Sunday, June 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - June 30 to July 6, 2013

It's hot. I know it sounds like I'm always complaining about the weather - that is because I am. It's too cold here in the winter (and oh, the snow) and the summers are hot and mosquito laden. Hot means bbqing and staying still or splashing in TroubleMaker's pool! I was the person who bought the last two fans at Wal-Mart, TYVM!

Canada Day 2012
Today, I hit bottom with pain and arthritis (really, is it necessary for all my hands, feet, elbows, wrists and even knees, to swell when it's hot and humid? Come on!) so we ended up picking up supper (I could hardly hold a glass in my hand). A few ibuprofen later, and I'm a little more limber and in less pain. I'm not supposed to take anti-inflammatory medications (because of the fusion - it can prohibit the bones from fusing together) but damn it, I needed something today.

Tomorrow will be better - or I'm spending the day in the ice cold pool. (Edit: today was not better. I spent most of the day in the ice cold pool with TroubleMaker - we ended up having baked beans and corn on the cob with the steak. No one ate much steak. It was too hot)

Sunday: pick up dinner
Monday: BBQ steak, Creamy Tortellini Primavera, corn on the cob
Tuesday: Hot dogs
Wednesday: Grilled chicken and pasta salad
Thursday: BBQ Meat loaf with bbq'd vegetables
Friday: Tacos
Saturday: Egg wraps

Linking up with the Org Junkie! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Canada Day (and Happy Independence Day)!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Today's Stress: haircuts

Most people who know me have come to learn I have a very serious dislike of getting my hair done. I hate the idea of spending hours making chit-chat with someone I have nothing in common with, I hate the idea of having to take time to do it and I hate the fact it never, ever comes out as I expect.

In the past (almost) 10 years, I've burned through half a dozen salons. I go through phases where I don't care about the grey in my hair, the split ends or the fact I wear it up ALL THE TIME. Since last summer, it's excruciatingly painful to flat iron my very curly, very unruly hair so I don't, unless it's a very special occasion.

But it's too long again and it needs a cut. And a style. And a colour. I really like the idea of the finished product, it's getting there that's the problem. I'm introverted and I find it painful to go in and say "I want x, y, z done, please." I know it sounds stupid but it's my phobia and I own it. It is also the primary reason I've spent the majority of my life (since I was 13 years old) cutting my own hair.

But I can't cut it now so I have to go elsewhere. The length is annoying because I have to put it up at night (braid) but that means pain. My husband offered to learn to braid it for me, but that just seems cruel and another task on his already unending list of 'things to do'.


Total first world problems and I own that too. I just hate the stress and anxiety I feel over doing it. It's dumb, I know, and I will at the very least get it cut today (at one of the 'walk-in' places) but I'd really like to feel 'pretty' when I walk out and I got the idea in my head I should colour my hair. I have a 'year before a big' birthday in a couple weeks and although the idea of turning 40 doesn't really bother me, the idea that I'm OLD does.

I'm really a very complicated person. Or perhaps, more accurately, I'm just a person who makes simple things complex.

Edited to add I just booked in at an Ultracuts after the first four salons couldn't accommodate me. I certainly hope I don't live to regret this...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Procrastination: Let me count the ways...

screen shot of the main floor
A week or two ago, I printed most of the manuscript I've written. I commenced editing it (I find it easier to edit it 'on paper' instead of electronically - guess that makes me "old school"). With all the edits done, I started the outline and character biographies (Stall No. 1). When that got tough, I started making the changes in the electronic document (Goal No. 1).

Then that got boring/tough/confusing so I decided, for continuity, I best make sure the house I'd described made sense. So I started designing the house (good thing my back ground is interior design and architecture). I even went so far as to draft it in AutoCAD. Seriously, who does that (me)? (Enter Stall No. 2...)

I printed said floor plan, laid out the studio and kitchen (two of the three main areas of the house spoken of often in the story - Stall No. 3)... Then, as the story moves up to the master suite, I decided I better get that on paper too, so I sketched out the second floor (Stall No. 4). I still have the third floor and back yard to figure out (Stall No. 5) because why should I stop there?

I decided that I will wait for the upper floors and the yard because I need to work out (Stall No. 6). Writing this story came as naturally and as easily as walking, eating and talking however editing this story is murderous!

I think part of the reason (I'm procrastinating) is because I am being asked by family and friends what the story is about and when they can read it. This is where I run into trouble! It's a very personal story as I interject much of myself and my life into the characters I write and this leaves me feeling extremely vulnerable. It's so much more than a story for me; it's a daydream, a wish, a secret longing. Sharing that with the first logical audience (family/friends) gives them a glimpse of who I am on the inside and that terrifies me!

No one wants to feel judged, let alone by the people you love most...

P.S. I decided to get rid of the 'formal dining' as it wasn't working for me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - June 23 to 29, 2013

What a week... It's been a stressful, emotional week - and we're not even impacted by the terrible flooding occurring three  hours south of us! My father was nearly stranded in Okotoks and managed to flee just two hours before the camp he was in was overrun with water. Our dearest friend had also gone MIA during the floods in Calgary - we finally heard from him yesterday. He's en route to here as after he was evacuated, he decided to take a 'holiday' to southern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan - which has now being flooded!

Saw the surgeon - it wasn't what I was hoping to hear :( - and late last night, TroubleMaker came down with a stomach bug and we've spent the past 24 hours tending to a very sick little boy.

There are three tell tale signs when TroubleMaker is seriously sick.

1. He doesn't eat.
2. He sleeps.
3. He doesn't play.

So between unexpected, but very welcome, company and a sick child, meals could be kind of hit or miss. I made a batch of homemade chicken soup this afternoon so there will be leftovers for when my little boy feels like eating something and can keep something in his tummy!

Sunday: Chicken Noodle Soup and chicken salad sandwiches (for my honey, who doesn't care for soup)
Monday: Pizza (order in)
Tuesday: Pancakes and bacon
Wednesday: Hamburgers and chips
Thursday: Grilled chicken and pasta salad
Friday: Mom's ham and scalloped potatoes
Saturday: BBQ Steak and Potato Salad

Linking up with the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thanks for stopping in and hope your week goes well!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - June 16 to 22, 2013

I'm a Menu Planning Ninja this week! Being the queen of organization (yeah, right) that I am, I was sitting down in my studio with my laptop, the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday page open, my binder of recipes (which I've actually expanded to a 3" binder since I first did it), a pencil and some paper all before 9am!

Sunday: Pizza (order in for Father's Day
Monday: Chicken Caesar Wraps (freezer)
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Hamburger Supper
Wednesday: Weeknight Pasta Bake
Thursday: Pancakes and bacon
Friday: Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese
Saturday: BBQ steak and Gramma's Potato Salad (if I'm feeling up to making it)

I see the surgeon for my six week post op check up this week. I have zero idea what to expect - I think I should be much further along in my healing process and I'm disappointed I don't feel a whole lot different than I did before surgery. I expressed to a friend the other day that if I didn't have the scar on my neck, I would think I was still waiting for surgery.

Linking up with the Org Junkie this week and I hope to check out some yummy new summer meal ideas! It's been nothing but rAiN here so I'm ready for some sunshine! Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Militant Baker - Body Love Conference

Lately, I've been reading a bunch of different blogs and one of my favourites is The Militant Baker. She is seriously a whole new kind of awesome and I'm so glad I found her blog. She's starting a campaign - a real campaign - for body love. Teaching women and the world to love the person they are, regardless of the wrapping paper. She took on A&F (spit!) - check that amazing and beautiful campaign here

The Militant BakerJes is the change, I don't know if she knows that, but for me, her movement has started to change the way I look in the mirror. She's done more for me in a few short months than Dove's Campaign for "real beauty" has done over the years with their multi-million dollar advertising budget.

I like me and I don't mind my wrapping paper and I would seriously love to be able to make it to Tuscon for the conference in April 2014 (and I might) but we need to get this thing off the ground. This is where I think places like "Kickstarter" could be used in an amazing way.

A good friend of mine pointed out after I shared a Zach Braff Kickstarter campaign, that he has money and resources to fund making his movie - people like Jes and the proletariat - don't (necessarily) have the resources to pull together important work like this.

This is where we come in! She has less than 23 days to get another $6300 in funding together to ensure the conference can go ahead. And it needs to.

Check out the video she's shared and then please, give a little to help out! Our daughters need this, our mothers need this, we need this. Our sons need this.

The Body Love Conference

I'm excited and will be sharing this lots - because it's too important to not support! Want to jump right in and support this amazing conference? CLICK HERE PLEASE!

My Deaf Dog

Max, my 13.5 year old standard schnauzer is deaf. Like deaf, deaf - not "I'm ignoring you." deaf.

As a pup, he wasn't particularly thrilled with thunder storms but as he aged, his once carefree demeanor transformed to raging beast during a storm. Wandering from window to window barking his head off - telling that thunder who was boss. The thunder, nor the schnauzer, ever really learned the lesson being taught by the other.

Last summer, right around Canada Day, we noticed his hearing wasn't quite as sharp as it used to be. It became clearer as the summer progressed as the nightly fireworks display put on by our major summer event didn't phase him (he also barked feverishly at fireworks noises). He did however, still keep my husband up at night growling and carrying on at the thunder.

It is currently booming and clapping thunder outside (we are under a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning) and he is completely, 100 per cent oblivious.

As much as I'm bothered by Max's advanced years, I'm pleased that we may all sleep better this summer. Although I think I will make him a sleep mask or let his eyebrows grow longer because I know he'll still see the lightening.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - June 10 to 16, 2013

Thankfully, I planned this menu last week. Plus, because we made an impromptu trip to my Mom's for a few days, I have a few extra meals to tack on to next week!

Monday: Fried Egg Sandwiches
Tuesday: Beef and bean burritos
Wednesday: Penne with meat sauce (FREEZER)
Thursday: Chicken salad sandwiches with salad (FREEZER)
Friday: Sweet and sour meatballs with rice
Saturday: Pot luck BBQ @ my parents (I'm bringing garlic bread (original, I know - it was dictated to me that this was all I was required to bring - I'm also sneaking my last two jars of pickled carrots)
Sunday: Chicken nuggets and fries

Check out all those sharing over at the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Thanks for stopping in! Come back again soon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Young Care Givers - A Salute (part two)

Me and my boy
Last week, I was introduced to the concept of 'young care givers', this week, I'd like to share some more information about this growing demographic and the other way young care givers are becoming a vital in integral part of the family.

Brennan is definitely part of a growing demographic. In 2001, it was estimated there was 108,000 thousand young carers in Canada - this number only represents a conservatively estimated number of children under 18 who are actively involved in caring for a parent due to a disability (albeit it chronic health conditions, depression or substance abuse problems). Further to this, it is currently thought that 10% of all people under 25 are primary care givers for a family member. These numbers do not encompass children like Brennan - I am still employed full time and although I am limited in my ability, I am not technically classified as disabled. This number also doesn't take into account the many, many more children who act as translators for new Canadian families or other type of assistance young children often provide to their parents (or even grandparents). These extra responsibilities puts a strain on young children who often don't know any different so they accept this as their normal, as children always do, but we need to realize that these children need something extra in the way of care for them.

We've all heard of adult care givers burning out from caring for aging parents, I saw, it happen with my mother. My grandmother was 'full time work'! Between Gramma's failing health, doctors appointments and daily needs, my Mom was raising two children, was recently divorced and worked full time. She hit a wall and thankfully, my father was able to 'swap' roles with Mom, but I still saw the affects the years of caring for her Mom had on her.

So imagine if you will, in addition to having to go to school, be a kid, learn everything (because you're a kid and so much of life is a whole bunch of 'firsts'), you've got to care for a sick parent? What would your life look like?

Now although Brennan is an incredibly compassionate, caring and amazing young man, I have to ask myself are his needs being met? We are told frequently that he is a one of kind child, a gem, a gentle soul - we've heard it all. He is incredibly helpful (from holding doors to moping floors, he does it all for anyone who wants or needs the help) in part because I'd like to think he wants too but also because I think he knows he needs too.

So what can we do for young carers? We can make sure they have the information to do the jobs we ask - although my son doesn't deal with my medications (he does watch and freak out when I give my injections), he does know how to get my ice packs ready, hug me gently and knows how to help me get dressed. Ensuring we provide them recognition for the jobs that they do. From a 'good job' to sharing the work they do with others (teachers, family, etc). I know personally it's incredibly embarrassing to have to admit that he helps me get dressed but I need to ensure those who are with him frequently understand the extra commitments he has. So they can share in the praise but also because they can get a better understanding of what he may be facing at home. Finally, giving them support! Allowing him 'down time' where there are no responsibilities, finding support groups for kids like him or allowing him the freedom to sometimes not do something that is typically expected. After all,, kids need to be kids too!

I don't have all the answers but I know have some knowledge and I am working to ensure my young carer, my precious baby boo, gets the chance to be kid and not worry about the problems at home.

For more information, please check out some of these resources:

Young Carers
Caregivers Alberta
Hospice Toronto - Young Carers Division - this site has a great landing page with tons of 'instant' information. Highly recommend!

There does tend to be a serious lack of support for these extra special kids. Can't find something in your area? Start a movement - the internet can be a good place to start trying to find others in your situation with young kids. Even having contact with other children who understand the special relationship they have with their sick parent can help immensely.

Thank you for reading - this has become something very close to my heart and the more people we can get the word out too, the better!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We-Design-Day: Designing and Debunking Part Two

Picking up from last weeks Designing and Debunking, let's finish the Buzzfeed's "15 Lifehacks for your Tiny Bathroom" .

9. Use a stacked plate rack: My counter is too small to support more than a toothbrush stand and a bottle of hand soap. I would think that most truly small bathrooms would suffer the same problem.

10. Magnet board for makeup: I don't have room. I also don't have that much makeup. If you do, be my guest! I can see it being a focal point and a space save and art, all in one!

11. Mason jar wall storage: I could see using this but I would use it for holding toothbrushes and toothpaste (to get them off the counter). The cotton swabs and cotton pads would still sit in their respective containers in the baskets under the sink.

12. Use a large mirror to reflect the space: Mirrors are often used to help create the illusion of space and this is a valid design tip. Keep in mind the scale of the room when selecting the mirror. Having a 4' mirror hung in my small bathroom would be too much and would make me see all the ugly bits I try so purposefully to avoid. I would, instead, use small mirrors on the wall opposite of the vanity mirror to reflect the space (it wouldn't work in my space, this would assume that the two walls would be opposite and not behind other obstructions). One could also use several small mirrors, framed perhaps, as art as well as using them to create the illusion of space.

13. Roll your Towels: I don't actually store my towels in this bathroom because there is truly no room for them. If I did have room, I still wouldn't roll them, I don't like how they don't roll perfectly. I like the idea of rolling hand towels of face cloths for immediate use (again, I don't have room for this but have considered using this in my kitchen).

14. Install pull-out drawers in your cabinets: I like this suggestion, it is valid, assuming your cabinets will accommodate it. Keep in mind, these pull out style drawers will eat up valuable real estate in the cabinet itself. Although it looks flush mount, they typically are not, additionally, they need to be able to retract back far enough for the door to close. I personally use baskets in mine and find this works well. There are also "other" things you need to store under the sink (like the toilet brush).

15. Install multiple towel bars on back of door: Most interior passage doors are hollow core and may not support a sufficient amount of weight to actually hold up against the use. This would also mean folding your towels into 'airing cupboard' size after each use; this slows down the air drying ability because there are more layers of towel. I would opt for hooks or an 'over the door' system. IF you use an OTD system, keep in mind that in places with fluctuating humidity, this may make your door impossible to close. We have one (I bought for our housecoats) and it only works on one door in our entire house.

I realize it is highly unlikely that anyone will run out and actually apply all of the hints in the BuzzFeed article but I wanted to point out why it's so important to not just decorate a space. Design is so much more than paint colours and throw cushions. Always think of the principals of design before tackling any project!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Choices: what's best for me may not be for you

I'm feeling really random these days so I've taken to writing about what's on my mind... Tuesday seems to be "What's the crazy lady feeling today?" day so this week, I want to talk parenting.

After spending most of my teenage years as "the" neighbourhood babysitter, then working as a nanny, having two nephews and a niece (not to mention the 11 step nieces and nephews I have), I should be pretty good at this parenting thing. If all this experience taught me anything, its that when it comes to your own kid, all bets are off.

Nothing I learned in all those years working in childcare prepared me for the adventure (and misadventure) that has been being Brennan's Mom. I learned many things in those years of taking care of other peoples kids but the one that was a 'hard line' was...

Cosleeping! Specifically, NO cosleeping should ever occur.

TroubleMaker sleeping: 15 months old
It was the demolishing of my Golden Rule (by cosleeping) that made me realize I knew nothing about parenting. All the tips and tricks I shared over the years with my new parent friends was worthless. I was two steps beyond tired. TroubleMaker did not sleep. Ever. His sleeping was so infrequent, when it happened, we took pictures.

Five years later, he finally sleeps through the night (and has, in all fairness, since a little after he turned three and a half) and we are at the point that we can lay down with him and get back up once he falls asleep. Every couple of weeks, this backfires and he wakes up, but for the most part we are back to 'normal' (or as normal as we can expect).

This works for us, mostly. We are often criticized (as we were for breastfeeding until he a little over three years) but it is a choice we made.

So what prompts this? The co-sleeping is part of a parenting method we've tried to employ called attachment parenting. One of the things we've learned is no system is perfect, no one system works for any one child and that when something isn't working for the parent, it may be time to start changing things.

Tonight, TroubleMaker tried to sleep in his own bed (well, in the spare bed, we gave away his bed). He was successful in the sense he tried. He went to bed in his own bed, he stayed there for 20 minutes. He didn't get up; he stayed there and when we checked on him, he asked to try again another night.

I'm immensely proud of him. It was a huge step for him and towards his independence, which was the overarching goal of this whole parenting journey.

So my only tip to new and expecting parents is:

The first rule of parenting is that all preconceived notions of how things should be will (likely be) tossed out the window. The second one is get a good book, read it, buy another good book, read it and get yet another book and read that one too and then pass them all on to some other expecting parents and laugh while you're up all night with your non-sleeping child like I was.

Being a mother is the single most hardest thing I've ever done. My son is an amazing human being and I love him with every single inch of my person and I wouldn't change a moment of it (well, maybe me not sleeping through the night from week eight of the pregnancy until he was 40 months old)!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - June 3 to 9, 2013

Hello, fellow menu planners! Hope your weekend was great and your menu this week is tasty.

I'm still doing simple meals and eating from the freezer (oh, how I love having a freezer full of premade meals)!

Monday: Fettuccine Alfredo
Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Wraps
Wednesday: Beef and bean burritos
Thursday: Chicken nuggets and fries
Friday: KD and fish sticks
Saturday: Wings, fritters
Sunday: Steak and potato salad (Gramma's of course)

I am trying to work on planning ahead further - like months in advance - because I want to work towards reducing my stress load when I get to go back to work (after my recovery). I'm setting a goal for myself to get until the end of July planned by the end of this week.

I'm going to be 'shopping' menus over at the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday - always so much inspiration shared each week. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!

Fettuccine Alfredo

I believe I've mastered my sauce. I hope.

3/4 cup margarine
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup blend of 18% cream and 1% milk
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper, to taste
1 pkg fresh fettuccine pasta

Melt margarine in a small saucepan. Add minced garlic and simmer 1 minute. Add cream/milk mixture to melted margarine. Stir well and start adding cheese, stirring between additions and ensure cheese is melted before adding more. Add salt (do it to taste, it needs some to enhance the flavour). Continue to stir until pasta is cooked.

Heat large pot of water and salt water once it boils. Add pasta. Cook as directed.

Drain pasta and drizzle with olive oil. Add sauce and toss to coat.

Haha! I just realized that I had a typo in my title... All fixed up and apologies to all for my bad spell checking practice. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...