Summer Snack: KISS Edition

white chocolate chocolate dipped strawberries sweet

We just had an awesome and delicious snack and I am not exaggerating one bit when I tell you the kids can make it themselves. I whipped it up this time, but next time they’re on their own. Frankly, it’s just as well. I don’t think I can be trusted all alone with its deliciousness.

Have I piqued your interest? Are you curious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat?

Well, okay then. I’ll tell you what our scrumptious afternoon snack was today. It was so simple you might just think I am silly for blogging about it. Then again you didn’t think to have this today, did you? Oh ho ho! I’ve got you there, haven’t I?

Okay, okay. Enough with the suspense already!

We had juicy, fresh, local strawberries dipped in white chocolate. Ta daa!

So easy! Right?

Here’s what I did.

Pick or buy fresh local strawberries. Ours were bought, but most definitely local and oh so fresh.

Clean them and remove any that might be iffy or mushy or underripe. Taste test 17 just to be sure.

Get some good quality, white chocolate. Today we used Baker’s, but white chocolate chips, white chocolate melting wafers, white chocolate chunks from your bulk food store, etc., would all work fine.

Break the chocolate into individual squares. Or if using larger blocks chop it up using a serrated edge knife. This will help it melt faster and also will give you a chance to taste test the chocolate to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. It hasn’t. Taste it anyway. You know, just in case.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. I used one of my trusty little square dip bowls from President’s Choice. (More on those later. It’s a very short love story.)

Pop the chocolate into the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir gently. You are not trying to whip it up, really, you want smooth, bubble-free, shiny chocolate. Place back in microwave for 10 seconds. Stir. This may be enough time, but if you need more melting time, be sure to use only 10 second intervals because you don’t want the chocolate to seize or burn. That’d be a shame.

Give the chocolate one final gentle stir and place in the centre of a platter.

Fill the platter with your beautiful, clean, fresh, local strawberries and stand back while the wolverines – umm – I mean children dig in!

See?

I bet you’re glad I suggested all that taste testing when you first started this little snack journey, now, aren’t you?

You’re welcome.

Five Worthy Causes For Your Kind Consideration On Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

Well think of it as the Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) of charity.

Giving Tuesday is like “opening day of the giving season.”

It is a day to think about others and to take advantage of a doubling of your dollars because many charitable organizations have a “matching” sponsor. This means that you literally double your donation in some cases.

Give $20 and your organization receives $40.

Donate $50 and voila $100 goes to your favourite fund.

How cool is that?

You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here (please do!) but I want to quickly share with you a handful of my favourite organizations, in case you want to make a donation before midnight!

Free The Children Free The Children is the brainchild of Craig and Marc Keilburger and you can read all about how they founded this amazing organization and the subsequent We, Me To We, and We Day awesomeness here.

David Suzuki Foundation – I have been a fan of David Suzuki for as long as I can remember. A few years back, he actually stepped down as the head of his own foundation to take attention away from his own struggles with a government that seemed determined to paint him as a radical. Oh! He’s radical alright! Radically awesome!

World Wildlife Foundation (Canada) – I hope you know about WWF Canada, for the love of our planet. This organization is famous for its symbolic wildlife adoptions (which make fabulous gifts for Things of all ages), Earth Hour, and many other initiatives. I wear my feelings for WWF Canada on my sleeve and I make no apologies for it. I wrote a guest blog way back when. I have written about it here on my blog and also here. We have one home. It’s the planet we live on. It’s time to show it the respect it deserves, isn’t it?

Because I Am A Girl – I am! You might be. Thing 2 is. My sister is. My mother, too. You either are one, have one or were made by one. Girls matter! Educating girls improves the lives of everyone. BIAAG Canada is taking this knowledge and sharing it around the world. You may have heard about their Pink Lemonade Stands and their using small actions to drive big change initiatives. How wonderful! We are big fans and my face goes all gigantic grin every time Thing 2 emerges from her room in the morning sporting her pink BIAAG T-shirt. “Girls’ rights are human rights.” Your darn right they are!

BIAAG, Thing 2,

Malala Fund – Oh Malala! What a wonderful human being! If ever there was a person with a higher purpose than she ever could have known, it is Malala Yousafzai. Malala is an education activist and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. She was in school when the call came that she had won. She told her teacher she would finish her studies for the day. Malala is walking the talk. I am a fan. Her book is beautiful, the children’s adaptation is great, and now there is even a movie!

So, whether you donate, share, learn or do some small act of kindness today you have taken part in Giving Tuesday and you have made a difference.

What you do matters.

I, for one, appreciate it.

Thank you!

BB In The Bucket

BB in the Bucket, Advent fun, play

Sometimes I just do stuff, you guys.

True story.

It happens.

I don’t always share the stuff I do.

My kids get most of me, you know?

Oh sure! I share a lot of stuff online – here, there, and everywhere – but I don’t share everything.

I think this is worth sharing for two reasons.

1) It’s easily adaptable and anyone can do it.

2) It’s my way of celebrating what I love, without dissing something I dislike.

Ready?

Okay!

Ta daa!

BB scroll, BB in the Bucket scroll,

BB in the Bucket, day 1, hiding in plain sight, scroll

BB-in-the-Bucket

Thing 2 finding BB, BB in the Bucket, Advent, Christmas Countdown

BB explains it well, Thing 2, reading, BB in the Bucket

BB in the Bucket

It’s December 4th and look who is here!

It’s BB! But wait. What’s this I hear?

She’s wearing a hat with a sparkly ball

There’s a sparkly scarf too, but that is not all!

BB’s so festive, she’s ready to play

So you’ll have to find her everyday.

There’s only one rule, you must not forget it

Don’t skip it or shun it or you might regret it!

When you spot BB you give her a HUG

You squeeze her and keep her as snug as a bug in a rug.

Yes, Christmastime is the Season of Hope

It’s certainly no time to pout and to mope.

Imagine, you finding such a cute thing

and having to wait and just look at the bling.

Yeesh! That would be awful and terribly bad.

I just can’t believe in something so sad.

So people can keep their elf on the shelf

I’d rather have BB, her wonderful self.

Wouldn't you?, BB, BB in the Bucket, Advent,

Wouldn’t you?

So, there you have it!

Rumour has it that BB will have a sparkly red hat with a white glittery pompom this year.

No one knows for sure though.

We’ll just have to wait and see because as I said these things just happen.

How do you celebrate Advent?

Do you have a special ritual?

Do your kids enjoy the countdown to Christmas?

How do you spend the days leading up to the Holidays?

*I cleared this with the Things before posting it here. It’s late in the game, now, but this is something you could do at any time of year just for fun. Make stuff up, guys! It’s rad!

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: American Thanksgiving Edition

coffee cup thankful Thanksgiving Fall decor

Happy American Thanksgiving Day!

I know it’s late, but I have been busy celebrating.

If you want to know how we spent the day I think the quickest way for me to show you is by directing you to this post, “How To Celebrate American Thanksgiving In Canada”, I wrote for Life In Pleasantville. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Tom Turkey

It went pretty much according to plan, except we didn’t eat any pie! That is a travesty!

I have a friend in Texas who hosted a 100% pie Thanksgiving today. How amazing is that?!?

And here we are stuffed like the turkey with no room for pie. Oh! The shame!

We’ll have to train harder for next year.

In the meantime, my unending quest for awesome American side dishes (You know they are amazing, right? Oh, you really must go read my post!) I asked my very best imaginary friend, Sheila (Hey Sheila!) for a recipe to share with you and being the awesome friend that she is she came up with this gem!

Sheila’s Corn Casserole
Shoepeg corn, 2 cans, drained
French cut green beans, 1 can, drained
Sour cream, 8 oz.
Slivered almonds, small pkg.
Chopped onion, half – whole (depending on your tastes)
Ground pepper, to taste
Grated cheddar cheese, sharp or mild,
1-2 cup Cream of something** soup (celery, mushroom or chicken.)
Mix it all up in a casserole dish sprayed with Pam
Topping
Tube of Ritz crackers, crushed.
Stick of butter, melted.
Blend crackers and melted butter and spread mixture on top of casserole.
Cook 350 for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbly and top is browning.
(Brown to your liking.)

Ta daa!
I am definitely making this side dish next year.

Pumpkin Patch turkey thanksgiving wreath

It’s late and I must sleep because Friday will be a very busy day.

I want to tell you a bit more about our Thanksgiving dinner conversation with Thing 1 and Thing 2, but it will have to wait until I have a bit more time. I wish I could tell you right now! I assure you I will share as soon as I can.

Thanksgiving dinner turkey stuffing dressing mashed potatoes carrots turnip rutabaga gravy peaches and cream corn

I will tell you all about Friday’s busy-ness tomorrow night. Promise!

Meanwhile, pie for breakfast!
I kid. I kid.****

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?
Did you double up on this holiday of gratitude?

What are you thankful for today?

**Can you see now why I love Sheila?
***They all work. Celery is what original recipe called for.
****Kinda sorta.

15 Things In 15 Minutes (and not a minute more)

15 in 15 fifteen minutes

It’s 11: 44 and I have to hit publish by 11:59.

Here goes!

I am exhausted.

We were away for the weekend and with the exception of one thing I simply couldn’t get done most of the things that needed doing were completed.

We didn’t turn the radio on for the entire drive to New Brunswick.

We arrived in the dark on Friday.

We managed to take advantage of not one, but two BOGO Starbucks Holiday beverages. Oh yes! Today there was a Peppermint Mocha and there may or may not have been a Cranberry Bliss Bar. Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really.

The Things were thrilled to spend some time with their cousins this afternoon.

We celebrated a special Birthday today!

We were extremely entertained by our nephew and his mad candle lighting skills, but we especially appreciated his Dad stepping in to really get the show started. (Have you ever seen a musical candle that blossoms with fire and sparklers? We have!)

I think our gift was a hit (though who can ever be sure, really?).

We were treated to an amazing feast of Persian food and I really would like to learn to cook all the Persian things right now.

We left for home in the dark tonight.

It was completely and utterly pitch black out. No stars to be seen, yet the cold night air was crisp and seemed to make the visibility better than usual. There was no haze or fog at all. Unheard of!

We made it home in record time because all the traffic seemed to be going with the flow in the same direction as us and there was nary a dingbat on the highway the whole way home.

Thing 1 managed to study for a science test and upload a video to YouTube after we arrived home. (Motivation is a wonderful thing.)

Thing 2 didn’t get to share her violin playing with her Nanny, even though she made a point of bringing both her violin and her music with her all the way to Moncton. (She will just have to book some time in December. Maybe by then she will have a Christmas carol in her repertoire.)

C’est tout!

Goodnight!

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?

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

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!

Source

We Will Be Invincible

a_stone-1

I choose to focus on the future and the potential of a world filled with people who are problem solvers.

In our family it is important for us to teach our children not to live in what we call the “Problem Domain”.

Yes. Life can be difficult.

Yes. The news of the world can bring you to your knees.

Yes. Sometimes you will feel scared.

Yes. Sometimes you will feel lonely.

Yes. Sometimes you will not know what you are supposed to do.

It is at precisely these times that you must dig deep, listen to your little voice, and figure out what you should do.

Know that you do have what it takes to get out of your particular situation.

Know that you are loved.

Know that you are trusted.

Know that you have people pulling for you.

Know that whatever the absolute worst thing in the world is (to you) right now, that it will not be forever.

When you bring a problem to someone, believe there is a solution.

Maybe have a few in mind, if and when you feel that is appropriate.

Move beyond that problem domain and realize that the more you begin to move your mind outside of the problem, the more you will actually begin to feel like maybe it isn’t so insurmountable, after all.

You are smart.

You are curious.

You are loved.

You are caring.

You are kind.

Whether or not you happen know it right now.

You are invincible.

Source.