Thursday, September 30, 2010

Help please!

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

Okay, so as I prepare to start the crazy diet again, I need some help! I’m trying to compile some recipes that fit the diet criteria and I’m stuck. I’ve gone through every cookbook I own and I know I need more recipes! I also discovered that lately we’ve been eating a lot of things that have lots of tomatoes in them and more cheese than I’d like.

After a discussion with my naturopath, this list is modified from the list I used the last time. Beans, peas, legumes, peppers, and small amounts of yogurt are back on the list, which makes me happy because, ugh, it’s hard to eliminate all of those things.

Corn and Soy products
Fermented dairy products including sour cream and cheese, but small amounts of yogurt are okay.
Some nuts including peanuts and walnuts, but not cashews, almonds or pecans
Tomatoes and tomato products
All citrus fruit and most tropical fruits including bananas, mangoes, pineapple, papaya etc.
Grapes and raisins, plums, prunes, apricots and peaches
Pickles or dried fish
Liver products including liverwurst (EW!)
Yeast concentrates and homemade bread
Meat extracts including bouillon cubes and Worcestershire sauce
Pickled anything/vinegars especially balsamic
Luncheon meats, sausage and any other meat or fish that isn’t fresh or frozen
Beer and ale, wine and any fermented alcoholic beverage
Chocolate and cocoa

In addition, for the first week I need to eliminate the following things: sugar, all dairy, caffeine, wheat, corn, soy.

After the first week I can add milk (but no other dairy) and the caffeine back in, but the rest are off the menu. Then, I get to add the other stuff after week two, one thing at a time with a few days in between each addition. I’m not sure what I’ll want first – sugar or wheat.

So. If you have any recipes that don’t contain any of the things up there, let me know! I’d love to see them. As I go through this round of the crazy diet, I will try to post anything I find that turns out well.

Part Four: Up – A tale of 3 pregnancies and weightloss…err…gain.

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

The conclusion (for now) of Melynda’s story:

The rest of 2009 was a wash when it came to diet and exercise. I tried Weight Watchers again but not long enough to see any results. The move had gone well and we are living in the perfect house. The fall was extremely stressful for me and probably the hardest time ever for me. I had an ectopic miscarriage and the recovery took a couple months.

In January I got pregnant again! I was incredibly sick this time around and I lost about 5 lbs in the beginning. I started the pregnancy at about 205. This being my third pregnancy I knew that I needed to work on eating and exercising. I honestly did not have the energy or desire for healthy food until close to 16 weeks. I could barely cook for myself let alone the girls and Mike. So I ate out a lot and just tried to get some food in to me because if I didn’t eat I would feel even worse.

I kept thinking about exercising and eating better and I would go in waves of doing well. I started to gain weight about 20 weeks it was slow but I knew I needed to crack down. I wasn’t exercising and I knew that I needed some muscles for birth. At my 24 week appt, my midwife and I were talking about my weight gain and she was so impressed with me. She told me that I had started at 199lbs and I was at 208. I hadn’t realized that they counted my weight from the lowest point and not my beginning weight. I didn’t like that I had actually gained 9 lbs instead of 3lbs! That is when I decided now was the time to start exercising and eating well. I consulted another friend who was counting calories while pregnant and I decided to do the same. I also set a goal that I would exercise a minimum of 20 minutes a day with hopefully much more. It almost feels lame to say just 20 minutes but I really wasn’t doing anything and I console myself by saying 20 minutes is more than nothing. I am aware that the third trimester is weeks away and I need to have a manageable goal or I will just give up.

I am currently 27 weeks and I have kept my weight down and I am about 209 lbs. I have been working out with my WII because it has some good strength training exercises and I am walking more. I am also eating about 1900-2500 calories a day. I am focusing on eating when I am hungry and if I eat more calories it isn’t a big deal because I am growing a baby. I just try to make really good choices when I go over the calorie mark. I have been finding that in the evenings I really want to snack so my rule is I have to drink a litre of water before I can eat. That sounds like a lot but I am trying to drink about 3 litres of water a day and for some reason it is easier to drink the water in the evenings than during the day.

*Melynda wrote this a few months ago…the next update we get from her will be announcing the arrival of baby number three!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paperdolls postcard!

J received a birthday gift the other day from Denmark via Tati.

This is the card that came with it - it's a giant sized postcard of paper dolls.


I had to scan it before she mangled it too much because it's just awesome. I remember playing with paper dolls at my grandma's when I was little. And cutting out the dresses. What a task for small hands!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

36.2 AND 36.3 Try 50 new recipes - Broccoli Calzones in Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Alex is working days.

This is good. Mostly. BUT. Well, dinner time sucks. Before J started at her new daycare, when Alex worked days (which means he starts at noon), he would take J to daycare and I would go to work early. I'd leave work early so that I could pick her up. Which meant I'd pick her up around 4:00 or 4:30. And we'd get home no later than 5:00. And because she went in with Alex and not me, she didn't have to get up until 7:00 or 7:30. Not just after six like she is now.

Which means she's tired and cranky and hungry and just wants to play, read and cuddle with Mommy. But if Mommy does that, well, when will we eat???

So, I decided to hunt down some recipes I could make ahead and freeze.

And the first one was Martha's Broccoli Calzones. They require pizza dough, so I used Martha's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe as well.

I stupidly started just before nine on Sunday night. A Sunday night when I really should have been in bed by about 8:30!

yeastI haven't baked anything requiring yeast for a few years, but I still wasn't happy with how much this foamed.

rising doughBut, since I didn't have any more yeast to start that part again, I said to heck with it and soldiered on. We needed something for dinner for Monday night.

calzone innardsSaute this up a little (more Avtar garlic. That stuff is good!)

calzone innardsMix up three kinds of cheese (as long as your husband hasn't made a snack of them)

mixed up calzone innardsMix the two together to get this yummy filling.

doubled doughOh, and the dough doubled, just like it was supposed to. Maybe the yeast *was* foamy enough...

ready to bake or freezeMake little calzone parcels and freeze or bake (or stick in the fridge for tomorrow. Don't forget to tell your husband not to take them in his lunch. They're not quite done...hello, still raw!)

calzone dinnerToss them in the oven when you get home and spend the next half hour or so playing with your toddler. Your toddler will be thrilled that you're not in the kitchen!

Cheat a bit with the sauce and use your favourite bottled marinara because you just want to spend time with your kid.

Alex and I loved it. J, not so much. She had steamed broccoli and cauliflower and a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. She told me about sixty-eight times "Jocie no like soup!" and "Red soup yuck!" I even served hers in one of those plates with compartments and the sauce wasn't touching the calzone. Oh, and "Yucky white broccoli. Yucky green broccoli. Jocie no want cheese. Yucky."

Oh well. This kid isn't a fan of pizza either. And really, that's all a calzone is - a folded up pizza.

So, the calzones were definitely a grown up hit (I'll try again with J in a few months) - tasty, filling, and with secret vegetable servings for he who eats no green. I'll be making this again - I'm looking for other filling suggestions, so if you have any, please let me know!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two weeks into a 143 week challenge...

and I'm still breathing. And I deposited my first $5 into my 101 things challenge bank account.

YAY! Slow and steady progress. I don't have to do one thing a week to complete this...well, sort of because of those things have multiple components (EEEEeeep...50 new recipes? Really? At least I didn't go totally off the deep end and chose 101!)

So, stats?

Complete: 1
In progress: 19
Not started: 81

Not bad.

So what's done?

20. Take Alex to the pool

What's still happening?

1. Fit back into pre-tumble down the stairs clothes - this one could take a while...

7. Pack away all of J's clothes and things that are too small or too young for her - ugh...this kid has so many clothes. Rubbermaids are purchased. Now I just need an couple of hours with no help to sort and put them away!

13. Weigh less on day 1001 than on day 1 - so far so good

21. Do an insurance inventory of the contents of our home

25. Stick to our budget for Christmas gifts

26. Write 10 thank you cards with J

36. Try 50 new recipes [3/50] - Recipes 2 and 3 will be posted together later. Later tonight, I hope. We're having them for dinner. They're done, just not baked and tasted.

40. Decide what we're going to put on the clutter collecting wall in the living room and buy it/have it made - I think we've made the decision. Now we just need to get the thing

50. Declutter 101 items to toss, give away, sell on craigslist or give to charity - For my own tracking, I've created a separate blog for this. It's boring. Also, things don't count until they've actually left the house and have joined their new home There's nothing on that blog yet - the first things are still in the trunk of the car. I'm getting there.

60. Host a baby shower There will be a baby shower! The baby is here! She doesn't have a name yet, but she's here. I'm very excited!

73. Blog about each one of the 101 things

75. Write at least twice a week for Get Fit Chicks for a month

78. Send at least five postcards a month for three months using Postcrossing - month one [3/5], month two [0/5], month three [0/5]

79. Make a list of 101 beautiful things in my life

88. Take a risk and take on a BIG challenge that is outside my comfort zone on the next project at work

92. Clear my personal email inbox - home and work - EEEeeeep...this is taking so long. My personal email boxes are clear, but I'm still working on the work one. Maybe I need to lower my expectations a little

100. Put $5 in a special savings account for every item I cross off this list - this now has a small balance! So exciting.

So I'm happy.

I heard a rumour that someone I know who happens to read this blog is also contemplating doing this and starting a blog. I'm very impatient to see what her list looks like! I know what the first thing she's working on is...and I am pretty sure (unless she reordered her list) that it's not item #1!

Diet Decisions

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

So, I’ve made a decision about my diet. I’ve been really tired (I think it’s a combination of not getting enough good sleep, things at work changing, the weather and what I’m fueling my body with) for the last little while and it needs to stop!

It’s time to try to stick to the crazy diet again. For a good month, longer if possible. But I’m not starting until October 15.

Yes, I know, it’s still two and a half weeks away, so why am I blogging about it now? Well, mostly so that I’ll stick to the plan. I’ve declared loud and clear over the internet that the crazy diet is my intention and hopefully that will keep me motivated to follow through.

October 15 is the date I picked because it’s a good date – easy to track and remember. I’m trying to stick to the diet for an entire month, which would take me to November 15. But why not October 1?


Thanksgiving. The first week (or two) of the diet involves eliminating a bunch of things and then adding them back in over time. I don’t want to be in the avoidance period or the reintroduction period over Thanksgiving as we will be out of town for five days and other people will be cooking for me. I really don’t need to make the cooks’ lives or cooking more chaotic over a holiday weekend. So, I figure, start the weekend after Thanksgiving. Which means no chocolate over Hallowe’en for me. Which might not be such a horrible thing.

I also wanted to give myself some time to get our lives at home organized again. My husband started a different shift with more “normal” hours this week and J has just settled into daycare and my job is going through a big transformation in the next week or so, so things are a bit off kilter at our house. I hope that by the middle of October we will be back into a routine and that will make the crazy cooking easier.

The countdown to crazy time begins!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

20. Take Alex to the pool

I completed the first thing on my list (well, it's number 20, but it's the first of 101 things I've completed).

J and I took Alex to the pool.

It was a bit of a disaster, but luckily Alex has agreed to try again.

We were going to go to the new pool, but with the way the day was going, we decided the Aquatic Centre was the way to go - it's not unknown territory.

We got there just after nap time, so J would be energized. We figured we'd get home, eat and she'd crash.

We went out and got in the nice warm pool. J was soooooo excited to be there. She wanted to show Daddy what she could do and she immediately went down the slide. She was getting out to go down the slide again when the life guard cleared the pool.

Someone had an accident so they had to super chlorinate the pool, so it was closed for at least two hours.


J was soooooooooo upset. She whimpered until we were almost home about wanting to go back to the swimming pool and play with the kids and go on the slide.

We came home and all had to disinfect ourselves...but maybe we'll try again next weekend.

Oh, and the pool was more than happy to refund our admission.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mila's Daydreams...

I totally think you *NEED* to check out Mila's Daydreams. Mila's mom is an awesomely creative woman and I get very excited when she posts something new to her blog.

Seriously. Go check it out.

Because really:

Mary Poppins and it just gets better and better.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Emerald-Green Velvet Soup

It was cold yesterday. And wet. And grey. And winter. Even though fall had only been here for less than 24 hours. It was winter (it still is today). La Niña is a bully and scared fall away already.

So it was a definitely a soup night. Pretty convenient that soup was actually planned too.

I lucked out. Kelsey is training to be a teacher right now and asked if she could come over after school to practice reading to J. So I picked her up on my way to daycare to pick up J and we all went home together. And it only took me 15 minutes to put dinner together - Emerald-Green Velvet Soup and quesadillas (because we had leftover tortillas from Tortilla Pie) - because J was occupied by Kelsey and didn't care that I was in the kitchen behind the gate and not playing with her, colouring with her or reading with her.

soup timePretty veggies (Martha says one bunch of parsley makes 5-6 cups, but I needed two). There's that Avtar garlic I mentioned before.

simmer away little potSimmering phone makes that pot look very tall and skinny. It's not.

emerald soup
It was sooooooo good. J didn't like it. But that's the story of J's life right now. Kelsey and I loved it. Alex ate later - not sure if he had any or not. We were so hungry that I didn't get a shot of it last night - this is leftovers for lunch (the colour isn't quite as brilliant)

YUMMY!! I'm so happy winter food is here for a few months.

Part Three: Up – A tale of 3 pregnancies and weightloss…err…gain.

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

Another installment from Melynda:

The transition from one to two went so much easier than I ever could have imagined. Zoe was an easy baby and she slept well too. About the beginning of February I began itching to figure out some kind of exercise and diet plan. I had ‘graduated’ from my breastfeeding doctor, Zoe was gaining well and my supply was doing great, especially since I was nursing two! The doctor had said I could slowly wean off of the medication if I wanted to but I was too scared and I enjoyed the peace of mind it gave me. I think the reason the transition from one to two went so well is that I wasn’t stressed out like I was with Ally.

One night I was sitting and thinking about exercise and I decided I wanted something big to focus on. I wanted it to be exercise and not weight related. I wanted to accomplish something and weight was a bit unreliable. I decided to walk a half marathon. Mike and my mom had done a couple half marathons and I knew that it took about 16 weeks to train. I counted the weeks until the Calgary Marathon which was at the end of May. I had about 18, if I recall correctly. So I established a walking plan with weekly or biweekly motivators. I find treating myself really keeps me on track and having a short term goal helps me to get through the work out. My plan had me walking a certain time or distance about 5 days a week.

Now you may ask how did I do this with a toddler and a 2 month old? Mike was incredibly supportive and would take Ally when I needed to walk. It was also winter time so I did most of my walks inside on my treadmill and if it was nice I would go outside. I don’t know how safe this is but for most of my walks I would carry Zoe in a carrier. She loved it and would usually sleep the whole time. I carried her for most of my walks up to about May it got a bit harder because my walks were longer and she was 5 months old and didn’t want to be contained for too long. I bought a jogging stroller and I started taking both kids for my walks. I would try and plan my route with Mike beforehand and I would leave just near the end of his work day so he could meet us at the half way mark and take the girls.

I did the marathon and I was so proud of myself! I had done it and stuck to the goal the whole time. I actually loved the training more than the marathon. The marathon is hard work! I was a bit annoyed near the end that I didn’t lose any weight but on the other hand I didn’t gain any.

Unfortunately around the time of the marathon we decided to move. Having two kids and keep a house show ready was incredibly difficult and something had to go. Unfortunately it was my exercise routine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zuckerberg, we have a problem

facebook is broken
Click on the image to actually see what it says...stupid low resolution screen shot.

But it might not be the end of the world. Broken Facebook might mean better workplace productivity (unless of course you blog, tweet, or stare into space instead of Facebooking because you can't Facebook). It might mean I actually have to send an email or make a phone call.


Watch out.

Olden days, here we come!

Post-Partum Weight Loss and why it’s hard

Originally published at Get Fit Chicks

I wrote this post a while ago, but it got lost in cyber space for a while (I know it was awhile because I wrote it about a week and a half or so after Stacey had her accident [that link isn't working, but Stacey and her bike had a run-in with a car just over a month ago. Stacey is fine. Her bike, not so much]'s up now with all its typos [typos have been fixed]. UGH! I hate it when that happens. Typos, mostly my own, drive me nuts!

First of all, in case you were wondering, Stacey came over for a visit last night and for someone who had such a scary accident, she’s doing really well!

Anyway, we were chatting about all kinds of things including getting fit and staying fit and I got to thinking about getting fit again after you have a baby. For me it was totally different than at other times in my life…for a whole bunch of reasons.

Often when we decide to improve our fitness level, we do it to accomplish some kind of a goal – to lose x number of pounds, to complete a race or hike or if you’re totally nuts, an Ironman, to fit into that cute dress hanging in your closet before your high school reunion/best friend’s wedding/Christmas dinner or whatever.

So, when the time came to think about getting my body fit again after my daughter, it wasn’t an easy decision with an easy goal. Yes, I wanted to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothing (although, honestly, I wanted to fit into my pre-tumble-down-the-stairs-and-break-my-back clothing) so I had a goal. I had a c-section so I was limited at first and even nine months later, I experienced some problems with the incision area while exercising.

When you’ve just had a baby your body is OUT OF WHACK. Totally. Your hormones are doing crazy things. Parts of your body thinks you’ve gone back to your teenaged years, parts of your body prematurely think you’re 85, and parts of your body, well, they’re just confused and don’t know what is happening.

Oh, and you’re probably exhausted. Tending to a little baby is a lot of work and little sleep, even if you’re diligent about the napping.

So things happen. You set goals. You say things like, when I get the okay from the doctor or when I stop breast feeding or when the baby is x number of months old, I will do this to attain my goal.

You probably eat fairly well. Maybe even better than usual because maybe you’re breastfeeding and you’re being very careful about what you put into your body so that your baby gets good stuff. Maybe you’re not eating as well as you know you should because you’ve heard that breast feeding makes the pounds come off or you’re not breast feeding and that’s the easiest thing to do when you’re sleep deprived.

Maybe all these things, just not at once.

And maybe you’re like me. Maybe NOTHING HAPPENS. Maybe you push 30lbs of baby and stroller around your neighbourhood for at least an hour a day and you eat lots of veggies and fish and fruit and drink lots of water and you lose nothing. And then maybe you push that same baby and stroller and eat chocolates and sweet, tasty, not very nutritional things that visitors bring. Maybe you gain a little bit. Maybe you lose a little bit. Or maybe, like me, you still lose NOTHING.

Maybe you want to lose weight but you haven’t yet because your hormones won’t let you, because you are still in recovery mode and your body isn’t ready, you have baby blues or you’re suffering from PPD, or you’re just not ready.

That’s all okay. Really.

Maybe you start to worry about what your mom, your husband, the doctor, the other moms in the baby group, people on the street or your neighbours think. The first three might be interested because they’re supporting you, the fourth one is a good group to complain to and celebrate little successes with (they’re in the same boat after all) and the other two…they probably don’t care.

And then you realize that RIGHT NOW your biggest job is being a mom. And if you can get fit at the same time, that’s great. And if not, because you’re not ready, you don’t have time, you’re too tired or whatever, well, the time will come when you’re ready.

And you know what happened (to me at least) – my body let me know when it was time and it started asking for exercise and my pants started sagging because they were too big.

Now I have to do the hard work, but it sure is a lot easier to do when your body is on board!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tortilla Pie

I saw this recipe somewhere and actually wrote it out in a little book that I was carrying around with me at the time (I always have a little book with me and I make sure I keep them when they're full because there is almost always something of interest in them that I need later). Anyway, why I wrote it out and didn't print it, I don't know. Pretty sure it didn't have spinach in it then. Maybe because we had a desktop and no printer and I needed to have the recipe in the kitchen. Or maybe because we had a laptop and no counter space (hello pink ghetto).


I printed this and decided to make it for dinner tonight. We were supposed to have leftovers from last night's yummy dinner, but, well, there just weren't enough. No way it was going to feed three people, so I took it for lunch and it was just enough for one person.

So, I needed a solution.

And this is it. Except, well, I think it's a different recipe. It's the right picture and it's almost the same, but I'm sure the original one I made had black beans in it. Actually, I'm positive it did. And I think it had beer in it too.

ANYWAY. None of that's important because I'm really just using the recipe as a guide - I'm going to do my own thing. Like substitute chili powder for cumin and add Black beans....follow along and you'll see.

EDIT: I was right, THIS is the actual orginial recipe I used. See. Black beans and beer. No spinach. I'm not losing it completely, just partially! Or something. I'm finding it very interesting that the meat version serves four, but the vegetarian version serves six. Hmmmm....

My parents brought some yummy Papa Billy vegetables down a few weeks ago and in one of the boxes I discovered some Avtar garlic. Avtar is the foreman at the nursery and has been in charge of the garden for a while (and now that Papa is no longer with us and Avtar is in charge completely, maybe I should start calling them Avtar vegetables...anyway...) and he grows this yummy garlic that has really stiff, purple casings. I have no idea what kind of garlic it is, but it's so good. So, Avtar garlic went in with the onions and the house smelled heavenly. I only used three cloves and it smelled like I used a whole bulb. MMMMMMmmmm....

onionsAfter the garlic and onions were nice and soft, I divided them up between a small pot and the frying pan.

beefThe beef went in the frying pan and sizzled away for a bit...

beansAnd the beans (with some water, not beer) went in the pot. I seasoned both with cumin and chili powder and mmmmm....I'd use more chili powder the next time (I used all the chili powder we had)

tortilla trimmingI trimmed the tortillas while the meat cooked and the beans simmered.

assembly timeI made three layers with four tortillas - one beef, one bean, another beef. I only used 1 1/2 cups of cheese...

ready to cookAnd then we cooked it...make sure you put it on a cookie sheet (I'm not sure if the recipe tells you to do that, but do it!) or you'll have big mess to clean up. It looks a bit shorter than usual, but that might just be my modifications.

ready to serveLet it sit for about ten minutes so it doesn't totally fall apart when you cut it. If I used more cheese, it probably would have stayed together better. Also, I couldn't get it off the bottom of the spring form pan - it was too heavy and would have crumbled everywhere. So, I just cut it carefully on the bottom piece. It survived.

Oh, and note to self: cut the top tortilla slightly larger than the pan to compensate for the shrinkage.

looks yummyTrying to keep the falling-apartness to a minumum. It sure looks yummy!

ooops, what did i forgetSo, there you have it, a wedge of tortilla pie. Can you see what I forgot to add? Which is why it was short?!?!

Who does it hurt more?

...apparently the daycare...

So, I got a call at work yesterday from J's daycare. I missed the first call and was very uneasy until they did reach me...they didn't leave a message, so I knew it wasn't urgent, but I wasn't sure why they were calling.

It turns out one of J's little buddies gave her a little owie. It's ugly, but it will heal. I don't think it hurts, but it's on her cheek. They didn't mention who the perpetrator was, but I had my suspicions. There is one child who is a few months younger than most of the rest and sometimes I've seen this child express frustration physically, even if the person the aggression is directed to isn't the cause of the frustration. But I wasn't really concerned. These things happen and from the sound of the conversation I had with the caregiver who called me, they are very cognizant of the problem and have it under close watch. This was just one of those things and one of those times when there was no adult close enough to intervene in time.

J didn't mention it to me until I was helping her into the car. Then she said "Mommy, daycare-kid* give me red owie. I cry for Mommy. I sad." I gave her a hug and asked her if someone gave her a hug when she was crying and she listed three people she went to for cuddles.

I figured that would be the end of it...but she's two. So it wasn't. She mentioned it three or four more times before bed - mostly telling me daycare-kid gave her a red owie. Pretty matter of fact, not traumatized, totally over it. But, she told me eight or ten times that she cried and listed the three people she got hugs from. It sounds like her puppy came out for a cuddle too. The crying seemed to bug her more than the actual incident.

So, I figured this morning it would be over.


I must say, this daycare is very concerned about the well-being of the kids that go there and they take very good care of them. I've now had four of the five women who were there yesterday speak to me about this and apologize and assure me they are taking all kinds of steps to change the behaviour of the other child. Their incident management is great and I feel even more comfortable leaving J there after this little episode.

I hope we've heard the last of it. These things happen and while I realize that this is an ongoing behaviour issue with this particular child, it's not a huge deal (and J is over it) and I really feel it's been dealt with and dealt with appropriately (and I've told them that!)

I pick her up in just over an hour, so we'll see...

*anonymous for a reason

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seven down, lots to go

[Days, not items on the list]

So, a week in to the 101 things in 1001 days challenge and I have made good progress and I haven't given that would be silly of me!

Let's far the following are in progress:

1. Fit back into pre-tumble down the stairs clothes - this one could take a while...

7. Pack away all of J's clothes and things that are too small or too young for her - ugh...this kid has so many clothes. New Rubbermaids are in order!

13. Weigh less on day 1001 than on day 1 - this one is ongoing...and will be ongoing until the end. Note to self: if you do this again, don't make any of the things something that you will either finish or not finish on the last day of the challenge. Crossing things off the list is satisfying. And motivating!

21. Do an insurance inventory of the contents of our home - OMG! I started with J's bathroom and it took twenty minutes. There's nothing much in J's bathroom. The kitchen is going to take forever...and the storage room...but at least once it's done, we'll have a bit more peace of mind knowing that we've catalogued everything in the event that something bad happens

25. Stick to our budget for Christmas gifts - yes, I've already started shopping. Just a few little things, but I've started.

26. Write 10 thank you cards with J - birthday thank yous coming soon!

36. Try 50 new recipes [1/50] You can read about my new recipe attempts here

38. Eat at ten new restaurants or coffee shops

50. Declutter 101 items to toss, give away, sell on craigslist or give to charity - For my own tracking, I've created a separate blog for this. It's boring. Also, things don't count until they've actually left the house and have joined their new home There's nothing on that blog yet - the first things are still in the trunk of the car. I'm getting there.

60. Host a baby shower Talks have started, but it might end up being not at our house. We'll see.

73. Blog about each one of the 101 things

78. Send at least five postcards a month for three months using Postcrossing - month one [3/5], month two [0/5], month three [0/5]

79. Make a list of 101 beautiful things in my life

88. Take a risk and take on a BIG challenge that is outside my comfort zone on the next project at work - this is so crazy. I made my list. The next day I came to work. I had a meeting with my boss. It somehow, in a round about, unplanned way, ended with a discussion about changing my job description and giving me a large project to work on that's exactly this. And actually, I am confident that I can do it. I know I'm going to enjoy it (even when the going gets CRAZY) because it's more along the lines of why I took the job in the first place...five years ago. But things evolved differently than we expected. Anyway. It's started. And I'm going to run with it!

92. Clear my personal email inbox - home and work - I'm almost done! I have two personal accounts (one for me, one for the blog) and one work account. First thing I did was remove any old subscriptions I no longer wanted and set up filters so that things coming into my personal accounts were already tagged to make archiving faster. It's pretty much just my work email left. I let my inbox and sent items get super full and I just need to sit down and do it. NO PROCRASTINATING...

100. Put $5 in a special savings account for every item I cross off this list - it's empty, but I set up a special savings account for this. Then at the end I can do something fun with the money. Or put it in my RRSP. Or something.

That's all for now, but next week I expect that bank account to have a balance. Even just a small one!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Adorned walls

Auntie Rebar stopped by last night after work to help with a special birthday present for J.

wall artCan you spot it? It's not the Velveteen Rabbit picture from Heddy that we finally put back up on the wall where it belongs.

wall artSuper cute birdies for the wall...

wall artAnd an owl too!

wall artJ talks to this owl at bedtime and nap time now. She loves it! Auntie Rebar actually dropped the present off earlier this week and it sat on top of the bookcase until last night, so J's been talking to that owl for a week.

wall artLook, the moon!

wall artSOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo cute! Thanks Rebar!

J loves loves loves it! And now that she has an owl to talk to, she goes down much better at bedtime!

One more small change and J's room is done!

Easiest nap time ever!

Except I don't get one...

J's little buddy Inara came over to play this morning while her mommy and daddy do some much needed pre-baby stocking of the pantry and supply cupboards at her house. Her mom is due to have baby number two pretty much any second.

Anyway, I figured I'd give them a break (Inara's mom looked after J for the first six or so months after I went back to work, before she went back to work and we shared our super nanny) this weekend since it was just us girls.

I hadn't exactly planned on the torrential downpour this morning though and unfortunately the tires on the stroller are a little too flat for one kid, let alone two, so when Sharla said they were going to head out and do some shopping (and walking to get this baby moving) and they'd drop Inara off, I was quite happy. The rain has meant no trip outside yet though.

But, after playing very well together this morning, colouring a bit, eating almost every scrap of food in my house for lunch, and colouring a bit more, I told both girls to pick out a couple of stories and then it was nap time.

little buddies
We read the stories. I put Inara to bed in my bathroom (don't ask...our house isn't very big!) and J to bed in her crib, I went out into the living room and waited for the yelling. None.

I told both of them as I put them down that they had to be quiet because the other one was sleeping and that seemed to do the trick.

I was totally impressed!

And I've used my down time to get our grocery list sorted so that when Inara goes home, J and I can go get groceries. That's really the only thing I'm not looking forward to this weekend - getting groceries with J. Oh well. If I get enough to see us through Monday night dinner, Alex is working almost normal shifts this week, so I can grocery shop at night if I have to!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Girls' Weekend

Alex is gone for the weekend, so I'm on duty all weekend. Eeep!

It will be fine! J was a bit upset that Daddy was gone tonight and not at work, but we have a fun and busy weekend planned.

I really should go to kid on my own means little chance of a nap.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

36.1 Try 50 new recipes - Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes

Here we go - I'm on my way to completing my 101 things in 1001 days.

First up, a new recipe (that's 1 down, 49 to go to get number 36 crossed off my list...ugh...when I put it that way...)

So, last night was supposed to be pancake dinner night. But I wanted something hot and savory and not pancakes. So we had pasta.

Tonight the pancakes happened.

But instead of making regular dump-everything-in-one-bowl-without-measuring pancakes, I decided to make Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes from the Rebar cookbook. My dad and my aunt have made them many times for me (and usually a table full of other hungry people), but I decided it was time to try them myself. It helped that there were two recipes on last week's menu that didn't get made, so I actually had lemons and ricotta in my fridge (they're not staples in our house) and they needed to get used up.

what's for dinner
I also made raspberry sauce to go with them, but I've been making that since I was, oh, eight, and I know the recipe by heart, so it doesn't even come close to counting. But oh, is it good!

lemon juice
My little supervisor "helped" me from the other side of the gate (our kitchen is too small and unsafe for a small person to actually help when the stove or oven is turned on. See item number 48 for a partial solution) and wanted to touch or taste everything I put in them.

lemon sucking child
Check out the look on her face. She's on her second half of lemon. Every single taste she took of the lemon made her face look like that, but she continued on.

egg whites
Stiff peaks? Maybe. My toddler decided today was the day that the mixer was her worst enemy and spent the whole two minutes it was on screaming. SCREAMING. Arggg...

cooking pancakes
I finally got them on the grill....

steaming hot pancakes good. Look at the steam coming off them...I think J (who had stopped screaming by then) had four or maybe five!

Success! I'll make these again...

The difference an hour makes...

Just over an hour ago I left my office in a grey, cool, drizzle and wandered over to the building where I used to work for my yoga class.

I love yoga. It's twice a week and I love it. Oh, I already said that. It's been three weeks since my last yoga class though - we were away (well, I was at home painting) and then last week was gradual entry daycare week, so what precious time I had at the office, I needed to spend at my desk, not doing yoga.

And my body loves me a little bit more now that class is over. The knot that would not go away in my right shoulder is looser. My legs and abs are going to be painfully sore tomorrow, but that's okay. I can handle that. I got to do yoga.

Oh, and when I left the basement dungeon room where yoga class is held (that sounds's actually a nice, cool dark room for yoga) it was warm and sunny and all blue sky-y outside.

An hour. That's all it took!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Because I'm just a bit crazy

I discovered this great challenge. I need some motivation to get some things in my life done. Some are things that need to be done. Some are things I'd like to do, because, hey, they're fun or interesting.


I'm challenging myself to do these 101 things in 1001 days.

Today it starts because today I made the list. And because today's the start, well, June 11, 2013 is the end. That seems like a long way away. We'll see how I do.

Things in italics are in progress and things that have a strike through them are complete. I will try to date them and have the date link to the post where I blog about what I did to complete that number. Ha. Because I'm compulsive like that. And unless it's a big thing to cross off or update, I'm going to try to only update once a week. We'll see how THAT goes. I feel like I'll either update way more than that or I'll let it all pile up (HELLO, procrastinator) and do it in a big lump when it feels overwhelming. Maybe one of the 101 should have been about procrastinating less.

You can find the list up there at the top - it has its own page. You'll see item 73 says I'll blog about each item. I'm not going to keep it to 101 posts...some of these challenges might need more than one post to do them justice!

I borrowed this from the Day Zero Project website:

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

Want to play too? I like having company when I decide to do nutty things!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Carrot Muffins

My parents came to drop J off ten days ago and brought us some farm fresh produce from Papa Billy's garden. But, we had an over abundance of carrots AND they're coming back later today with promises of more vegetables. The people at my house will only eat so many steamed carrots and carrot soup...So, what to do?

All of the carrots were small like these ones - ranging in size from a small "normal" carrot to the size of a large paperclip. My good friend Martha has a recipe that I decided to try - I figure muffins are good freezing food...I did pull out the food processor though. There was NO WAY I was going to hand grate those dinky (but oh so tasty) little carrots.

really think batter
The batter came out very thick and I actually added a splash or two of milk because it was just too thick and too dense to manipulate with the spoon. And as I made the first batch, I made lots of mental notes in my head.

The first batch came out of the oven and were yummy, so it was time to make a second batch (seriously, I could probably make four more batches tonight and still have carrots left and that's not taking into account the new carrots I will likely acquire tonight!). I'm a big believer of following a recipe the first time you make it and then tweaking it later (small tweaks are okay - I'm not a huge walnut fan, so I often sub in some pecans and in this recipe I opted for canola oil over butter. Because I'm too lazy to measure and melt butter).

ready to bake
The second time I made my changes - I doubled the spices, added close to 1/4 cup of milk, swapped out 3/4 cup of all purpose flour for whole wheat (which is why the milk is more than the splash I used the first time).

ready to eatCan you tell which is the first batch and which is the second batch?

OH...if the first batch were yummy, the second batch were heaven! The only other modification I'd make would be to grate the carrots by hand - I think they'd be finer and juicier and better, but these were awesome. They passed the test of my two year old, who asked for more muffins ALL evening, my eight year old nephew, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law (who had a batch #1 muffin and still thought they were super!). Oh, and of course it passed the Alex test...which can be tricky when the food is "snack" food trying to be healthier!

If I didn't have yogurt, I'd probably use 3/4 cup of milk but sour it first with some fresh orange juice and add some zest to the muffins. That would be yummy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cashew Chicken - take two

Friday night we had Martha's cashew chicken again.

chicken take two good! I made my little modification - I added some celery and it was so good. We even had it on brown rice this time and mmmm. This has earned its way onto our list of regular menu items. Quick, tasty and yummy. What could be better than that? And, if I chop everything (except maybe the chicken - I'm all about not handling chicken multiple times if it can be avoided) the night before, it probably takes about 20 minutes to make. I just have to remember to take some out of the pan before adding the nuts if J is going to take leftovers in her lunch.

If you like cashew chicken, this is a recipe I highly recommend!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Part Two: Up – A tale of 3 pregnancies and weightloss…err…gain.

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

More from Melynda:

Mike is 7 years older than me and because I want lots of kids, we decided to have our kids close together. We started trying in January and got pregnant with Zoe in March. It was funny, I took at test on Ally’s birthday. I was determined to not gain 70 lbs during the pregnancy because I didn’t want to keep 35 lbs on each time – that would be disastrous. I realized that pregnancy is not a free for all and that the weight didn’t just magically disappear after birth. I also knew that if I had a hard time fitting exercise in with one kid that it probably wouldn’t happen with two.

With Zoe’s pregnancy I was fairly sick for the first 8 weeks and that helped with my weight efforts. But after that I found that if I didn’t eat regularly that I would feel sick. I found that it really helped to focus on protein and vegetables and to try and stay away from my favourite carbs. I really focused on eating well and minimizing unnecessary calories. I also incorporated what I had learned from my diets. I think I was pretty lucky because I didn’t gain weight until about 12 weeks. I vaguely remember from my first pregnancy that by the end of the first trimester I was up about 10 – 15 lbs.

I didn’t starve myself or do anything crazy, I still wanted to grow a healthy baby. I just really cut down on Starbucks and hot cross buns….haha…those were my main indulgences from my first pregnancy. I also became wrapped up in having a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and fixing my supply problems – I had a herb regimen that I followed. As my pregnancy progressed I relaxed about food a lot because I was getting tired and trying to parent my toddler. Oh! That reminds me of what I was doing that really helped my weight gain! I was still nursing Ally. I also would step on the scale every day and if I was up I would try and eat better that day. All in all I ended up gaining about 30 lbs…I am horrible and near the end I just stop weighing myself and I lie a bit to my midwife about the numbers on the scale.

Zoe was born December 1, 2008 and she was born at home in a birth pool. It was everything I wanted and more.

Serendipity Designworks

I have a friend who has a business doing something I can only dream about - she designs and sells greeting cards (okay, so I don't really want to design greeting cards, but I would love to have a stationery store. One day when I win the lottery, that's what I want to do...) And her business has the most lovely name - Serendipity Designworks. I love the word serendipity!

Anyway, I ordered a few cards from her a few weeks ago and I was so excited when they arrived in the mail:

serendipity cards
They are awesome! I am very particular about my stationery. It has to be the right weight and the right finish and have the right feel and I could go on and on and on about my requirements. Theses cards totally fit. I can use my favourite pens and they work perfectly and they don't smudge or bleed or anything...I love it! The cards are awesome - some are printed, some have awesome little embellishments attached. And, everyone I've shown them to (or given them to) has commented on how cute they are! I've already sent a few of these away and I'm sure the rest will be on their way shortly...

I really love the Christmas cards too...I'd be putting in my order for those RIGHT NOW if we hadn't gone to England last fall and I hadn't maybe, possibly, bought a bazillion Christmas cards then.

Anyway, I recommend checking out Ann-Marie's goodies and her blog, even if you don't have a paper addiction like me!

Serendipity Designworks is not paying me to write's all me...just because I love paper and I want to share!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

They're here!

Okay, so they've been here for a few days, I'm just slow...

I came back from my little "vacation" to find this box waiting for me on my desk.

packageLovely, lovely, lovely little box of cupcake decorations...

birdiesPretty little birdies

cupcake cupsAwesome cupcake cups...

Maggie over at Flour Child (formerly Foodie Comes Clean) had a giveaway a few weeks ago, and I was one of the lucky ones! What a great surprise to find on my desk (because I have mommy-brain still and have no short term memory...or mid-term memory...or memory at all...)

So, thank you, thank you, thank you very much Maggie for a wonderful day brightener! I will be sure to post pictures when we use them...which probably won't be until next month...but they will get used. They are just too cute!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Getting locked in J's room...

It's done. But I was just too exhausted to post. My ankles, knees, and wrists have now recovered and I think my back is getting there. Like I said before, next time, we're hiring a painter!

This is J's room and it's not quite done. There are still some things to be put on the walls, but I need my creative genius sister to come over and help me do that. That's not something I pretend to be good at. Oh, and I haven't taken any after pictures of J's bathroom yet, so that will have to be another post.

These are all rollovers...

The change table (or soon to be dresser) is going to be painted white some time when I don't have a helper around...who knows when that will be! I'd like to eventually replace the only sort of comfortable wicker rocking chair with a glider...or maybe just remove it completely...we'll see...

The bookcase is from Ikea. We were going to get another lower module for the right side, but J has more than enough storage like this (and her closet is still full of STUFF, stuff that doesn't belong to J and really just needs to be sorted and tossed, so one day there will be all that space too) so we're looking for a nice, sturdy table and chairs for her instead.

Oh and we replaced the door knobs. I like the look of the pull down handle-type door knob, but they're a bit too easy for J to open and being "brass" the colour has come off of these ones. Plus, I am constantly getting my pockets snagged on these, so we decided to go with round knobs.

So, part of the reason there was a delay in posting these was because I got locked IN J's room while installing the new door knob. I stuck the closing mechanism thing in and then the door closed behind me. And I was stuck. We tried a whole bunch of things including trying to put the door knob together on two sides of the door. It didn't work. I called for back up, because conveniently, I locked the phone in with me. I also locked some tools in. And finally managed to work the trigger thing just as the back up arrived, equipped with tools.

Not an experience I want to repeat. And even though I know the trick to getting out, I made very sure when I finished J's door and did the bathroom door that the door wasn't going to close on me. I have two more handles to install - our bedroom and bathroom - and I'll do them soon so that at least SOMETHING in our house matches!

Saturday, September 04, 2010


No pictures yet, the last coat of paint is drying and then I'll put the rooms back together and THEN I'll take some pictures.

Two rooms done.

And that's it.

I'm not doing anymore.

We're hiring a painter for the rest of the house (I haven't talked to Alex about this yet, but we are. Even if it means we have to wait six or nine or twelve months). We had a painter do the ceiling in the living room and dining room. It took him a grand total of three hours, maybe four, including lunch. It looked awesome when he was done. It was clean. There was no mess (at least no mess for me to deal with) and he was reasonably priced.

So, I think we'll get someone to come and do our bedroom and bathroom and the kitchen and the walls in the living room and dining room. Because I'm not taking two weeks off work and shipping J off somewhere to do it. Just not.

If you know of a good painter who doesn't charge an arm and a leg and your first born child, please let me know!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty...

I thought J's ceiling was thirsty...then I met her bathroom door.


It's going to take at least three coats if not four....and I haven't started on her bedroom door yet.

Tomorrow's to do list is soooooo long:

Spot paint J's ceiling
Second coat on J's walls
Second coat on J's bathroom door and baseboards
First and second coat on J's bedroom door and baseboards
Replace contents of J's bedroom (currently residing in our living room and dining room)
Do some "real" work
Hang out with Heddy

The more of it I get done, the better. Because it means I won't have to do it on Saturday morning when J comes back.

Two more sleeps and J's coming back! I'm sooooooo looking forward to Saturday.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Slow going

It's coming along...slowly but surely. But I'm pooped.

This gave me a heart attack last night:

pink bathroom
The pink/peach was about three shades darker than the rest of the house, but I'd never noticed...and it was such a thirsty wall that I thought I might need three coats of the blue (which is hard to make out in this picture) but everything evened out nicely after coat number two. Thank goodness. Bathrooms are horrid rooms to paint.

Though, this bedroom is giving the bathroom a run for its money.

window dressing
The blinds are up. They're not coming down. So, I had to figure out how to keep them paint free. Solution: LOTS of tape and plastic. And thank goodness most of them lift and drop so they're easy to get around! But it took almost an hour to do. The prep on this room has taken FOREVER. But it will be worth it. It will be worth it. It will be worth it...that is my mantra.

look at the colour
I removed some stupid stuff that was on the walls from the previous owners. Who had not bothered to tape or remove the stuff when they painted the room pinkish, so it was all painted down (including the light plates, power plates etc. grrrr...). Underneath was the colour this room was two colours ago...we had an inkling...there were specks of paint on the carpet and the ceiling...ugh. This would have been a horrible room! Our bedroom (which faces north) was navy blue before they painted it the same inoffensive boring almost pink that the entire house (except J's bathroom) is. Someone had questionable taste in colours.

strange ceiling
J's bedroom is giving me grief. I'd almost rather do another bathroom. The ceiling hates me and I can't figure out why. I'm hoping coat number two will be as miraculous as the bathroom's second coat. Anyone have any suggestions or solutions for this yuckiness? (in the top right corner)

sneak peek
Here's a sneak peek at J's bathroom. I still need to finish up the edges (there's supposed to be no pink there!) and I haven't painted the trim or the door yet. There's no natural light in that bathroom so it's hard to see the colours. The ceiling is Lighter Mint and the walls are Lauren's Surprise (huh? what colour is that!?!?!) and the trim and door will be Westhighland White. The bedroom just has a plain white ceiling, the same trim and the walls will be Bonsai Tint. And the rest of the house can wait.

I had hoped to get our room done as well, but that will have to wait for another time. J is back sometime on Saturday and I'd like our house back to sort of normal by Friday. Painting makes for tons of junk in the living room and dining room that belongs somewhere else!