Sunday, March 20, 2011

Time Runs Away and Blowdryers Blow Up

We recently had a Coral Harbour mystery explained to us.  When we first moved here, we noticed (and wondered why) that the clocks were all ahead, about 15 minutes.  A couple of weeks later, I was SURE that the clocks were at least 20 minutes ahead (no we had not changed the clocks yet ;o).  Finally we decided to change the clocks to the proper time, only to notice that, slowly over time, the clocks get further and further ahead...

Since we moved here, I managed to "burn" three hairdryers.  Ok fine, the first one was old (I had brought a new one thinking the old one was going to die at some point) but the other two were brand new.  I would plug it in, dry my hair a little and boom! dead.  Not fun when it's minus 50 outside!

Anyway, we recently had someone in to do some maintenance work on the house and he explained to me that the generators in Coral Harbour (this is where my electrical knowledge and terminology goes out the window so, once again, bear with me) emit power surges and these are the culprit for the clocks getting faster and faster.  While the man didn't think there was anything really wrong with the outlets (even though there were voltage drops), and he didn't have an explanation for my hair dryers, he did admit it was strange.  He suggested we buy a really good (and really expensive) power bar to protect our important electronics (TV, laptop etc.) from these surges.  I told him that he better go to the office to personally tell Brian that we should buy this expensive power bar... ;o)

Time Stood Still

Alright, time did not stand still but it didn't change either (I'm sure scientists would have issues with that statement but bear with me for a minute).  Last weekend, while most people were complaining about losing an hour of sleep, I was unaware that it was time to change the time.  The reason being, Coral Harbour does not do the Daylight Savings thing.  We are the only place in Nunavut that doesn't change the time.  I have no idea why but I do know that it wouldn't make a difference where daylight is concerned.  We are already getting a lot of daylight and it's getting scary as to how much more we are going to get (still 3 months to go for the summer solstice).  It's nice and bright well before 7am and there was still light in the sky at 7:45 last night.  My boys routinely wake up before 7am now (they used to sleep in until 7:30am) but it's so nice being able to walk Benjamin to school and feel the warm sun on my back.  It's nice to be back in the Manitoban time zone (central time zone, I believe).  In a strange way I feel "closer to home".  Now when I call my friends in Selkirk I don't need to wonder "what time is it there?", "is it suppertime or bedtime?".  The hour difference with Ontario is also great since my mom works late and she usually sleeps in so by the time things are settled with the kids it's usually a good time to call her (instead of waking her up half the time - sorry mom!).  The only negative with the whole "no time change" thing is the fact that I am back to Loserville when it comes to television.  Now, the few shows I enjoy watching are all at 7pm, right at bedtime!  No, we don't have a PVR (not sure how that would work here but I bet they'd be a FORTUNE) and my VHS is so ancient it doesn't tape channels higher than 12...  I will also miss only having one hour difference with my in-laws.  Two hours, although we make it work, is more difficult to stay in touch.  Especially with Heather and Sara my sisters-in-law because, by the time the boys are in bed, it's around 10pm - too late to call.  I can't have it all!  Half the year will be great for my mom and Manitoban friends and the other half, great for TV and my in-laws...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Bou-bous, Nunuks, and Mobiles"

Isaac is already a product of the North.  Some of his favourite things are "bou-bous", "nanuks", and "mobiles" - his baby talk for caribous, polar bears (nanuk is the Inuktitut word), and snowmobiles.  It's funny because right before we moved, I purchased some Schleich animals (German made plastic animals that look more real - unlike the Fisher Price ones for example) for Isaac for Christmas.  I bought the mama and baby polar bears, a walrus, and an antler animal that we call a caribou (it's probably a reindeer of some sort).  Anyway I had no idea whether or not Isaac would play with them.  Well he loves them and one day he insisted on taking mama nanuk to bed with him for his nap.   Isaac also LOVES going outside to play no matter how cold it is or how many times he falls down (he's not very agile on the snow yet).  The Inuit find him irresistible, picking him up all the time and getting right into his personal space (he rather dislikes the latter and screams at the kids who try.  It's interesting that often they don't get the message and I HAVE to tell them "oh Isaac doesn't really like it when you're THAT close to his face so could you please take a step back?").

On the "bou-bou" topic, I was thrilled to be given a nice piece of caribou meat yesterday and couldn't decide whether to turn it into stew or leave it as a roast.  I had decided on a roast (less work ha!!) when I turned the hunk of meat over and noticed a larva (a biggish white worm with rings).  I have a pretty strong stomach but I HATE larvae, maggots and dislike worms (I wear gloves to garden at ALL times) so my stomach turned, my legs went weak and I sat down on the couch.  When I came back to my senses I called Brian's workmate to ask him what to do.  He told me that he always "boils the heck" out of caribou meat and then fries it or prepares it with sauces etc, but even he was unsure whether or not he would eat this meat (it's funny because we were going to invite him over for dinner to share the caribou).  So he and Brian were going to ask "conservation Jimmy" about the meat.  I'm almost certain the locals would have no trouble eating the meat (I doubt it was the only larva in the entire caribou), but I'm just not sure and, well, I've lost my appetite!  Interestingly, a couple of weeks ago other "conservation" people came to Coral Harbour, and along with Jimmy, tested a good number of hunted caribou.  I'm looking forward to hearing about the results (now with a vested interest).  I looked online and read a little (as much my stomach could handle) about warble fly and nasal bot fly.  Both of which nearly are making me never want to eat caribou again...   As for supper tonight, we'll be having frozen pizzas.

As an aside, I just looked outside my window and there is a truck with a skinned caribou carcass in the back of the truck...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feast or Famine

Before tonight I had yet to teach anyone anything.  Not one person had made it to my class.  But tonight, not one, not two, not five, but 12 women showed up to my class!!!?!?!?!!?  I didn't know what to do with myself.  I was so nervous that I was knocking stuff down.  There weren't even enough chairs for everyone!  I don't know what the organizing lady said on the radio today but it worked (I'm going to call her to find out!).

I THINK the class went well (again, I'm going to call the lady for some feedback).  The women were receptive and chuckled even to my weak attempts at making jokes.  While I didn't know any of them from Eve, they were in the age bracket older than "young moms", some into middle-agedhood or older.  Maybe that was the problem - we were targeting the wrong age group...  I had planned to keep the information quite simple, but when I saw their reaction to my notes (I gave them each a copy of my class notes) and when a lady asked me if sugar contributed to weight gain, I decided I needed to scale it back even more.  Tonight's class was about beverages with a focus on pop, coffee, juice (100% and "fake"), milk (chocolate and regular) and water.  When asked "did anybody learn anything new tonight" one lady said she learned that caffeine is a drug (and then they proceeded to poke fun at me regarding Brian letting me drink coffee you know, because it's a drug ;o) and another lady noticed how much sugar is present in the different beverages, especially pop (they don't drink diet because it's almost TWICE the price of regular).  So there, I feel like I did my job.  I taught somebody something new.

Tonight's recipe was Cheddar Biscuits made with oil instead of shortening or lard.  The Inuit people eat a lot of bannock, a biscuit or bread-type staple, they eat with most meals.  Bannock is made with flour, salt, water and shortening or lard.  My goal for the Cheddar Biscuits was to provide a healthier alternative to bannock.  It was fun making it (they had never sifted flour before) and they liked the biscuits for the most part.  The only complaint is that they weren't salty enough (the recipe called for 1tsp salt and cheese).  I guess I'll have to tackle the salt issue another day!

Cheddar Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups All-purpose flour, sifted
1 tbsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
1/2 cup Canola oil
1 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 425 F
1.  Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add cheese and mix well.
2.  Pour canola oil and milk together in a cup, but do not stir. 
3.  Make a well in flour, and add the canola oil/milk mixture.
4.  Stir with a fork until all flour in dampened.
5.  Drop spoonfuls of dough on greased cookie sheet.
6.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Best served warm.
Makes about 12 big biscuits

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Saturday

At 6am we realized that we had no power.  I have no idea how long it was off but it couldn't have been that long since it wasn't freezing in the house yet (and with temperatures of -52 C the house would get pretty cold pretty fast!).  Thankfully it came on an hour later.  While this turned out to be "no big deal" at the time, it did concern me a little.  Brian had told me that THE electrician was out of town.  Yikes.  I hope they have a backup!  I wondered what we would do and where we would go.  Brian mentioned something about setting up the generator for the detachment so I was picturing myself and the 3 boys in there making the best of it, eating sandwiches.  And then of course I thought of all the people throughout the past number of years (and right now) having to go through devastation, including no electricity, all the while dealing with young children.  My prayers were repeated for everyone in Japan.

Back to my own little world.  I was so excited that Brian had found 10% cream yesterday at the Northern.  This morning I checked the date and it expired today.  Oh well, I thought, I'll get a couple of days out of it at least.  Well, the cream fell in chunks in my coffee.  Not impressed.

Yesterday I received one of my orders from and was happy to get my my Greens + bars (healthy bars).  I had never tasted one before so when I took my first bite and it tasted kinda "off" I didn't know if it was normal (Greens+ is a kind of supplement made from all kinds of sprouts and vegetables) or if they were bad.  Well the taste was worse with every bite and it took me a couple more bites to decide that yup, they were completely covered in mold.  VERY NOT IMPRESSED.  I thought I was going to be sick.  The expiry date was fine.  I called the company and they will send a replacement box once they get my receipt in the mail and they will let know about it.

Well, the young girls are either courageous, eager, crazy, silly or immune to it (or all of the above) since it was -55 C last night and there they were at my door at 7:30pm sharp.  Last night was movie night.  I had planned for them to come over to watch a "girly" movie once the boys were in bed.  I was quite excited since I was going to make them watch my all-time favourite movie growing up "The Princess Bride".  I watched that movie countless times over the course of many sleepovers over many years.  I realize that I have a desire to spend time with young girls because they are the girls I will never have.  I can do (some of) the things that I've always looked forward to doing with my girls, if I had any.  And now that the verdict is in, I still want to do these things, but I will have to borrow other people's daughters to do them.  They remind me of me when I was their age and at the same time they make me feel old ;o)  There they were pigging out on chips, juice and popcorn, being silly and having laugh attacks all the while I sat there listening intently to every line, eating my disgusting Smart Pop! and controlled portion of baked chips.  We had fun and they want to do this every two weeks.  I don't have enough girly movies to do that but maybe I could pull it off once a month.  I think next month's movie will be Ever After.

Well, it was nice to sit here with my coffee (whitened with Coffee Mate) this morning but I have a class to prepare for (this aft) and some cleaning to do (the never ending job)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Loose Ends

Wow it's been a long time it seems since I last wrote something.  There are so many "little" tidbits that I want to update you on that I will start right away.

My Health class isn't going very well.  So far I've shown up for 4 classes but nobody else has.  I've told all the young moms I know, I've made posters, we've offered a fruit basket prize as well as free food, and it's been advertised on the radio station, but still, no show.  It seems we've done everything short of paying people to come!  I now have a few people that are saying to me that they are interested (they've said that before) and that they'll come but I'll believe it when I see it...  I'm not discouraged or anything.  I feel bad getting paid for seemingly "nothing" (I do put my hours in however doing research on the slow internet, baking, putting together the recipes etc).  I feel disappointed because I would really like to be teaching the young moms of the community.  I'm really excited about this opportunity but haven't been able to reach out to anyone yet.  Who knows, maybe it's because I'm the RCMP's wife.  Every once in a while I become aware that Brian has dealt with some of my acquaintances or their partners (it's a small town and people talk!).  I usually don't find out until long after it's happened but I wonder how they feel when they are around me - they must wonder if I know or maybe what I think of them...  Also, I'm still the new white girl in town.  Maybe they are thinking "Who does she think she is?  She's only been here a couple months...".  I have no idea.  I guess I'll see what happens on Saturday.

My sewing class is coming to an end.  I was so far behind because I had to miss 3 classes in a row (terrible stomach flu and Brian was called out one evening).  I did bring my material home and will finish it this weekend before the last class on Tuesday.  I was told by the elder that I had done a good job for my first time.  I was very pleased to hear this.  Tonight, however I found out that while the outer layer is almost done (sealskin and sheepskin), I still have to make the inner sock liner with fake fur and insulated fabric (the fabric they use to make the inside liners of parkas).  So I will go to Leonie's and buy what I need so that the elder can get me started on Tuesday.

There were three very excited little boys yesterday when a much anticipated parcel came.  It was the bouncy castle Brian had ordered (it was a small ordeal to get it here since it had to shipped to his parents in Florida and they had to ship it to us - it's amazing how many online shopping sites won't ship to Canada!).  Anyway what a great idea (if I do say so myself ;o).  It's HUGE and takes up our entire living room from side to side and top to bottom , but all three boys can jump in it at the same time.  They LOVE it and so far have had so much fun.  I recently read that children need 30 minutes at least of physical activity per day.  While I try to play with them outside everyday, of course weather permitting, sometimes we simply can't stay out that long.  And as I've mentioned before, my boys have lots of wonderful energy.  So between walking home from school, playing outside, the Wii, and this bounceroo, I'm confident now that they are getting the exercise they need.  Not to mention how nice it is to watch them play, laugh and bond together.  I sometimes mind not having a girl but at the same time I LOVE having three boys.  They are best friends.

As mentioned we also now have a Wii.  The movers  packed the Wii we had received from a wonderful spoiling friend of mine as a Christmas gift and put it into storage (or they stole it!).  Well the moving company replaced it (gladly actually!).  The boys (big AND small :o) are having fun learning how to sword fight, bowl, cycle, play ping pong etc.  It's been a fun family activity and a nice alternative to watching TV during Isaac's nap.  I'm so thankful to have these luxuries because it makes our everyday lives a little special.  We don't have McDonald's, play groups, pools or Tim Hortons.  So I'm glad to have these fun options.

Anyway that's all the time I have for now since Brian is hoping (and I am hoping) to book our flights tonight for our trip out in May for my sister's wedding...    

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I H8 Online Shopping

Beggars can't be choosers.  Should I complain about online shopping when it's all I have?  I don't know, but I'm going to anyway.  I would like to clarify that I am beyond thankful to be able to buy almost anything at a premium and have it shipped up to me, but doing so is not exactly as fun as one might think.
Here is a little list of drawbacks from personal experience:

1.  My cheese grater broke the other day.  I want one NOW (I grate cheese nearly everyday!), but I will have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.  So until then I'll have to pay the highway robbery price of shredded cheese here at the store.
2.  I've run out of hair conditioner.  It was the first thing I ordered from (amongst many other items) and so far, I've received the other, less pressing items, but not my conditioner.  I'm so happy that both my sister and friend Jenna kept giving me the little free shampoo and conditioner samples from hotels...
3.  It's not worth the shipping and duty fees to return items.  I recently purchased some items from L.L. Bean and, had I been close to the store, I probably would have purchased the smaller bathing suit, I would have made sure the sweater and T-shirt had the same shade of white, I would have returned the bedspread and exchanged it for a different coloured coverlet (I somehow purchased the wrong thing - even though I checked my order many times!).
4.  I was misinformed on the website (pictures were not available) and purchased two "Asterix et Obelix" movies that, instead of being the cartoons that I used to watch when I was a kid, they are real movies with real actors...  My boys are not impressed!
5.  Free shipping doesn't always mean FREE shipping (ask my sister-in-law Sara).  It always depends on the item (if it's heavy) or where it's coming from (my order from L.L. Bean had free shipping but I had to pay duty fees).
6.  I've lost many partial or full orders because our internet connection decided to cut or be slow at that moment.  I've wasted so much time trying to put orders through and/or trying to call the customer service people.
7.  The customer service people are often not very nice or knowledgeable.  One didn't know where Nunavut was (he kept asking me if I lived in the NWT.  I educated him that day).  Another was rudely brushing me off when I was trying to explain that I had just lost a big order of free publications and pamphlets from Health Canada (for my class) and was trying to avoid using the internet...

Maybe living in the North will help me be less picky or will teach me to be an efficient shopper.  Some of you know that shopping with me isn't fun (Bless Jenna and my mother-in-law for their patience in coming with me on separate occasions to shop for jeans in the fall - I'm surprised either of them are still talking to me).  I NEVER buy the first thing I see.  No siree.  I hold, touch, try on, ponder, wonder, smell, pace and sometimes even break out in cold sweat...  I'm very indecisive.  If I buy something (anything - even clothes for the kids), I always made sure I ccould return it (and I often did).  So not being completely satisfied with my online shopping orders have nearly sent me over the edge.

I guess I'm just going to have to shop twice a year when we come out of the North or suck it up and deal with whatever CalmAir delivers.  There's hope that I'll get better at it.

P.S.  My favourite site for online shopping right now is   They sell ALL kinds of health, personal, and beauty supplies and so much more.  I've only explored the tip of the ice berg so far, but I've been very pleased with FREE shipping anywhere in Canada.  Still waiting for my hair conditioner though.    


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nathan's Big Day

For most of my children's lives, we have lived far far away from family.  Some years, we've been fortunate to have my dad and sister Melissa, my mom, my cousin Valerie, or Grammy and Grampy over visiting during a birthday, but usually, we are alone to celebrate.  And for this reason, I've tried to make birthdays (and special occasions for that matter) as special, exciting and memorable as I can.  I try to come up with my own traditions (some stick, many don't!) to carry from year to year.  One such tradition that I love to hold on to is special breakfasts (mostly because breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! :o).  Last year Nathan's birthday breakfast was toast with Nutella and sprinkles.  This year it was chocolate chip pancakes and strawberries which Nathan was pleased to help me make.  I also try to make their favourite meal for supper and I let them choose a cake from a cake decorating book that I make for their little party with friends.  Yes, many of my traditions revolve around food.  This is partly due to me being French Canadian but also because it's what I've been ABLE to do (especially here).

Another tradition that I started is to make the entire day a celebration starting of course with the special breakfast in the morning followed by opening a gift and a phone call to say thank you.  Then the birthday boy gets to pick what's for lunch and then he opens another gift (followed usually with another phone call).  I really enjoy doing this since it spreads the fun out and it decreases the mad rush to celebrate, open, assemble and play with all the new presents right before bedtime.

I've learned the hard way not to count on Brian always being home for special occasions.  Sometimes he is and sometimes he's not.  When we lived in Selkirk, he sometimes had to work late and here, in Coral Harbour, sometimes he gets called out (like last night right at dinnertime).  I've learned that the show must go on, but thankfully, Brian didn't miss much of the festivities last night.  

I think Nathan had a wonderful day.  He is a very gracious little boy and was very good at sharing his "Life Saver" (ha! Light Saber) and other new toys with his brothers.  He was so eager and "helped" me make the pancakes and prepare the hamburger meat for his anticipated birthday Cheeseburgers.  He was very understanding when we told him we were going to have frozen pizzas instead since Brian and I thought the hamburger meat smelled kinda "off".  He was thrilled to have birthday ice cream instead of cake.  And he wasn't upset when we had to postponed his birthday party to next weekend because we were so sick.  Yes, he's very easy going (stubborn as I'll get out, but happy-go-lucky) and he's our little chatter-box (I'm sure he makes up for 3 girls!).  At one point during the day he asked me if he was four yet and I told him that yes, he was four years old now and he answered "but I don't see myself taller!?!?" Too funny.  I didn't tell him that his mommy was a little sad because to her, he DID seem a little bit taller...