Thursday, March 31, 2011

this place...

i'm back.  *sigh* authentic mama how i've missed you! i've promised a proper update and i've missed a foodie friday, and here i am being authentic saying..."this blog can add stress to my life"  so when i make it to this place, i'll do so with love and pride, and when i don't make it to this place..i don't! simple.
i'm learning how to express myself better.  did you know that i can be a very defensive woman? i can.  so i'm working on that.  i'm working on listening or rather 'hearing.'  what i tend to do, is listen to the first sentence or two and then tune the rest out and work on my rebutal...not the makings of a very successful debate.  so i've started hearing what people are trying to say to me, and sometimes realizing that i need to apologize.  the other thing that i've started doing is owning my feelings.  so if i'm hurt and someone apologizes i bite my tongue and don't say "it's okay" because you know what? it's not okay.  instead i say " i forgive you"  wow! that feels so much better.  ya'll should try that.
the other thing i've been working on is asking for help...especially at home.  i'm the type of person who thinks everyone around me should know what i need just by taking a then there i am multi tasking my a** off and nobody is stepping in to lend a hand, so i start huffing and puffing, or slaming cupboards, generally trying to appear flabbergasted...when really i should just ask for help.  simple.  i also learned that asking for help is okay, and doesn't have to make me feel like i can't cope, especially when the help is presented as a choice.  example:  "would you rather take out the garbage or set the table?"  simple.
the other night i felt like my family was turning into the family i vowed to never become.  television and video games constantly providing entertainment.  hardly any creative games, or artwork being done. never enough time to play with my boys. so i told dan how i was feeling, and after a lot of discussion we agreed to try and make some changes.  the tv hasn't been on since sunday night, we've played scrabble and uno and lego and checkers.  we're making meals together as a family, and i feel great.  i'll check in this weekend and see how the rest of the family has experienced the change...hopefully everyone is happy.

last sunday i ran 18 km and last night i ran 9.  i'm training 4 times a week right now, and it has just dawned on me that dan is going to trade school a month before the race...that's going to make getting out on my runs a bit more complicated.  it looks like my jogger stroller is going to get some use again, and nesta's gonna get some clicks on that mountain bike!  i'm determined to finish my training.

i haven't been documenting my meals this week, partly because dan and i decided we'd do meals together, and partly because i've felt lazy and uninspired...last night we made chilli...but last week, i was still on my kick, so i think i'll post the meals tomorrow and i'll decide if fernie foodie friday lives on after that.

here's some photos from our trip to canmore a couple of weekends ago...

that was just a glimpse of the fun we had that weekend, it was so nice to be back on our old stomping grounds, although i have a renewed appreciation for the sleepy little town that is fernie.  canmore is beautiful, but it has the hustle and bustle of the city that i am always trying to avoid.  having said that, if i had to choose canmore over calgary...that mountain town would win hands down.  the beauty of the rockies is in your backyard!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

breathe in peace....breathe out love...

dan was right...i'm losing it!  did you ever look in the mirror and you can't recognize your own reflection? that's me right now! i'm restless and i can't figure out what's missing.  don't you hate that?  i'm on the phone with my girl sonia yesterday, explaining all of this and she says...take some deep breaths. then i continue to chatter..."i know i gotta slow down, relax, find gratitude...blah blah blah" and she says  "did you take a few deep breaths?"  she meant right then, at that moment.  and there i was letting that moment pass by.
so many mothers come into womb to grow for advice, and usually after much discussion they figure out, that they have the answers, that they need to trust their own intuition.  i still maintain, conscious mothers can do no wrong.  it is important to define 'conscious mother'  i love mary haskells's quote...i live by this, and it is in my opinion the philosophy of 'conscious mamas'

"nothing you become will disappoint me; i have no preconception that i'd like to see you be or do. i have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you.  you cannot disappoint me."

so what's up with me?  i know all of this, and this past week i have been unconscious.  let's start with monday.  lazy day after our road trip (i'll post about another time...very positive trip) unpacking, organizing and tidying...notice i didn't write cleaning  there's a difference, and i was definitely tidying.  so i look at the clock, and it's four flippin' oclock! the boys have been playing together, watching tv, snacking and generally without my attention ALL DAY!  so i say..."okay guys lets go outside and play"  groans and grumbles from the little people, and eventually i talk them into it by suggesting road hockey.  so we're all playing road hockey and nesta wants to play an actual game where we keep score and everything.  so we set up goals, him and winston vs. mum.  we're having a great time, but as i gain a few goals on them, nesta starts changing the rules.  no high shots. it has to hit the curb to count. we face off after each goal.  so i get frustrated and start trying harder!  do you see the problem with that?  i never communicated that i was frustrated with all the rule changing!  i just became an eight year old and thought...well your rules can't stop me.  so i win seven to six.  and nesta throws his hockey stick down then throws his gloves down throws his arms up in the air yelling "that's not fair!" and starts stomping back home.  (after he threw his gloves off i said...oh? you wanna fight?)  that cracked a bit of a smile between all the fuss.  so i say... "what's not fair?" and he says "take it easy on me, your thirty two and i'm only eight!"  and i go on to explain about how life is tough and you can't always expect to succeed and sometimes you have to just face your opponent and congratulate her blah blah blah  and how he won't keep many of his friends if he changes the rules of the game or he can't learn to lose and by the time i'm finished my freakin' speech i realize i'm screaming at the top of my lungs!  so i mentally acknowledge that i've gone nuts and start to approach him more consciously and he wants nothing to do with me.  he's crying and says i don't love him and that he wishes i was more like dan (who apparently let's nesta win:) and now i don't know what to do anymore.  so i say "i'm sorry nesta i should have told you i was getting frustrated come on let's go inside" and he shoots me such a hateful look, and says "leave me alone!"  so i leave him alone and i take winston in side.  as we're approaching the house winston throws his hockey stick  and gloves down and shouts "leave me alone!" and goes and sits down beside nesta.  now i'm really confused and i start to think what would have happened if i had just accepted the rule changes, taken it easy on him, lost by one and took one for the team! that team being the components of my MENTAL HEALTH!  so i sit on the steps waiting for the boys to be ready to come inside and i hear winston consoling nesta...and i think, in winston's eyes nesta cannot disappoint him, he has no preconception that he'd like to see nesta  be or do, he has no desire to foresee his big brother, only to discover him, and i know that in situations like this one i have to be less like an eight year old and more like a two and a half year old when i'm mothering.  eventually i call them in, and they come.  we all make up, have hot chocolate and it's time to get on with dan's arrival from work, making dinner, going for my run, and bedtime routines.  i fall asleep while putting winston down, i wake up to nesta kissing my forehead and whispering "sorry about our fight"  i pretend to be sleeping and i feel like the biggest asshole...

it's spring break at nesta's school.  i've been struggling with accepting that i have to be at womb to grow instead of spending time with nesta.  every now and then i realize that although i'm happy to be self employed and pursuing my vision of this space that is womb to grow i'm sacraficing a lot of time with my kids.  i'm trying with all my soul to find balance that seems to teeter totter constantly.  needless to say nesta has spent the larger part of his break at 'play dates' with friends.  on tuesday and wednesday he spent time with one of his closest friends connor.  after tuesday's play date nesta asked if connor could come to our house, so i said no problem.  i'm puttering about the kitchen, and all three boys are playing some violent game of weaponry with weapons of mass destruction that can shoot bullets of any kind.  i end the game when nesta shouts "tsunami wave bullet! your whole world is shattered!"   the following weapon of mass destruction was my voice! "that's enough!  what kind of sick child are you?  do you have any idea how horrible you just sounded?  the tsunami in japan is nothing to make fun of or include into your little game of cops and robbers!  how dare you insult the people of japan with a comment like that!  find something else to play right now!  when i'm finished the three boys are staring at me like a couple of wet dogs ho know their in trouble for walking on the carpet.  they're deflated and confused and i realize i've over reacted.  so then i find myself trying to explain how we shouldn't use the suffering of other people in our games so nonchalantly and how i feel horrible about the tsunami wave and how hard it must be for the people of japan, and that's why i reacted so the end i still don't think they understood, but at least i tried to explain.  how did my household become such a host for childhood warfare?  it's beyond me...
then yesterday when i went to pick nesta up from his play date two more of his classmates were also there, so connor's mother suggested i come back at five o'clock so nesta could enjoy the group play date.  so i go home start supper and a whole other project (you'll see on my fernie foodie friday post tomorrow) and before you know it it's five o'clock.  so winston and i return to pick up nesta, he's says good bye to his friends, and from the doorway of connor's home to the car i see this shift in his mood.  he pronounces "i'm hungry!" i reply "that's good, because we're going home, and you can have a snack there."  i start to strap winston into his car seat and i hear sniffling, and pouting coming from the front seat then in a very whiny voice " is diner almost ready?"  and i lose it?!...again....going on about how i haven't seen him for almost eight hours and the first thing he asks me is if dinner is ready and if that's all i am to him is a chef!? and once again i'm screaming at him! and he starts to cry and he says "but i'm hungry..."  and at the time i think as if that's an excuse to be a jerk to me. so i go on again about how i understand that he's hungry but does he understand how it makes me feel when i can see he's happy five minutes ago and all of a sudden there's a gloom over him like his world is coming to an end all because he needs a snack? then i call him a jerk.  and he looks at me like he's been destroyed and he screams "i am not a jerk!"  and he says again..."i'm just hungry..." i when he says that i see red, and i can't believe he's still using that as an excuse for not even greeting me, or saying hello to his younger brother and i'm yelling more and then i realize that we're home.  i'm sitting in the driveway trying to get it through his head that i'd appreciated it if the first words out of his mouth when i see him were NOT "is dinner almost ready?!"  now i'm unstrapping winston, i take a moment and look at him and he looks petrified.  i realize i'm practically ripping his arms out of the stupid cars seat and i take a second...breathe in peace...breathe out love..."i whisper i'm sorry winston, i'll be more gentle."  and he says "be gentle with nesta"  and i start to cry.  i look out of the car window and nesta is sitting on the steps to our place having a serious meltdown.  i want to take it all back, go back to that moment when he asked about dinner and say "no dinner's not almost ready, but there's lots we can snack on until it was your day?"
but that moment is long gone, and now i have to deal with a tsunami bullet of another kind...a wave of emotional turmoil.  once again i find myself trying to approach my son and he yells " i can't be near you!"  now winston is wriggling free from my arms and he goes up to nesta and shouts " i can be near you!" and he sits next to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.   and nesta rests his head on winstons arm and says "thank you winston at least you love me" now i'm crying harder and i say "i'm sorry nesta, i don't know what's wrong with me..." and he says "just go away!" so i leave and i feel about as small as i have ever felt in my whole life and i think to myself ...what the hell is going on?... i wait and i wait and finally the boys come inside.  i try to explain myself and nesta doesn't care, he just wants food.  so i make them both a sandwich and nesta devours it and i remember what that feels like. i remember being a kid and feeling so hungry i could eat my arm, and being told to wait for supper...and i'm mad that i'm remembering all of that way too late. and nesta looks up and asks for another sandwich, i don't hesitate to make him another one, and i'm trying to figure out what to say to him that could possibly justify my behaviour, i hand him another sandwich, he finishes it in about two minutes, he looks up from his plate and says.."i feel better now, i'll try and remember to ask about your day, before i ask about dinner next time mum" and then he gets up and gives me a hug...was that the lesson?  i'm such a schmuck! now i'm really crying and hugging him like i never want to let go and i apologize for all my mistakes, yelling, and name calling, and general hysteria, and he says it's okay mum i know you're just trying to teach me well...and i'm back to mary haskell she always has the right answer and i say with the most confident effort  "you can never disappoint me..."

Friday, March 18, 2011

fernie foodie friday

welcome back to fernie foodie friday! it's been a busy week in my kitchen and i'm excited to share some great meals with you.  this weekend we're in canmore to visit dan's cousin rob aka uncle cuz and his beautiful woman lindsay and their twin boys casey and liam.  so, since we left yesterday afternoon, i only prepared three meals and a traveling pantry.  lets get started. monday night coconut yellow curry.
i always get out everything i need before i start cooking, it's just easiest...
i pulled some chicken from the freezer before i left for work.  you're probably wondering why i'm posting pictures of raw chicken.  trust me, there's a reason.  i always use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables.  i think it's a great habit to get into, and i know my vegetarian friends appreciate it.
the other thing i tend to do is prep most of the ingredients ahead of time.  that way i rarely find myself having to 'catch up' with the cooking.  i hate being rushed.  i picked up some fresh produce at the organic market and i feel so good about the quality of it.
are ya feelin' me here?  look at the colour of that squash!  honestly, some people think buying organic is some sort of trend...if that's so than i'm a trendy woman!  sometimes i hesitate because of the price of certain items...and if that's similar to you, let me help you to have the courage to put it in your basket. this is what goes through my mind when i'm buying expensive organic products..."I'M WORTHY OF REAL FOOD!" not to mention, i have a real connection with my food when i'm preparing it, and eating it i value it.  and most would not believe the difference in taste!
my curry is never the same twice. this time it's chicken, ginger, garlic, green onions, yellow curry powder
squash, carrots, red potatoes, cauliflower & kale
at this point dan came home from work.  you can imagine his expression when he saw me photographing a couple of cans of food.  (coconut milk & garbonzo beans to be exact)  it definitely had the feel of 'i knew it...she's really lost it' so i look up, shrug, and say "my blog"  which he doesn't even read anyways.  "give me that" he says reaching for my camera.  and then he did something really nice...
he takes my picture and says "you should have more pictures of yourself on your blog"  maybe he does read it?
add the coconut milk and chick peas and simmer 'till your ready to eat~ at least 20 minutes.  the only thing i usually add to my curry that i didn't have on hand this week is raisins.  that adds a nice surprise of sweetness.  moving on to the naan bread.  i use spelt flour, because it's wholesome and it only needs water and salt.
i don't even measure, just add a dash of salt and enough water to create a dough that's soft but not sticky, knead, roll and fry.
we had leftover rice and salad from lunch so the meal came together nicely.
okay moving right along. on tuesday i had a great day at work. my girl of my two faithful 'authentic mama' followers stopped in to womb to grow and brought me some elk maple breakfast sausage.  shout out hannah! so tuesday night...breakfast for dinner!  buttermilk pancakes, maple infused  strawberries, and the wild game sausage...
same gig new night...get out all the ingredients. especially with buttermilk pancakes, because they have a lot of ingredients.  but it is entirely worth making buttermilk pancakes from scratch...they just melt in your mouth.  if you want my recipe post a comment, because it's precise.
on monday the organic strawberries at overwaitea were on sale for $2.99. that's $3.00 off! so get yourselves over there and pick some up...scrumptious!

cut the fruit up first and add the maple syrup so it has time to infuse.
with buttermilk pancakes you don't want to add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients until your ready to fry 'em up.  and make sure your griddle is pipin' hot!

i boil my sausages and then bake 'em...but honestly i think frying them is probably the most decadent way to go about it. i figure if i bake 'em then i can really smother the butter and syrup on my pancakes;)

and do you see that butter nearby...just use it...ain't no pam, or sunflower oil, or whatever other low fat non-stick oils you use that do pancakes the justice that butter can.  so use butter and use it liberally!

breakfast for dinner is always a big hit in my house...and the sausages really made the meal. so thanks again to hannah and to her man mike who downed the elk...and lastly to the elk~ thank you. 

moving right along...the pantry was starting to look a little bare, and the fridge wasn't much better...since we knew we were going away for the weekend, it was time to start shopping from home.  ya'll do that right?  for the past ten years i've been known to call my mum.  i tell her what i have on hand, and she tells me what meal to make...but i'm noticing that i have started to develop my own gift for the art of...hmmm what to call this from nothing!  i'm always thinking about the next meal, so after breakfast for dinner, i notice leftover spaghetti sauce, and tomato sauce from the pizza i made for lunch on monday.  then i look to the freezer and there's some ground beef, so i pull it, then i look to the pantry and we've got sushi rice.  no, no no, i'm not gonna make some weird sushi rolls! i'm gonna make cabbage rolls!  so after work on wednesday i picked up a head of cabbage, it cost me $1.94 and we can stock up our fridge, freezer and pantry when we get back from the city...maybe we'll even hit up costco while we're there...but a trip to costco is a whole 'nother blog post  isn't it? so before i show you my cabbage rolls you should all know that i have a 'baba' in the family. yup, baba rose.  and her cabbage rolls are to die for!  she uses all the butter, onions, and pork you can handle, and they just melt in your mouth.  she always makes a porkless version for me because well...quite frankly. i don't dine on swine.  in the future i'll document her version of this polish/ukrainian dish, and you'll want to make them every night.  for now here's the african/canadian version;)

as soon as i got home from picking up the boys i put a big pot of water to boil.  this is for blanching the cabbage.

once all the leaves we're separated from the head i got out the rest of the ingredients and put the rice on.  i use sushi rice over other kinds, because it's nice and sticky, and holds together well inside the roll.
frying onions  and garlic is another area where you should never i repeat never substitute the butter!

add the ground beef, and once the rice is done, throw that into the skillet too.  salt and pepper to taste
here is the lucky news for you! i'm going to share a secret that comes from baba rose's mother grandbaba annie.  before you fill your rolls, remove some of the spine of the cabbage leaf.  it makes it more flexible and easier to roll and less chewy when you eat it.  genius!

even the kiddies can help.  here's winston designated as cabbage roll stuffer. now you remember this dish was inspired by using up my leftovers.  i mixed the two containers together and voila!  sauce to cover the cabbage rolls.
there was five rolls that i couldn't fit unto my 9x13 dish, so i decided to freeze them without any sauce.  that will make for a nice lunch some day, and all i'll need to have is a can of tomato soup to bake them in.

so that winds up the meals i made this week.  after dinner i went to the market and picked up supplies to pack our cooler for the road trip.  in a future post i'll be getting into the changes i've been making to track our spending, and keep a household budget.  the trip to canmore and calagry challenges me to find ways to keep the spending limited, convenience store purchases on road trips are an unnecessary way of blowing a ton of cash, so i was determined to bring everything we needed for snacks in our cooler.
 we've got whole wheat tuna wraps (already had the cans of tuna in the pantry) carrots and snap peas. (instead of springing for baby carrots i bought a 5lb bag and cut them up myself) below those is another container of celery and cauliflower (already had those in the fridge) i bought organic clementines and granny smith apples. honey garlic beef jerky, grape juice boxes, gummy bears from the bulk bins, and i popped popcorn with my air popper, and divided it into ziplocs for each of us.  i thought we should have one more type of snack, so the last thing i did before going to bed was make granola bars.  i have been making my own for a couple of months now, and the savings on my snacks  category of my grocery budget is HUGE! this recipe is fantastic, and it it is super easy and fast, which is why i didn't hesitate starting it at 10pm on wednesday night. if you want the recipe post a comment.
same as always...get everything out ahead of time!  it makes life so much easier.
that's rolled oats, flour, ground flax, shredded coconut, wheat germ, brown sugar, raisins, and dried cranberries.
 mix together dry ingredients, make well in the center and add canola oil, honey and a lightly beaten egg.(you'll remember when i gave you my juicer pulp muffins recipe that i said i always substitute the sugar for honey) this recipe has both brown sugar and honey.  i tried to take out the brown sugar and increase the honey, but it made granola instead of granola bars...they just didn't stick together.  so i reduced the brown sugar amount from a packed cup to a loose 1/2 cup and it works. they are still incredibly sweet, so adjust to your own liking...
they bake for about 25 to 30 minutes
 cut 'em while they're still warm
 and that my friends was three days in my off to canmore to see rob and lindsay another amazing mountain mama...her kitchen is as busy as mine, so hopefully next friday i'll share some tricks of the trade outta canmore ab...'till then.