Tuesday, 16 May 2017



A few weeks ago we came home to a house full of water. It reminded me of a TV show, water pouring through the ceiling, us sloshing through water, squishing noises coming from every footstep over the carpet...

What happened was, our the bathroom, which is on our second floor, had a clogged toilet yet was still running. Water ran for a couple of hours while we were out of the house. The water seeped through the floor, which is right over top of our living room, and came through the ceiling. From there it pooled on the living room floor and slowly made it's way through that and ended up in the basement. So, all three floors drenched!
Luckily for us, we had insurance. And, insurance would cover all the damages. New floors, ceilings, carpets, and walls. However, since the damage was so widespread, and so much work needed to be done we were given the boot and told to move out for awhile. Again, insurance found us a great Inn to stay at, not too far away. So, we are now living in a motel - but, really it is a motel only by name. The place is the entire top floor of an old farmhouse which has been remodeled into an apartment - we have two big bedrooms, a good sized kitchen, lots of living area, and a bathtub with jets (so, no problem getting the kids to want to take a bath).
Of course it was stressful to move out for an undetermined amount of time - it could be three weeks it could be more than a month? It was a challenge to pack. Even though we tried to think of this as an adventure, there are times when you just want to be home.
We've been settled at the Inn for a few weeks now and overall we are managing well. Living a somewhat minimalistic life and without our regular household project our life seems to have slowed down. This weekend was a good example. It rained all weekend and forced us to stay in and get cozy. We had time. Time to relax, do a puzzle, play some board games, build some lego...there were no house project to do, no basement to tidy, no yardwork. So, it was different. Enjoyable, but, different.
I will be extremely happy when we move back into our house, but, for now I'm happy with our temporary life.

Friday, 10 March 2017



The Food and Nutrition Committee of the Place Under The Pine has put together a series of videos documenting the School Lunch program. The general policy around food in the PUTP has always been focused on moderation, variation, and holistic nutrition. The school lunch program has tried to incorporate these values, but, there are challenges.

There is the added constraints of time. The ideal time to prepare food would be immediately before consuming it, however, that is not possible with school lunches. One option is to prepare on the morning before school - which is, for lack of a better word - a hot mess. Another option is the night before. The PUTP has found preparing lunches the night before school is the best compromise. However, there are times when even the night before is not ideal - when extra curriculars end late, when school projects are due the next day, or when lunch makers are just tired out after a long day.
There are also container constraints - size and shape. And, further, many food options cannot even be considered due to lack of refridgeration, and no cooking/heating equipment. 

School Lunches are definitely a challenge.

After making thousands of lunches over the years the PUTP has developed a system that works well. Everything from timing, containers, and a customized repetoire of recipes that 'work' are the result of these thousand of 'experiments'. The PUTP took a leap earlier this year and made a few 'how to' or 'how we do' style videos in an attempt to help other parents take school lunches to the next level.

Analysis of the videos have shown the ups and downs that come along with the daily grind of making school lunches. There are periods when healthy, almost overzelous, lunches prevail. And, there are times when the quality is, let's be nice and say, less than stellar. But, as with the rest of life; there are good times and bad times.

Presenting the School Lunch Program video series:

The First Week Video - healthy lunches and improving with tinfoil.

Use Your Melon - Everything from classics like tuna salad to exotic fruits like mango!

Have Fun With Your Food - The process of making lunches can be an 'enjoyable' chore.

Healthy AND Realistic - A great mix showing some great lunches and busy night lunches (featuring things like Pogos)

Valentines Day and More - A Themed lunch for valentines day involves lots of heart shaped food.

The PUTP does not claim to be the original, be all end all, or pinnacle of school lunch videos, we play one small part. There are many similar videos on Youtube that share a different view, different food, different container system, etc. They are worth looking into - especially for those who are just starting the monumental task of making thousands of lunches in the upcoming years.

Here are a few recommended sites that the PUTP often views: