Friday, 29 May 2020

A Berry Delicious (and Nutritious) Reminder

A few years ago, I discovered the secret to Track and Field success! Well, to be more accurate, my grandma told me about it. I've talked about it before, but when Mom went to the grocery store this week, she brought back a ton of berries. And of course, that got me thinking about smoothies...

And that reminded me about my conversation with Grandma a few years back. 

We'd just finished a heart-to-heart, where I'd told her I was cutting out sweets, and all fats. She seemed okay with it, until I suggested (carefully) that she use less canola oil.

Whoops! My bad.

I know now that canola oil is one of the healthiest oils out there. It’s low in saturated fat and has NO trans fat or cholesterol. I know, I should have known this—my grandparents are canola farmers.

And then, Grandma told me that adding just two teaspoons of canola oil to something as simple as a breakfast smoothie can boost its vitamin E and omega-3 fat content—the stuff I need to run faster, like Superman. Grandma found a recipe from a former Olympic champion – Janet Evans – for a Berry Smoothie that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I dug it out again, and starting today, it's back to smoothies for me. 

Grandmas are so smart, aren't they?

Gotta jet! I’m slamming my smoothie and then heading out for my morning run—even if the rain is trickling down. It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. I’ve included that recipe I was talking about below. If you’re Gordon “Lightening” Smith, or any of my other competitors, close your eyes!


BERRY DELICIOUS SMOOTHIE

Ingredients
1 medium banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup green tea, cooled
1/2 cup cranberry juice,
4 ice cubes
2 teaspoons canola oil

Blend it all until it's smooth.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Weathering the weather


I don't know about you, but when I woke up this morning and looked outside, I just about crawled back into bed. It's SNOWING.

Snowing. In May.

I know, I know—it's not the first time. And in fact, Mom reminded me that one year, it snowed at the end of June. It's just that, I really need some nice weather right now. I don't mind staying safe at home—I know it's the right thing to do during this pandemic—but being stuck in the house with my sister all the time is hard sometimes.

And it's not just me that's not happy about the weather, either. I overheard Mom talking to Grandma while I was having breakfast, and this "wet snow" isn't necessarily good for farmers still trying to get their crop in the ground.

To give you some perspective, farmers need 14 weeks to grow a crop. Seeding can’t begin until all of the snow melts (we had snow in some parts of the province a couple of weeks ago) and the moisture-saturated land dries—which, if it's raining or sleeting, like it is today, makes it even more challenging.

Grandpa always says he needs to take advantage of EVERY dry day if he’s going to get his crop in—and then, we all need to hope for great growing weather to ensure the seeds have enough time to grow. We live in Alberta though, so we probably shouldn't hold our breath. (Which seems like good advice, anyway!)

A quick look at my weather app tells me it's going to be a couple of wet days—which means I probably won't be outside much. So what am I going to do with my time? Well, I'll start by going through all of the fun learning activities I wrote about last month for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Maybe there's one I want to try again.

If that doesn't keep me busy, I might bake cookies. Or read a new book—the new Hunger Games story is out! There's a cartoon I wouldn't mind binge watching...and of course, it's family movie night, so I know there will be popcorn in my near future.

What are your ideas for a rainy day?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend, whatever the weather.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 May 2020

Obeying the new rules of the road


Even though the weather these past few days has felt more like fall than spring (brrr), it is bike season—and in these times of "staying safe at home" it's one of the activities you can do by yourself, or with your entire family. (As long as you already have bikes. Dad went to buy Mom a new one for Mother's Day and they're sold out everywhere.)

I'm well versed in bike safety—these six rules are pretty standard:

  1. Before you head out, check your tire pressure, brakes, gears, lights, horns and reflective devices to make sure everything works—or ask an adult to help you with all those details.
  2. Check your helmet to make sure it still fits. Wear a helmet—with the straps done up and everything. It could save your life!
  3. Know your hand signals, and use them.
  4. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it.
  5. If you’re heading out in the early morning, or coming home at dusk, wear bright clothing.
  6. Map out your route and look for side streets or designated bike paths where possible.
You probably know all of that stuff already, but this year, there are two additional rules to consider: 
  1. Keep your distance. The six-foot / two meter rule still applies, so make sure you give others a wide birth. Avoid busy paths at busy times of the day, and use your bell to let people know you're coming so they can step out of the way to let you pass. 
  2. Keep it in the family. Now is not the time to be out riding with your friends—we're not quite there yet. I know it's hard, but the safer we are now, the sooner we can back to normal, right?

Gotta jet! Happy riding—and have a great long weekend. The weather is supposed to be great.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 May 2020

A Different Kind of Mother's Day

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and you know what that means? Great food!

Well, traditionally it does. But this year, things aren't going to be quite the same because we usually get together with my grandparents to celebrate the day—and that's not quite allowed yet with physical distancing measures still in place.

And usually Amelia and I make something for Mom in school, and Dad goes out and gets flowers for all of the "Moms" in his life. But yeah, not sure that's happening either, since Amelia and I aren't actually in school and a lot of stores are closed.

But there are some ways we can celebrate. Dad and I plan to tackle Grandma's infamous Mother's Day lunch crepes—wish us luck, they're not easy!—and tomorrow, Amelia and I are going to make hand-made Mother's Day cards and a "spa" product of some kind. In the past, we've made bath salts. Dad says this year we should try Foaming Vanilla Bath.


Pretty, right? Here's the recipe and instructions, so you can make it too:

FOAMING VANILLA BATH
(Remember to ask an adult for help!)

Stuff You Need

Blender—preferably one with a feeder tube in the top and a low-speed setting.

Measuring cups and measuring spoon.

Container(s)—these should be able to hold about 425 mL or 1 3/4 cup. You can either use one large container or several smaller ones.

Ingredients You Need

125 mL liquid hand soap 1/2 cup
15 mL  vanilla extract  1 Tbsp.
50 mL honey  1/4 cup
250 mL canola oil 1 cup

Make It!

1. Pour liquid hand soap, vanilla and honey into a blender.

2. With the lid on and the feeder tube open, turn on the blender at low speed.  Mix the first three ingredients.

3. Slowly drizzle the canola oil through the feeder tube as the blender is running. This will create a creamy blend.

4. Turn off the blender. Remove the lid and pour mixture into container(s).

Use it!

Add about 50mL (1/4 cup) to your bath. If the mixture separates, shake well before using.

Okay, time to get making! I plan to make an extra batch of Foaming Vanilla Bath and another card, so we can drop them off on Grandma's doorstep. I don't think Dad will be able to find blue roses this year (they're her favourite), but he'll find something to help make her day special.

Gotta jet!  I hope you have a great weekend celebrating with the special “moms” in your life.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 1 May 2020

The Importance of Routine


Whew! That was a busy month of blogging, right?

Don't get me wrong, I love the Blogging From A to Z Challenge—and this year's theme was fun, even with all of the educational stuff. (It's okay to admit it—you miss school. Me too!) But I can also admit, I'm happy to not be thinking about a blog every day throughout May.

The thing is, doing the challenge forced me to create a routine. The blog posts were published by 9 a.m. MST on most days (I was late once or twice), and posted on social media at specific times. I had to schedule in time to plan, research, and write each post. It was a big job, but by the end, I had a system. A routine.

Things are less structured this month—and that might be a bit of a problem.

I woke up late, even though I know the sun is out. And I lounged around in my pyjamas for an hour while watering the plants my sister and I are growing in the living room. I read a comic. Ate some cereal....and then it hit me. Today is Friday and my blog post is due.

Mom's been up working since 7 am. Dad too. Even my sister had started on her school work. But I don't even have a calendar in my bedroom—I've completely lost track of the days, and it's only the first of the month.

That stops today. First things first, I'm going to hang a calendar in my room—and if I can't find one, then I'm going to make one, or print off a template. On that calendar, I'm going to schedule things—like homework, running, blogging, writing, reading... All of the things I need to make time for. It might feel like summer vacation, but it's not.

What does your routine look like?

On that note...gotta jet! I'm already late.

See you next Friday, bright and early, for a special Mother's Day post. Yup, that's right, Mother's Day is coming fast. What ideas do you have?

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Blogging From A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zoom

Well, we're here. It's the last day of April—and the final day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. It really "zoomed" by, right? <heh>

As you probably know, my theme this year is 26 Super Fun Learning Activities You Can Do From Home. That's right, I conjured up 26 "educational" ideas to keep you busy while you're safe at home. So far, they've all been fun activities. Right? If you haven't been following along, check out the links to my past posts below.

I kicked off the challenge with Art for the letter A. Next up, B was for Baking. My sister and I did some chemistry for the letter "C," and I rounded off the first week with a family dance off. "E" was for exercise (which was way more fun than you think) and "F" was all about family. We got our hands dirty with some gardening,  celebrated Poetry Month and the letter "H" by writing haikus, and of course, "I" was for Invention. The week ended with juggling.

On the third Monday, I talked about knitting, learning a new language, and shared some fun math activities. For real! To showcase "N," I linked to a few nature activities and "O" was for Origami. (I made a shark!) To cap off that week, I shared my grandma's famous "play dough" recipe—and some ways you can create with it. Got any characters to share?

Of course, we didn't stop there! Last week started with quicksand, Tuesday we talked about reading, and Wednesday was all about science. On Thursday, I challenged you to make a COVID-19 Time Capsule with your family. How is that going? On Friday, I gave you another challenge—to build an umbrella! And we finished off the week with Virtual Field Trips.

Our final week of the challenge started Monday with—well, writing, of course! On Tuesday, we made music with xylophones and other instruments. And yesterday, I encouraged you to focus on YOU. How did you spend your day?

Ready for our final letter? Let's do this!

Z is for Zoom


Yesterday I shared that I'm missing a lot of people in my life these days—family, friends. Sure, I don't mind hanging out with my sister—she's actually a lot more fun than I thought—but there's nothing like skateboarding with Lightning, or going to the mall with Sophie.

And who knows how long it will be before we can do those things?

Mom says I need to stay strong—not just for Amelia, but for myself too. This isn't going to last forever, right?

But I do need some interaction, and so today, I'm going to talk about Zoom. Not as in car racing, though earlier this month, I shared some ideas on how to make soap box race cars. I mean the computer app that allows you to see your friends—even when you're apart.

I picked Zoom because it's a "Z" word, but you can use Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Gmail chat, and more. Just make sure that whatever app you choose, you have your parents check the security settings. You don't want random people showing up in your hangout with friends!

Tonight, I'm going to do a Zoom call with Lightning and Sophie. We're going to watch a movie at the same time—the new Disney movie, Onward!

Mom says we can use Zoom for all kinds of things. Like doing homework, taking part in an online class, playing a game, baking with Grandma, exercise, and much more. What will YOU Zoom about?

Well, this is it. The end of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. I hope you had fun following along with me this month. I'll be back Friday for my usual monthly posts, but until then...

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Blogging From A to Z Challenge: Y is for You

I can't believe—tomorrow is the final day of this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I can't believe how fast the month has zipped by!

As you probably know, my theme this year is 26 Super Fun Learning Activities You Can Do From Home. That's right, I've conjured up 26 "educational" ideas to keep you busy while you're safe at home. So far, they've all been fun activities. Right? If you haven't been following along, check out the links to my past posts below.

I kicked off the challenge with Art for the letter A. Next up was B was for Baking. My sister and I did some chemistry for the letter "C," and I rounded off the first week with a family dance off. "E" was for exercise (which was way more fun than you think) and "F" was all about family. We got our hands dirty with some gardening,  celebrated Poetry Month and the letter "H" by writing haikus, and of course, "I" was for Invention. The week ended with juggling.

On the third Monday, I talked about knitting, learning a new language, and shared some fun math activities. Honest! For "N" I linked to a few nature activities and "O" was for Origami. To cap off that week, I shared my grandma's famous "play dough" recipe—and some ways you can create with it.

Of course, we didn't stop there! Last week started with quicksand, Tuesday we talked about reading, and Wednesday was all about science. On Thursday, I challenged you to make a COVID-19 Time Capsule with your family. Any progress this weekend? On Friday, I gave you another challenge—to build an umbrella! And we finished off the week with Virtual Field Trips.

Our final week of the challenge started Monday with—well, writing, of course! And yesterday, we made music with xylophones and other instruments. How fun was that?

I'm switching things up today...

Y is for You


You? Yup...you.

Let's face it, even if you are healthy and your family is doing everything possible to make your time at home as positive as possible, these are stressful times. I'm not ashamed to admit that I miss my grandparents, I miss my friends, I miss school, and I miss being able to do all of the things I usually do in the summer—like go to festivals, hang out at the park, or even practice training for track by running around my grandparents' canola field.

So today, I've decided that for my "Y" activity, I'm going to practice self care—and so should you.

What does that mean? Well, for starters, I slept in a little. Then, I made pancakes for breakfast—which is not just my favourite, but my sister's, as well. Here's the recipe from the Canola Eat Well website that I used.

Next up, I plan to go for a run. It's not sunny where I am, but the sidewalks are ice and snow free, and since I can't run on my grandparents' farm, I need to plan out a new practice route. When I get back, I'm going to read a comic book, and work on my short story.

Then, I'm going to help my sister with some Mother's Day crafts. Usually, she does a project in school for Mom, but that's not happening this year, so I've already started Googling ideas. Here are some fun "spa" products you can make using canola oil. I've made them for Grandma before and she loves them...I bet Mom would too.

For dinner, I'm helping Dad barbecue some burgers (learning to use the barbecue is a big deal in this house), and then we're going to have a family puzzle night.

Maybe these aren't specific educational activities, but they all have benefits—especially on my mindset. It's been a long seven weeks of self isolation, and it doesn't look like things will be changing any time soon. I can handle it—we all can, especially when we know it's for the good of the whole country—but there's nothing wrong with spending a little time taking care of ourselves.

How will you spend your YOU day?

Gotta jet! I'll be back tomorrow for the final day of the Blogging From A to X Challenge—the letter "Z." I have a super fun activity to cap off the month.

~ Chase Superman Duffy