Ten!

christmas-chickens1

There are only 10 days left until Christmas.

That’s plenty of time to get everything done.

Wait. What?

No.

NINE?!?

WHAT?!?!?

How is that even possible?

I mean, it was *just* December first, wasn’t it?

Remember … we got out the Advent calendars and started counting down the days … and started baking … and shopping … and wrapping … and tidying … and decorating … it was just yesterday, wasn’t it?

Hmm? Whazzat?

It was 16 days ago.

Wut.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Nobody panic.

Breathe.

Mmmm. Cinnamon.

Everything will be just fine.

I know this because some very smart people I know have lots of excellent advice, tips, tricks and secrets for keeping your yule cool.

 

So Christmas will take care of itself. Great!

 

Now there’s just the teensy matter of fact that I will have a teenager in my house tomorrow.

05-11-06 Zits

 

What kind of advice do we have for that?

Please share.

 

 

 

Source: You need to go see all of these here.

Source: Zits.

Supper In a Flash!

Feed daily!

Sometimes, despite best laid plans, we get out of our routine of good habits – such as meal planning or writing a weekly (or monthly – who are these people?!) menu.

When this happens, as it has for me recently, I am forever grateful for my imagination, creativity, enthusiasm, the ability to make something from (practically) nothing, and a good collection of meal ideas to fall back on.

Here are a couple of good “go to” recipes that can be made quickly and inexpensively, which, to me, is a great bonus!

 

Oven Baked Chicken Legs

Package of plump delicious chicken legs

Drizzle of olive oil (I use EVOO)

Seasoning (Applied in the following order)(Or not)(Whatevs.)(I’m breezy!)

Freshly cracked black pepper

Kosher salt (pinch)

Seasoning salt

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Cayenne

Oregano

Parmesan

Arrange the chicken legs on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil. Drizzle EVOO over the chicken. Begin layering your flavours. I eyeball this process according to the spice level my family desires. I sprinkle from on high so the spices kind of snow down over the sheet pan. I find this allows me to control the spices better and I never get a giant clump of cayenne or a gob of garlic. Next I take my tongs and just flip the legs over and back to sort of evenly coat them with the EVOO and seasoning. It isn’t an exact science and I am sure it will be fine whether you do this or not. Go ahead! Give it a try!

375 degree oven 40 minutes (or until done).

 

 

Oven Fried Rice*

2 c Uncle Ben’s Converted Long  Grain Rice

2 c water

1 pkg.  onion soup mix

1/2  c. oil

2  tbsp. soya sauce (I use gluten free)

I add a red pepper that has been diced because it makes it scrumptious and any time I can add a veggie, well, I do! I think it would be so pretty to add red and green (Christmas!) or several different colours to assist in the whole “eat the rainbow” quest.

Bake for one hour at 350 degree oven with cover on.

After first half hour of cooking, remove the cover and stir. Replace cover** and continue baking until done.

 

Take them out and cover to keep warm – or if you are lucky enough to have two ovens you can cook both things at once, keep the chicken warm, and well aren’t you the fancy schmancy Martha Stewart-y type? What the heck are you doing here reading my silly blog? Surely you have a Regatta Gala or some other fabulous event to attend tonight? No? Taking a break from being a Socialite? Okay. Cool! Hi!

 

What are your “go to” oh-no-is-that-the-time meals?

What kinds of things can you whip up in a flash that will feed your family and make them happy at the same time?

Feel free to share in the comments.

Bon appetit!

 

 

*We call this “Nanny Rice” at Chez Peady. Feel free to adopt this habit.

**I use an enamel roaster with a lid and I find a lot of moisture escapes. To accommodate this fact, I tend to add about a 1/2 c extra water. I feel that an awesome Dutch Oven would contain the moisture better, so if you have one***, try it and let me know how it goes.

***Dear Santa, LeCreuset. That is all****.

****Well, that and a goat.

Source: http://literarywinner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Why-do-they-want-dinner-EVERY-night.jpg (Sometimes you just have to share the love with a stranger blogger.)

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!

NaBloPoMo No Mo’

Chained to work

This is it. I have reached the end of my NaBloPoMo journey and I am happy to report that I survived!

For the past thirty days I have written (mostly) a post a day as a part of National Blog Posting Month.

What an exhausting challenge!

Seriously. All you writers who write under the pressure of a deadline all the live-long day – every single day – my hat* is off to you. You are one very dedicated and disciplined bunch of people. Good for you!

I have learned a lot during these thirty days.

I have unlearned a few things, too.

I’ve had some pretty good confirmations, as well. I procrastinate. It works for me, sometimes, as procrastination does. When it works out, I get a rush of adrenaline that makes all the suppression of fleeing the scene worthwhile. When it doesn’t work, well, may we never know!

Oh yes, that random positive reinforcement is quite the thrill, but it is certainly no gentleman.

Clearly, whether it is right or wrong, I work well under pressure. When there is nowhere to run to, baby, no where to hide, I find my stride.

This, as you can imagine, can be very draining on a person’s energy stores. There were nights when I was up way later than I should have been. There were mornings that came way too early. Early Band** days very nearly did me in.

My husband and my Things were the most supportive humans on the planet (they usually are, by the way). They were cool with my vanishing to write or upload photos. They really were, but I was not comfortable with missing anything important, so I was very much burning my candle at both ends. Thank goodness this is a 30 day month. I honestly don’t think I could handle 31***.

I think this was a really good exercise for me. I wrote every day and I believe the practice was good. I felt a sense of accomplishment/panic every single time I hit “Publish”, but I kept right on hitting it. Go me!

I am sure I will have that oh-no-I-slept-through-my-exam panic at least once this week, as I plan on not posting every day for December. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

I mean, I love writing for this little ol’ blog and I love the people who read, comment, and even ask me to write a little something here or there for them, but I have very strong feelings about not being chained to my computer (for work or hobby or otherwise!). If anything was highlighted this month, it’s that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be experienced, nurtured and changed.

Besides, when I get to be Empress of the Universe and fulfill my destiny as a professional philanthropist, I won’t have time to be attached to my computer.

Face Time

 

But feel free to call me.

 

Now, please point me in the direction of the best darn gluten free cake you can think of because this gal needs to celebrate!

 

 

 

*I’m not actually wearing a hat, but if I am getting a hat in your imagination make it something cool and festive, okay? Thanks!

**More so.

***But I would, because PRESSURE!

 

Source: http://www.alec-longstreth.com/writing/2008/chained.jpg

Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/techno.sm9_.gif

Dear Santa

This year for Christmas, like the many Christmases before, I want for nothing because I have this …

Thing 2's Santa Letter

Sincerely,

Laureen

P.S. I still believe in you.

P.P.S. I love puppies, too! : )

P.P.P.S. I prefer goats.

 

 

The Secret To A Happy Marriage

happy-married-life-quotes-1

I know the definitive answer to the question, “What is the secret to a happy marriage?”.

Would you like to know what it is?

Are you sure you can handle the truth?

Are you sure?

Really?

B’okay!

Prepare to be amazed.

Brace yourself.

Here it is.

The secret to a happy marriage is …

 

I’ll cook. You clean.

 

That’s it!

*bows*

I’m here all week for all your KISS* counselling needs.

 

 

This post has been brought to you by an awesome mid-week American Thanksgiving feast and an abundance of leftovers neatly cleaned up and stored tidily in the fridge.

Source: http://umagz.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/happy-married-life-quotes-1.jpg

*Keep It StOOpid Simple (alternatively, Keep It Simple Sister)

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!!

We’re Doomed!

I’m on my iThing with my husband right now*. (Yes. Really. Blogging in real time. What an innovator!)

I had a teeny feeling of panic because I couldn’t see my phone and went looking for it. I walked to the kitchen, where I had recently refilled my water bottle, and made it all the way back to my desk before the “Well, DOI!” struck.

Swear to God.

Technology is making me stupid.

32daf2dcc93d01cee4208a5990570ee5

It’s the modern day equivalent of searching for one’s glasses while one’s glasses are perched atop one’s head.

 

What is the silliest thing you have done lately?

Do you ever catch a glimpse of your own ridiculousness and simply have to laugh?

Please share an anecdote with me in the comments and help me to feel less alone with my ridiculousness.

 

 

 

*Well, it was a few minutes ago – now – if I’m being honest.

Source: http://www.shoeboxblog.com/?p=15314