These Guys

I know that I wrote about this many years ago, but nine years in blog years equals about a lifetime. People come and go and those reading today probably weren’t reading nine years ago, unless you are one of my kids’ grandparents who have been reading since the beginning. You guys know this already, but it’s time to get my friends up to speed.

I was a smart kid. I’m not bragging, I’m just stating facts. I learned to read when I was three (My parents tell me that I would read the newspaper to friends who were over), I skipped third grade and in order to do so I learned how to write cursive and do my multiplication tables that summer before I started fourth grade. After skipping third grade I was still in the “Enriched” program in my school. I was pulled out of class with a few others to do math problems and word problems and other fun (Nerdy) stuff.

When I got to high school, I remained on the honour roll. I took enhanced French, which means that I took grade eight and nine French in one year. I got straight A’s because I was wired to do so, but also because I took the time to do the work required. I peer tutored people in grade twelve Algebra (Nerd alert!), because it made sense to me and I wanted it to make sense to them. I graduated with honours, won bursaries, and went on to become a Chartered Accountant (CPA).

All of the above to say that I think that education is a good thing, and I want my kids to do well. I don’t expect them to walk the yellow brick road that I did, because we’re all created differently. I do want them to work hard, and to be good community members in their classrooms. I don’t expect them to skip grades (Which is very rare these days), and I don’t expect them to go above an beyond “meeting.”

(Our elementary school veered away from a grade system, so “Meeting” means that they are meeting all of their grade requirements. “Exceeding” means that they are above and beyond their grade requirements.)

Nathan called me on Friday morning from the school with an upset stomach. As he was collecting his things, his teacher showed me a Social Studies test that he rocked, and then went on to say how much she appreciated him in the class. He’s smart, but not too keen about it. He’s social, and takes care of the kids in his care when he’s in a leadership role. She handed me his report card and he’s meeting in every area and exceeding in French and Math. That aside, the comments blew me away. I think he’s a great kid, but so does his school community.

After school, Emily had her school report card and she was EXCEEDING in every area but two, where she was “Meeting.” There was also an entire page of comments under each section that stated how hard she was working, how helpful she was, and how she was a delight to have in her class.

While the grades (Or assessments) make my nerd heart smile, the fact that they are an active part of their school community makes me smile even wider. They are serving others and loving others and flourishing in their school environment. This is awesome.

Spinach Artichokes Bites

You all know that I’m a food blogger over at General Mills Canada’s site lifemadedelicious.ca, and it’s time for my monthly test of one of their recipes so that I can share it with you guys. They gave me a coupon for Pillsbury crescent rolls, and my challenge was to make one of their appetizers. Appetizers are my favorite, and I had a hard time choosing which recipe to try. I’ll probably make a few of them over the holidays, but I started with Spinach, Artichokes, and Feta Bites. My hot spinach dip recipe is one that I make often, and I loved the idea of a finger food option instead of a dip.

Without further ado, here’s the Spinach, Artichokes, and Feta Bites recipe.

Ingredients:

1 box (10 oz) Green Giant™ frozen creamed spinach

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated seamless dough sheet.

1 jar (6 oz) Progresso™ marinated artichokes, drained, chopped and patted dry

2 tablespoons drained chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Make spinach as directed on box.

2. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough on work surface. Press into 12×8-inch rectangle. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough into 1 large rectangle. Press into 12×8-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations and seams to seal. Using pizza cutter, cut dough into 6 rows by 4 rows, to make 24 squares of dough. PillsburyDough

3. Gently press squares into mini muffin cups and three-fourths of the way up sides.

PillsburyCups

4. Add 3/4 teaspoon artichokes, 1 heaping teaspoon spinach, a couple of pieces of tomato and a sprinkle of feta cheese to each cup.

5. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until dough is deep golden brown. Let stand 1 minute in muffin cups. Remove from muffin cups with fork. Serve warm. These were SO GOOD. SO good. I’ll definitely be making them again, and I think you should make them too.

(Neither of the grocery stores in my wee town carried the frozen creamed spinach, so I just made my own. It’s super easy if you can’t find the frozen option either.)

Ingredients:

I package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained in a colander
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, minced4 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces bar cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add butter, onion, and garlic. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cream cheese and milk. Cook, stirring, until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in spinach. Simmer over medium heat until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Happy appetizer season, friends!

Movies by candlelight

Well, hello.

If we’re friends on Twitter or Facebook, then you know why I’ve been so silent over here. We had that 24-hour power outage, followed by a scheduled power outage on Friday to fix a broken power line. Just when I thought I was catching up, the hours I planned to sit at my computer and work were taken away from me. I adapted, as I do, and spent the weekend balancing family and church and PAC commitments and felt like I was catching up again by Sunday night. Thanks be.

On Monday night I cooked dinner, placed it on the table, and the power shut off. Again. We ate dinner by candlelight and when I called the BC Hydro line, it said that power would be restored by 8:30. The kids watched Pitch Perfect yet again and I started listening to the Serial Podcast. (Have you listened to it? I cannot WAIT for tomorrow’s episode.) The power wasn’t on by 8:30 and when I called again, I got to speak to a human being. He told me that they still did not know the reason for the outage and that it probably wouldn’t be back until the next day.

We all slept horribly, as one does when the power is out in sub-zero temperatures, and woke up to no power yet again. No power also means no coffee and that’s just the icing on the I Hate Power Outages cake. We got home after work/school yesterday and the power had returned. Yay! The Internet was broken and a call to our service provider told us that it would be restored by midnight. MIDNIGHT. We made and ate dinner and as we were cleaning up — SURPRISE! — the power went out again. We called the BC Hydro line again and were told it might be back by 9:00 p.m.

I exhaled, didn’t say any bad words, and told the kids that we were going to DQ for Blizzards. Because ice cream. And electricity.

The power did return shortly after 9:00 and I know that it really is a first world problem, but when the bulk of your work is dependant on an Internet connection, being without power for four out of seven days is beyond inconvenient. Missing work deadlines aside, my kids are scared every time the lights go out, I’m unsettled and don’t sleep, and our days are thrown upside down and sideways.

The power is still on (Yay!), but now that I typed that, it will probably go off again. Because why wouldn’t it?

 

 

Sugar cookies!

In years past, I would start my Christmas baking in November and start December with a freezer full of goodies. Life seems to get busier as my kids get older and my Christmas baking tends to happen sometime in December, usually before Christmas day. In my monthly box of fun from Life Made Delicious, there was a coupon for me to pick up some Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and I made some time this past weekend to bake them. (The also included new cookie cutters. Yay!)

One of our Christmas Eve traditions (In addition to Christmas Eve service and the kids opening one present (Jammies!)) is to sit around the table and decorate sugar cookies. My kids love to decorate cookies, so I baked the cookies and set them up with icing and sprinkles while Home Alone played in the background.

Cookies!

While I do love my own brown sugar cookie recipe, these Pillsbury ones were a hit. Super easy and quick, and such a treat to decorate a month before our usual decorating party.

Have you tried their sugar cookies? They’re an easy solution for any cookie exchange you need to be a part of.

Candles

On Tuesday night, the kids and I were making a Christmas playlist before their bedtime when the lights flickered. They flickered again, and then the power went out. The power was out the night we had our house fire, so it always makes me nervous, but time really does heal all wounds and I wasn’t as paralyzed as I used to be when the house went dark. We lit candles (I hate candles ever since the fire), and we used flashlights, and we loaded up our wood stove. The kids weren’t quite ready for bed as it was so dark and so quiet, so we sat around and told jokes and stories for awhile.

I called the power company line to see when power would be restored. The estimated time was midnight, and it returned at 2 a.m. We shut off the few lights we missed, and then laid in bed for the next two hours while the power turned off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and then waved the white flag.

We woke up to almost 3 feet (!) of snow, and no power. I called the power company again and the estimated time of restored power was 8 a.m. The boys walked down to the road to catch the bus and ten minutes after they were to be picked up, they walked back into the house. I called the school and was told that schools were open, but the busses weren’t running. (My boys take the bus because they like more time with their friends. I drive Emily because girl loves her sleep.)

Snowmaggedon

I drove all three kids to school and checked a local news site regularly. The estimated time of power restoration was changed from 8 a.m. to noon. Then it was changed to 4 p.m. While waiting for Nathan’s basketball practice to be done I checked the site and it said that we wouldn’t have power until at least 9 p.m.

I made the executive decision to not only eat out for dinner, but to go to the second-run theatre and watch Guardians of the Galaxy. (SO AWESOME. I had planned to buy it sight unseen, and I can’t wait to own it and catch the jokes I missed the first time.)

We arrived home to restored power and I had planned to spend tomorrow catching up on freelance work, but there is now a scheduled power outage tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. This would be manageable on a normal Friday if my kids were in school, as I could find an alternate location. As it is, they don’t have school tomorrow as it’s a Pro-D day for the teachers. So, I’ll take them with me to run errands in buildings that have electricity and heat and (hopefully) have power and Internet on Saturday so I can get work done.

First world problems, I know, but I’m so (SO) tired of feeling even more behind every time I think I’m going to catch up. I’m excited for all of the snow up at the ski hill, but I’d be more than happy if none of it fell down here below.

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