We’ve stayed home for March break. Kevin and I are doing our best to split the days so that we both have time to work; this is a blessed change from past holidays when the bulk of the sudden increase in childcare fell directly on me. (I hope to sustain this change, at least in part, over the summer too, and without relying too heavily on camps.) The kids love being at home and doing next to nothing. Add in a few friends, a few sleepovers, and this beautiful spring weather, and home is a pretty happy place to be. Our big outing for the week is going to a matinee movie, planned for tomorrow. Set the bar low and we’re all totally excited about this small adventure.
Reminder: I’m reading tonight at Conrad Grebel College, 7pm!
And: Here’s a link to my post today on The Afterword, on judging my book by its cover.
**Monday’s menu: Sweet potato coconut soup (crockpot). Turkey slices. Cranberries. Mashed potato stuffing. Broccoli. Bread and butter.
**Best-of-all: Mostly leftovers. Super easy. Changed plans early on and did not make turkey pot pies, though they would have been lovely. This was so much less stressful and left more time for visiting with Kevin’s family who arrived from north of Kingston to spend a few leisurely days with us and to celebrate our FOURTH Christmas of the season. We’re a lucky family.
**Happy chef: I put the soup in the crockpot first thing in the morning and instantly felt prepared for the day.
**Tuesday’s menu: Hot and sour soup. Ham. Cranberrries. Sweet potato/apple stuffing. Middle-Eastern herbed rice stuffing. Creamed leeks. (pictured above)
**The occasion: Christmas feast number two. I love cooking! But even better, I love cooking for an appreciative audience (no offense, kids).
**If-I-do-say-so-myself: This meal was a FEAST. A beast of a feast. I need to post recipes for pretty much every single side. After having done a more traditional meal on Sunday, I decided to be adventurous. I called this meal theme: Around the World. The flavours covered a lot of geographical territory.
**Wednesday’s menu: Supper out at a Pho restaurant. A treat from my mother-in-law. Delicious and no dishes!
**Thursday’s menu: Ham and cheese melts for the kids. Dinner out at Uptown 21 for the parents (birthday treat).
**Friday’s menu: Pasta. Red sauce with hamburger (yes, hamburger: local and organic and bought for the guests, but instead we went out for pho, see Wednesday’s menu).
**Somewhat lacking: A side vegetable.
**Sad vegetarian observation: Hamburger tastes good.
This is my favourite turn of the year: when the days begin to become incrementally longer rather than shorter, and the light is on its way back.
For a brief moment, I loved our family’s attempt at a candlelit dinner on the eve of the winter solstice, several days ago. Light in darkness. Shadow all around. Soon after this photo was taken everything fell to pieces, of course, and I loved that quite a lot less; also it lasted much longer. But that seems the nature of the holidays: chance moments of calm, bits of brightness, shards of reflection.
Wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, and wherever you can find it, I wish you light, rest, and glimpses of peace during your holiday.
I spent an afternoon earlier this week attempting to sort through our six bins of Playmobil and reassemble castles and families and scenes. There’s a reason I titled this post “Mission Impossible.” I wasn’t doing it because I’m short of projects, of course; I was doing it because CJ was home sick and desperate for someone to play with. So we dragged out the Playmobil. All of it. If you’d been listening in, this is how our “playtime” would have sounded: “Stop sorting, Mommy! Make your guy talk to my guy!” And then I’d make my guy say, “Let’s find my missing candelabra base. We can go on a deep sea mission to the bottom of this bin and ….” Deep sigh from CJ.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not good with the playing.
My proudest accomplishment of the afternoon was the completion of one room in a princess castle. One room. It is now on a high shelf and everyone who looks at it has to sing “Aaaaaaaah” in an angelic tone while gazing appreciatively. Or maybe that’s just me. In any case, no one is allowed to touch it. Oh wait. Isn’t that the whole point? Of having TOYS? Maybe Albus was on to something when he came into the living-room later that evening and began vrooming the newly restored Playmobil car (with doctor and doctor’s teeny-tiny kit that includes a teeny-tiny flu shot needle) through my carefully sorted piles. Let’s just say the doctor might be in the wrong profession. She should have been a smash-em-up-derby racer with jet-pack engines and maybe a flame-thrower or two. Can you hear the heart-breaking sound of plastic items being explosively scattered across a wooden floor? I’m sure it was fun on the pure level of play, but I become momentarily deeply discouraged. My carefully sorted piles! Tossed asunder!
There’s a lesson in here somewhere, if I care to extract it. But is that the kind of day it is? A day for lessons? No, today, I’d rather skip the moral of the story, down my cup of coffee, gird my loins, and head out into the horror that is the streets of uptown: thick with people driving their cars around and around as they seek for a parking spot and grow increasingly grim and hopeless (and mentally act out the Playmobil doctor’s wreckless acts of destruction). Merry Christmas! I’m going to walk instead. But wow. I need some girding, some serious girding. I’m in the homestretch of preparations. I can do this! I can find and assemble every piece of this Playmobil holiday!
Wait, what were we talking about?