Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Savouring the Summer Daze

Ahhh, how I remember endless summer days basking in hot sunshine lounging on huge beach towels with my girlfriends, all of us in bright bikinis surrounded by boys showing off, playing beach volleyball, the smell of hormones, french fries and coconut tanning oil.  Gossiping and reading trashy magazines between flirtatiously frolicking on the beach and dozing with our bikini top straps undone and tucked under our armpits to ensure no tan lines.  These days were always followed by many a Corona at the beach bar...ending with a late afternoon nap awaking skin feeling tight but coloured brown with a hint of pink from too much sun but ready to hit the local patio for more good times (and to show off our newly bronzed skin).

Those were the good ol' days.

I've traded all that 20 something year old bliss with kiddie pools, a rainbow array of freezies making my boys hands and bare tummies sticky and colourful but their mouths happy and their bellies cool.  I sit and eat my salad next to my bare naked 3 year old munching away on watermelon the juice running down his arms and dripping on his toes.  The sun beats down and the smell of his sunscreen surrounds me as my dog pants beside me like she's run a million miles, preferring to be outside with family where it's a thousand degrees than inside where it's beautifully cool but too quiet as my baby boy naps.

She meanders over to the boy's new pool just big enough to fit their little bodies and *slurp, slurp, slurp*...quenches her thirst for a moment.  She returns to my side laying her head upon my lap under the table continuing to huff away.

Adrian jumps back into his new pool, splashing, kicking and (yikes) nonchalantly laying right down in the water that would take my breath away if I did the same.  He asks me to come in with him and so I cautiously step in, my feet instantly numb and stand beside him.

He stands up and puts his wet arms around my waist, laying his cheek against my stomach and says "Mummy, you should get naked too!"

Ah, no son.  I ruffle his wet curls and say, "Honey, it's okay for you to be naked but not Mummy...trust me, no one wants to see that."

He looks up his big blue eyes quizzical but for once doesn't question me.

I'm not sure if I should be offended.

Hmph.

So, since having children I've exchanged the good ol' summer days for .... something very different.

I'll get those days back again.

Someday.

Sort-of.

When I'm too old to wear bikinis and frolicking will be more like a mere shuffle.  I'll have traded Corona for White Zinfandel and instead of In Touch I'll be reading Chatelaine, my wrinkly, sun spotted skin slathered in SPF 100 wearing a straw hat as big as a satellite with a massive beach umbrella stuck in the sand beside me as I rest on a beach chair instead of lying seductively on a beach towel.

But by then I'll be feeling nostalgic remembering the good ol' days when my boys were little babes, recalling their bare bums running through sprinklers and splashing in their kiddie pool.  Missing their sweet, sticky kisses and sweaty sun scented skin.  Damp ringlets hanging in their beautiful blue eyes and curling at their napes.

I'll be wistful, watching other families splashing about in the water, digging huge holes, building sand castles, playing beach sports.

Reminiscing, reliving, recollecting.

Oh, how I know those days will come.

Much, much too quickly.

So today, I choose to cherish...these never ending summer days.

Though they may not always be perfect, days, at times, seeming to go on and on...

The years are short...

...and the summers even shorter.


Fin wanting no part of the cold water spraying him...

There once was a little boy who was terrified of water....

He is no more!



Mmmmm, freezies on a hot summer's day after a long nap.
Is there anything better?
Well, maybe a Corona (for Mummy that is.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don't Forget to Stop and Smell the Lilacs



I love when the scent of something hits you and immediately you are transported back to a place in time.  Well, I love it for the most part.  Unless it's Outrageous shampoo and then I'm transported to a very hungover moment in time when I was 18 (oops, underage!) and was washing my hair with that very pungent smelling shampoo and just about wretched upon my toes.  God, I hope I never have to smell that horridness again.

Enough about that heinous stench...let's talk about roses.

The smell of roses takes me right back to sitting at my Grandma Belle's kitchen table.  One particular day she had a vase of pretty peach coloured roses and she encouraged me to smell them.  I remember stuffing my nose right in that bouquet and inhaling the flowery, sweet smell.

Oh my, how I miss that wonderful woman.

Campfires...ohhh, the smell of wood burning takes me back to when I was just a wee little girl who spent what seemed like a lot of time in the tiny town of Goderich with my great Aunt and Uncle and my favourite cousins.  They had a huge wood burning fireplace in their basement....so many of my wonderful childhood memories remain in that house that was just sold last year.  I hadn't been there in years but it made feel so very nostalgic when they sold it.

The smell of fresh cut grass is reminiscent of summer days running through sprinklers and jumping in my kiddie pool full of freezing cold water straight from the hose.  Eeee!

Tomato sauce cooking with green peppers takes me back to the first house I remember living in when my Mom would make her famous Chicken Cacciatore.  I can almost smell it now...

Bacon frying on a cast iron pan mingling with the scent of instant coffee will always remind me of my Dad...he always makes THE best breakfasts.   Despite his taste in coffee.  ;)

Fried onions remind me of hitting the local fair as a teenager...riding on the Himalaya with the music blasting, screaming and laughing, stomach hurting from eating a ton of cotton candy and laughing too hard.

The cologne Emporio by Armani hits me in the heart.  That's what my husband wore when we first started dating.

Euphoria by Calvin Klein....right back to my wedding day....what an amazing, perfect day that was.

The inexplicable smell combination of newborn baby, mixed with spit up, rice cereal, poop, baby powder, bum cream, laundry detergent and baby shampoo lingering on my boys heads, tummies and blankies.  I could smell that for the rest of my life and be happy.

Ahhh the sweet smell of their breath...inhale, exhale.

Heaven.

Stinky dried starfish will forever be emblazoned on the tip of my nose when I think of my best friend Erin's wedding...but despite the putrid smell of the things it also brings to my mind the happiest memories I've had in a while.  For I got a bit of me back during that time spent on my own in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  And best of all I got to see a heart warming, loving union of two spectacular souls.

And then the smell of lilac bushes in bloom during the first months of spring.  Although it doesn't bring to mind any memories for me it does for my husband.  He still picks them for his Mum when we visit.  The scent of lilacs are reminiscent of his childhood and his mother.

Yes, beneath his boisterous, manly exterior my husband is quite the sentimentalist.

Which takes me to about 3 years ago, our first spring in our new home.  Just around the corner from us there is a lilac bush.  When Adrian and I would go for walks I would always stop to breathe in the beautiful scent.  When he got a little older I encouraged him to smell them as well.

Two days ago it was just the two of us out for a walk (well, he was on his bike riding furiously along, his strong little legs a pumping).  We crossed the street to where the lilac bush is and he quite literally jumped off his bike in mid pedal and ran to the bush.  He stuck his little face in there and sniffed away...saying "Ahhhh, that smells goooood!"

My heart swelled and I felt utter happiness taking a mental picture of his little face tipped up to that sweet smelling cluster of violet.

And then he said:  "It smells like cheeeese."

Ah well.

The moments don't last forever.

But I hope that the times the scent of lilacs wafts past my son's nose on future spring days he too thinks of me.   Maybe I'll even be lucky enough that he will bring me home a sprig or two one day while visiting me with his family, just as he picks me bouquets of dandelions now as a 3 year old little boy.

Because getting flowers from your children...no matter how old they are...that never gets old.


Although this was not take the day of the bike ride...
he continues to stop and smell the lilacs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

FOODIE FRIDAY - Banana Split Smoothie

When I was in my early teens my Mum had a friend named Katie.  She was funny, a little crazy (but in the good way) and had an apartment that was stylishly furnished with a lot of rose.  (rose was THE decor colour back then...along with mint green, a lot of potpourri, dead dried flowers wall hangings and the like).  So one day we went for a shopping road trip and along the way we stopped at Dairy Queen.  (all together now...MMMMM).

Back then (God, you'd think I was 89 years old with the 'back then' talk) I usually I stuck with the safe bet of a Reese's pieces blizzard. (still my favourite and am PISSED that they discontinued it and then think it's okay to substitute mine and ET's favourite chocolate candy morsels with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  Not even close to the same thing...do you hear me Ms. Queen of the Dairy??!) 


ANYWAY, that day Katie somehow convinced me to have a banana split.

"BANANA SPLIT!"...you ask ..."What the hell kind of person actually orders a BANANA SPLIT!?"  

I know, I was plenty dubious too.  But this was no regular ol' banana split, she advised me.  I must order it with peanut butter sauce.  Over the whole thing.  


Now, I must tell you, I am of the opinion that fruit has no business being in any sort of cookie,  cake,  ice-cream or pie (with the exception of Lemon Meringue or Wild Blueberry)  It's gotta be chocolate...or chocolate...and if it's topped off with some sort of caramel sauce or perhaps even more chocolate then I'm all over it.


With much hesitation I ordered this peculiar sounding 'banana split' and though it didn't look pretty I scarfed that thing down and looked just as unattractive as the very thing I inhaled.  It was beyond.  Just beyond.

 With that ridiculously roundabout intro I will leave you with a smoothie recipe for which this Banana Split with PB sauce was inspired...it's delicious, a lot healthier than the real banana split w/ PB and my kids go crazy for it.  Plus if you're into working out and keeping fit (as I once was 6 months ago - ugh), you could totally up the protein with a scoop of vanilla whey. (personally all protein powders make me want to vomit but that's just me - just the smell is utter wretchedness to my nostrils)  But did you know that Chocolate Milk is a great after work out drink?  Iiii know!  How great IS THAT?!

I use a Braun hand blender for my smoothies.  If you don't have one I would highly suggest purchasing one.  They're inexpensive, small, easy to clean and multi-purpose (I also puree soups and made my boy's baby food with it).

The hand blender also comes with a sturdy plastic cup that holds up to 2 cups of liquid.  Be sure never to fill it past the 500 ml line or you will have a fine mess to clean up.

*Please note that either (or both) the strawberries or bananas must be frozen to create the 'ice creamy' effect *

3/4 cup frozen sliced strawberries
1/2 large banana broken up
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1-2 tbsp pineapple tidbits
2 heaping tbsp of vanilla yogurt
Top all the goodness with chocolate milk - approx. 1.5 cups (you could technically use milk and then a Nestle Quick syrup but I prefer the full on sweety sweetness of the 'real' stuff like Beatrice or Neilson's)

Blend away and serve to your kiddies...or don't share and have it all to yourself.

This $#!^ is bananas!

*CUE MUSIC*  warning - this song contains explicit lyrics

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I, Poop

There are two things in life that are true for everyone:

1) We all want love
2) We all poop

Today, I'm talking about number two.

*cue hysterical laughter*

This afternoon when my husband returned home from work I took my big boy out to Zellers.

Yes, Zellers.

His idea.

He simply wanted to "Look at the toys, just a little bit "  (his index finger and thumb showing me how little the little bit was)

And that's what he actually loves to do.  Look at the toys, press the buttons, wander the aisles, ask me "what does this do?" and "what is this Mumma?".


I ended up buying him a lightsaber - his red and John's (because "I need someone to play with and Daddy likes green") green.

It wasn't because he asked for it (he actually said "I already have it" with a confused look on his face holding it up to me when I asked him if he wanted it...I had to clarify "Do you want me to buy this for you?")

After the purchase of 2 lightsabers, 5 pounds of sidewalk chalk and a small bag of chocolate mini-eggs we arrived home.

All the neighbours and kids were out playing.

I was feeling like I had some business to attend to (if you know what I mean) and whisked him in the house calling for John who was upstairs watching a movie with my little one.  I told Adrian that he had to wait to go outside and I might have said to my husband in passing, "I have to poop so bad right now".

Yes, this is what my marriage has come to folks.  Like I've said before marriage is no glamour party.

A few minutes later, my husband taps at the bathroom door and says, "Honey, you would be so mortified if you knew what Adrian just said."

Oh God.

I just knew.

Apparently, Luke, his 5 year old buddy asked him to come outside to play lightsabers with him and Adrian responded like so, (keep in mind there are about half a dozen neighbours standing right outside my front door)  "Lukey, I can't come outside.  I have to wait until my Mom's done pooping."

There's nothing to be embarrassed about now right?  I just told random strangers a poop story about me and now my entire neighborhood knows that I poop.  

Over it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rendered Speechless

It's 7 in the morning and I'm packing a diaper bag full of extra clothes, diapers, wipes, sippy cups and snacks.

Adrian "Mumma, why are you dressed?"

(Okay, now's the time to admit that there may have been days I've simply stayed in my pj's.

All day...

long.....one of the upsides to being a SAHM)

Me "Finley has a doctor's appointment and you're going to come with us.  Then we're going to go down to the lake to play....at the park and on the beach.  We might even have a picnic.  You're going to have so much fun bud."

Adrian jumps up from his chair and exclaims excitedly....."Can I get naked?!"

Me .  Standing  .  Staring  .  Speechless  .  Eyes blinking  .  Ever so slowly  .

John  .  Laughing his head off...as he heads down to the basement...to 'work'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Note to Son

Hi buddy.  20 years from now you won't remember the conversation you had today with the little girl that lives across the street but here I am to shed a little light:

Ava:  "Hi Adrian" (swinging around on a rope hanging from the tree in her front yard)

Adrian:  "Hi Ava"

Ava:  "Do you see something new about me today?"

Adrian: (looking a little perplexed)  "No"

Ava:  "I have new shoes!"

Adrian (staring blankly at the tree)  "Can I swing on the rope now?"

Silence....and then muffled sounds of me trying not to kill myself laughing.

Just some advice kiddo, from Mother to her little boy (who will someday grow up to be a man - oh God) that although I know you don't really care about her new shoes a little bit of acknowledgement goes a looong way.

Thought I'd put that out there for future use.

It'll stave off a lot of arguments and silent treatments from that very lucky lady in your life someday...and I'm not simply talking about acknowledging new shoes.

That's just the tip of the iceberg my son.

Recognize her wonderful traits, inside and out and tell her often. (everyday would be great). The things you fell in love with; the way she smiles, her fun loving nature, her wicked sense of humour...and yes, tell her she's beautiful.

We all love to be told we're beautiful.  And we all are.

And listen to her.  Really listen.  And remember.

Everyone loves to know they're being heard...then when you remember the little things.

That's huge.

You can also continue to tell me how much you adore me too...but I am aware a day will come when another woman will take my place.  I try not to think about it too much as my heart feels like it's in a vice squeezing every bit of life out of it when I do.

But I am aware.

I will be okay.

*sniff*

Too often at times that awful quote goes around and around in my head:


"A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life."  ~Irish Saying


Oh man.  This was supposed to be a lighthearted post!  What the!?  What happened...?


I'm going to stop while I'm ahead...


....and cry myself to sleep now.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Adventure to Forget...

Today I am a less than perfect parent because....

 I decided to take my boys to Tim Horton's (I'm starting to really think they need to pay me for all the mentions they get in this little blog 'o mine)....read on....there's more...oh is there more....

It was a beautiful, sunny and warm morning so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to walk.  This is where the less than perfect part comes in.

Aidy wanted to go to the 'real' Tim Horton's (not the kiosk kind at the gas station just down the road - according to Adrian, this kind of Timmy's is fake).  This meant walking over 2 km...and that's just to our destination.

Out came the umbrella stroller for my little guy as Adrian wanted to ride his 'big boy' bike (aka - two wheeler).  The 'real' Tim Horton's was on the corner of a pretty busy intersection but I thought since the sidewalk isn't close to the road and it was first thing in the morning on a long week-end it would be fine.

I could not have been more wrong.

Less than halfway there he hit a bit of gravel and wiped out...thank God, no serious injuries because being the not so perfect parent I was not carrying any sort of first aid kit with me.  After dusting himself off and getting back on his bike he started to notice all the snails sleeping soundly in the middle of the sidewalk.  Yep, it seemed as though there were about 500 of those poor creatures just waiting to get run over or stepped on.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, please, please, please, do not make me come back as a slimy, dumb, hermaphroditic mollusk that has no choice but to carry their house on their back 24/7.  Is there a more pitiful living thing than a snail?  I think not.  And what purpose do they serve exactly?  The only thing I could find on Google was that they "break down dead things".  Huh.  That tells me pretty much nothing.  (as a side note I also read that they can live up to 5-10 sometimes even 15 years!!!  A snail that lives 15 years must have some serious dumb luck.  In the most literal sense.)

Off my big boy went, looking down and attempting to dodge every snail in his way.

Crunch.

Crackle.

Squish.

It was very sweet that he was concerned about the little critters but clearly, it wasn't working very well and he was making me nervous not looking ahead to where he was going.

"Honey, don't worry about the snails!  Just keep your head up please and watch where you're going!"

So up he looks.

To the sky.

In the meantime my little guy is taking off his sandals and throwing his hat off every 10 feet.

Three quarters of the way there Adrian decides he doesn't want to ride his bike anymore.

Off the helmet comes.  I somehow manage to hook his bike onto the handles my unstable, crappy, cheap umbrella stroller while ensuring that my little guy doesn't have a pedal or wheel in his face.

Eventually we get near the intersection with Tim Horton's in view just across the street...so close...oh so close!... and I notice something.

Something very, very bad.

My heart dropped and anxiety hit me like a brick wall.

I made a huge mistake.

There's construction on every single corner with signs that indicate pedestrians not allowed.

Oh that's just f!@#!^*& great.

After standing at the corner with cars whizzing past us and every other one giving me the stink eye while wondering "what kind of Mother would take their kids on a walk through a construction zone...what a horrible, terrible Mother!"  I did only what  I could and braced myself for the backlash.

"Honey, we have to turn around.  I promise that as soon as we get home we'll drive to Tim Horton's but we cannot cross here.  It's way too dangerous."

Oh the tears.

I felt awful.  But eventually I got him turned around and on his bike again.

Halfway BACK home he started freaking out that his helmet was too hot.  So I asked him if he wanted to take a break.  We were right beside a huge field and I thought it would be fun to sit and look at all the pitiful snails that have now awoken.  Give my kids a little science lesson about snails.  Plus there was some random Canadian goose wandering around in the field sporadically honking every few seconds.  He was quite the entertainer.

And so we sat and said hello to the goose and talked to the snails.  I told the boys that the snails shells was their home and showed them where their eyes were.  Of-course Adrian thought the slime factor was pretty cool.

Ew.

We also saw some dandelions that had gone to seed and I showed them how to blow on them so that they can fly through the air and create even more pretty sunshine yellow fields.  ;)

Adrian decided it was time to go again and on his bike he got.

Except somewhere between sitting on the grass and getting on his bike he got something in his eye.

And would not stop crying.

At this point Finley, my ever patient child, had had enough and started to get squirmy in the stupid umbrella stroller.  I can't say I blame the poor guy.

I felt entirely helpless as both boys cried, Adrian rubbing his eye (as I asked him not to) and Fin throwing his hat and shoes this way and that having a mild fit.  My feet were getting blisters as this was the first time ever wearing flip flops this year.  (I know, I too, question the decisions I make far too often)

After about 5 minutes of dramatics Adrian decided he didn't want to ride his bike anymore and instead picked me a massive bouquet of dandelions.

That was definitely the highlight of our adventure and though the bouquet never made it home.....we eventually did.

After 1.5 hours.

Me, still caffeine deprived, Adrian red faced and irritable and Finley, poor little guy, exhausted and bogged down in the dumbrella stroller, by bikes, helmets, his sandals and my purse, tired eyes peering out from under his bucket hat that had fallen almost entirely over his eyes.

Home sweet home.

But not for long.

As promised, we clambered into the truck and off we went.

To the 'real' Tim Horton's.

Friday, May 20, 2011

FOODIE FRIDAY - Mmmmm Cookies!

Laying with my big boy at bed time I asked him,
"Buddy, what recipe should I write for my Foodie Friday blog post?"

Adrian: *maniacal laughter* "FOODIE FRIDAY!!?"  AHAHAHAHAHEEHAWHEEHAW snort, snort  *rolling around on his bed*

Me, observing with mild amusement,"Yeah, bud.  Foodie Friday.  What's your favourite thing that I make?"

"Cookies!"  He exclaimed!

Well, of course.  Coming from a 3 year old, it would be cookies.  Duh.

Up until about a year and a half ago I couldn't bake a cookie if my life depended on it.  No matter what I did, they would come out burnt, rock hard and just plain yuck.

Then for my 32nd birthday I received the BEST cookbook EVER from my Mother-in-law.  Every recipe I've made (and as I've mentioned before I'm terrible at following recipes but I do follow these) especially the cookies have turned out beyond my expectations.

I opened up the cookbook with thrilling anticipation and began to read it.  (I can't be the only one in the world that gets super  excited to read a cookbook...am I?) It was a beautifully quirky yet delectable feast for the eyes.  And then I realized my MIL probably didn't read a single word in this cookbook.  The sisters that wrote it are awesomely witty with a snitch of snark.  The humour in it is hilariously offside .... an example would be the title:


I devoured the cookbook with my eyes and laughed out loud beginning at the Table of Contents...ex: Spoon Me (Soups) Crave Me (Pasta) Fork Me (Dessert) and chortled (never used that word in my life and I don't know why...what a fun word....say it three times fast and it loses all meaning - I love it) at the famous quotes throughout the book called 'Bite Me Bits'.

One of my favourite tv quotes ever that happened to be in this book;


"Your good friend has just taken a piece of cake out of the garbage and eaten it.  You will probably need this information when you check me into the Betty Crocker Clinic" Miranda Hobbes, SATC


HILARIOUS!

'Cause you know you've done it.

Chortle, chortle, chortle...


...awkward silence...

Oh.

You haven't?

Nevermind.


*Clearing throat*

Anyway, after all that babble and promotion of a cookbook I'll never see proceeds for I will move on to the recipe of Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

But these are not just any chewy chocolate chip cookies.  These are the best chocolate chip cookies you've never had.  Once you bake these babies, you will never use another recipe.  I promise you.

And if I, me, I can bake these cookies and have them turn out so scrumptiously delicious ANYONE can.

Nothing is better, nor more comforting than a warm chocolate chip cookie, fresh out of the oven with a cold, cold glass of milk.

Now grab that electric mixer or wooden spoon and go!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies In The Whole Wide World


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 325 F


2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt


3) Cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar (it says to use a mixer but a wooden spoon works fine though a bit physically intensive - as Adrian said matter of factly while helping me mix them last time, "Mumma, I'm done.  It's a lot of work."


4) Beat in vanilla, egg and yolk until light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture and chocolate chips, mixing just until flour disappears.


5) Drop dough by 1/4 cup, 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets (I just use a cooking spray)


6) Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack (or directly onto your plate if you're like me)

Pour yourself a cold glass of milk, dip that warm, melty cookie in there and mmmmmmm.  Enjoy.

*CUE MUSIC*

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In Two More Birfdays

Sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch with my boys Adrian says to me:

"Mummy, in 2 more birfdays I can have hot sauce like you and chew gum like you and Daddy.  And I'll be able to open stuff."

I love it.  Not when I grow up or when I'm a big boy...in precisely 2 more birthdays.

Me "Like what stuff?"

Adrian "Things!  Like doors.  And I can stay up allllll night and clean the kitchen with you."

Pan to me looking amused yet baffled...and a little more than impressed about the cleaning.

Pan to Adrian ... beaming.

He's so flippin' cute it kills me.


Today I Got Smacked by Karma

As I've mentioned before Mother Nature's pissy attitude has almost gotten the best of me.  But I won't let her.

My husband is in Germany, living the high life working his tushy off as I wrestle, wrangle and referee two wild children that have yet to have more than 5 minutes of fresh air in the past 5 days.  I'm all for playing in the rain, don't get me wrong, but not when it's an unseasonal 8 degrees out.

Instead, I will spend over 40 dollars in 3 days at indoor playgrounds.

Is it worth it?

My sanity is.

Now, I've been to a few indoor playgrounds in my short time as a Mother but the one I went to today was AWESOME.  It had bouncy castles, bouncy slides, some seriously large climbing and play structures with about 5 different slides.  Free arcade racing games (not gonna lie...might have dabbled in them), a huge toy house with play pots and food, motorized motorcycles...and bonus....many comfy leather couches to sit my butt on.

Not that I had a chance to do much of that but it made me happy to know the option was there.

When we arrived only a couple of other families were there.  My boys immediately set off on their way and I watched with happiness in my heart and a smile on my face.

After about 45 minutes it became a lot busier and I took a moment to people watch.

Cause it's fun.

And it makes me feel better when I see other people's kids acting like mine do on a bad day.

One little boy was clinging to his Mom's leg as she tried to pry him off while not so convincingly convince him to ride on the nearby scooter.  Another toddler was literally flat out on the floor screaming to the Gods as her extremely pregnant and very tired looking Mother watched with aloof amusement (confession - I did too.  It was funny)  Another couple was coming up on the brink of exasperation as their 2 year old ran in and out of rooms that were supposed to be off limits and then there were 2 twin boys who were definitely under 2 basically wandering around on their own, their Mother with a newborn simply too exhausted to chase them up and down (claustrophobia inducing) play structures or go down the (very terrifying) slides with them.  Could I blame her???  Hell no!  I wanted to hug the poor woman.

See?  I can't breath even looking at this picture.

Me...barely breathing.

The "drop slides"... after panicking, crawling and climbing maniacally
through the never ending play structure I was almost tempted to go down this
slide with my 18 month old as my only way out.
The lack of oxygen clearly affected my brain.
I chose to embrace my fear of enclosed spaces over fear of heights and
turned the H.E. double hockey sticks around.


I sat and watched and thanked the lucky stars that my kids were being so great.

And then....

.....then after about an hour and 45 minutes the cold hand of karma slapped the smugness right outta me.

We took a break, sat down in the eating area and I doled out some snacks of fruit and raisin bread with their sippy cups of water.

Three things happened in the next 7 minutes that almost put my 3 year old over the edge.

1) The table next to us had brought Tim Horton's timbits with them (and damn them - they didn't offer him ANY!)

2) He noticed that there were juice boxes displayed on the counter and he HAD to have one.

3) His brother kept stealing his grapes.

That's when I decided that it was time to go.  It was almost lunch time and clearly both my boys were getting tired.

Well, if he was near the edge before he dove right off just then.

I'm talking even worse than the worst tantrum he's had to date.

As the employees of the place watched in undisguised bemusement, Adrian screamed, cried, kicked and refused to put on his rain boots and jacket.  I gave up, got Finley and I dressed to leave all the while my son made an absolute spectacle of himself.  I did the "Okay, Fin and I are leaving now...good-bye.".

That was a big mistake.  If I thought the decibals of his screams couldn't get any louder.

They did then.

After almost 10 minutes of the ridiculous shenanigans he eventually got dressed in his jacket and boots.

As we walked out the door...

...it all began again.

He pounded, yelled and cried that he "want to play MORE!!" at the door of the indoor playground.

As I was holding Finley (who weighs a mere 28 lbs) and it was raining out, I was really beginning to lose my patience.  Of-course my truck was parked ACROSS the large lot so I couldn't just leave Adrian, buckle Finley in and come back lest my 3 year old darts in front of a car in a massive case of hysteria and gets squished like a bug.


Although I nearing hysterics as well and wanted to squish him like a bug myself at that very moment.


After 10 more minutes of losing his mind he followed me to the truck and I buckled Finley in.

Buckling him in was a whole other ordeal of him screaming, kicking and squirming.  But it got done.

Even still...I had to listen to this:

I know you can't hear him...but I'm sure you can imagine what it sounded like.
While, thank goodness, my other son looked like this:

Ahhh, my sweet, sweet Fin...I know someday you'll give me
strife but as of that moment, you were my favourite.

How many more days until my husband is home?

Oh that's right, he just left YESTERDAY.

Pass the wine please.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Smiles between the Cries

The past few days we've been cooped up in the house thanks to the apparent fact that Mother Nature has forgotten about the spring rhyme, April showers bring May flowers and has decided instead that April showers will bring May misery.  My patience is waning and my nerves are a jangling.  Actually truth be told my patience waned about 2 days ago when I thought I might lose my mind and decided to scream into a pillow instead of at my family lest my husband turn me into a mental institution.  The screaming into a pillow?  Not such a good idea.  Although it did make me feel better for a time, I now have a sore throat and broken blood vessels around my eyes.   Not the best look for me.

I like to focus my blog on the good things mixed in with the trials and tribulations with a dash of humour but I'm afraid my humour has run away with my patience, so I've resorted to looking at funny videos of my kids because when all is said and done...funny videos of your kids are ... well, pretty uplifting even when you feel you can't handle them for one more minute.  They're a good reminder that not all days are pure torment as they have been lately.  They actually do make me laugh between the tantrums, whining and demanding as I walk a tight rope of desperate emotions and the very urgent need to get into my car and drive far, far away...if just for a day or two.

If you're having the same kind of week as me than I encourage you to do the same.  I did attempt to upload some recent funny videos of my children taken via Photobooth but because Blogger is seriously screwing with me (and every other Blogger blogger) they aren't uploading properly.  Like I need something else to get on my last nerve.  

I've decided instead to upload some fun pictures that we took a few days last week, and if Blogger ever decides to get their shit together you might see the video some time in the future ... but please don't hold your breath.

I don't need anyone dying on me.  

Until then, I will leave you with these.  

Photobooth = Lots 'o Fun














Saturday, May 14, 2011

If Only Money Grew on Trees

On a late rainy Saturday afternoon as I was cooking dinner, John tended to the little one snacking away on some raisins (Shudder.  I just don't get the appeal of raisins.  Never have.  Never will.  But my kids eat them by the pound) as my 3 year old sat beside him oohing and aahhing over the Toys R Us flyer.

He points at an action figure and says to no one in particular, "This is a Star Wars action figure or sump'ing, probly"  First of all, no idea how he even knows about Star Wars as he's never watched the movies in his life....and second using the words 'probably' and 'or something' randomly in sentences is something he's taken to doing a lot lately.

He points to another toy, and says, "Oh!  I like this!  I want to buy this one Daddy!"

John, "You do?  Where's your money Aidy?  You need money if you want to buy it."

Long pause.

.........still quiet.

Adrian says softly, "Daddy?.....You have money."


And so it begins.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FOODIE FRIDAY - Two Sides of YUM

It's Foodie Friday again.  I really have committed myself to this haven't I?

Today I'm pulling out all the stops and have decided to go for TWO recipes.  I wanted to do my infamous salad recipe but that's a bit lame on it's own.  However, I promise you, the salad itself, not  lame!  You WILL love.  Everyone loves my salads.  In addition to the salad I have a recipe of my Dad's BBQ Potatoes.  So I can't take all the credit for those.  (Shout out to Randy!)  That's my Dad's name and even though he doesn't read my blog...because he hasn't made it into the millennium yet ... I'm still holding out hope that he makes it here soon and will read this at some point in his lifetime.

The salad and the potatoes go great with a barbecued steak or chicken breast...or any kind of meat for that matter.  Here goes my friends...

January's Delicioso (must pronounce with Spanish accent although there's nothing Spanish about it) Salad

A couple handfuls of your favourite greens (I use a Sassy Baby Greens mix - I'm all about the Sass)
Handful of chopped walnuts (for an extra oomph of flavour toast them quickly in a pan over med. heat)
Handful and a bit of dried cranberries
1 avocado - diced
A good chunk of goat cheese crumbled
1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper diced
About 1/2 a green onion

I used to separately mix up a dressing in a small glass bowl of dijon mustard, maple syrup (or honey), salt, pepper, dash of hot sauce, a teaspoon of water and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar but then I got lazy.  You can do the above dressing too but if you're feeling lazy like me simply do the following:  just before serving the salad swoosh a bit of balsamic and maple syrup directly on the salad, mix it up well and it tastes just as amazing.

This will serve 4 people.

I really need to stop using my phone for pictures.
Forgive me, it's just easier.


This second recipe is my Dad's as I mentioned above.  He has made different variations of these potatoes for many years but this version is my favourite.

Cheers to the BBQ'ing Daddy's out there!


Randy's BBQ Potatoes

Fire up the BBQ and if you don't have a lot of time you can microwave the potatoes first for about 3-4 mins and it'll halve the cooking time.

4 medium sized russet potatoes - sliced into rounds - not too thin, not too thick
1 large onion - halved and sliced - not too thin, not too thick
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
Generous sprinkling of sea salt (or regular, kosher - whatever you have)
A few turns on the pepper mill
Enough olive oil to coat the potatoes and onions - about 2 tbsp

Take a good size (math, clearly, not my strongest subject so exact square cm or inches you will not see here) of tin foil and spread it out.

Toss the ingredients in a bowl until well coated with oil.

Place on tin foil like so;


Fold longer sides over potatoes and fold up the ends like this:

Place on the BBQ away from direct heat for about 40 mins if you did not microwave or about 20-25 mins if you did.

This will serve a generous portion for 4 people.

I hope you'll try these out and let me know what you think.

Until next time friends.

Sante!

*CUE MUSIC!* (Tragically Hip and Canadian Summers go together like Corona and lime - perfectly)

Shhhh....I have a serious crush on the odd yet inexplicably appealing Gord Downey.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recollections of a 3 year old - Part 2

About one year ago I had the best idea EVER.  I was going to take my 2 year old and 7 month old to the library.

You can all stop laughing now.  I realized shortly after that it was the WORST idea EVER.  

In my mind the scenario I was hoping for would go like this:

We'd arrive all smiles at the library and Adrian would be fascinated with all the books that he'd sit at one of the tables nice and quietly a pile of books by his side.  My little guy would be so comfy and cozy because he'd be right next to me in his sling that he wouldn't fuss or make a peep.  I would browse the Adult Fiction aisle keeping a close eye on his brother feeling proud as he sits ever so serenely turning the pages of a beautiful picture book.

The reality went more like this:

We arrive, my 2 year old running here, there and everywhere but where I wanted him to be.  
Screw the books, Adrian became OBSESSED with a computer game that he had no idea how to play (therefore getting very frustrated and even more so because I had no idea how to work the damn game either)  My 7 month old squirmed unhappily in the sling wanting desperately to crawl around on the floor.  Then upon being released having great fun pulling book after book after book off of the shelves.

I grabbed 2 random books off the shelf for myself trying terribly to keep calm and patient as my 2 year old whined wanting to play the silly duck computer game and not knowing how with my 7 month old making a fine mess of books on the floor,  protesting loudly whenever I attempted to clean up the books and maneuver him closer to me.

After about 20 minutes of this torture, I gave Adrian a 5 minute warning (like he has any concept of what time is) and proceeded to pick up my cranky baby and tuck him into the sling ungracefully...arms waving, legs kicking...me, red faced, becoming more anxious and testy by the second.

"Adrian, we need to go now."

"NO!"

"Adrian, Mommy and Finley are leaving.  Let's go honey."

Starting to cry, beginnings of tantrum "NO!  I want to stay and play game!!!"

Sighing in defeat, fearing a battle that I had no energy to handle at that very moment.  "Okay, a couple more minutes and then we really need to go."

I let him 'play' the computer game for a few more minutes as I tried to calm Finley who was fussing in the sling, then I let him know it was time to go....again.

"Sweets, time to go.  We can play outside when we get home.  All the kids will be home from school."

"Uh uh!  NO!  Want to stay here Mumma!"

I noticed his two toy motorbikes he brought with him sitting on the computer table...it was the last straw.

"Adrian if you don't come with Mummy right now I will be taking your motorbikes away for the rest of the day."

Aaaaand here it comes.  Complete and total meltdown.  Screaming, crying, limbs flailing.  

At the LIBRARY.  

I was mortified.  

My books forgotten I picked him up football style (that's right WITH baby in sling) and out the door we went, imagining the librarians rolling their eyes and imperceptibly shaking their heads upon our raucous departure.  I strode toward our truck, right past a police car, officer included, with my 2 year old literally kicking and screaming.

Oh no...that didn't add to my anxiety AT ALL.  

I buckled both monsters in, as I breathed deeply and sweated profusely (I recall it was a very hot day) and realized I left the motorbikes in the library.

Crap.  

Well, there was no way in hell I was going back in there.

I climbed into the truck, starting it up and turning on the AC full force while my 2 year old screamed in the back seat.

And somehow we made it home in one piece.

Now let's fast forward to today.

I was at the grocery store in the meat section with both my boys and Adrian out of the blue says the following...

"Mumma, remember when we went to the library and I was freaking out (yes, those were his exact words) and then we left and you left my motorbikes there...why did you do that...where are my motorbikes?"

I could do nothing but laugh, mostly out of usage of the term "freaking out" but also out of amazement...and maybe a bit of nervousness that my 3 year old can remember these events with utmost detail...that occurred a YEAR ago.  

Now here was the ultimate test.

"Why were you freaking out honey?"

"I was playing on the computer games...but Mummy, what happened to my motorbikes?"

Seriously?

Seriously. 

And we wonder why us Mom's have such constant daily anxiety of all we do and all we say.  

It's because of THESE moments, when our children remind us with specific play by plays of the parental moments we'd much, much rather forget.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spellbound

This evening when I put my little one to bed he was tired.  Really tired...eyes and limbs heavy he did not fight bed time.

15 minutes later when he heard the clatter of his big brother boisterously climbing upstairs the wailing began.

After I sat Adrian in our bed, put on the Tigger Movie and gave him his Spiderman toothbrush giving firm directions to brush his teeth I opened Finley's door to find him standing in his crib, crying pitifully and anxiously pointing to his soother that he had thrown across his room.

I put another soother in his mouth, picked him up out of his crib, wondering wistfully when he got so big.  He gently placed his head on my shoulder (it always makes me melt when my boys do that) and I began to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to him.  The song that does magic to calm both my boys down.  I could feel his sturdy little body meld into mine and continued to hold him close taking in the moment after finishing the song, swaying ever so slightly, breathing in his yummy freshly shampooed, baby scent.

Giving him one last kiss good night on his soft cherubic cheek I placed him back in his crib, laying his favourite blankies on him and tucking his lovey, Gigi, into the crook of his neck.

My husband was cleaning the kitchen and listening to music.  'The Space Between' by Dave Matthews Band came on.  Maybe it was the song, premenstrual emotions or the glass of wine I had with dinner (or possibly the combination of all three) but my heart constricted and tears unexpectedly pricked the back of my eyes.  My baby simply stared at me with his wide, soulful blue eyes.  I rested my chin on the crook of my arm that was leaning against the crib and gazed back at him with wet emotion.

My baby.

My little guy.

My sweet boy.

Probably my last.

As I stroked his sweet cheeks with the back of my hand my chest filled with a tremendous amount love and nostalgia, I thought, how fast the past 18 months have gone.

I want to stop time so many moments in a day.

Capture and hold.... just there.

As I listened to the beautiful lyrics of the song I couldn't tear my eyes from his.  I wondered what was going on in his little mind as he continued his deep stare, eyes not moving from mine the soother in his little mouth moving up, down, up, down, up, down.

Just like he did the second I laid eyes on him moments after emerging from my womb he was casting his spell on me.

I gave him one last stroke with my hand, over his fine hair, down his cheek.

"Good night baby boy....sweet dreams...." I moved to his bedroom door and even as I was closing it he continued looking my way.

I blew him a kiss, smiled and whispered "I love you" just as I do every night.

Yes, he cast a spell on me the day he came into my life and he continues to do so every day.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Forevermore.

He has me spellbound.

Sweet baby Fin and Me.

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

Warning:  The following post is gag-worthy...but I felt the need to post it to be used and upheld as an example for all future Mother's Day's.

There are many different views about Mother's Day.  Some people might not feel comfortable with it because it feels contrived or too commercial, others may not like it because they may feel their husband doesn't do anything different on that day anyway so what's to celebrate (TERRIBLY SAD)...and some Mother's LOVE it...people like me.  I've never had the above feelings and figure any day that allows me a little sleep in time is cause to be very happy!

Since last year my husband wasn't even in the same country let alone the same continent because of that darn volcano ash issue from Iceland, just having him HOME made it above and beyond last years.

But this year's Mother's Day, this was the first Mother's Day that I had a blog...and I used that to my FULL advantage my friends.  I'm well aware that men aren't mind readers as much as we'd like to think they are so I put together a little list of my Mother's Day wishes.  It was a tad tongue in cheek and I really didn't expect my husband to do them all.

Just most of them.

It must've slipped my mind for a moment that my husband is not only pretty awesome but also a perfectionist.

I awoke around 8 am on Mother's Day morning to a pile of magazines and 2 beautiful cards...one that had this message on it:



I might keep him around.

I came down the stairs to see my boys and was greeted with a sweet "Happy Mother's Day!" from my 3 year old, a hug from my 18 month old and of-course all of the above from my husband.  Except he was a bit ..... sweaty?

"Why are you all sweaty?"

"Well, I've been busy cleaning the floors for you!"  I look around and notice the floors are shining and the dishes are all done.

I started to laugh.

"Honey!  I was only joking when I said the sparkling floors part."  But hey, no complaining from me.

He handed me a big cup of joe and told me to go back to bed as he opened the fridge to grab the waffle batter....that's right...to make this Mumma some waffles!!!

Enjoying my morning coffee in bed
(Not the best pic but this is me...morning me anyway)


As I sipped on my coffee and read the latest gossip my husband was making me THIS.....


This is what my Mother's Day extravaganza looked like...

I am one lucky Mother!  ;)

The cutest part in the boy's card was this:

Their drawings.  Adrian's 'fish' and Finley's...well whatever that is.

The day was beautiful, sunny and warm upwards of 20 degrees just as I wished.  John said I didn't want to know what he had to do to get that weather (since it's been dreary, cold and wet here forEVER)  It may have had something to do with selling his soul.

We spent all morning outside with the boys and our neighbours and their children, riding bikes and jumping on trampolines.

My big boy on his 2 wheeler!

The dandelion he picked for me and placed so sweetly behind my ear.

Me and my little guy.

The boys went down for naps in the afternoon (hubby included) and I took off to Chapters to spend my gift card.  I bought 3 books a cd and a Starbucks Iced Tea Lemonade.  I also got to hold a 4 month old baby boy who I was making goo-goo faces at as I waited in the Starbucks line.  I chatted with the Mother for a few minutes and later on while I was reading "The Secret Garden" (that's right...one of my purchases.  I read it as a 11 year old and wanted to read it again - it's timeless and I'm so happy I bought it) she came over and asked me if a wanted a little Mother's Day present from her.  I got to smell him and squish him and ... ooohhh, he may have ignited in me a want for another (just don't tell my husband.)

After 2 hours of wandering, relaxing and reading I headed back home.

I enjoyed a couple glasses of wine and we ordered sushi from my favourite sushi restaurant...and it was absolutely delicious!

All in all it was a fantastic Mother's Day.

I highly suggest letting your wishes known...and not just on Mother's Day.

You never know, you just might be taken by pleasant surprise.

Friday, May 6, 2011

For You, Mumma

My favourite picture in the whole world.


There comes a time in your life as an adult that you stop seeing your parents as parents and simply see them for the human being they actually are.  It's kind of like seeing your high school gym teacher out at a bar 10 years after you've graduated.  Kinda weird but quite enlightening.

The moment it began happening for me I was in my early to mid 20's.   I can't recall what exactly my thoughts were but it's become even more apparent since I've become a Mother myself.  I see the tough choices she's made and think about her being a single Mom with 2 kids under 5 at such a young age and I have more respect for her than I ever have.  I can only imagine going through a separation and becoming a single parent being one of the hardest experiences to deal with.  I'm fortunate that my parents dealt with it with grace and dignity.  At least that is what I saw.  It could not have been easy...I know it wasn't.  Being a Mother never is and that is why I would like to celebrate my Mother today by recalling my most precious memories of her.

Starting with the songs she sang.  So she may have sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but I don't remember.  I do remember her singing Janis Joplin's Mercedes BenzMagalina Hagalina, Away in a Manger (I know this is traditionally a Christmas song but she sang it all read round if memory serves me correctly), Grandma got ran over by a reindeer - now this song she may have sing just at Christmas.  A couple other songs come to mind that I could not find by googling (and that says something!).  One was about a grandma swinging on an outhouse door in her underwear and another was about aliens that had to be sung with a lisp.  I know.  My Mother would not be considered a traditional sort.  But that's what you gotta love about her.

Speaking of untraditional, my Mom wasn't much of a cook, not that she was bad but I don't have a lot of memories of her cooking in the kitchen.  She did make a delicious Chicken Cacciatore (which we called Kitchen Cacciatore) and a scrumptious split pea and ham soup.

Another early childhood memory was her chasing me with a wooden spoon and swinging it over my butt...for it to connect with a snap.

The spoon broke.

I get the feeling that wooden spoons were big in the punishment department back in the 70's and 80's.  I'm pretty sure my parents weren't the only ones that used this object to threaten their children into good behaviour.  Let me be clear that this was NOT a terrible memory.  It actually makes me laugh.  I also locked myself in the bathroom one time so as not to be whacked with that archaic form of discipline....she laughed.  And I laughed too.

Actually, I'm still laughing.

My Mom has a Mom dance.

You know the dance.

It used to embarrass the heck out of me. She'd be singing her heart out to a song with her elbows bent at her sides, fingers snapping, shoulders keeping rhythm bopping and shrugging as her feet did the side to side shuffle.  My brother and I would beg her to stop.  She never did.  In fact I'm pretty sure she would sing louder and dance more enthusiastically.

My first feeling of true happiness that I physically, mentally and emotionally remember was with my Mother.  It was spring and we were at a sugar bush.  I can't recall what age I was but I do recall the sweet smokey smell of maple syrup being made, the hay ride into the sugar bush and a feeling of real contentment filling me up.  I think I may have told my Mom it was the best day ever.  And if I didn't or you don't remember me saying those words, than I am telling you now Mumma.  That was one of my best days ever.  Every time I've been to a sugar bush since the saccharine scent of syrup mingled with the smell of wood burning brings me right back to that day, that feeling of peace filling up my soul.

Growing up, our house was always open to family.  My aunt and my cousin lived with us for a time as well as my uncle.  They were going through some trying times and she could never, nor would ever turn away family.

She has a heart of gold.

I don't remember her laughing or smiling often when we were really little but when I made her laugh, the sound of it gave me the best feeling ever.  She has the most infectious laugh of anyone I know.  I am happy to say that she laughs a lot more today.  She also makes me laugh.  She has a fabulous sense of humour and says the funniest sayings that most people have never heard of.  Her most famous saying (that I now repeat) is declaring "And we're off like a turd of hurtles!"  When describing a small room or space she'll say "It was so small I had to go outside just to change my mind!"

She kills me.

My Mum bought me my first pair of thongs.  TMI?  Probably.  But let me tell you...I've never looked back.  VPL be GONE!  I truly believe thongs have changed my life. Thank you Mom, for being cooler than me.

When I was in college we lived together just the 2 of us in a cozy 2 bedroom apartment.  It was great....my favourite memory of living there with her was coming to her door just before I'd go to bed, she'd be reading by soft lamp light, sipping tea and reading a novel (I got my love of reading from her...but not a love of tea).  Sometimes I would just pop in and give her a kiss good night and other nights I would come in and sit on the side of her bed and we'd talk.  About whatever.  Anything, everything. We still have great conversations, they take place mostly over the phone now.

I wrote a poem for my Mum, about my Mum...I will simply call it Ellen (her name);


Don't let her slight of stature fool you


Her strength my spire


Her heart beats 


Bared


Open to love


Emotional


and


Deeply sensitive


Though seemingly unyeilding


Blunt honesty


Not always embraced


Though words always effectual


An abounding light of energy


Independence her very soul


Happiness


A vision frequently eluded


Today


More deserved then she will


Ever know


If there's anything at all that I've learned in my very short 33 years but especially since becoming a Mother is that we all make mistakes, have lapses in judgement, some mistakes bigger, some lapses deeper, but I can say that in all of my relationships I've learned to take people at face value.  Accepting them for who they are and appreciating and loving them for their good qualities, seeing their faults but not defining them by them because nobody is perfect.  We are all human paradoxes.

I accept my Mother for all that she is and I hope that my sons will do the same for me, for I know there will come a day when they will see me as more than just their "Mom".  No doubt I will make mistakes, have some down days and allow negativity to get the best of me. I will say some things that I'll later wish I hadn't.  I hope I don't but that's not reality.  WE ALL DO THAT.  My wish is that as adults my sons can see me for the person that I am.  And I hope they embrace me and love me as much as I love the person my Mother is.


I feel extremely lucky to have the relationship I do with my Mum.  It hasn't always been easy, God knows it hasn't, nor do I expect it to be at all times but it's a good one.  We've had our differences and arguments for which we've gone days without talking but those times have been very few and far between.  I admire my Mother more than any other woman I know.  We are so different yet so alike.  I catch myself sounding just like her sometimes.

It makes me smile.

I wish we lived closer.

I miss her.



Isn't she beautiful!?

FOODIE FRIDAY - Burgers Baby!

I'm terrible at taking good pictures of food so pictures like this will have to do for now


So, after I posted The Dinner Hour and impulsively decided to include a note at the end about doing a Foodie Friday then receiving feedback that people are actually looking forward to reading it and possibly trying out my recipes I had a bit of anxiety.

Because I don't actually follow recipes myself.  The only recipes I've ever followed have had to do with baking as that's a science in itself.  But cooking?  I could probably count on one hand how many times I've followed a recipe, ingredient by ingredient, measure by measure.  I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of cook, so with my recipes I will be estimating....you may see a lot of "a pinch of this" or a "generous swoosh of that".  So if you are the type of person that feels better in following recipes to the t, mine may not be for you.  You'd be better off searching Epicurious or All Recipes.

Anyway, on to my "recipe".  Since we're at the bbq season (finally) or as my American comrades would say the "grilling" season I decided to start off with burgers.  Who doesn't love a good burger on a hot summer's day?  Pair that with a beer and life is good my friends.  I am a big fan of keeping things simple...no blue cheese, mango puree or dry soup mix in these babies.  I enjoy the natural taste of food and I don't like to disguise it much with wacky ingredients that you probably won't ever have in your cupboard or pantry.  I would rather enhance it with simple seasonings.  It's surprising what a little salt, pepper, garlic and basil can do for a dish.  This may make me sound like I'm a picky eater.  Rest assured, I will eat and/or try just about anything as long as it doesn't involve reptiles, bugs or a feathered friend's foot.

I am also fairly health conscious.  If you are looking to cut fat and calories you can substitute ground turkey for the ground beef in the following recipe.  It is just as delicious.

Here goes...palms are sweaty, heart is racing...the pressure is on!  I really hope you enjoy!!!

First things first...heat up the bbq!  And if you're a woman and you leave the bbq'ing to your husband I will kindly suggest that you learn.  Barbequing is very empowering!

*A handy tip:  never leave the lid closed when you fire it up.  I did that once and am lucky to still have hair (or a face for that matter).

The following will yield 4 burgers...or if you have little ones you can take one of those burgers and divide into 2 or 3 mini burgers (like sliders).   You can now find slider buns at your local grocery store which are the perfect size for your little ones hands.

1 lb of extra lean ground beef (or ground turkey for a healthier option)
1 small onion finely chopped (if your kids aren't into onions simply leave them out and put them on the side and use as a topping)
1/3 cup of fine dry Italian bread crumbs (or plain is fine too - the Italian just have some herbs mixed in)
1 egg
a few generous dashes of worcestershire
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or you can chop up a clove of fresh garlic)
a generous pinch of salt and a few turns on your pepper mill

Mix well, form into 4 good sized patties and place on the bbq for about 10-15 mins turning halfway.
Nearing the end of the 10-15 min mark you can put some buttered (or unbuttered) buns on the grill and a slice or 2  of your favourite cheese (I like marble or old cheddar and occasionally, though we usually don't have it in our house, 'dirty cheese' (aka Kraft Singles - shout out to my BFF!)

I serve my burgers on whole wheat thintini buns as they aren't as filling as regular buns and healthier.  I am traditional in my condiments.  Yellow mustard, ketchup, sliced pickles.  Personally, I pass on the tomatoes and lettuce as I serve my burgers alongside a salad anyway but go nuts if you wish.

I hope you give these a whirl and would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks for joining me on my first FOODIE FRIDAY!  *cue music*

Now crack that beer and get grilling!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Mother's Day Wish(es)

My wishes for Mother's Day....

I don't ask for much but on the one day that it's about celebrating me, as a Mother, and everything I do for my family I would like to be given just a few wishes that will come true.  I could rub my coffee pot and hope that a genie pops out to grant me them but the chances of that happening, clearly, are nil.

So, I'm just gonna put it out there people.

Oh and instead of the chintzy 3 wishes that that cheap genie gives, on Mother's Day I will get 10.

That's right.  Because I DESERVE that many!

Wish 1:  For a morning that allows me to sleep in until whatever time I want.  And not to feel guilty about it.

Wish 2:  To have breakfast in bed that consists of my husband's waffles with fresh fruit, lots of whipped cream and syrup.  And a very, very large cup of my favourite Costa Rican coffee.  This may or may not be accompanied by a nicely wrapped gift.

Wish 3:  Once I tear my lazy body out of bed I wish to come downstairs to a spotless house....sparkling floors and dishes put away.

Wish 4:  Upon slagging my body sluggishly down the stairs I wish to be greeted by my sons with strangling hugs and sloppy kisses.  Let me not forget about hugs and smooches from my husband too...just don't strangle me.  Please. (however tempted you may be after reading this)

Wish 5:  That my children are on their utmost best behaviour ALL DAY.  No whining, no crying, no tantrumming.

Wish 6:  Beautiful weather.  I'm requesting, Mother Nature, make it 20 degrees with lots of sun and little wind so that my kids can run off their endless energy and I can soak up some Vitamin D while my husband gets to chase them around.

Wish 7:  For dinner to be cooked for me ... and if that's not an option than a simple platter of sushi from my favourite Japanese restaurant will do... and don't forget the seaweed salad (trust me - sounds absurd - very delicious)

Wish 8:  Alongside my home cooked or sushi meal to indulge in a glass or 3 of my favourite chilled white wine.

Wish 9:  For my children to eat all of their dinner.  No freaking out, no crying, no running away from the table.  A nice civilized dinner...is that too much to ask?

Wish 10:  For my boys to go to bed (early) without any dramatics so that I can spend some quality time with my husband, sipping on some wine together, maybe play some Boggle (he hates playing that game with me...because I RULE) and so that I can tell my genie of a husband how amazing he is for making all my wishes come true.