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

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!

 

Cover me!

This has been a busy, fun, very musical week.

It all started on Monday when Kim at Co-Pilot Mom made a shocking and entirely awesome string of confessions and then it just got better and more musical from there.

On Friday my friend Rebecca (“Bitsy” to her best tweeps) at A Little Bit of Momsense updated her “Current Song Obsession” and it made my day.

I thought it would be fun for me to follow suit and share a few of the songs that I just can’t stop playing.

 

I seem to be all about the covers lately.

The first one is a cover of “When Doves Cry” by Prince. I know. I know. Risky territory. And yet somehow this works.

Here is The Be Good Tanyas with their version.

 

I’ve written before about my love of Walk Off The Earth and everyone knows about their Gotye cover, but have you heard this?

They are amazing musicians! The video is just too cute! They have a great YouTube channel and I think everyone should check it out.

 

Here’s another song that we seem to always enjoy, no matter who is performing it.

Pentatonix! Who knew?!

 

On Saturday I had grand plans to attend a Christmas Craft Show, but it just was not in the cards.

You know what was in the cards? More music!

Thing 1 plays trumpet in his school band. His trumpet is in desperate need of a cleaning and we needed a new cleaning kit. So, with the clock ticking*, I rounded up my little family and we hit the road and high-tailed it to our local music store for a kit and, as luck would have it, a trumpet stand. (Musical instruments in cases are not happy, played musical instruments. As my big brother would say, “Are you a trumpet player or a trumpet owner?” Note the difference.**) With the stand he will be able to see his trumpet more often and hopefully play it more often, too.

After our musical victory with all things trumpet, we felt we deserved a little treat, so we went to a 50’s diner and had dinner.***

Do you know what any 50s diner worth its salt has? A Jukebox!

Do you know what any mother worth her salt always has when she goes to a 50s diner? Quarters!

Do you know what this all leads to? More music!

 

After dinner we came home to play a board game, but since I had a NaBloPoMo post to write I asked for a bit of time first. The Things kindly obliged and I came to my desktop to write, but something was missing. I needed some music.****

So, I fired up Songza and found not one, but two new favourite channels – “Disney’s Best Sing-Alongs” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.

 

So, would you agree that it was a very musical week?

Are you a fan of music? Do you sing?

What kind of music is your favourite?

What is *your* current music obsession?

 

 

 

 

*The music store closes at 5 on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Time was of the essence! We arrived at 4:54. Whew!

**Note the difference!

***Because *sings* Dinner in the diner.. nothing could be finer.. than to have your ham and eggs in Carolina!

****I may have a problem. Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really!

Thirty-Four Years. That’s Quite the Run!

Last Friday, Thing 2 participated in her school’s Terry Fox Walk. I wrote my usual lunch note for her, but I included one of my very favourite Terry Fox quotes.

“It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.” ~ Terry Fox

She didn’t know what I wrote until she saw the note at lunch.

Before we headed down for the bus she ran to her room and came out with a handful of coins from her piggy bank.

Oh my heart! The little hand with all her little quarters and nickels and dimes.

We must be doing something right.

 

Oh sure, there’s that, but this kid… she’s something else. All on her own.

Terry Fox Walk @ St. Rita's (Sept. 14, 2007)

Looking sporty in Roots from head to toe for her first Terry Fox Walk showing her Canadian pride!

 

I helped her put her donation in her back pack and explained why I choose each year to add $1 per person in our family.

 

“When I started this run, I said that if we all gave one dollar, we’d have $22 million for cancer research, and I don’t care man, there’s no reason that isn’t possible. No reason!” ~ Terry Fox

 

It’s what Terry wanted.

 

I did it!

“I did it!” Second Terry Fox Walk under her teeny belt. Her Big Bro set quite the example and she knew she was a part of something special.

 

I couldn’t stop tearing up on Friday. Maybe it’s because Terry Fox was a kid.. or maybe it’s that I remember him from when I was a kid.. but I just kept thinking about how his family – and country and the world at large carried on his Marathon of Hope just as he wished. What a beautiful tribute to his life!

 

Terry Fox Inspirational Quotes signs

These are the signs I made for Thing 1’s 3rd Grade class. It’s amazing what a paint stir stick and a bit of time can do! The kiddos loved the signs. Simple. Of *course* the baby sister had a sign, too!

 

 

“If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope .”

 

I love that his legacy lives on through so many children who take part in these events year after year.

Thing 1 with his sign.

This photo makes me cry. Grade 3 was a very challenging year for Thing 1 and this quote was very intentionally given to him. There’s *always* a bright side! One of my all time faves.

 

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

 

 

 

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Don’t worry, Terry, it has gone on without you. It goes on and on and on.

Every year in 25 countries all over the world.

To date The Terry Fox Foundation has raised $650 million* to support cancer research in Terry’s name.

Not bad for some Canadian kid, eh?

 

Do you participate in the Terry Fox Run? Do your children take part at school? Do you have memories of Terry Fox?

Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

 

 

*Of course you can always donate directly, anytime of the year here.

Here’s to the ladies who lunch!

Happy Thursdays are back, baby!

Today was a lovely day, filled with all kinds of good news (not all of it mine to tell, mind you, so you’ll just have to trust me) and generally speaking was a good old fashioned Happy Thursday.

What a relief!

I have to tell you Thursdays of late have not been great. From feeling blah to cruddy news to icky weather to stress to holy heck Thursday – what the what is the matter with you anyway!?!?

I was beginning to think Thursday had forsaken me.

But!

Nope.

Today was a lovely day!

Sure the weather was a bit wacky, but I live in Nova Scotia, so that’s kind of the norm – certainly this year it is, at the very least – and eventually the clouds parted and the sun did shine.

Thing 1 had an “awesome!” day at school (mostly away from anything academically related, mind you, but I’ll take it!). He saw a musical at the local High School and had a bit of a party after lunch to celebrate a milestone with some of his classmates. He was very happy that I provided a little treat for the party and that reminded me that what I do matters – even if the pay stinks. Would you like to see the treat? You would? Okay.

Here it is!

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Ta da! Hamburger cookies for Thing 1. Cute, eh?

 

Thing 2 came home excited about an organized sport! I was barely able to contain myself, I was so happy. This is a sporty girl. She is body smart. She loves to move and be active and we have always tried to nurture that and encourage activities where she can develop these skills, but since we moved a couple of summers ago she seems to not want to join anything organized. We have offered and offered and offered, but nada. So when she excitedly handed me a soccer registration form today after school and just stood there smiling hopefully at me, I may or may not have squealed with delight and done happy, jumpy claps in my kitchen. (Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really. We’ll never know for sure …) Couple this latest development with the high I am still on from the Blue Nose Marathon Youth Run last weekend and well, let’s just say I am one happy Mamma.

But wait.

There’s more!

Today, I was out to lunch!

Literally.

And! I was not alone. I was with two delightful, kind, smart, funny women – who happen to be Moms. It was really great. I needed some grown up conversation and the fact that we all managed to be able to meet in the same place, at the same hour, on the same day was nothing short of miraculous. Busy Moms are busy, y’all!

We did it! I am so happy!

And you know what? We are going to do it again. (Go, us!)

There was even talk of changing our lunch into a dinner… with wine!

I’ll drink to that!

 

Is your March Break half full or half empty?

Much to the chagrin of Thing 1, March Break is now half over. He loathes this fact. He doesn’t want to be reminded of it or the time. Ever.

This is especially challenging because Thing 2 absolutely loves telling time. Loves it. If given the opportunity she’d announce every tick of the clock, well, every tick of the clock!

She loves announcing the passage of time so much these days that yesterday when we were in a rush (and quite late!) to make it to an appointment for Thing 1, I told her if she announced the time again during the drive she was going to have a new nickname – Big Ben.

We talk a lot about not wishing our days away at Chez Peady. We try to live in the moment. Thing 2 is clearly the best at this. When she was a baby – you should know she was talking pretty early on – one of the best and most astute things she ever said was “Be here now”. I am actually tearing up as I type that because it’s just so perfect. Such a brilliantly simple concept. Three little words. Be here now. Our Zen baby.

March Break should be an awesome week whether you are on a beach somewhere in the tropics or you are staying at home and things are pretty much business as usual. We find doing a little something special each day works best for everyone involved. It’s very important to find the right balance of “out doing something” and downtime. You don’t want to burn out and need a vacation from your vacation, but you also don’t want to waste your time away doing too much of absolutely nothing. It’s not a crazy race to live your life in one day*, but a way to spend time together while experiencing something enjoyable, familiar, interesting or new.

A week off school for Thing 2 is a week of adventure and time to play, use her imagination, do whatever she wants; living in the moment is a great trait to have when there’s a whole week of freedom. Thing 1 feels pressure right off the bat. “Oh no! It’s already Monday! I haven’t even read on the patio yet. I better get that done right now.” So out he went, still in his PJs, in *very* cold temperatures to read a bit of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. I have to hand it to him, when his determination and focus line up he’s unstoppable.

As you may have already read, I really enjoy finding fun, frugal or FREE things to do with my Things. I thought maybe I would share a few photos with you to show you some of the things we’ve been up to, so far, this week. Sound good? Great!

*I just gave myself a Howard Jones mind worm that sent me down a must-find-that-video rabbit hole. Meanwhile, how can there not be a single website with the official video for “Life in One Day”? Not even HoJo’s itself. Come on! Really?! I’m disappointed in you internet web toobz. I thought you were more reliable than that.