Pay It Forward

Remember when I told you last week to count your blessings?  Nothing could be more true of this upcoming holiday season.   In my Facebook travels today I came across the most wonderful cause and I immediately wanted to sign up so I could pay it forward.

Like I said, we are so fortunate to have a warm and welcoming home, the luxury of heat, electricity and running water and never having to choose between paying our power bill or stocking our fridge but there are so many families that are not nearly as lucky as we are.

According to the United Way, 120,000 people are living in poverty in the Alberta Capital Region.  Poverty refers to so much more than just being able to meet the most basic of needs like food, clothing and shelter.  They describe poverty as “a loss of self-esteem, identity, privilege and power…it’s the absence of more than just money.”  But it doesn’t have to be like this forever, if we all made a small contribution (what we’re able) every little bit will count.

There are so many ways you can help this season and giving FEELS SO GOOD!  I encourage you all to check out these links and remember this is only a small portion of what’s available in our area.  Find something that fits your family and help another this season.

Sponsor a Family

Before November 30 through the Junior Chamber International Edmonton you can sign up to sponsor a family and on December 1 you will be given your family.  You get to go shopping for the family members and then meet at Northlands where you’ll pick up a Christmas turkey and ham along with your family’s address and deliver it to their door.  This is something our family has done before and there is no greater joy that seeing the look of pure gratitude on a faces of a family in need that you were able to bless.  There’s a great little vid on their website so take a gander over there and watch it.

The Edmonton Food Bank also has a similar program that’s very easy to work into your schedule.  You can put together a festive hamper at your convenience and drop it off at their warehouse, 11508-120 Street, anytime between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.  There’s lists of items organized by size of family on their November 2013 blog page that you can print off to help with your shopping.  For more information, call the Edmonton Food Bank at 780-425-2133.

Donate Gently Used Warm Clothing

The United Way has a campaign called Coats for Kids & Families that collects gently used warm winter clothing for children and adults and distributes them to those in need.  The collection happens from October 16 to December 6 so there’s only a week left in this years’ donation campaign but some of the depots do accept them longer so don’t let that deter you.  Go through your closet and take your coats to any Cleaning by Page location or click here for a detailed list of their depots.

Buy One Extra Toy

The 630 CHED Santa’s Anonymous Campaign has one wish every Christmas; to see each child get a new toy under their tree.  They are devoted to bettering the lives of children in the Edmonton area by delivering the spirit of Christmas to them every year.  Purchase a new wrapped toy and drop it off at your nearest location. They also like to remind anyone that is donating that the toys are delivered to children within the Edmonton limits so if you’re from the sticks like us and you’d prefer to see your donations stay within your area, contact your local Family Community Support Services office (associated with your County or Municipality) and they can direct you to a local donation center or your local food bank.

Give Your Time

The Mustard Seed is a Christian organization with three locations in Alberta working tirelessly to help those in impoverish situations.  They have a Christmas Wish List of their own that includes some simple volunteer opportunities that won’t cost a dime.  Get some friends together and volunteer for an evening, you’ll probably end up getting more out of it that you have to give.

Drop Your Spare Change

Christmas time in the malls is always crazy but near all the exits you will hear a familiar ringing of Christmas bells that’s associated with the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign.  All donations go towards programs that support individuals and families in need this Christmas season.  You can also volunteer to man a kettle and ring that bell!  As well, the Salvation Army also has a Sponsor A Family campaign, click to fill out an Edmonton Family Application.

Of course, all of these organizations also accept monetary donations and are able to take your generosity over the phone, in-person or online.  To donate to any of these agencies, just click these links and they will take you to the donation pages on their websites.

United Way, Alberta Capital Region
Edmonton Food Bank
Santas Anonymous
Junior Chamber International Edmonton
The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign
The Bissell Centre

There’s also lots of donation bins all over the city right now too.  And remember that any events happening in your communities will almost always have a bin available for donations to their local food banks.  Please support them, you never know what your generosity will mean to someone in need.

Lastly, I’m sure you’re all aware that this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in the United States which also means it’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the most shopped days of the calendar year.   What I bet you don’t know is that the Tuesday that follows this weekend is known as Giving Tuesday thanks to a movement that swept the United States in 2012.  The end of Thanksgiving weekend marks the official beginning of the Christmas season in the US and the premise behind Giving Tuesday was to start off the Christmas season by giving back.  What will you do on Giving Tuesday?

Pay It Forward

Give generously this holiday season and remember what the spirit of Christmas is all about; paying it forward.  Love, Kim.

 

Count Your Blessings

As I sit at my island eating my breakfast looking out at the most wonderfully snowy view, I am thankful.  So very thankful.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this place but I’m finally here.  Looking back on all the moments in my life I wasted because of stress, pettiness, immaturity and influence I wish I could remember the joy that those times brought me.  And I know there was joy, it was just overshadowed by whatever negative distraction my brain chose to pay attention to instead.

I now thank God every night for the blessings He has given me.  Our daughters, my Farmer, our family, my health, my strength, my wisdom.  I thank Him for the inanimate as well – my warm and welcoming home, a reliable vehicle that gets me where I need to go, a bed to sleep in and the luxury of heat, light and running water.  I also thank Him for the little blessings that greet me everywhere I look – a fluffy pancake with butter and real maple syrup and eating it in my pyjamas with my children on this Thursday morning, watching a fresh snowfall from my kitchen window with a warm cup of tea writing a blog post, a candlelit bath, the welcoming hug or smile of my best friend,  a bowl of strawberries and cheesecake that I literally licked clean.

Learning to focus on myself and what’s going on in my own life has made me learn how to be happy for everyone I meet instead of immediately wishing I had what they had because “wow, if I had what they had or could feel what they feel it would definitely make me happy”.  So untrue.  We’re all here on this earth for different reasons and each have qualities that make us individuals.  I am finally SO PROUD of the person I am and the path my life is taking.  How boring would life be if we were all the same and had the same opinions, beliefs and style?

I have learned to laugh more.  I’m a lot less uptight.  I enjoy the simple things every day and I roll with the punches instead of always fighting back.  It’s shown me that life is something to be cherished everyday because before you know it, you’re a decade older and those 10 years of life you’ve just lived are a faint memory.  Even more faint if you weren’t focusing on the times that you rocked out.

Blessings are different to every one of us.  I’m sure more than half of you scoffed when you read that I was enjoying a snowfall from my kitchen window – truth is, I love the snow.  It’s so pure, pristine, untouched.  Have you ever stepped outside in a snowfall and caught a handful of flakes on your mittens?  If you’ve never done it, you should try it.  And keep in mind that no two snowflakes are ever created alike.

Challenge yourself to find at least 5 blessings in your life daily.  Some days it’s definitely more difficult than others but those are the days you just need to look a little harder.

Please excuse me while I go put ponytails in the Daughters’ hair and hug my Farmer.  Love, Kim.

Count Your Blessings

Lick Your Bowl Cheesecake

Before you start bitching about baking and springform pans, swallow a chill pill and note that this is a no-bake, non-traditional cheesecake.  So I guess it’s a cheesecake in the loosest, but awesomest, sense of the word.

I’m so proud of myself.  This just jumped out of my fridge and hit me in the face a few hours ago.  It’s been a bittersweet few hours though because now that I’ve created this monster I can hear it calling my name every 7 minutes.  Get me in your gut.  Get me in your gut.  NOW.  Good thing I’m lazy.  I’m upstairs and it’s downstairs so that’s the only thing stopping me from going to eat it all.

If I’ve ever given you an easy recipe before they were hard compared to this one.  And for something that takes max 4 minutes, the return on investment in phenomenal.

Cheesecake

Are you ready for this?

Get two bowls.  Mix up all the ingredients (except the fruit) in bowl one.  Put the fruit in bowl two.  Spoon what’s in bowl one over bowl two.  Complete.

Cheesecake3_new

I was even feeling super fancy and got out one of my Grandma’s dishes to eat it in.  So so so pretty right?  Don’t misunderstand.  I only looked at it for a nanosecond before crushing it.

It seriously has the most amazing cheesecake flavour and was so refreshing.  Plus it was easy to make.  Love love love.  I suppose you could sprinkle some graham crumbs over it too but I didn’t because I personally don’t like the crust of cheesecake.

Lick Your Bowl Cheesecake

1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese (I like Island Farms from Costco)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp of pure maple syrup (or honey could be used if that’s your thing)
2-3 cups of berries or fruit of your choice

DEVOUR.  You’re welcome.  Kim.

Hey Fraud Losers, Get a Real Job.

I was going to write a post this morning about the snowfall last night because I actually really truly do love a lot of aspects of winter (including the beautiful powder snowfalls and watching them from the comfort of my own home) but instead my mood was just soured by a sketchy and uncomfortable phone call.

As I type this I am on hold with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report to them this incident but while I wait I figured I would send a message out to all of my followers who I hope will share with their loved ones in the hopes that I can help to prevent ANY damage from being done.

I had a phone call at 11:25 this morning from “Unknown Name”.  I usually just leave these and don’t answer them (caller ID, a bonus of Technology I talked about last week) but I answered it this morning.

It was a man with an Eastern Indian/Eastern Asian accent calling himself Adam.  Over a very crackly connection, he said he was with the Windows Technology Centre and he was reporting a problem with my computer.  I didn’t quite hear him correctly so I asked again what he was calling about (in my usual “I don’t know this person” bitchy tone of voice) and he stammered and again said he was calling because he had record of a problem with my computer.  I told him there was no possible way he could have record of a problem with my computer and all of a sudden the line went dead.

THIS PISSED ME OFF.

HOW DARE YOU invade MY privacy, call MY home and try to scam ME out of the hard-earned money the Farmer and I earn to keep our family supported?!  GET A REAL JOB LOSER.

As soon as I hung up from his hang up I started to think about all the people in my life that are in a more vulnerable state.  That actually do run a Windows operating system so wouldn’t be 100% positive they couldn’t have their information.  People like our 79 year old Gram (don’t get me wrong, she’d still give them a run for their money) or the Farmer’s 84 year old Grandma who may not question him and might fall for it.  People like my Aunt who may be going through a rough time right now and not thinking cognitively enough to know this person may be scamming them.  People I love.

I am seriously so mad right now I could spit nails.  LEAVE ME ALONE.  I do not live my life with honour, dignity and pride so you can slide in here and steal what’s rightfully mine.  FUCK OFF.

Impeccably timed I suppose, this morning I found out from my clone the other Kim Ducherer, that her Farmer’s truck was stolen RIGHT OFF THEIR DRIVEWAY LAST NIGHT.  Really?!  What ever happened to working hard, saving up every penny of disposable income you had so when you were able to purchase something you wanted (or needed) you were filled with an overwhelming sense of pride for doing it on your own?  I guess it’s just easier to steal that from someone else.

Get a life fraudsters.

If you get this phone call or one like it, call your local RCMP detachment to report it as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.  You can also visit their website, https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca, or email them at info@antifraudcentre.ca.

For information on how to make phone calls like these stop, why you’re still receiving them even though you registered your name on that “Do Not Call” list a few years ago, what the terms Phishing, Farming and Spoofing all mean and what happens when you report fraudulent activity, visit the Anti-Fraud Centre FAQ page and read up.

Final word – be smart.  Please be smart.  If you get that feeling that something isn’t right, follow your gut and question them when they call you.  If they’re from a legitimate agency, they won’t mind.  If you get an email you think is phishing or fraudulent, google the legitimate agency it’s from and find their designated fraud email address.  Forward the email you received and they will look into it.

And for the love of God, if you aren’t sure about something DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE.

I suppose I can chalk up one more negative to Technology now too…

Work hard and LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH DIGNITY.  Ciao, Kim.

Dear Technology

Wanna know what I think about technology?  I think it makes my middle finger wag (insert red face mad puffed-up cheek emoji here).  I’m on the bring of throwing it all away and living in the bush for the rest of my life.  Well I already do live in the bush but I mean Mountain Man style.  That’s how frustrated I am.

I love being able to send an email from out of the house and check my bank balance while I’m grocery shopping but I do not like spending 45 minutes on the phone with Amazon trying to figure out why I can’t download the Kindle app to my iPad because it’s running iOS 5.1.1 and the app requires a minimum of iOS 6.0.  I actually gave up on this and started filling out income tax forms for our farm instead of dealing with it.  HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CRA INCOME TAX FORM?!  I was DONE.

(By the way, this is total karma for laughing at my parents when they couldn’t figure out how to play the VCR or record onto a cassette off the radio way back in 1993).

I’ve also had it with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, LinkedIn…am I missing any?  It was fun when it was just Facebook and I got to see what my friends from 10 years ago were doing and then compare my non-perfect life to theirs but now it’s just annoying to me.  Once I’m finished checking in on one, I move on to the next and before I know it I’ve been sitting on my ass for 3 hours because I’m busy checking status updates, tweets, twitpics and comments; I am so over it.

Some may argue this blog is excessing technology and I really have no rebut against that.  All I can say is I love this blog and to me it’s purpose is sharing with the world what I like to do.  (Now here’s my plug, if you like it you like it you can subscribe to the right of where you’re reading.  Just input your email address and I will notify YOU when I post something new, no need to check in every 20 minutes).  I feel like it’s the same as keeping a diary but I can obviously type faster than I write thanks to my Grade 4 Mavis Beacon classes so it’s in online form and not in my notepad upstairs.

THIS is the benefit of technology to me: playing flash cards with the Daughters without actually having to clean up any flash cards, screening my calls when I’m in the bathtub, going shoe shopping at 1 AM and being able to pay my bills naked.  Wireless internet, computers, televisions and printers are all pretty cool too because I’m anal and hate looking at cords so I’ll give that a pass as well.

Ahhhhhhhh.  Good talk.  I feel better already because I think I just needed to get off my chest that Amazon robbed me of 45 precious CRA tax form minutes tonight and I wanted some kind of retaliatory justification for still not being able to download the Kindle app on my outdated iPad so I came on here and slammed them and social media while I was at it.  Make sense?

Time for a shot of tequila.  Salt, lime, down the hatch!  Kim.

Baked Chicken and Veg

Wow, it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve done this.  The time change and some sickness has made me feel like I’m weeks and months behind already.  Weird how that works since we had an hour added and not taken away.  I had all intentions of writing a post on Remembrance Day and before I knew it it was November 12.  Where has this entire month gone?!  It’s going to be December soon!

Because of said time discrepancies above, I’ve been super lazy lately and I got this recipe in two text messages from my SIL, that’s how easy it is.  I told her last night about how I fried ground beef, added rice, green beans and tomato sauce and called it dinner.  In hindsight I could have added cabbage instead of beans and it would have been considered lazy cabbage rolls.  Instead it was just considered lazy.  Meh.

So this is somewhat similar and takes about 5 minutes to prep and 40-45 to bake plus 5-10 to broil.  Along with some rice (in a rice cooker of course) super fast on a weeknight.

Chicken_Veg1_new

Line your chicken boobs in a casserole dish and pour italian dressing over the top, shake on some parmesan cheese (I added this part myself because the Farmers’ Daughters love stinky cheese) and add veggies of your choice.  The SIL said she’s done it with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, carrots.  Endless possibilities.

Chicken_Veg2_new

Bake it in the oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes and put some rice on while it’s baking.  Go play with your kids (or crush a nap if you don’t have kids) and appreciate that it only took you 10 minutes to make from start to finish.

Chicken_Veg3_new

Coming up soon is a new Banana Bread recipe I perfected.  It’s badass.  Stay tuned.

Baked Chicken and Veg

4-5 chicken breasts
Italian dressing
Parmesan cheese
chopped veggies
an oven

Cluck cluck enjoy.  Kim.

Double Cornbread in a Skillet

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache.  Not surprising after the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed at my BFF’s kickass Halloween party last night and into the late hours of this morning.  3 hours of sleep probably didn’t help either but whatever.  I chalked it up to a night of amazingly bad decisions and tried to get along with the rest of my day.  Thank God we got an extra hour today, I needed it.

Tonight I bent over to pick up something and realized my headache wasn’t from all the booze I pounded into my gut or my body’s lack of sleep, it was from another fucking sinus infection.  I’ve learned over the past two years that if you bend down and it feels like someone’s blown off a shotgun at the base of your skull, you don’t have a normal headache.  What pisses me off most about this is it just took me two different kinds of antibiotics and almost a month to get rid of one of these damn things and here I am with another one.  EFF YOU.  I never used to get these and now here I am with 3 within 12 months of each other.  WTF.

Supper tonight was simple because of my new disability.  Chili and cornbread.  Believe it or not I took all the pictures of the cornbread but none of the chili so here’s half our supper for you to try.  My brain has clearly gone soft.

I like making my cornbread in a skillet.  I don’t know why, I just think it’s cool plus I don’t have to wash it when I’m done and it’s in my frying pan drawer in the kitchen as opposed to my baking dish cupboard.  The difference is about 7 steps and a bend down and today that made all the difference.

Put a tablespoon of butter in the pan and stick it in the oven at 400F while you mix the batter.  It melts the butter and conditions the pan to taste like success.  And no, that pan is not rusty, filthy or lined with vomit, it’s seasoned and it’s supposed to look like that.

Cornbread1_new

Mix up the flour, cornmeal, corn, baking powder, sugar and salt together in one bowl.  My pictures are horrible tonight but I’m sure you can all 1+1=2 so the bad visuals will do.  It’s better than my stick man drawings.

Cornbread3_new

Combine your eggs, milk and oil/melted butter in another small bowl.  Tonight all I did was melt the butter in the measuring cup, pour the milk overtop and crack the eggs in and stir them around a bit (totally lazy and yes, by totally lazy I mean I’m totally awesome and saved myself two dishes to wash).  Pour it over the dry ingredients and mix.

Cornbread4_new

The batter comes out looking like a beautiful maize colour.  Yep, I know that’s just a fancy way to say corn but it sounds better than corn colour doesn’t it?

Cornbread5_new

Pour it into the cast skillet and put it back in the oven to bake another 15 to 20 minutes at 400F or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Cornbread6_new

This is just happy bread.  I love it with chili and then I eat it with jam afterwards.  It’s amaze balls.  Try it.

Double Cornbread in a Skillet

1 tbsp butter (for skillet)
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup thawed corn kernels (optional, it’s just Cornbread in a Skillet without this though FYI)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 &1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter or cooking oil

I’m going to OD on Advil until I can get an appointment with my Doc.  Enjoy the cornbread and the delicious corn nuggets embedded within.  Kim.