The More We Get Together The Happier We’ll Be

We are not at home this weekend, but we are together and that makes me …


We are spending our weekend in Moncton, NB to celebrate a birthday and since it is pretty chilly outside we are making an effort to thoroughly enjoy …


We made an effort to get out for a bit today and wound up at one of our favourite places – Chapters!

With a new Star Wars movie merely weeks away from being released into theatres, the merchandising is at its peak. Chapters has a tonne of fun new things for Star Wars fans – young and old – and a really cool selection of Star Wars themed books. There is even an adult colouring book! I mean really. How awesome is this?

Light Sabre Mandala Star Wars
We found what we wanted and needed. Then we bought what we needed and left the Millenium Falcon Bluetooth speaker and somehow bid the two foot tall talking Yoda adieu.

Daddy-O took our purchases to the car (along with Thing 1’s hoodie and my fleece jacket, because it was a thousand degrees in this particular Chapters today) and we went to find a spot where we could sit inside the very crowded Starbucks.

We walked to the back of the store to where Starbucks is located and we all agreed it was very strange to see the windows which used to gaze upon Crystal Palace – and a whole lot of natural light – completely blackened by the walls of the gigantic retailer that now occupies the space. That’s going to have to be fixed because holy darkness! It didn’t help that there were also a couple of lights out.

We found a table and asked our table neighbours if they could spare a chair. They were happy to oblige and we were very thankful. So we sat and waited for Daddy-O to return.

As soon as he was back we ordered two for one hot chocolates for the kiddos and two for one Praline Chesnut lattes for the parents. The hot chocolate was a hit as usual and we liked the lattes which we were trying for the first time. Yum!

This was supposed to be a coffee date. Just the adults. An hour or so alone with decadent Christmassy coffees. Solving the problems of the world. Making plans. Just the two of us.

You know what they say about plans …

Oh well.

After recent world events (that I definitely cannot solve alone) I could instantly think of about eighty-seven things worse than our date turning into a family affair.

One coffee was all I needed.


Two made it a date.


Four made it family fun.

Who am I to argue with that Math?

How was your Saturday?

Thankful Thursday: Bloggy Goodness Edition!

time to blog

Oh gee! Is that the time?

Whoopsiedoodle!

Normally, I might ask, “How did this happen?” or wax poetic about the day getting away from me, but you know what? Thursday was a bit kooky and I know exactly how this happened and where my time went.

Today was a very weird day. It felt at once like a Friday (Yay!) and a Monday (Boo!). That is simply not a good feeling for tired parent brains.

We had the day off yesterday for Remembrance Day and tomorrow is an Assessment and Evaluation day for teachers, so for the second time this week the Things don’t have school.

Thursday was just a weird day from beginning to end.

The chaos of the morning took its toll and I decided it was better for my kids to make their buses happily than it would have been to have a couple of cranky curmudgeons, stressed to the max, running late.

This meant, of course, that Mom’s Delivery Service was going to have to hit the road with lunches, etc.

This also meant that my morning was gone in the blink of an eye.

Oy!

Oh well. That’s life as a parent. It’s a constant pull between enabling and teaching.

Is this the right time for natural consequences?

Am I doing them a disservice by bringing them the things they need?

Will they never remember to hand in those assignments that are in their backpacks?

Should I let them squirm a little wondering if they will have lunch today?

Let me save you some (precious) time.

The answer is no.

No. Natural consequences happen naturally all the time. The chaos of the morning was out of the ordinary today and certainly not the fault of anyone in particular. It wouldn’t have helped to assign blame. It would have added to the tension that was already brewing, though, and no one needed that.

No. I am not doing them a disservice by remaining calm and making sure they get to school on time.

No. One day they will remember all the things they need all on their own. (Though, not perfectly and every single time because they are human just like me. Just like you.) Since today was sandwiched between two “no school” days (and because it is a Fake Friday, the last day of the week) it was also the last day of the term and therefore the last day to hand in assignments and have them count towards this term’s grades. No brainer! If you understood executive function, you’d see things (Things!) my way. (Perhaps a post is in order.)

No. No. That’s just mean. I don’t want them to worry that they won’t be fed. Who would want that? No one, right? I hope no one would want that. Life is stressful enough without tossing fear of food security in the mix. No. Just no.

All this to say, I thought maybe I would share some of my favourite parenting blog posts here tonight instead of writing very much myself. (Oops! Too late!) Sometimes the best cure for wondering and worrying about whether or not you are doing the right thing, is to read what other people are doing. Sometimes it makes you think. Sometimes it makes you laugh. Sometimes it makes you cringe. Sometimes it simply takes your mind off of your own private little internal conflicts long enough for you to realize there’s nothing to worry about at all.

So without further ado, I give you 5 blog posts I really appreciate.

First there was this gem from Yummy Mummy Club which made me laugh out loud, lament my own, ever present, Mt. Laundry, and then think, ‘Heeeeyyyy! She’s onto something!’

Next up this touching post from Curtains Are Open that highlights the, seemingly, crazy lengths great Moms will go to for their kids (and everyone else’s, apparently!) and the beautiful outcomes that can happen when you do.

Have you been spending too much time with your iThing and not enough time with your eyes on your Things? Maybe we should all consider this post from Mommy’s Weird a litmus test. We have the power to unplug. We do!

If you feel a sudden and acute lack of confidence about how you are raising your girls, at any time, please read this truly excellent post from Yummy Mummy Club. It’s all about the honesty. You’ve got this.

Finally, I enjoy so much over at Schmutzie.com so often, I would be remiss to not include it here. I especially appreciate Grace In Small Things because well, I really do appreciate grace in small things. Who doesn’t? Go read. You will not regret it.

So there you have it.

I am tired.

It’s so late.

I have so much to get done tomorrow.

Tomorrow will take care of itself, right?

First, this tired Mamma needs some serious zeds.

How was your Thursday?

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The One Where There Is A Friends Reference

old friends long time grow

After approximately 87,000* Facebook messages we** managed to go out to dinner and as expected it was fabulous!

Dinner Divas

I could go on and on about my friends and my night out, but you would have no point of reference, so I thought I would keep it extremely succinct.

We grew up (okay, okay, we were in our 20s and some of us were married already. Whatever!) at a time when coffee shops were novel and everyone wanted a shebob just like Rachel’s, so sometimes we reference these things.

Tonight our conversations were all over the place. Have you ever overheard four friends who are also mothers having a conversation across a table? It’s quite remarkable, really. We zig. We zag. We share insight. We reminisce. We listen. We lament. We give advice. We offer support. We celebrate successes. We feel comfortable sharing stories – loudly.

What I am saying is you wouldn’t have over heard us. You simply would have heard us!

We also have a knack for witty remarks and pop culture references and that leads me to Friends.

Friends Ross Rachel Monica Chandler Phoebe Joey

At one point (and completely apropos of nothing) a conversation about crows turned into a conversation about birds that mate for life which then led to – wait for it – lobsters!

Because LOGICAL!

*Slight exaggeration.

**Four friends from high school – which was a lifetime ago – getting together once a month to vent, dish, and laugh. So much laughing!

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25 Things That Made Me Smile Today

Smiling is my favourite

Please allow me to get right to the point (a rare treat for those who know me, I am sure!).

I give you a succinct, if random, list of 25 things that made me smile today.

  1. Early morning snuggles with Thing 2.
  2. My first cup of coffee.
  3. Braiding Thing 2’s beautiful hair so she would be fancier than her normal Hermione Granger for her school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, today, where she would be singing with her school mates.
  4. The fact that last Christmas’ Poinsettia is still alive and well .
  5. The thought that I might actually be able to get it to bloom in time for December.
  6. Thing 1 practicing his trumpet this evening for his school’s Remembrance Day ceremony tomorrow.
  7. CrockPot turkey stock.
  8. Finally making a yummy, flavourful, batch of turkey soup.
  9. Calling it thoup.
  10. Remembering my beautiful niece and her utterly adorable developmental lisp.
  11. Remembering how Thing 2, who reminds me so much of her, also had an extremely similar lisp for a few years.
  12. Being told by someone whose opinion I value, that they appreciate what I do.
  13. My enormous, yellow, Fall Mums which are still very much in bloom.
  14. The idea that my red SIGG water bottle is my health potion.
  15. The brilliant idea to buy a second SIGG bottle in blue so I will not only have my health, but also mana.
  16. My magical glasses which after all this time still make me happy every single day because they are awesome.
  17. Thing 1’s awesome hair.
  18. Thing 1’s school photos, wherein he decided to *not* cut off his hair for school photo day and wore his “Wookie Expressions” T-shirt with exactly zero irony.
  19. The word rutabaga.
  20. The fact that we call it turnip (and always will!) even though we know the difference between rutabaga and turnip.
  21. A weird elevator ride with Daddy-O this morning as we were leaving for the commute where the elevator seemed to have a mind of its own, went up instead of down, and picked up a neighbour who then, presumably, assumed we just really like elevator rides.
  22. Parting ways with my husband while he took out the recycling and continuing to walk right alongside the elevator neighbour (who is mostly silent) who parks near me in the garage and not being able to stop myself from saying, “I feel like we are competing in the world’s slowest race.”
  23. Savoury.
  24. Crowdsourcing recipe advice via Facebook.
  25. Being married to a Computer Elf.

C’est tout!

It really is the little things.

What about you?

What made you smile today?

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Let’s Talk Turkey!

coffee cup thankful Thanksgiving Fall decor

This week we have learned a valuable lesson at Chez Peady.

If you chop it up and put it on the table, they will eat it.

It doesn’t matter the time of day or meal in question.

If it is cut up into bite sized pieces and there’s maybe a little veggie dip, salsa, guacamole, or hummus for dipping the veggies will vanish.

I forgot! The Things are such great eaters they will try anything I make and usually without complaint because, as I have talked about before, I do make sure there is at least one thing that everyone likes for sure, but I am not a short order cook and I do not make extra meals, special meals or meals made to order.

Though, not too long ago I was dreaming of having a fully functional buffet brunch bar with waffles made to order, an omelette chef, a mountain of fresh fruit, and a great bottomless cup of coffee, for myself. This is a fantasy. This is not a hotel. It is a nice dream though.

So, knowing brunch was not going to appear magically* and really not feeling like a bacon-and-eggs brunch, I decided the cure for this breakfast break was to roast a turkey for dinner and roast a turkey I did!

I pretty much let the Things and Daddy-O fend for themselves** all day with no regularly scheduled meals – at all – until dinner.

Yup.

Super Mom!

I couldn’t help it. I had a one turkey-track mind.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about next Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, I don’t have to wait until next year. I only have to wait until American Thanksgiving***.

I am so excited that we celebrate both Thanksgivings for all kinds of reasons, but I’d be misleading you if I didn’t divulge right now that one of the main reasons is for the turkey – and all the fun fixings.

For Canadian Thanksgiving we are usually not at home, so we don’t get to have any of the fun leftovers the following week. The hot turkey sandwiches drenched in gravy with yummy leftover mashed potatoes, carrots, and turnip**** on the side. The double decker club sandwiches with crinkle cut fries and gravy. The amazing turkey soup made lovingly by using every single scrap of leftover turkey. All delightful in their own rights and treats one really misses when one isn’t in charge of roasting the main course!

For American Thanksgiving we are almost always at home. When the Things were smaller I used to call in “festive” so they would have the day off school. Yes. Really. I would quite literally call the school and leave a message on the answering machine or speak to our lovely Administrative Assistant (in Ottawa) and happily explain, “It’s American Thanksgiving and we are calling in festive!”. It was very freeing actually and I think it gave the person listening to the message a laugh, on what was otherwise a random Thursday in November – which if you have never been to Ottawa – can be quite grey and cold. I hope it brought joy. It certainly brought me a lot of joy. We would stay home and I would roast a turkey and we’d watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a grand time! A scrumptious turkey dinner on a weeknight is very happy making, indeed. I love the fact that some American television stations televise Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life right after the parade on American Thanksgiving Day. Pretty much, it’s the perfect end to a very happy day.

I mean, who could deny the beauty of a day designed to celebrate the joy of a bountiful harvest with family? Throw in the fact that it is a super excuse for an extra thankful Thursday and another roasted turkey and well.. SOLD!

So, with all of this in mind – and the fact that fresh turkeys were on sale – I went out and bought one to roast today.

I regret nothing!

It was scrumptious.

We had turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, turnip, corn, stuffing, fresh rolls and gravy.

And the best part is that, if we want we can have it all over again tomorrow because LEFTOVERS! (Yay!)

Now, I really must finish this post, so I can get the CrockPot fired up because while we are sleeping magical slow cooker elves will be making the base for an amazing batch of turkey soup. (Also, yay!)

Tell me, are you a fan of roasted turkey?

Do you gravy all the things?

Are you gluten free like me and left with a little sad space on your plate?

I am working on a stuffing solution. I will be back with one by the 26th! Mark my words.

Which one of you is working on my replicator, again? We need to have a talk about the progress you are making.   harumphs *

**Don’t worry. There was plenty of food to forage. Protein, cereal, toast and Nutella,  Halloween treats – whoopsiedoodle!

***Hah! We are even Hobbits when it comes to Thanksgiving! Second Thanksgiving FTW!

****It’s rutabaga, I know, but it’s still turnip, you know?

Silent Saturday (A Weekend Twist On Wordless Wednesday)

Every year we visit Moncton, New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend.

Every year – at some point during the weekend – we make a point of going for our Thanksgiving Nature Walk.

This year was no exception and we had a great little trek. We were not in a hurry, the leaves were really beautiful in their new autumn colours, and there were all kinds of little creatures to appreciate.

We stopped to take a few pictures and I noticed there were a few Dragonflies on a nearby picnic table.

I was intrigued by them and hoped to get a decent photo after we snapped a few silly selfies of our little thankful family.

The wings of this Dragonfly remind me of a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Can’t you just picture a window with a little rectangle of red stained glass?

Dragonfly on picnic table

The One Where I Run Out Of Time And Am Simply Too Tired To Worry Much About It!

out of time

It is 11:23 p.m. as I am beginning this post.

Thing 2 just went to bed a little while ago and – I swear to you as I type – right now I hear Thing 1 walking around in the dark. Getting a drink perhaps.

Daddy-O has just started an episode of Poirot and if you know it at all (Do you know Agatha Christie’s Poirot at all?) you will know it isn’t exactly a thrill-a-minute-perk-you-up-and-write kind of program. Not at all. As a matter of fact I have recently decided that my husband pretty much uses Hercule Poirot and his 1935 crime fighting shenanigans as a sleep aid because he almost never makes it through an episode.

Meanwhile I, the one who resists it being started in the first place, am hanging on until the last minute – regardless of when that last minute happens to take place on the actual clock. You know the clock? The one that tells me I am up too late. The one that says Early Band is happening whether or not Mr. Poirot solves the mystery**. The one that at this very minute is breathing down my neck telling me to write something and hit publish tout de suite! (Did I mention Poirot is Belgian? That’s right! He speaks French.)

I am exhausted!

It has been a really great week filled with all kinds of good news and happy making shenanigans and I think all the action has finally caught up with me and my “little grey cells”***.

Here we go again! I am asking questions about the storyline and my best husband is asleep.

Perfect timing.

Goodnight!

*Full disclosure!

**Of course he solves the mystery! Oh mon Dieu! Of course!

***OY! Poirot says this! How did I get into this?!?

We Like The Moon! (‘Cause It Is Close To Us.)

Behold, the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Moon!

img_2194

Oh? That’s not what it’s called?

Huh.

Well it should have been!

My photos – hard earned, mind you – don’t even come close to doing this situation justice.

img_2196

If you could know how long it took to get one half-decent photo, you would laugh. Or cry.

I nearly did.

Mostly because of the beauty of the night, though.

Did you go chasing after the perfect shot of the amazing Super Blood Moon in September? How did your photos turn out?

Why is it that our eyes can see it so clearly and so gigantic and yet when we look through the lens of a camera it is suddenly puny and not at all the image we are trying to convey?

Do you know?

Why?

It is all an illusion. Isn’t that amazing?

Our brains want everything to be awesome! Logic doesn’t always provide what we want.

Here is an explanation of why we can’t capture the Moon unless we have very fancy photography equipment.

Oh well. Even though I know it is an illusion, I am sure when the next Super Moon event rolls around, I’ll be excitedly rounding up the Things, checking the moonrise times, charging my iPhone, grabbing my camera, and trying yet again to capture the moon.

Maybe it’s the romantic notion that I can get something really special if the conditions are just right. Maybe it’s all my exposure to George Bailey and his promises of lassoing the moon. Maybe, every now and then, I simply must give in to my childlike wonder of celestial things. Maybe the (somewhat futile) exercise of photographing the moon is about more than the final product.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

Oh, science! You may be right. I may be crazy, but (as Billy Joel sang) it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.

 

Sweet Sunflower Snacks (A Pictorial Snack Tutorial)

Did you know you can cut an apple almost all the way through, pop out the core, let the flower petals fall open, then add a dollop of peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, to make a delicious and nutritious sunflower?

You can!

See?

Isn’t that fun? It is a favourite around here, especially in Fall, when the Nova Scotian apples are at their absolute best. Delicious!

Easy, right?

Totally.

You can use what you like best, of course, but I tend to use a Golden Delicious Apple, Natural Peanut Butter*, and gluten free mini chocolate chips. You only need a few chocolate chips. They are chocolate chips! They seem to have a magical power over kids. If they find 2 in a mini muffin they’re thrilled, so I just go with what I have worked so hard to achieve. Happiness!

So, what do you think? Do you think your kids would like to try a Sweet Sunflower Snack?

I am willing to bet they would.

What is your favourite snack food? Do your kids have special snacks after school?

Let’s talk about it!

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, just one more thing! I nearly forgot!!

Look!

img_2879

It’s a teeny tiny Thing 2 enjoying a Sweet Sunflower Snack a few years ago! Aww!

img_2880

This small Corelle bowl might be the ideal serving dish for this snack. Notice how it helps the apple slices keep the flower shape, while containing the Peanut Butter? That’s better than the larger plate for presentation. (Though the larger plate was best for an after school snack with extra Things!) I also like the mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips here. It seems more flower-like, to me.

*Of course, if you have a peanut allergy you can use another nut butter or a soy butter in its place. Still yummy!