Cooking and Cleaning….this IS my life!!!

I’ve waited a while to go public with this, only because I wanted to test these products out and make sure that they would make a positive impact on my day-to-day life.

As the title to my blog indicates, I am on a Relentless Pursuit…..of a lot of things! Small, but significant changes are slowly but surely transforming many areas of my life. Overall health and wellness encompass many different facets, and at the core of it all are the meals I cook and the atmosphere of our home.

As a Pampered Chef consultant, I have chosen products that reduce prep time, thereby making the seemingly endless process of preparing wholesome meals, so much more enjoyable. The quality and appearance of the serving and tableware add the final touch as my meal goes from kitchen to table. The fact that our products address both preparation and presentation are just two of the reasons that I love being a PC consultant!

A few months ago, I took on a temporary full-time position at the hospital to cover for a co-worker that was off for health reasons. Knowing that I would have even less time off, and less energy, I was concerned about how I was going to keep up with even the routine housework. I considered even hiring someone, but that is expensive, and in reality, doesn’t really save me a lot of time or work, since by the time I get the house ready for someone else to clean, I’ve almost done most of the work myself.

Years ago, I had heard of Norwex. I was told of cleaning cloths that would do the job brilliantly, only using water. That seemed unfathomable to me, so I admittedly dismissed it.

However, I began to take a second look…..wondering if these products could actually work well for me and do the job I needed them to do. Now my house is by no means spotless, but to create an atmosphere that is both presentable should anyone drop in, or more importantly, at least keep it in a state where I can feel relaxed and at peace, is incredibly important to my own mental well-being.

So I started with the mop system and their Envirocloth and Window cloths. Now I have used microfibre for years, but not like these! They clean so well and so quickly, that it is ALMOST fun to clean!!! The mop system works great to keep the floors clean with minimum effort and ZERO chemicals (another relentless pursuit of mine). These products are created using BacLock®—an exclusive micro silver antibacterial agent which offers continuous protection against microbes and odours within the cloth. So it is anti-bacterial on the surfaces you’re cleaning and then self-sanitizes the cloth as it dries. The mop pads are the same…. These come with a dry pad for “sweeping” and a wet pad for mopping. I have also began using the laundry and dishwashing products as well, further reducing the chemical use in our home. With just using water on my household surfaces and floors, I have been able to eliminate a number of cleaning products all together!

Anyway, I’m only sharing this here because both these products have benefited me greatly in my Relentless Pursuit of creating meals and a home for myself and my family, and working toward living as toxin-free as possible. Rather than having two Facebook groups, one for each company, I would prefer to share my use of these products here because they have become so much a part of my daily life, and my quest to create the home and atmosphere that is unique to us as a family.

As my title says, it is a pursuit. A process. I have not arrived, but I am seeing consistent, sustainable changes as I move forward in my journey.

If you are interested in any of these products, I am a consultant for both companies, not something I would ever do lightly, but to me…. PC and Norwex are a match made in heaven and I have so much confidence in both product lines!! Cooking and cleaning are a huge part of my life, and though I am more passionate about one than the other, they both integral parts of my life that are expressions of my values and my heart.

The links to my personal websites for both companies, are at the top of the page in the menu section if you want to check out any of these products, or the many other that are available.

Love you all….thank you for journeying with me on my pursuits.

Thirty-five years and feel like we’re just getting started…. The best is yet to come!!!!

This has probably been our most celebrated anniversary to date!

It al began September 2 with a backyard gathering with all nine of our children, some of their spouses/partners, and my mom…..and a special family friend that dropped by for a few minutes.

The kids did the whole thing! They all helped clean up the property from the abundance of construction debris, worked hard on decorations, had special music playlists at the ready, and organized the whole “ceremony”. It was absolutely everything that I could have wished for….. It’s not often we manage to get everyone home at the same time, and there isn’t anything that makes as happy as having us all together.

Now we are off on our own trip for four days at Couple’s Resort, just outside of Algonquin Park in Whitney Ontario. We definitely splurged, but 35 years, through all the ups and downs, highs and lows, happiness and heartache…..well, we decided it was worth it.

Five course dinner each night and breakfast every morning are included. I’m going to have to stop eating for a week when I get home to undo all the “damage”!!! The food has been so good!!! The staff have been amazing, and there are real, wood-burning fireplaces in every room.

Glenn’s favourite breakfast…….cheesecake!!! We were too full to eat it at supper. White chocolate blueberry…..

Day 1 – we went for a paddle. MY first time in a ‘real’ kayak. It was more tippy than I am used to, and the entrance and exit were not pretty….and that is not an exaggeration in the least!!!! Like I said in a Facebook post, I know no-one here and never have to see them again…, whatever!!!!! It was one thing checked off my bucket list…and I really don’t care what anyone thought. They don’t know that 65lb were lost so that I would at least be willing to attempt this, or that I fight vertigo almost every day to one degree or another, so for me, this was a BIG deal!!! And I don’t ever have to do it again…. LOL.

The second morning, I went out early on my own. The fog was thick and it was a balmy 6 degrees.. Brrrrr…. I took the kayak that I felt most comfortable and secure in, and truly enjoyed the quiet, the scenery, and even the fog.

This was the extent of the wildlife I saw…..

A cormorant….
Geese coming in for a landing…….

Then we had breakfast, showered and changed and hopped in the car. We spent the day with some of our kids (even the furry ones 🙂 )in Huntsville….then they came back to our room to hang out in the hot tub.

Today it rained all morning, but the sun is now coming out. I think we’ll hit the hot tub. :). I have all the best intentions, but five minutes…..ten if we’re lucky, and I have had enough. We’ll go back in tonight when it is nice and chilly outside.

I can’t overstate how nice it has been to get away and just be alone, hidden from the outside world. But, as wonderful as it has been, it doesn’t compare with our special day spent with our children and their companions, and my mom.

Again, as wonderful as it has been….and it really has been wonderful, I really missed cooking for us. Cooking is my passion and my love language!! LOL. My favourite thing when we go away is to find a place to stay that has a really nice kitchen, and cook things we wouldn’t necessarily make at home. But I am going to focus on the rest of our time together here and appreciate all that these moments have to offer.

We feel a real shift coming in our roles. We rarely, if ever, parent our kids anymore…..which is harder to let go of than you may imagine. Instead, we are their biggest fans, their most loyal allies, and we have seen them embrace the values and vision that we have carried for many years. Ironically, they weren’t things we taught systematically, or even intentionally…..they just were the ‘why’ that kept us moving forward when it would have been easier to quit. Apparently, it didn’t go unnoticed.

Going forward, I feel that our roles are more behind-the-scenes. I am looking forward to sitting back and watching each member of our family take their unique role, bring their thoughts and feelings, strengths and weaknesses, passions and skills, to the family table and work together as a multi-faceted organism to set up a generational legacy that won’t just be for us, or for the future generations in our family, but a catalyst for many……the weary, the broken, the abused, and the lonely….for there is no shortage of any of these things. And to whom much has been given, there is a responsibility to pay it forward.

We have talked a lot about the last 35 years… What would we change? What would we have done differently. While there are few major decisions and life changes that we would do differently, I would have lightened up a lot and enjoyed the kids more. I am always keenly aware of my parenting short-comings, and wish I was more warm and fuzzy as a wife. But some of those same qualities and attributes that I often lament and despise, were also the same ones that made me get out of bed and face the day on those mornings that I woke up feeling totally overwhelmed by life circumstances and the uncertainty of the future.

So….for better or worse, for richer for poorer…..til death do us part. I used to always tease Glenn that he would never leave me because he couldn’t afford the child support. Now I play this song for him……. “Whose gonna love you if I don’t…” LOL

Thirty-five years, and it’s come to this…… 🙂

Happy anniversary, Babe….. <3

How One Job Turns Into Many…..

It is income tax season and I decided that I would use some of my refund, and my time off, to repaint most/all of our upstairs.

I started in the ‘family’ room where for many years, at different times, it has been used for everything from a bedroom to storage. It has been a long time since it has been set up properly and useable for it’s original intent.

The years had taken a definite toll, and with the help of our son, who plastered and sanded to fix the gouges, and our other son who helped paint, it was time to get it looking good again.

I already had two five gallon pails of paint (that’s a whole other story), so the cost would be minimal but the elbow grease to accomplish this would be significant. I can’t believe how dirty walls and baseboards can get!!!!!! It was nothing short of an embarrassment!!! But it was so good to get it done.

Of course, when you paint the room, you have to do the adjoining hallway, and if you do the hallway, you have to do the two stairways that connect.

Then I decided our bedroom, closet, and master bath was due. It has never been touched since we moved in 15+ years ago. Of course, I wanted a different colour, so off to Home Depot we went.

While painting the bedroom etc., I decided that the furniture in our room, no longer suited the look I was going for. Now this caused me much pause. I had painted walls before, but have never laid brush to furniture in my life!!! To say I was intimidated, would be the king of understatements!!! But, since new furniture was out of the question, it was either leave it alone or get busy.

I scoured the internet for tips, tricks, and tutorials. That alone about drove me crazy!!! Some say you have to sand, others say you don’t. Some recommend this paint and someone else another. Then there is always trying to pick out the colours!!!

Eventually, I settled on what I thought I wanted and headed back to Home Depot. Since I’ve never done furniture before, and had NO idea how much paint it would take, I just bought what I thought would be a good amount. Needless to say, I have too much.

You know what that means, right? I have to paint more furniture to use it all up. Are you seeing a pattern here???

I decided that I only want to do this once, so I was giving it my best shot. That meant I was sanding first!!! Before I could even do that though, I sprayed with TSP and was shocked at the dirt that came of furniture that is normally cleaned almost every week!!!

I’m amazed we haven’t all contracted a deadly disease from all this dirt!!! Kind of a sore subject at the moment……

I decided to start with our night stand. We’ve had it for years, it’s not a family heirloom or priceless antique, so if it didn’t turn out, not a biggie. Besides, it was the smallest piece of everything I thought I wanted to paint.

This is the before…..typical oak style in colour and smooth surface.

See that shine? I worked hard on that!!!!

Once I removed the hardware (you know all those things you find lying around when you’re cleaning? Yeah, took forever to find a screw driver!!) it was sanded and then primed. I went with a grey primer since I wanted good coverage and a compatible colour for the paint. This is just first coat…..I did two.

I had two different colours of paint for the furniture so decided to go with the dark one on top. This is before hardware was replaced. Of course, it had to be ordered because the previous hardware didn’t suit my plan.

Image below is the final product, including said hardware….

Well, for better or worse, there it is. The colour in the bottom picture is more true to actual look.

Here is a ‘before’ and ‘after’….

So now I just have a desk, a second-hand table I just purchased to paint, and maybe an antique wash stand, a couple dressers (possibly) and a book case.

On the bright side, I’ve been semi-isolated and my room looks better. Full disclosure, I may have said some bad words.

Thirty-two years….gone but never forgotten <3

The memoriam I wrote on the first anniversary of Andrew’s birth/death…

We didn’t get to see you smile

Or watch you run and play

We couldn’t tuck you in each night

Or see you growing day by day

You never knew how much we loved you

Before you went away

And though we never really knew you

We miss you more than we can say

Our arms still ache to hold you

Our eyes still shed the tears

Our thoughts so often turn to you

Even though it’s been a year

But we know you’re safe and happy

In your heavenly home above

Surrounded by the tender care

Of our Heavenly Father’s love

And when our work is over

And we reach that final place

We’ll finally get to hold you

And watch you run and play

We’ll tell you how much we love you

We’ll say it again and again

For we’ll be together for eternity

Our time will never end

So although we must wait now

For that time to be

We hang a little Teddy

From our Christmas tree

It reminds us that there is a life

Which we shall share some day

And that our little Andrew

Waits just across the way.