Saturday, June 28, 2008

Holidays will equal infrequent blogging

Tomorrow morning we leave for the cottage. I'll be gone for three weeks. With no internet connection at the cottage this means infrequent blog posts. However, given that there are options within the Town of Huntsville, I have a plan. I have a jump drive and there will be people staying with me now and again who have laptops so I plan to write posts and then upload a few at once so do please check back now and again to see what we're up to in cottage country. At the very least, you'll want to find out how the Cleanse ended. My last day will be next Friday. I'm very excited to be near the end.

Today went much better than the last two. I felt very satisfied after each meal which led to a better mood although I'm still confused as to why I'm so tired. Two kids perhaps?

Emily is VERY excited about going to the cottage. She's been anxious to get there since we closed up last September. I'm excited too. It's one of my very favourite places in the world. John, sadly, will only be with us for short bits of our time there due to several work obligations. And then he takes off for some reconnaissance in Austin during our last week. But we plan to go back for a week in August for more concentrated family time.

On the up side, Beth and Graeme and Kate will be meeting us there for the second and third week. Although Graeme too will be in Austin for Week 3. Probably not a bad thing since the cottage will be pretty crowded that week with my dad and Donna and their two dogs and Beth and Kate and her dog and Beth's friend, Sara (sorry, Sara, you do normally get billing before the dogs, not after).

There is a lot of packing and running around waiting for me upstairs so I'll have to end there, my friends. I will miss you. But I won't miss the city during the next three weeks. Yahoo!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 13 and 14

One more week! Just one more week!

The last two days haven't been great. I've stayed the course but I've been hungry a lot. I fell off the old organizational wagon yesterday and didn't have enough around, aside from those blasted baby carrots, to eat on the fly. I blame it all on the fact that my gazpacho ran out a couple of days ago.

I kind of clued in late yesterday when I realized what a bad mood I was in. And then I woke up in a bad mood today. I never wake up in a bad mood. I would actually say that for the most part I'm in a perpetually good mood. I dawned on me this morning that I probably didn't have enough calories in me. I went from feeling the best I've felt in years to feeling right crappy.

I remedied most of all that today with more gd carrot sticks and lots of salad.

I also bought groceries to make more gazpacho.

Last night was also a little different because my little Emily, age almost 4, had her first real-live sleep over. I know. It seems a little crazy. I agree.

However, it was at one of my best friend's house with her daughter Ella who Emily has known and played with since she was born and so I knew it would be okay. I'm not saying I'll be letting her do it often but I wish I could have bottled her excitement. It would keep me going until I'm 97.

She had a great time and was apparently amazingly behaved. She was also very tired when I picked her up. I think she'll sleep really well tonight.

And now, onto her next excitement: we leave for the cottage on Sunday. Today is Friday and I have a two page list of things to pack, an entire house to clean, a garden to weed and gazpacho to make.

Good thing there is a holiday at the end of all of this.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday and Cleanse: Day 12

I'm actually giving you a non-lentil, non-brown rice, super-yummy and very easy recipe. Chicken, of course, but great, great, great. I found this recipe last summer in a cookbook my mum gave me the Christmas we all spent in Dominican Republic about a year before she died. We didn't exchange gifts that year because of the expense of the trip but my mum, being my mum, had to give Beth and I a little something because it was Christmas and that meant gifts for her girls. This one was a great winner. I look forward to exploring it more in my next theme month for WCW.

The cookbook is called A Year of the Best: Seasonal Recipes from the Best of Bridge. If you're Canadian, the Bridge cookbooks are as familiar to use as Company's Coming and it is highly likely that your mum, if not you, has at least one Bridge cookbook on her shelf.

This is the simplest recipe going but the flavour is amazing and it stays really juicy, which is some kind of feat for boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Thai Grilled Chicken

1/3 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup fresh mint
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
3 tbsp peeled, chopped ginger
2-3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp veg oil (I used olive)
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (I used jalapeƱo)

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 kilo)

Process marinade ingredients in food processor or blender until finely chopped.

Arrange chicken in glass baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and grill until chicken is no longer pink inside.

That's it! The best part, apart from the fact that this was mostly Cleanse-friendly, is that I had all the herbs growing in the garden.

Today was better Cleanse-wise. I did well; I feel great again. Back on track. I had a bit of salmon mixed with broccoli for lunch and then this chicken (only a bit though) for supper with tons of veg. All good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 10 and 11

Yesterday was good. I was very good and I felt freaking incredible. Have I told you enough times how great I'm feeling? Because I am. Or at least, I was.

Today is Day 11. Remember Day 11? Fish? Chicken? Oh yeah baby.

But today was also unusual. I took the girls to pick strawberries this morning with my friend Pam. We had lunch out. There was fish on the menu but the portion sizes were HUGE. I only ate a little bit and the salad was covered in a creamy dressing. I picked through it. I think I did pretty well at lunch.

But then there was supper and things fell apart a bit cleanse-wise. Since today I was able to eat fish I made John's promised birthday supper of sushi. I made a lot of sushi. A lot. With a lot of white rice. It was delicious but I got full fast since my portion sizes are really small lately and I ate too much and a lot of it was white rice.

I felt too full afterwards. The feeling got worse and I felt gross. Bloated and nasty. Although full of very yummy sushi. My sushi rocked. My gut did not.

So here is what I realized through all of this: portion sizes are way too big in restaurants and portion sizes are way too big in most of our homes. One of the big things I've learned through this whole thing is that I eat too much and I really need only a small amount of food to function and function well. Right now I'm eating very little compared to how much I normally eat and yet I feel way better than I normally do. I'm eating way more vegetables, and many of them raw, than I normally do and like I said, I feel way better than I normally do.

This all means that I've realized something else; I have to change what I eat and how much on a permanent basis. The way I felt after the sushi (did I say how great it was?) made that even more clear to me. Vegetables in huge amounts, small amounts of whole grains and only a little meat is the magic potion to feeling great. Fruit when I feel like it.

Having said all that, today was a great day, apart from the cleanse-related stuff. It was a beautiful morning for picking strawberries. Pam thankfully played hooky from work to come with us. I wasn't sure how it would go with me and the two kids but Pam's help made it go very well. Turns out Emily loves to pick strawberries. And show us every single one she picked. "Look Pam! Look at this one! Mummy, did you see this one? Look how big it is." Every single one. Hysterical.

Also, time consuming.

Hope "helped" Pam for a while and then parked herself between two rows and ate crackers until it was time to go. So, it went well.

Tonight I made the first of at least two batches of strawberry jam. It looks ruby red and it glistens in the jars and I can't wait to taste it on a piece of homemade bread right after the Cleanse yes I know this goes against everything I said above shut up.

A girl can only have so much resolve and self-control when faced with homemade strawberry jam.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 9

Well, yesterday I fell off the wagon, just a little bit. I ate 1/4 of a chelsea bun and had bread for supper instead of rice or lentils because that's all there was at that moment. I don't feel worse for it, just a little disappointed in myself. Today I'm back to being more disciplined. It will be easier without company in the house.

The rain, rain and more rain continues to hamper my efforts to get more exercise. I just don't want to walk or bike in a lot of rain. And a lot of rain is what we're getting. Every. Single. Day.

Tomorrow is Day 11. Do you remember what Day 11 means? Fish! Chicken! I've never been so excited over fish and chicken before. Woooooohoooooooo! I will be cracking open my new Jamie Oliver book from the library to get some of his awesome looking fish recipes.

Oh, that reminds me of something very funny Emily said yesterday. She's confiscated the Jamie Oliver book to her bed and she and John look at pictures of the food every night when John puts her to bed. She loves, loves, loves it. I made soup for supper last night. Emily said: "Mummy, can I have mine in a mug, please?" "Sure," I said. I paused thinking where this came from and then she said: "Like Jamie Oliver." So funny. I brought her the mug. She looked at it and said "I need a spoon. Jamie uses a spoon."

Too much. I swear she's going to be on the Food Network someday.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 7 and 8

Things are continuing to go well. Day 7, yesterday, was a bit of a milestone because it meant that I finished one supplement that had me taking 7 pills three times a day and moved on to another that is only 5 pills twice a day. There are still some things I need to improve: (1) get more exercise. If I really want to get the maximum benefit from this, I need to get moving more by biking or walking every day. Or at least 4 times a week. In the last 7 days I've only been out 3 times. I do find it hard with the kids and all the rain. (2) diversify my food. I'm still eating a lot of the same things. I need to spend some time tomorrow combing through my cookbooks looking for new ideas.

My dad and Donna arrived in town last night for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival so John and I took the opportunity to go out and see a late show last night. We saw Indiana Jones. We both LOVE the Indy series. We loved the first 2/3 of this movie but the ending? Just weird. It is Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets Indiana Jones and I wish they hadn't gone that route. Still, all in all, very good. Yes, I ate some popcorn. No, I didn't eat much of it. Yes, it was very good. No, I felt no guilt about it at all. Okay, maybe a little but I quickly ignored it and took one more handful.

Today we went to a new farmers' market in Ottawa: the East Ottawa Farmer's Market. Everything sold there comes from within 100 km of Ottawa. It was very good, fairly close to our house and free parking. I finally found someone selling reasonably priced local eggs! I'll definitely be back for that alone. And there were tons of local strawberries. We picked out the nicest we found (which also happened to be the cheapest) and I'm going to go pick-your-own at their farm on Tuesday with the girls. I'm not sure how that will play out with Hope but we're going to risk it anyway.

We ended today by taking dinner over to my friend Pam's house. Her husband Jim, John's work wife, is away for ten days so she is on her own with their two kids. Nevan, their oldest, happens to be Emily's self-proclaimed best friend. We ate, chatted and generally ignored the kids as they entertained themselves and each other in the yard.

Tomorrow we will darken the door of church one last time before we head to the cottage, followed by an afternoon play date with Julie and Max and then we will likely go to Sparks Street for the annual BBQ Competition, at which I will be eating absolutely nothing. I'll be toting some carrot sticks and the like. Sigh. Poor me. Wah, wah, wah.

I did bring this on myself but I can still complain when faced with barbecue. It will truly be a test of my will. I have to say though that I am noticing some interesting things and some encouraging signs that this is making a difference for me. First, my hair is oilier. I assume this is from the toxins coming out. Second, my skin is clearer at a time when it decidedly should not be. Third, my mood is consistently better. Fourth, my energy level stays much higher. MUCH higher for most of the day. I still get fatigued but that is almost always related to not eating enough and often enough. Last, I'm sleeping more soundly. Last night I honestly don't think I stirred until about 6:00 this morning. That's amazing to me. I've become, like most mothers, a very light sleeper but last night I think the house could have been picked up and moved and I might not have woken up for it.

I'm not sure that's a good thing for the kids but it was damn good for me.

There are other things I notice that I'll save for another time when I'm feeling the need for some shock and awe around here.

Can you tell I'm finding it hard to come up with a witty and snappy way to end this post. It just goes on....

and on.....

and on....

until I finally just walk aw

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 6

Yesterday was soooooo much better. It is amazing how much better I feel if I'm not hungry all the time. I can really feel The Cleanse improving my health and my overall feeling of well-being if I'm well-fed. I cut up a bunch of veggies, made baba ganouj and left it out all day so I had something always ready when I needed it. I also made gazpacho and a cold cauliflower salad so those were around and ready too. What a difference.

We're already starting to get in cottage-packing mode around here. Today I am on a search for some new roof racks and I've started a small pile in our room of odd things that have to go with us. We leave a week from Saturday for three weeks. It's a long stretch but I think it will be great. The girls will really appreciate fewer car trips, that's for sure.

With all this rain, I'm sure the garden will be a complete jungle when we get back.

That's all the drivel for now. Time for my mushroom breakfast.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 5

I had a recipe to post last night for What's Cooking Wednesday but it was one I made last week before I started The Cleanse and I couldn't bring myself to write about normal food right now.

Yesterday was better although I was still hungry ALL THE TIME. However it all started out very well because yesterday was John's birthday and we went out for breakfast. What could I do but join in the fun to celebrate my wonderful husband's birthday? We went to Cora's and I did stick with their vegetable skillet. It's not my fault that there is cheese melted on it and there are potatoes in there, right?

The rest of the day was normal but supper was less than stellar with my undercooked brown rice. Hopefully today will go better. I am feeling pretty good. I'm still really tired but I'm assuming that's because I'm not eating enough. I plan to do another shop today to get more snacks in the house to alleviate the constant hunger.

Day 6 today means only 5 more days before I get to eat meat! Something to celebrate!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 4

Today was hard. I didn't like today. I'm sick of vegetables. I want meat. And cheese. I don't care about desserts or even bread today. I just want a big slab of beef and some stinky, creamy cheese.

I'm hungry all the time. I'm not supposed to let myself get hungry but carrots just don't fill me up as a snack and I don't have the time to be making salads or cooking vegetables. Today I ate extra apples sending my fruit intake higher than it probably should be but I didn't care. I also ate half of a cupcake that I made for John's birthday tomorrow and it was bliss.

Beth suggested getting some baba ganouj to dip some veggies in when I get hungry. I'll get some tomorrow and something other than carrots and celery I can snack on because otherwise I'm going to fold at some point.

Beth also told me that she know several people who have done The Cleanse and my feelings today are very typical. I hope I like the food I eat better tomorrow.

Expect some kind of vegetable dish or lentils or brown rice (appetizing, eh?) for WCW tomorrow. I'm sure you'll all be rushing out to cook that up.

Blah. Grumpy. Bedtime.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 3

My food for supper was brown. Brown lentils (leftovers from last night) and eggplant salad, also brown. Tasted fine but I have to diversify my colours tomorrow.

I'm feeling very tired but I always feel very tired, which is the main reason I'm doing The Cleanse; I want to have more energy. I also have a minor headache. I guess this could be the crappy stage I've heard about. I could really use a glass of wine and a cookie right now.

Instead, I'll drink my sandy-textured shake, knit and watch something I got from the library.

Don't you love the library? I could spend a good part of every day there just browsing, reading, hanging out. I love our branch. It's brand new, really bright, the librarians are great (and know me and the kids by name now, which makes it really feel like "my" library), there is a great kids' section AND an amazing DVD section. Getting DVDs from the library feels a bit like pulling a scam. All these great movies.... free! For a week! AND I can renew them if I want! How do they let me get away with that?

I love peony season. The scents, the giant blooms, the colours. And then the rain storm, the wind, the hail if you were in Ottawa yesterday. Sad, pathetic peonies. Here they were this morning after the deluge yesterday:

What's a girl to do? Liberate them and bring them inside, of course! Now the entire main floor of the house smells like peonies which is about 100 times better than it usually smells.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 2

Yesterday ended up going quite well. My second shake (I have to drink three per day) was much better than the first. I used frozen mango, frozen banana and fresh pineapple instead and added a lot of water to make it thinner. It made all the difference, which is good because did I mention I have to drink three of the things each day?

I'm really glad I had those few days of eating lower-carb, higher protein, as painful as they were. The result has been a pretty easy transition into this so far. I feel pretty good. So far I don't feel crappy at all although I was warned that I would feel pretty bad the first week as all the toxins started to leave my body. So far so good. Of course, it is only Day 2.

There are two things that I need to do better: (1) drink more water. I'm supposed to have 8 8oz glasses per day and I assume this is apart from the fruit and shakes I'm having; (2) I need to eat more veggies and less fruit. I'm supposed to have half the amount of fruit as veggies. But with all the fruit shakes, I've realized I have to have vegetables for breakfast if I'm going to be disciplined about that rule.

Anyone have any ideas on how to choke down asparagus first thing in the morning?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Cleanse: Day 1

My Cleanse came in the mail yesterday. After pouring through the material and staring suspiciously at the bottles of herbal supplements and the large jar of powder, I decided I would begin this morning.

I'm undertaking the Purification Cleanse, which is the more radical approach but something that my digestive system clearly needs after my brief foray into a low-carb, higher protein diet. This means that for 10 days I will only be eating vegetables, fruits, smoothies made with the mystery powder, and lots and lots of water. On Day 11, I will introduce some low-fat proteins like chicken breast and fish. Lots of fish. The entire Cleanse is 21 days and guess what?

You will get to live every moment of it with me right here.

So there are a few things suggested in The Cleanse that I won't likely be doing: (1) eating only organic vegetables and fruits. It's a nice idea but the amount of organic veggies and fruits available at my nearest grocery stores are limited and the prices are high so I'll be mixing it up (2) eating only organic, free-range, grain fed, hormone free chicken. I would have to take out another mortgage on our house to do that. I once bought organic chicken breast for Emily when she was a baby and it was $18. I'm not joking. I haven't bought it since. (3) Drinking 8 glasses of spring water a day. I don't buy water. Okay, I do buy water because the City of Ottawa bills me for it every two months. If you can afford or have the time to have that much spring water in the house then lucky for you, but it just doesn't work for me.

The whole idea of The Cleanse is to flush out all the toxins in my body by taking a number of supplements and drinking the smoothies with the powder. While doing that, I'm supposed to try to limit severely any new toxins going in and thus the organic foods and spring water. I like the idea but I just can't do the totally organic thing. I have to work in our budget. So, I'll do my best.

I had my first shake this morning before breakfast. I added strawberries and bananas and blueberries, which sounds very good but tasted like crap. I figure after a couple of days I'll get used to the taste. Beyond that it is salads and fruit and veggies very frequently because I'm hungry a lot. So far though, so good.

Of course, those cookies in the kitchen are rather tempting as is the bread I baked last night and pretty much any other food that isn't a vegetable.

This will be a very interesting exercise in self-control. I could stand to exercise my self-control. It doesn't get a work out too often.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ah, that's better

Today's work in the garden, and it was significantly more than last time, felt a lot better. I dug and dug and dug and I feel great right now! Like a top-of-her-game 20.... okay, 30-something. The difference? Well, let me tell you a story....

I decided to undertake a Cleanse. You know... a CLEANSE, the most popular thing on the block right now. I just haven't been feeling "right" in a while, although I couldn't put my finger on why and I am so tired. All the time. Even after Hope has slept through the night FOUR NIGHTS IN A ROW, people! So, I contacted Beth's good friend Marlene who is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and general health guru. She walks people through cleanses with a lot of support as well as providing all the materials of course, even from as far away as Texas.

So, Marlene's first instructions were to cut back on my carbs and sugars in order to get myself back in order generally (she gave me a lot more technical information that didn't include "get myself back in order" but I'll spare you all that), feeling rested and ready for the nutritional benefits of The Cleanse. So, I started jacking up my protein intake - meats, cheeses, all that good stuff - and cutting back on the carbs that I love so much. The first couple of days were hard but not too bad. The third day though my spastic colon kicked into gear and by day four, well, let's just say that Chapters won't be letting me through their doors again for a long time.

I was in a lot of pain and colonic distress. For years I've had this problem and it is always worse with high fat intake. For some reason, I guess because it hasn't bothered me in so long, it didn't register that I'd be faced with some serious issues on the high-protein, low-carb diet.

Can you tell I was tired?

Anyway, I cut the fat, still kept the carbs lowish but brought all fruit back in because, hey, I had to eat something. Anyway, testing will result (since in the midst of this I found out that my initial diagnosis with these problems years ago was clearly made by the doctor who graduated last in her class. I've always said that someone had to graduate last in the class in med school; just hope it isn't the doctor you're seeing. Right when I truly needed some competence, I ended up with the dunce. Anyway, she was all wrong I found out when I accessed my records and the nurse essentially told me the doctor had been wrong. Real nice), The Cleanse will still happen and hopefully I'll continue to feel good as I do now that I've got everything "working" properly again.

Whew, too much colon information, I know. But I also know that it's the reason some of you come here. So, this is a shout out to you, my peeps.

All this to say, I'm on my game today. I feel better than I've felt in a while, and I might just shed a few pounds when all is said and done.

Now if the damn Cleanse would just arrive. I'm slightly fearful that Customs might be a bit suspicious of all those herbs coming my way.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I'm old; I'm tired; If I was a horse, they'd shoot me

I worked in the garden digging up reluctant sod this afternoon in very humid and hot conditions for all of 30 minutes. And you know what? I'm totally spent.

My back aches, I'm too tired to clean the kitchen (that may just be an excuse), my legs are a bit achy. I feel like an old woman complaining about her arthritis to anyone who will listen.

I'm pathetic.

What happened to me? Just yesterday I was a decently active and fit 20-something. Today I'm a decrepit 30-something. Just plain sad.

Oh, I better go. My Alka-Seltzer is ready and it's time for Murder She Wrote.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Yesterday: good; Today: not so much

A few of great things happened yesterday; first, washing machine guy called and had the timer from our washer all fixed up AND he was able to install it right away. Hurray for laundry! Second, John came home last night to much fanfare, hugs and kisses from all of us. Third, I successfully pulled off John's early birthday/Father's Day gift without him having a clue.

You might remember that John's bike was stolen a few months ago. I decided to get him a new-to-him bike for this gift-giving time of year. On Wednesday, the kids and I went to Dave's Bike Dump here in Ottawa and got him a great but ugly bike that will be awesome to ride and will likely not be the target of any thieves. At least not any thieves with taste.

It is a very early model mountain bike (in fact, Dave told me it was the first widely available mountain bike although I can't remember what it was called. I believe the name Tom was involved). The original owner painted over the frame to hide the make so it would purposely look ugly and not draw nasty thieving people. He was successful.

It has all new components thanks to Dave and his crew and I fitted it with all the extras. I thought John had a clue to what was going on but in typical fashion, he was totally clueless (heh heh, sorry baby). I love pulling off a surprise. He declared it his best birthday present ever.

And then today the kids were so bad most of the morning that it was the first time that I very seriously contemplated returning to work. It's still seriously on my mind. Today sucked. It got a lot better, in fact way, way better, after naps took place, but man, if I ever needed a 10:00 a.m. cocktail, it was today.

I'm thinking of setting up a bar in the living room, or perhaps just starting to carry a flask for these kind of emergencies. Yeah, I'm that kind of kick-ass mom.

Tonight I'm off to my girls' book club for some treats and a casual mention of the book we read. I love my occasional night out. I really need it today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday

My girls have taken a liking to stir-fries lately, especially if they are accompanied by rice noodles and contain baby corn. So, when I saw the recipe below in Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, I knew it would be a hit with me and them. If John were here, he would have liked it too.

I did make some changes to the recipe: first, I used hoisin sauce instead of oyster sauce because I accidentally bought hoisin instead of oyster. Oh well. Still tasted great, and if you can't eat seafood, even better then. I also added some other vegetables along with the ones in the recipe; I added baby corn, red pepper, left out the bean sprouts and then also added blanched almonds. The almonds were a great addition. Super yummy. Oh, I also left out the red pepper flakes due to my kids' distaste for anything spicy.

I think next time I would prefer this with rice but I also would happily eat it with no rice or noodles on the side. It was terrific AND it was really fast and easy to prepare.

Chop Sooooo-ey!

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce (or hoisin)
2 tsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp each minced garlic, sugar and cornstarch

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into strips

1/2 cup beef broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbsp veg oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced celery (cut on the diagonal)
1 handful snow peas
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup sliced green onions

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add pork and toss to coat with marinade. Let pork marinate for 15 minutes while you prepare remaining ingredients.

To make sauce, whisk together broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large, non-stick wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and any extra marinade. Cook and stir until pork is lightly browned on the outside, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, celery and snow peas. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 more minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Add bean sprouts, water chestnuts, green onions, and reserved sauce. Cook and stir for 3 more minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp and sauce is bubbly and has thickened. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

So that is what sleep is like... I'd forgotten

I essentially got a full night's sleep last night. Supberb. Hope cried a bit before going to sleep but not for long. She woke up around 2:00 am, cried for maybe 5 minutes and then went back to sleep without me going into her room. She got up at 7:00. It was so so so so wonderful.

I hope that last night repeats ad infinitum.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Photos of our movie afternoon

I was too tired and worn out from all the crying and whatnot to upload photos to go with my post yesterday. I'm still tired and worn out but here they are anyway.

What to do when you don't have a pumpkin cookie cutter and it is no where near Halloween? Improvise with a circle and a knife. Turned out not bad, I think. Tasted great.

The girls were all ready to go, cookies in hand.

Once Cinderella started they were mesmerized. The only other thing that got Hope's attention was more cookies. She was covered in icing. I actually had to wash her legs afterward.

Emily loved the movie but lost interest with about ten minutes to go. I think 1 hour is about her attention span for a single show so movies are a bit long for her (unless it's Shrek).

I had a couple of inquiries as to how the night went with Hope last night. In a word, crappy but by this morning there was some progress. She cried on and off until about 10:00 pm when she finally gave in and went to sleep. I went in twice before that but she kept crying when I left. Eventually I just let her wail for a while. I was at the end of my rope and exhausted so I went to bed and she finally gave in. She woke up again around 3:00. I gave her a kiss, sat in the chair for about 1 minute and she was asleep. She was awake again at 5:00. I sat in the chair for a minute, left and then she started to cry. I went back in, gave her the tough love talk, walked out and listened to her cry until about 5:30. She then slept until 9:00 when I woke her up. The progress was that when I put her down for her nap, I left, she cried for maybe three minutes and then went to sleep. Success! I just hope that it carries over to tonight.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A little girl time... cuz I haven't had enough of that lately

John left very early yesterday morning for his big annual conference "The Learneds." If you aspire to Homer Simpson then you'll be saying to yourself right now "The Learnds, Pepsi, The Learnds." Oh, that Homer.

Anywho, John is in Vancouver until Thursday evening. That's a whole lot of kid/mummy time. And we haven't had enough of that lately, right? I figure I'll need a big vacation, a trip to the spa or one of those margaritas the size of your head when he gets back. Maybe all three.

Yesterday, Day 1, my good friend Pam took Hope while Emily and I perused a giant community garage sale nearby. It was Emily's first garage sale experience. Unfortunately it wasn't exactly the typical experience one would expect: we drove between houses that were open for business due to the non-stop drizzle and occasional downpour. That did not diminish our spirit however! Emily loved scanning the garages for the things we were looking for and we came out the other side being able to check everything off our list for good deals to boot: sand box ($15), new bike for Emily ($10!), bouncy seat for Sofia ($5), small wood table and chairs for Emily's room ($15) and a bonus Thomas the Train puzzle for 50 cents. All in all, a good haul.

Today I was on deck to teach Sunday School with both kids with me. Normally Hope is with John sitting, most likely, at a Time Horton's stuffing herself gleefully with timbits. I was fairly prepared to hand Hope off to an unsuspecting parent in the nursery but she was amazing; she loved Sunday School (not that surprising really since she loves to do whatever Emily gets to do) and she sat better in the "Big Church" then Emily often does.

With another rainy day today I decided to borrow Shan's idea for movie day/night complete with thematic snack food. I loved Shannon's idea from the start and knew I would adopt it myself one day. I let Emily choose the movie. She chose Cinderella (she has not seen any of the classic Disney flicks yet but I can see it coming fast and furious) and I made sugar cookies that I decorated like pumpkins. They were VERY popular. I put the plate down on the couch and Hope, in a matter of minutes, was decorated like a pumpkin herself. Icing head to toe. Eh, it's a special, once-in-a-while treat so I let her go crazy. It was really fun and I'll definitely be doing it again some time. I may put a drop sheet on the couch first though. Thanks for the great idea, Shan.

The rest of my night is unfolding before my eyes. Hope is up there crying.... again. She has become the worst sleeper and I just want to scream... and sometimes do. I am so sleep-deprived and so frustrated. Last night she was up at 1:00, 4:00 and then for good at 7:00. I guess I could deal with that if I had an easy time getting her back to sleep but I don't. I also don't have an easy time getting her to bed initially. She wants me to sit in the chair in her room until she is asleep. I just don't want to do it anymore. I'm pretty certain that having me do that is leading us to the trouble in the middle of the night. I think she wakes up and wants me there for her to fall back to sleep because she is in the habit of having me do that at the beginning of the night. No more. I'm already losing a lot of sleep so I figure I'll write off tonight and just give her a dose of tough love and see where it gets us. So far it is getting her hoarse and me stressed out.

From here on in, it's all up hill.