Friday, July 31, 2015

Food Friday - savoury waffles

When I made BLTs on cheddar waffles, my husband joked he felt like he was eating something off a Buzzfeed list.

It did look pretty crazy (I added a fried egg to mine because I'm a sucker for a good fried egg), and while it was a fun dinner, I wouldn't make it a weekly thing. Or even a monthly thing. Maybe I'll do it again next year.

But I will make those cheese waffles again for other types of meals - like to go with chili!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Falling into a mommy blogger trap

I Googled "perfect mom" and this was the first image.
I am coming dangerously close to being one of those people.

The bloggers who offer you advice. They tell you, "This is such a great way to do things! You should, too!" The bloggers who seem perfect because they make amazing meals and repurpose their toddler's art.

For that, I apologize.

I am far from the perfect mother. In fact, most days I feel like I'm getting it all oh so very wrong. I have been known to get angry and frustrated. I have put less than stellar dinners on the table. I have let my daughter watch one more episode of UmiZoomi than I should (even if they are using their mighty math powers, there is a limit - although, fun fact, the voice actor who plays Bot is Joe from Blue's Clues).

Is there some greater lesson I can take from all of this and, in turn, inspire you all? Should I say showing my imperfections will teach my children they don't have to be perfect, as well. That striving for perfection all the time is an unrealistic goal. That accepting that I'm not perfect will make me a better mom?

Sure, I could say all that (didn't I just do that), but really, you don't need me to tell you that. Nor, really, do I want to do so.

I may, from time to time, share some small bits of wisdom, but I am far from the expert who should be doling out any kind of advice. So take what you will, leave the rest. I won't be offended. I'm just here to share me. I like crafts. I hate to cook and hope food posts might help other people who hate to cook.

To wrap up this rather meaningless post, I want to introduce you to Fowl Language, if you're not already familiar. I found out about it through a HuffPo article and quite enjoy it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Repurposing toddler 'art'

So lovely. I think it's a green field at sunset. Or ponies. Who knows.

My daughter loves to paint. In about 10 minutes, she'll whip up between three and five masterpieces, then declare she wants to watch Dora. But for 10 blissful minutes, she was doing something other than asking to watch TV.

But after that 10 minutes is up, I look at the wonderful, gallery-worthy pieces she has created and think to myself, "Where can I hang these now?"

I am not being serious here, folks - she literally slaps paint on paper and calls it a day. So then I'm left wondering, for real, what the heck do I do with these? I admitted recently to someone that I just threw them out - after all, she's learning from doing the painting, right? The only thing she'd learn if I kept them is that hoarding is good. That person didn't think it should just be garbage, but also didn't give me any suggestions on what to do with the "art."

Well, I figured out one way to use it - repurpose it!

There are a few things I strongly believe in: pie crust should be made using lard unless you're knowingly feeding a vegetarian (only then can you use shortening), you should make an effort to stay in touch with good friends, and you should always send a thank you note.

My daughter is still too young to write, so using her artwork will allow me to put a personal touch on thank you cards for her upcoming birthday and I won't feel any kind of mom guilt for just throwing out her "paintings." Plus, her proud aunts, uncles and grandparents will probably go nuts for these!

Here's what I did - I had a balloon punch I bought at Michael's a while ago. I cut out balloons from her paintings. I double-sided taped them to a card, wrote THANKS using a black sharpie, and ... done.

I'm all about easy crafts these days.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Food Friday - Barbacoa

Om nom nom ... sorry for the mid-bite photo.
This is insanely good - so much flavour.

This recipe from the Slow Roasted Italian apparently tastes like Chipotle's barbacoa, but I wouldn't know, I've never had Chipotle. My husband has, though, and he said while it's not quite the same, it's still very flavourful.

It is pretty easy to do and is a fun crockpot meal.

I also make the cilantro lime rice and the pico de gallo, all of which gets piled on to the burrito. Add a little cheese and fresh lettuce for crunch and you have a very delicious meal.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Food Friday - Rainbow carrot and rocket salad

Carrots, arugula, red onion, toasted pine nuts, parm flakes and a light dressing.

This salad is so simple, but so tasty. It calls for rainbow, or heirloom, carrots, but I have used just plain carrots and it turns out just as well. As well, the first time I did it, I neglected to put in the fresh basil and parsley and the salad was still very, very yummy.

Get the recipe at Proud Italian Cook.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Food Friday - butter tarts

A batch of butter tarts I made recently.
I am not much of a cook, but I was thinking I'd like to start sharing recipes I have discovered that I like and that my family has enjoyed.

But rather than start with a delicious meal, I'm going to start with a baked good - butter tarts.

I LOVE butter tarts. I love 'em so much.

And I make a pretty mean butter tart.

I use this recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook (although if I make them for co-workers, I use veg shortening instead of lard because I had a couple of colleagues who were vegetarians).

I do make a couple of changes to the recipe:

- I roll out the dough, cut it, then roll it out a bit more. I prefer a thin-ish crust for my butter tarts

- I double the filling recipe - I find I need to when I make two dozen tarts


- use parchment paper in the muffin tins to easily lift the tarts out

- avoid recipes that use corn syrup - it causes a runny filling that will get all over whoever is eating it.

- the crust recipe makes more than you'll need, so I'll either freeze it until I want to make more tarts (freeze it as a ball, not cut out - I find the dough dries out too much when I try cutting it then freezing it) or I'll make a pie. Because I also loooooove pie.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

So long, 'meow'

My daughter used to do this adorable thing where she identified animals by their sounds.

She still does it to some degree, but the other day at daycare, she walked in and said, "Hello, cat."

And my heart broke a little.

She used to say, "Hello, meow," and it made me smile every time. I mean, how freakin' cute is that?

Now, saying, "Hello cat," means she's getting older, she's learning the proper name for things and she's growing as a person.

It means she's not going to stay little, no matter how much I want her to remain my wee girl.

It makes me think that I'm going to be sad when I realize she's no longer excited about seeing a bus or a fire truck, but I know she'll be excited about other things - like going to see fireworks, riding on rollercoasters and new adventures.

Yes to this! Pre-mommy things my kids may never know

I enjoy the blog Scary Mommy, and this post about pre-mommy stuff our kids will never know about is so very true.

My kids won't know I used to love amaretto and coke, and that one time I let their father pour my drinks and he used up my whole 26er in four drinks and I was trashed and sleeping under a chair before 9.

They won't know I used to be a nighthawk and hated the world before 10 a.m. ... OK, 11 a.m.

They won't know there was a time I thought hanging out at the splash pad was lame.

But I hope they do know I can still have fun, even if my definition of what a fun time is has changed.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stop smashing cakes!

Ottawa photographer's cake smash LINK
I might be the only mother in the world who feels this way, but I hate the "cake smash" photo trend.

Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

The idea: You take a small cake and let your one-year-old smash it to bit, getting maybe a little bit in their mouth, to get some "cute" photos.

My problems with it: I hate food-on-your-face photos, even of children. I rarely think, "That dirty child is so adorable." Even my own children. I have taken photos of my two children with food on their faces - and that's where it ends. I don't share it with others, I don't post it to social media. It's gross to me. Food is meant to look pretty on a plate or be delicious in my tummy.

You're wasting perfectly good cake. There are starving children in this world, yet we think it's funny and cute to let our child destroy cake? That's kind of messed up when you think about it. I would kinda be OK if you were letting them destroy a cupcake. But people make small cakes specifically to have them smashed. I am a lover of food - I hate to see if smashed to bits simply for the sake of photos.

Which brings me to ... you're wasting money. Now, it's your money so who am I to say you're wasting it, but often for these cake smashes, people hire a photographer to take the photos. You look at the photos once when you get them, you share them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and then ... what do you do with them? I'll also point out buying a cake just to destroy it is a waste of money and not just cake.

That's all to say, do what you want. I saw yet another cake smash in my Facebook feed today and I just felt the need to write about it.

As an aside, my "news you can use" really didn't work out because on Friday, we did a day trip somewhere and I neglected it. So, yeah ... sorry about that.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Do you know how to sew?

Because I do not. The last time I tried to learn was in Grade 8, during home economics. I was terrible at it. I couldn't iron, let alone figure out how a bobbin worked.

But now, I want to learn because I suddenly have the urge to make skirts out of cool fabrics. Like Star Trek TNG fabric I found. Or, you know, something not nerdy (or even MORE nerdy).

How awesome would that be as a skirt? I mean, COME ON!

My mother sews. My mother-in-law sews. I buy the stuff you use an iron to melt it and glue fabric together.

I looked up sewing classes today at a local shop - $100 for two two-hour classes, plus supplies. Yikes!

But I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet. I mean, how else am I going to score a cool Star Trek skirt? Maybe I can turn it into a business. Likely not ... but maybe!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

News you can use - July 12

Here are the top stories I think people will be talking about today, quickly recapped for busy parents.

Another WestJet flight had to be diverted after a threat was made against it Wednesday evening. That was the third threat this week, and the fourth overall. The airline said it believed the latest threat was a hoax, but took the precaution of landing the Vancouver to Toronto flight in Calgary. Read more on the CBC

Stephen Colbert hosted a local cable TV show in Monroe, Mi., and it is hilarious. In it, he acts like an awkward host, but also interviews Eminem. If you can find 45 minutes to watch it, I'd recommend it (I am a Colbert fan). If not, the Eminem interview starts around the 21 minute mark.

As if we couldn't love the Girl Scouts more - they sell delicious cookies and now, they've rejected a $100,000 donation after the giver said it couldn't be used for any transgendered children. The Girl Scouts of Western Washington said the organization is for every girl and returned the cash, and now a crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $250,000 for the group. Read more on Fast Company

A newborn baby boy has a fractured skull after a tired nurse dropped him. A doctor at the Uniontown, Pa., hospital told the boy's mother the nurse was drowsy when she was feeding him at 6 a.m. Tuesday, fell asleep and dropped him. The boy is expected to make a full recovery. Police are investigating. Read more on CTV

TV Land has pulled reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard because the General Lee, the boys' car, predominately displays the Confederate flag. There has been major backlash against the flag, which many deem to be racist given its history, after nine black congregation members were shot and killed in a Charleston, S.C., church on June 17. Read more on the NYTimes

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

News you can use - July 1

Do you know this woman? She doesn't know herself and is
looking for help figuring out her identity.
One thing I want to do daily is a brief top (often five) stories you, as a parent, may want/need to know each day but, frankly, might not have time to read the full stories. It will often have a Canadian slant (especially with a federal election coming up this fall). 

Links will open in a new window.

Another church with a predominately black congregation has burned to the ground in the southern U.S. Fire crews were called to Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church late Tuesday. The cause of the fire is unknown; however, officials are considering arson after at least five other black churches have been set ablaze since June 17, when a gunman shot and killed nine people in a Charleston church. Read more on CNN

Smoke is currently covering much of Saskatchewan due to forest fires in that province and Alberta. The smoke has even started extending into the U.S. The fires have meant 3,000 people in northern communities have had to leave their homes. Read more on CBC

A California woman who gave birth in a remote area alone and then was stranded started a forest fire that ended up saving her life. Amber Pangborn told a local TV station she gave birth Thursday and started the fire in Plumas National Forest on Saturday to get the attention of first responders. Read more on

A woman who may be from Australia is asking the public for help to figuring out her identity. Known as Sam for now, the woman was found in California on Feb. 1, but she has no memories. Doctors have said a large tumour may be to blame for her memory loss. Visit her Facebook page.

Bye-bye, Beniffer. Super Hollywood couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who have been together for 10 years, have announced they're getting a divorce. The couple says the split is amicable. Read more on People.

The U.S. has moved on to the Women's FIFA World Cup final and will face either England or Japan. Read more at ESPN Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he will not travel to Vancouver for Sunday's final because of "personal reasons." Maybe those personal reasons are ongoing corruption allegations. Read more on BBC

Finally, this isn't news, but today is Canada Day! Woot woot! I love Canada Day - fireworks, beer and a fun family event at our city's biggest park. Enjoy it, eh?