“I like tea…at the most with fruit essence, but not fruit sweetened!”

~Betsy Larson

I love tea.

Growing up we always had a jug of iced tea in the fridge and as legend would have it, I drank it straight out of my bottle.

Incidentally, at my bridal shower, my dog Buttercup gifted me with an iced tea maker…what a thoughtful dog.

I love tea and our fridge is always stocked with UNSWEETENED iced tea…I repeat UNSWEETENED! Behold no less than four containers of tea in the fridge at all times.

Parker loves tea as do our kids. Occasionally, they request an Arnold Palmer (i.e., tea with a splash of lemonade), but for the most part, it’s 100% lovely, unsweetened tea.

One of the many things I loved about California was the access to patios where one could brunch, lunch and sip bottomless iced tea. Freshly brewed tea was the standard bevvy and no one questioned your motives for requesting a straight up tea, without sweetener.

Since moving to Halifax I have noticed a few things…

1) It’s rare to find unsweetened iced tea at a restaurant.

2) Iced Tea = out of a can or soda fountain

3) Iced Tea is almost always sweetened

4) If unsweetened tea is an option, it’s always overpriced and refills aren’t free.

5) Canadian Starbucks doesn’t understand

In taking a closer look at number five, 75% of the time Starbucks messes up my tea, especially when I order unsweetened Tazo Passion Tea. This conversation happens almost every time:

Me: I would like a Venti, Passion Iced Tea, unsweetened, no lemonade

Starbucks: Really? No sweetener?!?

Me: Yes, no sweetener.

Starbucks: You want the lemonade though, right?

Me: No lemonade.

Starbucks: Okay.

One of three things then happens:

1) Starbucks ignores my directions and makes the tea with multiple pumps of sugar.

2) Starbucks makes it a Passion Iced Tea Lemonade.

3) Starbucks malfunctions, doesn’t know what to do, and makes a water downed iced tea.

Ultimately, when the person before me requests a “soy latte with two shots of espresso and one packet of stevia” and the barista barely bats an eye lash, I start to wonder if there is a coffee bias in the world.

If you’re wondering, I am not that jerk person that returns my tea. I take a sip, acknowledge its shortcomings, maybe joke about it with my kids and move on. I realize that having an iced beverage, sipped through a straw which I ordered on demand, is a luxury and one I am happy to have.

Subsequently, it’s Mother’s Day and in addition to doing absolutely nothing, I plan on visiting Starbucks, alone, sip my tea (hopefully unsweetened) and enjoy a few quiet moments to myself.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Spring has sprung

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”

~Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Facebook memories have a way of making you feel happy and sad all in one moment…like a welcome, kick in the gut.

Take this photo memory from the other day:

Two years ago, we found out we were having a girl, our Ellinor. Now our baby is 18 months old, climbing on tables and foraging for snacks.

In these Facebook memories, I’m reminded how quickly time passes and also how we once lived in a place where a sun kissed glow and smooth tanned skin were a year round thing.

Presently, we are all translucent.

Despite our pastiness, I am grateful for temps in the 50 degree range. I am back to multiple walks a day and the kids are spending all day after school playing outside.

Spring is here, which is evident in the tulips, sprouting from the once frozen soil.

Unlike last year, we won’t be starting our vegetable garden from seeds. We have plans to renovate the backyard and a month long trip to Minnesota, which hampers some of our planting. At a minimum, we will plant seedlings of tomatoes, squash, kale (I love kale…hate away haters), cucumber, peas and continue to nurse our rhubarb plant and raspberry bushes.

I have summertime goals, that is if I can keep Honey from digging up the grass, garden and plants.

Family Time

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

~Mark Twain

We just spent ten, fun filled days with my in-laws Ward and Wendy. Although the weather wasn’t the best (Nova Scotia springs are quite wet), we managed to spend some quality time together, which was much needed.

Rainy days meant puzzle time and considering Ellinor and Honey, all of our puzzles are missing at least one piece…not very satisfying.

Soren discovered his love for dominos and playing Chicken Foot.

Papa Ward was able to watch Soren play hockey, which made him very proud.

Ward and Wendy also got a tour of the shipyard and we visited the maritime museum.

Ahoy! We are a proud maritime family.

Knowing most things were closed on Good Friday, we still headed out to Lunenburg, determined to see the sights, eat lobster rolls and seafood chowder.

Our time together culminated with egg dying and Easter festivities.

Honey…don’t take my egg!!!!

No more lost eggs now that we have a dog. Honey was skilled at egg hunting, ultimately finding the last and almost forgotten egg.

It’s right there dummies.

We even got a picture of Ward and Wendy with the kids before Ellinor decided to run off and play.

The weather finally cooperated, which meant the kids spent most of the day playing outside, lounging on the deck and enjoying their last full day with Papa and Mema.

I took a coat-free walk with Honey and glimpsed a small sign of spring. A bit of hope as we begin a very rainy week.

Happy Easter!

Spring confusion




Tomorrow’s forecast? Rain. All. Day. At least it’s not snow.

Thankfully we have visitors en route to Halifax as Ward and Wendy are traveling from sunny Florida.

It’s been over four months since we have seen family so to say we are excited, especially the kids, is an understatement.


“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”

~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #6)

I hear you Anne…Saturday we woke up to snow falling and Monday’s forecast calls for six inches of snow. Spring has sprung!

In between the colder temps and flurries, I have been capitalizing on the warmer days and taking frequent walks. Ellinor loves it as well, but not so much her mittens.

We would walk much faster if this didn’t happen every ten feet. Again, looking forward to consistently warmer temps so I can put these pesky mittens, along with all the other winter gear, away for the season.

With spring, a whole new world has opened up for our Princess Pacifica Honeycrisp. Once a winter shut-in, Honey is now obsessed with playing outside, barking at everything and refusing to come into the house. Time for some obedience training!

Star student ⭐️

Princess of the castle and protector of the cul-de-sac.

Emotions and More Emotions

“I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away.”

~Abraham Maslow

This morning at breakfast Soren was listing things daddy does well. When it was my turn, he adoringly looked up and said, “Mommy is good at going to Costco and taking care of Ellinor.”

We all had a good laugh, but I will admit I felt a tad deflated. Costco?!? I have a masters degree!

Parker stepped in (teachable moment) and did his best to remind everyone of my professional accomplishments, other than bulk shopping, and that mom is the one who put her career on hold to run the family. ❤️❤️

Despite Soren’s response, he has always been my champion. He is the first one to remind everyone that “mommy does everything” and “mommy is the best ever.” Soren has watched me teach, spent countless hours in my classroom, but in his little world, I am mom, which is wonderful.

Being a stay at home mom is, at times, a thankless and monotonous job, but I count myself lucky having had this opportunity with all my children. I wouldn’t change it for anything. With that being said, I do miss my professional life.  It’s the struggle most mothers feel; the desire to live for our children, but also craving a life outside of motherhood. Finding balance with four kids can be tough.

With all our kids, I waited on work until they were at least two and starting preschool.  This felt like a good transition and at the same time eased my ‘mom guilt.’  Crazily enough, Ellinor will reach this marker in the fall, which has me contemplating the next phase of life.

This is where I am at:

Logo final img and text

The Extra School Mom

Here you can see how this all came about…

Lately, I have mastered the art of feeling.  I am ready to start doing.






“I want to know what love is…”


Over the past couple days, the weather has improved and temperatures have warmed up. It’s amazing how wonderful 40 degrees feels in the spring compared to the fall.

Canadian spring.

Even Ellinor busted out her light jacket.

I managed some long walks this week and it felt exhilarating. This, coupled with two ballet classes last weekend and I am much more centered. I hope to continue this trend because warm weather and moving makes me happier.

I’m also not naive to the unpredictability of spring. I absolutely expect a snow storm in April and a frost in June. My expectations are managed.

Thankfully, we are one day away from spring break and although we aren’t going anywhere warm, it will be nice to have lazy mornings and a break from making school lunches.

Oh, and Sophie gets to sing with Foreigner on Sunday. No big deal. It’s funny because ever since she was in kindergarten, Sophie has been terrible about relaying information from school. When she mentioned singing at this concert, her description felt more like Foreigner cover band in a local bar versus the real deal. I didn’t think much of it. I was more concerned about logistics. The “when” and “where” for drop off and pick up…

Then I saw the permission slip.

I may have gasped.

The teachers are chaperoning…boo! They deserve it though. I didn’t want to miss out so I went online and scored some sweet tickets (Foreigner in Halifax is a cheap night). On Sunday, I will be right up front, singing and dancing, downing a beer or three while videotaping my child’s rock and roll moment.