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Showing posts from October, 2010

Happiness = Success

I had a revelation recently. If you're happy and fulfilled, regardless of what you are doing in life, then you're successful. I am at the very least trying to convince myself of this. I have never felt successful on the professional front. Why? Well because while most of my friends have been building work experience, I've been racking up basically useless graduate degrees because I wasn't clear on what I wanted to do for a career. During the periods of my life where I have been working, and even, in some cases, hobnobbing with important people and making good money, I've been miserable and unfulfilled. Now, I am almost completely unemployed (except for my weekly spinning class and occasional seminar I present for the corporate fitness company), for the first time since my undergraduate degree, which I completed 14 years ago. So no income to speak of and back in school for my 4th university degree after which I will be starting a new career, right from the b…

Rice Pudding

I had a ton of leftover rice from Wednesday's dinner so I decided to make this yesterday. I made it low-fat so Adam can enjoy it without worrying about his cholesterol, but I really wanted to see if the girls would eat it for breakfast. It's actually pretty nutritious (calcium, fibre, protein, complex carbs, etc.) and I used very little sugar considering it made a lot (next time I might add even less). It was a HUGE hit with both girls! You can make it richer, if you want, by using 2% or whole milk and whole eggs. You can also add raisins or other dried fruit, if you wish.

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (or 2 whole large eggs)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat milk and sugar in large saucepan over medium heat. Beat eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Bring milk to a boil and remove about 1/4 cup of milk, whisking hot milk into eggs to temper them. Add rice, vanilla, cinnamon and egg mixture and simmer until mixture …

Testing the Waters

P1: Well I just completed my third course in the Miscarriage/Infertility certificate program, so I'm now officially half way through. I got an A+ in the Counselling Ethics course for my Masters, and am currently enjoying my Counselling Methodologies--Behavioural and Cognitive Modalities course. Still no word from Dr. M at Mount Sinai, inspite of sending her a reminder email last week, so no progress on the research project. Sigh!

P2: The parenting consultants warned me that things with Big A might get a lot worse before they get better because she will really start testing the limits with me once I make changes to my discipline system. So I was very surprised when we had an amazingly easy week with her. Therefore, I should NOT have been shocked when she had a major flip out last night. It started when we got in the door at the end of the day and she threw her coat on the floor and ordered me to hang it up for her. I told her that this was rude, and to please pick it up, apol…

Energy Boost

Aside from weight loss, the other thing it seems everyone is in pursuit of is more energy. Look at the abundance of energy enhancing products on the market these days. Red Bull, etc. is everywhere and there is also energy gum, candy, and brownies that I have seen. Wake up folks (ha ha, no pun intended!), these are not a good solution. Most of them are full of crap along with that caffeine and mix of "herbs". They can also have nasty side-effects. At the CAN-FIT-PRO conference I got a free sample of an energy shot ( I gave it a try and instantly got hot and tingly and broke out in itchy hives all over. Turns out it has a lot of niacin in it, something I am very sensitive to. People claim niacin flushes are good for you but it sure didn't feel good! I had to take a Benadryl to get the hives down.

What is the best way to get more energy?

* GET ENOUGH SLEEP! I can't stress enough how important sleep is, and not…

Falling Through The Cracks

The change in my relationship with Big A since the consultants were here is amazing. She really does seem to respect me more and even enjoy my company more. The challenges have not gone away, but they are much easier to manage. For example, she did her usual routine this morning of refusing to put her clothes on, using every excuse in the book and begging me to get her dressed (something the consultants said I have to stop doing altogether). I often have given in because I simply don't want to deal with a tantrum at 6:30am. This morning I told her she had to dress herself. Period. She whimpered and whined and resisted and even yelled at me, but eventually, after about 25 minutes, she was fully dressed. Later, I told her how proud I was of her that she dressed herself and she said, "I'm proud of myself." I guess that says it all.

I took Big A to the dentist for her bi-annual check-up yesterday. Everything looked great when the hygienist and dentist cleaned and…

Expert Advice

This past week was a rough one. Adam was in Ottawa for work so I was alone with the girls. Things were okay until Thursday morning when Big A and I had a huge blow out. It was triggered by me asking her to put her socks on, something she is supposed to do before the television goes on in the morning. But she didn't bring them downstairs when she came down so I let it slide. I went up and got them from her room later on and told her she had to put them on or the t.v. was going off. She fought me on it so I turned off the t.v. So she turned it back on. So I picked her up and brought her to her bedroom for a time out. She hit me and pinched me and would not stay in her room. She came downstairs and turned the t.v. on again. I called Adam in Ottawa at this point desperate for help. He advised me to disconnect the satellite. Big A then screamed and yelled from that point until I got her to school. It was a nightmare.

Perfect timing for the parenting consultants to come ove…

Kiddie Alfredo Redux

Big A has requested this dish so many times that I have refined it quite a bit. Here are two versions, the second one is a sneaky way to get some veggies in your kids. Ironically, Little A loved it but Big A would have no part of it. But the joke was on me - she saw the bag of cauliflower and asked for some on the side. Before I knew it, she and Little A had gobbled down about 2/3 of a pound of cauliflower! I think because it was frozen cauliflower they liked the fact that it was so soft and mushy.

1/2 lb whole grain linguine, broken into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
OPTIONAL ADD IN: 2 cups frozen cauliflower, steamed and pureed (to make about I cup puree)

Cook and drain pasta and place back on stove with burner off (if using gas stove) or turned to low (if using electric). Add all other ingredients and stir until creamy.

Heart Rate Monitors

If you want to get fit or fitter, there is really nothing more helpful than a heart rate monitor (HRM). I stopped using mine after I gave birth to Little A, probably because I was sick of HAVING to use it everyday while pregnant to make sure I was exercising at a safe level (although the basic guideline is that if you can talk fairly easily and are not out of breath, you're fine). But recently I decided I had to change up my hill walking routine. Even though I tell everyone else not to get stuck in an exercise rut, I had done just that. I kept telling myself that I'd change it up when it started feeling easier, but that never happened. It always felt hard and I was frustrated. The extreme angle I was working at was also killing my hamstring. Although the physiotherapist told me I don't need to avoid any activities, and, in fact, need to do things that target the hamstring, on days when I did my hill walks I was in even more pain. But I figured the only change I could…

The Information Age

I am the first to admit I am technologically challenged. I can obviously use a computer and the Internet, but I don't own a Blackberry or a Smart phone, or whatever those things are called and I rarely ever use my cell phone. In fact, I can apparently access the Internet with my phone and take photographs, but I don't know how to do either. I have yet to get Skype working on my computer (has video but no audio). As I consider all of this, I realize that I prefer the "information access" aspect of the Internet age to the "communication" aspect.

Don't get me wrong, I love email. It is quick, easy and inexpensive. It is less intrusive than calling someone on the phone when it may not be convenient. It allows you to to say things that you may not be comfortable saying face-to-face or over the phone. Social networking allows you to connect with people you haven't seen or heard from in a long time and online support groups draw together people wh…

Szechuan Green Beans and Eggs

I had a hankering for scrambled eggs for lunch today but I also had green beans that needed to get used up so I created this dish. It turned out delicious. It might seem like a weird combo but actually eggs are used a lot in Chinese and Korean cuisine. You can omit the eggs and just serve the beans as a vegetable side dish. I ate it along with a bagel and cream cheese which really made it a multicultural meal!

1 lb fresh washed and trimmed green beans
1 tsp peanut, sesame or vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls good quality fermented black bean paste
Hot chili flakes, to taste (optional)
1 cup egg whites or 4 extra large eggs, beaten

Add oil to skillet, wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add in beans, garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add vinegar, black bean paste and chili flakes (if using) and stir fry for a few more minutes. Pour in eggs and stir until eggs are cooked through.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Big A's school called me yesterday afternoon because she had a low grade fever and tummy ache. Turns out her complaining yesterday morning was truthful after all! Adam and I were skeptical since she claims to be sick pretty much every day. I tried to explain to her why this was a good example of how harmful it is for her to be faking all the time. We have just stopped believing her! She said, "You know how the teachers knew I was really sick mommy? I was whiny." I didn't dare say what I was thinking at that point, which was, "That wouldn't have been a good indication for us because you always whine at home."

Anyways, I stayed home with her today and by 10am I had a tension headache. She was feeling well enough to drive me insane. She wouldn't play by herself so I couldn't get any work done. We did a number of activities together including some baking. I would have preferred something healthier but she was insistent on making cupcakes w…

I Always Knew I'm a Bit Twisted

I had my assessment done by the physiotherapist yesterday. It seems I do not actually have sciatica but a problem related to the insertion point of my left hamstring. This is caused, as I had suspected, by my twisted pelvis. She warned me that she was going to have to do some manipulations and adjustments (which may be painful?) and that I am going to have to do a lot of hamstring strengthening. It turns out that all of those exercises, like hamstring curls and deadlifts, that I have been avoiding the past few months, are the exact ones I gotta start doing. She said it was going to hurt and the pain would likely get worse before it gets better. I have to do 2 physio sessions weekly for 3-4 weeks and then a lot of rehab exercises. I am actually very pleased that I am finally going to get "untwisted" as I am hoping this may help my other biomechanical problems. Maybe my weight distribution through my feet will improve and I can wear cute shoes again! And maybe I will …

Old McDonald

It is a gorgeous day today and I feel fantastic. No sinus pain and full of energy. Thank goodness because yesterday I woke up with a killer sinus headache, and the allergy meds, Tylenol and Advil were all useless. I was in so much pain that I ended up taking 2 of the oxycontin pills I was given for my c-section with Little A. They didn't even help! Happy Thanksgiving to me!

This brought me back to a terrible time in my life. I had intense headaches about 12 years ago that were chronic. I ended up seeing an ENT specialist, allergist and heachache specialist. I had a CAT scan and an MRI of my sinuses. The allergist thought I may just have "environmental" allergies to "big city substances" while the headache specialist felt they were really tension headaches. Basically, it was never really determined why I was having them. Fortunately, they went away eventually. I really hope they are not back.

Aside from feeling miserable yesterday, we had a pretty good…

The Search for Truth

I finally got to the sports medicine physician today. I was so hopeful that he would be able to diagnose the source of my pain on the spot and recommend an easy, non-invasive cure. Ha! That didn't happen. He actually doesn't think it's sciatica, but more likely some problem involving the insertion point of my hamstring. Or, less likely it is possible a disc problem, but more likely a problem with the hamstring itself. In order to really determine the cause, however, he is sending me for an MRI. Until then, I am supposed to do physio. I guess it doesn't really matter what the problem is, as long as it can be treated. Sitting is becoming so uncomfortable!

As it turns out, we were unjustified in doubting Big A about the situation at school. When I came to pick her up the other day, her teacher had, in fact, confronted the girl Big A claimed was bothering her, and the girl fessed up that she HAD, been bothering her. The teacher made her apologize and promise to s…

Kiddie Alfredo

The other day Big A asked me to make pasta for dinner. I was not pleased because she and Little A NEVER eat pasta when I make it, no matter how I make it. Even if she likes it, Big A will eat 2 bites and Little A will not usually even try it, she'll just scream when I put it on her tray and throw it on the floor. But if there is one thing I've learned, when it comes to food (and other things), kids are unpredictable and inconsistent. So I relented. I got home and rifled through the fridge and cupboards and came up with this recipe. To my surprise and delight, both girls loved it! Big A ate her whole serving and wanted more, but I had only made a tiny amount since I didn't think they'd actually eat it (I've multiplied the recipe here but you can half it or double it again depending on who you're making it for). Little A ate 1.5 servings. I was so shocked, I wasn't even that upset when she threw the remainder of her second serving on the floor or whe…

Aches and Growing Pains

P1: September has been relatively quiet for me because my course for school had a pretty light course load compared to the others so far. At first I loved having some time to slow down but then I started getting nutty and feeling unproductive and worrying about the future, as I tend to do when I don't have enough to keep my mind busy. Fortunately, my new course - Counselling Methodologies--Behavioural and Cognitive Modalities has a lot more reading and assignments. In addition, I've started the next course for my certificate in miscarriage/infertility counselling and it has more reading required than any of the others have had. So I am definitely busy now. Unfortunately, I feel like crap. For the last week I have had severe sinus pain and been utterly miserable. My allergies are probably the worst they've been in 10 or 12 years. I tried Advil, Tylenol, Benadryl, my steroid nasal spray and nothing gave me any relief. I was having a difficult time functioning throug…

Mama Carrots, Daddy Carrots and Baby Carrots

Did you know there is no such thing in nature as a baby carrot? In spite of what a lot of people think, baby carrots are not a special variety of carrots, they are regular carrots that have been cut into baby carrot form.

I absolutely HATE them. This may sound strange coming from someone who munches close to a pound of them every day. Don't get me wrong, I love carrots, I just hate the baby ones. But I eat them because they are so much more convenient. I hate them because they don't taste as good, and, in fact, often taste downright awful thanks to the way they are processed. The bags are often saturated with icky water, leaving them soggy with a kind of rotting smell and taste. They are also made from the blemished carrots that would otherwise be thrown away. Thus, I doubt they are as healthy as regular carrots either. I have declared a moratorium on baby carrots in our house before and bought only regular carrots, but then I inevitably get sick of all the peeling an…

Quirky or Confident? Maybe Both.

The first two days this week our mornings went unusually smoothly. Big A was fairly cooperative and we had no big blow outs. Little A has been wonderfully sweet, happy and behaved, for the most part. Unfortunately, the lucky streak ended Wednesday morning. Wednesday and Thursday with her were rough. She was grumpy, sullen and uncooperative. Thursday night she had a massive bedtime tantrum that had Adam and I tearing our hair out. Adam suspects she isn't getting enough sleep and is probably tired (we are lucky if she is sleeping by 9pm and she's been getting up by 6am). But she's also mentioned several times how much she misses her best friend, G., from her old daycare. I knew this was going to be a tough transition for her so I wonder if she is acting out because she is having adjustment difficulties? Unfortunately, there is not much we can do. We've enrolled her and G. in the same Saturday gymnastics class, which starts tomorrow, so at least they can see ea…