Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Grapefruit with Roasted Seeds and Cinnamon

My apologies for the blurry picture... I ate it before I noticed the blur.

Our house has been sick a lot the last couple weeks.  Layer that with a very important birthday (i.e. my baby isn't a baby anymore), my return to work, and lack of sleep, and it leaves me feeling a little melancholy.  Even the drizzly, foggy weather reflects my mood.

Ruth Reichl published a memoir this year that a few people I follow are listing as one of their favourite reads of the year.  Truthfully, I probably won't read it, even though I want to.  Its about food, simple food, being therapeutic and how it not only comforts, but also helps you recognize joy in the mundane.

I'm feeling melancholy and I'm sick and this grapefruit is exactly what I need.  It embodies Ms. Reichl's ideas.  The cinnamon and roasted nuts give it this warm, earthy, I-need-a-hug vibe, but then the grapefruit is bright and hopeful and says, "Don't get too low, there's something coming your way."

Grapefruit with Roasted Seeds and Cinnamon
1 grapefruit
Handful of nuts or seeds*
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350*.  Put the seeds or nuts on a baking sheet and roast them for 10-15 minutes.  Don't bother waiting for the oven to heat up, just put them in.  Meanwhile, peel and dice the grapefruit.  When the nuts or seeds are dark and toasty, toss them with the grapefruit and cinnamon.
*The first time, I used pepitas (inner pumpkin seeds).  The second morning, I used walnuts.  Both were good, but I liked the pepitas a little better.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Warning: CO Detectors Expire

A couple nights ago, we woke up in the night to beeping.  Shawn sprung up out of bed, ready to save the family from whatever perils awaited us.  I stretched and said I'd be there in a minute.  The beeping was at a lazy cadence and didn't seem too urgent.  Turns out it was the CO detector.

A quick google search taught us that our brand of CO detector expires after 7 years.  Who knew?  When the internal clock says it has been around long enough, it lets out one beep every 30 seconds until it is unplugged.  But herein lies a tricky problem: we know, from having toddlers around pulling things out of walls, that when you unplug the CO detector it goes off like a banshee.

Also: our detector decided to enact its 7-year-itch at 3:13am.  We did NOT want to wake up the children.

After about 10 minutes of brainstorming (and an unhealthy increase in blood pressure), Shawn looked at me like a man about to jump on a grenade and said "I'm just going to do it."  We braced ourselves.  He unplugged the detector.  And nothing.

Whomever invented CO detectors is brilliant: they created a way to prevent my family from dying a slow, quiet death.  Pure genius.  But it was a pretty foolish to design a product that beeps after seven years, build in a mechanism that prevents said product from screaming in said circumstance and then WRITE THAT ON THE BACK OF THE PRODUCT.  FYI, engineers, no one can read the calm "don't worry about it" message on the side that faces the wall when they are debating whether or not unplug the thing at 3:23am.  Poor, poor design.

I suppose all is well that ends well, since none of the children woke up.  And so this is the end of that story, but Malcolm did wake did wake up, all on his own, two minutes after we climbed back into bed.  That's my life.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Our New Night Light

The kids have been getting ornaments, and as much as I have toned down my need to take control of every situation, I felt it was time the kids embraced unbridled kitsch without messing with my calm, monochromatic, heirloom-laced tree.

We went into our basement and dug out the artificial tree that Shawn says I stole from a 7-year-old at a yard sale our first Christmas together.  In my defence, I offered the kid $2, he was thrilled, and I left before his mom came back out.  As of yesterday, the legitimately procured tree sits beside Nevin and Scarlett's bedroom door and is strung with rainbow coloured lights. To decorate it, they made paper chains, found old Christmas crafts and included their growing collection of commercialized and trademarked ornaments.  It is the best night light ever.

Nevin was thrilled when he found an old scrapbooking sticker leftover from a gift when he was born and stuck it on the tree.  It says in bold blue letters "IT'S A BOY!" which I find hilariously apropos.

In the middle of the night, when Scarlett got up to use the washroom, she stared at the tree in awe and said in hushed tones "Daddy, its beautiful."  This makes me swell with love for two reasons: a) child wonderment is beautiful and b) she called out to her father, not to me, when she was having a moment of joy, which is a testament to his involvement in our kids lives.

So I guess the point to this entry is this: we have a night light that is awesome.  By the way, we are awesome, too.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Sprint to the Bus Stop

This is a re-enactment.
I am upstairs grabbing Malcolm's clothes for the day when Scarlett calls out to me, "Mom!  Come down quick!"  Of course someone is freaking out.  I left three kids and a dog on the same floor for a minute and a half.  I'm almost surprized it took this long.

"Hurry, Mom!  He's going to touch me!"  She's freaking out because the baby is going to touch her?  Really?  Being a mother is exhausting.  In her defence, she spent four hours in the ER last night because she had welts on her legs and her feet were too swollen to walk on, and she is currently eating her breakfast with her legs up on ice, but a baby touching her does not seem to warrant the level of fear with which she is screaming.  I sigh.  No doubt, Malcolm crawled under the table and is trying to reach up for her feet.

I start down the stairs.  And then I smell it.

I was right about Malcolm crawling under the table and trying to get at her feet, but along the way he got distracted by his diaper.  So, just for fun, he pulled it off.  Then he pooped.  Then he played in it.

So when I round the corner, this is what I see.  The baby is covered in poop, reaching up, smearing poop on the chair, smiling, trying to show his sister.  The sister is shrieking.

And the dog is eating it.

Nevin is over on the couch flipping through a Lego book humming the chorus to Jingle Bells on repeat.

And its approximately 21 minutes until the bus arrives.

A bath.  The baby needs a bath.  I whisk him up and jog up to the bath tub, holding him straight out in front.  Him, furious that I won't cuddle.  Me, to focussed on the bus stop to gag.  I plop him in and start the water.  He calms right down, until I forget to turn the cold water on and scald him.  Its just not our morning.

I bring the clean, clothed baby downstairs.  13 minutes until bus stop time.  I tell Nevin to get moving.  After my second bark, he stops humming Jingle Bells, slowly gets up from the couch and starts walking towards the mudroom.  He asks me, "Why's it smell so bad in here?"  You're kidding, right?

I carry Malcolm to the mudroom and suit him up.  I carry Scarlett down and help her until we get to the boots part and she balks.  I sprint back upstairs to find the softest, warmest pair of socks I have in my sock drawer.  We make it work.  I am sweating.  8 minutes until bus stop.

I look up at Nevin, my analytical boy, who is normally so focussed and ready to follow orders, and he is playing with a belt on the counter.  He is not ready - he doesn't even have shoes on yet.  I muster all the intensity I can manage (which was quite a lot in that moment), and give him the same kind of speech that is recited on every Hollywood battlefield and spaceship and ghetto, just after the secondary character has been shot: "Buddy, I need to stay focussed.  Just look at me and stay with me.  You can do this.  Get. Your.  Shoes.  On."  And that boy, you know what he says to me?  He says: "Mommy, why does 'phone' start with the letter 'p'?"

Shawn referred to one of them as crack monkeys last night.  I don't know what that means, but I think he is right.

5 minutes.  Two blocks.  One able-bodied child.  No back-up plan.  We make it with just enough time for Nevin to brag to his disgusted buddies about the baby pooping and the dog eating it.  And then he is on the bus.

The rest of us don't go home.  Our house is crappy and I need some fresh air.

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