Me and my minions


Aidan, like most kids his age, loves Minions. And who wouldn’t? This animated film is just about the cutest children’s flick I’ve seen in ages. Though admittedly, I can’t decide which I enjoy more: Minions, Inside Out or the Toy Story series.

Children’s films have changed since I was young. No longer do the stories focus on the damsel in distress. The female characters are stronger. They are more independent. And where a love story exists, the happy-ever-after message focuses elsewhere. Frozen’s happy ending was about sacrifice and love of family. Brave’s was about personal growth and self discovery. Minion’s was about following, without regard, despicable people. Okay, so not the best message. But at least it wasn’t about rescuing the helpless princess, am I right?

There’s another reason I enjoy watching these new films with Aidan more so than the traditional Disney flicks that – once upon a time – enchanted my own youth.

And it’s a purely selfish one.

To the parents who have not yet watched their favourite Disney movie with their children, listen very closely to what I’m about to tell you: Don’t do it. You may not think there is any harm in watching The Little Mermaid or The Lion King with your little one. Why shouldn’t they enjoy that magical moment when Arial and Prince Eric kiss? Why shouldn’t they dream about the adventures of young Simba?

I’ll tell you why. Because after you watch it with your child, you are going to watch it again. And again. And again. Because that is how toddlers do everything.

“Again, momma. Again, momma. Again, momma.”

Your favourite Disney movie is about to become your worst nightmare. Picture the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, except you already know all the lines and you don’t have the  humorous banter of Bill Murray and Chris Elliott to get you through it.

After watching her 35-plus times, IN A ROW, Arial and I no longer friends. She is now nothing more than a bratty 16-year old girl whose father needs to give her a good kick up her $^#$%. Running off with some stranger she just met?

In the words of a witty high school friend of mine whom I shared this story with prior to this post: “No, Arial. I do not want to be part of your world.” Thanks for that laugh, Mike.

In short, parents, do yourself a favour. Watch the crap out of the new films. Who cares if you end up hating those. It’s the ones you grew up with that you should hold dear to your hearts, and away from your child’s until they are old enough to spell repetition 10 consecutive times.

But I digress. As you can probably tell, it’s been a long day. As I write this, my son is fast asleep on the couch, milk bottle dangling in hand, cheeks still chilled and rosy from the two-hour long walk through the forest we just returned from, minion hat still on his head.

For three days now, Aidan has been asking me to carve a scary pumpkin for him. He loved Halloween last October, especially when we spent an afternoon carving his first jack o’lanterns.


Months later, he still hasn’t fully comprehended that when they began to rot I had to throw them out.

It didn’t help that when Aidan came home from school that day and they had mysteriously “disappeared”, I may have blamed it on our very wonderful cleaning lady. To this day, he thinks she threw them out by mistake. In my defence, I had dinner to make, and simply could not be bothered with the spin and drop tantrum that I could see manifesting beneath him, smoke and all.

One day he’ll understand.

Today, I needed a pumpkin. Obviously, since the fall season and its colourful assortment of pumpkins is about eight months away, the only thing I had to work with at the store was butternut squash.

Scary pumpkin was not going to happen. But minion pumpkin? That, we could do.


This is a pretty self explanatory project. Butternut squash, some paints, and off you go…

Add to that a household hunt for suitable goggles, in our case black felt, two milk bottle caps for the two-eyed minion, and a mini coke can for the one-eyed one – the bottom carved out and bent inwards until only the silver is showing, like so….


Some paint, some drying, some more paint, some more drying, a handy glue gun, and a good long walk in the park to let it all dry, and viola, minion complete.


There are about 500 google images of these little guys if you are looking for inspiration on how to paint them. Pick the one you like and go with it.

And importantly, have fun. While you still like them of course:)

Later in the evening, Aidan made me put them near the candles so they could be “scary minions.” Not sure if the effect was quite what he was looking for, but it’ll have to do for now…

IMG_7031Perhaps this time around I’ll suck it up and tell Aidan the truth about what happens to butternut squash minions when they begin to rot. I’m pretty sure I’ve used my cleaner card a few times too many in the last year.

All the same, we lived happily ever after…

Celebrating the “training” years

IMG_5954Let’s not beat around the bush. It’s been a long, long, long time since my last post. So much has happened since last June when I temporarily retired my full-time mother status and crawled, much like an infant learning to walk, back into the corporate world.

I admit, shamefully, that I’ve ignored this site. Not because I couldn’t think of anything to post. And not because I didn’t come prepared with a back-up collection of recipes ready for my readers. I truly intended to continue posting, albeit less often, while working.

So what happened? To take a cue out of my blog title, I simply ran out of time. Continue reading

A Barnyard Bash — Celebrating Aidan’s 3rd Birthday

Aidan birthday

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling like I ran a marathon. My body ached from my shoulders down to my toes. Despite having slept a good eight-hour spell, I was still exhausted. And don’t even get me started on the dehydration issues.

Except I didn’t run a 26-mile race. I didn’t run a half one. And I definitely didn’t complete the 10k. So what else could possibly put my body in such a state of exhaustion (sans alcohol of course)?

I planned an outdoor party for my son’s third birthday.

And then I got rained on.  Continue reading

Farmyard Birthday Plans — Egg Carton Thank You Gifts

IMG_4742Aidan’s 3rd birthday, a late June celebration, will be a very happy day for me and my family.

Our high-spirited son made us whole. He came into this world on the night of a massive thunder/lightning storm in Washington D.C. The storm knocked the power out of the city. Aidan’s name in Irish means the Celtic God of Fire. Coincidence? I think not. This kid has been a firecracker since the moment he came into this world. Continue reading

Edible Easter Baskets — Red Velvet Cupcakes & White Chocolate Cake Balls

IMG_4154A few Easters ago, my family and I were lucky enough to spend the holiday at my mother-in-law’s home in Ireland (and yes, I do say “lucky”, because yes, I do think my mother-in-law is pretty darn great).

I love the excitement this holiday brings to children. It’s also the only time of year where everyone collectively gets together to wear pastel colours. And well, that’s just pretty funny if you ask me. Continue reading

Stairway to Stencilling — My First “Practice Client”


Earlier this month I challenged myself. I took on another wall stencilling project, this time in a different home altogether.

I met Jessica through my blog. She contacted me late last year after I had posted my work on my kitchen stencil. A U.S. native herself, Jessica and her French-born husband had recently renovated their two-story home in St. Louis, France, a small town just over the border from Basel. She was looking to bring some colour into her place, particularly on their newly painted white walls. Continue reading

A Place to Write — Finding Inspiration in my Stencilled Office

IMG_3557I miss being in an office. A real, bustling office, where my colleagues run back and forth screaming out breaking news, where we challenge each other to write better and report better, and where, at the end of the day, we walk out of the building, hang up our writer’s hats, and call it a day. Continue reading

DIY Family Tree – the good, the bad, and the downright crazies


IMG_4082It’s not easy being away from your family.

Years ago when Stephen and I left Hong Kong it was because we wanted to be closer to home. Traveling 15-plus hours on a plane just to be home for the holidays was excruciating. And to even think of what would happen in case of an emergency put us in panic mode.

We didn’t always think this way. In our younger years, being away from family wasn’t very difficult because, well, we were in our 20s, a decade that should be renamed the “Selfish Decade” for all intent and purposes. This is your decade. Your time to find yourself, to think of only yourself, to discover your hopes, likes, deepest darkest desires, talents, and all the other things in this wonderful world that make us unique. I think this decade is critically important. And I don’t just say that because I had so much friggin fun in it!

This decade is what makes many of us, us. But it is also in this space that there is very little room for others. Even family. Continue reading