Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Project 356: days 29 - 31

January 29th: I made a life size wooden ruler to measure the girls as they grow.

January 30th: When Claire naps in the afternoon Amelia I usually watch a movie or go play in my craft room. Today she got to finish up my jelly belly stash since I have sugar out of my diet. I love how she organized them into color groups before gobbling them up.

January 31st: Claire started pushing her little Ikea cart for the first time today. She thought it was pretty cool . I think that she is going to be walking by the end of next month.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The best playdough recipe ever!

Today Amelia finally talked me into making some more play dough with her. We used a recipe I found on pintrest awhile ago. It works really well and I am always pleased with the results. We have yet to include sparkles in our batch, but only because I don't have any on hand at the moment.

Just remember to add your color of choice before you start heating up your mixture. I usually turn the dial to medium and stir until the mixture starts lumping together. Turn off the hear when there is no longer any wet bits and then let it cool down a bit before you knead it.

While we were preoccupied with our task, Claire discovered my baking cupboard and didn't waste any time tearing open a bag of powered milk.

She was very proud of the finished product and didn't waste any time making "cookie shapes" with all my cutters.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thoughts about food

I can't say that I struggle with my weight, because I am not overweight, but I can say that I struggle with food. When I have tried to diet in the past, I have become obsessive about food. I would stand in front of the fridge and fret about what I should eat, all the while eyeing the freshly baked cookies on the counter or the hash browns my hubby is frying up on the stove. It is difficult for me to say "no" to myself, and to practice self control. It is so much easier to just give in and eat whatever enters my line of sight and pretend there are no calories attached. Dah! I want to gain control of my eating habits, and learn to practice portion control. Right now I am at a reasonably healthy weight for my body type but I know that as I get older, my metabolism will slow down and I will be overweight if I continue to eat as I have.

Before I had children I biked to work everyday, swam laps for the joy of it, and went trail running on the weekends. At some periods in my life I was biking and running for hours each day to prepare my body for various races. I ate like a horse then and boy did I enjoy it! Now that I have two little ones, live in the boonies and contend with -40 temperatures I have had to alter my eating habits. As much as I would like to, I can't eat steak and a baked potato followed with a nice slice of pie every evening. I LOVE food. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to bed. Once my kiddos are asleep I can hardly wait to eat something tasty in peace. My favorite evening snacks are: blueberries and yogurt, or squirrelly bread toast with peanut butter and jam, or a bowl of cereal, or a grapefruit or if I'm watching a movie with my hubby, some popcorn or chips. I would really like to stop snacking after dinner, because once I start it feels impossible to stop, especially if I am on the Internet or watching TV.

I think I have a healthy diet. I eat loads of fruit and vegetables, sprouted grain bread, drink lots of water, make the majority of my meals from scratch, take the skin and fat off my meat before I cook it and I always eat breakfast. I don't drink coffee, I hate soda and most candy makes me feel sick to my stomach. However, I think that I eat too much, even if 90% of it is good for me. I don't like feeling hungry and rarely let myself feel anything remotely close to it.

So all this blather brings us to my present situation. I recently joined a local group of people that are participating in a medically supervised weight loss clinic. It is 12 weeks long and is geared towards not only helping people loose weight but also change the way they approach food. We were given a list of foods that we can and can't eat, are told to weigh everything, drink lots of water, eat our meals over the course of an hour, and to wait 5 hours between meals. I am not counting calories, but rather grams. Aside from loosing weight ( I have already lost 10 pounds) I am learning that I CAN live on less, that I don't NEED to snack to keep my energy levels up, and that I feel so much better when I avoid high glycemic foods. I am making healthy choices, eating lots of raw veggies, lean protein, and only three pieces of fruit a day (normally I eat at least 5-6 a day). I love the simplicity of it, and and the fact that I haven't stressed about what I am eating even once. I have to admit that it was difficult to eat my lean chicken breast with a side of green beans and spaghetti squash when my husband had perogies with bacon and caramelized onions for dinner, but I survived! Each day it gets easier to say no to the things I would have ordinarily stuffed into my face without a thought, but I am loosing inches, pounds and feeling fantastic. So, what it going to happen after the 12 weeks are up? Well it depends on whether or not I have reached my goal weight. If I haven't reached it, I will continue to follow the eating plan, and if I have, I will start the "maintenance program" which basically means that I continue to weigh two of my meals and then eat whatever I want as my third meal. I really want to make this a lifestyle change. It sounds weird, but I really like weighing my food. I like knowing how much protein and vegetable matter I am putting in my body. I am not saying that I am never going to have cheesecake or butter chicken again, but I will do it less often and pay attention to how much I eat. Perhaps I will even half my plate and take half home with me! I normally lick my plate clean :0)

Project 365: (week 4)

January 22nd: Friends of mine had a baby shower at our local church. The woman holding baby Sophia is in her late 90's and is as lively as can be. Chilcotin women are a force to be reckoned with.

January 23rd: Today I received a delightful letter from someone I attended University with. I will always remember her as the girl with the fabulous pashmina scarf. She in introduced me to swing dancing, grown up tea parties and helped me survive statistics 101.

January 24th: Sleep training with Claire is going REALLY well. Nathaniel and I are still sleeping the front room with our sleeping bags, but I hung this curtain up between Claire's crib and our bed so that Claire can't see us when we do decided to return to our beds. Honestly, I am starting to really enjoy sleeping on the floor.

January 25th: I love it when all of us mommies get together at someones house so that our children can all play together. Today we all brought yummy platters of fruit.

January 26th: My attempt at organization mixed with a little inspiration.

January 27th: This horse is ever so sweet and I couldn't help but lavish some attention on it. Opps I put the wrong date on this picture.... oh well.

January 28th: I took Amelia out sledding with some friends today. It was the first time her and I have had one on one time outside the house since Claire was born. It was special.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Blast from the past: Luang Prabang

This morning I received a facebook message from a couple that recently embarked on trip around the world. They hailed from Luang Prabang, an incredibly beautiful, culturally significant city, in Laos. About a month before they departed, they visited us and we spent a great deal of time talking about traveling, our experiences, their travel literary and what to expect. Now that they on on the road I will be following their blog faithfully and live vicariously through it.

I haven't been able to get Luang Prabang off my mind today so I decided to share a few photos from my time there. When Nathaniel and I took a hiatus from regular life and traveled around the world for nine months, I fell in love with ethnic textiles. Luang Prabang has some of the most beautiful, intricate textiles my eyes have ever beheld. When I heard that Charlotte and Earl were in Luang Prabang I asked them if they would try and snag a bag or some fabric for me. I will defiantly return to Laos one day, as it was a place that Nathaniel and I both loved! Hopefully next time I will have a empty suitcase to fill. Here is an example of Hmong textiles. Just looking at them makes heart happy

Waiting for our slow boat to take us down the Mekong River to Laos.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello Again

A week ago my daughter was watching a cartoon on YouTube when all of a sudden a screen appeared requesting the birth date of the user. I assumed they were taking a survey, so I typed in Amelia's birthday. What a discovered later, was that google had been checking to see whether or not I was old enough to have a blog. Consequently, because I had told them that I was 2.5 years old, all access to my blog was suspended until I could prove that I was over the age of 13. If I was unable to provide government ID confirming my age, my blog would be permanently deleted. I sent them the necessary information and then waited nervously for my request to be processed. I was really worried that the time limit would expire before I my request for access was processed. Fortunately, I was able to successfully log in today, after feeling stressed the past couple of days. I breathed a HUGE *sigh* of relief. I would have been devastated if I had lost all the posts I have written over the past couple of years.

I'm back! Project 365 (week 3)

January 15th: A typical scene at dinner time in our home. I love how Claire is muching on the food that has fallen off the table.

January 16th: Believe it or not, but it dropped to -40 the next day.

January 17th: After spending at least three hours in the freezing cold with his dog, Nathaniel was able to track down the cougar that has been sighted in our community. He shot it with his bow and was SO happy!!!

January 18th: I had to go to the local clinic for some blood work and when I got home I found Claire fast asleep in Grandma's arms. Claire rarely falls asleep outside her crib or car seat, so this was a surprise.

January 19th: Amelia and I baked a double chocolate treasure cake for my friend's birthday. It was easy to make and yeiled great results. Amelia loved putting the whipped cream and raspberries on top. Here a youtube video.of someone making it.

January 20th: Nathaniel is definitely the best storey teller in this household, although in this particular istance Amelia lost interest and Nathaniel looks like he continued reading it on his own.

January 21st: Usually I watch Grey's Anatomy with my neighbor on Thursday nights, but she was away so I caught up via watch series.com while I munched on some delicious grapefruit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Project 365 (week 2)

January 8th: Getting out the door for a walk can be an ordeal. It takes an incredibly long time to get everyone suited up, find matching mittens, and get out the door without experiencing a meltdown. Today while I was putting on Claire's snowsuit, Amelia amused herself by playing in her daddy's work boots.

January 10th: Nathaniel's Grandmother has come to stay with us for two weeks. I am thankful that Amelia is enjoying her.

January 11th: Nathaniel took us out for a drive and showed us some cougar prints that he and Chester had found the previous day.

January 12th: I am really working hard at eating small, healthy portions and eating my meal slowly. I can hardly wait to step on the scale and see how much weight I have lost lost.

January 13th: Had a friend come and visit with her sweet baby girl. Claire wanted to maul her.

Jnauary 14th: It practically snowed all day today. Our christmas lights are still up as you can see.

Friday, January 13, 2012

An epiphany

I had an epiphany the other day. I was helping Claire out of her snowsuit and Amelia started kicking and screaming in frustration because she couldn't get her boots off. I knelt down beside her and said "if you are having a hard time, please ask mommy for help". I have probably said something along these lines a hundred times over the course of any given week, but for someone reason, in that moment, it struck a cord in me. How many times have I been at my wits end, throwing a temper tantrum either externally or internally when all I needed to do was ask for help. I am not good at asking for help. Why was it so easy to explain to my daughter the importance of asking for help, but so difficult for me recognize the inability to do so in my own life. It is because of pride, my fierce sense independence, my desire to do everything perfectly, and my immense fear of failure. Asking for help requires a person to realize that they can't do it, that they are unable, and that they are in over their head. Those are things that I don't like to admit, not to myself or the people closest to me like my husband and God (for goodness sake). Instead I often choose to freak out and have a temper tantrum like a two and half year old. Can anyone relate? In any case I am s.l.0.w.l.y learning how to let that crap go. I am still stubborn much of the time, but having a second child and having guests stay in my home has forced helped me to "get over myself". I am learning to appreciate the fact that I am not a one woman show, that I can't keep everyone happy, the house clean, meals on the table, and remain sane without asking for help once and awhile.

On a completely different note I don't know about other people, but when I find a song that I love I could play it to death. Right now that song is "Come to Me" by Jenn Johnson. It speaks to all the innermost bits of my soul and reminds me what a good God I serve. If you want to check it out, here is a link to her singing it on youtube. Tiffany - thank you for the recommendation.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A happy new pillow

I have been wanting to make this pillow since saw a tutorial for it on cluck cluck sew. I knew that I had a lot of scraps, but I wanted to use fabric that had special significance to me. I had a pile a mile high but when it came down to choosing a specific color scheme I decided to pull colors from this much loved photo of my family.

The tree trunk I cut from a scarf I had purchased in Southern Vietnam. The green leaves are from an outfit I had made for me in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The light and dark blue wool leaves are from a favorite sweater that no longer fits, the shiny orange fabric is from one of my bridesmaids dresses, the gold and fuchsia is from a second hand sari I bought from a sweet woman in India, the blue and red fabric is from a yard of cloth that I am going to re-upholster chair with someday, the pink knitted leaves are fun a fun thrift store find that never fit me, the fabric with the orange butterflies is from a fabric store in Coquitlam that I just adore,the yellow and paisley print fabric is from a skirt I wore on my first missions trip to Mexico, and the white and wine printed leaves are the leftovers from some pillows I made for my couches. I really love how it turned out and I think I may do something like this in the future with some of my favorite baby clothes. The tutorial was simple enough and fun to do. It sits on my couch and makes me smile everyday.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A splendid day

I had such a fantastic day today! It was wonderful. When I woke up this morning the sun was shining and I couldn't help but feel optimistic. After some peppermint tea and a healthy breakfast I received a phone call from a friend who had called to see if I wanted to go for a walk with her and her children. Nathaniel and I bundled up our girls and we took a walk in the fresh snow under a bright blue sky. When we got home we tossed the girls into the car and went to church. We ended up being invited to some one's home for lunch and happily agreed. This family lives in a beautiful log cabin surrounded by the most beautiful meadows and pasture. They still cook on an antique stove and made the most delicious chili I have had in a long time. It was served with Greek salad, homemade bread, and mashed potatoes. I let myself indulge and had a little chili but I was a good girl and didn't eat any of the brownies they served afterwards. Who hoo for small victories! The fellowship was equally delightful and I relished spending time with other believers. It makes me realize how much I miss Christian community. What I wouldn't give to have one of my girlfriends come over and spend the night lost in worship with me.(Tiffany- I'm thinking of you right now).

In any case, it was a delightful day and I was still able to tuck my girls into bed at a decent time. My spiritual, social and physical needs have been satisfied and I am soon going to head down to my craft room for some creative time. (Lori - if you are reading this I plan on finally finishing something I started for you ages ago).

This video from YouTube of a band called Walk Off The Earth playing a cover on the song "Somebody That I Used To Know". It is just pure awesomeness! Check it out.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Project 365 (week 1)

January 1st: On New Years day we loaded our skates into the chariot stroller with Claire and went for a skate at the ice rink near our home. The girls slipped around like seals in the ice while our dog Chester, barked like one on the sidelines. It was nice to walk around the rink with Holly and chat while our men shot pucks.

January 2nd: Finally completed my December Daily album.

January 3rd: Today I went to town with Holly and did a bit of shopping. Claire was excessively fussy and I felt scatterbrained all day. I forgot to purchase many of the things I had gone into town for. Geeezz.

January 4th: The other day Amelia kept complaining about her eyes so Nathaniel took her to the clinic and it was confirmed that she had pink eye. So, now we get to pin our poor daughter down four times a day and put drops in her eyes. Unfortunately, she only got sicker as the day went on and eventually threw up as well.

January 5th: When Nathaniel pulled into our driveway this evening he saw a little puppy in our driveway. He gave it a bath and borrowed a kennel from our neighbor so that it didn't pee everywhere during the night. I made a poster and Nathaniel posted it at the General Store.

January 6th: Since Amelia has been sick we have been watching a lot of movies. Since we one only a handful we have been renting quite a few from our local General Store. When we were visiting my parents in the Lower Mainland I was surprised to discover that all of the video stores had closed down.

December 7th: These are what my meals look like these days. Lots of lean protein and vegetables. I am trying to wean myself off bread, dairy and sugar. (All things I LOVE). It is actually not as hard as I had thought it would be.