Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pad Thai, Green Curry & Lemon Grass Tea

Five years ago I finally relaxed and felt like things would be OK. After a very hectic, emotional, and unbelievably stressful twenty-one days, we finally felt like our son DJ was "over the hump". With encouragement from the nurses in the NICU, my husband and I decided to escape the grips of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and go for a nice New Year's Eve dinner.

For the first time we took a deep breath and really felt like we could go, enjoy ourselves, and look forward to the new year. We were now confident our little boy, who we almost lost many times in those first 21 days, was going to see the new year...we were finally optimistic.

When we left, DJ was resting comfortably. Oblivious to the New Year's celebrations. But while we were tired and weary, we were also full of joy and happiness in anticipation for a great 2004.

We did not venture far - just to Sala Thai - a little restaurant down the street in a strip mall. For many, many reasons that food was simply delicious!

Now, every New Year's eve we celebrate with a family outing for a nice Thai dinner.

While this is a dark, grainy shot of DJ and I - our smiles show our happiness and joy.

The Fringe is an exciting and fun place to be and we cannot wait to see what adventures come our way in 2009.

We would like to wish everyone a very happy, prosperous, exciting and fulfilling new year.

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 29, 2008

A tsunami of emotion

I have not felt much like blogging lately.

At first I thought it was because a silly incident that happened at Christmas... but then thought back to this week, four years ago. And I immediately realized why my heart was heavy, my words few, my mood sour and my eyes teary.

Four years ago 11 Indian Ocean countries were hit by a catastrophic tsunami. So many lives were lost. Such destruction, lost and peril. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by that powerful, destructive force of nature.

In the hours after the tsunami hit, I too was hit by my own personal tsunami. A tsunami of emotion.

Anderson was only a few weeks old. I had taken to sleeping in his nursery for night feedings. It is amazing how comfortable and wonderful I felt, nestled in with my second baby. I was happy.

Unlike with DJ, breast feeding came naturally. Ander and I quickly became pros at a skill that eluded me with DJ. For that, I was so happy and content.

Life was easy. I slept when baby Anderson slept, woke with him, fed him, changed him, cradled him. Repeat. David and my parents took care of everything else.

During one late night feeding I turned on the radio. Coverage of the tsunami was in full swing.

I sat, staring at the radio. Stunned at what I was hearing. My heart breaking for everyone involved or touched by this disaster.

I looked down at my little boy. So sweet. So innocent. I could not help but smile through my tears. I thanked God my family was safe. I hugged my little boy and drifted off to sleep with him at my breast.

Little did I know that I would soon be hit by my own tsunami. A tidal wave of emotion that would leave me crippled, injured and scared forever.

A few hours later Anderson awoke again, looking for boobie and comfort.

While I fed him I listened to the radio. The CBC was now speaking to survivors and the stories were heart wrenching. Every single one of them.

One in particular tore my heart. It was an interview with a woman from Australia. She had been on the beach with her 3 month old baby and her 30 month old son when the wave hit. She frantically struggled to hold onto her two young children. She spoke of how strangers attempted to grab her and her children - to rescue them. But, the tide was too strong and they were being pulled out further and further. She fought hard - trying to keep her babies above water.

She soon realized that without the ability to tread water, she and her babies would perish.

She had to make a choice.

Both her arms were wrapped around her children. She was frantic.

She had to make a choice.

At this point in the interview, the traumatized mother was sobbing and frantic. The interviewer was sobbing. I was sobbing.

I turned off the radio.

I looked into my sweet baby's face and drifted off to sleep.

Just 19 days earlier, I had become a mother for the second time. I now had newborn and a 12 month old. I was now responsible for two of God's children. Two. Like that Australian mother in Thailand. That mother who in split second, had to make a choice.

My exhausted body slept, but my dreams haunted me.

What if I had to make a choice? How could I make a choice. Would I make a choice? What would be my choice? What if I had to make a choice?

My dreams turned into nightmares of house fires and only having the ability to save one of my precious children. What would I choose to do? My dreams turned to nightmares of car accidents, and only having the ability of saving one of my sweet babies. My dreams turned to nightmares of illnesses and plagues - and me having to make a choice.

The next morning, my waking hours became my worse nightmares.

I became crippled with fear, anxiety and worry. I could not stop thinking of that woman from Australia, who had to make a choice.

I was hit by a tsunami of emotion. I became crippled by indecisiveness. Smothered with fear. Overwhelmed with anxiety.

At first I could hide it from everyone.

A few deep breaths before driving the car. A shake of my head to expel the demons would work.

Then, I began to unravel. I could not sleep. I could not focus. I could not cope.

I began to question my ability to be a good parent. I started to plan escape routes. I took to analyzing every day events for dangers. Risk was every where. At any moment, I might be called to make a choice. To make a decision. The decision.

Crippled by indecisiveness. Smothered with fear. Overwhelmed with anxiety.

Once when I was driving to playgroup I came to a stoplight. I stopped and waited for the light to change.

Before the light could change from red to green I became crippled by indecisiveness. Smothered with fear. Overwhelmed with anxiety.

The light turned green. I stared at the steering wheel. Unable to put my foot on the gas. The car behind me honked. I turned around. It was a burgundy Malibu. While turned, I looked down at my babies in the back seat. Secure in their car seats. I turned to face the front, hands gripping the steering wheel. What if. What if I did drive through that intersection and a car came through the intersection at the same time and was about to hit us. How could I save both my children? How could I angle our vehicle so that I took the brunt of the impact. What if only one of my babies would survive? What if I had to choose? What if I had to decide?

Crippled by indecisiveness. Smothered with fear. Overwhelmed with anxiety.

The turned red. I was safe. Then it turned green again.

I thank God for the police car that just happened to pull up beside me. I am certain the police officer could tell something was not right.

Cars honked. The light turned red again. I was safe.

The police officer got out of her car. Motioned for me to roll down my window.

Tears streaming down my face, all I mumbled was, " I cannot decide. I cannot choose. Please help me."

Crippled by indecisiveness. Smothered with fear. Overwhelmed with anxiety.

The police officer guided my out of my car. Walked me to a nearby plaza parking lot.

We called my husband.

I calmed down. To this day, I do not really remember what happened next. But my husband comforted me. He assured me. He loved me. He encouraged me.

Slowly, I drove home.

Slowly, I took control.

Slowly, the tides of emotion starting to reverse.

With love and support from family and friends, and medical help I survived a tsunami that is also called post partum anxiety. And while, the love and support I received from family and friends - along with medical help - helped me to deal, cope and conquer my demons, four years later I still struggle to understand the power and destruction a tsunami can pack.

My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the actual tsunami that hit Thailand and surrounding areas. By no means does this post make light of that situation. But at the same time, during this time of remembrance, I also think of all new parents who may be facing their own personal tsunami. I pray and hope they too can survive, like I did.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Our family is wishing your family a wonderful and special Christmas and all the best in 2009!

With lots of bloggy-love,

Laura & David

DJ, Anderson and Madigan.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gift Wrapped in Love

On Monday I worked an extended shift from 4am to 430pm. When I called home throughout the day there was never an answer.

I kind of figured that hubby had braved the stores with three young children. (Fool!)

Due to terrible traffic, I did not get home until hubby was feeding the kiddies.

As soon as I walked into the kitchen, Anderson squealed with excitement and shouted," Mommy, Mommy, go into the garage and look to see if you like your new 'puter we bought you for Christmas!!!"

DJ then yelled out, "Anderson, SHUSH! We hid Mommy's new computer in the garage 'cause it is a surprise, SHUSH! Don't tell her about it!"

Wide-eyed at all the sudden excitement, Madigan then calls out, "'puter, Mama, 'puter, Mama!"

Yep, guess I am getting a new computer...while it will not be a surprised, it certainly is wrapped in love!!!

(Thanks Hubby, you are the best. Love you so very much!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Away FROM the Manger

Do you remember this post from last year?

Well, last week my parents left on a whirlwind Christmas tour to South-Western Ontario. They were going to visit family and friends along the Toronto-Windsor corridor.

Or, so I thought.

I wonder if there is any coincidence that they arrived home last night at midnight, and the following news story aired on the National News....

hmmmmm, The Baby Jesus Bandit strikes again!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Week 3 Transition

Check out more Menu Plan Monday entries at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
With Christmas this week, things are pretty simple.
Monday - Stir Fry made with left over roast beef and long grain wild rice.
As promised, I made the roast beef in the crock pot - and the verdict was "GOOD" not fabulous. I actually prefer my oven-based recipe better. So, I think I will stick with that moving forward.

Tuesday - Daddy and the kids will have their regular Pizza Night since I have my Weight Management Class.

Wednesday - We are planning on going to my parents' house for Christmas eve. To help me stick to my eating plan, I am bringing a nice big "fun" salad. I will maybe have a sliver of the tourtiere and a sample of the seafood - but I am going to try very hard to keep on plan.

Thursday - Christmas day dinner will also be at my parents' place - I am bringing green beans and a mashed cauliflower-potato side dish. The recipe is below. I will save my protein exchanges and fruit and veggie servings through the day in order to eat a nice Christmas dinner. I am going to take care to measure and watch my helpings as to stick to plan. (I am also going to be cruel and bring a wonderful cherry-chocolate cheesecake and other yummy goodies for others to feast on!)

Friday - Oat and Flax Crusted Tilapia - Yummy Yummy! Oh, I so love the recipe's at Roni's Site!

Saturday - Left overs from Christmas - I am no dummy - I'm taking home a few doggy bags of my Mom's turkey and fixings!!!!

Sunday - I really cannot think that far in advance today!!!!

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

2.5 cups baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)
4.5 cups cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4-1/2 cups)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine cauliflower and potatoes in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain.
2. Add sour cream, chives, salt and pepper to saucepan. Using potato masher, mash until blended.
I sometimes add a splash of hot sauce!
Makes 6 servings
Calories - 83
Total fat - 2g
Carb - 16g
Fibre - 3g
Protein - 4g
Dietary Exchange = 1/2 Starch and 2 veggies

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And then they cried

My father was a teacher. My father was an awesome, totally respected and pretty darn cool teacher.

Over the years, my father has received more than his fair share of coffee cups, chocolate, coffee beans, and such. All given with the best intentions, admiration and the wonderful kind of love a student has towards a teacher with whom they have connected.

Coffee cups, chocolate, coffee beans, Oh My!

While he was always appreciative for every gift fondly chosen, wrapped and gifted, there are only a few he recalls with pride and glee: those were special hand crafted gifts from the heart.

When my eldest started school I vowed to always give sentimental, sincere gifts that reflects the thanks we give for those teachers giving the gift of knowledge and learning to our children.

On Friday the boys presented their teachers with the gifts they made. I think the pictures truly explain the love and pride that went into our Christmas gifts. All the teachers opened them, hugged the boys and then they cried.

It means so much to me to be able to sincerely touch these wonderful people who have one of the hardest, most challenging professions ever! I have a great respect for their work, and I am also very glad we made them cry this holiday season.

Here is the saga of our 2008 Christmas Gifts for the Teachers

First the boys went out with my Dad to find the perfect tree to use for our project.

Then they helped Pepe cut it into logs.

Then each boy used the drill press to make holes for our candles.

Then one snowy afternoon, under Mommy's watchful eye, the boys glued decorations and trimings onto eachof the logs.

The final result: Beautiful, made with lots of love, Yule Logs.

Here is the card I wrote for their favorite Kindergarten teacher.

All the teachers and the bus driver loved them. As do I!
PS - this card is my tada for Sunday Scrappin' .
Click HERE for more Sunday Scrappin' entries.
In the new year, getting caught up on my scrapbooking is key! I feel so far behind in my ablums.
I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Apology Would Go a Long Way

Back in March of 2006 I stumbled upon a great job. A job I would have killed for when I first moved to Ottawa as a recent Canadian Studies graduate. My dream had been to work for the Federal Government and one day be a foreign diplomat. But really, what I did when I moved to Ottawa 17 years ago and my professional journey is quite a fun story and I do plan on blogging about it soon...but let's jump to Tuesday December 16, 2008.

I arrived at work at my normal time, fired up my computers and open my email. BAM! I am pretty sure a two-by-four came swinging out of my computer and smacked in the face. BAM!

The email was from my compensation advisor apparently she had "revised all overtime forms sent" to her and had determined I had been "overpaid on most of them." Blah. Blah. Blah. $529.62. Blah. Blah. Blah. "We are allowed to collect at a rate of 10% of your pay per pay...until the full amount is recovered". Blah. Blah. Blah.


OK, deep breath. Calm down, Laura. Deep breath!

My contract specifically states that my hours of work will be "20 hours per week, from Monday to Friday. [My] hours of work are 4 a.m. to 8 a.m...Willing to work overtime on a regular basis is a condition of employment for this position. By acceptance of this offer [I am] also accepting this condition."

So, since March 2006 I have been asked to work overtime on the weekends. Anytime there was a "big news story of federal government interest" a member of our team was asked to come in to work on the weekend. You see, my job is to watch TV news, listen to radio news and analyse front pages of newspapers across the country. I help create a multi-media report that federal government employees and federal politicians can access - but the cool part, no matter your political party affiliation, is that my main "customer" is the Prime Minister of Canada and his staff.

For example, recently PM Harper was in Peru and I was asked to work weekend hours in order to to keep the Prime Minister's communication staff up to date on the coverage happening in Canada. They were briefing him each morning and wanted our report by 6am each day. I volunteered to come in and complete the report.

Back in 2006, the very first time I was asked to work a weekend my then boss joked, "well, at least you get overtime pay". Then the first time I worked both a Saturday and Sunday my boss corrected my overtime sheet to have the Saturday hours paid at 1.5 rate and the Sunday hours to be paid at the 2.0 rate. They used the terms "first rest day" and "second rest day". So, this has always been the practice. Work the weekend - get 1.5 or even 2.5 pay rate for coming in on the weekend.

What is also important is that not only did my manager sign off on the overtime sheets, so did his manager. At times sending it back to me to make corrections - like for my November time sheet. I claimed the 1.5 rate for my Saturday hours and the 2.0 rate for my Sunday hours AND my premium pay for working outside the "normal business day" (it is $2.00 an hour for any hour after 5pm and before 8am). My form was sent back to me and I was actually told (JUST LAST WEEK!) that I only qualify for the 1.5 and 2.0 overtime rate and that premium pay is not paid on overtime weekend hours.

So, compensation girl has determined that SOME of my old time sheets were corrected and some were not. According to her calculations I owe them for 9 shifts, some dating back to July of 2006, in which I claimed the 1.5 or 2.0 rate. She also determined that they owe me money for four hours I worked, but was not paid for properly.

Is your head spinning????? Mine is. And I am fuming.

I am mad at myself for not scrutinizing my pay cheques. They were higher when I worked extra hours, and I just figured it was all correct. I am mad at myself for no researching the Collective Agreement and figuring out my rights and pay levels.

I am furious with the 5 managers I have had in the last 3 years - yes, 5- for not knowing the nuisances of having a part-time employee. I am mad that I was told to fill in my forms a specific way and that TWO levels of management signed off on them - leading me to believe they were correct.

I am extremely upset at the compensation advisers. Why did they not inform me of discrepancies on my forms and the corrections they made to correct them. If notification would have occurred the first time this happened, then we would not be in this mess. If when it occurred a second time or a third time or a million times they should have contact me AND my management. They should have realized there was a lack of communication and understanding of the pay rate scale.

But you know what make me the most upset? Is that in all the correspondence between my boss on this fiasco, he has never once said sorry. Not once. All I want is a, "Damn-it Laura, sorry this happened..." Or, "This absolutely sucks, I'm sorry I never caught the error." Or, "My bad. Sorry." Or, "Hey, it is Christmas, and you know, it is my fault this happened, so, here is $500, pay off the debt! Merry Christmas! Sorry."

Heck. I would take a simple sorry. Sorry. SORRY.

Well, excuse me while I dry my tears of anger and go ice the huge welt and bruise the two-by-four left...and as I start to budget better since my pay is about to be garnished.

A. Simple. Apology. Would. Go. A. Long. Way.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fitness Friday - Milestones

I have had a great exercise week, hitting a few great milestones!

Monday - Turbo Jam Cardio 30 min and Turbo Jam Sculpt 60 min
Milestone: Able to complete both workouts back-to-back for the first time ever!

Tuesday - Dance Dance Dance with your Toddler Workout
Milestone: Must have had 1 million hearty laughs, and laughing is a great cardio workout! On the weight side of things, at my meeting I weighed in with another loss of 2.5 pounds. This is great since it occurred during week one of transition to real food!

Wednesday - Total Body Workout
Milestone: I attended all 5 sessions with out missing one! I was able to complete all circuits and improved from running at the back of the pack to the upper-middle of the pack! Plus, I enjoyed this mix-it-up type of workout so much, I signed up for the 10 week session starting in January.

Thursday - 5.45km run
Milestone - This is the longest distance I have ran since starting - AND - I did not alternate with walking. I. RAN. THE. WHOLE. WAY! Best of all, instead of over-eating or eating junk food to help get through a stressful time, I tied up my laces and exercised!

Friday - Planning to do the Turbo Jam Sculpt and 10 minutes of skipping
Saturday - Taking it easy...a well deserved break!

Sunday - Regular soccer game. It is an early game and we are expecting lots of subs, so, I may hit the work gym after the game for an additional workout!

How was your fitness week?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reverse Psychology

Reverse Psychology works every time!

Did I mention something big, horrible and ugly is going on at work - you know, the work I love...well, I still love my job, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, under appreciated and disappointed...I will not post much about the situation until after I talk to my union rep tomorrow morning for the final numbers and payment options.

It is no wonder I am not in a good mood.

Then my exercise partner cancels out workout for tonight - something about Christmas in a week and no where close to being ready.

So, I dug deep and decided to brave the elements and go running on my own.

Me: Do you think jumping from 4.1km to 5km is too big of a jump? I am still at run for 4 min and walk a min.

Hubby: No, you could do it.

Me: What is a good 5km route around here?

Hubby: Go out and Road A to Road B, turn right and follow to Road C. Then keep going to Road D all the way past the shopping centre to Road E and then all the way to Road F, turn right and then left onto Road G and follow back to Road A.

Me: All the way to the shopping centre and back around?

Hubby Yep.

Me: F*ck, I cannot do that!

So, off I went, totally thinking I would do my 4.1 km, I went Road A to Road G then instead of turning onto my regular route, I headed towards road F, all the way to Road E, past the shopping centre, up to Road D and around to Road C, then I turned left onto Road B and found myself on Road A, heading home.

Not only did I do the 5km route - but I did not walk once!!!

Yep, amazing what a bad day, adrenaline and a bit of reverse psychology can do to up your work out!

Rulers and Loosers

Ok. Yesterday, well, let's write off yesterday! I did not have a very good day - at first I thought of posting a sorrow and sympathy post about what happened at work...but, then I decided against that. I am hoping my arguments are considered and perhaps this terrible situation will be solved in a timely and appropriate manner. OK, enough of that!

So, then what? What should I write about? Hmmmmmmm.....

A science experiment! Ya!

OK...quick, run to the junk drawer and pull out your straight ruler, a pencil, a piece of paper and scissors.

I'll wait - this is a cool experiment!

OK. Welcome back!

Onto this experiment in human reaction.

Now, carefully measure out 10 inches or 25.40 centimeters.

Cut the paper so that you have a strip that is 10 inches or 25.40 centimeters long.


Now, hold it up to your waist line, pointing out.

Got it?

Ok, now, this is the cool part, most people have the exact same reaction to what happens next.

Wait for it.....

That 10 inches or 25.40 centimeters, represents how much MY waist line has decreased in 15 weeks....10 inches people.....10 friggin inches!!

Did you gasp a little? Even mutter, "holy crap"?!?!!?!?

Yep, that is the usual reaction - and I LOVE it!!!!

Ya me!!!

I rule as a looser!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What should I wear???

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, don't cha know?

And today, I am participating in this wonderfully cool event for Ottawa Bloggers:

Only A&J from Please Pick Up your socks would be cool enough to host this type of event.

What a neat way to meet other local bloggers - I really only know a few locals suffering from this addiction! I cannot wait to meet some more!

At most parties, I have a bit of fear regarding mingling - ya, ya, I know, I love to talk and in most respects I am a classic Type A Extrovert - but the idle chit-chat that occurs when first meeting someone, ya, well, not my strong point. I tend to find a comfortable subject and bludgeon it to death! Not always the best first impression!

Oh! I so want them all to like me and accept me into the Ottawa Blogging Community - to call me one of their only hope!

I hope that I do not dwell too much on why I blog, or the fact that I have a 5 year old, a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old Princess Diva. Or that I dwell on all the cute things they say and do! You know how some moms can go on and on...Ya, I have the tendency to do that too! I also love talking about my family and all the fun we have together. I hope they ask me about my job - oh, I love my job and talk lots about my hubby rolls his eyes! Seriously, I count myself lucky to find a job that allows me to work outside the home, but still be a full-time SAHM. Or maybe we can chat about my love of soccer, my new fitness regiment or my recent weight loss and how I lost a toddler? Maybe I will find a new scrapbooking pal? Wonder if anyone else did the NaBloPoMO? Oh! I hope I do not dwell on this, or rant about this, or complain about this, or brag too much about this....

I am getting so excited!!! This Virtual Christmas Party is going to be GREAT! Run, grab a mug of eggnog, cozy up to your computer screen and participate in the fun!

I encourage you all to click on over and meet a few of my fellow Ottawa Bloggers. We are pretty nice, for the most part, and a fun group of bloggers.

You do not have to be from Ottawa, to enjoy the musings of Ottawa-bloggers!

Menu Plan Monday - Transition Week 2

Check out more Menu Plan Monday entries at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Now the "real" menu planning comes into action for me. I am now coordinating more meals in which I can enjoy with my family.

I am moving into week 2 of my transition back to regular food. Starting on Wednesday, my daily food intake will include the following:
  • 2 OPTIFAST Shakes
  • 1 grain/Starch serving
  • 1 Fruit
  • 2 cups Veggies
  • 1 Milk & Alternative
  • 4 Meat & Alternative

So, with my daily food requirements, I am working very hard to create healthy, delicious meals with an element of kid-friendliness!

Monday - Salisbury Steak - I found an awesome site called Roni's Weigh. This gal is AMAZING. besides loosing an amazing 70 pounds, and keeping it off, she has multiple blogs regarding healthy eating and living. You should really check her out!!!

Tuesday - I have my weight management class, so Pizza Night for the wee folk and Daddy.

Wednesday - Salmon and Leeks (see recipe below)

Thursday - Baked Chicken and Acorn Squash - I stole this recipe from $5 Dollar Dinners blog - sounds very yummy and easy!

Friday - Fish Fillet night with Assorted Veggies - Easy, peasy, I heat lemon juice and garlic and crushed red peppers, throw in some white fish fillets (whatever kind of fish we have in the freezer) and then chuncked up veggies and a splash of hosein sauce.

Saturday - The boys are going to a Ginger Bread Making Party, so I am thinking dinner will be something simple - maybe even take out on our way home!

Sunday - I am going to use my crock pot to make a roast beef - my first ever attempt - will be sure to add a recipe and verdict next week!

I am very excited about my increased amount of real food this week. I am hoping by carefully following my new plan, and exercising, I will continue to loose a minimum of one pound a week. I am now slowly inching towards my goal.

I have based my weekly menu on the above family meals with slight alterations to keep with my plan, but all-in-all they are meshing very well.

Monday - 4:30am Shake, 9am fruit, noon salad with 1 cup salad veggies, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup flaked tuna, 5pm Shake, 7pm Shake

Tuesday - 4:30am Shake, 9am fruit, noon salad with 1 cup salad veggies, 1grain bread and 1 hard boiled egg, 5pm Shake, 7pm Shake

Wednesday - 4:30am Shake, 9am fruit, noon salad with 1 cup salad veggies, 1grain bread and 1 hard boiled egg, 5pm Shake, 7pm 1 cup salad veggies with 3 ounces salmon and leek dinner.

Thursday - 4:30am Shake, 9am fruit, noon salad with 1 cup salad veggies, 1/4 cup cottage cheese 2 oz modified Salisbury Steak, 5pm Shake, 7pm 1/2 cup salad veggies with 3 baked chicken and acorn squash dinner.

Friday - 4:30am Shake, 9am fruit, noon salad with 1 cup stir fry veggies and 2 oz of ground turkey with onion, 5pm Shake, Fish Fillet dinner with Assorted Veggies.

Saturday - 9am shake, noon 1 cup salad veggies, 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich, 2pm fruit, 5pm grilled veggies and tofu, 8pm Shake.

Sunday - 9am Shake, noon salad with 1 cup salad veggies, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup flaked tuna, 5pm pot roast and mashed cauliflower/potatoes.

Yummy! Yummy! Plan well! Eat well!


8 Medium Leeks (whites and light green parts only)

2 tsp Olive Oil

1 lbs Salmon Fillets

Pepper to taste, touch of salt

Lemon Wedges

Preheat oven to 450F. Clean leeks well by soaking in a bowl of cool water. Quarter leeks lengthwise and half crosswise. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss leeks with oil, season with touch of salt and pepper. Roast, toasting once, until beginning to soften - about 12-15 minutes.

Remove leeks from oven, toss with pan juices to coat, and push to edges of baking sheet. Arrange salmon pieces and season with pepper.

Return to oven, roast until salmon is just opaque throughout, 10-15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutritional Info - 1 salmon fillet = 3 Meat/Alternative Choices

290Kcal, 25g Protein, 10g Fat, 25g Carbs and 85mg sodium

* Recipe adapted from Everyday Food. April 2006.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Critters

Know what really sucks?

Discovering that a friggin' mouse got into the plastic tub of Christmas decorations - ruined almost all of them - and then died in the box.

Ya. That friggin' sucks!

(and is also stinks, literally and figuratively!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Naked Ladies and Cake

The Barenaked Ladies - an AWESOME CANADIAN band - was suppose to play in Ottawa this weekend. Hubby and I are HUGE BNL fans, and have been for years.

While in the car yesterday, the radio guy announced that The Barenaked Ladies concert has been cancelled due to a band member's mother falling gravely ill. I commented out loud, "Oh, that is too bad, how sad. I hope she is ok."

From the back of the van, DJ asks, " Why is she sick Mommy? Do you know her? Is she my friend?"

I replied, "No, Honey, Mommy does not know her, but I like The barenaked Ladies and I am sad that some one is sick."


A few minutes pass.

"Mommy, I really, really like bare naked ladies too. I would really, really like to see lots of bare naked ladies. And you know what Mommy? If I saw some bare naked ladies, I would give them cake. Cake always makes you feel better, and we have lots left over from all our birthdays."

Can't argue with that reasoning!

Cake for Anderson's celebration on Dec 6
Cake for Friend Party on December 7
Cake for DJ's celebration on December 10

Cake for celebration for Ander, DJ and my Dad
(DJ and my dad share the same birthday!)

PS. I do not think I am going to do any Christmas baking...I am all baked out!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fitness Friday & Transition & Cheating

Whew! Friday! Finally!

Big news first - I ate my first "real" food since September 16!!!!

Transition is going well: this week I am on 3 shakes a day with 3 protein "exchanges" and 1 fruit exchange.

I have decided to start with a lunch-time meal. My objective is to get that meal very healthy and consistent, and keep it that way moving forward!

On Wednesday I did very well and felt great! I had a shake at 4:30am, then 1 cup blue berries at 9am and my "meal" at 1pm and a shake at 5pm and again at 8pm.

Meal One - 1 cup salad mixture (spinach, carrots, red cabbage, white cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, green onion) 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese, 8 garlic grilled shrimp. I did cheat a bit since my "cup" was very generous and I added a little spray of no-fat salad spritzer.
Verdict: YUMMY! A great start to my re-introduction to food!
On Thursday I tried follow the same pattern. Underline tried! I had a shake at 4:30am and then at 10am I had half a kiwi and a few grilled shrimp (!). At lunch time I had a similar salad as above, but substituted 2 slices of extra lean turkey breast for the shrimp. I had a shake at 4pm and then after my run in the cold, cold Ottawa weather, I really could not fathom having a cold shake. So, I "cheated". I mixed up another cup of salad with a generous tablespoon of cottage cheese and about an ounce of chicken. I also heated up a mug of no-fat beef broth. It was all so tasty and appreciated after my 1.5 hour workout outside in the bitter cold.
Verdict: YUMMY times two. I know technically I was cheating and that my "product chart" in my next progress report will show a "slip up", but at least I did not cave into eating one of the 4 birthday cakes I made last week!!!
So, transition is going well. I was very nervous at first, but am now realizing I was very ready for it. I am trying very hard to keep a food journal, track every little thing I put into my mouth and keep accountable for my own positive transition.
Fitness wise, my week was pretty good:

Saturday - 4.78KM RUN (no walking or break) this is actually a funny story that I plan to blog about next week for sure!

Sunday - Soccer game - unfortunately, I slightly sprained my ankle in the first half, so did not run as much as I hoped. :(
Monday - Sore ankle meant no run, so, I did the Turbo Jam Body Sculpt DVD. It was a great workout!

Tuesday - Took the day off! Attended my weight management program and had my largest loss to date - 5.6 pounds!

Wednesday - Boot Camp - WHEW! I completed the entire circuit! It was a skip circuit: we alternated 1 min skipping with 1 min task (biceps, triceps, crunches, lunges, shoulder lifts) There were 7 stations and we did the circuit twice! That is a lot of skipping and sweating!!!

Thursday - Walk/Run - I braved the cold, snowy conditions and had a great run/walk. I jogged for about 1.8 KM and then walked for over one hour with my friend Dawn and then jogged about 1KM. I totally love our Thursday walks: great company, good exercise and fun, no matter the weather conditions!

Friday - I plan on doing the Turbo Jam Body Sculpt DVD

Saturday - I was thinking of maybe going to a lap swim for something different

Sunday - Regular soccer game.
Hope everyone had a great week - keep fit!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giddy Up - Let's Celebrate!

On Wednesday, DJ turned 5 years old.

DJ absolutely LOVES horses.

Without even trying, he got a special themed birthday!

His cake!

His joy!

His card from Nana and Pepe!

His gift!

Check out the first article in his birthday magazine subscription...

(it reads, "Happy Birthday Young Rider")

Total coincidence, but hey, pretty cool!!!

Giddy Up!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just yesterday!

It seems like just yesterday that I fell in love with you at first sight.

It seems like just yesterday that we almost lost you,

and I thought my heart would be broken forever.

It seems like just yesterday that you proved everyone wrong - and started to thrive!

It seems like just yesterday that you came home from the hospital - for good!

It seems like just yesterday that you became a big brother!

It seems like just yesterday that you turned one year old...

...then two years old!

...then three years old!

It seems like just yesterday you took your new little sister under your wing!

It seems just like yesterday that we celebrated your 4th birthday!

And today, you turn 5!!!!

Happy birthday David Joseph!

I love you so very much.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Celebration # 2 - Going to the Birds!

I am always trying to come up with fun, interesting and different birthday party ideas. Well, this year was one of the best yet!

Initially DJ wanted to have "a sweet home party" for his birthday. Ya, um, I am sure the mothers' of the girls he wanted to invite would have been impressed. Attire: skimpy bathing, nope!

Then, DJ had the idea to have his party at "The Chick-a-dee Park". What a brilliant idea! I made a few phone calls and set the wheels in motion.

Both DJ and Anderson were allowed to invite 4 friends to join us for some birthday fun.
The plan was that we would meet at the Wild Bird Care Centre and we would have a little presentation on how the centre rescues and cares for the birds, tour the facilities, and have cake and refreshments. Then, we would head outside for a hike to feed the birds.

My kids LOVE this conservation area. We frequent it often and the fact the birds land right on your hand to feed never, ever, ever gets old!
I sent out cute invitations, and was thrilled with the response we got.

Well, the party was on Sunday past. And, wow, what a great party it was!!!!

It was a chilly, windy day, but we all still enjoyed ourselves.

Not only did we have lots of fun, but the presentation that Wendy gave was excellent, so we learned lots about the Centre, but the party guests were so generous! In lieu of gifts (though the boys did receive a few) guests were asked to bring a donation item for the centre. You should have seen the faces of the volunteers when a huge load of much-needed supplies was presented!

OK, enough words, here are some photos of our fun, eco-friendly, educational, super birthday party!

Donations for the centre.

Listening to Wendy explain how they rescue and treat the birds. It was also interesting to learn how they use our donations - especially the chicken livers, beef hearts, dog food and french fries!

Cake time!
Every branch was a different flavour and the "nest" was also edible!

For gift bags each child got a wooden bird feeder kit, a rescue diploma and a little bird. I also made little bags and filled them with bird seed so the kids could feed the birds on the hike.

Walking the trail and feeding the birds.

The sign of a successful party!