Sunday, July 22, 2007

HI, You've Reached

Life and Times of Jill. No one is here to write a blog entry right now. Please leave a comment, or check back at the end of August when I get back from our summer holiday. Have a great month!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I think this is a sign of Ultimate Laziness

We had a lovely visit with our friends Arden and Judith and their son (Dave's godson) Nate last weekend. But before they came, I had to tidy our thoroughly disastrous house. So I decided to try a piece of cleaning advice I had read in a book when I was in my "researching how to keep house" phase a few years ago.

Apparently, a quick way to clean clutter is to carry a box with you. You throw everything in the box that does not belong in the room you are presently tidying in. Then, theoretically, you put all the stuff away as you get it to the room you need it in.

Well, let me tell you, it is a relatively quick and painless way to remove misplaced items from, say, your spare room in order to make it guest ready. But what do you do about the fact that the items in said basket actually belong mostly in rooms you have ALREADY tidied in? Are you actually expecting me to go BACK to the linen closet, my room and the bathroom after I have already cleaned them and put more stuff away when it is so conveniently coralled in a laundry basket? Especially when I have supper to make and my baby is getting teeth and having a growth spurt? Of course not.

What this advice leads to in my house is a number of random boxes and baskets full of out of place stuff. So when you really need the Saline Drops that were in the spare room because that's where you used them on your infant so that they wouldn't wake your sleeping toddler when you invaded their nasal passages you will no longer know where to find them. Instead of being able to think, "Oh yeah, I was in the spare room" and get them from there, you have to think "Oh yeah, they're somewhere in that basket wrapped up in a dusty blanket that is squished under five library books."

Um, maybe I should just learn to put things away after I use them. I think that will happen about when I actually start putting clean folded laundry in drawers rather than back in the basket.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

1000g of Fimo + 15 children + 1 frazzled instructor + 2 hrs of baking =

What more can I really say about this year's "Art Camp" VBS? We were understaffed and I am exhausted. I was reminded of why I don't teach elementry school. The kids loved it, the parents were happy and there is always the chance that someone will show up for Sunday School in the fall.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Help Me Out Here, People!

Art Camp (our VBS) starts tomorrow, and I am up for everything this year (singing, art sessions, stories, etc). I want to teach the kids one of my favorite songs from childhood, but I can't remember all the words. Who can fill in the blanks of this song:

If I were butterfly, I'd thank the Lord that I could fly
and if I were a fish in the sea I'd wiggle and I'd giggle and I'd squiggle with glee
and if I were a kangaroo, I'd hop right over and da da da
but I just thank you Lord for making me, me

For you gave me a heart
you gave me a smile
you gave me Jesus and
you made me his child
so I just thank you Lord for making me me

If I were . . . . da da da da I know there's a second verse somewhere
I know there's a worm and couple other things that I can't remember and they do some stuff
I know there's one more line right here but I don't know just what it is
but I just thank you Lord for making me, me

I know my second verse scans, but I don't think it would go over that well, so I'd really love it if someone could give me the rest of the words.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The perils of being lazy

Most of you know that I use cloth diapers on my boys. A little explanation: when you are using prefold diapers, you basically have a big square of fabric that you fold (don't ask me why they're called prefolds) into a diaper, attach with a snappi or some pins, and then cover with a comfy PUL waterproof cover. In most cases, if you don't feel like using a snappi, you can just put the cover on and you're good to go because the velcro on the cover holds everything together.

Yesterday, I was being an excellent parent and left both my sons watching tv while I checked the internet to find out why my Sculpey rabbit's leg fell off. I returned to find this:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Finally getting there . . .

I am finally feeling like I am a proficient quilter! I finished the blocks for baby Jeremy's quilt tonight (I can't find any nice backing fabric in town so it won't be finished until after we get back from Winnipeg and Regina where I will find something). It looks AMAZING! I'm not going to post an in progress picture becuase Jeremy's mommy reads my blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise, but it is the first quilt top that I've laid out and said "wow, I think I'm finally getting the hang of this". I felt the same way when I was cutting and piecing and pressing the blocks. I've finally got the feel for the rotary cutter so I can cut straight and for pressing open the blocks so that they don't warp and for sewing a straight quarter inch seam. I've learned what corners I can cut and what things I must do even if the are tedious in order to get a nice end product. I feel like this is the first quilt where I can really say I'm proud of my workmanship so far.

Now lets hope my machine doesn't get hungry and eat it while I'm sewing the top together or quilting it . . .

What My Son Played with Today

the broom
a bunch of flyers
a laundry basket
a stool
a toy cash register and a bunch of fabric bits
a small screwdriver for my sewing machine
a large box
my folded laundry (much to my dismay and anger)
a large umberella
his brother
two toy cars
his hard hat

This is why he's getting a box of dress up clothes that I'm buying at a thrift store and a few playsilks for his birthday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thoughts on Luxury . . .

I was at Nutter's the other day (a health food / bulk goods store) and I saw that they had some fair trade organic tea in pretty, recyclable tins. For $7.50 I could buy 22 tea bags in a reusable or recyclable tin and give the workers who grew and harvested the tea in India and Shri Lanka a fair working wage. At the grocery store I could get about 100 Tetley tea bags for the same price. I bought the fair trade tea, and it is delicious.

I found, however, that I suddenly felt the need to use my tea pot and brew the tea rather than dunking a tea bag in a mug and a sugar cube and sloshing water over it. After all, I had paid a higher price for this tea, so I decided I should make it properly and fully enjoy it. If I let my pot of tea go cold during the day, I felt the need to reheat the tea and drink it rather than just dumping it out and making a new pot.

I began to wonder why this was. Certainly, the tea was a bit more expensive, but it was far cheaper than 22 cups of Starbucks coffee. Then I realized that I was treating this tea like a luxury product rather than something I was entitled to, simply because it was beautifully packaged and thoughtfully produced.

This set my mind turning about the entire way we think and act in modern North American culture. We assume that we are entitled to a lot of things. Strawberries in February. Coffee and tea all year round. Chocolate bars whenever we want them for under a dollar. Meat at dinner time. A nicely decorated house. Flattering clothes in the latest styles. A good haircut (well, that might just be me). The list goes on and on and includes stuff, stuff and more stuff. And it had all better be reasonably priced so that we can have all our "needs" met within our budget.

My head began to spin as I considered the world wide implications of our consumer culture; the factories in China belching out smoke and pollution, the forests of the world being decimated to grow coffee, tea, and cattle, the poorly paid workers in India spending their days cranking out cheap t-shirts and cargo pants in the latest colour and length, the refrigerator trucks barrelling full tilt across the Americas carrying mangoes from Mexico to Northern Saskatchewan, the landfills stuffed with cheap plastic toys and polyester clothes that will still be there when my great great grandchildren are born.

And I began to wonder if part of the problem isn't that everything is manufactured so cheaply that it is difficult to treat it as a luxury. If I can buy a cheap t-shirt that fits for 9.99, why pay the luxury price of 30.00 to get a well tailored t-shirt made from organic cotton that will last for years? I can buy three 9.99 t-shirts for that next year. Why buy and savour one bar of belgian chocloate over a few weeks when I can pick up a Kit Kat bar at the corner store every day? Why buy one pair of well made, comfortable shoes that will last me for years when I can pick up five pairs of cool shoes for the same price and throw them out next year?

But if we were paying a fair price for a product, a price that took into consideration the value of the workers who made it and the true cost to the skies and soil of the materials in the product itself, we might treat it more carefully. We might savour and enjoy our food and treat our possesions with pride and care. If we did this, we would need to buy less because the enjoyment would not come from purchasing and having items, but from appreciating the things we consumed. And because the food would be healthy and well prepared, it would fill us up sooner. Because our clothes and furniture and houses would be well built, they would last longer. Over time, we would not have as much stuff, but the stuff we owned would be worth having. These simple things would then become luxuries.

Think of the overall, world wide impact that could be created if this mindset could become common place. Perhaps we could actually find a way of living that was sustainable for the planet and just for the people of the earth. We could learn to honour the labour of our neighbours across the world and appreciate the foods that can grown in our back yards. We could brew a pot of tea, and sit and drink it with a sense of appreciation for all that went into the making of the tea, becuase we paid a fair price for a good product.

Some days its amazing what can happen when you just open a tin of tea . . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

If Roberto Had Known . . .

that thousands of small children would be idolizing him and pretending to be him, would he have still been okay with the Mighty Machines film crew taping him tearing down a brick building with his sheer tractor? The obsession with "The Demolition Site" continues. We take it out of the library every third week (the other week some other obsessed child must have it because its often not there), and now when we watch it, Andrew says "I was watching myself in that movie, mommy. I was tearing down the building."

Here is the sheer (shear?) tractor Andrew was driving in our back yard the other day. Note the levers and construction boots.

For Anna

One of Andrew's current favorite things to do in the bathroom is spit on the mirror, so its a bit blurry, but here is the haircut. This picture kind of freaks me out, though, because I look SO much like my sister Kim in it. I think its just my expression. Anyway, its not terrible, its kind of cute, but well, is cute really what I want out of my hair? I have spent so many years being cute, can't I be something else now?

In other news, Aaron suddenly began sitting really well on his own. It was really hot today, that's why he's just in a prefold with no cover. He was thrilled to be able to play cars with the boys today.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

We had a glorious, hot Canada day around here, and since there was an eccumenical service in the park and Dave didn't have to preach it was pretty laid back. We went to the service, ate our snacks and some burgers we bought from the Boy Scouts, and watched Andrew play in the bleachers while we hung out in the shade with friends. Then there was a performance by Saskatchewan Express, I think, a troupe of young performers. They were really good, and Andrew was fascinated. He was sitting in Okert's little fold up lawn chair, with his sippy cup tucked in the side pocket, abseloutely rapt for about half and hour. It was hilarious. Aaron was happy to have so much Daddy time (he's becoming quite the daddy's boy -- he cries when Dave leaves for work, or if he sees Dave and daddy doens't pick him up or say hi) and I was happy to have free arms for a while and a chance to wear my new tiered skirt I bought last summer (which finally looks kind of okay on me). So all in all it was a great day. Andrew fell asleep in the car on the way home and miraculously, woke up HAPPY from a nap, then went to the park with Dad, and I got to play some baby games with Aaron without having another boy plunked on my lap insisting that I should read books. It was very relaxing.

Happy birthday, Canada!