Friday, December 2, 2011


Well it has been almost a month since we have been to Cayo Coco, Cuba and I want to go back!! What a simply beautiful place to visit. Wonderful people, amazing weather, Cuban cigars and beaches. What more could you ask for? I never thought in a million years I would be travelling to Cuba, let alone for an all inclusive vacation. We paid $2400 for a family of 4 and it was worth every penny because we had a great time and it was no worries while we were there. The only thing we had to worry about was what to eat? What to drink? Hang out in the pool or beach and how late we stayed up. Lots of food, lots to drink and relaxing at it's finest.

I would love to go back but minus the kids. We loved having them there and they didn't slow us down or get in the way. They were very good and only had about an hour of meltdown on one day and that was it. They were so good and it was great seeing how excited they were. But to go back and have time to go to the club, drink more, and not have to worry about the kids getting into trouble in the ocean or pool would be nice. I am so glad they got to go and experience it with us. It made the whole trip seeing how happy they were.

We have already said we would love to go back to the Blau Colonial and hopefully some friends could join us. It would be great to go and hang out with friends and drink and dance and just have fun! Nicole and I would go together but it would be nice to have some friends with us to hangout with.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Healthy Eating

I have been trying to instill with the girls how important it is to eat healthy now. My parents did the best the could have and gave us great meals. Nothing that was unhealthy but maybe more of moderation would have been better. My mom did pack some less than healthy snacks in my lunch for school but I was active and playing hockey and softball until 16 or so. I am not blaming her because I have continued the same hard wired habits. Something I am hoping I can rewire by forcing myself to go with fresh and healthy instead of quick and fatty.

I don't eat very much fast food but do pick the worst times to snack and that is my downfall along with moderation. I have been more of moderation and this is going to help. I am working on the healthy combinations. I did today swap out a can of habitant soup and crackers for a nice salad with chick peas, mushrooms, and cucumber. Along with baby carrots and an apple. Water to drink and no pop even though it is on sale this week and I would love an ice cold pop! I bought a lot of veggies and fruit today but still bought some not so healthy items such as frozen pizza's and the soup. I did try a more organic and natural eating lifestyle, but it is hard to go from quick and easy with working to making dinner once you get home and hungry. I would like to not spend 2 hours making a meal and the kids are hungry also and tend to complain about no food. I am trying a new method. I am cutting celery and leaving it in water in the fridge for a quick snack and they can have that with a little peanut butter for a snack while we make dinner.

I have to rewire myself and make sure I send them on the right path to good eating and exercise so they don't become a statistic like I am. I'm not down on myself but the kids look at me as an example and I need to show them the right way now instead of 10 years down the road. This week we have done almost nothing for exercise and I need to push them with myself to get out and go. Walking, playing soccer, running, riding bikes and other things can get them out and interested. They had a great year of soccer and really enjoyed it. Zoey scored a goal her second last game which I missed because of work but was able to see all but one game for both her and Hailey. Hailey is a good runner and has some skill kicking the ball and keeping it in her feet. We will see if they want to keep playing indoor this winter because it is a great sport for them to improve and was very cheap to put them in.

We will again look at a membership to the rec center because the girls can swim as well as join classes for more activities. With Nicole working straight days, it is easier for them to join after school programs now that one of us has a normal work schedule. They are also going to be starting the biggest loser competition at work and for a $50 buy in I could walk away with $500+ depending on how many people enter. Since I am on a health kick it might be a good way to stay motivated and make $450+!!

I'll keep you posted....


Monday, August 8, 2011

Not an excuse

I have had a few people tell me that I can't use my kids as an excuse. Not recently but ever since I became a parent. This always comes from people who don't have kids and are either single or in a relationship. My first reaction is to laugh so I don't reach out and smack them in the mouth! First of all to all my best friends and close friends who have kids, you know what I am talking about when I say our day begins and ends with our kids. We loved them from the first minute we saw them and cannot imagine life without them. I enjoy spending time with the girls and I know we have fun together because they tell me. I get up in the morning and they are there to greet me with a "hi dad!" or "Daddy? Are you awake?" and that is the best wake up. I also love reading to them before bedtime and kissing them and tucking them in. I always tell them how much I love them and tell them goodnight.

Now not everyone can understand how much time and energy kids take and babysitting them doesn't even come close. You have to live with kids for at least 2 weeks to get a feel of what it is like to be a parent and experience how tiring it can be. I wouldn't trade it in for anything. I love my peace and quiet too but love to hear them laugh and feel their warm hugs more than anything in the world. That is something that I will miss when they grow up and move away. Maybe that's why I cherish it so much now. Maybe that's why I get so defensive when people say "Don't use you kids as an excuse." They are not an excuse and never will be. I do get tired and get cranky sometimes but if I was ever given a choice to be childless again my answer is never. I often sit and watch this girls play or do various things and remember what it was like to be a kid. I love seeing myself in the girls and it does scare me because I remember what I was like as a kid. I don't need a boy to carry on my family name because they are a part of me and that will be passed down for as long as they have kids and so on and so forth.

I might just tell someone what I really think the next time I hear someone say "Don't use you kids as an excuse." Maybe they will see a side of me that rarely comes out but can be as nasty as they come. Any proud parent will tell you the same thing. Protecting you children is the most important thing to you. You want to pick them up when they are hurt and encourage them when they are doing well. Nothing will make a more lasting impression on your kids then you. I know my parents did and regardless if it was good or bad I still carry it with me to make me a better parent and person. I do feel sorry for people without kids to a certain extent and not in a bad way but sorry that they haven't yet experienced what we

A new life. One filled with hope for a future and eagerness to learn and be like mom or dad. A life to grow into and become their own person and stand on their own. We will always be there for them and never turn our backs on them no matter what because we also have hope. We hope they will be better than us and be more than what we are because we want the best for our children. Not and excuse but a choice, to be a parent and devote 24 hours a day to them from birth to our end on this planet. Life is what we have given so we could have more in our lives because we have chosen this and this is what I wanted. This is what I can't live without....Kids!

This is what I get when I am tired and working overnights....sappy!!!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekend Getaway.

Friday we will be heading to Kingston, Ontario for a little getaway. We will be going to Boldt Castle and a boat cruise. Should be fun and runs for 5 hours.
I am looking forward to going and have seen the castle before from a distance before but never been on the island. It will take up most of our day Saturday from 10am-3pm so hopefully the girls will enjoy it. I might see if there is anything else we can do but that is something we can wing. The boat tour launches from Gananoque so we need to get up early and get to the harbour early. We also need passports since the island is on the American side of the waterway. We will see how it goes. I'm looking for a nice dinner after and will do some looking around but may end up cheaping out with pizza and wings!!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm back!!

It has been a few months since I have been a blogging because of work and the summer. Wanting to spend more time outside and less inside has pulled me from the computer. Our garden has grown so much bigger than I would have imagined. The girls are really enjoying soccer and Hailey has taken to it faster than Zoey. Zoey is a great player and is more balanced than Hailey. Hailey is all about scoring and Zoey tries to play defence and offense.

We are planning a vacation to Kingston in August to go to Boldt castle and maybe Fort Henry. Then off to the cottage in Dummer township. Our big vacation is hopefully going to be down south in Cuba, Mexico or anywhere that is all inclusive and lots of booze!!! Lots of projects around the house that need to get done and with this massive heat wave and humidity, it is going to be tough. I have to dig down and patch a crack in the foundation that weeps in heavy rain but is okay when it rains less. I also have to re-caulk around our bay windows in the back of the house. We had the driveway sealed for $100 which was a great deal. They also fixed the cracks before spraying.

Well it is late and right now as I look at the clock it is 1:46am. I have to head home from work in about 10 minutes and should roll in around 2:30am. Then settle down and head to bed by 3:00am if I am lucky. Might have to have some rye and coke for a night cap!!

Anyway, I will update a little sooner then months. Tonight I am hoping to make curry chicken with peas and rice. A friend at work gave me a recipe to try. He gave me the very basic items needed but won't give me his exact measurements. His Jamaican curry is good because i have tried it before. I may not make it but I plan on it. I will see what Nicole feels like.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden Planting Box Project #2

I am moving right along here! Faster than I thought because I tend to over think but for the most part it is very important. I don't want to screw it up and have to make it again. Enough of that.

So today I went to Lowes to price my material for my planting box. I should have gone there last because they were by far the cheapest. Let me just say something....FUCK YOU HOME DEPOT!! Okay! Now that is out of my system. Let me explain a little. Home Depot has a policy about price matching and then beating it by 10% IF it is the same product. I guess when it comes to wood it is a different story. It is managers discretion because Home Depot has superior quality of wood compared to everyone else and they must have a whole forest to themselves to make this statement. Just what I was told....other than the forest part! They also don't beat it and give you the 10% on lumber because they have amazing lumber that can only be found at Home Depot!

So I left and went back to Lowes to gather my materials. I bought 6 - 1X6X6 fence boards and 1 - 2X2X8 so I could cut it for corner supports and keep the boards together. I also bought 1 1/2 inch deck screws to put it all together and had some wood glue to use also. extremely easy to make and not much effort. I built it in about 1 hour without any help. Here are my steps.

1.   Get a cold beer from the fridge and open it to take a sip. Good way to start a project!
2.   Measure 2 1X6X6 fence boards to the 3 foot mark to cut in half. These will be your end pieces.
3.   Make sure the ends are all the same length and trim if some are a little off like mine where.
4.   Have some more beer and make sure you have at least 2 more in the fridge or one in the freezer.
5.   Take the 2X2X8 and measure it to the size of 2 boards placed side by side. Should be about 10 inches.
6.   Cut 6 pieces to hold the corners and middle of the sides together. Set aside.
7.   Take 2 end pieces you cut and lay them down to make sure they fit together nicely without too much of a
      gap between the boards.
8.   Place wood glue on 2 of the 2X2X8 pieces and place on the ends of the boards. Screw into place.
9.   Once the pieces are screwed and glued do the other end the same way. The ends should now measure
      3 feet wide by 10 inches high.
10. Place 2 full 1X6X6 side by side and glue and screw one end onto one side. Repeat for the other end.
11. Place the other 2 boards on the other side and glue and screw them into place.
12. Take the 2 extra 2X2X8 pieces you cut and glue and screw them into the middle of the full boards for        support and stability.

I will post pictures soon. I have jiffy pots with peas, carrots and tomatoes sprouting up already. I also bought some jalapeno plants and yellow onion plants. I have yet to plant the watermelon or sunflowers or garlic. Looking forward to growing some fresh veggies in our backyard!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Rock Garden Project #1

So we have been researching rock gardens and everyone is different and look nice in any shape or size. The trick is making sure you have a solid base and go from there. It is simple. Dig out an area that you would like to have your rock garden. Dig about 10-12 inches of soil in the area you choose and then place a solid base. It is recommended to use old concrete or bricks or old patio slabs to have as your base. Then put sand over the base layer to help drainage. Then place your large rocks in your garden and position them in any way you like. Once you have the large rocks set in place you put a mixture of the following. 1 part top soil, 1 part peat moss and 1 part pea gravel. This helps with the richness of the soil and drainage. Place the mixture into your garden and level. Place medium and smaller stones in your garden and remember to leave pockets for plants. The purpose of the rock garden is to create one of two things. A beautiful garden with flowers or an arctic type landscape with lots of sun and little water. We decided to do the arctic landscape and that is why we opted for the drainage. Our plants are good in 6+ hours of sun with little water. If you want to change what you are planting then you adjust the pea gravel in the mixture so it will hold more water.

Once you have planted your garden, place wood chips over the garden to give it a nice finished look. We went with a hazel colour for ours. we are also not finished. We love what we have done but will add more curves to the garden and not have such a straight edge to it. We collected our rocks from the beach at Lake Ontario so we did some really heavy lifting but saved some money in the process.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ana White?

Yes Ana White! I had never heard of her or her blog but now am a huge fan. You have to see it to really get a sense of what she has done for the average DIY homeowner. Not only does she post what she has made herself at home, she lays out every little step so you can't screw it up. She tells you what to buy, what items you need in the way of screws or nails and a cutting guide. There is also a visual step by step in showing how to put it together.

She has a $10 cedar planting box that should cost $10 but cedar is not $2 per board but I will still make the planting box. I might use cedar or pressure treated but I will make the box. She also has instructions on beds, shelves, tables, stools, chairs, storage and anything else you can make with wood! Check out her site because I have yet to go through everything. You can make the majority of the furniture in your home thanks to her.

We also have just finished our first project of 2011 around the house. A rock garden at the front of the house which took some research but turned out fantastic. Not that hard to do and thanks to living near lake ontario, free rocks of all sizes to fill our rock garden. The big ones we needed were a bitch to carry and a real workout but Nicole and I both completed the project together and quickly. It also helped that I was able to buy a tipping wheelbarrow off Kijiji that retails for $300 for $50.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Date Night

Wednesday April 20th, Nicole and I are having a bit of a date night with another couple we are friends with. We are going to see Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy at the GM Centre in Oshawa. I hope to laugh my ass off and have a great time. I love comedy shows but we don't get to go enough. We did hit Yuk Yuks in Niagara Falls when we had a night away last year and had lots of fun. Hopefully some dinner before the show but if the other couple can't commit then Nicole and I will have a nice meal out. We haven't been able to get out and have a night or even a few hours alone so it is nice and we need to do more of it. I love the kids but we need time to talk and enjoy each other.

The reviews for the comedy show are really good and if you haven't had the chance, watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on DVD. It features Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry. Absolutely hilarious. I think they also have a second DVD but can't remember.

If you love to laugh and listen to some really funny comics then these guys are for you. I highly recommend the DVD and will let you know how the show goes. I am really excited and can't wait to see the show. We have seats up on the sides which are about 1 section away from the stage so we are getting a great view.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Beer Can Chicken

Ah yes! To quote Homer Simpson! I found this to be the most fool proof way to cook a chicken and really have amazing juicy chicken. I looked on the Internet last night to get an idea of what people are doing to cook their beer can chicken. Not much to say. Chicken, rub, beer, oil. That is basically it! Now I will walk through the first ever beer can chicken and definitely not the last that I cooked hours ago on the BBQ.

I took the chicken out of the fridge and remove any unwanted organs. Washed the chicken in cold water and patted dry with a paper towel. I took out my beer can chicken stand which is a dish about 2 inches deep and has a 3 legs to support the chicken and hold the beer can. Awesome little invention I must say. Now hear come the first and best part. Open a can of beer and drink half. Yes! Drink before we get into the cooking but this is prepping believe it or not! I added 3 cloves of garlic to the beer which I read would give it some flavour. I also read to place chopped course onion up in the top of the chicken so it sits on top of the beer can. This also gives it flavour. Place the beer can into the dish and place the 3 legs into the slots so they clip in. I guess the beer can will hold up the chicken but I had the dish so I'm using it! Rub some olive oil on the chicken and then apply your favourite rub or make one up that smells good! Preheat the BBQ to around 350 degrees with one side on only. I guess mine was about there but can't say for sure. Once the temperature gauge on your BBQ has settled after about 10 minutes place the chicken over the side of the BBQ that has no heat. We are cooking indirect baby!! Cook between 60-90 minutes. I also basted the chicken after 30 minutes with butter. Then again at an hour but took the drippings from the pan and basted with them! Oh yeah...that pan came in handy alright!!! When you think it is done then take it inside to cool down before you try to remove the chicken from the beer can. Very hot can and pan!! Rip that chicken off the can and dig in!!

Now the chicken was incredibly juicy and I stabbed it with my BBQ fork and clear juices squirted out of it like a woman having an orgasm...or so I hear!! LOL. I also gave it a little cut to make sure the chicken was cooked. I would have used a thermometer if I had one for meat but that will be my goal tomorrow when I run around doing errands! I cooked an 8-10 pound chicken and it was about 90 minutes or so. I also turned the chicken when I basted at 30 minutes, 60 minutes and then it was every 10 minutes until the 90 minutes. Now this chicken was very moist but not much flavour. I used an epicure spice called red garlic which is very tasty on the skin but doesn't get into the meat. I will be injecting a marinade next time to see what that is like. The girls loved the chicken and we did also. No complaints but now it is experimenting time since I did a pretty good job on the beer can chicken. Now to try injection to see what that might do!!!

More to come....


1 - 8-10 pound whole chicken
1 - can of Miller Genuine Draft
1/2 - cooking onion
2 - Tbsp olive oil
3 - cloves of garlic
many - dashes of red garlic spice over chicken

A must try and if I would have known how amazingly easy this was I would be cooking all my chicken like this!!


Friday, March 4, 2011

The Sugar Bush

Well it is that time of year again when the sun stays out longer and longer and the snow melts away. The birds come back to build a nest and the days begin to feel warmer and warmer. With the impending approach of spring around the corner, also comes a fun family activity. The sugar bush. Yes it is that time honoured tradition that brings the yummy sweet maple sap to a boiler to be made into maple syrup. I'm not talking about the Aunt Jemima crap (it is tasty) but the real pure maple syrup. This is made from collecting the sap from maple trees in the spring when the sap begins to run. It is water like and carries some wonderful sugars that once transformed, bring a new life to pancakes, donuts and coffee to name a few.

In college, I went to a sugar bush to shoot a segment for a local TV show we produced in the college. It turned out to be a wonderful day. We saw the whole operation and were able to shoot every step of the process. It is amazing how such a simple thing can be so complex with temperatures and colours with the syrups. It was nice that the owners also invited us for pancakes and freshly brewed maple syrup. We also were able to take a couple bottles home. Great family run business and it had been in operation for 70 years plus.

I think we will be making another trip this year to sample the maple syrup from 2011's winter crop. There are a couple places we can go and they all offer horse drawn cart rides, maple tasting, activities for the kids and of course the chance to buy all the maple products they produce. Last year we bought a bottle of syrup and some pancakes for the girls. They had a blast and we had a nice day outdoors enjoying the great sunny spring weather. I highly recommend this for a fun family outing. It will cost you admission to go in which usually isn't too much because not everyone is going to buy something. I have started looking in Ontario and by the looks of it, it is only a week from the sap beginning to run.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Football (soccer)

Well we have asked the girls and they have opted for football.....or soccer as we in North America call it. I like the term football. It makes sense unlike the football we know as CFL and NFL. Don't get me started!!

So Hailey and Zoey have told us they wanted to play soccer and they have 1 practice and 1 game a week each. Yes! So that is Monday to Thursday practice and games! I'm looking forward to seeing them play and learning the team aspect of sports and how to play with other kids.

It is also much cheaper than hockey!! I need to buy shin guards and cleats but that is it. The league supplies the uniforms and also gives the kids a free soccer ball. I will keep you updated when the season begins which I think is in May.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Great New Show!

Now maybe some of you haven't seen Cake Boss on TLC yet but I love the show and would love to visit the bakery sometime for some of those yummy treats! The baker is Buddy and he took over the shop when his dad passed away and has all his family working in the shop. I enjoy the people and the cakes he makes because some of them are just amazing. Anyway, he now has his own cooking show on TLC called Kitchen Boss and it is great. I think the reason I love the show is because he uses simple ingredients and you can buy them at any grocery store. No special things and he is Italian so everything looks amazing and full of flavour. I saw 3 episodes today that I PVR'd on my Bell ExpressVu 9241 receiver. Little plug for work!!

He made Shrimp Scampi, Tortellini Soup, Garlic Bread, Eggplant Parmesan, Zucchini and Squash casserole, Prime Rib Roast, King Crab Legs and home made cupcakes. You can watch all the episodes on TLC and get the recipes. I was really excited for the cupcakes. He makes some amazing pastries at the bakery so to see him make one with butter cream icing was awesome. Too bad I am trying to eat healthy because I really wanted those cupcakes!! I will make them but for now I will focus on the eating right and losing a few pounds!!

Anyway, I highly recommend this show if you like to cook and watch for new ideas. I have watched and saved the episodes on the PVR so I can try at least the veggie dishes he made so I can hope the kids will try them.


Friday, February 11, 2011

What sports do you put them in?

I have been mulling over this question for the past year. It is not an easy question with both of us working shift work. Hopefully Nicole will be covering a maternity leave shortly and can work straight days for a year. This way we can put the girls into some sports after school. I wish I could make my own shifts but hate working day shifts!! I also hate night shifts so I guess what I am saying is that I hate working period. The girls wanted to skate but I haven't bought myself any to teach them and they have now decided that they want to play soccer! Cheaper than hockey and the program in Oshawa offers free everything. I just buy the shoes and shin guards. Something good for them to get into and get them more active. We are also looking at a YMCA family membership so we can get more active and shape up! I need it and so does Nicole. With the new healthy eating thing it is only going to help in our ultimate goal.

I would love for them to play hockey but can't commit to that with the shifts I am on. I would like to see them choose and with playing and exposing them to different sports through gym class in school, they have a better idea of what they want to do. I'm not pushing them into anything but hope once they choose that they stick with it because I'm not into wasting money....what little extra we have. Once they get active I think they will really enjoy it and with the YMCA membership, they will have access to free classes they can learn other things. They have talked about karate and swimming to start and the Y also offers childcare included in the membership so it works out!

Anyway, we are still weighing the pros and cons of the YMCA and to make sure we take full advantage of it once we do decided to commit. The pros are more than the cons so I will let you know if and when we decide.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Avoiding the major battles

Now most of parents would say you have to discipline when children get out of line or won't listen. You set boundaries and limits for everything to help them grow up and learn to have the basic skills when it comes to dealing with people and the public as a whole. I know they are watching how I handle myself with people and how I react to situations. Most people want their kids to grow up to be polite, kind to others, considerate and caring. I'm sure most people grow up with those key things but I find some parents who constantly freak out and swear at their kids when they do something they don't like. I have seen someone tell their kid to come with them and they said no. The parent grabbed the kid by the arm and said lets go. The kid was hitting and yelling at his dad and he dragged him inside. I don't agree with this because it doesn't teach the kid anything about how to behave and reason why the are being asked to come inside.

I told the girls last Saturday before we went outside that we can go out and play but they have to listen and if they don't we will go inside if they are not behaving. They both agreed and I had no problems. I also told them I was shoveling the driveway and when I'm done I will play in the snow with them but we will have to go in to get warm if it gets too cold. They asked to go in and I didn't have to tell them twice. I set the guidelines early before we went outside so we were all on the same page but find some people don't. You are going to run into problems when you don't set the guidelines early. It is just a fact.

The easiest way to make an outing enjoyable for the whole family is to discuss what you expect and what might happen if the kids don't behave. They will know the boundaries and you will have a better time knowing that you have the control over the outcome of the activity. If they are bad you can leave but if they are good, you can reward them for a great time out with something simple like an ice cream cone or candy from the bulk barn. Doesn't cost you more than $5 bucks and they will remember that they will be rewarded for being good. Like training your puppy, if you do it enough times they will remember and you can stop with the reward because they will do it because it will be out of habit and not for reward.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Family deals

We have been looking to do some fun activities with the girls over the winter since it is so cold and starting to snow more and more. What can you do other than winter activities? Well we have been looking at both outdoor and indoor things. We have been looking at the rec centres for free activities and also ones we pay for such as dance, sports and arts. Another good place is the library. We were there today to grab some books so the girls can read and we can read to them. That's something I don't do enough is read. A good place to find family getaways if you like to travel and let the kids have a fun night away is Travelzoo. It has deals that offer vacation packages, tickets to events and other deals you can't find else where.

We recently book one night at the Ramada by the Falls in Niagara Falls for one night at $60.00 in a really nice hotel that is located between Clifton hill and the falls. The kids will get a blast out of being in a nice hotel and it is nice to get away for a night to just have fun. I think we will play some games at the midway, see the falls, go to Clifton hill and have dinner at the rain forest cafe. $150-$200 for two days for gas, hotel, food and parking isn't too bad.

Anyway, Tonight Zoey lost another tooth and she was excited because she said she is growing up. I hate to admit it but she is. Today when she came off  the bus she told the bus drive to have a good day. She says and does things like an adult but still acts like a kid most of the time. I can't believe they grow up so fast but I am loving every minute of them being around me. They are amazing!