Friday, 6 December 2013

Dear Air Canada: You suck

Dear Air Canada,

I am flying to Calgary today, although now I will be ariving two and a half hours later than I had planned, because even though I was at the airport 45 minutes prior to departure, there was a line and I could not get through the line fast enough and you wouldn't let me on my flight.
I had checked on online yesterday and already had a boarding pass. The only reason I had to stand in that line was to get a luggage tag. But because it took me 15 minutes to get through the line, by the time I arrived at the counter, I was told that the plane was already boarding and that I was fubared.
What??
I checked in online so that I could avoid lines, but then had to stand in a line anyway, which made me too late to board a flight that I checked into yesterday.
WHAT???
She said she would call her manager. I thought he would get my butt fast through and on the plane. Nope. He sat at a computer and looked through a bunch of screens and then said I would be arriving in Calgary at 6:55.
So then a manager was called because I was not happy. I could not understand how myself, and the two people behind me, could not get on a plane that was not scheduled to depart for another 30 minutes, all because we were told we had to be here earlier.
I replied in frustration and said I WAS here at 2:30 and it took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot and walk to the departure desk.  Then he basically said close only counts in horseshoes and it was my fault because I should have allowed for that time. Like I thought it would take 15 minutes to park at the Grande Prairie Airport! IT HAS 4 GATES!! I think I have parked faster at YEG (Edmonton International) than here.
 Rather than filing that plane up with us three passengers who had already checked in online and were standing at the departure counter at 3:01 pm, you flew a plane with three empty seats, then put us on a later flight. To ice the craptastic cake further, because who doesn't love cake frosted with crap, I checked the departures board and saw that my flight actually departed EARLY. By 6 minutes. Which is about twice the time it took me to go through security at 3:10. So I sat at my gate, watched my actual flight leave at 3:24 because someone decided that I was too late to board.

There is a reason people don't like flying Air Canada and that you need government bailouts to keep you afloat, and this is it: because you suck.

Sincerely,

Sarah.

PS - you suck.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Accidental Pixie

The kids have been gearing up for today all week: a costume-halloween party at a friend's house. Everyone was dressing up, adults included. My kids have had their costumes figured out for a week (iBean for much longer) and leave it to me to be making mine at the last minute the morning of the party.
But it's not my fault. I am not good at dressing up for anything, and I saw this cute idea online of how to make a Paper Bag Princess costume. So I was busy cutting away paper this morning and putting it together in the living room, making a total mess of the place. The kids were pretty happy with that and iBean was colouring on the scraps of leftover paper, Keesadilla was colouring and cutting and glueing. All very good crafty wholesome stuff.
Once my costume was done, albeit too wide for my shoulders, but whatevs, I hopped into the shower and began making myself look like I had just had my castle blown  up by a dragon. Which was not hard, since my entire living room had been blown up by a last-minute DIY costume attempt.
As I was teasing my hair and back-combing and hairspraying and rubbing mascara on my face to look like soot, I heard Sashimi yell: MOMMY! SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING!
I'm thinking, oh no, another creeper on Minecraft which I don't understand and what the hell is a creeper anyway.
Then: MOMMY! KEESADILLA AND IBEAN ARE CUTTING THEIR HAIR!
I run into the living room. iBean is sitting on a stool. Clumps of her ice-white lockson the table, alongside some darker chunks of brownish blond.
Audible gasp. LOUD GASP. Hands to mouth, almost choke on my fist from all the vacuum-style inhaling and OHHHHing.
Woe is me and my poor barely-grown hair
Everything was quiet. But my loud gasping and sighing and near-moaning. Then I asked the obvious question: Who cut iBean's hair?
Keesadilla: I did. Are you mad, Mommy?
Me: Well...WHY did you cut her hair?
Keesadilla: I think it looks better this way.
Me: Noooooooooo, it doesn't. And we have family pictures on Monday!
Keesadilla: Don't worry Mommy, hair always grows back.
Me: It won't grow back by Mondaaaaaaaaay!
Keesadilla: When is Monday?
Me: in two daaaaaaaays!!!!!!!!!1
Keesadilla: Oooooohhhhhhhh. 

Then I look. The hair chunks are glued to a piece of paper. There was motive behind this. I don't know if I understand it, but there was some sort of reasoning. For a split second, I actually pictured myself madly gluing all those white locks back onto her head. OH THE DEVASTATION! THE TRAGEDY!

Then I look. iBean says: Mommy, Kees is cutting my hairs. My hairs is short now!

And she smiles.
Obviously not bothered. At. All.

Punk-chic by Brother
She just sat there. She smiled. I tried to smile, but all I wanted to do was continue breathing into the paperbag costume. I know hair grows back. But not in 2 days. 
I texted my hairdresser the picture of the hairpocalypse. She texted me back right away and said she could fix as best she could f I took her right away.
Keesadilla was looking really concerned. I told him we would NOT miss the costume party, so not to worry. But that's not what he was worried about.
"Are you gonna take me to the police?"
"WHAT? No. I am not going to take you to the police. But can you just promise me that you will NEVER EVER cut hair again??"
Keesadilla looked at me, hesitant. I know he was really thinking about it.
"Yeah, Ok, fine."

Then I grabbed iBean and ran to the salon. Wait, did I mention that I was half decked out like a paperbag princess whose castle just got blown up?
Like this?
Who needs a hair cut NOW??
With mascara all over my cheeks and leggings and a top meant to go under the paperbag ,and backcombed to high heaven, we went to the salon.
The stylist said it was bad. Not the worst she's seen, but there would definitely be cowlicks she just couldn't fix.
When all was said and done, iBean came out like this:
Add a bunch of hoops in her ear and she could be me circa 1999
She had a sucker, she was happy.

Then mad dash home to go dress up for the party:


My sweet little Punk-Chic-Pixie Scooby Doo.

Good thing she's so cute!




Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Cake that Almost didn't Make It

If there is one thing I love in this world, it's making beautiful and delicious food. But who can eat a cake every day? Or even every week? Wait. Let me rephrase that. I know that cake is a sometimes food, so I don't make it every week. Plus, I am all about making from scratch and using best quality ingredients. Full fat. Full flavour.
One of my friends is celebrating her birthday today, and I had told her husband a while ago that I was planning on making a cake for her. Because, see above reason. Food. Love. Eat. Love.
But that was a few weeks ago. And I kinda forgot about it until, ohhhhh, yesterday. I know she loves peanut butter buttercream and dark chocolate cake. But I made that last year. And for Sashimi's birthday. And I gave her the leftover cake from his birthday.
So I wanted to tackle a new recipe.
Today. Without pre-reading or whatever. Just OOOOOH! I wanna make that awesome Sweetapolita cake with the peanuts on the side!
I get home from work at 12:30. Quickly look up that nutty recipe on my absolute drooltastic favourite blog Sweetapolita. Look at a bunch of other fantastic looking tasties. Get back to the peanut throwing cake. Figure out what ingredients I need, which fortunately is not much. Eat lunch, get iBean dressed (that's right...she was still hanging out in her birthday suit at 1:00 pm) and head to the store.
She's excited, I'm excited. There will be butter and sugar being creamed together. Whipping cream. Cream cheese. PEANUT BUTTER.
Ooooooooh baby.
Pulling into the parking lot of the store, guess who falls asleep.  And NO, it wasn't me. I figure she just fell asleep, I'll take her out of her carseat and she'll be good to go.
You know what? My arms are the best bed EVER. I hauled iBean in the crook of my left arm, and did all my shopping with my right arm, while also holding my phone, which had a shopping list in it. Open the cooler door with right arm, prop open with right hip, grab dairy products while trying not to bang iBean's head with the door as it slams shut. What else do I need? Oh yeah. FLOUR. That's not at ALL hard to grab with one hand and put into a cart without dropping your snoring 2 year old sleeping in your armpit. Because as strong as I am, my muscles may just give out and my arm may spontaneously fall off.
Oh. But guess what? There's no whipping cream in the entire dairy cooler. The entire rest of the cooler is full. I wonder if they are just putting it out. I go see Tony at the pharmacy and ask him to tell me where I can go to get more whipping cream. He calls someone. Immediately afterward I hear a page for someone, then that person responds with a page for someone else. Snore snore drool drool.
Aaaaaaaaannnnnd 10 minutes later they call back: no whipping cream.
For the love of freaking throwing peanuts. I have to go to ANOTHER store??
I go to the checkout, hear some poor employee get totally ripped into by his "superior". "Where's your handheld" she asks him. He says he doesn't know. She pulls it out from behind her back: "Mmmmmhmmm.  I KNOW you don't know. Because I have it. You are never allowed to blah blah blah humiliate belittle tears and crying into a pillow at night."
iBean is still asleep.
I finally pay, get everything into my cart, wheel out to the car, put the groceries in the back, put iBean in  her carseat.
And THEN she decides to wake up. All smiley and silly.
So we hit another store just for whipping cream and to look at pumpkins -  "Those are BIG ones! And it's a petit one!"
We get home and it's time to get at 'er!
I have to separate some eggs. The first egg I crack has something red in it.  But not just a red dot. I look closer. It was probably 2-3 mm in diameter. It's a freaking embryo. I can tell. It was fleshy, pink chicken-like.
Shudder shudder shriek. Garbage. And then I meticulously inspect each egg afterward to make sure there is no surprise protein. Ughhhhhhhhh.
The rest of the cake is easy. iBean adds ingredients, she tosses the chocolate chips with a pinch of flour when needed, and voilà.
Then we made the peanut butter mousse filling. Cream cheese, icing sugar, peanut butter, vanilla and whipped cream. iBean's words: This TASTEEEE! between mouthfuls of licking the spatula.
I start getting ready to assemble the cake. I grab a serated knife to do some trimming, and there is goo on it. From the cake. Holy. Poo. On. Melba. Toast. The middle is not baked. How the hell did that happen? I toothpick tested it and it came out clean!! Can you actually put a cooled cake back in the oven to finish baking? I dunno, but I'm gonna find out.
Turns out, you can. Sort of. The middle bakes, but the edges get quite, um, crunchy. But there is nothing I hate more than undercooked gooey cake.
This setback totally delays my estimated time of cake.  By a good hour, because now I have to let the thing cool all over again. In the meantime, my friend's hubby texts me: We are patiently waiting.........

By the time I put it together, the cake is not totally cool, but it is well past cake time and it needs to get in people's bellies. So I do my best to get it to stay upright and look pretty.
And thanks to my turn table and expert peanut-throwing skills, it turned out pretty darn good.


Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was also tasty. Pretty. Tasty.


 ----------------------------
And there are a bunch of platters on sale this week at Walmart. I think I'm gonna go grab a bunch. Beacuse seriously? That platter cost me under $5. And it's awesome.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Happen' Hummus...what?

Today was one of those days where I got home from work, picked up iBean, went home for a few hours, worked out, prepped supper and loaded it into the crock pot and put the baked macaroni and cheese in the oven on auto-timer, piled iBean back into the car, picked up the boys from school, drove to Tony's work to grab Sashimi's piano books out of his car, and had a few minutes to spare before taking Sashimi to his piano lesson. And then I realized I was HUNGRY. The kids were also hungry, as I normally have some sort of snack ready for them when they get home OR supper is ready to serve. iBean had passed out in the car, so going into a store was not happening. So I drove to a McDonald's drive-thru.

For the record, I rarely eat there. I love their lattés (which I also have not had since June), but the food: no thanks.  The kids like their fries. Which, to be honest, are scarily tasty with all that crispiness and salt. But I can never handle eating more than a few before I feel like I am on day 59 of a trek through the Sahara and the mirages of Culligan water trucks are singing to me. So I ordered the kids each a small fries. But I was SO HUNGRY. Then, like a sign from the angels, I saw a sign that said Happen' Hummus. What? McD's has chick pea spread? Then I saw that the meditteranean wrap, which contained said Happenin' Hummus, was vegetarian.  No "meat". Veggies, cheese, whole wheat wrap (aka enriched-white-flour-dyed-brown, probably with some sort of corn byproduct). I ordered one thinking it would calm my ravenous hunger and get me through until our actual supper.

I bit into it. First taste: salt. Then a bit of sodium, tomato, red onion, then salt, crisp green leaves, white saucy goo, more sodium. And crispy things.  What? Brown flaky crisps? Were they croutons? No. Bacon bits? No. Was it bits of coating from the fryer? Possibly. They tasted like onions. Are they mediterranean? I've never had mediterranean batter crisps before. I kept eating. There was some sort of white sauce in there, too. Was it tzatziki? Only if tzatziki tastes like ranch. But it wasn't quite ranch either.  Like ranch with extra vinegar. WAIT! Miracle Whip left out in the sun! Winner winner chicken dinner!

And HOLD THE BUS. Where was the Happenin' Hummus? I specifically ordered a Happenin' Hummus Wrap! The guy even laughed when I ordered. Where was the hummus? Was it the crispy things? Did McDonald's somehow find a way to deep fry hummus? They must have, because it was the only thing in that wrap that could possibly have been even close to the same colour as hummus.
Unless...the hummus was invisible. Oh you crafty buggers. You disguised the hummus so all those fast food junkies wouldn't know what they were eating!

Well, joke's up. THERE WAS NO HUMMUS IN MY HAPPENIN' HUMMUS WRAP, YO!

And then? I looked up the nutritional information on that wrap? I was right. Sodium 900 mg. 38% of your recommended daily intake. Well shit. Between that and my occasionally relapsing hypertension, I am figuring I need to drink a LOT of water to keep myself from having a stroke.
And also, that Non-Happenin' Invisible Hummus wrap has more calories than a bacon cheeseburger.

Maybe the bacon cheeseburger got my Invisible Happenin' Hummus.  If I'm gonna have a cardiac episode, may as well be bacon related.





Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hello, I am back in Jr High.

If there was one thing that I dreaded every year of my adolescent life, it was this:
School picture day.
I had cool clothes, I had killer dangly earrings, my hair was on point. Well, other than that year that my bangs were cut just a wee bit too short.  Like one inch long. On purpose. Somehow I thought that would be a good idea. Until I saw the picture come back in the plastic envelope and I said: WHAT THE HECK?? THAT'S what I look like?
I had terrible acne. Not the white bulbous sores all over the face. Not the blackheads that occasionally are visible or maybe a bit read. PIMPLES. Horribly infected, sometimes green, sometimes pus-yellow, but always visible. On my chin, on my forehead, on my cheekbones. Big. Green. Nasty. UN COVERABLE.
So for my entire teen existence, I really did not like school pictures. This was in those pre-digital pre-photoshopping days. A pimple was a pimple period end of sentence.  Sometimes it was actually my period. But that is a totally different yet painfully related story.
Then, my high school grad photos came. And the photographer used airbrushing! Well, I am sure he did.  Those were the most beautiful pictures of myself I had ever seen. Not a pimple in sight. Smooth skin! I looked like a fairy goddess who had just bathed in milk and honey.
Those photos were the cherry on top of a pretty abysmal cake of years of teeny prints of pimples to share with the boys whom I was most wanting to keep away from. Hey creepshow, you want to get down my pants? Here! Have a school picture.

Now, I am an adult. I have kids. I would love to say I USED to have acne. But that would be a mother trucking lie because I still DO have acne. All those people who told me you outgrow acne are liars and they make baby Jesus cry. Although if I had been told as a teen that I would still have moon craters on my face at age 31, I probably would have drank myself to oblivion. Wait.  I did do that a lot. But not because of acne. Mostly because of the failproof combo of tequila and boys. Who cares about acne when you have booze and a nice rack to put it on?

But I am now a responsible adult and mother, and I cannot deal with my horrible green and yellow pus pimples by drinking or pretending to like wrestling. I wear concealer so the neigbourhood kids don't think the Man in the Moon has actually come down to grant their three wishes, and my husband loves me regardless. But I still get pretty bad outbreaks once in a while and they always come at the most convenient of times.

Like two days before SCHOOL PICTURES at my school. Where I work. And have to get a picture taken. To be posted. On a wall. For people to see.
And yes, I am an adult and I tell my students: you look great! Be yourself! Love the skin you're in! Blah freaking blah. My skin sucks. I inherited my dad's oily skin and his incurable need to pop every pimple in sight. Even on someone else's face.
So yeah.  I had school pics taken. I wore about half an inch of coverup, turned my face at an angle to avoid the BIGGEST unconcealable volcanic eruption on my face, and smiled.
My proofs came back. They were not terrible. My dress is cute. Well, what you can see of it from the rack up. I could live with that picture.
Then it's like I AM 31 YEARS OLD! Who am I going to give my pimply school pictures to? 
Oh right. Kids I want to punish.
Don't do your homework? I post my picple on your desk.
Forget your books at home? I sneak a picple into your backpack.
You use your iPhone or iPod touch in class? I text you my picple. You can't unsee that, foo.

And that is why you should not allow pimply adults to take school photos. Because then they obsess over it to the point of forcing you to read about their pimples.

Oh well. At least this isn't a post about tonsil stones.

Now you're gonna google tonsil stones. And you'll watch a video. And then you can NEVER unsee that...





Friday, 6 September 2013

Lunch Time

Keesadilla is in a new world.  The world of KINDERGARTEN. Playdough, building things, morning calendar, daily gym time, the works.  He came home and spouted I WAS AWESOME! WE WERE ALL AWESOME! And showed me the green happy face on his calendar, which according to him: "Green means you are AWESOME. If it's red...well...that's just not good..."

This morning, in all the excitement and untamed bedhead, he asked to see what I had packed for his first school lunch ever. So I opened it up. He peered inside, sniffed a few times, then recoiled like a shark who DOESN'T want to eat that tin can, and said: well, mommy, it's just that this lunch is no good.
Why was it not good? It had delicious red grapes, carrot sticks (from our GARDEN, yo), mini red pepper strips, yogurt and three mini-wraps filled with homemade grape jelly (from our garden AGAIN, yo).  If I had that lunch, which I didn't, I would be yahooing all over the place. Ok, wait. Jelly didn't grow in our garden. I mean, it would be awesome if it did, but then we'd have all these jelly swipers to deal with, and all the security jelly-garden would be pricey, and frankly, take up too much space. So we just grow grapes instead. With seeds in them. Who wants to wipe grapes with seeds?! Fools, that's who. Ohhhhhhh snap.

Instead, he said: Well, it's just...I don't really like red peppers that much for school. And grapes too. And these wraps don't look like wraps I would like. The yogurt is ok. But the carrots, well, I only like them with BBQ sauce. So, maybe, how about, I take all this food out and you put in some pain with jam and an apple.

Incredulous, I adamantly said: No. This is the lunch I made.  If you really want BBQ sauce, I can give you a little bit in your lunch to dip your carrots.

He agreed to those terms, but then asked me to take out all of the grapes and replace them with an apple. Peeled. And sliced. Oh. And take out the peppers, too. Wouldn't you like to dip the peppers in the BBQ sauce? I asked. Then it would taste like pepper steak stirfry, I prodded. I was grasping at straws but SERIOUSLY?? He eats peppers all. The. Time. Same with grapes.

Then, he said: I just think I would want a pizza lunch instead.
 Facepalm.
Me: Dude, there is no pizza lunch at school. When they start hot lunches, I will order pizza on pizza day.  But today is not pizza day. It is wraps and peppers and carrots and apples day.
K: OH C'MON! REALLY! I'M SERIOUSLY! I just don't think it's gonna be a good lunch!
Me: Well, if it's not, then you can switch with Sashimi.
K: ALRIGHT Fine. I'll take it.

But HAHAHAHA jokes on him, because Sashimi had the same lunch.


And since he was self-admittedly AWESOME on his first day, I am guessing he didn't feel the need to swap anything.

So I wonder if I should just keep a bottle of all-purpose BBQ sauce at the school for all his dipping needs...





Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Pet Shop Rules

While putting the boys to bed, Sashimi suddenly cried out and complained that it felt like something was biting his toe. I knew the cat was outside, so it was not her. My next thought was some sort of spider, which would be so gross. So I jumped off of the top bunk to check out his toe. Nothing.
That was not good enough for Sashimi, so I turned on the light, inspected his toe with really close eyes, rubbed it, poked it. Still nothing. Whatever made him feel like he was being nibbled on was clearly gone.
Keesadilla, always the president of the peanut gallery, quickly ponted out: I hope it's not a slug that can climb up bunk beds.
Me: Keesadilla, it is not a slug.  Slugs can't get into the house.
Keesadilla: Well, yeah, but like that would be so. Gross. And I don't want them biting me.
Me: They don't bite people. They don't even leave gardens.
Sashimi: Keesadilla, it wasn't a slug that bit me. It was probably nothing and just a weird feeling in my toe.
Keesadilla: Yeah, Sashimi, but still.  I do NOT want to be attacked by snails or slugs.
Me: That's not going to happen.
Keesadilla: If I owned a pet shop, the rules would be No slugs climbing up beds, or on the ceiling, or on cat's faces, or ATTACKING PEOPLE.
Me: Good rules. But slugs don't attack people.
Keesadilla: Yeah. Because they have to follow my pet shop rules.
(pause)
Now can you come and change my blanket? It's HOT...



Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Shake it up

This is not a normal type of blog post for me. Normally, people come here to read about the ridiculous things that happen in my house. Honestly, there has been a fair amount of hilarity lately, and that will appear in a future post. But right now, I want to answer to something that has been asked of me lately.

Why did I decide to become a Beachbody coach?

Last year, when I started Insanity, I remember in one workout Shaun T refers to one of the people sweating it out on screen and says: "He's a Beachbody Coach. He leads by example." And then the sweaty man mumbles out "Bhgasdhsjsbsdf..lead...biugefu. ample..." as he's plyometricking all over the place.

I looked up what a Beachbody coach was. I also then read that Canadians were not eligible. Well, poo to that idea. And I went on about my day, working out (almost) every day and talking to whomever asked about it.

This spring, a girl that grew up in the same town village hamlet group of farms as I did created a "like" page on facebook for her fitness business.

Let me digress for a second and say that there has GOT to be a better way to say that than a "like page".  That is so gramatically stupid that it makes my brain cry.

Anyway. The Like Page. It said she was a Beachbody coach.  I was like Shut The Front Door. Turns out, Beachbody decided they needed Canadians to add to their coolness quotient. She asked me if I was interested, and by then, I was about as committal as most of my ex-boyfriends. OH SNAP! Then she asked me if I wanted to join a challenge group (code for accountability-support-group-to-get-your-butt-moving-and-help-you-put-your-panties-and-shoes-on-and-push-play-every-day) for the new workout program, Focus T25.  T25 is by the same guy that did Insanity.  And since I pretty much love him, I was in.

Then I discovered that being in a challenge also means not only putting your panties and shoes on and pushing play, it means drinking some sort of drink called Shakeology. Again, I had seen ads for it on the workout DVDs I had, but had never in my life considered drinking something like that. That was something only fitness junkies and meditative gurus did. But, for the sake of trying something new, I read the ingredients, made sure there was no funky stuff like eye of newt or parasitic worms. Then I fired up the blender.

My first impression was: well, that's gonna take getting used to. I had never had ANY type of meal replacement or protein powder in my life. But it filled me up and seemed to give me a boost of energy. The next day, I had it again. Then again on day three. Because I was accountable to a group and we all swore to push play and drink. But by day five, I noticed something. I remember texting my best friend and saying I was pretty sure there had to be crack in it or something because I actually really liked it, I looked forward to drinking it every morning, it gave me energy, it made my intestines and bowels super happy, as well as my tummy, and my latenight munchies were significantly diminished.

Could this really be from this drink? Maybe it was from the workouts.  Working out does give me increased energy, and maybe I had been eating really well and lots of fiber or something. But I continued drinking it and working out daily and loved the way I was feeling.

My husband, ever the scientist, decided to set up a blind experiment to make sure I wasn't praying to a golden idol of a dog or a toad. Using a flavour of Shakeology that I had never seen or tasted before (chocolate) he bought a protein powder similar in protein and fat ratios (and carbs, but that was not as easy to match) and he made my shakes for me and asked me to record how I felt. We did this for two weeks. Initially, he switched shakes at random, but then decided to give each shake a five-day stretch.
Guess what: it's not all in my head.

When on the regular protein powder, I did feel full, and I had some energy, but my GI system was back to its normal craptastic self. The days I drank Shakeology, my tummy troubles were gone. I also didn't spend every evening ravaging my pantry looking for munchupons. And frankly, I don't really want to go back to feeling crummy and like a racoon on the prowl through dumpsters for a hit of sugar or salt.

Since buying this product every month can be a bit pricey for cheapo me, so I decided to sign up as a beachbody coach and get the coach discount. Awesomesauce.

Then, I decided, hey, I've been promoting and talking up Beachbody workouts for over a year, and I have had people ask me about them, and I love talking about it and sharing ideas, so why not try and set up my own groups and help others with their own strength, health and fitness goals? I am not a personal trainer. I am a sharer, a  helper, a facilitator, and a motivator. I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk.  Or squat the squat.  That sounds awful.You get the idea, I hope.  I am not squating in bushes or anything. Although, having gone berry picking in the bush with my Baba, a true pioneer woman, I do know how to squat without peeing on myself. Or my shoes. Well, most times. And yes, I will teach iBean how to squat, too.

I am a girl that just likes to lead by example.
*That goes for peeing in the bush, too. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The first duet

iBean loves to sing, just like her maman. Since she was in the NICU, I have always sung to her. I sang to all my babies, but each of them had their own special songs that I sang only for them. They are used to me singing around the house and rarely do they tell me to be quiet (unlike my sisters and I growing up with our mom...I am so sorry about that, Mommy!) Sometimes I sing kid songs, sometimes pop, sometimes just plain nonsense songs. Sometimes rap. Wait, that is nonsense...
iBean's lullaby is one that we adapted from an Elmo book, and has been her favourite bedtime song for the past couple of months. So much so that she sings it with me.  At first it was a few words, then a phrase, and now she sings the whole song with me, in a barely audible whisper.  Because it's bedtime, you know. Shhh...

I finally was sneaky enough to sneak my iPhone into her room while tucking her in for the night.  The lights were off, and I had set up my phone ahead of time to be ready to record. So when we started singing, I was ready. I recorded our little duet.
And this is a clip that I will treasure forever.


You know you are loved best.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Conversations with my resident 5-year-old theologian

 Keesadilla: Why does Riley always want to play games where his name is Killer? Or he wants to kill people or growl?
Me: Well, God gave Riley a really big imagination and he makes up really big stories and games to play.
K: That's not really big. Big imagination is like when you're a zombie or something.
M: Zombies are not the same kinds of games as killer games?
K: NO! And why does God always make us fight?
M: He doesn't make you fight. Who are you fighting?
K: Anyone. Why are we always fighting?
M: Well, when you're little, fighting is a way to help you learn how to use your words and not your actions. God helps you learn how to be patient and kind when you fight.
K: What? God doesn't know what He's doing. That doesn't make any sense.
M: Not everyone has the same ideas of what games to play or what to do all the time. So God helps you talk and solve your problems together.
K: That doesn't happen in Peace River.  There is no magic in Peace River.
M: Magic?
K Yeah. Well, except for God's magic. But a kid flying? Not magic in Peace River.  Or like a kid bouncing between trees? Not magic like that in Peace River.  Only like if God magic'd him down the tree.  That kind of magic.
Sashimi (from the bottom bunk): There is magic! Like my card trick!
K: That's NOT magic, Sashimi.  Only God does magic. Like if he magic'd your cards.
M:What? (I have no idea what we are talking about anymore).

Pause for about 4 seconds.

K: Like how long do I have until I never have to go to school for the rest of my life?
M: Um...when you're an adult.
K: No.  Like I mean when am I going to wake up and not have to go to school anymore? Like EVER?
M: Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?
K: Either a trains person or buildings.
S: You can't BE a building, Keesadilla.
K: NO, like I'm gonna drive a train.  But I just can't decide what kind.  I think CN because I never saw inside a CN train before.
M: Well, once you're done learning how to drive a CN train, you can be done school.
K: Well, I think I already know how.  I'm seriously!
M: You still have to go to school to learn new words and numbers.
K: WORDS? I don't want to learn words.  All the words Mme Suzanne uses are en français and I don't know them!
M: Well, Mme Suzanne is not your teacher this year.  It's Mme Danielle and Mme Sheri-Lynn.
K (thinks for a bit): Well, like how many days is Mme Sheri-Lynn gonna be there? Like is she gonna tell me all the words?
M: I don't know.  But you will learn lots of things this year and you'll have fun.
K: I don't know about that...seriously...

Pause to contain my inner giggles.

K: Mommy, my blanket is hot.
M: Ok. I'll give you a new blanket.
Two minutes later...
K: This blanket is hot TOO! Why don't you get me a blanket that is never ever hot and always stays cold all night for every night?
M: If I ever see one of those blankets, I will definitely buy one.

Five minutes later...
K: My blanket is so hot! What is wrong with these things?
M: I think it's your body that's hot.
K: NO it's the BLANKETS! They're no good. I want cold blankets.
M: There are no more blankets. Your body warmed them all up. Do you want me to flip your pillow?
K: Yeah...flip it. But it's hot on both sides! My body's not hot, it's my legs.  And they're hot because of the blankets.
M: Well, sleep without blankets.
K: What? That's crazy. Then I'll be cold.

M: Good night, Keesadilla.

End scene.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

One down, nine to go!

As of tomorrow, I will have completed (and passed!) my first graduate course. Although in my mind it feels like it was only last year that I was a poor university student living in a basement that tended to flood or drinking liters of coffee to make it through the day.
Wait.  I did drink a liter of coffee yesterday. But university was the start of that nasty habit...
And now, I am one course down on my road to master of the universe. Or Master of Edward Cullen.

Although walking onto the university campus last Monday to start the intensive two week course gave me the deluded sense that I really hadn't aged and that it has not been that long since I left, some things have changed:

1. I have a job. So I have money. Which means I can afford to buy myself things like lunch and coffee and be awesome like that.
2. I have kids and a mortgage. So I actually have negative money. Which means I pack my lunch and fill my bag with instant coffee and steal creamer, sugar and utensils from the cafeteria. Maybe saltines, too.
3. I used to be able to read on the bus, so I would review my notes and whatnot. Now? If I want to read, I have to visit some sort of drug dealer to jack me up on Gravol.  So I spend my time trying not to yarf. Good thing I have my iPHONE! Listening to music while riding the bus is so much easier compared to when I had one of these:
Yeah...And remember how you used to pay like $250 to get the GOOD ones that offered like 10 second skip protection? But on a bus ride, that meant you got to listen to music in 10 second clips. Yesssss.
4. As an undergrad, I was used to being on the top of the brainscale in my courses.  Now, in a graduate level course, the perpetually hungover/drunk people are pretty much weeded out. Which means everyone is smart. And motivated. And it's harder to get those coveted 4.0 marks when everyone around you is smart and motivated and not jacked up on gravol and humming Taylor Swift songs because that's all that was loaded on their iPhone that day.  Not that I have ever listened to Taylor Swift or kept dancing like I was 22. What?
5. Wireless internet on campus. Can I get a HELLS YEAH! Mainly because I can watch as many buzz feed GIFs and youtube videos of Taylor Swift and how she gets her lips so bright red as I want. I mean...homework. Research.
6. My grad photo is on the wall.  And I look young. Even I think I look young. Never felt like I looked old until I saw that picture today...

There are the things that never change:

1. The bus smells like East Asian food.  Or curry. Even at 7:30 am.
2.  Coffee is my lifeline to educational success.
3. First thing I have to do when I get to school is find a bathroom.  And I always try to find the cleanest stall farthest away from the door so people won't hear me.
4. What I am really doing in the bathroom is cracking super secret spy codes using my telegraph. That's why I don't want people to hear me.  So stop listening.  Blarp beep DASHHHHHHH boop.
5. The really slow walkers in the hallway that spread out just enough so that you can't go through them or around them, you just have to follow at their painfully slow pace. Or just stop altogether and watch some goats bleet to Taylor Swift.
6. Stress acne. And stress canker sores. And a cold sore. I can't tell you how happy I was when I woke up with a chin implant that I didn't even have to pay for! Awesomesauce. And canker cold sores? They just make playing the recorder more challenging. That's not blood. That's my war wound, yo.

But as of tomorrow, I will be one course closer to my Masters of Edward. And that feels pretty good.

So. With that in mind, dear husband, I would like to thank you for taking two weeks of your holidays to stay home and take care of our spawn while I moved in with my sister and her little Tiger Lily for two weeks to go back to school. And since they were so good for you, I am thinking I'm good to take another course next summer. Gotta get masters grad pics taken before I get liver spots...
Right?
*crickets*

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

FOCUS

Since last May, when I embarked on the aptly named Insanity program, I did not really think it would be such a life-changing thing.  I completed insanity mostly to prove to myseld that I could do it. If Tony could run a half-marathon, I could do Insanity.  We both realized those goals, and were super awesomely cool.

But then I decided that I didn't just want to stop after Insanity.  I mean, working THAT hard, nearly puking, pissing and pooping my pants while working out, tripping in my own sweat...all that effort was too big to go to waste by sitting and knitting all winter. So I went for something completely different and did Strippercize.  Just kidding.  I did P90X and although I really enjoy weights, the program was not my fave.  The workouts were just a wee-bit long for a mother who has to watch her kids while working out. So I went back to doing Insanity workouts on my own schedule.  I generally chose workouts from the first month because they tend to be around 40-45 minutes long, whereas month 2 workouts are closer to an hour.  And like I said, I am a mother who has to keep her house from spontaneously imploding everytime she works out.

Working out became sort of like crack to me. Not that I have ever done crack. Nor do I know anyone (or KNOW that I know someone) who does crack. But from what I gather, it's a big rush. Whee! Well, these crazy intense workouts are my crack. Legal crack. Crack that I want to share with the world and not get arrested for.

Here's my new crack. It's called Focus T25: 25 minute workouts that give you the same results as a 60 minute workout. Created by the same guy who created Insanity, the awesomely awesome Shaun T. Who is married.  To a white man. That totally made me fall off my chair when I found that out.  My gaydar was not working at all.  I was sure he and Tanya (a chick who features prominently in Insanity) were having extra-curricular workouts of their own. I was WAYYYYYY off...

What was I saying? Oh yeah. So you may be thinking - 25 minutes? Joke.  It takes that long to get my Vibram FiveFingers on. No way a workout in 25 minutes can actually be challenging. I take poops longer than 25 minutes.  Wait, that's a lie.  But it wouldn't be a lie if my husband was the one writing this blog post.

Fact: 25 minutes will seem like eternity to you while you do these workouts.  But then, because it's only 25 minutes, you're done really quickly and like whaaaaa?
Fact: On day 5, 10, etc you do a double day where you complete two workouts.  That brings you to 50 minutes.
You're thinking: well finally, that's a workout.  Maybe you should do two workouts everyday you lazy crackhead.
Fact: Today was Day 5. I was still standing after the first workout. Sweaty, but upright.
 Then I drank some water and pushed play on the second workout. And I spent the next 25 minutes trying not to fall over from my jell-o legs, slipping in my sweat and possibly pee, holding back the hurl, and screaming at Shaun T because WHAT THE EFF WAS HE THINKING SUGGESTING TWO WORKOUTS ON THE SAME DAY?? and then I would see the little workout counter and see the word BURNOUT, which is a few minutes of even more heightened and intense physical activity and I yelled FML BURNOUT! I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!
But I made it.  Sorta. This was me after the second workout. Sweaty.  Not upright. Immersed in a puddle of my own sweat. My glasses are actually foggy.

So.The main bullet points of this presentation are:
Workouts = Sarah crack.
Burnouts = cruel form of punishment; way to atone for deadly sins
Focus T25 = Seriously effective and sweat-inducing. Not a joke.
Two workouts in one day = 911 on speed dial.
Shaun T = hot black man married to a white man; awesomest workout coach ever. Even if only on my TV...




Sunday, 16 June 2013

What is Father's Day when your dad is gone?

What is a dad?
A dad is someone who parents you, loves you, wrestles with you, spies on your boyfriends to make sure they're good enough for you, picks your intoxicated-teen-butt up from parties at 3 am, snaps wet dishtowels at you, loves you, and calls you the apple of his eye.

What happens to Father's Day when that person is gone?

My father has been gone for over 13 years, and since then, Father's Day has not meant much to me. Often, I forget that it's coming until the last minute and then I realize that I should probably do something for Tony, the father of my children.  Fortunately, Sashimi has an awesome art teacher who pretty much took care of that for me. The kids and I also made Tony breakfast and espresso in bed at the table after letting him sleep in until 8:30 (WTF?! I know...that constitutes sleeping in around here).

But what do I do for my own dad?

My dad was my daddy, but that relationship was severed when he died; I was 17. I know that we will see each other again, but we do not have a continuing relationship.  There is nothing there but memories, photos and a few home videos.  I show them to my kids, we talk about their Dede Kerry. But the past is the past, and living in the past is not going to bring him back.

So I acknowledge the fact that my dad is not here, that I miss him, and I move on.

Ed, my step-father, and came into my life as an adult.  He never raised me, disciplined me, sent me to my room, or wrestled with me.  Frankly that last one would be kind of weird. But he has done something that my dad was not able to do: be a grandfather to my children.

My children love their Gedo. The boys wrestle with him every time we visit, usually about 20 minutes before I want to go home, getting them all riled up and then sends them home for me to deal with. He plays catch with them, he throws rocks in the river with them, he goes fishing with them, and doesn't get angry when one of them drops his new pliers in the lake. He helps them learn to ride their bikes. He gets them to help him with work around the yard, like stacking wood or removing stumps. He plays games with them. He helps me build things for them. He reads stories to them in French even though he has absolutely no idea how to speak French or pronounce any of it.  He slept with each of my babies on his chest, carried them around and burped them. He loves them as his own grandkids. And my kids love them as their Gedo in a way that they will never be able to feel for the grandfather they never had the chance to meet.

So on this day, even though I am tired from the early morning, the high-energy kids, and a daughter that did not want to nap, I want to show Gedo how much we love him and appreciate him in the best way I know how: making a roast chicken and gravy dinner and sharing it with them.

Thank you for being such a postive part of our lives, Ed. We never take for granted how fortunate we are to have you in our family. And how good you are at making pina coladas.

PS - And can you bring your weed-whacker when you come over? Tony wants to borrow it. We don't take that for granted either.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Caterpocalypse

They're coming.
*insert Plants vs. Zombie music when the zombies start making their way onto your lawn. And maybe there's fog.  Or not.  But definitely zombies.*

Last weekend, we drove off to a wedding.  We noticed that the tops of the trees in the valley looked like they had been painted brown.  We guessed it was the start of the caterpiller outbreak we all figured was coming.

But it is so much worse. 

It's the Caterpocalypse.

My parents were on holidays, so my mom asked me to water her flowers and new strawberry plants. No problem.  I went every day, watered, bam. Done.

Thursday morning: I get a text from my mom.  Can you check on my rose bush in case of caterpillars? You'll have to start spraying it with soap solution once or twice a day.
I respond: Ok.  Sure.
Thursday evening, after work, I go to my mom's. I walk through the little arch into the back yard.

And I shat myself:



Holy shit.  Too late. Moment of silence for the rose bush.

Holy. Sweet. Peter. Paul. And. Mary. That used to be a rose bush. Like 24 hours ago. What. The EFF?!
Creepy crawly forest tent caterpillars everywhere! They're in the rose bush. They're stuck to the siding, they're crawling up the patio doors, trying to get into the house to devour my mom's brains.  Or houseplants. Who knows. They are vile, sick, and smell awful when squished.  But the only way to stop them is to squish them because the damn things don't seem to drown! And what with it being so DRY up here, you can't very well blowtorch the mothertruckers without causing a national incident.

So they keep coming.
Caterpillar orgy

And coming.
Caterpole dancing. Not sexy. At. All.
Those aren't even trees you idiots! That is a metal pole! No leaves! Not even green! Why would you climb it other than to gross us all out and make silky meshy webs all over the place that you need to pressure wash with gasoline?!

Oh. And you know what else is gross? Having a T ball practice in a field infested with caterpillars.  Because Yea! your kid is playing T ball! Yea he's going to bat! No, wait. The bat has caterpillars all over it.  Let's whack it a few times. Oh crap, now there's caterpillar guts all over the bat. And it stinks.  Wait, there are caterpillars crawling up my leg! OH SWEET JESUS GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF! AAAAAAAH! WHY ARE THEY SO STICKY?!?! iBean does not like them at all.  One starts to crawl on her sandal.  She whimpers and then quivers and then full on freaks out.  Then I have to carry her for the rest of the one hour T-ball practice while the creepy crawlies fully take over my bag of water bottles and Off spray.  Which, for your information, does nothing to caterpillars.

Then you drive home. Back through a semi-wooded area, where the stench of the squished caterpillars on the road is like vomit and bile and decomp. And then you drive past all the bare trees (they just got their new spring leaves two weeks ago...they just want to be pretty.  WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE PRETTY?!) And drive into your driveway, which is two houses up from the main road.  The caterpillars have only taken over the houses and yards on the river side, not the upside. They have not made their way across the road.
Yet.
 
Monday:

They're here.
They're in my driveway. Five days of inching their way through acres of forest and they have finally made it into my driveway.
And my garage.
WhAT?! My garage?! Close the door! Wait! Open the door!
Grab the big broom, sweep those things out!
Put down the broom, run to push the garage door button, but by the time I get there, the caterpillars are already crawling back into the garage! NOOOOOOoooooo! They're so fast!
Grab the broom. Sweep sweep sweep. Squishy squishy. Sweeeeeeeep! Hurry! Hurry Hard!
Run to push the garage door button.
Garage door is closing...closing...and it opens itself back up. Something triggered the sensor.
CATERPILLARS!
My brain finally turns on.  I grab the remote opener from the car.  I squish and sweep and swear and scream: GET OUT OF MY GARAGE YOU PIECES OF SHIT!!! And as soon as the last one is out, I push the button.  And wait. And watch. And see them starting to try and crawl back in.
Close faster! CLOSE FASTER! HURRY!!!!!!

And it closes. 

Safe for another day. But it's only a matter of time.

They're coming...





Saturday, 11 May 2013

33 ways to greener living

I read today that the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere are the highest they have been in 3 million years.
I would love to write a post about 3 million things you can do to help change that horrible fact, but that would be excessively long and I don't know if I personally know of 3 million things.  But here is a list of things that we (our family) does to lower our carbon footprint on a daily basis:

1. Wash laundry in cold water
2. Avoid purchasing food that comes individually wrapped. More wrapping not only means more waste, but involved more costs of production (more carbon) at the manufacturing plant.
3. When you clean the inside of your fridge, UNPLUG IT. Your food will survive.
4. Grow your own food.
5. Make your own food.  And that does not mean reheat food that you bought in the frozen section of the store.  It means buy actual ingredients and make real food.  I could go on, but you get the picture.
6. Buy a manually-powered lawn mower. Like this one.  We own it. Never have to sharpen the blades, easy to push. And the best part: no noise.
7. Plant less lawn and more food-producing plants.
8. Wear your jeans more than once before you wash them.
9. Shower with someone.  Hey - fun for everyone!
10. On hot days, keep windows closed and cover the windows during the day, open the windows at night.
11. When the heat is getting ridiculous, seek refuge in the basement.
12. Be naked.
13. On cold days: your car only needs 5 minutes to idle and warm up the motor in the winter.  5 minutes.  Not 10, not 20. Five.
14. Make less trips into town. Plan ahead and do all your errands at once.
15. Keep a reusable cup in your car for when you want to buy a coffee or iced-coffee.  No waste.
16. Use waste-free lunch containers like these.
17. Unplug your electronics EVERY NIGHT. The easy way: plug them all into a timer-equiped power bar. Then set the timer to turn on and off at a certain time each day. You have no idea how much power your LCD TV, blu-ray, etc are sucking when they are turned off. 
18. Use a rain barrel to water your plants.
19. Buy a green car. Not the colour green.  One with better fuel economy than your current car. Although the car could also be green on the outside. Not all families need minivans. You can fit three carseats into the back of a Prius.  We have done it.
20. Walk or bike to get where you need to go.
21. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.  Or install motion sensor light switches. 
22. Reuse plastic grocery bags as garbage bags for your bathrooms.
23. Use cloth diapers.  Even considering the cost and energy consumed to wash them, they are still much more green than disposable.
24. Compost
25. RECYCLE.
26. Turn down your hot water tank. Especially if you leave for a few days.
27. Turn down the thermostat at night and cuddle up to someone for heat.
28. Wash and reuse your ziploc bags.
29. Grow your own herbs and dry them. They taste so much better than store bought!
30. Make weed tea to fertilize your plants.  It stinks, but it works!
31. Drink regular tap water.  You can filter it through a Brita or whatnot, but it saves money and plastic from all those little water bottles.
32. Make your own iced tea from tea bags, lemons and sugar. The tea bags get composted, the lemons are biodegradable, and the iced tea is super delish. Want some recipes? Check these out.
33. If it's yellow, let it mellow...and get a toilet that uses less water per flush.

Off the top of my head, that's what I've got.

What do you do in your house?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Bed that Sarah Built

I came across the Camp Loft Bed on Pinterest a couple of months ago. iBean was still sleeping in a crib, but I knew that she would need a big girl bed by summer. Since her room is small (inside walls measure just under 9'x9'), I thought a loft bed would be ideal.

I have NEVER done a DIY. I don't even own tools. As a university student, I spend one summer building roof trusses, so I am not totally useless with tools. But to build something like this, I definitely needed help. My step-dad Ed is very handy, so I asked him to be my consultant and helper to tell me if I was doing things the wrong way! Fortunately, he was able to lend me a miter saw (which he borrowed from his brother, or brother's friend's cousin's uncle...), some aluminum saw horses, and his years of DIY expertise to be my advisor and lead carpenter.  My husband, not so handy.  If you want amazing bread or croissants, he can hook you up.  If you want gardening advice, he knows what you need. If you want to build something, he already ran off screaming in the other direction.  Not that I don't think he could. It just is really low on his list of fun things to do.

Day 1: Buy wood. Back cars out and turn garage into danger zone. Miter saw wood. Drill pocket holes using my new favourite tool the Kreg Jig.
Welcome to my workshop

Day 2: Borrow sander from friend. Run out to buy sandpaper and swear at damn sandpaper for not being the right size and wrestling it into the stupid clips.  Repeat like 10 times.

Day 3: Wipe all boards with a damp cloth, let dry, then prime the wood. Priming sucks. It's boring and white and thick and no fun.
Two saw horses, a vulcan ladder and some old leftover baseboards make a pretty good set up for painting!
 Day 4 and 6 (but not 5, because I was subbing in a kindergarten class that day and resorted to having a peanut buster parfait for dinner that night.  God bless kindergarten teachers...): paint, paint, paint! the pink boards are actually glamour pink, which was leftover paint from iBean's room. The rest of the boards were boring white. White on wood is a tricky thing.  It doesn't conceal the imperfections of the boards and made me nervous that it would never look nice.
Is that PINK??
 Day 7: Work at school teaching music. No DIYing. Just singing and ukuleleing.

Day 8:
Construction day! Tony was in Edmonton for a course, so not the ideal weekend to build something.  But my lead carpenter and advisor would be out of town the following weekend, which meant all that painted lumber would be parked where my car should be for another two weeks.  Nuts to that action.
So we started working at 10:30 am. We had to empty out iBean's room and carry in the lumber, then it was building time! By 1:15, we had this much built:

My lead advisor was hungry and my iBean was tired, so I put her down for a nap in Sashimi's bed and we took a siesta for lunch. I continued measuring pieces out and put the bookshelves in place.

The brother-shelves: a handy feature for any little girl who wants to put her brothers away.

It's like a stage!
After iBean awoke, we realized that we needed a different length of screw to attach the 2x2 to the 2x6s (where the slats under the mattress sit).  Also, we needed a twin mattress.  Minor detail when buiding a bed. So I packed the offspring into the car, bought a mattress, had my credit card declined, phoned my bank, determined that my card number had been stolen and someone was trying to purchase some cell phone crap in the USA. Cancelled my card. Swore a bit, then resumed building the final component of the bed: the stairs.
cleats for the stairs. Ed watching the kids climbing like monkeys on the bed
Final plank for the steps.  The kids are super excited (and helpful...not)

Voilà! iBean's bed is complete!
iBean's new big girl bed. Marvel at its awesomeness.

My favourite part: the reading nook. And by the way, you must add Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons to your reading nook.  Fantastic book.


The boys are already planning out their new beds. And desks. And bookshelves. And toy boxes.  Tony asked me last night if there are plans for a DIY chicken coop on Ana White's site.  Which there totally IS.  I guess I have my next project! Those chickens are gonna be so posh in their luxury accommodations...

For all the more technical information related to building this bed, you can read my brag post on  ana-white.com. All of her plans for various projects are available as PDFs. For free.  FREE!! She then invites members of her site to post brag posts of the DIY projects they've done, and I was extrememly proud to submit my first brag last night. 

For all of you wannabe DIYers, I say to you YOU CAN DOOOO EEEEEET!
Now I wanna go relax in the reading nook with Pete the Cat.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Rewarding laziness

Sashimi's played at his first public piano recital this week.  The theme for the recital was "A little Night Music" and all the pianists were to wear pajamas.  Sashimi and I were performing two duets: Twinkle Twinkle and Catch a Falling Star. So he wore his Angry Birds pjs and I wore a T-shirt and pink fuzzy cupcake-covered pajama pants.
Keesadilla, being his normal self, had been wearing pajamas all day.  We tried to convince him to get dressed to go to the recital, but he was resolved to wear his pajamas.  Non-matching pajamas.  Inside-out pajama shirt.
And since he's four years old, we let it happen.
Little did we know, there would be a door prize at the recital for anyone who showed up wearing pajamas. So guess who won the door prize:
Keesadilla.
An awesome spa memory foam pillow.
And now there is no way we are going to be able to convince him to get dressed again.
The ultimate reward to being lazy and stubborn in the way only a four-year-old can.

Keesadilla in his everyday attire.  Ready for a trip to Walmart...
 **As an aside, Sashimi nailed his performance :D

Thursday, 28 March 2013

When a treat is not a treat anymore

Today was Sashimi's piano lesson day.  I dropped iBean off at my parents' place, Keesadilla wanted to tag along, and off we went.  On the way, the usual question was asked: Mommy, can we get a treat after? To which I replied my usual: If you're good, maybe.
Emphasis on the MAYBE.
Well, the kids were alright during the piano lesson.  Sashimi was great, Keesadilla was good, too. But on the way out the door, I asked Sashimi to hold his piano book-bag.  He adamantly refused: No! You do it!
IN FRONT OF THE PIANO TEACHER.
I sternly repeated: Please hold your bag.
Again, he retorted: NO! YOU DO IT!
I put the bag in his hand, and forced him to carry it.  He took it, quite begrudgingly. Then he muttered something else about how he has to do EVERYTHING and I was being rude to make HIM carry his OWN BAG.
True story.
So when he got into the car, he said: where are we going for our treat?
I bluntly stated: You are not getting a treat.
Instant dismay and rude utterances: You can't do that! That's not FAIR! You promised and now you're breaking your promise! You said if we were good, and I was good at my whole lesson! You're rude and disrespectful! You are the worst mommy ever!
I glared into the rear-view mirror. Keesadilla cried quietly to himself, because he had been good. He was deserving of a treat. If I so decided to get one. But the other spawn was definitely not.
And then, before I even knew it, I spat out: Well, if you are going to continue to talk to me like that, I may just take back all the easter chocolates you would have gotten, too.
Repeat mad outbursts, also adding: You CAN'T do that! It's Easter!
As if the fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that kids can fly into total anarchy and commit the deadly sin of gluttony over mini eggs and 10 lb chocolate bunnies. Cuz THAT's what Easter is about...sugar highs and chocolate bunnies.
Then, because I have no filter, I said: When I was a kid, we didn't even have all the Easter treats that you get!
Which is a total buttload of crap.  I think I had a 1 lb solid milk chocolate Mickey Mouse at my first Easter.  When I was one month old. But my brain shot it out anyway.  And then my mouth allowed it to be vocalized. 
And then, more crap:
When I was a kid, we didn't GET treats! We never asked for treats and when we got them, we were grateful and it was special so it was actually a TREAT!
And the crap kept coming:
Because we were not SPOILED like you kids are! You get treats all the time! At school, there is always chocolate and candy on any type of special day. Everytime we go to the store, you ask for a treat. And you usually get one! If we go to run errands, gas up the car, wash the car, you want a treat.  It's not a TREAT if you get it all the time.
So I am putting my foot down. Treats are going to be TREATS. When I choose. No more.

The boys stared at me.  I could tell that they were not sure if I was serious, or if I had shot out an entire marins of bullshit.  Or fish-shit, if we're talking marinas.  Maybe lobster.  Do they shit? Anyway, I now have to follow through with all this.  And remember that back in my day, we had no treats, Easter was only about Jesus and chocolate was barely invented, and that we were true god-fearing, parent-fearing kids.
That never got treats.
Or spoiled.

I was not habitually spoiled, but there were times when we were. We did get treats. Regularly. Most often on piano lesson days...oh the irony...I know...Although I was also used to my dad pulling into a gas station, buying himself a coke and beef jerky, and nothing for the rest of us.
And I used to think: Woe is me! I'm just a poor kid who doesn't get any beef jerky!
Now I think: My dad was right! I worked hard all day and all I want is my OWN beef jerky that does not have to be cut into FIVE pieces! And caffeine will turn the kids into monsters! No coke for them! Or sugar! SLOBBERYMANGYMESSYSCHLARB!

Ugh.  Not an especially poignant mothering story.  But I am sure that I am not the only one who has embellished how poor their upbringing was to make their kids feel bad/grateful.
In fact, I remember hearing about how in my mom's day, they only got an orange for Christmas. 
Now I am rethinking that.  Was it really only an orange? Or was it an orange the way I never got treats? Or was never spoiled? A little embellishment to make us kids feel grateful and sorry for our parents at the same time...cuz that's totally what I just did, and it came out so naturally, it makes me question all of the stories my elders told me when I was young.
Uphill both ways?
Walking five miles to school in wool socks and rubber covers when it was minus 40?
The STRAP?? With a whacking stick?
FACK.







Monday, 18 March 2013

Name my new baby - err - espresso machine!

My new baby arrived today.  It's a Bezzera Unica espresso machine. When our Saeco Odea Giro died on Christmas Day (what a terrible shame - the one day when the kids wake up extra especially early, and the poor thing passed on in its sleep), we knew that we wanted to upgrade.  My idea of upgrade was to get the cadillac of espresso machines - The Spaziale Vivaldi II. But at a cool $2500 (give or take) plus the cost of a quality grinder, my husband just wasn't biting.  "Why would you ever need to dispense hot water, steam milk and brew espresso at the same time?" To which I replied: "Why WOULDN'T I?"
So we compromised.  I decided that I wanted something with an E61 brewgroup, then I looked into a few different Bezzeras before finally deciding on the Unica. It is not a dual boiler, and requires some work when switching between steaming and extracting functions, but I think that once I do it for a week or so, I should have that technical part down.  Plus, I plan on making a fancy flow-chart to paste on the inside of my cupboard door so I can refer to it for all the little nuances: when to do a cooling flush, what order to push buttons, how many espressos I've already consumed in a day, etc.
The baby arrived at 3:00 pm, so I really did not want to consume an espresso at that time. Well, I did.  But I still had to unpack the grinder (his name is Rocky) and smell the fantastic beans that I got as a free "thanks for spending so much money" gift. But I did turn the espresso machine on, primed it, and steamed myself some milk to make a chai latté.  And it was fabulous.

But something this wonderful in my life needs a name.  So here is the contest. Leave me some name ideas.  I'll read them all and choose my favourite.  Whoever happens to be the mastermind behind the coolest name will receive a prize - based on where you live in proximity to my awesomeness, you will either get a mailable prize or a hand-deliverable prize, like, say, maybe, some ridiculously fabulous cupcakes made by yours truly:


 And no, I will not FedEx cupcakes to you.  But I will accept your cupcakes on your behalf.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Always eat your scallops

There are few foods that I do not like.  I like ethnic foods, I like spice, I love curry, I love things cooked in bacon fat. But no matter how much bacon fat and spice, there is one kind of food I just can't seem to like: seafood.
My earliest memory of eating a water creature was a fish that my uncle had caught, which was then cooked in foil with onions and butter and served with lemon.  And I remember the taste of the onions and picking out every teeny stupid fish bone. And the smell...my nose hairs recoil just thinking about it.  It was not a pleasant memory.  I think the sharks on Finding Nemo had it right: Fish are friends, NOT FOOD.
I pretty much avoided all creatures that breathed in water from that point on.  Except Captain Highliner Fish Sticks.  Because let's be honest, people.  That is not fish.  The batter to fish ratio is so high, I don't even know if it should be categorized as a protein or a carbohydrate.
The rest of my family loves seafood.  There was always a shrimp ring at special occasions, and my Baba's surprise spread, with little bits of shrimp cut up and hidden, as if I WOULDN'T KNOW.  Ack. Gross.  Bottom feeders.  Crunchy-yet-gelatinous bottom feeders.
Then I met my husband.  He loves fish.  He loves seafood.  He would eat it everyday if he could.  Which, as it turns out, is not a good idea, as our six-day holidays the maritimes proved that eating lobster three times a day WILL pack on the pounds: eight of them.
I never buy seafood.  I rarely buy fish.  I do most of the cooking, and what the heck is the point of cooking a meal that I will not enjoy? Not even enough to sample while cooking? I have forced myself to like some whitefish, and my kids particularly love my ginger-glazed mahi mahi, although at this point, I am not sure whether they like the fish as fish, or whether it's just a vessel to bring sauce to their mouths.  That's pretty much what it is for me, I'm not gonna lie.  It helps that mahi mahi is a very firm fish with very little fishy taste. Fishy taste = bad.
Then, because I dislike seafood, I don't cook it.  But then that means that my kids are not exposed to it. And although I think eating weird alien water creatures is revolting, many people are into that, and I want my kids to have a fair crack at being revolting, too. So I made a decision.  I would, on occasion, start cooking seafood. Tonight was my first experience.  With scallops.  I had a recipe for scallop and garlic linguine.  I had tasted a scallop before (in whiskey butter at a steakhouse) and figured it would be an ok place to start.
When I took the scallops out of the vacuum-sealed bag, holy did my stomach turn.  The smell was awful.  Like fish.  Realy FISHY fish.  I drained the excess fluid, then dried them on paper towel like the recipe said, then seasoned them with salt, pepper and paprika. The smell was gone by then.  Thank goodness.  I cooked them up, followed the recipe, made the dish, had a bite.  It was...ok.  Fishy.  Oy. I did NOT want the kids to see my reaction, so I served us all the same thing: scallop and garlic linguine, with broccoli on the side (which we all love). To my surprise, Sashimi loved the linguine. He did not actually eat a scallop, but the noodles themselves had a seafood taste, and he ate two helpings.  Keesadilla said "That looks like something I would not eat," so he ate his broccoli. iBean pointed to it, said "chicken!" and popped it in her mouth, upon which she promptly spit it right out and ate her broccoli, too. I slowly made my way through my plate. I took lots of sips of water.  I chewed and chewed, put my fork down between bites. Keesadilla noticed something was up: "Mommy, why you keep picking up your food on your fork, then putting it back down?"
Dang, he was onto me. But being the evil mastermind that I am, I just said: "I'm trying to twirl it onto my fork, but it's not working right.  There! Now it worked."
And I put it into my mouth.  Chew. Chew. Don't gag.  It's good.  Chew. Chew.  DON'T GAG. Swallow.
Only a dozen more forkfuls to go.  Oh.  How. Wonderful. For. Me.
Tony came home from work and loved it. LOVED. Thank goodness for that, because there are leftovers.
And Sashimi, being the mini scientist, said: "I think on Blue Planet it (a scallop) looked like a brown marshmallow."
Hmm.  I actually don't know what a scallop looks like.
Maybe I should google it.
Search query: what the hell is a scallop?
Result:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I just ate one of these? No, MANY of these.  Wait.  I think I ate their babies because they were little!  And they have EYES!!!!!
Stop staring at me with those menacing eyes! Menace somewhere else! OH THE MENACE!!

Then, I watched a video:

OH MY GOSH.  Those are little things that swim like castannettes in The Little Mermaid!


Sebastien calls them clams knowing how to jam, but I think we all know what they are now.
They're SCALLOPS. And I ATE THEM.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!







Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The last time I was flirted with...

Last night, Tony was in an amourous mood.  Not much different from any other night (or any other man, I think) but I was still dealing with the monthly lady issue, so it was an access denied situation.
Then he told that he ran into a woman who was flirty with him.  I rolled my eyes.  Wait, no I didn't.  Apparently I fluttered my eyelids.  I used to roll my eyes, but to be honest, I was getting serious headaches from my eyes staring at my brain all day, so I subconsciously developed an eyelid flutter.  Well, twitch.  I'm twitchy. It's probably one of those ticks that comes from being married to a man whose main mission is to tease me and purposely annoy me on a regular basis.  Ten years and I've got a twitch.  What will twenty years bring? A shoulder tick? Incontinence? I'm on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

Tony seems to think that he doesn't get flirted with very often, but I call bullshit.  Now I know my husband is good looking, and he dresses nicely for work and is very helpful, but why all the flirty-business? I have complete faith in his monogamy skills, so I don't really have a problem with flirting, per se.  Here's my beef: where's MY FLIRTING??

The last time I was flirted with was...poo on toast, I can't remember.  Maybe when a teenager tried to pick me up while trick or treating at my house? I was 24.  Then again, his friends may have put him up to it, or he was drunk (he was like 8 feet tall and significantly off balance).  Other than that, men just don't flirt with me. Although in that case, it was a teenager, so I guess my original statement holds.  Sarah = no flirt zone. And, to keep it brief, here is a list of reasons why I think that is:
  • I had three babies.  Pushed them out of my vagina.  EWW! STRETCHY! SLIMY! EWW! PUT IT AWAY!!
  • I puked all over the nurses, myself, my IV stand and the walls while pushing out baby number one. Anyone in the room would be revolted by me for all time.
  • Although I cannot prove it, I am pretty sure I pooped on the delivery table. Doesn't everyone?
  • When I was little, I used to pick my nose and eat it.  That is a permanent scar on your flirtability record.
  • My boobs have gone all the way from an A cup to G cup and back to a C.  You know what that means? Think saggy baggy elephant.
  • I knit.  Old people knit.  Therefore I must be old. You don't flirt with an old person.  You help them cross the street.
  • I have a pill calendar.  Also old. Help me carry my groceries, please.
  • I work out and am in great shape.  But I think that may work against me because people live in fear of my raw power. I could kick most people's butts. Or at least kick their butts in a burpee show-down.  
  • While out in public, I always have at least one kid with me.  Who is probably fighting or whining or trying to steal Skittles from Walmart.
Tony = FLIRT HERE PLEASE.  Why?
  • Tony had kids by having sex with me, then finger twisting his awesome mustache while handing out quality Cuban cigars in the delivery room as everyone congratulated him on producing male offspring who will one day inherit the kingdom.
  • He has  kids. Men who are involved dads are sexy.  FACT. 
  • His nametag and credentials are embroidered on his work attire.  Unlike my "Hello! My name is_____________".
  • He is on a bunch of committees and organizations that make him well known and seem powerful.  Chances are, he doesn't fart at any of these meetings. Lucky them.
  • He is hands down the best baker in town.  I don't even have to meet other hobby bakers.  Tony's bread is so good that a friend of ours plowed our driveway in exchange for bread. 
Now, I am not asking for flirting or for a pick me up.  I'm just saying. Actually, I'm not sure what I'm saying. Maybe add distractbility to that list...ooh...look, a cute video of a puppy...