are they really what they eat?

If so, my kids may be breakfast sandwiches.

Man, are we ever in a food rut lately. There’s always one point in each season when I hit a food wall. Like in September when I. just. can’t. eat another burger. Or like right now when we have had all of the turkey dinners that our comfort-food-loving selves can handle.

It’s still a little chilly for barbecuing (Is it really though? The calendar says February, but it was somewhere in the neighbourhood of +15C out there the other day! To hell with cooking, let’s hit a patio!). But if we dig into grill fare too early, what’ll we do in June? Ya know? Oh the dilemma of it all.

I know what you’re thinking. Lindsey, there are many other things in this world to eat besides burgers and turkey! I knowww. I am just feeling uninspired.

So, my new goal-to-self for the month of March is to try out one new recipe a week. I’d like to try to accomplish a few things with this endeavor:

1) make meal time more exciting, 2) use real food to create fresh, healthy options for the whole family, 3) expand the kids’ taste palates one meal at a time so they will be open to new ideas and enjoy more foods, 4) ensure that I’m getting the balanced nutrition I need as a vegetarian, and 5) find more dishes that everyone enjoys equally in an attempt to avoid meal-time customization that no one has time or patience for, especially during the busy workweek.

I’ll post my new recipes here weekly and please helppp meee hop over to the Facebook page and share your fave go-to, family-friendly dishes!

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friday favourites: office edition

Did you hear that? It was A Soft Murmur. Have you ever been to this site? If you’re like me and sometimes need to zone out or tune in or a combination of the two, a little white noise in the earbuds can mean all of the difference in productivity.

I didn’t hear that, actually … Because I was wearing my ear-covering Skull Candy headphones. Which allow me to block out other people distractions as required. I swear I don’t mean to seen anti-social, but sometimes I just need to zone out or tune in (see above).

Design for the design un-inclined: When I need to create something that will look more professional than something done in Microsoft Paint, I turn to Canva. It has so many templates options for Facebook image, infographics and everything in between — it completely rids me of the guesswork.

Pretty books and preferred pens: It’s weird, but I feel so much more satisfied at work if I can enjoy my supplies, so I bring my own. I love colourful Uni-Ball pens and notebooks with coils for ease of use on the left-hand page.

An unrelated-to-work fave: I’m back in the saddle. I’ve finally applied myself to drafting lots o’ blog posts and I promise to post more regularly. Happy Friday!

 

call me crazy …

… but doesn’t it seem a bit unreasonable that a person can’t buy snow pants. In Canada. In January?

You’ve seen it, too. Piles of snowsuits for sale at Costco in August. We all roll our eyes, but what many of us (is it just me?) forget is that if we don’t get every single thing we need for winter at least six months in advance, we may be SOL.

I was screwed over challenged by this phenomenon last year when J needed new boots in the dead of winter, but the only option available for purchase were flip flops and Crocs. Fool me once …

I promised myself that I wouldn’t be in the same pickle this year so I reviewed all of our outerwear in detail in the fall and felt confident that we were good to go. But. I failed to consider the fact that my five- and seven-year-old sons are extremely hard on equipment. So when the big one presented me with his snow pants this weekend, my best question was, “Have you been doing the splits?” Crotchless. Ripped wide open. I’m very much in favour of hand sewing rips, and there are many, but this one was epic. “Let’s just get a new pair when we go to Walmart,” said my sweet, naive husband. I mean, why wouldn’t he assume that one could by snow pants. In Canada. In January.

We tried several stores, including second-hand options. I messaged sellers on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, too. I know that I can technically get snow gear at big-box sports stores, but I’m not prepared to spend $85 per season on one item.

Yep, that’s brown thread on black pants.

With lack of a better option, I dug out the sewing kit last night and, using the smallest, tightest stitches possible, I repaired his pants. When I presented them to J this morning, he looked at me wide-eyed. I assumed he was horrified, but instead he said, “Wow, you did that mom? That’s impressive!”

There you have it folks, a classic mom overthink and stress out for the record books.

But seriously. If you see a pair of size 7 snow pants for sale, buy them for me, OK, and I’ll pay you back.

playing power outage

On Christmas Day, we had a wind storm that felt a little reminiscent of Hurricane Juan. The whole house shook. When the power went out around suppertime, I was relieved that we’d had our turkey dinner on Christmas eve. We gathered up pillows, blankets, snacks and games to camp out in front of the wood stove in the basement rec room. Add an alternative heat source to the list of reasons I was relieved.

We let the kids stay up late and played games by lantern light in our jammies. We avoided our phones to preserve battery power. Which might have been the best part. We were unplugged and, as a result, extra tuned in to the kids.

Thanks to our hardworking linesmen, our power was back on in three hours. A few days later, we had a similar storm and the kids were thrilled to “play power outage,” so we gathered up our roughing-it supplies and headed back downstairs. We didn’t lose power that day, but we turned the dimmer down low and played Monopoly anyway.

Amazing how a lack of electricity can spur a light-bulb moment.

friday favourites

The Bay Road is open! The Bay Road is open! Which means diddly squat to anyone who does live or work in close proximity to the Armdale Roundabout, but HOLY. The construction started in July and was supposed to wrap up at Thanksgiving (Canadian, not American). Waiting an extra six weeks makes this day feel extra exciting. Hooray for fewer traffic headaches (in theory)!

Report cards: I know this makes me an uber-nerd, but I am so excited when report cards come out! I love that extra insight into how the kids are doing when I’m no with them. We were very pleased with the feedback we received — lots of things they’re both excelling at (Jacob got an A in math, which he completely gets from Dad, and the wee one is a super duper routine and rule follower — who knew?!) and things to work on, too (Jacob says it’s especially hard to raise his hand on Mondays during sharing time because he always has so much to say about his weekend, which he completely gets from Mama).

You’ve already heard it all but: Yay, royal wedding! I was at home with my mudder when Prince William married Princess Kate. We also watched Princess Diana’s funeral together. Looks like I may need to make a special trip in N.B. in spring 2018. Bring on the fascinators!

It’s December 1 … and I don’t do Elf on the Shelf. And if you do, that’s totally cool. I however, feel relieved that I do not have to remember that daily. I would surely have a nervous breakdown.

222688_A_STYLSmells of the season: Have I ever told you how much I love my Saje diffuser? I got a small one as an entry-level investment, but I’m definitely going to invest in a bigger one eventually because love it so much. After the Rain is my favourite scent so far, but I just picked up a seasonal pack of oils with pine, peppermint and cinnamon that I can’t wait to fire up this weekend now that it’s officially December.

Happy Friday! xo

a picture’s worth a thousand words ..

… but I’m sorry, it’s not worth a thousand boxes in my basement.

A while back, I shared our DIY hallway art gallery project, which prompted a message from a friend (Hi, Pari!) who wanted to know how we then archive all of that artwork. If you asked the kids, they’d want a shrine built for every single piece. I get it. They’ve put their little hearts into each creative piece and they’d never want to see it hit the blue bag.

Here are three cardinal rules: 

  1. Don’t discard any artwork during daytime hours. You will get caught.
  2. Don’t put it in the recycling bag. When you’re taking out the recycling, you will get caught.
  3. When you get caught, lie. Practice your genuine “Oh my goodness, how did that get in there?!” face. You will need it.

And I don’t mean to sound heartless. I truly love their creations. But my kids are hard-core artists. In an hour of crafting on my dining room table, I can be gifted with six or eight original works. That’s not even counting all that comes home from school.

Here five curated conditions for what stays and what goes:

  1. Have they ever made something else just like this? Is it a coloured picture ripped out of colouring book that looks more or less the same as the last 391 pictures coloured ripped from a colouring book? Buh-bye. By the same token, if it’s super cool or unique, keep it (like Sidney Crosby’s dented dryer).
  2. Does this reflect their best work? For example, did they start to do something quite creative, but quit half-way through and move onto another project? Anything unfinished gets pitched.
  3. Did your child actually create this or was it gifted to them at their after-school program and brought home in his backpack? This is important as no one has room to store other kids’ stuff.
  4. Is it 3D? Is it going to be smushed to oblivion and therefore unrecognizable the next time you look at it? I’m not saying you can’t keep anything that isn’t flat (like my epic paper-mache plant cell from Grade 9, on which I was the only one to earn 100%, but both of my parents had to help me finish it the night before, and, let’s be real, the teacher probably STILL has it in his classroom 18 years later because it was awesome), but consider the storing logistics. If there’s macaroni glued to it, that macaroni is going to fall off, guaranteed.
  5. Does it give you the feels? If your kid presents you with something that doesn’t seem so awesome, but says something that makes you want to cry when he hands it to you. Keep that.

Which leads me to a little piece of advice: date everything. Include the kids’ ages too because you may not want to do the mental math in 25 years’ time to figure out how old they were when they created such a masterpiece. And if something super sweet happened when it was created or given, take a minute to write a note on the back to remind yourself later. When we were new parents, we thought we’d remember all of those moments forever, but we’re tired and absent minded and our perfect children do 8,000 amazing things a day and then cover over half of those memories by doing 4,000 infuriating things a day. You won’t remember, so write it down.

How we store it

We have four matching totes in our basement storage room. These totes are clear on the bottom so we can easily see what’s inside and each is labeled with one of our names. These are our memory boxes. M and I don’t tend to make additions to ours, but they are basically full anyway with yearbooks, diplomas and other mementos from our academic years, cards and romantic tokens from the early stages of our relationship (did I mention we haven’t added much in recent years? ha!), photos and the odd cassette tape. That sort of thing.

The kids’ boxes are lined with their baby items — the outfit they wore on their way home from the hospital, their first favourite story books, their birth announcements and some of their earliest photos. From there, we start the pile of artwork. This is also intermingled with certificates (Congratulations on successful completion of the school bus safety course!) and some sports participation medals.

When I sort through the artwork that is hung in the hallway, the pile first goes to a purgatory-style place I like to call “the junk drawer.” It goes here because I am often too lazy to go down to the basement and open the bin and deposit said pile. When the drawer starts to jam, I’m forced to go get the bin. Another tip: bring the bin to a comfy spot like the couch because you’ll never just dump and run — you’ll open it and remember all of the goodness of the baby days and dig through that whole tub of nostalgia. Plan at least 30 minutes. Oh, and one more tip: while you’re there, if you discover anything that makes you think, “Why did I keep this?” chuck it. If you don’t know why it’s there now, you’ll never know in 25 years.

I hope this is helpful — thanks for asking, Pari! If you need me, I’ll be sniffing a onesie and reading Kisses Kisses Baby O by heart.

the wee one turned five

It came as no surprise when Isaac asked for a rock themed birthday party. The kid is a life-long collector. There are piles and pockets of rocks (and gems and shells and other various treasures) throughout our house. He used to bring so many rocks home from daycare that I used to joke that he was going to disturb the equilibrium of the earth if he transferred any more weight from Halifax to Beaver Bank.

While it may have been a bigger deal to me than to him, this was his first real birthday party and I felt that it needed to be perfect. In past years, we’ve taken him out with one friend for a day of fun or we’ve hosted family-friend-centric gatherings, but he’s never had a big group of friends to invite. Now that he’s in primary, we got to invite – and meet – several of his new classmates. Which, again, was probably more of a novelty for his mother than for him. Regardless, I was elated. His only request? A volcano cake. Boy, does this kid know his audience. Challenge accepted.

We started the day with a Smithsonian rock and gem/dinosaur dig kit. He all but refused breakfast in favour of the tap tap tap of his new dowel and mallet.

We decorated, cleaned, frosted, planned and chopped all morning for the big event.

It was a mid-afternoon party so we didn’t require lunch, but we still put out a spread of some of Isaac’s favourite snack plate supplies, as requested.

And what would a rock party be without DIY pet rocks? Should I choose to have kids paint in my house again, I’ll line everything with garbage bags, including the children. Their finished products were pretty cool and, admittedly, worth the mess.

Dad broke out his best science-teacher self and wowed the kids with some lava-shooting volcano demonstrations.

And then, of course, the cake.

And as if the day couldn’t be any better, and because Isaac and I have a strict no-Christmas-before-our-birthdays rule, and technically his birthday was pretty much over, we piled in the Mazda two of the kids’ buddies and hit The Chronicle Herald Holiday Parade of Lights.

The only question that remains is, what will we do when he turns six?