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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Baking...mmmmm

Current Book: Nurture Shock Current Baking: Well, that's what we're talking about today.

Well, with fall comes change and we've made some major changes in our household. Since I'm still battling to get all the paperwork my work required, I'm not earning anything right now. When our daycare informed me they haven't been giving Sprog three quarters of his lunch- including his yogurt and his fruit leather- because it has 'too much sugar for lunch time' we made the decision to pull him. He'll be home full time with me the second week of November. As much as I firmly believe the program was beneficial to him, the dietary restrictions were ridiculous and the complaints were getting out of the realm of believably. We'll enroll him in a two day a week preschool next fall instead.

We're also trying to make more out of less when it comes to meals. While I would love to start refusing to buy anything that's not organic, the budget will not allow me to double our grocery bill with organic meats, etc. Instead, we're slowly changing over the fruit and veggies in our fridge- especially those on the dirty dozen - changing to free range, organic eggs, and eating less meat.

We've also added bread and granola bars to the list of stuff I make at home, instead of buying at the store. This is where the baking comes in. I'm going to be baking all our baked good snacks from here on in. Muffins, banana bread, cookies, granola bars, tarts, etc will be churned out of my kitchen on a weekly basis.  I have three or four recipies I use as standbys that I cycle through for variety. I'm now looking for more.

So people, what's your favorite baked good?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Everyone else knows best

Current Book: Rereading the Honor Harrington series for the umpteenth time.
Current Baking: Lemon Tarts, Butterscotch pudding from scratch, pumpkin apple muffins


I've been doing a lot of research lately into all the different outlooks for food, family, etc. It's amazing how many opinions, options, discussions, and outright fights there are on what's best for a family. Everything from 'everything must be homemade from scratch and a mother's place is in the home'
to 'easy means more time with your kids after the work that saves your pocketbook and sanity'.

Almost all of them have legitimate, well explained arguments. What strikes me is very very few of them take the 'this is what works best for MY family, this is our situation, try it out and see if it works for you!'  approach to things.  Obviously, what works best for a family of three with two self employed, very busy parents and child who is involved in umpteen activities is going to probably not be the best solution for a stay at home mom with four kids and a spouse she sees 4 days in 24.  I'm tired of the militant, drum banging arguments that 'this way is best' or 'mom is smarter then dad' or 'always have supper on the table by five, and tv is the devil for kids.'

 Just because my kid is staying in daycare for the foreseeable future, even while I'm home on medical leave, does not make me an inferior parent. It means I have time to make those from scratch, healthy foods for him to feed his little body while trained educators feed his little mind. It means he interacts with his friends and learns how to be a social human being, rather then a child who's afraid to leave his mom at the beginning of kindergarten. I think that's more important that attempting to be a supermom who feels that despite being told no, you shouldn't be doing *&^%#, they must some how be everything to everyone. That just sets yourself up for failure and frustration and depression.

So, this is what works best for my family. I make sure there is food in the fridge for J to put into his lunch. I make sure Sprog is fed, and attempt potty time whenever possible. Sprog gets to go to daycare except on 'Mommy Days' where we go do something fun, like swimming or story time at the library.
And we make it through.


Please leave your torches and pitchforks at the door, you can collect them on your way out :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Daycare battles and food issues

Current Book: Dead witch walking, Kim Harrison  Current Baking: Muffins, cookies and pudding

Ok, after a bit (?) of a hiatus here, I'm going to allow myself a rant or two.

To give some background on this, Sprogs daycare, while exemplary in most things, have become lunchbox Nazis to the point where they reject things that are on their suggested lunches list. I understand that the common opinion is that sugar turns small children into whirling dervishes, small demons of energy that will quickly burn out, become cranky, and fight.

There have been many studies now that show this is not the case, and it is our perception that changes, not the kids' sudden energy levels. Yes, if you load a three year old up on pop and pixie sticks, it's bad. No nutrition, instant shot of energy because there is no fiber or vitamins or other food products to slow down the process.  But seriously, people, PUDDING? Real Fruit Gummies, where the second through fifth ingredients are fruit? YOGURT? I've had a few battles, and homemade pudding and yogurt are remaining on the menu but the fruit snacks of most ilk are now gone. He gets fruit leather, which usually manages to mysteriously get buried at the bottom of his lunch kit and eaten as an after-school snack. I bake more then most, and it irritates me that my home made muffins and cookies are side-eyed when they're a helluva lot healthier then the average Lunchable.

Now, they're asking us to 'minimize our environmental impact', which in theory is a great idea but means that all the nifty prepackaged yogurt, fruit leather, cheese sticks, fruit cups, etc now must be repackaged before sending them to daycare. We should be able to save some cash and time at home by just buying the bigger containers and spooning it into the washables but that adds on more prep time and cleaning time as well.

So, off onto the interwebs I went, looking for inspiration...
I found all these cutely themed lunches with scrapbook quality notes, artistically arranged sandwiches and fruit, mini bento boxes, and crackers with smiley faces drawn on them. I found fruit kabobs, train shaped cheese and meat concoctions, and woe betide you if the sandwich is actually sandwich shaped.

Seriously, do these moms not have lives? Where the hell do they find the time for all this? Or is this actually what it takes to have my child eat a lunch I pack for him that follows all their restrictions?
I found a few really awesome suggestions that I plan on implementing. Reaching back into the dusty cobwebs of my own school days, I seem  to remember my dad doing a lot of them when he made lunches way back when. I'll let you know how they turn out :)




Saturday, 12 January 2013

O Dark Thirty

Current Book:Stardust, Neil Gaiman 

Well, as of yesterday I've been thirty for a month. Passing that milestone has freaked me out like few things ever have. Turning 19. Getting my first couch. Signing my first cell phone contract. All of those were marks of becoming an adult. This- this is the first 'hey, you're already a grown up, so now what the hell are you going to do about everything you were going to have and do and be by now?

It's kind of like looking back and realizing that once we were all sure that we'd be riding around in hover cars, cancer would be cured, and we'd have stopped global warming thanks to our Kids For saving the Earth clubs (am I the only one that remembers those?)

I always thought I'd have a degree of some type, own my own house, have my first (naturally bestselling) book out, have four children I stayed at home with, and have a fantastic husband that adored me and our cookie-cutter lives. Twenty nine was a rough, painful year. But it got me here, and it got me thinking. I'm not where I'd thought I would be and I think I'm a stronger person for it.

Yes, I'm thirty now. It means my boobs aren't as perky because they've fed a child. It means that instead of a degree, I have life experience that is just as valuable. I gave up writing because forts and movies, cuddles and family dance parties take my time. I work, and my child that is so much more then I ever dreamed has new experiences in daycare- ones that I wouldn't have thought to teach him. And as for the husband that adores me? Well, I adore him too.

My twenties are gone. I went from girl to woman, from daughter to mother, and from single to wife.
I had some horrible losses- but some miraculous gains. I fell in love, not once, but twice with husband and son. I learned that even when things feel like the universe is against you, when your body is wracked with pain that's nothing compared to your  mind, life goes on, it gets better, and eventually, it will be ok again.

Maybe, this decade is about building and evolving rather then discovering.  I think I can handle that.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Back in the saddle

Settled and and loving every minute of being back in Edmonton! We've got our family groove sorted out, Sprog turns two in a matter of weeks, and we'll be here to celebrate J's sister's wedding  (and actually drink through it.) Life is looking rosy.

So here's my debate. How do you manage being an urban working mom, with a demading career that can involve overtime and exhausting extra curriculars  (thank you, social club), and balance the housework and cooking and attention with making sure one small boy gets the time and attention he deserves?

Obviously, we need more time in the day, so something has to go. I would prefer to toss work out the window, but that would also toss eating, and since that isn't optional J and I were looking into a biweekly cleaning service.

I vaguely remember my mother having a cleaning service when I was a kid... mostly because in the few months they were around, I always had to remake my bed and could never find my clothes. So, while I knew that they would probably be pricier then they were 25 years ago, I was not prepared to discover that they make more then I do.

Seriously? $330 for the initial cleaning, and then $125 every two weeks after that? That's almost my car payment! I'm just looking for someone to come in and wash my floors and sanitize my kitchen and bathroom, not gold plated paste wax or anything :P

Sadly, the quotes we were given were all around the same amount, so a cleaning service will  not be the way to make more hours in the day.

Hermione, could I please borrow your time turner?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wow, Talk about a blog break!

Current Book:Easy Money, Gail vaz-Oxlade Current Baking: Lemon Cupcakes

All right. I just looked at my last post. it was in August. That either means super slacker or crazy busy. Guess which one I was?

No, really, I was honestly insanely busy. Mid September, my husband was offered what sounded like a dream job in Saskatchewan. I pulled off an inter-provincial move in three weeks- after all, I have lots of experience doing it! We started to realize things were going downhill when the townhouse we were forced to rent sight unseen was in bad repair. I landed two jobs, picked the better paying one, and discovered that being a broker at a family owned insurance brokerage was very different then being a direct writer for a large corporation. I had felt I I'd earned my spurs, they disagreed. We parted ways with a pack of homilies mid January.

While all this was going on, Hubby was fighting the same battle at two separate companies. My niece was killed in a car accident in December, and we were fortunately on hand to help my sister out in the aftermath- making it pretty much the only reason I don't consider the move, and our subsequent move back, a complete waste. I will warn anyone planning on heading there that most employers there realize they need help- but don't want to pay the wages expected of a booming economy. It's very much an employee beware  economy.

We decided to cut our losses and move back home mid February. I got back on with my old employer, and John found a job that was better then the one we moved out to SK for in the first place. We got a townhouse to handle two adults, two cats, and one small boy, and we're getting back into our groove. We've got a lot of digging to do over the next while, but I'm going to focus on my family, my  garden, my baking, and getting my brain space back into happy-go-lucky me.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

There are better gifts then surprise flowers

Current Book: Freedom's landing Current Baking: Does it look like a weekend? No.

So, I was standing in a co-workers office today envious that he had bought his wife surprise flowers. Of course, he bought them Friday, then forgot to bring them to her, and they were still moldering in his office today- but it's the thought that counts, right?

Fast forward to my arrival home, when I got pissed at the lemon piece of crap we call a desktop computer once again having a meltdown and needing to be reset. After much research and eyelash batting, \i walked away from Best Buy with a fantastic laptop, complete with warrenty, for less then 500 bucks. J decided it was time for me to have something of my own so he could play more games with less 'I need the computer' type interruptions.
Take that, co-worker's wife. I have a shiny BLUE laptop. AND I brought it home.