How Grandma danced with Gene Kelly…

In 1945 my grandmother Margaret was stationed in Washington, serving her term in the Air Force (for Canada.) She was one of 26 Canadian joint staff to be invited to attend an annual Roosevelt Ball that raised money for a charity dedicated to Polio research. They were expected to attend in full uniform, and it probably helped their cause a little with the celebrity guests while waiting for their dance cards to fill up.

While she can’t remember the names of all of the guests in attendance, she does remember Gene Kelly, Caesar Romero, Van Johnson, Diana Lynn and Margaret O’Brien. She danced with both Gene Kelly and Caesar Romera. She doesn’t have any photos from the event (silly pre-digital age), but I managed to track this photo down from the evening on one of the American history sites:

If folks track down more photos or can point me in the direction of a place where photos might exist, please do email me. I’d be interested to see them.

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“This is not flavoury…” ~Deliah

We tried the Mixed Berry & Almond Quinoa Bowl from PGEW this morning and it didn’t go well at all. The concept is a nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired. Even the grown ups found this recipe very bland. I ended up buckling and tossed 1/3 teaspoon of ground turbinado sugar in with the girls bowls (which had just over 1 cup of food in it.) Sort of the opposite effect we wanted in this little process, but if it means they’ll eat a bowl of quinoa it seems like a fair trade. The other thing we need to start remembering is that the cottage is not equipped with many cooking supplies… the presents a problem since we plan to spend time here this summer, mostly in August and early September, but making a list of what we need to bring before leaving our first stay needs to be made a priority.

Here’s what we would change for our next time:

  • vanilla, i would add a dash of vanilla to each bowl
  • lemon juice, i would add a layer of lemon and sliced orange to the berries boiling in the pan
  • quinoa, i would soak it longer than 15 minutes to get rid of the bitter taste you can get from not soaking it long enough
  • more strawberry, less blueberry… we used a mix of raspberries that were about to turn, frozen blueberries and fresh niagara berries

The recipe was very close to it’s cost estimate provided by PGEW, but the mods I would make would increase it slightly.  We also made 6 servings, and had everything on hand to use so that helps.

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Oh, Canada!

We spent yesterday with friends and family, watching fireworks from a balcony and swimming in an indoor pool… boy, life is tough

the girls enjoyed taking a break from education and spent…

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“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – La Rochefoucauld

It’s officially day one of our meal changes, eating closer to home and no take out.  I have to admit, I started the day with an epic fail in this department… Tim Horton’s is a worthy adversary in our journey to eat healthier.  While it doesn’t affect the children, it does affect me and I had already consumed about 3/4 of my coffee before I realised today was ‘the day.’

We headed out to the local farmers market to do our shopping, nothing new for us.  We typically go with one of two friends that lives within walking distance, carpooling in one of our vehicles. Here’s what we bought and a break down of our cost (in Canadian dollars) and distance from home:

  • broccoli (less than 50 miles) x 2 = $2
  • big bag o’ spinach (less than miles) = $3
  • kohlrabi (less than miles) x 3 = $1
  • pint strawberries (less than miles) x 2 = $4
  • zucchini (less than miles) x whole bunch! = $3
  • peas (less than 10 miles) x 3 pin = $3
  • raspberries (greenhouse grown less than) x 4 pint = $9
  • 2 lbs turkey sausage (local to city) = $13
  • romaine lettuce (ontario grown) x 3 heads = $4
  • tomato (ontario grown, greenhouse) x 7 = $3.50
  • a tonne of orange and red sweet peppers (ontario grown) $5
  • beets (less than 25 miles) = $1.50
  • 2 doz brown eggs, large (less than 10 miles) = $4.40
  • 10 lbs of apples (less than 100 miles, not pictured here) = $7.50
  • asparagus (less than 100 miles) = $2

Total grocery expense for about -4-5 days worth of veg and fruit and a months worth of cold meat and apples= $65.90

We also picked up some nuts and dried fruit that are not local, some regular use items earlier in the week, and there’s a lot of quinoa in our cupboard ready to use.  All in all our food budget is between $100 and $150 per week.

We’ve decided that our most difficult changes will be a summer without Starbucks, trying to find nuts/grains that are not locally grown and getting the kids to eat new veggies they haven’t tried before. We’re not pledging to eat only local, but we’re going to try local/non in the same ratio as our raw/cooked – 80/20.

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Homeschooling is hard sometimes…

but there are so many days that make even the hardest moments worth every struggle and reminds us that every success must be celebrated in full…

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Greener… healthier, starts with us

As I posted a short time ago, we’re making some big changes over the summer.  Making our lives less energy dependant, making our bodies healthier by getting rid of *all* take out (even the healthy stuff!), reducing our meat intake. We’re going fresh, local and raw where we can.

I spent most of my shopping trip to Zehrs yesterday morning looking for local options there. There wasn’t a lot of choice, in fact, aside from asking the helpful gentleman in the meat department what was local (he had a list!) I wasn’t able to find the city name of 99% of the Ontario grown produce available.

We are blessed to live so close to two outdoor/indoor farmers markets that carry CSA.  We also have a few markets within a 10 km range that openly support the 100 mile ideal of our changes.

As I mentioned, Deliah has suspect pre-diabetic symptoms and there are changes being made. We have an appointment with a friend of mine, a naturopath in Toronto that we will be seeing to help make a lot of changes for the whole family so that we’re doing this the right way. CSA is darn near impossible in the winter months here, so we’re making plans to preserve, jam, freeze and prepare food to last us in to the fall.  We don’t want to make all of these changes, only to go back to our less than healthy choices when the snow starts to fall.

For today, we’re saying good bye to the chickens… making boomerangs and plans for summer. July 1 will mark the first ‘official’ day of our changes, and you can bet we’re blogging it.

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Nom nom nom…

Tonight we made rainbow cupcakes of awesome!

To celebrate our last official day of brick and mortar school for D…

We were set to decorate them, but Bill and I decided…

that taste testing these for the sake of the children (safety, you know.)

Rest assured, the cupcake is safe for the children tomorrow… we can all sleep better knowing that.

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