Earth Day Play Dates Require Dirt.

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?

Dirt!

Yes. Dirt.

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 again. Muah ha ha ha!”)

Maybe my items are a tad more sinister than yours, but yeah, that’s pretty accurate, I’d say.

Found ’em!

I’ll be back. *pfft* As if you’d know I ever left! *winks*

❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀•❁•❀

I’m back!

Did you miss me?

Silly!

The girls had so much fun today and they were very enthusiastic to plant some seeds.

First, though, they had to decorate their little flowerpots. So we dug out the Sharpies and the petit artistes had fun coming up with design ideas.

Is there anything more wonderful than an enthusiastic kid? I think not. I just love ’em!

Instead of me listing everything they did, let me show you.

So that was my Earth Day.

How was yours?

Oooh! Just one more thing. I am pretty sure that these little giggling girls made the sun come out. Yes. By the end of the playdate the sky was turning blue and the sun was indeed shining.

Happy Earth Day!

 

Meatless Monday (More or Less)

Gluten Free Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Parmesan

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.

Decision. Action.

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!

Go, me!

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!)

Cook pasta.

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.

Like this.

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.

Serve immediately***.

IMG_0285

 

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.

**SHREDDAR

***If not sooner. Otherwise you run the risk of eating all the garlicky, cheesy, gluten-y goodness!

Do You Have Change For 365?

Never mistake motion for action.

I have a secret.

It’s a really good one.

I have been keeping it since the beginning of October and at first I really didn’t believe that the thing I am about to share could even be real, so there was a lot of “Seriously?! Are you sure? Really?!” going on in my mind.

You see, I am a bit of an activist. Nothing too radical, but it’s true, I am.

It’s small actions that lead me because I believe small acts of kindness or small acts of charity or small acts of love can really add up over time and change people’s lives for the better.

This is a philosophy I have imparted on my children (Daddy-O, too!) and when I see the reflections of my philosophies in Thing 1 and Thing 2 I just want to burst with pride. It’s an amazing feeling when you see your child make connections that show they really get what you have been modelling (read: preaching!). I am sure you know what I mean.

Well, since Thing 1 is in Junior High, I have been extolling the virtues of Free The Children, Me to We and the We Act charities and we talk a lot about the Kielburgers and the extremely amazing things they have accomplished in their very young lives. Amazing people!

I have been encouraging him to join his school’s We Act Committee since last year because what better way is there to put theory into practice than, well, by putting theory into practice?

Have you ever seen the work that goes into organizing a bunch of teenagers to do anything? It’s not easy, is it?

Well, the amazing thing about the kids that choose to take part in the We Act Committees in their schools is that they are the ones organizing everything. They are self motivating. They know they are doing good things.

They know they can be the change they want to see in the world and furthermore they are being that change.

Isn’t that amazing?

So, I am very proud to say that Thing 1 *is* a part of We Act – and he’s very proud to say it, too. (That’s one win for the Mom, in case you are keeping track!) Yay!

Of course, there are those who might think these kids are working only for We Day and all the amazing celebrities they might get to see, should they get to go (there are no guarantees!), but the work the kids do is happening all year long. That’s right. 365 days of the year, teens in Canada (USA & UK, too!) are taking action to make this world a better, safer, more educated place.

Pretty cool, right?

365 days. That seems rather ambitious, doesn’t it? I mean, you can imagine how difficult such an undertaking might be. It could be overwhelming to try and keep track of a year’s worth of actions.

It could be, but it isn’t. Why isn’t it? Well … because … there’s an app for that! (Yeah! I said it!)

TELUS (a proud sponsor of We Day) created We365, a free mobile app that enables youth to use their phones for good and propel social change through the power of technology, every day of the year. I downloaded the app when it was first released and played around with it. I may not be the target market, but I know a good app when I use it.
The new and improved We365 app will help youth do even more to help their communities. Using the app, tweens (like Thing 1 and Thing 2) and teens can rally friends around causes they support, share their accomplishments, and earn badges and points. Parents of students who must complete “mandatory” volunteer hours (Ontario students, for example) will also be happy to hear that the app tracks volunteer hours, which can be shared electronically and remove the need to keep track of all that oh-so-easy-to-lose-track-of paperwork.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Here’s a glimpse of a challenge you might see when you use the We365 app.
World Kindness Day
World Kindness Day? Oh, you get me We365 app. You really get me.
Or how about this?
Remembrance Day
Wait. You mean Craig Kielburger himself uses this app? Yes. Yes he does. Come on! That’s cool.
badge
How about some badges to reward you for completing challenges? Fun, right?
It can be very motivating to get this simple feedback and motivated people do wonderful things!
Obviously, I am a fan of this app. Can you tell?
I love the idea of tweens and teens cutting their social media teeth, if you will, in such a positive environment. I am encouraging Thing 1 to use the We365 app as a way of introducing him to the brighter side of social media. He is well aware of my perspective on using one’s powers for good. He knows how much of my time is spent online using social media. He knows that for the most part I really do practice what I preach. See the good, be the good!
We often hear about creating a positive electronic footprint. What a great place to start!
Now, about my little** secret. I am going to tell you, but you have to promise not to tell Thing 1, because he hasn’t a clue.
I have been invited, by TELUS, to attend We Day Atlantic, on November 28 at Scotiabank Centre (along with a few of my blogosphere peers) to take in all the awesomeness.
I am so grateful.
I believe so much in this initiative and kind of activism.
Oh, and I’m still kind of freaking out.

 

*That Ernest Hemingway quote is one of my all time favourites. This is kismet! So excited! Like, *happy jumpy claps* excited!

**It’s HYOOGE right?!? So happy!!