Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Goals

Jen @priorfatgirl is doing a 10 + 3 action plan. That is, she gained 13 pounds recently and she is working to get it off. The challenge is 3 part: drink water , journal food intake at least 5 days a week, exercise 5 days a week.

I also have 13 lbs to lose to reach my pre prego weight. I joined sparkpeople a while back and for the first week or so recorded my food intake and ate pretty well I might add. I also record my water intake and exercise there.

But really I have lost interest in the food journaling, why? Because I don't really want to write it down if I am having bad snacks. In general I eat well, good healthy food. It is just the snacking that gets me. Afternoon boredom, evening reward for a tough day, not out of hunger. So I don't write it down if I haven't been perfect. Gotta stop, be honest and record it.

Water is pretty easy, I like it, I generally choose it first. I have a Britta filter jug in the fridge and a water bottle for work. Can I just mention that I love the ice machine at work? Almost worth being a patient just to get the ice cold water. I am easy to please, ok? But when I started recording my water intake on sparkpeople (did I mention it is free to sign up?) I noticed that unless I push myself I usually only drink 5 glasses of water a day, sometimes 6. That was a bit of a shock since I consider myself a water drinker. I have been fairly faithful in recording my water intake so I will just keep it up and try to be conscious of drinking more.

Cute little Kettlebell monkeys

Then comes the exercise. I really do like to exercise so it is not too hard to incorporate it but it is a matter of timing. I have consistently recorded my kettlebell workouts and walking with the family on sparkpeople and I have to admit I love looking at the graph of how much I have done. Kinda nerdy, huh?

Also, I just treated myself to the second volume of Lauren Brooks' Ultimate Kettlebell workout. The new video has 2 shorter workouts (about 20-25 mins) with some add on sections. The first video has a 12 min workout and a 40 min workout. So that is 4 choices for me besides something less intense like a long walk with the kids. I am fine with some lower intensity workouts as long as I get at least 3 good Kettlebell workouts in. Those workouts burn up the calories.

Guess I should actually get a scale if I want to measure progress. But I have never owned one so I think, why start now? In the past I have weighed myself at work and at Rosalin's house so maybe that's what I will do for a start. The main point is bringing uniformity to my life. Acting healthy because I value health. Money where your mouth is kinda thing. The numbers are secondary.

There ya go. This is the new plan.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big girl bed update

She loved it, and she slept well!

and she's helping me with the project for her room!

I used to have a baby

What happened in the last 2 years is beyond me. But she now has a lot more hair. And she doesn't need this gate.

Or this crib.

Here is reminder of how her room looked most recently.

And this is how it looks with the big girl bed and coordinating big girl quilt.

And of course rearranged play furniture too!

We still have one project to do. The 'before' is in this picture of what the suite room used to look like. Can you guess what I am going to repurpose from this photo? It is way back in the corner, barely visible.....

When it's done it will fix up this corner....
It might take a few weeks so stay tuned!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I guess we're going shopping

...for new patio doors.

Patio doors BEFORE
When we redid the windows last year we decided to leave the patio doors in the living and dining rooms until phase 2. Partially because of funds and partially because I didn't know what I wanted exactly (but I knew I wanted it to be nice).
Well now we are in the market for a new front patio door (a triple slider) because this happened...
Patio door AFTER
One flying toy later the task of replacing the front doors in now urgent!

We've been to 4 showrooms and now the calls and emails begin. For now we have classy plywood up. I know, I know, there goes the neighbourhood!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still Struggling

.... with my mantel decorating that is!

I have been trying to make it work for quite a while with not a lot of luck. Remember here and here and way back here?

But I am making progress. Here is a little sneak peak at how my new colour scheme is coming together.

(yikes - it looks dusty in these pictures)

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am trying to post this as part of Lindsay's FoodIsFuel Friday... we'll see how it works.

I don't really like food. If you know me at all you know I don't really cook (well). I make food for my family but I don't like to.

I am one of those people who could eat the same thing over and over and over and not really tire of it. My hubby however is not one of those people. He loves different flavours and trying new things. He does cook, especially on his days off. Sometimes he even meal plans, he often does the grocery shopping and always does the dishes. So I really don't have to think about it that much. But I feel like I should.

Before kids we were eating a lot of pasta and not a lot of veggies. We both recognized that there was not a whole lot of nutritional content in what we were making so we went to Chapters and bought the ZONE by Barry Sears. I read the science and have heard about it in the media and I ate it for 3 months. I have never felt so well in my life. No headaches, no real cravings, lost weight easily even though we were exercising 5 days a week at that time and didn't have much to loose. I still to this day think it is the healthiest way to eat.

But wow is it a lot of work. EVERYTHING is from scratch. Healthy but tedious. Everything is also measured as it is based on a ratio of 30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbs (new research on that).

Yes it works, but for me it is not a long term solution - I just don't want to spend hours every day doing food prep.

As time has gone on I have kept a few general principals from the ZONE. Namely protein with every meal, carbs mostly from veggies or low glycemic sources. And healthy fats with every meal (olive oil, nuts, etc). I usually only drink water although when I started recording it I noticed I almost never drink the recommended 8 glasses a day. I don't do this all the time but I do keep it in mind.

One day I came across a blog called Kalyn's Kitchen. She is a foodie. She makes recipes that are yummy and creative. She also follows the South Beach Diet which is fairly similar to the Zone. Healthy fats, low glycemic carbs and more protein. I am in love. Her meals are delicious and healthy, my hubby likes the different flavours and she has a huge selection of recipes for me to search. Did I mention easy to make and the kids like it? Ya, that's what makes it great. The kids like it, they eat it!

One of my favorite of her meals is turkey meatballs. My kids don't like red sauce (well two of them don't really like it) but we make these turkey meatballs and usually steamed veggies and fruit. Yummy. Ok, I do let them dip it in ketchup, but the meatballs are so good they usually just eat them plain!
See the meatballs in the middle at the bottom? Yum.

I made a whole batch up from a mega pack of ground turkey from Costco and froze them all ready for cooking. There ya go. My fast meal idea that is healthy, real food and a family pleaser. What more could you ask for?

Turkey Meatball recipe here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am starting to discover that I really like pattern. I have exactly 4 pieces of clothing that are patterned. That's it. But wow can pattern spice up a place.
Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to these sorts of things!This is the new spice in my living room after a quick grocery stop this morning (while one kid was at Kindergarten and the other 2 were in tow). I know the first pillow isn't very exciting, but the second one is way bold for me.
As always it was cheap, $6.99 a pillow. And I know what my hubby will say "Great, more throw pillows. Just what we needed around here." But I don't care because it looks so cute! Makes me feel like I am living in a Pottery Barn catalogue. Except for the pen, yogurt, and dirt on the couch! And then there's the fact that the furniture actually came from IKEA. Otherwise, totally Pottery Barn.

**He actually just walked in and said "Good. Pillows. I like pillows." in a very sarcastic tone.**

Monday, March 15, 2010

welcome mat

A few weeks ago when I went to Superstore I found I didn't have a loonie. Just in case you don't know - you need a dollar to get a grocery cart at this particular store. Annoying. Especially since my trusty loonie (that lives in the van) was kindly given away to a poor stranger who found herself in the same predicament the week before. That'll teach me for being generous.

Anyway, I was lugging around a basket heading towards the conditioner aisle when I saw it - a beautiful door mat for $12.99. Since my slightly rusty metal mat was left by the previous owners and my mom had mentioned it a time or two, I thought a new mat was a great idea.
Except it was heavy.
And I only had a basket.
Oh well, next time for sure.

Next time I went to Superstore I was at a different location and they only had not so pretty mats left, so I bought one for the carport door to catch the pine needles. It works great. It was actually only $10. I thought it was a great deal.

Then just last week I was shopping again, this time with a replacement loonie when I found myself back at the original store. And yes, they still had a ton of mats!! I scooped up a little one for the deck and a pretty one for the front door - yeah!

All was looking good, the little mat rang in at $4. Perfect. Then the big one- the pretty one - my find. "Uhh, Ma'am? This mat is scanning for $59.99. Do you still want it?" But the tag says 13 bucks?
"You can just go to customer service on your way out and buy it at the proper price." Ya, thanks, dude. Just what I want after a long shopping trip, to stand in one more line. But I really like the mat so I go through the line and discover their price adjustment policy. That is if they have to adjust the price for you then they give you $5 off or something ridiculous like that. So in the end my much sought after rug was actually paid for with a 5 dollar bill. And I got change! And it is cute!

Now the metal mat is upstairs on our little front balcony. Everybody wins!
Don't you feel welcome just looking at it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

inspiration pictures

I think one reason I really love the internet is because I am such a visual person. If I put important papers in a drawer they cease to exist for me (no object permanence I guess). I can't think if my house is messy. Those two traits don't go so well together - having to have everything out but having to have everything neat. It is a fine line I tell you. Anyway, I say I love to read blogs, but really I mean I love to look at pretty pictures. I am particularly drawn to this all white houses with slipcovers and punches of colour, vintage finds and homeowners who insist the white couch is so easy to care for event though they have kids and pets. My beige slipcover has dirt, stains and pen on it so I can only imagine how white would fair at my house.

Anyway, one such blog is Velvet and Linen by Brooke Giannetti. She has fabulous style and her house pictures show a beautiful house that is a bit more feminine than my own taste but jaw droppingly gorgeous none the less. But recently she posted new pictures of her home that has been restyled to suit her current taste and that of her husband. It is still beautiful but a bit more neutral and less feminine. I love it. Love it.

Here is a picture of her kitchen. See the whole thing here. The original version had more green and pink and floral fabric under the sink. See it here along with the rest of her home before. Yep, those are the befores! Pop around her site to see the other updates they have made.
Anyway I was inspired by this current incarnation of her kitchen to redo my own open shelves. I keep thinking my kitchen is not done, needs hardware and a new floor. But the truth is it isn't too bad, and I should enjoy it right now. So I am. I enjoyed a whole morning of rearranging.

this is the before


and after

It is not exactly like Brooke's kitchen but let's be serious, it was never going to be. But it is a better version of my kitchen using the white, glass and silver I already had and adding some wood elements for contrast and warmth.

It makes me want to put up linen drapes :^)

What do you think? Anything being rearranged at your house?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

But sometimes it's not...

I can't tell you how many times I have hear "Oh what a lovely place to work" when I tell people I work with babies. "You are so lucky, how fun".

Yes. I love teaching breastfeeding, I love helping families get to know their baby. I love cuddling cuties, hearing their names spoken out loud for the first time. Seeing parents meet their child and enjoy that moment. There is fun to be had at my job.

But no. Some babies are terribly sick. Some babies are born withdrawing from substances in ways that would make you cringe. There is suffering among babies too.

And parents. Watching your child suffer, struggle with each breath. Having tubes and wires on a precious new bundle. Hearing the news that this baby will have long term issues, that it won't be the healthy child you dreamed of.

Sometimes it is pain. Sometimes it is tears. Sometimes it is unimaginable wailing for an ache in a mother's heart that won't go away. Not really. Not completely.

That was today. I was sort of on the edge of the tragedy today. Spared a bit I guess because I have been on the receiving end of more than a bit of pain lately.

But it wasn't the first time I have had to stop the adrenaline from pumping. It is all over now. There is no more that can be done. I am so sorry we did our best but...

Sometimes it's not fun. Sometimes it's not warm cuddles. Sometimes they don't go home.

Every time I encounter an incident like this I try hard to think it through and deal with it. Because you know what? They keep happening.

I have chosen a job where I walk with people through their pain. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. I have chosen to be the one who is yelled at, cried at, who sees the parents collapse into each other like their bones were just taken away and there is no way they could stand. I choose that again today. I choose to absorb a small part of this pain because I know this pain is not going to be forever.

Psalm 30:5 says Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes with the morning. Not tomorrow. But maybe one day when He wipes every tear from every eye. Amen, come Lord Jesus.

the bed

Bedroom before

Remember a while ago when I was lamenting our boring master bedroom? I decided to use some Christmas money to buy a real bed for our hand-me-down real mattress that we got after ten years of sleeping almost on the floor on an ikea bed.

this is our old bed in our old house
Well after checking out Urban Barn, Costco and Maynard's I was resigned to the price tag of $500-$800. And was just deciding if I should get one that looked "nice enough" or wait for my dream bed. As an aside, I didn't really know what my dream bed was but was certain I would know it when I saw it.

In the midst of this I got a phone call from my Mom (love ya Mummy) saying her friend's s-i-l was getting rid of a bed frame, it was free did we want it. Uh, yup. Bring it on over. They brought it by a few days later and I was trying so hard not to get too excited in case I would be disappointed. But there was no need to fear. This is what my dream bed looks like!

It needed a bit of work- cleaning, and the headboard wasn't attached, it was a double (did I mention our mattress is a queen?), and there were no side rails. But nothing a bit of elbow grease, a smart hubby, an old bed frame to rip apart and an entire day of work couldn't solve. Did I mention 5 trips to Home Depot? And 5 trips to Home Depot. No worries. A is a master at making things work. And it was free after all, it is certainly worth a little work!

A at work scrapping old glue off

K and L helping, see all the play tools scattered about?

These two parts weren't actually attached.
He had to glue and screw the headboard onto the frame.

Yep it is beautiful. See the wood detail and the curved legs.

And here it is.

I am thinking a bit higher side tables and sconces on either side of the bed for reading. But it is feeling much more finished in here already! It is a real grown up bedroom!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The answer for silver

My mom gave me some silver this week. I was a tea set that was my Grandma's and I have another cream and sugar set that was my great aunt's (I think). I also have some cute spoons that were my Grandma's as well (in a jar on the top right). See the cream and sugar set on the bottom shelf and the tray from the tea set behind my husband's wine glasses.

But I really don't do polishing. I don't even own any silver polish. I am way too lazy for that. Fortunately, my mom had a solution that was quick and did not require elbow grease.

So here is how I took this set from here ...

... to here. I know it's not perfect but it is a whole lot better!

First step: go to the store and buy Calgon. I didn't really know what it was ( I guess that makes me young!). Apparently it is a water softener and can be found by the dish soap. But not in Superstore. I got mine at Save On but I saw it at Thrifty's as well. Also pull out the tin foil and salt.

Step two: put tin foil in the bottom of the sink and 1/2 cup calgon and a shake of salt on top.

Step three: pour boiling water over the whole thing. Then if you are me and you didn't boil quite enough, supplement it with very hot tap water. But that is not the official Cora method are we clear?

Step four: add the silver things once everything is dissolved. Let the silver sit on the tin foil totally submerged in water. It *should* take only 15 seconds, or "instantly" according to my mom. But I let it sit for a bit while I did a few things. Seriously folks it was pretty tarnished. That set has been in a box unloved since I got married 10 years ago!

That's it. It comes out pretty darn shiny. This is how my mom does all her silver. It has a bit of a yellow cast to it but I don't know if that is because of the reaction or because my silver is old.
I think if you were a perfectionist (if my husband was doing this) you would then finish off by polishing after the bulk of the work was done. But I am a good enough-ist. So it is now on my shelf.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Trying to rearrange what I already have. You know - shop the house.

Ok, I might have bought the gigantic turquoise candlestick holders at Home Sense.

But the rest was from around the house. C'mon I can't resist turquoise!

In the mean time this is what the living room looked like...

I need a few more finishing touches before you see how it turned out.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I have been sick. Bad cold struggling to stop it from becoming strep or an ear infection. One kid on antibiotics for pneumonia and another who probably should be. And great strides being made in the basement reno.
On top of it all a close friend died this week - that put me over the top. Not just peacefully passed away in his sleep, but his wife called 911, did CPR on him and he died in Emerg at my hospital while I was there, just 2 floors away. My mom couldn't get ahold of me. I was in the building but totally oblivious until an hour after the fact. That is the part that really gets me.
Run down and then grief.
I am getting myself together, really I am.
I hope.