The Reality of Parenting Conversations

Before I became a father I had many delusional dreams of having intellectual conversations with my children. I thought about the conversations we would have about local and global issues.


I also thought about wandering along the shoreline with my children and watching the microcosm of life in tide pools. Or going for drives through the countryside and noticing the changes of the seasons.

Delusional. Truly delusional.


The reality of parenting is that I find myself having the same three “conversations” basically with myself time and time again.

The first “conversation” goes something like this –

“Why are all the lights on when nobody is in here?”

The second “conversation” I find myself having –

“Why is the furnace set at ‘incinerate’ when all the windows are open upstairs AND the door is open? And has anyone seen the cat? Don’t you know that heat rises? All the heat os going right out the windows upstairs! Is anybody listening?! Anybody?”

And the third “conversation” I find myself having,

“What do you mean there’s five loads of laundry? Yesterday we washed every piece of clothing you own!”*

Of course a conversation isn’t just one person asking questions. A conversation typically involves an exchange of ideas. The other half of the conversation is usually a shout of “Oh, sorry!” from some distant and unknown part of the house.

Ah…parenting. The glamour of it all.

*I have to admit that I no longer do any laundry in our home. It is my silent protest against the practice of children picking up a piece of clothing to look at it and rather than re-fold it and put it back in the closet they toss it in the laundry hamper. Doesn’t mean I am not horrified by the piles of “laundry” that build up around the house in seemingly random places.

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The Least Favourite Holiday Treats

I posted this picture on my A Dad in the Burbs Facebook Page with the question, “what holiday treat do you detest?”


I was quite surprised at the response! People don’t like so many of the traditional Christmas treats! As you can probably tell from my picture, I can’t stand Turtles. I just don’t like anything with toffee – I can’t stand the way it gets stuck in my teeth.

Feel free to comment below with the holiday treats you dislike or visit my Facebook page to get in the conversation.

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No Knead Bread – Super Simple Recipe

I have been making bread at home every other day and I am really quite enjoying the experience – as well as eating the bread!

I make a super simple bread that requires VERY little effort.

no knead bread

All I do is scoop 3 cups of flour, a half cup of rolled oats, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast into my cast iron Dutch oven. And then stir/whisk it together with a fork.

no knead bread

Then I add 3/4 of a cup of room temperature water, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and and 6 tablespoons of beer. Yep, a little apple cider vinegar and a little beer. And if I do not have a beer in the fridge, I just make up the difference with water.

Mix the wet and the dry together until it is a wet ball of dough that sticks more to itself than to my hands, and then I let it sit. Overnight. Or overnight and all the next day. Whenever I get a chance, I bake it. If I do leave it over night, in the morning I will push the dough back into a ball shape and then leave it to sit for another stretch.

no knead bread

When I am ready to bake the bread, I knead it for 10-15 seconds, just enough to roughly form it into the shape I want. Onto a piece of parchment paper, and then into the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. In the cast iron Dutch oven – with the lid on. And then, I remove the lid and let it bake for another 25 minutes.

no knead bread

I usually take my Fusion Classic chef’s knife and score the top of the dough along the length of the loaf and I will smear a little butter along the top. If I am feeling it, I will sprinkle oregano or a little coarse salt on top before baking.

no knead bread

That’s it. My super simple way of making bread.

The ingredients: 

  • 3 cups flour (I typically use white flour – I prefer the texture of the bread when using white flour)
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats (I use what I have – rolled oats or quick oats)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of yeast
  • 3/4 cup of room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons of beer (optional – leave out the beer and use a bit more water – if you like)

Optional is the butter, herbs, and coarse salt to go on top before baking. That’s it.

Home made bread with virtually no effort. And baking it makes the house all warm feeling and the smell of baking bread – amazing! Let me know how it turns out if you try it.



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“MINE” at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

How cool is this show scheduled to be at the Shadbolt Centre November 14th to 17th? A Theatre Replacement show called MINE – a digital exploration of mothers and sons through the lens of Minecraft*.

*MINE is not an official Minecraft product, nor is it affiliated with Mojang.

Using the computer construction game Minecraft as a kind of theatre, a group of gamer/performers between the ages of 10 and 45 enact different narratives, live, in front of an audience of roughly the same age.

In a rocky and mountainous landscape, they tell the story of Grendel’s mother’s brutal act of revenge from the Beowulf saga. They travel to a clearing in the woods to reveal the brief but powerful lessons that Bambi’s mother taught him, before that horrible day in the meadow.

Somewhere in a nearby city, a cyborg assassin travels back from the year 2029 to 1984 to destroy a woman named Sarah Connor and her son John Connor, who hasn’t been born yet, but who will one day save the human race from machines.

As the performance unfolds, personal stories begin to emerge from the landscape and weave themselves into the narratives: Grendel becomes a tweenage kid who just wants to stay in his room and play videogames, Bambi’s mother’s instinct to protect her son becomes a metaphor for a failed family trip to the Grand Canyon; The Terminator story evolves to reveal all the misplaced prophecies a mother places on her son — it’s a lot of pressure, and Mom worries way too much.

More stories intermingle and mash up; of hyper-strength and fatal forgetfulness; of galactic love and fear. Of regret and shame. Of a most powerful bond. MINE opens us up to expansive and strange new territories in a performance that both interrogates and recognizes the role technology plays in our modern parent-child relationships.

MINE is created and performed by Maiko Yamamoto and her son Hokuto MacDuff, Conor Wylie, Remy Siu (Hong Kong Exile) and a group of 4 local gamer/performers between the ages of 10 and 14. Dramaturgy by Carmen Aguirre and design by Leah Weinstein. 

MINE will be playing at the Shadbolt Centre at 8pm on November 14th to 17th. Tickets range in price from $15 to $36 and are available at the box office (604-205-3000) as well as available online


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Woodworking Project Part 2

My woodworking project continues. My latest step was to take my block of wood and find a way to get it “stable on the table” so that I could run it through the bandsaw.


Once I had a flat enough surface (I trimmed it with an axe to flatten out the one side) I began to run it through the bandsaw.


I have to admit, I am quite excited about the woodworking possibilities that these little boards present.


What will I make with these little boards? Only time will tell!

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Traveling the Fraser Canyon

This past weekend we traveled up – and back down – the Fraser Canyon and it was such an extraordinarily beautiful fall day that we chose to photograph as many of the moments as we could. When we got home we turned the photos into this video.

We hope you enjoy our little video – keep it in mind that our video is all done by a kid with an iPhone.

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Another Woodworking Project Begins

The beginnings of another woodworking project.

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Stuffed Peppers with Campbell’s Soup

Yesterday after school the kids and I saw a video of “how to make stuffed peppers” on the Facebook and we decided to try making them in our test kitchen. stuffed peppersThey turned out pretty good – but not perfect. But…we’ll get to that.

.stuffed peppersWe started out by prepping the peppers – we cut the tops off and then shaved a very thin slice off the bottom so that they would sit flat in the pan and then I put them into the oven for about 15 minutes to soften them up a bit.

stuffed peppers

Then we started cooking the grass fed lean ground beef I picked up from Josh at Farm Town Meats in Burnaby.

And then I made my mistake – the same mistake I make over and over again! I added the spice. Too much. What is wrong with me?!

The recipe says a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and I added a half … by mistake … but still. The pepper overpowered everything else. Ugh. And, the kids didn’t like them – and I can’t blame them. Tonight I will re-work the leftovers into a more creamy-tomato chilli that we can have with a bowl of rice.

stuffed peppers

We added the diced onions and the diced up bits of pepper (that we got from the tops and the thin slice off the bottom) and let that cook until the onions were soft – just a few minutes over a medium-high heat.

stuffed peppers

Then I added in a can of Campbell’s roasted red pepper and tomato condensed soup – I bought the soup from our local grocery store – Campbell’s is not sponsoring this post.

stuffed peppers

Stir, mix, let it cook and thicken up.

stuffed peppers

Add in the fresh diced tomatoes and the cup of macaroni I had previously cooked, and let it cook some more to combine the flavours.

stuffed peppers

Then I very carefully scooped the chilli into each of the peppers that I had standing in the Dutch oven before I adding some shredded cheese.

stuffed peppers

Then cover with tin foil and into the pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

stuffed peppers

And then we served them.

stuffed peppers

Like I said, they looked good, they cooked perfectly, but … the cayenne pepper overpowered everything else. Double ugh. I will have to have a do-over. And leave the spices out of it!

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Let’s Break Bread

What a couple of weeks of chaos!

I’ve had no time to write a single thing. Ugh. So here’s a random pic of a loaf of French bread I baked while I was away at the cabin.

It was a good loaf of bread.

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Butter Chicken with House of Knives

Last weekend I had a few quiet moments at home so I took the opportunity to test out the chef’s knife and vegetable peeler that the folks from House of Knives gave me – yes, this is a sponsored post because the knives were given to me by HOK.

I decided to try making Butter Chicken. As it turned out, it was FAR too spicy so I went back after the video and doubled the ingredients (other than spice!) to “dilute” the flavours. That worked perfectly.

The “recipe” is so simple. Diced up chicken, a can of condensed tomato soup, a can of milk, curry (butter chicken) spice, diced onion and carrot. Add in garlic and ginger as you like. This is a very simple way to make Butter Chicken.

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