March 27, 2012

My Handsome Men

Over the past few months, my scrapbook/shared car enthusiast space became overgrown with clutter. There were car magazines and books and music cds and dvds spewing off shelves onto the floor. There were craft projects in progress, empty photo frames and mats, and albums and photos in ever-growing piles. Add to that the fact that I never emptied my scrapbooking bag after the last crop and that I don't like to create in chaos, and well there has been limited scrapping happening around these parts (aside from Project Life of course).

This past week, we slowly but steadily sorted, purged, and reorganized the space. I put duplicate photos into some sense of order to be scrapped when inspiration strikes. Des packed away a few of the books and items he doesn't refer to frequently. Between us, we managed to corral the room back to some semblance of calm. We still need additional shelving and such to get it closer to where we'd like it, but by Sunday I was feeling like I wanted to scrap a page.

I had pulled a photo of Des and Hudson, taken last July, aside during my sorting. I had printed it for the scrapbooking retreat in the fall, but didn't get to it while there. I had also picked up some new product by Simple Stories while at the Paperie last week that I was itching to use. The result was this layered layout:

I tend to do more clean and simple pages, without a lot of layering and inking and such. Usually it's just a little here or there, but having been inspired by many layouts on Studio Calico of late I decided to go a little further with it. As you can see above there are several fun layers. There's paper with torn edges, paper trimmed to banners, a distressed bingo card, an inked tag, washi tape, corrugated cardboard, ink sprayed over a mask, ink sprinkled on, twine, buttons, and stickers. There's even a paper clip shaped like a heart, though it's hard to see (to the left of the photo, on the dark grey chipboard button). Here's a closer look at some of those layers:

More importantly than all that scrappy goodness is it's another page capturing the ones I love. I truly couldn't live without my handsome men.

March 26, 2012

Runday Monday: Resting Up

If you've ever done any amount of distance running, you know the importance of rest days. They help your body adjust, recover, and rebuild from the strenuous activity you're putting it through. They help you prepare for the next week of training and the next long run run. You should certainly include at least one such day of no/low activity into your week. I usually do, though the past few days have been all rest days for me, thanks to feeling a bit under the weather.

image found on designspiration
Hudson came down with a head cold last weekend and had been off kilter pretty much ever since. So much so, that we decided to postpone an out-of-town weekend trip to visit his Aunt. We figured he could use as much good rest as possible in his own bed to recover. Rest days are important no matter your age! Despite being disappointed about the cancelled plans, I began looking forward to getting a good run in on Friday morning, joining a friend for a long run (part of her even longer run) on Sunday, and a birthday party invite for the little man.

But by Friday, I was fending of aches and sniffles. I attempted my run on Friday morning, but only 5km in and I was done for. No music shuffling, no mantras, no walk breaks were making me keep going. It was a day I listened to my body and said thanks for the 5km, but I'm going rest easy for now. By Saturday, it crept into my throat and seemed to hang around. Des also came down with the symptoms and between us, we made a sneezy, sleepless, sooky trio ;) I decided it was best to bail on the long run plans for the weekend as well and we vetoed any notion of spreading our germs amongst other kiddies at a party. Instead, we bunkered down for Saturday night and Sunday morning.

By yesterday afternoon, Hudson was markedly improved, as was I. Des was still fighting it a bit, but all in all we were doing ok. Just goes to show rest days are key to recovery. I'm looking forward to easing back into the training with a slow and steady short run this morning and back to 10km tomorrow. Wish me luck ... and be sure to rest easy yourself when you need it!

March 23, 2012

Project Life Week 10

I've been a little MIA on here this week I know. I've been absorbed in the little man's head cold, the Hunger Games trilogy, and trying not to go to stir-crazy cooped up inside all day everyday. We'll be venturing out later today to run a few errands and get the smell of house of us, but before that I thought I'd share Week 10 from the Project Life album.

I tried to get to it last week, but my missing mojo seemed to let the week pass without a picture or word put into place. With the downtime this week, I got 'er done. A quick look at the two-page spread:

Documented this week were our family time together, visits with more family, general errands and stuff, the loss of connectivity to the outside world for a whole day (thank you Rogers) and dinner with friends. Here's a closer look at the first page:

I love getting the Lindt packaging in there. We very rarely have "junk" in our cupboards, but you will almost always find some Lindt dark chocolate in there, be it 70%, orange intense, sea salt, or, my personal favourite, Roasted Almond. I also love capturing this hug from Aunt Jodie.

While she was squeezing a squirming HP, she repeated the all-too-familiar quote from Elmyra on Looney Tunes Tiny Toons. In that particular episode, she's squeezing her adopted cat Sylvester so tightly she's sure to suffocate him while saying "I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever (and never use you up)." It's a quote (and a hug) sissy and I know all to well!

And here's a closer look at the second page:

The Oh No card just details the full day's loss of cable, internet and phone. Literally disconnected from the outside world! I also loved that I had a word sticker that suited my cleaning supplies so well ... it might be the reason I go back that's for sure ;)

Hope you have a marvy weekend!

March 20, 2012

{Right Now}

{Right Now} I am ...

Reading... The Hunger Games Trilogy. Or perhaps devouring it is the better description. Finished the first two in less than a week and now into the third.

Feeling... like I'm wiping a little nose (or a little bum!) all day long. Such is life with a sniffling boy.

Planning... a first birthday party. Hard to believe HP is just two weeks from that day.

Thinking... about my return to work in less than a month and what I should be doing to prepare for that.

Grateful... that my bestie is able to care for Hudson while I'm working. Knowing he's in amazing, trusted hands makes the return to work so much easier.

Watching... Hudson walk more and more. He's actually becoming my walker stalker, chasing me everywhere. Amazing.

Dreaming... of a sunny warm vacation locale. Not in the cards for this year, but look out 2013. The Ryan Trio will be travelling.

Listening... to babbles and babbles and Hudson's continual attempt to say mom. Still sounds like "bob"

Looking... out the window at the first day of spring and wondering why everywhere else in Atlantic Canada is enjoying temps in the teens, while our winter is just hanging on.

Appreciating... a decent night's sleep after a few not so nice ones.

Accepting... that the afternoon nap has all but gone by the wayside and is making the most of the morning quiet time. Workouts, showers, emails, reading, whatever I can squeeze in there.

Wearing... these new sneakers. Right now, preparing to break them in on a 10km run as soon as my little guy drifts of to dreamland. (Thanks for the recco KW, they fit like a dream!)

Eating... these delightful treats. I made a batch on Saturday, with the addition of a little applesauce, and they're all but gone. Two left and saving them for dessert tonight.

Have an awesome Tuesday!

March 19, 2012

Runday Monday: Give Yourself Credit

I started last week missing my mojo. I guess the lost hour of sleep impacted me more than I expected. Right from the get go I just couldn't find my get up and go. Seems it stayed in the bed.

I had plans for a short run and strength workout Monday morning, which quickly became just a strength workout. Blamed it on the lost sleep. Tuesday was supposed to be a 10km tempo run according to my half marathon training plan, but I just couldn't bring myself to even lace up the shoes. Wednesday I forced myself onto the treadmill for that missed 10km so I could stay on track with the rest of the week's runs. Halfway through the tempo slog and I was just barely hanging on, but refusing to quit, wondering why on earth this week was so freakin' hard.

I was looking down at the red glow of the numbers tracking my every step for what felt like the millionth time and that's when it struck me. I needed to just give myself more credit. Yes, this week was a rough one, for whatever reason. I skipped runs two days in a row and was finding the one I was doing much harder than usual. But, I was running and running well. The red glow of the screen showed I was pacing my interval at 6.8 miles per hour. And for me that was better than not bad on a rough day.

I started thinking back over the last 11 weeks of running. I began the half marathon training program the first week of January after pretty much a year without running or running fairly irregularly. Despite regularly running at least 5km three to five times a week before that, even getting to 5km back in January was tough. And my easy pace was barely 5.6-5.7 miles per hour and my speed intervals were not much faster and barely breathable for a half kilometre distance. I was slower than I was used to, not able to log the distance I was used to, and simply not used to it all anymore. But I stuck with the training plan run by run, week by week, for 11 weeks.

Now, here I was logging a 10km run during HPs morning nap and, even though it was tough to get it done, I did it. I noted that my easy pace now, even during that tough morning, is a comfortable 6 miles/hour, with intervals of at least 6.7miles/hr, for 2km distances. I also remembered that I haven't missed one run on the training plan. Each week I logged the requisite runs and distances, no matter what. And I followed that tough 10km up with another on Thursday, a shorter run on Friday, and a 15km long run on the weekend. In fact, since January I've logged at 280kms or 175 miles in total, the equivalent of more than 6.5 marathons. In just 11 weeks, less than three months, I see improvements in strength, speed, endurance, cardio capacity and overall ability to run. All that deserves credit. In the midst of 10 hard kilometres on a treadmill in my garage, I gave myself the credit I deserved.

And I did it again yesterday morning when I went out for my 15km long run. The start of the run is a steady incline, which always makes it tough to get going. I was lumbering along when I passed her. This girl in her fancy running tights, you know the ones with the nice reflective stripes on the back, and her brightly coloured running jacket, and her running toque with the ponytail hole in the back, and her perfectly fitted shades, gliding like a gazelle down the hill on the opposite side of the road. You could tell she was that person who loved running. In that moment I, in my ratty yoga pants, baby blue fleece hat from like 10 years ago, my purple jacket, my cheap paparazzi-esque shades, and my mismatched mini-gloves, wanted to pack it in, whip around, and head for home.

I hate hills to start, so I already felt like I was running like a bull moose in a china shop. I was pretty beat from a sleepless night with HP and his head cold the night before and each step was calculated. I barely got up the gumption to get out the door as my lack of mojo followed me through to Sunday. As I pushed each step up the hill, I was longing to be home on the couch in my PJs with a cup of coffee and my family. But just as I watched the gazelle-girl breeze by, I thought rather than feeling blah about all of that, I should give myself credit that despite all of that I'm out pounding the pavement and logging almost 9.5 miles on a sunny Sunday. So that's what I did.

I may not be a gazelle. I may not be a speed-demon. I may be slogging it some days. But nonetheless, when I could easily just pack it all in and quit or say I'll skip this one run, I don't. Instead, I've stuck it out and I've improved. All good. Try it sometime. Try giving yourself credit when you're feeling a bit blah - I'm pretty confident you'll find it helps keep it all in perspective.

March 14, 2012

Project Life Week 9

I can't say enough how much I love this project. There's just something about looking back on a week and seeing how full our everyday life is. It may not always seem so in the moment, but with a birds' eye view, you get it. For us Week 9 was a wonderful mix of the ordinary - car appointments, time at the coffee shop, haircuts, and baths - and the extra-special - visits with old and new friends, HP marking 11 months, and sending out 1st birthday invites (what?!?). It really is how the quote sticker on the date card says:

Here's a look at the full two-page spread where the whole wonderful mix of extraordinary and ordinary is captured:

And the left-side alone. I used a couple of journalling cards from the kit on this page to capture the stories, one about our wing night and the other just an overview from the week.  Some weeks I have more mojo for fancyin' it up, but this week wasn't one so I love that it can be as simple as handwriting on the card and done.

And the right hand side, with more pics and notes. I used journalling stickers on a couple of the photos to document the info + stories and leave room in the 3x4 slots for photos. Love the before and after haircut pics being showcased in there.

And a close up of the one card that got a little more mojo on it than the others. It talks about how Hudson turned 11 months on March 4 and we're now officially one month from the first birthday. Crazytown. That triggered the sending of invites for his birthday bash, which we're keeping simple with family and a few close friends, which you can see in the above pic. I loved the chipboard clock with it's time flies wording, perfect fit for the journalling :)

There you have it. And if you're not familiar with Project Life, but are interested in it, be sure to drop by Becky Higgins' website for all the deets. It can be as simple as pictures and handwritten words or as complicated as your creative heart wants it to be. You can be a family of five, three or one and make this album work for you. Becky offers up lots of great products and inspiration from tons of people using this project in different ways. I love it!

March 13, 2012

Twelve on 12

Last week, Elizabeth Kartchner over at Dear Lizzy issued a Daily Dozen photo challenge to her readers. The premise is straightforward: Take 12 photos of your everyday on March 12. I decided to take part and snapped away yesterday. I took a few more than 12 photos, but managed to whittle them down into a few of my favourites and an overall representation of our day.

My Twelve on 12:
1. AM workout with my frenemy Jillian. // 2. Smiley Bates after the AM nap. // 3. Cruising Costco. // 4. A little Treehouse time. // 5. Momma's view during the PM non-nap. //6. Boyso loves laptops + keyboards. // 7. "Helping" momma fold laundry. // 8. A fun self-snap. // 9. Showing off his mad block-knocking skillz. // 10. Poppy G flys home tonight so we'll drop off his truck at the airport later. 11 // Catching water. // 12. Bedtime stories. Night-night.

I think I'll include these in my Project Life album as an insert this week. Not sure yet how that'll look, but it'll be a fun addition. Always nice to capture bits of the everyday. Thanks for the inspiration Elizabeth!


March 12, 2012

Runday Monday: My Mantra

Last week I shared a few tips on using your mind (or distracting it) to make it through a run. Another trick I engage when running is using a mantra. Mantras, or repeated phrases, are often employed in meditation and yoga practices to aid in concentration and focus. I heard the theory of mantras also applied in running and, when I tested it out, found it really works.

I now have a few specific mantras that I pull out when the going gets rough out there on the road.  My favourite at the moment is "I Can, I Have, I Will".  When I need to direct my thoughts aways from the fact that I'm still 5km from finished or that the hill coming up is a real doozy, I say this one over and over and over. For me, it is a reminder that I can physically and mentally do this run. That in fact, I have already done this run. Having completed a marathon, there will almost always be a distance, a hill, a weather condition, or a run I have already conquered that compares to, or was even harder than, the one I'm doing. The "I will" is a reminder that I'm working towards the half marathon goal and knowing I can and I have means I will complete it. I pull this mantra out time and time again and each time it motivates me.

A few other mantras that work for me are "Just Do It". Yes, it is cliche and the Nike slogan, but for me it is also a link back to my one little word for 2012. I've committed to doing this half and any run I'm in right now is part of that training. As I repeat Just Do It, I am reminding myself to stop complaining, stop thinking and just do it. I also love Tina's mantra of "Make that Hill Your Bitch" because I  f%&%ing hate hills. They are hard, uncomfortable, and just plain suck. So when I read this post by Tina earlier this year I laughed out loud and have engaged the mantra as my own ever since when facing a tough hill!

I strongly encourage you to find your mantra, something that inspires you and helps you make your run a more positive experience. Whether it's "faster, stronger, smoother" or "Kick A$$" or "I know I can, I know I can," that short, repeatable phrase can make all the difference.

March 8, 2012

Awesome Women

Today is International Women's Day. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, with some even making it a national holiday akin to a combination of Valentine's Day + Mother's Day. I know some people who consider it to be just a feminist's movement, the reality is we live in a world where women are still paid less than men for the same jobs, where there are fewer women than men in business and politics, where violence against women remains atrociously high, and where women's education and health is poorer than that of men. So, feminist or not, I want today to be an opportunity to appreciate the women who surround us and make our world a better place.

I am beyond fortunate to have many strong, smart, savvy women in my circle of friends and acquaintances. To start, in my home I have my mom, my sister, my grandmother. And of course my mother and sisters-in-laws. Love them all. Then, in my career I've been fortunate to be guided and mentored by some of the strongest women in business. In particular, in my previous employer, I had an amazing female leader to follow. She was intelligent, determined, focused, driven, and kind. She could hold her own and then some in any room, be it filled with politicians, students, or journalists with microphones. I am proud to say we became friends through work and remain that way since I've left. I also recognize my good fortune to continue to work with smart, strong female leaders. My current boss, as well as several of my female colleagues, are without a doubt the reason I am looking forward to returning to work this spring. Seriously some of the smartest women in our province's business community.

Then there are the multitude of female friends I am blessed to know. I have friends who own their own companies, are independent consultants, are VPs and senior leaders within their workplaces, and are stay-at-home moms by choice. I have friends who have lost almost 90 pounds while raising babies, have become fitness figure competitors, and have run more marathons than I'd dare to consider. I have friends who have survived cancer, have survived deaths of loved ones unimaginable to most, and who have stood strong in their sexuality. I have friends who have fundraised thousands for charity, are pursuing and who have obtained their Masters, and who have moved for love and nothing more.

In my world, despite the challenges women still fight to overcome globally, I am blessed with examples upon examples of amazing women. Each and every one of them have influenced the woman I am today.

Happy International Women's Day!

March 6, 2012

Project Life Week 8

And that was February. Well almost. Week 8 in the Project Life album wrapped up the last full week of February. A few extra days will carry on in Week 9, but can you believe that we're this far into the year. Yowzers. Anywhoooo, here's a quick look at the two-page spread for Week 8:

Noted this week: Hudson's open-mouth kisses, a work road trip for Des, Pancake Tuesday shenanigans, longer days, and a wine show. On the left hand side I included a couple of pics of Hudson kissing mommy through the glass door, the view was too cute not to capture!

A couple of things I like about this page are the bits and pieces from Des' work trip. He was awesome and took iphone pics, so I included those along with a the conference logo banner, which I cut from one of the conference pieces he brought back. I also stuck the small conference agenda in one of the pockets.

I also added a card without a picture capturing a story from that week: me vacuuming at 8am in my PJs one morning with Hudson hoisted on my hip. Des walked in before heading out to work and laughed, saying it looked more like 1963 than 2012 ;) I had some leftover stickers from a scrapbooking class I did that and the lady in her apron and casserole worked perfectly here.

On the right side, I numbered a series of photos from Pancake Tuesday that show Hudson from start to finish after enjoying the sticky sweet goodness for the first time. The card that has the word pancake on it is a folded card, so I included the pancake recipe on the inside. I also included a photo of the sunsetting, taken on a day when I first really noticed how the days were getting longer. For the last two smaller slots I stuck in a corner from our light bill, which I thought was a good complement to the longer days. and a trimmed section from the wine show book cover. Love including these odds and ends along with our photos.

Thanks for dropping by!

March 5, 2012

Runday Monday: Mind Over Matter

Running doesn’t come easy for me. You’d think it would given I’ve been at it almost 10 years. But it doesn’t. I don’t love it. I love what it does for me and how I feel once I’m done, but the process of actually running, I don’t love. That means most days I have to gear myself up for it and trick my way through it. In fact, over the past couple of months as my distances have gotten longer and longer, I am remembering how much of a mental sport running actually is.

During my marathon training I learned very quickly that running requires as much, some days even more, mental stamina than physical stamina. You reach a point where your muscles and your heart can take you the distance, it’s only your own mind that’s holding you back. And when you don’t love the activity, your mind holds a better hand than your muscles and heart combined. Back then, as my long run distances crept up from 5 miles to 10 miles to 15 miles and beyond, I learned how to use my mind to trick myself into literally going the extra mile.

As I gradually bump up my distance in the half marathon training, I’m reminded of how important that is. Especially on a treadmill, inside, in a garage. Let me assure you there’s is zero motivational factor in that environment. I thought  I’d share a few of the mental tricks I use to get through an run – and these can work whether your workout is 20 minutes tough or 2 hours tough:

Give myself permission to quit. Yep, some days my mojo just stays in bed. Especially if my morning started at 6am meaning naptime and my run is at 9am. Morning activity, even when I’ve been up for a bit, is not my forte. So I before I even start I give myself permission to quit. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works. I tell myself I can run one mile and if I’m still not feeling it I can quit. The reality is once I’m moving and sweating for that long, I usually figure I’m already there so what’s the point in quitting now. I don’t think I’ve ever actually quit, but somehow giving myself that permission to do so helps get me going.

Just get to half. Some days, after the first 10 minutes I’m still feeling a little blah and the thought, just the thought, of plugging another 50 minutes is too much to take. Instead, I give myself permission to call it quits at the half way mark. If my run is an hour and I make it to 30 minutes, I allow my mind to think we can quit then. Again, more often than not, I hit the half way mark and feel like I can keep it going and finish it strong. Now I have had days where I’ve said, ok half way is enough. And for me that’s ok. Those days are the days I listen to my body and say thanks for giving me 30 minutes. Nine times out of 10 though, I run on.

Make it a segments game. Sometimes I hit the half way mark and know I’m not ready to give up then, but still the thought of another half is a bit much, so I tell myself I can run just 10 more minutes or one more mile or for one more song or to the next light post or stop sign or the top of the hill or whatever it is. In my mind, I’m allowing myself to take a break at that point if needed. The reality is I usually keep on going. I hit the marker and give myself another one. It’s an “okay you’ve made it to this light post or finished this mile or managed one song, surely you can sure make another” and on it goes til the run is done.

Allow myself to walk a bit. Sometimes a breather is all we need to get through. When I trained for the marathon, our long runs were done as 10 & 1’s, meaning we’d run 10 minutes and walk one. That one minute was just enough to allow you to catch your breath, rest your muscles, let your heart stabilize and give you the burst of energy for another 10. Some days when I feel like I just can’t do another step, I slow down for just a minute or two and some how the energy to keep on going comes back.  

Take it to the streets. This isn't always an option for me, but when it is I take advantage of it. Especially when I feel like it's going to be a rough one. It is much harder to quit once you're outside than it is on the treadmill. If you decide to cut it short on the treadmill after 15 minutes, you can just get off. If you're outside, you still have to somehow loop back to where you started. If you're 15 minutes into the run that likely means it's 15 minutes back for 30 minutes total. You get a longer, better workout that way ;)

Change it up. If I can`t get outside, I take advantage of the treadmill features. Some days I run intervals, where I sprint for a period of time then recover with a walk or jog and then sprint and so on until it`s done. Or I`ll simply adjust the speed or incline every once in a while, where I`ll bump it up by 2 or 3 or 4 for 2 or 3 or 4 minutes. It makes me run a little harder or faster for a while and then I bring it back down to my usual pace. This change up helps break up the monotony of the indoor run. I guess it`s a variation on the segments game I play.

Distract your inner voice. I don't know about you, but my mind is usually going all the time. Planning, thinking, talking. When I run, that voice usually concentrates on trying to convince me to stop and reminds me I don't love this sport. I work on distracting that voice by giving it something else to do. For me that means writing. Now that I'm on maternity leave, I often write blog posts in my mind on a run. When I was working, I wrote communications plans and news releases and emails. Find your voice's area of interest and redirect it. Plan that next vacation. Have that conversation with your boss that gets you promoted. Redesign that next room. Have that argument that`s bothering you so you don`t have to when you get home ;) Whatever works.

Remind yourself of your motivation. Why are you out there? These days I remind myself that if I don't do this run I won't be able to cross the finish line in May. That I won't be with my bestie when she does. I remind myself that running makes me feel strong and healthy. That when I'm done, I feel happier. I remind myself that I've run longer and harder before and I can do it again. Sometimes I just repeat that over and over and over so my inner voice can't remind me why I want to stop. Some days it`s simply reminding myself:

Hope one of these helps you through the next run!

March 4, 2012

@ 11 Months

We are just one month from his first birthday. What the? I swear we just brought the mite home from the hospital. I’m sure it was yesterday. Oh wait now, I know it wasn’t because I actually slept fairly well last night, which I didn’t do for the first 9 months of his life. Yes, that must actually mean we are closer to one year than one day.

@ 11 months, Hudson ...

... is free standing. Yep, he can now stand all by his lonesome for quite a bit of time. Even longer if he's distracted.
... is a much better sleeper than he’s ever been. We’ve had a few rough nights of late thanks to teething, but for the most part he’s sleeping pretty much through the night since early January, or at least goes back to sleep easily on his own if he does stir. And naptimes are no fuss, no muss 99% of the time. Amen + Hallelujah!
... yes, he has taken his first steps. They were tentative and just a few, but he’s getting there. He keeps trying on his wobbly little legs. Oh, hold on to your hats folks once this little man starts running because he ...
showing his mad free standing skillz!
And followed up with a few steps...
... is super destructive curious. There is no keeping him still. He wants to be moving, exploring, picking, and poking. So far we’ve lost one coat button, one crib mobile, one computer key, two door stoppers, and countless rolls of toilet paper.  Fun times.

... still only says da da da. Seriously child? I birthed you out my va-jay-jay and you still only say dada. Kidding. I know once mama starts there’ll be a day I’m wishing he never spoke the words in the first place.

... has had his second haircut. Yep, not one tooth. Not even one year old and he’s had two haircuts. It turned out a little short/uneven thanks to his continuous curiousity and desire to move while scissors were in his face. Oh child o mine.
... will pretty much go with anyone. Thankfully for us, he’s not overly shy and we can leave him with pretty much anyone familiar and he doesn’t fuss or cry for us when we leave. Thankfully, this allows us to have an (albeit limited) social life.  

is afraid of the vacuum. If I need to vacuum I have to pick him up and hold him in one arm and vacuum with the other. Oh the irony, given the vacuum was used to lull him to sleep for the first half of his life! Hmm, maybe that’s the issue?
... is getting pretty good at feeding himself. We still lose bits and pieces in transit, and blackberries and blueberries are a bit of scene once he's done, but he can really make good headway with stuffing his sweet little face all on his own.

... is showing early signs of being a leftie. I know that trait doesn't really become prominent until he's a couple of years old or more, but you can certainly see he favours his left. When he started rolling, he could only roll to the left for the longest time. When he started grabbing and reaching, he would use mostly his left hand. And now he uses his left hand to pick food up and put it in his mouth (see above!), with the right being brought in for backup. I guess we'll have to wait and see!
... is our smiley bates. He really does smile most of the time and laughs with ease. Whether it’s us, our family, or a stranger, he’s quick to smile his gummy grin and get all the attention he knows will ensue.
... the sunshine in our days. Love you little man!
Happy 11 months HP!!

March 2, 2012

Right Now ...

Right Now ...

... I'm happy it's Friday, the weekend is here, and that it's shaping up to be a nice, quiet one.

... I'm waiting for the boyso to wake up from his nap.

... I'm sitting in my running clothes having planned a run for the AM nap. Other obligations resulted in that getting bumped to this afternoon. My sneakers await.

... I'm thinking about first birthday plans. He's going to be one in about month.



... I'm wondering where the year has gone, smiling at all that it held.

... I'm hoping to get a little scrapbooking done over the weekend.

... I'm enjoying a few more moments of quiet in the house and a cup of coffee.

I hope your Friday is shaping up nicely and that the weekend hold happiness in store.

March 1, 2012

Pin(tested) Recipes

One of the many reasons I love Pinterest is the quick and easy way to find and save recipes. My In the Oven and On the Stove board has the second most pins of all my boards. Occasionally I even find the time to test a few out. (That's really my way of justifying the amount of time I spend pinning things ... if I try one or two every now and then it totally makes the hours and hours of fun I have worth it ... right?). As I was living true to yesterday's post and enjoying some quiet time with a coffee and a muffin on Pinterest, I thought I'd share a few of my recent Pin(Tested) recipes.

First up, are these brownies. I love to find a healthier version of favourite treats, especially those that satisfy a sweet tooth. These came from a recent copy of Chatelaine magazine and I went online and pinned them so I could recycle the mag and keep the recipe. While they still have a bit of sugar in them, they use ground almonds as a flour substitute. They also use only egg whites, no butter and no dairy. So, dairy free and gluten free, these sweet mounds of goodness are "two-thirds the calories, half the fat and three times the fibre of ordinary brownies." (as per Chatelaine). 

After making the first batch as per recipe and altering a second, I did discover that using store-bough ground almonds were my preference over home ground almonds, as they're a shade finer. I also added a half cup of unsweetened applesauce which made them a touch moister. As is, recipe was really good. Altered, even better.

Next up is this delightful avocado vinaigrette from Cassie at Back to Her Roots. Avocados are a regular purchase these days, given HP loves them beyond and they are perfectly soft for bite-size finger feeding and chewing. The only problem is he only eats part of one each time and once cut they simply don't hold up well. For the first few weeks I was enjoying the rest with my lunch, in salads and on sammies. But even I tired of that day in and day out (though HP doesn't seem to - still one of the first things he reaches for on his tray!). I went searching for alternate uses for the leftovers and found this dressing.

Again, second batch was altered to cut the vinegar in half and add about two tablespoons of honey. The original was extremely bright and citrusy, but a bit too much for tastes. I like a slight sweetness to cut the tang of the vinegar in vinaigrette. With the adjustments it was perfect for my tastebuds. Loved it over a chicken salad (hmmm supper tonight?) and mixed in with some hard-boiled eggs instead of mayo in an egg salad.

Quinoa is a new favourite in our house and I went in search of a Mexican-inspired quinoa dish to go with some salsa chicken. Pinterest didn't let me down and gave me these delicious sweet roasted peppers stuffed with quinoa via Good Cheap Eats.

Again, as is my M-O, I changed it up a bit to work with the ingredients I had on hand. I used yellow peppers in place of celery, corn instead of carrots, left out the black beans but added extra of all the veggies to compensate and cut the whole thing in half. I also left out the cheese from the mix, just topping with it instead (and for no reason other than I forgot!). Even with the modifications, these were excellent. And even cutting the recipe in half, stuffing four pepper halves instead of eight, I had a heaping cup of the quinoa mix leftover. Mmmm.

And finally there were these beauties from the Brown Eyed Baker which I wrote about here. Mocha Espresso Cupcakes, need I say more?

There you have it, four recipes I have Pin(Tested) on your behalf. Go forth, replicate (or modify) and enjoy!