Thursday, June 6, 2013

I have a craving for GMO-free snacks

I have had a craving for GMO-free foods for quite some time now. Or at least a few specific genetically modified organism (GMO)-free foods. I recently received a generous gift from Toronto’s Daniel Clarke from Bare Foods - an online store selling 22 products from six brands. All Bare Foods do not have GMOs, artificial flavours, high fructose corn syrup, harmful preservatives, hydrogenated oils and bleached or enriched flour. The are all nature and all delicious. Well, except for the mocha dark chocolate bar, which was too dark for me, and the chilli protein chips, which were too spicy. Right now, I have a serious craving for Sommersaults, little sunflower bites of deliciousness, that come in cinnamon, where you don’t taste the sunflower seeds, and sea salt, where the seed taste is quite strong. I wouldn’t say no to the dark chocolate and peanut butter bar, nor a chocolate quinoa bar. I would also say yes to the Taste of Nature bars. Who know GMO-free would be so addictive.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Success...Three years in the making

Three years, dozens of stores and four returns later, I have a shoe success. Shoes that fit, are comfortable and look nice. An added bonus - I do not need to step into a shoe store for, fingers crossed, another three years.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

You Know It's Spring When...

- The last bit of ice has melted from the lake. - The annoying, but non-biting bugs have come out from where they have been hiding to fly in your mouth, eyes and nose when walking or biking. - Your son strips off his clothes and plays in the sprinkler. Note: Again, the upside down photo. Why, Blogspot, do you do this? And I really miss a decent photo editing software. Painting is not my forte.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Yoga. It brings to mind a sense of peace and relaxation, calm and inner stillness. Or in my case, I want to punch the smiling yoga teacher in the face. I think I might not be into yoga right now. The first month of my yoga and Pilate practise went really well. I was doing it three times a week and in that time could feel my flexibility and strength returning. I was feeling good and enjoying it. Then I had a setback and for the last month or so – time does fly these days – I have been getting to it once a week if I was lucky. And in that time I have apparently lost strength, flexibility, ability and desire. It didn't help that I really didn't feel like doing it today, but thought I should has it had been a while. It didn't help that when I attempted to do downward dogs, the cat went into attack mode, biting my upper arm with ears flat and fur raised. When I attempted to lock him in the bathroom, where bad cats go for a timeout, he attempted his door-opening trick (my cat opens doors) and then bounced and cried until I let him back out. By that time, I my strength was failing, my mind was on anger and what I once thought was a smiling yoga teacher, began to feel like a smug yoga teacher showing me up with her ability to do the splits and sun salutations without pause. With those thoughts running through my head, the cat making his crying sound and my patience at an all-time low, I called it quits. Another day, perhaps a new exercise tape and a cat in the downstairs bathroom.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I am too tall

Personally, I think I am the perfect height. Five-foot 10-inches, 34 inches of which is leg, to me is the ideal height. I guess the problem is my house is too small or at least too small for a five-foot 10-inch girl trying to do yoga and Pilates in her living room. I can't stretch out. When I do any of the exercises in Pilates that require me to stretch out or to put my hands behind my head, I can't. Instead I put my hands to my sides and hope for the best. When I am doing yoga, I spend a lot of my time switching my mat around so I can still see the TV and have room to do my poses. I watch the instructors on the DVD, they seem to have so much room. When I took a yoga class, I had to have a perimeter around me. I need a perimeter in my living room.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Things I know

Bubbles freeze. When you blow bubbles on cold spring day, some float down the street and high into the sky, while others freeze, turning clear bubbles into opaque bubbles that sink to the ground. When these bubbles eventually pop, it looks almost like a skin that sits on your mitten before eventually melting away. Google frozen bubbles. Fascinating.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blast from the past

I have a hope chest filled with pictures, my son's baby clothes, my old toys and gifts I pick up here and there.

My son wanted to look into my hope chest tonight so I pulled out the gifts and hid them elsewhere.

He discovered the markers I left for him to find and Super Merlin from my childhood.

Tonight we played with the '80s version of a DS. It takes six AA batteries and has nine games such as E's favourite hi-low and matching.

Super Merlin now resides in E's room. He would like to keep it forever. Take that new toys.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's a love-hate thing

This weekend, it felt like spring. The sun was out and you could feel the heat going through your skin, warming your bones.

That's what I love about March; the promise of spring and warmer days ahead. What I hate about March is the tease.

“Hey there, spring is almost here. The crocuses are peaking their heads out, the robins are back from their winter vacation and singing in the trees, the sun is getting stronger but just so you don't forget about me, tomorrow is going to be cold. With flurries.”

I love your beauty, March, but not your flightiness.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mittens where are you?

I am not sure if it's the case where you live, but here in the Great White North it's still winter.

The weather is -9 C and that doesn't include the windchill and there are still great big piles of snow everywhere.

Despite that, there is not a mitten to be found. I have been to children's stores, clothing stores and even discount stores. The helpful person at Wal-Mart told me winter was over, which is why you can purchase bathing suits and sunscreen, but not mittens.

Winter is not over. If you want to be technical about it, the first day of spring is March 19, which still gives us three more weeks of mitten-wearing cold. But we also live in Canada and in Canada I wouldn't say we are are clear of winter until mid-April.

So while I also dream of bathing suits and going outside without three layers of clothing, plus jacket and snowpants, hats and mittens, we are not there yet. So give me some mittens.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Random Thoughts Monday

  • I thought my cat was staring at nothing. As I was typing that, I realized nothing was a millipede that had scurried its away out of the floor boards and into the hallway. I squished it with my slipper and let Cosmo enjoy the remains.
  • It's been four weeks and I am still doing both Pilates and yoga. It's amazing how much my strength has improved in that little time.
  • When my son and I leave the house at 6:10 a.m., the sky is lighter. It's still dark, but you can see the sky lighting the horizon. By the time 7 a.m. rolls around, it's light outside, as in you can see the sun. Taking my guy to swimming lessons this evening saw daylight at 5:30. Hello spring. I can almost see you.
  • Of course saying that, we are expecting a snowstorm Tuesday night. I am thankful the front from Texas decided to come overnight Tuesday rather than what was originally forecasted – Tuesday and Wednesday, deadline days.
  • My nasty cough has made a return. Why is it always worse at night?
  • My stepdaughter was diagnosed with this weird thing called geographic tongue. It's the most bizarre thing. If you Google it, it will show you a tongue that looks like layers have been peeled away. It doesn't hurt for the most part, but she is supposed to avoid both citrus and hot stuff, which she doesn't. My son has the same weird tongue thing, but his comes out when he is sick. If you want to know if something is amiss with my little guy, you ask him to stick out his tongue. We once went the to the walk-in clinic and the doctor made the intern come look at my guy's tongue because, as he said, you don't see it too often. We like to be different.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The best winter - ever

It's been a weird winter up in the Great White North.

We have had minus double digits one day and plus double digits the next. We have had snow, freezing rain, blizzards, rain and thunderstorms.
Then, like many of you, we had The Storm at the beginning of the month, which saw about 14-plus inches dumped on us.

It was a wonderful snow day. My little one and I shovelled the walks and driveways three times. Then my husband created paths of snow in our front yard, which has entertained our guy for hours. Since then we have had warmer temperatures and the maze walls, which stood about three feet at their tallest, have shrunk to less than a foot.

It's also been a great winter for ice fishing, or so it seems with the amount of air traffic on the lake. It's like we are running a Lake Simcoe airport. The planes fly so low my guy and I wave to those inside.

Up until this week, planes were flying in and out every five minutes. Recently, the neighbour, who just bought a snowmobile, let us take it out for a ride and while the three of us were on the lake, two planes took off and flew right over top of us. It was amazing.

So while there is a blizzard brewing outside, and I have to sit in winter traffic yet again tomorrow, I must say this has been a fantastic winter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Goo Anyone?

For Christmas, my cousin gave my son goo. It's pretty cool. You pour, in our case, green powder into water and in seconds you have a bathtub, sink or pan full of green goo.

It's a fascinating, disgusting substance. The more water you add, the more the goo expands and more of a mess it makes. You can scoop it, pour it, spread it and fling it from your hands all over the sink, down the walls and onto the floor.

The kit comes with a second package, which is suppose to dissolve the goo into water so you can drain it down the sink. The first time I used half the package of goo remover and eventually it drained the stuff away, albeit in a green form.

The second time we filled the bathtub with the green stuff and getting it off a boy was as tough as getting it off the floor. I used the remainder of the goo remover.

The third time we used the sink again. Once my son finished playing with the goo, I realized he had pulled the plug out of the drain and the goo attempted to do down, but was stuck. As I was out of the magical remover, which according to the package is made from sodium chloride, I tried adding water, in the hopes it would thin the goo out enough that I could make it go down – like the last time. Sadly, it was stuck.

In my house, baking soda is the magic ingredient so I tried that. I didn't work. Then I thought to look up sodium chloride on the Internet, and realized it was plain old salt. I poured a generous amount and waited. Nothing.

With visions of pulling everything from underneath the sink and unclogging a drain, my husband poured Draino down the sink. The baking soda, salt, goo, Draino mixture exploded, fizzing up and across the sink, down the cupboards and all over the floor. And eventually down the drain.

When we used goo yesterday, I put it in the roasting pan. My guy scooped, poured and stirred the goo, all over the table, on the chair and on the floor. A day later, I am still finding goo. And I still have no idea how to clean it up and therefore the pan of it is still sitting on the kitchen table.

So while I recommend goo for the fun factor, the mess factor gets two thumbs down.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

And all it took was school

I am one of those I-hate-Valentine's-Day kind of girls. I once hosted a “I hate Valentine's Day” contest and the response was quite good.

My husband and I have never really celebrated, maybe because I said I didn't care about the greeting-card-company created holiday. Early on I may have given him a movie, but recently I buy some chocolate and some sour jube jubes (is there are point to any other kind?) and Valentine's is done.

Growing up, my parents would make us handmade greeting cards and a few candies, and I did the same for my little guy until this year.

This year, E is in school and they are having a Valentine's Day party complete with both healthy and unhealthy snacks and drinks. He told me they were making Valentine's “for their mommy, daddy or sister” at school. He had his Valentine's signed for all his friends by Monday and we have been counting down the days until Feb. 14 for more than a week. He is super excited.

And that excitement is catchy. For the first time, I am also excited for the Big Day to arrive (we played a 'pretend' game yesterday and it was both Christmas and Valentine's Day on the same day. Oh the joy).

Tonight after my little one went down, I made a banner that hangs on the banister. I made two Valentine's Day cards – one is sitting on the table with a few candies that he will be able to eat in the morning and a bag of candy for later. I made a second Valentine, which will be in his lunch bag along with three heart-shaped jube jubes. And I found a recipe for two-toned pancakes. I have set my alarm 10 minutes earlier to prepare for the Big Day.

There is only one thing missing. My coworker said her mom used to hide jelly beans for them to find on Valentine's Day. I thought that was such a fabulous idea that I bought a bag of candy-coated licorice to hide. The only problem is I can't find it. I am hoping its hiding spot will appear to me in my dreams tonight.

How about you? What are you doing for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Words to live by

I hesitate to say anything, as it's not yet a habit, but I am beginning to exercise again.

Two years ago, I bought a yoga and Pilates DVD set. I used it once and packed it away. I pulled it out two weeks ago with the idea of doing it three times a week.

Despite being tired tonight, I spent a hour doing a full body workout. I am proud of myself.

I am exercising for a few of reasons: one, I am chunkier then I have ever been, even while I was pregnant; two, while I may look skinny (thank you tall genes), I am unhealthy and I want to change that; and three, I love chocolate. I love baked goods. I love chocolate baked goods.

And in the words of my smart coworker: "I exercise so I can eat chocolate."

Now those are words to live by.

Friday, February 8, 2013

facebook irony

When facebook was in its infancy, a neighbour sent me a link asking me to join her in the new world of social media. I looked into it and turned her down in fear of too much time and too much information.

Today, I have a facebook account but it's more about being able to access it for work's purposes rather then letting everyone know my water broke and I was going to the hospital to have a baby. I am not. It's just an example.

Truthfully, facebook scares me. Their privacy settings are terrible and each time they make a change, it's the user who has to do the legwork to ensure those pictures you post of your child isn't available for all to see. See here on how to update for their latest change:l

facebook users also scare me. I suppose I have done too many stories about cyber crime, but the information kids post makes me feel rather sick.

As it's my blog, please allow me a moment to get off topic. People, please, remove all personal information from your child's facebook site – school, hometown (particularly if you live in a community smaller than Toronto for example) and contact information. I would also encourage people not to post most photos, too, but the information is a good start. And the police suggest you go further then that.

The social media site also bugs me. It feels like public and high school all over again. If I haven't talked to you in 10 years, why would I be interested in having your updates coming to my site every few minutes? There is also a lot of pressure. You get a friend request from someone you know, but aren't that interested in. He is a nice person, you like him, but do you want to be friends with him? What if you say yes to one in the group, but not to the other? Wouldn't that hurt the non-friend's feelings? Is it wrong to unfriend people?

As another aside, I once read a blog post from a collegue who said it feels good to unfollow people on twitter, to cull you follow list. And I did it. And she was right.

I also feel a lot of pressure in facebook to be funny or witty.

So a funny story: at work, I am now in charge of a community newspaper facebook page.

Before I could start this new task, I sat down with a managing editor and received facebook lessons – what to post, how often, how to generate likes and so on.

And here is the irony – I am the most popular. I have the most likes. I have the most people looking at my posts. I have people who comment and I comment back. I have people who 'like' what I write. And I love doing it. I love looking through the paper's website and writing up something fun that will catch reader's eye. I enjoy discovering what works and what doesn't work for my readers. I love getting the notifications through my inbox. And like high school, we compare our results and I giggle that I have the most 'friends'.
Damn you, facebook.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hi Blog,

It's been a while. I haven't fully decided what to do with you, but I think I miss you and the freedom to write what I want, almost. I can never be completely open with you, dear blog, but I know you understand the constraints I have.

So what's new?

My little guy, who not to long ago was a babe in arms, is now a junior kindergarten student who goes to school all day, every day and loves every minute of it.

While he did say he wanted a PA day every day, he also told me he wanted to be in school RIGHT NOW. He loves to read, he loves to write, he loves math and crafts. He is a social little guy who goes to breakfast club not only for the food, he is my child after all, but to socialize with everyone. He is strong willed, but kind. He is empathic, loving and hates to be in trouble.

 He is now swimming by himself. He goes to skating but doesn't want to skate. He just wants to play hockey - and eat the snow off the ice. He wants to play soccer. He love to dance and sing and play with his friends.

We did some home renos. Goodbye ugly red carpets and hello bamboo floors. Goodbye 1970s railing, hello banister and stairs. My husband did a beautiful job. I am hiring him out if you need any work done and you live close by.

Note: I flipped the picture, but now it's upside down again. I have no idea how to fix it.

I have read some great books. Has anyone else read Richard Paul Evans Lost December?

I really want to discuss, and disagree, with the main character's thought he is an awful person. Did you read Remember Me? Wow. I guess part of it, but not the other. Sad and happy all at the same time.

Kate Morton is another great author, if someone is looking for a recommendation.

I caught some movies. Some are almost new.

 Did anyone else see The Other Guys? I thought it was pretty funny. My little one thinks Megamind is pretty great, too. He plays Minion, the fish. My guy sits in the fish bowl (laundry basket) and tells the students in his class (I play the teacher and all the students including him) that they can't touch the talking fish. He is a fish and swims in his own poop. So therefore he is slimy. To teach hygenie habits, I tell the students if they do touch him, the have to wash their hands after.