Monday, March 28, 2011

The Power Of The Human Voice

It amazes me!  From baby's first babbles, to a yelling toddler, to the stories our seniors have to share, the human voice is an amazing thing.

One form of art with the voice is A cappella.  I am a secret A cappella junkie.  NBC has a show The Sing Off ----I LOVE IT!!

This was my favorite performance from the season...check it out

(Street Corner Symphony - Down On The Corner)

(did you watch?  Awesome right..and remember, NO instruments other than the human voice!!)

Don't get me wrong, I think all musicians are talented..but come on....when you can make an entire band with just people, THAT is talent!!

I am most partial to groups that sing songs I would recognise, but only use the power of the voice. But I am impressed by all of it.  In fact, in Peterborough, there was an A cappella group that was going around for Valentine's Day.  For $50.00, they would go and sing to someone, with the money going to charity.  I bluntly told Brian this would be an awesome gift and I would love singing men came to my place of employment.

I don't have a  large selection of A cappella songs, and until my most recent search, the only song I did have was "In The Still Of The Night" by Boyz To Men.

Then I came across a couple more.  Please forgive me if I have gotten their names wrong, but internet searches can be testy I find.

Anyway, Rockapella is a great band I have found and I found a FANTASTIC version of "Lean On Me" and my new favorite version to boot.  The video below just uses the song, but it was the only way I could figure out how to add the song.

(Off The Beat - Lean On Me)

I hope I am giving credit to the right group, and forgive me if I'm not...Now, this one is cleaver...listen for other "hidden" songs in the background.  It just makes me want to dance, but the dog gets all stupid and jumps at me when I do, so I either have to hide in the playroom behind the gate or just not dance...tonight I will just not dance.  Great walking tune.

So, I hope you can share a bit of appreciation with me and perhaps I have introduced you to a new genre of music!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time For Moi!

I have been a TOPS member for about 3 years now.  I joined after Hayden was born and was doing well until I got pregnant and totally got off the band wagon.

I kept going, but just bounced up and down...lose one week, gain the next, etc.

So, last week I decided....SMARTEN UP AMY RUTH!!

I left my meeting Tuesday night motivated and with a plan.

I would measure out portions, write down everything I eat, track my calories and stay within my limits AND exercise.

All week I was excited to jump on the scales for a change and see if my hard work paid off.  (I don't know what I would have done if it didn't....would have been a bit put off I guess)

My hard work DID pay off, a loss of 2.75 pounds. (loud cheering follows that announcement!)
I was aiming for only 2, so I did better than expected.  Now, to keep it up for next week.  I want to win the basket...the only time I like to be called a loser!  The biggest loser at that!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Embrace The Crock Pot

I have had a crock pot for about 7 years.  I could probably count on my hands the number of times I have used it.  I have only used it for spaghetti sauce, chili, pulled pork sandwiches and potato and sausage stew.

I don't love the crock pot..actually, I don't even really like it at all.  I prefer to make all of this stuff on the stove top.

Perhaps it is because my mom never used a crock pot except for meatballs on occasion.
Perhaps it is because my mother-in-law stayed with us for a bit and cooked a roast in it and Brian said it was terrible, but she went on for days about how she cooked it in the crock pot, like she invented the damn thing!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of the crock pot...throw stuff in, forget about it and at the end of the day, eat dinner!

For the past little while, I have heard people talk about their crock pot usage and I say, "I need to learn to embrace my crock pot"  When I got my crock pot, it had a recipe for a whole chicken cooked in the crock pot, but was always too scared to try it.

For some reason, Sunday night I decided I would take the chicken out to thaw and throw it in the pot with potatoes and enjoy supper when I got home from work Monday night.  I found an awesome blog about a woman who used the crock pot to cook a meal every day for one whole year!  CRAZY!  I just want to make one meal! So, between her site and a couple others I read, I had a recipe all together in my mind....maybe, just maybe, that was where I went a tad wrong.  I concocted my own mix.  I read where someone mixed Dijon mustard and honey together and poured it over the chicken...sounds delish right?!?  I went to bed all excited.  All day I wondered how it was, my little bird.  Was it cooking, would the potatoes be done?  Perhaps with the juices I could whip up a pan gravy!
I opened the door, waiting for the delicious smell to fill my nostrils! 

YUCK! What is THAT smell?!?! 


The chicken was fall off the bone cooked.  I got it out of the pot and went for the potatoes next.  STUCK TO THE BOTTOM!  Well, I got them out and tasted them!  CRAP!! That is what it tasted like (not that I know from personal experience of course, I just assume they taste the same!)  What would be my next plan of attack?  Clubhouse sandwiches.  I broke out the frying pan, the bacon and the phone book!  Why the phone book you ask?  I called the restaurant to order fries to go with the sandwiches.

All in all, I salvaged the chicken and pulled off supper.

I have not completely given up on the crock pot, but will put it back in the cupboard for a bit until I get inspired to try something else.

So, my you embrace YOUR crock pot?  What do you make!  What can I try to make me love it!?!

I Think I Broke My Walking Partner

Last week, I once again decided it was time to get serious and lose weight.  The nicer weather is here and less snow is on the roads.

I hitched up my walking buddy and headed out.  Due to the lack of snow, there was no one trapped in avalanches to save, footing was much better on the roads.

We did our regular route, except I threw in a steep hill to climb.  Extra cardio you know!  I made it out, Wed, Thurs, Sat and Sunday.  The walk is about 2.5 km.  Honestly, by the end, I don't know who was pulling who to the door.  That's the good thing about a big dog, he has strenght!

Once we got home Saturday night, he lifted his right rear leg a bit, but I thought he was perhaps suffering the same fate as me...too tired to take one more step!

Last night he happily joined me again, but this time, it felt different.  He was slower, but still jolly.  By the time we got halfway done and going past the road that could take us the shorter way home, he was looking to head that way, but we pushed on and he got a bit slower.

Finally, on the home stretch, it looked like his hip gave out a bit a couple times.  If I had my cell phone, I might have been tempted to call Brian and have him come pick up the dog. I felt so bad.  I know that the larger breeds can have trouble with their hips.

So, I came home and told Brian that I think I might have broke Bristol.

"If I did break my walking partner, can I have a new one?" I asked.  In 4 short days, I have gotten used to the company. 

I will let him rest for a couple days and try him again. Perhaps he can only join me every other night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

In honour of St. Patrick's day, I thought I would write a blog about our trip to Ireland a couple years ago.

My husband works for a company that also has a plant in Ireland.  They were introducing a new machine and he and a group of other employees were sent to Ireland to learn how to make the machines.  He was gone for 2 weeks and enjoyed himself.  About a month after returning home, they learned that they would be going back for another week each.  Because they had just been away from home, the company agreed that they could bring their spouses and children, so long as we paid for the flight, work would take care of accommodations and food.  What an awesome deal, too good to pass up.

So we started our adventure, a 2 year old in tow.  The plan was all worked out.  Brian had to work for the week, so that just left Hayden and I alone each day.  The hotel we were staying at had an indoor play centre right across the road.  Hayden and I would wake up with Brian at about 5,he would go to work and we would then fall back asleep until about 10.  The play place was half price until about 11 and you also got toast and tea.  We would have breakfast and play for a couple hours, giving house keeping a chance to clean the room.  Then, we would go back and order some room service for lunch.  The pool was just downstairs and that occupied time for a couple hours.  Nap time and then Brian would be home for supper.  We would eat downstairs in the restaurant and then back to the pool before bed.

We had one weekend to do some sightseeing.  My only goal for Ireland was to see a castle, and we did get to do that.

Here are some of the sights we saw:

Dunluce Castle
Peek A Boo!
Giant's Causeway
(secretly, I stole this picture from Brian's trip,
but labelled from ours!)
Our visit at Giant's Causeway
Hayden slept through the WHOLE thing!
Checking out the Ocean
This is one of my favorite pictures!
All in all, it was a great trip and a great opportunity.  It's a shame that we only had 2 days to devote to touristy stuff, but we made the most of it.  We wanted to do a tour of the Whiskey Distillery, but couldn't with Hayden.  Plus, the roads were so curvy, they made him terribly car sick!   Perhaps one day I will get back to explore my Irish roots a little further!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Transformation Begins....

If you recall from a previous post, I showed a little sampling of the paint colour I picked for my kitchen.  It's fairly unique and you certainly won't find it in every one's kitchen!

This past weekend was spent painting and touching up.  Once you have children, painting has a whole new spin to it.  Brian and I started Friday night once the kids went to bed.  He taped and together we cut in the corners and around all the trim.

At this point, I was a tad concerned
There IS painter's tape on the trim
TOTALLY matches the paint colour
By the back door
Your view when you walk in the door
All in all, I like the colour.  It's bright and cheery and once I get to put the finishing touches on it, I will be even happier.  The final house tour will have to wait.  Notice the ugly floor?  High on my list of things to change.

Also, a BIG shout out and HUG to my darling hubby who worked extra hard to finish this. He got up Saturday morning at about 4 am to put on the second coat before the kiddies got up! I snoozed until about 8!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Little Bit Bickmore

When Hayden was born, instantly, you could see the resemblance to Brian.

When Abby was born, instantly, you could see the resemblance to me.

The ongoing joke was that she actually belonged to the milk man, not him.

She has my looks, my nose, my intelligence, etc.

HOWEVER, today she proved to me that she is in fact a little bit Bickmore.

I watched her put on Hayden's winter hat, pull it right down over her head, and walk straight into the baker's rack.  She stood up, took off the hat, rubbed her head and came for a kiss.

Little goofball, but yup!  DEFINITELY, a little bit Bickmore!  I've never heard of a McCoy doing anything like that...unless it's my dad!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Husband, My Hero ~ Kinda Sorta

My husband is so gallant.  Abby and I were falling off a bridge the other day, and he reached out to grab us before we plummeted to the depths beyond!

How cool right?!?


Particularily if he is just dreaming the scenario and grabs you in the middle of the night and wakes you out of a dead sleep!

This is what happened at 2:30 a.m Wednesday morning. All I remember is being startled away and saying

"Geez Honey, what the HELL are you doing!?!"

"I'm sooo sorry!  Are you alright?"

And then we went back to sleep.

My husband, the ever loving hero!  But please honey, unless it's a real bridge I am falling off, just let me go!

On the bright side:  At least he wasn't PUSHING me off the bridge :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bickmore Family Circus

There are days where I feel I am the ringmaster of a 3-Ringed circus!  However, the show mostly goes on without me!  There is no controlling it, no matter how hard I try!

What parent hasn't felt that a time or two.

Most Wednesdays feel like that to me. It's the day I am home with the kids and it's hectic from the time I get up until they go to bed.

I was talking to mom on the phone by 8:15 this morning.  Actually, I called to see if she wanted to visit.  WHO WAS I KIDDING??  The kids were already crying.  I kid you not...I actually said at one point:

"Hayden, just take your shirt off and give it to Abby to play with!"

I then said to mom..."It's not normal to say that in a household is it?!"

Abby has a fascination with clothes.  The minute Hayden takes off an article of clothing, Abby has grabbed it and is either trying to put it on or just wrapping it around her neck.

In one instance of my circus, Abby is walking around with Hayden's dirty underwear on her head, left over toast crusts in each hand, taking a bite with the left, sharing with the dog with the right, then sampling the same dog drooled crust!  I just went to the kitchen and attempted to empty the dishwasher before she came in to help!

It's exhausting at the end of the day, but funny just the same when I think about it later! My only comfort?  Every family has days of an untamable circus!

Tell me, doesn't this have trouble written ALL over it!!