Now that fall has arrived, I’m settling back into my comfort cooking and as much as I miss my BBQ burgers and cold salads (watermelon strawberry was my favorite this past summer), I’m fully embracing the lusciousness of fall. In other words, I’m back to cramming my menu with hearty dishes like meatloaf and mac and cheese. Read more
How often do you feel like you know what you’re doing as a parent? I mean, really, truly, you’ve-got-this confidence that you’re making the right decisions. I’d say for me, it’s about half the time. Sometimes this division can be broken up in time frames. Like, Julian has just started school and have I prepared him properly for what he’s got to manage when he’s there? Hmmm, really not sure. But in a couple of weeks, I think I can guess that I'll feel like I’ll know better what time he should be going to bed, how much more practice he needs with writing his name, etc. Other times my clued-in/clueless split happens within the same hour. No, I will not make another dinner if Esme doesn’t like the one I made and I don’t know if I should let her pierce her ears when half of her friends have already done it. The truth is that no amount of studying parenting books, talking to your friends, or scouring the internet makes children less of a mystery in certain moments.
My current mysteries are like spooky bookends. Why do four-year old boys need to make toilet jokes part of every conversation? How do seven-year old girls suddenly know how to roll their eyes as a part of each mother-daughter exchange? I suspect that these classic behaviours will pass as unexpectedly as they arrived (if you’ve you’ve got five and eight-year olds and I’m wrong, just keep it to yourself, okay?). The other mysteries that have arrived in our home make me much happier: Busytown Myteries, for example. I’m old enough to remember when Busytown only lived in books. I loved pouring over them, with all their hilarious details. As I overhear my kids watching the new version on Netflix I always catch myself singing along to the theme song. “Everybody all together, solve the mystery with Huckle. You can solve one tooooooooo.” Read more
From the moment I finish my breakfast, I start thinking about my next morning meal. Ok, you got me, I start worrying about dinner but, once I've got that under control, I go right back to thinking about breakfast. Hands down, it's my favourite meal. So it's no wonder I always want to get it right. After all, if I don't have a good breakfast, then my day is off to a rotten start. I'm not sure if my daughter feels the same way (I guess I should ask her) but, like other things, I assume she shares my feelings about the meal. (Obviously, she hates walking into class late too. I did.) Therefore, I try to make sure her breakfast is gives her enough energy for the day and has something that I know makes her happy.
Easier said than done, right? During the week, going beyond the cereal bowl can be as difficult a task as getting a 7 year-old to brush their teeth, I mean really brush them. It's why we give you our SPC breakfast planner. We've got recipes you probably expect like muffins as well as a few you probably don't (good morning, chia pudding!). We've also broken everything down into categories you understand: Grab And Go, 10 Minutes Or Less and While You Sleep. So take what you need to satisfy your family's idea of the perfect breakfast as well as get you out the door. I, for one, will be making the scones this weekend. After all, we're trying to get out of the house, on-time, without incident, every single morning too. Read more
This post was originally published when Scarlett was a wee four years old. However, it continues to ring true today. I still have "brush your teeth" and "get your coat" on a morning loop but I also rely on this easy breakfast, even now that our mornings are way more hectic. (What was I thinking back then calling those days "hectic." Rookie.) Alongside some fresh fruit, Scarlett always feels satisfied by this morning meal. (In fact she had it today with sliced apples and blueberries.)
This week we'll be chatting breakfasts, especially easy balanced morning meals that will make you feel good about sending the babes out into the world. We'll see you back here late this week with recipes and strategies that will help you get out of your cereal loop. In the meantime, go forth with this Toad in the Hole. It's a family favourite.
Scarlett has gotten to a fun age where she loves to hear stories from what she calls the "old days." In other words, she likes when we tell her about places she visited, things she liked to eat, or toys she had when she was a baby. The "really old days" are when we tell her places we visited as kids, meals we enjoyed, or toys we had back in the day. (Her responce to a Sit'n Spin: "What's so fun about getting dizzy?" Not sure.) Once we offer our tale of "the really old days," it usually means we better be prepared to manage the obligatory requests: "When can I have a jeep and drive around playing Whitesnake?" (Clearly, that was my husband.) Read more
We're at the end of week two of school here in Toronto, but I know some of you have been back for a few weeks. How is it going? We had a couple of bumpy days last week but that was about the bus. I've been pretty pleased with how the packed lunch thing is panning out. Despite my fears, Julian is adjusting to losing the three-course, hot lunch he had for years at daycare and happily finishing up the packed bento box I've been sending him to senior kindergarten with. And it really doesn't feel like much more work to pack two lunches rather than one.
My real trick is doing as much prep on the weekends as I can. It's my goal to make two or three things on the weekend and two of those are with school lunches in mind. Once you start this habit of cooking ahead each weekend, you'll start to build up your freezer as part of your arsenal in a way that is life changing. So a couple of days a week I'm really just assembling a lunch rather than making it. And talking about assembling, I make sure that I have lots of packable ingredients for snacks — things that won't smush. Even though I use a bento box, which keeps lunch elements from touching each other, there are foods that just don't travel or keep well. Looking at you, raspberries. But grapes, carrots sticks, peppers cut into strips, cucumber rounds, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, etc, all make it through the day well.
Okay, here's the lunch plan for next week, with a few things you batch cook on the weekends. Let us know how it's going for you, what you'd like to see and what your kids like or don't like. We love hearing from you! Read more