What I’m eating: Snow Day Turkey Chili with a Side of Sassy Kids

Ah, family supper time. A time to come together and share stories about our day. A time to bond over food made with love. A time to bask in gratitude for our good fortune and enjoy one another’s company. Or, a time to be sass talked by your children as they don’t eat the bountiful food you’ve cooked them and wind up sending everyone to their rooms only after they leave their hot supper on the table in favour of a cheese sandwich they make themselves… Yeah, that sounds more accurate.

Today’s blustery weather had me wanting everything cozy and snuggly. I decided to cook up a nice big pot of turkey chili for supper. A pot of delicious homemade chili that my kids won’t touch with ten foot pole. I’m quite sure that I’ve done something wrong along the way on this parenting journey because my kids are the pickiest eaters you’ll ever meet. I swore they wouldn’t be. When they were babies, I was sure that my kids would eat everything because I knew that I would offer them everything and not become one of those ‘short order cook moms’ who makes 16 different dinners for four people. Yet, here I am, doing that exact thing.

So, to put things more accurately, when I say I made turkey chili for dinner, I mean I made it for me and Jason. I made the kids a quick and DELICIOUS batch of homemade macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese that they also did. not. touch.

We’ve got a real problem with family dinners going sideways in this house. More often than not, Juliette and Miles are unhappy with what’s being served. Miles doesn’t sit still. Juliette wants us only to talk to her. I can’t even tell you how many times one or both of them leaves the table crying. The repetitive nature of this scene is absurd it’s so frequent.

As I sit here writing this, it’s becoming obvious that something’s gotta give. And I truly don’t think that my eight year old and four year old know how to do any better because, well, really how could they? We have to teach them to do better. I’m pretty sure that’s part of our job, right?

As predicted, tonight’s dinner went sideways. Parents yelled. Children cried. No one ate. (Well, that’s not true, Jason and I ate.) Blah blah blah.

What I’m coming to realize is that if I want the kids to sit and share a meal with Jason and me, I’m going to have to start trying a new approach. I’d like us to all eat the same meal while peacefully enjoying each other’s company. In order to make this work, I’ll have to keep a few things front and centre:

1. Make kid-friendly food that we will all like.
2. Strike a deal with them that they have to try at least one new food at suppertime. Maybe a new vegetable or side so that I can keep the rest of the meal pleasing to their pallette?
3. Ensure there is a reward in place so that when all goes well, they know they have something good coming their way.
4. Keep the convo child-centred and wait to have adult chat later in the evening.

I think if we can sit down and accomplish two successful family meals a week, I’ll call that a win. If anyone out there has tips n tricks on how to save the family supper, I would love to hear! Please comment below. 🙂 Also, if anyone is going through the same thing, solidarity.

I’ll keep you updated with what’s working and what’s not in case anyone else out there is interested.

As for the turkey chili recipe, I’d give it to you but let’s face it, if you’ve made one chili recipe you’ve made them all. I’m confident you can figure it out!

What I’m feeling: Motivated and Inspired

I’ve written over the past year about leaving my job and exploring a new path working with Keener Jerseys, our family business. Over the past nine months, I’ve been awkwardly fumbling and feeling my way through this transition. Quite frankly, I’ve been experiencing some discomfort. Although I seemingly got exactly what I wanted, somehow I didn’t magically feel renewed and energized by the change. I actually felt a bit let down, if I’m being honest.

Why, when I finally gained the freedom to live the life I wanted to live, did I feel numb? Where was the growth and fulfillment I was seeking?

I tried opening myself up to the spirit of the universe and inviting opportunity in. I kept my eyes open all around me searching for a sign of how I would find my fulfillment. At the same time, I wondered why I was struggling to feel motivated and inspired to successfully do my job, both at Keener Jerseys and with this blog. I kep looking around me for something that would help me solve my problem of lackluster.

Then, and this is kind of embarrasing to admit, just a few days ago I realized that dreams and fulfillment aren’t just going to fall from the sky and into my lap. If I want fulfillment and success, I need to work for it.

Like, duh.

I’m the first to admit that I’m a slow learner. I seem to have to learn the same lessons over and over again before I finally internalize what I need to move past my own self inflicted barriers. In this case the lesson is work hard and you’ll achieve results.

In some areas of my life, like running, I’ve been living that truth every day and putting in the work. In other areas, not so much.

My fear of “did I do the right thing?” stunted me from really throwing myself into anything with passion. The lack of structure that a regular 9 to 5 job typially provides paralyzed me with a feeling of not knowing where to start. I felt a bit lost on the inside and didn’t know how to get aligned.

I truly believe that these are all feelings I had to work through in order to arrive to the a-ha moment that FINALLY came to me recently. Some readers out there may be thinking, ‘sheesh honey, get a grip.’ But my whole life I have been a strong starter and a slow finisher and this experience is no different. I got gutsy and quit the job… and then I stopped. I didn’t forge ahead into my new adventure with purpose and drive. Instead I danced around the edges hoping something or someone would come along and show me what to do next.

Feeling a bit lost at sea for so many months became increasingly more difficult to manage emotionally. Luckily, I also have a very low pain tolerance. Whether the pain be physical, emotional or spiritual, I don’t like living in discomfort. So this extended period of discomfort was quite unpleasant at times. Especially since I was afraid to talk about how I was feeling because I didn’t want to appear as though I’d made the wrong choice. I knew I did the right thing, but I didn’t know how I was going to make it work.

Turns out, I was looking all around me for an answer that was within me all along. I just need to get up every day and show up. Show up for Keener Jerseys. Show up for my kids. Show up for this blog. For running. For spirituality. For all of it. I just need to put the work in.

If I start living my vision of how I want my life to look and feel then that’s how it will start looking and feeling. The people out there that I admire who are living their best lives didn’t get there accidentally. They hustled and did the work and they KEEP doing the work. It’s actually so frigging simple, I’m not sure how I missed it.

It’s one thing to have a vision of what you want your life to be. It’s another to show up and do the work to get it there. At the age 41, perhaps I should know this already, and in so many ways I do, but I also have a long way to go.

One day at a time, I’ll get there.

(Wearing J.Crew sweater, Madewell bag and MPG Sport vest.)

What I’m doing: Half Marathon Training

I’ve been running a lot this summer! Over the last four months, I have been training for the WFPS Half Marathon and want to chat a little bit about how it’s been going. But, before I do, I also want to share a new structure I am working on to keep me consistently blogging in this space.

As you can see, I have titled this post What I’m doing: Half Marathon Training. It’s the “what I’m doing” part that I’m flagging.

You see, part of creating content is coming up with ideas to write about, which can feel difficult when life just keeps rolling along seemingly uneventful. To help me narrow in on ideas and stay consistent, I’m categorizing my posts under four different headings.

  1. What I’m Doing…
  2. What I’m Reading…
  3. What I’m Eating…
  4. What I’m Feeling…
  5. And maybe even sometimes a bonus number 5: What I’m Wearing… (this is TBD because even though I love following fashion bloggers I always feel silly taking this angle myself).

I think having these set categories will allow me to write about a multitude of thoughts and ideas while also creating a framework to generate meaningful and relatable content.

So, back to the post at hand. What I’m doing: Half Marathon Training

As I mentioned, I am running the WFPS Half Marathon in a couple of weeks and for the first time ever, I enlisted the help of a running coach to try to gain a little speed and keep me disciplined during this training season. I’ve been pretty dedicated with my running over the last couple of years, but I also let myself off the hook when the timing wasn’t working out, when I was busy, or sometimes when I was just plain tired!

Having a coach has kept me on track and accountable. I do sometimes feel like I am running all the time! But I guess that’s what sticking to a training plan does to you. In reality it’s only four times a week and there are many people who run a lot more. (But for me, it’s a lot.)

I’ve definitely gotten stronger and faster over the last few months, thanks to following a plan. Essentially, I’m a middle-of-the-road runner who’s not looking to win any races. My goal for the upcoming run on October 20 (and the primary reason I enlisted a coach) is to break 2:00 hours. In runners lingo, that’s called a sub-2:00. 😉

Tonight I had what may be the most monumental training run of this whole season! Not because I was faster than usual or went further than normal – but because my kids came with me!

I had an interval track workout scheduled and couldn’t figure out how I was going to squeeze it in between #momlife, working, and appointments. Then I had the most brilliant idea! The kids CAN COME.

There’s a little track around a ball diamond just a couple of blocks away and if they were to bring some books, toys and bikes, I’d be able to see them the whole time and we could just GO. So we did!

I was a little worried that this sneaky little plan of mine would fail big time with lots of whining and complaining about being bored and cold. Well, I am happy to report that none of those things happened! The kids did great, and I got my workout in. Win/win. So we celebrated with pizza!

Sometimes all that’s needed is a little creative thinking when it comes to solutions instead of excuses. Actually, isn’t this always true in life? (There’s an idea for a What I’m feeling post…)

This is my last heavy week of training and then we start to slow down and taper for the big day. I am hopeful I’ll hit my goal but also I’ll be okay if I don’t. Whether I’m a minute over or under, I know how hard I’ve worked this summer and isn’t that actually the point? I kind of think it is.

P.S. Juliette took the above pictures of me at the track tonight. My phone died and I couldn’t take any photos of them. They were angels though!

P.P.S. I’m wearing my favourite lululemon running tights. And thank you cooler weather so I can wear this adorable lululemon vest that was gifted to me at a run fit session last October. Oh and of course my trusty New Balance 860s.