marvelous muffins

I have finally found a healthy muffin recipe that I like. I’ve tried a few I found online, and I’ve tried altering some of my existing recipes (adding flax, whole wheat flour, etc.), but I haven’t really liked any of them. Mostly I find them too dry.

Until today. There’s a recipe for Bran Flax Muffins on our package of ground flax seed, and I made the muffins this morning. Sure, you can tell they are healthy (i.e. you know you’re not eating cake), but they still taste good. They have no fat in them, and a cup of sugar for 15 muffins. That’s about a tablespoon of sugar per muffin. Not too bad.

Oh, and Elliot scarfed one of them down in about 10 seconds flat.

Here’s the recipe, in case anyone’s interested (and in case I can’t find it again):

1.5 cups white flour
3/4 cups ground flaxseed
3/4 cup oat bran (I used wheat bran)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 cups shredded carrots (two large carrots)
2 peeled and shredded apples
1/2 cup raisins (I substituted blueberries)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds, although next time I think I may just use walnuts)
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together flour, flax, bran, sugar, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon.

Stir in carrots, apples, nuts and raisins.

Combine milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. (This is where I added the blueberries.)

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

epilogue

So after my bad day yesterday, we had a terrible bedtime that ended up with me in tears, asking my mum (who was visiting) how to deal with the screaming boy who woke up the girl who subsequently started screaming as well.

When they were finally asleep I sank into a hot bath, only to hear “Mama” repeated over and over while I was in the bath. It was softly repeated, but needless to say it was impossible to relax in the tub. Sigh.

Tonight Greg was on deck. I suggested that he not say anything to Elliot about having to be quiet for Amy, since that just revs him up. Greg also did the songs outside of the bedroom. We also lunged Elliot before books (i.e. he ran wildly around the house for 15 minutes).

Amy went to sleep pretty easily. Elliot had his bath, etc. I was downstairs. Elliot came to say good night to me. And I’ll swear, less than five minutes later, Greg walked out of that bedroom. No screaming, no tears, no noise. It was a dream.

Greg’s putting him to bed every night from now on.

and here’s part two

We arrived home after our aborted beach outing right before Elliot’s nap time. This is a bit risky, but usually we can make it through without too many tears. Not so today.

He was great for his diaper change, but when I said it was time to read books, the trouble started. He didn’t want to stop playing with his cars. I’m not sure what order it all happened in, and I don’t really want to rehash it all anyway, but there was screaming, crying, spitting, throwing, kicking, stomping and hitting (my glasses were thrown from my face with the force of the hit).

My struggle is keeping to my guns. Well, not so much keeping to my guns, but how to proceed once I’ve decided on the consequence. After he’d screamed and spat multiple times, I decided there would be no books. Just songs. I don’t feel I can skip the songs because he needs some sort of calming period before bed. I gave him plenty of warnings about no books, mostly because I think he’s still young, and I don’t want to be too rough on him. Plus he was so exhausted. But with the exhaustion, I wonder how much of this is actually sinking in, so I wonder if it’s worth it to stay the course. It would have been an easier process if I’d relented and allowed books once he’d finally calmed down. But I don’t want him to think that his behaviour is acceptable.

My other struggle is to contain my own anger, or at least react appropriately so he can learn how to do the same. After he hit me, I was MAD. And when he threw a car, I just got madder. I think I probably yelled. I know I grabbed him not-so-gently and sat him down.

I wanted to just put him in his crib until he calmed down, but when I did that, he started trying to frantically climb out. So I was worried about him hurting himself.

Then when my anger subsided I just wanted to hold him until he calmed down, but he was still too frustrated and he just kicked.

I don’t know what finally calmed him down. I did end up putting him in his crib again, and he must have just exhausted himself, because he didn’t try to climb out. He just looked at me forlornly. After a few minutes I asked if he wanted to sing some songs with me, and he said yes.

So in the end we had a good cuddle, a few songs, I told him I loved him and we parted ways at peace, him happily lying in his crib. Which is the end result I wanted, I just would like to find a less stressful way of getting to that result. Coming home earlier would have been smarter, but lots of times it works out fine, so it’s unpredictable.

Perhaps more play time before going to bed would be good, regardless of what time it is. Because this whole process took over half and hour anyway — I may as well have let him play for 15 minutes and then start the naptime routine. He’d end up being in bed about the same time. I will try that next time.

bad day: part one

So it’s a lot of work getting out of the house with two kids. It’s even more work when you’re going to the beach. There’s the sun screen, the hats, the beach blanket, the beach toys…just generally more stuff. Then there’s the shade issue when you have an under six-month-old who can’t where sunscreen. But Elliot loves the beach, so to the beach we went.

We decided on Esquimalt Lagoon, mostly because I’ve never been there. We got out of the house by 9:30, amazingly, and Amy fell asleep in the carseat on the way there (after screaming bloody murder while I got ready). That was fine, though, as I was hoping she’d just stay asleep in the seat while Elliot played.

We get there, get all the crap beach stuff out of the car, get everything set up, and Amy wakes up crying. And it’s WINDY. Annoyingly windy. Elliot doesn’t want to wear his hat. Amy’s screaming. Life’s great.

Jen arrives with her two charges, and Carys has fallen asleep on the way. I need to feed Amy, so I offer to sit in Jen’s car, feed Amy, and let Carys sleep a bit longer.

I feed Amy, and the boys play while Jen looks on. Things are looking up. Amy seems happier. I get out of the car, go back to the beach, put Amy into her carseat so she can get some shade, and she starts crying again. I am assuming she’s tired, but in hindsight I actually think it was the wind.

Elliot takes his hat off. I tell him he has to put it on, or we are going to go. That will surely work, as Elliot LOVES the beach. “Go home, Mum.” Oh dear. Did I mention how much work it was to get there? “No wear hat, go home.” Okay, so maybe we’ll try the food tactic. It works for all of three minutes. Amy continues to cry.

I look at Jen. She looks at me. Should we go? We make the decision to go back to her place. Complicating the decision is a third friend is supposed to join us…how do we let her know? Neither of us has a phone. Thankfully she showed up before we left, so that solved that issue.

We pack all the stuff back into the car, and I use the term “pack” lightly here. Everything’s covered in sand after our 20 minute stay at the beach.

Both kids are back in the car. Both are not crying. Things are again looking up.

We headed back to Jen’s and had quite a nice visit and play there. Part two of the bad day didn’t start until we got home. Part two will be posted later, after I’ve had a drink. It’s not too early for alcohol, is it?

a trip down memory lane

I’m going through Elliot’s old clothes so I can pass them on to a couple of friends, and it’s an interesting process. I can’t say it’s difficult, but I can’t say it’s easy, either. On the one hand, I’m liking the memories that some of the clothing evokes, on the other hand, I’m not liking trying to decide what to keep (or, more accurately, trying to decide what NOT to keep).

There’s the outfit he and Amy both wore home from the hospital:

There’s the first shirt I got for him, before he was born, complete with tiny foxes:

The Sprout shirt from Gran:

The puppy outfit from England, from Auntie Jan:

The first sun hat I got for him (despite how un-masculine it looks):

The shirt and shorts outfit from Gran, fresh from Hawaii:

The fox gear from his beloved daycare provider:

And the fleece coat specially made by Gramma:

And that’s just the first year!

I will keep some stuff, tucked away in a box that I may never look in again. I like the feeling of knowing that I’ve kept some things from his early years. They may not have much meaning to many people, including even Elliot, but they are chock-full of wonderful memories for me.

there seems to be a problem here…

When Greg and I got married I did a bunch of name changing with various organizations, but I never got around to notifying Telus. I kind of forgot about it, but now that so many people have call display, I keep getting reminded that my display name is wrong.

So I’m finally doing something. But I can’t get through to Telus. Yesterday I called their customer service line, and it wouldn’t ring. I finally got a call through, went through a few steps with their automated service, only to be told (by an automated attendant) they are having technical difficulties, and I should call back later.

I just called again, almost 24 hours later, and I got through right away, went through the same few steps, got to the point where I requested a name change, got some hold music, then a dial tone.

Frustrating, and a waste of my time. And unfortunately a name change is not something I can do online. I already tried that.

how many times can i use the word amazing in one post?

I’ve seen a handful of excellent live performances over the past few years — plays, concerts, musicals — and after each one I remember thinking that I didn’t really want to talk about the performance, because it would ruin the moment.

Yesterday was no exception. Greg and I went to the matinĂ©e performance of Cirque du Soleil – Saltimbanco. It was, in a word, amazing. It was by far the best live performance I’ve ever seen.

This was our first time seeing a Cirque production, and my only exposure to it previously was a very brief look during an episode of CSI (my, I lead a sheltered life). So I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than some people doing some neat stuff on trapeze.

It was so much more. I had assumed there’d be music as part of the show, but I didn’t think it would be live, and I didn’t think it would be so damn good. Both the band and the singers were amazing. My favourite act was two women on trapeze, and the music that went along with them almost brought me to tears.

Then there was the variety. I thought it was just trapeze artists. But there was dancing, juggling, a guy riding a bike in as many positions as you can think of, a mime…and some pretty amazing trapeze moves.

I’m a really symmetry person, and that was one of the things I loved about the acrobatic and trapeze acts. And I think the symmetry stood out even more because of the performers’ costumes. They were perfect — just the right amount of colour, but they didn’t take away from the movements.

Anyway…I’m gushing. It was amazing. Breathtaking. And one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received. Thank you, Mr. Fox.