Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Painting

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today, I'd like to share a little painting that the kids and I created a couple weeks ago.  It was one of the lovely craft projects organized by our local Ontario Early Years Centre.   If you are lucky enough to live near one, I urge you to go check it out!  It's a great place to meet other parents of young children and is a nice little outing for the kids.  They have all kinds of activities and programs - and it's all free!  This particular project is a simple one.  We used Oliver's hand print and Amelia's foot prints.  All you need to create your own is a blank canvas, red water based ink or paint, a red permanent marker... and a little bit of love.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tip #2 :: Defeating The Sock Monster

Do you have a sock monster living in your house?  One that eats socks, but only single socks, so that when you take your laundry from the dryer to fold it, you're left with several lonely socks that have lost their mate?  I used to just toss those socks into each family member's sock drawer and they'd soon be pushed to the back and long forgotten.

Awhile ago, I decided to start collecting all the lonely single socks in one place: a big drawstring bag tied to the back of my closet door.  That's where I've been putting everyone's lonely socks when I put away the clean laundry.  There, they can all mingle and not be so lonely.  Now, every few months or so, I dump out the bag to see how those guys are doing and low and behold, I find a giant pile of socks with pairs that match!

So, here's my quick tip - collect all single socks in one spot.  I'm starting to think that there never really was a sock monster living here.  Unless you take into account an almost 4 year old little boy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Raw Kale Salad with Beans and Veggies

This simple recipe of mine has become one of my favourite lunches.  I like to wash up an entire bunch of kale or two, rip the leaves into pieces, and store them in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag.  Then, it's ready to make salads with and can be thrown into all kinds of other recipes for the whole week.  When I also have a batch of this bean and veggie mixture made up in a large container, my lunches are set for a few days.  Switching up the type of beans and vegetables, offers an endless array of combinations and flavours.

Makes approx. 4 servings

1 can of navy beans (black beans or black eyed peas are great options too)
1 tomato or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
1 cup frozen corn, cooked according to pkg.
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1- 2 avocado, chopped
juice and pulp of 1 orange
kale, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
sesame seeds

Combine beans, tomato, corn, peppers, cucumber, green onion, avocado.  Cover with orange juice.  Mix well, making sure avocado is well coated.  Serve over kale.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt and pepper.

This salad is simple, healthy, and goes great with a glass of carrot juice!  Sometimes, on the second or third day, I'll add in an extra avocado to freshen it up a bit.  Other times, I'll toss in a handful of cashews if it feels like I need the extra fat and protein.  Mix it up and make it your own by trying out different combinations of beans, veggies, nuts, and seeds.

I am sharing this at...
Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party :: Tasty Tuesday at I'm Not a Trophy Wife

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Lung Leavin' Day!

As I held my baby girl in my arms and nursed her, my mind raced.  Why did the receptionist bring me to this room?  Was there a specific reason that she brought me into this room instead of the normal examination room?  I looked at the large round conference table and plush upholstered chairs and felt sick to my stomach.   Maybe this room, with it's comfortable seating, is where they lay it it all out on that table for a serious conversation.  The conversation that no one wants to be the subject of; the conversation about cancer.

Before becoming pregnant with my daughter, I underwent several procedures at the colposcopy clinic at the hospital.  That is where I had a biopsy (tissue sample) taken of my cervix after having an abnormal PAP.  It is also where I had the simple day surgery to remove the high-grade abnormality that they had found.  More tests after that procedure were still showing abnormal cells.  And then I became pregnant.  We couldn't really do anything more until after the baby was born.

So, here I was sitting in this strange room, nursing my little girl, and waiting to hear the results of the latest test.  My husband was in the waiting room, keeping our little boy occupied with toys and snacks.  What if the news was bad?  If it was, how would I tell my family?  What sort of treatment options would I have to consider?  So many questions swirled around in my head, it seemed the room was spinning.  Through it all, I thought of my young children and how I wanted to be there for them as they grew up; as I sat there, I prayed that I would.

When the doctor finally came into that room and told me that my test results were normal I felt relieved.  I also felt a little bit silly for working myself up into such a panic over nothing.  All because I was waiting in a different room.  However, many other people aren't so lucky.  Many other people have their whole world turned completely upside down in rooms just like that one.  People like:

My amazing friend Doris!  Who writes about her journey on her blog Cure Me - Pure Me

My Mom's late husband, who my children know as "Grandpa Sam".

And Heather Von St. James, whose story inspired this post...

Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis.  She had just given birth to her daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live.  After surgery that included the removal of her left lung, Heather and her family created Lung Leavin’ Day. 
The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears.  Each year, the Von St. James family and friends gather around a backyard fire.  They write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire.  This will be the 8th year that they celebrate!
This year, Heather and her husband Cameron are asking bloggers to participate and spread the word about Lung Leavin’ Day.  I was so honoured to receive an email about their inspiring story and the webpage that they have created.
I highly urge you to check it out and watch the video of Heather's story, which can be found here. It is an incredible story of hope and beating the odds!  One thing that really struck a chord with me was when Heather said, "I've been accused my whole life of wearing rose coloured glasses and seeing life very optimistically... and I have no intention of ever taking them off."  What a beautiful perspective to have on life!
Let's all celebrate Lung Leavin' Day day this year.  It is a celebration in remembrance of those who are no longer with us; it is a celebration for those who continue to fight; it is for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life; and most importantly, it is to celebrate life!

So, what are you afraid of?  What is your biggest fear?  What would you write on your plate?