Friday, 22 March 2019

A is for...Help?

The annual Blogging from A to Z Challenge starts in just over a week and—gulp—I don't even have a theme yet!

I admit, for a brief second, I considered not doing it at all—26 blog posts in one month is a lot. But then I looked back at past themes—writing tips, things that grow, people that inspire me—and I realized not only are people reading those posts (thank you!), but I love writing them.

Plus, this year is the 10th anniversary of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Who wouldn't want to celebrate that milestone?!

So, I'm doing it. I think. Well, I mean I am doing it—but first, I need to come up with a theme. Your suggestions are very welcome. Seriously.

April is poetry month, so I could do a poem a day, but that's a lot of poetry and aside from the occasional haiku, I don't write poems...well. I could do book reviews...but I'm not sure I've read enough books in the past two years? Maybe I could talk about books I WANT to read?

What else?

Things that grow?
Famous track and field stars?
Recipes from my grandma's kitchen?

So many options! Please help me narrow it down. 

Leave a comment below, or email your suggestion to me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com. I'll send you a copy of one of the Superman Duffy graphic novels just for helping me out—plus, I'll put your name into a draw for a chance to win the whole set.

I'll reveal my theme next Friday—so you've got a week to offer up your suggestions. Are you doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge? Let me know so I can follow you.

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 March 2019

Going green this Sunday? I am.


Green for St. Patrick's Day, that is.

And you may want to consider wearing a little green on Sunday too—otherwise, there's a good chance you might get "pinched."

As you probably know, St. Patrick's Day is an Irish holiday that recognizes the patron saint of Ireland—Saint Patrick. It's celebrated across the globe...in Canada with shamrocks, leprechauns, and the colour green.

I don't have any family members that are Irish, but I've been going to school with Ryan O'Connor since Kindergarten and his family is Irish. Today in school, h'es going to share some interesting facts about Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, and why we wear the colour green to celebrate. (Just to be safe, I'm wearing green to school. No way I'm risking getting pinched!)

I can't wait for him to talk about leprechauns—I know a little something about those little guys. In the Superman Duffy graphic novel, CLOUD 9, cartoon "me" learns all about them (and climate change) because of a leprechaun named Lucky.

You haven't read that one? No problem! Just contact the Alberta Canola Producers' Commission to score your copy—free to Alberta teachers and schools.

Gotta jet! Have a great—green—weekend! (Mom is making us GREEN pancakes on Sunday morning. They're magically delicious. What are you having?)

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 March 2019

How will you acknowledge the special women in your life today?


Today is International Women’s Day and although I don’t fully understand what it’s about and why we have been acknowledging it for a very, very long time (since the 1900s!), I do understand that I’m surrounded by some pretty special women.

Like, my mom and my grandma, my two favourite women in the whole world. I spend a lot of time at Grandma’s house, usually hanging out with Grandpa or running around his canola field for track practice. But there’s nothing I love more than heading inside for one of Grandma’s special baked goodies.

If it wasn’t for Grandma, I probably wouldn’t know as much about healthy eating—with Grandpa having diabetes, she has to be careful about what she cooks. She cuts back on sweets, too. All of this is great for my training. Plus, she taught me how to make delicious smoothies!

Grandma also taught me about responsibility. I help Grandpa with the chores around the farm, and I’m pretty good at doing dishes, too. I don’t like it much, but Grandma says it’s polite and responsible to help out. I never complain—which is why sometimes she gives me a chocolate chip cookie after dinner.

Then there’s Mom. She’s awesome. I know, everyone thinks their mom is the best, but mine really is. She never forgets to pack my lunch, and sometimes leaves me little notes reminding me that she loves me. Plus, she helps me with my Math homework all of the time. I’m not great at Math. My mom is super smart. She has a great career, and her staff members say she treats them like gold. I don’t doubt it!

I think it’s amazing how Mom can work full time, take care of my sister and I, and still have time to do some of the things she loves—like exercising or hanging out with friends, or even going on “date nights” with Dad.

My teacher, Mrs. Kratky, says that my mom is an example of how much the role of women has changed in society. In the old days, women mostly stayed home, and didn’t work. They cooked and cleaned—kind of boring, if you ask me. But now there are women Prime Ministers, astronauts, and professionals working in all kinds of careers, even the trades.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Kratky says society still has a long way to go before women are treated truly equal to men.

I don’t know what’s wrong with society because in my mind, my mom and grandma are invaluable. This weekend, I’m going to make the special women in my life a great breakfast to show them how much I love them. And yes, don't worry, I'll make extra for my sister too—sure, she can be annoying, but I want her to know how special she is.

What are you going to do?

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 1 March 2019

Time to start Spring clean-eating!

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? It's also (almost) the start of my favourite season—if Jack Frost ever lets go this winter. It's the perfect time to start "cleaning" and I'm taking a first crack at my "Spring" nutrition.

I admit, I’m not the best eater when summer ends. It starts at Thanksgiving, carries over into Christmas, and by that point, my bad habits are solidified. I can't even exercise as much because I prefer training outside instead of on a treadmill. I know, it's not a great excuse. Plus, there's Superbowl in the mix, and that's always a big food event around our house.

But about this time every year, I start thinking about how I can make better choices. And if I want to beat my personal best on the track field this year, I need to start feeling up.

But where to start? Well, a new Food Guide was just released, and even though Mom says it's not exactly perfect, it's a good place to start. Especially since fruits and vegetables make up a huge part of your recommended daily nutritional intake. I can handle that, especially since I spotted Dragonfruit in the grocery store last week. It's impossible to get "local" fruit at this time of year, so why not go as exotic as possible?

Mom says we can add it to my fruit salad, which I always top with plain yogurt and a sprinkle of granola. Delicious! I have that every other day, and for the times in-between, I make smoothies with either strawberries and bananas, or raspberries and blueberries—plus a teaspoon or so of canola oil. No, seriously. Not sure how to do that? Here's a great recipe.

The truth is, if you fill your belly with good foods—healthy stuff like fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains—you're eating a lot. And then you won't be as hungry for that bag of chips or that Kit Kat.

I've packed a healthy lunch for school today and I can't think of a better way to kick of National Nutrition Month. Can you?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend—and eat good foods!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 22 February 2019

The "dark" side of fairy tales

The famous Grimm brothers
Once upon a time there was a monster that...

It’s no secret I like stories that are kind of spooky—one of my favourite authors is R.L. Stine, who writes the Fear Street and Goosebumps series. So when my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Kratky, told us to research fairy tales for Tell a Fairy Tale Day (February 26!) I was surprised—and excited—to learn that most classic fairy tales have a “dark side.”

I know what you’re thinking—every fairy tale ends with a happily-ever-after, right? Actually, in the beginning, they didn’t. Early fairy tales—like Snow White, Cinderella, etc.—weren’t even written for kids! Especially the stories written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the famous Grimm brothers.

Take Snow White, for instance. In the Grimm version of the tale, Snow White’s mother was the “wicked” one, and it wasn’t just her heart she wanted—it was her lungs and liver, too! Not quite the Disney version I’ve watched with my sister, Amelia over and over again. <groan>

It's probably not surprising then that the Grimm brothers were criticized for writing stories that even I, for one, would never read to my little sister. After all, no one wants a bedtime story that gives them nightmares…

Well, except me, maybe. <grin>

We're working on fairy tales in class today, and our stories are due on February 26, of course. Want to join in? Here is a great link that shows the basics of how to write a fairy tale. Hey! You should send me yours. I'd love to read them—and maybe publish them on my blog.

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 February 2019

Spend the day baking—for your pet!

I don’t have a dog.

I want a dog, but pets don’t really fit into our lifestyle.

My sister and I are involved in a lot of activities, and my parents are both working professionals, which mean we’re not always around to take care of a dog.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself so I don’t have to think about not having a dog.

BUT, International Dog Biscuit Day is coming up (Feb 23) and I’ve decided to make treats for some of my favourite dogs—like, my friend Sophie’s poodle. She’s really cute. The poodle, I mean…

And what better way to spend another frosty weekend. (Is it Spring yet?)

I bet you didn’t know how easy dog biscuits can be to make, did you? Well, I thought I’d share the recipe from my Grandma’s family cookbook so that you can make treats for all of the dogs in your life, too!

What you need:

2 cups              whole wheat flour                        500 mL
½ cup               wheat germ                                 125 mL
¼ cup               skim milk powder                       50 mL
                         pinch of salt
½ cup               no-salt chicken stock or water    125 mL
¼ cup               canola oil                                     50 mL
1 Tbsp              molasses or honey                      15 mL
1                       egg                                              1

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a large bowl, measure and combine the flour, wheat germ, skim milk powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together stock or water, canola oil, molasses or honey, and egg.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
  5. Spread a small amount of flour on a clean counter.
  6. urn dough onto the floured surface. Knead the dough a couple of times.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough ¼- ½ inch (0.5-1 cm) thick.
  8. Cut the dough into bone shapes with a cookie cutter or knife.
  9. Transfer cookie shapes to an ungreased cookie sheet.
  10. Using a fork, prick each cookie several times.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies, until pale golden and firm.
  12. Turn the oven off, but leave the “bones” inside for a few hours to harden as they cool.
  13. Store in a tightly-sealed container.


Easy right?

I can’t wait to take over a batch for Sophie’s dog. Gotta jet! Stay safe and warm this weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 February 2019

Is Jack Frost nipping at your toes?

Yikes! The weather this week was horrible where I live—steady days of -32C or more—and in some parts of the province, it was almost -50C with the windchill. That's cold. Extreme cold. Like, stay-outside-for-more-than-a-few-minutes-and-get-frostbite cold.

And this cold isn't supposed to let up—not for another few days, at least.

I should expect it. I've lived in Alberta my whole life and the weather has always been a little bit unpredictable. But have you noticed that it's become a little more....unusual? It wasn't even a month ago that I was running outside in a T-shirt—a T-shirt! In January!—and this week, Mom won't let me and my sister go anywhere without a parka, wool mittens, and a face mask. We look like abominable snow people!

But even though Alberta is cold at this time of year, the weather isn't quite as predictable as it used to be.

We’re learning about climate change in science class right now—which is pretty much defined as a significant change in the weather for a long period of time. It can cause…chaos. Like, flooding, drought, melting snow and ice, extreme heat, and really crazy storms. Maybe that doesn’t sound scary to you, but for some people, farmers like my Grandpa for example, climate change can have an impact on, well, everything.

The thing is, you can’t control the weather. So, I asked my Grandpa—how do farmers cope with climate change? You know what he said?

Well, to find out, check out one of my favourite books in the Superman Duffy comic series, CLOUD 9 —it’s ALL about the effects of climate change. You can order it here.

Gotta Jet! Stay warm and toasty this weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy