Freedom

 

Day 2 of going tech free has not been easy. Cal came home sick and within three minutes of being home started crying that he didn’t know how to be sick without his ipad. Fair enough. Anytime he is ill he spends all day in front of a screen. As I am writing this he is bawling and telling me how mean I am because I won’t let him watch a rainbow loom tutorial on YouTube. Clearly he isn’t taking his punishment well.

At 4 Chris and I went for a walk before starting dinner because there was nothing else to do. The house was clean, I had finished all the work I needed to do and the kids were happy laying in bed reading. It feels like we have pressed the reset button on our family.

It still feels weird to lay in bed and read. Even Chris read  tonight. That never ever happens. Cal was actually asleep before ten. Either the lack of screen time is doing him some good or he still isn’t feeling well. We shall see.

I’m starting to realize just how much I relied on the TV for entertainment, to alleviate boredom, or to just be back ground noise. It is so quiet all the time. It’s kind of nice.

Day 3

It is 10:30 am and Sofie still hasn’t turned on her phone. I’m not even sure at this point that she remembers she has a phone. The kids are in bed playing with their rainbow looms and giggling away. Earlier this morning they were snuggling in bed reading and drawing together. So far there have been zero requests for ipads.

I made the kids go for a walk with me tonight. They played a spelling game the whole time. I must be in the twilight zone.

Day 4

At exactly 8:01 last night Callum called me upstairs to put him to bed. Ummmmm what the heck is going on??? He actually stayed in bed all night too! Sofie on the other hand seems more alert than ever.

I seriously can not believe the personality change in Callum. He seems happier and more content. I am really enjoying it. Sof and Cal spent the day playing with their looms again. I didn’t hear anything about ipads.

I’ve decided I need to walk more. I’m going to start walking to showings if they are in the neighbourhood. I usually walk in the summer but never in the winter. The cold and I are mortal enemies. No one likes a realtor that shows up looking like a mess because of the wind but it’s good for my health and good for the environment so it’s what’s going to happen.

Day 5

Cal and I went for a nice long hike this morning. He wants to be a tour guide so he was practicing his skills. On our way back we stopped off at my parents. Up until this point I had been unaware of what was going on in the world. I had zero stress. A nuclear attack could be imminent and I would have no clue. Ahhhh ignorance really is bliss. My parents gave me the low down on what has been going on in the States. It makes me feel sick. When will they realize that demonizing an entire sect of people doesn’t counter act terrorism. It turns you into the terrorist. In the evening I heard there was a shooting at a Mosque in Quebec. Come on Canada! We are better than that!

I am so sad for everyone that is being hurt by all this chaos and hatred. No one should live in fear of being hurt or denied basic human rights because of their religion. It is 12:45 and I can’t sleep. I have lived in a bubble for days and now it has burst. To everyone affected by these policies and hate crimes my heart goes out to you.

 

My Addiction

My name is Sarah and I am addicted to technology.

It all started out so innocently

I traded in my Blackberry for an IPhone and suddenly a whole new world opened up. I no longer needed my computer or an Ipad or even the tv.

We constantly tell our kids to get off their Ipads or stop watching tv and to go outside and play while sitting on the couch staring at our phones barely making eye contact. The lack of eye contact on our part is probably for the best since our twelve year old gives a mean death glare that I want no part of.

Of course the kids called us on our hypocrisy, but we always said we needed our phones or computers for work purposes. I would say this of course while hiding the screen from them because I was playing Candy Crush.

Last week Callum got caught with my old IPhone at school. It doesn’t have any service but he can still play games on it or surf the web if he has wifi. He snuck it into his back pack and was playing with it while in class. It occurred to me then that he has an addiction. The thought has donned on me before. When we go to gymnastics which is maybe a two minute drive up the street and he throws a fit when I say no to him bringing his Ipad I have definitely thought “wow this kid has problems with technology!” But when you start sneaking it even though you know it’s wrong it is time to take action.

We cut Callum off all technology for a week. He was not at all pleased. No computer, no Ipad, Ipod or IPhone and tv is limited to an hour a day. After I had handed down his punishment I went back to simultaneously watching tv while looking at random people’s pictures on Instagram. That’s when it hit me. I am addicted too.

I’m also having problems with my vision. My eyes hurt all the time and it is getting harder to read things without the words being blurry. I suspect it is from staring at a screen so much.

Full disclosure…This addiction is hurting my marriage. We spend so much time engrossed in whatever is on our screens that we forget to pay attention to each other. At night we lay in bed on our phones either scrolling through social media or texting other people and we can go for an hour or more without saying a single thing to each other. Well maybe Chris talks but I’m distracted and so I don’t respond. We will binge watch old Law and Order episodes which means we can go for hours without speaking. It’s not good. We go out to dinner and our phones are on the table because what if a client calls me or a store needs to get a hold of Chris. It doesn’t occur to us that life will continue if we miss a call or don’t send an email response immediately.

The first thing I do in the morning is reach for my phone and check emails, Facebook and twitter. From there I go downstairs and turn on the Today show so I can listen to the news while I make lunches and have breakfast. The tv stays on most of the day if I am home because I like the noise. I can also spend hours lost on Instagram or reading through tweets about Donald Trump.

I made the decision Tuesday that we are all going tech free for two weeks. I got some angry looks when I brought this up but tough luck kiddos.

Yesterday was the first day since I joined Facebook that I didn’t look at it. I didn’t go on Twitter and I didn’t watch tv.  My day was blissfully stress free. I didn’t read any articles that got my blood boiling. I didn’t see anything on Instagram or Facebook that made me feel like my life sucked or that I wasn’t beautiful. No online shopping for stuff I really don’t need and just want. I sat in silence and read a magazine while having my lunch. Usually I watch tv on the couch while I eat. While I cooked I listened to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Before bed I read a book. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t fall asleep with the tv on. It was the most peaceful I have felt in a really long time.

I am still using my phone for communication purposes and of course my computer for work and to check emails. Day two has been going well so far. I still have the compulsion to press on the icons and scroll through social media. I have to remind myself that I’m going cold turkey on this. There is more to my life than what is going on in other people’s lives.

The kids are handling it well for now. Callum actually went to bed okay last night which almost never happens. Maybe it is because his little brain wasn’t overly stimulated.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how our tech free journey pans out. Yes the kids will still be using it at school, that is something that I can not stop, but at home they will for sure be tech free. I plan on keeping a journal of how I feel and how the kids manage for the next two weeks which I will share on the blog.

Wish us luck!

 

Birthday Boy Cinnamon Buns

 

Wow! I can not believe it has been almost a year since my last post!

I keep meaning to sit down and write but sometimes I can’t find a spare minute in the day or some days I just have nothing to say.

2016 was a very interesting year and I don’t just mean in politics. Personally I had some really great times and some very low lows. Some of you may know that my little man Callum was very sick over the summer. It started out as a kidney infection that landed him in the hospital. The infection went rogue and turned septic. I can honestly say that experience was one of the worst of my life. I felt helpless and scared. I was watching my baby boy slipping away and there wasn’t a thing I could do to fix it. Miraculously the amazing doctors he had managed to find the right kind of antibiotics for him and now he is totally fine.

Callum bounced back quickly but it took me months before I could get over how close we came to losing him. Even writing this post is bringing tears to my eyes because it is so difficult to think about. January 8 was his eighth birthday and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I was that we got to celebrate it with him. Even though he is totally fine I am still so scared. Some days I feel like a crazy person because he gets a stomach ache and I feel like I have to watch him like a hawk and baby him because what if he gets sick again. The mommy guilt of not knowing he was so sick initially lives on and I think it will for a while.

Needless to say he was totally spoiled for his birthday. Like I said I was just so happy he was around to celebrate it that I would have found a way to have given him the moon if he had asked for it.

The kids always get a special birthday breakfast. This year Cal asked for Cinnamon buns. Usually I would just run out to the grocery store and buy a pack but this year I wanted to make them myself. As I get older I find I can’t tolerate store bought things the way I used to .  Everything is either too sweet or it tastes like chemicals. This recipe is fantastic and I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make them. Just 50 minutes from start to finish.

Quick Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients for Dough

2 and 1/2 – 3/4 cups all-purpose flour ( Depending on the humidity of your house you may need less flour. My house is dry as a bone so I only used 2 1/2 cups. In the summer I would have to use more)

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package instant yeast

½ cup water

¼ cup milk

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg

Filling

¼ cup   softened but not melted unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 Tablespoons milk or coffee

Instructions

 In a  mixing bowl, mix the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together. Set aside. In a small microwavable bowl, heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted about 45 seconds. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and knead using your stand mixer stand mixer for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky. If kneading by hand sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and turn off after 10 minutes

After the dough has rested for 5 minutes, roll it out in a 15×9 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly and cut into 9 even pieces. Place in a lightly greased square pan. I used parchment as well just to keep the pan clean. Lightly cover with plastic wrap.

 

Make sure the oven is off and place the cinnamon buns (with the plastic wrap on)in the oven to rise for 20 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and turn on the oven to 375F. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before topping with the glaze.

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There are two ways to make a glaze. The first is super simple. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and 2 Tablespoons milk together until smooth and lump free and pour it on to the rolls. The second way is a bit more time consuming but delish especially if you are a fan on Cinnabon. You will need:

1/2 Cup salted butter
8oz Cream cheese
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 Cup milk
4 1/2 Cup Powdered sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla, milk and powdered sugar. Cover your mixer with a tea towel so the sugar doesn’t make a mess of your kitchen. Mix for a few minutes until smooth. Spread onto warm rolls.

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I hope every one enjoys these as much as my family and I did. They are easy enough to make on a weekday and I have no doubt that they will be requested often!