The Perils of Scrimping on Butter

One night last week we were stumped on what to give Gwen & Nicky for dinner. On Thursday Sym is at her dad’s and Taylor and I eat later in the evening, so it’s just the two little kids to cook for. We decided on a lazy classic: breakfast for dinner. Just some fried eggs & toast. Easy-peasy.

We’d run out of butter to fry the eggs so after he got home from work Taylor popped back out to the store to pick some up. The grocery store by our house is way too busy at that time of day so I directed him to the drugstore instead. They only had the cheapest cheap no name butter, but butter is butter right? APPARENTLY NOT. Like I’m not some fancy label buying butter connoisseur; I buy store-brand butter for the most part, so I figured this would be fine. And when the house filled up with smoke and the egg whites were overdone while the yolks were barely warm I assumed it was just Taylor messing up somehow (SORRY TAYLOR).

Then on Sunday I wanted pancakes for brunch. We only recently stopped using pancake mix and making them from scratch (we use this recipe, which is pretty much perfect IF you half the amount of salt), but they’ve turned out great each time we’ve made them. So imagine my surprise and consternation when the house filled with smoke AGAIN and the first two pancakes were still raw on the inside when they were BURNT on the outside.

It was at this point when we realized the problem: THE BUTTER. That cheap-ass bargain basement butter with its ludicrously low smoke point was ruining the pancakes like it has almost ruined the eggs! We quickly wiped out the cast irons and tried using vegetable oil instead, which worked a little better (no smoke at least) but it did not impart a nice flavour to the pancakes, and we were still having trouble cooking them through: they were still turning out raw on the inside even when the outside was seriously overcooked. We tried reducing the temperature and flipping them a few more times, but then Taylor had a revelation: there was butter in the batter! Three whole tablespoons of melted trash butter, rendering our pancake batter uncookable and inedible.

In the end we had no choice but to send both the pancakes and the remaining butter to the food waste bin, while we went out for brunch instead (which was a whole other comedy of errors), but in the end we learned a valuable lesson: Don’t. Scrimp. On the butter!

In other news, Taylor and I have found a solution to Gwen’s kindergarten drop-off/pick-up problem. Turns out getting Gwen to and from school with both Nicky & the daycare kids was actually not… physically possible for me to do. So now Taylor drops Gwen off in the morning and I pick her up in the afternoon. I’d hoped to avoid this because I feel like going in to work so late won’t be good for Taylor’s job, but at the end of the day I just cannot do both drop off and pick up. It would be different if we’d gotten a space at the school LITERALLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR APARTMENT, but we didn’t (something I will be forever bitter about) so we’re doing it this way instead.

summer’s end

I really need to deadhead these hydrangeas, last year my neighbor took pity on my pregnant self and did it for me but this year I have no excuses.

I know the last day of summer isn’t TECHNICALLY until a little later this week but my gosh, summer just ended HARD this weekend. It’s so cold in the mornings, and at night! I sent Gwen off to school wearing a new-to-her winter coat and I’m REALLY regretting not putting the duvet on the bed last night. My light little summer bedspread just isn’t going to cut it anymore, already. Last week I was perusing the Old Farmer’s Almanac website to try predicting whether I should get Nicky a puffer winter suit and it said this winter will be slightly warmer than normal but after the past couple of days I don’t know if I buy that!

Helping the fall feeling along is the fact that Gwen, Nicky and myself all got colds this weekend. Gwen is the least affected with just a stuffy nose, but Nicky and I feel like crap. On Sunday we took a family trip to Ikea* and fully half the stuff we bought (cheap fleece throw blankets, emergency rain ponchos) were just to help us make the trek back after it started raining. Gwen wasn’t wearing the right shoes for walking in the rain so we crammed her into the stroller and I had Nicky in the Ergo and let me tell you, both of sick and almost fever-y, sneezing & sniffling the whole way home was… not ideal. Once we got back to the house I took up residence on the couch with a mug of cinnamon tea spiked with honey whiskey and stayed there until bed time.

*I wanted to get a few of these little greenhouses to put in my window so I can grow herbs inside this winter but they had sold out! The other, cheaper greenhouse was in stock but it is THREE CENTIMETERS too deep to fit on my windowsill, so frustrating! They are in stock at the other Ikea so maybe I can pick them up there soon.

september days

It’s been chaotic & busy around here lately. Gwen has started kindergarten, I have two new kids starting daycare and I’m still trying to figure out a new schedule for meals, naps, and now drop-offs and pick-ups that works for everyone. This has felt like the longest week of my life, no joke.

I had wanted Gwen to go to the little school across the street, the one that Sym went to, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get a space there so we’re at the main school. It’s only five blocks down the hill, but when you have an 11-month old in an Ergo and two toddlers in a double stroller five blocks might as well be five miles. Combine that with her classroom being up three flights of stairs and… Let’s just say it has been a struggle.

I’m also in a real conundrum with Nicky as the drop off & pick up times line up just perfectly with his regular nap times. Because it takes so long to go to & from the school I have to put him down for his morning nap really late and his afternoon nap really early, and those of you with babies will know that doesn’t really work! He’s too little to drop his morning nap entirely but the past couple days I’ve woken him up after about a half hour of sleep and it seems like it’s going to work. I feel really guilty about it but the alternative- letting him sleep for longer in the morning but then he has such a short afternoon nap or skips it altogether and meltsdown before dinner- is much, much worse.

Right now it’s a very challenging situation for us and I have a lot of unpleasant feelings about a few aspects of it, but I’m hopeful I can get a good routine going soon. Just don’t make me think about what it’ll be like once it starts raining.

sun & moon


Being lazy and also very, very forgetful, I totally blanked on the eclipse until about 9:45 this morning, when I glanced outside and was like “… wtf is happening out there?” Gwen was playing int he yard so I went out to make sure she didn’t look at the sun, and we ended up getting to see the eclipse through one neighbour’s pinhole viewer and another’s actual eclipse glasses! It was pretty cool, I’m not sure that Gwen appreciated it and Nicky slept through the whole thing, but I liked it.


Gwen demonstrating proper eclipse viewing if you don’t have glasses.


Sorry to my camera for taking this picture lol.


I think this was my favourite thing, the partially eclipsed sun visible in the shadows of the leaves.

plus & minus

The past week has been really hectic and difficult, with some really high highs and some low lows.

It started last Tuesday when my full time childcare client gave notice that they were leaving, which is something that always sends me into a panic because I typically only have about a month to find someone new. After a lot of meetings I ended up booking a new full time family AND a part time client as well, which is a huge relief.

I was accepted into a local art market to sell my tiaras, and was offered a table at this past weekend’s show. I was very excited and realistically optimistic about it but unfortunately it ended up being a bust for me and I only made one sale, which was discouraging. I know that these types of event can be very hit and miss, and a lot of the other people around had a similarly disappointing day so it wasn’t just me, but working so hard to get ready for the event to have it be a flop… I mean there are better ways I could have spent seven weekend hours, you know?

While all this was going on we attended a wedding, which was super fun, but I also spent time at not one but TWO hospital emergency rooms. Last Friday from the early afternoon until very late at night at one hospital with my sister, and then again today at a different hospital with Gwen, who had been pushed off the back of the couch, hit her head on the floor and split her scalp open. Thankfully she was just able to have it glued shut, rather than get stitches, but like… can I get a break? I’m hoping that the rest of this week will be uneventful.

Aside- while dealing with everything in my life I was mostly offline & unaware of the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. I hope this goes without saying but for the record I absolutely abhor and condemn this racist, white supremacist terrorist attack and all the literal pieces of Nazi trash who participated in it. There is no place in my life for anyone who feels otherwise so if that’s you, kindly log off from my blog and re-examine your values.

Gwen & Ballet

On Monday Gwen had her last ballet class. It was a twice-weekly class at the community centre with 3-6 other little kids and oh my god did she love it. It was so adorable too, all these tiny kids concentrating and trying so hard to get the positions and movements right. I don’t think Gwen is ready for “real” ballet class at the dance school yet, but I’ve already picked out another community centre class for her to start in September.

Life Lately


Nicky can stand!

I made some quartz crystal tiaras for my friend to sell at a music festival next month, and this week I’ve been working out how to package them. I settled on dyeing some muslin bags black and putting together some labels for them. I’m going to print the labels onto iron-on fabric and iron them onto the bags, which I think will work well. I’m like 90% sure I’m going to keep making these to sell in my shop soon, I just need to figure out the best way to ship them; they need to be protected but the way I was doing it before was really complicated and it actually took longer to pack them up than it did to make them!

night & day

At the beginning of July, there was a huge change here at our house, and the difference has been like night and day… because it literally is! After fourteen years Taylor is no longer working nights. This was a change I pushed for, by which I mean I sent him a series of texts with all the awful health problems you incur from working night shifts. He put in a request to switch to days, and we were expecting it to take some time to get approved (we figured they’d need to find a new night person to replace him) but to our surprise the change was effective the very next week. He’s been on days for two weeks now and it’s been really great.

Now instead of being home alone with the kids in the mornings, he’s here so one of us can get up with the kids while the other sleeps in- or even goes for a run! That’s right, I FINALLY got some use out of all the new workout clothes & shoes I bought at the beginning of the year. We’ve been taking turns so I can go running Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and he goes Tuesday and Thursday. It’s also nice that one of us can take the dogs out while the other stays at home with the kids because me trying to get Gwen and Nicky dressed and fed and out to walk the dogs before I start work at 8am was NOT easy!

He’s working 8-4ish, so he usually gets home a little earlier than I would wake him up in the evenings, which means he has more time to spend with the kids then as well, or help with dinner. He no longer has to go to bed early Sunday afternoons before his Monday shift and can spend the whole weekend with us. And of course the best part is that instead of him leaving at 11pm to go to the office all night, he gets to sleep in the bed with me at night (which means he also gets more sleep). We’ve never slept in the bed at night together for more than two weeks in a row for the entire 10 1/2 years we’ve been together, so it’s pretty amazing.

Of course, such a big change coming so suddenly has not been without its upheavals as we get used to our new family schedule. Now instead of Taylor being home during the day to look after the daycare kids in a pinch when we have doctor’s appointments, dance classes, or speech therapy, I have to figure out how to do it by myself. Gwen has ballet class two afternoons a week, a class I chose specifically because it was during naptime so Taylor could easily supervise the sleeping children while I took Gwen alone. Now I have to take her, and Nicky, and the daycare kids with me. It’s not far, about a 15-20 minute walk, but when I have three or four kids under five with me instead of just one… it takes a bit of doing.

However, none of that matters if it means I get to spend time with my husband during NORMAL hours, and for years longer than I would have been able to if he kept working nights. Working nights for so long can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses, early onset dementia and certain cancers, so as I like to remind Taylor, by pushing for this change, I saved his life!

June

Hey my blog, long time no post.

I haven’t had much interest in blogging this month; I’ve had ideas for posts, but between life and parenting and work there just hasn’t been any time for it. Work has been especially difficult- for the last year one or the other of the kids I look after has always been part-time, but this month they’ve both been full-time and it’s been exhausting. One of the kids is leaving for a group daycare in July and I have a new one starting who will be part-time, thank goodness! I was thinking yesterday how it didn’t seem this hard when I had more kids in care, but of course that was all pre-2012, when I only had one kid of my own who was in school all day. Having two little kids of my own + two daycare kids is a LOT more work, somehow, than four daycare kids. Anyway. I’m taking next week off work and I’m going to just hang out and relax for nine days. I hope. I hope!

mercurial

The weather here has been so mercurial lately, it’s hard to plan our weekends because one day is all warm blue skies and the next is pouring rain. After all the weeks (and weekends) of packing, cleaning, moving, and unpacking Taylor and I really wanted to do something that would be fun for Gwen, especially since we basically had to skip Easter. On Saturday we wanted to take her to her favourite playground but as luck would have it, it started raining as soon as we let the house. Instead we went for a soggy walk and ran some errands, then treated her to a ridiculous pink & purple sparkly princess bathing suit from the Disney Store. She’s been wearing it non-stop since we brought it home so I guess it was a good value (plus it was on sale). The 5/6 fits her now so I think we’re going to have to get a 7/8 to last her through until the end of the summer, which is RIDICULOUS because she’s only 4 1/2! Sunday the weather actually was nice, so we took the little kids to the playground(s) at Second Beach. I also meant to do an Easter Egg hunt for Gwen with a bag of Shopkins eggs I got on Friday for $2 but like an idiot I forgot, so I guess we will postpone Easter yet another week. Thank goodness she has no concept of when holidays actually are yet!