Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lovely Tuesdays....

Monday was one of those days that crystallized to me how stressed out I am. Things that normally would roll of my back now weigh me down. However, with that said, today was a lovely day!

Shane & Alli dropped by and we had fun sitting around the kitchen table eating up all the left over breakfast food and deserts and drinking tea...well except for Alli, she had some pepsi as she needed caffeine...straight up...she is renovating...enough said! I had been missing them and the ease in which we could all just hang out when they were staying here! I miss the casual chats and laughs we'd have....but I also love how they have such a lovely new home where they are planting their roots for a great life here in Canada~

Then I went directly to my sil's new house to attend a church gathering being hosted next door at Jill's house. Jill was having a "school's out for summer" party and all the kids from church were invited. I have never attended one of these gatherings...mainly because I am such a slacker at remembering things and get frazzled trying to get ou the door.

It turned out to be a lot of fun and very relaxing. When I have those opportunities to just sit and chat with people from our church one on one versus on Sunday when it is so hectic, I am reminded how amazingly beautiful they are as individuals...not that I don't know is one of the things that has kept me attending church...but having the opportunity to just sit in a relaxed setting is so nice. I enjoy their company!

I'm not one to walk up to a group and just start at church I tend to skip coffee break. But, by attending the parties and gatherings you do get time to chat and get to know one another. I also realized that maybe it is important to not keep things to myself...maybe being part of a group of amazing woman and men allows you to share things you think you have to handle yourself. I was raised contrary to that and to keep a stiff upper lip....yet I have no expectations of that for anyone else but myself!

The day ended with another church event (don't I sound churchy) where a lady is raising money to go to Cambodia for one week. It was to be a night of music, food and a silent auction. Well, I am hoping I might have won one item from an amazing wood carver Edwin Russo who attends our church. I actually purchased one of his tall wood carvings of a woman carved out of a log many years ago now.... She has been a source of pleasure for me for the last five years! This photo shows you her amazing face. She greets you when you come to my front door!

The music was great except for the first lady. It isn't that she wasn't good...she was...but my niece Kristen had tagged along with me after I had told her she would like the music and that it would be fairly hip and young...well, this woman started off with this solemn song of the lord's prayer A-cappella. Ella my four year old, started giggling and then I find myself laughing inwardly and it only gets worse because the room was so quiet and I kept trying to distract ella and myself with her styrofoam cup. I carved pictures using my nail but everytime I looked up I could see certain people in our church with this funny look on their faces and I just knew they found it different from what we are accustomed to....I was so embarrassed, but I had to leave with ella! I wasn't sure what she was going to say next and I knew I was about to burst out loud laughing! I think after this past week, I kinda had a laughing breakdown!

So, just a ramble about my day and a reminder that every day is a new day filled with many opportunities for laughter and friendship.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I cut this article from my weekly email from NB Women’s News. I often disagree with them, it is a 50/50 thing...but this was very interesting!

… Although child rearing is a job, which, if done properly, benefits the family and the nation, the bulk of the responsibility for undertaking it sits on a mother's shoulders. Even as we bemoan our plummeting birth rate … everything is designed to force women to choose between work and kids - and to penalize them if they choose kids. These days, it's not just a matter of a woman wanting children; it's a matter of wanting them at the expense of everything else she's worked for. To date, women have tried to cope with this impossible framework by (having) everything at once. But younger women are … focusing in their 20s on career and deferring family until well into their 30s (when) they'll have enough cash and job-related goodwill socked away to "opt out" of work for a few years. (But) a highly educated woman is less likely to take that route once she hits her 30s …

Faced with a … crisis in which the suppliers (women) have the capacity to meet demand (for babies) but are opting not to … about every country in the developed world has implemented some policy or incentives. … The most successful policies have one thing in common: they don't try to pay women to procreate. Rather, they facilitate the careers of mothers: the more value a society places on women's work inside and outside of the home, the more likely she is to want to contribute meaningfully in both spheres. Take some of the load off of her shoulders so that children become everybody's responsibility. Who would have thought that the most economically sound solution to a fertility crisis would be rooted in good old-fashioned feminism?

The most promising recent case study is that of France, where the government has successfully sparked a baby boom by implementing a series of generous incentives for parents. The more children a couple has, the more money they keep in their pockets; a monthly $400 allowance is bumped up when the child reaches 11; a state-run crèche system where parents can leave toddlers at a moment's notice. Families with 3 or more kids are eligible for zero income tax, subsidized rent and transportation, parental leaves can extend for years. In 2 years, France's fertility rate has gone from 1.8 to 2. Almost 80% of French women work. France is on track to become Europe's most powerful economy by 2035. …

The countries that have the worst work-life policies have falling fertility rates. The countries that are doing reasonably well have an attitude that it takes a community to raise a child. Our model in North America is, ‘You decided to have a child … don't expect us to help you.' But we extol family values …' The one exception is Québec …that has been trying to boost its population with progressive policies ($7/day child care, non-taxable child benefit, expanded employment insurance).

- Making moms, Lianne George, Macleans, 28 May 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nestlé products to boycott in Canada

These are Nestlé's main brand names. Some of their products have different individual names but most of them fall under these brand categories. The company is constantly buying and selling brands, however, so when in doubt, simply check the product's label. Often, the Nestlé logo will not appear, but usually the Nestlé name can be found in the fine print.

Nescafé, Taster's Choice, Ricore, Ricoffy, Nespresso, Bonka, Zoégas, Loumidis.

Nestlé PURE LIFE, Nestlé Aquarel, Perrier, Evian, Montclair, Vittel, Contrex, S. Pellegrino, Acqua Panna, Levissima, Vera, Viladrau, Arrowhead, Poland Spring, Santa Maria, La Vie, Deer Park, Al Manhal, Ozarka, Hepar, Aberfoyle.

Other Beverages:
Nestea, Nesquik, Nescau, Milo, Carnation, Libby's, Caro.

Shelf Stable Dairy Products:
Nestlé, Nido, Nespray, Ninho, Carnation, Milkmaid, La Lechera, Moca, Klim, Gloria, Svelty, Molico, Nestle Omega Plus, Bear Brand, Coffee-mate, LC1, Chmyto La Laitiere, Sveltesse, Yoco.

Breakfast Cereals:
Nestlé, Nestlé Quik.

Infant Foods:
Nestlé (this includes Good Start, SMA, Follow-Up, Follow-Up Soy, Alsoy, Nursoy, Nestlé Baby Cereal), Nan, Lactogen, Beba, Nestogen, Cérélac, Neslac, Nestum, Guigoz.

Performance Nutrition:

HealthCare Nutrition:
Nutren, Peptamen, Modulen.

Culinary Products:
Maggi, Buitoni, Thomy, Winiary.

Frozen Foods:
Maggi, Buitoni, Stouffer's, Hot Pockets.

Ice Cream:
Nestlé, Frisco, Motta, Camy, Savory, Peters, Haagen Dasz, Movenpick.

Refridgerated Products:
Nestlé, Buitoni, Herta, Toll House.

Chocolate, Confectionary, and Biscuits:
Nestlé, Crunch, Cailler, Galak/Milkybar, KitKat, Quality Street, Smarties, Baci, After Eight, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Lion, Aero, Polo, Frutips.

Food Services and Professional Products:
Chef, Davigel, Minor's, Santa Rica.

Pet Care:
Friskies, Fancy Feast, Alpo, Mighty Dog ,Gourmet, Mon Petit, Felix, Purina Dog Chow, Pro Plan, ONE, Beneful, Tidy Cats.

Pharmaceutical Products:
Alcon, Galderma.

L'Oreal, Laboratoires Innéov, Maybelline, Garnier, Lancome, Biotherm, Ralph, Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Guy Laroche, Matrix, Redken.

For a more complete list of Nestle Products, and other information about the company, please visit:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nasty Nestle!

International Nestlé-Free Week, July 2-8 2007

INFACT Canada has long supported the international boycott of Nestlé products. As the campaign’s coordinator in North America, we are very excited to announce that this year, July 2-8 has been declared International Nestlé-Free Week.

According the the World Health Organisation (WHO) 1.5 million babies die every year as a result of inappropriate feeding practices. Many of these deaths occur in impoverished nations as a result of infant formula use. Despite this, Nestlé continues to aggressively adverstise its baby milks in breach of international standards.

Monitoring by groups on the ground around the world shows Nestlé is responsible for more violations than any other company. That's why it is singled out for boycott action.

If you don't boycott Nestlé already, we ask that you consider looking at the evidence and giving up Nestlé products for one week, at least.

Boycott groups around the world have declared 2-8 July to be International Nestlé-Free Week.

The boycott has forced some changes from the company, but Nestlé is still a long way from complying with marketing standards that will save infant lives. Campaigners are also working for laws which implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. Nestlé can be forced to comply if it is given no choice, but without pressure it continues to put its own profits before infant health and mothers' rights.

You can find out more information and look at the evidence yourself on the Baby Milk Action website at:
You can sign up there to support the boycott.

You can also visit

It is important to tell Nestlé you will be boycotting it, whether it is just for the week, or indefinitely, until it accepts and acts on the plan put to it by boycott groups for saving infant lives.

You can telephone Nestlé Infant Nutrition in Canada at 1 800 387-5536. In the USA, their contact number is 1-800-225-2270. You can also send them an email through their website at Let them know you won’t fund their unethical marketing of infant formula.

Ben Spurr
416 595-9819

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This is one of my favourite photos of my four brothers! This was taken just before my brothers were to leave for Cornwallis, NS as they had just joined the military. It was the last time we would all live under one roof. Just recently my older brother John moved back with his family and we are all living close by again!

Time has past...we have all changed....except how close we all are. We may disagree with one another on issues of politics, faith etc..., but I know that my back is covered should I ever need help and I still love and adore them deeply!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day.....

Well, today was Father's Day and as usual we were at church without Andy because he was at work! I know some people would say that maybe today he should have been home...but try raising a family of six plus two pets, mortgage, car payment and three very hungry growing boys and extended family and friends with birthdays and get togethers, you quickly realize that your pay cheque never makes it to the next pay!

When I was a silly 19 year old, I recognized in Andy that he would be a great dad someday! For me, that was a big deal...because the character of a man is often shaped through raising children. I was on the look out, even then, for any signs that he might not have the patience to be a good loving father!

We have had many rough times over the past 20 years, many of our friends know we bicker like Archie Bunker and Archie Bunker...but we love each other deeply and compliment one another as each of us bolsters the other in our craziness! He has always been and always will be my very best friend!

Over the years I have seen him support, nurture, encourage, discipline, laugh with, play with and love his children beyond measure! Our goal is that someday, our kids will look forward to coming home for Sunday won't be something they feel obligated to do but want to do! I believe Andy has nurtured that and continues to do so.

He has given up so many things over the years to pay for things that would allow the kids to play a certain sport, or do a certain thing or for me to stay home and raise them. We both knew that having one income meant carrying debt that has at times worn us down...worn him down with worry....but he seldom complains and considers himself lucky to have a great job with opportunities to work overtime to get ahead of the bills!

So, my husband doesn't have a lot of time for hobbies or persuing his dreams for right now...but he will someday when life slows down. For now, he finds a lot of joy in hanging out with his kids, sometimes cranky wife, really great friends and family!

Happy Father's Day Andy!

My Mother is Going to Church Today....

Just writing that statement is amazing...our family is the type that treats church as a place you go for weddings, baptisms, and donate money so that you can have the appropriate church funeral...and that is about it.

Don't get me parents believe in God and Jesus...but to them...religion and church equals bondage and strife. This was why we left Northern Ireland to get away from the troubles and to close the door on "religion" and church.

So, for the few readers that actually read my might know about my lovely friends Shane & Alli who stayed with us when they moved here from NI. During their seven week stay, yard sales started and they started tagging along with me and my mum. This was really how my mum got to know them better. So, yesterday I mentioned that Shane would be speaking at our church and I jokingly said she should come and hear Shane speak...and as non-committal as ever she said she might.

Well, to my surprise, she just called and is coming with me to check him out! I think it is a hoot! Shane, you should take this as a true honour because in our house...this is a big deal! Now I just have to send up prayers that no one in our churh acts "funny" in that religious way....oh this is going to be good.....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dandelions: Time to throw in the trowel

Dandelions can bring out such passionate responses and actions in what appears to be perfectly normal people! Yet, to a child...they are magical! Particularily, during this time of year when they go to seed. They become these magical white fluffy flowers waiting to be picked by eager hands to blow upon and watch in awe as the cloud of white fluffy seeds sail off into the sunshine!

This is the time of year where ella will pick me dozens before the day is out. Each time I receive her gift I react with feigned surprise and joy! As she gets older...she will stop picking them because she will learn that picking a dandelion means you might pee the bed!

So, why am I sitting here writing about dandelions....well I was reminded of all their possibilites from an article at CBC. This humble or not so humble weed makes avid gardeners sneak into other peoples gardens to snip the heads off the offending plants...others will spray yucky pesticides to kill them....forgetting that kids and animals like to play on the lawn and in turn absorb some of the poisons. Or, maybe when our ground waters finally become affected people might try to change. All over a weed and a desire for fake green perfect lawns!

I personally, have enjoyed plucking dandelions from the root! When I have to be outside with ella or when my boys were little....I would either putter around in my flower beds or pluck dandelions from the roots! You always felt so good when you actually removed one completely intact from the root!

Dandelions have many medicinal uses...and the leaves are great in salads! In fact, half a cup of dandelion leaves has more calcium than one glass of milk...though try telling that to a kid! The article at CBC should remind us all that we all have a responsibility to be gentle on the environment and to relax. Dandelions are invasive...but if you look at all the might actually like least until you mow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If you can read this....

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Friday, June 08, 2007

You Know You're a Maritimer When . . .

Swimming in the very chilly Bay of Fundy at high tide!

I found this list on Facebook...I thought it was hilarious because I just kept nodding and laughing in agreement!

Description: You don't have to be from the maritimes per say, join this group if . . .

1. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to
pass a tractor on the highway.

2."Vacation" means going to Moncton for the weekend.

3. You measure distance in hours.

4.You know several people who have hit a deer.

5. You often switchfrom "Heat" to "A/C" in the same day.

6. You use a down filled comforter in the summer.

7. Your Grandparents drive 100 kmthrough 13 feet of snow during raging blizzard without flinching.

8. You see people wearing hunting clothes at social events.

9.You install security lights on both your house and garage and goand leave both unlocked.

10. You think of the major food groups as: Meat, Fish and Tim Hortons.

11. You carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them.

12. There are seven empty cars running in the parking lot of the Canadian Tirestore at any given time.

13. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

14. Driving is better in thewinter because the potholes are filled with snow.

15. Your lingerie consists of tube socks and flannel pajamas. 16. You knowall 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter andConstruction.

17. It takes three hours to go to the store for one item, even when you're in a hurry because you have to stop and
talk to everybody in town.

And Finally: You know you live inthe Maritimes when...

18. You actually understand these jokes and
forward them to all your friends from the Maritimes.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Afghan Radio Reporter Shot Dead

I just have to share this article as it is so painful to think of these brave woman being murdered for speaking out against incredible

A female owner of a radio station in Afghanistan has been shot dead.
Zakia Zaki was shot seven times, including in the chest and head, as she slept with her 20-month-old son at her home north of Kabul, officials say.

The governor of Parvan province, where the attack took place, told the BBC he did not know who killed her. No one has admitted carrying out the attack.

Her murder came just days after a woman newsreader was killed for reasons which were described as "family-related".

'Act of terror'

The Parvan governor, Abdul Jabbar Taqwa, visited the scene of the killing in the town of Jabal as Siraj, about 70km (40 miles) north of the capital.

He said the attackers were three men armed with pistols and rifles, who broke into Ms Zaki's house and got into the bedroom.

An older son, aged three, was with her at the time of the attack, but none of her six children was injured.

The Interior Ministry condemned what it called "this act of terror" and said it was trying to track down the perpetrators.

Zakia Zaki, was 35 years old and worked as a reporter and a schoolteacher.

She was one of the few female journalists in the country to speak out during the Taleban's rule.

She had also headed the US-funded station, Radio Peace, since it opened after the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kabul says that at times Ms Zaki criticised the former mujahideen, some of who have been implicated in war crimes.

Observers say that the motive behind the murder is far from clear, and a massive police operation is now underway to identify and arrest the killers.

'Freedom of expression'

Zakia Zaki started her radio career eight years ago. At the time Parvan province was one of the few areas in the country to be controlled by anti-Taleban forces.

The Independent Association of Afghan Journalists has condemned the murder, describing it as an example of how difficult the working environment has become for journalists and especially for women.

"She believed in freedom of expression, that's why she was killed," the association's head Rahimullah Samander told Reuters.

The group said she had received threats in the past but had no personal enemies.

The killing comes six days after the shooting dead of another Afghan woman working in journalism, a 22-year-old newsreader from a private television station, Shakiba Sanga Amaj.

According to senior police sources in Kabul, her father has blamed two male relatives and one person has been arrested.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/06/06 12:26:54 GMT

Pieces to a Puzzle

You know, as an old person at the grand old age of 41 (or so my friend Shane likes to call me, to make himself feel young) you begin to realize that what seemed like the smallest of decisions made when we were young, that we thought didn't mean a thing....really do shape your future.

It isn't till later, when you realize that every decision, no matter how small...acts as small piece in the jigsaw puzzle which shapes your life. I can now, more clearly see, how choices I made in my early twenties sent me in directions that I never imagined going...or how choices made lead you down paths you never intended to go.

Like everyone, I have regrets...I really wish I could go back in time and take back comments, opinions, actions and fears. I wish I could have been stronger or braver...heck I wish I could have been more free spirited instead of the old soul that I was and to a degree still am. I wish I could choose to do things differently which may have changed the outcome of who I am today....where I am today. I wish I could reach out to people I truly loved and be their anchor in the storm.

I am not talking about my husband or kids...those are choices I would never fact, if I hadn't experienced some of the struggles that I did, I never would have recognized the kind, loving man I married. I would never have the amazingly beautiful, loving kids that I have and for that I am truly blessed. When I doubt my place before God I need only look at the faces of my children and I believe that God would never have given them to just anybody...he trusted me to do a good job by them.

But, life has a way of reconnecting, colliding, even if you don't want it to...I never imagined it would...but it does. The trick is figuring out how to fit it into the puzzle pieces already in place. Is there a spot for it, will it fit in and become part of me...or will I get to toss it aside hoping it isn't an important piece...or better yet, a piece I can slip in at the end....when I'm truly old and hopefully more forgiving of myself.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Quiet Morning, New Beginnings

I got up around 7am this morning to enjoy the quiet! Andy is at work, the kids are asleep.... and I am enjoying an amazing cup of coffee from fresh ground beans! My splurge is to eat buttered whole wheat toast with jam!

The day will be a busy one as my brother his wife and two kids have moved down here from Edmonton and I will be seeing a few of the houses they are interested in. They are facing ahuge upheaval moving across the country, starting over! But, we will be there for them in whatever way we can. They also brought their four adorable pets...two dogs and two cats!

Shane & Alli have just moved into their new home. The guy that they bought the house from left it very dirty and I think the enormity of their project is hitting them. Our house feels emptier since they left...we will miss them and their boundless energy! The nice thing is...they aren't to far and they can still crash here if things get to messy or they want to get away from the mess! Oh, and they got a dog...the most amazingly, beautiful dog that they named Gretchen!

I've been busy with my brother and at the same time feeling extremely tired...worn out. I had thought I would be helping Shane & Alli clean but I don't have the time or energy! But, today I feel better and I will soon be heading to church. I have Ella's quilt out on the line and another load of laundry to go on. I love hanging clothes on the line...I love the peacefulness on a quiet morning of hanging clothes out.
I am really enjoying having my niece and nephew here. Hopefully next week I can take Kristen out shopping. They are amazing kids with great personalities. I especially admire Mathew who has faced many challenges growing up. He seems to have kept his sparkly wit and sense of humour and a gentleness which I see displayed when he is with Ella.

Oh, and the other highlight this weekend was winning one of David Hayward's paintings on ebay. I am watching a couple other ones and want to buy them too! I have a little bit of cash sitting in my paypal from when I sold back in April. So, buying a painting is a fun way to treat myself! You should check out his art as he is an amazing artist!