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.)

It’s The Very Best Time Of The Year

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I told a friend this morning that I needed to get my “Jingle Bell Juice” flowing.

We have been fighting a wicked awful cold here at Chez Peady and 3/4 of us were affected. (1/4 of us has super immunity and I await the NASA scientists every cold & flu season, because this kid never gets sick! Seriously! How does he do it?!)

Anyway, not the best time of the year to catch a bug, is it?

I mean, we all have a lot going on and we all want to feel cheerful and energetic. It’s the time for dashing through the snow and sleigh bells, not trudging through the tissues or popping plugged up ears.

We are on the mend now and energy is slowly returning which is great because there is still so much to do. I feel like I am a bit behind on the Elf-ing schedule, but I really do try to adhere to Dr. Seuss’ Grinch’s timeless realization from “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”.

The school concerts are this week and that always makes me feel like Christmastime is here. Thing 2 is very excited this year because she (a tall kiddo) gets to stand in the front during her class’ performance. She was so excited when she learned this a few weeks ago she wrote this* as soon as she got home from school.

 

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Isn’t that sweet? How much** do I love the little white board in our office?

Thing 1 is pretty tense about his concert. It isn’t helping that his trumpet is MIA for the night. It was left on the bus. Yup. Not even kidding.

I am just going to have faith and believe that everything will work out. What else can I do, really?

It’s the season of perpetual hope, right?

 

Speaking of hope, my Things are really hoping for a white Christmas. We have no snow – at all – in Bedford. We have had lots of rain this month and we have yet another, rain-filled, nor’easter headed our way. It’s difficult to get all “Ho ho ho!” and “Deck the Halls!” when there is no sign of snow.

Unless of course you have a dear friend who sends a childhood memory out into the Twitterverse for you.

Do you remember this gem?

Thanks, Kyooty! That made my day.

 

So, what are you finding challenging this month? Are you all set for the holidays?

Is it easy breezy decorate all the trees-y or are you untangling tense tinsel at every tick of the clock?

 

*Have we talked about how every family should have a white board or chalk board accessible to everyone for writing special news, notes, or asking questions? No? There’s a forthcoming blog. Promise!

**SO MUCH!

NaBloPoMo No Mo’

Chained to work

This is it. I have reached the end of my NaBloPoMo journey and I am happy to report that I survived!

For the past thirty days I have written (mostly) a post a day as a part of National Blog Posting Month.

What an exhausting challenge!

Seriously. All you writers who write under the pressure of a deadline all the live-long day – every single day – my hat* is off to you. You are one very dedicated and disciplined bunch of people. Good for you!

I have learned a lot during these thirty days.

I have unlearned a few things, too.

I’ve had some pretty good confirmations, as well. I procrastinate. It works for me, sometimes, as procrastination does. When it works out, I get a rush of adrenaline that makes all the suppression of fleeing the scene worthwhile. When it doesn’t work, well, may we never know!

Oh yes, that random positive reinforcement is quite the thrill, but it is certainly no gentleman.

Clearly, whether it is right or wrong, I work well under pressure. When there is nowhere to run to, baby, no where to hide, I find my stride.

This, as you can imagine, can be very draining on a person’s energy stores. There were nights when I was up way later than I should have been. There were mornings that came way too early. Early Band** days very nearly did me in.

My husband and my Things were the most supportive humans on the planet (they usually are, by the way). They were cool with my vanishing to write or upload photos. They really were, but I was not comfortable with missing anything important, so I was very much burning my candle at both ends. Thank goodness this is a 30 day month. I honestly don’t think I could handle 31***.

I think this was a really good exercise for me. I wrote every day and I believe the practice was good. I felt a sense of accomplishment/panic every single time I hit “Publish”, but I kept right on hitting it. Go me!

I am sure I will have that oh-no-I-slept-through-my-exam panic at least once this week, as I plan on not posting every day for December. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

I mean, I love writing for this little ol’ blog and I love the people who read, comment, and even ask me to write a little something here or there for them, but I have very strong feelings about not being chained to my computer (for work or hobby or otherwise!). If anything was highlighted this month, it’s that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be experienced, nurtured and changed.

Besides, when I get to be Empress of the Universe and fulfill my destiny as a professional philanthropist, I won’t have time to be attached to my computer.

Face Time

 

But feel free to call me.

 

Now, please point me in the direction of the best darn gluten free cake you can think of because this gal needs to celebrate!

 

 

 

*I’m not actually wearing a hat, but if I am getting a hat in your imagination make it something cool and festive, okay? Thanks!

**More so.

***But I would, because PRESSURE!

 

Source: http://www.alec-longstreth.com/writing/2008/chained.jpg

Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/techno.sm9_.gif

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.

 

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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?

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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