Thursday, December 30, 2010

something's new

New post over at

I've got a bit of a reinvention going on and I'll be posting all about it over there for those who are interested :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Since school began my normal rhythm has flown out the window. Because my morning gets thrown off it ends up throwing every single bit of the rest of the day off, including my weekly plan. So after two weeks of this mess I decided that it was time to rework the routines a bit. The biggest changes are in the morning but the remainder of the day has gotten some attention too. As has my weekly rhythm.

Because I'm still not back at work it has been easy to fit everything in. It's not so easy when you're working an 8 or 12 hour day (as a nurse I do both). For now this will work for me. When I do return to work the plan will likely remain the same with the knowledge that if I'm working on a particular day then things will get put off until the following day or just not done that week at all. It is impossible to make a plan for a traditional work week because I don't work the same days or shifts from week to week.


~have lemon drink, make coffee, tidy main floor
~computer, drink coffee
~make breakfast, eat with kids, take vitamins
~do dishes, clean kitchen
~sweep main floor
~swish and swipe bathrooms, pick up bedroom
~workout, meditate
~skincare, shower, dress
~weekly chores
~creative time

~journal, cup of chai
~dinner prep
~dinner, take vitamins
~kids dinner chores, blog updates, herbal tea
~time with kids, husband
~skin care
~check calendar, prep for tomorrow
~gratitude journal, prayer, read


clean master bedroom and bathroom, do my laundry, do groceries and run errands. Take garbage out and put up new menu.
clean main bathroom and powder room. Launder towels. Clean living room, dining room and entryway.
change and launder sheets. Water plants
clean kitchen, do cooking and baking projects. Josh and Sam laundry.
Maddie and Nate laundry.
kids household chores and clean rooms.
church, then brunch. Clean fridge and collect garbage. Design week’s menu based on produce and sales, then make grocery list.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rhythms not Schedules

I've been off work for a bit now and I'll continue to be off for the next 5 weeks at least. Even though I don't feel great there are still things I have to do and things that I want to do. But I find myself procrastinating and putting things off. This is not helping my energy levels or my ability to get things done.

But I don't like the term "schedule" it really bothers me. It sounds too hard and inflexible. So I've decided to use the term "rhythm". Rhythm is flexible, soft and enjoyable.

This is what I've come up with in terms of daily and weekly rhythms:



~have my lemon/aloe vera water upon awakening, then check blogs/emails while drinking my morning "coffee" drink

~do my workout (walk or yoga at the moment) then meditate

~wash/shower (dry brush first), dress, "swish & swipe" the bathrooms

~breakfast, second cup of "coffee" drink

~laundry, tidy up, weekly chore

~write one page

~finish weekly chores (if necessary), move laundry to dryer or hang to dry


~journal, cup of chai tea

~dinner prep, cooking

~candles, grace, dinner

~kids dinner chores, update blogs, herbal tea

~wash/epsom salt bath (if no shower in am. dry brush first)

~time with kids, husband

~gratitude journal, prayer, read



clean master bedroom and bathroom, do my laundry, do groceries and run errands. Take the garbage out and put up new menu.


clean main bathroom and powder room. Launder towels.


change and launder sheets. Water plants. Clean living room, dining room and entryway.


clean kitchen, do cooking and baking projects. Josh and Sam laundry.


free day! Maddie and Nate laundry. Massage therapy appointment.


kids household chores and clean rooms. Farmer's market.


church, then brunch. Clean fridge and collect garbage. Design week's menu based on produce and sales. Make grocery list.

That's it. We'll see how it goes. A lot of this stuff is being done now anyway. It's just to try and bring more of a rhythm and regularity to my days and weeks. And hopefully, accomplish more in the long run.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

update on homemade facial products

I thought I'd post an update on my homemade facial products. It's been fun and interesting but so far I've only made two things.

This is the exfoliator. I ground oatmeal, skim milk powder, oatmeal, dried lavender and cornmeal to a very fine powder in the blender. This I really like. It smells wonderful and your skin feels great after you rinse it off.

This is the citrus cream cleanser. The recipe called for lanolin but I didn't use it, I used extra beeswax instead. I made this about a month ago. It was a little tricky to make. You had to be really quick or your wax started to harden. This contains apricot oil, virgin coconut oil, beeswax, distilled water, a pinch of borax, vitamin E oil, grapefruit essential oil and lavender essential oil.

It smelled like heaven and I really liked the consistency. And it did a good job cleaning my face. BUT it's supposed to have a shelf life of 3 months if kept in the fridge and within 3 weeks it had gotten all watery underneath the cream layer. I tried to remix it but that didn't really work. Maybe I didn't do it quite right in the first place.

Both of these recipes come from the book "Do it Gorgeously" by Sophie Uliano. I'm going to be making more stuff out of here. I think as my technique improves so will the final product!

I'm still doing the vegan cleanse. You can find that blog at

More later

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project: 21 Days

My daughter Madison and I will be doing a vegan cleanse. We are starting it tomorrow and will be blogging about our experiences at

Anyone interested in joining us, you are more than welcome to! I hope you'll follow along with us on our new journey.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Update on my summer so far

It's been quite the week!

I worked evenings last weekend and began the week tired. But I still managed to do okay with my new body plan. I've done yoga once this week and gone on one walk. (Not two...but still.) I've gotten my portions under control and only had dessert once this week. The only thing I eat after dinner is a rice cake with a small smear of peanut or almond butter. I've started every day with yogurt and fruit which seems to set me up for better food control throughout the rest of the day.

My favorite meal this week:

Marinated grilled steak and portobello mushroom with a baked sweet potato and sauteed spinach.

Belgian waffle with macerated local strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Yum!

I couldn't believe how hard the yoga was. Yoga is something I used to do every day. (Along with ab work, weights three times a week and walking/jogging three to four times a week) But it's been so long and I've gotten so stiff. But I know how this process goes. It's the getting started and getting into a routine that's the hardest part. If I can get past that then I've got it made. I'm trying to keep in mind how good I feel when I'm doing what I should be doing in terms of my health.

What else have I done this week you ask? I've learnt how to change a signal light on my van for one thing. I know it's a silly little thing but something I've never learnt to do myself. But now I know! And it's so nice to not have to rely on anyone else to do it for me...ever again.

I've also gotten the ingredients together to make my own "lotions and potions". I use Dr. Hauschka's skin line and it is ridiculously expensive. I'm almost out of everything and don't have the money to replace any of it. So I've got a bunch of recipes and picked up a few ingredients. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I read the whole Stieg Larsson trilogy this week. If you don't mind violence, I highly recommend it. I was kept riveted to the printed page and couldn't stop until I was done. I got really invested in what happened to a couple of the main characters and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Now I've picked up "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I'm working two 8 hour shifts and two 12 hour shifts in the next week though so it's going to be a bit slower going.

My daughter graduated from Grade 8 last night. She looked beautiful and so grown up. I can't believe she'll be in high school next year! She wants to keep practicing her clarinet for band next year so I've decided to go the rent to own route and have to go in two weeks to pick it up. I'm glad she's sticking with it but I'm not looking forward to having to pay for those band trips! She's going to get to New York city before I ever do...My 16 year old has written a couple of great pieces on his blog and has been doing a lot of drawing this week. He finished his last exam a week ago so he's getting into a summer groove. He's got a work out plan in place because he wants to try out for football next fall. He also has a wicked sunburn from a pool party on Monday :) My oldest son has started work at a video store (he studies film in university) and is pleased that he's not stuck working in fast food! My youngest managed to bring up his grades so his final report card was good. He is looking forward to swimming at the pool, hanging out with his brothers and buddies and reading Tolkien! Like mother like son. My eldest daughter is living away from home and seems to be doing well. I'm always relieved when she calls just to talk and there is no pending crisis to get panicked about.

This is the sweater that I started late last summer. I took this photo in February and I'm ashamed to say that I haven't touched it since. I seem to have lost any desire to finish it. So I've finally decided to scrap the whole thing. Sometimes, it's just better to move on and actually do something else, rather than hold out and hope that you'll regain your desire for a project. So I've taken it apart and am going to make a meditation blanket for my eldest daughter. She meditates for twenty minutes a day and I think that this will be perfect for chilly fall and winter mornings. If it goes well (and it should, blankets are easy) then I'll make one for myself later. Meditation is something that I used to do religiously but have fallen out of the habit and would like to eventually get back on track with that as well.
The only other thing of note is we had a 5.5 earthquake on Wednesday. Worse one I've been in! I was outside at the time and could actually see my whole house shake and ripple. And it was so loud! Other than a few things falling off shelves and a picture off the wall all was well here. Glad I wasn't at work when it happened though!
I think this has gone on long enough! I hope all is well with everyone...Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let's try this again, shall we?

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it"

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There's the key. And the rub...begin it. Life totally derailed my plans of a few weeks ago. Those 20 pounds are still firmly entrenched and haven't budged. And it's easy enough to see why. I haven't done what I need to do. I've allowed everything and everyone else in my life to take precedence over the one thing I should be doing above all else...taking care of me.

The picture above represents my goal of where I want to be, once again. Yes, it was 10 years ago but I was in the best shape I'd ever been in my life and my intent is to be back there again. I know it's possible. As a matter of fact, if I do what I need to do then it's more than possible, it's probable.

So, I'm going to try this again. But this time I'm going to do something different. This time I'm going to BEGIN.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Goals for weight loss

This winter has been tough. 20 pounds worth of tough to be exact! But it's really got to come off. After all, summer is a comin'...And having lost 100 pounds (slowly!) back around 2006-2007 I'm terrified of being on this slippery slope. It's so easy to slide all the way down to the bottom when you're not paying attention.

I've been doing weight watchers for the last little while. And although it's worked for me in the past for whatever reason it's not really working this time. When I was at the bookstore last week I came across a book called "The Cheater's Diet" and after reading it, I think I'll give it a try.

Modified from the book this week's goals are:

1. Eat 2 fruit and 3 vegetable servings every day. No matter what. This is non-negotiable.
2. Cut my portion sizes by 25%. Again, non-negotiable.
3. Walk twice a week and do yoga once a week.
4. Weigh in. Done today...yup, 20 pounds :(
5. Keep a food journal.
6. Eat three meals a day. If dinner is going to be late, then have one small snack in the late afternoon.
7. Look over the week and incorporate 2 "cheater meals" and 2 "cheater snacks" into the week. But WATCH PORTIONS!

That's it. I'll check in next Wednesday and let you know how it's going. I'll also post new goals.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maple Syrup time

Actually it's kind of late for a maple syrup post but anyway...I just pulled out a can from our case of maple syrup today and tried a new dessert. We buy a case of maple syrup every spring but really we should buy two since one only lasts for half the year (If we're lucky!)

Maple Syrup Squares
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square pan.
Mix together:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
and pat into bottom of pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until light, golden brown. Let cool and spread over base:
1 cup walnut pieces
Turn oven up to 450.
Next mix in a small saucepan and simmer for a couple of minutes, until sugar is dissolved:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
Let cool a little. Then mix into the cooled syrup:
2 beaten eggs
Stir in:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl flour
Pour this mixture over the walnuts. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 and bake for 20 minutes more. Cool and cut into squares.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I don't want to clean my house today. I don't want to cook anything, clean anything or take care of anyone today.

Today, I am just tired. My soul feels weary and my spirit depleted. My body is aching and my eyes are gritty. The stress in my personal life has finally gotten to the point where it is manifesting itself in a myriad of ways.

So, I think I know what I am going to do. I'm going to lie down in the backyard and feel the breeze. I'm going to listen to the birds and gaze upon the flowers. I might just stay there all day.

I might just let everything else fall apart while I put myself back together.

Friday, April 30, 2010


The tulips are up...hope springs eternal!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whole wheat and honey bread

I used to make this bread once a week. Every week...In keeping with my plan to get back on track I had a kitchen day today. I scrubbed everything down and made this bread, pineapple and bran muffins and chocolate cake. The cake is wrapped and put away, waiting to be iced tomorrow for dinner. The muffins are in the freezer waiting to be eaten for breakfast next week.

Here's my whole wheat and honey bread recipe.

3 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt

I just dump everything in my kitchen aid and knead it with the dough hook. If you don't have a mixer with dough hooks you get to get your hands dirty! I put it into a big, oiled bowl (turn the dough in the oil once) and let it rise about an hour and a half (or until doubled). Then I shape it into 2 loaves and let them rise again in greased loaf pans. I use 8 inch pans for this. Today, I let the loaves rise a bit too much on the second rising, (I had to run out for a minute) so the loaves are a wee bit misshapen :) But that's okay they're still just as tasty! After the second rising bake the loaves in a 375 degree oven for about half an hour. Easy!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Menu

In an effort to simplify things around here I've put together a two week dinner rotation for spring. I'm hoping to go through this for 3 cycles for a total of six weeks. I think by that point we'll all be thoroughly sick and tired of the menus and looking forward for something new!

I'm doing this because I'm fed up of coming up with menus once a week! The breakfast portion of the meal plan will be the same every week but that's okay :)

I didn't bother with the lunch menus because the kids make their own lunches with what's on hand and they all take something different.

I did the groceries for two full weeks today. I shouldn't have to go back to the store except for a few produce items...we'll see how it goes!

Spring Menu

monday------cereal or toast, oj
tuesday----- smoothie, boiled egg
wednesday--- pumpkin or banana loaf or bagels and cream cheese, oj
thursday----- oatmeal with fruit and nuts
friday-------- cherry or currant coffeecake or fruit muffins

monday------ hamburgers or hot dogs, chips and salsa
tuesday------ chicken pot pie, salad
wednesday--- carrot & sw potato soup, brie, bread, crudites and cake for dessert
thursday----- tuna casserole, green and yellow beans, carrots
friday-------- baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread
saturday----- pasta w/tomatoes, artichokes and bacon, salad
sunday------- stewed chicken, new potatoes, bok choy, beets, biscuits
monday------ grilled sausages, potato salad, green salad, bread
tuesday------ cajun pork loin, sauteed greens, cheese cornbread
wednesday--- pea & spinach soup, cheddar, bread, cake for dessert
thursday----- lemon sole, sweet potatoes, broccoli
friday-------- falafels on pita bread, pudding
saturday----- baked potatoes w/broccoli, cheese and bacon, salad
sunday------- lasagna or pizza, salad, bread

*****alternate meals (just in case I have one of those days!)
veggie fried rice, grilled cheese and tomato soup

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies

This is the best chocolate chip recipe ever! Seriously. I'm not sure where the recipe originally came from but I've made it so often in the last 5 years that I know it by heart.
*Chocolate chip cookies*
Mix the following:
1 cup of butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
Add and beat well:
1 egg
Mix in:
2 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate (I used a mixture of both in the cookies in the picture)
Drop by tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes. Take out when they are just beginning to get golden brown. This important! This way they come out soft and chewy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What I've been reading...

In commenting on a blog that I read, Beauty that Moves ( check it out!) I wrote about some books that I 've been reading. It's actually just the tip of the iceberg!! So I thought I'd copy the reviews here and add a few more...

-Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (excellent, had me laughing and crying out loud. A young girl from a dysfunctional familly goes to live with her great aunt in Savannah, Georgia. What a cast of characters!)
-The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (beautiful, lyrically written. And the food descriptions were fabulous. I didn't want it to end.)
-Blackout by Connie Willis (Sci-fi. Gripping and exciting BUT has a horrible clffhanger ending and the rest of the book isn't out until October 2010. Frustrating to say the least!)
-In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke (dark and haunting. What happens after a plague dessimates the population. What makes a family. I loved this book, although I didn't love the ending, because I felt that it ended too soon and stops short. I'm hoping Kasischke writes a sequel.)
-Balancing Acts by Zoe Fishman (Women and yoga. Need I say more. Nothing too deep here, but it was entertaining. Although I did find the dialogue a bit mundane and simplistic.)
-The Things that Keep us Here by Carla Buckley (Another dark novel set during an epidemic. Didn't love this one as much as Laura Kasischke's. Still, it was worth reading.)
-The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (I may be shot for this, since so many people really liked this book but I didn't love it. I couldn't seem to get invested in the characters and had to force myself to finish it. Interesting premise and the story itself was okay but all in all, the book left me cold.)
-Shanghai Girls by Lisa See ( I don't usually read alot of fiction set in Asia, but the book sounded interesting so I picked it up. Set just before the Japanese invasion of China and ending in the late 50's in America this book was really good. I learnt so much from it. And it was extremely well written. Loved it.)
-Good Things, Table Manners and The Sweet Life by Mia King ( I really liked these books. The first two are based on the same characters, so read Good Things first. Sort of fluffy, but good for reading when you want to lose yourself but don't want anything too heavy. I like the way these women pull themselves up by their bootstraps and change things in their lives. Inspirational in a way if that's what you're attempting to do in your own life.)
-The Girl who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen ( Just like her first book this one is set in a magical place that makes you wish you lived there. Her characters are quirky and interesting and she writes them in a way that you feel you know them. If you need some magic in your life, read this one and her other two as well.)
-Angels of Destruction by Keith Donahue (A little girl shows up at an elderly woman's house in the middle of a snowstorm. Who is she? Is she an angel? Really well written book. Intriguing concept. Illustrates the need for connection that we all feel. Loved this.)

That's it for now. Not because I haven't read any other books lately but because it's time that I get up and get some work done!!