It has been a rainy 24 hours or so, but fortunately the sun really seems like it is trying to shine. No actual sunshine, as of yet, of course, but the grey skies overhead are nice and bright.
I am sitting here silently cheering it on.
Inside my head? Oh, inside I am full on “Rah! Rah! Siss boom bah!”ing, but Thing 2 has a friend over and I don’t want to appear any quirkier (which, if I’m being honest, is *pretty* quirky) than usual, so I am giving them some space right now.
Kids need time to just be. They are making their own plans as they go along and there were murmurings of “fort” not too long ago, so frankly, I am curious to see what they come up with.
I’m risky like that.
In a little while I’ll offer snacks and drinks and they’ll happily chat while they eat together. It’s really sweet to hear their breathless giggles (So much giggling!) and to see the way they enjoy each others company. It’s a rare treat to have a playdate all afternoon on a Wednesday. What luck to have a PD Day smack-dab in the middle of the week!
These are the days I cherish. I am so thankful I get to be here today.
You know what else I am thankful for?
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
So, after the kiddos have a snack, we are going to plant some seeds. Yay!
Now, I just have to find the old fashioned flower mix seeds I have had hanging around this place forever.
Where did I put them to keep them safe?
(Well isn’t that the best phrase to hear when you need something immediately? “Somewhere safe” loosely translates into, “You will never see <insert item here> again. Muah ha ha ha!”)
Maybe my items are a tad more sinister than yours, but yeah, that’s pretty accurate, I’d say.
I’ll be back. *pfft* As if you’d know I ever left! *winks*
Some of the stress is external due to circumstances beyond my control.
Some is from a pure lack of self control these past couple of months.
I think I am starting to really see my role in it.
Seeing it is never enough, though, is it?
I haven’t been posting because I always assume no one wants to hear me.
Maybe I shouldn’t care.
Can I not care, share, and still be kind?
Can I share the minutia of my life and maybe vent a little to help me on my own journey?
Is it selfish to share the burden or does misery truly love company?
(That saying, by the way, I love it. I always think of it as meaning when a miserable person has company they can be less miserable… and the miserable people can lighten the load of misery and everyone will be better off in the end together, making each other less miserable (Less Miserable is the less popular musical. Oh sure! Yup. It was off off off off off off off off Broadway. It never really found an audience, but I digress …), but I know it really means all the miserable people can be miserable together forever in their misery. How depressing! My way is much better! Plus, if you play your cards right there’s a shot at off off off off off off off off Broadway. So …)
Anyway, I guess I am having a bit of an epiphany (three months late, but whatever).
Maybe this space is really, actually, mine, and I should use it as I see fit regardless of what anyone thinks?
Hobby or not. It’s mine.
I should use it.
Maybe I will.
Maybe I’ll start tomorrow.
It’s only a day away.*
*Thing 2 had a Birthday last week. All she wanted was “Annie”. We watched it last night and I loved it.
In 12 minutes Meatless Monday will turn into Taco Tuesday and before that happens I need to share an official Meatless Monday meal with you.
In the interest of joining in on a movement that takes some very nice steps towards sustainability for our planet, I have decided that we at Chez Peady will be taking part in Meatless Monday on a regular basis.
I have been thinking about it for a while and with a storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and creeping up the coastline, today seemed like the perfect day to start. I had absolutely no desire to fight the crowds of storm chips shoppers at the grocery store and since Thing 2 was home from school today (still fighting the most recent bug – such a hanger on, this one!) it made sense to just stay put and shop my own pantry.
Still, when I did that I was not quite feeling inspired, so in typical Peady fashion I took to twitter to ask my tweeps (the coolest tweeps, fyi) for Meatless Monday ideas.
As usual, the Twitterverse did not disappoint.
I went off to hang out with Thing 2 and when I returned there were no fewer than 7 suggestions for delicious, nutritious, make-it-right-now, ideas for Meatless Monday.
How cool is that?
I knew for tonight, I wanted an extremely easy dish, but one that was also big on flavours and appealing to Thing 1 and Thing 2. Pasta seemed a logical choice. I went to the kitchen to gather the goods, so that when suppertime rolled around I could simply work my Peady Powers and whip up supper in no time flat.
What did I come up with? Well, I made Gluten Free Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Parmesan. I also made some oh-my-goodness-it-smells-so-good Cheesy Garlic Bread to go along with it.
If there’s one thing I know about my family, it’s that garlic and cheese bring these people joy. Throw that cheesy, garlicky goodness onto a carb and well, stick a fork in them, they’re done!
It was a hit!
It could not have been easier.
Here’s what I did. (I promise, soon there will be a pretty recipe plug-in here to make things more organized. Thank you for your patience.)
Boil water for Pasta (add a bit of salt)
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, make a simple tomato sauce by sautéing some diced onion and some garlic in olive oil, add sweet bell peppers (diced, whatever colour or combo of colours you like), add a can of diced tomatoes, S & P to taste, and let the sauce reduce while you cook your pasta. (or open a jar of your favourite sauce!) (remember KISS!)
Open a can of Chickpeas. Call them Garbanzo Beans. Laugh. FOCUS!
Strain the Chickpeas and rinse under cool running water*.
Drain cooked pasta.
Add sauce to the empty stock pot (this is where I cooked the pasta).
Add the Chickpeas.
Add the pasta.
Toss to coat everything well.
Add a bit of Parmesan cheese and stir it in. (fresh shredded oh-my-goodness-why-is-it-so-expensive, isn’t necessary in this particular case)
Add a pinch of dried oregano (or a nice handful of fresh if you have it -yum!)
Serve immediately or cover it and make some yummy garlic cheesy bread.
Turn oven to 375 degrees.
Slice carb of choice (bread, rolls, what have you) and place on a baking sheet.
Spread a bit of butter on the bread and sprinkle liberally with garlic powder.
Cover the garlicky, buttery, carb with shredded cheddar cheese**. (A combination of marble cheddar and mozzarella is also popular here.)
Bake until the carb is toasty and cheese has melted.
It was really good and totally meatless! I do believe that is what the people like to call a win-win.
I would make this again. In fact, I will.
Next Meatless Monday, I will make a new recipe thanks to all the helpful tweeps who were so sweet and generous with ideas this morning.
I will post our Meatless Monday experiences for the next little while as we try something new and see if we can’t make Meatless Monday a regular thing at Chez Peady.
*Rinsing canned beans in this way can reduce the sodium content by about 40%. Always rince canned beans. You could also cook your own from dried. Another post for another day.
***If not sooner. Otherwise you run the risk of eating all the garlicky, cheesy, gluten-y goodness!
Frankly, I’m thankful we don’t. It’s scary enough that we allow twitchy, distracted, impatient, humans to drive cars. Can you imagine that chaos transferred to flying cars? Picture all the Jetsons dropping from the sky at random intervals? Yeeps! No thank you!
I trust you are, too.
Unless, of course, you have a flying car prototype and I have just dashed your dreams. Whoopsiedoodle! That was *so* not my intention.
You just keep plugging away. Really. It’s your dream! Follow it!
Just maybe also really, really spend some serious time and money on safety research and features, mmkay? Thanks.
So, (aside from all your awesome inventing) how did you spend the first day of 2015?
I spent a nice part of mine with my family, outside, in nature, in the cold. It’s a great way to start the year!
A bit of exercise. A little fresh air. A glimpse at what Mother Nature has to offer. I recommend it.
In fact, pretty much anytime you can be outside in nature, as opposed to inside in, well, not nature, my vote is go outside.
Here’s a peek at my Happy New Year Happy Nature Walk.
One of the best things about being an enthusiastic person is that when you have offspring they often take on this trait.
I know because I have two kids and even though, individually, they’re as unique as little snowflakes, they share my* enthusiasm.
It’s a lot more fun to be enthusiastic when you have other enthusiastic people around you. Wouldn’t you agree?
I was in a mall today.
I don’t generally go to malls, ever, actually, but Thing 2 made a special request to go to the mall to buy Christmas gifts for her family, this morning, and well, when a little enthusiastic elf asks for help in elf matters, you just smile and say, “Sure!”, with enthusiasm**.
So, after the grown-ups were caffeinated, we headed out to our local mall to help the Things do a bit of shopping. We went for the divide and conquer approach, whereby the parents each take a Thing and help him or her to find what he or she needs and then meet up to trade Things and do it all over again. It works well for us. It was fun. The mall wasn’t very crowded and the kids were in great I-don’t-care-what-we-do-we’re-not-in-school moods.
We took our time and helped each Thing find the gifts that fit the bill. This was easy for one and difficult for the other. Thing 2 is decisive and goal oriented and was seriously like an elf on a very enthusiastic mission. Thing 1 had a hard time, but mostly because he really wanted to get something special and he wanted to stick to his reasonable budget.
Even though there were no fewer than three fancy schmancy easy-just-buy-whatever-sparkly-diamond-places, he just wouldn’t stray from his logical path. Go figure! Personalities come out in the most interesting ways, sometimes, don’t they?
Anyway, eventually, everyone got what they needed and I was even able to do a bit of secret elfing with Thing 2 and her enthusiasm in tow.
We ended our mall adventure with a teensy stop into the Apple Store (to ogle things we would not buy) and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (just to inhale). We enjoyed the seasonal red shirts the staff were wearing at the Apple Store – though the expendable joke was not lost on us.
Then we all hopped back into the car, which was parked in the same spot*** we always seem to get at this mall, and took ourselves out to a late lunch. We had worked up quite an appetite walking in circles and trying to dodge each other in the mall. It’s a great place to play super-spy, by the way, in case any of you were wondering.
Lunch was delicious. Burgers and fries and root beer****. Hot and fresh and yum! A real treat!
We arrived home just in time for the carb coma to hit, so the kiddos went to their separate corners and Daddy-O and I crashed into a delightful nap. I am a terrible napper, generally speaking, but with fighting the plague and all the running around, I guess I was due for a good one. Oh so dreamy! I guess Daddy-O is the Ross to my Joey, because I seriously can’t ever nap. Thing 2 can even recount stories of my escaping naps when she was teeny. I’m just no good at napping.
I awoke refreshed and with a newfound mission in mind. I simply had to get something into the mail and nothing was going to stop me.
(You should know I have a stockpile of very thoughtful gifts sitting neatly on a chair in my bedroom. I buy these things with every intention to get them sent out to their intended recipients asap, but alas, life happens and there they sit. Am I the only one? Tell me I am not the only one!)
So, I snipped school photos of the Things, wrote out a speedy holiday greeting, located the item and channelled my inner Grammy***** and packaged that baby into a teeny size that really should have been impossible to fit into a standard 8×10 Canada Post parcel envelope, but lo and behold it fit! (Dude at the post office was impressed. I know he was. He just expresses himself differently than I do.) Into the mail it went and we will have a new tradition to add to our already diverse Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Chrismukkah, La Befana, 12th Night mix because when that parcel arrives it will be a kind of miracle. Plus I know the recipient will laugh and be happy and that’s all that matters really.
When I arrived home, my Things had the TV paused for me (there was a brand new Austin & Ally episode) and were waiting (and waiting and waiting) while I was out making miracles happen and grabbing a few ingredients at the grocery store (Chipits were on sale. W00t!). The plan was to make a simple snacky supper, since we had had a late lunch.
We decided on nachos, but not just any old nachos would do. No sir-ee!
We had to have nachos worthy of a new tradition.
I give you, “The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos”.
Restaurant style tortilla chips, three cheese “shreddar”, another layer of tortilla chips, bit of cheese, browned ground beef, Tex-Mex seasoning, red pepper dice, tomato dice, black beans. 350 oven until melty, crispy and delicious.
Thing 2 couldn’t wait!
Late night nachos are always enhanced by my Village Pottery double dipper. I use this piece of pottery all the time. It even works as a cute Christmas candy dish!
Buenas noches, Nachos. So good!
They were delicious and I can guarantee my little enthusiastic, creature of habit, elf-y, Things will be reminding me next December 22 that we have to make them again.
We are only two sleeps away from Christmas and we still have plenty to do, but you know what? We are all being very chill about the whole thing. There really is no need to panic.
What traditions have emerged in your family over the years that seem so logical, but may be completely unique to you?
What’s your go-to dinner when the hour is getting late?
How are your Holidays going?
*Daddy-O is enthusiastic too, but he can claim them on his own blog!
**See how well that works out?
***Of course when you go the mall only a handful of times all year, selective recall is strong.
****Guess where we had lunch!
*****Grammy is my Mummy. She could pack an elephant in a matchbox and ship it to Istanbul and it would never escape because the sheer amount of tape used would stand up to anything the world might throw at it.
I have left my prostrate position from deep inside the Peady Plague pool of powerlessness to wish you all a wonderful Winter Solstice.
It’s the shortest day of the year and while, to some, this might be one of the hardest days before Christmas – and in the middle of Hanukkah – to find any cheer at all, because lets face it the darks make the SADs so much worse, to me the shortest day of the year is reason to celebrate.
Why? Because you know what happens the very next day? That’s right! The days begin to get longer and longer days mean more daylight and more daylight means more sunshine and more sunshine means more Peady Powers because – in case it isn’t abundantly clear – I am 100% solar powered!
May this be a wonderful Winter Solstice and may the coldest season of the year find you filled with peace, love and joy, surrounded by people who love, respect and support you in all that you do! To warmth in winter and coziness in cold and cheer in the bleak midwinter.
I wish all these things for you!
*Seriously! How awesome is Spydergrrl? So awesome!