Month: February 2014

“A” is for ABBA

This morning I was sitting here (No it was NOT procrastination! It was an exercise in collecting my thoughts. Believe, you, me, that’s a job in and of itself. SQUIRREL!) about to open iTunes and choose my soundtrack for the day. I had this really fun idea to just go alphabetically and see where that led me, when suddenly a tweet popped up over on “the” Twitter that my friend Alex was doing the same exact thing! Proof that there are no original ideas.

Not only was I going to do this, I was going to do the thing I always tend to do, which is skip ABBA because I have the “Thank You for the Music” box set and listening to “People Need Love” every time I open iTunes and randomize it, kind of grows old, so I have taken to just skipping ABBA. I know it’ll come up again when I get to movie soundtracks in the “M”s, so I just wait for “Murial’s Wedding” or “Mamma Mia!” to pop up and enjoy “Dancing Queen” and “Money, Money, Money” like everybody else on the planet who grew up in the 70s.

Well this little twitter conversation made me press pause (heh heh) and reflect on what my plan was actually going to be. Would I skip ABBA (iconic satin pants wearing Swedish band of my youth) and go right to Adele or would I – nay should I – start with ABBA and commit to listening to the very first band in my collection of CDs? (Yes. I own the CDs. They’re all in iTunes now and I have a love hate relationship with that fact that I can tell you all about that at another time.)

The answer was clear. Thanks to that little Twitter exchange, I decided to begin with the beguine. It had to be ABBA.

Do you know how many songs ABBA has? Do you know how many have been enormous hits? It’s astonishing.

Disc 2 has just started. “Knowing Me, Knowing You”. I LOVED this song when I was kiddo and actually I think this section of the box set is my favourite because it brings back the best memories of summers in Cape Breton as a free-range kid. Up and OUT! All day. Biking and swimming and climbing trees with best friends. Or building forts  or walks to “the” woods (like they were the only woods in the world – and when your world is that tiny they are the only woods in the world!) to eat.. er.. pick blueberries. It was the life, I tell you!

Anyway, I am currently on a glee-filled, ABBA induced, high and – quite possibly – couldn’t be any happier at this moment in time. My cheeks hurt from smiling and if it’s possible even my ears are happy right now. Despite the fact that they are being forced to hear me belting out all the songs .

Speaking of singing, can you even imagine a better song than “Thank You for the Music” for a little girl (or boy) to listen to when they have dreams of being on Broadway, or singing at the Met, or playing in Carnegie Hall or becoming a professional musician in any capacity? I defy you to try. It is THE best. I love it. I have loved it since the moment I first heard it, decades ago, and I love it still. I love hearing it and until I breathe my last breath (many, many years from now when I am a crazy old lady who rambles on and on about things) (Which is vastly different than now, when I am young and perfectly sane and ramble on and on and on about Things!) I will love it.

There are so many great, inspiring songs and lyrics in ABBA’s catalogue. I mean, they have had a feature film made about the band, their music has graced a stage on the Great White Way and then went on to become the soundtrack for the movie adaptation of the Broadway production. (“Mamma Mia!” I know *you* know, but I felt that maybe some people might need a refresher.) “Mamma Mia” has been a hit time and time again around the world. That’s some pretty amazing “reach”, wouldn’t you agree?

With lines like, “… try once more, like you did before, sing a new song [Chiquitita].”, or  “… one chance in a lifetime, yes I will take it, it can’t go wrong”, or  “… if you see the wonder of a Fairy tale, you can take the future even if you fail..”. (Come on! That is gold!) it is practically a collection of “Life Lessons from ABBA”. In fact if Benny, Bjorn, Agnatha or Frida were to write that book, I’d probably buy it. No. Not probably. I would definitely buy it. *coughs* Pre-order *coughs*

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty, what would life be?

Without a song or a dance what are we? So I say thank you for the music. For giving it to me.

Family Day, we hardly knew ye.

It’s Family Day in Ontario (and several other provinces). We live in Nova Scotia. I have two kids. Thing 1 and Thing 2 have been hearing a LOT about how today is Family Day all weekend because we have been watching CBC (Yay, Olympics!) and YTV – way more than on a typical weekend, because of the yucky weather – and they mentioned it quite a lot.

Now it’s Monday morning.

I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.

Yeah. That.

Thing 1 is in an uproar about how “everyone” else gets to stay home. Everyone? Really?

Even in Ontario (which is where the Things started school and therefore (contradictatorily) their introduction to the glory of the day off) not everyone has the day off. I saw someone refer to today in Ottawa as a “Half-Holiday”. Yes. Many people are working today.

Being the parent that I am, this led to a chat about exactly who has a holiday today. Telling me you don’t know is not helpful and doesn’t support your whining argument that you should be allowed to stay home. Find out!

So, Thing 1 wandered sloth-like towards the Mom CPU aka my beloved, awesome, perfect, old school, made of paper, calendar and was aghast to discover that “FIVE!!” places have a day off today. Never mind that one of the “places” is the United States of America celebrating President’s Day (not a Canadian province, but hey, they can hope). Four provinces are listed on February 17th as having a special day. Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, all celebrate Family Day and Manitoba observes Louis Riel Day.

Not exactly “everyone”, is it?

Poor Thing 1.

So what’s the big deal about Family Day anyway and why doesn’t everyone celebrate it? Why doesn’t Nova Scotia have a day off from school and/or work?

Well, the good news is that next year Nova Scotia will have a February holiday. It was decided, but you know, we need a whole year to prepare for the shock of a day off for just nothing. We wouldn’t want to implement it right away. That would be too much. MY GOD! Think of the children!!

So, we have a whole year to prepare for the third Monday in February, 2015. There will be a name the holiday contest and I just heard on the news that the very first to-be-named-February observance will honour Viola Desmond. You know who she is, right? I hope so! If not you should make a point of learning who she is. I’ll give you a hint. February is designated as a very special month each year for a particular aspect of our history. No. Not Valentine’s Day. No. Not the Olympics. Something much more important than either of those.

February is Black History month! That’s your hint. Go find out!

Friday Family Fun Night: Olympic Pizza Edition

We have a tradition at Chez Peady. To be truthful, we have many, but Friday Family Fun Night has been a part of our family, practically since we became a family.

It may have started with a frazzled, hormonally charged “I am a failure as a mother and therefore as a human being!”, but I assure you it has evolved into a lovely family tradition over the years.

Friday Family Fun Night can be anything that works for your family at the end of a busy week. We have, on occasion, even moved FFFN to Saturday to assure a more relaxed experience. I know we can’t be the only set of parents, come Friday, who would really just prefer to crawl into bed and zonk out until the light of day. We are not alone, right? RIGHT?! I didn’t think so.

We tend to change up our FFFN activities on a regular basis so that it doesn’t just start to feel like yet another obligatory “scheduled something” that we have to do. That being said there is one component that seems to have rooted itself deeply into our Friday night plans. Can you guess what it is? No. Guess again! No. Guess again! It’s PIZZA!

(You really should have gotten that sooner. I mean it’s right there in the title of this post. We have to work on your reading detective skills.)

Pizza always plays a part and on a Friday night there is NOTHING easier or more appreciated than a delicious, cheesy pizza. Wait. When you are a kid, there kind of is – it’s making your very own pizza! The Things are pretty creative and over the years we have had a myriad of pizza themes and shapes. From faces to animals to the Death Star and many things in between.

I know that, traditionally, today is a day for hearts, but that would have been cliché and besides with all the Olympic *love* we are seeing and hearing about, tonight’s theme was obvious. We would make an Olympic themed pie. Specifically, we would make the Olympic Flag. And we did!

It was easy and delicious, as usual, but it also fit in perfectly with our Canadian pride (Go, Canada, Go!) and like other MYO Pizza nights the activity is built right into making the meal. How fun is that? I think it’s great because no one is ever waiting around for dinner. They are actively taking part in the preparation, learning new things, making decisions, talking to each other, laughing and having fun. (Speaking of activity, while the pizza was cooking there was a pretty heated game of “Horse” happening between Daddy-O and the Things. I highly recommend those over-the-door basketball hoops.)

This time we really had to think about what kinds of toppings we could use to make those iconic Olympic Rings. We needed blue, black, red, yellow and green. Some toppings popped immediately into our minds. Green peppers and tomatoes seemed obvious choices for green and red.  Three out of four diners enjoy green peppers and tomatoes on their pizza, too, so that was a done deal. It took only a second more to come up with pineapple, which everyone enjoys, for yellow. Great! Thing 1 then had a “Eureka!” moment and shouted “Black Beans are black!”. Terrific! Now blue. Blue was tricky. There was a rather lengthy discussion about which would be more disgusting on pizza: blueberries or blue cheese. Blue cheese won the prize for grossest topping because “it has mold!” and then there was further discussion about the fact that all cheese has mold, but some molds are more scrumptious than others. (Thing debates are the best! I should really record one one of these days.) In the end, blueberries won their place in Olympic pizza history!

We think it turned out great. What do you think?

Green peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, black beans, blueberries. Yummy!
Thing 1 started with the black ring in the centre, so it would all be even. Logical! (Black beans are *actually* just really dark brown.)
Thing 2 added the blueberry ring and ate a LOT of blueberries in the process.
Almost done! What do you think? Doesn’t this look delicious?
Ta daa! An Olympic pizza.
Thing 1 approves of his blueberries and black beans.

Olympic Spirit: Go Canada Go!

Wow! What an amazing day for Canada’s Olympic athletes and Canadians at large!

Currently Canada has a total of 7 medals – 3 Gold (WOW!), 3 Silver (W00t!), 1 Bronze (Yippity biscuits!) and is tied with Netherlands and Norway for the most medals. That is a great start, wouldn’t you say?

With so much speculation leading up to (and political buzz surrounding) these Sochi games, I am glad that, so far, the athletes have been able to focus on their individual and team events (aside from some funny tweets, a few crazy bathroom photos, a trapped athlete and some judging rumours) without too much controversy.

We spent much of our weekend watching Olympic coverage on CBC (So thankful for the CBC!!) and talking about all the cool and interesting sports with our kids. Watching the Women’s Hockey Team on Saturday was a definite highlight of the weekend and I am so glad that Haley Wickenheiser is playing. She was the flag bearer for the opening ceremonies and is quite the amazing ambassador for Canada and sport. During one of the breaks in the coverage of the Canada vs. Switzerland game, they showed the most awesome clip of Haley Wickenheiser after the Canadian Gold medal win against the USA in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Winter Olympics. This quote has to win something! (Even if we’ll never really know the entire story behind it.)

The Americans had our flag on their floor in the dressing room and now I want know if they want us to sign it.

Whoa! I was amazed at how calm and pointed her question was. It, at once, raised her level of cool while pointing out a pretty awful example of sportsmanship on the parts of the American players. Nothing more needed to be said. She got her point across and her little dig in. I’m sure it’s all water under the bridge by now. Right?

Are you watching all the action from Sochi? Are you lucky enough to be there? Are the games making you feel extra pride for your country, homeland or heritage? Does seeing all the amazing athleticism make you want to go out and play more than usual? How are you using the Olympics to foster the joy of sport or activity with your kids and family?

Me? I got a Silver medal just for showing up today. Mondays are hard and Thing 2 is a very generous judge. Sure, I didn’t win Gold – that was reserved for Thing 2, but I received Silver, while Daddy-O only got Bronze, so, you know …  WINNING!

This is *my* Silver Medal. Not too shabby, eh?

You should know I am not competitive at all. Nope. Not one bit. Yup. *wink*

If you are interested in making some medals of your own (or with your kiddos) here is where Thing 2 got her templates. There are also some great activities and printables here, lots of good information here, and some good Canadian stuff here.

The LEGO Movie: A Mini {fig} Review

O-M-G-O-S-H! Go see “The LEGO Movie” as soon as you possibly can!

Seriously. It was BRICKTASTIC!

I wanted to spill all the details last Saturday (February 1st), which is when I got to see an advanced screening at Cineplex (on my Birthday, no less!) with my family, courtesy of a local radio station, a few sponsors AND our favourite local toy store, Brain Candy Toys, where I WON the tickets!

There is no joy like seeing a movie on a Saturday morning with your favourite people on your birthday! Popcorn for breakfast? Come on!! I was ecstatic.

We had BIG expectations and they were not only met, but exceeded. ALL your favourite Mini Figs were in there somewhere. (Assuming you have favourites. I mean, you have favourites, right? If not, we need to discuss this further, later though, I’m kind of in the middle of something here!) It was the perfect mix of “kid” movie and “retro” for the parents or adults who still just really love LEGO. I am not judging! I LOVE LEGO!

The actors who voiced the characters were perfection.  Yesterday on the radio one of the announcers was talking about it and she said “All the Wills are in there!”.  I had to laugh because she’s right. The LEGO Movie has three excellent Wills – Farrell, Forte & Arnet. Seriously. Perfection. There are a lot of familiar voices you will likely recognize, like Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Chris Pratt (Parks & Rec) and possibly my fav character 1980-Something Spaceman enthusiastically voiced by Charlie Day. Not to mention Morgan Freeman, who is perfectly cast as the “ancient and heroic wizard” Vitruvius.

This is what my LEGO dudes had to say:

Now LEGO of your smartphone or computer and go see “The LEGO Movie”. Today, even. I’m so confident that you will enjoy it – I *might* be willing to bet my Angry Scot on it! Och!