Frustration doesn’t have to mean failure

 

Kids mess up all the time. Really!

All. The. Time.

As a fellow parent, I’m sure you know this. As a fellow parent, I am sure you *also* know that parents mess up all the time. It’s just that there’s no one really around who can tell – especially as a single parent. The kids don’t know when I don’t succeed: “Oh yes – trio, this is a smokey-char-grilled roast. It’s supposed to be like this. Let’s dig in!”

It’s doubtful that I am adept at hiding my failures, so if trio can tell I haven’t succeeded at something, it’s usually because they have witnessed my mounting frustration. There is no one around me who can really help when I’m frustrated. Trio try to support or help, and try to talk to me about what’s going wrong. And I try not to snap at them (parenting is SO MUCH easier when things are going well!!). But – it’s only me. I am the only one who can chill myself out and remain the adult.*

As the adult, it’s very easy for me to step in and help when they’re feeling frustrated. I can see solutions to problems -only when I’m not emotionally invested!- and I don’t want their fragile little egos to take a hit and then lose self-esteem.

sccccratch! 

Huh?
What happens when I get frustrated?
I try harder.
I try something else.
I leave it for a few days and then revisit the problem.
I research the issue.
I ask for help.

Why are they any different? What message am I sending to trio if I swoop in and try to erase their frustrations? How capable and confident will they feel? Am I actually undermining their self-esteem and egos? Am I inadvertently creating fragile egos?

This isn’t a new concept for me (read more here) but one which needs repeated attempts for me to understand. Frustration is an opportunity – we can feel our edges, see the edges in others, and then possibly push past them into a new territory. As a parent it’s not my role to encourage kiddo back into the known, tucked safely back into the edges. It’s how I can help kiddo meet the unknown with confidence.

Eldest kiddo and I have been working on a project. It’s a small project – replacing the gate latch on the backyard gate to keep pup-po safe. One of the first sunny day of the season had eldest and I out there armed with drills, bits, screws, and a pencil perched cool-ly on our ears. We were ready.

Broken drill bits If you look carefully, you can see the little broken drill bits still embedded in the wood.

Small, right? Yet, it is *impossible* for a person with my particular skill set to remove a broken drill bit from the wall. In fact, it turned out it was impossible for me to remove a drill bit that still had it’s shank, once said shank was no longer in the drill.

Oh boy, you wanna talk frustration. This was the epitome of frustrating. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. Argh!

 

And my sweet tween is standing stoically beside me, trying to figure out how to help, how to make it right, even as the light was fading and it was steadily growing colder, and dinner remained in it’s un-cooked form… Frustration didn’t lead to failure, though. We chatted about what happened (after I had a moment. Ok. And a glass of wine.) and why this might have happened. Turns out, we think it was just too darned cold.

 

Impossible gate latch

A warmer day this weekend meant another chance to try.

Success! Yay!

If someone had stepped in and did it for me (seriously. I was so ready for that.) I wouldn’t have learned anything. I would have stayed in my safe enclosure and not pushed into the unknown. And my tween wouldn’t have either.

 

Yay!

 

 

Same day, another story, and a different result.

 

garbage holder fail

I really want an under-the-sink garbage holder in my en-suite. I bought one a long time ago, and buoyed by my gate-latch success, I marched upstairs and measured and drilled and installed it. Twice. And then uninstalled it. And then wanted to throw it down the stairs.

Turns out, all my measuring didn’t factor in the swing angle (I think I just made up that concept). My cabinet is too small/narrow for the container – it juts out further than the cabinet door is wide. Frustration! Oh man.

 

Sometimes try-try-again doesn’t lead to success. Sometimes it just leads to a series of holes in cheap particle board.

But! We do need to learn this! We need to model this for our kids, and give them opportunities to leave holes in the walls/fences/cabinets. And then give them opportunities to fill those holes.

It also helps to give them opportunities where there is lower risk of frustration. Let them feel instant success sometimes too. These moments help bolster us that success is within reach.

banana bread

My tween had an easy go of making this delicious banana bread.

It really really IS easy. Let me know if you want the recipe for your kiddo … or maybe a successful task is just what the doctor ordered for you!

 

 

 

 

Take care,

xoMto3

 

 

*Yay mindfulness and meditation! Seriously. It’s amazing what it does for me. And, of course, the kids by extension.

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Beware: ridiculously delicious banana bites!

I fall guilty of subscribing to the Valentine’s chocolate hype. However, picking up some cards and chocolates at the store was not on my radar at *all* this week. And since it’s not super easy for me to just nip out (hence my cinnamon buns brekkie today), trio went without any real commercialism today. I know. I’m a terrible Mum. We also had to clean up the messy house today. Aaaand I made us have 45 minutes of quiet time.

I was still fancying some chocolate, however. So I crafted these little delicious banana bites. It’s just a banana, some melted peanut butter, and chocolate.

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The trick for me, whenever I work with a banana, is in the cutting. They get so darn slippery once they’re sliced with a knife. I do this instead:

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See how the banana is in 3 segments? Just give a gentle squeeze until you see the natural divider, and split it along those lines. Then break the banana into the sizes you’d like.*

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Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter however you’d like (I don’t use a microwave, so I do it this old fashioned way. Do what you like.)

Carefully dip the banana bits into the melty pb – I used toothpicks.

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Freeze these delicious naked bites. It was easy and quick chez moi today, since it was like, -21°C out there. Brr! I just set them on a bread board, on my table outside. Took no time at all!

Melt some chocolate chips (again, whatever method works for you. Microwave is super easy, on stovetop it can burn and separate and stuff. Fair warning.)
*No photo on hand. It was busy and … well, I forgot, I was so excited.

Freeze again after they’ve been drenched in melted semi-sweet chocolate.

And yum!

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These are crazy good. I think a light sprinkle of salt on top after they’re dipped in chocolate would be nice too. These aren’t too fussy, and they come together quickly because of the freezing.

It was well worth it. So delicious!

*Aside: if you only split off the one segment, it makes a terrific banana boat and fits a perfect amount of peanut butter or Nutella!

Sweeties for my sweeties

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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These are the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever made (which isn’t saying a lot, my only other successful bun attempt was this past Christmas).

I ran out of granulated sugar at some point recently, and I think this is a great opportunity to switch it out for another choice (coconut sugar? Something else? Opinions anyone?)

So this recipe exclusively uses brown sugar and then icing sugar in the icing. Aaaand I used my bread machine, and let it slowly proof in my cool kitchen during the night.

Here’s the recipe!

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So for my white sugarless house, I subbed in slightly less brown sugar into the dough. And it has a deeper, mellower flavour. Given the 1.5c of icing sugar in the icing, I think it could have even less. And the cream cheese in the icing (instead of butter) really cuts down the sweetness too.

Fluffy and delicious! Oh, wait- I’ll have another taste and make sure…

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Yep! Still good.

(I forget, though, that my body doesn’t use the calories as fast as trio’s bodies do! I’ll just vicariously enjoy these, and revel in the pleasure of a successful bake!)

x Mto3

Swoodles success!

After trying zoodles at a Paleo-based resto for the first time, I *knew* that a spiralizer had to be in my kitchen forever and ever.

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Zoodles!

So I keep my eye out among the webs, for more successful looking recipes using a spiralizer.

Pinchofyum has lots of deliciousness, but this recipe looked amazeballs.

I don’t even think I pinned it, but that vision of cashew sauce, spinach, and sweet potatoes (and her hilarious chatter about it) stayed with me long after I closed the tab.

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Quick dinner

I had cashew cream from a previous recipe (and because Srsly.  It is SO good) and spinach loves my morning smoothies. I took the spirit of pinchofyum’s recipe, as I could best recall, and threw in what I thought would be awesome and had on hand (Parmesan cheese.  Just a sprinkle.)

I was not disappointed.

My oldest kiddo loved it too. This recipe is defo a keeper.

🙂

Sourdough – yah, it’s kind of gross

Ew. My oldest kiddo wasn’t even that grossed out when we were talking about how and why Sourdough exists.

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Charlie – day 1 (fresh and getting ready to become alive!)
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Charlie – day 2 (great foamy action and lovely smell!)
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Charlie – day 2, another perspective on his beauty
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Charlie- day 3, before I added the toxic chemical

We managed to get to day 3 before Charlie the Sourdough died.

I didn’t take a picture of the separated liquids on top, and solids beneath so that description will just have to suffice. But it stopped smelling “fruity” and “yeasty” and definitely smelled more “rotten” and “decaying.” I believe this was because I used tap water, full of chlorine, which killed the new bacteria. Lesson learned.

Same oldest kiddo started up a new one tonight.

I’d be happy to hear your experiences on making your own sourdough starter, and any favourite recipes. This is my first time raising one from scratch.

Thanks!
Mto3

(Special thanks to this site for helping me get started and giving me the tools)

Lazy kidless Saturdays… just baking up doggy treats

Trio are with their dad (read about my intentions here) and for this visit I wrote out some ideas of what I could do while they’re away.

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Lofty, to say the least

Well, I have about 30 hours until I’m trio-ed up again and, I’m sure you savvy readers have noticed, there is nothing yet crossed off.

However! I have done other stuff. And I contemplated writing these items on the list, just for the satisfaction of being able to record and remove list items (oh come on, we all do it.) but did not.

One of the things I have done:

This morning Pup-po and I made him some doggy bikkies. I thought of you, and wondered whether you’d like this perfect time-killer to fill up the edges of time in your world when you’re looking to ignore more productive things-you-should-be-doing. It’s easy enough so you think “Oh, that’s a small thing and it will make doggy so happy!” and yet active enough so you’re not ruminating or dwelling or listlessly (ha!) staring at the wall [hm, i’m sure there’s a better joke in there for a better joker. LMK if you see it and can articulate it]

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Easy ingredients, right? If your dog tolerates wheat better than mine, please use that. My lil dude seems to have an sensitivity to it. I swirled up 1/3 cup of rolled oats to become more flour-like.

We need a cup of something – I just used a trifecta of binding agents that I had on hand: 1/3 cup of ground up oats, 1/3 cup of whole oats, 1/3 cup quinoa flour – you can use whatever you like. I wanted to channel my Tasty capabilities, so I used the smaller glass dish and poured that trifecta into said dish.

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Next is some baby food, or that amount of pureed anything. I had peas and bananas on hand, so I figured a peas-and-carrots bikkie might be nice for him. I grated in a 1/3 cup of raw carrot (it was half-a-carrot, but my carrot was kinda small).

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I am a *HUGE* cinnamon lover. Everything gets a dash. I was a little worried how it might taste with the peas and carrots, but then I realized that this is a dog cookie. He’s not going to care! I added cinnamon, but only after I accidentally used nutmeg (a total fail) because I put the nutmeg canister where the cinnamon usually lives. Sigh. I carefully scraped out the nutmeg and sprinkled in about 1/2 teaspoon.

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It came together ok. I let it sit, thinking that the oats could absorb some of the baby food. But it never really got much drier. I probably should have used more flour (but srsly. Quinoa flour is super expensive) but did not use any more, and it’s FINE!

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I even bought a cute little bone cookie cutter just for him. Bake it in a 350 deg oven (or if yours runs hot like mine, 325, otherwise they get brown and crispy at the edges, and chewy in the centre. Unless you think your friend will like them that way. I feel as though an all-the-way crispy bikkie would be good, and that way I can just leave them in a paper bag on the counter) for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Let me know what combinations you used! I think I might try peanut and banana next.

 

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Poor dude just wanted his cookie, and I chased him down saying “Wait! Wait! Sit! ah-ah! Sit!” just for the photo!

He’s such a trooper “D’oh, ok mom. Fine.”