Tags: birthday, Happy Birthday, kids, writer
Somehow the past 11 years have slipped away. It seems like yesterday I was having and holding a squeaky little thing that I wasn’t sure I would know what to do with. We learned together and somehow I figured it out. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you certainly didn’t. I think that’s what has made it much more fun.
A parent’s responsibility is to teach their children the many things they will need to know in life. I’ve tried really hard to do just that and have loved every minute of it. You filled a place in my heart that I didn’t know was missing until you were born. I’m thrilled with the young lady you’re growing into. Like I’ve said before, you make me proud every day. You’re smart and beautiful and have a generous heart. You love to sing and act and write. You take care of your family when we don’t realize we need you to. Your little sister adores you, you are her best friend.
I want many things for you in life, my Doodle. I want you to be happy. I hope you will have a life filled with happiness – with good friends and family all around you. I want you to be accomplished. You are so smart and I know you can do anything you put your mind to. I hope it leads you to a career you can be proud of (so far you’ve said you want to be a Teacher, a Writer and a Vet’s Assistant). I hope that if it’s in your plan, that you find a man who loves you and treats you well. If it is what you desire, I hope you have children so that you will find out how wonderful they are and understand how I feel about you.
Please slow down a little bit. You’re growing up way too fast and I can’t keep up. It won’t be long before you won’t need me anymore, but I hope you always will. I love you. Happy Birthday Doodle. Love Mom.
I’ve said before many times that I’m proud of my daughters, I have good reason to be. Among her other wonderful qualities, Lexy is a prolific writer and I think she has real talent. On the way home today, she read to me something that she wrote in her Journal.
“My Little Sister: one of the miracle kids though she doesn’t know it. She was born sick, but now she is a healthy 7 year old. Her hair is yellow like the Sun and her eyes are like the sky on a clear day. She may have troubles with Asthma but she is one of the sweetest things ever. I see her look outside with curious eyes and her mind hungry for learning. She is a gift. I am happy to call her my Sister.”
She also wrote: “Mom’s Advice: Mom gives me wisdom every day to lead me on the journey of life; to dodge every obstacle and face every challenge. Thank you Mom.”
It’s hard to believe sometimes that she’s only ten years old. :)
Tags: Breville, Fast Slow Cooker, Kidney Beans, Pasta Fagioli Soup, Slow Cooker, Soup
There used to be a little Italian sandwich shop close to where I work, but sadly it closed down a couple of years ago. They had the BEST Veal and Chicken Parmesan in Durham Region. I would go in every day just for the soup. Chef Julie made the most delicious Pasta Fagioli Soup I have ever had. It was so good, I ate it five days a week – even in the hot Summer. How many foods can you say that about?
When the restaurant closed down I was heartbroken, because I really loved that place and Chef Julie’s home cooking. I’ve been on a quest for the perfect Pasta Fagioli soup ever since. I think I’ve come pretty close. This is my homage to Chef Julie.
I recently purchased a Breville Fast Slow Cooker and have been dying to use it since. Summer isn’t normally when one thinks fondly of slow braised meats and stews, but hey, the girl wants what she wants… A Fast Slow Cooker by the way is part Pressure Cooker, part Slow Cooker. It also steams and sautés. It’s probably one of the smartest appliances I’ve ever tried. I love the way the people at Breville think. :)
I found two recipes online for Pasta Fagioli Soup and sort of combined the best parts of it and put it in my Fast Slow cooker. I thought I would post a blog about it before I forgot what I did to make it so yummy ;)
- 1 lb lean Ground Beef
– 4 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
– 1.5 large Onions, diced
– 4-5 Carrots sliced into thick medallions
– 2 stalks of Celery, diced
– 3 strips Smoked Bacon, diced
– 1 can diced Tomatoes
– 1 can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 can 6 (or 5) Bean blend, drained and rinsed
– 1 jar Ragu Original Pasta (Spaghetti) sauce
– 1 box Campbell’s Beef Broth
– 1/2 tsp Coarsely ground Black Pepper
– 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce
– 1.5 tsp Paprika
– 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
– 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
– 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
(Note: I didn’t add salt, because everything thrown in already contains so much salt, however if it’s not to your liking, feel free to add some near the end of the cooking time.)
– 8 ounces of a hearty, small Pasta (Ditalini or Macaroni are perfect), cooked separately.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a regular large soup pot or Dutch Oven. Fancy equipment is not needed. Most of the instructions are the same, however, when everything is combined, simmer for 1-2 hours.
Set the Fast Slow Cooker to Sauté for 20 minutes. Cook the Bacon until mostly crisp. Add Garlic and sauté for a minute, being careful not to burn the Garlic. Add the Ground Beef, season with all of the Herbs and Spices above (except for the Tabasco Sauce), crumble the Rosemary before adding and cook for about 10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the Meat is mostly cooked through. Add the Onions and cook for about five minutes, until translucent. Add the remaining fresh Vegetables and sauté for another five minutes. The timer should be done, or nearly done at this point. Set the Fast Slow Cooker to sauté again and set the timer for 10 minutes. Add all of the drained, rinsed Beans and stir, cooking for approximately 5 minutes. Add the Tomatoes and all of its Juice from the can. Add the Ragu Sauce and the Beef Broth. Add water if you feel the soup is not ‘soupy’ enough. Add a good round or two of freshly ground Black Pepper and the Tabasco Sauce. Set the Fast Slow Cooker to ‘Slow Cooker’ with the timer set for six hours. Give the pot a stir once an hour if you have time and remember. When you’re ready to serve, cook the pasta to al dente in a separate pot (the pasta will soak up all your beautiful liquid if you cook it with the soup). To serve, place some cooked pasta in a deep soup bowl and ladle your soup over it. Grate Parmesan over the top if you wish.
I usually make the soup one day, let it cool and refrigerate until the next day – not only does it make it taste better, but you can also skim off the excess fat from the soup when it’s cold for a healthier option. Make extra pasta and store in the fridge. When you’re ready for left overs, you don’t have to reheat the pasta, the hot soup will do it for you. Be sure to pick up a good loaf of crusty bread and slather in butter. Enjoy! :)
Tags: campaigns, Dove, kids, Mother's Day, Taryn Brumfitt
Dove has promoted positive body images for a long time now, and it’s a campaign more people should pay attention to. For too long, across all media platforms, have there been images of what others consider ‘real beauty’ to be. Stick thin models in bizarre makeup wearing little-to-no clothing. That’s their image of a perfect woman.
The latest commercial from Dove asks one simple question. ‘What went wrong?’ (see the ad here)
What did go wrong? When did we stop loving ourselves and stop thinking we (all women) aren’t beautiful? What message is this sending to our children?
I never want my girls to grow up thinking that they are unacceptable in society in any way. I tell them daily that they are wonderful, beautiful people and how proud I am of their accomplishments. My oldest daughter is entering that horrible, painfully awkward adolescent phase where she’s beginning to grow into her body (think of a big Labrador puppy who hasn’t grown into his feet yet). I hated that phase and it left a lot of emotional scarring. One boyfriend I had in high school told me I needed to lose weight because I was too fat. I weighed 115 pounds. If he could only see me now, I wonder what he’d say? My ‘best’ friend at the time used to tease me and actually had me believe that I was terribly flat chested throughout high school. Back then I was a C-cup. After having two kids, I’m DD, and about 50 pounds heavier than my ‘ideal’ weight. I have huge self-esteem issues. I feel like a barrel with legs. To my daughters, I’m beautiful. That’s all that matters.
Girls have enough to go through without thinking they aren’t good enough. Huffington Post posted an article about a lady named Taryn Brumfitt who is creating a documentary which shows it’s ok to be ‘normal’. The video she made is very moving and enlightening. “How am I ever going to teach Mikaela to love her body as it is, if her Mummy can’t do the same?”
The Dove commercial made me think about myself. The last time I posed for a picture was with my two kids, about seven years ago. I have avoided pictures since then like the plague. I don’t like how I look. I have tons of pictures of the girls and so far they seem happy to pose for them.
I want my girls to grow up well-adjusted, in a world that accepts people for who they are. I applaud Dove for trying to achieve that and I hope they do. Heck, they’re even trying to get armpits accepted into society! If they can do that, anything’s achievable ;-)
Tags: #ImpressManicure, @BWayNails, @InfluensterVox, acrylic nails, bio gel nails, Broadway Nails, gel polish, Influenster, manicure, press on manicure
Checking my email the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I qualified for an Influenster Vox Box. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, “VoxBoxes are boxes filled with complimentary products from your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) brands. Not all VoxBoxes are created equal: some programs feature an assortment of products while others will spotlight one awesome brand. But make no mistake: All VoxBoxes are created awesome.”
I was lucky enough to have received this item complimentary for testing purposes.
As you can see, the girls were very excited to receive the VoxBox ;-)
But seriously, since I joined Influenster last Fall, I’ve been eyeing some of the awesome VoxBoxes that I’ve seen and hoped that one day I’d get a chance to receive and review a product. I love to talk, and I’m opinionated (just ask my Husband!). I also love to blog and have been known to tweet on occasion. If you would like to join Influenster, send me a message with your email and I’ll send you an invite.
I received the #ImpressManicure VoxBox, which contained two complete manicures in really on-trend styles. I have to admit, I’ve tried other ‘press-on’ manicures before (circa 1985) and they didn’t work. At. All. I remember hoping that they would, and trying to align the sticky tape with my fingernail and then pressing the plastic coloured nail onto my own – after trimming it to fit. Only to have them pop off, one at a time, usually at the most inopportune moment imaginable.
Technology, and hairstyles, have certainly improved in the past 30 years. My daughter is eyeing the pink multi-coloured set and after the success I had tonight and the ease of putting them on, I think I’ll do her hands tomorrow.
Anyway… The good:
- These are very easy to apply and with a little prep work, they feel very secure.
- They take less than half an hour to apply a full set of nails.
- They have multiple colours and styles available – you can find anything to suit your mood!
- They feel lighter than ‘bio’ nails or ‘acrylic’ tips.
- You can actually get a good scratch with these!! Have you ever tried to scratch your back, or a mosquito bite with bio or acrylic nails?? You’ll end up bruising yourself long before you relieve the itch. Not these! They have enough of an edge that itch relief is within sight!
- Easier to change than bio or acrylic nails – if you grow tired of the current style, no problem, put the next on one – there’s so many to choose from.
- You don’t ruin your nails or nail bed when removing them, unlike bio or acrylic nails.
- They’re economical – approx. $10 per pack. A full set of bio nails can set you back $60.
- They look great. As good as your manicurist may be, she probably can’t do patterns like what is available from #BroadwayNails.
- I can actually type with them, which is one thing I always hated about fake nails.
The ‘Not-so’ Good:
- There’s a little catch at the top of each nail. I’m sure it’s from pulling them off of the form when they make them. if they could just file this down a bit, it wouldn’t snag panty hose or fine fabrics as much. “Oh honey, look, I’ve got a runner in my panty hose … oh wait, I’m not wearing panty hose…” (Pretty Woman).
- The instructions could be more clear. Included in the box is a nail file (although one of my sets didn’t have the file :-S – you can see where it was supposed to be in the picture on the pink piece of paper).
- The instructions on the moistened pad aren’t in English. In fact, they’re not in any language I know or understand. The only reason I knew what to do with the moistened pad, is that I’ve had gel polish put on before and remembered what my manicurist did.
- Nowhere on the box did it tell you what to do with the file or the moistened pad. It just tells you how to apply the nail.
Overall I would give this product a B+ for its ease of use and fabulous looks. I like them and would recommend them. Most importantly, I would use them again. :)
Apparently I’ve been blogging for 6 years now.
Neat. 461 posts later …
Tags: grumpy toddler, kids, Movies, Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, R5, Ross Lynch
We took the girls to see “The Muppets Most Wanted” yesterday. It was a better movie than we thought it would be and the girls were happy to finally see it.
At one pivotal plot point, where Miss Piggy is about to marry “Kermit”, Caity got all excited and turned to me, “Mama, do you see that guy with the blonde hair?”
“That’s Ross Lynch!”
“Who’s Ross Lynch?”
“The guy with the flowers…” She said, getting impatient with me.
“But who is it, Cait?”
“Mama, that’s ROSS LYNCH!”, she said as if saying it louder will make me understand.
“Caity, who’s Ross Lynch??”
Caity sighed… “The guy with the flowers…”
I could hear my 7 year old do a mental head slap as I tried to follow her line of reasoning…
Tags: babies, depression, eldercare, Grandkids
I had another argument with my eldest daughter tonight, of course just as she was supposed to go to bed. She’s entering that ‘Tween’ stage and feels that her parents are against her and obviously don’t understand (or listen to) her. I know this, because she keeps telling me.
I have a great relationship with both of my girls. When Lexy was born, nearly 11 years ago, I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much that my very heart hurt just looking at her. Four years later I had the absolutely exquisite pleasure of having her sister and again, I didn’t think it was possible to love yet another person as much as I loved Lexy. I learned something that day that I often told my two girls – your heart and capacity to love doesn’t divide among the children you have, it multiplies by the number of children you have. My children are my world and I would step in front of a car for them. It’s really a no brainer.
Lexy started keeping lists of the number of times we, her parents, have disappointed her. Mind you, we’re not talking about huge disappointments, but little things – like saying we’ll go out for ice cream on the weekend and then something comes up and we can’t. The last argument we had, I asked her to stop making that list because it hurt me very much. Do we not take care of you? I asked her that night. She wasn’t doing it to be mean, it was her way of dealing with the disappointment. We take care of our children. They are always fed, always have clean clothes. Their vaccinations are up to date and they get a flu shot every year. We don’t go out for a fun day as much as they would like, but those are material things that they need to learn come second – one’s basic human needs come first.
I like to think that I have instilled in my daughters some good, basic human decency. They know it’s wrong to tease, or make fun of another person. They know words hurt. They know we expect them to be kind and helpful and polite young ladies. They know we expect them to do their homework when they come home and not wait for Sunday night. They know it’s wrong to lie and to steal. The few times I’ve caught my youngest in a lie (her latest was when she said she was good at school when she was actually in trouble with the teacher), I’ve told her that it makes Mummy very sad when she lies to me. That makes her sad too, because the last thing she would ever want to do is hurt my feelings. I know I’m her whole world.
I feel lately like I’m being pulled in several directions at once and I’m certain that if someone let’s go, I’ll go flying. As expected, my children are making demands of me (as they should). My husband makes demands of me (as he should). My job makes demands of me (sometimes to the detriment of my family). My parents need to make more demands of me. I just can’t always deal with everything at once.
My parents are elderly. My darling Dad turned 90 last November and he’s sick. I’m not entirely certain with what though, it’s very confusing talking to my Sister who seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on. About a month ago, she told me that my Dad had Cancer and they thought it had spread to his bones. He had been having trouble using his legs and last year he had quite a lot of Prostate trouble, but that biopsy came out clear. My Dad falls down a lot and his legs lock up so much that he can’t get himself off of the floor. My Mom, who is 88, cannot lift him, nor help him up when he falls down. They have to call my Sister when something happens as she is the closest in distance to them. The last time my Dad fell, my Sister had to carry him to the car.
My Dad has always been my Superman. Cliché as it is, that’s always the way I’ve felt about him. Now it seems as though Superman has traded his cape for a walker.
Last weekend was Easter and my family and Brother went to my parents’ house and I cooked dinner for everyone. It was delicious and my parents were so proud. When we were leaving, I went to say goodbye to my Dad and he was lying on the couch – but not the way he normally lays. His head was at the opposite end of the couch, he didn’t have a pillow – he was lying with his face directly on the couch. I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, you could see it on his face. He seemed … so… frail. I kissed his cheek and told him I loved him. He’s so skinny now, he’s even lost his little pot belly that he had for years.
My Sister also told me that my Mom has Alzheimer’s. I think she was speaking broadly because as far as I know, my mom hasn’t had any formal testing for this, but there is definitely something wrong. She forgets words. She knows what something is (i.e., a cup), but can’t get the words out, then she gets frustrated and calls herself stupid. She definitely is showing signs of Dementia. She’s forgotten how to use her stove. She used to bake a cake weekly so that my Dad would always have something to go with his afternoon coffee yet I had to show her three times how to turn on the oven when we were there. As I was leaving, she told me she forgot again and wasn’t that stupid? She kept telling me over and over how delicious the ham was and she’s never had anything so wonderful. I told her that I’ve made that for her several times. She argued that she’d never had it before…
Thankfully they are moving from the large house and property they’ve lived in since 1989 and will be living in a much smaller apartment, closer to my Sister, where they can be cared for.
It’s been rough lately. I’ve been going to work just to escape it all. At least when I’m concentrating on putting a proposal together, I’m not thinking about everything else that requires my attention.
Hopefully now that this post is out of my head, I will be able to sleep. The Thyroid medicine I’ve been taking has been driving me crazy with the Insomnia. I’m dead tired at night, but do you think I can sleep? I hope so tonight.
I need a beach.
Thank you for listening … :(
Tags: grumpy toddler, kids, Toddler meltdown
5:30 a.m. Comes early, especially when you just fell asleep around 1:00 a.m.
I’m tired. I’m tired of not sleeping. I’m pretty sure it’s the direct result of the increase in Thyroid medication I received last month. One of the side effects of too high a dose is insomnia. Great, as if I wasn’t grouchy before.
It gives me time to think though. That’s all I seem to be doing when I’m lying there, tossing and turning all friggin’ night. When I sleep upstairs, I can hear the soft snores and breathing of my youngest, as she sleeps in her room next to mine. She moans in her sleep – I’m not sure if it’s because something hurts (she gets Kidney Stones, Asthma and infections frequently), or if it’s due to a dream she’s having that’s upsetting her. It’s also hereditary… Her Dad and Grandmother also moan when they’re sleeping, so I’m at a loss what to do.
I worry. When I’m not sleeping, I worry. What else is there to do when you can’t sleep, and you’re rolling around endlessly listening to your kid sleep in the next room? I worry about my kids the most. I suppose that’s what any Parent is supposed to do.
Cait doesn’t sleep as well as she should and I’m sure she is sleep deprived much of the time. She will argue with you at the end of the day after having a meltdown that she’s “NOT TIRED!!”. How can you argue with that logic?
Caity wakes up exhausted and then ends up fighting with her Sister when they go through their morning routine. She’s like me that way though, if you wake me up, look out, grumpy bear needs more hibernation time.
When I came home yesterday with the girls, they were emptying their lunch bags and getting their school stuff ready for this morning. Caity was going on about something, she said she fell during gym and hit her leg. The reason she was so squeaky was that her leg hurt. I hugged her and said my usual thing when she’s having a bad day “oh Baby Girl…”.
Cait got more upset. “Why do you call me that? I’m a big girl”.
“I’m sorry… I was just teasing.”
Then she started crying. “Mommy, teasing isn’t nice!”
She had me there. The school is teaching them (and rightly so) that teasing is bad and shouldn’t be tolerated. I apologized and hugged her some more.
My Husband says I coddle her, but how can I not when the underlying Mother’s guilt is always there? Caity’s had health issues since the day she was born, and no matter what anyone says, I will always feel guilty about not pushing her out into this world harder so she wouldn’t have been in distress. I will always feel like I caused her respiratory problems (whether or not I did). Cait just has to look up at me with those tear filled eyes, and I want to do anything in my power to make it better.
I could just feel Lexy rolling her eyes at the two of us.
I wonder if I can get 45 more minutes of sleep before I have to wake up… I doubt it.
Tags: Air Canada, limo, luggage, Ottawa, travel
This past week was my annual trip to our nation’s capitol and it was far from boring. There’s always a tremendous amount of work to do and much planning to accomplish before I set off for the trip, and this year was no different. I had the added pressure of planning my company’s 50th Anniversary launch reception during the conference which I’m happy to say went very well. All of our big cheeses were suitably impressed.
I arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday and of course the hotel didn’t have my room ready. They promised to call me once it was, and to please make myself comfortable in one of their overpriced restaurants. I went instead to the conference floor to set up our booth, then went to lunch with some of my colleagues. During lunch, one of my colleagues received a call from the hotel telling him that his room was ready – not me though.
As it got closer to late afternoon and the opening of the conference, I was a little impatient to get into a room so I could change out of my grubby clothes and into something a bit more professional. I got my room and went upstairs to freshen up and change. The first thing I noticed was the size of the room and how small it was compared to previous years’. Not a big deal as I don’t need much room, but when I opened the curtains to let in the light and cast my gaze upon the remarkable view … of the top of the Rideau Centre Shopping Mall. Hmmm… that wasn’t exactly the Parliament and Canal view I had booked and paid for. I called the front desk and explained that I wasn’t paying extra for this inferior room.
They immediately moved me to the opposite side where I finally had the view I was expecting. I put my suitcase down and … I didn’t have the key to my luggage.
I looked everywhere – not in my coat, not in my purse, not in my briefcase or wallet. Oh come on.
I called the front desk again and they sent a maintenance man up to cut off my lock. I was finally able to get ready.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and was able to sneak out early, hoping to catch a standby flight home. There were two flights ahead of my flight but were fully booked, so I ended up on my originally booked flight. No problem. The funny thing is, when I asked about going on standby and about how they would know which flight I was on so my luggage would get on the right plane, I had this nagging feeling not to go on standby.
PART DEUX: People Can be Such Jerks Sometimes.
On the flight immediately before mine, there was a young family with three kids and two exhausted parents. Air Canada had overbooked and they were one seat short – so they couldn’t seat the entire family on the flight together. They made announcement after announcement asking if anyone would voluntarily offer to go on a later flight as this family had to catch a connection so they could make their cruise and they would be compensated for their kindness.
No one volunteered. They all had to go home I guess.
Eventually someone gave up their seat, but it took right to the time of boarding for them to do so. Perhaps they didn’t hear the ten or more announcements. Had I been on that flight, they could have had my seat. I had already been at the airport for two hours at that point, another one wouldn’t make any difference.
I finally board my flight. All the wonderful people in executive and with those with a gazillion air miles points boarded first and they said they would announce my row soon. Finally I got fed up with standing there and I boarded only to find there wasn’t any overhead room by my seat and I had to put my laptop six rows back. Not a problem except when I tried to return to my seat I had to get through all the people trying to get to their seat. And to top it off there was a guy sitting in the seat already next to me, so obviously they let people on in my row before they told me about it.
We land in Toronto. They put us at a ‘swing’ gate which means it’s used for both international and domestic flights and there was an international one deplaning right when we pulled in. We had to wait on the tarmac for 15 minutes before we could leave. Then I had to go back six rows again to get my bag, then back up to get my coat. What a pain in the ass. I knew the car company would be annoyed that I was late – sure enough they left a message on my phone wondering where I was.
I went to the baggage carousel and my bag never showed up. Great, now they’ve lost my luggage. The man at the baggage desk seemed like he had better things to do. He assured me my bag would show up eventually as it never actually made it on the plane I was on. Grrr…
I walked the length of the terminal to get to my ride and there was the slowest woman in the pre-arranged limo/taxi booth ever. I told her the car company’s name and my name. They weren’t on the fist screen on her computer and I could tell she was trying to read every word. There were only about 20 names per screen so it shouldn’t have taken long, I was reading it much faster … not on the next screen either … or the next, but finally on the fourth page she found me and dispatched the car.
A young mother and her two kids were waiting for their ride. They obviously came back from some place warm because they had no jackets. It was minus 12C! There was a little boy no more than four and a little girl no more than two, outside, waiting for a cab in t-shirts! What was this woman thinking (or not) that she didn’t pack at least a sweater in their carry on! I was flabbergasted. When the sweet little girl said ‘Mommy I’m really cold’, I nearly took my coat off to put around the two kids. Mother of the year, not. Thankfully they got their ride.
To make a very long story shorter, I finally got my bag today.