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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Back to School 2015


The boys were up bright and early for the first day back to school today.

Nathan woke up first. Probably around 5:30AM, I heard him getting up and changed into the outfit he had set out the night before. That shows you just how excited he was about going back to school because he's typically my pseudo-teenager, sleeping in as late as he possibly can.

Then, Caleb woke up at his typical 6AM, but he had other things on his agenda. He dawdled and took forever to get dressed but once he was ready, his first question was "can I play Lego?". He was still in vacation mode.

After a few obligatory first day of school photos, we dropped the boys off at school. Andrew's working the evening shift tonight so he came to drop the boys off, too. As soon as we parked, Nathan was ready to hop out of the car to go see his friends and get to his classroom. Caleb had a more laid-back approach, walking slowly to his class and waiting until his teacher greeted him before going into the class. We watched as he thoughtfully chose a cubby to place his backpack and Esky in before we turned to head back to the car.

Our boys are so different.


When we came home after school, I had a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies waiting for them. The first batch had barely finished baking by the time I had to leave for pick-up, but I promised myself I'd make the cookies for the boys. I thought it'd be a nice first day back to school treat.


But more importantly, my word for this year is grow. As part of that, my aim is to be more present as my boys grow and the cookies gave us a nice reason to sit down together to continue our conversation about what they did at school beyond the car ride home.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bookfest

Every six months, Lifeline holds a giant book sale where you can get books for a dollar, or children's books for 50 cents each. To me, that's a huge bargain. So every six months, I drag the boys along for a day's worth of rummaging through old, dusty books in search of books to add to our collection.

For the boys, it's almost like going to the library. They spend the entire day picking up books, reading them and, unlike at the library, tossing them back onto the piles.

We always manage to find a gem or two, like this book:


I almost bought this one for Andrew, but then I decided he probably didn't need a little book to remind him of something he already knows, even if it only cost 50 cents. Hah.

Last year, I spent my energy looking for educational books and old childhood favourites. What I wouldn't give to go back in time to my elementary school library to pick out all my favourite books to bring home; some are so hard to get now.

Anyway, this year, we discovered that Nathan's really into mystery/detective books so we grabbed a whole bunch of Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown books for him.


My favourite finds this time around were Henny Penny and a Henry and Mudge book.

I can't imagine what rummaging through books with a newborn in tow will be like but if we're still here in June, you can bet I'll try my hardest to make it out to Bookfest again!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Smoked Salmon Rösti


We first fell in love with this dish at the Shouk Café. There, it's called latkes stacks. Then, we discovered we could have these scrumptious things at the weekend markets as well, but there, they're called roestis (or röstis). Either way, it's basically a potato pancake topped with whatever delicious toppings you would like. Our family favourite is smoked salmon.

We love röstis so much we had them for brunch on New Year's Day. Is it too late to be talking about what we ate on New Year's Day? It was only the beginning of this month. Regardless, they were worth rolling out of bed for, and the perfect way to start off our year.

The recipe I found for Swiss rösti is much simpler and requires less ingredients than the latkes recipe I previously used so I'll probably stick to this version in the future.

Ingredients:
  • 6-7 medium potatoes (starchy types work best)
  • butter
  • salt

Directions:
  1. Peel, then grate the raw potatoes into a bowl using a grater with large holes. 
  2. Melt a bit of butter in a medium-sized pan and add grated potatoes in piles depending on how big you want each rösti, pressing down to flatten. Sprinkle with salt and cook over medium heat until the bottom browns, then flip to cook the other side. 
  3. Continue making pancakes until all the potato is used up. Top potatoes with your desired toppings. 
Notes:
You can eat rösti plain, mix other ingredients (such as parsley, onion, pepper, paprika) in with the potato, or top with a whole variety of things. Some of the more common toppings I've seen at the markets include: avocado with cracked black pepper, eggs benedict, eggs with tomato salsa and grilled mushroom, but the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project Life / Plans for 2015

THE FORMAT
When I was planning out how I was going to document this year, I fully intended on using the new Studio Calico Handbook system with the 9x12 pages. I liked the idea of having a slightly smaller canvas to work with, just to change things up and because I knew my hands would be full this year. They weren't available at the beginning of the year so I just planned out my layouts on paper.


Then, I learned that the holes of the new page protectors would not match up with the Project Life page protectors and binders that I previously used (and still have a ton of). So, change of plans! For one more year, I'll be documenting our lives in 12x12 format.

I went back to the 12x12 drawing board, redesigned my title pages and continued on doing the weeks with a twist. Instead of doing only 12x12 spreads, I'll intersperse with different-sized pages depending on how much I want to document for that week.

Things were coming along.

THE CONTENT
I'm trying to focus a little more on documenting stories this year. My previous spreads were very photo-heavy which is fine, but I want to make more space for the words this year. Having less photos makes my process go much quicker. I had photos ready to print and I hadn't really fallen behind yet.

And then my photos came back.


Insert Hulk scream and smash.

So much for staying ahead of the game!

THE PLAN
I try to write down a bit of what we did that each day in my agenda. Quotes from the boys are kept in my Day One app as I hear them and ephemera is tucked into a little plastic pocket in my agenda.

I'll continue working weekly. Some weeks will have bigger pages and take up the full spread while other weeks might have smaller pages or share half a spread. At the end of each week, I'll go through my agenda and plan out the spreads, hopefully doing a majority of the journaling cards as I go.

As for photos, well it looks like it might be time for me to invest in a home photo printer.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Early Bird

After dropping Andrew off at the airport last Thursday, I decided that instead of driving straight home, the boys and I could use a bit of time at the park to get some fresh air.

If I didn't like staying in bed so much, I would do this more often. It was so peaceful to be there early in the morning, before the crowds arrived. A few people there, like the moms who get there early to work out while their kids play on the equipment, but for the most part, the boys had the park to themselves.


I found myself a spot in the shade to sit and watch the boys while they scootered along the paths and waded in the water. It was nice to have all this space to ourselves, to not have to worry about sharing with other people or hearing other people's noises. I know that sounds rather selfish and arrogant but sometimes I just like to have a bit of peace and quiet.


When the boys were finished splashing in the water, we headed to the car to change. At this point, Caleb decided it was time for an intermission from playing - he parked himself in the trunk and had a nice, long morning tea break.

Once the boys were refuelled, they hopped onto their scooters and headed for the climbing structures where they played for a little while longer until the sun became scorching hot. Then, we headed home for lunch just in time to FaceTime with Andrew before his next flight.


Part of my goal this year is to watch my boys grow. I feel like I accomplished a bit of that just by being out of the house and letting them play for all those hours before lunch time. Seeing them be free, having fun and exploring their abilities and supporting them in their limitations was so fulfilling and it was even better because for those few hours, I had no distractions - my focus was 100% on them.

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