Archive | March, 2012

The return of theme night dinners.

31 Mar

So with the return of Nadia so too did our theme night dinners.

Culture in the form of food, oh how I’ve missed thee…

We had tempura battered vegetables and salted edamame as appetizers, which were a perfect accompaniment to the champagne we had to toast our first theme night dinner in 18-months- Vietnamese fusion, and if you’re like me, and don’t know exactly what that means, it essentially means delicious.  Incredibly delicious!

Seriously…it’s all I can think about.

Thank God I took pictures so I can refer back to it!

It was this lovely spicy salmon, a peanut spinach with a spicy calamari, and deconstructed sushi.

And because my caveman husband only eats meat, this is what he got.

My friends spoil him.

Anyway, do you ever find, after you’ve had sushi, you crave it days after?  Well, I do.

I love sushi but I’m not good at making it.  But this deconstructed sushi is really genius!  By adding sushi rice, rice wine vinegar, smoked salmon, avocado to a ramekin and chopped nori with wasabi and pickled ginger on the side, you could have some sushi that completely solved the craving problems and eliminates the tedious rolling of the nori...oh I have too much rice…oh not enough rice…too much salmon, I forgot the avocado problem.

It turns out that even just writing about sushi makes you crave it. sigh

Just another hockey game…with cake

27 Mar

So, remember awhile back, I was all…complainy about Colin and the fact that he tapes, then un-tapes and then re-tapes his sticks like…a dozen times a day?

And I sort of surrendered to the hockey Gods and decided that picking up balled-up, used hockey tapes was far better than picking up roach-clips from dope smoking, and I’d be ok with this little obsession.

Then, I noticed there was bits of candle wax all over the house and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where it was coming from because my beautiful ivory candles were in perfect condition, right there where I left them.

Then, upon further inspection, I noticed that Colin cut the backs off all my candles and used that wax to wax his sticks. NO JOKE!

He said it’s the best hockey stick wax. Better than the wax we buy him specifically for hockey sticks.

Seriously.  I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying, hey…..

Then, his birthday, which rather snuck up on me on account of March Break and all, came and so half his friends didn’t get invites (I’m a bad mother) so I decided to embrace Colin’s gift of hockey stick taping, we decided it was totally appropriate to have a stick taping competition.

Colin came second.

And while they all play lots of hockey a couple of times a week, what do you suppose they wanted to do more than all my fun hockey stick taping tasks?

Play hockey.

I swear, I could have charged admission, that’s how intense the game was.

But, they did come in for cake.

And I gave Colin the candles after he blew them out to wax his stick.

Ya gatta read this

20 Mar

S0, as you know, I’m a bit of a blog philanderer.  I read a lot of them, and for different reasons.

Over March Break, I was disturbed at just how much I read on-line, both e-books,blogs and websites, and how little I read an actual book.  Further to that, I noticed how much my kids read on-line, sure, with my supervision, but still.

Anyway, I packed up the kids and went immediately to Coles and we all picked out a book.

This is what I got, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Evan got the Hunger Games.

And he’s loving it, which is only slightly disturbing.

Colin got a book that was recommended to me by a friend.  We are reading it together and I LOVING IT!! Colin think’s it’s ok too, but he’ll like it soon because I said so.

It’s called The Unwanteds.

Basically, it’s about twin brothers, one who is considered a Wanted and goes to university.  The other is considered Unwanted because he’s arty, and I really hope that Colin doesn’t draw any parallels to his own life, because he is so wanted!

But this book, it’s really outstanding, and it brings home the point that I always try to beat into my kids (not beat literally).  We all have special talents.

Colin, while he struggles at school and Evan doesn’t, Colin can draw like no other 9 year old.  Plus, he’s been making mac and cheese from scratch for like…ever.  These are gifts that Evan doesn’t have.  And Evan, while he may not know how to use the stove, and he might not be the best drawer, he has other gifts and he appreciates these talents in Colin.

Now that I recommended a book and I feel all, academic, I feel that it’s ok to throw one of my favorite blogs at you.

This is Maria.  Book mark her!  She’s lovely and hilarious!  Her posts give great business advice, tips of marketing and even life and friendship.   And this is one of her best posts.  She’ll make you not feel sorry for yourself when Life Hands You A Sh*t Sandwich.  Because really, if you’re reading this, you’re not eating a sh*t sandwich.

Last part of a really good story

19 Mar

*If you’re just tuning in, scroll down to catch up*

After getting my golden ticket,  I was sent into a room and told what to expect.  I was told that after auditions were over, the judges sit down and compile all the golden ticket winners and then select the top dishes in that category.  The winners of those dishes had to be prepared to have cameras come to their home town and do a segment there.  I was told that I should consider changing the name of my dish from Holiday Pie to something more marketable, by one of the judges. Which I did, and I’ll share it, and the recipe in a future post.

I was also told that, if I should be selected as the winner of the $25,000 prize, I should familiarize myself with social media and market myself and my dish to the voting public.

To be honest, I had forgotten about the money part of it.  This was all for fun afterall, plus it’s not like it would happen, and why think about money I’m not getting?

Anyway, for that month, I really didn’t think about it much while I awaited the results, except I did decide to take a fun little course on blogging.  See, I don’t have Facebook because I refuse to as I can’t get that time back I spent on it years ago.  And aside from this blog, and a silly Twitter feed that I have but don’t really use except then I add a new post, this blog is the only thing I do that would be considered social media.  I knew that a large part of marketing this, should I be selected, was social marketing, so I wanted to learn more about affective blogging, you  know, to be prepared.

We all signed confidentially agreements and vowed not to disclose that we got our golden tickets.  Then we’d get a call saying whether we were in or not in.

And here I am blogging about it, so as you may have guessed, I’m not in.

She said they were rooting for me, and that there were so many great dishes to choose from, and I was all…don’t be silly, I had so much fun!  I had a blast! And now, finally, I can blog about it. 

Anyway, back to the best part of the story…the whole point of why you have all invested so much time into reading this post that has gone on for days…the course.  I’m still taking it and it’s honestly one of the best things I have ever ever done!  It caused me to really think about what I want from this.  I mean, what do I want from the blog?  I’ve written it for almost 5 years.  I’m not looking to get rich, I mean, I don’t even house ads on it. I’m not looking to get famous, I don’t ever post them to Blogher, or Reddit or any of those traffic building sites.  So in doing this course, I had to really analyze why I was doing this and what I wanted out of it.

Truthfully, I wanted to provide proof to my children that they had a great childhood.  Well, sort of truthfully.  But now that I was thinking about it the way that I was being asked to, I really began to question, what do I want from this?  The answer both frightened and excited me.   And now I’m on the pursuit of another challenge, thou, I’m not certain of what that is yet, it’s a 12-week on-line course, I’ll get there.

I love what this provides me thou, an avenue to write.  It’s writing that I think I quite like.  Actually, more specifically, story telling.  I guess that’s what I’ve been doing here in the past 3 posts, sowing the seeds to grow the story.

Anyway, you will, as you have for the last 4-5 years, find me here, on southshorenow.ca, and most recently, here on her-land.com, because leaving my boys with insight to who I am is important to me. But I do have another plan, a bigger one, one where I’m helpful and useful to more than just my family.  I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I do know this: if I had a friend who doubted me as must as I doubt myself, I’d tell her to go to hell.  So she’s gone now, and while I’m terrified to live without her, living without that person telling me that I can’t has opened me up to the beauty of possibility.

Part two of a good story

14 Mar

*if you’re just tuning in, scroll down and read part 1 first*

The night before the audition I was a ball of nerves.  I mean, certainly not because I had expectations to win or anything but because I was so nervous that one of the judges would be like Simon on American Idol and chastise me on National TV.  “How pathetic of you to put summer savory on potatoes. Next!”

I think I drank a bottle of wine while making them, and I was up till at least 2am cleaning up.

7am came early as I got myself ready along with my pies and my son Colin who was so excited to come with me.

We get to the Delta on Barrington Street for our 9:30 appointment and were directed into a room with about 50 other applicants and their families.  We were told these were just the morning applicants. Some had signs, others were in costume, not us, we don’t roll like that.  In fact, my sister and my friend Jen wanted to come with me for support, but I went on some message boards to read what I could expect, and some said that the year before the wait was really long, like up to 6 hours.  And the only reason I even took Colin was because I was a bit scared and I new he’d think it was cool.

I gave them my pies and instructions on how to heat them up to serve to the judges and then Colin and I took our spot.  A producer came in and gave us lessons in cheering on the other contestants and they arrive in the room with a golden ticket.  GOLDEN TICKET?!  OMG this was just like American Idol.  I scoped out all the exits and wondered how I could quietly leave, but there was only one problem:  They had my best Tupperware which cost like, a million dollars and I was not leaving without it.

It got worse.  I was called into a holding room and Colin could not come with me.  My 8 year old with a room of strangers all by himself.

While in the holding room I was instructed that they’d call me when I was needed to plate up.  Every once in a while I’d go check in on my Colin, but the families of the other contestants had sort of adoption him and said he was fine.  By this time he had a little audience around him laughing.  I was not a bit surprised.  I just die at the thought of what information he was sharing.

I was wired with a mic, wired or groped, I’m not quite sure, but it was rather enjoyable anyway, and I was coached on what would happen.

It was my turn to go up, and strangely I was really nervous, Maybe more nervous excitement.  I mean, I’m a huge Food Network Fan, and I was digging this entire process so far.

I went before the judges and to be honest, I don’t recall much about that, except they loved my dish!  Well, the women did.  They recognized that it was a solution for busy families getting a healthy, hardy meal, a turkey dinner in fact, on a random week night.  The guy was a bit like Simon.

I answered a few questions, charmed them as best as I could and voila…I walked away with a golden ticket.

Now- before you get too excited, a golden ticket means nothing really.  I basically got a ticket to remain in the running.  Halifax was the first stop of several across Canada and they had no idea at this point how good the other submissions would be.  I was told that in the coming weeks I’d find out if I was selected.

But I was excited, mostly because I wouldn’t have to go out in the crowd without a ticket and have them feel sorry for me.  But mostly, I wanted my Colin to see me come out with my ticket.

I walked out to cheers and a big hug, and it was just one of those moments, as silly as it may seem, but I imagine it felt for me like it feels like for the kids when they get a goal in hockey.

Evan came home from Truro, ran right in and before telling me anything about their game, he asked me how I did.  I just showed him my ticket.  “I knew you’d get in, Mom!  See, I told you you had to take this opportunity!”

*still one more riveting part to go*

Part one of a good story

13 Mar

Some stories are so good, they need to be told in two parts, maybe three.  This is one such story.

So, you all know, I love to cook right?  I’m a pretty good home cook, not expert by any means, but I can throw-down for my family and friends.  I love trying new recipes especially if I can add a can of black beans or a pound of fiddle heads.

Anyway, After the success of the show Recipe to Riches, several people sent me the link to the site telling me I should apply with a dish that I shared at work and on this blog, Sweet and Sour Sausage Stew.  And I thought about it, but I really LOVE my Holiday Pie, it’s basically a turkey dinner with all the fixings in a pie.

So on a complete whim, I said, what the hell, and I sent in the recipe with absolutely no expectations. Then, I went to a meeting.

My meeting lasted only ten minutes, and when I got out there was a message on my answering machine from the producers of the show, wanting to talk about my dish.

I called her back and we had a chat about myself, my food and my boys.  And of course, she loved me.  I mean who wouldn’t:)  I was invited to cook my dish and give 4 servings to be judged for the show.

How exciting right?  There was only one problem: Evan had a hockey game in Truro that day and since the auditions were only held on the one day, it was my only option.  I really hate missing his games, especially games that are far away and game that are league games.  I mean, they’d surly lose without hearing my yelling from the stands.  I sat Evan down to discuss my predicament.

“Well, Mom, you have to do this.  It’s just a game, I can go with someone else.”  It was as if he had instantly turned 15 years old.

Feeling like an incredibly selfish mother, guilt took over.

“No, I’ve made up my mind, Evan.  I’m coming to your game.  I’m not going to get in anyway, and you’re going to win this game.  I want to see it.”

Evan was instantly pissed.  “Mom, if you don’t do this, I won’t speak to you ever again!  You are always telling us to take every opportunity that comes our way.  This is an opportunity and you have to take it.  If you don’t than you lied to us.”

I wasn’t sure if I was more hurt or more proud, but he was right. I do tell them that.  And because I push them, Evan has done so many cool things.  Things that many ten year olds haven’t done. Hell, many adults haven’t done.  My kids have been in an informercial, Evan’s acted on Mr. D, Colin played an extra in Bag of Bones, Evan was a ball boy in Provincial soccer,  I mean, in every situation, they could have said no, but I always say to them what my son was now saying to me; take every opportunity that comes your way, regardless of if you get paid, or if anything will ever result from it.

I sent Evan with another family, because that’s the beauty of hockey, and I packed up Colin, because he loves food, and if there wasn’t a rule that he had to be over 18, he would have totally submitted his fish and chip wrap because it totally rocks!

And we went to the Recipe to Riches auditions armed with my Holiday Pies.

EVERY SINGLE KID AND PARENT SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE!

6 Mar

I watched the trailer for this movie and cried.  The trailer.  I felt, sad, sick, invigorated, moved, furious all at the same time. Oh- and I wanted to kick the snot of out a few kids after watching how they treated other kids, and I’m a nonviolent person, so to say that it hit a nerve is an understatement.

The only thing that would enrage me more than having a child that was being bullied, is if one of my own children was a bully.

We have got to wake up.  I honestly believe that parents have a clue of their children’s disposition when we’re not around.  We now if our daughter is a mean girl who picks on other girls.  We know if our son is a tough guy.  I’ve got to believe that if my son were the type to just randomly punch someone out of the blue, like what happened in this movie, that I’d know.  I have to believe that I’d do something about it.  And while I don’t want my children to be afraid of me, I think my children would afraid of how I would react to learn that they were’ being bullies.

I know how to stop this, and if it isn’t shaming the bullies, which hasn’t worked, then it’s shaming the parents.

I had a situation (very mild compared to some of you) where a kid was picking on my son.  He told me about it. We called his mother.  She was mortified!  She told her kid to stop.  He didn’t.  We called her again.  She was totally distrought, apologized profusely, even cried, we felt awful. Her son called us. He was scared. He apologized to us and to our son. They’ve been buddies ever since.  

Now, I know this is not the norm.  We happened to know the mother.  She’s a good mom.  She knew what it was like to have a son who was picked on.  If only every mother reacted like this. She was amazing.

But if parents were held accountable, that would fix the problem. And if that were my son, than that would mean me. That, and forcing them to go to this site and to watch this movie.
Hit play.