Chocolate…..my love my loss

English: A jar of coffee-covered chocolate beans

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The other evening I found myself driving to the store to buy a chocolate piece of heaven and when I got there realized I would have to debit the cost.

WTH! I had a moment where I thought, maybe I should buy four then and make the debit transaction worth it. Justification at all costs.  Thankfully I realized how insane my life had become.  Bad enough to be on a chocolate run at 11 pm but now to be scoring 4.  Just say NO !

Now any woman knows that more chocolate could save all the world problems. Start making chocolate drops in war torn countries and see how a kit kat becomes the new currency.

Years ago I used to go to COSTCO and purchase a case, yes you got it right, a case and freeze it. But now I am supposedly a grown up and should be setting a good example for my children.  And yet I am one step away from the back alley and secretly purchasing a hit.  Kinda scary. 

Although I  may have just found my new favourite , an actual replacement, this photo is  of chocolate  covered coffee beans. A marriage of my two favourites, destiny awaits.

Lent Let the Countdown Begin

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...

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On Ash Wednesday my daughter participated in the liturgy at her school. They had an interpretive dance, music, reading and a slide show. Totally amazing!!
But along with Ash Wednesday, comes giving something up for Lent.Every year I generally give up chocolate bars and swearing. But this year unfortunately I have not been eating 4 chocolate bars a day nor have I been talking like a sailor. I could follow in my sisters footsteps and give up sex! My Mom said the problem is it should be something she likes. Ha, Ha.
My youngest is giving up cake, her friend was giving up walking the dog and a lady I know gives up peanut butter every year. My son a few years ago gave up electronic games, like Wii and Playstation. That was a long 40 for him.
I think the idea behind Lent and giving up something is a great thing. But for me it has to be something I can live with. My daughter suggested coffee, but I can see that is NOT a good plan. I mean I have giving up sleep for the last 100 years for these kids, coffee is my sleep.

 
 I need  coffee, exercise and friends to keep me sane.  And maybe a little vino.
I have already given up my career, my life and sleep. I suppose the good thing is that if I keep stalling with this decision, I will soon only have to give “whatever” up for 38…37…36…35… days, see how this works.
Happy Lent.

Getting Out the Door on Time

Exquisite-backpack

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Yes, the struggle with the clock is a mom’s nightmare.

The morning rush is a tough one. Hair brushed, breakfast, the appropriate attire, shoes, backpacks and lunches as the clock keeps ticking. It is a crazy world, every day!
So how to make it smoother is the question. Well these are some of my little tricks. They may not guarantee a no yelling morning but it will help.

 The night before, have your child make their lunch and put it in their backpack. And no it is not perfectly fresh but they can put a frozen juice box in there. A six year old is capable of making their lunch, do not let your idea of perfection and dillusional idea of a good “mom” stop their independence.
Clothes, pick them out the night before!

Check for the jackets, boots, and mitts and have them at the door. Make your kids do this.

Get visuals, you know little tiny pictures and put them in the bathroom, bedroom and by the back door. You can download some from www.goodkarma.com  they have pictures  and a schedule any kid can follow.
Buy a reverse timer, it has a red area that shows the time going down, very visual and very good for kids. It can be purchased from scholars choice or www.timetimer.com.

Hair: buy detangler and a great brush, The Wet One from www.bedbathandbeyond.com . has been working for us. If you have young girls get their hair cut in a bob, it is the perfect cut. They may not be able to pull off the princess look, but trust me you will have all of those teenage years for that.

Toothbrush: buy an electric and maybe some kid toothpaste. If it is even a tiny bit fun, your life will be easier.

Get up 10 minutes earlier,  make a great coffee and enjoy it before morning explodes into your life.

Parent Teacher Time

An icon illustrating a parent and child

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Once again I am off to have a little discussion with the teacher. It is parent/teacher interview time. WHY…….why me? I have already passed this grade.

I often have nothing to discuss, I only go so they think I am a better mother! Trying to fool another academic. Generally you book a parent teacher interview, spend way too much time on your hair and clothing selection. Lets face it every staff member is judging your parenting by the shine of your hair and the name on your shirt and heaven forbid if you come in carrying anything but a Starbucks and your phd credentials. Then they make you sit on tiny little chairs that  make you so worried you might pull a Goldie Locks  or  worse might get  your arse stuck in it.  Clean up in aisle Three. Questions about your child are not on your mind when you are in that chair.

So with that fake smile you discuss how your child is doing. Now honestly what parent does not know if there child is smart, can read, is nice or is a slacker and a rat. How delusional do they think we are!  So as the teacher discusses the work, showing the lovely projects the kids have been working on ,the glaze starts to slide down my tired face.  Pretend you are interested, pretend you are interested,  and smile, that is my mantra.

I suppose when you look at those crafts and projects, it is so you can judge your child’s work. All of those trees felled to prove that kid can NOT colour in the lines, nor can they trace. Perhaps it is a good thing, you do know then, that surgeon may be off the list, and perhaps art? Sometimes those interviews make you realize your teacher does care for you child and is trying to get the best out of them and other times you realize your child is going to have a long year.

It is not that I do not care about education, it is just that parent teacher  interviews are so much verbal judo.  I love reading, I love literature, I think it is the way to teach yourself, the answer to learning, to love reading is a gift I want to give my children.  That is what I want school to do. And play nice with others,  I know sounds crazy but charm takes you a long ways.  Those are my goals for my children.

Love reading and it will love you.

The Elusive Valentine

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

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As Valentines approaches and the retailers ramp up for the occasion, it makes me wonder what do REAL women want for valentines. For when you are no longer wearing  the catch me attitude or are not still in the newness of a relationship, the dinner out or the fancy card, do they still cut it? I know traditionally the idea is to purchase roses, chocolates and a frilly card but by buying what the market tells you, are you as a spouse actually showing your heart.

Personally I think that after you have had a few years of relationship or heaven forbid decades, or if you have survived raising children valentines might have a bit of a different flavour. I know we all want our spouses to know by osmosis what it is that we truly want, but Not going to happen.  I think some of the nicest gifts are the type of knowing your spouse. One year my man who does not drink coffee ever, stood in line at Tim’s (which he thinks is crazy) and brought me home a java. It was pretty sweet. Or another time, actually made coffee at home and since I was still in bed brought it to me.  Honestly the coffee was see through, basically just hot water with a little flavouring but still a great gesture.

My niece who has a new baby, has dreams of her husband getting up with the baby in the night for a valentines gift. He is a pretty newbie spouse so I can not see it happening……but maybe, sometimes men are surprising.

I read in the paper to-day that lingerie in a good option. Who is that gift for? I can tell you it is for the husband.   Probably some guy wrote that. What the hell! And also that is a landmine of trouble,  what size would you purchase. Do not do it!

A gift card for a massage or a pedicure that might work.  I know a friend who is all about the bling and totally informs her husband, which is a perfect solution. One year for xmas he purchased her a HUGE used slurpee machine, he has since been banned from shopping alone. Now he sticks to the bling.

There is apparently the five signs of love;  acts of service, gifts, verbal praise, physical and quality of time. So the trick is knowing what your spouse is.  The problem with that is I know my type, not a clue on his…..maybe after another decade I will get it. Poor guy. Or maybe the trick is making the gift a combo of all five.  You could wrap the quality of time, physical and verbal praise into one romantic evening, plus if you bought say a great gift and made a great supper. In that one event you could hit all 5 languages of love. TA DA. Might be too much work, need to figure it out.

So my husband is pretty smart, picked up flowers on Saturday, beat the rush and warmed my heart. On the other hand, I am picking up some polish sausage (which he loves) and have downloaded the how to salsa dance moves. Seriously I married the only man in the world who wants to salsa dance, problem is I do not want to be a salsa twosome. 

 But this valentines it is a sacrifice I am going to make ! 

XOXO

My life is so GREAT!

English: A skipping rope tied into a carrick mat

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It was one of those days, the kind that are satisfying and content, the kind that starts with a coffee with the perfect flavour and kids that wake up happy. Yes, today was that kind of day. And lucky for me, it was my day.

I had kids that were happy to go to school, one whom was a little sleepy just said, Mom My eyes are awake, my face is awake but my brain is still sleepy. Aaaahhh…..Me, too, I replied.

But that sweetheart went to school with her backpack and her skipping rope and her brain which had apparently become alert. Then I, lucky Mom that I am, got to  pack up my stick and my equipment and go play hockey with my friends. Which is just another excuse  for exercising and laughing together. Well perhaps a little hooking and a possible roughing call…  But great.

Hockey turned into lunch with a friend, where we solved all of the worlds problems. If only we ran the world, Carrie and I along with hot chocolate and a bagel  would fix everything.

Later in the day, my family had supper and played a game. My sweetheart and I, a glass of vino and all is right with the world. There are days where everything is perfect and some that are not. But sometimes  you get lucky as we did today and today was a perfect day!!

Feeding the Furious Four

Oven baked fries

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Meal times can cause panic in many a good mom. Those days when guess what “you have no idea what you are making” And yes I like you have bought all the books and have had many a good intention but…
So what is recommended is that you plan ahead. On Sunday night you make a list of 5 meals you want (HAVE) to make, then you make a grocery list. Apparently a well-organized mother can do this while watching television or perhaps while folding clothes and having SEX.  So once you have your weekly menu and grocery list, you actually buy the ingredients and are set for the week. Another tip, before you go to sleep each night, you place the recipe and the specific pot you will need on the counter, so the first adult home can start cooking. Make sure you do that after you have thrown in a load of laundry, found the crazy hat for crazy hat day, taking the recycling out and started the dishwasher.  And of course this plan may mean that your husband is never home early!!

The slow cooker, now I hear parents talk about it like it is food porn! Makes me a little uncomfortable, actually. Yes, you just throw some meat in there at 5 am(?) and it is ready when you get home. I am trying it now, but does everything taste like meat in bbq sauce? Also, the problem is if the browning starts at 5 am, when do you get to sleep???

So I have a few solutions for those days, when you chose sleep over recipes, and sleep over cutting onions and fresh chives in the middle of the night.

It is okay to serve spaghetti with sauce from a jar(someones Mom made it, somewhere), and serve with butter and garlic on a toasted dried out hotdog bun. If you cut that bun in diagonal slices, no one notices.
I have also found that you can throw frozen steaks on the bbq, with sauce and Montreal steak spice, served with frozen french fries(cooked in microwave and crisped in oven) and it still tastes great.
My friend LeAnne says when in doubt “Make breakfast for dinner”, and no not cereal, but the old eggs and bacon. Throw a little cream cheese in and now that is food porn. Crisp bacon and naked cream cheese, come to Mama, Baby.

My friend Liz, one of the best moms in the world, has taught each of her daughters, grades 5, 7, and 9 each to make one dish and once a week they showcase that talent. I do not even think this should even be mentioned. It totally sounds like it was in a published book, of course she will probably do that next. With the bar that high, it is amazing that I still talk to her.
Chicken drumsticks, can be taken from the freezer, microwaved for 9 minutes or so, shake’n baked, then stuck in oven for 30 minutes. Ta Da!

I have also taking to microwaving chicken wings, frozen french fries, well actually anything frozen and then finishing them in the oven for a way shorter time.

I have recently hooked one of my friends up with a food prep business called Dashing Dishes www.dashingdishes.com  You look at the brochure on line, check what you want, and then sign up for a date. Then you attend one night and assembly your meals, take them home and freeze them. That way the day you are stuck for a meal, you have a back up in the freezer. The person behind this idea is a genius.

As much as I love the cooking channel and cooking magazines, I feel they have brought many a day of angst to women. A badge of success should go to Kraft’s website with its easy cooking ideas and to the Dinner with 5 ingredients site, they have been the saviour of many! Honestly when Martha had to do a bit of time, I did not think insider trading, I thought moms with voodoo dolls.

Now I have days that I love cooking, I honestly do crazy things like make nann bread on the bbq and make the overnight cinnamon buns for breakfast.  And I have been guilty of making meals and dropping them at friend’s homes, but we are talking survival in the trenches. I looked up a survey that said we as moms spend 367,582,952 hours cooking every year of our life. Oh wait, although that number feels accurate, it may  be a little off. Probably too low.
Cooking is great, and for many mothers it is a gift of love made by you for your children. But we are talking about the days, when parents come home from work, and there is piano lessons, hockey practise and swimming all in the same night. It is time to give yourself a free get out of jail card or a hall pass.  Doing the best is great, but doing  medium rare works also. It is sometimes okay to just do okay.