WE WERE ON A BREAK! (and it was a BIG mistake)

This was 15 weeks ago.

I was elated. Happy. Proud.

I was Icharus.

Dammit.

What the hell was I thinking?

I am not the kind of person who can stop a thing. I am the kind of person who, in order to be healthy and happy, needs to follow through every single day.

I know I am not alone, but I am embarrassed and sad that I flew too close to the sun.

On the upside Wax Wing soup is scrumptious!

Okay. Okay. I didn’t actually eat Wax Wings à la Icharus, but it is one of the very few things I did not eat over the summer.

I planned to loosen the reins a bit and maybe adapt to an 80/20 approach (which works really well, by the way), but then I heard the ice cream call my name … and it was summer … and it was Friday … and we were on vacation … and when would we be all together in this place again?

And … and … and …

You can see where this is going right?

I’ll just wait here for your eye rolls to stop and your judgement to wash over me.

I KNOW! I know better. I know. It’s true. I do.

sigh

So now what?

Well, for one I am not starting all over again, so yay me. Secondly, I didn’t quite throw the baby out with the bathwater. I know what works and I know what makes me happy and guess what, people? It is not ice cream. (or potato chips) (Hmm. What’s that? I didn’t mention the potato chips? Gee. I was sure I did. looks down and kicks invisible pebbles)

As it turns out, I feel so much better–mind, body, spirit, soul, mood, attitude–when I stick to eating a variety of yummy foods (including a few sweet treats) that are gluten free (this is old news) and also mostly dairy free, corn free, and devoid of sugar. Oh yeah … just one more thing … coffee. Yup. Coffee is on the chopping block.

It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? I know.

This is partly why (and how) I allowed myself to be stopped.

I am not proud of it, but I am honest, so I will tell you what happened–I let people, who (mostly) do not matter, get in my head.

How sad is that? How silly? How ridiculous? How ludicrous?

How sad.

I literally know hundreds of people who exercise, eat, live, and share their journeys to wellness. There are so many different ways to find what works for you as an individual and I know as well as anyone that it should not matter what anyone else does or says or promotes or buys or endorses.

Yet here we are.

I allowed doubt and fear and alright, maybe a bit of defiance and self-sabotage, thwart me and my efforts.

It isn’t the first time.

When I first went gluten free (or even low carb, waaaaay back when–remember “Protein Power” by the Drs. Eades?–you see.. I was onto something then, too!) I felt so much better, but I let the opinions of others convince me that that couldn’t possibly be what was wrong. I was just fat and Lord knows fat trumps all when it comes to feeling like hammered poo. Amirite? (I know for a fact that if any of you reading this have now or have at any time carried extra fat on your body you know exactly what I am talking about. Every medical anything. Every ache or pain. Each headache or tummy trouble. Anytime the baby nurse takes out the “fat” BP cuff to use on your happily pregnant arm–for God’s sake! Just stop that. Let the Mamma be happy for a half a minute, will ya?!?–the looks, the digging questions, the judgement. All cause a huge heaping helping of self doubt.

Really. Is it any wonder I (I just typed “we”, but this is on me, so here I stand, heart in hand!) doubt myself when for so long clearly any and all of my issues were essentially my fault and my fault alone?

Right?

Right?!?

excuse me for a minute while I take a few deep breaths and go to my happy place

Wrong. Humans are complex creatures and sometimes we carry burdens that we did not create, that we were never meant to carry. For some of us, that burden happens to be visible. When I have the wherewithal to have a sense of humour about it I think of it as my fat suit of armour. I know the truth.

Anyhoo …

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Be nice to people! If someone is doing something and they seem happy and excited or slightly anxious and excited (ANXCITED!) and they are brave enough or trusting enough to share that with you or be open publicly about it, support them. Ask if they are happy about it. Encourage them to go for it. Maybe check in now and then in a non-judge-y way and see how it’s going.

I don’t know.

All I do know is that when I am having doubts and someone swoops in to immediately say the worst of the stuff I am thinking about me (or it or whatever) or point out how difficult a thing is or how they could never give up x, y, z … well, let me get straight to the point (HAH! Have you met me?!) it isn’t helpful. Not even a little bit.

No one really wants to suffer for their art-or for their heart!

So, what is this all about?

Well, to sum up, be nice to people, not just nice–kind. Think before you speak. Certainly, be careful with your say-it-right-out-loud words. Listen more. Pay attention to what you are thinking. Maybe do a double check now and then when you think you have that internally screaming thought and/or eye roll under wraps, and make sure it isn’t written all over your face.

Mind you, if that’s 100% you, by all means, you be you. That is important.

You’ll understand, of course, when I don my eye roll deflector.

Oh, just one more thing–my break is over!

My Word for 2019. Or … ACTION – I Wanna Live!

ACTION, word of the year, my word for 2019, Happy New Year, Peady Powers ENGAGE, intention, intentions, will, do it, never mistake motion for action

Never mistake motion for action. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Full disclosure: I started this post on January 2nd (though it is currently January 4th) and because this is my blog I can change the date to January 2, so I did. Why? Well, the reason is twofold. a) See the aforementioned “MY blog” 🤓 and b) because I want to have a post for everyday this month and since I have been writing, starting something new, trying to learn a couple of new things, busy with back to school after a big break stuff, reading actual books, and if I may be frank, actually DOING things, I figured it was okay. Okay? Are we cool? Cool. Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool. 

In case you haven’t figured it out yet or didn’t see my official announcement on Instagram as I was ringing in the New Year (Are you not following me there? Why not?! I am pretty fun. Go follow me now. It’s okay. I’ll wait right here.) I have decided to choose another word for 2019. I chose two in 2018 and you know what? I never did make it back here to write about them, but I did take them to heart and I think they were helpful.

Last year’s words were “Focus & Flourish” (written just like that) and I would write them down in places I knew I would be glancing throughout the day. My awesome kitchen chalkboard frame thing? Oh yeah! It was totally written there. It stayed there for a good long time, too. I really needed the reminder.  It isn’t that anything magical happened, but in a way a lot of great things happened. They may have been tricky to see through a pretty big dose of ick, but if I am being objective (and I am) there were many fun, nice, practical, and people-centric things that happened last year, in real life, that were good.

So, in the interest of putting my new word to good use right off the bat, I give you my word for 2019. Ta daa!

ACTION, word of the year, DIY chalkboard photo frame, chalk, just do it, 2019, Happy New Year, New Year's resolutions, resolutions, intention, set an intention, good intentions, will

So …

Do you choose a word for the year? Something to help you focus on a goal or a more mindful way of living? I’d love to hear about it.

Feel free to share your word and your reasons for choosing it in the comments. (I love comments! AND! I love responding to them because I know what a rare treat they can be and I understand that commenters are choosing to spend their time here with me. I like being heard and I like letting others know they have been heard. It matters. You matter. Thank you for commenting.)

 

 

 

 

Fuller disclosure: It is now Saturday and I am about to hit publish. The post will still have a date  of January 2, 2019. C’est la vie! 

Credit where credit is due: Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Five (more) Fun Facts For (the last) Friday (in February)

Friday facts fun facts kindness

I am so happy today is Friday.

This week has been so weird. I didn’t know what day it was, we had some crazy windy and rainy weather, and I was working really hard on being healthier and more productive.

I was halfway through Thursday when it was brought to my attention that it was, in fact, Wednesday. Blarg. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? That set off a whole well-if-today-isn’t-Thursday-then-that-means-tomorrow-isn’t-Friday general malaise and it went downhill from there.

The upside of the confusion was that I gained a whole day. The downside, obviously, is the exact same thing.

All in all, it was a good week. It was 14 degrees Celsius on the Thursday that was really Wednesday. In February. In Canada! It also rained an insane amount overnight Wednesday into Thursday with high winds and it was a hard wake up for early band. We made it, mind you.

The rainy day was dreamy in a way though and after work and school when we’d all normally be doing typical after work and school stuff – like making dinner – we all fell asleep! That hasn’t happened in a very long time. I guess we needed a little rest. It was kind of nice, actually. I am a terrible napper, so it was nice to snuggle with Thing 2 on the couch for a little while. The fact that I zonked out and actually slept was awesome. Then I made dinner while everyone else snoozed.

Anyhoo …

Before Friday becomes Saturday (I have had enough of days becoming other days for one week!), I give you five fun facts for Friday.

  1. I am a February baby. (My birthday happened earlier this month.) If I were a Leap Year Baby*, I would be celebrating only my 12th birthday this year. I think that is so fun! If I were a Leap Year Baby, I like to think I would have fun celebrations every four years. Wouldn’t that be fun?
  2. I have a lot of friends who are Valentine’s Day babies! Seriously, it’s uncanny. I can think of at least 6 people right off the top of my head (without a Facebook Birthday reminder or anything). Remarkable!
  3. I have been on a real spinach kick lately. Is that weird or what? I mean, who craves spinach? (This is the point where I hope at least one of you is reading in George Costanza’s mother’s – or Estelle Costanza’s -voice) What kind of person craves spinach? Well, I know some people do. Am I becoming the kind of person who craves spinach? Where will it end? Will you soon find me in the grocery store caressing the kale,  looking to get my Freekeh on? Well, now I’ve gone too far, haven’t I? Besides, Freekeh is actually quite gluten full as it is made from roasted green wheat. Whew! That was a close one.
  4. Thing 2 was down with a very yucky virus for a full week. The poor thing! She was sick for Valentine’s Day and Heritage Day.** She doesn’t get sick very often (thank goodness), but when she does it always seems to fall on a special day. She had to miss out on some fun and so we all followed suit and had a very low key Valentine’s Day and spent our Heritage Day at home.
  5. I have a really good Doctor. (I got to see her today because Thing 1 had a check up.) She is kind and funny. She is smart and always has a minute to spare to be nice to my kids – and to me. I had some stuff to deal with and I thought I’d have to make an appointment next week when I got a chance, but after my son’s stuff was squared away, she turned to me to ask, “And you? How are you?”. It was unexpected and so cool of her, really. I tried to deflect any concern and said I’d be back, but she basically said, “We are here now. Let’s talk.”

It sometimes feels like no one cares in this world, but we can’t let that be the norm. We really have to seek out as much good as possible. It sure is nice when the good is present during stressful times. I really appreciate kindness.

Don’t you?

*Also known as Leaplings. How cute is that?

**That’s Family Day to some of you. The February, Monday holiday. In Nova Scotia this year it was Joseph Howe Day.

NaBloPoMo Deficit (Or I Intend To Finish What I Started)

intention picasso quote doing vs. intention

I am missing 11** days of posts out of the 28 days that November has had, so far.

Am I flipping out? Nope.

Do I care? Yes. Of course. I always care.

Am I in knots like I would have been last year? No way! Life is way too short to be in knots over a fictitious deadline of questionable importance.

What am I planning to do with this knowledge?

That is a good question. I am not quite sure what to do.

Should I try and scrounge up the energy and words to post a decent thing for the missing days?

Should I just brush it off and move on?

Can I find a compromise that makes me feel decent about participating in NaBloPoMo again this year? I am honestly not sure.

It is always good to challenge oneself. Of that, I am sure.

I suppose I am just not sure exactly what my goal, beyond 30 posts in 30 days, is – or was.

Last year it was a challenge that I felt I couldn’t possibly complete and, yet, I did.

This year, I knew I could do it and I was pretty sure I would, but here I am on November 28th trying to figure out what to do.

Mostly, I have written elsewhere. Other things for other people.

That is a really cool turn of events that might never have happened if I didn’t start writing a little bit here.

Can.

Will.

Did.

They are interesting words, aren’t they?

I guess what I am saying is that when the intention is clear the accomplishment often seems clearly attainable. The opposite is also true. I think I may have proven that this time.

Maybe the trick is to set a clear intention, no matter the task, in order to reach one’s goals.

Why then, does this not work in all the things I intend to do?

What am I missing?

Are my intentions not good enough? Are they not focussed enough?

Is there something pertinent I am overlooking?

Am I paving a road to H-E- double hockey sticks?

For example, take my weight. No really. Take my weight, please. Ba doom tsh!

Why can’t I intend it away? Wouldn’t that be something!? I wish I could. I really do.

Alas, wishing won’t make it so.

sigh

I am tired of it and I intend to do something about it.

I won’t be coming back here to whine about it. I promise. It’s just that I think I believe that a written intention has more power than one I secretly wish inside my head.

Just like I am fairly certain one spoken out loud is more powerful than one written.

Although, I am sure it depends on the person and the intention.

For instance, last Friday we went to see The Vinyl Cafe Christmas Show at the Scotiabank Centre, here, in Halifax. As many of you know by now, Stuart McLean cancelled the remainder of the tour because he has been diagnosed with cancer and was strongly encouraged to begin treatment right away. What many of you may not know is that the show ended with a “Hey Jude” send off and after the “Na na na nanana naaa nanana naaa” part we didn’t sing the words “hey Jude”. No. Instead, we were all singing “Next year” in place of “hey Jude”. We didn’t know Stuart McLean was ill. We did know that he was in fine form, that we were thoroughly entertained, and that we absolutely wanted the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Show to come back to Halifax next year. We wanted Stuart McLean to come back next year.

The phrase “next year” in and of itself isn’t all that special. In fact, it might be seen as a mostly innocuous or even negative thing. Kind of like the elusive “someday” we often utter when making plans to travel to an exotic location or treat ourselves to a fancy something-or-other.

But I am telling you, last Friday night in the Scotiabank Place the phrase “next year” was most definitely an intention. I felt it then and there as I sang it.

It was confirmed on Saturday when I read the news.

So, here’s hoping there’s something to all this intention stuff because I have things I want to do and seeing Stuart McLean is most definitely on my list.

So, tell me, do you believe in intentions?

Do you have a word you focus on to help you get through your year?

Do you set an intention?

How do you make your intentions a reality?

**And you can bet your britches I just changed that to 10.

Source

 

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?

Source

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?

Source

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?

In Which We Express Our Frustrations About Toothpaste

Ramona Quimby Toothpaste Waster

I have been using the same brand of toothpaste for my whole life. I love it. It makes my teeth feel clean and my breath fresh. It is just the right kind of mint and provides the perfect level of teeth cleaning frothiness while I brush.

I have stuck with the same brand and upgraded to different “new and improved” variations within the same brand when one would appeal to me (and as I got older and was the one paying for it). I went through all the developments; paste, gel, cool mint, baking soda, tartar control, and finally my favourite extra whitening. Oh the joy when that little innovation entered my life!

I like taking care of my teeth. I smile a LOT. I want to be an old woman with a great and happy, healthy, smile. So, I prided myself on getting the best for myself and for my family.

I am not big into make-up and all that goes along with it, but I fell for whitening toothpaste –  brush, paste and flosser.

So, imagine my chagrin upon learning that my toothpaste is among the worst offenders from an environmental and health perspective. The very product I was so enamoured with is loaded with microbeads!

Do you know what microbeads are?

Microbeads are invasive little specs of plastic that are showing up in places they should not be. They are in so many cosmetics that it is easier to list the products they are NOT in than to name the ones they have invaded. It is pervasive. It is terrible.

Would you voluntarily give your kids plastic to swallow?

Never!

Would you choose to eat a healthy meal of baked, plastic microbead infused fish?

Of course not!

Do you think that rubbing your body with plastic makes it cleaner or worse do you think you need microbeads to have a good complexion?

Well …

I, for one, am horrified at the lengths we humans seem to be willing to go for the sake of some arbitrarily conjured beauty standard.

I feel betrayed.

I miss my favourite toothpaste.

We immediately threw out the offending brand and vowed never to use it again.

Then we had our teeth cleaned at our Dentist’s Office.

I bet you know where this is going …

You know those little tubes of toothpaste the Dental Hygienist hands you – along with a new toothbrush and a teeny travel sized floss – as she tells you you have no cavities, but you should floss more (even though you floss all the time. Seriously. Is there some kind of Dental Hygienist pact wherein it is written that they have to bring up the flossing at every, single appointment? I really want to know, but I digress .. where was I? Right! Dentist gifts!)? Yes the teeny tube of National Brand name toothpaste.. you know the one, right? Well it was the very same offending brand we had sworn off.

We had to ask.

Why is this brand being handed out? Are you concerned about the microbeads? How can we avoid them?

Now, you need to know that we happen to have a lovely Dentist and a fantastic Dental Hygienist. We asked our questions out of true curiosity and not at all with righteous indignation*. We intended to strike up a conversation about our concern not because our concerns are more important than anyone else’s, but because our concerns were (and are) very real and though in this case they are very much our concerns, they really ought to be your concerns too.

We had a good chat about it and the conclusion was they are in “everything” and you “can’t avoid them”. How scary is that?

I’ll tell you how scary. PFOA scary. That’s how scary.

You don’t know me well enough to know all my stories yet, but we here at Chez Peady are pretty savvy when it comes to the environment and we try our best to not make the planet – you know, the ONE place we have to call home – worse off by living our lives with nary a concern for our fellow humans, the water, the wind and the woods. Sometimes that means we need to take a stand.

And stand we did.

We went on the hunt for a toothpaste that had fluoride, but did not contain microbeads.

This was not as simple as walking into our corner drug store and simply selecting the competing National Brand. Oh, no, no. I won’t try to convince you, but suffice it to say that most of the alternatives also have microbeads.

We settled on a natural (and there’s a branded word that gets tossed around like a hot potato!) brand that doesn’t have microbeads. We purchased two – one for the kids, one for us – and went on our merry way.

And we brushed.

And it tasted weird.

And it didn’t froth.

And it wasn’t minty fresh.

And my teeth didn’t feel clean.

And all I wanted to do was grab my old whitening brand and use it so I could have the fresh from the Dentist feeling I had come to expect from my toothpaste.

It was terrible.

There was no going back though. My health and health of my children is too important.

We continued to use the natural brand of toothpaste and we survived. I have since found one that suits me better, though it will never be the same as what I was using, and we keep our eyes peeled for changes in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy.

There is good news on the horizon though. We have a new Prime Minister who is making a point of getting Canada’s good reputation as a world leader – in matters of the environment and otherwise – back to the standard we, as a country, would expect.

We have a Minister of the Environment & Climate Change. Her name is Minister Catherine McKenna and she is one of 30 smart, capable, forward thinking Cabinet Ministers (50% of whom are women – “Because it’s 2015.” – Oh that just never gets old!), who are charged with the task of getting Canada back on track. This is so logical and amazing to me that even a full day (almost 2, now) after all the oaths were taken I am still emotional about it all.

I am so hopeful that we will see the real change we have been hearing so much about and that we will begin to see an action plan take shape. One that is designed to keep our environment healthy and our children safe.

No, not from big scary monsters and men with pointy teeth, but from itty-bitty, minuscule, invasive, pervasive and utterly unnecessary pieces of plastic.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Yes. Yes it would.

You can read more information on microbeads here, or here, or here.

I really hope you do.

*A crucial life skill, by the way. There’s a whole post in those two words, actually. Another day!

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(Ramona Quimby is a beloved character from the talented mind of Beverly Cleary and she is, quite frankly, near and dear to my heart. We are kindred spirits!)

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!

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

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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!

Get Out The Vote!

Tomorrow is Election Day!

I am so excited!

I can’t wait to cast my ballot and then wait and see the results from riding after riding after riding come pouring in.

We always take our kids and talk about it a LOT leading up to the election. As you can imagine, my Things are pretty well versed at this point because it has been 77 days since the election was called. Tomorrow will be day 78 and every single day has involved a conversation about what Canada means to us. We can’t wait!

It matters.

It matters to me and it should matter to you.

I love this country and I have great hope for its future.

I know you have heard it a bazillion times over the past few months, but please, oh, please, oh, please go and exercise your right to vote tomorrow. The polls are open for 12 hours. That is a long time. Make sure you take the time to go and cast your ballot.

There are people in this world who would die for this right that we so often take for granted.

Think about that.

There are women who fought in this country for this right. It wasn’t all that long ago. It is shamefully recent history if you really think about it. Do not disrespect them by disregarding what they laid their lives on the line to accomplish.

They fought for you and me.

They gave us the right.

It is yours.

Exercise it.

Here’s a helpful video!

Once you vote and pat yourself on the back for taking part in the direction your own country takes, you will want to find out about the race and who is winning it. Who is doing well in your riding? Did your candidate win? Is your chosen party getting new seats in Ottawa? It’s all so exciting! You just want to know!

How will you know?

There are so many ways!

You will absolutely be hearing election coverage on radio and television both locally and Nationally. It will pretty much be unavoidable! Yay!

Here is another helpful tool from Elections Canada!

Since I am an avid Twitter user, I will definitely be following along on Twitter. You can follow Elections Canada here.

Essentially, the only way to not hear about the election on Monday October 19, 2015 would be to bury your head in the sand. And you don’t want to do that, now, do you? I mean, you’ll be in the dark and you will have sand in your ears. And that just sounds awful! * shudders *

Since we are all on Social Media why not go ahead and pledge to vote and show it? You can change your profile pictures! Check this out! Fun!

Okay! So we are ALL voting right?

Cool!

I knew I liked you guys!

Let’s do this!

So tell me, did you already vote? Will you vote tomorrow? Are you as excited as I am? Are you taking your kids with you? Will you be following along on social media and waiting to hear the exciting news at the end of the night?

I know I won’t be alone.

Twitter will be all, well – a twitter – with politics.

I hope to tweet you there!

AFTER you vote!

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