Thursday, 28 August 2014

10 Years Ago

Lifelong Learners - I have to give students the skills so that they can continue learning even after they leave me.   Examples - communication skills, primary document analysis, presentation skills, working well in collaborative groups, etc.
10 years ago I was getting ready to start my last year of high school.  10 years!  I can't believe that.  Time really goes by so quickly!

I didn't hate high school, but I don't want to go back.  You know how they tell you to enjoy it, and it's only 4 years and you will miss that time when it's gone?  That's so wrong.  People want to go back to their twenties, not their teens!

But, I digress.  So here are some things that I wish I had known before high school.

  • It doesn't last forever, but while you're there it might seem like it.  Don't let that get you down!  
  • Hang out with who you want to hang out with and make sure that they're people who make you feel good about yourself.  Not having a huge group of friends can be tough, but in the long run you will be happier with a few close friends who are really there for you.
  • Some of your friends will be friends for a long time, some of them won't.  And that's ok.
  • Don't pick on people.  I found my high school was pretty good for bullying, but even if it's not, you don't want to be that person. 
  • Take a variety of courses.  You never know what information might actually come in handy later.  I'm not a lawyer, but I took law.  I wish I had taken economics as it would have made university much easier.  And people if you are thinking of going to business school at all, take accounting!  And take courses that interest you, not just the ones that are going to get you furthur, because that knowledge will still be useful.
  • Don't worry so much!  Sure grades matter and to be able to understand what's going on in Grade 11 math you probably need Grade 10 math, but getting a 65 in Grade 9 Geography when you know that you aren't going to keep taking Geography?  It's not the end of the world!  


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Meal Planning

I generally dislike cooking.  Luckily for me, many nights Ryan will cook and just tell me to get out of the kitchen.  This is a lot less stressful for everybody!  However I don't like to leave it up to him all of the time!

The worst part for me is actually deciding what we are going to eat.  I have found that if I plan my meals, it makes the whole process much more enjoyable.  Instead of stressing about what we're going to have for dinner, I can just fantasize all day about what we are actually having.  (I love my food!)

So a few times in our marriage (and I mean that, a few), I have planned my meals for the entire week.  I'm really going to try to do this more often as it makes life way easier.  

Here are our meals for this week:
Monday - Caprese Chicken (I made this last night, it is unbelievable!)
Caprese Chicken via
Tuesday - Layered Fiesta Casserole - an old favourite
Layered Fiesta Casserole
Kraft Canada recipe
Wednesday - Stir Fry - Just for me since Ryan is at Wing Night!
Thursday - Creamy Spinach and Tomato Tortellini - This is a new recipe, so we will see how it is!
Spinach Tomato Tortellini
Friday - Fish & Chips from the fry shack down the road

And just like that I know what my plan is when I get home from work and I'm already excited about the entire week's worth of meals!   


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Blogging Lately

Has anyone else noticed a difference in the blogging world lately?  I know some people have, because I have seen similar posts on their pages.  

I go to my feed, and there's very little that interests me.  I refresh my feed and no new posts pop up.  It seems that everyone, including myself, is out of things to say.  And I don't like it.

I want to talk about more than the day to day happenings of life.  I want to get deeper.  I want to share thoughts that strike me throughout the day.  But I'm not sure why that doesn't happen.  I think that sometimes I stop myself, because I'm scared.  Or maybe I'm just not as into blogging as I used to be and I just don't have the time to write these thoughts down or formulate them in a way that would make sense to anyone other than myself.

So this is my goal.  I want more randomness on the blog.  Less this is what I did this weekend and more this is how I feel right at this very minute.  I don't want to fear what my readers might think.  It's not the people I don't know who worry me, it's the people I do know who read my blog that make me nervous and cause me to hesitate when hitting publish.  I'm a fairly shy person, and so sharing my feelings has never been easy for me.  But so what if I'm open and honest and somebody doesn't like my opinion?  That's what a blog is all about.  Saying what's on your mind and having a voice.

So here's to bringing back our voices. 

And hopefully bringing back some inspiration as well.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Saying Goodbye

How do you say goodbye to a cat who has been part of your family for almost 20 years?  I'm still not sure how to answer that question even though last night I had to do it. 

Lacey hasn't been well for a long time.  She has been living in my parents furnace room for a few years.  It started because she was throwing up frequently, but then she got comfortable there and wouldn't leave even if the door was open.  She had food, water, litter and a big comfy chair.  What more could a 19 year old cat want?

And she seemed happy.  When you went down there to visit she would purr as soon as she saw you.  She still loved us.  So we held on.
I bet she loved the trampoline for this Father's Day pic
But we knew that it couldn't last forever.  She had arthritis and couldn't groom herself.  She looked awful.  We kept expecting her to just go on her own.  I mean she's a 19 year old cat.  But it didn't happen.

So last night we finally said goodbye.  And I went to see her ahead of time to say my personal goodbye.  And I didn't know how to do it.  I know talking to pets might seem crazy to some, but I didn't know what to say to this poor kitten who had no idea what was about to happen.  So I just thanked her for being the best cat that a kid could ask for.  

We got her for Christmas in 1994 and although she was a family cat, she was really mine.  I was her choice when choosing a bed to sleep in.  If I was sick, she would cuddle up with me on the couch.  She hated when I played the violin though, she always left the room as soon as that started.  

Her name was Lacey, but she was more often called Goggie.  Because when my brother was little (he was only 2 when we got her) he said he wanted a kitty named Doggie, but Goggie is the word that came out of his mouth.  So she became a cat with 2 names.

She was a feisty kitty back in the day.  She gave me a few battle wounds, which I deserved.  But she was shy with strangers.  Most people didn't even realize that we had a cat. 

I'm not too sure what she thought when the first dog showed up when she was about 7, but her and Opie seemed to be pretty good pals.  Once she got older and wasn't moving as well, Opie eased up on her, it was like he knew.  When Opie died and we got Oliver, she wasn't having it.  A new puppy was too much for a 17 year old cat to handle.

I didn't think I would be sad when the time came to put her down.  I knew it was coming and honestly she hasn't been part of the family for a few years as she rarely left the confines of her furnace room "retirement home".  But I was sad.  Sad because that time in my life is over.  She grew up with us and was always there and it's just weird that she's gone.  19 years is a long time.  

I hope that there's an animal heaven and that Opie is giving Lacey hugs up there.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Bacon Wrapped Jalepeno Poppers

We were at the cottage this past weekend, and generally while at the cottage we eat.  It sometimes feels like we don't get much more accomplished than that.  

I had made these jalepeno poppers before, but they were way too spicy.  So I decided to try again with a few changes, and these ones turned out amazing and delicious, just as I had hoped.

You need:
Cream Cheese
Grated cheddar or marble cheese
Disposable rubber gloves (optional but highly recommended).

The quantities of course depend on how many jalepenos you are making.
Last time I made these, I didn't use rubber gloves and I paid for it.  It's hard not to touch your eyes when you know you shouldn't! And it actually took days for me to get the jalepenos washed off of my hands.  So just wear the gloves!

First, cut your jalepenos in half.  Take all of the insides out and make sure you get all of the seeds, as that's what makes them spicy.

Mix together some cream cheese with a bit of grated cheese. Spoon into halved jalepenos until full.  

Wrap half a piece of bacon around each jalepeno.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  

We weren't quite ready to eat them so I turned the oven down a bit and left them in.  The longer you cook them for the less spicy they are.  I think that last time I cooked them at a higher temperature for about half the time.  So your cooking time can be based on how hot you want them, just keep an eye on the bacon.

They were honestly much more time consuming than I was expecting, but they were totally worth it.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Good Friends & Great Fun

To finish up our vacation week, we went to Darien Lake with a group of friends.  There were 16 of us who went in total, that's a lot of people!

We camped in the campground.  We brought our trailer and shared with another couple, and everyone else rented a trailer.  The trailer rentals is such a great bonus for them to have here!  Everyone could camp and keep dry and the rentals were spacious enough for two couples as well.

I have been to Darien Lake a few times, and I love it because the park is fairly small and easy to get around and the lines are generally pretty good.  A few of the rides you can basically walk right onto, and even the roller coaster lines aren't usually very long.

In the past, I have stayed in a hotel in a nearby town.  However the camping was nice because you could come and go from the park when you wanted.  Plus you had multiple days of park admission so you could really take your time.  One of my biggest issues is that I always want to get the most for my money, so I tend to rush through things to maximize my experience.  But this way you could be a bit more relaxed.

One thing that I really wanted to do there, was go to the Nik Wallenda show.  For those who don't know, he's the crazy guy who tight rope walked across Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon.  The show was a bit slow to start.  It had a lot of people in it who weren't Nik Wallenda doing circus type things.  Some of it was interesting, some wasn't.  However, at the end of the show, Nik and his family came out and actually tight rope walked for us.  This included a pyramid with two people on bikes, and one on top standing on a chair.  I didn't take any pictures, because I didn't want to be responsible for anyone falling.  But it really was amazing and it was a pretty cool feeling to be 50 feet away from someone who has made history multiple times.  Even if I think he is completely insane...
We also went to a Blake Shelton concert at the park on the Saturday night.  Honestly, I'm not a huge Blake Shelton fan.  I like his music, but I don't know that many of his songs.  Plus, you tend to forget that smoking in the States is much more prevalent than it is in Canada.  Standing at the concert completely surrounded by cigarette smoke was not enjoyable!  However everyone else seemed to have a really great time, so I was definitely the minority there.  (It also might have had something to do with the fact that everyone else had a fair bit more alcohol in their system than I did!  Sometimes not being a drinker doesn't have it's perks.)

I left a bit early and went back to the campsite and was amazed at how clear the music was from our site!  I think that next time, I will skip the concert ticket and just sit at the site and enjoy the music!

 But it was a great weekend.  It was spent with good friends and we had some good times.  


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Hidden Gems

After camping with my parents for the first weekend of our vacation, we went to our cottage for a few days.  And it was still cold.  I didn't put on a bathing suit, or lay on the deck at all.  But once again, we tried to make the most of it and kept ourselves busy.  

On Wednesday, when the boys decided to go golfing, we figured that we needed to find something to occupy our time, so I suggested we go to Georgian Hills winery.  This is the only winery (that I know of) in the Blue Mountain area and I had been there a couple of times with bachelorette parties.  Their wines are delicious and at the end of the tasting it's always hard to decide which one to buy.  That's a sign of a good winery!
While there, they suggested that we check out the Ravenna Country Market just down the street.  They said they had lots of baked goods and also had soup and sandwiches for sale.  It was lunch time, so this seemed like a great idea.
Ravenna seemed like a very small town and basically the only thing there was this market, which we never would have stopped at had it not been suggested to us.  But we were sure glad that we did!

First thing when we got there, we were looking at the fudge and the man working there (who may have been the owner) started giving us samples.  By the time he was finished, my mom had a pound and a half of fudge purchased and we were on a sugar high.
But fudge isn't a good lunch, so my mom and I ordered a sandwich to split and my sister ordered the Cauliflower soup.  These sandwiches...I don't even know how to describe them.  You pick your meat, we went with roast beef.  Then we added caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, lettuce, roasted red pepper mayo and goat cheese.  Amazing!  Best sandwich I have ever had.  Oh and it's grilled.
Tali also bought this chocolate milk that she shared with us.  It was 3.25% milk which explains why it basically tasted like a milkshake.  But we're on vacation, why drink 1%?
Apparently since it was our first time there, we also got a free butter tart.  This guy knew the way to my heart!
They also sell Kawartha Dairy ice cream cones, and if you've never had Kawartha ice cream, you are missing out!  There's just something about it that makes it better than all other ice cream.  They had freezers full of premade meals as well, which I've heard are very delicious!
 This little hidden gem of a store made our vacation.  We are so glad that we found it and will definitely be back!  


Monday, 4 August 2014

That Vacation Post

So I wrote a post about our vacation last week, and it made me bored.  If a post about my own life events bores me, I can imagine it would probably bore you too.  So I'm trying it again.

Here are some things to do while camping in Kincardine in winter weather conditions (ok maybe not winter, but it felt like November):

1.  Go Golfing.  Or go to the driving range, because me actually golfing would probably be painful and would result in me picking up my ball and moving it to wherever I wanted to be.

 2.  Go to the Kincardine Pipeband parade.  It happens every single Saturday night.  The pipeband walks down the main street, the entire town follows them, and then they walk back.  I'm not much of a bagpipe fan, but this was pretty cool.
 3.  Take a walk on the pier.  Because if there is a pier, it has to be walked on, right?
 4.  Make pancakes.  Because they are delicious.
 5.  Go to the beach.  Don't wear your bathing suit.  It's cold!  But the walking can still be enjoyable.
 6.  Tour the lighthouse and remember why you were terrified of lighthouses when you were younger.  Those stairs are steep!  And while you are going up them, all you can do is think about how you are going to have to get back down again.  But it was still really neat.  Plus, the top of the lighthouse is so hot that it actually feels like summer.
So that's our camping vacation with my parents in a nutshell.  We were actually only camping for 2 days last weekend, then we headed to the cottage for a few days.  But I will save that for another day!