Month: March 2014

This is Planet Earth

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

 

We have one home. Really.

We are connected to it in more ways than we know and certainly in more ways than many of us care to acknowledge, but make no mistake about it. We are one.

Have you ever looked at a leaf? I mean really looked at one. Closely? Carefully? Following the lines and creases from stem to edges?

Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean really looked at it? Closely? Carefully? Following the lines and creases from wrist to fingertips?

 

Have you ever watched a stream of water flow across dry land or sand? Or taken the time to stop and look at a tree in in the sunlight?

What did you see? Did you see similarities? Patterns? Something that made you stop and think, “Wait a second… that looks an awful lot like this…”

If you never have done any of these things I encourage you to do so someday soon. You might be surprised by what you see. Maybe you will start to notice something new.

Try to see things in a new light.

Maybe through the eyes of a child.

 

 

I believe we are connected with all my heart. My children know what I believe. They hear me talk about it. They see how I live. They will come to their own conclusions in time. Until then I encourage the observation of special days and events that reflect what I believe in. That’s the power of parenthood, isn’t it?

Earth Hour is one of these events. I like it. I know to some it falls into the category of “slacktivism”, but not for me. I observe it. Nay! I celebrate it!

We anticipate the day. We plan something special each year. Yes. Really.

We have gone out on freezing cold nights in Ottawa to the Museum of Science and Technology to celebrate and catch a glimpse of “the” Panda.

 

We have stayed in and made shadow puppets. We have made crafts and signs and posters leading up to the day. There was even a time when I convinced the “Panda” to visit Thing 1’s and Thing 2’s school! Oh yes! I fully embrace it!

Isn’t that what life is all about? I think so.

Tonight was no different. We had our Earth Hour dinner by candlelight. It’s remarkable how relaxed everything becomes when you turn off all the lights, shut off the computers and devices, and light a candle (or three). It was so calm and nice.

After dinner we planned to read by candlelight. Since Daddy-O has been reading the “Little House” series to the Things at bedtime, it was very fitting. They were just about to start “Farmer Boy” (one of my personal favourites), so I decided to read* for the remainder of Earth Hour! Time flew!

 

So, we put another Earth Hour to bed and hope maybe a few more people decided to turn out the lights. If so, great! If not, well, there’s always next year. I know we’ll be celebrating. I hope you’ll join us.

If you don’t that’s okay, too. Just know this..

On the land…

 

in the air…

and in the water…

 

on this planet we are all connected.

 

 

Let’s take care of the only true home we have.

For the love of our planet and our children.

 

 

 

*FYI. It’s not so easy for aging eyes to read by candlelight. How did “Ma” do it!?

 

 

 

Kick it Up a “Nacho” Storm Chips

Happy Thursday from snow covered, yet sunny, Nova Scotia!

We had a spring storm. A Blizzard. It was a real doozie, if you catch my “drift”?

It’s another snow day after the amazing spring (Hah!) storm we had yesterday and overnight. Bonus snow days are the best!

So, with everyone I love most in the world home again playing and/or working I thought I should make a fun lunch. I did a quick opinion poll and everyone agreed nachos were a great idea. I love it when a plan comes together so quickly.

I love it even more when a meal plan comes together so quickly!

This is a great lunch for weekends or storm days. You can use up leftovers and get your “5 a Day” veggies in, all at once, if you do it right.

So, without further ado, I give you “Kick it Up a ‘Nacho’ Storm Chips”!

 

Serve with salsa, sour cream and, if you have it, a bit of fresh cilantro and you have one very easy and happy making meal. So yummy!

Now, you must tell me, how did *you* weather the storm?

 

And snow on and snow forth…

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Oh, yeah. Suuuuuure it does.
A very blustery view. Thankful to be inside, safe and warm.
I had such hope for these planters and solar lights. *sighs*
As the day went on, the buildings across the street began to vanish.
The snow doesn’t usually cover the patio this way. You can (maybe) see evidence of the plow, but that was gone pretty quickly.

*sings* This is the storm that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some clou-ouds started snowing it not knowing what it was and they’ll continue snowing it forever just because…. This is the storm that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some clou-ouds started snowing it not knowing what it was and they’ll continue snowing it forever just because…. This is the storm that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some clou-ouds started snowing it not knowing what it was and they’ll continue snowing it forever just because…. This is the storm that never ends…

{There will be a *very* short video of the blizzard here as soon as it’s processed by YouTube. One assumes there is a backlog of blizzard, snowpocalypse, snowmageddon, sprinter videos for poor YouTube to process. That’s okay, YouTube. I understand.}

*head desk*

It is now 12:45 AM and the blizzard still blows.

The only question on my mind at the moment is whether or not Thing 1 and Thing 2 will have school later today. I am predicting a repeat snow day.

What do you think?

 

Let’s get our “buts” in check, so we can get our “butts” in gear!

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky!

Or eat some Ruffles.

Or don’t go for a walk.

Or maybe skip breakfast.

Or just sit here all day.

Winter has gone on far too long this year, but guess what! In a few weeks it will be warmer and sunnier and I will want to feel better than I do right now and ALL the aforementioned things that may or may not have happened (Who’s to say, really?) over the winter will come running back to me and haunt me with all the woulda, coulda, shoulda uselessness of hindsight. Oh, hindsight! Why must you be 20/20? You are such a jerk!

But! (No no…  it’s okay… this time. Really. I’m going somewhere here.)

It’s not too late! We have time to make a positive change*. You. Me. All of us! We have to start today, though. Right this minute, even.

I will use the body I have to get the body I want. I don’t need a gym. No one needs a gym. Right? I do have Peady Powers after all.

I know what to eat to fuel me. I know that being happy is a choice. I know that going outside as often as possible is good for my brain. I know that the ONE thing I can do today and everyday that I have been avoiding is moving. Oh sure, I can run and play with my kids and I can walk really, really far, but I want to be able to just move more and better as I get older. I don’t want to feel hindered by my age or attitude. I know age is inevitable. I know my attitude is a positive one. The trouble is, I lack confidence in my body and its ability to grow old gracefully.

For instance, right now I know I have committed to do something and I know it will be good for me and won’t take much time, but I am sore. Good sore, mind you, but sore nonetheless. So I have to talk myself into doing it**. Telling you is helping. (Thanks!) I am going to do it though. Right now. I’ll be back. (*pfft* As if you’d know! You just have to trust me… )

My friend Sheila is a licenced Zumba instructor and has a sincere interest in all things fitness. She is a great influence and a staunch supporter in my quest for better health. She wasn’t always the fitness enthusiast she is today. She has her own journey and reasons for taking charge of her health. We have been friends for a decade or so and we have been witness to lots of life’s ups and downs – including those of the scale variety. I asked her if I could use a quote of hers for this post and being the awesome person she is, of course, she said yes.

“My wake up moment was when I decided I was too young to feel that way. I was not willing to give in to all the little things. I wanted more out of life and I refused to accept all those little discomforts as just part of aging. Yes it’s part of aging if you don’t take care of your body.

I am hitting reboot on my eating habits and exercising. Don’t worry. I haven’t gone too bonkers. I just need to be healthier and there’s no time like the present, right? I am at a place in my life where I need to feel empowered and strong. I have some pretty amazing support. A best friend who will help me to get out and walk as often as possible, a group or two of like-minded people sharing ideas, successes and advice, and a faraway friend who is on her own mission to keep healthy, even as time keeps reminding us of its constant passing.

I am a firm believer of everything in moderation – including moderation!

Honestly, I am. Sort of. Wait. Do the Ruffles count? Oh, never mind. The point is there’s change in the air and I am ready to not only embrace it, but I am also willing and able to cheer you on, too!

So, maybe, just maybe we can get our buts in gear, get our butts in gear AND get our butts in gear! I say we give it a go! Who’s with me?

Have you been taking care of yourself this winter?

*There’s always time for positive change, by the way. Always.

**I did it. I promise.

Fin.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end ~Semisonic

Though some of us would like it to last a little longer and some of us would like it to last forever, today is the “official” last day of March Break. That’s it! That’s all she wrote. It’s over. Fin. Finito. This is the end. Roll the credits. Curtains! (You catch my drift? You buying’ what I’m sellin’? Okay, somebody stop me!)

Clearly, I have a problem with goodbyes.

So, before I let go of March Break 2014 for good (Hah! As if I could. Forever is a long time.), allow me to fill you in on the rest of our week.

From Monday to Wednesday the Things were pretty busy with all kinds of fun, frugal, or free activities and just enough downtime at home to maintain a bit of balance while still having fun.

We had a tentative plan to take in a Toonie Matinee with friends on Thursday, but as luck would have it Mother Nature had a different plan. (Has anyone else noticed how completely horrible many of Mother Nature’s plans have been this winter?) We were in for some nasty weather. There were big snow storms all around us and we had snow, followed by a lot of rain with the threat of a flash freeze, so we decided to kick “downtime” up a notch. While the storm raged on – or “rained on” in our particular case – we spent the day, safe and warm, inside. A nice sleep-in in the morning with extra Thing snuggles. A leisurely lunch. Lots of LEGO! A bit of CPU time. A DVD from the library. We spent the whole day jammified! It was glorious.

In retrospect, we needed it. That was the *exact* Thursday we required. Thanks, Mother Nature*!

On Friday (Oh no! It’s already Friday!!) we decided we’d definitely take in a movie at the theatres and figured it was our last chance for a Toonie Matinee, so that was what we were going to do in the afternoon. On a whim, I decided to check out what was happening at Chapters that morning and I was very happy I did because Thing 1 & Thing 2 were really happy to attend a KLUTZ event where they learned to make cootie catchers and paper airplanes. Each Thing even won a prize for a test flight with their planes. (Eventually, all the children were given a prize for their efforts – it was nice.) Kudos to Chapters Indigo for its daily events during March Break. It’s very nice when a retailer has a free event and does a great job executing it.

Thing 1 & Thing 2 were ready for lunch after their fun activity, so we headed home to make lunch and relax for a little while before heading out to the movies.

That’s when Daddy-O and I came up with a little surprise for the Things.  We would take them to see a *new* movie and we’d make it our Friday Family Fun Night. They were really excited to see “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” – in 3D no less – and we all enjoyed going to the the movies together. I enjoyed having movie popcorn for dinner. I’m not gonna lie.

On Saturday I went for a big walk with my NS BFF and it was great! The weather was perfect and we had as much time as we needed to solve the problems of the world while getting a bit of exercise. There is nothing like a nice long walk ‘n’ talk with your best friend to elevate your mood and erase any exhausted-from-a-week-of-March-Break-fun feelings.

This brings us to Sunday. Sunday, can be a sad or stressful day at the best of times, but after a break from school it can be really difficult to face the reality of back to school. Thanks to some friendly** friends, we had early morning plans to go outside and play. I love going outside to play and so do Thing 1 & Thing 2. Isn’t that convenient? Even though it was cold and a bit snowy and had rained all night, we were outside by 10:30 in the morning meeting new friends and playing. It was really wonderful! A great way to start the day and a nice, positive way to end the March Break. Yay, for smart friends!

Our final fling with fun for the March Break was to try out Ol’ School Donuts. If you have not had a chance to try these delightful, hot, morsels of pure joy, I highly recommend that you find out where this fun red school bus will be parked next weekend and go! Scrumptious!

What better way to end a great week than with a last hurrah!

*But seriously, enough already with the snow!

**Do you see what I did there?

Is your March Break half full or half empty?

Much to the chagrin of Thing 1, March Break is now half over. He loathes this fact. He doesn’t want to be reminded of it or the time. Ever.

This is especially challenging because Thing 2 absolutely loves telling time. Loves it. If given the opportunity she’d announce every tick of the clock, well, every tick of the clock!

She loves announcing the passage of time so much these days that yesterday when we were in a rush (and quite late!) to make it to an appointment for Thing 1, I told her if she announced the time again during the drive she was going to have a new nickname – Big Ben.

We talk a lot about not wishing our days away at Chez Peady. We try to live in the moment. Thing 2 is clearly the best at this. When she was a baby – you should know she was talking pretty early on – one of the best and most astute things she ever said was “Be here now”. I am actually tearing up as I type that because it’s just so perfect. Such a brilliantly simple concept. Three little words. Be here now. Our Zen baby.

March Break should be an awesome week whether you are on a beach somewhere in the tropics or you are staying at home and things are pretty much business as usual. We find doing a little something special each day works best for everyone involved. It’s very important to find the right balance of “out doing something” and downtime. You don’t want to burn out and need a vacation from your vacation, but you also don’t want to waste your time away doing too much of absolutely nothing. It’s not a crazy race to live your life in one day*, but a way to spend time together while experiencing something enjoyable, familiar, interesting or new.

A week off school for Thing 2 is a week of adventure and time to play, use her imagination, do whatever she wants; living in the moment is a great trait to have when there’s a whole week of freedom. Thing 1 feels pressure right off the bat. “Oh no! It’s already Monday! I haven’t even read on the patio yet. I better get that done right now.” So out he went, still in his PJs, in *very* cold temperatures to read a bit of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. I have to hand it to him, when his determination and focus line up he’s unstoppable.

As you may have already read, I really enjoy finding fun, frugal or FREE things to do with my Things. I thought maybe I would share a few photos with you to show you some of the things we’ve been up to, so far, this week. Sound good? Great!

*I just gave myself a Howard Jones mind worm that sent me down a must-find-that-video rabbit hole. Meanwhile, how can there not be a single website with the official video for “Life in One Day”? Not even HoJo’s itself. Come on! Really?! I’m disappointed in you internet web toobz. I thought you were more reliable than that.

March Breakin’!

We worked so hard. We studied and tried our best. We did our homework and learned lots of new stuff. We woke up on Mondays and went out bravely into the cold even though there were some days when it was physically painful to do so. We had our hair brushed and braided. We were on time for band. We made healthy lunches (or, at the very least, interesting ones). We suffered through cold and flu season and survived. We finally made it! Yippity biscuits! It’s March Break!

*blink blink*

Now what?

Monday morning coffee in a customizable mug. LEGO! (Bonus: Math book)

Well, first of all a healthy dose of relaxation is in order. That is what the weekend is for, in my not so humble opinion, and we relaxed as much as we could knowing we didn’t have the same obligations we usually do, to be up and at ’em, come Monday. There is something so glorious about the Sunday before March Break “officially” starts. We were mellow. There was no acute case of the “Sunday Stresses”. It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you.

Yesterday was great! We had a day free of scheduling and just relaxed and spent time together as a family. We played an epic game of LEGO Champion, had a simple lunch,  went outside into the sun (and cold!) to play at a local park close to the water (well, it’s still ice actually, but I digress..) – we even invented a new game while we were there! Then we went grocery shopping (Yes all four of us! Crazy, I know, but it works for us.) for the week and came home to prepare dinner. We really kept it simple because everyone needs to minimize stress, not just the “students”.

After dinner there was time to do whatever we wanted on our own before we all got jammified and ready to watch our feature presentation. Thing 1 had some CPU time with Daddy-O, Thing 2 watched a TV show and made more Rainbow Loom creations, and I went to my happy place. Yup. Social Media. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. I even perused Linked In. (WOT!) It was wonderful!

Then we all piled into the big bed to watch our movie. It was one of our favourites. We used a randomizer app – just for fun – to choose between “A Bug’s Life” and “Enchanted”. “Enchanted” won. Yay! Silly technology FTW! The movie was great, as usual. The Princess saves the Prince and they all live happily ever ever after.

Now it is Monday. March Break has officially begun, and we, like many families are looking forward to five days of freedom and some frugal fun!

So, without further ado (Hah! That’s totally further ado, isn’t it?!), here are some ideas for free, frugal, or relatively inexpensive fun, for the coming week.

From Monday to Thursday of each week Video Difference allows families to borrow two DVDs gratis.

Of course you know we are readers and we love the library. There are special events planned for each day of the March Break at Halifax Public Libraries branches all over HRM.

Chapters Indigo also has a free special activity for children in store every day this week.

All week long from Monday to Friday Cineplex has a March Break promotion called Toonie Matinees.

With many fun museums to choose from, in and around Halifax, there is plenty of entertainment and even a bit of education (Awww. Mo-OOmm!) to be had by just picking one and going for it!

I think we might choose to spend some of our March Break budget on something grody! The Discovery Centre has “Animal Grossology” as its feature exhibit. Ewww!

As always, we will go out and play as often as we can this week – even if it is a bit chillier than we would like – because playing is simply the best way to get exercise and have fun together as a family. Getting outside into the sun is good for everyone!

Hopefully, we can swing a play date or two and maybe even meet up at one of the special events mentioned above with some good friends.

How will you be spending your week? Will you have lots of time with your children? Does this fact frighten you.. or is it business as usual? Are you on a beach vacation? (What?! And you didn’t invite *me*?! *harumphs*)

I’d love to know what you will be doing and what kinds of activities your family enjoys during these long school breaks. I hope you will share some of your fun ideas with me by leaving a comment. Let me know if you decide to take in any of these cool activity suggestions! I’d love to hear what you think!

Happy March Break, everyone!