Summer is great. We get to take a break from the everyday routine. We’re able to relax a bit more. Maybe we even get to go on a few little adventures. You know what’s really great about summer, though? Taking extra time to tap into the childhood skill of using our imagination more.
Let’s try it, shall we?
Okay, you pretend it’s July 1st and I’ll pretend that this was published then as I had intended.
Yay! We are very good at pretending!
So, there it is. July’s Peady Photo A Day Challenge.
You can jump in anytime. Interpret the prompt that corresponds to each day as you see fit and share a photo on Instagram* or your preferred social media platform, use the hashtag #PeadyPhotoADay, and we can all enjoy the summer through our shared memories. Fun, right?
I think so.
Speaking of July, it is off to a great start. Canada Day (That’s July 1st for my International readers.) was lovely and low key. It rained off and on for much of the morning, so we stayed home instead of heading downtown for the parade. We watched the noontime concert from Parliament Hill on CBC. I made homemade poutine (and hot dogs – because kids!) for lunch and it was perfection. Thing 2 and I painted our nails in the utmost patriotic shades of sparkly red and opalescent flecked white (They look really cute, actually. We even did a top coat and Thing 2 has little maple leaves with a jewel on each leaf on four of her nails. I’ll have to try and snap a photo.) so we would be all set for the fireworks show at 10 pm, but alas, the fog came rolling in and the fireworks were cancelled. So, like any good Canadian-American family we spent the remainder of the evening watching American Ninja Warrior**.
All is not lost though, the fireworks have been rescheduled for July 4th. Isn’t that fun? We will be there wearing our red shirts, skin stickers, and Canada Day headbands. Oh, I love it when a backup plan comes together!
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*
Today is the first Friday in March and I am declaring the Funky February Funk a thing of the past.
I referred to myself as a writer today.
Who am I?!?
It came out of my mouth before I could stop myself. So I guess I better get to writing because l am a terrible liar and I’ll be darned if I’ll be the one to make a liar of myself.
I need the habit back. Good, bad or silly. I want to write.
Not just here, either.
Here, there and everywhere!
I have taken some positive, albeit minuscule, steps towards this, but I need to up my game.
I need to figure out a way to cheer myself on the way I would cheer on my children, husband, friends, family – heck even strangers! (Sorry, mom at Costco looking at the Contigo travel cups, but I really do believe your 20 month old can handle the button pushing to get a sip. I do. Why? Because I travelled A LOT with Thing 1 when he was much younger than that and he could do it. Kids are awesome! Believe it.)
But I digress …
I’m going to do this!
If you are someone who would like something written, you should hire me.
I know I can do this.
Until the retirement nest egg starts rolling in, I’ll just keep writing.
I hope you will keep reading and – even if I never hear it – cheering me on.
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!
Today might be a three post kind of day because I have so many drafts, that I am starting to get anxious about it.
Anxiety at Christmas? You don’t say!
Who doesn’t have a little extra anxiety during the holidays? I don’t think I know a single person, actually.
However, I have vowed to not be that stressed out Mummy. No way. It’s no fun to be told Christmas is nothing but stress. Or worse, to think it. Especially when you have little eyes and ears watching and listening to everything you do and say. It’s simply not true, anyway.
Christmas is a wonderful season of perpetual hope, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet* it’s that hope floats. It’s always there and you have to hone your hope holding skills throughout your life, because it’s short. Really, really short. Even when it seems long.
Christmas is what you make it. You can make it all about stuff and spending and stress. Sure! Go right ahead. Seriously, fill your boots, but don’t blame your getting caught up in the commercialism on Christmas. Nope. Christmas didn’t make you do that. Santa didn’t point to the most expensive, elaborate, electronics and say, “By the powers of Comet’s Candy Cane, I command you to buy that!”. Not a chance.
Christmas is simple.
Humans make it complicated.
You have to be human, but you don’t have to be pressured into a holiday that stresses you out.
Cool your jets.
Take a breath.
Remember the wonder.
Breathe in the aromas.
Think back to a time when you believed in the magic.
Embrace the simplicity of an old fashioned Christmas, whatever that means to you.
Know that you are not alone.
Everyone is stressin’ a bit.
No one has *everything* done.
Martha Stewart has a team!
We just have each other.
Smile and know that even when people around you seem to have everything under control, there’s always an element of mystery in how the heck things get done.
For instance, we here at Chez Peady have been having the soggiest December I can ever recall and we have also been fighting a wicked cold, so we are very admittedly behind our typical December schedule. All the things that have not yet been done, were put on the back burner while the things that had to be done got done. School concerts, finding the lost trumpet, trumpet practice, finding the right shoes, making sure everyone was where they needed to be on time, getting a bit of shopping done, making sure I talked to my mother as often as possible, getting to a few charity events – even one in my Jammies – these all took precedent over making sure the ornaments were in the perfect place.
It’s life and it’s messy.
Am I freaking out? Nope. Why should I? Why should I waste a single drop of my precious energy freaking out when it will get done, with or without a grown-up tinsel tantrum?
It always has. I have yet to miss a Christmas. *wink*
So, my best advice to you, as Christmas is festively, twinkling up on us, is to take a deep breath and embrace the merriment.
Don’t forget to take care of your own needs, too. You matter! We need you to be at your best**, of course.
This morning I went to Zumba – just so you know I really am practicing what I preach – and I almost jumped for joy when I heard this pop up in the middle of class.
Yes, we did a Hula this morning to Mele Kalikimaka***. It was so fun! Could my Zumba instructorbe any cooler?
So, tell me, what stage of preparedness are you in for the upcoming Holidays?
Are you about ready to be Dasher and flee the scene?
Are you happily a Prancer ready to take on the task and dance your way through your cookie exchange?
Are you feeling Grinch-like and wondering what the heck is the big deal anyway?
Has your inner Ebenezer reared his Scrooge-y grumpiness?
What is your best advice for having a yule that’s cool?
Leave a comment and share your best tips for avoiding tinsel tantrums.
*No, I have never lived on another planet. Though there was that time last winter when it felt like we lived on Hoth.
**But we even like you when you are at your worst.
***Mele Kalikimaka**** has been a month-long mind-worm. Go ahead and ask my chicas! Ukuleles at Christmastime? Oh YES!
****Then there’s this, which I saw on Saturday, but wasn’t blogged out until today, hence the edit! COME ON!! This is hulu-arious! (Day #8) Zucchini is the sweetest doggie!
I told a friend this morning that I needed to get my “Jingle Bell Juice” flowing.
We have been fighting a wicked awful cold here at Chez Peady and 3/4 of us were affected. (1/4 of us has super immunity and I await the NASA scientists every cold & flu season, because this kid never gets sick! Seriously! How does he do it?!)
Anyway, not the best time of the year to catch a bug, is it?
I mean, we all have a lot going on and we all want to feel cheerful and energetic. It’s the time for dashing through the snow and sleigh bells, not trudging through the tissues or popping plugged up ears.
We are on the mend now and energy is slowly returning which is great because there is still so much to do. I feel like I am a bit behind on the Elf-ing schedule, but I really do try to adhere to Dr. Seuss’ Grinch’s timeless realization from “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”.
The school concerts are this week and that always makes me feel like Christmastime is here. Thing 2 is very excited this year because she (a tall kiddo) gets to stand in the front during her class’ performance. She was so excited when she learned this a few weeks ago she wrote this* as soon as she got home from school.
Isn’t that sweet? How much** do I love the little white board in our office?
Thing 1 is pretty tense about his concert. It isn’t helping that his trumpet is MIA for the night. It was left on the bus. Yup. Not even kidding.
I am just going to have faith and believe that everything will work out. What else can I do, really?
It’s the season of perpetual hope, right?
Speaking of hope, my Things are really hoping for a white Christmas. We have no snow – at all – in Bedford. We have had lots of rain this month and we have yet another, rain-filled, nor’easter headed our way. It’s difficult to get all “Ho ho ho!” and “Deck the Halls!” when there is no sign of snow.
Unless of course you have a dear friend who sends a childhood memory out into the Twitterverse for you.
Do you remember this gem?
Thanks, Kyooty! That made my day.
So, what are you finding challenging this month? Are you all set for the holidays?
Is it easy breezy decorate all the trees-y or are you untangling tense tinsel at every tick of the clock?
*Have we talked about how every family should have a white board or chalk board accessible to everyone for writing special news, notes, or asking questions? No? There’s a forthcoming blog. Promise!