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Happy Father’s Day!

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, Step-Dads, Expecting Dads and Potential Dads out there!
What does it take to be a good Dad? Well, speaking from my own experience, (but not of my own Father), a good Dad is there for his children – present, available, supportive, kind, playful, and disciplinary when called for.
My Father was very harsh at times, and just detached most of the time. I always say that he was just a product of the times, that all Dads were like that back then, that he didn’t know any better, etc. etc.
But if I stop to think about it, I had a couple of really good Father figures in my life who were very important to me – my maternal Grandfather and my Uncle John, my Mother’s eldest brother, who is still alive and kicking in Wales. He was always so much fun, and played with all us “cousins” for hours. And I have such fond memories of spending time with my Granddad, often just observing his bees in the hive, and of course tasting the honey! He taught me a lot about patience and being kind.
When I was a young girl and dating I think I must have very subconsciously been looking for qualities such as these in a potential husband, and very luckily for myself and my children – I landed a great one, a crackerjack, in fact! Of the pair of us he is definitely the more nurturing one, and if they had had paternity leave 30 years ago, he would have been home with our babies for sure.
When I look at his parents, however, I believe he would have learned these traits from his Mom, not his Dad, as she was basically love – personified.
So make sure you honour all the Dads and Father-figures in your life this coming weekend. It’s a hard job to be a good Dad, and often goes unrecognized and unrewarded. Perhaps a nicely prepared meal – barbequed ribs and Sally’s potato salad???

A Mother’s Love

20130507-205121.jpgIf you’re lucky enough to have a Mom still, then make sure to give her a big, big hug on Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to be a Mom, hug your children and thank them. If you know a Mom, give her a hug too. Mom’s just deserve hugs all the time, and a whole lot more.
A Mother’s love is just such a very special and powerful emotion. It’s almost indescribable to someone who has never felt it before. For myself, I never felt any such emotion until my firstborn was about 3 months old. Before that I really didn’t think I had any maternal instinct whatsoever. If anyone handed me their baby I passed it back instantly. I didn’t think babies were “cute”, “adorable” or any such thing. Well, what a surprise when my maternal instinct finally kicked in the first time my daughter looked up at me and smiled. It was like a lightning bolt of love. Suddenly I was a lot like a Mother Lion. Try getting between me and my baby. Roaaarrr!! Not gonna happen!!
In the years that have passed my love for my children has never lessened one iota, which again surprises me as I thought it would wane a bit when they grew up.
What surprises me even more is that I feel the same kind of love and protectionism for my Grandson.
To me the absolute best example of Mothering, by far, is that shown by my friend Diane for her two extreme special needs children who have both passed away. Her daughter, Carling, passed away in 2004 at the age of 7 and her son, Colton, passed away just this March at the age of almost 15. They both suffered from a very rare genetic condition called NCL (Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses) which strikes a child from the age of 3 onward and is often fatal by age 7. The fact that Diane, and her team of caregivers did so, so much for both Carling and Colton and managed to keep them as healthy as humanly possible is nothing short of miraculous. The photo below shows Diane dancing with Colton at his Grade 8 graduation last year. Unbelievable! She also has a third child, Jarrett, who is not affected by NCL. The struggles – physical, financial and emotional that the family have gone through would have finished me off for sure. But not Diane. She is not only the strongest person I know, but also the most giving of herself, and always with a big huge smile. I have been lucky enough to know Diane since she was just a high school student. Even back then she knew that somehow she would change the world. Well, she has changed it, and for the better, as, despite her grief at the passing of her children, she once again selflessly looks outward to see how her experience can change the world for the better by leaving a legacy of helping others through the well known charity Free the Children. We could all, each and everyone, take a lesson from her.

Colton Gill dances with his mother Diane Wilson at his Grade 8 graduation from Charles R. Beaudoin school last June.


Easy Homemade Jam

Happy New Year to You and Your Family.


It’s freezing cold here in Canada and there’s quite a bit of snow on the ground. Sometimes at this time of the year, fresh fruit in the grocery stores doesn’t taste particularly fresh or flavourful. Luckily we have an abundant supply of frozen fruit which can often take the place of fresh. I find it works very well if you make jam out of it. This jam just bursts with flavour and is super easy to make.


2 cups partially thawed, mashed fruit of your choice. (Here my daughter used mango and strawberry, but any fruit works)

3 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 packet of pectin powder

juice and zest of one lime


Start by mashing up the first layer of thawed fruit right in the measuring cup



Add another layer and keep mashing until you get to the 2 cup mark



Bring mashed fruit, sugar and pectin powder to a boil over medium-high heat



Boil hard for one minute



Pour into hot jars


Amazing Sweet Potato lentil Dal

Turmeric, the spice responsible for the yellow colour in curry powder, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant aphoto of turmericnd has been used for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic tradition. A richly coloured yellow powder commonly found in grocery stores, it is made from grinding a dried root similar in look to ginger. It is really easy to incorporate it into your everyday cooking – in soups, stews, spaghetti sauce and even baking as it is not spicy at all, but has a wonderful rich flavour.



Sweet Potato Dal

This is a very versatile and easy recipe. It makes a hot dip to go with naan bread, a cold sandwich spread, and an “instant” lentil soup when mixed 2 to 1 with chicken stock.

2 T. olive oil
1 small onion or 1/2 a large one, diced
1 c. dried red lentils
1 1/2 t. turmeric powder
1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. boiling water
1 bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
(if you want sp
icy, add 1/4 t. cayenne pepper with turmeric)

dal ingredients in the pot


fry onion in olive oil until getting lightly browned
Add rest of ingredients, lower heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until everything is soft.

Remove bay leaf, whip lightly with a fork

amazing sweet potato lentil dal, served with naan

Serve with naan breads or crackers


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