Saturday, January 24, 2015

When Doing Nothing Does Something

Busy Mom - Life with a Parasite
A Reasonable Facsimile
It was a Professional Development Day at M's school yesterday. Usually this fills me with a sense of "OMFG, what are we going to do all day?" but yesterday, I tried something a little different. Wait, I should back up a bit. Our daily routine is predictably a pretty busy one, and it goes something like this:
  • Get up, pack M's lunch for school, help get her dressed, feed and dress Z, and then finally feed and dress myself. 
  • Morning programs for Mommy & Z.
  • Home for lunch, put Z down for nap and do some work until he wakes up. 
  • Go pick up M at school, go to her after school programs a couple of times a week.
  • Make dinner, put the kids to bed, do some more work and head to bed. 
  • Wash, rinse, repeat. 
Somewhere in there the laundry and dishes get done. And sometimes I even have an evening off to hang out with The Husband. Imagine that!

Yesterday, however, was a little different. With both kids underfoot and The Husband at work all day, the idea of getting stuff done around here was laughable. So I didn't bother trying. I cleared the decks and took the kids to an indoor play centre in the morning to let them run around and blow off steam. When we got back, Z went for a nap and M and I did each other's nails and then curled up on the couch and watched The Book of Life together. 

Taking that time to do nothing and reconnect reminded me why I had these kids. There's actually a name for what happens when you take a day to reconnect, it's called filling the attachment tank. Yes, I spend a lot of time with the kids, but a lot of it spent in the midst of doing something else. Once in a while, the damn laundry can wait. Let's face facts, it's not going anywhere. Ever. But someday these kids won't have any interest in lengthy cuddles on the couch.

Have you tried taking a break from all the "stuff" that needs to get done, just to spend some time doing nothing with your little people? Tell me how it went! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Textbook Follies

For some inexplicable reason, when I decided to go back to University, I also decided to take what I thought would be the most challenging course in my program first. It's only going to be challenging because in high school I took the absolute bare minimum of math courses before I ran screaming for the hills. This leaves me with some gaps in knowledge, like algebra. No big deal, right? Who needs algebra anyway?

My first course is Introductory Statistics. Naturally, that's one that involves a great deal of... ALGEBRA. Om nom nom. Those words are tasty! Was taking it first to get it out of the way a brilliant idea, or a profoundly stupid one? Only time will tell! I'm using my virtually non-existent spare time to catch up with some courses through the Khan Academy

So there I was, reading my textbook, when I had a WTF moment. It was describing how to use a protractor to determine the sizes of the pie pieces in a pie chart. But it went even further:

Text book snapshot
These COM-PU-TERS are amazing!
As I was reading the first paragraph, I was asking myself if they were fucking kidding me. Do they seriously think that anyone in this day and age would actually draw a pie chart by hand? Then I got to the next paragraph that helpfully pointed out that "many computers are programmed so that, once the data have been entered, a simple command will produce a pie chart." 

These newfangled computer thingies can do it all, my friends! I don't know about you, but I totally read that in a Mitch McConnell-esque turtle voice. One where every syl-la-ble of COM-PU-TER was enunciated very slowly and deliberately. Then I realized I was going to be graded on my ability to actually do this shit and not my epic snarking talents, and promptly went back to reading. But seriously!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Did YOU Know the Vinegar Trick for Preserving Berries?

I like to think of myself as one who is pretty handy in the kitchen, but every once in a while I learn something new that makes me smack myself in the forehead for not learning it sooner. These little life hacks are awesome. Like the one about soaking berries in a vinegar and water solution to help them last longer. This video describes the process in detail. I was sceptical (as born cynics are wont to be) but decided to give it a whirl. You see my little people LOVE berries. I think Little Cat Z would forsake all other foods for his berries. Great! What's the problem? Well...

Toronto weather

With temps like these, you don't see a lot of fresh berries. The ones we get in the store only last a day or two before they turn to sludge. You can buy organic vegetable washes, but a small bottle of it is around $8. Sure, you'll make that back pretty quickly in berry savings, but let's not bring logic to the party. Out of season berries are too expensive to buy only to throw them out on day three when they have liquefied and started to ooze out of the container. Hungry now? Neither am I. Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Are you also wondering if it works? I went grocery shopping on Sunday morning and spent a grand total of 15 minutes doing the vinegar and water soak. As instructed in the video I left them to dry completely and put them back in the washed containers with a paper towel liner. Here's how they looked earlier today, four days later. They still only lasted a few days, but this time it's because we ate them all. And by we, I mean my berry-loving kids. 

Preserve raspberries with vinegar