moved by this song that I just had to see what the Video was all about.  You can watch the video here:   (copy and paste this link into your browser).

Just listen to the words, "We Must Stand Together...hand in hand forever...that's when we all win."  The video pictures everything from war, to poverty and even the war on hunger.  There is a picture of people carrying sacks and gathering items in a Waste Management Site...this is survival for many living in Third World Countries.  I have read previously, that in one location, there are as many as 700 people living in this type of environment - they do not have jobs or income and are desperate.

Did you know that there are countries so stricken with poverty that many residents live at the "Dump?"  They all run to the coming garbage trucks so that they can be the first to eat the best discarded food or salvage aluminum cans to sell for money?

"I have always said that there is strength in numbers.  If we stand together, we will survive and achieve. "

Both the Beat and the Words of this song are so incredibly powerful and the pictures in the video are moving...if you find yourself going through difficult times, this song is an eye opener!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Time to Start Planning the Seedlings

This coming weekend, we are planning a trip to our local Hardware Store.  They have an abundance of heirloom and organic seed varieties for planting.

We are planning to do something different this year for our gardens.  I am planning on digging out the Perennial Plants from the front flower garden and filling it with herbs.  We have been looking at planting the flowering herbs such as Calendula, Echinacea and Lavender for the front beds - maybe add some varieties of Basil.  Our Oregano and Mint are well established in the beds at the back of the house so I am happy to leave them where they are.  The front of the house has that gorgeous sun from the South and everything seems to thrive with little maintenance.

I purchased balcony planters last Fall when they went on sale and am planning to see actually how many vegetables that I can grow on my back deck this year - aka Container Planting.  This is a first for us, but we have many hours of sun hitting on the deck which should provide an abundance of produce that we can preserve through the winter months of 2012/2013. 

Homemade Cloth Baby Wipes

These wipes are so easy to make and super easy to use!
Last year I found an Ad in our local Newspaper and found a woman who was selling $1000.00 worth of fabric for just $50.00!  I so scored!
I ended up with an abundance of fabric types.  Flannel, wool, rayon, cotton, broadcloth, nylon and fleece.  It's going to take me a long time to get through this fabric, but I am trying very hard to put it to good use.

One of the uses I found with the Flannel fabric was to make Homemade Cloth Baby Wipes.  Not only does this save on the cost of buying baby wipes for those small backsides, it also saves on toilet paper!

I cut fabric into 5 inch x 7 inch rectangles (lots of them!) then set out to make my concoction and put these wipes into action. 

Recipe for Homemade Cloth Baby Wipes:

1.  Place clean cloth wipes into a good sized plastic container with a lid (I used the regular baby wipe containers, these suited us perfectly).

2.  Boil 1 1/2 cups of water - remove from heat

3.  Add 1 tablespoon of Baby's body wash or baby shampoo

4.  Add 1 tablespoon of Baby Lotion
Mix together well and pour over wipes in container and let cool.  Cover with lid and voila! 

"My daughter prefers these wipes over toilet paper and has become accustomed to this method, it doesn't even phase her."

***We keep a big pail with a lid in our bathrooms that contains water, baking soda and bleach.  Once you use the wipes, place in this bucket to soak and when it gets full, you just rinse out the wipes, wash them and start over again.  I can't even begin to think about how much money we save on paper products using this method.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Children Learn What They Live

As a child growing up, I remember my Mother hung this verse on the wall in our Home.  I didn't understand it then, but fully appreciate it now.

As Parents, we get caught up with the Schooling, Sports and Dance Lessons, but forget about this Poem that originated many years Dorothy Law Nolte and Rachel Harris:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with
ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with
shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with
encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with
praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with
fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with
kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

When You Raise a Child, You Are Raising a Future Parent!

I love the title of this Blog...and it's because we all know that it is true.  When you raise a child, you are raising a future parent.  More likely, you are raising a parent for your very own grandchildren! 

I am introducing a Parenting Series in my Blog because I am first and foremost, a Mother.  Secondly, I have such wonderful readers that I hope that many of you will be able to take some of this with you and apply it in your own life when you feel like pulling your hair out! (hey, get those grey ones first!). 

"I remember my life before children, but the funny thing is, I can't believe that my daughter wasn't in my life until just a mere 4 years ago - funny how it works that way, isn't it?"

As far as our family is concerned, children are the most beautiful and amazing beings that Mother Nature has ever created.  They will try your nerves, yet touch your heart in the same passing minute.  They have the ability to leave us speechless at times, put Picasso to shame and entertain the elderly all within a day's work!

Sometimes, when I am speaking to my own daughter, I feel like I sound like my own Mother who was an Elementary School Teacher and loved Children.  She was an amazing crafter and could sew or crochet like nobody's business!  My mother has long since passed away, but I know that her values and traditions have been impressed upon me since my own birth.

As Parents we have to be mindful that we always approach our children in a gentle and loving manner.  It is very difficult to do this when your child is "acting out" or having a "temper tantrum".  Remember that these are stages that are necessary for normal child development. 

It's hard to remember in the "heat of the meltdown" that this is a temporary situation, but you need to get those earplugs and go with the flow!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Surviving Tough Economical Times - Get to Work!

We've all endured tough times and are certain to endure more within our lifetimes.
When we encounter a painful life encounter such as a job loss, our first instinct is to go into hiding - like under a rock!

You may ask yourself; "How am I going to survive?  How can I meet my financial obligations?"  As painful as it may sound, going back to the basics is a good place to start.  You are now presented with the perfect opportunity to make lifestyle changes - for the rest of your life!

One of the first places that we can start to recover from difficult financial circumstances is within our own homes (even if you have had to move to a new place of residence!).  You own the power to survive within your own hands!

First things first;
I left my career a couple of years ago to be with my family.  Oh, I certainly wasn't a Superhero about it, my decision came after many months of tears and bargaining.  I loved the money, but so missed my family time.  I can say now, while looking back that it was the best decision I have ever made...I knew that we would have to change the way we lived, but find that we have more quality as opposed to quantity.  A decision that I do not or ever will regret.

Here are some things that we do in order to make our own continuous journey possible:
  1. Yearly Garage Sales - Outgrown clothing items, belongings we haven't used for a period of 1 year, home accessories, seedlings and baked goods - this nets enough money for my daughter's summer wardrobe.
  2. Cut the Cable - Oh, this was a toughy, but it wasn't a necessity.  We cancelled our cable television.  Our local library has so many movies for children and adults - free rental!
  3. Cancel Your Home Phone Provider - this was so easy!  We have Magic Jack, and pay only $19.95/year for unlimited North American calling, call waiting and voicemail.  We pay an extra $10.00 for a Canadian phone number within our own area code.  We never get a phone bill!
  4. Sell Your Car - This was the hardest of all!  Just think, you don't have to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance or car payments.  Want to commute?  Remember, this article is about changing the way you live - find a job closer to home & on the bus route.  The bonus?  More Family Time!
  5. Grow Your Own:  Vegetables and Fruits or whatever you can.  Don't have a lot of space?  Well, neither do we, so we maximize the space that we have.  Go online and invest some time researching about square foot or small space planting.  You won't be disappointed or hungry come Summer's end.
  6. Preserving:  This is the time to preserve all that hard work!  Remember, the weekends that you spend canning, dehydrating and freezing will get you through a hard Winter.  I learned everything Online simply by Researching information and it has paid off.
  7. Learn to Sew:  Unfortunately some say that sewing is becoming a bit of a lost tradition.  I can honestly say that I know several men who sew and make things like Yoga Bags and repair their own clothing.  If you know how to sew, you can offer your services to your neighbours and do their alterations, make items to sell (for cash!), and gifts for everyone...Hello!  Make Extra Money!  Okay, I want to type so much that this subject is the highlight of my next blog - make sure you don't miss out!
  8. Bake Bread:  Bake your own bread!  I have a fabulous recipe for sourdough bread that has all of my neighbours drooling!  I make extra money by selling my bread to my neighbours.  I will even trade my bread for farm fresh eggs - there you go, trading = survival!
  9. Thrift Shopping:  Years ago, I felt ashamed to be caught in a Thrift Store.  I feel shame that I have to admit I felt ashamed.  Say that 3 times fast!
    My daughter and I have a favourite Thrift Store that we frequent every Saturday and always find some sort of treasure.  I am always excited to find toys, clothing, craft supplies, kitchen or household goods in supreme condition for barely the price of a song.  This helps me deal with my former "shopaholic tendencies" because we get great deals.
  10.  Make Due or Do Without!: Socks have a hole?  Mend them!  Also stock up on Duct Tape from your local Dollar Store.  A little duct tape really goes a long way.  You can do easy and quick home repairs with this good stuff.  Fix cracked flower pots, toys, etc. with this.  Latest fashions are Duct Tape Dresses!  A little creativity goes a long way.
  11. Remember That When You Buy Plastic, You are buying future garbage:  This is the best one ever!  I read this in one of my Self Sustaining Books from our library.   Unless it is Tupperware that is guaranteed for life, you are setting yourself up.  You can't burn plastic for warmth when you need it, nor is it even good for you...our family always focuses on selecting items made of wood, steel or glass  because they will last.  Plastic is destined to crack over time - Oh, and makes a terrible black smoke if you burn it!
  12. Flush with Grey Water:  We always have water saved in our bathtub.  We flush our toilets with this water and it saves us about $70.00 a month which we put towards our grocery bill.  Simple and so easy you can start this tomorrow morning -try it, you will be surprised at the savings!
  13. Conserve Hydro:  We invested money in energy saving light bulbs.  They pay for themselves within the first month and then some.
  14. Dry Clothes on a Rack:  Did you know that your dryer is the biggest energy hog in the house?  You can hang your clothes on a homemade line made of rope or put them on hangers if you don't have a clothes drying rack.   We used our Air Miles and got a terrific Stainless Steel version for Free! Our energy savings very month?  Unbelievable!

    ***We also try to make and sell whatever we can.  Our Local Community has a "Market Place" where you can sell homemade wares in exchange for bartering tokens.  Offer yourself to your neighbours who may need help moving, shovelling snow, gardening, shopping, etc.  You will be able to barter for goods in exchange for your services.  ***If you want to survive during Tough Economical Times, you need to put your first foot forward and offer what you can in order to receive!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Super Bowl - Our Way

Super Bowl Sunday was yesterday...
It's the day that so many Canadians look forward to - even though this is a U.S. Event, many "Canucks" are excited about a party - any kind of party, really.

We couldn't watch the game because we don't have Cable Television and only rent movies from our local library because they are free of charge.  We have a dry loop Internet connection that is slower than "molasses in January" - but it really doesn't matter on the month, it is still super slow if I want to download or stream anything. 

We are really trying to take a step back and focus on our family and simplify our life as much as possible. 
This year I wanted to see if I could ignore all of the excitement and focus on our family for the day.  I felt a compulsion to check the score during the game (okay, I admit to checking once or twice).

So how did our family spend Super Bowl Sunday?

Well, we enjoyed a walk in all the glorious sunshine over to our local Community Centre during the afternoon hours.  We watched a movie for a minimal fee of $3.00 (which our neighbour generously paid for) amongst our many neighbours and friends.

Afterwards, we came home and made a tremendous dish of nachos with all the trimmings and watched some children's movies together as a family unit.
I had a big "Super Bowl" of nachos and sour cream and a wonderful day filled with memories. 
Our family scored a point towards having another special day to together!

As each day passes, I can more easily decipher between quantity and quality.  I mean, we all know that the Super Bowl Game is going to happen every year.  However, we can never guarantee the future of our own lives. 

It was truly a glorious day for all of us - except the Patriots.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Coyotes Walking Our Streets

They're here.....

They are a cousin to the Wolf, really don't have any natural predators except Man,  prey on small animals and are roaming our streets. Coyotes.

We live in a wonderful neighbourhood in our City.  We are surrounded by green space which provides us with great parks for our children and pets to play. 

Unfortunately, there's a pack of Coyotes that have also settled into this area as well.

Since November 2011, there have been sightings of an injured Coyote seen in our area.  Most concerning is that this particular Coyote was seen in our local school yard which edges along a forest. 
In the past week, our neighbours have counted as many as 8 animals in the pack and have heard the Coyotes howling and yelping every evening during a "take down" of a small animal.

Several days ago, my close neighbour spotted a Coyote running down our street and cutting through a nearby park and walkway around 8:00 p.m.
While I was out walking yesterday (which is also Garbage Pick-Up Day), I had to navigate past the remnants of a small animal laying on the sidewalk a few doors down from where we live.  This isn't the first time I have had to do this over the past week.

Males can weigh in around 40 lbs, females slightly less.  Our Golden Retriever is 85 pounds - but hardly a match for a hungry Coyote, so we keep a close eye on him when he goes outdoors.

Although they are mostly nocturnal, they are becoming more brazen and have been seen during the daytime hours.  Litters are born in Spring and Fall and can be anywhere from 1 to 19 pups.  Average litter is about 6 pups.  There will obviously be quite a few more in our neighbourhood over the coming months unless they are removed. 

I have read that increases in the Coyote Population run in 10 year cycles.  Looks like this year is destined to be the "Year of the Coyote".  Great...