FOCUS, Barnes (a.k.a. My First Weekstagram: March 9 – 16)

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The one thing I’ve been working on lately, here on this blog, is focus.  It’s something we’re trying to challenge Bee with at the moment: when there are so many things happening at once, how to focus on them one-by-one so you can accomplish everything in due time. Whether it’s finishing a puzzle without throwing the pieces in frustration, or stacking blocks until you’ve made a tower out of “x” amount of them before knocking them down, it’s been an interesting exercise watching her try and remain calm and focused, during these tasks.  We can see she’s getting there, but she is, after all, barely 18-months old. 

*If any of you parents or caregivers out there have any advice on ways to work through toddler frustration, I’d LOVE to hear about it.  You can leave a comment by clicking the dialogue box icon at the top right of this post.  THANK YOU. 

So, for me, it seems appropriate that I’m trying to re-learn this skill simultaneously with her.

I have so many ideas, so many topics swirling through my head that I want to write about (which is confounding to me since all I seem to complain about these days is my lack of inspiration).  And with all this time on my hands between searching for work, it’s been hard for me to focus on one post at a time.  I have about a half-dozen unfinished, chopped up, partial posts just sitting in my drafts folder, waiting for completion, but I just can’t seem to make myself focus on doing them one-by-one, as I’m trying to teach Bee.

It’s a slow process, but I’ve finally committed to sifting through what I currently have before moving on to anything else.  While I clean everything up, things will remain light around here, with some of these struggling posts popping up in between.

First up on the docket, something I’ve wanted to do for a while and what I like to call, “My Weekstagram”. Basically, all the photos I took over the last 7 days and posted to Instagram (clever!!).

Sure, this could be labelled as “fluff” or “filler”, but I’ve noticed a lot of blogs doing this lately and have been quite enjoying perusing through photos casually, seeing how others interpret their lives through the lens of their smartphone.

(Also, this may or may not be a plug for you guys to connect with my through social media!  If you look underneath my picture there on the right, you’ll see a few icons linking to my Instagram, Facebook Twitter and Youtube accounts.  Feel free to subscribe or follow me!  It’ll be fun, I promise!) 


Ah, what’s better than lazy Sunday snuggles with the Bee?  Probably nothing, I’d say.



My sister and brother-in-law were in town from Ottawa last weekend for a wedding and stopped by on their way out.  It was kind of heaven for Bee, the more people to read to her, the better.


Because this winter is apparently never going to end, I decided to drink more hot chocolate.  My husband, anticipating this thought, made me a yummy mug-full and earned mega points when he didn’t even need them in the first place.  A ‘just because’ gesture, and another spot of warmth amongst the dreariness.


In another (lame) attempt at getting Nigella Lawson and/or Jamie Oliver to pay attention to me on Twitter, I posted a photo of my greatest cookbook find to date and asked them what theirs was.  I got nothing.  No response.  Pfffft.  Typical!
I came across this gem in a used bookstore near my house, something I never knew could possibly exist because, who knew Tolouse-Lautrec was a foodie?!  Anyone??  Okay, maybe some of you knew.  I, though, did not, and was amaaaazed when I found his incredible, “The Art of Cuisine”.  Everything about it is sheer poetry, from the chapter titles, most starting with “About Certain…” (About Certain Soups, About Certain Domestic Animals, About Certain Flatteries…), to the cooking instructions (on how to make Roast Snipe, “having killed some September snipe, eat them quite fresh when you have come back from the shoot.”), to the actual art inside (I have framed a few pages and mounted them in my dining room), it continues to be one of the best reads of my life.  Over and over again.


Tuesday saw the greatest weather day we’ve had here in Toronto in… YEARS?!  Ugh, feels that way, anyway.  It was 8 degrees (celsius), people!  That’s practically SUMMER!!
I treated myself to a haircut and then spent the afternoon with my sister-in-law and cheekalicious niece, Baby C!  LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS.  I mean, come on….


My brother took it upon himself a few weeks back to teach Bee the word, “money”.  And somehow she then figured out what money was – coins, mostly – and now goes around picking up every loose dime or penny or shiny whatnot she sees around the house, shouting, “MONEEEEY!  MONEEEEEY!  Mummy, MONEEEY!” while frantically palming it close to her chest as though someone is going to snatch it from her.  Which, we do.  Because it’s a TINY COIN.  And the last thing we want is for her to swallow a coin and then have to worry about her digesting her MONEEEEEY.  So along with teacher her focus, I’ve been showing her that every time she finds a coin, instead of clutching it in a cold, steel grip like a crazy ol’ millionaire (I just assume that’s how millionaires are with their money), she needs to put it in her piggy bank for safe keeping. An early lesson in savings, if you will.
So later on in life she doesn’t end up stuffing her life savings in cash into a mattress and sitting on it on her front lawn while holding a shotgun and muttering wildly about aliens or the government, or a government of aliens….
That happens, guys.  I’ve read about it.


Along the same lines as wanting to consume nothing but hot chocolate for the rest of the winter, I decided to make room for homemade chicken soup, too.  Roast chickens and, subsequently, chicken soup, are the easiest and most comforting things in the world to make.  If anyone is interested in the soup portion, the simplest of the simple version goes like this:

  • 1 chicken carcass from last night’s roast chicken dinner, or a soup hen
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, chopped (skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • big pinch of salt (a couple of tablespoons)
  • 2 bay leaves

Put everything in a stock pot.  Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 2 hours.  For extra oomph, roast the bones first, just on low (350-375) until they’re a lovely brown and your house smells like roast chicken all over again.  You can sieve everything out and keep the pure stock for cooking with another day, OR you can just remove all the bones, pepper, bay leaves and onion skin, keeping the carrots and celery and eat the soup as-is.  Simple, honest perfection.


ANOTHER FOOD SHOT.  Aside from hot chocolate, roast chicken dinner and homemade chicken soup, one of life’s little delights is a soft-boiled egg with soldiers for brunch.
My Granny Fran used to make us these, a true British classic, when we were little, and on Sunday I was moved to make it for Bee for the first time.
And she loved it.
She didn’t even try and pick up the egg or the cup – she instinctively knew exactly what to do when I placed it in front of her.  What a joy to see.
This will most definitely be a staple in our home going forward.


I hope you guys enjoyed my first Weekstagram!  Let me know if you’d like to see this weekly!  Or, if you’d rather me keep my social media roundups to myself.  Either, or!

2 thoughts on “FOCUS, Barnes (a.k.a. My First Weekstagram: March 9 – 16)

    feedmedearly said:
    March 18, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I just realized that I don’t have your email address! Are you or If you’re .org you should able to host a wordless wednesday linkup every week. I confess that I had someone else do the install, but if you do a search for Mister Linky + Wordless Wednesday you should be able to figure it out- I think it’s a plugin that allows you to host. Then every Tuesday you link up with the others doing wordless wednesday- find a site like mine that hosts, and just start clicking on the people who linked up and who’s profile says something like w/LINKY – that means they’re also hosting. Then you just do the rounds- link up, read the post, comment if you want….Email me if you want the name of the person who helped me set it up- my address is on the contact form on the blog…

      mamabethbarnes said:
      March 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Oh my gosh, Thank You for this!! I’m… I think I can switch everything over to .org, though. Seems that you can’t do as many fun things with the .com site. Not sure why! But I’m definitely going to look into it 🙂

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