Saturday, October 22, 2011

Upping My Game

Hi all, it's been a long time since I had a post, but I'm pretty busy.  I've been inspired to become a better me.  Last year when we got a new principal, I became inspired to become a better teacher.  She makes me want to be better, try harder, do more.  Last year I started at a nutritionist, she inspires me to eat healthier, to eat clean, to eat natural, to feel better.  This year I started with a physical trainer, he inspires me to work hard, to accept nothing less than the best, to push myself farther than I think I can go.  This year Devin was tested for reading difficulties and it inspired me to become a better mom, to step up my game, pay more attention to the details and just be more present.  Trying to be better in every aspect is very challenging, I can't help but drop a few balls here and there.

This year one big ball I dropped was in the little things, they seem little, but really they are pretty big.  Like my dad turned 60 this year and I sent him 3/4 of his present 4 months late and I still haven't finished the main part yet.  Sigh!  My mom had her birthday and I didn't even send her a card.  My nephew turned 4 and I was a month late with his gift, too.  I haven't made time to spend with my friends, get out for walks and talks, even make phone calls.  And I haven't written any letters or sent any pictures to grand-parents in a long time.  These are things I used to do and feel really good about, now it seems my priorities have changed and I am very focused on myself. 

I can't help but feel selfish, but in the same breath.... it's time I looked after myself.  I do feel good, I feel stronger, less tired, healthier, more confident... but when you are trying to be better, it never seems to stop.  Is there a point where you realize things are good enough?  I don't think so, I think that as long as you live things can improve and we can reach for more, but seriously you can't always be concentrated on that, because then you are never happy with the way things are right now.  I think balance is required.  The desire to push yourself to be better and move forward, while being happy with yourself in the now.

So, to all of you that I have let down by not sending a gift, or not making a call, I haven't forgotten you, I 've just been busy and although my actions have not shown how much I care about you, please know that I do, very much!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training & Friendships

I originally sat down to write a post about my trainer, yes another one... well he is tall, dark and handsome! Then I read a post from someone else and now my mind is on a totally different topic, so I will give a quick update on the training and then change topics...

Training is going well and I am very pleased with my progress. I'm not sure I would have said that this afternoon when he was running me into the ground, but it is going well. I haven't lost a tonne of weight, but I am definitely slimming down. We do measurements next week, but I can see my waist trimming down, my arms toning up and even my abs getting tighter. I can lift more and get through the workouts easier, well I say easier, but he keeps changing it up and making it harder. Today's focus was running and we went outside for a run together. He was walking me through a 2.5 km run and pushed me hard. It took me 17 minutes and 18 seconds and the last little bit, I didn't even think I would finish. We were running intervals, so sometimes the pace was faster and then we cooled down with what would be more of a normal pace - very tough. Anyhow at the end of May, I ran 2 km in just under 18 minutes, so I shaved some time off of that and added an extra 1/2 km. It felt good in the end, even though I sit here typing with a headache from I'm sure lack of oxygen to the brain this afternoon. After the run, we did leg press, squats, abs, leg extensions, squat press and bicycle crunches. I don't think I said a word and Wesley's comment was something like, "I know I worked you hard when you stop talking". Too true!

My workout schedule for the next few days:

Thursday: Aquafit bootcamp class
Friday: 45 minute run at home
Saturday - Hike through Gatineau Hills with family
Sunday - Bike 15 km on the Parkway
Monday - Session with Wesley
Tuesday - Abs and Glutes Class with Mariko his partner
Wednesday - Cardio kickboxing class with Wesley
Thursday - Session with Wesley to plan holiday plan of attack!

I think I may just be ready to sit in a car for two days straight next weekend on our way east to the Maritimes.

Anyhow, the post I was inspired to write about is about friends and happiness. I wrote a post on laughing, friendships and anxiety a loooong time ago, and am sort of back on the same train of thought.  The post I read today was from Joy and was all about being happy and making your friendships count.  Wesley and I talked about this the other day in a breather between stations.  I was talking about how hard it is to fit exercise into life when you aren't used to it.  How if you were already fit and active when you had children, that you probably can incorporate children into the life you already have, but when you haven't started with that, it makes it difficult to find the time and fit exercise into everything else you are doing with your kids.  I also talked about how most of our friends do not lead an overall active or healthy lifestyle.  Imagine a life with friends who hike, bike, canoe, kayak, run and just live an active lifestyle 24-7.  People who want to be outside playing games and having fun - it would be infectious to a degree, right?  

In Joy's article, she talks about listing your friends into categories and how they fit.  I started doing this, not the same way she did, but I listed qualities like: Active, Positive, Motivating, Healthy Eater, Helpful, Fun, Happy, Crafty, Good Mom and then I started listing my friends, not into categories, but just typing who my friends were.  I separated my friends list into two groups, those I am closer friends with and those that I am more acquaintances with. I would say from my list, I need to start spending more time with my acquaintances.  Many of them have the qualities I am looking for and I haven't taken the time to get to know them better.  I can say, I really don't have any toxic friends though.  Joy's advice is not to have too many friends, as then the quality of friendships goes down, so I'm not really sure how to make more friends and keep the ones I've got intact, but I plan to make it happen somehow.

I know this post is totally random and a bit all over the place, but it is what was on my mind.  To sum up, I'm already busy and I'm going to become more busy trying to make better friends with some good people who will make me happier and healthier.  I think I will have to use Oh, She Glows post idea from today: 9 Ways to be productive in your day.

3 week Maritime holiday in just over a week.  Time to get excited and start packing - woo, hoo!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What am I doing?

There is a new man in my life and his name is Wesley Wood.  Oh, I'm not at all in love with him, actually on the first date I think I told him I hated him, twice!  Wesley is my new personal trainer... it all makes sense now doesn't it!  I felt very guilty when I said I hated him, it was more the squats and burpees I hated, but since then I have decided I should just grin and bare it, as I am paying him big bucks to do this to me.

I've been going for only 2 weeks, although it seems longer.  The first session was a fitness test and measurements session and then we got into the good stuff.  After the first "real" session, which was an arms workout, I had insanely stiff quads the next day.  I know, quads aren't even in your arms, but stairs were my nemesis that day.  (As part of the circuit he had me doing squats with dumbbells and hammer curls on the bosu ball). So, two days later, it happened.... he made me cry.  Well, who wouldn't have honestly.  My legs were in such pain from my "arm" workout that when he made me do lunges, leg curls, leg press, squats and then finally burpees, well my legs just couldn't take it and out the tears came.  Wesley didn't hug me or make me feel better, he simply said... "3 more".  He's not mean or nasty, no Jillian Michaels swearing in your face, thank God, but he makes you push it the best you can and that's why I'm there.

Right now he is working on building my cardio endurance of which I have zero, so it's a quick learning curve.  This week he wants me to run 5 km without stopping and tell him how fast I can do it.  I mean, seriously, I took a running room course on how to run 5 km and it took me 10 weeks.  Now on week 2, I'm just expected to do it and of course, he doesn't believe in 10 and 1's (run for 10 and walk for 1) that doesn't exist in his world!  He said maybe 10 and 10's (run for 10 minutes and walk for 10 seconds) - he's so funny!

So, I'm thinking of my... yes, handsome new man right now, because once again I can hardly walk and actually I can't even straighten my arms my biceps are hurtin' so bad!  I'm a glutten for punishment as I bought 24 sessions, oh, dear!  Next week he has me trying out a group class and then on Tuesday I am meeting him at Terry Fox Hill.  Anyone who knows this place, just laughed out loud, because they all know I am in for pain that day.  This is the toboggan hill in winter and it is nasty - I am just going to HATE Tuesday!  Sigh- let me just say all this effort better pay off!

The goal... to be less tired and have more energy.  Same goal as before, but when the healthier nutrition didn't totally fix my problem, I realized I had to take the next step.   I'm hoping that with this many sessions and all his homework in between, I will become strong enough that I will be able to exercise easier and who knows, *whisper* maybe I will even like it? 

Today when I was shaving my legs, I felt a ridge on my leg... I think it was a muscle? - SWEET!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy 60th Birthday DAD!

What is it that makes dads so special?  Every dad is different, and well... some just aren't so special, but my dad is a truly special guy.  Part of why he is so special is that he is admired in his community, respected, revered by some as a "healer of his people".  This always left his girls with a great sense of admiration for their dad.  As we became parents, we saw what truly made this man great and that is his heart... it's pretty huge!  He wants what is best for everyone and will do what he can to help them get it, whether it is a patient in need of advice, a friend in need of handy guy, a daughter in need of a listening ear or a grand-child in need of a hands on activity, Dr. Shadbolt, Murray, Dad, Grampa is there. 

At our house, Dad always has a project, usually bigger and grander than what we need done, but whether it's a deck, a leaking toilet or air in the tires, you can be sure it will get done when he is here to visit.  We've actually contemplated flying him out here once a year just to help us get work done around the house.

The grandkids love Grampa because he likes to do stuff, particularly build things like kites, model airplanes and  paper mache trees.  He'll read you a book, watch your favorite cartoon, teach you to ride a bike, eat your freshly baked cookies and even play Superhero squad on the Wii when Devin is cheating.

As a father-in-law, he is the go to guy.  It doesn't matter what question you've got, you can ask dad: medical advice for sore knees, handyman stuff like how to fix the hole in the basement ceiling or just guy stuff like .... um, never mind, I won't go there.

Dad, sorry we couldn't be there to celebrate your big 6-0 - we did seriously think about it.  It was unfortunately a lot of traveling for such a short time.    We are happy to know we get to spend New Years with you this year - we haven't spent New Years together since, hmmm.... well I'd say since before we had kids, so a really looong time.  We'll be sure to plan something special!

Here are a few pictures that I could find to remind you of some special times with the family.  I do have a package to send you, but am not quite done it yet and I didn't really realize when I started it how much of a restricted diet you were on, so I am wondering whether I should just do you a favor and eat the Big Turk out of there?  Let me know if I can help you out with that ;)  I can't eat it either, maybe the kids will have to do it for you - they'll probably hate that, ha, ha!  Have a GREAT weekend celebrating with friends and family!

Waiting for his turn to bowl.

Ready to get a strike

Building a paper mache tree for Jasmine's birthday

Pushing Jasmine on the air mattress at Cypress

Taking Allison out for kayak ride in Parksville

Hanging out with his boys.  Scooter riding in Tofino, BC.

The love of his life - mom!

Which grandchild is this?  Who knows, I'm pretty sure I've got one similar to this with every grandbaby you ever had!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adventures of Mexico!

For spring break this year we decided to go south.  This is the first time in about 10 years that we have done this, so the second time ever!!!  We did take the kids with us and we met up with Jay's parents, Sherry and Dave.  We stayed in Puerto Aventuras at the Dreams Resort.  We were very happy with, well pretty much everything.  The service was by far the best part.  Everyone took very good care of you and was happy to be there.  Below is the view from our balcony.  The ocean view was definitely worth the extra money, as we could sit on the deck and enjoy the waves while the kids were napping or sleeping.  The weather was great, warm with a nice breeze.  Without the breeze it was quite hot actually - I think 29 every day.  Most days we were up early, but in no hurry to get going.  We'd head for the buffet between 8-9 and then out to the beach or pool for a swim until lunch.  After lunch, the kids and I often napped or watched the Cartoon network in the room with all the cool cartoons we don't get at home. Then after some down time we would head back out or go for supper.  The group picture was taken in the gazebo just off the front of the beach at the resort.  There were some rocks that acted as a bit of a wave break for  nicer swimming. 

The above picture is what we called the tide pool.  It was a blocked off area that was very calm for snorkeling.  Sherry and Dave brought their snorkel gear, so we tried it out, meanwhile the kids used the resorts life jackets and snorkel gear.  Unfortunately Devin's life jacket was too big and riding up to his head, so he didn't really give it a fair shot, but Jasmine said, "it was pretty cool and I couldn't count how many fish were in there."  At the beach they had a water trampoline that the kids bounced on one day and they also had a inflatable rock climbing wall that you can see in the below picture.  Jasmine did climb to the top of it and slid down twice, but Devin didn't like it too much.  It did seem rather high, so I don't blame him.  Here he is below playing in the sand.

The resort had a schedule of daily activities.  Jay played beach volleyball one day and found out the hard way that the court only had 6 inches of sand and then a concrete floor underneath, but he still had fun.  Jasmine and Devin were brave enough to try the Euro trampoline, which was basically like a sling shot that fired them into the sky.  I couldn't believe how high they went and both were very good sports.  They weren't quite sure how to react, they knew they should be smiling and laughing, but it was pretty scary.  They offered many other things like water aerobics, which I had good intentions of doing, but it was always right around lunch time, so it didn't happen.  Although, we didn't get to take an official Spanish class, we did learn a bit of Spanish including:

Hola = Hello, Good Morning = Buenos Dias, Good Evening = Buenas Noches, Goodbye = Adios, Please = Por Favor, Thank you Very Much = Muchas Gracias, You're Welcome = De Nada, Yes = Se
1. uno, 2. dos, 3. tres, 4. cuatro, 5. cinco, 6. seis, 7. siete, 8. ocho, 9. nueve, 10. diez AND Jay's parents already seemed to know the word for beer = cerveza.

The buffet at the resort was pretty good.  Well, if you only had to eat there once it was amazing, but after a week or so you were happy to have some restaurant options.  The buffet did have a kids section, but it pretty much had hot dogs every day, although we did see chicken fingers and cheesy noodles as well.  The 3 pounds I gained I am sure are attributed to breakfasts which are my favorite... eggs, toast, french toast, bacon, sausage... yum!  They made killer guacamole and pico de gallo, which I missed so much already that I made them both for supper tonight to go with our fajitas.  They had a great assortment of pastries and fresh breads and buns, so that was also a downfall.  Plus you only saw melons and pineapple for fruit, and the odd overripe banana, and hardly any veggies, especially when you had been warned not to eat the lettuce (some resorts use tap water to wash their lettuce, we tended to eat it at the restaurants when served it, but not in the buffet - strange, I know!)  We did try out most of their restaurants.  Below the kids pose with the maitre de of the Italian restaurant and Jasmine is wearing the dress we bartered for the evening before.  We had a really  nice meal and Poppa taught Devin to arm wrestle, or was it the other way around? 

Sherry and Dave had a bad experience at the Sushi restaurant the year before, so when they went for supper with friends Drew and Loretta, we braved it since we like sushi so much.  The menu looked pretty normal, so we figured we'd give it a try. Jasmine had veggie rolls, Devin California rolls and Jay and I experimented with spicy tuna, smoked salmon and dragon rolls - nothing raw and no eel!  It was St. Parick's day, so we all wore our Rider gear.  It doesn't matter where you go, someone knows about the Riders.  On the last night Sherry and Dave were with us, we took advantage of the opportunity and Jay and I ate out at the seafood restaurant - I braved the shrimp tacos and they were very good!  It was so nice having Gramma and Poppa there with us.  We had adjoining rooms, so we had an extra place to hang out when kids were sleeping or the ladies were cleaning.  Devin had a couple of great swims with Poppa and he also took Jasmine out in the ocean wave jumping.  Sherry and Dave had been to this same resort last year, so they knew how it worked and it really was a great place.  

The service was fantastic and we were never short on drinks.  The kids tried all kinds of virgin drinks, like the strawberry ones shown below.  Always served in a fancy glass which they loved.  Their favorites were the chocolate ones, including a mudslide. 

We hadn't considered the different wildlife that we might see when in Mexico, but we saw a couple of different pelicans up close and it was pretty crazy how they just swooped down and took a beakful of water and minnows.  I guess we have seen pelicans before, but not like this.  There was an unusual rodent roaming the resort as well, but I never did find out what it was or get a picture.  I laughed when someone tried to tell me it was a gopher.  We saw tonnes of iguanas, they are just as common as squirrels are in Ottawa.  The picture below shows how close they would let you get to them, but they were everywhere.  The bottom picture is from Xcaret, they had all sorts of animals there, including parrots flamingos and this tapir.  He was quite interesting to look at and stayed in the water for a lot of the day when it was hot.  

On Wednesday we went to Xcaret.  This is where we saw most of the wildlife and adventured through caves and old mines.  Jasmine quite liked the mine.  Here you answered questions and then would follow the direction of your answer, I think we hit about 3 dead ends and had to try again.  The second picture below is from the mine adventure.  Scattered throughout Xcaret were caves, small chunks of ruins and they had an old arena where they played traditional games.  In the evening show they demonstrated a few of the games they used to play, but they didn't behead the losers like they did in real life.  In one of the games they played hockey with a ball of fire in their bare feet.  It was pretty crazy to watch.   They also had a Flying men show and it was "spectacular" as Sherry called it.  I really don't have a picture that does it justice, but these men and not young men either, I'm talking in there 60's and 70's, climbed up this huge pole and sat at the top of it  - no harnesses.  Then after the center man played the flute and drums, the other 4 men dropped off the edges with only their legs twisted around a rope.  They slowly spiralled to the ground.  This ritual is to help provide a fruitful crop and good soil.  It was pretty wild because it was just so high and dangerous.  We ate lunch at a Mexican buffet and saw a mariachi band perform.  After lunch we swam/snorkeled through the underground river.  That was pretty fun, but Jasmine got very cold under there, so I took the kids out about 3/4 of the way through and the other 3 finished off - too bad that all of the fish were apparently at the very end - darn!  The last picture from this set is from the night show and you can see that it was a pretty big deal.  They were blowing incense out of torches, music was playing, hundreds of dancers and performers showed off all the rituals and history of Mexico through the years.

 On the last day we had to do everything we meant to, but hadn't done yet like get Jasmine's hair braided and get henna tattoos.  Devin was so pooped that he fell asleep at the lunch table and then slept for over another hour at the beach. 

Well, that was pretty much the trip... oh, yeah except the highlight of the trip... swimming with the dolphins.  It was just soooo cool!  I had to buy the pictures they took, so I have a whole boat load if you want to see more.  Definitely try this if you get a chance, so fun!  Devin wasn't tall enough to do the full adventure, so him and danced, sang, splashed, pet and kissed the dolphins, while Jasmine and Jay got to actually ride on one and get pushed on the boogie board - it looked pretty awesome!

So, even though I did get nervous on the way there and ended up quite sick for the plane ride and felt puny for the first day and Jasmine did get a cough after freezing her butt off swimming with the dolphins and in the underground tunnel, it really was a relaxing and fun holiday!  We would do it again, but not right away.  Likely in a few years when the kids are older and we can try some new adventures with them, like Chichen-Itza or Catamaran. 

An on it goes with nutrition information

So, if you have been reading you know I have been seeing a nutritionist, I should really give her a shout out for those of you who liked what she had to say... hi Rachel Hewitt.  She is going on maternity leave right away, so consider her for a clean start this fall maybe.  Anyhow.... I've been doing lots of reading and have started following a number of other blogs about eating well.  Check out my blogroll on the side of the blog to see other blogs including these two: Oh, She Glows and Sweet Potato Chronicles

A couple of weeks ago I set some more specific goals and this week I made a tracking chart to help hold me accountable and hung it in my bedroom beside my future board.  The future board has all the things I want to do and accomplish in my life on it.  After being on holidays, I got to cross of snorkeling - yeah!

I know I have made lots of great changes, but it still doesn't feel like enough,  mostly because I know I am not being consistent enough to see any real results.  I've been maintaining my weight and over time have lost a tiny bit, but not what I need to.  So, after some more contemplating, I've decided the next step is to see a "life coach" of sorts.  Someone who can help me deal with other issues at the same time. I mostly know what I have to do, I've done exercise programs and now have the nutritional information I need, but yet I don't have the willpower or determination to do it all the time - how come?  I hope she will help me find out.  I've also got lots of anxiety issues that prevent me from doing other things I might like... like the zipline.  It wasn't that I wouldn't have given it a shot, but once you did one, you had to do the whole circuit, which was 18 ziplines - I was way too scared to commit to that.  I'm not so worried about things like ziplining though compared to everyday types of things.  I get worked up very easily about all types of situations that I do not feel in control of, so I hope I can conquer a few other issues as I continue through this process of living life to the fullest!

Thanks for all the support through this process.  Keep sending me healthy recipes to try!

Friday, February 25, 2011


I've recently realized in my profession, how helpful it is to be a parent. I mean, all the students that I teach have parents on the other end reading my newsletters and helping them with their assignments.  Being a parent, I am starting to see how much school effects our home life.  When Jasmine has projects for school, it can take weeks of planning to get them to the level that we find satisfactory.  This last week, we left an assignment until the last minute and realized how much work/stress it can be.  Being a parent helps me to be a better teacher and of course being a teacher helps me to be a better parent, so win-win!

There are so many responsibilities and jobs to do as a parent.  Recently I was reading an article about a women who was sharing her tansformation story, here is a quote that really resonated with me, "I had become a human doing, instead of a human being".  It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind and forget the bigger picture.  I often see friends on Facebook listing all the things they have to do in the day (I'm guilty of it, too!) like we need some sort of validation for all our "busy"ness.

Last week my parents were here.  I find as we get older, we almost forget that our parents were in fact parents and went through ALL the things that we have gone through with us.  Sick babies, teething issues, potty training, growing pains, school, sports, homework... We reminisced about my childhood and different events that took place.  One thing that always strikes me is all the things I can't remember, or maybe never really knew, like my dad was on the school council for 5 years.  I honestly think this is a huge part of why I scrapbook (in years, I will still have a memory of all that I have done).  Anyone in my family will tell you that I have a horrible memory.  For example, I don't ever remember my parents reading to me.  I'm sure they did, I just have no recollection of them doing that.  I know there have been times where I have judged my parents on what they did, how they did it or what they didn't do and resented them at times for it.  I think this is pretty normal for a kid, teenager, university student to do.  We blame our parents for all the things wrong with us and promise we won't do those things to our children.  But as hard as I try, I know I am teaching my kids bad habits that I promised I would not do.  I know I have neglected them in some way or another.  In years, I am sure that they will resent me in some form or another as well, but for now I am quite happy to report that I don't typically earn the "I hate you" or "You are the worst mommy in the world" phrase.

When you have your own kids and become a parent, you learn just how hard it really is to be a good parent.  It is tough to find a balance that makes you happy with every part of your life. 

When my parents were here visiting, we did so many fun, family things and I realized that being good parents takes many forms.  My mom was so helpful while she was here on her holiday: she put dishes away, folded laundry, made lunches and just helped take care of all the daily work load and really gave me a little bit of my own holiday.  Dad spent lots of time doing projects with the kids: a paper mache Pixie Hollow tree with Jasmine and a wooden rocket with Devin.  They were both great sports and joined us for bowling, snowshoeing and hiking in -20 weather at the sugar shack - pretty awesome!  Whether you call them mom and dad, or gramma and grampa - it's all the same!  They are taking care of me and my kids, having fun with us all and it was simply an awesome week!

Even though I am no longer at home, my parents are still an inspiration to me, they still help me and teach me and it is just a truly awesome notion to think I will still be parenting even when my kids are "all growed up".  I feel badly that I ever had any bad feeling towards them, but with ... age comes wisdom and a better understanding of all those events that happen when you are becoming an adult.  One great thing about parents is that they love you unconditionally and forgive you when you make dumbass mistakes like I did.

So, here's to being a parent... a good parent!  It's a hell of a lot of work and often unappreciated, but I know for me I love my parents and am so glad that I have them both in my life.  I also know that I love Jasmine and Devin more than anything imagineable and it is pretty cool to realize that is how my parents feel about me, too!

Here are some photos from the great week with my parents.  Thanks for ALL that you do mom and dad!

(We called this picture the invisible man - notice half of his head is missing - too weird!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nutrition and ALL that JAZZ!

Going back and reading my posts, I feel quite hypocritical.  Yes, I am doing all the things I said, but not as consistently as I would like or should be.  And I am not talking about all the things I am doing in between those things that are still not the best.

Here is what bothers me:

-We've pretty much given up pop, but when I am out shopping and get thirsty, or I am out at the movies that pretty much has me always choosing Iced Tea.  How many of you think Iced Tea is a better choice than pop?  Yeah, I see all the hands flying up so fast... not!  So I still have not solved this problem.  At home now our treat drink is chocolate milk (made with skim milk), to me this is still not that bad, but not according to the articles I read. 

-We have reduced our butter and margarine intake, and I haven't had mayonnaise in the house for months.  I bought a bunch of butter for Christmas baking and convinced myself not to use it, but now have 8 sticks of butter in the house and they haven't been touched.  We are using coconut oil in almost every instance where we would use butter, like on toast or of course the old replacement... EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).  The problem, how much coconut oil is too much? I love the stuff and use it even on my popcorn!

-Nuts, they are good for you!  But not in the amount I eat, I love nuts.  No, I am not eating the salted ones or the carmalized ones (well maybe in a salad), but still they are high in fat and I eat them too often.  I finally switched from Kraft Peanut Butter to the natural stuff, but I still eat it fairly often, especially with apple slices or in a smoothie or my new favorite... on toast with apple butter.  I do like roasted almonds, but my nutrionist says I should be eating raw, natural nuts and that I should soak them overnight.  Apparently they absorb water and not only make them easier to digest, but the water content fills you up even more.  *I haven't tried this yet.

-Sleep.  I just do not get enough sleep.  I don't know why I can't convince myself to go to bed at night, when in the morning I can't convince myself to get out of bed - weird!  When I am tired, I have NO willpower.  This week I am tired, so I'm not feeling very good about my commitment to the program.  I'm still eating lots of healthy things, but just too much, too often and not concentrating on drinking enough water or eating veggies.  I never feel 100% about my effort, which is just a lousy feeling.

I am still reading and coming up with new ideas.  What is coming up next:

-soaking beans and not using canned beans as often because they are high in sodium
-focusing on the combination of foods, a carb with a protein (oatmeal and eggs at breakfast - could it be true?)
-focusing on me time... scheduling in time for baths, shopping, girl visits, etc. 
-reading more books and websites, up next... Your Best Body Now, The China Study, The Whole Foods Diet Cookbook and The Omnivore's Dilemma.
-a focus on exercise, too.  This is key, I never seem to be able to do both at once.  If I am exercising, my food is out of wack, likely because I am even more tired and making bad decisions.  Just for once, I would like to have an awesome week, where I do both things good for one whole week!  

So, all complaining aside, we are making lots of changes and lots of changes have stuck:

-threw white sugar out, use agave nectar, honey, apple butter, applesauce, coconut sugar as replacements. Still some brown sugar on occasion for baking.

-eating oatmeal a few times a week and not the packaged kind, real oats, quick oats which from my understanding are still nutritional like steel cut oats, but just cut smaller for faster cooking time.

-using more beans and not only in chili, trying to add them to things like soup, spaghetti sauce, other casserole dishes.
-eating more kefir and plain yogurt, still can't eat them plain, but using them for smoothies or adding dollops to soups.

-eating more homemade soups, carrot soup, tomato soup, veggie soups, all made from real veggies and pureed and using animal bones to make broth for some first - supposed to be very good as you get all the nutrients from the bone.

-eating kammut sourdough bread

-eating spelt, multigrain or spinach pastas when possible.

-using coconut oil, instead of margarine or butter, and still using olive oil as well.

-switched over to sea salt

-trying not to eat processed meat, if we do we are buying the natural stuff from Farmboy with no preservatives.
-minimizing fast food and limiting to subway or something similar.
-switched to natural PB or almond butter - a big deal for me!
-making a meal plan each week and trying to stick with it
So, there you have it folks, the true confessions of a food-o-holic!  I am trying, but it is hard to be consistent!  I figure as long as I keep at it and keep moving forward over time, things will work themselves out.
I love feedback, so send me tips and ideas that work for you or great whole food recipes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

A great start to a New Year! 

(Some history, Pam and I talked about renting a cottage over the Christmas holiday. We got to talking and decided to simply save money and just PRETEND we were at a cottage and actually just have a sleepover at each other's houses, so we hosted The Dixons for the first 24 hour sleepover party!)

When the Dixons arrived, we joked about how long their drive had been to the cottage (they only live a block away) and how much stuff they had to bring for only 1 night!  We had planned to start our cottage experience by skating on a nearby outdoor pond, but the +7 weather made it a little slushie and so we opted for a nice hike through some local woods.  Pam was smart enough to bring bird food and the kids had enough patience to wait with the food on their hands and get some little chickadees to come a visit.  If you look closely in the next few pictures you can see some of them.  Jasmine was well liked and had about 6 little landings right on her hand, while Devin only had 2 (but he wasn't near as still as she was, Jasmine didn't even smile or look at the birds as they landed, she was too scared they would fly away).  You will also see a deer in the background of one of the photos, there were 3 near the front of the woods.  Next time we will bring carrots, too!

For supper we "went back to the cottage" to make crazy sandwiches.  Everyone had a different favorite, but the kids liked Nutella with Smarties.  I liked the one I had with smoked ham, Octoberfest mustard, avocado, red onion, bacon, hard-boiled egg and ripple chips - yum!  Kevin and Pam were up for the challenge and by the end of the night Kevin ate a chocolate turtle wrapped in bacon - sweet and salty!

After supper, we had the kids New Years Bash.  Jay tried to light all the sparklers at once, but as two of them caught fire, he couldn't get them separated from the pack and ended up dropping one on the carpet - yep, a little burn mark - oh well, more excuses to eventually get new flooring!  We had glow bands and horns to blow, the kids danced around and sang songs, while the grown ups recuperated from the fun supper!  We went around the room and all shared our goals for the New Year.  (Jasmine's is to read short novels before bed, Devin's is to practice his lower case alphabet, mine is to eat more fish and oatmeal and Jay's is to jump higher).  Well, that is some of them anyhow.

After the kids had gone to bed, the grown ups played Wii.  We started with a murder mystery game, which we did well at (at least on the first two levels, we will see how much harder it gets), then we played a lie detector game, which was pretty funny - Jay had to say who had the loudest gas at our house - guess who it was? After that we Rock Banded our brains out and Pam and I tried harmonies on the new Rock Band 3, which was a little trickier, but very fun!  We watched the Barenaked Ladies at Niagra Falls on TV and rang in the New Year, then watch the Air Farce New Year show and finally to bed after 1:00 - egad!  Pam and Kevin didn't even have to go home, just headed to their bedroom in the basement.  

The New Year brought another day of fun, a low key morning building Lego Star Wars Ships and King Cobras with Uncle Kevin.  We had a pancake breakfast using my new insect pancake pan (makes cute little bug patterns in the pancakes).  Then the men played board games and the ladies scrapbooked, while the kids played in the ...rain?, yes rain and watched movies, played dress up and on and on.  The Dixons headed for home about 4:30 and had a loooong trip back on windy roads from "The cottage".

A super fun way to spend time with great friends and start the New Year off right!  Hope you all had a fun New Years as well!  Looking forward to talking to you all soon!