Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Who are we kidding? It's called terrorism

This is how you in your own way can defeat terrorism:  Stop being a namby pamby and call a spade a spade.

If we cannot have frank and honest discussions about what is going on the battle is lost.

Driving in my car last Thursday I was listening to Radio Canada (French CBC).  They were discussing Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's father who allegedly went to fight in Libya several years ago, the fact that Zehaf-Bibeau was kicked out of a mosque in BC, and other details.  Radio Canada actually had a lot of really good information - yet somehow every other sentence seemed to be "but this was NOT terrorism" or "nothing to do with Islam."  The Globe and Mail actually referred to a motive for the attack as "extreme religiosity."  What a joke.  If we live in a society where we have to twist our sentences into verbal pretzels to avoid saying the words Islam and terrorism together the Islamic terrorists are winning (note - they are winning the cultural jihad in many ways).  Every discussion on this topic should not have to include the obvious disclaimer that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists.  Any intelligent person with a functioning brain knows this.  Zehaf-Bibeau was kicked out of a mosque because he was a nutjob and they did not want to be associated with him, but that did not stop him from linking up with Islamic radicals in the vast universe of online jihadis.  This is a problem that cannot be ignored.  I was shocked (except I wasn't) while reading a recap of Corporal Cirillo's funeral today on Global News' website.  In the very article about this terrorist act they referred to the death of WO Patrice Vincent as a "hit-and-run".  These are the types of vague, nothing to see here statements that must be met with criticism.  Freedom loving Canadians must fight to reclaim the narrative.

Laura Rosen Cohen sums it up nicely:
In allegedly free societies, we have already surrendered so much of our personal liberty that we have essentially lost a big part of the war against the evil barbarians.

We live in a society now where our hard-won fight to speak freely, and think freely have all but disintegrated in front of our passive eyes. When you live in an allegedly "free" society that polices jokes, regulates speech and criminalizes speech or thoughts, you have already lost.

When people are too afraid to discuss their legitimate concerns about immigration, about integration and about the religious nature of terrorist attacks, you have already lost. And make no mistake about it, these loses of personal freedom are big victories for the terrorists.

While they Tweet freely, mock our losses of life, make Facebook pages and death cult snuff videos, behead people in free countries on public roads in broad daylight, kill babies in carriages and lure teenage girls to serve as sex slaves in Syria, the same people who might somberly wear a poppy, lay a wreath and even donate money to good causes, are afraid to freely speak their mind in public about contentious issues.

 I started this blog because I am convinced that there are other people (specifically but most certainly not limited to women) like myself who are trying to work, look after the family and live life, while at the same time wanting to fight against forces of evil.  That is why you find posts here ranging from breastfeeding to furniture DIY to how to unslutify young girls and fight cultural jihad.  Surely I am not alone?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

You Will Never Beat Us

On a beautiful Wednesday morning in October, two Canadian soldiers went to pay their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.  Both men, members of the Sutherland Highlanders of Hamilton, surely did not imagine that this was a dangerous duty.  The honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a ceremonial position and it is considered a privilege and an honour to be selected for it.  The mere presence of these two soldiers at this sacred place is a sign of the deep respect their commanders had for them.  Because it is a ceremonial position, the weapons the soldiers carry are not loaded.  And so, there on sacred ground, two soldiers stood unarmed, paying tribute to those brave men who fell protecting our freedom in faraway places so many years ago. 

On this beautiful Wednesday morning in October, a Canadian soldier lost his life while carrying out his duties – gunned down by a terrorist coward. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was a young father.  He was a soldier.  Pictures show him with his beloved dogs, having fun, looking strong and handsome.  Not twenty-four hours earlier, near MontrĂ©al, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down and killed by another coward.  Neither terrorist will be mentioned by name in this post.

The majority of Canadians did not personally know Cpl Cirillo or WO Vincent, but we mourn them.  We mourn them not just because they were great men of courage, but because we see in them our brother, our father, our husband, our friend.   We mourn them because their lives ended too soon.  We mourn them because it is men like Cpl Cirillo and WO Vincent who make Canada great.  As Cpl Cirillo’s family said in a statement late Friday afternoon, he was “Canada’s son.”  This is why, on Friday, with but a few hours notice, thousands of Canadians lined overpasses stretching from Ottawa to Hamilton to pay their respects.  I also stood on one of these overpasses with my son.  We stood with people from all walks of life, with policemen, firefighters, paramedics, veterans, young, old, people of many races and religions, all to recognize Cpl Cirillo’s ultimate sacrifice.  From this overpass, at the height of rush hour in the largest city in Canada, we watched the 401 come to a standstill and the entire Westbound lanes clear as the Ontario Provincial Police escorted Corporal Cirillo to his final resting place.  People clapped, people stood at attention, some shed a tear.  One thing is clear: For every one of us that terrorists kill there are a thousand more.  We are not scared.  We are not afraid to fight.  You will never beat us.

Rest In Peace Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent.  You are loved.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Journey Straight to Slutsville" and Other Excellent Weekend Reading

Alright, here are some reads for your weekend.

The first, Crippling Medical Research, was brought to my attention via Laura Rosen Cohen.

Do read it all - it is very good and showcases the dangers of Group Think.

The second is an older article that came to my attention this morning about the slutification of little girls.  It is excellent writing from Mireille Silcoff over at the National Post.  "Moms against sass"
An excerpt:
There is such thing as sexiness for toddlers. Once they are seven or eight, the approved marketing term is “sassiness.” For under-sevens I am not sure what the ad-land word is. Maybe cutie-ness. At any rate, I find it abhorrent beyond any word; this strange culture of putting tiny children on a one-track aesthetic journey straight into slutsville.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Money Saving Tip: Buy Clothes At The End of the Season (for the next year)

This is the simplest and easiest way to save money on kids clothes.  Buy your child's clothes a year ahead at the end of the previous season.  Sometimes with growth spurts this may be a little tricky, but overall it should be quite simple.

Just one small example - yesterday I was able to purchase some clothes for my son from Crazy 8 through end of season reductions.  I purchased 4 polo shirts, 4 long sleeve shirts, 2 beautiful sweaters, 1 pair of corduroy pants, and 2 pairs of shorts all for under $100, including shipping.

Purchasing clothes at the end of the season for the following years allows you to get the best reductions.  It is a good idea to keep an inventory of what you have purchased because these clothes usually get tucked away upon arrival.  You don't want to forget and end up purchasing more than you need!  Most of the time you can reduce your bill by up to 50%!!

I like to make a list of clothing needed for the upcoming season and check it off as I am able to purchase things.  My favourite online kids clothes shopping destinations are: Janie and Jack, Crazy 8, Gymboree, and Carter's.  All of these stores ship to Canada and you can subscribe to all of their mailing lists for regular deal updates.  There are always great online deals in October, at American Thanksgiving, and in January.

When it comes to actual in store retailers, Target and Joe Fresh often have great sale racks for end of season purchases.

Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Chalupa Dinner Bowl - One Recipe, Ten Meals

This is one of those recipes that I just love for so many reasons.
1.  It is a slow-cooker recipe
2.  It freezes well
3.  It is highly versatile
4.  It can be stretched to maximize the grocery dollar!

The Chalupa Dinner Bowl first came to our house by way of my Southern Living cookbook.  It is a keeper.  It is a pulled pork style recipe but without the BBQ sauce and with a Latin American flavour.  As mentioned above, it freezes very well and can quickly be pulled out when you are in a pinch for dinner.

My favourite thing about this recipe is its versatility.  Once it has been made, it can be served in the following ways:
1.  As chili, in a bowl, with shredded cheese and sour cream on top.
2.  Over cornbread.  Yum.
3.  As a filler for fajitas or burritos.
4.  Over nachos with cheese.
5.  As a filler for tacos.
6.  Spooned over baked potatoes with salsa on top.
7.  In a baked fajita or tortilla bowl.
8.  With mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.
9.  Spooned over rice (pictured above) and topped with plain yogurt or sour cream and green onions.
10.  On a fresh bun, topped with cheese and salsa as a Tex Mex pulled pork sandwich.

You can find the recipe for the Chalupa Dinner Bowl by clicking here.

Note:  In some places it may be hard to find the canned green chiles (check the Mexican food section of your grocery store).  I have made this recipe without using them and it still tastes delicious.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The System

Now that it is almost time for me to return to full time work, I am working on setting up what I call "The System."  With both of us working full time, plus kids, and my husband gone most of the week we need a very set routine in place so that things can run smoothly.  If we do not follow "The System" things fall apart, the house turns into a disaster and we end up eating out all the time.  We are currently doing some dry runs to test it for quirks and necessary adjustments.  I will be writing more about The System (which, of course, is actually just a routine) in the neat future.  Of note, I will be writing about some of my favourite recipes that can be used for multiple meals in different formats and about how we make our own lunches in order to get the most bang for our buck.  And it's healthy too.  Stay tuned.

An Aside:  This blog is not a money maker.  It is not my job (I work full time) and I have no marketing affiliates at this time.  As such, I post as I am able to.  I would love to post every day but time just does not permit that at the moment.  The best way to follow what is going on in this space is to subscribe (see the bar on the right to do so).  If you want to keep track of my more political news, then do follow me on Twitter where I post regularly on related topics.  Thank you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life Is Magical

When you lay down in bed and your little one snuggles his face up beside yours while in a deep sleep, life is so good.

Taking a little boy to the fall fair so he can shake with excitement while watching the old steam engines run.

The smell of fall and the wind blowing in the trees.

A Friday high school football game.

A little boy laying his head on your chest because he is tired and ready to go home.

Sometimes life is so, so good.  Cherish those times.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Upcycling: A New Entertainment Unit

Upcycling is everywhere these days, but with good reason.  If you are looking for some furniture this is a great way to get what you want on a budget while reusing stuff that already exists.  The furniture in our house is a combination of upcycled and made to order pieces.  It is all wood.  I love a quality piece of solid wood furniture.  When we are buying new furniture we go to Dreamwood Furniture in Nobleton, Ontario (they ship across North America).  I have written about them before - I just love the custom pieces you can get here and I will be featuring some of them in upcoming posts.  For now though, let's talk about upcycling.

Over Labour Day weekend I did a big shopping trip to the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I highly recommend finding and visiting your local Restore if you are looking for some furniture or other building supplies (they have everything from lighting to the kitchen sink - literally).  Excellent finds can be made at the Restore and the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.  One of the things I picked up on this trip was this gem:

We were looking for a new entertainment unit for our living room, and this appeared to be the perfect fit.  It was purchased for $60.00.  It was loaded into the truck and brought home for some revival.

If you are thinking about doing some upcycling, your first project will be the most expensive (unless you already have a bunch of material on hand).  I had most of the materials we needed on hand, but if you are starting out this is what I would recommend:

  • a drop cloth (actual cloth so you can reuse it for future projects)
  • small paint rollers and small paint trays
  • a quality pail of primer (I like Para Paints)
  • 100 and 200 grit sandpaper
  • small paint brushes
  • foam paint brushes (disposable)
  • Chomp (a cleaner for furniture)
  • Paint (obviously you will need this - make sure it is actual furniture paint)
  • Varathane (Premium Diamond Wood Finish

Step 1 - Chomping.  I call this Chomping because it is the brand name of the furniture cleaner that I use to thoroughly wipe down and clean every nook and cranny on the piece of furniture in question.

Step 2 - We removed two of the doors, drilled two holes in the back (for cables) and put filler in the holes from the old hinges.  We also used wood filler where needed.

Step 3 - Prime Time!  Two full coats of primer were applied.  Properly prepping your furniture is essential to long term success with this type of project.

Step 4 - Two coats of paint.  This piece was painted in Shaved Coconut by Para Paints.  Another key to upcycling is allowing the furniture paint enough time to cure.  I usually allow 30 days to be in the safe side.  The darker the colour pigment the more time it will need to cure.

Step 5 -  Varathane.  Varathane is not always needed, but if you are going to be resting things on top of the painted surface, if it is in a high traffic area, or doors on it will be opening and closing, or you live in a humid climate, I recommend a coat or two of Varathane.  We put three coats of Varathane on this piece.

Step 6 -Replacing the old hardware on the door with a new knob from Home Depot and.........voilĂ :
Primed and ready for painting


Ready for action

So let's recap:

It really is that easy.
Especially if you have a helper.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Inspiring: Lorena Mejia

This is an incredible story about hardwork and perseverance.  This mom is an inspiration and I wish many people would follow her example.  What a work ethic!

Truly awesome: Fourteen years ago, Lorena Mejia was a single mom with two young kids, and she was working three jobs a day to pay a “terrible mortgage” she could barely afford.Today, she’s the proud owner of a four-bedroom home she paid cash for.

Note: This link takes you to a blog run by Dave Ramsey.  I have never used any of his products (although I have many friends who love him) so I cannot speak to their quality, however I found this story to be quite inspiring and wanted to share it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Note For The Husband of A Breastfeeding Mom

Your wife is breastfeeding your baby.  That's great.  You know this, you support this, but if you are honest you might say that the whole thing kind of weirds you out a little bit.  You are not alone.  Many men I talk to feel this way despite knowing that "breast is best" and supporting their wife's desire to breastfeed.
How can you support your wife while she is breastfeeding?
I will keep this very short and sweet because I'm pretty sure no man wants to read more than necessary about breastfeeding.

1.  You need to know that breastfeeding can be very difficult in the beginning.  This may not make sense to you since it is supposed to be some beautiful, natural thing but it's true.  Do not expect that your child will magically latch and suck and that will be it from then on.  It is often this way in the beginning but things may change once a mother's milk actually comes in.

2.  You need to be verbally supportive of your wife's efforts to breastfeed.  Let your wife know that you appreciate the effort she is making to breastfeed.  Encourage.  Encourage.  Encourage.

3.  Help your wife find appropriate help if needed.  Just make sure she actually wants help/support before dumping this on her.  Does she want to speak to a lactation consultant?  Help find a good one.  Does she need supplies (pump, pillow, nursing pads, etc.) - go pick them up for her.

4.  Recognize that you might have to let go of other things while our wife works on breastfeeding.  This is true of most areas when you have a newborn.  The dishes might not get done.  The laundry might get behind.  This is just fine (by the way you should be doing everything possible to get this done yourself).  What matters if that your wife is bonding with the baby as much as possible and resting whenever possible.

5.  Shut out negative people.  This is important.  You need to be a gatekeeper.  After a baby is born hormones are raging, you are exhausted.  If there are people in your wife's life that are only adding stress, saying negative things, and stirring up trouble it is your job to get rid of them - or at least to keep them away from your wife.  This can be difficult, I know someone who had to send his own mother home, but it has to be done.  You need to protect your wife and child.

That's it.  I said I would keep it simple.  Five things you can do to help your wife.  Done.

It's A Child, Not A Toaster

A really excellent post by Rich Cromwell over at The Federalist.  Go and read it all.

Back in the present and on the micro level, will having kids change your household budget? Will kids make losing your job an absolutely terrifying experience? Will they significantly alter when, even if, and definitely where you go out for dinner on those rare occasions when you have however many you have dressed and wrangled into the car?
To all three questions—damn straight they will! And that’s the point. They’re kids, not toasters and cars, and we need to get away from this bizarre obsession we’ve developed about making our biological drives rational.