Brazil

March 11, 2014

Hello!
First of all, if you have helped me get to Brazil in any way, such as; letting me collect your recyclables, buying things from my fundraisers, or any thing else that you can think of… I can’t thank you enough! Brazil has been a blast already and today is only our second full day here! I can’t wait to see what will else will happen over the rest of this wonderful adventure.

The total travel time was somewhere around 17 hours. Which was kind of boring but at the same time, was also really fun! The first thought in my head while landing in Brazil was, “WOW!” Because the city that we landed in (São Paulo) is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere!!

After ten hours in the São Paulo airport we finally made our way to São Luíz with one quick stop in Brasilia. It was a great feeling to know that this would be the last plane that we would be on before starting our wondrous adventure!

So far we’ve gone to a barbecue, toured the school, and had an orientation at Viamundo which is the travel agency that is helping with our trip.

Once again thank you (Obrigado) to all that have helped me over the past few months to get me where I am now. I can’t wait to update you more as the trip goes.

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Last week, D’Arcy& Alex participated in a learn-to-fish program with the Cubs & Scouts.  The first night was spent in a classroom, learning about fishing & safety, and the second night they all got to go to a nearby pond to try their luck.

By all accounts, they had a great time…

Alex had what some might call “beginner’s luck”…

He reeled it in, and with some help netting it…

Made what some people might consider the “catch of a lifetime”!

A FOUR POUND Rainbow Trout!

Most of the cubs & scouts had beginner’s luck!  Alex actually caught three fish in total, but gave his two smaller ones to my parents.

I think he’s “hooked” on fishing now!

We grilled his trout on the bbq at high heat, wrapped in foil and stuffed with slices of lemon, lime, orange & dill.  It was served with Basmati rice and spinach salad and was delicious!  It served six – with leftovers!

* D’Arcy didn’t catch anything…

Superbowl Weekend

February 7, 2010

f you’re looking for football in this post, you won’t find it.  Well, the game is on in the background, but the kids are all sound asleep, D’Arcy is marking, I’m interneting and we had roast beef, potatoes & vegetables for supper rather than nachos & chicken wings.

In the real sports news, Team Fitzner-LeBlanc won the mens Provincial Curling Championship today!  We knew them when…  Our nephew, Chris, curled with that team until he moved to Calgary last year and they always stay with us when they are curling in this area.  Like this tournament, they have never been defeated when they slept here, so we’re thinking that we’ll offer them some rooms during the upcoming Brier. When Evan was four, they went to the Nationals as Juniors and won the bronze.  Evan watched them on tv and got hooked on the sport; as a result, he now has a goal to go to the Olympics as a curler, so we’ll watch to see how dedicated he is to practicing…

We’ve had a busy weekend.  After curling on Friday, we all (all six of us) went to Martha & Stephane’s for dinner.  They do not have a peanut free home, and this was the first time Olivia had been there since her diagnosis when she was 10 months old.  (Everything went fine, so they should watch out because we may be coming over for Stephane’s scallops all the time!)  Martha had made sure that the kitchen was extra clean and we brought along safe ham and dessert (cupcakes for the kids and pies for the grown-ups).

When we first got there, I handed over a gift my father had given me to present to Martha; a drawing of Martha & Chloe from a photo taken at Sarah’s birthday.  There were a few tears shed…

Martha & Chloe

We made pizzas for the kids and then Chef Steph took over the kitchen and made Coquilles St. Jacques for the grown ups.  Let’s just say I cleaned my plate.  (I would have licked it, had it been socially acceptable.  I love scallops!  The kids got along great (save for one moment when a very tired Sarah couldn’t wait 30 seconds for her turn on the wii and the fact that Olivia just wasn’t used to being “out” since she usually is left with my parents…)

Thank you to Martha for sending along all the Polly Pockets which necessitated an overhaul of our toy closet this morning!  Not that it wasn’t long overdue…  Congrautlations Phinn on the new toys you are about to score!  Chloe is going to be coming over soon to give me a tutorial on how the Pollys work.

(The following photos are from my phone; I forgot to take my camera:)

The boys

Chloe's lost teeth

The girls

Every party needs some rhythmic gymnastics!

Sarah & Olivia get their first look at an "American Girl" catelog

Chef Steph

The boys work on a puzzle

Chef Steph is a good sport!

Mart & Darce

Steph, getting his sleeping baby fix

The rest of the weekend was taken up with basketball, a free-throw competition, grocery shopping, a play with Ginna & Beanah for the kids, Thesis Meeting, Family Games Night, Sunday School, Mass, Choirs for Comfort, Cookie baking, Skating, etc…  We’ll look forward to the school week for a break!  ;-P

Various Matters

February 4, 2010

*I have discovered how to ensure that none of my children will ask for a bite of my sandwich: add pickles.  In fact, by adding enough, they will hold their noses and run away.  (Perhaps if I just carried an open jar of pickles around, I could buy myself some alone-time; wish I’d discovered this one years ago…)

*Still haven’t found the missing Valentines.  Going out and buying another box will guarantee that they are found, but negates the great buy of purchasing them for a dollar weeks ago.

*I fed my family salmon burgers on home-made whole-wheat buns for supper last night.  Olivia took one look and put herself to bed, sleeping until 7:30 this morning.  Must remember that recipe for future cranky days…

*I had a wonderful, fun visit getting caught up with my childhood friend, Carla yesterday.  She was visiting from Ontario with her husband Mark & son Jack.  Neither Carla nor I could remember the last time we’d seen each other (she moved away in Grade nine) but we were as comfortable as if we’d seen each other last week.  It was fun to have an eight-month-old in the house too!  Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos, but she’s hoping to be here this summer for the Reunion.

*My daughters do a great imitation of Jack Sprat and his wife.  When eating leftover supper for lunch, Olivia had a plate-full of only spare ribs & rice while Sarah would eat only squash & broccoli.

*Still looking for the missing library books…  Sarah asked this morning, “Is there anywhere we haven’t looked yet?”  I don’t think so, but there must be since they have to be in the house somewhere.   I guess we’ll have to renew them to buy ourselves some more time.  When my brother was about this age, one of his library books went missing.  My mother searched and searched all over their house.  (Sound familiar?)  Eventually, it turned up under the crisper in the fridge where he had hidden it; he loved the book so much he didn’t want to return it! (Yes, I’ve checked there too!)

*I’m currently selling cheese (band), blueberries (school) and hanging baskets (choir).  The cheese really sells well, hanging baskets in Nova Scotia in February – not so much!  (They won’t actually be delivered until May.)  Of course there are 588 kids around town selling blueberries, so who’s left to sell them to?!  If you are interested in any of the above, just leave me a comment!

*I kept track of all our grocery receipts last month since we’re trying to be more frugal.  There are some things we’d like to do to the house this year on top of the maintenance we have to do and the money has to come from somewhere!  We spent $1277.63 on groceries, 11.63 eating out (I treated Olivia & Alex to a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru after their appointments at the IWK) and zero on alcohol.  D’Arcy freaked out a bit when I told him that number, but if you work it out, it equates to $6.87 per person per day.  We’ll see how we do this month…

*When we registered Sarah for school last week, we expressed an interest in French Immersion.  Yesterday, we had a call that enrollment for that program was lower than expected, so they have extended the deadline until March 10th.  Back when the boys first went to school, there was a lottery to get your child into a French Immersion class!  How things can change in only a few years!

*The other night, our seats at the supper table all got switched around.  Sarah was sitting in her father’s seat and he was sitting in Alex’s seat.  As a result, he was pretending to be one of the kids and started playing with his carrots, becoming a walrus, unicorn, etc.  The rest of the children joined in, brining much laughter while their mother told them not to play with their food.  Now they ‘re asking to have carrots every night…

*From the sounds of things, D’Arcy’s Thesis will not be defended in time to walk across the stage in May. Bummer. He’s still going to try to have it finished ASAP so that it is no longer hanging over his head. December graduation, here we come…

*We went curling at a fun-spiel on the weekends with our friends. We drew tiles to be assigned teams and I happened to be put on a team with a man who didn’t seem to realize that it was “fun night”. He got after me in the first game because I had my broom in the wrong place when he was delivering the shot. One of the other men on my team told me that no one ever wants to curl with this man because he’s an a**. Later, I was spoken to again, for talking to our friend Janice, who was on the opposing team in that game, as he was delivering his shot. We ended up winning both of our games and at the end of the evening, as he was leaving, this cranky man said to me, “You were pretty good – for someone who doesn’t curl!” Gee thanks! Can we curl together again sometime?? All in all the evening was really fun and it was great to get out on a “date”. I’m hoping that Evan, Alex, D’Arcy & I will be able to make up a team in the family curling event this year!

Back to regularly scheduled life…

So much to be Thankful for!

October 12, 2009

We hosted D’Arcy’s side of the family for Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday and it was worth every moment of the preparation!  Back when we first invited everyone, they all wanted to bring food, but because of Olivia’s allergies, we decided that it is far less stressful to cook everything ourselves and then we could be sure she was safe.  I started making pies & rolls two weeks ago, and put them in the freezer.  Auntie Kay came over on Saturday and we peeled, chopped & cooked the potatoes, squash & applesauce.  We closed out the B&B Saturday night and got the tables set up so that we wouldn’t be in a huge panic in the morning if guests decided to hang around.

Yesterday, D’Arcy put the turporken in the oven at 7 a.m.  We had told people to arrive anytime after two.  We went to church, and rushed around tidying up.  I was in a panic because at 2:00, I was still mopping the kitchen floor and D’Arcy was running out to my parents’ house to pick up extra chairs.  At 2:45 when the first guests arrived, I commented that I should have remembered who it was coming to dinner and then I wouldn’t have been so stressed about not being ready on time!

It was a beautiful day, so the cousins could go outside and play while the grown-ups got caught up.  The one thing I was most stressed out about was making gravy, as I’ve not had much success in the past, and the turporken is so lean that there weren’t many drippings.  However, between Shannon, Karen & I, we actually made a pot that tasted really good!!

At five, we got everyone assembled around the table and D’Arcy welcomed everyone and said grace.  Then, we proceeded to go around the table of 35 and everyone (with the exception of the under-5 set) told what they were thankful for.  There was lots of laughter and a few tears as we reflected on all the riches we have in our lives, and thought about those family members who couldn’t join us due to distance or work commitments.

We then got the food out on the kitchen table and served it buffet style.  I am pleased to say that I managed to get it all out hot and had made enough!  When we were all eating, Sarah presented Grandpa with an ear of corn that she grew for him.  Her corn stalk had produced two ears – each about an inch long – so she cooked one for him and one for her!  I didn’t realize until afterwards that she actually ate hers!

At dessert time, we recognized Phinn’s upcoming first birthday and Uncle Bill’s upcoming 50th.

I tried to figure out today how much food we actually consumed and came up with the following:

  • shrimp ring
  • veggie tray
  • two bags of veggie chips
  • a bag of pita crisps
  • Large Turporken which should serve 25 (all but one drumstick and enough meat to make a sandwich)
  • 8lb pork roast
  • 4 lbs roasted new potatoes
  • 5lbs mashed potatoes
  • three squash
  • 2kg sweet green peas
  • 5lbs stuffing
  • two steamed cabbages with sage butter
  • 1 litre bean salad
  • 6 dozen rolls
  • 1 litre cranberry sauce
  • 1 litre apple sauce
  • 1 litre gravy
  • 1 jar of mustard pickles
  • 1 pumpkin cheesecake
  • 24 pumpkin muffins
  • 1 pan of apple crisp
  • 2 1/2 blueberry pies
  • 1 1/2 apple pies

I hate to fathom a guess how much wine, beer, pop, juice, coffee & tea we went through!

And did I mention that it was ALL peanut, treenut, egg & soy FREE?!  (I did mention at the table that I was thankful to have regained dairy!)

When everyone was leaving, one of D’Arcy’s brothers suggested that this might have to become a new annual tradition and we couldn’t agree more!

The homemade bread, dried and ready to be made into stuffing

The homemade bread, dried and ready to be made into stuffing

The table, being set

The table, being set

Olivia with Auntie Kay & Uncle Hug

Olivia with Auntie Kay & Uncle Hug

Brian & Morag

Brian & Morag

Emily playing with some of the youngest family members

Emily playing with some of the youngest family members

The turporken, just about at temperature. (Yes, we cooked it upside down!)

The turporken, just about at temperature. (Yes, we cooked it upside down!)

Visiting before dinner. (I didn't really ever get out here to join in.)

Visiting before dinner. (I didn't really ever get out here to join in.)

It was a beautiful day for playing outside!

It was a beautiful day for playing outside!

Phinn with his Uncle Ryan

Phinn with his Uncle Ryan

Skateboard lessons from cousin Pat

Skateboard lessons from cousin Pat

Evan, the no-handed pogo stick jumper

Evan, the no-handed pogo stick jumper

Our boys will need to practice a lot before they're as good as Pat!

Our boys will need to practice a lot before they're as good as Pat!

Michael, Camille & Stephen discussing various important matters.

Michael, Camille & Stephen discussing various important matters.

Cheesy photo, but the only one of the two of us...

Cheesy photo, but the only one of the two of us...

Another cheesy photo while we tried to figure out how to make the gravy...  It was really tasty!

Another cheesy photo while we tried to figure out how to make the gravy... It was really tasty!

Olivia & Aunt Shannon

Olivia & Aunt Shannon

Finding our places at the table

Finding our places at the table

D'Arcy, welcoming our family and getting ready to say grace

D'Arcy, welcoming our family and getting ready to say grace

Kathleen, starting off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

Kathleen, starting off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

Sarah, presenting Grandpa with the corn she grew for him.

Sarah, presenting Grandpa with the corn she grew for him.

What we're thankful for - our family!

What we're thankful for - our family!

Phinn being amused by his grandpa, "Otty" so Emily could finish her dinner.

Phinn being amused by his grandpa, "Otty" so Emily could finish her dinner.

Thanksgiving Dinner entertainment by John.  The other kids joined in of course!

Thanksgiving Dinner entertainment by John. The other kids joined in of course!

Phinn with his "Great" Auntie Anne

Phinn with his "Great" Auntie Anne

Fourteen of twenty-two grandchildren & one great grandchild!

Fourteen of twenty-two grandchildren & one great grandchild!

We truly are very blessed and have so much to be thankful for!

O Canada!

July 2, 2009

Yesterday was Canada Day and we had a great day!

We had invited some favourite friends over for a barbeque, so spent the morning cooking & getting things ready so we didn’t have to spend all our time in the kitchen once they got here.  When Sarah had woken up in the morning, the first thing she asked about was going to the Park to get her face painted for Canada Day – that was what she remembered from spending the day in the Park last year!

We all wore our Canada Day t-shirts from last year and the park was packed!!

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We managed to walk right past the playground which gave me much joy. (Hundreds of kids who had eaten who-knows-what would have raised my blood pressure had we stopped there!) Sarah knew right where to go to find the face painters from last year, so off we went, on a mission! We did stop at the van sponsored by the local radio station, who were giving out Canada Flags and – SAFE potato chips!! While we waited in line, D’Arcy & the boys went off to buy some cotton candy and Olivia ate some for the very first time! She loved it!

I asked her what it tasted like and she innocently replied, “Sugah”

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Evan wasn’t feeling very photogenic…

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The line was long, so Olivia spent some time exploring the flower beds .  (No, I didn’t notice until we got to the park that when I had told everyone to put their shoes on, Olivia put slippers on – we just went with it; that’s what you do with four children…)

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Alex & Sarah asked if they could go and explore the creek. I love these photos!!

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A conservative estimate of the time we spent in the face-painting line would be an hour-and-a-half. Sarah was so happy to get her “Hello Kitty” with the sparkly pink bow!  They closed the line two families behind us!!

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And Olivia will do anything to be like her big sister! (She chose a yellow bow though…)

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Alex asked for “Sponge Bob”.

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As per his sister’s (Olivia’s) instructions, Evan was a great sport and got an Elmo!!

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We were running very late as usual (did I say that?!) by this time, so while the boys were getting finished, D’Arcy started off to the van with the girls.

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We got home in time to put the roast on the rotisserie and get the kitchen cleaned up.

Sarah thought the napkins were funny!

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The kids had fun together while we relaxed out back.

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D’Arcy (&I) were excited to try the new rotisserie BBQ. Perhaps he more than I…

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Don’t the girls look like they’re enjoying their meal?

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I promised the kids that we might play a game with them, so we drew names for teams and played Children’s Trivial Pursuit. Although the game got called for fireworks, Colin & Alex were clearly winning…

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The winners: see how intent they were on each question??

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My crazy oldest boys:

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Unfortunately, the girls had crashed by the time the fireworks went off, but the rest of us had a perfect view from our deck.

Happy Canada Day!!

Alex asked if he could make pancakes for breakfast this morning, and Sarah decided to help him.  I let them do it on their own as much as possible.  (I did have to step in at one point when Alex was making egg-replacer using cups of water and oil rather than tablespoons…)  There was surprisingly little mess, and Evan said they were so tasty, he ate five.

Maybe I’ll be able to start sleeping in and letting them look after breakfast…

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