Friday, December 21, 2012

'Tis the Season


I have been quiet a while, I realise. Nothing serious. A bit of the winter blahs, mostly. Thank heavens the early Church decided to piggy back Saturnalia. I resisted putting up decorations until last weekend when the kids finally took over and got out the boxes and began anyway. My job has been to tweak and clean up, of course!

Confession: I have to thank the Nester and the hundreds of women who have linked up their homes decorated for Christmas. Seeing the links caused me to tidy up and photograph the house, thinking I would link, too. But when I started browsing, I wanted to decorate--more! So, I hauled out the boxes and added a few things here and there. You can't help but notice there's no theme: no colour scheme. There's no great thought or effort put into it--and, frankly, that's just the way I like it. It's cheery and it chases away the darkness (of every kind). As it should.

So, without further fuss, here's our house all dolled up for Christmas!
I hope it makes you smile.

Our front door:
(you've seen this before)

Welcome to the front entry (looking back to the front door from the stairs):

We used to have a cabinet underneath the mirror but I took it out to give us more space and I haven't regretted it for a minute.

A close up of our little Christmas Card Clothesline:


Plenty of room for more!

We have our tree in the living room.
Yes, one. The kids decorated it. My son wanted to do the traditional red and gold, my daughter wanted to use my blue and silver. They compromised and did both.

A couple of years ago, I thought it would be wonderful if we brought back a Christmas ornament from our summer vacations. This singing cowboy is from our trip to southern Alberta in 2010.

 Look who I found hiding in the branches?


I love a simple mantel. (Well, I love ornate garlanded ones, too--but to look at, not to make!)

That's our advent calendar to the right.

My son insists on turning the empty ones upside down to keep track.

Right over the TV we have our creche with the stable my husband made when my son was still a baby. We used to put little plastic animals in it.

 We'll be using the dining room a fair bit.

I gussied up the top of the Expedit. The ribbon holds ornaments the kids have made over the years.

 I kept the centrepiece simple.

My favourite angel adorns the china cabinet.

The kitchen didn't escape my new found enthusiasm either!

 I made these paper ornamements a few years ago.

The only thing I bought this year was this table cloth. Boy, is it busy!

And, I have to show you my favourite part of Christmas. Deep in the bowels of the basement, tucked in beside the laundry machines and the stairs, the best place of all. The wrapping station.

The place where all the magic happens!

Thank you so much for visiting! It's getting dark, let me turn the lights on for you!

(We're the only house with lights on our block. Is that sad, or what?)
Merry Christmas!
(and Happy Solstice! etc.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Whole 30 October: Report

The first few days were quite a whirlwind. On Saturday, I checked out Cathy Zielske’s video boost in the Move More Eat Well class at Big Picture Classes—and heard about something I knew nothing about—the whole30. I checked around the internet, discovered there was a book and by bed-time it was in my hands. I was planning October’s meals that weekend—and the minute I saw that the appendix in the back of the book had recipes—I was sold! I could do it. Moreover, I would do it with the help and support of the folks at MMEW.

Things went well for the first couple of days, but after lunch on Day 3, I felt like I’d swallowed a box and all the sharp corners were jabbing me. I went to bed. After that, I simply turned into a slug. On day 5, in the forums, I wrote:

The biggest symptom I've experienced is fatigue and mental fog. After every meal, I just want to take a nap. Then, a few hours before my next meal, my brain goes fuzzy. I think that leaves me with about two hours of vim and vigour a day! (And not together.)

It wasn’t long before  I did start feeling better—quite a lot better actually. On day 7, I had a glimpse of what the whole30 could do for me:

I feel like I have an inner core of energy, an inner fire if you will that wants to be let out. When I walk, I feel like I have to hold back: my muscles cannot cope with the energy I want to express. I have felt this way losing weight before. I am an athlete, jailed inside this fat body.

I still felt great the day before my son’s birthday (Day 20):
I need to talk about how fabulous I feel. I need to shout it from the rooftops. I feel younger. I have oodles of energy. There’s pep in my step. I am happier. Lighter. Chris made a joke in the middle of my saying something to him and I got annoyed at him. He clarified. “It was a joke. What do you need?” And I said, without really thinking, “Well, obviously, a sense of humour.” He laughed. It’s so nice to hear him laugh.

But that’s when the whole thing really derailed. I decided to have a piece of birthday cake—and it turned out to be a very badidea. It was a conscious choice. I thought it was merely a choice to have a slice of birthday cake—I was not prepared, in any way, for what followed. Once again, I felt lethargic. From Sunday to Thursday I felt sleepy. My energy was low. I started feeling horribly cold. It was like going through the early days all over again. No, it was worse.

Then, on Friday, (Day 26) I got sick. I didn’t start feeling better again until Tuesday night (Day 29). My stomach hurt for four days. It was awful. There were knives in there, then rocks churning every time I tried to eat or drink something. It made me mad, too. Here I’d been, doing my best to follow this ridiculous protocol that was supposed to make me healthy—and I got sick. I never get sick! But who knows? Maybe I would have been even more sick had I not been following the protocol. Maybe it was part of the process—my gut flora reacting to the changes. In any event, I have decided to continue for another thirty days. I have some issues like my sleep and how to handle stress which I want to focus on—but honestly? Truly? I want to live every single day was a Day 7 or a Day 20. I want that ease, that hope, and that joy every day of my life. Try finding that in the bottom of a bag of potato chips! I thought not.

So, the pictures:

and, after:
Measurements: I lost 16 pounds, 3 inches from my waist and 2 3/4" from my hips. Everything else stayed the same.

Workouts: I worked out 13x, some were 15-20 minute walks outside with family (5x), some were with a Leslie Sansone Video in my living room (8x). I am continuing the whole30, logging my sleep, food, activity levels and mood on my other blog, my psyche, my soma.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Menus: The Whole 30

I'm not one to jump on bandwagons or follow crazy fads--but this month I've decided to join a group of Women in the Move More Eat Well class by Cathy Zielske at Big Picture Classes and do the Whole30 program.

I'd hit my *alarm* weight of 255 lbs about ten days ago. I felt stiff and bloated. I couldn't move without a charlie horse or sudden cramp in my leg. My knees hurt and apparently, my upper back was swollen and red. I had been doing my Lelsie Sansone Videos earlier in September, but I had to stop because I literally could not move once I was done. I also couldn't move after I'd washed the floors or vaccuumed.

I have planned my meals for the month, as usual, but this time they meet the guidelines of the whole30 program. It's pretty simple: a hunk of protein cooked in an approved fat (ghee, coconut oil or EVOO) and two vegetables. (Fruit is allowed; I have it with nuts for a snack).

I wanted to post them here for the ladies at MMEW. Some want some ideas about what to cook! Items in parentheses are for other members of the family.

Here they are:

Day 1: Broiled Lemon pepper fish, spinach, carrots, (rice) Not Shown
Day 2: Hauswarming Beef and apple, (boiled potatoes)
Day 3: Roast ham, roasted squash, steamed asparagus, (scalloped potatoes)
Day 4: Leftover Ham frittatta. This is from the book, "It All Starts with Food." (IASF) 9 eggs, cooked meat, 1-2 cups of veggies per person. I'll use onions, mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper, and asparagus.
Day 5: Chicken breasts, (with Honey-Mustard Mayo sauce), butternut squash, spinach salad, (potatoes)
Day 6: Ginger-lime salmon, snowpeas and mushrooms, (rice) LC
Day 7: Cabbage roll soup (buns) LC
Day 8: Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, (Red Barn corn salad), Sweet potato and carrot mash, green beans, spinach salad, pickle and olive plate, pumpkin pie, cookies. I haven't decided whether I'll indulge or not.
Day 9: Dill Salmon chowder, green salad (LC)
Day 10: Turkey leftovers, I'll have spinach and carrots.
Day 11: Slow cooker beef stew (biscuits)
Day 12: Pork w/Apple Cider sauce, roasted rutabage (and potato), broccoli LC
Day 13: Herbed roasted Salmon, yams, broccoli or cabbage salad, (rice) LC
Day 14: Hauswarming beef and apple (potatoes)
Day 15: Shrimp Stir-fry
Day 16: Roasted Lemon-herb Chicken, roasted veggies
Day 17: Leftover Chicken frittatta
Day 18: Basic crock veggie soup, leftover turkey for me, (cheese quesadillas) LC
Day 19: Pork chops Diane, butternut squash, spinach salad, (potatoes) LC
Day 20: No Fuss salmon cakes, (from IASF) carrots, green beans (rice)
Day 21: Hamburgers, roasted sweet potatoes (and oven fries), coleslaw
Day 22: Lemon-pepper fish, broccoli, roasted rutabaga, (rice)
Day 23: Winter Sausage Soup, (biscuits) LC
Day 24: Chicken w/Apple Cider sauce, broccoli, butternut squash LC
Day 25: Classic Chicken Soup (from IASF)
Day 26: Pork Chops and squash, green salad, (potatoes) LC
Day 27: Poached Salmon, green beans, carrots (rice)
Day 28: Asian Beef and Broccoli (IASF)
Day 29: Garlic-dill whitefish, spinach, carrots, (rice)
Day 30: Faux Po w/Shrimp (IASF)
Day 31: Roast Ham, sweet potato, braised red cabbage.

Many of these recipes are from Leanne Ely's book, Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way. (Indicated with LC) Apparently, she now has a few Paleo e-books.

I will be planning my breakfasts and lunches on the Saturday/Sunday morning before the week starts so I can get my groceries for the week.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

William Morris and the Linens

The nights are chill now. Time for hot tea at night. Time to snuggle under soft sheets and warm blankets.

But, of course, I can't just change the sheets. Not me. No, I have to vaccuum the box springs and mattresses and then flip them. I have to wash down the headboards, footboards and siderails.

And then I have to rearrange and purge the linen closet.

Which isn't really a closet of course, but a shelf unit here in the basement,

and a couple of shelves here in the upstairs hall closet,

a shelf in the downstairs hall closet,

and the ottoman in the living room,

(and a two drawers in the chest in the hallway which I completely forgot about until this moment.)

After two days of climbing up and down two separate staircases, washing and drying and folding and deciding and sorting, this is what we have downstairs in the laundry room,

The summer sheets for the twin beds are here now, one bottom and one top sheet put together in a large ziploc bag. I'm rather pleased with myself for having thought of that.

upstairs in the closet,

downstairs on the shelf,

and left in the ottoman.

I have a nice pile to donate to the local animal shelter for bedding and rags.

Any fall frenzy happening where you are?

Linkng to the wonderful William Morris party happening every Thursday at Pancakes and French Fries.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Photo-A-Day, Days 2 thru 7

For Day 1, go here.

Day 2: Father

Day 3: Far Away

Day 4: In my Postbox/mailbox

Day 5: Bright

Day 6: Every Day

Day 7: Natural



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School: Scheduling Station

I'm not sure what else to call it. It came together quite organically.

Now that both kids are in public school, I need a place for their papers: A place where they can put them for me to sign--and a place for them to pick them up. Home "in" and "out" boxes, as it were.

I've been mulling this one over for a while. The logical place to put papers--my desk--is like putting them in a deep black hole.

 I decided to declutter this incredible hot spot as my William Morris Project for the William Morris Project post to link at Pancakes and French Fries, on Thursday.

I set the timer for 15 minutes thinking it would take me longer than that to get it done. It did: but only by 5 minutes--and I spent those five minutes actually cleaning the surface, not decluttering it.

I was thinking hard about creating a launch pad. One of the drawers in this dresser holds our winter gloves and hats. Right behind it is the coat/cleaning closet.

We used to keep our mail here, too.

One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was looking up projects from the old paper clutter course I took once at Simplify 101 and grabbing scrapbook paper and having a whale of a time. I didn't actually do anything with the folders other than label them. We'll see if the system is really necessary and whether it works before I invest any more time into it yet.

I just realised I need a file labelled "Mom"--so the kids will put what needs my attention into it. Then, I'll put the papers they can take back to school in the folders labelled with their names.

I started filing some of the papers and realised I had to write down when certain things were going to occur. I went to the kitchen. piece of paper in hand, to write it down on the calendar we keep on the back of the door. Then I back-tracked to get a pencil, as I always do. And that's when I got the great idea to move the calendar to this spot.

I added some pens and pencils in a jar and just like that I had something official.

We'll see how it works out.

Linking to The William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries.
Thanks Jules!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menus and Today's Photo

Being able to post my monthly menu means not only did I get it done (whew), but it also means I have successfully installed the drivers for the printer and scanner onto the new laptop. Go me!

Today's photo prompt is "something far away."

Being able to ride my bike seems very fay away.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Photo a Day

I tried this before and it didn't stick: I'm hoping it'll work out better this time!

The prompts are from FatMumSlim, an Australian Blogger.

I decided to do a "serious" self-portrait for today's prompt. I don't have many nice pictures of me (there's a reason for that!) so I thought I'd make the effort and create one.

Still. I just do not like the way I look these days. I'm overdue for a trim and I have no idea how to apply make-up! My fat doesn't help--nor does my weird sort of knobby-under-the-skin forehead.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free at Last!

Whoo hoo!

I spent the entire day on the telephone getting our wifi set up. There were four calls to my Internet provider (2 last night, 2 today, 50 minutes and 40 minutes on hold, respectively).

Finally someone informed me I had to manually configure the wireless router in order for it to work.

That was a long call, too, but thanks to Dan, in the Philippines, I'm now looking out the window as I type!

And now, behind me, where I used to work?

Almost as good as a free atlas.

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