Nicole’s Favourite Things: The June/ “Why Is This Week So Weird” Edition

What is it about the last week of school? The month of June – well, and April and May – flew by, but now this last week is taking an age to get through. It doesn’t help that I feel like I’m in a constant time warp, what with today being a PD day, and tomorrow being a “pick up report cards and generally do nothing for three hours” day, and the past two weeks being half days. Who am I? Where am I? What are we doing again? These are the questions I am constantly asking myself. I have to remind myself several times a day what day it is and what is happening.

A huge highlight having half days of school is that there are no lunches to pack. My kids are semi-famous in their group of friends for having The Best Lunches; clearly they are old enough and competent enough in the kitchen to make their own lunches, but I still do it as a semi-love letter to them. On weekends and holidays they are, for the most part, completely responsible for cobbling together their own lunches, but on school days they get a lunch prepared by me, the secret ingredient being Love.

About a year ago I was at a neighbourhood barbeque and one of the dads told me his son was constantly complaining about the quality of his lunches, saying that the ones my boys eat are far superior. This dad asked me to dial things back a bit, can’t I just slap a piece of bologna between two slices of bread? Has he met me? Of course I can’t. I still have zest for lunch making as a) the boys came home for lunch for all those elementary years and so I never really had to make any, b) I only pack three lunches a week, as Fridays are half days and Tuesdays are Chicken Caesar Salad day at the cafeteria. Here’s my secret: on pita pizza night, I make extra pizzas to have cold in their lunches, one day a week I put deli turkey with ranch dressing and lettuce in tortillas, then wrap, secure with toothpicks, and slice up, and on Mondays, they get whatever leftover roasted meat happened on Sunday, plus a couple of leftover waffles. Every lunch has veggies, fruit, and something I’ve baked in it as well. I AM THE LUNCH QUEEN.

So no lunches for the last two weeks; Monday I was mixing up cookie dough when my younger son came home, alone. Usually they come home together but he cagily said that his brother was just “a few minutes behind him.” When his brother came home he mentioned that he had parked an abandoned Walmart shopping cart behind our house.

Me: What.

Son: I just parked it out back. Don’t worry, it’s not behind the garage or anything.

Me: I don’t want an abandoned CART behind our HOUSE. Why did you PUT it there?

Son: Okay, I’ll go move it.

So many questions. So much to process. In the end the story went like this: the boys and their gang found three – THREE – abandoned shopping carts in one of the back alleys that they use to cut off thirty seconds from their commute. What’s a group of teenage boys to do when they find three – THREE – abandoned shopping carts? Climb in and race, of course.

When this was relayed to me, I had to turn to the sink full of dishes, close my eyes, and employ my ujjayi breath for a few moments. My initial reaction was to completely flip out but I didn’t because a) they actually related this to me, b) there are no real inclines or declines from that alley to our house, and so chances are no one was careening out of control, and c) teenage boys, honest to god, have no brains.

I did, however, ask them to please, in future, if they encounter abandoned shopping carts, to just leave them alone. I’m sure this is not the last of it, however. When my husband got home, he wondered what kind of idiot would leave an upside down shopping cart in the green space behind our house, to which my son responded “I am that idiot!” We cultivate self-awareness in this house, let me tell you. My husband then grabbed his truck keys and the two of them returned the cart to the Walmart parking lot, a somewhat happy ending to a story that I never, ever thought would be part of my life.

So IDIOCY is not my favourite thing but I do have a number of things I love about this month, time warp and all.

Nicole’s Favourite Things: The June/ “Why Is This Week So Weird” Edition

Hunter Boots

I have wanted Hunter boots for YEARS but couldn’t justify them in my mind; I had a perfectly good pair of rain boots that, up to about seven weeks ago, served my purposes. After years of service they finally cracked; Browns had a 30% off sale on tall black Hunters, and there was ONE left in my size. What’s a girl to do? I bought them and immediately the weather turned dry and sunny. You’re welcome, Calgary! But the last few weeks have seen a huge amount of rain – summer solstice was the darkest, rainiest, longest day of the year – and so I’ve been enjoying my fashionable, dry feet.


My Siberian irises have made the best showing ever this year, and they are popping up in places far from their original domain.

All my outdoor plants are making strides, but just look at this:

One of my dear students gave me that bouquet, and I am just in love with it. Bonus: it’s not triggering anyone’s allergies in the house!


I know, he is just constantly one of my favourite things, but will you look at this:

I mean, come on.

My husband has been doing a lot of business travelling lately, and it’s all sadness when the suitcase comes out:

Poor puppers!

All That Food Is Paying Off

I’ve been the shortest in the house for a little while now, but today my fifteen-year-old took the title of Tallest in the House. The boys have both grown 1 1/2 – 2 inches since April 2, which really explains my grocery bills. Now I’m just looking forward to their brains catching up with all that growth.

Well, June is hectic, this week is even more so, and with that fun piece of news I will close. Happy end of school, friends! xo


  1. I laughed about the grocery cart – you have treated them so lovingly over the years, they have come to find you!

    Your kids’ school schedule is very interesting to me. They have half days… every Friday? What the what? Is that why they are in school all June? (For comparison: school was out here starting the last day of May.) (No half days, unless there are parent/teacher conferences.)

    And I bow down to your lunch making skills. I had to make lunch for my kiddo at daycare for maybe… six months? Eight? Something very short. And then for a week or two every summer now. IT IS AWFUL. Probably I should just lean in to her desire for a nut-butter-and-jelly sandwich every day, but I always want to diversify and it… makes life difficult. Oh well. One week of lunches this summer, that’s it!

    • nicoleboyhouse says

      Hi Suzanne! I’ve noticed this difference between American and Canadian schools – we start right after Labour Day and go right until the end of June. Our school board has designed it so every Friday is a half day, but it’s to do with the hours scheduled in the school year. At this school they start at 7:50 and go until 2:58 (SRSLY 2:58) and what that means is that there are enough “extra” minutes to get dismissal at 12:18 (SRSLY 2:18) on Fridays. It’s great for junior high but when the kids were in elementary they were dismissed at 1:10, which was a real pain for parents who worked outside the home, to arrange child care. I don’t mind it particularly because it’s nice if you’re going away for the weekend, but then again, I didn’t work a 9-5 office job either.

      And yes, the shopping cart – it eventually made it back. How’s THAT for returning the cart!

  2. Oh I feel all of this post : there is a random cart on Northmount near our house that I have been wondering about, and P filled me in today that others had been riding it. Sigh. Also the weird bell times, I cannot keep track of the days. Other people look at me weirdly when I try to figure it out. I love your lunches. I used up all my lunch love in elementary school, but many nights P packs everyone’s including mine and is good at repurposing leftovers. A handles breakfast prep so that is all lovely for independence and also helping.

Leave a Reply to Nicole Cancel reply