31 July 2008
Tomorrow morning is the weigh in. The moment I've been working for ... hoping to win the $800 prize money ... and I'm NERVOUS.
I'll be posting tomorrow ... we'll see. *fingers crossed*
30 July 2008
28 July 2008
For those of you who DON'T know, I've been participating in "The Biggest Loser" with some of my family members. We each put in $200 (to make us super motivated) and gave a deadline of 3 months. Friday, August 1, is the big Weigh-In.
It's a very close race ... I'm down "1*" lbs (can't say - my competition could be watching *wink*) and 4.5 inches around my waist. OH you have NO IDEA how much I want to win ... I've taken this seriously since I got back from NY (couldn't do it on that trip - you can understand why, I'm sure *grin*) ... But my competition has been stepping it up over the last couple of weeks. My weight continues to drop - and I'm getting so close to my final goal. WHOO HOO! Four pregnancies in 3.5 years really took a toll on my little frame ... 20lbs on me, is like 50lbs on another.
SO - fingers crossed - August 1st, here I come!!
Before: (Notice that I'm hiding behind my son and hoping that black will hide everything, except for the fact that the turtleneck makes my short neck look like a sausage stuffed in too small of a casing)
After: (well - this is the last pic taken of me 2 weeks ago - I've lost a few pounds since then...)
24 July 2008
On December 16th, 2005, my husband and I were forced to make an extremely difficult decision and have an induction at 20 weeks gestation. To make a very long, very complicated story short- our daughter suffered from an extreme case of Trisomy 18. This is a chromosome issue, and in our little girl's case, this anomaly made itself known by anencephaly. This is when the brain never forms. Our daughter's spine never closed at her shouldblades during the first 20 days of gestation, thus never producing a brain stem, thus never producing a brain. Here's some info, if you're interested: http://www.anencephaly.net/anencephaly.html
You know - maybe I'll just cut-and-paste our story onto my blog ... sometimes it's just a bit too hard to go through the whole thing again.
But the reason that I'm putting up this post, is because I never forget her. A day does not go by where I don't think of her, and wonder what my life would be like with her here. There are days where it is so overwhelming, even 2 years later. I talk about her often. She's our middle child. One of three. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever have a daughter or if she was my only chance. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.
I came across a photo today, that I intend on scrapbooking. It's the most exquisite flower from a Christmas Cactus. My dear friend C gave the plant to me on the year anniversary of our loss - December 17th - and it was to bloom at Christmas time and remind us of our little Shalom Hope. But as God would have it, this year it flowered in May - right on Shalom's due date.
Oh how I miss you, little one.
22 July 2008
You should've seen the "happy dance" I did when my cookbooks arrived in perfect condition. They were delivered to my door - I had to sign for them - in about a week from my ordering. I have looked through each book (there are four) at least a dozen times - and each time I turn the page, I think "Oh - no - THAT's the one I want to try next ...". Simply brilliant.
Here are some of the recipes that the Destitute Gourmet has in her four books ... "Thai Chicken Curry", "Lemon Coconut Syrup Cake", "Baked Paprika Chicken", "Old Dark Beer-baked Ham", "Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce", "Steamed Greens with Honey Dressing", "Banana Caramel Waffles" ... and then other great recipes like "Homemade Condensed Milk", "Cajun Seasoning Mix", "Lollipops", "Bubble Mix", "Playdough", "Puffy Paint".
I could go on and on and on and on and on ...
Shallots (small pickling size onions)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon juice
pinch of dried herbs (such as thyme or oregano)
Top and tail onions and boil for 6-8 minutes. Drain, then heat 1tbsp oil in the pan. Return onions to pan and add honey, vinegar, lemon juice and herbs. Cover and cook till golden and sweet.
** these are fantastic on pizzas or as an appy with crusty bread and baked brie**
21 July 2008
I'm not really sure EXACTLY when it started - but as long as I can remember, Mattias has been drumming. We would keep him occupied in restaurants by turning over glasses and giving him straws to hit them with.
For his first birthday, we gave him a single drum and by Christmas the same year, he had a little set with 2 toms and a cymbal. He played them so much, we had to use paper plates to repair the "skins" of the toms. Then - for Christmas, as the age of 2 - we got him a miniature kit including bass kick, high-hat and snare. It only took about 2 months for him to establish a simple 4/4 rhythm and play along with me as I played the piano & sang.
This year, at preschool, he brought his kit to class for "Show & Tell". It was a HIT ... it even brought in staff from around the building. One lady came up to me later and told me she had a jr. kit with real skins and wanted to know if I'd be interested in borrowing it. UM. YES!! So - Tias has 2 kits put together now, has a cow bell, and a Sabian Cymbal that he got for Christmas.
I'd be lying if I said he played everyday now. He doesn't. Mainly, it's my fault ... he used to play for an hour or two during the day, but with Josiah sleeping - I've had to curb that. And with the sunshine out - he's really not interested.
In the fall, he'll be in a 10wk music program with a focus on percussion. If he enjoys it, and I can handle Josiah through it, we can continue in 10wk classes.
Here's a video from that day at preschool. If you're interested in seeing more, go to www.youtube.com/taniakiwi . There are about a dozen or so there.
19 July 2008
I joined a Book Club before I had Josiah ... but I didn't read as much as the fantastic women in the group - and I found myself cramming before our group meetings. Eventually, I left the group - not because of any other reason but that rather then motivating me, it felt stressful. But my love for a great read hasn't changed - and the summer seems the best time to start a new one.
Are you looking for something to inspire you? Challenge you? Man oh man, have I got the book for you. It's not a novel - and I love novels ... drifting away into some other reality. As wonderful as that is, this is not that book. No, no, no. This is a collection of interviews ... interviews with African people dying of AIDS.
It's called "28 Stories of AIDS in Africa", each story meant to represent 1 million stories ... that's right - there are an estimated 28 million people who are dying from this unfathomable disease. Each chapter is a new interview - brilliantly written by Globe and Mail journalist, Stephanie Nolan - and shows you a simple portrait of the person who's story you're about to read. Let me share a few quotes to get you thinking ...
"You see lines of people with bundles of their possessions on their heads who need food or tents or donations - you don't think, 'that is a doctor, that is a teacher, that's a commune administrator' ".
"The problem with HIV is that its transmission, in blood and sexual fluids and breast milk, preys on our most intimate moments."
"In 1986, Rwanda became the first country in the world to do a national survey of HIV prevalence, covering everyone from babies to the elderly. The results exceeded even the worst nightmares of the government: a staggering 17.8% of people in cities were already infected ... Anything above 1% is considered a 'generalized epidemic'."
"When I talk to people at home about the pandemic, I get the sense that they feel a dying African is somehow different from a dying Canadian, American or German - that Africans have lower expectations or place less value on their lives. That to be an orphaned 15 year old thrust into caring for four bewildered siblings, or a teacher thrown out of her house after she tells her husband she is infected - that somehow this would be less terrifying or strange for a person in Zambia or Mozambique than it would be for someone in the United States or Britain."
"How, he wanted to know, can your government, your country - you - just let us die?"
I am only a third the way through - and my eyes are so opened to something that has seemed so unreal, so "in another world'. It's a cocktail of factual information - using statistics and biological information - and heartfelt interviews. And it also provides information on dozens of ways that a person can help.
So, if you're so inclined, read a GOOD book this summer. It just might make you more generous, more grateful - but even if it doesn't - it will make you know the truth.
I bought mine at Costco for $12.99.
I should also add, that I did not find this book on my own. It was recommended by E. If you're reading this - thanks, girl.
17 July 2008
But my family and I have been enjoying the HOT sun for the last 4 days - and are confident that it'll show up tomorrow in all of it's glory. Lathering up the SPF - and drinking so much bottled water my eyes begin to float - has been a really wonderful treat. Mattias has grown in confidence regarding swimming, Josiah now knows how to efficiently destroy a sand castle, my H has improved his golf swing, and I - well - I've actually read a few chapters of a fantastic read. But the greatest luxury - having someone else make my bed. Gotta love that.
Would love to show some pics - but my connection keeps timing out.
We're having a great time - you'll just have to take my word for it.
16 July 2008
I've been blessed with these things that are supposed to help me be safe from the sun's harmful rays. I've been wearing SPF15 on my face ever since I can remember - I won't buy moisturizer without it - and I'm hoping to prolong my "youth" by doing my part against UV rays.
But today I got after a family member. SPF 4 just doesn't cut it, in my books, and I refused to apply it. I offered my 30 and they mocked me (in love *grin*) - I even offered 15 - to which they agreed. See, I wear SPF30, and SPF45 on my face, when outside in the pool and such on a sunny day. And especially since we lost our dear friend, DM, to a small mole that succumbed to the sun's evil - I just don't know why ANYONE would take a risk.
Is having a suntan more important than seeing your children grow up? More important than celebrating anniversaries with your spouse? More important than living? Obviously, no one would say that it is, and yet for a few months out of the year we overdose on vitamin D and call it "healthy".
Well, if you could see me now, you would see dark tan lines and much blonder highlights in my hair. My husband told me I look exotic *grin*. SPF doesn't stop you from tanning - it just helps you from burning.
So, dear ones, put it on - lather it up - and keep yourself safe.
**remember that sunscreen is for infants over a specific age - I believe it's 6 months - but please check. And skin cancer is caused primarily from sunburns as a child - so SPF45 is important ... and reapply often, especially when swimming**
14 July 2008
I'm actually with my family in P and am sure to take a million photos over the next few days. SO - I thought I'd post a few of my latest digipages to make room for the upcoming ones. But the Internet is too slow 'round here and I keep timing out. So - no digi pages for a few days - unless I can figure out what the problem is. And who are we kidding - I'm not going to be spending time doing that when there's a glorious pool a few feet away *grin*.
Anyway - the numbers on the scale continue to go down **I can taste victory ... and a DQ chocolate cone if I think hard enough** and I'm finding that I have a lot of self control at this point. But today - just now - I was craving these. Thank goodness there isn't a kitchen around *wink*. But maybe you'll enjoy them instead.
Puffed Wheat Squares
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups puffed wheat
In a medium pot, simmer butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over puffed wheat (in a large, separate bowl). Press evenly into a GREASED 9x13 (if you like them thinner) or 9x9 (if you like them thicker).
** Be sure to cut these when warm. After they set, they're a stinker to cut. Trust me.**
13 July 2008
His brother lives in the UK and has 3 flatmates - one of them a Kiwi girl (which is why I think he wanted to share this particular story with me). So - not too long ago, this girl (we'll call her "Mary") was asked to house-sit a friend's place in London. Mary willingly agreed and was informed that her friend's dog wasn't doing so well. The dog was a large Labrador, and was on his last legs - in fact, the friend was pretty sure the dog would pass while they were away. Sure enough, two weeks into Mary's one-month stay, the dog died.
Mary then realized that she was in a bind. She had no car, and knew of no one near-by who did. She knew she had to get rid of the dog as the London flat didn't have a backyard to bury the dog. She decided to put the dog in a suitcase (yes, a suitcase) and take the dog to the Tube (London Subway).
On her way off of the train, she found herself at a stairwell and was struggling with the suitcase. A kind bloke came up to help her, to which she became flustered and tried to convince him she was fine. He insisted, and once he tried to lift the very heavy bag, he asked her what on earth was in it. Mary nervously laughed and said, "Oh, you know - just lots of jewelry." And once at the top of the stairwell, the man ran off with her bag. To which she shrugged, and walked down the stairs back onto the Tube to go home.
Can you IMAGINE the man's surprise when he opened up the suitcase? CLASSIC!!
Now - for the recipe. I don't know where I found this, but I used it for my dad's 60th bday party last year. It was a HIT. So good.
for 6-8 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soya sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley
Directions: mix all ingredients together. pour over chicken. marinade for 2 hours.
12 July 2008
ANYWAY - the point being, I haven't been "this" weight in 3 years and my summer clothes are a bit, well, ill-fitting. So I've been shopping ... prior to winning the $$ *grin*. But hey - a girl's gotta wear cute clothes, right??
The long and the short of it - is that I bought some new tube-tops and such but what I really needed was a new bathingsuit. My last-year's suit is ok - but that leaves me with only one and we're off to Penticton on Monday.
After searching around, I ended up at the Swim Shop - tres expensive, yes. But GET THIS: I bought a tube-tank (do you see a trend with the tube thing??), swim shorts (suuuper cute - never had them before) and a swim-tie-skirt thingy. Regularly EACH PIECE was $72.00. And I got them for less than $20.00!! That's $216+tax regularly for just over $60.00.
SO PUMPED. And it's cute too *wink* ... see for yourself.
"Guido" and "Luigi" ... new little friends for our boys ...
not the NEMO fish - the ones behind!!
It was a day full of running around and trying to get to the next place on time. But it was SO beautiful out - and the boys had so much fun ... it was so worth packing up and moving on to the next thing.
We went to the water-park in WG - it was really great. I had never been before and my GF met me there with her kids. Of course, it was far from the "let's sit and catch up" venue but it was great to see her none-the-less. We would chat for a few minutes, and then throw in an "excuse me" as we ran off to catch one of our little ones and bring them back to safety. And speaking of safety - SPF45 was in order. And my littlest one still got a tan *grin*.
Then off to swimming lessons - and YAY - it was good this time!! Tias had "no tears" and did a starfish on his back!! WHOO HOO!! It felt victorious - even though a small one. To me, every time he does something that he's scared of, it's a HUGE thing.
At night we went to K's birthday party. SO cute ... with a "Finding Nemo" theme. So a BIG THANKS to K&C for the fishies as a party-gift *wink*. We had to pull out our fish-tank this morning and set it up in Mattias' room. The boys LOVE them and named them "Guido" and "Luigi". Can you sense a "Cars" theme around here??
SO - another bunch of pics ... more to scrap, more to save. *sigh* It seems to me that I take too many pictures ... documenting the boys day-to-day life may be a bit much *GRIN*.
the boys at the water-park
me 'n Tias
Siah enjoying his grapes
Tias smiles for the camera
Tias enjoying his lessons ...
11 July 2008
A couple of months back, we had an episode where he had taken off his water-wings and ventured off the pool steps. We were watching him, but he went under for a good 5-6 seconds and it terrifed him (naturally). We took that opportunity to tell him that he needed lessons so that he could swim like his big cousins and such.
Well, at his first lesson, the first order-of-the-day was to do "hums": putting your face in the water. That's when the drama began ... tears, wailing, "MUUUUUMMMY"s and basic hysteria. But the swim instructor was SO great - and spoke to the children like they were adults. And the children responded by getting themselves together (momentarily, anyways) and continued to participate.
An on-looking-mom had reassured me before the lessons had even started. "See that little guy over there?" she pointed. He was about the same age as Mattias, confidently swimming under the water with goggles on. "He was just like your son at his first lesson. Now look at him!" She was rightfully proud! All I could think was 'what a gift' to give your child the ability to save themselves in the water - and to have FUN. SO GREAT.
So that was week one. Today - we're off to lesson number two ... but first? To the water-park to meet with a friend ... and later? A two-year-old's birthday party.
It shall be a full, glorious, eventful day. Hope yours is full of wonderful things too.
Below is a page that I scrapbooked from last week's "First Swim".
click image to enlarge
09 July 2008
08 July 2008
When I was chatting about this with some friends last night, it was decided that competition plays a HUGE part for the guys. But then - how could the bachelorette believe any of their sincerity? I guess that's why the relationships don't seem to last ... but there are a few that have worked. It's probably the same ratio as real Hollywood relationships.
So, last night my man was out and I watched the Season Finale by myself. And found myself GASPING *literally* as the show progressed. I felt sick for Jason - the guy she didn't choose, elated for the Jesse - the guy she did ... and just plain exhausted by the end.
It's such a ridiculous show - I know. But I'm already having withdrawal symptoms *GRIN*.
06 July 2008
Here's the first pic I chose ...