Monday, October 31, 2005

With great weather comes Allergies

Sadly, after a great outdoors day on Saturday, I had to stay in my house for most of Sunday. All the warm weather, grass cutting, running in leaves killed my nose! I spent mose of Sunday sneezing, and blowing. Nothing worse that a gorgeous sunny fall day and you can barely see for the water in your eyes. Hopefully today will be better and I will have a chance to decorate a bit for tonight.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Starbucks within walking distance!!

Yes, it is true. From the day I heard that an "Indigo Books" was coming to my community, I waited patiently for the sign that said "STARBUCKS". And yesterday it was posted!

It would be a trek, but well worth the walk and a much better reason to walk that far than going for Dairy Queen.

In addition, "Starbucks" and "Second Cup" now offer "HotSpot" wireless internet...FREE! It is a program offered through "Rogers, Bell Sympatico, Telus and one or two more". It is great that we are finally getting a few things out here in the boondocks, so now for sure, I will never really need to leave the community where I live :(

Friday, October 28, 2005

By Popular Demand

Black Bean and Sausage Soup

serves: 4 - 6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled or scrubbed, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 medium potato, peeled, diced
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1 28oz tin, diced tomatoes
4-6 oz lean kielbasa sausage, cubed
1 19oz tin black beans, or your favorite canned beans

1. Heat oil in large pot. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften.

2. Stir in garlic, oregano, potato, broth and tomatoes; heat to boiling. Stir in Kielbasa. Cover and simmer gently for at least 1/2 hour to blend flavours.

3. Drain and rinse beans. Add to soup. Heat until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread. (Even better the next day)

** We love this soup. You can prepare it ahead for a gathering and instead of simmering for 1/2 hour, put it in your crockpot on low and add the beans. By the time you are ready to eat (try to make it at least a half an hour) it will be ready to go. Great for potluck as it only gets better the longer it sits.


Forgot to Update

On my last few days of the no carb thing. So it ended officially on Wednesday and I lost a total of seven pounds. I feel good, I feel skinnier (even if I am only a bit skinnier) and that is all that matters, because I am doing this for me. I started adding some "good" carbs back in on Wednesday night, but am limiting the amount to one or two per day. So far, I have only had a whole grain cereal and pizza with whole wheat crust. I am supposed to add some fruit back in as well, but I forgot to pick some up at the grocery store, so I haven't done that yet. Will see how that goes.

So there you have it, it can be done. If I can give up carbs for a mere two weeks anyone can!! It was the longest I have gone without cereal for breakfast since I started eating it as a kid. And the longest I have gone without bread too. The best thing out of this is it got me off the snacking just because. I would pour a bowl of snacks for "J" and pop a few in my mouth. If I did that over the last two weeks, I made myself spit it out. Hopefully I can keep going for a bit more and make it an even ten or so.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Spa Day

Today was Spa Day. I was afraid to say where I was going in case it turned out to be a Spa Day from H**l. But, it was not! I went to the Au Naturel Spa located in the Brookstreet Hotel. It was great. Brookstreet is a newer hotel/resort located in Kanata. If I was visiting Ottawa, I would want to stay there, but be warned you are far from downtown and there is very little to see right outside the hotel, except for "High-Tech" Offices.

I had a "Bilberry Facial" and a "Monticelli Fango Wrap". I had never had a wrap before, but it was sublime. It is described as "A reducing and detoxifying treatment based upon the use of soft creamy mud and Italian thermal waters. This wrap is slimming and detoxifying". Well, I don't feel much slimmer after, but my skin is glowing and soft and feeling great.

The facial is dedscribed as "A gentle treatment recommended for sensitive and irritated skins, specifically formulated for relieving redness using bilberry, licorice and other plant extracts. Excellent for sun-damaged, dry, and/or sensitive skin". My face, is feeling fresh and wrinkle free now, it will probobly feel wrinkled again tomorrow when I wash it and use my usual lotions and creams.

All in all Spa Day 2005 was a huge success, but I will be having a couple more as I still have a few gift certificates to use up from some other Spa's closer to home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ok, 35 ain't so bad

Sorry for the bad English, but I just had to use the word "ain't", mostly because is sounded better but a little because I don't really think it is a word :)

Yesterday I turned 35. It wasn't the best birthday I have ever had, but I felt like it was the end to a partly rotten year. I have the great side of last year, being a Mom, watching "J" grow and learn, hanging with "A" (our 13 year old) and having a great Husband who loves me. Then, there is the ugly side of last year. Moving, three terrible losses to me and one to my husband. So, it is with a great "Adieu" that I throw away being 34 and look forward to 35!!

Of course the first full day it is dark and gloomy and raining AGAIN. But, the weather I have no control over at all. So I will keep the lights on and put on the fire if need be.

My Sister put on a good spread last night for dinner, and bless her heart, she kept it almost all no-carb. We had a wonderful Pork Tenderloin marinated in a scrumptious curry/brown sugar marinade, served with cauliflower and broccoli. I did have a whole wheat roll, the first bread in almost two weeks, but it didn't make me gain back any weight or anything (like my two naysayers said would happen). Then, I did have a piece of homemade chocolate cake. With the thinest icing so as not to give me a sugar overload, since I have had very little sugar in the last two weeks. Oh yes, and a mouth watering glass of Greek Red Wine. Ahhh, I was very satisfied. It was wonderful to be treated with such thought on my birthday and really kickstarted my better mood.

I look forward to eating some form of bread soon as my girlfriend picked me up a french press or a panini press as some call it. I look forward to gourmet luches for sure. I also enjoyed my new jammies, new beach bag (yes my sister again), lushious towels and the flowers that Hubby brought home. All in all it was a pretty good day for sure. And I look forward to many more in this my 35th year!!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

We Made it for a Walk

The little guy on the left is my nephew and the one withe dogs is "J". We made it for a walk, it was a great day! All the colours were out and the air was fresh.

But, when we returned from our hour and a half walk... guess who needed a nap?

"J" was cuddled up and ready to rest, as if he did all the work! It was a good day though and the dogs were so happy they slept the afternoon away.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Sun is Here, The Sun is Here.

I am not kidding in any way when I say that three and a half of us were cheering very loudly last night when "JJ" was forecasting a beautiful sunny day for today! And as the boys were playing hockey in the driveway last night clad in hats and mitts, and I bundled in the garage (out of the wind) in a chunky sweater and a blanket for a skirt, I was almost convinced that if the Sun didn't come out today that it would snow for sure. Well, here we are and yep you guessed it, not a cloud in the sky, the Sun is streaming in the front windows as it is rising in the East. How glorious a sight. I am prepared for dark rainy days in November, our wettest month, but is really was a shock to go from Sunny and +30 to Rainy and +14 in a few days. I did promise the dogs a good long walk on the next Sunny day, so I guess I will have to fulfill at some point today.

On another, only somewhat realted note, does anyone else feel kinda Christmasy already? My Birthday hasn't even come and gone nor has Halloween and already I am feeling like Christmas is getting close. It could be that Danigirl made a very flattering comment about being able to see my house decorated for the holidays that could have got me started. I realized that I don't have a clue about how I am going to decorate here. Our last two houses were a bit smaller than this one, so I had just enough decorations to make the place look festive. Now, I am not sure at all what I will do. I do know that there will be stockings hung by the fireplace, I have waited six years to hang real sized stockings on a real mantel ( I have mini ones that hung on a shelf). So that will be my first order of Christmas business, making some stockings. And I will keep rifling through old Christmas magazines for other ways to dress up my house and hope that I will make it until Christmas as I am already ready to decorate ;).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Day Seven

Has arrived and believe it or not (those "nay sayers" say it doesn't work) I have lost five whole pounds!!! Hooray!!! And I am quite comfortable at this point not to eat any carbs. I do believe I will make it the whole two weeks. I can only hope that week number two will be equally as fruitful as I trully wanted a good start to my weight loss before adding back any carbs. This starts slowly in week number three, if you feel ready that is.

I will say that I have become addicted to sugarless hard candy and cinnamon sticks. Both of which I use as my dessert and/or make it through the 3pm blues. Other than that 3pm to 5pm timeframe, I really don't think about food that often anymore. I have become quite adjusted to eating salads loaded with cheese and meat for lunch and dinner has become interesting too. We are regularly eating cauliflower! My husband hasn't eaten this much cauliflower in his whole life I don't think. The trick is to mash them! The recipe calls for spray butter and low fat cream, I just use "Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and skim milk, mash them up and they are just as good a pototoes. As long as I don't over do it right now, I think it may become a new favorite around here. I still miss my cereal in the morning, but it more a mind over matter thing. Once I eat my eggs, I realize that they are just as filling and honestly they keep me full longer.

So there you have it, my first week of no carbs is over and I am still here and committed to the punch. I feel better, a little skinnier (not much, but a little) and don't feel deprived in anyway. Now if the rain would stop long enough to take my bunch for a good walk, we will all be in heaven. Otherwise, I will start trying to add some yoga or pilates next week, will see if "J" lets me play the video.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Phew! Internet is working again

How crazy is it when the internet goes down for a day, you just don't really know what to do??

Well, while my little guy was sleeping (I think I will call him "J" from now on, shorter than "little guy") I thought I would use that time to finish up some sewing. Sewing machine conked out. Go figure. No internet, no sewing. Then, certain channels conk out at the same time. I figured everything happens in threes so it must be ok now. And sure enough all is well again. Crazy though, all my favorite machines taking a break today, perhaps they were trying to tell me something.

OK, so here's the dilema of the day. While my favorite machines were taking a break I called one of my girlfriends. We have been friends for 25 years (I feel I should say that, not sure why). We share pretty much everything, and lately our talks have centered around our weight loss issues. She has a ten week old baby and her husband is bugging her to get back in shape. Sadly, this started around the four or five week post pardem mark, but she took his suggestions and is trying hard. She is going back to being a vegetarian, unless she has a meat craving, she doesn't eat dairy, doesn't eat wheat and that is her plan. I say "GREAT, you look great and shouldn't be worrying, but I support you in your efforts". Then she turns to me and says, "how are you making out with the no carb thing?" I tell her it is going well and that I am quite proud of myself for going six whole days without carbs.... the longest in my life. Then, she tells me, she doesn't "believe in the no carb thing, so how do I really think it's working for me?" I am a little shell shocked, but tell her I will let her know when I weigh myself on Wednesday, but I feel great. I am getting over my cravings and again quite proud of myself. She then says, " let me know Wednesday" and changes the subject!

So, basically, I feel like I was let down. Over the years I have supported her through many things, like plain old being a vegetarian, which I don't believe in for purely religious beliefs (for example, I feel God gave us cows to eat, and give us milk). But, I have supported her. I have never been critical or even told her I don't agree with it, but I cook her vegetarian and don't eat meat in front of her. There are other things, quite similar, but I don't want to list. I feel that I am not here to judge other people, but felt in one fell swoop that I was judged. I actually felt kinda crappy and almost fell off the wagon tonight at my Dad's birthday dinner, but remembered that I was doing this for me and not for her, so I ate my fat free yoghurt for dessert while everyone else was having cake AND pie!!! And hopefully, when I get on that scale on Wednesday, I will feel a sense of accomplishment for all that I have given up.

Who knew it would be so hard to simply try to lose weight??

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rain, rain go away...

I know we have been so spoiled with the weather this year. It has been hot, humid, gorgeously sunny, but that is why this sudden onslaught of cloudy, rainy, chilly days has me wanting to curl up and sleep (which is what we did most of the day yesterday). But, you can only really have one indoor day all week, two is too many.

So today, even if the rain doesn't stop, I will bundle myself and my little guy up and make sure we go out and play a game of hockey. Somehow, hockey in the rain isn't too appealing to me, but I am sure it will be glorious for a two year old hockey nut. I think his rain pants from the spring will still fit, if not, we will have to dirty two sets of pants today. I have to remind myself that others play in the rain. Take Nancy for instance. She always makes good use of the rain times two!! I will take a cue from Nancy today and pull out umbrellas and fun stuff for the rain and hopefully it won't even seem like it is raining anymore. Unfortunately, I won't be bringing the dogs along for the ride, they are bugging me to go out and play, but since they are newly shampoo'd and I don't feel up to cleaning wet dirty dogs, they will have to stay and guard the house (yes, we do let them out back to run around on the grass in the rain, just not the dirty streets, the huskey hates the rain anyway).

So if you see a drenched Mom and her two year old outside yelling "SCORE" don't be alarmed, it's only me.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

One day down, thirteen more to go!

Ok, so day one really wasn't too bad. I had two hard boiled eggs for breakfast. That is it! I previously couldn't imagine eggs without toast, but it really wasn't too bad. I had my coffee!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!! Some mozzarella cheese for a snack. A bit more coffee!!!! I had a huge salad for lunch and one for dinner. They were huge, lots of lettuce, lots of avacado, turkey, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, with an oil and basalmic dressing. And I had some celery with cheese for a snack. You don't have to eat salads all the time, but we were trying to finish up leftovers, so instead of cooking for everyone else and having a salad myself, we all did our own thing.

The worst part came later in the evening. I forgot to pick up some sugar-free jello or ricotta, so I didn't have something sweet. I don't always have dessert, but if giving up carbs, I need something sweet to keep me going. So as the evening wore on, I was craving sweets. Hopefully I can ward that off today, because that is usually how I break. It was a bit strange too, as I normally don't eat after dinner, but thought of food all evening!

Onward into day two. Will have to see if the first day was easy because it was day one. Must find a sugar-less sweet to keep me going!

This better be worth it ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Off to a new start

This usually happens in the spring, but I decided to try a new eating program today! I desparately want to lose 10lbs. Not a lot, but just enough so I feel good again. I have been trying since the spring, but nothing was seeming to work. So here I go, giving up the ghost.


Yes, you heard it here. My staple of existance is going to be banished for a two whole weeks. Starting this morning, I had eggs for breakfast instead of cereal, haven't done that in very many years. I also gave up sugar in my coffee. Not sure if that is a good idea or a bad one but, we will have to see. What is two weeks anyway? 14 days. I can do it. If not, I may just give up and buy new clothes.

Don't mind me if I get a little crunchy for a few days, but living without bread will be a little like living without oxygen. Especially when my littlest guy is a breadatarian after all. Who knows maybe he will be converted too. Will keep you posted. I will take it one day at a time....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Post Thanksgiving

Here's hoping that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was phenominal.

It started with a little playgroup (ok, big playgroup) with some great friends and their kids. And the kids, for the most part, played very happily together! Which is surprising considering the toys splayed all over the floor and the fact that they all haven't been together in quite a while. It was great. So nice to be able to chat with friends and share. I also love to have company over, so it was fun for me in that aspect ;)

After a hockey practice Saturday night and a game on Sunday morning, the Turkey started. We headed out to one of my Husbands cousins for lunch on Sunday. We were told it was at 12:30, but when we arrived everyone was almost done eating. A little strange, but oh well, it was a good visit.

Sunday night, we were getting ready for a rest when our neighbours asked us over for a drink while they got their Turkey ready. Well, drinks turned into dinner and we had a fabulous night with them and their friends. We even got to try out the dance machine (play station), which looks easy, but you have to get your feet exactly on the arrows :( .

Monday morning, I was up early putting the bird in the oven and getting ready for our feast here. Oh! I forgot to mention, my littest (she is 21) sister flew in for a surprise on Sunday to spend Thanksgiving here, she hasn't been here for Thanksgiving for three years so it was great. She came early to help me out and together we made pie and pototoes and turnip. Yum!

So all in all, we ate way too much Turkey in 24 hours. But, truth be told it was the time spent with friends, neighbours, family that was the most important. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun with so many different people over the course of a weekend. It was truly great. Once again, I am reminded of how blessed we are, and for this I am Thankful this year.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Some great friends really pulled through today

and I just had to share.

After my really crappy week (and it is only Thursday) some friends and family really pulled through today, and although they all made me cry, it was the thought that counted.

First my Sister came over to keep me company and keep my little guy entertained with her little guy. Gosh those two boys really do get along, it is so amazing how well they play. Somehow they just know they are family and that they are always going to play together. So when she arrived she sent her little guy running over to Auntie Anna with a little care package. Complete with Coconut cream so I could just open the container and smell the beach! How awesome is that? And how well does she know me, I am going to cry all over again.

Then, my neighbour stopped by to bring me some flowers, not to make me cry, but to make me smile, because they look like summer! What did I do to deserve such a great neighbour?

Halfway through the morning one of my oldest girlfriends stopped by with her new baby and brought me homemade Carrot Soup! So thoughtful and such a treat.

And my Mom came to keep me company, because she is my Mom. That made me cry the most because I know how hard she worked all morning, then raced over to hang out with me. It helps that I have cable and she gets to watch all the fun "home shows", but that really wasn't why she was here.

I feel so blessed today and am so thankful for all of my family and friends.
Thank you all, not just for the treats today, but the kind words and hugs, it has really meant a lot to me.

Crappy week here

Nothing exciting and usual happening around here. Just your average crappy week that you would really really like to write off in the books of the week to forget. Unfortunately I probobly won't forget this week for a really long time, but it sure won't hurt to try.

This will start on Saturday! Yes, Saturday. I look forward to sharing that day with some really great friends and seeing lots of cute and adorable kids running around my house.

Then of course we have Thanksgiving weekend!! One of my favorites, although it feels more like the August long weekend than Thanksgiving. Is this what it is like to live in Southern States, like North Carolina?

If we are having August weather in October, does that mean we will have September in November and October in December...? BUT WAIT!! I sure don't want February weather in April! Oh my, what to wish for in the weather department.

Sorry for a disjointed post, but truly this is where my mind is right now, a little disjointed. Back to regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise. It won't be long till I will have my sand back in my happy place ;)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

No Secret's Here

Apparently the Secret wasn't mine to keep after all. Will look forward to the next secret keeping adventure.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Frick and Frack go on an Adventure

We have two dogs. Two large, silly dogs. When they are misbehaving I call them "Frick and Frack". Frick being the Siberian Huskey, he is only five and a half years old, but an instigator for sure. Frack is the nine and a half year old Collie Lab, who was as loyal as they come, until Frick arrived.

Today was such a beautiful, gorgeous day. The weather made it seem more like August than the second of October. We took this opportunity to bathe Frick and Frack before winter so they would be nice and clean and wouldn't get too cold drying off. A few hours after their bath, they still weren't dry so I let them out back while I put the little guy down for a nap. Frack usually knocks when he wants to come in and since I hadn't heard a knock I kinda forgot they were out there.

A half hour or so passes by and the phone rings... It was ByLaw calling asking about our dogs. My husband and I both were confused as we thought they were having their usual afternoon nap in the hallway, then I remembered letting them out! Apparently my Husband left the gate open out back and as loyal as they are, they set off on an adventure.

None of the neighbourhood kids playing on the street payed any attention to the two of them setting off down the street going for their own walk without us! However, a nice family two streets over, grabbed hold of them and called ByLaw. Thank goodness Frack's old tag was still on him and they were able to call. My husband raced over and they were being pet and cuddled by a bunch of teenaged girls, who gave them new names. BWB (black, white, blue for the huskey) and Bear (for the collie lab).

Frick and Frack are now safely home, fully in the know that they were up to no good. Both still have tails hanging low and ears pressed back. But, I have stopped crying (ok, it only lasted twenty minutes) I felt like a terrible Mom. This is only the second time this has ever happened, the last was right after Frick joined the team. But, I still feel badly. If the family hadn't grabbed them they could have been a lot farther away or worse, hit by a car or taken for good.

Thank you kind strangers, we will be by again to thank you in person, so sorry you weren't there to thank today! And Frick and Frack will be on a shorter leash than usual, as will their Dad when it comes to closing the gate ;)