Kitchen Stuff and Memory Recall

Our boxes and boxes of stuff arrived this past week! Hurray! It is a bittersweet feeling, having all of our personal belongings finally all under one roof….All under one roof…packed up in hundreds of boxes labeled office, toys, clothes and kitchen, waiting for us to go through them. We did a good job with the labeling and packing but no matter how meticulous we were, it is still an overwhelming job at this end. Poor Mr P just wants us to build his bed, the loft bed that doubles as his secret pirate boat hideaway – its hard to explain to this excited 6 year old that this bed will take a solid weekend to rebuild from flat pack.

I’ve been unpacking mostly kitchen boxes and clothes items. The clothes items take the longest to get through because they need to be washed. Even a box of clothes that seems as pristine as it was when the clean clothes were put in, need to be washed or hung on the line to air out at the very least. I’m enjoying having a wardrobe that has now expanded beyond just a handful of outfits. The kids have been snuggling their teddies and dollies, claiming new favorites from amongst the pack of toys – it’s like a second Christmas!

Unpacking the kitchen has been fun, I’ve been baking just because I now have all the tools and I can, making home made pizzas and recalling memories conjured up from glassware items and coffee mugs.

Cups from places I've been, cups that tell a story

I pulled  the Cafe du Monde mug from New Orleans out of the box and smiled fondly, recalling the wonderful people I met and the instant connections, the amazing learning experience and our evening on a second floor balcony right on Bourbon Street throwing beads at men walking by and shouting to them “Show us your moneymaker!” All mothers with young kids, it was definitely  a night to remember.



Can a Mom Have it All Working Night Shift?

Working nights is no joke. It is a double-edged sword in that you can enjoy your children by day while continuing to work  your brain and further your career by night but, and it is a big ‘ole BUT, how you manage your sleep and what little free time you have is an art form in and of itself.

Some have said working a night shift is the perfect solution for the mom looking to have it all…or is it?

My coffee date after a night of work.

When I left New York, I struck up a deal to continuing working back to the US with the advertising agency I was employed at. A fantastic and trusting team with wonderful flexi-time and work at home options, they were glad to keep me on while our family adjusts to our new life in New Zealand. We agreed that I would finish up with them by the end of January, in just a little over 2 weeks from now. I thought I’d figured out the piece to a puzzle many moms before me tried to put together. I would wake at night, work then stop when my kids woke, get Mr P ready for school, drop him off and spend the morning with Little Miss before she went down for her nap. Sounds like a good plan, no? Especially over New Zealand summer where the country sorta dozes off into a snooze while families vacation and businesses go on slow-mo.



What a Difference a Year Makes

The one thing you can be certain about in life besides taxes is change. Even when fear keeps you from trying new things, change is always just around the corner. A new day, a new work colleague, changes in what’s on offer at the local grocery store – changes sneak up on us and some are minute while others are life changing.

This time last year we were on an 11 hour train ride back from my parents in Montreal to our home in Brooklyn. Getting together with family over the holidays is always a mix of fun and exhausting. I sometimes wonder how we can all be born of the same blood – though we love each other immensely, their are just areas that we have to agree to disagree or else a conversation will erupt into fisticuffs. My parent, sister and I are good at ‘getting along’ these days – we evade, avoid and ignore. Don’t judge, it works for us!

Back to this time last year…We’d spent a blisteringly cold 7 days in the Great White North. Montreal had been hit by a crippling snowstorm, closing highways and forcing everyone indoors. Uuugh, though I was born and raised in Montreal I don’t think I ever really got used to the winters. With a record one day snowfall on the island, Mr BAM was out shoveling with my Dad everyday and even had to push my Dad’s car and sister’s car out of ditches.

Can your brain even fathom what 40cm of snow looks like? This is what it looks like from the warmth of my mom’s parlor room through the front window. This is what it looks like when Mr BAM tries to push my sister’s car free of snowbanks, while she spins her wheels from the driver’s seat.

Fast forward to a year later and Canada and New York are again under siege by the white fluffy stuff – minus 26 celsius last time I heard – colder than Mars and Antarctica! What the?



French Toast Cups with Sausage and Apple: Brunch Recipe

I’m someone who will always create, adapt or follow an easy recipe as opposed to an elaborate one. So hosting Christmas morning champers was right up my alley! Lindauer bubbling over glasses was probably the most important part of the morning for the adults, and I also created a few breakfast/brunch appetizers to keep us going til the main course.

These French toast cups are a sweet and savory treat that combine some of my favorite breakfast foods into a no fuss finger food that is yummy and filling! This an easy no fail recipe that looks like a gourmet treat.

What else could you stuff the French toast cups with ?

If you like this recipe, don't forget to mouseover the top right corner to pin it!



Fight Summer Brain Drain – Get a Trampoline!

Following summer vacation, the average teachers spends the first 4-6 weeks reteaching what kids had previously learnt. Whoa. Why am I talking about the first days back at school in February when we’ve just started Christmas holidays you may be asking? Well, brain drain is a very real phenomena of summer break. Kids (and parents) blob out, watch  more TV and in general just don’t have a regular routine for practicing reading, writing and maths.

Their are a ton of ways to build in educational moments to your day-to-day, and it doesn’t have to be taxing. It’s just a matter of turning the everyday into a learning moment, giving names to everyday objects so that your child learns new words, pointing out objects from the car on a roadtrip and turning it into a story. I know, I know, you probably do this already, but it’s just a reminder for the long hot days – after all they will be missing out on the daily reinforcement of concepts they would normally get at school.

Uh, Ghada…what’s this all got to do with a trampoline?



Getting Through the Silly Season

The lead up to Christmas is always chaotic – between shopping for presents, christmas parties and everyday life, the silly season can leave you tired and over it all by the time Christmas comes. There is something a little extra to this time of year that we call the “silly season” in New Zealand. Maybe its the glorious summer weather, I’m not sure, but somehow it seems that I am extra frantic and frenetic in these last few weeks before Christmas than I would be if I was in North America.

I think in North America, the snowstorms and chilly days at least force you inside sometimes. Whereas here, in Auckland their are endless picnics, Santa Parades, Carols on the Green and invites to boat rides and drinks outside at the local pub! Now hear me out. I am not complaining in the least at being able to sit outside til 7:30 at night chatting over glasses of chardonnay while the kids make themselves sick on the roundabout.

At our first of 2 Christmas parties this evening

I admit, during those times that I am not at the beach or just enjoying the weather from our deck, I’m stressed. Stressed that the Christmas is less than 14 sleeps away and I still have so much shopping to do. Stressed that we are hosting champagne breakfast at our house Christmas morning – yet we have no dining table let alone champagne glasses, stressed that the year is coming to an end and I feel not at all prepared for what 2014 will bring.



About
KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »