Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thirty days ago I started out on a challenge. I signed up for NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. The goal was to post a blog entry every day for the month of November. Well, I am happy to say, I accomplished this crazy challenge. And, I am sure, those who know me, will not be surprised to see that I actually ended up posting 31 posts in 30 days!!!!

What did I accomplish by doing this blogging stunt?

First of all, I did better than last year and posted more than 24 posts!

Over the last month I have clogged the blogging world with all kinds of ideas, descriptions, pleas, and stories from The Fringe.
I started the month off hoping to win a Halloween costume contest. I did not win, but I still think my home made costumes rocked this year!

This past month two new weekly features started: Menu Planning Monday and Fitness Friday. I am going to keep these features going - check out the cool button-thingys I made on my right hand tab. I plan on making these intricate topics here on The Fringe, especially as I continue on my journey to a new me!

I was able to post a few entries about my weight loss journey. This is a key focus of my life right now and I appreciated the opportunity to continue to write about this challenge. Along with proudly showing off my physical transformation that has started, I was also able to explain more about my OPTIFAST Program and reflect on some of the lessons I have learned thus far. A few of my wonderful readers asked questions, and I hope I was able to answer them all. I posted about some of my struggles and some of my successes. I even wrote about Bending it like Beckham! and about loosing a preschooler!

As usual, I wrote lots about my three great kids and reflected on some great times and some challenges we faced over the last month as WW3 was adverted! OH! I so love to brag about my kids! I wrote about DJ making his Daddy proud and then followed up with the actual plans and invites to the boys' upcoming birthdays. There was even a post saluting a screaming baby! And my readers got an idea of our hectic play schedule!

I introduced my awesome readers to a group of Canadian bloggers who, I think deserve to win an award at the Canadian Blogging Awards, and then I happily campaigned for votes when I got nominated for BEST BLOG and BEST FAMILY BLOG.

During the past month we also cheered on other crazy bloggers (Ya! We did it!) and celebrated a special 80th birthday!

One of my favorite posts of the month was my tribute to my Papa, who I miss terribly.

Most of the posts over the last 30 days have been fairly upbeat and positive, though I did take a jab at a Canadian morning show over their coverage of the tragedy in India.

And believe it or not, but I did not get writer's block until day 29!

It has been a whirl-wind month of posts.

What have I learned from this crazy challenge?

  1. We have a fun, crazy, active, great life here on The Fringe.

  2. I still love to blog, but I appreciate the freedom to post and read when I want to and however often I want to - I did not like churning out posts, just to pot something for the day.

  3. I do have opinions, stories and ideas worth sharing - and I plan on continuing to do so for a long time!

  4. And best of all, I learned I have the best stick to reading my blog as I polluted our precious and wonderful blog-world. You guys ROCK! I so appreciate all the bloggy-love, support, and friendship I have made because of my blogging addiction.
Thanks for sticking in with me over the last 30 days!

Fingers now crossed I win a cool prize for completing this challenge!

November 2009 is just around the corner, are you up to the next NaBloPoMo challenge?!?!?!?
I am.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Writer's Block

Like some of the best trained and prepared marathoners - I think I have hit a wall.

Well, it is day 29 of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. Last year I only made it to 24 posts - this year - well, it is November 29, so I simply need to post a Saturday and a Sunday entry and I will be successful!!! Victorious...unfortunately, I am suffering from a duo-case of writer's block.

Yep. Duo-case of Writer's Block - this is a rare and very painful ailment.

Like most people, I find writer's block to be frustrating and irritating.

Well, it is even worst in your second language!

Je dois écrire une histoire en français pour ma classe ce matin… que je lutte !

My French class is in 2 hours, and the above sentence is the only sentence I have written in do you say writer's block in French, and is that an excuse not to have my assignment completed?? Or to abandon NaBloPoMo?

If I do not post I will not have the sweet feeling of accomplishing this great challenge. I will not have done my part in polluting the airs of blog-world. I will not be eligible for any of the great prizes.

Oh, attendez-vous un moment!
Wait a moment!


A post - a lame post...but a post just the same French assignment yet, but a post!!!! WOO HOO!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fitness Friday - Week 2

Right now I am focusing on 3 key things in regards to my fitness and workout routine:
  1. Accumulate
  2. Consistency
  3. Variety

By "accumulate" I am referring to finding ways to incorporate more physical activity into my daily life. Do not get me wrong, looking after 3 kiddies all day keeps me on my toes - but I am trying to increase my activity during daily chores or activities. Every bit helps - so, why take the easy way out when you can work out!?!?!?!?

Some of the things I am doing include taking the stairs at work and walking more. I work on the fourth floor and park two floors underground - so, each day I am doing between 8-12 sets of stairs (I am spooked to climb the 4 flights at 4AM in my old building!) I am also trying to spread my household tasks - for example, instead of taking the laundry, frozen food for dinner and whatever else I can carry in one trip, I make it into two or three trips.

They say that taking 10K steps a day is an indicator that you are leading a fairly active lifestyle. I am trying to hit that mark every day - and that is not counting my running or walking activities.

In terms of consistency, I am trying to work out every day. I am trying to make it a habit. I have even gone so far as to marking it on our family calender. An extra bonus is that David sees my activity plan is able to encourage me and to ensure he is home to relieve me from my "family duties" so I can get some exercise.

Right now, I am doing my activity at dinner time, since I am not eating food. I am a bit worried this will cause a problem when I do transition back to regular meals I can share with the family. But I am sure David and I will work it all out.

Getting up at 3AM, working, coming home, caring for the kids and daily life can get stressful, and more and more I am looking forward to that me time at 630PM. Plus, I am crawling into bed feeling good about my workout.

Variety is also important. I do not want to get bored with my workout routine. Also, I want to make it more of a social event too - me time with friends - could it get better than that??? I have one good friend I have started jogging with, one good friend I meet up with at boot camp and another good friend I join for a weekly walk. Plus I have my indoor soccer team.

Another aspect of variety is the fact that I try to get both cardio and weight training into my routine. I was a bit disheartened to learn last weigh-in that I have actually lost a pound of lean muscle mass. Weight training will ensure I loose fat mass and not lean muscle. I am therefore increasing my weight training.

So, here is my weekly fitness log. I have had a great workout week. And have a few aches and pains to prove it!

Monday - Started a weekly run date with my friend Jo. We are loosely following The Running Room Program. We walked a minute and ran a minute for 3.8KM. Add this to the fact I walked to our meeting place, which is 1.7 KM from my house!

Tuesday - Turbo Jam Workout Video - I love the beat!

Wednesday - Boot Camp - This week we did a circuit of __ stations, the time spent at each station varied, but it averaged between 2-4 minutes - the instructor pushed everyone until we were all doing out station properly!

  1. 3 laps warm up run that includes a long ramp and a long set of stairs
  2. Power Squats
  3. Sit Ups - legs at 90 degree on wall and sit up bringing a weighted ball up over your head and as high as you could go to the wall
  4. Push Ups
  5. Triceps with hand weights
  6. Side Power Kicks with deep lunge - KILLERS!
  7. Flutter kicks
  8. Shoulder presses with weights
  9. REPEAT!!!!!
  10. DIE and CRAWL home!

Thursday - Regular walk with my friend Dawn We chat and walk at a fairly good pace. I want to clock out our regular route, but I would guess it is just over 8KM.

Friday - I bought a set of resistance bands and plan on doing an upper body workout

Saturday - not much exercise planned, but I will walk to my French Class - about a 3km round trip and I always take the stairs to my 4th floor classroom.

Sunday - Soccer game - I am hoping we have fewer subs and I can get lots of playing time. After the game I have been challenging myself with a light jog around the dome. This is week 3 and I hope to make it 3 laps!

So, that is my weekly commitment to leading an active lifestyle. How about you? Any suggestions or ideas you can share with me to help me along?

Next Friday I will write about commitment and goal setting - and I have a surprise!!!

Also - look for a new Friday Fitness section and a Menu Monday section - coming soon!

Hey! Have you voted for me yet??? I have been nominated for BEST BLOG and BEST FAMILY BLOG for the Canadian Blogging Awards - today is the last day to vote!

Finally - only 2 more posts till I succeed at the NaBloPoMo challenge!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nice to be here...

My heart is super heavy with all the news coming out of Mumbai, India. I just do not understand the violence and unrest in this world of ours and I pray for peace and safety.

With my job, I cannot get away from seeing all the news. I have to watch it and report on it. Sometimes, like during this morning's coverage of the tragedy in Mumbai, I just have to shake my head:

TV HOST - "We are joined now by a leading expert in Terrorist Studies. Thank you so much Mr. X for being here to analyze the situation in Mumbai for us.

Mr X - "It is very nice to be here today."

OK - wait a minute, you are a terrorist expert, you will be analyzing a horrific situation unfolding - and 1) you greet the host with a huge flashy smile and 2) you think it is nice to be there?

Nice is being on vacation, nice is enjoying a cup of tea or chatting about spring weather - the fact that your expertize is even required is not is quite sad, actually... it is tragic.

TV HOST - "Thanks so much Mr. X. We will be definitely speaking to you again."

Mr. X - "I'm looking forward to it..." (grin. grin.)

Looking forward to it?!?!?! What a sad world we live in when there has to be terror specialists... let alone one anxious to relate his knowledge to current events.

Think of how the world would be if there was no NEED for a terror specialist. Now, that would be a nice place to be. Wouldn't it?

My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragedy.

I pray for peace.

I pray for a nice place to be... and a nice place to raise my children.

I pray for nice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Bragging Rights

Remember these little bunnies?

Anderson starting Junior Kindergarten.
A "Junior Bunny"

DJ starting Senior Kindergarten
A "Senior Bunny"

Well, they are growing up and loving Kindergarten!
Their school photo proofs arrived today.
Which photo of each of my bunnies would you choose?

3 years and 9 months


4 years and 9 months

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A month Early

Christmas may come early on The Fringe!

Yep. The Fringe has been nominated for 2 awards, and now, it is up to you, kind readers, to vote.

The first round of voting will conclude on November 28. So, please go and vote now!

The second round of voting will narrow the list of nominees in each category down to the top 5 from the first round of voting.

So, please click click below to vote for The Fringe - your click could get me into the second round of voting. And that would be WAY COOL and would be an AWESOME early Christmas gift!

Best Blog

You do not have to have a blog, nor do you have to be Canadian to vote. So, please vote!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Menu - Still on Plan

This is my third week participating in Menu Plan Mondays.

I love it! Why?

It helps me keep organized, I have seen my food budget drop, since I am going to the store with a list and my kids are starting to try new, healthy, interesting meals. I strongly recommend you check out and start saving time, money and energy in food prep!

I only have 15 days left on my liquid-only diet and then I start to re-introduce real food. I am getting a little anxious and nervous, but am also looking forward to tasting food again. 12 weeks on chocolate & vanilla shakes is a long, long time! My transition is gradual ans will focus on very healthy and balanced meals, and I promise to share those with you.

This week I have planned a fairly basic week of dinners. I am trying one recipe from last week's Menu Planning Monday, one recipe from the site, one new (modified) recipe and a few family favorites mixed in with a some convenient pre-made meals.

Monday - Last week Chick in the Kitchen featured a Unstuffed Cabbage with Ground Turkey

  • I thought it sounded easy and tasty - hope the family likes it too!

Tuesday - Burrito Night

  • I have my weight management class and dinner needs to be ready quick and early, so, David gets his favorite Costco Pre-packaged meal!

Wednesday - Shredded Asian Cabbage with shrimp with a side of egg rolls

  • Gotta use up the left over cabbage! This recipe is from the site. I find the amounts of dressing to be a bit crazy - so, I cut it in half and the dish still has a great flavour.

Thursday - Chicken Drum Sticks with mixed veggies and cous cous

  • My boys will eat 3-15 drum sticks each. Yep, you read that correctly. They LOVE drumsticks! I usually make a homemade coating with chili pepper flakes, whole wheat bread crumbs, pepper, Cajun spice and thyme.

Friday - Easy Salmon Rolls and fresh herb buns and green beans

  • This will be a fairly new recipe for me, I took an easy on-line version and "bulked up" the veggies to increase the nutritious value of this meal - I hope my family likes it.

Saturday - Mexican Beef Casserole

  • Super easy and tasty - my little girl loves this dish!

Sunday - Pizza Night

  • I have an early soccer game, so the kids are having pre-packaged pizza and a garden salad - DJ has discovered Daddy's Thousand Island Dressing, and love it (YUK!!!).

Easy Salmon Rolls

8 lasagna noodles, cooked, drained

125 g Brick Cream Cheese, softened (I use a little less than this amount)

Cooked salmon or smoked salmon or can of salmon

1-1/2 cups pasta sauce

Chopped up assorted veggies - I usually use a variety of peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and onions and I use a few of the dried herbs from my garden to give this dish a nice rich taste.

1 cup Mozzarella Shredded Cheese

HEAT oven to 400ºF. Spread noodles with cream cheese; top with salmon and veggies. Roll up, starting at one of the short ends of each noodle.

PLACE, seam-sides down, in greased 13x9-inch baking pan; top with sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.

BAKE 25 min. or until heated through, removing foil after 15 min.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hockey and Horses

The boys were so excited.
Nana and Pepe invited them to go see the Lippizaners Horse Spectacular. DJ is horse crazy and Anderson is always up for an adventure.

Their excitement grew as they drove into the parking lot.
Anderson started to cheer, "Go Sens Go!"

Well, the show was being put on at Scotia Bank Place - the home of the Ottawa National Hockey League team - the Ottawa Senators.

Go Sens Go!
Go Sens Go!
Go Sens Go!

The boys were beyond excited!
The horses and riders started to come out to preform the show!
The boys were in awe of the precision, music and dancing horses.

Filled with excitement and wonder, Anderson yells out,
"There are the Senators riding their horses! Go Sens Go!"
Based on their record so far this season and the fact they are in LAST place in their division, maybe they should take up horse back riding?!?!?!?!?!?

Come on Sens - pull yourselves together and start playing some hockey - and stop prancing around on the ice!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Long Day Lessons

Today has been a long day - literally, it has been a long day.

3:02 AM - Woke up
3:55 - Arrived at work
4:00 - 8:00 - Worked regular hours
8:30 - 11:30 - Played with Madigan, folded laundry, packed for all three kiddies, ran 3 errands with Madigan
11:40 - Met boys' bus
12:30 - 1:30 Hit McD's drive through for kiddies and drove to Kemptville
1:30 - 3:00 - Had a nice visit with my parents
3:00 - 4:00 - Hit the dollar store in Kemptville for party favours - BINGO! Lucked out and got everything I needed!
4:00 - 4:45 - Drove back to Ottawa
5:00 - 5:30 - Caught up on my blog reading and commenting
5:30 - 7:00 - Relaxed in a warm bath
7:00 - 8:30 - Wink, wink, nudge, nudge --- no kids at home, you can figure out how hubby and I spent our time!!!!! (blush, blush)
8:30 - 10:30 - Napped in the arms of my wonderful man
11:00 PM - Arrived at work to do an extra shift
11:00 PM - 1:30 AM - Monitored National news and completed assigned tasks as requested by the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
2:00 AM - Arrived home

Now, I hope to sleep as I have my French course at 9AM for 3 LONG hours...

...did I mention it was a long day?

And worst of all - I keep thinking of food! I am so tired and all I want is to snack. Mindless snacking. But I am committed to my weight loss program. But I cannot stop thinking of food! Junk food, comfort food.

I am actually a bit depressed over all this craving sweets and junk food. I am scared that once I am transitioned back to food, I may fall into my old habits. That is not acceptable. I cannot go back to my old ways. I have learned coping strategies. I have worked hard to loose 42+ pounds. Why forfeit all that?

Some days I think I have come a long way in changing my way of thinking of food...and then I have a day like today.

While I am optimistic that I am learning and changing and committing to a healthy lifestyle moving forward - I have now realized food will always be an issue for me. And I will have to be strong, committed and secure in my decisions not to let food control me any more.

I did not break program - even though this has been a long day - and even though in the past I would have snacked on chocolate bars, chips, cola and other terrible food choices - I did not.

I learned an invaluable lesson during my long day.

Good Night! Sleep and Eat well my friends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fitness - Investing in You

OHMommy over at Classychaos got me thinking.

Wednesday she wrote a post about Investing in You. Now, Oh Mommy is no ordinary blogger...she is super-duper, beyond belief cool, all inspiring, high-heel-boot-dancing sexy-mama.

Her posts are always informative, thought-provoking, funny and filled with love for her wonderful family. I look forward to her posts and I know you will like them too.

On Wednesday she posted a cool photo of the results of her 12 week boot camp sessions and she ended with the following line:

"It has been a while since I invested in myself, my mental well being, and my physical health. It feels good.I encourage you to invest in yourself too. It is so easy to lose track of yourself, especially as a mother constantly putting yourself before your children. But, if Mama ain't happy no one is happy. Right?"

OHMommy, you could not be any more right. I became a victim of this phenomena of loosing myself while becoming a mother. I became obesely overweight, tired, lazy and sad. I was not happy, and it was starting to show in my patience and parenting style.

But I took action - I had to take action.

I am super proud of my 42 pound weight loss in the last 11 weeks. I have worked hard. I have stuck to my doctor-monitored plan. I have committed. I have succeeded. But I still have a long way to go. I have embraced a new, healthy lifestyle and will continue to invest in me.

As I have been shedding the pounds I have been very committed to increasing the frequency, duration and intensity of my exercise program. I thought perhaps I would start a weekly post called Friday Fitness. This will help me monitor, celebrate and brag about my progress - but it will also become a forum for me to discuss issues, set-backs and challenges.

Here is how I have invested in myself this week:

Monday - Interval running/walking - I am loosely following The Running Room Program and am at 3 min running and 1 minute walking times 5.

Tuesday - Instead of driving for an errand, I jogged (and walked) the 4 KM route.

Wednesday - Boot Camp at Community Centre Gym - My awesome friends Heidi and Dawn are also enduring this pain with me! Awesome motivator to go spend time with my great friends! Man, was it a good workout - the instructor indicated we burned around 500 calories.

Thursday - 90 minute walk with my wonderful friend Dawn (Plus, I spent over an hour racking the leaves in the front yard!)

Friday - Turbo Jam Workout Video - this program ROCKS!

Saturday - I am planning on walking to my French class and hope to go for an interval run with my hubby (oh, I have missed doing that - it has been 5 years!)

Sunday - I have my second indoor soccer game and plan on running my butt off - and scoring a goal!

OK. The wonderfully classy OhMommy asked it of her readers, and now, I ask it of my readers: what are you doing to invest in you?

Oh, OhMommy has a amazing give-away on her blog. GO check it out if you like - but please note that the draw is fixed, and I am going to win these AMAZING Sexy snowbunny" boots from YOU by crocs. ($220 us value). So, basically, there is really no point of you going HERE to have a chance of winning.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Whew, WW III has been adverted.

Yes, the world was put on high alert yesterday when chaos led to pandemonium. Battle lines were drawn and NATO moved from level one alert to Code Red.

The level of hostility and violence escalated to levels never seen before.

The main issue:

The leader of the 3-almost-4-year-old brigade referred to the above snack product as " a rice-crispy square".

The leader of the mom brigade chuckled and replied, "It is actually called a rice cake."

The leader of the 4-almost-5-year-old brigade sarcastically replied that "it is not a square, but a circle, it is not made of rice, but of popcorn, and it is not a cake 'cause there is no icing." This resulted in the naming of favorite snack product as, " a popcorn circle."

The leader of the 1-almost-2-year-old brigade believed strongly that the entire package of snack treat was hers for the taking.

Lines were drawn. Tempers flared. Voices screeched and all hell broke loose...till the leader of the Mom Brigade informed all parties that no one would be claiming victory over this battle.

Peace was returned when Mommy let Anderson have a "Rice Crispy Square", and DJ got to have a "Popcorn Circle" and Madigan, "got HER snack.

Whew.... WWIII adverted!

File this under you say tomato and I say tamato, let's call the whole thing off!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday

M I C ... K E Y ... MOUSE!
Mickey Mouse!
Happy 80th Birthday!!!!

One of my fondest memories growing up was whole family eating dinner in front of the television on Sunday night to watch Wonderful World of Disney.
Thanks for the memories Walt!
Thanks for the laughs Mickey!
Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This is my third week participating in Menu Plan Mondays.

I love this site, hundreds of people post menus and recipes. It is great to get examples and to try new recipes. Check it out!

I am also about to start week 10 of my liquid diet. Only 3 more weeks, then I begin the gradual re-introduction of food.

For my family meals, I am starting to focus more on veggie-based meals and "bulking up" meals with lots of veggies. I am also introducing new sources of protein and grains to the family, so that when I start eating again I can make one healthy meal for everyone to enjoy.

If you have healthy, easy, family-friendly meals you think I should try, send them my way! I am going to make a separate section where I will feature these meals in hopes of helping others eat better.

This week is a short week since I think my parents offered to take the kids for the weekend (fingers crossed!!!) I am stealing two recipes from last week's Menu Plan Monday, doing a family favorite and a few easy-peasy cheat nights!

Monday - Maple glazed salmon and Parisian salad
  • Easy-peasy! I put the salmon in a shallow baking dish with a bit of water to cover the bottom. Add cut white onion, assorted peppers and then drizzle a dollop of maple syrup on the fish. I add a splash of lemon juice and a dash of pepper. The salad is a pre-packaged salad from Costco - it ROCKS!

Tuesday - Last week Blissville Living featured a Spinach and Cheese Casserole

  • Sounds yummy! I think I will serve it with some long green beans...not sure!

Wednesday - Pizza Night

  • I have my first Boot Camp Work Out at 5:45, so hubby and the kids are having a home-made peperoni and cheese pizza. Gotta love those whole wheat crusts at Lablaws!

Thursday - Last week Home Sweet Simple Home featured a Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

  • This summer I planted my first vegetable garden and harvested lots of tomatoes. I made freezer bags and freezer bags of spaghetti sauce - cannot wait to use it! I will serve this with rice and a frozen veggie - maybe corn.

Friday - Leftovers

  • If my wonderful and fabulous parents take the little people then David will have left overs. We may have date night and go see a movie.

Saturday - David fend for himself

  • If my wonderful and fabulous parents take the little people then David will fend for himself or we may go out - though I find it tough to sit in a restaurant and not eat. We are going to go see the new James Bond movie - I am so excited!

Sunday - Mom's home cooked meal

  • If my wonderful and fabulous parents take the little people then David will drive out to get the kids while I am at soccer and hopefully my mom will feed him!

Well, that is our week. Should be a good one - especially if my wonderful, fabulous, magnificent, awesome, fun-loving, grandkid-loving parents take the kids for the weekend!!!! The kids adore them and love spending time there, and well, David and I certainly enjoy and appreciate the down-time and together time more than we can even begin to express in words!

Have a great and yummy, and healthy week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bend it like Beckham

All I have to say is that playing soccer is a whole lot more fun when you are almost 40 pounds lighter!!!!!

I had my first indoor game tonight - and while we did not win - I felt GREAT out there.

I ran the entire time, made good plays and have started to play like I use to...I am so happy and proud of myself...and newly motivated!

Sunday Scrappin - Going to the Birds

Click HERE for more Sunday Scrappin' entries.
This is a great site to get ideas and inspiration for all your scrapbooking and paper crafts. Check it out!
Oh, I am sooooo behind in my scrapbooking - but on November 29th I am going to a all-day crop and hope to get lots done.
Since I have no scrapbooking pages to share, I would like to share the birthday party invites that I made for the boys' birthday party.
A bit of back ground info.

DJ asked to have the party at the "Chick-a-dee Park". could that work????

I have posted before about the wonderful hiking trail located within the city limits of Ottawa. It is simply beautiful. There are two main trails that allow you to walk either 2KM or 5KM. If you bring wild bird seed, the birds will eat right out of your hand!

What a neat party idea! We are known for our unique brithday parties!

So, I called the National Capital Commission - they look after the park land in Ottawa - and found out that the building on the land is rented by a group called The Wild Bird Care Centre. I gave them a call immediately to determine what I could plan for my boys. May, the young lady who took my call, was amazing! She was almost as excited as I was about this party idea!

It is all set! On December 7, DJ and Anderson will celebrate their birthdays at the park. We will start in the centre and the kids will get a short presentation on what the centre does and how they rescue birds. We will have cake and refreshments and then head off for a hike. I think it will be so much fun! My kids LOVE this hiking trail and never get tired of the birds landing in their hands. Many of our invited guests have never done this before. What fun we will have!

I wanted to make fun and theme-related invitations. After searching the web I found a template for a great, easy to make card. It features a 3-d bird popping up and lots of details!

I am very pleased with the results - and best of all - the boys LOVE them!

I cannot wait to complete the gift bags, party decoratins and cakes, I have so many ideas!
...stay tuned!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaBloPoMo - Cheers and Comments

Half way there!!!!!

Today is day 15 of 30 of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

Let's have a HUGE cheer for those of us who have made it this far!!!

In the Gutter
That's Life v2.0 (NaNaWriMo)

Anyone else???? Let me know and I will add you to the list!

We are doing our part to fill up, it is your turn.
Please be sure to leave comments and cheer us on! Come on - DE-LURK!

Comments are our drug of choice!!!!!
Feed our addiction!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A long week in perspective

This has been a L--O--N--G week. The kids have really been testing my patience. They have been a bit out of control - and my house, my hair standing on end and my nervous twitch all prove it. If the boys were not beating the snot out of each other, the little girl was throwing a temper tantrum. If one child was not crying, then one was screaming or the other screeching. If they were not destroying a room in the house, then they were flooding the bathroom. If anyone liked the lunch I made, it was a miracle. If just one of the three went to bed with no issues, it was considered a success. If hubby and I made it to 2AM with no little people taking over the bed, it was heavenly. Oh, I have lost count of the number of crazy times in our house this week. It has been a L--O--N--G week.

Then, as I was wallowing in my sorrow, thinking I have it so rough, I saw this video...and everything was put into perspective. Everything.

Today is a professional development day - no school - so, with a new attitude, and after putting everything into perspective - I am going to make Friday a fun day - the best day of a really crappy week!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Madigan is teething. She is a bear right now.

We have never really been a "Tempra Family". We usually rely on more homeopathic remedies and aides - and as a last result we fall back on Tempra.

The last few nights have been terrible. Tempra has been the only solution that helps relieve her pain. The problem with Tempra - and with most drugs - it wears off. It seems to work like clock-work. We give Mags a shot of this liquid miracle-worker and she will drift off to sleep...but will wake up screaming in agony exactly 4 hours later. Exactly 4 hours later. Exactly. Four hours. Later.

Tempra-timing sucks!
Usually my hubby and I grudgedly get up, go get her, soothe her - sometimes with a second dose - and most of the time she ends up in bed with us. All the while cursing Tempra-timing.

Let's see - four hours - the meds last four hours. She usually finally goes to bed between 9 and 10 - so, that means she usually wakes up around 2AM.

This is a HUGE bummer since I have to get up for work at 3AM...and we all know how hard it is to fall back to sleep, or sleep restfully when you know you have to get up in less than an hour! (especially with a squirming 21 month old in your bed!)
So lately, I have been almost as cranky and tired as my teething Princess.

Last night/this morning, I thought I heard Madigan stir. I glanced over at the clock and sighed, 2:33AM...with all my might I wished her back to worked!

I fell into a strange dream of dandelions and barber poles (WTF) and in my dream I heard a baby took me a bit to realize that Tempra-timing had struck again. Madigan was calling out for me.

I woke up, was about to start my wish-back-to-sleep, but first glanced at the clock.
AWWWWGGGGGGGGGG! 3:26 AM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My alarm did not go off... CRAP. Crappity-crap!
I sprang out of bed and dashed for the shower to get ready for work.

And for the first time ever - I praised Tempra-timing.

Believe it or not, I got to work at 3:58AM....Whew!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lost: One Preschooler - Wordless Wednesday

This photo was taken on April 1, 2007.

This photo is certainly not a great photo - poor lighting, unattractive background, no special moment caught on film ... so why choose it for Wordless Wednesday?

In this photo DJ weighs 40.5 pounds and Anderson weighs 36 pounds, Madigan weighs just over 14 pounds and me, well, I weigh way too much.

Again you ask, so why choose it for Wordless Wednesday?

Well, last night at weigh-in I was down another 3.5 pounds - taking my total weight loss since September to be 37 pounds.

So, basically, I have lost a preschooler!

So, if you have a toddler hanging around, pick him or her up.

Awkward? Heavy? A nuisance? A burden?

Well, that is what I use to carry around all the, it is gone - forever.

Yep, I have lost a preschooler!
Ya me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post Cards, Whistling and Cranapples

Today, I remember the brave men and women who have served this great country, protected our freedom and who fought for our rights. Today, I remember all those who have given the greatest sacrifice ever imaginable. Today, I remember all those currently serving. Today, I remember.

Today, I remember post cards, whistling, and cranapples.

Today, I remember my Papa.

Oh, how I miss my Papa. How I wish he could have seen me grow into the woman I am today. How I wish he could have seen me marry the man of my dreams. How I wish he could have held my children as newborns and known them, guided them and loved them.

Today, I remember old post cards.

Today, I remember treasure hunting with Papa to find old post cards. During my summer visits we visited thrift shops, yard sales, flea markets and collection shows. Papa would scour each card. Gently caress the photo side, slowly turn it over, inspect the stamp, date and personal message. The he would flick it with a tap and nod his head approvingly and put it aside. Our newest find.

I never really understood Papa's fascination with post cards. They were post cards from people he did not know. Strangers. They were old and sometimes in a fragile state. Why did he collect these personal glimpses into strangers' lives?

At first I thought it was because he wanted the stamps for his stamp collection. This is partially true. Once home he would re-inspect the post card, and sometimes carefully remove the stamp and add it to his collection. Then, he would place the post card into an old show box. No post card was ever discarded or thrown out.

One day, as a teenager, I asked him why he liked collecting post cards of strangers. His reply did not mean that much to me then...but it does now.

He collected them because it was a glimpse into a happy time, an adventure, a happy moment. Few people send a post card full of sadness. Most cards end with, "Wish you were here!"

Years later I would recognize the importance of those post cards to my Papa. Most of the post dates were from the days, months and years he spent as a POW during WW2. How terrible that time must have been. The terror, pain, loneliness, despair and fear he must have faced in the prisoners camp.

Those post cards he handled so gently, so lovingly, so full of respect, were a way to leave those terrors behind, and see that in that time of horror, there were glimpses of love, laughter and good times. Life had been almost normal - somewhere. Proof that during a time when he was surrounded by death, destruction and may ham, there was light, happiness and life. And I think, he wished he had been there.

Today, I remember how my Papa would always be whistling. He whistled.

He would whistle as he worked, whistle as he walked, whistle as he drove. He whistled.

He whistled so much we sometimes forgot he was whistling.

He whistled when he was happy. He whistled when he was sad. He whistled.

He whistled to secretly communicate amongst his fellow POWs. He whistled to alert to danger. He whistled to keep his sanity. He whistled to give hope, faith and friendship in a dark time in a dark place. He whistled to proclaim the time was right to put their plans of escape into action. He whistled. He survived.

I am sad that I did not understand why he whistled. I am sad I did not hold onto his whistling and embrace it, cherish it and love it like I should have. I miss his whistling.

Today, I remember throwing cranapples at the squirrels trying to get into Papa' bird feeders.

Every morning he would sit in the front window, read the newspaper, drink his coffee and curse the damn squirrels for stealing the birdseed. Then he would get up, walk out the front door - I would scamper behind him. He would pick up a rotted cranapple from the ground, take aim and peg the pesky squirrel. I would grab some ammunition and stand at ready.

Years later, I look back, and I realize the power, the meaning behind Papa protecting his much loved birds and their birdseed. As a child, the symbolism of this act was lost on me. Now, I see a strong, brave, committed man caught in a fight. I now see the complexity of protecting, fighting and guarding what is ours.

Today I remember my Papa. Today I remember all those who have served and who are serving this great country.

Today, I remember.

Do you?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Menu Planning

This is my second week participating in Menu Plan Mondays.

All week I have been scrolling through the 393 recipe posts (yep, this site ROCKS!) and have decided to incorporate two great features from this site.

  1. Every week I am going to browse through the posts and find at least 3 new recipes to try in the coming week. This will allow me to broaden my meal offerings and expose my family to new, interesting and tasty meals. I also plan on reviewing many of the "hits" with my nutritionist and then continue to offer the healthy choices that fit into my new eating plan - how exciting new dishes, at least 3 times a week!
  2. I LOVE it when the recipe posts have links to the actual recipes. It makes it easier to steal recipes and plan your own meals and shopping lists. Therefore, moving forward, I will try to link to as many recipes as possible so that you can clink through as well. I will also try to feature one of my own recipes when appropriate!
So, here is our Menu Plan for the week of November 10:

Monday: My weight management course is on Monday this week, so hubby and the kids get an easy-peasy choice for dinner - they voted on pizza. So we are making homemade pizzas with ham, mushroom, orange pepper and peperoni.

Tuesday: Salmon Loaf with green beans. I got this recipe from Mom's Frugal menu plan. I am sure my family will love it - and it is easy to make too!

Wednesday: A Simple Walk posted a recipe for Curry Chicken Crepes and I just have to make it. It will be sooooooo tempting not taste any of it!

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner. This is a favorite of ours! I will make scrambled eggs, toast and a yogurt/fruit salad. The kids like it when I use the yogurt to make a face, the eggs for hair, fruit for eyes, ears and a mouth and toast as the collar of the shirt. It is silly but the kids love it!

Friday: Fish and Chips are a favorite on Friday. Currently I simply use the pre-breaded fish from Costco and trans fat free fries...I am thinking that once I transition back to real food I will have to come up with a low fat, healthier option! Any suggestions?

Saturday: Heart of the Servant posted this tasty recipe for Pork with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Onions. As infants, my kids LOVED sweet potatoes, now they are a bit picky - so I am hoping this recipe turns them around!

Sunday: Even though I am not eating real food I like the idea of the nice Sunday dinner, like my mom always did when we were home. Our menu for Sunday will be Garlic and Mushroom Roast with Potatoes and Corn.

Garlic & Mushroom Roast With Potatoes
1 roast - we like sirloin tip or rump roast
Cloves of garlic (I use lots!)
pepper to taste
1 can sliced or button mushrooms
1 Medium onion cut up into chunks
(red wine - optional, for special occasions I will add red wine - it makes the roast very tasty...but I only do this for company!!!)
Enough Potatoes to feed the gang

Peel the garlic and slice it up into "slivers". Using a knife make a slit in the roast and push a sliver of garlic into the roast. Repeat till you have used all but one clove of the garlic. Be sure to rotate the roast around and vary the depths of each sliver. This insures every piece gets some garlic. I also very the size of the slivers so some pieces will get a big honking piece of garlic....YUMMY!

Sprinkle roast with pepper and pan sear all sides of roast.

Fill the bottom of a roasting pan with water, place in roast. Pour can of mushrooms, juice and all over top of the roast. (Add red wine, if you like)

Roast in oven. I usually baste the roast a few times.

With 20 minutes remaining in cooking time, add sliced up, peeled potatoes.

When cooked to your liking, remove roast and let sit.

On the stove burner heat the mushroom juice with potatoes and bring to a boil ( you may need to add more water/wine). Once the potatoes are fully cooked, turn off burner and use a masher to partially mash potatoes and mushrooms.

Grate the remaining clove of garlic over your mashed potatoes, and mix it all up. And serve.

If you like garlic, you will like this roast!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A proud Canadian

It’s that time of year again. The Canadian Blog Awards are now accepting nominations of your favourite blogs and bloggers.

Well, The Fringe is probably not of the calibre they are looking for - but I encourage you to visit the following Canadian blogs and feel free to nominate any of them for some Canadian blogging awards, eh!

Mighty Morphin Mama - OK, if I could meet only one of my new bloggy-friends, it would be Mighty Morphin Mama - I idolize her and her blogs ROCKS!

Lunatic Fringe - She is desperate to win a popularity contest of ANY sort in her lifetime.

Don Mills Diva - The Diva and I met on-line when we were both first starting to blog. Her stories about her son, her journey as a mom and inspire me to find my inner-diva!

Lunatic Fringe - She is desperately seeking attention - she is learning how to throw temper tantrums from her 20 month diva - so, you better nominate her, or she may throw herself to the floor and start screaming!

Hella Stella - OK, a blog about a bulldog puppy, a brilliant musician, and a fun-no-kids-yet-life...I am living vicariously through Stella's wonderful stories, and just loving it!

Lunatic Fringe - Anyone who had 3 kids in 38 months deserves a prize...being nominated for a Canadian blog award will do just fine!

Speilmoms Ramblings - Shay is one busy super mom, homeschooling her 4 children, running, and just enjoying life in beautiful BC.

Lunatic Fringe - This loony blogger is on a weight loss journey like no other - she has lost almost 35 pounds since September...all through a medically supervised liquid diet...she would certainly savour the sweet taste of victory if you nominate her!

The Daley Stamper - Karen is a sweetheart of a friend. She is also one of the most talented card-making and scrapbooking people I know. Her passion for stamping is so pure and I love seeing her newest projects - She would be a perfect candidate for the best crafty blog.

Lunatic Fringe - Life's short - live on the fringe and take a chance on a loony Canadian blogger who is totally addicted to blogging!

You have until November 22 to make your nominations!

And if you do happen to nominate The Fringe, well, I would be humbly-honoured!

Well, excuse me while I go update my profile on Blogger to include the personality traits of self-adoring, self promoting, narcissistic, desperate to win something, soup-box preacher, and totally loony for a nomination!

OK - get - go nominate a deserving Canadian for a blogging award.

Edited to add - you do not need to be Canadian to nominate or, no excuses, for anyone! Now - GET!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday Fun!

Friday morning Madigan and I headed off to a local playgroup. She had so much fun painting, building with the blocks, and enjoying the company of the other kids. I got to catch up with two old friends and really enjoyed myself as well.

We rushed home to meet the boys' bus and to have lunch.

Then we headed out to my dear friend's house.

We had a blast.

The weather was perfectly wonderful. We spent the entire afternoon outside. The kids played on the jungle gym, then rode bikes and scooters, blew bubbles and watched the garbage men collect the garbage! It could not have been any better.

And here are the results of our Friday fun:

Madigan did not even make it up the stairs...and slept through dinner!

A sure sign of a wonderful day, doing wonderful things with wonderful friends!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weighty Issues and Lessons

Ok - today I am answering a few of the questions many of my wonderful bloggy-friends have been asking about my weight loss program.

Let me start off by saying that a liquid diet is not meant for everyone. Talk to your doctor, investigate your options, and then make an informed decision. Education is power!

1) Why did you decide to try a liquid diet?

A few months back I would have never guessed that I would even ponder a full liquid diet, let alone stuck to one! I remember in university, when I was a varsity athlete & in great shape, my roommates did Slimfast. I rolled my eyes at them!!!

I have always been active, especially with playing soccer. Last summer, I was not happy. I felt HUGE, slow, and ashamed of my body, and of my play. So, back in June I started talking to my doctor about options. We discussed exercise programs and dieting. I started different self-paced plans, but nothing was really coming together and I was getting more and more upset. I was trying to watch what I ate, exercising - but not loosing weight. I needed help.

My doctor suggested the program offered at our local hospital. Neither of us knew very much about it - so we started investigating. For the program you had to have over 50 pounds to loose.

After the application process I just knew this program was what I needed. It was extreme - but I felt I needed an extreme solution. I also began to see the benefits (for me) to move to a liquid diet and then have a controlled re-introduction to food. I also liked that this program had mandatory group and individual meetings and support from a range of professionals.

2) How does the program work?

You can get lots more info HERE.

Basically, you go onto a liquid only diet for 6 or 12 weeks, and then have a gradual re-introduction to food. You also have a series of routine medical tests including heart tests and blood work done to monitor your health. Weekly group meetings are mandatory for the first 26 weeks, then you move to a less structured follow-up plan. You also meet with a program doctor each week and have individual sessions with other health care professionals like dietitians, physical therapists and personal trainers.

This is how my plan is set up - it does varies from person to person. During the first week of the program I restricted my diet to 1200 calories of "normal" food. Then for 12 weeks I have 4 shakes a day - for a daily caloric intake of 900 calories. Then I will start to re-introduce real food. You gradually reduce the number of shakes you have each day and replace it with strict real-food options. For example, the first week of transition you have 3 shakes a day plus 1 cup of veggies and 1 serving of protein. When I get to transition I promise to write more...well, I will NEED to write more to get my head around it all!

3) What is the name of the shakes? Do they taste good? What flavours?

The actual product is called OPTIFAST and it is made by Nestle. In Canada it is actually a prescription. The Canadian program only offers 2 flavours of shake powders: chocolate and vanilla. You can use low calorie, or no-calorie extracts to flavour if you like -
but I have decided to keep things simple.

I usually have 2 chocolate shakes a day, one vanilla shake a day and I also usually mix one vanilla shake with cold coffee once a day. I do not mind the taste. I did worry about how it would taste - but they are OK. You can adjust the amount of water used to change the consistency of the shake.

Some people use blenders, but I am lazy and use the hand shaker they gave us.

You have up to 20 calories to play with - many people use this as up to 1/4 cup of skim milk for their coffees, or to drink a cup of broth. I actually use the broth option to replace my salts if I have an extreme workout or soccer game where I sweat lots. It is actually quite refreshing and satisfying - can you friggin' believe I just wrote that about broth!?!?!?

The shake is perfectly balanced to meet all your nutrient needs. The goal is to provide your body with just enough calories to function and to get into a light state of ketosis. In ketosis your body is releasing ketones, which means you are burning stored fat. In ketosis you do not feel hungry - for real!!! I have found that I am not as moody or tired as before - my body has the fuel it needs and no junk in it. I am no longer artificially boosting my sugar levels to compensate. I actually feel GREAT!

4) Do you miss food? Do you have any cravings?

There are times when I miss food - or more specifically chewing a variety of tastes. But, I am kind of liking the simplicity of the shakes. It is like a vacation from food. It is easy and instead of dwelling on the food I am missing, I think of what I am doing to take control and what I am learning.

The shakes are sweet - so I sometimes crave salty or some of the ethnic flavours I love. But, again, I try to stay focused and think to myself that right now, no food will taste as good as I am going to feel lighter and healthier. I have also discovered a bunch of decaf/herbal teas that give me a variety of flavours.

What I miss most is dinner time with my family. I have decided not to participate in the dinner hour - for personal reasons I decided I did not want my 3 young children to see me not eating. So, I make the meal, serve it and then escape - I either go for a walk, go to soccer, to the gym or go blog. Therefore, I do not miss food, but the social and family-bonding that takes place during food-related activities.

5) What have you learned so far?

Oh, I have learned so much about my old eating habits, old insecurities, and about the relationship I had with food. I have also learned a series of coping techniques and strategies for keeping the weight off. Look over to the right sidebar - I am starting a little list!

I am amazed at a few things:
  • how little FUEL the body needs to work efficiently

  • how easily other emotions can be mistaken for hunger

  • how good I feel when I am not eating crap

  • how much I use to eat BEFORE I ate - taste testing while cooking, snacking and stealing from the kids

  • how I need accountability and I will ALWAYS need to watch my weight and work hard at maintaining a healthy weight, and

  • how much I deserve to be happy, healthy, active, and to feel beautiful, inside and out.

Our weekly meetings cover a whole series of topics including portion controls, journalling, coping strategies, exercise programs, label reading and food preparation, and creating support systems.

I like how the behaviour specialist tells us that not everyone has will power - but you can have skill power to make the the right, informed, healthy decisions needed to succeed.

Another HUGE lesson I am learning each and every day is what foods I do not need. This is a bit of a strange concept to explain. Before, I believed totally in the "everything in moderation" theory. But I am plagued with the "all or nothing" mentality too...a deadly combination! I still believe in moderation, but my attitude has changed a bit. For example, it is OK to have a chocolate bar - but now I need to ask myself, do I REALLY want that chocolate bar. I really think my food choices will change. At the end of the 12 weeks I will have made it through multiple stresses, challenges and cravings without junk food or comfort food. Therefore, why do I need those bad food choices to help cope with life situations??? So, I have learned that there are foods just not worth having and that the high they gave me or the comfort they gave me was artificial. I now have new and better coping mechanisms.

I have learned so much...and have lots more to learn!

6) What is your weight goal?

Believe it or not, but my main goal is not number-oriented. Instead, I want to be healthy and fit. I want to have fun playing my soccer, be competitive in my soccer leagues, feel good about myself and enjoy being active with my family.

But in terms of pure numbers - my initial goal was to loose 10% of my body weight - I did that at week 7. Now I am working towards getting below 200 pounds. At the end of the 26 weeks I hope to have lost at least 50 pounds - then I will re-evaluate. I am never going to be 102 pounds - but I may decide to start maintaining a healthy, active 175 pounds. The program doctors have told me that 170-180 would be a good goal for me.

Realistically, results on this program can vary - but many people loose 10% of their starting weight by week 6 and then loose 5-10% again by week 12. Most people have an increase during transition, but then by monitoring their diet and following an exercise program they begin to loose again.

Well, this post is getting very long! I think the bottom line for me is that this program is working. It is a tough one - a strict one, and an extreme one - but the benefits, lessons learned and the successes I have had to date make it all worth it.

As you have read in previous posts, there have been challenges. But in the end, I know that I will meet my goals and I will be successful in maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Failure is not an option. My love of life, my love for my wonderful husband and my amazing kids outweigh any struggle or challenge I may face.

Thank you all for your support.

For now, I will keep shaking, and keep loosing and learning and rediscovering myself.

Keep the questions and comments coming!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daddy's Proud

My eldest son will be turning 5 in December.

This afternoon I told him we should start planning his party.

He would like to invite Sebastien, Paul, Emily, Elizabeth, Avery, Ally, Alyson, Katie and Laurie,.

When asked what type of party theme he would like he replied, "a sweet home party".

A sweet home party?

DJ, do you want to have a tea party at home with all those girls for your birthday?

Nope. I want a party like the movie for my FAVORITE song. And I want ALL my girlfriends to come, like in the movie and we can wear our swimsuits! And we can dance!

CRAP! I should have never let him see this video before previewing it myself. You see, when this particular song comes on the radio, DJ go crazy. He LOVES it. So, one afternoon I searched YouTube and found the video...DJ scrambled onto my lap and we watched it, my little boy wants a party, like in the video...

Daddy is proud, and Mommy, well, she now knows the importance of parental control and previewing videos before letting little eyes see them!

Sweet Alabama, the girls better watch out! Kid DJ is on the loose!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Transformation has begun!

I am officially starting week 10 of my weight management program. I started on September 9th with a 1200 calorie diet - then for the last 7 weeks I have been on a liquid diet. It is medically supervised and includes weekly group meetings with a behaviour specialist and weekly doctor appointments and scheduled labs.
The results are starting to show...and I could not be happier or prouder of my efforts.

Last night I did not anticipate a big weekly weight loss - day 4 of my period (TMI!!!) - but was pleasantly surprised when the scales dipped by 5 pounds! Therefore, my total weight loss is now 33.5 pounds.

The transformation has begun!

This photo was taken in August - it is simply NOT a flattering photo - but it helped me decide to get serious and loose the weight - funny how powerful a photo can be!

These two photos were taken in September 2008. In the second one I am basically hiding behind Madigan - ashamed of my size.

Here I am on October 24 - since I am wearing the same t-shirt in all the photos, you can really see that my transformation has begun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weighing in with Questions and Answers

Yesterday I thought I was simply posting about my menu planning for the week. Nothing too exciting - in my humble opinion...then the comments and emails started to come in. WOW.

The amount of support and encouragement that I am recieving from all my bloggy-friends is over whelming. Please - KEEP IT COMING - I need your support and encouragement. I so appreciate your comments and cheers. It is all helping me keep focased and motivated.

Yesterday also sparked a few questions. My inbox began to overflow with question marks! Everything from, "why did you decide on a liquid diet" to "what do the shakes taste like" to " do you have any cravings and how do you control them?".

One comment left yesterday by the wonderful, lovely and ever-brilliant blogger Mrs. Incredible at That's Life v 2.0 really made me stop and think.

"I find it interesting how you are able to detach yourself from the food prep. That is a good skill to have, but I am sure it is not easy.I am also wondering if you have specific cravings, or do you try to not think about that. I am a little afraid to even ask the question, because I don't want to derail your progress. But, I was thinking that with all those shakes you might be wanting something not as sweet. I hope this was not a bad question to ask. I think you are doing awesome and I like hearing about how you are changing your relationship with food. I think that even for people who don't have a lot of weight to lose, examining how we view food in our lives can be valuable."

I am a very open and honest person, and I like sharing my thoughts and opinions. By being open and writing about my weight loss journey I hope to be an example for others - liquid diets are not for everyone - but healthy lifestyles and choices are for everyone. I never thought I would be inspirational for anyone embarking on a improving their lifestyle choices, but maybe I can be just that...maybe I can use my blog to document my own journey, track my progress, keep myself motivated, while sharing my newly acquired knowledge and information and helping others make better lifestyle choises and lead healtheir lives.

So, I now open the floor to you - my lovely readers - ask me anything - well, almost anything - about my Weight Loss Program, commitment or plans. Over the next few weeks I will start answering them to the best of my ability.

I am no expert - just a fat girl working hard to loose the fringe, get control, and rediscovering the person I want to be - all while blogging and doing a liquid diet!

Ask away!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I have always found planning my weekly meals helps me keep organized and usually equated to fewer trips to the grocery store - thus, spending less money.

Another lesson I learned at my Weight Management class is that it also allows you to plan your calorie intake and eat healthier than if you did not plan. There is supporting numbers that individuals who map out future meals will consume twice as many fruits and veggies throughout the day than those who do not use pre-determine meal plans. There is also evidence that pre-planned meals are usually more savoury and lower in fat than non-planned meals.

Right now I am still on a liquid diet only - I have four medically prescribed shake mixes a day. But that does not mean my interaction and responsibility for food has disappeared. I have three little ones - the day is basically formulated around breakfast - snack - lunch - snack - dinner - snack!

Many people in my Weight Management class have been able to disassociate themselves with all food and food preparation or serving. This is not an option for me. So, I have found by writing out my menu plan for the week I do not think about it. In essence, if I do not have to decide "what would be good" then what I prepare for my family is no longer a subjective decision I made.

Do you get what I mean? I have no emotional connection with the meal. Instead of thinking of something good - something I would love to have, but cannot - I simply look at the plan and see what I have to make.

I thought maybe I would start participating in Menu Plan Mondays and posting each week our planned meals. Then, as I start my re-introduction to food I will use this as a placeholder for my own new healthy choices and options. I also plan on creating a section to post all the new healthy-lifestyle recipes I am getting acquainted with through my program.

So, here is what I am serving on The Fringe this week:

Monday - Homemade pot roast stew - I cut up the leftovers from the Sunday roast and added carrots, onions, potatoes, red & green peppers, kidney beans and black beans, fresh herbs from my garden and some chopped up garlic. I am also making a fresh loaf of whole wheat with flex and sun-dried tomato bread.

Tuesday - Chicken burritos with salsa and cheese. This dinner is pre-made at Costco - my hubby LOVES it and it is quick and easy since I have my class at 5PM.

Wednesday - "Long sgetti" with shrimp and a home made veggie-red sauce accompanied with a garden salad.

Thursday - Night Out - Hubby has a a Guys Night Out and I promised the kids an evening visit to the indoor-play park. The kids will probably order pizza or chicken fingers at the cafe there.

Friday - Broccoli and cheese casserole. The boys LOVE this easy and quick dish - I put cooked chicken, can of mushroom soup, chopped up broccoli and shredded cheese into a dish. Add some onions and peppers and mix it all up - add some bread crumbs on top and bake till bubbly-golden!

Saturday - Spinach salad and BBQ hamburgers - the weather man is calling for nice weather!

Sunday - Maple-onion salmon with cous cous and roasted veggies - a family favorite.

Well, that is what is being served at The Fringe. I for one will be sticking to my liquid diet - usually 2 chocolate shakes, 1 vanilla shake and 1 vanilla shake mixed with coffee. YUMMY!

What's on your menu this week?

For more ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie - the host of Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And the award goes to...

The Parents Bloggers Network, in conjunction with is running an AWESOME contest. You gotta go check it out - but don't make any submissions, cause, you know, The Fringe will be winning!

Thanks to Secret Agent Mama for posting about this virtual costume contest. (You should go visit her amazing photo blog - her photos simply astonish me, they are wonderful!)
I will be bribing the judges, Tracey of Mother May I and Shutter Sisters, Casey of Moosh in Indy, and Aimee of Greeblemonkey, with, um, well, how about all the Coffee Crisp chocolate bars I can steal from the kids' loot? (They are only available in Canada, you know! And they rock!)
So, for fun I have thrown my three little tricker-treaters into the race.

For CUTEST COSTUME in the 2 and under category : PINK CRAYON MADIGAN. The walls and wood stairs, and even the stove at The Fringe all display her masterpieces - her costume was VERY appropriate!

For BEST HOME MADE COSTUME - especially since it cost $1.74 in material and $1.00 for face paint: SPOOKY GHOST DJ. When DJ saw himself in the mirror, well, he almost fainted! He LOVED his costume - and heck, that is what really counts!

For CUTEST COSTUME in the 3 and up category: BATMAN ANDERSON. For the week leading up to Spook Night Ander wanted to wear his costume all day and night. He was especially fond of his cape and mask. For weeks our house has been filled with him randomly yelling out POW! BAM! BOOM!

You can only enter three photos, but here is a few more from our Halloween celebrations.
DJ going to Beavers in his costume - We got him into costume and then told him to get ready for Beavers (Boy Scouts) and he came back looking like this and making ghost noises!

Ghostly Ghost walking with pink crayon! We visited Daddy's work and the kids and their costumes were all the range. I also like this photo because DJ has always seen himself as Madigan's keeper - and this photo captures the love and respect they share.

Mags posing with our pumpkins. The kids and I had so much fun designing the pumpkins - but what we are really proud of is the fact that the three medium pumpkins were grown in our own garden!

The kids had a blast going to our friends' houses and trick-or-treating. All three are at a age where they ooze excitement. DJ and Anderson are all ready trying to decide what to be - at least I will have time to make their costumes!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe spook night.