Keeping cool on a hot afternoon

2 Aug

When the rare moment comes along, the one where I can prolong it to an hour or more by myself and actually lie down on the couch, I try to take it. Really I do. Especially now when I should probably be putting my foot up way more often than I do.

And how wonderful when that moment comes along on a hot afternoon that still manages to be enveloped in a cool breeze.

The thing is, on a hot afternoon one needs to keep the windows open to catch that cool breeze lest one poaches oneself mid-nap.

And then…this may happen.

Nap. Interrupted.

Really, how is one to nap through this?

~~ This is the 2nd of my month long series of blog posts along the theme of Hot for NaBloPoMo. ~~


Because of the heat…

1 Aug

…I’m nursing a foot injury that I thought would be better by now.

The heat has to do with how it happened. I went to open the back door of my decidedly un-climate-controlled house and had to give it a little push since the humidity was holding it close to the door frame. The window in the door, the very old and thin window in the door, broke into shards and fell around me and into me.

Blood. 911. Ambulance. ER. Stitches. Bandages.

And now, 2 days shy of 3 weeks later, my foot is still healing and I’m coming to realize I may have a bit of a deeper injury.

So the heat brought me some bad luck but, as the doctor said, ‘j’étais chanceuse dans ma malchance’ (I was lucky in my bad luck). The glass could have found another part of me. But, more importantly, Jack was in his highchair.

Jack. Was. In. His. Highchair.

That window was obviously going to break soon. I am so relieved it broke when and how it did.

Good thing for that heat.

~~ This was inspired by BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo August Theme – Hot ~~


Good and Clean BBQ Chicken Picnic for the Masses

24 Jul

My niece and nephew have been in town for a month and their mother, my sister, came to join them for the past week. As always, the time sped by way too quickly – especially now that we both have kids to race around after there is hardly any time to actually talk between cleaning mud off of dirty boys (they found and emptied my mud buckets…) and protecting kids from barking dogs (not my kid, if he weren’t used to it by now…) and … and …. Ah well.

So yesterday my sister and her kids came over for lunch…what was I going to make? You see, to be blunt, they like sweet and salty processed foods – like much of the rest of North America – and Jack and I don’t eat that way. Hot dogs and cakes would be super easy to make unwrap and warm up but that just doesn’t float my boat so I decided bbq chicken was the way to go.

I marinated the pieces of chicken in a mixture of….

…approximately 1/3 cup olive oil
…somewhere around 1/4 cup maple syrup, though I’m thinking it may have been a bit less
…a tablespoon or 2 of apple cider vinegar
…probably about the same amount of coconut aminos
…the rest of my paprika, was probably close to a tablespoon
…about a tablespoon of Korean ground chilli – adds colour and flavour but not too spicy for the little mouths
…turmeric, maybe about a teaspoon
…garlic powder, I was generous
…oregano, maybe 2 teaspoons
…a few shots, maybe closer to 6, of Franks Red Hot Sauce.

I think that was it. I made sure the chicken pieces were soaked and coated and then let it sit, covered in the fridge, for 4 hours.

The plan was to barbecue them but something happened and my darn barbecue just wouldn’t start (no clicky, clicky noise at all when we pushed the starter) so we oven roasted them for about 45 minutes.

Mmmmm. Mmmmm. I made tons, thinking we’d have loads of leftovers, and we have 3 small pieces left. The olive oil crisped up the skin, the spices gave it some gorgeous colour, and the maple syrup made it nice and sweet for my sister’s family’s tastes and made me feel better about having sweet food for mine.

The snacks we had were chips – made in olive oil with a bit of sea salt, and crudités with a quickly improvised dip made of …

…the rest of a container of greek yogourt (goat)
…the squirts from 1/2 a lemon
…oregano, teaspoonish
…ground pepper
…salt

For dessert there were mango ice thingies on a stick, made only of mango.

So we had a yummy picnic treat with food I felt good about serving.


Jack and the umbrella

25 Jun

Look at those two hands, grasping the handle. Look at his little determined face. He is in awe that he has an umbrella.

He loves his umbrella, all the more because it is something of his very own that is more than a toy and somewhat grown-up. He knows how to appreciate cool stuff.

I love this boy.

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Eat well and love each other.

25 Jun

This is what underlies how I strive to raise Jack. That we should eat well and love each other.

Why those two things in particular? Because I believe that without those two things we are at a disadvantage but with them we are fortified to face anything, including changing the world we live in. It’s hard to make change with an empty stomach and an empty heart.

It goes beyond our little family of two. Not only should we eat well and love each other but it’s something we should share with others.

For example, eating well. Oh boy, that’s a charged statement. Eating well leads to being well and it is much more than filling our stomachs. Jack is lucky, lucky, lucky. He lives in an area with easy access to fresh, local food. And he lives with a mother who can afford to refuse to feed him fast food. Though sometimes I fantasize about just throwing some sliced cheese between two slices of bread or making mac and cheese or driving up to a drive-thru window because it would be so easy. Especially on those evenings where I forgot to defrost some meat or I know that I need to pick up some food before I can even think of what to make. But then I throw open the fridge door and I find what to make – even if it is just a fried egg with some fruit on the side. I don’t give in to the ease of processed food because of my next point.

Eating well has so much to do with loving each other. We eat together at the kitchen table twice a day every day. When I am not working, it is 3 times a day. I make all of our food. Except for the yogourt (we eat goat yogourt) and the prosciutto or bacon. Even then, I am careful to choose meat that has a minimum of ingredients. The prosciutto has 3 – pork, salt, pepper. The bacon is brined and then smoked. People (mainly my mother and sister) make fun of me for being so picky about what I choose to feed Jack and myself but I believe it is the right thing to do. Jack loves the food I give him. He stuffs himself with it. He laughs and asks for cinnamon to add flavour to his yogourt. By the time I get my plate ready and sit down for dinner he looks at me with his greasy little hands and cheeks and yodels, “Encore meat!” “Encore sweet potato!” “Encore papaya!” We have a good time when we eat and I love that I know what is going in that little body of his when we eat together.

I know that my mother gives him toast when he is there at breakfast time and his other grandmother gives him ice cream cones and it creeps me out but what can I do? The only thing I can do is let it go and remind myself that if he is at their houses then they are taking care of him and giving me some help.

Back to the loving each other part. Food plays a big role because it is something we share, it is something I make for him to make sure he is healthy, and mealtimes are where we sit together and talk face to face. We do that at other times, too, but I know that as he gets older his days will be busier and I want to start with a solid base of meal times = good food and face to face time. Plus, it gives me a chance to sit and smile at this beautiful boy of mine :)

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Our family reading culture and Endless ABC

12 May

Yes, Jack plays with my iPad. We like to look through the pictures in my camera roll together, watch little music videos, and play a few games.

A few months ago I downloaded an app that I thought would be fun for Jack. He loves it and interacts with it like crazy! It’s called Endless ABC by Callaway Digital Arts. It is free. Here is a screenshot.

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It’s basically a series of interactive flash cards that show words and explode their letters over the screen. You drag them back to where they go and they make silly letter sounds as you drag them. Once you put the word back together there is a celebration and then a cute video with little monster creatures that illustrates the word.

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Jack started off by playing one of the words, ‘flop’, over and over again. How many times could I listen to feu, feu, feu, feu? I asked myself… Soon after he started playing that game I saw him finding Fs all over the place. From the car, we’d be stopped in traffic near signs with Fs and he’d shriek feu, feu, feu, feu! Then, when he tried out other words it started to happen with Ns and then other letters.

When he plays Endless ABC he’s constantly making sounds – repeating the words, the letter sounds, and calling out to the creatures in the videos.

Now, at 2 1/2, he absolutely loves letters, their sounds, and their names. When he sees words he scans them for the ones he knows and delights in pointing them out to me and making their sounds.

I know that the game plays a large roll in this. I also know that it is but one aspect. It’s a wonderful tool within a family culture of reading. What else do I do to support reading?

When we put on clothing with words on them, we look for the ones we know. Jack was so excited when he found the F on this shirt!

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His crib is filled with books and before any sleep time, he reads a book to me. Ok. Maybe more than one. Sometimes I read to him, sometimes we read to each other.

When we get in the truck, we look for the letters on the dashboard. He first pointed out the FF on the CD player and it grew from there.

His grandfather bought him an alphabet puzzle on a recent trip and we play it together often.

He sits with me when I read my books, sometimes digitally, sometimes on paper, and he watches. And he says, ‘mommy book’.

Our house is covered with books. His and mine.

We celebrate letters, words, and books. When a book gets torn I become ‘mommy book doctor’ and he watches while I tape it back together.

Oh, and when he plays Endless ABC, or any other digital game, we do it together. It is not his babysitter…

So learning to read and to celebrate reading is so much more than an app or a phonics program and Endless ABC is definitely a fun addition to our family reading culture.


Best. Game. Ever.

11 May

I go into child pose.
Jack drives his little cars all over my back.

Little boy gets to play with his mommy.
Mommy gets to nap.

See?

Best. Game. Ever.

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Jack colouring

8 Apr

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Passover with Jack

26 Mar

It’s Pesach, the first Seder was last night so yesterday morning was spent making desserts to bring to my parents ‘ house while singing Ma Nishtanh and Daiyanu with Jack…along with help from various singers on YouTube. He definitely prefers Ma Nishtanah. Funny, thought Daiyanu would be more fun.

First off, can I mention how easy it is to bake for Passover when one doesn’t eat grains to begin with? :)

I made moist and decadent spicy chocolate cookies.

Blend these in one bowl:
1/2 cup of cocoa
5 oz ground almonds (a little over 1/2 cup)
Almost a Tbsp of cinnamon
About 1/8 of a tsp of ground chilli peppers

Blend these in another bowl:
1/2 cup of honey
1/3 cup egg white (about 2 large eggs worth)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2.5 Tbsp butter

Mix the two together

I used a teaspoon to make small dollops on a cookie sheet (filled almost 2 cookie sheets)

I baked for 8 minutes at 325 degrees.

Rich, chocolatey, with a hint of spicy.

Jack LOVED the Seder. What could be better than to play with books, point at things, and eat for hours on end while surrounded by the people you love?


These awesome cookies keep getting better

4 Mar

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I discovered this cookie recipe a while back in my search for a yummy (read – not dry and/or falling apart and/or tasteless and/or too banana-y) cookie that did not call for grains or sugar. Part of my quest also mandated a recipe that could be thrown together quickly – no futzing around with egg whites or whatnot.

The original recipe can be found at CrossFit Rebellion in a post called Paleo Cookies by Alima.

As I wrote, I found this recipe a while ago and I have been playing with it ever since – subbing maple syrup, adding nuts, coconut flakes, raisins…each time, the cookies come out pretty tasty but…

…Yesterday’s batch was the bomb!

It’s Alima’s basic recipe but with about 3 Tablespoons of honey instead of 4 and an addition of 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 2 delectably delicious chocolate chips atop each cookie.

The best is how easy these are to throw together, practically no mess, too.

Simple is good :)

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