Over the next few days I will be sharing with you some of the stand out vendors and experiences from Sunday's Great Canadian Cheese Festival. No vendors stood out more to me than the "Mad Mexicans". This vendor stood out for two very different ways, first their amazing product, and second because I had a light bulb moment after speaking to them.
Christopher and Grace LOVE salsa and nacho chips. There is not too much of a better snack to give the pair of them. As we came up to the "Mad Mexican" booth, both of their eyes lit right up, and I had to jog to keep up with them. It was a father / daughter mission. As we approached (or as I should say, as I caught up) I was impressed by their selection. I was further impressed with the pride that beamed out of their faces. It was not pompous pride that you sometimes see in people (you know those people they work so hard to convince you that they are the best), no it was a humble pride (I don't need to toot my own horn, my product does it by itself). These are people who make an amazing product and are proud to share it with you, I like that. After speaking to them, we discovered that Jose is from Mexico. Their products are made according to Mexican tradition, in other words they are authentic. You could taste the quality ingredients in their dips and in their chips.
Jose Hadad not only works with his partner, Dianne Lee making The Mad Mexican, he is also owner and chef at Frida Restaurant in Toronto. Their products are Fresh, All natural, Preservative Free, Handmade, and Gluten Free! In other words, they make them in the way that way that I would make them for my family (if I could cook Mexican). In our home I try to make everything from scratch (I make my own salad dressings and ice-cream). It's important to me to know that I can pronounce the ingredients that I feed to my growing children. So far the Mad Mexican is two for two in my books. They are exceptionally friendly and nice, and they produce a quality product, to me it does not get any better than that! They also carry a great selection, Chunky Guacamole, Morita Salsa (Salsa Roja), Two-way Jalapeno Bean Dip, Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa. Their nacho chips are all made by hand using no fillers, no artificial colours and are lightly coated in sea salt.
|Look at the beautiful tiny chopped pieces of real tomato, onion, |
jalapeno peppers, the colander. Those are "real" ingredients.
So now for my light bulb moment. While Christopher was standing taking to Jose and Dianne, Dianne looked at Christopher's media badge that said his name and "themiddleagedwomanwholivedinashoe.blogspot.com", she had to know what that was about. When he told her about the blog, she laughed and laughed because we call our little house "the shoe". She then asked me how I did it. I appreciated the way that she asked it. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and instantly liked them? As soon as I began to speak to Dianne, I instantly liked her. I could envision us drinking coffee and having a good laugh. Most times when people see that I have four kids, they make a snarky remark "are they all yours?" (said in the way that you might say to someone who raises rats), or the ultra hilarious "Do you guys even own a t.v.?"(to this one they think that they are hilarious, me ... not so much.) When Dianne "How do you do it?" it was with a tone of respect. I did not have these kids accidentally, they were all planned (well the twins not so much, because how do you plan for twins). They were all very much wanted, and are all very much loved. We provide everything for them that they could need.
I sometimes wonder if "Woman's Lib" really accomplished what it set out to. Wasn't the goal to allow women the right to choose what was right for them? Today's woman has so much pressure on her shoulders. You are pressured to be in the work force, but made to feel guilty if you are and have kids. You are selfish if you choose not to have children, but inconsiderate if you have more than two. If you are a stay at home mom, you are looked down on. I have had countless well meaning friends asking when I was going to go back to work. News flash, being a stay at home mother is work, I just don't get paid! My point on this, is not to complain, but to make a point. As women, we need to be nicer to each other, more understanding. So often as women we react to questions or situations in a self defensive way. If we see someone doing a really great job as a stay at home mom, instead of saying "good for her", we say "Well that must be nice to sit around all day, while I work my butt off, and pay someone to look after my baby." What you are really saying is that " I wish that I could make that choice", or "I wish that was something that I desired". The opposite is also true of stay at home moms who see their counterparts wearing stylish clean clothes, wearing make up, going on fancy vacations. Instead of being happy for them and their decision, we say "must be nice to pay someone else to raise your kids!" As women we need to support each other, not attack each other. We need to share our wisdom in a kind way, not a preachy way or deceptive way.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because of something that Dianne asked me, and because I really liked her. She asked "how I put the kids to bed?" I realized when I got home I did not tell her, so if you're reading this Dianne, this is what has worked for us....
Let me first begin by saying I have been a professional MOM for the last 17 years. You would think with this many years under my belt, and this many children I would have all of the answers. It is only really in the last 8 years that I would say I was good at my job. Here is my wisdom to impart. I think that every parent knows their own truth. When you ask someone for their opinion you are looking for validation usually, not their opinion. You know what your values are, you know how you want to raise your kids. The other thing that is true for me is, don't trust the so called "experts". The "experts" come around toting their fads every five minutes. Because they call themselves "experts", doesn't mean that they are. To me an "expert at parenting" is a parent who has raised happy, well adjusted children into adulthood. For me what I want for my children when they leave me is to be comfortable in their own skins. I want them to wear my love like an invisible sweater. When times get tough, and they will because that's how we grow, I want them to use my love and know that it will all be alright in the end. I want my children not to necessarily find wealth, but to find happiness. I want them to find a partner who will love them for them, worts and all. The most difficult part of my theory on parenting is that I won't know if it's right for 10 - 16 more years. All I can do is love them unconditionally and teach them the values that I think are most important, and weather the storms as they come.
So the answer to getting them to go to sleep? For us, I lay with them until they fell asleep. I have never been a cry it out advocate. It just seems mean to me. We lay with them, then very carefully climbed out of their beds. So many people think this is a terrible idea, but guess what, I don't care what they think. When we felt that they were ready to learn how to fall asleep on their own, we taught them gradually. We told them the night before that "tomorrow you are going to sleep like a big kid (at this point I insert the name of the older sibling that they at that moment in time idolize)." The next night we sat on the end of their bed. The "experts" tell you to abstain from reassuring them, just ignore them. Once again this felt mean to me. I reassured them and told them it was time to go to sleep like a big kid, I would stay there the whole time until they fell to sleep. I sat on the end of the bed for a few days, then sat on the floor beside the bed for a few days. From there to their door way. From there to outside of the door way. Outside of the doorway for us was the longest step in the process. I kept a book, and enjoyed the quiet "me" time. That is what worked best for us. I will say this, and not wanting to toot my own horn, but so far I have really nice, kind kids. Are they perfect, no, but I wouldn't want perfect, that would be too boring.
Sunday we met two really nice people who have a really great business. Right now you can only purchase their products in Toronto, but if you go to their website you can see a list of the places that you can purchase their superior product.
If you find yourself in Toronto at any of the locations that they sell their "Mexican Food Revolution", you really should buy as much as you can eat (remember they only use whole ingredients, and no preservatives, unlike the other garbage, this stuff has a shelf life)
One last thing to say how nice this couple is, when we were talking to them, we mentioned that it was Gracie's birthday. That sweetheart, Dianne told Gracie "You need gifts for your birthday." She then gave Gracie a bag of their nacho chips and told her to pick out a dip of her choice. She then said "Oh that's not enough", and told her to pick out one more. Jose, then handed Gracie another one, for a total of "3 dips". They totally made her day. She was smiling so much I thought that her little face might burst. Nice people!!!!
|Gracie's birthday snack.|