May 15

Learning when to speak up and when to keep your head down and shut up

These are two life lessons that I come to a little late in life. I may have mentioned a time or two before about being an only child. Perk – everything for me. Con – nobody to argue with and hence never being afforded the opportunity to learn about not always just speaking your mind, regardless of your audience. Some people are born knowing when to stand up, speak up and fight it out and when it’s time to just keep quiet and soldier on. Having kids first introduced me to these concepts, but social media has driven the lesson home.

As many, some, or at least one of you know, we have a situation in Georgina right now, Keswick specifically, with a HUGE developer wanting to build a 1000+ house subdivision in the middle of the North Gwillimbury Forest. And if not there, than directly across the road on protected countryside lands. The developer owns the lands in question but since receiving the ok for a 1000+ mobile home development on the forest lands 25 or so years ago, nothing has been done to move the project forward and the forest has remained intact and flourished. And while the forest grew, laws changed and society has (generally) woken up to the consequences of the alarming rate at which we are destroying our surrounding natural habitats and essential wetlands. Flash forward to 2015 and the developer decides that the time is NOW to destroy either the forest or countryside to build a fucking TRAILER PARK or yet another over-crowded, un-serviceable subdivision.

In case my feelings on the subject are not abundantly clear, I disagree with the developers position. And because I disagree, I support The North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance (NGFA) in their fight to keep the forest, protected wetlands and countryside in Georgina just that, PROTECTED.

Yes, they own that land, but are the signs really necessary? Seems like a pretty aggressive stance to take in a community your company is trying to "grow."

Yes, they own that parcel land, but are the signs really necessary? They are now posted at regular intervals on both the forest lands and farmlands owned by this company. It seems like a pretty aggressive stance to take in a community that your company is trying to “grow.” Oh, and yes. That is a forest you see behind the sign.

So, how does all of this fit in with learning when to keep my mouth shut or get out there and speak out? Where does this big lesson from social media come from? I’ll tell you.

I posted an update that the NGFA emailed to its supporters on a Facebook group specific to Georgina and issues involving the town. With the link, this is EXACTLY what I added to the post:

Heartsick does not begin to describe how I’m feeling with this newest update. So disappointed in our newly elected Mayor and council (save for Councillor Dave Neeson). May as well left Grossi in power, if the developers were going to continue to dictate the future and landscape of our town.

Perhaps strongly worded, but I feel strongly about what is happening (or not happening) on this issue. There were reply comments almost immediately and things quickly spiraled away from the issue of doing the right thing, ethically and legally and in the best interest of our town, and turned into, what I can only say was bullying behaviour. By adults. Really? Luckily, I tend not to bite when baited and I was able to say my piece and quietly leave, but in the meantime, a few commenters were virtually ‘high-fiving’ each other for irrelevant or snide remarks the other made, obviously feeling very proud of themselves for putting me in my place. They were only interested in attacking me personally, when I was only interested in discussing a very serious and time-sensitive town issue that will have repercussions for our town for generations to come. A few came to my defense, and to those posters, I am thankful, especially for confirming for me that what I was reading was bullying and for letting me know that others also saw the comments of these two people for what they were – argumentative, mean-spirited and misplaced.

I felt that it was important to bring the issue to the forefront and get a real discussion going, to get people to see just what the big deal really is, and that was my motivation for posting the link. I believe that I have posted to that group on two separate occasions and on each of them, one of these same people has zeroed in and attacked me personally, rather than discussing the merits of the issue. I do not know this woman (nor do I want to know her), I know nothing more about her than her Facebook profile and posts tell me. And she knows only that much about me. I do know that she isn’t only offended by my opinions, that she has run-ins or arguments with many people in various groups, so at least I am secure in the knowledge that this time, with this person, it really isn’t me, it’s her.


So, thank you social media, for making sure that I learn the lesson up close and personal. The forest and preventing the development of our beautiful protected lands is something worth standing up for, but that particular Facebook group is not the place for me to do so, so I am choosing to keep my head down and soldier on, silent in that group and other groups in which they post. I’ll continue to try to spread the word and gain support for the protection of our small town green space on here, on the Facebook page for The Keswick Blog and my personal page.  I have so many wonderful things to focus on to bother wasting my time or effort arguing with people who want only try to bully and belittle others in general, and me in particular. I see my choice not as a sign of weakness, but rather a show of strength, maturity and personal growth. See? I can adult when I have too. 😉

My six-year-old son drew this for me on last weekend.  And it may not be true globally, but to him it is, and that's really all that matters to me.

My six-year-old son drew this for me last weekend. And while it may not be true globally (since nobody really knows who I am), to him it is true, and that’s really all that matters to me. The opinions I really value belong to those people who I know and respect – friends and family fall into that category. Oh, and Carl Hiaasen, I value his opinion too. He just gets it.

Apr 15

I ate this (a blatant display of self-abasement)


and immediately felt guilty. I felt like a terrible person. I felt like a failure and a loser and bad parent and a poor example and really, quite honestly, worth, well, less.

I ate this. While I was alone. All 400 ml, a mere 100 ml shy of two cups. All 340 calories. I ate it all. And I ate it in the same manner in which I consume the majority of my ‘bad’ calories. Alone. Not in front of my children. And I can honestly tell you that I felt more guilty than I did that time that I snuck into my son’s room while he was eating breakfast to play ‘tooth fairy’ because I forgot to do it the night before. And once switching the tooth for the Twoonie, I casually sauntered back downstairs where he was eating his cereal and I asked him if the tooth fairy had come to our house the night before. He sadly shook his head, no. I told him that he must be mistaken and that he should look again because he probably just missed it the first time he looked. Yes. I did that. It’s a true story. And no, I am not proud of my actions that day. But I felt then and feel now less guilty for lying to my child and making him think that he was unable to find a Twoonie under a pillow than I do about eating less than two cups of ice cream.

But why should I feel ashamed of eating ice cream? Or anything for that matter. Is it illegal, immoral, or completely deviate behaviour? Does it make me a bad person? Does it mean that I am a weak person or worse yet, parent? Does it make me stupid, talentless, worthless or criminal? It can’t. It is impossible for eating ice cream to mean any of those things. My logical brain knows that, believes that, but try as I may, I remain unconvinced. Because it very much feels like it does mean all of those things about me. It very much feels like it means all of that and more.

So, what is wrong with me? Why is my moral compass so skewed? Am I the only one who can bend or break the rules with little remorse but then eat something unhealthy or fattening or calorie-laden and instantly feel completely unworthy of love, respect or kindness? Why do I use food to punish myself, reward myself, comfort myself and hurt myself? I know I’m not the only one who does this, there are lots of us around, but why?

And why, does every, single calorie I eat triple the second I swallow it?

My issues with food make me a hypocrite. Because I do not eat what I feed my children. Or, more accurately, I would never allow my children to eat as I eat. Their diets are over-flowing with fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade this and chemical-free that. Low sugar whatsits and naturally coloured whosits. They drink WATER or plain milk. No juice, iced tea, pop, energy drinks or Sunny-D for them. And all this means? It means that I know better but somehow, and for some reason, refuse to DO better for myself. I do it for my children. I do it for my husband. I don’t do it for me.

I do not drink, not even casually, haven’t in over ten years. In part because I don’t understand my unhealthy relationship with food and really do not want or need to find out how easily I could develop the same unhealthy relationship with alcohol and in part because I’d rather use those calories for chocolate. I do not do drug because I’m scared of them (even if they do make you skinny) and I have no idea where to buy them anymore (teenagers always know the hook up to buy drugs, even if they never do it themselves). Oh, and of course, I’m too cheap (read: frugal) to add ‘recreational / life-destroying drugs’ as a line on my budget.

So why do I feel this compelling need to eat? It is beyond a survival. It is beyond emotional. It has become my sport. And my head knows that my choices are excessive and unhealthy and I definitely know how to make healthy choices vs. unhealthy choices. But even a healthy choice, at 6 times the serving size becomes a problem. Because ya’ll know that I’m not eating six servings of steamed broccoli.

And don’t be a smartass. You know that I’m too full for broccoli. I just ate 340 calories of ice cream. Houston…We have a problem.

P.S. I post a lot of nonsensical blithering on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. I’m not always a debbie-downer, I promise. Sometimes I’m ridiculously happy, sappy, ranty, braggy and occasionally funny. Unfortunately, micro-blogging is all that I can squeeze into my day at the moment far too often. 😉



Apr 15

Upside-Down Pizza Casserole – Recipe

I have to share this one. It is simple, it is fast, and it is totally and completely delicious (if you like pizza, that is. And, if you do not like pizza, then I am sorry but this is not your tribe). I made this for my smalls this week and they went nuts for it. It immediately moved right up the list of Mason’s favourite foods to secure the #2 spot (meatloaf appears to be immovable from the top position) and the rest of the kids declared it “The BEST! I don’t just like it, I LOVE IT!” So, with those rave reviews, it warrants a share.

Quick note: You can use store-bought/pre-made pizza dough (not the pizza crusts, the dough!) or you can whip up a quick batch at home. I’ll include my quick and dirty pizza dough recipe here at the end, just in case you want to try it. ALSO, this is meant to be eaten with your fingers. It is not a dignified meal, and that is probably another reason why my children loved it so.


Pizza toppings – pepperoni, onions, peppers, whatever you normally put on your pizza
Mozzarella cheese, grated, approximately 300g
Italian salad dressing OR Pizza Sauce
One recipe OR one bag of store-bought pizza dough

1. Prepare the dough (either make some up or pull the store-bought one from the fridge)
2. Preheat oven to 425°F
3. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13 glass casserole dish
4.Chop up and prepare your toppings.
5. Layer toppings in the casserole dish

My kids are not big "toppings" people. They are boring pizza eaters. But I love them anyway.

My kids are not big “toppings” people. They are boring pizza eaters. But I love them anyway.

6. Cover toppings with excessive amounts of mozzarella cheese

They are, however, all about the cheese. So they redeem themselves. Slightly.

They are, however, all about the cheese. So they redeem themselves. Slightly.

7. Add sauce over the cheese, if using salad dressing, just a quick “Z” shape across the dish should be enough. But, the choice, as with everything else in the this recipe, is yours 😉

We like it nice and saucy, but some people, eh, not so much.

We like it nice and saucy, but some people, eh, not so much.

8. Roll little balls of dough and place them fairly close together in the dish. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you like. The dough balls should be between the size of a superball and a ping-pong ball (if they’re too big, you won’t have enough to cover the whole dish, and that could lead to sadness or having to locate more dough).

The first time I made this, it lead to a bit of sadness. This time, while it looks like chaos, there were enough to go around.

The first time I made this, it led to a bit of sadness. Made the dough balls too big. This time, while it looks like chaos, there were enough to go around.

9. Bake in your preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the dough sounds hollow when you tap on it and you see sauce or cheese bubbling away.
10. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Do not place the glass dish directly on a countertop or solid surface, the shock could cause the dish to break. And that would result in no pizza casserole. And that can only lead to more sadness. (Or, it could cause injury. Either way, we don’t want either of those things ruining a happy pizza experience).
11. Now, this is where it could get tricky, but since I’m adverse to tricky, I ignore this step, but if you wanted to, you could try to “flip” the casserole out of the pan and onto some other dish so that it was right-side up again, but I haven’t seen this done, haven’t tried it and so cannot endorse it. I cut around the dough in collections of two to four balls and scoop them out with a serving spoon. THIS IS FINGER FOOD. It will be nearly impossible to eat in a civilized way, but it’s so gooey and delicious, that really doesn’t matter, does it?

12. Enjoy!

Here it is again represented in one picture:

Quick and Dirty Go-to Pizza Dough Recipe

1 package or 2¼ tsp yeast
1 cup warm (105°F – 115°F) water (takes about 45 seconds in my microwave)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
2½ cups flour (All purpose, whole wheat or a combination thereof)

Mix together yeast, water, oil, sugar and salt in a large bowl. (I use my Kitchenaid mixer because, well, LAZY). Let sit for five or so minutes, until the yeast starts to grow a bit and it looks a bit foamy. Add flour and mix in thoroughly, if mixing by hand, 20-30 good turns should do it. If using a mixer, until it forms into a ball, maybe two or so minutes. The dough shouldn’t be too wet and sticky. If it is, add a bit more flour and work in.

This dough is versatile. You can either use it right away, or you can cover it with a clean dish towel for a half hour or so and let it rise a bit then punch it down and use. The benefit to letting it have a bit of rise time is a lighter dough, but I’ve noticed no real difference in the taste.

Roll it out, build your pizza. Bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes, checking for doneness after 20 minutes and reducing heat to 350°F for the last five minutes.

Apr 15

You never realize how ignorant you are until you have kids

Sometimes I really wish I would have listened to and believed my parents when they told me (often) that no, I really did not yet have all of the answers. Right or wrong, I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly well-read, educated, informed and knowledgeable individual. That has changed. Now I have kids who talk and ask questions that make sense and think deeper thoughts than how to fit a spoon into their mouths sideways.

Case in point. Deacon and Mason were talking about Easter and chocolate bunnies and egg hunts and I interjected with “well, you know it’s actually a religious holiday and not about chocolate or bunnies at all, right?” That bit of trivia was met with skeptical stares and uncertain glances at one another. “Um, what does that mean?”

“Well, it’s a religious, um, certain religions observe Good Friday because, um, well yeah. Easter has to do with the resurrection of Jesus, and other important religious things. It’s religious. No bunnies.” (note to self: shut up, you sound like an idiot)
“Oh! Because the old people didn’t have bunnies or something?”
“What exactly is religion?”
Oh shit. This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to talk. Like ever. I always end up talking myself into situations that I really should be relying on a reference book or at least Google to get me out of but instead of deferring to one of those superior sources, I press on.

“No, honey. Because as society has changed, it has commercialized Easter into being about chocolate and egg hunts and bunnies, but in all actuality, we are supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of Christ. But I’m not sure of the whole story, because, well, I don’t remember it, and well, we’re not really religious, I guess.” (I would add that we are spiritual and do hold beliefs deeper than MTV but we have never actually adopted an organized way of expressing that spirituality or those beliefs)

“Oh. Well, they must have been sad not to get any Easter eggs and stuff.”

Then, I did something that it has taken me YEARS of parenting to do. I let the subject drop. First, because I did not want to ruin the Easter they know and love by beating them over the head about how commercial everything is these days and how we need to rise above that type of superficial existence (yes, I recognize that’s a bit heavy for an eight and ten-year-old) and second because I realized that I didn’t have a fast fuckin’ clue how to explain the meaning of Easter to them and that fact was a ginormous hit to my ‘big brain’ ego.

So now, I have homework. Self-imposed but not really. Because while I don’t feel like I need to pretend to have all the answers or know everything (anymore, don’t ask sixteen-year-old me how she feels about that!), I do feel very strongly that part of my job as a parent to these beautiful minions is to guide them, to help them discover what they believe in and why and to give them a sense of and reality of strong traditions that help root them, comfort them and give them strength when life or circumstances try to deplete their reserves. My homework is to make sure that I know and can explain why we are celebrating any given occasion and what it means to me, what it may mean to others (may or may not be the same thing), and find out what it means to my children. Opening up discussions, sharing ideas and thoughts, educating and discovering together, being mindful and purposeful in our traditions and consciously choosing to create and perpetuate those traditions. That is my homework.

This is one tradition that I bring from my childhood. Grandma's Crimple Top. It's like Apple Crisp or Crumble, but about eleventy-billion times more delicious.

But whatever else I discover while attending to my homework, this is one tradition that I bring forth from my childhood. My grandma’s Crimple Top. It’s like Apple Crisp or Crumble, but only about eleventy-billion times more delicious. And all of my kids, except for Paxton (who is a story unto himself) LOVE it!

And just because this weekend has been about family and family time, here is most of mine:

4 out of 5 captured today. Declan-san was working but one day soon I shall capture his image with his siblings once again. Heart = Happy

4 out of 5 captured today. Declan-san was working but one day soon I shall capture his image with his siblings once again. I love being a mom.
Heart = Happy

P.S. My proofreader/spell check only found one error in this post. I don’t trust that ratty old pecker but at the same time I want to believe that it is true and that no errors exist (big brain ego at work again) so in trusting the proofreader it necessarily follows that I must claim any and all spelling and grammatical errors as my own. It is only right. U no? 😳

P.P.S. I post a lot of nonsensical blithering on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog in those places as well. Because on too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can do. 😉


Mar 15

March Break Instalment of Things My Kids Say


We were driving home from Newmarket, after a semi-satisfying lunch at Costco, (for the kids, I behaved and stuck to sipping my Diet Pepsi and pretended not to be hungry) and as usual, we listened to the radio during the drive. “An Angel in Blue Jeans” by Train came on. The kids were listening to the music, talking to each other, singing along, picking their noses, covertly poking each other in the eye – you know, all the usual stuff kids do when you’re powerless to stop them because you’re stuck driving the car. Anyway, all of a sudden, Mason bursts out:

“Miranda! Miranda! Did you hear that? Did you hear what the song said?”

“Nooooo. What’d it say?”

“It said ‘Life is but a dream, I was shot down by Olaf, my angel in blue jeans.’ ”

“Whaaaaat?!?” Miranda says in horror.

*I die laughing, but somehow don’t ditch the van in the process*

“No, guys, it’s ‘I was shot down by your love‘ not ‘shot down by Olaf!” I had to tell them. Because letting Miranda believe that Olaf was a) shooting people and b) an angel in blue jeans just seemed wrong beyond reason. Mas is still skeptical that I am right about the lyrics, but out of his love for his sister and her love for Olaf, he isn’t pushing it. Thanks God. (Also, I should add, that Miranda pronounces ‘Olaf” as ‘O-Love’ which makes me smile every time she utters his name).


“I know what your favourite thing is Mummy.”

“What’s that, hon?”

“US! Your favourite thing is us.”

*Heart fills with happiness and explodes. Heart too happy.*


As the kids were heading outside to play, two JW’s came walking up our porch.

“MUMMY! People are here!”


“I dunno. People!” (I know, this makes us sound like a remote mountain family, but I promise you, my kids are used to seeing people, almost everyday, in fact).

I open the door, still clad in my classy polar fleece jammie pants and over-sized beat-up house sweater, as two J.W.’s are approaching, literature in hand.

Smiling sweetly (I think) “Oh! Hello.” Then, noticing the literature in the first woman’s hand, I quickly add “Oh, no thank you!”

Looking confused while their eyes take in my homeless housewife-chic attire, one of them says “It’s only an invitation.” (‘because clearly you are in desperate need of help and saving, if not for you, then think of these poor misguided children!’ – This bit remained unspoken and was conveyed in the look of disbelief in their eyes)

“Oh, we’ve had those before. We don’t go. But thank you so much again!” Closing the door slowly as they started to turn and leave.

Mason: “Oh, sure Mom, like you really meant that!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Mason turns on the falsetto and big smile ” ‘Oh, thank you so much! No thank you!’ Yeah, you didn’t mean that at all, did you?”

Busted again. Oh well. I’m sure the J.W.’s will return and I’ll have another chance to try to decline indoctrination and being saved with more sincerity next time.


Deacon: “Pineapple, coconut, BIG BANANA!” At the breakfast table while doing a dance indicating which body part is which. I’ll leave that with your and your imagination to sort out. Me? I just tried to pretend that I did not just hear and see my eight-year-old gyrating and gesturing thusly. Focus on his beautiful smile, I told myself. That didn’t really work, no. I’m still traumatized.


Paxton informed me that he was “practicing kindness” today and that he hoped that he didn’t forget to be good while we were out and about this afternoon. He didn’t forget to be good. He did a great job listening and cooperating. Driving home though, he grabbed a book out of his sister’s hand. She objected. LOUDLY. She was not letting him get away with it. I thought I would help, honestly more to stop the yelling than anything else, but whatever my motivation, I was trying to help.

“Pax, remember you told me that you were practicing kindness today?”

“Oh yeah. I forgot.”

“Well, was it kind to grab that book out of your sister’s hand?”


“It sounds like she’s pretty upset.”


“So, do you think that maybe you should give it back to her and apologize? Would that be the kind thing to do?”

“I guess so. Here you go, Miranda. So-rry.”

“That’s okay, Paxton. Hey, when we get home, you wanna play spies?”

So, just moments before, Ms. M was screaming and yelling at hearing-damage-gonna-happen volumes because her brother took a book (well, really a free pamphlet about outdoor accessories from Lowes) out of her hand without asking. And so I intervened and did the calm and guiding parent thing and lead Pax to do the right thing, and she’s already over it before he finished saying ‘sorry’? It is times like that when I wonder if I should just let them figure it out on their own. But then I remember the very real feeling of wanting to rip my own ears off to stop the pain of being trapped in a vehicle listening to them bicker, yell, whine and cry, over essentially, nothing, and decide no. Left to their own devices, they will keep that fight alive ALL DAY LONG. It is only when they drag Mom into it that the fight loses all of its shiny new-car appeal. So, by jumping into the middle of these seemingly meaningless arguments I am assuring my own sanity and survival. It’s just like wrestling a crocodile, only different.

For all the arguing, crying, fighting, there's also so much hugging, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, I often wonder, but they always let me know in little ways that they really do love each other.

For all the arguing, crying, and fighting that goes on around here on any given day, there’s also so much hugging, playing, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, well I often wonder, but they always find ways to reassure me and each other that they really do love one another.

Mar 15

School-safe Protein-packed Granola Bar Recipe

A while back, I published a post about becoming an Epicure Selections consultant. Since then, I have been busy trying as many Epicure products as possible (and no, I don’t love everything they put out there, but I do love many of their products :) ). Including their silicone bakeware, and I have to admit, I am now completely sold on the Perfect Petites Silicone pan (only $23 Cdn. Lol!).

So far, I’ve made both regular and Summer Berry versions of banana bread and these School-safe Granola Bars (a few times each) and it’s been a breeze each time. Clean up hasn’t been tedious and the end product has been a hit with my smalls.

A few tips when using the Perfect Petites pan:

1. Always use it on top of a metal baking/cookie sheet for stability
2. NEVER use cooking spray on this or any other silicone cookware
3. Lightly oil the pan with Canola or other oil, but, see point number 2 and remember NO cooking spray
4. If something is a little difficult to remove (I haven’t run into this issue yet), pop the pan in the freezer for about 20 or so minutes. Whatever you’ve baked should pop right out after that.
5. You can pretty much take any quick bread, muffin, cake, cookie recipe and use the Petites pan, just reduce your baking time – if a recipe calls for 30 minutes at 325°C, I start checking after 15 minutes.

General Notes about the recipe – I wanted a quick snack that would provide my children with a hit of protein, not merely fibre/carbs/sugar but that was also school-safe (e.g. completely nut-free) and this fits the bill perfectly. As a bonus, it is also an incredibly adaptable recipe. Use gluten-free flour and voila! GF School safe granola bars. Kids don’t like raisins? Don’t use them! They love Craisins? Use ’em! Dried anything (naturally or chopped up small) will work :) Be adventurous, see what ya’ll like and what you don’t. I’m trying them out using coconut oil next, I’m sure it will work just fine though. 😉

Now, for the promised recipe



2 cups rolled oats (quick are fine, but not instant)             1/2 cup honey
1 cup whole wheat flour                                                      1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)                                            1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar                                                            2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt (optional
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixture of shredded unsweetened coconut, raw & shelled sunflower seeds, raw & shelled pumpkin seeds (I keep this mixture in equal parts in a Mason jar in my pantry for snacking and baking).


1. Preheat oven to 325° C. Lightly oil your Perfect Petites pan or your 9×13″ pan. Alternatively, lay down parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and sides of your pan (9×13 only, not the P.P. pan!)

2. Mix together the first eight ingredients (left-hand column). Make a well in the centre and add four last ingredients (right-hand column). This is easy to mix by hand (so even I don’t bother firing up the KitchenAid mixer 😉 ).

3. If using the Perfect Petites pan, fill and smooth each cell with your granola mix. It will be a wet and sticky batter. For chewier bars, fill each cell more, for crunchier bars, fill each cell with less batter. Maximum capacity for the pan is 2 tablespoons per cell. If using a 9×13 pan, pour the batter in and smooth out.

4. Bake and start checking or doneness after approximately 15 minutes for the Perfect Petites pan or 30 minutes for a 9×13. The bars are done when the edges start to brown lightly.

5. Remove from oven, let cool in the pan on the rack for around 20 minutes. Less time is needed if you’re using the P.P. pan, those you can pop right out of the pan as soon as they are cool enough to touch. If using a 9×13 pan, let them cool, but remove from the pan and cut into bars before completely cold. This will make cutting them easier.

6. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!

I am in love with this pan - makes more that my regular mini-muffin tin (30 vs. 24) and they are the perfect size for all of us to enjoy a REASONABLE portion of a treat - LOL!

I am in love with this pan – makes more that my regular mini-muffin tin (30 vs. 24) and they are the perfect size for all of us to enjoy a REASONABLE portion of a treat – LOL!

Feb 15

My week of food – a pictorial post

Every night this week I have Epicurized our dinners and the results have been very well received. But instead of reading my blah, blah, blahs, I’ll just post the pictures that I’ve been sharing on Instagram and Facebook, and a few that I didn’t share anywhere else at all. 😉


imageUsing Epicure’s Chicken Bouillon and the Three Onion Dip Mix to jazz it up.


IMG_2878.JPGThe picture says it all. I wish I had a picture of my kids inhaling dinner that night though!


imageI hear you, I do. You’re all like “What the holy Hell is that?” Well, I’ll tell you what it is. It is cabbage roll casserole (without the complicated cabbage rolling part but with tonnes of deliciousness). If anyone wants the recipe, I’ll be posting it later this week maybe? For now I’ll just say that it is a gluten-free friendly meal that appeals to gluten-free and gluten-full people alike 😉 Epicure’s contribution to this meal? The fabulous Italian Salad Dressing mix – used it dry, saved a ton of fat and calories by not using salad dressing (needed to save those calories for the cheese – shhhh!)


imageNot Epicure’d but rather to prove a point about how we’re feeding our children and making up bullshit self-serving excuses why. I posted this picture on Instagram with the following blurb:
This is our after school snack around here. Total cost? $1.57 and a little bit of prep time. Number of kids happily munching away on REAL food? Six. No chemicals, no added sugar, no hormones, just fresh fruits and veggies. Now, if it were a party, I’d probably be mixing up a batch of Greek yogurt Epicure Summer Berry Dip Mix for an extra special treat, but honestly? The kids are thrilled with their snack just the way it is. #DontTellMeYouCantAffordHealthyFood #CheaperThanOneSmallBagOfChips #thekeswickblog #Epicure #RealFoodGrowsHealthyKids #FrugalEating #CheapEats”

Thursday Dinner


Friday – Pizza Game Strong

imageSo, that’s been my week in food. It’s been a pretty stupendous week, from a food perspective anyway. :)

And now, here are all the other places to find me (when I’m not hiding under my bed or behind my kids) come and hang out with me at:
Facebook 1  Facebook 2  Instagram  Twitter  Pinterest

Epicure Consultant Site

Have a wonderful weekend, remember to wear clean socks and underwear, and never leave home without an emergency toothbrush, toothpaste, mascara and lip gloss in your purse. No matter what happens, with those few things in hand, you’ll have the world by the ‘nads. You know, like MacGyver but prettier and with whiter teeth. 😉




Feb 15

Child conversations that age me instantly

     Miss Moon is four years old. Her friend, Miss L. is five years old. They were planning a dance party afterschool in the kids’ living room. This conversation transpired:

Miss L. : We’re SUPERSTARS!

Miss Moon: No we’re not! How ’bout we’re TEENAGERS!

Miss L. : Yeah! Yeah! We’re TEENAGERS!

They break into giggles, run into the powder room, attach all kinds of clips and barrettes to their hair and then truly dance like no one was watching. But I was watching, and between the conversation, the primping and the dance party, I am now 106 years old, ya’ll. *thud*

Four going on seventeen. I'm dying here!

Four going on seventeen. I’m dying here!

     I posted this on the blog’s Instagram page this week, but just in case you’re not following the blog on Instagram (um, why aren’t you?!?), I’m posting it here, just because it was cute:


“Look Mummy, I drew a king and a princess. And THIS is their limbo!”
“Where are they going in their limbo?”
“The buffet. See I gave the King a perfect moustache?”
#OnlyMyPaxton #StoryOfMyLife #InLimboAndAtaBuffet #mysmalls#thekeswickblog

     Last week, Miss M came down with hives for some unknown reason. After a few days, she came downstairs in the morning looking sleepy, tousled and dejected. “Mummy? I still got the bee-hives.”


This is Miss M's case of "the beehives" No known cause, likely related to her cold symptoms, but they were itchy and uncomfortable days for her. I hope she doesn't get the beehives again anytime soon.

This is Miss M’s case of “the beehives” No known cause, likely related to her cold symptoms, but they were itchy and uncomfortable days for her. I hope she doesn’t get the beehives again anytime soon.

     And then there are things that just make my head hurt:

“Mummy, you know that game, the one you can play? The spinny around one? Mummy? Mummy? You know it? It’s like with all the numbers on it? You know it? Mummy?”

“What? No, I don’t know it, you’re going to have to tell me what you’re talking about.”

“You know, it’s that spinny around game that has a ball on it? And what if baby played it and won like a billion dollars? Would all the lights go crazy and bells ring? Would the baby get to keep the money? Wouldn’t that be funny? Huh? Wouldn’t it?”

“Sweetie, my head hurts, but I’m pretty sure you’re talking about roulette and I’m pretty sure you’re thinking about casinos and gambling, and babies aren’t allowed to gamble.”

“They’re not?!? “What about kids? Can kids gamble? ‘Cause that’s not fair to the babies that they don’t get to keep the money if they win it.”

“No hon, kids aren’t allowed to gamble either. Only grown ups.”

“How about teenagers? Can teenagers gamble?”

“Only with their futures, kiddo.”


“No. No gambling for teenagers either. Just for grownups.”

“Well, that’s no fair, because I need money, and now I can’t win it.”

“You and me both, Babe.  You and me both. Now, where’s the Tylenol at?”

It's like looking in a mirror after one of these conversations. Man, I hope my smalls never change! <3

It’s like looking in a mirror after one of these conversations. Man, I hope my smalls never change!

     And this one wasn’t something a child said, but rather a grown woman, a grandmother of six when I complimented her on her hair.

*While flipping the ends of her hair up and down* “Oh, thank you! I never dye my hair you know. I only get my roots done. Eighteen years and I’ve NEVER dyed my hair, I just get my roots done and it matches PERFECTLY! Nope, have never dyed my hair, honestly!”

I’ll just let that one sit and steep a while, shall I?

Now, where is that Tylenol at?

Feb 15

It’s not that I’m a bad mother

It is just that I am not as good of one as I want to be, unintentionally pretend to be, wish I were and want others to believe that I am. And it is dead easy to set the stage – social media makes it very possible to put your best (fake) self out there for the world to see and admire (or not), compliment, judge, praise or slam. And somehow, I find myself caught up some of this unimportant bullshit posturing all too often.

Because I want people to think that I am a good mom (why do I care? I don’t know, but I do). I want my children to think that I am a good mom and to love me. I want my babies to always remember how hard I worked for them (whether in the home or outside of the home), how good the food I prepared for them tasted, how I was with them every possible moment, how much I loved them. I want them to remember me happy and smiling. I want them to remember the tickles and giggles, the cuddles and kisses. But sometimes I fear that they will remember how grumpy I was, how tired, short-tempered, rushed, sad and defeated I was. And that breaks my heart in ways I have never known my heart to break.

I want to raise happy, well-adjusted, healthy, intelligent, informed, socially and morally responsible, interesting, vibrant people. I want to send my children out into the world feeling confident in his or her ability to handle anything that life throws at him and not accept less than her dream (whatever that may be). I want him to be free to explore our world fearlessly knowing that no matter what, Mum is always in her corner, cheering him on, soothing her wounds and sending him back out to conquer the next round of life.***

I want my beautiful minions to know that as nice as Keswick is and as familiar and safe as it feels for them, it is but one tiny speck on this planet and that their futures and destinies, may not be here, but rather may be best discovered and put to greater use in one of the other specks on the globe. There is so much more to life than Keswick (or any small town), and while I enjoy living here, I have seen more of the world (and one day hope to see even more of it), and I made a conscious choice to live here and raise a family here. I did not land here by birth or accident, but rather by design. And that is what I want for each of them – to craft their lives and not just accept where they are, because it is where they have always been here but rather to make that informed, conscious decision about how and where they want to spend the duration of their lives.

I am finally realizing what other people have always known. That it does not matter clean that I keep this house. It does not matter how much laundry I wash, hang and fold, how many toys I pick up, how much that I jump up and down about uncleaned messes. None of that matters. What matters is RAISING my kids. Turning off the noise of the day and tuning into them, individually and collectively. By CHOOSING to NOT clean up the kitchen after dinner in favour of reading with them, or doing a puzzle together or trying to learn piano together. THOSE are the kind of things that really matter to me, THOSE are the memories that I want them to have when they are grown and gone. Not one of them will look back fondly on all of those hours spent on one electronic device or another, playing this game or that, or seeing me at the kitchen table engrossed in something on my laptop or spending endless hours watching mindless television programming (that quite honestly, I cannot believe passes as children’s/family programming – hello content and language, I’m talking to you! – Different rant for a different post for a different day)

So, it really is not that I am a bad mother, rather it is that I know that I can and want to be a much better mother. Because all five of my babies deserve better than mediocre parenting or examples to follow. I am finally (?maybe?) learning that in life and relationships sometimes LOVE is just not enough, despite our best intentions and desires. That I love is a given. The fact of my love is never in question but while love is a necessary and wonderful first ingredient, there are so many other components that are required to create something eternally strong, memorable and great.



For Them.

For Them.

And that is what I want for my life. It is what I want for my children, always.

***Yes, I know that I used the male and female pronouns 
interchangeably. Since I have children of both genders and 
constantly saying 'him or her' or 'his or her' is ugly and 
awkward in a sentence, I decided to alternate the use of 
each pronoun.


Feb 15

I’ve taken on another adventure – Epicure in the ‘wick

I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a while now, unable to do much of anything other than basic ‘life’ and have, in all honesty barely been doing an adequate job at that, but amidst all of my mediocre efforts/results at ‘life’, I recently decided to become an Independent Epicure Consultant.

I have never done anything like this before. I’ve purchased from other women selling various products – Thirty-One, Grace Adele, Scentsy (currently investigating, never purchased yet), so I can appreciate the actual process of catalogue purchasing, but I’ve never decided to try to SELL anything like this before.

Most of the companies are started by women, for women and Epicure is no different. But one difference is that it was started by CANADIAN women Canadian women. And I kind of dig that. Also, I have a terrible time finding products that I feel that I can trust, are limited or devoid of chemicals, additives (like MSG, tonnes of sodium, tartrazine, etc.) that I can afford to purchase ON A BUDGET. Enter, Epicure with amazing food products, cook and bakeware, recipes, and teas. If you enjoy cooking, or just really good tasting food, it’s worth a second look.

If you’d like to check out the current catalogue, or even place an order or host your own party (online is fine – not everyone has time to have 10 people over to their house for a tasting party), here is the link to my consultant site (Canadian shipping addresses only). Everything from Epicure is gluten-free, so no worries on that front, and many items are now Non-GMO verified (and more are going through the process all the time), which, for me, when it comes to what I am feeding my family, is increasingly important.

February Specials - The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here!

February Specials – The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here! Is it smart for a self-diagnosed Food Junkie to be working a business in the food industry? I don’t know, but I’m going to have a ton of fun finding out!

So, while I want to do so many things everyday/week/month (oh, I also, joined the gym, am trying to re-teach myself piano, trying to write consistently, photograph my rapidly growing babies regularly, keep the house reasonable, the meals prepared, the clothes washed (if not folded and put away), work and earn at four part-time jobs and now Epicure too!), I continue with to struggle of trying to be everything to everyone, do everything I want, need and must do, and falling short at every turn. But slowing down or downsizing what I take on doesn’t appear to be part of my DNA.

But, at the end of the day, I just need to do better, work harder, try more and I’ll achieve my goals. Right? Isn’t that the way we’re told life works? I sure hope that wasn’t just a great big lie that I’ve fallen for.

My character challenge for the second half of February.

My character challenge for the second half of February.