Monday, March 28, 2011

The Death of the Laundry Monster

Don't let the urgent take precedence over the important.

These sound like great words to live by.  Or at least plan by.  I have gotten a lot better in terms of life-structure over the past couple of years;  planning and being organized are sort of like learning a second language for me.  I will always think and dream in my mother tongue, but I am determined to learn some good things from other cultures!

Here's what I've found after days  months years of personal research:  when I plan to do the important things, and actually DO them, (even if I am kicking and screaming on the inside)  I have enough time to do those spontaneous things I always want to do. As an added bonus, when I do them, it's guilt-free.  This extensive research came to a head this weekend when I confronted my nemesis, the Laundry Monster.

Days  Months Years of Research Exhibit A:

I have often remarked that I have a couch-full of laundry.  What I mean is this:
This is actually only a love-seat-full and not the full-on couch full.  I have had the large couch full to overflowing more than I care to admit.

I might not like folding laundry.

I was looking at this beast and had been avoiding it, and adding to it for a couple of days, cause I was waiting to spontaneously feel like doing it. This whole thing of having spontaneity as a plan  for getting things done, just isn't all it's cracked up to be.  So I thought I should time myself and see how long it actually takes to fold 6 loads of laundry.  That's about half a weeks' worth of laundry, if you care - but I'm not even complaining about that, I'll save that for another day.

This is really another example of how homeschooling has ruined me-  I have to turn everything into an experiment.  No children were harmed, or even asked to do any folding in the creating of this experiment.

I was truly hoping that this task was worthy of all the whining I already I'd like permission to do.

I might hate folding laundry

This is a vintage whine - I've been working on it for over 15 years.  It sounds something like "I don't have time to get this done, I'll just chuck in on the couch till I feel like doing it."  " Or until I move it to my bedroom if company comes over"  " Or until my friends that I don't move laundry for come over and fold it with me." "Or for me."

I hate folding laundry.

Guess how long it took to turn it into this:

Please ignore the orphaned socks, for lo, there are many.  
23 minutes.

I know.  It's ri-donk-u-lous how much time that didn't take.

Add another 6 to get them all into the appropriate bedrooms and mine & Josh's put away (he still believes in the laundry fairy and I'd hate to ruin the magic).

Ridonkulous   - I'm not sure if that word should have a c or a k, but it's the right word, I know that for sure.

So, first, I must chastise myself because, it took less than half an hour to get all of that done. That's hardly worth whining about.

Then, later in the day, another load of laundry was done, it was so average in size it wasn't even picture worthy.  Guess how long it took me to fold that - Exhibit B- shall we say?

6 minutes.

At first I thought that just wasn't worth it - minute for minute, it was a better use of my time to grow the laundry monster for a few days.  But then I was thinking - what do I more often have:  Spaces of 6 minutes with no Laundry Monster to haunt me in my sleep or tormented spaces of 30?

Yeah.  Do it now.

Then I have time for important stuff like going to the park with the kids, spending some whine free time with Josh, or even preparing something other than pancakes for supper.

Nike had it right: Just Do It.

Now about the ironing...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Is it terrible that I find the word winning  really funny right now?

I am pleased to report that picked comment number 27 for the giveaway, and Laura Menagh is the lucky ...WINNER!

Aside from that, I am feeling rather uninspired in the writing department. It's like that sometimes, I guess.

My Dad gave his final statement today in the House of Commons.  I suppose I should say it's the presumably final statement.   Perhaps if the opposition parties decide to support the budget, it could be his penultimate statement, rather than his final one.  But who are we kidding?    There's gonna be an election forced this Friday and I just wanted to use the word penultimate in a sentence.  Penultimate, penultimate, penultimate....winning!

So that's about it.  It was lots of fun to host the contest for Family Matters- maybe I'll get to do it again sometime!

In the meantime, tell me what spring things you are looking forward to.  I'll go first:

I am looking forward to walks in the sunshine (please say it's gonna stick around!) cleaning out the flower beds and working outside sans jacket, finishing the last semester of school with the kids, the smell of fresh cut lawns, and trying my best to do more things that matter with my kids.
I just like this picture is all

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flag Page Your Family for Free! Last Chance!

It's your last chance today to win the Flag Page kit for FREE! 

Tonight. March 23rd, at 8 pm the contest will close and a winner will be chosen - take a few minutes and increase your chances!  You know what they say, you can't win if you don't play :)

Maybe I should clarify what I mean by FREE.  What I mean is - no cost at ALL to you or to me.  Win-Win...see?

There are a lot of different ways to enter - but you needn't do all of them.  However, for every different way that you enter, please leave a separate comment.  This increases your chances of winning.  If you check out the comment section on the "My Second Favorite Word" blog- I think you'll get it!  Family Matters in willing to ship your prize anywhere in Canada or the US for free - so don't hold back! here,read the details and then make my day and leave a comment, or three, or six. 

Fezzik: Inigo? 
Inigo Montoya: What? 
Fezzik: I hope we win...

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Sewing Non-Tutorial

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Blog Post...
Before I get started - don't forget to go to this blog post and enter the contest to win some cool stuff from  You don't have to do ALL of the things listed to enter the contest - even one will do.  But do as many as you like, and for each thing you complete, enter a separate comment - it's totally worth it.

Now where were we...

Going Big
I have to find my "Go Big"  self tonight, cause boy, do I have a lot to do.  It's all self-induced, well mostly, and it's all lovely stuff, but as is often the case when a I have to go big, I am suffering from a big case of I don't wanna's.

So I thought for fun, I would share one of the projects that was on my to do list for today.

Morgan needed a super hero costume for youth tonight.

Let's just set aside the whole - Why does anyone need a superhero costume for youth? question.

Can I just say that every time I say a sentence that starts with "Morgan" and ends with "youth", I get an overwhelming sense of "Shut-the-Front-Door-You-Have-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me-She-Is-Not-Almost-12-She-Is FIVE!"  

Ok, so it's not so much a sense as a very specific over-hyphenated thought, but it's real.

It seemed only appropriate that we make a perfect super hero costume.  That's the problem with big ideas. They always seem appropriate at the time.  I think ideas must come from the inner recesses of my highly neglected Type-A (Perfect Country!) self.  I think it has turned against me and feeds me big and wonderful ideas that I potentially could accomplish with time to spare if I would only plan out my days and remember to do things in advance even if I don't feel like it. That should also have been an over-hyphenated sentence.  Forgive my lack of grammar.

I actually remembered to get the supplies for said costume on Tuesday.  I went to the dollar store and found some sweet pillow cases and decided they would be perfect for the job.  We decided that since we only allowed a budget for a home-made costume, Morgan would go for a home-made super hero:  Super-Morgan.  She informed me that Super-Morgan has The Power of Awesome.   The costume should reflect that.  No pressure or anything.

While I did get the supplies to hopefully contain her awesomeness into one costume on Tuesday I didn't get to sewing it until today.  I thought about it, but it didn't happen until this morning when I realized I couldn't do a bunch of baking for tomorrow's events because I was out of brown sugar until after I went into town. Verily I am a twit: I have only been in town twice every day this week and bought every other grocery under the sun.

What follow is not so much a sewing tutorial,  but a glimpse into how things get done around here sometimes.  It's not pretty.  This is really a confessional more than a tutorial.  I will do better next time - promise.

How To Make an Awesome Super Hero Costume in Under 90 Minutes

1) Do not pre-wash the pillow cases.  You don't have time.  Well, you did, but you don't now. Cut the side and top seam of the pillow cases off and put your material right sides together sew the top together, no need to pin, it'll be fine.

2)  Place ties right below the inside of the new seam, right sides of ties to top-right side of the cape.  Sew them in place.

3) Realize you have forgotten to make a casing for your elastic up top, rip out the ties, they were on backwards anyways.

4)  Make a casing - don't worry if your bobbin thread is the wrong colour, you have way to much to do today to wind a new one, and it's just a costume - seriously, what made you think you should do this anyways?

5) Get ready to weave your elastic into the excellent casing you have just made.  But wait!  You have made the casing with the fabric facing the wrong way.  Pick the bloody seam out. You got yourself into this mess after all.

6) Make a new casing, weave through the elastic - don't forget to pin the end or you'll have to re-do it!

7) Sew the crap out of those little elastic ends, cause you are SO sure you have done it right this time and there is no way you want it coming out and injuring someone half way through some hair-brained super hero game.

8) Now that  you have the casing and elastic finished put the ties on again.  Sew them really good, cause you are an excellent last minute seamstress.
9 )They are still on backwards. You are an idiot. Cut them off, cause you are too mad to use the seam ripper. Be thankful that you are only mad at the yourself and not on at your two year old who insists on trying to hit the backstitch button every 30 seconds.  Did I mention you have to leave for Art Camp in 20 minutes and this is your ONLY chance to get it done because you have a LOT to do this afternoon, and you didn't do it on Thursday night like you should have?  Well, you do, so get over it and get it done.

10) Decide to do away with the one-sided ties and just do a hack-job with draw-string chunks.  Then quickly cut apart another pillow case - but this time don't take off the side seams, quickly make a casing at the cut end and weave some draw string through.  This goes surprisingly well.  You have made a fun matching super-hero skirt. Make a quick felt logo for Super-Morgan and decide it's worth sacrificing a less than perfect white t-shirt for the sake of a costume full of the power of awesome.  Oh, and make a mask with some leftover pillow case pieces..

11) Get your wonderful daughter to put it all on, and hear her tell you it's awesome.  Now GO!  the kids are in the car waiting to take Nate to camp.  You did it!

(PS- Now that I have written this, and the coffee has kicked in, I am totally feeling like doing stuff again - Yay - off to bake!) 

Remind yourself that her confidence and exuberant character are some of your favorite things about her.

She really does have the power of awesome...I gave birth to a superhero...Who Knew?

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Second Favorite Word

If grace is my current favorite word and concept, I think I know what my second favorite is:  free.

There are lots of free things that are great, grace being one of them.  But wouldn't it be awesome if you could somehow combine free grace with free stuff?  Ladies and gentlemen....the time has arrived.  Cue the music that goes with the heavens parting and fingers of light from heaven streaming down....Waaaaahhhhh.....

You need to endure the story before I posted the details of the contest. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote this, and after I wrote that, I also wrote an email and sent it to author Tim Kimmel's organization, Family Matters, to thank them for rocking my world.   I believe I used that exact phrase, cause I have no sense of propriety.  I told them I loved it so much I had blogged about it for all 15 16 readers that enjoy reading my blog to hear. (16 would be cause I know there is someone out there who is following me not publicly, not that I mind...Naomi).

The good people at Family Matters asked for a link so they could read it.  So  I sent them a link and hoped and prayed that they wouldn't call the blog police and remove my blog from that internet because I had so badly misrepresented their books and products.

Then Karis, who (whom?)  I have been blog stalking for quite some time,  and who also happens to be the Creative Director at Family Matters left a comment in which she said something to the effect of  "Nice.  Want to give away a Family Flag Page - maybe your readers would like that?"

I thought long and hard about it for all of 2 seconds and decided that, yes,  my readers would like that.

So here are the details:
(by the way, you must live in Canada or the United States to enter!)

First Entry:
Visit the Family Matters store and peruse. Leave a comment saying what product they’d like to own (could be the Kids Flag Page) and why.

Second entry:
Sign up to receive free Family Matters blog updates via RSS feed or Email.

Third Entry:
Sign up for our quarterly Email Newsletter.

Fourth Entry:
“Like” Family Matters on Facebook

Fifth Entry:
“Follow” Family Matters on Twitter.

Sixth/Seventh Entry:
Tell others about this contest via your own facebook or blog page.  I believe this is the "promote the crap out of this blog post" option.

You want to leave a separate comment for each entry you qualify for, as I will be using to choose the winner.

The winner will be chosen next Wednesday, March 23rd - after 8 pm. 

Leaving a comment is easy, I promise.  If you don't know "who" to leave a comment as - select the "Name/URL"  option and just type in your name, you can leave the URL blank if you don't have a web address and then comment away!

Good luck everyone!  Sorry about the lack of pics - but it's past 8 by a few minutes, and I just gotta quit!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Government Induced Sleeplessness

It's been a big week.  Or rather, a big weekend.

My Dad has decided that he will not be running in the next federal election.  This, is a good thing, a happy occasion.  I think everyone in my family looks back on his political career with pride. He served his country well.  We all love him to bits.  We're hoping that his next job, whatever that may be, will not take him away from home so much.  This is a big change for our family, and so, even though I find change exciting, I still have a need to process which always involves tears, even if they are good and happy tears.

My brother, Mark, is now seeking the nomination for my Dad's soon-to-be vacant spot in the Chilliwack-Fraser Valley riding. So far (as I type this anyway) no one has put their name forward to run against him, which is fine by me.  In short, this is a good thing, a happy occasion.  I love my brother and his family dearly.  If he is elected, he will serve his country well.  We all love him to bits.  I know it hasn't happened yet, but if it does happen (and I'm just gonna go ahead and predict that it will), his next job will take him away from home so much.  This is a big change for his family, and for us, and even though I find change exciting....yeah, I'm crying good, happy, and maybe a bit nervous, tears about this too.

As much as I tend to embrace "change" it's been a lot of surprises and changes this week - plus a few others that are not as blog-worthy, and I am in change overload right now.  Which means I am losing sleep.  I blame the government.

Then there is the time change.  I just have to ask myself what kind of voodoo magic did farmers use so many years ago to inflict this time change on us.  At least, as I understand it - "time change" was done to accommodate an agrarian harvest schedule.  Seriously?  Why didn't we just tell the farmers to set their alarm clocks an hour earlier?  Why wreak havoc on ours and our children's lives?   It's actually the fall time change I'd like to get rid of - but in order to restore life to "normal" we have to go through this almost-spring time change, and let's just say there are a few weeks a year I wish I lived in Saskatchewan, cause THEY don't change their time.  So, again, I am losing sleep, and I blame the government.

I do have some very exciting news that I will blog about in the next day or so - think FREE stuff.  and real free stuff, stuff that is awesome and life changing, and FREE.  However, I made this crazy commitment to go without "that internet" for Lent.  Had I known all the awesomeness that was going to happen, I would have picked chocolate - but anyway, I am out of time - so stay tuned for exciting stuff, as soon as I get some more sleep and can put a coherent topic together before or after 8.

Five of my favorite things...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Schmandom

I would like to do better than a stream of consciousness post - but I don't think I have it in me.

For starters - a picture of our Fat (Shrove) Tuesday Supper.  Yer gonna think we eat pancakes a lot.  Maybe we do and maybe we DO!
This was Nate's plate - cause why not make a happy face?
This is my first year in recent memory where I am actually observing Lent .  My "sacrifice" is to go without internet from 8 am - 8 pm every day.  I love, love, love, getting messages and communicating through email, my blog, and facebook, so needless to say, I have had many opportunities to remember and be thankful for Christ's sacrifice throughout today.

And Now For Something Completely Different

My dear friend Katherine (who I think, also has conversations with food) gave this recipe to me a year or so ago, and I think I have made it at least a dozen times since.  I don't know what her official title for the recipe is - I gave it the incredibly original name of  "Last Minute Brownies" -cause they can be in the oven before your unexpected company has their jackets hung on your banister.

They are good.  And by good, I mean evil.  There isn't an ounce of goodness in them, except they are so very, very good.  They are fudgy, and sweet and not one bit healthy.  They take less than 10 minutes to put together (I did in in seven yesterday) take about 20 ish minutes to bake and then you will hate yourself for the rest of the day as you go back over and over again until the pan is empty...Interested?  I thought so.

Last Minute Brownies
Oven Temp:  350 ° F
Pan:  9 x 13
Yield:  never enough, or about 15 dessert sized portions (or 8, if you are serving me)
Prep time:  > 10 min.
Bake Time:  15 – 20 minutes
3 square unsweetened chocolate
OR  1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
OR ½ cup plus 2 tsp. Cocoa powder plus 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup unsalted butter  
(if you only have salted butter, go ahead and use it, but omit the salt below)
1 ½ c white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Flour
3/8 tsp. Baking powder
3/8 tsp. salt
¾ cup additional chocolate chips

·         Melt butter and chocolate (or chips or cocoa plus extra butter) over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning. 
·         Remove from heat and set aside.
·         In a separate bowl, combine sugar, salt, baking powder and flour. 
·         Add to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
·         Add the eggs – one at a time – until blended.
·         Pour into pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray
·         Sprinkle with ¾ cup chocolate chips
·         Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.  Basically I bake them until the outside couple of inches look well set and the top is starting to crack.  Please, please do not over bake these.  In fact, risk salmonella and under-bake them if you have to.  It’s just better that way.
·         Let them cool for at least 15 minutes if you can stand to wait that long.  You really want to do this to let the centre set.
·         Slice and serve, baby.  With ice cream, or chocolate sauce, both or just  as they are.  Yummm-o.

Blink and You'll Miss it.

We had a bit of this - I believe it's called sunshine -for at least, oh,  10 minutes the other day.  Thing 4 and Thing 5 took full advantage of the glorious sun.  Can't wait for spring!

And, I think it's worth mentioning that yesterday was the bi-annual - ALL the housework and laundry got done and put away all on the same day, DAY.  Mind you, I didn't do it alone. (Thanks Rachel!) but it felt SO good when it was done. Even if it only lasted for 20 minutes before someone's milk spilt and there were dirty clothes and muddy bootprints from a wet and rainy playtime outside.  It was totally worth it.

Does This Make Me Look Fat?
So what do you think of the larger pics?  Too big?  Perferino?  Fantastico? Anything else?

Make the most of this week - the grand and glorious is just waiting to happen!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Set Free

There's a lot of catharsis goin' on in them there words that follow this sentence.  It's a lot of introspective navel-gazing, and I give you full permission not to take the time to read it.  I'll post something fun in a couple of days, and it will probably involve food and some pics of my kiddos.  But today, I need a moment. This is a post for me, cause I want to remember. 

I want to be a great Mom.  Not like the "You're so great, cause you're a size two, your house is always clean and you always look fantastic."  Pictures like this, remind me I will never get there :)  And I'm really ok with that.
Caught in the act !  Thanks Josh :)

I don't even want to be a great Mom in the sense of - "look at how your kids snap to attention when you walk in the room, and they immediately obey without a second thought to their own desires."  Ok, I might want that sometimes, but it's not really what I'm shooting for. 

And shockingly, I don't even want to be a great Mom in the sense of "Oh my word, look at all you do, I could NEVER do what you do"  Cause seriously - comparisons are paralyzing.  If I spend my time looking at everything someone else does well in comparison to what I do well - I will always feel lacking.  The reality is - we ALL do some things well and we ALL have areas that need growth.  We only need to be in competition with ourselves, (i think?) .  It's way too tiring and high maintenance to add being in competition with each other.

Like most moms that I know, I struggle to feel like I am enough.  Or that my kids would be so much better off if I was more like: fill in the blank with the name of any of my friends who succeed in areas that I don't.  I'm not under the impression that any of my wonderful friends are perfect, or anything.  Goodness knows we spend enough time pointing out our own faults to each other.  But sometimes it feels so easy to just think there is no way we are going to raise our kids to be all that we want them to be.  They have us for parents after all.

Do you love how I have a paragraph about how I compare myself to others right after stating that comparisons are not all that....ahh the joy of being a woman... I have such double standards to live up to.

Self deprecation aside, I know there are things I do well.  So don't feel like you need to bake me cookies or bring me a coffee or anything, lest I do myself injury.  I'm just sayin' is all.

Actually feel free to bring me cookies.

or coffee.

or snacks.

Off the rabbit trail...

I have been struggling recently trying to understand and effectively relate to a certain one of my kids. I feel like we are butting heads all. the. time.  So after endless weeks of frustration I went looking online for help, and eventually found myself at 

I've been there before. Tim Kimmel's books: Grace Based Parenting and Raising Your Kids for True Greatness have profoundly impacted my thinking. They are books I go back to often when I need a refresher on why I am doing what i am doing.

Rabbit Trail # 2...

I love how counter-intuitive grace is - it doesn't work with the just-act-right-all-the-time-and-you-shall-be-rewarded model of living that I (and so many evangelical Christians, if I may say so) so easily want to enter in to.  I love how God's grace allows us to be so different from one another, and yet, we're still on the same team.

However, the balancing act of grace is something I struggle with.  It's not a cosmic "whatevs" from God, nor is it a set of rules that I have to follow to receive it. When it comes right down to it, I struggle to receive it, I struggle to give it.  I struggle to give it especially when I feel like I'm not receiving it.  But it grows as my understanding of who God is and who He made me to be increases. It calls me to a higher, not a stricter standard of living and relating to God and to each other.  That's life changing stuff.  

And I'm back...

I desperately want grace to be the overriding theme in our home.  I think I'm getting better at it. The more I get to know Jesus, the more I love grace and want to give it freely to my kids, my husband and to everyone we meet.  I am desperate for it and how it transforms me. 

But even knowing all this stuff about grace...I needed a little help in the "how to make it work" department.

or more correctly, enter Family Flag Page kit.

Basically it gives you tools to work through a "passions profile" for you, your spouse, and your kids ages 4 - 15ish.  The idea with it is that it can help you see how God has uniquely created your kids, spouse, and yourself.  It helps to understand what is Right about them - and what is right about you.

Needless to say, I went straight past GO, collected my $200- and bought it. (actually the whole family kit cost less than $70 - but a monopoly reference is always fun, right?)

I have gone through it with a couple of my kids (so far).  It was great.  It didn't take long. It was also great that it didn't take long, because doing things one on one without interruption are a little more than difficult for any length of time in this house.    I do think that I will get Josh to go through it with the kiddo that is causing the most consternation right now, just cause I'm like that.

Doing the flag pages with them lets me see how they are wired and what things are most important to them.  It's like a little window into their hearts that is revealing and changes the way I approach parenting them.  I feel more equipped to understand how to approach correcting and training them.  It makes it easier for me to love them in ways that mean something to them.

When I look at my kids completed flags it overwhelms me with gratitude at the vast differences between each of my kids. I love how positive the characteristics are portrayed.  Now, a lot of this wasn't a shocking revelation in one sense - I know the basic personality types of my kids, but this deals more with what, within those personality types, they are passionate about.  It's worth doing it.   Buy it,  Now.

I'm bossy like that sometimes.  Sorry.

For example, I looked at one of my kids flags and thought how empowering it is to know that God made this child curious so that he can ask questions and find out answers to the many "why's" of life. We need people like him - but it is SO not like me!  Doing these flag pages changes my perspective as a parent. It helps me not get as frustrated that he just asks SO many questions!  That's part of who this child is.  It is as impossible for him to stop asking questions as it would be for me to start questioning everything. My job now is to teach that child how to use that gift with wisdom and make it valuable part of what they will bring to this world.  Sure, I am going to screw up and make mistakes, but I feel a few steps ahead knowing this.  It allows me to apologize more quickly when I realize I have failed to value who God made them.

It helps me parent them the way God leads me!

Isn't this exciting stuff?  

What was really life-changing for me was doing the flag page online for myself. It's similar to the kids version, but far more detailed.   Again, it's was easy and quick, and it was no shock to me that I am from "fun country", it's just I had no idea Fun Country was a valid place to live.  I thought it was a place I loved, but that I should be trying to leave.   Surely God wants everyone to be from Perfect Country, or Peace Country...right?

For the first time in my life, I felt like who I am, or what I am passionate about and love doing- is not a mistake or something to be overcome. It's just something to be used properly, and in concert with the many other wonderful personalities and passions out there.  I have in many ways felt very secure and loved my whole life.   But I have assumed that God/ my parents/ my friends put up with me and that I would really arrive in life when I finally became a demure details oriented kinda girl.  As though they would all like me better if I was different.  I think I get it now - being me is good...period. Just like being you is good.  It wasn't a huge step for me to move from where I was to where I am.  It's sort of like that feeling of being in an airplane, where you're travelling through the clouds, and it's cool and amazing, but then than moment when you break through and you're above the clouds and all you see is glorious sunshine...WOW.

I have been set free by the secure love of God and I'm not letting go. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The One Where My Baby Grows Up

Bird Bathing
Our hot water tank is funny.  Whenever it gets windy, the pilot goes out.  Hilarious, isn't it?  We've had someone in to look at it a while ago, and it's better, but every once in a while...

I do a lot of things in our family, but lighting pilot lights, isn't one of them.   

It was time for Keaton's weekly daily bath.  Josh wasn't yet home to re-light the pilot, and the boy was ripe.  As is often the case in situations like this, I asked myself:  WWDD?  What would Debby Do?  And I remembered:  bird baths.  

In fact, what I remembered was a picture of myself having a bird bath in what is affectionately known in my family as the Awkward Phase.  I was way too big for a bath in the sink.  Either my Mom was just awesome and fun to let me have one at such an age, or she was just too tired to say no to another of my endless requests as a kid.  I'm gonna go with awesome.
The Sears pose is my favorite.
Check out the hair mass on the left!
It was after I had taken pictures of Sir Cuteness in the bath that it dawned on me - the dude either needs pony tails or a haircut.  And verily I say unto you, I wept at this revelation.  I know two and a half is hardly a baby , but it was time for his first haircut, and therefore - my LAST first haircut.  You feel the pain, don't you?  Again I say unto you...I wept!  Or thought really sad thoughts anyway.

The Barber of Ledgeview
A couple of days later, he was ushered into the hair salon - aka my bathroom - 

Happy Keaton...this lasted for 37 seconds into the haircut
He wasn't as thrilled as I had hoped ten minutes later when it was all done.

Fortunately - being silly wins when you are two.

I might have wanted to shed a tear as his very babyhood slipped through my fingers and into a puddle of curls on the counter and the floor.  But growing up is good, proper and right, so I won't cry...much.  Actually, I love the way he looks, all grown up. 

 It hasn't inspired him to spontaneously start using the potty, but hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sin and a Recipe

Here's the thing.  I love food.    I think about eating all. the. time.   Food talks to me.  I can have a conversation with a cookie all afternoon before it finally wins and I give in.

Seriously, ask Lorraine.

I love everything about food, except for the calories.  Those are one of those direct-result-of-original-sin things in my mind.   I am convinced that before the fall of mankind there were no such things as calories.  Foods of all kinds were just there for to be enjoyed and savoured and partook? partaked? partooken? of.. in the blessed Garden of Eden.  For all I know the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a Cheesecake tree.  And then Eve.  Sigh.  Stupid Eve.

So in addition to (the much bigger and more important consequence) of being separated from God by sin there followed calories, slow metabolisms, trying to avoid refined sugar, fitness classes, cabbage-only diets and Eve asked Adam the question men have been dreading since, well, since she first asked it: "Do I look fat in this?" 

Regardless of the reasons, I really do love food.  And I try to find a sweet balance with the busyness that our wonderful life requires with cooking and baking and eating well without sacrificing taste cause cabbage-only diets belong in only one place and it starts with h an ends with toothpicks.

So without further adieu, here is the Cinnamon Oat Pancake recipe that I tried to avoid making by purchasing the pancake mix.  

These are not your typical light as air, full of nothing, dessert-for-breakfast pancakes - not that there's anything wrong with that.  They are more hearty; the flavour and texture is somewhere between a traditional pancake and an oatmeal muffin. It is easy to make ahead as a mix, or  to prepare a whole bunch and freeze the leftovers.  I think I got the recipe from a Martha Stewart Food mag a few years ago and have been making a version of them ever since.    They are fantastic hot off the grill with butter and syrup, or my favorite add on - blueberry sauce...or canned peaches, or anything you want really.  They pass for lunch or dinner around these parts as well.  Happy Pancaking :)

By request - here's the pancake mix recipe!

Cinnamon Oat Pancakes
1 cups
All-purpose flour
1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour
¼ cups
Brown sugar
1 Tbsp
Baking powder
1 tsp each
Salt & Cinnamon
1 tsp
2 cups, divided
Old-fashioned (large flake) oats
2 + cups
Milk (I use whatever I have – usually 1 %)
¼ Cup
Vegetable Oil
* I have had success substituting the wheat flour with a combo of 1 cup spelt flour, ½ cup oat flour, and ½ cup kamut flour for a wheat-free (not gluten-free) version.
Place dry ingredients, except for 1 cup of old fashioned oats in a mixing bowl. 
In a blender or food processer (I use a blender), blend oatmeal until it looks like, well, flour.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl (your pancakes will be lighter and fluffier if you do this, the extra dish is worth it) combine milk, eggs and vegetable oil.

Add to dry ingredients, and using a large spatula (or perhaps you call yours a rubber scraper) stir until just moistened.  Your batter will be lumpy – more like a 30-something in a swimsuit than a 20-something.  Just so we’re clear.  You probably don’t feel like cooking anymore, do you? 

Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl when mixing so that you don’t end up with a half cup of dry ingredients at the bottom and no liquid left!

Preheat your pan or griddle.  Set it on medium heat – to test if your pan is to the right temp a few drops of  water should bounce around like a mercury ball not spitter-spatter – if it’s doing that, wait a minute more and try again.  Wipe water off once it’s to temp, and then add a teaspoon of oil – if necessary.

Drop the perfect amount of batter onto your griddle.  I prefer a Pampered Chef large scoop – but feel free to make whatever size you want. 

Flip pancakes after 2-4 minutes – or when the bubbles that form in the pancakes have slowed down… you know what I mean right?  When they’re perfect, flip ‘em, and cook for another minute, or so until done.  Serve to everyone in your family hot, and then save some batter to make some for yourself after they’ve eaten so you can eat them hot too.  Freeze any leftovers.   

To reheat leftovers place on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 350 deg. F for 10 – 12 minutes.

To make a mix:  This is my favorite option.  It takes me about 10 minutes to put together a quadruple (4 times) recipe of the dry ingredients, I would guess it takes me 8 to make a single recipe - that two minutes is totally worth it to me!  The recipe ratios goes like this:

2 cups mix
1 egg
1 + cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
½  tsp vanilla 

Let me know how it turns out!