Monday, November 29, 2010

For Sarah - London in Vancouver

Look what's sitting beside my desk... (yes, I know it might not be entirely geographically correct)

Thanks Sarah! I still love it and now I have a toddler-safe place to keep it.

Made it over the first obstacle...

...and I feel like maybe I can handle whatever else the GAPS diet throws my way.

I wrote (okay, whined) a bit about the healing crisis I was experiencing yesterday over at Get Fit Chicks...and man, was it brutal. I've never experienced anything like that before.

Four days of complete crazy. I had a migraine that lasted about 32 hours. I had chills and sweats. I was grumpy and grouchy and cranky and snappy and annoyed with Alex and J for no reason. My eyes hurt. My back hurt. I was exhausted. I slept but didn't sleep well and when I woke up I felt worse.

That was just day one when I wasn't really aware of what was going on. I'd been warned I might feel "discomfort in the form of fatigue, nausea and/or headache during the first day or two of the cleanse." All of that started on day two, which thankfully was a snow day, so when I felt miserable, I could lie down. J was very coorperative and snuggled beside me in bed with books and took a very long nap...I'm not sure what I would have done otherwise!

Then, on day three, I still felt horrible. In addition to the other stuff, I couldn't concentrate. It took me ten times as long to do anything. And I was ready to quit.

Then I got another email from my naturopath where she referred to the discomfort as a healing crisis.

Thank goodness for Google...I discovered that a healing crisis can be more than just discomfort. It can be downright horrible. And it can last from one day to ten days depending on how "toxic" your body is, but 2-3 days seems to be the norm. So, my one extra day means my body was a little more unhappy than most people's. But I'd kind of already decided that.

Yesterday was horrible. I was determined to keep at it because it's just for a short time and starting on Saturday I get to add additional foods to my diet every two days. In one of my few moments of clarity, I sat down and took a really good look through Nourishing Traditions. It's my understanding that is where the naturopath would like my diet to end up (I'm hoping in the next three weeks or so, not at the end of the three months) and it's totally manageable and while there will be changes to our usual way of eating, it's not drastic.

Then today happened.

I woke up and I actually feel pretty good. I got to add eggs on Saturday and nut butter pancakes and avocados today, so I'm feeling like there's some substance to my diet. The headache is gone. I can focus a bit longer. I'm not as grumpy - I'm still a bit grumpier than usual for sure, but nothing like this weekend.

Not liking the healing crisis

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, the first part of the GAPS diet is basically a liver cleanse and a way to get you ready to see if your body is intolerant to certain foods and, with a cleanse, typically that means a healing crisis.

I hate the healing crisis. It's pure evil.

My naturopath told me I'd have some discomfort – headache, migraine, maybe nausea or vomiting or other stomach issue – for a couple of days around the second or third day of the diet. I'm on day five of the diet and day four of the healing crisis.

And I almost quit sixty-two times before lunch time today. But a desire to get better, encouragement from Alex, and the memory of exactly how much money I paid the naturopath have convinced me to keep going.

I feel like I have the worst hangover ever (minus the nausea). I'm hot, then cold. I have a searing headache (that oddly, has just let up now). I've had two hot showers. I've had two naps. I've had lots of soup. Hopefully today is the last day.

There have been good signs – yesterday when I first got up and after I had a rest late yesterday afternoon, I felt great! Initially my fingers were so swollen my ring was tight…now it's loose. I'm hoping that by Christmas I'll be wearing my *real* wedding rings again!

The naturopath told me to take it easy for a few days and I’m really hoping that my body will be ready for yoga on Tuesday...because my brain sure is.


Friday, November 26, 2010

What to do about the excess?

Alex and I have been having an intense discussion for a few years about Christmas and gifts. Not intense because we were in disagreement, but intense because we had identified what was bugging us but had no real solution...

But we keep coming back to it...

Christmas and the excess that goes along with it...and how do we make Christmas less about the excess and more about Christmas?

We see shows like Oprah and The Ellen Show and all the giveaways they have and it's crazy and excessive. People's reaction to stuff is unbelievable. It's just stuff...I also feel as more and more shows and companies and websites are able to give away more and more stuff that regular people have started to feel like their usual gifts to their friends and family have to be more. That unless they spend as much as Oprah did (or didn't since apparently most of her gifts were given to the show by the companies) the gift isn't worthy.

Eeep...and apparently it's a touchy subject. We weren't sure how to address it.

We finally decided that it was up to us to make the changes within our own little family and then maybe things would roll out from there. While exchanging gifts can be a lot of fun, we both feel like the most special part of Christmas is spending time with family and friends and participating in some family traditions. Oh, and eating.

So we started making little changes.

A few years ago we started giving Alex's parents and grandma frozen homemade meals for Christmas and what do you know, they love them! Soup and cornbread are two of the things his grandma most looks forward to receiving!

This year we're cutting back even further...I can't tell you everything right now because it's still a surprise for some people, but I think we'll likely cut our Christmas spending by 1/4-1/2 depending on how it all goes.

Some of the other things we've done in the past:
  • Having a smaller budget
  • Putting a lot of thought into gifts and getting something the recipient would really like
  • Making a donation to a charity (in the past we've given to the Food Bank, BC Cancer and other causes we support) instead of giving gifts to some of our friends (there are still a few we exchange with)
  • Giving gifts that are not things that take up space (things aren't bad if they are needed/wanted by the recipient). We don't have a lot of space and we know lots of our friends and family are in the same situation. We've received babysitting coupons, tickets to a hockey game with dinner and babysitting included, fun stuff like that...and we've given things like that too. Last year, TeamHardcore was a student, so we gave her coupons she could exchange for an evening of laundry or dinner at our house (she got two coupons a month - one of each)
  • When our niece was very small, we gave her a small gift (a book or something) and a cheque towards her RESP
  • Trying to make as many of our gifts as possible - food, knitted things, etc
  • Gift cards - I'm slowly being converted on this one...I used to be happy to receive them, but felt like I was copping out if I bought them for someone. (The odd thing was, I didn't feel at all like the person giving me the gift card had copped out!) The nice thing about a gift card is that you can get what you want/need, but this only works if the gift card is for somewhere you'd shop/like to try. I'm more appreciative of the restaurant gift cards now too...because it's rare for us to treat ourselves to dinner, so it's nice to receive them!
  • Secondhand/thrift store finds - there are some treasures out there for sure. And second hand books are awesome and usually way cheaper than new ones.
We've also decided not worry about what other people give us. If someone wants to give us a card, that's awesome. If someone else wants to spend a small fortune on us, well, it's up to them.

When I was growing up we got a few gifts from our parents - usually something to wear, something to read, and something to play with/do. And Santa came. And we had grandparents. And we each had two sisters (although we often paired up our tiny budgets and got one gift from two sisters) And we each drew one name of one cousin on each side of the family. And there were a few close family friends we exchanged gifts with. And that adds up to at least 11 gifts plus Santa. And that's lots. We've decided to do the same with J as my parents did. I think last year all she got from us was a wooden frog. And maybe a book. But she didn't need any clothing. She got enough from other we didn't get her any.

Anyway...apparently I don't have a problem with excessive words...

What kinds of gifts do you like to give and receive this time of year? Any ideas for fun and creative consumable gifts (as in you eat them, use them up, or spend them)? What about special gifts that don't cost three months' rent?

The most wonderful time of the year is coming

or it might already be here, depending on who you talk to...


I'm not really ready.

Part of that is this diet. I think once I make it to tomorrow and I get to add eggs in again, it will become much easier. I only have to spend two days on each of phase 2 - 6, so that's not too difficult. But I'm still in the middle of a "healing crisis" and I feel ugh today. I felt good this morning, but since I had lunch, it's been downhill...I had a migraine most of the day yesterday and I still have a headache today. Normally I'd reach for a Coke and some Tylenol, but for obvious reasons Coke is not allowed and I'm supposed to stay away from the Tylenol if I can. And I need a nap. Now.

But, tomorrow night should shock me straight into Christmas. I'm having some friends in for a little pre-Christmas-insanity get together. The idea was that we'd all work on unfinished Christmas projects - addressing cards, crafting, knitting, scrapbooking, whatever - in hopes of getting some of them done before December 1. HA! That maybe worked the first year. Now we all just get together and eat lots of yummy stuff and sample delicious festive beverages and chat. But there's Christmas music, so it's all good!

And I think once they all head home, I will be in Christmas mode. I'm starting to make a list of things we need to buy...we're cutting way back this year, so it's interesting getting everything done on a smaller budget. I might visit the storage room tonight and grab some festive stuff, like the table cloth...but I might not.

I am very excited about Christmas - I think it's going to be a fun and exciting holiday this year with a 2 year old. J has already picked up (parts of) Jingle Bells somewhere and she thinks that Santa's other name is Merry Christmas, so I think we're going to have a blast!

I just wish I could borrow Santa's elves to do all the work for me!

Are you looking forward to Christmas?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Snoozing in a winter wonderland

We had a snow day at our house today. Alex wasn't comfortable with us going up to the university - more because of the crazy, not-so-smart drivers than anything. We have a great vantage point from our apartment to see all the stupid things people do.

Things like
  • Driving 20 km above the speed limit, something which is not safe on that road even in the most perfect weather
  • Changing lanes and cutting the person in the other lane off
  • Pulling U-turns at the intersections (where it's very slippery)
  • Honking impatiently at the person in front of you at the stop sign (who isn't going because IT'S NOT SAFE) and then zooming around them once they do go
  • Pedestrians j-walking (which I think is stupid to begin with) in front of cars that they'd never walk in front of when the weather is good
  • Tailgaters who honk at slow drivers and then fishtail because they're driving too fast
There was also a freezing rain warning tonight (goodbye plans to go to Stanley Park and get a preview of the Christmas train and light display...)

So J and I stayed home. I fully expected we'd go for a walk and play in the snow.

But no.

I'm into the second day of the first phase of the GAPS diet and I'm exhausted. Apparently this is normal, but I'm not enjoying it. I don't know how I would have survived today if I had gone to work. When J had her nap, I had a list of things to do for, yeah, I slept for two hours. And if J hadn't started calling me and telling me she wanted to get up, I probably would have slept longer...

But she also slept for almost 3.5 hours, so by the time she was up and moving, it was dark, cold, and slippery.

So no snow today, but it was nice working at home with a hot cup of tea and toddler telling me all kinds of awesome stories!

Broth soup anyone?

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

I'm into the first phase of the new crazy diet GAPS diet and it's all about broth soups.

I was super excited at the beginning as I love soup and it's the perfect time of year for soup, but here I am on day two and I'm ready to move on...I was waiting to hear from the naturopath, who was going to give me some additional information (like when I get to move to the next phase) that isn't available online. I haven't heard from her so I emailed her to find out when I can eat other stuff...I'm not hungry but I'm not feeling satisfied either.

I'm totally in detox mode and I'm sooooo tired. We had a snow day at our house today and I worked from home, but I ended up napping the whole time J slept as well. And I could go back to bed already and it's not even 4:30. But at least this is just a temporary phase...

I'm going off to eat some soup now…

PS: Stacey, your post made my tummy grumble...a lot!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to make a big change...

In my list of things I meant to blog about in the last week and didn't (but still plan to), I mentioned big changes coming...and to ward off any and all rumours, I figured I better start there!

If you have been following my posts over at Get Fit Chicks recently, you know more than you ever wanted to know about my crazy diet.

The quick history (imagine the long history!) is that about six years ago I was unwell for months, but for no obvious reason. I had the very best doctor in the world at the time and she was patient and listened when I told her what was wrong (or what wasn't right) and told me that regardless of what test results say, she thinks most patients know their bodies better than their doctors do and if they think something is wrong, well something is wrong. She eventually made me take a good month off work (in part to determine if this mystery illness was environmental - physical or mental. That experiment was a good one, but had no definitive conclusion) and sent me to see another doctor to get a second opinion just in case she had missed something. More tests, more blood work, same answer: everything falls into the "normal range."

Usually I'd be happy with that. But I wasn't. Something was still wrong.

I was too tired.

I couldn't get out of bed when my alarm went off - it was physically exhausting. Depression was ruled out.

I couldn't exercise. After 15 minutes of light walking, I needed four or five hours of rest to recover.

It was a vicious cycle - I'd hang out with my friends and have a great time visiting and feel better - usually something low key, a meal out or tea in someone's living room - but then I didn't see anyone for ages because that made me tired too and I needed time to recover.

I figured I was going crazy and was prepared to try pretty much anything. I had drained my savings by taking a month off work while working at a place that had no sick leave policy. I was worried. What would happen to me if I got sicker and needed to take more time off. I was picturing packing up the Hobbit Hole and returning to live with my parents. Not really something I wanted to do.

But my doctor figured there were a few things left to try. She told me that modern, Western medicine didn't have the tools to figure out what was going on and help me get better, but that complementary medicine might help. She sent me to a massage therapist and suggested I go see naturopath and if that didn't work, an acupuncturist. And thankfully, while I wasn't entitled to sick leave, we did have decent extended benefit coverage.

Through word of mouth I found a naturopath who specialized in fatigue and headaches (with the fatigue came extremely frequent headaches and migraines every 7 - 10 days). I'd never been to an naturopath before, and I thought this guy was quite interesting - he was also a pharmacist.

And I decided he was a miracle worker! He did some testing, put me on the crazy diet, gave me some of those drops that naturopaths like to give, and added a few supplements to my daily multivitamin (some Omega 3s and something else, maybe more Vitamin C?). He told me I'd see an improvement in the headaches within the first week and they should keep improving over the next 6-8 weeks until they stopped almost entirely. The fatigue would take longer, but I should see an improvement within 4-6 weeks.

He was right about the headaches - the change was almost immediate.

And on day one of the 5th week, the fatigue changed. It didn't go away completely, but I was able to take the short 15 minute walk I used to take every morning without feeling tired. But the end of the 5th week, I could do my morning walk and my longer (45 minute-ish) walk in the afternoon. By the end of the 6th week, I felt great, I was walking in the morning and all the way home in the afternoon (just over 4 kms), and I had energy again.

I stuck to that diet like my lift depended on it. On special occasions like Christmas day, I let myself indulge. Everyone was scared of my diet and wanted to try to accommodate it, but after the first six weeks of super-strictness, I could eat small amounts of the foods on the elimination list, as long as I paid attention to what I was eating and in what quantities.

It worked. And whenever the fatigue would set in again, I would completely eliminate the stuff on the list for a few weeks and slowly add it back in again.

Life was good. But the last two times I've tried to do it, there have been no great results.

So, to head off another spiral of unhappy health, last week I decided it was time to go back to the naturopath.

I've been seeing another naturopath since the birth of J - this one specializes in women's health, pre- and post-natal women, and pediatrics, so I felt like she was a good fit.

And the new plan might just be crazier than the old plan. She did a test to make sure my hormones are fairly stable, my thyroid isn't out of whack, and to check a couple of other things, but I'm basically going to be doing the GAPS diet and using a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions. I've been doing some research and there's all kinds of interesting information about both of those. GAPS is often used for people with autism, but seems to also have been effective in dealing with fatigue. I'm glad it's winter because there is a lot of soup on this diet for the first little while. I'm not looking forward to the sauerkraut and animal organs...I think I can get away with not using the organs, but probably am stuck with the sauerkraut.

And, because I do most of the cooking and I'm not prepared to make two different dinners every night, J and Alex are going to have to get used to eating strange stuff too! The naturopath thinks three months should be enough time to sort everything out and then, like the last crazy diet, I should be able to add things from the NO list in small quantities, some more occasionally than others.

There are going to be some big challenges - especially with the holidays around the corner - but I don't want to end up where I was six years ago, so if doing this now will prevent that, well, let's do it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Here we go again...

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

I've been sticking to the crazy diet as best I can, but I'm having no luck with the fatigue.

So, I sucked it up, got out my credit card, and went back to the naturopath.

And you know the crazy diet? Well, I think it's about to get crazier!

I'm doing some testing to make sure that I don't have anything going on with my thyroid or iron levels or my cortisol and then we’re starting a new crazy diet.

I don't have all the details yet (the naturopath is waiting for the results of the testing) but instead of no fermented stuff, this diet is all about the fermented stuff. She gave a me a few things to look at before we get into the plan, but it's based on two things – the GAPS diet and the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Both of these have some controversial points to them, but at this point, I'm prepared to try pretty much anything! The GAPS diet is one of the diets that claims to help those with autism and Nourishing Traditions promotes the regular use of saturated fats, including butter.

It's interesting to see what could be happening to my diet (and a bit scary as Christmas is just around the corner), but if it helps with the fatigue and the other boring stuff that goes along with it, well, I'm happy to try it and see…

Have you ever heard of the GAPS diet or the Nourishing Traditions cookbook? Have you ever followed either? I'm curious to see what other people think – I’m just starting to look into both, so I haven't really formed any opinions…and the naturopath thinks it will only take 2-3 months of these two to reverse things and then close attention to what I'm eating after that, so as long as neither of them look harmful, I'm willing to give it a try!

So behind...

I have a million things I wanted to write about this week, but I haven't written about any of them...and now it's past my bed time...

So...teaser for you (all three loyal readers) and reminder for me:

Things to come this week:
  • Birthday cake
  • What the professional organizer told me
  • Big changes afoot
  • An update on 101 in 1001...a few things to cross off (and Fifers, where's your list?!?)
  • Thanksgiving thankfulness, take two

Happy Sunday night.

Sweet dreams.


Monday, November 15, 2010

The people in the computer

I bet, if you have a blog, there are people in your computer. You know, people who you know because you read or comment on their blogs and maybe they read and comment on your blog too. Or maybe not. But because it's the internet and people publish things there for other people to read, it's not stalking if you only have a one-way relationship!

It's easy enough for me to forget that the people in the computer are real. Until something major happens in their lives that jolts me back to reality OR you get to meet them for real.

I've never met any of the people in the computer for real before.

Until yesterday.

Stacey and I met up at Granville Island (no, Stacey's not the person in the computer, I've known her for years) and found AndreaClaire waiting for us at the flower stand at the market!

We had a great visit and, hey, did you know, the awesome people in the computer are pretty awesome in real life too!

I'm so glad we managed to work our weekends out so that we could's kind of fun to meet the people in the computer!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I warned myself

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

But apparently I didn’t listen…

When the pedometer miraculously returned, I said I’d only try for 8,000 steps for the first little while to get my body used to walking again…and I did really well the first two days, logging over 8,000 steps. Wednesday was chock full of meetings, so I was happy with 6,000 steps.

But then Thursday was a holiday. And there are Danish visitors here. So we went out with them. With J in the stroller. And oh my, now I’m sore…I didn’t do anything I’d normally think was excessive, but when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and have my legs rubbed last night, I realized I’d over done it.

It was only a little over 4 km and for a while I wondered what was wrong with my legs…Maybe a combination of the lung infection I’m just getting over and the change in my work situation which, for a variety of reasons, has changed my commute? I used to walk J to daycare, hop on the bus, and walk across campus to my office. Now, I have a new job and a new office and J has a new daycare. All of those things combined to make it impossible for me to take the bus *and* put in a full day at work. So now I drive. And I’m really good at taking my lunch. So I don’t walk. So, the days that I don’t have yoga, I have actually scheduled a walk into my day…that way the next time I was 4 km, I hope I won’t be whining on the couch the next night!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


j's poppy
J has been quite intrigued by poppies this year. I don't think she's quite old enough to wear one - the pin is a bit of a dangerous weapon. But maybe next year. When we're out she points out all the people who have "pretty red flowies" on their jackets like Mommy. And after watching the ceremony in Ottawa this morning and seeing all the people wearing poppies, she's been busy drawing her own "red flowies."

I've spent the morning with J, grateful that I live in the country I live in and grateful that all those years ago, and today, men and women put their lives on the line, and in many cases gave their lives to keep our country safe and free. Now that I have a little girl, I am so much more appreciative of the sacrifice they made.

Lynn Johnson has done a series of Remembrance Day comic strips and there are three that really hit home (and have since before I had J): 1997, 2000, and 2001.

While we're not able to attend a service this year (J is terrified of the bagpipes and loud bangs right now and wouldn't stay still and quiet long enough), we will be observing our minute of silence together, at home. And, as she gets older and can understand, we're going to work very hard to make sure she understands and respects this very important day. She asked why all the people were there and why some were crying and I told her that we're saying thank you to some special people who did some special things so that she can go to daycare and live with Mommy and Daddy where we live and go to the park. And my dear little girl gave me a big hug and solemnly said "Thank You TV" and has been sitting beside me, trying to sing along with the choir and rubbing my back.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

15. Find missing address book

address bookHere it is! I looked everywhere for this silly thing. I figured it was long gone - either a helpful toddler had put it away for me or I'd lost it (I thought maybe I left it behind when we went to Salt Spring in August since I couldn't find it when we left the hotel to come home). But no. It was in a computer bag for work that I rarely use. I'm not sure how it got there, but I worked from home a bit in the summer, so I wonder if it just got swept up and put in there or fell in or maybe above mentioned toddler was helping.

This is the best little address book ever! When I was living in London in 1999, Doreen brought these back from a trip to GSUSA (maybe for a foundation meeting?) for all of the volunteers. I had a nice little address book, so this one got tucked away. I found it when I moved back to Canada (in 2002 I think) and I loved it. My old address book was disintegrating and this one actually had places for cell phones and email addresses and that was hard to find in an address book back then in the olden days! I also learned from my mom and only wrote names in pen...address went in friends are all more settled these days, not too many are moving every few months, but it's still handy to be able to erase and use the same spot!

In any case I'm glad I have it back. I would have hated to rebuild it from scratch...although, I have started to contact people for their addresses. Now it's on to #16 and actually entering all the random post-its with new addresses into the book....

Sad toddler + daddy away = pizza sandwiches for breakfast

or 36.11 Try 50 new recipes - Raspberry Drop Scone

Alex is working a crazy split shift right now and J hates it. He leaves before we wake up in the morning and he doesn't get home until after J goes to bed at night. Okay, so he's home for a few hours in the middle of the day, but we're not.

J is not happy.

Yesterday she got out of bed and immediately barked "Where's my daddy?" at me. No good morning. No "Hi Mommy." Just "Where's my daddy?"

Then, once we'd established that once again he was away at work, she told me "I no eat porridge. My daddy no here. I no have porridge today."

Apparently if Daddy is gone the usual isn't good enough for breakfast.

No worries kid, I was already one step ahead of you!

I made scones that I found (and had been eyeing for a while) on Everybody Likes Sandwiches and yes, they are raspberry scones. And no, those are not raspberries in the picture. And no, those are not drop scones in the picture. But they're yummy!

cranberry scones
Cranberry scones. YUMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm. I deviated from my usual don't-make-changes-until-you've-tried-it-once approach to a new recipe. I think I made four changes...I substituted 1% for skim, regular sugar for raw, cranberries for raspberries. And I rolled and cut my scones. Because J has an aversion to biscuit shaped things right now, so little pies were better.

She told me she was eating pizza sandwiches.

These are yummy. And they seriously only took about five minutes to mix up. And they were so good! Oh, and they're gone. That took less than 24 hours. But scones are best eaten fresh, so it's all good. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Well, that was easy

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

I thought it was going to be hard to get back up to 10,000 steps a day now that I’m not walking and taking the bus as part of my commute.

I think I was wrong! I had one meeting outside of our office yesterday and it was fairly close and I managed to walk over 8,000 steps. We’ll see if I can replicate that today.

I think that means if I go for a short walk at lunch time I’ll be able to hit my goal most days – and by short I mean 30 minutes. That’s totally doable and I can’t wait to see if it helps!

Oh, and on my quest to see how what my food choices “cost” me…I was craving a scone from the coffee shop and I know it’s not a good idea for a whole lot of reasons…so I got up and made hot scones for breakfast this morning. YUM! And Because I used stuff from the pantry, I’m not counting it as an extra cost, but calorie-wise it was less than half the calories of a scone from the coffee shop! And it was only about 20 calories more than the oatmeal I usually have for breakfast…must remind myself to keep making smart choices! It will be interesting to see what my week looks like when I’m done!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Redefining busy...

If you asked me recently how we've been, I'll probably say good, busy, but good. And I think we're busy. Really busy. And I keep looking at the busy and thinking that after the summer is over, after Thanksgiving, after Hallowe'en, after Christmas, maybe it won't be so busy.

But I think I'm wrong.

I think that we're not actually busy. We're just living life. And I need to adjust my expectations.

It's just life. We don't do crazy extra curricular activities - J isn't doing any additional organized activities outside of daycare - they do lots of physical play and go for lots of walks and there's a early childhood music teacher who comes once a week. I'd like to put her in swimming lessons after Christmas, but that's it. After I pick her up from daycare, we come home, play, have dinner, a bath, and story time and then she goes to bed. On the weekends we try to limit activities to one per day (ideally one per weekend) and we keep to her nap schedule as much as possible.

Since I started looking at it as our life and not as our busy life, it's been a much easier life to live! We are pretty much happy. We live in a neighbourhood we like that is close (enough) to both of our jobs and to J's daycare. We see our family quite frequently. We visit with friends at least once a week. We live in a beautiful city in a great country.

We're pretty blessed and once I remove busy from the equation, it's a lot easier to savour those blessings and if the dishes don't get done tonight because we're playing with puzzles, well, that's okay. They'll be there tomorrow and while I'm elbows deep in soap suds, I'll have the memories of the puzzle playing giggles to entertain me.

Busy, you are banned from our house!

The cost of unhealthy living

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

Every once in a while, I stop and take a bit of an inventory of what's happening in my life related to my health – how much am I exercising, what kind of exercise am I doing, what’s my diet like, what are my sleep patterns like, what's my stress level – and readjust it.

There’s all kinds of talk in the media about the cost of unhealthy living and the strain it is putting (and will put in the future) on our health care system…we’ve all seen it – more diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, rates of obesity – the list is endless.

Right now I know I need to eat better – I'm much better than I was this summer, but there's still room for improvement. We started creating a weekly meal plan, including snacks, and I'm pretty good at sticking to it if we remember to print it and post it in the kitchen – I know I need to do some other exercise besides yoga and I know I need more sleep. Stress is pretty good right now.

This summer I took a look at the cost of some of my unhealthy choices. The cost to me right now, not to me (or the health care system) in the future. And wow, was it motivation! I had slipped into some unhealthy habits that I'm blaming partly on the somewhat unstable daycare situation we were in, some mini-crises we were dealing with as a family, and job uncertainty. And that resulted in some stress eating and more lunches out at work than I would like. So I spent a week tracking what I was eating and this is what I discovered:

In seven days I ate an extra 4500 calories (YUCK!) and it cost me close to $30. An annual habit like that would have me packing on the pounds and would cost me over $1500. Granted, I don't normally eat that way, but this was a slip up that needed correcting and looking at it from a cost perspective really opened my eyes and helped me change the bad habits I was starting to form.

Even though I'm trying my best to eat from the crazy diet right now, there are still ways to make choices that might not be the best choices. Now that plain dairy (ie not cheese or sour cream), flour, and sugar have been added again, most baking is okay. Potato chips (as long as I read the ingredients) are okay...there are many ways to make poor choices even when following a somewhat restrictive diet.

I had planned to do a cost experiment again this week, but I've been under the weather and home all week, so the opportunity to make poor choices at work was completely taken away. I expect to be back at work on Monday, so starting Sunday I'm going to track a week's worth of food to what the extra cost is…

I’m thinking I'm down to more like $5 – $10 a week, and hopefully only a few hundred calories but we'll see...I'd like it to be no calories and less than $5 if at all possible!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bah Humbug to Fall Flus...

Like every kid, J brought germs home from daycare. We all fought the good fight and J and Alex managed to keep the germs at bay. Well, Alex did. J developed a gross cough, but the doctor says it's just that, a gross cough. Keep her hydrated. Run the humidifier. Use VapoRub. And wait it out.

I thought I'd succeeded in beating it too. Until Sunday night. When my entire body started to ache and I began to cough violently. And woke up yesterday with a sore throat. And stayed home yesterday. And today.

And I'm starting to feel better. I'll probably stay home tomorrow just to be sure, but I have some work I can do from home, so maybe I'll feel productive.

Because for the last three days all I've done is sleep in, drink lots of water, tea, and hot lemon and honey, drop J off at daycare, drink more water, tea, and hot lemon and honey, sleep, drink more water, tea, and hot lemon and honey, pick J up from daycare, drink more water, tea, and hot lemon and honey and lie on the couch while J watches Raffi, drink more water, tea, and hot lemon and honey and wait for Alex to come home, drink more water, tea, and hot lemon and honey, go to bed early. I've had a few quiet moments to do some work (ugh, budgets were due yesterday) and blog.

Oh, and can I just say, my awe at the great job stay-at-home-parents and single parents do has increased tenfold? I have no idea how these people ever get their immune systems happy if they get sick. I've been fortunate that daycare is close enough to home that it makes total sense for me to take J even if I'm not going to work (daycare is literally three and a half minutes from my office) and I know that even though Alex is working wacky hours, he'll be home after 7:30 or so if J wakes up or is still up or whatever so that I can sleep.

Just a little blogging:
And tomorrow I hope I'm back to work, either at work or at least doing some work from home...

34. Make cupcakes with the cupcake kit from Maggie

Remember this? Maggie had a giveaway and I won a super cute cupcake kit. SUPER CUTE.

cupcake kit
I didn't forget, I just haven't had time to make cupcakes (or when I have had time, I haven't had enough people around to eat 24 cupcakes!)

cupcake toppers
So, this weekend I hosted a shower for my cousin Harmony and I figured that would be the perfect time to use the kit.

They were sooooo good! I used Martha Stewart's recipes for the cupcakes and the icing.

cupcakes with icing

Thanks Maggie! Everyone thought these were so cute (and we're a little sad we can't find them north of the 49th)

36.9 and 36.10 Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes with Billy's Vanilla Buttercream

For Harmony's shower, I made Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes with Billy's Vanilla Buttercream. I had thought I'd do half Vanilla and half Billy's Chocolate Buttercream, but as I decided it was enough to make the vanilla and use two colours.

babycakesThis recipes makes 30 cupcakes and since I was using my cupcake kit from Maggie which had 24 cases and birds, I decided I'd make small cupcakes with the rest of the batter for the little girls at the party (HA! They wanted huge cupcakes, but the little ones definitely didn't go to waste)

my helperJ helped me out by licking the batters clean of icing (and then asking for "mo' peeze")

cupcakesOh such pretty cupcakes papers!

cupcake topsAnd the icing was perfect!

cupcakes with birdsI love the birds!

iced babycakes
J calls little cupcakes "babycakes" and these little babycakes were perfect! It took a heck of a lot of food colouring to get the icing orange though! See my spider plate peeking through? I got it as a shower gift three years ago and haven't really ever used it...

I'd make these again...the cupcakes and icing together used an entire pound of butter and I think if I made them again, I'd only make half of the icing. I seriously had way too much (and didn't think to freeze the extra until it had made its way into Alex and the garbage...)

YUMMY! Way to go on this recipe Martha!

60. Host a baby shower

My cousin Harmony had a lovely little girl, Calista, a month ago, so I decided it was the perfect time to have a shower for them. It was mostly family and the two people who aren't technically family, really are. You know, the kind of family you choose.

yummy shower treatsFirst we had to make some yummy shower treats

reconfigured living roomThen we rearranged the furniture

shower guestsThen the guests came (according to J the baby is "eating her Mommy nipple")

j and p having funJ and her cousin P had a blast together

j and callieJ loved baby Callie

kissesLots of squishy kisses for baby!

Return of the pedometer

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

Just over a year ago, I lamented the loss of my pedometer...I loved it. It was a great way for me to track whether I was getting enough exercise or not.

On Saturday, Alex took the car in to get the winter tires put on and when he was readjusting the seats after they were done, he found the missing pedometer! I can't wait to start using it again. I've been off work this week with some yucky germs my kid generously brought home from daycare and shared with me, so I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I think that since I started driving to work and since we moved offices, I'm way low on my 10,000 step target.

I'm going to readjust and try for 8,000 a day for the first week…otherwise, my body might just scream and yell at me. Gradual reentry, here I come!