Homemade Pizza

We have been enjoying baking and dough making over the past few weeks. Last night I made pizza dough and we put on our own toppings for individual pizzas.

It was like returning to my time at Chuck E Cheese’s. I made the dough, weighed it out into 200g balls, put oil on them, covered them in plastic wrap and let them rise before rolling them out.

While the dough was proofing, I prepared all the toppings. Slicing peppers, onions, tomatoes, then grating cheese and frying sausage. once the pizzas were made, into the oven for 15 minutes at 475°. The final trick to making the pizzas taste delicious once out of the oven was 100% from the Chuck… A brushing of melted garlic butter on the crust.

The family loved dinner. We will probably do it again in the future. And for dessert- my wife made fresh cinnamon rolls. Baking is awesome.

Aldergrove Regional Park

Today my wife asked if we could go for a walk together. She has been going around the neighborhood daily for a few years now. Yes, years. And since the weather was fairly decent today, she wanted to go elsewhere. We ended up going to the Aldergrove Regional Park.

We took a lovely stroll along a horse trail. We saw four horses (no, not the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse) stride past us with a quick hello to the riders. But that was about it. The park was quiet. I think people forget that we have such beautiful locations that we can still enjoy during these crazy times. Even I forget.

The walk was serene and peaceful. The fresh air and lack of worries really cleared the mind. I think I need to do this type of activity more often, even though it feels forced by my wife. That’s only because when she’s ready for the walk, it means we are both to be ready. That brings up some conflict which usually has me lounging at home and her enjoying a walk.

What I’m saying is that she was right. Enjoying nature has it’s mental healing properties. And I’m glad I went.

Blanket Fort Bedroom

Our kids decided to make another blanket fort in our living room.

It’s not as intricate as the one our daughter made last year. But it’s still unique and fun.

I decided to check it out from inside. It seems my kids didn’t want me to in fears that I could possibly destroy it. I am getting a bit too old to slither around on the ground. But I did my best to take a tour of the inside of their temporary shelter. It was laid out quite nicely. They even had some artwork set up inside it.

Two of the teens plan on sleeping in the blanket fort. We’ll see how they do. Pretty sure they won’t get a good sleep and be grumpy in the morning. But hey, you have to sleep poorly sometimes to appreciate your bed once more.

Calendar of Events

Our kids are doing the “at home school” stuff these days. These days they’re doing well keeping up with the assignments as well as joining their online classes.

Our kids are great at putting up their unique school schedule up on our calendar. The planning started off slow as the teachers and students tried to navigate this new world they are learning in. But now there is plenty of action going on. As well as emails and online learning at their own leisure.

This new process is working for our kids. Mostly. There’s a few snags, like making sure they are putting in 100% effort in the homework. Or lack of socializing with peers to discuss ideas. But this is uncharted territory for learning. It could become the new normal. And as a human race, we adapt and overcome.

Even though the days are passing by, and the kids have been stuck inside, our calendar is getting filled.

Mail Call

I picked up the mail today. It seems we are only getting it delivered every few days. I’m not ever expecting much to surprise me in the mail. Once in a while a package we order will show up. But we know of its arrival. Except a couple weeks back when the one day I didn’t check the mail, our community box got broken into. The gift we had ordered for our daughter’s birthday had been stolen.

That sucked. And it wasn’t possible to go out and replace the gift, because Quarantine and such. So our daughter went giftless for her 16th Birthday. Ugh. We were out $80 and felt awful.

Why couldn’t the thieves steal our bills and pay them? Do a good deed for the bad that they had done? Or something along those lines. I’m not getting a break financially from the Government or any of those bill collectors. I’m stuck paying my bills.

Our Hydro bill is up and so is our gas bill. We are running the dishwasher more often. Same with small appliances. And the heat is on more while everyone is home. Time for everything in the house to get shut down!!! No more lights. No more heat. No more Netflix.

Not going to happen. Perhaps we can limit our usage? Ugh. This adulthood and isolation stuff sucks more than ever after seeing those bills. I need to take my mind off these bills.

I wonder what’s in my Amazon wishlist?

Keep It Bright

During these crazy times in the world, when everything seems gloomy- keeping it light and bright is paramount. Sharing positivity, or support to those workers who get out there daily is important. It keeps their spirits up knowing that what they do is important. I’ve also been glad to see the Google Doodle showcasing their efforts daily!

The rest of us need something bright as well. Sharing a phone call, or a text to someone who you’ve lost contact with. Or share some thoughts on Instagram or Facebook. It may have seemed trite and melodramatic in the past, but now it really feels necessary.

Something to look at.

In our home, I washed the windows and repainted the walls in order to brighten our living space. We even moved our dining table to be closer to the windows. Seeing the outdoors and how much beauty it holds brings me joy. A fresh coat of paint indoors makes for a new lease on life as well.

What’re you doing to “Brighten” your world?

Beignets

We’ve been making lots of desserts lately. I was never a big sweets fan, but add my deep fryer- man I’m going to get fat! And the food is amazing!

We made Donuts three weeks ago. And again about a week after once we got better yeast. Two weeks ago we made Disneyland Churros. Which we made again a few days later because they turned out perfect.

Disney Blogs shared another recipe. Classic Disney Beignets. Naturally, I had to make them. They turned out fantastic! These are so mmmmmmmmm good. Definitely a repeatable treat.

These foods help us emotionally because we are missing Disneyland. We have been singing Disney songs and watching Disney films quite a bit lately. Last night we ended our evening watching Fireworks from Disneyworld. We know that our trip is getting cancelled this summer and it sucks. But at least we are trying to keep our spirits up. Mostly through all the other senses.

Are you trying new foods lately? How are you keeping your sanity?

WordPress Issues

Recently WordPress wasn’t posting to my Facebook. I contacted them for help and they offered a solution. Removing and re-adding the Facebook page. Seems pretty simple.

So this is my test blog to repair the fix. Considering it took me a week to discover the flaw on Facebook shows how often I go on it.

Hopefully the solution WordPress offered up works. Facebook followers, let me know if you read this. Or don’t let me know and let me worry about the linkage not working some more.

Live Stream…

Tonight we enjoyed watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. We started it at 6pm exactly. That was because the director James Gunn was going to do “Live Tweeting” as the movie played. He got some of the actors from the film to join along.

It was kind of neat to sit in the comfort of our home and read along online with some facts and tidbits offered up. Plus watching a Marvel film is always fun. I hope that more of these happen. It was easy to do as well. Just started the film at 6pm and sit on our devices (which we do anyway).

Did you watch along as well? Would you in the future?

Wow 50 Years?

Today is “Earth Day”. And it is celebrating its 50th year since it’s first time being celebrated. I’m not gonna lie… I only started hearing about “Earth Day” a few years ago. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about this planet. It means I didn’t realize or know that there was a day devoted to it. Like a weird “Mother’s Day” for our planet, but forgotten about until it’s upon us.

I’ve generally been pretty good at “doing my part” to keep the earth healthy. Obviously I can’t be prefect because I do need those resources to keep alive and entertained. But treating this planet a bit better each day is very important.

That’s because I kind of enjoy living on this planet. I don’t think there’s many options out there at this time for moving off this planet. So please do your small part to keep this planet of ours healthy and inhabited.

Melt My Heart! Loving Cheese.

I love cheese. Something about those dairy products makes food so delicious. Grilled cheese sandwiches, shredded mozzarella on pizza, Smoked Gouda in an omelette, goat cheese on crackers… all of it unique and tasty- even Limburger (especially if soaked in beer!)

My favorite is Brie cheese. We buy those creamy wheels of softness on occasion. And it’s usually gone as soon as it’s opened. Sometimes I’ll just cut some pieces and eat it like that. Other times I’ll bake the Brie. Ok, I almost always bake the Brie. It just depends how I want it tasting. Stuffed with garlic? Mmmm… savory. Or like we did last night- brown sugar and butter with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Soft and sweet cheese on fresh baked baguettes. Who could resist?

Tonight is grilled cheese sandwiches. Easy to make and go well with tomato soup! Lord knows we are lacking in the vegetable intake these days, so the soup will help up those numbers.

I love a good cheese. I’ll even eat “Cheese Product” like Kraft singles or Cheez whiz. The only thing I don’t like is bleu cheese. That stuff is the red headed step child of the cheese industry.

Four Twenty

As many folks stay in isolation and physical distancing, there is still a world out there that remembers celebrating life. Today is 4/20. A day for pot smokers to enjoy some freedoms.

I don’t smoke the greenery myself. Three years ago, my wife and I were on a road trip to California and we stopped in Weed California on 4/20 at 4:20. I did this as a salute to a friend who used to enjoy smoking pot, but didn’t have the energy to continue on in his life.

So Happy 4:20 Jeremy. I wish there was a better way to tell you that you are missed.

And Happy 4:20 to my many many friends who smoke. Stay safe, but do not “Pass the Dutchie” so to speak.

Clam Chowder!

After work, I came home to the smell of a delicious dinner. a dinner I haven’t had in ages. Not one that we make very often, even though it’s not very difficult to make.

My wife made clam chowder for dinner tonight. It was amazing. Bacon, onions, garlic, potatoes, clam, cream sauce, all put together in one amazing soup. But my wife did something extra for our dinner.

My wife made fresh bread bowls for our chowders. The buns were so hearty that we each filled our bread bowls a second time. And scarfed those down as well.

The dinner was so good, we ate the bowl. And my daughter let me take pictures of her. It was a Chowder Miracle! One that doesn’t come around very often. So I took full advantage of it.

I always enjoy our family meals. We have a great time talking and joking. We also like to repeat dinners that are easy and tasty at the same time. Hopefully Clam Chowder makes a reappearance in the future.

Can’t Stop Cooking and Baking

Our children are adamantly wanting to be doing more cooking and baking these days. Over the past few weeks we’ve made Pasta, Churros, and Donuts. Today, we made all of them!

We are getting better at the recipes as well. There’s still the occasional blunder- adding the butter a bit late in the churros or the donuts not rising because of old yeast. But we are still enjoying all of the splendors. My wife also made her first ever cheesecake the other day. It was delicious!

I want to start working towards some more recipes that are savory instead of sweet. Maybe learn to make my own potato chips or something. Who knows, but my deep fryer has been turning out some fantastic desserts.

Have you been baking more these days? Or trying to expand your horizons a bit? Let me know in the comments.

1.5 Lungs

It’s been a little over 40 years now. I was about two and a half when the doctors performed an upper lobectomy on my left lung. I can remember bits and pieces of the post surgery recovery. I remember waking up in the post op recovery area and staring at the ceiling at five different televisions. All of which were showing different cartoons with no sound on. This was the first time I saw Mighty Mouse, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Hanna Barbera. All in glorious colour and all at once.

Over the past four decades I haven’t always taken care of my health. I struggled to breathe as a child in a home where my father smoked regularly. I just kind of adapted to shallow breathing. In my early teens I had my lung capacity tested numerous times to see how I was doing and why I always felt tired. (I’m still always tired). No definitive results ever came my way.

Then there was a time, post high school, where I smoked for a few years. That I regret. It forced me to become reliant on an inhaler more frequently now.

I may seem normal on the outside, but inside I am missing a portion of my left lung. As I watch the world, I am conscious of the fact that I am more susceptible to a lung virus and would truly struggle with recovery. Although I continue to go to work, I wash my hands frequently, sanitize door handles and my work station numerous times, as well as avoid close contact with my coworkers.

But they don’t know that I am extra paranoid and selfish about my own health. I’ve worked there for nearly 13 years and many of my coworkers have no idea about the fact that I’m missing part of a lung. They don’t know that I stress about the possibility of getting sick.

On my days off, I just stay home. I spend time with my family and we have a great time. Trying out new cooking and baking recipes and lots of video games! It helps to take my mind off the fears I have inside.

Somebody Out There “Rocks”

My wife goes for a walk a couple of times a day around our neighborhood. Sometimes she detours through the trails at the nearby Steele Park. (Mostly because my wife still plays Pokémon Go and the park is a Pokéstop.) Today I joined my wife and she showed me something cute along the way.

Someone or someones have been leaving little surprises along the trails. They have been painting rocks and placing them back along the pathways. It’s lovely to see. My wife says she has fun trying to figure out if there are any new ones put out.

To whomever is doing this- thank you! It’s a pleasure to see these works of art. I’m glad my wife took me to see them as well. Such a simple idea, and I love that they just leave them out in the wooded area.

Sweet Sixteen in Social Isolation

Today is our daughter’s sixteenth birthday. Unfortunately with the world being the way it is, we are unable to make this birthday an extravagant one. The plan was to take her out to get her “L” so that she could begin to learn driving. We would also have gone for dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant- Nikko Sushi- but it’s just not in the cards for today.

And that’s totally fine. Because we have our health. And we have our memories of her previous birthdays. Each of them unique in their own way.

One year we took her to Build-A-Bear. Another time she was on an airplane flying back from Hawaii. We’ve been in the car on a road trip to another province. We’ve been at a few different conventions. A couple of times we went out bowling. One time she was competing at a Cheer competition.

But my favorite memories were spent at home. Where we made her a cake, gave her gifts that were created with love, and did the things she wanted to do. Like watch a movie or play a game. This year is no different. There is a great joy that we share in being home as a family.

So today, as our daughter celebrates her 16th Birthday, the sun will be shining down on her as she fills our lives with happiness.

Happy 16th Birthday Darwin!

Back to…. School?

Okay. Self isolation is still happening in British Columbia. Easter Weekend has ended and the teachers at our school will be working on remote learning with the students. In our home, we have the “scheduled online class meetings” written on our calendar for each of our kids.

There are many different programs and apps that the teachers are planning to use in order to assist the kids get some form of education. It’s a crazy learning curve for everyone involved. Not just the teachers and students, but the parents who need to try and be a big part of this new adventure.

I for one don’t want to have a generation of stupid roaming the earth once the self isolation and quarantines are lifted. I want the students to still get an education. My wife and I are going to do our best to alleviate the strain on the teachers and our kids by being active in their learning. I’m not saying we haven’t been a part of their education, far from it. I’m saying that we are still having to evolve and learn with our kids.

Hopefully when all is said and done the kids will have learned something. Or perhaps they will have taught us something in the process. But for now, School’s Back In Session.

Recognizing The Helpers

As the Corona Virus fills our newsfeeds, it can feel overwhelming. I try and read the articles that are uplifting or of moral benefit. I’m glad to see folks sharing stories of helping or supporting one another.

Mr. Rogers was a wise man.

Hearing the daily 7pm pots and pans clattering from our neighbors, or the car horns, boat and train whistles while out in the streets brings a smile to my heart. It shows that people are appreciating our care workers that much more during times of crisis.

I read a status the other day and it got me thinking. The status was this (minus some of the negativity): “Next year I don’t want to hear about the Oscar, Grammys, Tonys or Golden Globes. I don’t want to see a single actor, actress, singer, celebrity or sports person on any red carpet.

Next year I want to see nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, health care support workers, shop workers and truck drivers, all essential workers, grocery store workers having free red carpet parties with awards and expensive goodie bags.”

This is a great sentiment, however unrealistic. There will be no televised show for these workers. Perhaps the celebrities or sports person will take to their soap box and say something. It will cause raucous applause and then the event will continue with some jokes until the next award winner takes to the stage and says something of similar merit. It’s a puppet song and dance that we have witnessed for years now. Perhaps these award shows are the “Normal” that people are craving now.

Or is the “Normal” that people want the desire to spend money- be a good consumer. Perhaps we should reflect on this time we have now and create a “New Normal” when all is said and done. Sure, I want to travel and go shopping and spend time in restaurants. But that’s only because I’m being told I can’t. It’s ingrained in our psyche to question everything and fight against being told “No”.

I’m at home as often as I can be. I’m saving money. My house feels like a home once more. My kids are learning how to cook and bake (and enjoying it). My wife and I are talking about more than just the daily routine struggles- we are connecting. The world seems calmer, cleaner and somehow nature is content. Wild animals are roaming a bit freer and pollution is down. A part of me wants this aspect of Covid19 to remain. This unbeknownst harmony that was created.

Back to my point. As we Physically Distance and Self Quarantine, we need to recognize those people risking their health and well being. Thank you to those that are working hard to keep our families safe and allow us to have food on our table. I don’t have a red carpet or an awards show. But I hope that as each person shares kind words, you know who you are and how much you are needed. I also hope that the world creates a “New Normal” and your actions stay in the forefront of our minds.

Easter Hunt 2020

Our kids aren’t kids anymore. They have become teenagers. Two of which are cresting the second half of their teen years as well. Driving, jobs, and teen angst a plenty… Oh my.

However, my wife loves to treat them like children on occasion. Especially when it comes to those childhood memory maker dates. Be it at Christmas, Halloween or Easter. Today was no different.

Last night the “Easter Bunny” hid some eggs, chocolates and candies throughout our living room. The same room the “Santa” visits. Our kids all know this. I guess what I’m saying is that our teenagers still hunt for Easter eggs.

There is the joy of the hunt. Discovering more challenging spots where the Easter Bunny can get to. They also appreciate the junk food that’s for sure.

And as they have done every years for Easter and Halloween- they divide up their haul amongst one another. I think this began when we realized the oldest was always getting the most, while the youngest got the least. Today was the opposite. Our youngest brought in the biggest collection and had to spread it out.

These traditions are important to my wife and I. As our children become adults, the traditions may evolve over time. Or make an egg-ception, like when we went to Tokyo DisneySea in 2018. But we will continue to make sure those imaginary gift givers keep visiting.

Prepare For The Apocalypse

The sun was shining once more today. I took a lazy day of nothingness. I woke up late and even procured a nap. Afterwards I decided to get active. Last year I set up an Axe Throwing pitch. It was time to get chucking once more.

My first throw of the year wasn’t too bad. Heck, I even dressed the part of a lumberjack with my beard and plaid jacket. I must’ve thrown for about thirty minutes as I listened to some Beastie Boys on my iPhone.

Afterwards, my daughter joined me, as did my son. They took turns throwing axes at the target. It took them a bit to get the technique down once more. But they started hitting the target more often than not.

We are getting some good exercise in on a beautiful day. Plus it’ll prepare us in the event of an apocalypse!

More At Home Time

Today was another day spent at home. I will say though, I’m really enjoying the fact that our house is feeling like a home once more. The family has pulled together and been a great help over the past few weeks.

We’ve done tons of cleaning inside already. The weather was beautiful today, so it was spent gardening. The kids helped tremendously today. I’m really satisfied with the results.

As we were working, my favorite brewery delivered some beers to our home. Within an hour of my order, they were at my door with a much desired beer for the weekend. Big thanks to Trading Post for the backyard beers!

For a break afterwards, the kids had some free time to do what they wanted. What they wanted to do was surprising to me. Our son played trumpet outside on the tree deck. Our oldest daughter did some painting on her canvases and our youngest read a book. Afterwards the four of us worked together and baked an apple pie. So amazing!

What a great life to live. Even in solitude.

Disneyland Churros

Disney released the greatest thing ever this week. They released their churro recipe for those of us at home who miss attending the parks. The recipe is extremely easy. Find it at Disney Parks Blog Churros.

Of course, we HAD TO MAKE THEM!

My kids had a great time helping make the churros, deep fry the churros, sugar the churros and of course- eat the churros!

It was a fun bonding time with the kids and surprisingly easy to make. (Especially with a deep fryer). I highly suggest those who love churros and miss the most magical place on earth- try this recipe. It’s a great way to bring the magic home.

And don’t forget to listen to your favorite Disney music while making them!

Putting the Fun in Funeral

Facebook reminded me of my first ever tagged photo.

The picture is of my father’s gravestone. It got me thinking, especially with everything going on in the world, about my funeral. No, I’m not being morbid. I’m thinking about how my service would go. I’d start it off with Dead by Korn. The song has some bagpipes in it that go back to my Scottish roots on my mother’s side.

Click on the image to hear the song “Dead” by Korn

“All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy)
It seems funny to me
How fucked things can be
Everytime I get ahead
I feel more dead”

It’s a pretty accurate song about life. I’d like to be playing “All I want in life is to be happy” on repeat very silently during the service.

As the final song to say farewell to me in that day, I’d like to have playing is Just a Man by Faith No More. I love the climax of the song and his voice is gospel at times. It would be a prefect send off. Here is a link to the live performance: Faith No More 1997.

What are your funeral songs? Is it tough to think about your own mortality?

Happiness Passed On

Our children have been junior coaches for only a short time. Yesterday one of the parents who help volunteer at our club, dropped off a small gift for them. Our middle daughter was blown away by the gesture. She shared this on her Instagram:

“It’s little moments, little moments of everyday. Little moments like now, like today. The simple little things that make up a bigger entity. The entity of life. Little moments are everything to me. Little bursts of happiness, of joy. The cheers of teammates as you do a race, the unstoppable smiles of finally reaching your goal. Support and love. My favourite moments are the moments I spend here. I love watching the kids improve. Each moment changing everything. Each practice. Every second counts, every second matters to me. I love the smiles that sneak on their faces and they can’t make disappear, the jokes, the hard work. My favourite moments are the ones I spend here, with them. Helping them in any way that I can. My favourite part is when it all pays off and you can see how they’re proud of themselves and want you to see their achievements. My favourite moments are the moments I spend with you. It makes me happy to see that you feel the same way too, you never have to do this although it’s nice to feel appreciated. But you can’t appreciate me as much as I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Keep making these little moments with me every time. I miss you all and can’t wait for next season to see you improve even more!”

I was extremely touched by her words. She definitely takes after her father in promoting positivity. That’s a great quality to have. It’s no wonder she, as well as her brother and sister, have become such great leaders and coaches. I’m really proud of all of them for the hard work they put in every time they are on the ice trying to help others.

Great job gang! And a big thanks to Langley Blades for all the years of skating.