Candy party

9 years ago, the other four Mom’s and I, hold up these little bundles of joy! A little baby girl, so sweet, so cute, so adorable…

Fast forward to yesterday. In retrospect, I’m not sure what the best age is, to allow 5 girls to over run your house for that many hours. From what I have been reading, age 9, even 8, is the official start for being a tween. From what I could tell last night, some are further along that path than others, with my daughter seemingly a front-runner.

My daughter had an orthodontic appliance removed from the inside of her mouth this week and to celebrate she asked for a candy party sleepover. She has had very few parties at all and even fewer sleepovers. So my motto is, “go big or go home.” And boy did we.

The orthodontist heard about the plan and created not so little goodie bags, with light up toothbrushes for each girl. (She thought this was a great idea – a candy party!) We bought several bundles of candy and each girl brought a fair amount of loot. A couple of the Mothers thought I had lost my mind at drop off, last night.

My daughter organized the agenda, with the pomp and circumstance that they still enjoy at this age. 4pm arrivals, hot tub, speech. 5pm or 6pm dinner, (she wouldn’t commit and didn’t seem to understand that the hot dogs still needed to be cooked). 7pm first movie and 9pm second movie.

Her first lesson in planning a social event came to light when only one person arrived on time. The last one arrived at 5pm. So that made dinner closer to 6pm, but still on track. Because they had got so warm in the hot tub, they were able to eat outside and then they ran and played until 7pm. (I wishfully hoped that all the energy was being spent, but that was a pipe dream I have continually held on to since my children were toddlers). We are enjoying a lovely slow saunter into cooler weather. The only thing that really keeps the days getting cooler is the sun tilting away from us.

The evening was really fine and relatively quiet. (I even had a little snooze waiting for them to be ready for bed). But there was a lot of candy being eaten in the TV room, and the giggling and screeching and jumping and thumping was building up.

The sleeping arrangement was the problem. One kid was on a top bunk. In hindsight, I might have just spread everything out on the floor in the living room and not worried a bit. But as they were getting ready for bed there were antics going on around the bunk bed that was reminiscent of monkey behaviour. I think, I heard a reference to “watch me”, as a stunt was launched off the bunk bed.

About 10:45pm, there was an initial setting of rules and lights out. But the toothbrushes from the orthodontist had these lights on them. Then my daughter couldn’t find hers and wanted her flashlight instead. And there were tears about that, and a new rule about no lights of any kind was set, 11pm now.

At 11:30pm I went down the hall and told them, again, they could talk all they wanted, but they should not be jumping around, which I could clearly still hear. I told them in no uncertain terms that if I came back down the hall again I would split them up into separate rooms which would pretty much ruin the whole idea of a slumber party. I could hear grumbling as I left. I had the posture, voice and presence of my Dad, (this schtick is burned into my memory from seeing it so often), I almost laughed out loud.

Towards Midnight it was slowly tapering down. Every few minutes, less noise and less moving around in there. When I shut out my light, they were on their own. I can sleep like a rock. And if I can’t there are ear plugs and noise cancelling head phones, that I know how to use.

I asked to be left alone until 8am. 7:43am I looked at the clock as I heard tip toes and whispering. Breakfast is evidently going to be a short-order-cook kind of affair, not the everyone-eat-what-I-picked, that my daughter had envisioned. And, they are already into the candy again, some more than others.

Every surface in the house feels sticky, both to touch and underfoot. There is a sweet, combined with a slightly sour smell in the 2 rooms that all 5 of them have taken over. I already topped up the tub last night and put in a special treatment that makes the water crystal clear again. Sometime this afternoon, I am going out there to enjoy the warm, clean water and muster up the energy to clean up the rest of my house. I should have scheduled the cleaners for tomorrow.

Friday night in the ‘burbs

We participated in 2 of the hottest social activities on offer in the Peninsula Friday night. Of course, that is tongue-in-cheek, but for my daughter especially, there were no other places she would rather have been. I remember what it felt like to have so much fun packed into a few hours that you could hardly stand it. The novelty of it, breaking with routine, having fun with your friends, running a bit on the wild side.

First up was the annual “Welcome back BBQ” at our kids school. For the students, this is like a penny carnival, mini midway and sugar eating feast rolled into one. For the PAC, it is one of the first big fundraising initiatives. For the parents, it is fun to watch the kids start out excited, planning their fun strategy, then end up completely wound up on sugar.

My husband volunteers to BBQ, and we were really fortunate to have hot and sunny weather. To contrast what September can be like, Sunday morning we woke up to the power being out from the wind and rain overnight.

The “jars” however are the most anticipated part for the kids. We created 5 of our own for the donation. Then for $2 each our kids bought 4 in total. My daughter was super disappointed when she got one of the jars we donated full of action figures. But my son found one of his friends that gladly traded a mixed jar of odds and sods.

Then at 6pm, we had to round-up the troops and head over to the belt ceremony. I finally found my son, just about to have his face plastered with a pie! That would have been interesting to try to clean up with napkins from the car.

Our children are learning a unique blend of mixed martial arts offered by Tong Moo Do. http://www.tongmoodo.com/ It has been a real pleasure to watch them advance through the ranks. There are a series of belt colors, starting with white. Testing is done frequently and the members perform their routine as a group in front of family and friends. Our daughter was advancing to a blue belt. This is the big time, as she will now be sparring and grappling. But for us, we have both kids in the same class, so for at least the next 6 months we are only going to the studio 2x per week instead of 4.

There is a new TV show on NBC called “Up All Night”. http://www.nbc.com/up-all-night/  The new parents are fairly young, hip professional types and are having a tough time adjusting to family life and all the constraints and changes that go with. I think it is safe to say that we have fully adjusted to life with kids. Which is probably why we find the TV show pretty funny. We are the older and wiser parents cringing at the situations these new parents are finding themselves in.

So this Friday night of fun is not young, hip or cool but for me it was the good stuff. These are the times when we look at each other and our children and really enjoy the whole experience of being a family.

Cabin Life – Campfires day 6

There is something elemental about pondering life around a campfire. As an adult, I like to watch the flames and think profound thoughts. Sometimes, late at night really good ideas are hatched. Depending on your state of mind when you agreed to getting up at 6am the next morning for some big adventure, may affect how fondly it all is remembered. (This has not happened to me personally in quite some time).

Back in the early days of cabin life, the fires went all night and the parties were epic. There was midnight chicken wing feasts, (how cooked were they?) it was a wonder more of us did not get seriously ill. There was after dark hide and seek on the golf course. (One body part had to be less than an arm’s length from the course edge). If you were hiding a really long time, wander back to the fire, you probably had won. Sometimes new people around the fire dropped in, but everyone assumed the new faces were a friend of someone else and wondered why had they not been introduced?

We are all older and wiser now and cabin life has shifted to focus on the next generation. My children and all my parents grandchildren. We are taking some of those fun times and changing them up a bit, (sometimes not, they have to learn the same way we did). These personalities on the rise have their own say on things as well. We are being highly entertained by camp songs that are being woven into our family tapestry.

It is new and fun and makes me glad to spend time with the young upstarts. If hanging out with children keeps a person young, then I’m going to look fabulously youthful when I head back to work.

Pulled pork

My dear friend from Connecticut helped me make this for the first time at Grant’s 40th birthday party. Unfortunately for me, Grant would not get out-of-town in the days running up to his surprise party. So it was the first time that the food at a party had travelled further than the guests! We prepared the brine at my boss’s house in Crescent Beach = day 1. Then we applied the rub and cooked in a neighbours oven = day 2. Finally on day 3, back down to the beach and over to the party!

Pulled Pork this will easily serve a party of 20 people alongside many other dishes.

Brine:

  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 12 ounces pickling salt
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6 to 8 pound Boston butt

Rub:

  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t coriander
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T onion powder
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T ground black pepper
  • 3 T brown sugar

Combine molasses, salt and water in a large stainless steel bowl. Add pork making sure it is completely covered. Cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight, about 12 hours.

Mix rub ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.

Remove pork from brine and pat dry. Pat the rub into the meat covering completely.

In a 210 degree F oven, cook the pork for 10 to 12 hours. Begin checking at 10 hours. With a fork the meat should fall apart. Once done, remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Pull meat with 2 forks and serve as a sandwich with coleslaw.