Friday, December 27, 2013

Forest Run in Early Evening








When going for a run in the forest, you have to watch that you don't get caught in the darkness, especially in the winter when the light is so short-lived.  I was lucky to reach the end of the trail just as darkness descended.  The setting sun provided many great views.  The lights that came on in the trail parking lot made the ice glitter like silver.

 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Your List is a Pale Shadow of my List!




My husband complained to me about his to-do list for Christmas.  I was very sympathetic.  "What?!" I retorted.  "Your list is a pale shadow of my list!  A cheap imitation!  A completely unreadable facsimilie.  It can't even call itself a list.  When it sees a real list, it hangs its head in shame!"  I think you see where I'm going with this...  However, I am aware that it is not very festive to argue over lists, and it doesn't help me move things off my list.  So off I go to shop, clutching my extensive, substantial, enormous list....wish me luck!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Busy Mom's Ultimate Guide to Christmas

You can't do it all.  Don't try.

The Fun That Is Snow












This Is Why I Can Never Catch Up With My Laundry



I don't know what other people's kids look like when they get home from school, but this is often how my sons look.  You can't see it very well, but there is mud all over him, including covering his face and on his hair.  His boots look brown, but they are actually blue.  This picture was taken a few weeks ago.  I would have posted it sooner, but I was too busy doing laundry!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Anyone Else Hanging by a Thin Thread, Christmas-Planning-wise?




I love Christmas; I really do. I love Christmas carols.  I love getting our tree.  I love sitting by our tree and watching it at night with the lights on.  I love Christmas morning.  I love having Bailey's in my coffee and watching the kids open their gifts, and having tissue paper strewn all over the place for the cat to play with, and staying in my pyjamas all day.  It's just that sometimes it's so much work to spread all this good cheer.  I WANT to do it; I'm just so busy that sometimes it seems like far too much stress to accomplish it all. All the buying, the baking, the decorating, the planning.  I've got to stop reading those insidious articles about holiday table themes and elegant centrepieces.  I recently read one about how you can put your tree on wheels so you can wheel it around the house depending on what room needs the most 'decor'.  Things like this make me hyperventilate.  I don't have chargers, my tablecloth is stained, and so are my candlesticks.  I know I'm not the only one.  Maybe I need to cut back a little?  After the holidays I'll have more time to figure out how to do this!  Until then, good luck to all you fellow rusher-arounders - may there be Bailey's...





 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Franz Ferdinand! An Amazing Live Experience

Recently I saw the band Franz Ferdinand live in Toronto Ontario at the KoolHaus.  It was an amazing experience.  The band is great live.  The lead singer, Alex Kapranos, has a very powerful voice along with an equally powerful stage presence.  He had all of us eating out of the palm of his hand.  They put on a great show in terms of sound, lights, energy and charisma.  Definitely a band to see live! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Canadian Christmas - Cutting Down a Pine Tree!





 
 
 
Today we cut down our Christmas tree!  This isn't going to be a story about how perfectly it all went, because that would, frankly, be fake.  We were meeting my parents early Saturday morning, and my daughter hadn't been feeling well, so I think I had been up about 18 times in the night.  I was exhausted.  Suddenly we realized we needed to leave, and chaos ensued.  My sons didn't want to wear boots.  My daughter couldn't find her hat.  I made her wear one of her brother's hockey hats.  (Go, Flyers!)  My daughter and I also had a brief but spirited tussle about her wearing snow pants.  I threw my son's gloves at him and insisted he wear them.  I was downright cranky, even though I had remembered the hot chocolate and the Christmas music for the car.  Eventually (it was a bit of a long drive to the tree farm), everyone relaxed and the music began working.  It even started snowing, so by the time we got there we were all in a good mood.  We walked around the farm, finding tons of great trees.  We finally found one we all agreed on.  ("Not THAT one; this one!"  "I liked the other one better!"  "That one isn't full enough at the bottom."  "This has a bad side!"  We overheard comments such as, "I was happy three trees ago!"  and "Forget democracy! I'm choosing!")  After the tree had been shaken and bound, we loaded it in the van and were off home to decorate.  Thank goodness for Bailey's.  I mean, it's a beautiful tree!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!


 
 
 
Today is the big day!  We wait until December 1rst to start everything to do with Christmas.  We started with a bang.  The kids got to open their chocolate advent calendars - always a hit.  (Why do the kids get all the fun, I wonder?  Someone should make adult advent calendars, with mini bottles of Bailey's or something!)  I put on the Christmas music and we got out decorations, and the kids put together a gingerbread house.
 
Bring it on!  

Mmmmm.....Banana Bread!

 
 
This is my go-to banana bread recipe.  It's straightforward, delicious, and it makes two loaves!  My whole family loves it.  It's called 'Best-Ever Banana Bread' on pg 15 of The Best of the Best from the Best of Bridge Series.
 
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups mashed ripe bananas (6 bananas)

4 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg (I substitute cinnamon because my family prefers it)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (optional) - I don't put these in, because of the kids' preferences

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add bananas and eggs and beat until well mixed.  Mix dry ingredients and blend with banana mixture, but do not overmix.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans or a bundt pan.  Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour; test for doneness (toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean) and cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.  Freezes beautifully.

When I make this, my son can't wait for them to get out of the oven.  Then he says, 'Bring on the banana-y goodness!'


 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Importance of a Good Childhood




I just heard Paul Johnson speak at the 'Embracing the Early Years' conference in Burlington, Ontario.  He said something I found very significant.  From his previous work in a homeless shelter, he noticed that the one commonality among its clients was a negative childhood.  That was it.  Not even income or education level could be said to be the same for everyone.  Only the lack of a good childhood. 

That demonstrates the importance of the work we do as parents.

And I don't think this means buying your kids things.  It's about creating a loving, fun atmosphere with positive structure.  It's giving your time.  I'll never be a perfect parent, that's for sure.  But I love my kids, and I'll keep trying to make sure they know it.  Even when they leave laundry and wrappers on the floor!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winter Wonderland!



 
 
 
 
It was a winter wonderland yesterday morning, after the night's snowfall.  It's making me look forward to tobogganing, cutting down our Christmas tree, and hot chocolate!  And this year I'm hoping to introduce the kids to some fun winter sports they haven't tried yet, such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing.  Winter fun, here we come!