Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family of Three?

I debated if I should write this post or not, but given that this blog was intended as a journal of my thoughts and experiences as they relate to parenthood (and other important things like food ;), it stands to reason that leaving this out would kind of defeat the purpose.

This past week, after an appointment with a specialist who my family doctor referred me to, I found out that I have “premature ovarian failure”. I knew that something was wrong since I haven’t had a regular monthly cycle for over 9 months, and had also been experiencing “hot flashes” for the last 6 months. So while I wasn’t entirely surprised by this information, it has been a little hard to actually process.

If you know me, you will know that my husband and I been all over the “should-we-have-kids” or “how-many-kids” spectrum. We decided that our lives would be richer by having a child, and found out we were right after our little girl was born. However, we both agreed that one was enough! Seriously, this is a lot of work we thought, and didn’t really see how we could “handle” another child. But as our little girl started growing up, we really wanted her to have a sibling, and frankly, I just wasn’t sure that I was “done” with the miracle of baby-making.

So, how ironic, that when we finally decided to start “trying” again, that we would run into this rather large roadblock. Maybe we are only meant to have one. Maybe I’m meant to adopt like I always thought I would like to. Maybe we’ll be part of the 5% that is lucky and can conceive again without having a donor egg, which is how I am told that I can get pregnant again.

Needless to say, I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about this and how it affects our lives in the short and long term. One emotion which I was almost surprised to feel was relief. Yes, there was a part of me that felt relieved…I’ve always felt that as my daughter gets older that things get a little easier. If we only have one child, it's far easier to balance work and home (something I already struggle with a bit with one child), there's no crazy coordination of our kids activites, no more than one child sick at a time, there is more money available for "fun" trips and experiences, and less general chaos. (Both my husband and I enjoy order and calm in the house). There are also no more late night feedings, diapers, toddler tantrums, etc., etc.

Relief however, was not the only emotion. I also feel sad to think that I may not ever have another baby of my own again, and that my daughter may never know how wonderful it is to have a sibling. And as much work and chaos children can bring to your life, they also bring such joy, laughter, and love to your life. I just don’t know how “hard” to fight this…what plan of action to take from here. Do I talk to the fertility clinic? Do I get the ball rolling on adoption? Do I try alternative therapies such as acupuncture that have apparently worked for others? Do I do nothing and just let things happen? I’m not quite sure to be honest.

In any case, what is meant to be will be. And in the end, that will be the right thing for me, my husband and my daughter – our little family....Our little family of three, which is open to becoming larger. Just “putting that out there”. J

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brilliant Portia Nelson

A friend of mine recently sent this to me and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I think you will too.
Love Stacy

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sugar Hangover

There IS something worse than a hangover my friends....and it's called a sugar hangover. It happens after one consumes far too much cake, icing, and candy in one night. And it happened to me last night, at Cake-Pop Creations Part-2: Christmas Edition. It wasn't pretty.

I actually woke up this morning to show my daughter the cake pops my friend Erin and I made and literally felt sick looking at them. If you know me, you know I'm normally not one to overdo it in the sweets dept. I'm more of a salty, carb-y kind of gal. And let me tell you, it's much better to OD on salt than sweets.

Anyway, at the end of the day (or rather night), Erin and I ended up with some rather amazing looking cake pop creations, if I do say so myself.

This time around, we did two batches: one vanilla, one chocolate. The vanilla were coated with white candy pieces, and the chocolate with red. The contrast of the brown and red I think was nice. We topped the white ones with some edible "sprinkle" stars and topped a few of the red ones with some green and red sprinkles.

But what made them look great afterwards was the packaging: we placed them in small clear candy bags and tied them with some Christmas ribbon. They looked amazing. Here they are:

We created these with the help of Erin's grandmother's amazing mixer. A beautiful vintage piece passed down!  
The lovely and talented Erin working away....and there may have been some wine involved ;)

White with silver star sprinkles....

RED! These look a bit more "red" than they actually were. But very cool!

The end result.....

Phewww! We were tired! All this on Friday night!

By the time Christmas rolls around I think I may be ill! ;) The next project is baking for a baking exchange. We all need to make 12 dozen cookies! Should be good - I have no idea what kind of cookie yet - but I'll need to decide this sooner than later.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Message for You

I wish I knew who to credit for this quote...but in any case, I love it. Please read it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The After Photos

I'm here.....but it was just one of THOSE weeks for me. Our home computer crashed and work was incredibly busy. Last night I rewarded myself by indulging in watching a few "Real Housewives"espisodes I had PVR'd, while drinking red wine and eating popcorn (and maybe even a few Halloween treats of my daughters) ;)

Of course, this happened after the crazy weekend I had of sneaking around and arranging/doing my latest "home project"- which I know you (read: Syl) are all dying to know about ;)

Before and After photos are so much more effective if there is a before photo (kind of obvious) but I don't have great photos for the whole thing because quite frankly, I forgot. Also, the Friday that I had hired my "handyman" to do some work around the house was a little bit of an all out gong-show, consisting of an entire THREE trips with my daughter in tow to the local Home Depot to pick up supplies such as drill bits, screws and..................................................wood filler. Why you might ask? Well that would be because the first time one shelf was put together, it was put together backwards and since there were nails in the space now facing OUT, we had to do something about it.

All is well in the end and, like anything I learned a lesson: Research the company/person doing your handy work a little more in-depth before allowing them to put holes in your walls.

Everything did work out ok, and here are the results:

This first photo is simply of the wall unit that was put up. Previously, there was a piece of art hanging there and I wanted/needed more storage around the computer nook of the house where so many things get dumped. I'm not sure what I am going to put up there, but was thinking about my cookbooks, camera, and maybe a little "quick grab"basket for keys and such.

I realize it's not that exciting of a photo, but when it's all fixed up (and I have my new mac computer here instead ;) I will take another photo for you for the official "after" photo.

The next project was putting up a medicine cabinet in our master ensuite, and getting new bedroom furniture. We had been using the same crappy stuff for about 6 years, and given that it was our 5th year wedding anniversary this past week, I thought it was perfect timing.

 For some reason, this house was never built with a medicine cabinet...

The before here is me organzing all of the drawers on our bed from our crappy white ikea unit.

And the after (while not 100% finished) is a peaceful, warm room.

Previous to this, we also had a television in our room and I took it out when I put the "new room" together. It's bad "feng shui" to have a TV in your room and it really does make it calmer. But not sure how we feel about this long term. I know hubby wasn't too keen on not having a television in the room, but we'll see. How many people have TV's in THEIR bedrooms? Just curious...

Well there you have it - it seems like not very much happened but I had been shopping for new sheets, duvet covers, furniture, picking up items here and there and stashing them, organizing help, cleaning out and organizing drawers, clothing, and bathroom shelves as I went along. The truth is, a lot of the work was not the surface stuff....but now that's all done, I am happy!!

The next big project will involve hubby, as it's a massive undertaking: our storage area in the basement. Nothing sexy about that!

Until next week my lovely reader (s) ;)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
In Flanders Field - Copy of Signed Original
Courtesy of Bee MacGuire

Monday, November 7, 2011

Who Did It?

This is simply too funny not to share.

A doggy verison of "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar".

Have a great day!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas in 7 Weeks

That's right people. 7 weeks. How did this happen??

The snow is starting to fall here in Calgary, so what better time to bring this up?

I was reminded of this Christmas imminence as I was reading SimpleMom.Net this morning. There is a great article today about planning a peaceful Christmas....something I am definitely into.

I feel that (along with many other things) Christmas chaos has gone to all time extremes. But we can do something about that. Take a few moments and read the article today, as some great advice is offered. In particular, I love point #2.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be busy with my little aforementioned "project"! And honestly, I would link the post here but I have no damned clue how to do that. Perhaps my friend Sylvia can help me out with this sometime :)


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pantry Organizing Tips

I love organizing. I really mean that. Better stated, I love having things organized. When the house is in order, and everything is tidy I feel less stressed. Seriously. It’s more effective for me than meditation ;)

I blame my mom for this – the Tupperware Lady J She was seriously a Tupperware Lady at one point and I still have nightmares of putting away all the groceries into Tupperware containers. I always found it particularly silly to put cereal into Tupperware, especially since we seemed to go through it so quickly. (sorry Mom) Now I do love organization, but this seemed like just a little too much work for me.

So I found a happy middle ground with a little help from Ikea, and I am here to share this with you.

Tip #1
Sometimes, things just need a home: SAMLA plastic bins

The bottom of my pantry cabinet was used for baking items: all kinds of flours, sugars, powders, dried fruit, chocolate….you get the picture. It seemed like I could never find anything and it just plain stressed me out. I guess I left it this way for so long because I had it in my mind that we would move soon, and in the new house I would have a proper pantry, allowing me greater organization power. However, it dawned on me that it still could be a while before we moved, and I simply couldn’t wait that long to have things more “zen” in my cupboard. SO….I went to Ikea and purchased a bunch of plastic SAMLA bins of varying sizes and went to work. I have been looking around for bins to use, and quite honestly, Ikea is the cheapest of them all.
Here’s a general idea of how it ended up looking.

a)      don’t put canned goods in any bins – it’s simply too heavy to pull out/down
b)      buy the clear bins so you can see (without pulling them down) what’s in them.

Tip #2
Clip It

This next tip (oddly enough) also has to do with Ikea. Specifically, the clips you can buy. I like to know when a package is opened, and how fresh it is. This is sometimes hard to do without making a label, so what I do is use a dry-erase marker on the clip to write the date. When you're done with, simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. Works like a charm.

Tip #3
Toss It & Re-Think your Costco Trips

If you haven't used it in the last little while OR it's simply expired - dump it! (And then recycle the container if you can....just saying) ;) 

I’ll write more about Costco trips soon, but for now all I will say is that when I cleaned out and organized this cupboard recently, I threw away a LOT of things. It bothers me to throw out so many things, so I was again reminded that more times than not, buying MORE does not necessarily mean savings. If it’s priced as such, it may be unarguably cheaper per unit to buy two rather than one, but if you end up having to throw away an entire unit because it’s old or past the due date, than it really isn’t cheaper at all. In fact, it’s a lot more expensive. Keep that in mind next time you buy “bigger”.

That’s it for today friends. Happy Organizing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project "Suprise"

Last night was a better night for us over here, although my daughter still woke up twice to pee. We'll discuss evening potty breaks for kids later.

I'm grateful that she seems better because this is like the worst week ever for her (or I) to be sick. It's a busy week at work, and I also have a "project" that I've been been busy working on. A surprise project....

Every time my husband leaves for work on a conference (where I have a good couple days to "work") I inevitably do something major to the house. I disguise unplanned purchases (completely decided upon by myself) as surprises for him. He's fairly easy going that way, so lucky for me I continue to get away with it.

Sometimes the projects are large, sometimes they are small. One time I moved my daughter and I out of the house for a couple days while I had the entire house painted. That was a real fun one! This one won't be quite as extreme - but has still taken me some time to prepare. I hope he likes it. And if he doesn't - at least I will! That's the beauty - You don't need to confer or agree on anything! ;) In any case, this is why I have been busy.

I'll share the details with you later, and if I am organized enough, maybe even provide some before and afters.

Over this past weekend my sisters and I got together to make some cake pops. We wanted to make some Halloween ones, and try some regular ones. Being the overambitious individual that I am, for our first try, I suggested four types of cake pops. By the end, we were all exhausted and had been able to do some experimentation for next go round. One day soon I will share that with you (likely when we plan our next cake pop date) but for now, I'll just post some photos.

I should also note that has some great ideas on her website, and recipes for cake pops.

The first round...little tip: smaller is better in this case ;)

"is that an upside down colander"? you ask...."why yes it is".

Pumpkins weren't a huge success but we were quite happy with our little ghosts!

O-R-E-O. Cake, candy coating and oreo insides. #sugarcoma

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The "G" Word


It's a sadly familiar emotion for mothers. It's an emotion that I feel more often than I would care to admit, and if you are a people pleaser, it's even worse.

Today I was at home with a sick little girl.......Instead of being able to just be with her and tend to her, I was feeling my own sickness....about missing work. And I hate that. H-A-T-E that. The thing is though, I think it's mostly my own doing...guilt-tripping myself. Why?

Seriously people, how do we lose some of the guilt feelings? We feel guilty about so many things as mom's, but the truth is that we are all just doing the best we can....

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!