Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good News/Bad News

Good News? It's Wednesday. We're halfway to the weekend!
Bad News? It's only Wednesday. We're only halfway to the weekend.

Good News? Canada beat Germany.
Bad News? Now we have to play Russia.

Bad News? I shrunk my favourite jeans.
Good News? I can still button them.
Bad News? They increase my muffin top quotient greatly.

Good News? I made granola today.
Bad News? It won't last more than a couple of days.

Good News? Wiggle Man loves the sheep puppet I got for him.
Bad News? He asks for "Sheep talk" all the time.

Good News? I have pie in my fridge.
Bad News? Not for long.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Train Up A Child

In the way he should go

And when he is old, he will not turn from it.

What's that you say? Not quite what the writer of Proverbs had in mind?

Oh. Well, here's hoping for 2034!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Are you ready for another lesson in understanding my toddler? I sure hope so, because I've got another edition of WiggleSpeak all lined up for you:

Taneenee: "Canada." The Olympics are on. Of course I'm going to teach him to say "Canada." And if I can find it, you can bet he'll be wearing his Team Canada hockey jersey to church tomorrow, too.

Morn: "More." Why he adds the 'n' at the end, I have no idea. But he does it pretty consistently, as you'll see in the next term.

Morno: Sometimes pronounced, "Ah-morno" this is how my child tells you "tomorrow". It's a ritual we go through before every bedtime. "Big choo choo amorno?" "Yes, Wiggles, you can play with your train tomorrow." "Pu-lay tunnels? Tracks? Trains? Morno?" "Yes, dear. Tomorrow you can play with your tunnels and tracks and trains."

Lolos: "Letters." Wiggle Man has been learning letters via He is forever asking to "watch lolos" with me. And how can you say no when your child is asking to learn?

Mama/Dada: This not only refers to the Rev and I, but also to any other adult male or female Wiggle Man sees. So if you should happen to pass us in Target, and he points to you and says "Mama!" (or "Dada", depending on your gender), don't be alarmed.

Red Treat: "Kit Kat." (Have I done this one already? I'm too lazy to go back and check old posts.) Anyway, it's red. It's a treat. It's a Kit Kat. (That should totally be their new slogan.)

Dada Treats: "Reese's Puff Cereal." It's Daddy's cereal, that he occasionally shares with the Wiggle.

Mama Treats: "Mommy's awesome homemade granola that is super yummy." At least, I'm sure that's what he's implying.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lessons Learned At Target

Today, as we do at least once a week, Wiggle Man and I made our way to Target for lunch. It's convenient, has healthy options, and we can eat pretty cheaply. Ahh...Target Cafe. How I love you.

Up to this point, Wiggle Man had been remarkably compliant. He listened to me, to the ladies in childcare at the Y, and he was even (reasonably) quiet at the library. He was good.

That ended at Target. After dropping his mini hot-dogs on the floor, and having them graciously replace by the nice man at Target Cafe, Wiggle Man decided he'd actually rather not eat the hot dogs.


Instead, he wanted his animal crackers. It was at this point I made a decision. I decided not to care what anyone else thought about me, my son, or my parenting. So, I let him fuss and whine. Don't get me wrong--I'm all for respecting the rights of other people to enjoy their meals. But there was really no one around except the Starbucks baristas, and had Wiggle Man really let loose with the screaming, I most definitely would have removed him to the car.

But for once, I decided to stop worrying so much about what other people thought, and focus more on teaching my son discipline. He fussed. I calmly told him his animal crackers were for later, then continued eating. Every time he asked for them again, I reminded him I'd answered that question, then went back to my lunch. I didn't address his mini-tantrum, and kept calm. And just like every episode of Super Nanny, it actually worked. Wiggle Man finished his hot dogs.

I think at some point in our society, we've shifted the pendulum from being overly focused on our kids' needs, to being overly concerned about the rights of others. Like I said above, I'll take him to the car if he pulls out a full-on tantrum. And I wouldn't take him to a quiet, fancy restaurant at this point.

But no one goes to the Target Cafe for the ambiance. We're not talking $50 dollar steak dinners here. Even had Wiggles screamed at the top of his lungs, no one's romantic lunch would have been ruined. And Target Cafe can be just the place for learning--manners for testy two year-olds, and patience for uptight mamas.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Because You Asked...

Well, Sara asked, anyway.

So here you go, Sara. And anyone else remotely interested.

My latest adventures in skin care (doo doo doo doo!):

I like St. Ives Elements Warming Scrub. It smells amazing, and my skin feels great afterwards.

My all-around, always love it, always works great standby is Dove Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Cleanser.

My new toy is L'Oreal Paris Go 360 Clean Deep Cream Cleanser. Honestly? The commercial with the little scrubbie that pops out of the bottle is what got me. And so far, I really like it--it tingles when I use it, my pores are getting smaller, and it feels nice and clean. It's hard to judge if it's drying out my skin too much, since winter sucks any and all moisture out of me.

Which is why I love The Body Shop's Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask. It really helps with my dry spots, and my skin feels amazing after I use it.

So there you have it, Sara. My current faves in skin care. Until I see a commercial for something new, that is. As the Rev will tell you: "Advertising works on Jenn." It's a running joke in our house.

PS--no one compensated me in any form for this post.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I've Fallen

You may think I've fallen off the face of the world, what with my shocking lack of blogging recently. We've had a few out-of-town guests back-to-back, so things got a little busy here for a while.

I have not, however, fallen off the face of the world.

I've been making granola. And muddy buddies and caramel corn, which counteract the healthiness of the granola.

I've been cheering Canada on in the Olympics.

I've been righteously indignant about some of NBC's coverage of said Olympics, and longed for CTV. Like most Canadians, I'd like to send Meredith the memo that Terry Fox did not star in Family Ties. That would be the talented Michael J.

I've been unpacking books. I've been trying to figure out where to hang shelves and pictures, so our living room can look like people actually live in it.

I've seen a great basketball game.

I've been having dreams that Wiggle Man decided to try potty training, instead of running away screaming.

I've been trying out new face cleansers. The Rev complains I have no brand loyalty. He's mostly right. But I like to try new things. I do stick with something once I find it really works. Usually.

And I've been trying to figure out how to turn off the snow. I thought when we moved south, I'd get warmer winters. Ha. My powers are too strong for that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The night before last I was lying in bed, thinking about this post. It had occurred to me that Wiggle Man cuddles me almost the exact way he did as a newborn...except, of course, he's much bigger now. But the position is much the same: head on my chest (or shoulder, now that he's taller), arms tucked under, my arm under his bum.

This picture doesn't quite show how he cuddled; I'm not sure if I had him turned for the camera, or what the deal was. It's also a great shot of how I looked before I stopped nursing and the nasty hormones decided to bloat me up. Lovely things, those hormones.

Well, I got all nostalgic thinking about my big boy, and how he's still my cuddlebum, but only when he's tired.

Then, as if sensing my nostalgia, he spent yesterday "cooking" all over his bedroom and the kitchen. Remember this? Well, apparently Wiggle Man got a hold of the pepper shaker, managed to open it, and sprinkled pepper everywhere. I'm not exaggerating, either. It was on his bed, his pillow, his train table, his easel, his books, his toys, and literally coating the kitchen table.
Proud of how I'm learning to deal with these little interruptions that life with a toddler brings, I calmly (no, seriously) vacuumed it up, having Wiggle Man help when appropriate. (I know. I'm so...supermom.) <---sarcasm alert.
Anyway, a few short hours later I sat at the piano. I looked down to see someone (read: Wiggle Man) had decided to decorate the laminate floor. With pencil scribbles. A lot of them.
Let's just say God is giving me ample opportunities to practise patience. And I sure need the practise. Now, let me go see what the little dear is up to--I hear thuds coming from the piano room.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Caramel Addiction

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Well, I'm The Missus, and I have a problem. I'm a caramelcornaholic. It started innocently enough. I made a batch (technically, I made a third of a batch, at least according to the recipe I was using) Saturday night, in preparation for Sunday's Football Festivities. Between the Rev and I, that ginormous bowl of caramel deliciousness did not make it through the night. By bedtime, it was all gone. All of it. Gone.

So, Sunday afternoon, like the domestic maven I am, I prepared twice as much. This, along with the frozen pizzas and the veggies and dip I prepared the day before would be our Football Festivities Feast.

And, like the domestic maven that I am (or have been of late, anyway) I managed to burn one pan of the caramelly goodness. It was there that I learned a profound lesson. Yesterday's oven temperatures do not work with today's (adjusted) recipe.

I realised I had read the recipe wrong on Saturday, putting less baking soda in than I should have. Baking soda makes the caramel get all puffy (sorry for the technical terms here) and fluffy. So less baking soda means less fluffy caramel poured over your popcorn. This means it's a little thicker, so it doesn't melt as well in the oven. You put it in the oven on baking trays to help coat all the popcorn, taking it out every 15 minutes to stir. Because it wasn't melting as well, I bumped up the temperature a bit to help things along.

Fast forward to Sunday's batch. I realise I read the recipe wrong the day before, and make the proper adjustments, resulting in gloriously fluffy caramel. I poured it all over the popcorn, and put the trays in the oven. At the same temperature I had the day before.

Which resulted in this:

That, friends, is a charred pan from which burnt caramel corn was scraped off. And eaten. I mean, it's still caramel corn. (I told you I had a problem. In my defense, I couldn't eat all of it...just the least burnt parts. And I saved the good batch for the game. Really.)

The point? (Besides showing you my yucky pans?) Yesterday's solutions may not work for today's problems. It seems obvious, but sometimes I need to be reminded to think things through, taking every circumstance into consideration.

But, I decided to make the best of a charred situation, and share with you my secret for cleaning this:

See that white stuff all over the pan? Yesterday after they cooled off, I wet the pans just a little, and poured baking soda all over the burnt sugar mess. You want to make a paste out of the baking soda and water, and essentially cover the burnt bits with the paste. Don't be like me, and forget the edges and corners.

Then, do nothing. Let those babies sit. Give the baking soda past plenty of time to work its magic. Then, after about a day, take a plastic food scraper (oh, how I love thee) and scrape the mess away. Everything under the baking soda paste will scrape away. You probably won't even need the scraper to get it off. But, I use it just in case I find a spot I missed with the paste. A little rinse under the faucet, a quick scrub with some dish soap to remove any residue, and there you have it:

Clean pans! (My food scraper wanted to pose with the pan, so I let it.) Now, I know you're thinking that pan isn't exactly gleaming, but it's not like it was gleaming before it was covered in burnt sugar. I mean, it's still me we're talking about, after all.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crunch Factor

I read a lot of "crunchy" blogs. Or, rather, blogs written by crunchy folk. Baby wearing, cloth diapering, homemade hummus eating, TV banishing kind of people.

There's a part of me that really wishes I could be like this. And, in some ways, I suppose I am. But, I just can't make the total commitment. I like Cheetos and paper towels and hot dogs too much. I like thick, fluffy 42-freakin' ply toilet paper. I like my SUV. I like American Idol.

So, I have decided, I am quasi-crunchy. I've been looking for a way to use quasi these days, anyway, so quasi-crunchy it is.

Here's why I think I qualify for the quasi:

I made granola yesterday. My very own. And just because I was slightly confused about what ancient super grain I was using (kamut, not spelt, although I debated both in the store) doesn't make me any less crunchy. (The brown sugar I used instead of who-knows-what may have taken me down a notch, which is why I can't be fully crunchy.) Still, the stuff was awesome.

I bake our bread. (Most days. Some days I just get lazy, and grab a loaf at Target.)

I make my own cleaner. Baking soda and my lemony vinegar/water stuff takes care of just about everything in our house. I have reusable, washable sponges. (A handy bottle of bleach for the toilets, and Clorox Wipes for the toilet seats are my compromise.)

I tried to wear Wiggle Man as a baby. He wasn't big on it. Not the baby carrier, nor the wrap (which required a minimum of a Master's Degree to understand how to tie the baby to yourself) nor the traditional Maasai carry (which he actually fell out of.) But I like the idea of it, you see. I'd even give it another go, should I ever find myself needing to carry around a baby. The point is, I tried.

I tried to make hummus. It was gross. I tried store bought hummus. Also gross. In fact, the only hummus I like comes from a local restaurant, located on the "other side of the mountain", which makes it less local and more like halfway across the country. So I don't get it often.

I'm also a little on the crunchy side when it comes to female health. That's all I have to say about that (thank you, Forrest) for the sake of my male relatives and friends who read this blog. You're welcome, guys.

So there you have it. My crunch factor is about a quasi crunchy. Not earth mother, but not, well, whatever is at the other end of that spectrum. Somewhere in the middle, where most of us reside. Because regardless of where you view yourself on that spectrum, if you're making the best decisions for you and your family, that's all the crunchy you need.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

That's what they say, anyway. So here's my little angel, getting his clean on.

I won't tell you what he was wiping off his face in this picture. I will tell you that whatever it was (and far be it from me to discuss yucky things on this blog) just may have come from out of his nose.
But I'm not telling.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Not Being That Girl

There seems to be this idea going around that I'm a good baker. Probably because I post pictures, lots of pictures, of things that I've made that look yummy.

What I don't post, however, are things that look less than yummy.

You see, I want you to think I'm a good baker, a good cook, a good musician, a good wife and mother (and not necessarily in that order, of course.) But I like the notion that I have it all together.

It's completely false, of course. I don't have it all together. You don't have it all together. We all know someone that we think has it all together. Someone who only serves healthy food to her family, who seems to have a natural gorgeousness even wearing sweats and a ponytail, whose house could be (and let's face it, probably was) featured in a magazine.

But I'm guessing even that woman doesn't have it all together. She can't. No one can. It's not how we're made, and I think there's a reason for that. I think we're not supposed to be able to stay on top of everything so that we realise our need for something other than. Something (or rather, Someone) other than us.

Well, today I'm going to show you my less-than-wonderful side.

I tried to make cookies today. I tried. But I was out of shortening, and my recipe calls for half butter and half shortening. I thought I could make it work with just butter. Yeah...not so much.

Cookies made solely with butter have a tendency to spread. Factor in my tendency to make larger cookies, and you end up with a pan full of cookie blobs all stuck together.

Then imagine me trying to remove said cookie blobs. It wasn't pretty, friends. The picture doesn't do these mangled, twisted cookie wrecks justice. The Rev actually laughed when he saw them. (That didn't stop him from sampling them, however.)

So, besides their photo here, these cookies will never see the light of day. They will not leave this house. I imagine The Rev, Wiggle Man and I will not let them go to waste. We'll probably snack on them over the next day or so. (The leftover dough that I never even bothered to bake once I saw how the cookies came out? That, my dears, is safely stowed in my fridge. Cookie dough is cookie dough.)