National Siblings Day

Although National Siblings Day is purported to be an American thing, I am taking it international today, making it a Canadian tradition as well.  It seems that large families are a thing of the past.  However, when I was young it was much more common.  Most of my friends and relatives were members of a large family.  This was mine..

Siblings Day

In keeping with the times, (but not with the Jones’, that was something different) my poor mother had six children within eight years, as many other mothers did then. My siblings were my first friends, teachers, co-conspirators, adversaries and sometimes even (so we thought at the time) enemies. I cannot imagine being raised in a different dynamic. I am convinced that being raised in such a tight environment turned us all into hard working, ambitious, successful adults.  The fact that money was tight and very frugally spent also had a huge impact on the adults we have become.

Siblings Day

 

This picture was taken (almost) 24 years ago, the summer our mother was diagnosed with and died of lung cancer.  Living far away from each other, this was the last time all six of us siblings have been together.  We came the closest last summer when five of six of us got together to celebrate my eldest son’s wedding. This next picture is of our extended families (minus one sister and hers) at the wedding.

Siblings Day

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

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Baby Gaga Update

As mentioned in a previous post I have been writing articles for a site called Baby Gaga.  Unfortunately, that means all my time allotted for writing has been swallowed up by this new adventure so my posts on this blog have been limited.

Here are my first four articles, let me know what you think, the comment button is on the left, at the bottom of the list of social media icons (the one that looks like a comic book conversation bubble)  As my articles get approved, I will add their links, so please check back often!

Weird and Unique Celebrity Baby Names

Baby Tips Leading Moms Astray

Clever and Adorable Pairs of Names for Twin Girls

Things Pregnant Women get to Stop Worrying About

Things Moms Won’t Be Doing After Baby is Born

Celebrity Trends

Grandparents Spoiling the Kids

Celebrity Dads

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Cottage visitors

During the winter months we drive up to the cottage to check on it and the property at least once a month.  The deep snow allows us to keep track (pun intended) of all visitors.

We have the two legged variety (us)

 

and the four legged visitors…

 

I wonder if the four legged variety are longing for spring as much as we two legged creatures are.  Regardless, spring still looks like a long way off!

 

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u

BabyGaga, writing and me

 

You could say I am gaga about babies, especially my beautiful grandchildren, but this is not about them.  BabyGaga is my newest writing endeavour.  I will be writing a few posts a week on this site that is geared towards, you guessed it, babies.  Oh, and their moms and dads, and anyone else interested in babies.

This is a paying job, some of my writing jobs are not, but that’s ok.  I love to write and have lots of time to do so in the winter months when my gardens are covered in snow.

Unfortunately there are (very) limited choices of things I can write about, with strict rules on how posts must be written.  Check out the Baby Gaga site and if you see my name,(LorieB) be sure to like it and comment!

Here are my first three articles, let me know what you think, the comment button is on the left, at the  bottom of the list of social media icons (the one that looks like a comic book conversation bubble)

Weird and Unique Celebrity Baby Names

Baby Tips Leading Moms Astray

Clever and Adorable Pairs of Names for Twin Girls

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

DIY rag quilt

Well this rag quilt has taken me almost a year to finish, but finish it I did, finally.  Although I would not recommend this particular DIY project for a beginner sewer, you could start with a small sized one.  Crib sized would be much more manageable.

The process is simple, start with squares cut from assorted fabric.  Preferred fabrics include flannels and quilting cottons, because they fray well.  Others fabrics, such as denim, could be used but they are not as soft.  As my grandson’s room will be dinosaur themed, I chose a white flannel with blue, green and red dinosaurs on it as the main fabric.  I complemented that with solid blue, green and red fabrics and a red polka dot fabric.

Wash all fabric first, then iron it smooth before you start cutting.  Calculate how many squares you need of each fabric, keeping in mind that each finished square on the quilt requires three cut fabric squares.  Because my quilt was so large, I actually used a spreadsheet to calculate how many of each I needed.  Lots.   Use a quilter’s template (a big plastic square that has dimensions marked on it for easy measurement) to measure and cut your squares. A rotary cutter works best.   I did this step last spring when watching the Ottawa Senators in the NHL playoffs.

When you have all your squares cut, you then make the “sandwiches” using three squares in each.  The lesson I learned here is not to use the solid red or polka dot red as a middle square (the few that I did bled through the white main fabric on top when washed)   The last three pictures above show the sandwiches I used, with the last two overlapped to show the possible color combinations.

When your sandwiches are assembled, sew an X through each one to hold all three layers in place.  Then sew squares together to make rows.  It helps to have a pattern (that’s why I used a spreadsheet) to consult with to keep the squares in the right order within the rows.  Sew using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, paying close attention as to which sides should be together.  You must keep all the seams on one side of the quilt.  This is trickier than it sounds because as a sewer you are trained to put the “good sides” together, leaving the seams on the “bad side”  On this rag quilt there is no good and bad side.

rag quilt
squares sewed together in rows

When the rows are complete, you then sew them together to form the quilt.  I laid my rows out on a bed (a floor or table would work if your quilt is smaller) to keep the rows in order.  Be sure to sew around the perimeter of the quilt too, also using a half inch allowance.

rag quilt
rows laid out on bed to ensure correct order

Next, using very sharp sewing scissors or a rag quilt cutter (below) snip into all (including outer edge) seam allowances, being very careful not to snip the actual seam.  The next step is to wash the quilt (on a very low, setting equivalent to a hand washing) to encourage the seam allowances to fray.  It’s called a rag quilt for this reason.

The final result is quite satisfyingly striking, even though I had a few discouraging setbacks.  I learned these lessons the hard way:

  • use heavy duty sewing machine needles, the first few I used kept snapping because of the thickness of the fabric layers
  • wash all of the fabrics well first, before you start cutting the squares to cut down on “bleeding” (that’s where the color of one fabric soaks into another)  The worst bleeders are red fabrics.
  • use a plastic template and rotary cutter to cut your squares to ensure precise cutting.  Any errors will show up glaringly when you join the squares and rows!
  • do not use cotton thread, it breaks much more than polyester thread
  • be very careful when snipping into seam allowances.  If you mistakenly cut into a seam, your quilt will be full of holes after the first wash.  I had to reinforce a few seams that my clippers got too close to by hand sewing them.

Here is the final result, on my grandson’s double “big boy” bed!  The C is for Carter

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Mudslinging and grandstanding politicians

The worst part about pending elections is the inevitable mudslinging and grandstanding that goes on.  Don’t we teach our children that bullies are insecure when they pick on others?   The same thing applies to politicians.

Your mudslinging does not make you look intelligent or clever, instead it makes you look insecure and weak. It is not attractive, in fact it is a real turn off. Can you not run your campaign outlining your own values, plans, goals and credentials or experience instead of smearing your opponents?

The other tactic I cannot stand in politicians is grandstanding.  If you are good at something you do not have to tell everyone how good you are.  This is another lesson we try to teach our children; tooting your own horn is not attractive.

Sadly it will only get worse as elections to choose a leader for the Conservative party (to replace ousted Patrick Brown and then a premier here in Ontario are fast approaching.

Anyone else feel this way?

politicians

 

 

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Freeze/thaw cycles

Many people do not mind rain in winter, as they look forward to spring.  The problem is the freeze/thaw cycles that go with the rain can be very destructive to your plants and their containers.  I leave many container plants out on my back deck for a few reasons.

  • I love the look of plants blowing in the wind, especially the ornamental grasses.
  • Most of the containers are too large (heavy) to move inside
  • I have lots of them so would need a good chunk of time to move them.
  • For some reason time always gets away from me in the fall, so the snow arrives before I get around to moving the planters.

Whatever the reason you have left your planters outside for the winter, you can ensure they survive.  When it rains a lot (as it has been here for the past few days) or a thaw melts snow on top of the pots, be sure to dump out the excess water before it freezes again. If you cannot dump out the excess water, bail it out.   If you do not remove it, the excess water will freeze and your pots will crack.  I guarantee this will happen if the containers do not have drainage holes in the bottom.  If they do have drainage holes the pots may still crack when excessive rain turns to ice.  This happens often here in Ottawa.  One day it is raining and almost balmy, the next freezing cold.

 

Another trick to protect your plants over the winter is to ensure the plants stay snow covered.  Snow acts as an insulator, protecting plants from freeze/thaw cycles.  I always shovel snow onto my roses growing beside my garage at my front door.  This spot is sunny and warmer than the rest of my gardens because the brick wall retains the heat absorbed from the sun.  This extra heat means the snow melts faster there, so I have to keep shovelling more on.  If you do this, be sure to use snow that does not have salt (from your sidewalk or driveway) in it.

 

unnamed

 

Is it raining where you live?  If it is, make sure it does not collect on your planters if freezing temperatures are coming next.  Freeze/thaw cycles are brutal on your plants and their containers.

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

On being a Grandma, part two

Last year at this time I became a grandmother for the first time.  We have been enjoying the presence of my son’s precocious, now four year old step-daughter in our lives and could not have been more thrilled to welcome her little brother. A few days ago this Grandma was equally thrilled to add another baby to this new generation of our family.  As promised, (by ultrasound) she is a beautiful baby girl.  The proud parents are my son and his wife that you heard about in all my wedding posts last spring.

There are no words special enough to express the emotions of being a grandparent although love, joy and pride might be a start.  We are so fortunate to have all three grandchildren to love and spoil. With them all living close by, I hope to do so as often as their parents let me!

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

The power of vinegar

Is the power of vinegar an old wives’ tale or a well known fact?  Vinegar is basically acetic acid and as such makes an effective and inexpensive cleaning agent.  I must admit, being very aware of and sensitive to TOXINS, I do use extra strength (10%) plain white vinegar for many things.  Here are a few of the uses:

  •     carpet cleaner
  •     drain unclogger (with baking soda)
  •     laundry cleaner (disinfects) and softener
  •     weed killer, but be aware that it is non-selective meaning it will kill your grass too, so is best used between patio stones etc

 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), made from fermented apples, has the benefits of acetic acid as well as enzymes, magnesium, probiotics and potassium.  It has become more popular recently as a dietary aid and home remedy to:

  • relieve heartburn
  • relieve sunburn
  • detoxify your liver and lymphatic system
  • lose weight and maintain healthy weight
  • remove skin tags
  • treat acne
  • clean wounds (antiseptic)
  • balance blood sugar levels
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • boost energy
  • condition hair
  • keep blood alkaline
  • clear sinuses by thinning out mucus
  • clean teeth
  • improve circulation

 

That is an impressive list of benefits for both white and apple cider vinegar.  White vinegar can be used as a cleaning agent directly from the bottle.  Apple cider vinegar should be diluted before use.  To drink it,  add one or two teaspoons to an eight ounce glass of water.  As a weight loss remedy, drink it before meals.  Rinse your mouth after drinking to prevent erosion of enamel from your teeth.  There are other adverse side effects of apple cider vinegar too, especially if consumed in excess.

So dig out those bottles of vinegar from the back of your pantry and put them to work as non-toxic cleaners and home remedies.

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Do curlers have to be physically fit?

In my youth, the only curlers I knew were the rags my mother used to put in my hair.   I was vaguely aware that my BFF’s brother was a curler, but I cannot say I was interested enough to find out anything about the sport.  In fact, I’m not sure it was much of a sport back then.

My husband was a great curler in his youth, representing his club in the provincial playdowns several times.  His teenaged years were consumed with curling.  His knowledge of and passion for the game, not to mention the numerous trophies that we have in our home, (those were the days when no one but the winner got a trophy) taught me all about the game.  Not just the logistics of the game, but how difficult it is (here in Canada) to be the best team in your club let alone your zone, province, or country.  That degree of difficulty has not changed.  It might be even tougher as there are so many good teams out there.

My two eldest sons started curling at the age of four.  They both curled locally for years,  coached by their father. The younger of the two was not as passionate about the sport as the elder who also went on to curl competitively including representing our area in the provincials.  Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of his dad, his curling days took a back seat to his goal of becoming a civil engineer.  Both sons learned a lot on the curling ice, including leadership, team play, and communication skills.  Both developed friendships that have lasted over the years.   In fact, my eldest son met his new wife within the first few years of his curling career.  They both still curl at the same RCC although she is currently taking a hiatus to give birth to their first child!

Gone are the days, however, where drinking beer (adults only of course) and munching on junk food after the game were the highlights of the sport, at least at the competitive level.   Today, teams and individuals are known for their fitness level, mental endurance, and strategically amazing shots.  Sorry Ed Werenich, but the days of the belly hanging over the belt as you crouch on the ice to throw your shot are long gone.

ed

 

Watching the mixed doubles category in the winter Olympics this week, it is obvious that these curlers definitely have to be physically fit athletes to compete at this level today.  With just two (traditional curling has four) curlers per team, they  are throwing a rock, then quickly jumping up to sweep it down the ice towards the house.  I broke out in a (nervous) sweat watching them, especially the gold medal game between Canada and Switzerland.  The pairing of Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes were spectacular to watch as they brought home the gold.

curlers
CBC news: Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes win Olympic gold in curling mixed doubles

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca