Sugo

The annual tradition of doing tomatoes is something my husband and his family has been doing forever. My sister-in-law told me she remembered being little and her and her cousins would wear handkerchiefs on their heads, and cut up the tomatoes by hand. Child labour laws don’t apply to Italians during tomato season!

Luckily technology has provided some help, and we no longer need to peel or cut them by hand, we just need to wash them, boil them and squish them.

Jar them and boil again and voila!

Sugo for the rest of the year.

My family has never partaken in this ritual, as growing up in a condo left us no place to do it, or store it. It has only been since meeting D that I learned how it was done first hand. I had always heard stories, of how it took all day or how you were a hostage to the garage until every jar was sealed and bucket was cleaned.

I helped once, after the Little Bird was born, but they only gave me the job of sealing the jars; which I found very boring. Ever since then, they haven’t needed me. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

This year, not only did I show up, but GamerBoy wanted to help too, so while we had too many cooks in the kitchen again, it was best not to overwork my in-laws. And my in-laws moved the production to the backyard, so we had more room. So L (my sister-in-law) washed and sealed the jars, D did the heavy lifting of baskets full of tomatoes and squished the boiled tomatoes and GamerBoy helped scrape the squisher and kept everything moving smoothly. Eventually F, our oldest nephew pitched in too, filling the drum.

(Sorry, I don’t actually know all the proper terms)

As for me, I jarred.

We finished by lunchtime and now the cantina is lined with jars of tomatoes ready to be transformed into delicious sugo.

 

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Tomatoes ready to be transformed!

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L and I washing tomatoes

 

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My father-in-law boiling the tomatoes

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They look ready!

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Time to take them out and let them drain

 

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Let the squishing begin!

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It can get a little messy!

 

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Evidence of my hard work!

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So many jars, and GamerBoy and D are still hard at work!

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C, F and GamerBoy filling the drum!

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Almost full!

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Two drums boil away!

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Empty baskets and supplies!

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Enjoying an espresso now that the work is complete!

 

I’ll take some cheese with her whine

 

As I left my house one Friday morning, I pointed out to my mom and bi-weekly caregiver where I keep the headache medication, since the Little Mouse was deep in whining mode.

Who am I kidding, she’s been whining since she turned three!

In February!

For those of you who say that the two’s are terrible, I challenge you to take my three year old. The two’s were a peach in comparison. The problem is she walks the tight rope of ‘baby’ versus ‘big girl’, changing her mood, reactions, actions and mind, depending on the minute.

You thought I was going to say, day, didn’t you?

Nope. We are definitely talking minute. Some days it is 1,440 minutes of straight whining. Some days we get a break for twenty minutes here and there.

This particular morning she woke up at 5:09, for reasons unknown, and I told her it was still nighttime and she had to go back to bed. She did, but woke up ripe for the picking at 6:15. From there, it all went downhill and sounded something like this:

I don’t want to sleep anymore, waaaaaaaah. I want to go downstairs and have milk, waaaaaah. I want the light on, waaaaah. I don’t like purple, waaaaah. Why is my room purple? Waaaaah. I don’t want to get dressed today, waaaah. I’m don’t like this bear anymore, waaaah

 

(She literally makes the ”waaaaah” sound after every sentence.)

 

We got up and went downstairs, and like she does every morning, she started crying because she wants to turn the television on (before her sister does), and then she’s crying because she doesn’t want the “yeh-yo” (yellow) cup, she wants the purple cup.

This morning, the Little Bird pointed out to her that she just said upstairs that she didn’t like purple anymore, to which the Little Mouse responded, “yes I do, waaaaah”. She then launched into other complaints;

You said that the Little Bird is staying with Nonna and I have to go to daycare, waaaah.

Me: No. You are both staying home with Nonna today.

I don’t like going to daycare, waaaah.

Me: Sorry honey, Nonna can’t come every day to watch you.

I don’t want to wear my running shoes today, waaaah

Me: Okay, wear your sandals

I don’t want to eat cereal, waaaah.

Me: Do you want toast?

Can I have some cake? Waaaah

Me: You cannot eat cake for breakfast.

I need a tissue, waaaah. I want more milk, waaaah. I can wipe my own nose, waaah. I want chocolate chips, waaaah. Can I watch Sheriff Callie? I want to watch the “pie-fief” one, waaah.

By now, I had a headache and no amount of talking to, scolding or helping would end the madness. It doesn’t end. It continues all day long and over everything. I know she will grow up and out of this stage, but may there be divine intervention to help me cope. It’s the continuous sound of that cry that could send me and D over the edge.

On this particular morning, I bailed. I felt horrible for leaving my mother, who already had the look of fear in her eyes, and the Little Bird who already knew her sister’s behaviour was going to change the course of the day.

I felt worse for not being able to take it. As parents we’re supposed to handle it all, right? Well, I think I found my weak spot (or at least another one) in my skills as a parent. I can’t take it. I am trying not to get too optimistic over a trick I tried, telling her that I had her smile in my pocket and she needs to put it back on, because she whines about not knowing how to put it back on. So until that trick is perfected, I think the only things I can do is pop more Advil and cry with her.

Waaaah!

 

 

Boom Clap 2 Years!

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This past weekend I celebrated another milestone…it’s my 2 year blogiversary!

I can’t believe it’s been two years. Some days I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. I have been writing ever since I can remember, and this just feels like a natural extension of something I should have always been doing. And then there are some days, were I feel like I don’t really belong here. Like it’s really only my friends, husband and mom who actually read this little space.

Alas, I know that isn’t the case. I actually have some followers and I thank you. Thank you for your love and your comments and your likes and your shares.

It means a lot to me.

So what have the last two years taught me? A few things, actually.

  1. Be authentic

I have learned that if I’m not authentic, why bother? While I’d like to pretend that every blog I write is a masterpiece, let’s be honest sometimes it’s slapped together. I put pressure on myself to get a post up because I haven’t written in a while, and so I may not necessarily put my whole heart and soul into everything I write. That inauthenticity comes through loud and clear and so I’ve learned that regardless of the length of the post, I have to be real. Or don’t bother.

 

  1. Put myself out there

I struggled for a long time about my wishes for where I wanted my blog to take me. I started on my Little Bird’s first day of JK, and then sort of wrote for myself. I didn’t tell anyone about it; it was just me and my computer. A couple of months later, I attended the ShesConnected Conference for work. I wasn’t there as a blogger, but I met hundreds of them. And seeing how they were there to connect with brands had me thinking this was something I wanted to do. So I actually started putting myself out there.

I’ve never been a brand ambassador for any product or brand; my blog is my blog. I write about what I want and nobody pays me for anything. I still follow a lot of these women that I met a couple of years ago, and some of them have taken the art of blog ambassadorship to a whole new level. To those few who do it well, I applaud you. Unfortunately, I think there are some who just work with these brands for the money, or free samples, or whatever else their compensation entails.

I’m not judging – you do what you gotta do! I just think that it comes across as inauthentic. And reading a blog where I don’t feel like I’m getting to know the writer leaves me feeling disconnected. And if I’m disconnected, than why should I want to come back? Just to enter another contest, or read your review on the latest snack/drink/book/face cream? No thanks.

I do want to say that as a marketer, and somebody who works for a company that uses blog ambassadors, I think there are some of these bloggers that do a stand-up job. It is a brilliant way to connect with new people/customers, and get your message and brand out there outside of traditional advertising.

As a reader and follower, I want to feel connected to you and your personal brand – your blog.

So I’m not interested in selling out. But I am still interested in working with brands in a different way. I am excited to say that I have gotten the opportunity to with the amazing Dove Canada and Yummy Mummy Club on a workshop series coming in the Fall (next month) for moms and daughters. (#ymcbeautifulyou) This is something that is important to me. Self-esteem, body image and self-worth are things I have written about before and the fact that I can take part in a workshop to help moms and daughters start this conversation is amazing. This is not selling out. This is authentic and important and helps girls feel better about themselves. It is something that brings tears to my eyes and fills my heart and I look forward to sharing that experience with you.

 

  1. Write more

This is a no-brainer, but there are some days where it seems impossible. After working all day, coming home to make dinner and take the kids to their activities, get them ready for bed, I end up on the couch and the last thing I want to do is write. But I vowed to do so and while I have not kept up my end of the bargain all of the time, I am trying.

I’m a post-it note girl; meaning I have little notes, ripped pieces of paper, little doodle pads stuck to my phone and in my purse with ideas for blogs and stories and tweets all the time. Sometimes the moment passes, and sometimes I actually make the time to write about it. I’ve been like that forever. If I write it down, it will happen.

Eventually.

So we’re going to try to fit my blog into my priority of things moving forward. It may not end the post-it notes everywhere, but it will help to reduce the amount of them floating in my purse and in my car. It’s important to me and I have to schedule it into my life, like I schedule everything else.

 

  1. Show appreciation

Thank you to my followers. I have seen the number grow and I appreciate you coming on the journey with me. I may just be a working mom with two girls and regular problems, but I love to connect with people.

I have made friends across the globe thanks to this blog, and I am grateful to have met them. I find it amazing that no matter where in the world we live, all parents struggle with the same things; finding a way to balance life and give your kids the strongest foundation for them to grow. The love we have for our children is universal. The rest is in the details and the daily laughs.

So thank you for your likes, your follows and your comments. It means a lot.

 

I look forward to the year ahead and where my blog can take me and where it will go. I look forward to learning from other bloggers and friends. I look forward to growing as a writer. I look forward to new adventures with my Little Bird and Little Mouse and D. I look forward to being able to speak my mind and write freely.

Since this is Music Monday, I thought Boom Clap by Charli XCX was appropriate for the way I feel about my blog, my anniversary, my followers and my family. The line “You’re the glitter in the darkness of my world” captures it all.

Cheers to the beat going on and on and on….

Happy Monday!

 

Adaptable

Life throws curveballs.

Sometimes it’s a big one and usually unexpected. And when you’re six years old, it’s hard to handle.

That’s what happened on Tuesday, on the Little Bird’s first day of school. Even though I tried my best to prepare her for the fact that she may not be in the same class as her friends, she wasn’t really prepared for that to be true.

According to dictionary.com, the definition of adaptable is as follows:

adaptable

[uh-dap-tuh-buh l] Spell Syllables

adjective

  1. capable of being adapted.

 

  1. able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions:

“an adaptable person”.

 

 

I think I can say that I’m pretty impressed with my little girl and her ability to be adaptable. Not only did she bounce home saying that she had a great day, she also said she made new friends and played with her old friends at recess.

I never underestimated her, I just felt horrible that she wasn’t fully prepared not to have her buddies with her. And to see her crying and upset; scared about meeting new people as we stood amidst the chaos in the school yard, didn’t help matters.

To top it off, she has also moved up rooms in the Before and After School program, so again she is away from some of the younger friends she had. She showed me her ability to go with the flow and seemed to love her new environment as I saw when I picked her up yesterday.

 

 

She puts a smile on my face every day and the fact that she is enjoying her new class, her new friends and has found a way to make it work and have it all, makes me well-up with pride.

Knock ‘em dead, Little Bird! You’re going to have a fantastic year!

First in First

It is the first day of Grade 1 for the Little Bird. We had a new backpack, two new pencil cases, for all her school supplies; one Monster High and one Ever After, a new lunch bag and a pretty pink headband.

We were ready to go.

I made a sign for her to hold, like I’ve done since JK, and after dropping her sister off for her first day in her new class at daycare, we finished getting ready and took some pictures.

 

Grade 1 sign

She woke up saying her tummy hurt and I told her that she probably felt excited and nervous about the first day of school. She asked me if I used to be excited and nervous for the first day of school when I was little, and I told her that I still get excited and nervous about things. She seemed to calm down after that.

She’s a trooper too, and posed for as many pictures as I asked her to and even did our pre-school interview on the camcorder.

Then we were off.

We walked around the front of the school, saying hi to a couple of her friends from last year, as we made our way to the BIG schoolyard in the back.

 

first day of school

That was when she got really quiet and stuck to my side like glue.

Eventually we saw a few of her friends, kids who have been in the same class since JK. And we all waited for the teachers to come out with the class lists.

As soon as they did, we made our way to scan the lists for names. When I found hers, I scanned the rest of the list and only saw one name that I recognized. When I scanned the other grade 1 class, I realized that all her other friends were in the other class.

The other name I recognized belonged to a little boy, who she was friends with – as much as boy and a girl can friends in kindergarten. He unfortunately, didn’t like the news of the class lists either, because once he found out that his buddies were in the other class, he started to cry.

I explained to the Little Bird that she can see her friends at recess and she seemed okay with that. For about three minutes.

Then her tears started.

I felt horrible that they split the kids up like that. I even spoke with the little boy and his parents about it. We both wished they would have added at least one other kid from their group.

You see, the Little Bird was always in the smaller JK and SK class. There were six of them from JK that went together into SK. Now they put four in one room together for Grade 1 and left these two in the other class.

Needless to say, the Little Bird and the little boy didn’t like it. Frankly, I don’t either, but there isn’t anything I can do about it. I tried to tell her she was going to make new friends and have a great year, but she wasn’t listening. For the first time since she started school, she was scared and crying and didn’t want to go. I didn’t know what to do.

Miraculously, I didn’t cry. Instead I took her out of the line, where she was surrounded by boys she didn’t know, and brought her to a bunch of girls standing near the front and introduced her. One of them even said she knew the Little Bird and said she could stay with them!

I felt better after that. The Little Bird didn’t seem to care, but I could tell she preferred to stand with the girls, instead of the boys.

I get that they need to learn to adapt to change and make new friends, I just think that it took her as a surprise that neither of her friends were in her class. She will adapt and she will make new friends. I even hope this helps with her shyness.

I know she’s going to be great and I wish her nothing but success for this school year. I hope in a week or so, we won’t even remember how she felt today, because she’ll be too busy playing with her new friends.