Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Sissy Fuddle Duddle!

You know you had a great weekend when you need a day to recover!!!!

Tuesday is the new Monday, don't cha know!

OK - Let's get Monday Menu Plan out of the way!

Monday - Yummy spicy shrimp stir fry with quinoa

Tuesday - broccoli and chicken casserole

Wednesday - Family Pizza Night

Thursday - Three Bean and Pork Slow Cooker Chili - recipe from Weight Watchers - sounds yummy good, easy, kid friendly and only 5 points per serving. Then I will have to factor in my homemade cheesy whole wheat garlic bread for dunking!

Friday - A wonderful friend and I are embarking on a regular Friday exercise date. Our families will eat together first and then head off to swimming laps in prep for our "Try-a-tri-athon" in May. I was thinking maybe I would do a pasta dish with a nice salad.

Saturday - Fire up the grill! Nicely aged steaks and lots of veggies cooked on the bbq...summer cooking is just around the corner!!!

Sunday - Pot roast with carrots, potatoes and onions - nothing too fancy.

Ok - so now for the weekend recap!
The smile on my face in this photo, sums it all up!!!

Friday I drove the kiddies to my parents' place. If you are a frequent visitor to The Fringe, you know how much they LOVE going to Nana and Pépé's house. But, here is yet another cute story that shows the very special bond my parents have with my kiddies.

Mid-way through our 40 minute drive little Madigan, all strapped in her car seat yells out:

Bye-bye Dadda!
Bye-bye house!
Bye-bye Keymew (our cat Cleo)
Helllllllllloooooooooo Nana!
Helllllllllloooooooooo Pépé!

Ok. Seriously, I almost burst a gut! Here is a little 2 year old, in a squeaky, high pitch voice bidding goodbye to one world and welcoming the new! Her HELLO was hilarious - all drawn out and a bit deeper than her regular voice. It was priceless!

Anyways - Friday night friends came over - the plan was for the gals to go swim lanes (prep for "Try-a-tri-athon" and then meet the boys for Pho soup. Comedy of errors, we misread the lane times...so quick change of plans - we went for dinner first and then swimming.

Side note - I need to work on my breathing technique in the front crawl. I am sure I could shave some time off if I got a bit more rhythm in my breathing and stroke.

We had a great Friday evening. We always have a great time with Stephen (the best-man at our wedding) and his wonderful girlfriend Danielle (Hello Danielle, since I now know you visit The Fringe! Yep. Friday sounds great - check your email!)

Saturday AM we woke up early and took off for Mont Tremblant, Quebec. It is about 2 hours away. It was an enjoyable drive. Spring is in the air!

The mountain was very busy - perfect spring ski conditions bring lots of people out! If you ever get a chance to visit this first-class resort - I highly recommend it!

We skied all day. I will not lie - I had a rough time. I really only started to ski when I met David - back in 2000. Then since all my babes are winter babies, my ability, desire and time for skiing dropped in priority. So, I was getting a bit frustrated. I could not seem to get my old rhythm back. I was really fighting my skies and forcing the tails of my skies instead of carving with my edges. On top of that, my middle toe on my right foot was SUPER sore. (I would later discover that when my soccer opponent stepped on my foot last week she cracked my nail and it swelled up) And my feet hurt in my boots. My boots are from the before kids era and my feet are bigger, flatter and more sensitive now. And finally, I was having a fear thing - totally mental! I am not sure what it was, but I was so nervous of falling. Maybe it had to do with Natasha Richardson succumbing to injuries suffered on this very hill? Or maybe I was just nervous? I was having trouble finding my centre of gravity and therefore did not feel stable...could it be from my rapid weight loss? My body has definitely changed! Whatever the case, the first two runs were terrible.

In fact, I almost gave up. But my wonderful hubby talked me out of it. We stuck to fairly easy hills. David got to do a few bump-runs since Windigo and Upper Fuddle Duddle were mainly moguls. I stuck with Sissy Schuss and Fuddle Duddle...oh ya! I do see the irony of the run names and my state of mind - but, hey! thanks for pointing that out!!!!!!!!

After lunch, I calmed down a bit and was able to find some of my skiing mojo. So, our afternoon was a bit more enjoyable. Besides, it was sunny, warm and I was with the man of my dreams!

A good friend of ours offered us her chalet for the evening (Thanks Jo!). It was great. We went and got cleaned up and headed back to the mountain for dinner and to enjoy the night life. It was great. We had a great dinner - I had yummy trout with veggies, and even was successful at NOT having any of the fresh dinner rolls that kept appearing at our table!

After dinner we strolled around the cute shops and then took in the aerial competitions. Man, they were amazing! Friggin' dare devils to the highest degree!

We returned to the chalet and well, "enjoyed each others company"....wink wink nudge nudge.

It was a wonderful weekend for sure.

We drove back to Ottawa. Picked up the kiddies - one of them very ill with the stomach flu (sorry Mom, but thank you for looking after the barfy-sick kid!). So, it was right back to the grind!!!!

So, how was your weekend?????

PS - I am cheating and keeping the Tuesday date stamp...even though it is now Wednesday morning...now I have the barfy tummy and Madigan is crabby...oh joy! This is going to be a l--o--n--g week...or maybe I am just being a big sissy fuddle duddle?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dear Kettle BBQ Chips,

I friggin' HATE you...well, actually, you are yummy good...and, well, there in lays the problem.

Well, at least you are all gone - and so are my Weight Watchers points for the next four days!

It is now after 9PM, I have to get up at early and be at work by 3AM...the Junos are on and I would like to watch them...but, well, my bed calls. I had a FABULOUS weekend and cannot wait to share it all with you.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WW - before and after (kind of!)

Oh! Oh! This wordless Wednesday has lots of words!!!!
I have been asked to post before and after photos. But I have 3 major problems with doing this:
  1. I am not done my weight loss journey - I have come to realize that this is a life time journey and I am far from done yet!
  2. There are so few photos of me - I think I have posed for more family photos in the last 3 months than I had in the last 5 years!
  3. I have hit a bit of a plateau - perhaps posting some photos will help me break through it - my main "problem" is that I have really increased the amount and intensity of my workouts and that is leaving me hungry, craving food and grazing...but I will get it all under control. One good decision at a time!

So, here is the best I can do!

(yep, that is me in the far left corner, hiding from the camera!)


(yep, that is me, proudly posing while my son snaps a few shots!)

A few friends have also asked me about some of the weight/foody blogs that I have started to follow, so, in no particular order, here they are:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DESPERATE for some AMAZING sleep

Dear Programming Executives at CTV,

As you are probably aware of - how could you not be - my fortieth birthday is in sixteen days. It is guaranteed to be a huge celebration.

I am a huge fan of Desperate Housewives, The Amazing race and Dancing with the Stars. They are my escape from reality. My escape from the chaos of having three young children, an odd-hour work schedule, a new hard-core focus on getting into shape and well, life in general.

But here lies my problem. I am addicted to these show, on real-time. No, I cannot grasp the idea of pvr-ing or taping the airing of each and then watching after their original showing. I have tried, but I lay in bed thinking, wondering, pondering what could be happening? Nope. No can do...so, instead, I stay up late to watch these shows. Yep. I do...and then Monday morning and Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning come WAY too early. Heck, raising at 3AM is too friggin' early no matter what way you look at it. But, after staying up till 10PM mornings are crazy-hard!

Anyways, I was thinking, you know, since my birthday is coming up, and I am sure you are all trying to decide on the perfect gift for me...well, how about putting Desperate Housewives, The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars all at 7PM...that way I could be in bed and asleep way before 9PM. This would mean more than my regular 4-6 hours of sleep. Oh, that would be SWEEEEET!!!!

Ya. I knew you would understand. And, heck, no need to thank me for the great birthday gift suggestion!

Thanks in advance!

The birthday girl,


Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling tired, looking good and eating well!

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

I'm tired. I had a great March Break with the kids. I had a fabulous weekend. And I have been lacking in the sleep department! In addition, I am full swing into my training for a 10K race and for a "try-a-thon", each a week apart in May! Top that off with working extra hours and the fact that Madigan's 2 year old molars seem to be taking the friggin' scenic route...late nights, lots of crying and early mornings are a combination for disaster!

When you are dog-tired and have three youngsters at home, how do you cope?

Does Dora or Barney seem to take over babysitting duties? Do you read 4 million books - or, one book 4 million times? Do you make popcorn and pull out the sofa bed and play snuggle-bed movie? Do you make an enormous fort in the front room and claim to be resting? Do you play hide and seek and can always be found under the covers in the bed? Do you bake fool-amounts (especially when considering you are on Weight Watchers) of cookies and goodies? Do you have day-time bath time where all three kids slash and soak the bathroom while you sit in the corner and read a novel? Do you guarantee a long bath by declaring that by exiting the tub fun, each child is agreeing to a haircut? Do you allow wrestling attacks while you "do some blog-work"? Do you try to post a Monday Menu list while three kids are asking for their 15th cookie?

You don't???


Um, I do! (and that was just today!)

Is that wrong????

Well, at least I have a cool fort in the front room, the downstairs sofa bed has fresh sheets, there are lots of yummy cookies, the kids are clean and the boys are sporting cute crew cuts!!!! But, alas, my Monday Menu is not done, and I'm tired. (I seriously think I am expelling ALL my energy trying to generate enough motivation to get dressed and out the door to my running clinic!)

So, without further delay, here are the dinners I am planning for this week:

Monday - Tuna casserole with long green beans

Tuesday - Chickpea curry and chicken - I stole this recipe from Feebeez, a Monday Menu participant. I hope it is as good and as easy as it seems!

Wednesday - Daddy and kids pizza night since I have boot camp followed by Weight Watchers

Thursday - Pork tenderloin with baby carrots and wilted spinach

Friday - Not sure as we are dropping the kids off at my parents and taking off to Mont Tremblant for a wonderful Saturday of skiing and fun!

Saturday and Sunday - well, honestly, Saturday and Sunday just seem way too far away to even think about...

OK - off to pull the casserole out of the oven, throw on my running gear and walk 1.7km to the running clinic, do my run, walk home, and collapse into bed!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Green Thumb Gifts

Last summer I started a veggie garden. I fell in love with planting, tending to and harvesting my little crop. Oh, some items did not grow, while others basically took over prime real estate! But it was great fun - and hard work...and very rewarding. All summer we had fresh tomatoes (still have 3 frozen bags in the freezer) tons of green & yellow beans, zucchinis and peas. Oh! I cannot forget the enormous squash. The fresh veggies were amazing!

This winter has been long...and finally we are having almost spring-like weather. That got me thinking of my summer gardening plans. My big plan is to almost triple the size of the veggie garden and move my herb garden and then double it in size.

But to do this, I will need the appropriate tools. Thank goodness I have a birthday coming up!!!!

Gift suggestion: New gardening gloves

Gift suggestion: Shiny new wheelbarrow

Gift suggestion: Cool set of gardening tools (with a lock so little hands cannot get hold of them!)

Gift suggestion: Raised bed kit

Do you like to garden? What is your favorite gardening tool? What should I add to my wish list?

Boy! I cannot wait for the snow to go and planting weather to come...well, I guess I can wait another week since we are heading to Mont Tremblant for a day of spring skiing!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fitness & Birthday Gift Suggestions


For me, this week has been one of those, "Dear Lord, will this week EVER end?" coupled with, "Holy crow, Friday, already!" A strange combination!

It was an exciting fitness week! I started new activities, had a little break and most importantly, completed my first road race.

Saturday I completed my 5k race. I am happy with my time - 33.06 though there were at least 3 times I slowed right down and one time I walked - so, lots of room for improvement!

Sunday I played soccer for my new indoor team. It was AMAZING! They are so much better than my former teammates. I ran around, played hard, and had a GREAT time! I even made what can only be described as "the pass of my career" - too bad Joanne could not capitalize on it! We lost, but I had a good work out!

Monday I had my first Running Room clinic. It is a huge group with a huge spectrum of fitness, running ability and commitment. I ran with a really nice gal - we hit it off and I am looking forward to running with her again!

Tuesday I tried an aqua fit class. It was in the deep water - it was challenging, fun, and I am looking forward to trying it again. I am taking the class with a great friend and I am looking forward to chatting, laughing and aqua-fitting with her!!!!

Wednesday - no boot camp this week. I missed it! My friend Dawn and I walked to our Weight Watchers meeting. As was expected, I gained this week - lots of factors contributing (bad choices, snacking, lack of journal keeping and my "time of the month about to start!")

Thursday - I planned on doing a workout - but never got around to it. David had a boys' night out so I had all three kids all day and night...so, no real time to work out.

Friday - I am hoping to go for a run this evening.

Saturday - I am hoping to find a pool and swim some laps in prep for my try-a-thon in May!

Sunday - Running Room Long Run at 8:30am and then I have a soccer game.

Next week I have a busy fitness schedule:
Monday - Running Room Clinic
Tuesday - Aqua Fit Class
Wednesday - Boot camp
Thursday - walk/run
Friday - Run
Saturday - Downhill skiing (Same resort where Natasha Richardson had her accident)
Sunday - Running Room Long run in the AM and soccer game in the afternoon.

Now, since I have lots of training to do before my try-a-thon on May 16 and my 10K race on May 23 I have been exploring tracking gadgets. Roni introduced me to an amazing little application for a iPod. You can read all about it here. It looks super cool and I love the fact you can chart out your runs and workouts and set goals and milestones. WAY COOL!

So, for my 40th birthday I would love this:

Nike + iPod Sport Kit for iPod nano 1G, 2G, 3G

...and since I do not have a iPod Nano, I would need one of these:

Oh! and one of these:

Hee hee...this birthday wish list stuff is fun!!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gift of Life

If you are a regular visitor to The Fringe, you undoubtedly have been monitoring my birthday gift list. (I'm still waiting for the packages to start arriving...still waiting...)

Today, in all seriousness I am asking for one gift from each of you. The gift of life. I am encouraging each and everyone of you to sign your organ donor cards, register on appropriate data bases and inform your family that if, heaven forbid, anything should happen to you, that you would like to donate your internal organs to someone who desperately needs the gift of life.

By now you have probably heard of the tragic death of Natasha Richardson. This is so very sad. My heart goes out to her family - especially her loving husband and young sons.

Yesterday the media had so many conflicting stories and rumors. It was very confusing. Being a head-injury survivor I was very interested in the story and started looking for news on the internet.

I read an article that indicated that Ms. Richardson had been air-transported from a hospital in Montreal to a hospital in New York. I thought perhaps that Lenox Hill hospital was a medical facility hat specialized in brain-injuries. But the information I found basically classified the hospital as having a speciality in cardiac care.

That got me thinking.

Perhaps they moved her to NY so that she could be closer to family. I began to wonder why that hospital. And here is what I am hoping: I hope that she had made the decision to be an organ donor and that she had communicated her wishes to her family. If her head injury was severe then, perhaps, she was being transported closer to home, and that if she did pass away, she would be closer to family and also able to give the gift of life to someone else.

I have no idea of what Natasha Richmond's wishes were in terms of organ donation. Yes, I am sad for her and her family - a tragic loss for certain - but by all accounts she was a healthy, generous, caring being. I hope and pray that the most selfless decision was communicated and acted upon. Based on my personal knowledge and experience of a closed-head trauma - Ms. Richardson would have made an idea organ transplant donor. My heart aches that she suffered this injury. But the lives she could save...oh what a precious gift that would be...

Sadly, perhaps through her death, we can all become a bit more educated in brain-injuries, the importance of wearing helmets and protective gear, and that the gift of life is the ultimate gift we can give, once we are gone from this earth.

The fluke accident that happened to Natasha Richardson, could happen at any time to any of us. You just never know...that is the scary part.

I hope that none of us have to face the painstaking decision that Ms. Richardson's family had to make to turn off the respirator. I hope none of us ever need face such a terrible hardship. But I also pray that Ms. Richardson's family, and any of us who may one day face this unspeakable burden, that we all consider, and hopefully commit to helping to save someone else, when we, or someone we love are in a similar position.

Here are a few additional resources and information sources on organ donation:

For my birthday, I would like my gift to be informing my family and friends of my intentions. I would like to be an organ donor. I want to give the gift of life, when mine has ended. Do you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WW - Going to the birds!

March Break Fun!
March 16, 2009.

Sarsaparilla Trail

(Look carefully on Madigan's head!!!! I put seeds on her hat since she was not staying still enough for the chickadees to land on her hand!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck of the Irish

Apparently, when my great-great grandparents came to Canada they left the luck of the Irish in their home country!

On Saturday I ran in the St. Paddy's Day Road Race. While it was fun, there was no green luck on my side leading up to or post race!

On Friday I drove downtown to pick up my race kit. It was just after 5pm. You can only imagine how busy the downtown core was at this time. Obviously, I could not find parking, so I had the brilliant idea of parking in my parking spot for work. It would mean only a 3 block hike to The Running Room. I parked my car int he underground parking space designated to me and headed off. I picked up my kit, stopped at the sports store to look for new soccer boots, browsed through a few trendy shops and then headed back to my car. I almost dislocated my shoulder when I tried to throw open the front office door. LOCKED. Yep. My car was in the building, the building you need your work pass to access after normal business hours. It was 6:13pm!!!

I waited and waited till I saw a member of the cleaning crew. I banged on the door. She shook her head and walked away. I waited and waited, finally saw another member of the cleaning crew and got her attention. She must have thought me crazy! I was going on like a mad-woman. I think totally out of fear for her own life, this non-English, non-French speaking, older woman finally let me after I kept making the universal hand gesture for car and pointing down. WHEW!!!

Well, maybe I was lucky??? I did in fact get let into the locked building and I did get back to my car!!!!

The race went well and I finished it in one piece - so, that could be considered lucky.

After the race I hurried back to my office to pick up my weekend assignment. I was jazzed. I was sweaty. I was catching a chill. I remembered I had a warm fleece sweater in the trunk. I parked in my underground spot and grabbed my security pass (!!!) and popped the trunk and grabbed my sweater. Threw on my sweater and slammed the trunk closed. Yep. You figure out what I quickly discovered? Yep. I know you would figure out where this story of luck was leading. Car keys. Trunk. Yep. Inside.

CRAP! I race over to the door and thankfully it is unlocked...but in my car there is no trunk release. So, I am sure the security guard upstairs was having a great laugh at the show I was putting on the closed circuit camera! I had to remove the kids' car seats, pile all the junk onto the backseat floor, tug the seat down. Then I had to climb back into the trunk. Which I do, but not without kicking my rear view mirror off it's holdings and almost putting my foot through my sun roof. Oh ya! I could just imagine the security guard upstairs laughing his butt off at me!!! I was a sight for sore eyes!!!!

Yep. Even in lieu of me completing the race, finishing almost a minute faster than I ever-hoped to finish, the St. Paddy's Day Road Race is not that lucky for me! Though I am sure the the security guards would get a kick out of either episodes on the security tapes!!! While not lucky, I am good for a few laughs!

Wishing you all a very happy St. Paddy's Day!

In keeping with an Irish theme - Birthday gift suggestion # 25 would have to be one of these lovely creatures:

Unfortunately, since I am allergic to long-haired dogs, I would basically die! Put, I would like a dog. All growing up we has miniature poodles or cock-a-poos. I would love to have BIG dog! So how about a standard poodle????

How could you say no to on of these little cuties?!?!?!?!?!

Hee Hee!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu plan Monday - rabbit stew

I am not really in the mood to write much.

I had an AMAZING weekend. But, then it came crashing to a halt when a friend brought it to my attention that I really hurt her feelings...during the course of our scrapbooking weekend I offended her. I am glad she said something, I truly did not realize my comments upset her...and I feel badly about that...but now, I am upset. So, I did not sleep very well last night (couple that with staying up to watch Desperate Housewives, and then getting up for work at 3am) and my Monday did not start off too well. While driving to work at 3:30am, I hit and killed a little bunny...oh ya! I did, and I am a wreck about it...what a great start to the week!

So, without whining anymore, here is my dinner menu for this week. And, um, no, we are not having any rabbit dishes! You can find lots of other meal ideas at Menu Plan Monday entries at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday - Chicken drumsticks with corn peas and rice
Tuesday - Green Curry Shrimp with mixed veggies and couscous
Wednesday - Crockpot Mexican Pork - Recipe below
Thursday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Friday - Vegetable Quinoa with Tilapia

1 pound pork boneless loin roast – cut into 1" pieces
1 20 oz jar salsa
1 4oz can chopped green chiles -- drained
1 15oz can black beans -- rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese -- if desired

Mix pork, salsa and chiles in 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hour or until pork is tender. Stir in beans. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with cheese.

1 serving = 345 calories/Fat 10g/Cholesterol 75mg/Sodium 900 mg/Carbohydrate
37g/Fiber 10g/Protein 37g
Weight Watcher's Points = 6

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Warm Temps & appropriate gift ideas

The weather here in Ottawa is sensational!

Today it was 7 degrees above zero...GOR-GEEEEEE-OUS!!!!

So, as I drove around town today with my sun roof opened, my thoughts shifted to summer soccer. The season starts after the May 24 weekend. Oh! I am sooooo excited. Only one of my summer soccer pals has even known about my weight loss journey - let alone seen me!!!! They will be shocked with my 70+ pound loss! I am so excited to play to my potential again!

So, gift suggestion # 28 for my 40th birthday would definitely be shiny, new soccer boots. These ones would be perfect!

There I was driving to soccer this evening, all excited about new soccer boots, and the warm setting sun was glaring into my eyes. Yep. That got me thinking. I have never owned a nice, designer pair of sunglasses. So, for gift idea # 26 I would like to suggest a new styling pair of specs!

The weather is suppose to stay warm for the next few days - the boys start March Break tomorrow...we have a super fun week planned...cannot wait to share our adventures!

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Training Hoping Running Smiling

I figured 38 minutes.

I hoped for 34 minutes.

I ran for 33.06 minutes.

I am still smiling.

Monday I start my training for a 10KM race in May...let's hope I am still smiling!
Thank you everyone for all your support. LOVE IT! LOVE YOU!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fitness Friday - Prep for fun!

OK! My race is tomorrow morning at 9:15am. It is a nice route along Colonel By Drive (and Rideau Canal) from Pretoria Bridge to the Bronson Bridge and back. It is calling for a nice 3 degrees Celsius with cloudy skies. I think it will be nice running conditions.
Here are a few photos of the area where the race is being held:

I am taking it easy today. I have had a long, tiring week and need to rest up for what is for sure going to be a great weekend.

Here is a list of things I need to get organized for tomorrow morning:

- Pick up race kit
- Attach shamrocks to my running pants and coat as part of my costume (!?!?!)
- Drink lots of water
- Place out all my running gear
- Bake my shamrock cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies (2 batches of each!)
- Buy a new blade for my straight cutter
- Organize and pack all my photos
- Pack up all the ingredients to make the most fabulous scrambled egg breakfast ever!
- Get all my scrapbooking materials packed up and into the car
- Place my parent's house key on my key ring
- Pack my over night bag
- Pack my soccer gear for my game on Sunday afternoon

It is incredible all the things you need to do before running a 5k race!!!

Oh! Did I mention that, after my big race, 4 of the most wonderful ladies are meeting me at my parent's house about 45km away (away from work, hubby and the kids) for a girls' scrapbooking weekend! The funny part is growing up I NEVER disobeyed my parents and hosted a party in their absence!!! No, I think I did it right....no teenage party will ever out do a kidless, free, scrapbooking weekend away!!!!

Oh ya! No matter how I feel during or after my race, no matter my finishing time, no matter the weather, no matter what, this is going to be a great weekend!!!! (If I survive it!!!)

In honour of this bound-to-be-great weekend, I present to you birthday gift ideas # 29 and # 28:

29) I would soooo love a long sleeve running shirt that would be perfect for Ottawa spring weather. Something like this:

28) And as I move forward with my transition from strictly traditional scrapbooking to a hybrid form of mixing traditional and digital scrapbooking, I would totally appreciate a year membership to Heritage Makers. The extremely lovely Kristen from Mighty Morphin' Mama is a consultant and introduced me to her product line - it totally rocks and I think it would be a super cool addition to my scrapbooking tool set. Not only does the Heritage Makers' annual membership make my list of 40 gifts for my 40th birthday, but Oprah named it one of her favorite things too!!!! (Go check it out! Then, after you fall in love with it you can order one membership for me, and then treat yourself too!)
Wish me luck for my big debut race...Irish luck that is!!!!
Have a wonderful and great weekend...I know I will for sure!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Five Exotic Foods to Try!

When visiting foreign or exotic locations, I recommend trying some of the local fare. This has always been my philosophy when traveling.

I remember back in 1999 I was travelling through Africa. What a wonderful trip! (yesterday's post got me thinking of that life-altering adventure!)

Usually we were camping, and would go to the local market and get our food items and our cook would help us cook traditional or regional dishes over the camp fire. When we did go into restaurants, I was amazed at how often the other in my group would order "familiar" foods. Locals knew this and would usually offer a few options that they tried to pass off as British fare, North American inspired, or whatever.

When I ate in a restaurant, I would usually review the menu and then ask the server/cook/guy at the table next to me what they would suggest. I would strike up a conversation and find out what the locals usually ate. I would ask them to make me something - anything - they would make and eat. Well, let me tell you - very rarely was I ever disappointed. Plus, amazing conversations were initiated and I had the time of my life. And while my co-travellers paid top dollar ($3-$5) for their dish, I usually got a huge ethnic meal for $1.00!

One day on Prison Island - just off the coast of Zanzibar - a small group I was with stopped for lunch. It was pouring rain and there was but one building on the island - and it offered a few plates. The three gals with me immediately decided to have the chips and eggs. All three were from the UK and all three were so happy to have some "home-style" food.

I scanned the menu. Then asked the waiter for item # 2 - nope, he had no meat and the water was too rough to go to the main land. I then thought maybe item #4 - nope, all out. He suggested the Chips and Eggs!!!!

I then told the server to have the cook surprise me. He left, a bit confused. I heard him chatting in the kitchen, then he returned, he asked me if I liked fish. I replied yes. So he disappeared again. A very heated discussion went on for a few moments behind the closed door.

The door swung open.

Out came a little boy - no older than 7 or 8. He was carrying a spear and was dressed in a pair of "gauchies". He growled at me and then stomped off into the pouring rain towards the shore line.

Five minutes later he stomped back - waved his spear at me in an angry gester. Three very colourful fish wiggled by my face. The boy huffed off, dripping wet.

About 10 minutes later the server/owner/cook/father came out. My friends had very greasy, soggy potatoes with a scrambled egg on top. They were not impressed with the look, taste or smell.

I, in comparison, had one of the best meals of my life. Oh, my plate was piled high with some sort of rice/grain and vegetables and fruit - and three lovey seared fish. I thanked the man and then invited him and his son to come share my feast.

We all became fast friends - even the little guy warmed up to me! (perhaps my peace off of my baseball cap coaed him a bit!) Through broken English, gestures, grunts and pointing, we had a wonderful conversation. And the food was amazing!

Anyways - I just thought today's topic would be the joys of trying new food!

So, that said, if you ever come to The Fringe, be sure to ask to have our own domestic fare.

Here are a few Fringe domestic favorites:

1) Anway Ice Ilk

Translation: Anderson's Rice Milk
This is a new favorite for Madigan and she seems to prefer it to regular cow's milk an can tell the difference when you try to fool her!

2) Long S'getti
Translation: Spaghetti
DJ would eat this dish every day if he could. He especially likes it when meat balls form happy faces or if there is about a pound of shrimp mixed into the sauce!

3) Crappy Dinner

Translation: Kraft Dinner
All three kids love this staple. To get fancy we sometimes add cut up hot dogs or chopped up spinach and frozen veggies or even a can of tuna or a can of baked beans. It is best received when a huge happy face made out of ketchup is present!

4) Naked Bagels
Translation: Blueberry bagel with nothing on it
This is Anderson's breakfast food of choice. Some mornings, he does ask to have it "cooked". Other mornings he wants a "Daddy Bagel" which is a blueberry bagel toasted with Strawberry Lite Cream Cheese or a "Kid's bagel" which is a raisin and cinnamon bagel toasted with regular cream cheese.

5) Raisin Brown

Translation: Raisin Bran Cereal
Every morning DJ and Daddy sit down to a heaping bowl of Raisin Brown - there are two scoops of raisins in every box, don't cha know!

So, what foods do you eat in your neck of the woods??????

Quick Weight Update: At my weigh in last night I was down another 2.5 pounds. So, on Weight Watchers I have lost 5.5 pounds - bringing my total loss to 72.5 pounds. YIPPEEE!

I am really enjoying WW. The short, informative meetings are so much better than the Weight Management Program meetings. And what is more, I find the program easier to follow - and a lot more "guilt-free".

With my old program there was no where to indulge - and as an emotional eater, I would feel guilty when I did not follow the calorie count exactly and that would lead to emotional eating which would lead to more emotional eating. Now, I seem to be having a few more treats, but I am careful to work them into my eating pattern and there is no long-lingering guilt. What's more, is that I continue to loose weight. And in the end, feeling good physically, emotionally and mentally while loosing weight is the best way to keep committed and focused.
OK - enough talk of food, yummy, sinful or exotic...it is now lunch time and I have three hungry little people to feed!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bryce, Bryce Baby!

Ok... are you now humming that annoying MC Hammer song from like a neon ago?!?!?!?

For 40th birthday gift suggestions # 32, 31 and 30 I am asking for some wonderful reading material.

I absolutely LOVE Bryce Courtenay. He is an amazing author - my favorite of all time.

If you have never read one of his wonderful works of fiction and non-fiction, then I HIGHLY encourage you to run, not walk, to your local book store or library and dive into a wonderful journey of discovery.

I started with The Power of One - and in 1999 I took a trip of a lifetime to 6 countries in Africa - all because this book touched me so much.

I have enjoyed all of his works - and recommend each and every one.

For my birthday, I would like to receive the following works:

Oh ya! These would definitely be a welcomed gift! (though 2/3 are not yet available in Canada - so, if you are in Australia or the UK - this could be an excellent option for your participation in the Great 40 Gifts for 40 years meme I have started in my own name!)

Bryce, Bryce Baby - I LOVE YOU!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Menu Planning and Video Options

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

I cannot seem to get my head around my menu plan for this week. On top of this struggle, I am not having a very good Weight Watchers day. I probably have eaten over my daily points...I have done the biggest no-no - I ate off the kids plates. But actually, my issues started way before lunch. Today I did not bring my pre-made steel cut oats to work - therefore no breakfast in the early hours. I got home from work at 8:30am and just started grazing. I even made rice crispy squares...though to by credit, I used 1/2 the butter and marshmallows and then used a mix of rice crispies and Kashi Go Lean and All-Bran. They are yummy!

So, even though I am sore tonight, I am going to go for a light jog. I figured I would job up to The Running Room and talk to someone about my up coming 10k clinic and then buy the socks I want for my birthday - and then jog down the road to the electronics store and look for the head set I want. No, do not roll your eyes or snicker at me. I must of checked the mail box a million times and these items have not yet arrived! So, yes, I am taking matters into my own hands!

OK - let's put an end to this food-failure day and come up with some yummy, good meals for the week:

Monday - Salmon Pin Wheels with noodles and long beans
Tuesday - Grilled Steaks with Chile, Cumin, Lime, and Scallions - a good site for diabetic food plan options
Wednesday - Daddy and Kids Pizza night as I have boot camp then Weight Watchers
Thursday - Broccoli-casserole - Love this site!
Friday - Baby romaine salad with assorted peppers, cherry tomatoes and grilled garlic-pepper shrimp

That's what is cooking on the Fringe....whatcha cookin' dis week???

Ok. Back to my 40 gifts in 40 days for my 40th birthday!
Gift Idea # 33

If I am going to eat over my Weight Watchers points, then I will have to up-the exercise options! Therefore, today's gift suggestion is the deluxe Turbo Jam video. I have the first one that includes a 20 minute cardio and a 40 minute sculpt program - but I have heard awesome things about this new offering:

Anyone try it yet? Any other suggestions? I usually rotate doing Turbo Jam, Tae Bo, and 30 Day Shed. Looking for something new and challenging!

House Calls

On Friday DJ had his 5 year old check up and Anderson got a prescription!

DJ does not have the same family doctor as the rest of he family due to his complicated health concerns. His pediatrician, Dr. V-S, is currently on maternity leave and has a rotation of doctors taking her appointments.

Friday I took all three kids to DJ's afternoon appointment. The doctor was a very nice lady by the name of Dr. M. While Dr. M was checking out DJ she seemed a little preoccupied. Finally, she exclaimed, "How long has your other son had that cough? Does he has asthma? Is he in a doctor's care? Is he a patient us Dr. V-S?"

I told her Anderson had pneumonia this past summer and has never really gotten over it. His cough comes and goes - but usually comes and lingers. His energy level is extremely low and that for months I have brought his condition to the attention of our family doctor on three separate appointments. (our doctor is very hands off, that is why I originally started to go to him...but I was starting to get a bit concerned regarding his lack of intervention in the situation.)

Anyways, long story short, we went in for DJ's physical and left with Anderson being partially diagnosed with asthma and possibly pneumonia. Poor Ander is now on two different puffers. The good thing is that we noticed an immediate positive reaction to the meds, and I think Ander got his first cough-free night in a long, long time.

I was impressed on how the doctor took control and identified the problem (I would latter find out she is a principle at the lung clinic at the children's hospital). But was even more impressive was that she called us the next day to check how Anderson was doing on the medications. Not many doctors take the time to make "house calls" any more.

So, we are moving ahead with this treatment, and hoping Anderson's cough totally disappears, his energy returns and his sparkle shines again soon.

Writing about house calls of sorts - I went to a great birthday-slash-house warming party on Saturday night. It was great fun! The Veg Next Door has a fab-uuuuu-lous new home. There are two things I HATE - order envy and house envy - and well, I had house envy after seeing the large, spacious rooms! It really was a lovely family home.

My house-envy was subsided by friendly batter and conversation. I really only knew the hostess and one other dear friend - but met a ton a great people. Many of the attendees are runners and it was great fun to swap stories, ideas and training routines. The party was in a small town a little bit of a hike outside of Ottawa, and the weather was not the greatest - but my girlfriend and I car pooled and we had a great drive. I am one lucky gal to have such great friends.

Well, off to make lunch....oh! darn - forgot to do Menu Plan Monday....ok - will get to it soon!

Have a great Monday my dear bloggy friends!

Gift Wish # 34 and 33

These two items are also on my 40 gift wish list.
Early bird packages are welcomed, since well, I would like both items for my run on Saturday!!!
Please do not all volunteer at once! There are still 32 more gift suggestions to come - everyone will have an opportunity to shower me with gifts for my upcoming 40th birthday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fitness & Gift Idea # 35

Fitness wise, I was doing great until Thursday morning...my Wednesday night Boot Camp did me it!

I can always count on Boot Camp to be a GREAT work out - but this week it was really tough and I am sure feeling it! The instructor's philosophy is that simple, hard work will work. Most classes we use one free weight and a mat - that is it. He is a great fan of the basics like push ups, squats and jumping jacks.

This week he was a bit peeved that the maintenance people buffed the floors. In fact, he was fearful that if we did our regular running circuit, someone would slip and fall. So, we all cheered when he informed us that running between circuits was a no-go! Little did we know that running would be replaced with, oh, about one million lunges!

The work out was pretty simple: I worked very hard...and now I hurt! Besides having that nice bad feeling in my legs, core and arms, my old (serious) hip injury flared up. The Advil and Tylenol are helping and I hope to do a light jog this evening. I am going to save my race practice run for Sunday.

I am getting excited about my road race on March 14. I am also getting a bit nervous. I do not feel as prepared as when I did a race - way back in 2001.

I am trying to focus on the reason I am doing this race. I am NOT doing it to get my best time ever. I am doing it just to say I did it! I am doing it to prove that I am on the right track in terms of combining healthy eating and exercise to create a positive, sustainable lifestyle.

I am working hard at mentally accepting where I am at in my fitness journey and taking time to enjoy this time as a success. It will not be a great finish time - I know that - I am slower, and still much bigger than I was last race day. I am trying to focus on the journey and not just each step.

I have 8 training days remaining. Taking all the wonderful advise I got from all of you, I made up the following training plan:

Saturday - Ski day with family (will be waling up and down the hill about a million times!)Sunday - 6km run at a 10 min run/1 minute walk interval pattern.
Monday - 4.5km run with one walk break

Tuesday - walk to local coffee shop to meet a dear friend!

Wednesday - Boot camp

Thursday - Lane swim (gotta start training for my "Try-a-Thon" in May!)

Friday - REST!

Saturday - St Paddy's Day Road Race - 5KM!

Sunday - Soccer game! (so excited, I am playing for a new team!)

So, based on how sore I a right now and how I anticipate I will feel when I finish my first 5k race, I happily present birthday gift suggestion # 35:

I would LOVE a nice big, jet tub to escape into and unwind. (Un)Fortunately, based on our current bathroom set up, redecorating and redesigning would have to be part of the gift!!!

Now, if a new bath with a jet tub is not doable, then I would make due with this outdoor set up. Yep. I could make due with that!!!!
Oh, baby either of those would ROCK!!!!
PS. I have never been one to write gift lists, and you know, I am having fun doing this one...maybe every year I will repeat my 40th and create a new list! It is fun to wish, hope, dream and hint!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yawn! Gift Wish # 36

Yawn...a co-worker took this week off for bereavement reasons. So, instead of working my regular 4am to 8am shift, I am working 3am to 9am. Not only are my hours longer, but due to the fact that I am getting up at 2:30 in the morning and I am doing the work of two people - and hitting all my daily deadlines I am stinky-tired! Stinky-tired, I tell you!

My days are long, but for the most part, daily life with the kids has been going well. I am proud that my lack of sleep, work-overload mode, and busy evening workout schedule has not caused me to loose my temper, be short with the kids or slack in my parenting.

Yes, I am tired - but for the most part, mornings with Madigan have been going well and afternoons with all three kiddies have been fun, active and good humoured.

I really think that my weight loss and improved fitness level have improved my coping mechanisms. I am stronger, healthier and more agile. All positive aspects in coping with daily life, and with parenting.

Yet, another reason why I am proud of my weight loss journey so far.

So, this brings me to the next item on my 40th birthday gift wish: I would simply LOVE a new, romantic bedroom.

Currently, we have mismatched, hand-me-down furniture - my dresser is in rough shape. There is no style or decor in the room...unless you count the piles of clothes, discarded toys and books and cat posts. A sexy, relaxing, wonderful bedroom, I do not have! No welcoming bedding, no colour on the walls, only a black out blind on the window and a disheveled, unorganized closet.

I would simply love to redo our bedroom to look like this:

...or something like this:

...oh, ya!
Either of these sweet rooms would make for a
sweet birthday gift, and even sweeter dreams!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Weight Loss Milestone and Gift Wish # 37

My Journey thus far:

September 5, 2008 = 245.5 pounds

March 4, 2008 = 175.6 pounds

70 pound weight loss!!!!!

Last night I hit a huge milestone in my weight loss journey. I had originally set the goal of loosing 70 pounds in 52 weeks...and I did it in 27 weeks!

My new goal is to loose the final 30 pounds and then maintain my weight between 145 and 150.

When I started this journey I was addicted to junk food, fatty foods and huge helpings...now, I am addicted to exercise magazines and healthy cooking magazines.

So, for gift wish number 37 I would love a subscription to one, or all of the following:

Do you know any great magazines I should add to my list???? Let me know!!!