friday favourites

I’m off today! It’s becoming a bit of a trend, but I’m off again this Friday because it’s primary orientation day! Yippeee! I’m so excited for the wee one. He’s pumped to start big-kid school. Also, I could really get used to three-day work weeks.

This: Which is particularly accurate for me since Jacob (my oldest) was born in 2010.

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All the feels: I dare you to watch this and not cry, or get tears in your eyes at least.

The best step day of my FitBit life:

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Happy weekend!

tried and succeeded

Share a new recipe you would like to try.

Over the long weekend, we hosted my mum (Hanny), stepdad (Papa), grandmother (GG) and her partner (Lyle) at our home while we built a new deck (more on that tomorrow). It was great having them for a few days — it was a great chance to visit and catch up, eat tons and watch a lot of Jeopardy.

Since I had Chef Lyle in my kitchen (he’s quite a cook, which is saying something when in the presence of Hanny and GG), I decided I needed him to walk me through his famous from-scratch pie crust. I’d heard that one of his best fillings is chocolate, so no better place to start than there.

I can’t give away all of his tips and tricks, but I will tell you that the secret ingredient in the crust is vodka. Surprising, I know! You can’t taste it in the crust, of course, but it has magical scientific properties that allow the crust to turn out perfectly every time — trust me, I did it myself so clearly, it’s foolproof!

I had hoped to take more photos along the way, but I was trying my hardest to do it all as directed. And we were so excited to dig in that I didn’t even grab a photo before it was mostly eaten! I think that’s a pretty good indication that this recipe was a win.

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer’s prompt. 

primary prep

Our youngest starts school in the fall (he’s ready; I am not) and as we head to orientation this Friday, I honestly couldn’t be more excited for him. He’s wanted to join his brother at school for what feels like forever now and I’m anticipating the new routine it will create for our family (A commute that doesn’t include daycare dropoff and pickup?! Whaaa?!).

Here are some things we’re doing to get ready for Primary:

  1. The basics. Let’s be real – that’s what Primary is. The basics. They’ll spend all year learning how to print letters and numbers and read basic words, so they don’t need to be experts on Day 1. The way they frame it at the parent’s meeting has a slight air of “They should be practicing already! OMG they’re already behind!” But I honestly think that’s just a clever scare tactic to make sure that any of the kids who are actually behind the eight ball have some kind of headstart before the first day of school. And by the same token, you probably shouldn’t search kindergarten preparedness on Pinterest because that will just make you think your kid is going to flunk out on the first day.
    For the wee one, we’ve focused a lot on colours (he’s colour blind) and scissor work (he’s left handed). He can write his own name neatly (in all caps) and can easily identify all numbers and most letters with little effort. I know he’ll know even more in four months time, too, so I’m not worried.
    Jacob went to school with a very solid academic foundation (more so than Isaac), which in my mind had both pros and cons. Pro: For Jacob, it really helped take away some of the transition anxiety. Riding the bus, meeting new kids and grasping the new routine was enough to make his poor little head spin so I think the fact that he was comfortable with the school work from Day 1 helped a lot. Isaac is more free-spirited than his older brother so I am anticipating an easier time with the adaptation aspects. Con: It was, and still is, that Jacob finds school pretty “easy.” Don’t get me wrong — I’d much rather him be ahead of the curve than behind, but I think he’s been a little prone to busy and chatty behaviour in class because he finishes his work quickly and then gets distracted. As with many aspects of parenting, it’s a double-edged sword for sure and a nearly impossible balance to strike.
    Long story short, in our experience, prepping them with Primary skills is a careful balance between making sure they’re ready and going overboard with the summer vacation schoolwork. If they are independent, are read to on a regular basis and have been practicing the fundamentals, they’ll be fine.
  2. Practicing patience. “Mummm! Mum! Mama! Maaaaaaa!” Right? Exactly. Primary teachers should be nominated for sainthood.
  3. Learning our public washroom skills. We learned this one the hard way with Jacob. While we practiced using stalls and worked on our hygiene habits, we failed to consider modesty as part of our lessons. During the first week of school, he tearfully reported that older boys were laughing at him because they saw his bare bum at the urinal. It never occurred to us to make sure he knew to just pull his pants down in the front and not to drop them to his knees as he’d been in the routine of doing at home in the privacy of his own bathroom. The poor little dude. We convinced him that the other kids weren’t laughing at him, but rather just laughing because bare bums are funny (at which time his dad mooned him and he dissolved in a fit of laughter so the lesson was well received). The good news is, we won’t let that happen to Isaac.
  4. Instilling the importance of proper hand washing. I ask Jacob if he always washes his hands with soap after the aforementioned public washroom use, and he swears he does, but I’m highly skeptical. I’m not a germaphobe, but if there’s anything we can do to keep school-borne illnesses at bay, it’s hand washing.
  5. Picking up after one’s self. Jacob’s first report card was filled with all WDs (well developed, which is an “A” in our school’s marking scheme) except one. He got D (developing) under the “Taking care of your belongings” category. Our sensitive star student was mega bummed by this, but when he came home shortly thereafter with an armful of hoodies that had been stuffed in his desk, he started to understand why. His little brother will be 10x the hoarder, I expect. And those pricey Contigo cups, even with their personalized Mabels Labels (we put those babies on everything!) are guaranteed to be left behind. Luckily I have two kids with the same last name attending the same school so hopefully one of the two will snag anything that’s ours (wishful thinking, no doubt).

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*Mental note: Get a photo of Isaac in the same pose on the first day of school!

friday favourites

I’m OFF TODAY! I could end it right there, but I won’t. I have other things to tell ya.

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theSkimm: It’s basically a daily sum-up of top headlines rewritten for a millennial audience, delivered to your email each workday morning. Helps you know what’s up in the world, which is a great cheat for me since I work, you know, at a newspaper. It specifically helps me translate Trump’s nonsense, which I appreciate. What’s new is they’ve also added a book recommendation feature that is targetted perfectly to the audience, which will be awesome for me when I can find the time to read more than just the book club book every six weeks. Sign up for theSkimm here.

Work road trips: I loaded up my six-seater with my peeps so we could honour our NL contingent with Newfie poutine, which is the special of the month at Cheesecurds. It was a lunch of epic proportions and it may very well be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

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Because grandmothers are more fun than mothers: My mum arrived today and brought the kids fidget spinners and I’m thrilled because now I don’t have to hear about how badlyyy they want fidget spinners anymore.

Happy long weekend!

the current

listening to This Old Marketing podcast

eating a banana

drinking coffee

wearing no socks

feeling productive

weather will be better in a day or two

wanting an hour or two to nap and read a good book

needing to meal plan and prep

thinking about my to-do list

enjoying my new Birks

creating blog posts

pondering giving up gluten

loving the kids’ current stages (knock wood)

anticipating the long weekend

farmer isaac

Jacob is almost getting to the age (6 1/2) at which he’s not so interested in doing everything his mother suggests. Actually, that makes me feel like I need to figure out some different activities to help engage him in things he’s interested in, but that’s a project for another day.

This story is about Isaac. At 4 1/2, he is still very eager to be my tag along for most anything, like baking cookies, doing chores (he’s terrific with a Lysol wipe) and, in the case of last weekend, starting our veggie garden.

This year, rather than planting seeds outside and hoping for the best or buying pre-grown plants, we decided to start things inside ourselves. We got this handy little tray and selected our crops: green beans, yellow beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage, zucchini and cucumbers.

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Isaac went row by row, sowing his seeds carefully. It was fun to watch. I love seeing how his fine motor skills are developing and, if I’m honest, it makes me more confident about him starting Primary as a small-for-his-age four-year-old in the fall.

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He watched his tray all week. He was sure to open the curtains each morning so his plants would get lots of sun. He showed such amazing independence — getting a water cup from the kitchen, taking it to the bathroom to fill it up at the sink he could reach with the help of a stool and carefully watering his seedlings.

We couldn’t have been more shocked to see the results only one week later:

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His plants have grown so much that the top popped off! Next steps include giving them some measured outdoor time to let them acclimatize and as soon as we’re confident that they won’t get frostbite, they’ll be planted in our vegetable garden. Isaac couldn’t be more pleased and what’s better is that he can’t wait to eat all of his crops! If I knew getting him to eat his veggies was this easy, I would’ve started indoor planting years ago.

5 things i love about mother’s day

  1. The pretend sleep-in. Kids aren’t quiet, particularly on special occasions. It’s basically a physical impossibility. I’m bound to hear them clanging around the kitchen working on my breakfast. And let’s be real, the sound of someone else cooking a meal is pure music to my ears.
  2. My husband. Being married to me is hard (don’t tell him I said that). He helps the kids to make it an extra special day for me and I don’t have to lift a finger, which is always nice.
  3. Ask dad. No one asks me for favours — they let me shower with the door closed, I get to read in peace, dad referees all of the squabbles. It’s glorious.
  4. Homemade presents. It’s not even so much about the gifts themselves, it’s actually about the beaming pride on their squishy little faces when they present what they’ve created.
  5. Feeling grateful: Taking the opportunity to think about how lucky we are to have each other.