Friday, March 29, 2013

the one about Pinterest

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because
 we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.” —Steve Furtick

A new friend shared this quote with me one day while we were chatting about Pinterest.  I was explaining how the site makes me feel like an inadequate parent.  I’ve been home with the kids for five months now and can never find the time or energy to do any of the crafty ideas I pin, even without a day job taking up 40+ hours of my time.  How do all those other parents do it?
I’m sure there are some parents that really have it all together.  They love nothing more than being home, raising kids and making everything from scratch.  I’m also sure though, that most people are simply posting their highlight reels for the rest of the world, saving the behind-the-scenes for their eyes only.

This realization has definitely changed the way I look at other people’s posts, but still I feel that I could put a little more effort into things and take more advantage of being home while I still can.  That being said, I found a recipe for DIY Fruit Snacks on Pinterest this week and decided to try it out.

Not only did they turn out to be super easy and delicious, but I know exactly what they’re made of and can feel good about giving them to my kids.  They, by the way, love them so much that they  sneak more every time I turn my back.

I’ve decided to make a new goal for myself: find the motivation to complete ONE Pinterest project each week and post it to my blog every Friday.  Now, if you don't mind, I need to go do some research - I’m already sweating over next week’s looming deadline.  J

Monday, March 25, 2013

Flu-Shmoo - i'm still thankful

It's been a shitty week.  Literally and figuratively.  Three out of four of us were down with the stomach flu - it was awful, it was messy, it was gross.

While that consumed most of my waking hours this week, there are still a few things that I am so thankful for:

Good friends of ours brought a new babe into the world last night and we're so excited to welcome sweet baby Rory Ellen into our lives.  We can't wait to meet her.  And seriously, how cute is the name Rory?!

I actually finished my first big crochet project.  A blanket for Rory!  She came three weeks early so I had to haul some serious ass to get it done this weekend but it's finished.  I'm pretty proud of it.


Who wouldn't be thankful for these little nerds?  They're the best.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

screw the weather, spring is here

While it may not feel like the first day of spring in Hamilton with a high of 0 degrees (that, by the way, feels like a freezing cold -5), I’m determined to warm things up in the Red House.

Earlier today, I was starting to go nuts listening to the kids constantly argue with each other over nothing.  Hubby was just getting up and at ‘em so I did my usual – I tagged him in and retreated to bed.  I laid there for fifteen minutes and then reminded myself of a conversation I had with my counsellor yesterday. 

He asked me to list all the things I disliked in my life right now.  I quickly came up with this:
·         Feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time
·         Becoming less and less engaged with my children
·         Not being in control of my emotions

Then he asked me to list my core values, the things that I stand for and believe in.  Just as quickly as the first list, I came up with this:
·         My family
·         My community
·         Being a good person
·         Raising my kids to be good people

He then reminded me that I had to be careful how I think because as we think, we feel.  He also reminded me that I need to stand in the goodness of now.  I loved that.
So with that, I got out of bed, joined my family downstairs and we all made Rice Krispies Squares.  We mixed, we giggled, we ate far too many marshmallows.

I’m constantly wishing my now was better when really, I should be standing in the goodness of it.  It really is pretty good, after all.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An easier, healthier twist on an old favourite

I certainly didn’t create this concept but I definitely love it and wanted to share it.  My kids aren’t crazy for pancakes unless they’re covered in maple syrup with a generous pile of bacon on the side.  Even then they usually just eat the bacon after they’ve smeared it through the syrup, leaving the pancakes for the green bin.  Not the healthiest breakfast ever and I can’t stand the waste.
I have recently discovered, however, the muffin tin pancake!  They’re so much better than the plain old variety.  They’re way easier to make, there is less of a mess to clean up afterwards and the kids can eat them by hand!  Even better, you can load them up with fruit, there is no need for syrup and in my kids’ case, they’re not associated with bacon. 
Here’s what you do: Make your pancake batter the way you normally would and pour it into a muffin tin lightly coated in a non-stick spray.  Add whatever toppings you want (the kids love helping with this part).  Today we made them with blueberries and bananas but we’ve also used strawberries, mango, and even chocolate chips.  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven and voila!  I always use frozen fruit and find that 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for yummy golden pancakes.

Also, since I’m making twelve at a time, I freeze the leftovers and pop them in the microwave for a quick breakfast in a pinch.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

bad day, good night

At 7:00 tonight, I was lying in bed wallowing in my worry about everything – how even though I’m trying to parent as best I can I know I’m screwing my kids up somehow, how taking time off work is affecting my career and our finances, how easily this morning’s panic attack came after reading some tragic news.  With a kitchen full of dinner dishes downstairs and kids just about ready to be put to bed, I wondered if I was going to have the energy to contribute to my household tonight. 
Then I remembered a few other things: my husband was downstairs with the kids and was probably already cleaning up the kitchen, we live just a few blocks from stairs that lead up the escarpment, I’m in control of my own life (or at least I can be on a good day).  With that, I got out of my pjs and brushed my teeth for the first time today, (I know, gross but I just can’t help it some days), kissed my kids goodnight and headed for the stairs.
And I’m so glad I did because I would have missed this view.

It’s amazing what four trips up and down a flight of 228 stairs can do for your body and mind.  It’s just so peaceful and allowed me to think of the things I did well today: I kissed my husband and my kids a bazillion times each, I did two loads of laundry, I made a delicious dinner and at the end of the day, I took care of me.  Yup, I done good.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Downtown Hamilton with a 4-year old and a budget

Not being at work every day has been good for me in a lot of ways.  I don’t feel pressure to act happy when I’m not and I get to spend lots of time with my kids while they’re small.  It hasn’t, however, been good for my wallet.  We’ve had to really budget for the first time ever and cut back on luxuries that up until now I had been taking for granted.  Like for instance, paying for frills at the grocery store and plucking my eyebrows when I would otherwise pay to have them waxed. Oh, the horror of it all!
Thanks to my mom taking my three year old Edie for the day, I had the opportunity to spend today with my four year old Rudie. When I was working full-time, spending the day together would have meant going out for lunch, then maybe some hot chocolate and shopping and then likely taking in a movie together. Today though, my budget was extremely limited so we decided to eat lunch at home, then get on the bus and spend our day exploring downtown Hamilton instead.

First of all, going ANYWHERE on the bus is a big deal to a four year old who normally walks or gets driven to his destination.  Going downtown on the bus?  He was too excited to speak.  We checked out the fish at Central Library, ran around on top of Jackson Square and waved to all the traffic on King Street below. 

We had to make a quick stop at the grocery store (with no frills to mention!) on the way home and that’s when we had an extra special treat.  Since four-year old bladders need to be emptied often, we had a tour of the massive overstock area and Rudie even got to use the lift.  What luck!

All in all, we had an amazing time exploring our great downtown.  Rudie’s favourite part was riding on the bus two times.  My favourite part?  Spending some one-on-one time with my kid in our great city and only spending a whopping  $5.10 for bus fare.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear family, friends and everyone else:

So, this might be somewhat awkward and maybe even a little unexpected but I have to tell you something.

If you know me well, you know that I love my family (clearly) but that I also love my job and getting out of the house to go to work five days a week.  Even if you don't know me well, you may have picked up on the notion from my Tales From the Hammer posts on Bunch.  Like, for instance, this one: Dear Stay-at-Home Parent.

Well, things have changed.  Due to some things beyond my immediate control (crippling anxiety and a four year-old with major behavioural issues), I've been at home full-time for the last five months and I'm completely unsure of when I will be heading back to the ol' day job.  I'm home to focus on taking care of me and to help my kid get through whatever it is he needs to get through right now.

That being said, the last five months have been full of huge ups, low downs and everything in between.  I plan to share our adventures (and misadventures) here so stay tuned.  This could get interesting.