The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos (Or How New Traditions Begin)

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Enthusiasm. Don’t you just love it?

One of the best things about being an enthusiastic person is that when you have offspring they often take on this trait.

I know because I have two kids and even though, individually, they’re as unique as little snowflakes, they share my* enthusiasm.

It’s a lot more fun to be enthusiastic when you have other enthusiastic people around you. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

I was in a mall today.

I don’t generally go to malls, ever, actually, but Thing 2 made a special request to go to the mall to buy Christmas gifts for her family, this morning, and well, when a little enthusiastic elf asks for help in elf matters, you just smile and say, “Sure!”, with enthusiasm**.

So, after the grown-ups were caffeinated, we headed out to our local mall to help the Things do a bit of shopping. We went for the divide and conquer approach, whereby the parents each take a Thing and help him or her to find what he or she needs and then meet up to trade Things and do it all over again. It works well for us. It was fun. The mall wasn’t very crowded and the kids were in great I-don’t-care-what-we-do-we’re-not-in-school moods.

We took our time and helped each Thing find the gifts that fit the bill. This was easy for one and difficult for the other. Thing 2 is decisive and goal oriented and was seriously like an elf on a very enthusiastic mission. Thing 1 had a hard time, but mostly because he really wanted to get something special and he wanted to stick to his reasonable budget.

Even though there were no fewer than three fancy schmancy easy-just-buy-whatever-sparkly-diamond-places, he just wouldn’t stray from his logical path. Go figure! Personalities come out in the most interesting ways, sometimes, don’t they?

Anyway, eventually, everyone got what they needed and I was even able to do a bit of secret elfing with Thing 2 and her enthusiasm in tow.

We ended our mall adventure with a teensy stop into the Apple Store (to ogle things we would not buy) and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (just to inhale). We enjoyed the seasonal red shirts the staff were wearing at the Apple Store – though the expendable joke was not lost on us.

Then we all hopped back into the car, which was parked in the same spot*** we always seem to get at this mall, and took ourselves out to a late lunch. We had worked up quite an appetite walking in circles and trying to dodge each other in the mall. It’s a great place to play super-spy, by the way, in case any of you were wondering.

Lunch was delicious. Burgers and fries and root beer****. Hot and fresh and yum! A real treat!

We arrived home just in time for the carb coma to hit, so the kiddos went to their separate corners and Daddy-O and I crashed into a delightful nap. I am a terrible napper, generally speaking, but with fighting the plague and all the running around, I guess I was due for a good one. Oh so dreamy! I guess Daddy-O is the Ross to my Joey, because I seriously can’t ever nap. Thing 2 can even recount stories of my escaping naps when she was teeny. I’m just no good at napping.

I awoke refreshed and with a newfound mission in mind. I simply had to get something into the mail and nothing was going to stop me.

(You should know I have a stockpile of very thoughtful gifts sitting neatly on a chair in my bedroom. I buy these things with every intention to get them sent out to their intended recipients asap, but alas, life happens and there they sit. Am I the only one? Tell me I am not the only one!)

So, I snipped school photos of the Things, wrote out a speedy holiday greeting, located the item and channelled my inner Grammy***** and packaged that baby into a teeny size that really should have been impossible to fit into a standard 8×10 Canada Post parcel envelope, but lo and behold it fit! (Dude at the post office was impressed. I know he was. He just expresses himself differently than I do.) Into the mail it went and we will have a new tradition to add to our already diverse Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, ChrismukkahLa Befana, 12th Night mix because when that parcel arrives it will be a kind of miracle. Plus I know the recipient will laugh and be happy and that’s all that matters really.

When I arrived home, my Things had the TV paused for me (there was a brand new Austin & Ally episode) and were waiting (and waiting and waiting) while I was out making miracles happen and grabbing a few ingredients at the grocery store (Chipits were on sale. W00t!). The plan was to make a simple snacky supper, since we had had a late lunch.

We decided on nachos, but not just any old nachos would do. No sir-ee!

We had to have nachos worthy of a new tradition.

I give you, “The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos”.

They were delicious and I can guarantee my little enthusiastic, creature of habit, elf-y, Things will be reminding me next December 22 that we have to make them again.

We are only two sleeps away from Christmas and we still have plenty to do, but you know what? We are all being very chill about the whole thing. There really is no need to panic.

What traditions have emerged in your family over the years that seem so logical, but may be completely unique to you?

What’s your go-to dinner when the hour is getting late?

How are your Holidays going?

 

 

 

 

 

*Daddy-O is enthusiastic too, but he can claim them on his own blog!

**See how well that works out?

***Of course when you go the mall only a handful of times all year, selective recall is strong.

****Guess where we had lunch!

*****Grammy is my Mummy. She could pack an elephant in a matchbox and ship it to Istanbul and it would never escape because the sheer amount of tape used would stand up to anything the world might throw at it.

Source: http://ca.eonline.com/news/605724/weird-holiday-traditions-you-thought-were-normal-but-prove-your-family-is-totally-nuts

Supper In a Flash!

Feed daily!

Sometimes, despite best laid plans, we get out of our routine of good habits – such as meal planning or writing a weekly (or monthly – who are these people?!) menu.

When this happens, as it has for me recently, I am forever grateful for my imagination, creativity, enthusiasm, the ability to make something from (practically) nothing, and a good collection of meal ideas to fall back on.

Here are a couple of good “go to” recipes that can be made quickly and inexpensively, which, to me, is a great bonus!

 

Oven Baked Chicken Legs

Package of plump delicious chicken legs

Drizzle of olive oil (I use EVOO)

Seasoning (Applied in the following order)(Or not)(Whatevs.)(I’m breezy!)

Freshly cracked black pepper

Kosher salt (pinch)

Seasoning salt

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Cayenne

Oregano

Parmesan

Arrange the chicken legs on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil. Drizzle EVOO over the chicken. Begin layering your flavours. I eyeball this process according to the spice level my family desires. I sprinkle from on high so the spices kind of snow down over the sheet pan. I find this allows me to control the spices better and I never get a giant clump of cayenne or a gob of garlic. Next I take my tongs and just flip the legs over and back to sort of evenly coat them with the EVOO and seasoning. It isn’t an exact science and I am sure it will be fine whether you do this or not. Go ahead! Give it a try!

375 degree oven 40 minutes (or until done).

 

 

Oven Fried Rice*

2 c Uncle Ben’s Converted Long  Grain Rice

2 c water

1 pkg.  onion soup mix

1/2  c. oil

2  tbsp. soya sauce (I use gluten free)

I add a red pepper that has been diced because it makes it scrumptious and any time I can add a veggie, well, I do! I think it would be so pretty to add red and green (Christmas!) or several different colours to assist in the whole “eat the rainbow” quest.

Bake for one hour at 350 degree oven with cover on.

After first half hour of cooking, remove the cover and stir. Replace cover** and continue baking until done.

 

Take them out and cover to keep warm – or if you are lucky enough to have two ovens you can cook both things at once, keep the chicken warm, and well aren’t you the fancy schmancy Martha Stewart-y type? What the heck are you doing here reading my silly blog? Surely you have a Regatta Gala or some other fabulous event to attend tonight? No? Taking a break from being a Socialite? Okay. Cool! Hi!

 

What are your “go to” oh-no-is-that-the-time meals?

What kinds of things can you whip up in a flash that will feed your family and make them happy at the same time?

Feel free to share in the comments.

Bon appetit!

 

 

*We call this “Nanny Rice” at Chez Peady. Feel free to adopt this habit.

**I use an enamel roaster with a lid and I find a lot of moisture escapes. To accommodate this fact, I tend to add about a 1/2 c extra water. I feel that an awesome Dutch Oven would contain the moisture better, so if you have one***, try it and let me know how it goes.

***Dear Santa, LeCreuset. That is all****.

****Well, that and a goat.

Source: http://literarywinner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Why-do-they-want-dinner-EVERY-night.jpg (Sometimes you just have to share the love with a stranger blogger.)

C Is For Cookie. That’s Good Enough For Me!

COOKIE!

 

I haven’t had a cookie in a really long time and I think I must be nearing my breaking point because at this moment in time I can only think about one thing – and that one thing is ALL THE COOKIES!

I blame all the posts about Holiday Baking that keep popping up in my timelines.

I know an awful lot of Cookie Monster enablers, I fear.

I am at once thrilled and disappointed that most of them are far away.

Clearly, I am conflicted.

So what is a Cookie Monster who’s gone right off cookies, to do?

How can I get my thoughts out of my head while keeping my cookie cravings at bay?

Wait.

I’ve got it!

I can share some of the delicious theoretical cookies with you! Then you will be thinking about ALL THE COOKIES and I won’t have to bear this burden all by my cookie-denying lonesome.

*thumbs up*

So, without further ado, I give you my current cookie obsessions.

First there was this little Toblerone enhanced gem from Rebecca at A Little Bit of Momsense.

Then, this beauty popped up in my Facebook timeline, shared by Candace from Life in Pleasantville. It is sure to be a hit with the kids. Especially if you go for the giant cookie technique that Kelly shares!

Finally, (Well, for now at least, but I’m not making any promises!) Momstown Halifax shared this very easy, yet very pretty cookie that would be so fun to make with your Things! It came from the lovely people at CBC Parents.

 

And here’s a little something to do during this upcoming Holiday season. You know, in your spare time.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Thanks!

 

Sorry**, for dropping all of that on you at once, but I feel so much better now.

Wouldn’t you agree these are worthy cookies to share?

If you’re a smart cookie, you will!

Either way, now you can have all my cookie thoughts and hopefully I will have fewer.

It’s a devious kind of kindness, but it’s ultimately out of love that I share these things.

If you don’t like it, well … I guess it’s true what they say.

That’s the way the – wait for it – COOKIE crumbles! *wink*

 

 

*Source: http://crossfitsouthcobb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cookie_monster_original.jpg

**I’m so not sorry!!

Moderation Contemplation

Everything in moderation, including moderation. ~Oscar Wilde

 

Saturdays are pretty casual at Chez Peady, but we have a few things we tend to do on any given Saturday when we are in town.

I have a regular Saturday morning Zumba class, which I would never (ever, ever, EVAR) miss, unless I was physically not present. I missed last weekend because I was away celebrating a very important birthday and though I missed baltering with my bestie, I am so glad I was able to be present to present the presents.*

The Things are not currently enrolled in any extracurricular activities on Saturdays, so they tend to have a fairly relaxing morning. They might read or have a bit of TV or CPU time for a little while and, after a while, typically the topic of cleaning will be brought up by Daddy-O and they vanish like, well – like clean in a kids room!

There are a million great reasons to tidy a Thing room. In that there are a million things that need to be picked up off that darn floor and put away, donated or tossed.

And yet, today just didn’t seem like the right day to push it.

Thing 2, clearly got wind of a forthcoming fumigation because she decided to sleep in. It was an avoidance tactic, obviously, but I know my kiddos and it was also a clear sign that she was feeling stressed about stuff. It’s funny, you know, stuff can really bog a person down. Even a teeny Thing-like person.

They are always so relieved and relaxed once the annual pre-Christmas purge happens, but there’s no need in stressing them to the max in order to create calm. It sort of defeats the whole purpose of the exercise.

Thing 1, was happy to hang out with Daddy-O and play some computer games while I went off to Zumba (which was awesome, by the way) to dance away my stresses. He has an interesting set of avoidance skills, himself, mind you. He can organize his books for hours, but the closet floor will remain carpeted with a week’s worth of clothes. It’s enough to make a mother consider a rather pricey investment in that caution tape the police use to keep people away from crime scenes.

No. Today was a day of doing as little as possible and doing it with enthusiasm.

 

Usually, Saturday’s lunch is left over pizza from Friday Family Fun Night, but last night’s was so yummy the Things ate the whole pie! It was a simple Pepperoni & Cheese pizza and they were hungry Things! So, leftover pizza was out.

It seemed the kind of day that a fun lunch was in order, so we came up with the following meal. Brace yourself. No really. I mean it. Go eat some kale and have some cucumber water to prepare yourself for the forthcoming information.

This is a Peanut Butter, Banana, and Nutella sandwich – on WHITE bread!

*faints*

With BBQ chiptonite on the side.

*dies*

The Things were thrilled.

 

IMG_9569

 

I didn’t even know there was white bread in the kitchen. I never buy it. I suspect it was purchased by mistake. But seriously, if you were a kid who typically eats lots and lots of healthy meals (especially on school days, by the way, because it really is important) wouldn’t this make you happy?

IMG_9570

BB looks like she might be saying, “Awe you sewious, wady?!”* (BB photobombs are the bomb, no?)

So, I guess what I am saying is …

moderation-garfield

 

Well, mostly.

 

everything-in-moderation

 

 

 

*Is it any wonder ESL students get confused?

**This is the way BB has started speaking. We have no idea why she started speaking, at all, actually, but the voice – hoo boy. The Things do a voice and well, this is what she sounds like. It’s “adowabow” and extremely irritating at once. BB often gets up to shenanigans at Chez Peady, but her breakfast capers are what drive the parents the absolute most bananas on any given day. Especially if BB speaks prior to the coffee pot *beep*.

 

 

Sourse: http://www.rick-miller.co.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/everything-in-moderation.jpg

Source: http://lisas-life.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/moderation-garfield.gif

 

MYO Pizza: KISS Edition

We have had a lot of event filled weekends this Fall and, as a result, have fallen out of our Friday Family Fun Night rituals.

Last weekend we were away from home (again!) and when we arrived home on Monday after an exhausting drive on a very foggy, driving snowy, blowing snowy, swirling snowy, rainy snowy, SNOWY snowy, Cobequid Pass, we decided that we would reinstate the Friday Family Fun Night tradition and have a weekend of very nearly zero obligations.

We are trying to keep it simple, remember?

In keeping with the manifesto, I made a very simple plan.

MYO Pizza – which everyone loves!

To make it even simpler, I made all the pizzas using ready made pizza crusts.

 

The Things shared this happy-making Pepperoni & Cheese pizza.

 

Smiley Pizza

 

Daddy-O chose a more classic Pepperoni & Cheese with veggies (red pepper, red onion, mushroom).

Lots of veggies for Daddy-O!

 

I was very excited to try the Kinnikinnick ready made gluten free crusts that friends in the know suggested.

GF Pizza for Me!

 

I am thrilled to report that the pizzas turned out great and that the crusts themselves are quite delicious.

Yum!

 

It’s really nice to know that I have a viable option for those nights when I just need to keep it simple.

Fourths!

 

Doesn’t that look delightful?

Two thumbs up!

 

Yummy!

Mine had the Kinnikinnick crust, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, red pepper, red onion, mushroom, pickled jalapeño slices, and gluten free turkey sausage.

It was glorious!

 

 

After everyone had full tummies it was time for us to settle in with the evening’s planned entertainment. We opted to skip a movie in lieu of the excellent Bullying Awareness schedule on the Family Channel.

The cast of “The Next Step” hosted the evening and introduced some of our favourite shows – “Austin & Ally”, “Girl Meets World”, and “The Next Step” – all of which were featuring bullying storylines tonight as a part of their Stand UP to Bullying campaign. All three shows led to much discussion about friendship and bullying and how important it is to stand up and speak up and to never, ever be a bystander.

We especially loved “Girl Meets World“. It is so well written and I love how they keep managing to tie “Boy Meets World” storylines and characters into the show. It’s just so well done!

The Popcorn Pix feature presentation was another trip into bullying territory, with “Contest”. It was very good, but pretty harsh in many ways, as well. Very serious subject matter, obviously, and they hinted at some very heavy elements of being the bullied one. Overall it was very good. Definitely not for the younger ones. Thing 2 is 8 and she was snuggled up pretty close the whole time. Still though it’s such an important topic and we really cannot talk about it enough. No one can. Keep talking!

 

So, how was your week?

Busy?

Did you have a good one?

What will be on your agenda this weekend?

What about your plate?

Did you take in any Bullying Awareness Week programs or events?

Do you have an open dialogue with your kiddos and the young people in your life about bullying and mental health and how to get help if the need arises?

 

 

 

The One Where Sleep Is The Priority

I am exhausted.

I need sleep.

I must sleep.

 

I am sure I’ll have lots of words another night, but right now I’ll just leave you with this.

 

Are you NaBloPoMo-ing?

Is it totally kicking your butt?

 

How do you prioritize your day so that you have time for your life, your kids, your volunteering, your Parent-Teacher interviews, your meal preparation, your healthy eating, your fitness, your cake, your job(s), your family?

Help a mother out.

Leave me your best tips for surviving the time crunch of everyday life in the comments!

If you leave a great one, I might even invite you for a Friend Nap.

 

 

 

They Love Me Anyway

For as long as I have been making school lunches, I have been leaving little notes in the Things’ lunch boxes.

Long before they were the avid readers they are now, I would print simple messages of love and encouragement on sticky notes. I am a believer in environmental print*. Kids are smart. They don’t need all the rules memorized before they put theory into practice. A little heart shaped slip of paper speaks volumes. A speedily scrawled smiley face on a paper napkin can make a kid’s day – especially a day that is in dire need of levity. You remember those days, right? We all have them.

Sometimes it’s a silly doodle. Sometimes it’s a riddle. Sometimes it’s a hint about a special after school activity.

Other times it’s a reminder, cleverly disguised in witty prose.

 

Here are today’s notes.

 

Thing 1's lunch box note.

 

Thing 2's lunch box note.

 

 

And they love me anyway.

 

Do you write notes?

Do you leave notes in your children’s (or partner’s) lunch boxes?

Are you a poet (and totally know it!)?

Are you a writer or a printer?

When is the last time you wrote a letter or a note on actual paper for someone else to read?

Do you value the skill of cursive writing?

Or are you all g2g lol and ttyl 24/7?

Why not leave me a note in the comments! *wink*

 

 

*Don’t believe me about the environmental print? Try this experiment with a teeny kiddo** who is not yet reading in the traditional sense: Show them a favourite item (National Brand cookies or the cover of a familiar book, for example.) with writing or a logo on it and see if they recognize it. They will. That’s *reading* when you are not yet a reader in the traditional sense. Kids are awesome!

 

**Umm… not just any kiddo, to be clear. Make sure the kiddo is yours or you might totally freak the kid and his/her parent/guardian out!

***The Things don’t call me “Ma”, but I called my Ma, “Ma”, when I was little. Also, we are still working our way through the entire “Little House on the Prairie” series and well, it’s just fun to sign some notes that way!