31 May 2009

If you want to be somebody else,

change your mind. It was that kind of a weekend.

On Wednesday, I was told that there is essentially no position for me (to do my internship) at GHS next year. While I've had a hunch that this was the case for months now, it was still a bit of a shock. After taking an afternoon and evening to be angry, hurt and otherwise in a less-than good mood, I started my search for The Silver Lining.

This turn of events has opened the door for me to move to another school guilt free. It comes at a reasonable time in the schedule of my life since I am beginning my Montessori certification. Fortunately, I did go ahead and work out an option for myself whilst believing there would be a spot for me at GHS. That work has paid off with a paid internship position at a school which specializes in Montessori. In fact, this other school has had many interns over the years and has an obvious 'path' for me to follow.

It's less likely that this new school will consume my life, so I will have more opportunities to craft, too. So get ready for some more projects and creations! I'll have more time to prepare for dinners also, so hopefully I'll find some more good recipes to try out. Over the weekend, I had to get some of these sugar snap peas. Other people around the blogosphere have mentioned peas which need to be hulled. I don't think these require hulling, but they look delicious!

27 May 2009

Biting the bullet

This past weekend was a big one for our apartment (affectionately known as TuziLand). Three days of big changes, new developments and big spending.

First, the apartment is back together. Everything (minus all the stuff we recycled, threw away or donated) is unpacked and in its original home or a better home. It was a daunting task, but we managed our way through it and mostly thanks to a lot of work by T, we have a much better living space now. At least we humans think so. Tuz is less than enthusiastic about the new floors. He has ventured out onto the "ice" a couple times, but has only managed to successfully strand himself on another area rug. We've ordered some nice, long runners to put in the hallways which should help.

Second, we made our first GIANT purchase. We bought a car. I think it's a fairly modest car. We can certainly handle it financially, even if it does feel like a big decision.

Third, we finally have some job news. T started his summer job yesterday, which he is already enjoying. They ended their first day with a 2 hour soccer scrimmage! I got some positive news about an internship position for next year, and am anxiously awaiting firm answer.

Looks like things are finally starting to fall into place for the summer and year ahead. There are still some loose threads to tie up, but at least we're on our way! Phewf!

20 May 2009


Amidst all the things that have not been going quite the way we'd like (T's car generating burning smells, kitchen faucet breaking and flooding the kitchen, AC not working on the one 90 degree day...) the flooring project is going swimmingly well! It looks like they may even be totally finished today! As promised, here are some photos of the progress:
A before picture of our living room. This isn't even a real before photo, because at this point we've already packed up the books from the shelves and sold the papsan chairs which were in the corners on either side of the window.
First, they ripped out all of the deadly carpet, what was left of the padding and pulled up all the carpet tacks.
Then, they had to level the floor. Apparently it is common for older buildings/homes to require this step. Our floors are concrete (fire and sound barrier) so the leveling was fairly easy. There turned out to be more spots to level than they originally anticipated, but that didn't bother them at all. The grey is the wet concrete.
Finally, they laid down an "underlayment" which is an optional layer of padding to give some cushion to the floor. It acts as another sound barrier and also keeps the floors from feeling as cold as if they were laid directly on the concrete. Once the underlayment is in place, they could go ahead and lay the wood. We chose eco-friendly engineered Brazilian cherry in cinnamon. Because it is engineered, they not only use the wood more efficiently to make the planks, but there is also no need for glues or adhesives. The planks are measured, cut and "click" into place which will also allow for more give.

19 May 2009

I'm baaack!

Sorry for the lack of posting. T and I have been working on getting our place all packed up for the new floors. He spent all of last week packing while I was at work and this past weekend we finished up what was left. Sunday we moved into a nearby hotel. We even brought Tuz! He has managed the move very nicely. He didn't stomp once! In fact, he seems as excited as we are, even though we have to confine him to his house (cage) when we are out. That photo up there is of him being happy and binking in the hotel room. I took some photos of the progress in the apt, which I'll upload tonight.

08 May 2009

Rainy days = yummy soup!

The weather around here has been kind of funky. The old "April showers bring May flowers" seems to have extended a week beyond. Besides the weather, we've had a few cases of closed up, sore throat, sniffly nosed blahs. In an attempt to remedy both of these, I decided to make T and myself some French Onion Soup. I read numerous recipes before deciding on my own mash-up way to go about concocting some soup. Fortunately, my research paid off and T even commented that my version was "just like you get in restaurants!"

French Onion Soup Recipe:

You'll need:
1 32oz box beef broth (low sodium is fine)
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 baguette (day old is fine)
1.5-2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T dried thyme
Worcestershire sauce (phewf that was fun to spell!)
4 oven-safe bowls for serving

How to make it:
1) Chop the onions into 1/4" strips. We bought some great little ones at the Farmer's Market 5 in a ziplock bag for $1.
2) In a medium sized pot, melt the butter and add the thyme to season it as it melts.
3) Set your oven shelf to the lower/middle level and preheat the broiler to low.
4) Add the onion pieces to the pot, stirring regularly until the onions are just about translucent. Meanwhile, slice the baguette into 1/2" slices.
5) Pour in the red wine, a splash of the Worcestershire sauce and the crumbs from the baguette.
6) Add the entire box of beef broth to the onions and let simmer for 20 minutes (a little longer is ok), stir regularly to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
7) Cover a cookie sheet with a SilPat or tinfoil and arrange your four bowls on top.
8) Evenly ladle soup into the bowls. Arrange slices of baguette on top, in one layer. Do not push the slices into the soup to soak them; this will happen in the oven.
9) Sprinkle mozzarella over the bread (and off the sides of the bowls, if you like).
10) Place the whole cookie sheet with bowls on top in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the pieces on the bowl edges are browned.
11) Serve and enjoy - but be careful - the bowls are super hot!

*Photo from: http://www.displayit-info.com/food/dinner2.html

More Montessori goodness

I've been getting increasingly excited about my Montessori training program. Classes start in just about one month! I preparation, I've already bought (and started reading) my books. I've also been thinking about lessons and doing a little making. As part of my cleaning and packing up my crafting room process, I've decided that I need to make some things to use up those awkward pieces of fabric. You know, those pieces that you *can't* throw away, but aren't big enough for what you really want to make? I have a lot of those. Many I have already 'gifted' on to other crafty friends. Here are two projects I made recently for my friend Allison's Montessori classroom.
The first is a fabric matching lesson. I found four fabrics of different textures and colours. I cut out small rectangles from each (traced a box of chalk as a pattern). Then, I cut out rectangles of a tan twill fabric and sewed them together by edging with some twill tape. There are 4 pairs of little matching rectangles which can be placed with the tan side up for a simple matching activity.
The second is a plant watering apron. The idea came from Montessori By Hand; a wonderful blog full of Montessori ideas. Her apron is beautiful, but I was concerned it was a little 'girly' for the boys' taste. So mine is hopefully more gender neutral, though it uses the same basic ideas. Each morning, the teacher uses the blue flowers to mark plants who need watering. The flowers have a loop of elastic on the back to fasten them to the green straw 'stems.' When a child chooses the plant watering activity, they put on the apron, (which has velcro closures at both the neck and waist straps) and fill the watering can (not pictured). The apron has slots at the top for red "I've been watered" flowers. When the child has finished watering a plant with a blue flower, he can replace the blue flower with a red one. The blue flower can be placed back in the slot on the front of the apron to leave both hands available for carrying the watering can.

03 May 2009

Montessori magic?

I just finished watching this video about a cute little boy named Edison. It's a half hour "day in the life" clip showing how the Montessori method can be used in the home to facilitate and promote independence. Emphasis is placed on incorporating the child into the family routine, as the father states, "not around him."