First Friday

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.

Out loud.

In public.

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.

I’d do the same for you.

In fact, I already do.

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!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Tropical Tree

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!

Hah!

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 eventseven 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.

Look!

Christmas Mess

 

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 instructor be 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!

It’s The Very Best Time Of The Year

IMG_3040

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.

 

IMG_9783 - Version 2

 

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!

**SO MUCH!

C Is For Cookie. That’s Good Enough For Me!

COOKIE!

 

I haven’t had a cookie in a really long time and I think I must be nearing my breaking point because at this moment in time I can only think about one thing – and that one thing is ALL THE COOKIES!

I blame all the posts about Holiday Baking that keep popping up in my timelines.

I know an awful lot of Cookie Monster enablers, I fear.

I am at once thrilled and disappointed that most of them are far away.

Clearly, I am conflicted.

So what is a Cookie Monster who’s gone right off cookies, to do?

How can I get my thoughts out of my head while keeping my cookie cravings at bay?

Wait.

I’ve got it!

I can share some of the delicious theoretical cookies with you! Then you will be thinking about ALL THE COOKIES and I won’t have to bear this burden all by my cookie-denying lonesome.

*thumbs up*

So, without further ado, I give you my current cookie obsessions.

First there was this little Toblerone enhanced gem from Rebecca at A Little Bit of Momsense.

Then, this beauty popped up in my Facebook timeline, shared by Candace from Life in Pleasantville. It is sure to be a hit with the kids. Especially if you go for the giant cookie technique that Kelly shares!

Finally, (Well, for now at least, but I’m not making any promises!) Momstown Halifax shared this very easy, yet very pretty cookie that would be so fun to make with your Things! It came from the lovely people at CBC Parents.

 

And here’s a little something to do during this upcoming Holiday season. You know, in your spare time.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Thanks!

 

Sorry**, for dropping all of that on you at once, but I feel so much better now.

Wouldn’t you agree these are worthy cookies to share?

If you’re a smart cookie, you will!

Either way, now you can have all my cookie thoughts and hopefully I will have fewer.

It’s a devious kind of kindness, but it’s ultimately out of love that I share these things.

If you don’t like it, well … I guess it’s true what they say.

That’s the way the – wait for it – COOKIE crumbles! *wink*

 

 

*Source: http://crossfitsouthcobb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cookie_monster_original.jpg

**I’m so not sorry!!

The One Where Sleep Is The Priority

I am exhausted.

I need sleep.

I must sleep.

 

I am sure I’ll have lots of words another night, but right now I’ll just leave you with this.

 

Are you NaBloPoMo-ing?

Is it totally kicking your butt?

 

How do you prioritize your day so that you have time for your life, your kids, your volunteering, your Parent-Teacher interviews, your meal preparation, your healthy eating, your fitness, your cake, your job(s), your family?

Help a mother out.

Leave me your best tips for surviving the time crunch of everyday life in the comments!

If you leave a great one, I might even invite you for a Friend Nap.

 

 

 

Me and My Little Brain.*

Always Thinkin'.

Sometimes my brain makes me sad.

I have eluded to this before. It’s just a part of my life.

Someday I’ll delve deep, invite Oprah and her purple sofa over for tea, have a nice chit-chat and get to the root of it all.

But!

Sometimes my brain makes me ridiculously happy and that is what I am talking about today on I Don’t Blog in Alex’s blog series called #BlogSmallJoys.

I would love it if you popped over there to read my post and stuck around long enough to answer the burning question, “What’s that sound?”.

 

I’ll be back here tomorrow with a new post.

You know I will because tomorrow is day 13 of NaBloPoMo and I haven’t missed a day** yet!

Apparently, I love a challenge!

Who knew?

 

 

 

*Have you read the J.D. Fitzgerald series called “The Great Brain”? This title was one of my favourite books in the series when I was a little kid.

**Including today, because this totally counts!

Source: http://crooksandliars.com/files/primary_image/14/02/hat.jpg

Fudge!

Oh, I’m not upset. No, no. Not at all.

I just cannot stop thinking about fudge.

You see I was supposed to be going to a Christmas Craft Show on the weekend, but due to circumstances beyond my control it didn’t happen.

That means, that besides all the cool unique crafts and handmade stuff that I missed out on, I also didn’t get to buy fudge from some of the amazing fudge making folks that tend to frequent the Christmas Craft Show circuit.

*sigh*

I will also be missing another local Christmas Craft Show next weekend.

*siiiiiigggghhhh*

It’s not like I need fudge. I mean, really. Does anyone need fudge? No. Of course not.

But!

Oh man!

Christmas Craft Show fudge is so good!

 

I could just make some fudge, I suppose.

I can never make it the way the super fudge makers make it, though.

It’s just not the same.

 

I have a decent recipe. A few, even.

There are plenty of recipes online.

There is no shortage of recipes, really.

There is merely a shortage of fudge.

 

I should just forget about it.

 

But I can’t.

Because FUDGE!

IMG_7979

 

 

Help me to feel less kooky.

Is there a treat-y food that you have very rarely, but that when you do have it it has to be made a certain way? Or come from a certain place?

Do you like fudge?

(Do you have some? Because seriously, I have needs!)

Feel free to share a recipe or your thoughts on fudge in the comments.

 

I will share my best fudge recipe here with you all another day, but have you seen this*?

Have mercy!

 

 

*A very funny tweep – @evilpez4 – shared that and will be blamed in absentia for any and all fudge related weight gain this upcoming Holiday season.

Cover me!

This has been a busy, fun, very musical week.

It all started on Monday when Kim at Co-Pilot Mom made a shocking and entirely awesome string of confessions and then it just got better and more musical from there.

On Friday my friend Rebecca (“Bitsy” to her best tweeps) at A Little Bit of Momsense updated her “Current Song Obsession” and it made my day.

I thought it would be fun for me to follow suit and share a few of the songs that I just can’t stop playing.

 

I seem to be all about the covers lately.

The first one is a cover of “When Doves Cry” by Prince. I know. I know. Risky territory. And yet somehow this works.

Here is The Be Good Tanyas with their version.

 

I’ve written before about my love of Walk Off The Earth and everyone knows about their Gotye cover, but have you heard this?

They are amazing musicians! The video is just too cute! They have a great YouTube channel and I think everyone should check it out.

 

Here’s another song that we seem to always enjoy, no matter who is performing it.

Pentatonix! Who knew?!

 

On Saturday I had grand plans to attend a Christmas Craft Show, but it just was not in the cards.

You know what was in the cards? More music!

Thing 1 plays trumpet in his school band. His trumpet is in desperate need of a cleaning and we needed a new cleaning kit. So, with the clock ticking*, I rounded up my little family and we hit the road and high-tailed it to our local music store for a kit and, as luck would have it, a trumpet stand. (Musical instruments in cases are not happy, played musical instruments. As my big brother would say, “Are you a trumpet player or a trumpet owner?” Note the difference.**) With the stand he will be able to see his trumpet more often and hopefully play it more often, too.

After our musical victory with all things trumpet, we felt we deserved a little treat, so we went to a 50’s diner and had dinner.***

Do you know what any 50s diner worth its salt has? A Jukebox!

Do you know what any mother worth her salt always has when she goes to a 50s diner? Quarters!

Do you know what this all leads to? More music!

 

After dinner we came home to play a board game, but since I had a NaBloPoMo post to write I asked for a bit of time first. The Things kindly obliged and I came to my desktop to write, but something was missing. I needed some music.****

So, I fired up Songza and found not one, but two new favourite channels – “Disney’s Best Sing-Alongs” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.

 

So, would you agree that it was a very musical week?

Are you a fan of music? Do you sing?

What kind of music is your favourite?

What is *your* current music obsession?

 

 

 

 

*The music store closes at 5 on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Time was of the essence! We arrived at 4:54. Whew!

**Note the difference!

***Because *sings* Dinner in the diner.. nothing could be finer.. than to have your ham and eggs in Carolina!

****I may have a problem. Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really!