Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where have all the Blogposts gone?

They're there in my head.

The blogposts, I mean.

We've been doing so many good things, and yet the end of the day comes, and the computer gets neglected, and all the wonderful, thankful thoughts and reflections just sit there, simmering on the backburner.

Here are some of my great reasons for blog procrastination:

The Queen of the DIY
It probably has a lot to do with the fact that once fall is upon us my indoor project genes  kick into full gear and no corner is safe.  Once I get going, it's hard to stop.
 These nasty beasts were transformed over a weekend...or two, I can't quite remember, sewing makes me very forgetful.  What I do remember is how faded and gross the chairs were, how much I wanted to change the covers, but also how much I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars buying something new.

I decided it was worth dragging out my sewing machine for my bi-annual sewing spree. The indoor-outdoor fabric just happened to be on sale at Fabricland.  I thought about ordering fabric online - but as per usual, I woke up with the idea of recovering chairs and wanted, no, NEEDED to start it that day.  I have to grab inspiration when it hits, waiting does me no favours.

I ripped apart one of the chairs to make a pattern.  Transferred the chair pieces onto butcher paper, then I started cutting, and started sewing, and three days, two more trips to the fabric store to get more material, and one fit of "what in the world have I gotten myself into" later - it was done.  And I am so glad.

The double bonus is that now I have a pattern, and I know how to do it, so who knows what I might come up with next!

Birthday Bash
The Project Queen was reigning supreme when it came time to plan a get together for a bunch of my favourite ladies for my birthday at the end of October.  My mom took some great pictures of the girls night of fun, but I have yet to get them from her. Henceforth... no pics.  Ergo...there is no blog post about it.

Henceforth and Ergo are underused words, don't you think?

I'm sure it will happen eventually, and if people can scrapbook a Christmas page in June, why can't I do a birthday blogpost 6 weeks after the fact. Justification for procrastination.  It has a beautiful ring when I say it like that.

Painter Man, Painter Man...Sing with me!
I wanna be a painter man, or at least a painter woman.

Actually I don't.

I have a love-hate relationship with painting, but I'm very pleased with how it looks now that it's done!  I painted a couple of the upstairs bedrooms - it was time to change the kids rooms from fingerprint beige  - that's the colour contractors choose when they build a house, right? It's also high time we quit playing musical bedrooms, switching the combos of kids and rooms upstairs and down.  Painting them seems to give them a bit more permanence and personality.

I can't wait for the decorating etc. to be completed, they already look so much better! However, most of the decor is being given as Christmas gifts, so it won't be done till after Christmas.

We made a Fall List, much like the summer list, except, um, Fall-ish.  I really love these mini dreaming and goal setting sessions - although it appears they may kill me.

One of the items on the wishlist for the fall was to go bowling.  Sounds innocent enough, right?  Well if I haven't mentioned it before, let me say it loud and clear right now.  I am more than athletically disinclined. I wish it weren't so, but after bowling less than a full game with the whole fam-, almost a month ago I have just about become completely incapacitated due to a severe case of golfers elbow and some schwazzed tendons in my middle finger. (left handed/four fingered typing is a tad slower) So now my middle finger is in a splint, (of course it's my middle finger!) my arm is in a brace and a sling, and I have to manage to not use my right hand for a few problem. It's so ridiculous, it's comical!

With form like this, it's hard to believe my injuries weren't worse...stick to music, girlfriend
I'm sure it has nothing to do with recovering furniture, painting two bedrooms and crafting till i was blue in the face for a birthday bash.  That's, like, impossible.  But I'm not worried. It's not like Christmas is coming,

Well, that's just a little of what's been going on.  There are so many good things happening and so many good things coming.  Hopefully the medial epicondilitis clears up (fact: learning medical names for stupid injuries makes them sound more noble) and I can get back at it!

Until then - Happy Fall and Happy Advent...what are looking forward to this December?  That's a post in itself for me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Saturday Morning Fun

While my kids are sorting and classifying the leftover Hallowe'en candy, I thought I would share our new favourite way to do breakfast on Saturday morning.  It was something my kids did at Josh's parents place a few weeks ago, and Brennan loved it enough to get himself in the kitchen and teach us all how to make this fantastic breakfast treat!

Things I love about this recipe, in no particular order are:

  • Bacon.  Amen.
  • It's easy to customize - the kids label their own bags and do the whole thing by themselves - yay for independence and not having to remember who likes what, where!
  • No frying pan to clean up.  And again I say:  Amen.
  • Brennan doesn't usually gravitate towards cooking - but this will get him working in the kitchen every single time, and that makes this Momma smile!
  • It deserves to be said again:  Bacon.

This recipe has been lovingly dubbed "Egg in a Bag"  by our family - and probably by a lot of other people who have made the same thing.

But I doubt it has ever been shown in such an excellent series of  high quality and artistic photographs.

Begin series:


Get rid of all your frustrations through mashing

Frustrations gone, egg mixed


Don't forget to label the bags!


Toss 'em in!



Please can I kiss this cook?

Where we discovered the cheesy ones need extra cooking ! *Please note we did not feed our son under-cooked eggs!

Tada!  It just slips right out!
Prep Time : 5 min plus (depending on how much prep  your mix-ins require)
Omelette served in:  15 min
Yield:  one, two-egg omelette

2 large eggs
Mix-In Ideas:
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Grated Cheese
Splash of Milk or Cream (optional)
Crumbled Pre-cooked sausage or bacon
Medium Freezer Bags (Must be high quality, thick plastic bags- we used Ziploc brand)
Diced Ham

Chopped peppers or spinach
·         Fill a large pot with water and set to boil.
·         Crack two eggs into freezer bag –  I am told one doesn’t work  that well, so stick with two!
·         Add salt and pepper and splash of milk, if using
·         Seal bag well and smoosh it around until the egg is well blended
·         Open bag and add mix-ins – about a Tablespoon of each mix-in seemed to work well – we used bacon and shredded cheddar last time!
·         Seal bag and shake to mix
·         Double check the bag is sealed
·         Toss in boiling water
·         Cook for 5 – 7 (ish) minutes. 
·         One egg is not enough to work well – haven’t tried three, but it would probably work, though you might need to increase the cooking time.
·         We found that “egg in a bag” without cheese cooked in 5 minutes, but with took about 7 minutes.
·         Bacon is great, and should be added to as many meals as is humanely possible.  Just doing my part to support the pork industry.

I'm looking forward to Saturday already!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hallowe'en Poetry

To begin our Hallowe'en recap, I give you a haiku I composed when reflecting on the pumpkin carving experience.  I just can't keep talent like this to myself.

See the young ones scoop
Pumpkins full of stringy mess
Don’t barf! I’ll do it

Moving on.

On the Eve of Hallowe'en
Cleaning out pumpkins is apparently quite nauseating...and scary
The night before Hallowe'en we carved our pumpkins.  I always intend to do them a few days before,  but honestly - it always seems to be a last minute rush.  Josh starts preparing the kids for an inevitable let down:  maybe this year it will just be too busy to get them done. I usually agree with him - it always seems like it's going to be a insurmountable task to carve seven orange gourds into enchanting luminaries.  And yet, somehow we manage to get them hacked into something worth lighting and setting on the steps - enchanting...perhaps not, but at least it's done!

We could probably do better, but as long as we set the bar low enough, our kids will not know the difference, right?

The kids' pumpkins: as unique as the kids who think up their designs!

My pumpkin and Josh's - bonus marks if you have any idea what they represent. There's some serious artistic licence being taken there.

The kids got all costumed up - I planned for weeks days hours to get their costumes just right.

Thanks are in order:

First of all, thank-you London Drugs for being the first store in the area to have their costumes at 75% off on Hallowe'en Day.
"Capt'n, I need more Pow'rrrr"
Live long and prosper my sons, may the fortunes of pre-Hallowe'en sales always find you when your mother fails to plan good costumes in advance.

Sugar-rush anyone?

Secondly, thank you Sher for being a cheerleader in highschool and saving your uniform.  Even if I had been cool enough to be a cheerleader, I'm sure I would have gotten rid of it by now!

And thank you Keaton, for being perfectly happy to be a puppy, the same as every three year old brother before you was.

The Warming Station
Then we got ready for what is easily my favourite part of October 31st:  Our "Warming Station".

There was a moment while we were madly setting up, hoping to have everything ready before anyone started the neighborhood rounds, and Josh was running back into town to pick up styrofoam cups, because I have to - HAVE TO forget something important before each and every event I host, that I thought - this is a bad idea. We won't pull it off, I should blow out the lights, close the garage and just forget it.

But as always, I was wrong.

It was fantastic.  Even better than last year.

It was great to see many familiar faces come by with their kids to say hello and grab a hot chocolate or cider to keep them from freezing on their walk about.  Even better were the number of people who said they had been hoping we would do this again.  It hadn't occurred to me that we weren't the only ones who had enjoyed the warming station last year! Silly me.

I had printed off simple postcards inviting people to join a neighbourhood facebook page.  The response was really positive, and a few have already joined. Who knows what could happen here between this year and next?

When I wrote about our simple warming station idea for Family Matters last month, I was pleasantly surprised to hear how many readers were inspired to do, or were already doing something similar.  If you did take it up a notch connecting with your neighbours this Hallowe'en - leave a comment and let me know what you did! I'd love to hear about it!

And because I love to share my poetic genius with you.  I leave you with this:

Getting to know your neighbours is dandy
Especially on nights when they’re out getting candy
Give hot choc-lit to go
And you’ll soon get to know
All their names, which will come in quite handy!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Redeeming Hallowe'en - Family Matters Post

Hey y'all! That's right, I included the oft forgotten apostrophe in the word Hallowe'en.  I feel all Mean Ol' Schoolmarm when I do that, but I kind of like how it looks.

I've got a feeling...that today's gonna be a good day, today's gonna be a good, good day. (Everybody sing with me!)

It's my birthday, and this means the day is going to contain lots of food, friends and facinators, which I'm sure you know is the trifecta of birthday perfection. It's also a great example of alliteration and could almost be a three point sermon outline.

Birthdays might make me a bit hyper.  Sorry.

It's also a great day because another post I wrote for Family Matters is up for all to see.

Here's an excerpt for your enjoyment...

The best day of the year to build community is on Halloween.
People leave their fenced yards, their closed-in garages, and all the other necessary amenities of life that by their very nature detract from people getting to know one another, and walk about the neighbourhood.
This is why, if you can somehow make it work for your family, I suggest getting out there and celebrating with everyone on your street...
Enjoy today friends!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday

There were lots of summer moments that were blog worthy, but were alas, not blogged about.  I whined about it a few weeks back, then I thought of this excellent post name:  Flashback Friday - made for the procrastinator in all of us.

Try not to be astounded by my brilliance.

I promise not to act shocked if 37 other bloggers have already thought of this fantastic idea.

I don't know how often I will do Flashback Fridays, but today seems like a good enough day to start!

Rain, Rain Go Away.

The beginning of the summer was less than stellar, weather-wise.  The backyard was still soaked from months upon months of fall-winter-spring rain, and it was cold and miserable. it was a necessary exercise to embrace the rain, and make the best of inside days.

Rainy home days often start the same: with a cry of "No one wants to play with me" (translation: someone older than me doesn't want to play with me).  Because I am no fun, I often give them the option of doing a chore, or playing with someone younger than them.  I'm inspirational like that.

I love how each kids unique talents lead them to do different things with their younger siblings when they are "forced" to play together.

Nate's specialty this summer - was fort-making.  He loves to create and pretend.
Not to be mistaken for an overgrown Laundry Monster!
Fort making is happy making
King of the Castle

Brennan's specialty, is train track design.  He started perfecting this skill when he was three, and although they tracks don't get taken out very often since Lego, Bionicles, and Wii have taken over his list of favourite things to do, he can rock out a pretty good configuration in no time.

Morgan, when she chooses to bless her brothers with her playtime, usually ends up directing, filming, and starring in "shorts" than they kids dream up together.  This has actually been a great deal of fun for all of the kids and their friends when they get together.  They make up silly interviews, or they reenact their favourite Star-Wars Scenes, or do stop-motion films with various toys.  Usually the emphasis is heavy on the silly side of things, and because I don't want to ruin their future chances for employment, I won't post any clips, but did manage to steal a few screen shots.

My specialty on rainy days, and everyday I feel like it, really, is food.  Sometimes if they day seems boring, I try to make the food fun. This probably why i feel like I need to lose 5 pounds - it was a rainy summer.  I made lots of fun food.

Soup in a mug is twice as fun!
And that was a rainy day well spent.

I think I like Friday Flashbacks.  We get to relive the fun, without the calories!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Growing Patience

In a moment of temporary insanity I asked Keaton to help me plant tulip bulbs on Saturday. Sometimes, because I like to be so fast and furious in every task I undertake, I will intentionally ask one of the kids to do a project with me, because I know I need practice in the area of patience.

He didn't want to help so much as do it all by himself.  He might need a little practice too.  He might be an awful lot like his mother in more than one way.

It was a lesson in patience for both of us.

And eventually he got bored and went to do something else he loves.

"Mom, I jes' go jump on de trap-o-LEEEN, and den I be right back"  Which is a lot like "dat's go-be all done"

As Keaton was off enjoying some solo time on the trampoline, I had this crazy "life is like gardening" thought and the more I thought about it, the more it encouraged me.

Sometimes I think raising kids is an awful lot like planting bulbs.

You do a lot of work, and you really don't get any feedback that tells you that you have done a good job.  In fact, a lot of the time it looks like you haven't done anything at all. Sometimes it looks like despite your best efforts the only thing you are growing is weeds.  Bulbs will do that to you.  So will kids.

Bulbs left without nurturing and proper planting will never become a flower.   Kids need nurturing and proper planting too.

Whether it's a big thing like trying to teach a child to control their temper, or something little like training your little one to stay in bed till 7 am, you can spend months wondering if you've done it right in the first place,if what you're doing is making a difference with your kids.  

And all you can do,really, is wait for spring and hope your bulbs have been growing beneath the surface.  You hope flowers poke through- not too early and not too late, and then bloom.  You hope the beauty that you knew was hiding in the gnarly brown seed is now made evident.

With parenting, you hope all those good qualities you've been working on are growing in your kids too.

The waiting can be hard.

Being consistent with your kids, while you're waiting for something beautiful to grow within them can be much harder.

But hang tight.

Spring is coming.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Grand Day Out

Once a year, Tyson needs to go to Children's Hospital to have routine bloodwork and other medical check-up type stuff (at least, that's the very technical term I am using) to monitor the blood condition he has.

This year, just he and I went in together.

I love all of my kids a whole I even need to say that?  Yes, I do, because all mothers do. It's like we're worried people will think we favour one kid over another if we talk about something we appreciate about one without mentioning our undying devotion to the remaining silly, but now that I've said it, you know it, so we'll be good.  Amen.

I digress.  One thing I love about Tyson is his general good-natured-ness, especially when it comes to being out and about.  He is a great travelling companion.  Even when he has to be brave and get poked and prodded with needles and get asked all sorts of questions that he doesn't appear keen to answer.

On the magically delicious drive in to Vancouver I told Tys that I thought we should go out for lunch together when we were done the appointment.  He could barely contain his excitement. I asked him where he'd like to go, and it typical form, he smiled a big smile and asked:  "Where would you like to go, Mom?"  ,because that is how Tyson rolls.  He wants you to be happy, so he can be happy.

We had left two and a half hours before the appointment because last time we tried to get to Vancouver for a different event, at a similar time of day,  it was the road trip from h-e-double-toothpicks, (that's right, I just did some Christian blog swearing) and traffic was a total nightmare.  On this day, for whatever mystical reasons - we were there with an hour to spare.

What's even more amazing, is that they let us in right away; we waited for nothing - which I am pretty sure is unheard of in the medical world.

We talked to the doctors and nurses, and had all the regular conversations that leave me feeling like an inadequate mother.  You know the ones - "What kind of food do you like, Tyson?"  Pizza and dessert!, and then they ask -"Do you like vegetables?" To which Tyson cocks his head and stares at them like they are speaking Danish.  Which then leads me to blurt out something sarcastic (shocking!) about how because I am actually an ogre I do make him eat fruit and vegetables, it's just he'd rather not.

Then my favourite question is always some variation of "What school do you/your siblings go to?"  which of course, royally confuses a five-year-old kid who doesn't go to school.  And nobody knows what to do when we explain that we do school at home.  The conversation just ends. Enter crickets and awkward staring.  We move on, I try and make light hearted conversation, and talk about you know, Justin Bieber or something really hip and relevant to prove that I am a cool Mom who's up with latest important news.

My goal is always the same - to have them think that we are their very favourite patient-family. Ever.

Like we're gonna leave and they're gonna say "Oh my goodness, are they not the best people...ever?" "That kid is so sweet and cooperative and the Mom is so hip and yet so medically competent." "No one is more informed about the necessary precautionary steps for potential hymolitic crisis."  "If it weren't for patient protocol I would totally ask them to join us on our next vacay!"

Tell me I'm not the only one?

Are those more crickets?  Dang.

Tyson is sweet and cooperative, although he is usually much quieter there than anywhere else.

He is so brave when he gets his bloodwork done.

I love the questions he asks in the quiet times in between while we wait.

He consistently says things like "Mom, you're doing such a good job getting me a snack."  Followed by an unprompted kiss.  Tyson is a great encourager.  If you ever need someone to notice the hard work you are doing - he's your boy.

In the end, he decided against Boston Pizza  - "Mom, I still hate Boston (Bruins)" and picked White Spot over McDonalds - dude knows a good thing when he hears it.  Free ice cream and a sweet potato fry upgrade wins with this boy every time.

"Mom, I just love sweet fries."  I'm pretty sure he thinks they are regular fries with added sugar - cause he would always choose more dessert if possible.  (See previous conversation with Dr.)

We lunched, and visited.  He drew me pictures of sunflowers.

He told me that his favourite thing about our family is when we do things we have never done before, "like camping, or maybe bowling or something."  He loves his Daddy because he works so hard for us.  And he really is on the fence about Keaton.  He did eventually admit that sometimes they do have fun together.

The purpose for the trip might not have had fun written all over it,  but we made the best of it, my little companion and I.  We added one more coin to the memory bank, and it was indeed, a grand day out.