Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I've seen it in nature before. Mother cats search for a comfortable, safe, secluded place to have their young. Birds gather material to build a nest for their young. Father Betta fish blow bubbles to make their "nest" for the fish eggs after spawning.

Many parents in the animal kingdom go through rituals in preparation for delivering their young. For many, something innate in us kicks in and lets us know that it's time to get our lives ready for our new arrival. Sometimes these changes are obvious, and other times less obvious. We all prepare in our own ways. This is what my friend, K said that I'm going through right now.

Before K arrived on the Island to spend the week with us, I was in the process of moving all the furniture around, and completely changing the look of our house. I wanted to paint the baby's room, but K told me that she would do it when she got here. I've also been bitten by the "creativity bug" :) K made me a beautiful scrapbook for our wedding and now she has made a scrapbook for our baby. She did a couple of pages and gave me all the supplies. For the past two days, I've been going scrapbook crazy! I've completed eight pages of the scrapbook (to my surprise, since I have never done any scrapbooking before).Now that my nausea has tapered off a bit, I've been wanting to create wonderful, healthy, delicious meals for my husband again. In other news, we went for another ultrasound today. Everything is great! So far, so good! Our little one is really active. I was shocked to see all the arm and leg movements! It looks like we've got a swimmer here! There were flips and somersaults, hand waves and high fives. At one point, our baby even attempted to stick his/her thumb in his/her mouth! Too funny!

According to the baby's head measurements and crown to rump measurements, our baby's due date has changed again. This time, the EDD is February 3, 2009.
Friday, July 25, 2008

The Marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Perfect Together

Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Together are just that...Perfect together! They are such a bright, friendly, youthful, fun, enthusiastic, energetic, amazing couple. There's no doubt in the world that these two wonderful people belong together.

As many of you know, Hubby and I got married two years ago. We had a lovely beach wedding with our loved ones there to celebrate with us. Well, Ms. Perfect (she really is perfect!!! I love this girl!) Google searched "Manitoulin Island, beach weddings" and she found my blog. Thus began the start of our friendship.The happy couple had gotten engaged and were in the process of planning their wedding. Ms. Perfect stumbled upon my blog and found photos of our wedding. She said that is what she wanted for her wedding and she contacted me via the blog.

The two of us exchanged e-mail back and forth for a long time. It was really fun! I absolutely loved helping her out with where to find florists, hairdressers, party rental supplies on the Island, etc. It was easy for me since I had done it before. I had my beach wedding and I already had all the info for where to go for most of the things and I kept all the contact numbers.

We ended up going from e-mailing to phone calls and eventually, we met in person. We developed a friendship thanks to the internet! At first, I was a bit nervous about meeting the happy couple in person, because I had never met (in person) someone I met from the blog before. We all got to know each other over the year and I felt comfortable meeting them. The day we met, they came to our house and we were showing them wedding photos so they could get ideas and we were just giving them info and more phone numbers and contacts. We all hit it off so well, that Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Together, Hubby and I ended up chatting for HOURS!!! I think they were at our house for three or four hours! They are such a great couple. We really love them.

We have a lot of IRL (in real life) friends that we've met from childhood, elementary school, high school, college, university, my TESL program, family friends, mutual acquaintances, friends from work, friends from my travels, friends from working overseas, former ESL students who have become our friends, friends from around here, and through different organizations and groups that we are involved in. This was my first time meeting a blog friend. That was more than a year ago.

I actually think it is so amazing how the internet can bring together people who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Before, I was a bit spooked by people saying that they met someone from their blog and that they are now friends. Before, I thought it was a bit weird. Now, I think it is truly wonderful. I have made some really great connections with some really fantastic people...whom I consider friends.

Tonight (the night before Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Together's wedding), Hubby and I popped by to check in on how they were doing and to see if we could help in any way. The couple is borrowing our wedding arch, so I wanted to see if they needed help with the assembly. Mr. Perfect's mom came over this afternoon to pick up our wedding arch and asked us if we would pop by to make sure they were setting up the arch properly. We (okay, more like Hubby) put it together for them so it would be ready for the wedding the ceremony tomorrow. I bet Hubby just loves being "voluntold" to do things! What are wives for? :)

Ms. Perfect said she was glad we stopped by, because the couple had a present for us!To our surprise (because they really didn't have to!), they got us our baby's very first onesies!!! They are absolutely ADORABLE!!! The funny thing is that they are outfits that I would have picked myself! They are totally what I had in mind if I were going to get some myself! LOVE THEM!!! Baby clothes are sooooooo cute!!!The colours are what I would have chosen too! Those are the colours we're doing the baby's room in!

To the happy couple, congrats on your special day tomorrow! We wish you lots of love and happiness in the years to come. We're so happy (and touched) that you wanted us to be there as you celebrate your love and commitment to each other. Can't wait for the wedding tomorrow!

To everyone else:
What do you think about Blog Buddies? What do you think of meeting your blog pals in person? Have you ever met anyone in person that you met on your blog? If not, would you ever meet a bloggy pal in person? Do you consider your blog friends to be 'real' friends? Are blog friends different from IRL friends?
Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it!!!

Why am I so excited? I'll tell you why! Hubby and I met with my OB-GYN yesterday and everything is looking really good with regard to the baby. We are 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant today.

What's even better is that for the past few days, I have been feeling amazing! A little bit of nausea occasionally, but no more vomiting!!! My energy level seems to have gotten a boost and I'm feeling really, really good! I guess hearing the baby's heartbeat was also an added bonus!

The weather has been absolutely wonderful. It's beautiful out! It's sunny and hot...and perfect weather for taking the pooch for a run on the beach! I'm also very excited because I finally got Chance groomed! It took me four days to brush him out and get all the matted hair and burrs out of his coat. FOUR days!!! If you have ever met Chance, you would know that he is one very hairy doggy! I was able to give him a bit of a trim, but was a bit miffed when he wouldn't let me cut the hair near his bum! Yeah, I know that sounds really gross, but if you have a dog with long hair, you'd understand why I want to groom his posterior! He looks like a brand new doggy!

Lotus, you will be very impressed with me! Though I didn't do as amazing a job as the professional dog groomers do, but with saving $100 on a groomer's visit, I think I did okay. I did MUCH better than last year! Remember how pitiful Chance looked when I practically made him naked from that last haircut? Poor doggy! Surprisingly, he still loves me.

Yet another reason for my excitement? I received a package in the mail from my wonderful, amazing, very cool friend Canine!I was really surprised when I opened up the package! Upon picking it up at the post office, I could smell the aroma of mango and other tropical fruits. What smelled so good were the creams and lotions she sent me. She even packed some amazing candles that smell like strawberry-rhubarb! Remember a while ago, I posted about strawberry-rhubarb desserts? The candles totally made me think of that post! I've been craving strawberries my entire first trimester. In fact, strawberries are among the few things I could eat without getting sick. I've eaten so many strawberries in the past three months!

Canine and I once chatted about things that almost every Filipino family has in their household. Among these items are giant wooden forks and spoons and the Barrel Man. My parents had one at their house but since they moved, they have no idea where it is. Canine so thoughtfully sent one over. We've got to get my husband educated in the Filipino culture!
Canine also sent me some lovely Japanese Engrish stationery. When I taught in Japan, I used to collect all kinds of stationery. I just loved the Engrish written all over everything. Time also takes a break wonderful time.
A while ago, I was admiring Canine's super cute Chococat compact. I was shocked to find my very own Chococat compact in the box of goodies from Canine.
Thank you sooooooo much for always thinking of me, Canine. You are so thoughtful. I love the card and the earrings you made for me too. XOXO

One last reason for my excitement? I don't have to cook tonight! On my way home from running errands and getting other stuff done, I swung by my parents' place. Dad wanted to show me some of the new Day Lilies he cross-pollinated and said that I could have some for my garden. While I was there, Dad invited us over for supper tonight. He's making General Tao Chicken! Woo hoo!
Photo from Google Images
General Tao Chicken is also known as "General Tso Chicken" or "General Tsao Chicken".
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

With A Little Help From My Friends

Quite often, people seem to dwell on all the things that aren't going right in their lives. We sometimes think of how a couple hundred thousand more dollars in our bank accounts would be really nice. We think of how we'd like to make our homes nicer. We think of all the things that aren't perfect. We sometimes forget to count our blessings.

In my case, I often think about how much I miss my friends and family. I have a lot to be thankful for. This I know. I am thankful that I have a wonderful husband who tries very hard to make our life together a good one. He's supportive and encouraging. He's also very hardworking.
I'm thankful that since I no longer teach ESL overseas or in Toronto, I can now bring the rest of the world to me by having international students come study on the Island with me.

I'm thankful that my parents live around the corner from us and that my MIL and SIL (and her family) live close-by as well.

I'm thankful to be living on such a beautiful island. I'm thankful that each day, I get to be witness to the funny things our animals do. I wasn't allowed pets when I was growing up, so now I'm making up for it. Okay, let me rephrase that. I wasn't allowed any cats or dogs when I was growing up. We did have three turtles, hundreds of specialty goldfish, three budgies, a few hamsters, and four rabbits. Today, I am thankful to have a couple of really troublesome kitties and a really funny doggy! The adventures in this household are plenty!

Another thing I am thankful for is my friends. I have been blessed with some really good friends. One of my girlfriends from college and university is coming to visit us on the Island on Friday. She'll be staying for about a week.

K and I are polar opposites in many ways, but alike in so many others. We share a passion for 'The Arts'. We both love art in all forms (music, painting, photography, theater, film, etc). We both love cooking and baking and trying out new recipes. We love traveling and working with kids. We also both love doing crafts.

We met through a mutual friend in an English Literature class I was taking for my Liberal Arts program many, many years ago. We've been good friends ever since.

C & K at our old university hang out in Montreal. Just a hop, skip and a stone's throw away from our university. In all fairness, I was a very good student (very serious about my studies) and only went to Cheers on Thursdays (aka Ladies' Night). Boy, those days seem sooooooooo far away now! *sigh*

Though more than a decade has passed since the above photo was taken, it doesn't look as though we have aged much! Here we are again. This time, at my wedding two years ago.

K is one of the only friends I have who has made the trip to the Island to visit me every year since I moved here. CK is another friend who has made this annual trip to the Island, but this year is the first year that she hasn't been able to make it. Love and miss you, CK! Hope all is well where you are :) Can't wait for your blog to be up and running again, you busy gal!

Anyway, K and I were talking on the phone the other night and she told me that she is going to visit us for a few days. She will arrive on the Island on Friday. Not only is she coming for a visit, but she also said that she'd paint the baby's room for me while she is here because she said that "I am not to be near paint fumes". How sweet is she?!? I almost cried when she told me she wanted to paint the nursery! She also said that she'd relieve me of some of the cooking while she visits because she knows how hard my first trimester has been. Honestly, I haven't mentioned half of the things I've gone through during this first trimester of this pregnancy! I feel as though I've been put through the wringer, but I don't want to complain because I am truly thankful that I am pregnant :)

Now, back to the reason for this post! Thanks for everything, K. With friends like you, I'll always be rich.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's not a quiche...It's not a souflee...It's a WIFE-SAVER!!!

I love to cook, but I don't really like spending a long time in the kitchen. I simply don't have the time to be spending hours cooking and prepping in the kitchen. I try to make dishes that don't take longer than 30 min to an hour from prep to finish.

A while ago, Middle Bro made the observation that I blog about food, recipes and restaurants a lot. Actually, his exact words were: "Why do you blog about food all the time?"

I guess one of the reasons I blog about food and recipes is because 1) I love good food...especially if it's good, wholesome, fresh, good for you food! 2) Like many women, I don't have time to slave in the kitchen, so I want to share recipes with others that have proven to be crowd pleasers and that are quick and easy to make. When I have ESL students, they not only study with me, but they also live with us! I've got to juggle teaching, field trips, curriculum building, correcting assignments, cooking, cleaning, gardening, helping Hubby on the farm, and everything else. The students don't usually like entertaining themselves while I am cooking, so I either have to be really fast or I have to find ways for them to help me cook our meals. Homemade pizza is a favourite, because the students love dressing their own pizzas and making their own dough.

Poor Hubby has been suffering from my lack of desire to cook these past two months. Honestly, the nausea has been keeping me away from the kitchen. Everything smells so gross to me. Because I haven't really been able to eat, the doctor prescribed Diclectin to help with the nausea and vomiting. I want to try as much as I can to go all natural with this pregnancy and not take any drugs. I've been holding off on the Diclectin for now and luckily, this week things have been getting better. Hooray! This week, I have been able to cook for my husband without getting sick!

For supper today, I made something super quick and easy. Yesterday, I made some baked salmon with some broccoli and a salad sprinkled with sunflower seeds, sweet dried cranberries and my balsamic vinaigrette. Hubby got a baked potato with his dish. I didn't have one because I was so full from the salmon and veggies. We had some leftover broccoli from last night and I just hate not using up leftovers. I guess growing up with my parents drilling "just think of all those poor children in [insert name of any third world country here] that have no food to eat" kind of left an imprint in my brain! I decided to incorporate the broccoli into a new dish for tonight. Tonight's meal is a slight variation of the Wife Saver recipe Baby Bro's girlfriend's mom served us at their ranch for brunch last year. My "Wife Saver" is a slight adaptation a cutting of edges of the original version. INGREDIENTS
-four slices of cracked wheat bread (cut off the crusts)
-leftover broccoli (chopped)
-one small onion (chopped)
-eight mushrooms (sliced)
-four eggs (beaten)
-a splash of milk to add to the egg mixture (like how accurate I am with measurements?)
-salt & black pepper to taste
-a bit of grated cheese (whatever kind you like and however much you like)
-a few slices of bacon (chopped) or a few dashes of bacon bits (optional). You don't have to add any meat if you don't want to.

In a 9 x9 casserole/baking dish, spray bottom with cooking spray. Place the four pieces of bread in the dish. Pour broccoli, onion & mushrooms over the slices of bread. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add salt & black pepper to the egg mixture. Pour egg mixture over bread and veggies (when it cooks, it will puff up like a souffle). Add chopped bacon or bacon bits. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve with salad. I was lazy and just made a cucumber salad.
Friday, July 18, 2008

Around Here

Hmph! Trouble is a typical male. He loves falling asleep in his favourite chair with the remote clutched close to him so no one else can change the channel. He is cute though!

I was going to post just the photos of Trouble, but decided to add a few more. This one is of my banana tree. It's growing quite nicely. I just love the beautiful foliage. So pretty!
My poor Buddha Bamboo is suffering though! I had to place it off the ground because Spike (Trouble's sister) discovered that she likes to use it as a litter box. She also loves eating the bamboo leaves! Grrrrr! Even though I have moved the plant, Spike has recently found out that she can jump up and still get into the planter! I've caught her several times and I keep spraying her with the spray bottle when I catch her, but she's getting pretty crafty. I think she knows that she isn't supposed to be doing that and is just trying to test my patience! Seriously, she sits there watching me to see what I'm going to do next!!
Since I haven't suffered terribly from nausea and food aversions in the past three days, I decided it was time to have some Chilaquiles!!! Yippeeee! Though the photo doesn't do the dish any justice (I realize it doesn't look that appealing in the photo), it was a very yummy meal and just what I have been craving. It tasted just like the Chilaquiles I had at some of the authentic Mexican restaurants I've been to!
Since I've been able to tolerate meat for the past few days, I decided to cook some chicken for my poor husband (who has had to go without meat since it has been grossing me out for the past 2.5 months). The poor guy has even had to take on cleaning the litter boxes and doing the groceries because certain scents make me really nauseous. Ahhhh...the perks of being pregnant. Yeah, right.

For lunch today, I made a Waldorf Salad.My Waldorf Salad is a slight variation from the original recipe. I've been to New York so many times and it's hard to believe that I have never tried the Waldorf Salad in New York. Usually when I go somewhere, I like to try food that is popular to that area. You know, Montreal=Montreal Smoked Meat, New York=New York Cheesecake, Philadelphia=Philly Cheese Steak, Key West (Florida)=Key lime pie, Singapore=Singapore Noodles, Japan=real sushi...
Anyway, every time I go to NY, it's to visit family. We usually go out for Chinese Dim Sum and I don't get to try any of the other fare NY has to offer. Maybe next time.

Here is my take on the recipe made popular by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

C's Waldorf Salad Recipe
2 sweet apples, cored and diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp mayonnaise (I used Hellman's made with olive oil)
a handful of raisins
a handful of toasted, chopped almonds (the recipe calls for walnuts, but I don't really like walnuts)
salt & black pepper
1 or 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced.

Cook chicken and let cool before you cut into bite sized cubes. Chop up apples and add them to a medium sized bowl. Pour lemon juice over apples and toss so they don't turn brown from oxidation. Add mayonnaise, salt, black pepper. Mix in remainder of the ingredients. Make sure to mix well. Serve on a bed of fresh, crisp lettuce.

*You can also use seedless red grapes (halved) and celery, but I didn't have red grapes on hand and I haven't been able to stomach celery lately. If you don't like mayonnaise, you can also use plain/natural yogurt.*
Thursday, July 17, 2008

No BlogHer Weekend for me : (

Sadly, with my first trimester nausea and food aversions in full swing, traveling just doesn't seem like a really good idea for me at the moment. I was really excited about the thought of attending the BlogHer Conference this year! Karen and I even entertained the thought of being roomies for the trip if we both decided to go.

There are so many wonderful ladies I would have loved to meet up with at BlogHer. Maybe some other time. Those of you who are attending, I hope you have a wonderful time and please take lots of photos, blog about the conference and tell us which of your favourite bloggers you got to meet!

He's gone :(

Just as I thought! We're all a bit down in the dumps now that Baby Bro has left. He said he'd be back on the Island again before his university courses resume. I really do miss that kid! Now that Hubby and I are expecting a baby in the winter, the more I miss my friends and family in the city. I miss Baby Bro the most.

Mom and I packed a box of groceries for Baby Bro to take back with him, as well as a cooler with cold drinks for his 10 hour drive back to K-town. Just like any Big Sis would do, I woke up at 6AM to bake him two and a half dozen cookies...just because he likes them. Some were to snack on for the ride home and some (I hoped!) were to share with his girlfriend. I love that girl!Want my chocolate chip cookie recipe? You can find it here. I made a dozen and a half chocolate chip cookies and a dozen chocolate chip-cranberry cookies.

Hubby was sad that he didn't get to see Baby Bro off, because he has been doing a lot of thislately! He's been baling, and baling, and doing more baling. No rest for the weary, I guess!I have just discovered something that I can eat that doesn't make me nauseous! The nausea is starting to let up a bit. Hopefully now that we're nearing the end of the first trimester, I won't be so sick anymore!

Anyway, this magical food that doesn't make me sick? Snowpeas! Fresh from the garden and straight to the table! Well, after being washed first! I don't use any chemicals on my produce, but I do have a dog that likes to tinkle on my asparagus. It's hard to say whether he leaves the rest of the veggies alone, so we just won't chance that!
Monday, July 14, 2008

Too short...

is what his time with us always is. Baby Bro is up on the Island for a few days. Having him here always makes me happy and sad at the same time. I'm happy because I love spending as much time with Baby Bro as possible. I always enjoy his visits. I'm also sad because I know that his visits eventually come to an end and saying goodbye is always so hard. He's such a busy boy with university and work...and all of the extra things he has going on. I know he can't come up as often as we'd like him to. I hate that we live so far away from Baby Bro.Here's a photo of Mom and Baby Bro. Mom is always so happy when Baby Bro comes up to visit. She spoils him rotten by cooking all of his favourite dishes. The only time she makes lasagna is when Baby Bro comes home.

Dad loves just throwing the baseball around with Baby Bro. The two just talk for hours. Dad also has that special smile on his face when Baby Bro is here. Every time Baby Bro goes back to K-town, we all suffer from withdrawal.

I'm torn because I love living on the Island. I just LOVE it. We have a really great life here and it's such a beautiful place. The only thing is that I miss Baby Bro. He asked me if we would ever consider moving somewhere closer to K-town, like maybe back to Toronto or Montreal. It's so hard for me because I don't think I'd ever want to live in the city ever again, but at the same time, being away from my family absolutely tears me apart.
Sunday, July 13, 2008

What I Really Want

is Mexican Chilaquiles!!! For the past two months, I haven't been able to enjoy any of the food I love. I haven't been able to eat much at all because everything makes me sick! Luckily for me, the doctor said that in the first trimester it isn't a big deal if I don't gain any weight. I just need to make sure that in the second and third trimesters that I am able to eat and keep my food down because the baby will need a lot of nourishment then. It's not like I haven't been trying to eat! Things have been getting a bit better this week. I have been able to eat three suppers out of seven (which is a new record), with the rest of the meals just being pecking at little things like strawberries, red grapes, Clementines and other fruit. Luckily, milk is still my friend. I don't have to worry about not getting enough calcium.

The doctor also mentioned the concern that if I can't keep anything down soon, I can get dehydrated. Then there was concern about ketones, because maternal weight loss during pregnancy can result in excess ketone levels...which are toxic to fetuses.

Anyway, the reason for my Mexican food craving? I was on Lotus' blog and found myself drooling over one of her recipes. This isn't uncommon, since Lotus always has the best recipes! I would love, love, LOVE to eat at her house...or hire her as a personal chef!!! This woman is brilliant when it comes to culinary delights! Lotus' Enchiladas Suizas make me sooooo hungry! I'm thinking that perhaps my appetite is coming back! I'm also thinking that this baby is going to be a Mexican food lover like his or her mama!

The first real meal I'm going to have (instead of grazing and picking at dry, bland food all day) is going to be Chilaquiles and/or Enchiladas! I was introduced to Chilaquiles when I was teaching in Toronto. Every Friday, we'd only have a half day of school and on the last Friday of the month, the teachers would go out for lunch with our students. Each month, we'd pick a different restaurant. Sometimes it would be Greek, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Brazilian or Mexican. I always asked the students for their recommendations since I wanted to try something authentic from their countries. This is when my Mexican students introduced me to Chilaquiles. I fell in love with Chilaquiles de pollo con salsa verde! In English, that translates to "Chicken Chilaquiles with green salsa". I like green salsa better than the red, because it's a bit tart.

While I dream about the day when this nausea finally goes away, I'll try to enjoy this nice piece of toast for breakfast. Here's a Chilaquiles recipe for you.
Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Funnies

Okay, you know you spend too much time with kids when...

You find jokes like these really funny!!! I went over to my mother-in-law's this afternoon and she had my two nieces over for the day. While I was in the kitchen with my MIL, the two girls were playing a very serious game of Monopoly. Really serious...like "having to mortgage all of your properties so you can pay for rent when you've landed on a piece of land with a hotel on it" kind of serious! Anyway, my MIL and I were in talking in the kitchen when all of a sudden there was some crazy, uncontrollable laughter bellowing from the front porch where the girls were playing their game! I went out to see what all the commotion was.

In between gasps for air (because she was laughing so hard), my youngest niece began to tell this joke.

There once was this woman who bought a house.
She didn't know what to name her house, so she went to the police office
and asked them what she should name her house.
The police told her to go to the enchanted forest and she should name her house after whatever she sees first once she gets there.
She saw a hairy butt, so she named her house "Hairy Butt".
A year later, she got a cat.
She didn't know what to name her cat, so she went back to the police office and asked them what she should name her cat.
"Go to the enchanted forest and name your cat after the first thing you see."
She saw a crack, so she named her cat "Crack".
One day, she lost her cat and called the police so that they could help her find it.
She said, "I looked all over the hairy butt, but I couldn't find the crack!!!"

Yes, my friends, this is what my adorable, sweet, mild mannered youngest niece told me in between laughing fits. Meanwhile, my older niece was also laughing uncontrollably! They were laughing so hard, I thought they were going to stop breathing! It seemed soooooo much funnier when my niece told the joke!

Now, in keeping with this "bum" theme, here's a song Jimmy suggested that I check out. This was in response to a recent post of mine.
Canine Cologne
also mentioned a Saturday Night Live skit, but I looked on YouTube and haven't been able to find it there. Canine, is this the video you were talking about?
See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Profuse apologies to anyone who thought this post was in poor taste. Just thought it was funny (and shocking) that my little niece told us a joke like the one she told us this afternoon. Kids say the funniest (least expected) things sometimes!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Introducing...Mom Generations!!!

Mom Generations

If you've been following my blog for a while, you probably already know these wonderful ladies. Formerly the Pinks and Blues Girls, this mother-daughter-daughter trio has just become Mom Generations.

I talk about "the girls" often on this blog, because they've become really great friends. Not only are they full of helpful information about family, parenting, pregnancy, and even pets...these three remarkable women really know what's new, cool, fashionable, and functional to help readers with their every day crazy, hectic lives. They are constantly showcasing new products and I've actually went ahead and purchased some of the products that they have promoted on their site.

I can't remember when, but it seems like ages ago that Jane and I first crossed paths. I just remember Jane leaving a comment on my blog and ever since then, we've been buddies. She has been through many ups and downs with me and I have a lot to be thankful for in Jane.

One of the most exciting gifts I have ever received was from one of the many contests that the girls host. This particular contest was for an OV-Watch. Here's a photo of yours truly, sporting my handy dandy OV-Watch 5 months ago. Hubby and I were thinking about starting a family last year and I actually had no idea of what time of the month I was ovulating. How could I not know? Well, my periods were not always regular and I never knew when or if I'd be getting my period sometimes. Sorry to all the men who are reading this. I don't usually talk about really personal or girly things!

Anyway, the OV-Watch was instrumental in helping me predict when I was ovulating and when my most fertile and even non-fertile days were. I have to admit that I only used it for a few months because I forgot to buy more sensors, but at that time I was beginning to be able to predict my fertile days by taking note of patterns from previous months.

I didn't blog about the OV-Watch when I won the contest, because I don't really like divulging too much personal information on this blog and I also didn't want anyone to know that Hubby and I were even talking about having babies at the time.

I used to think that life was so easy. I had my whole life mapped out for me. Finish university at 22-23, begin my career, meet someone special, fall in love, get married at 24, buy a house, and have babies at 26 and be done having babies way before I turned 30.

Well, life is never how one expects it. I did finish university at 22, started teaching ESL at 23, fell in and out of love a few times in between (at least I thought it was love at the time, but now I don't think it was!), got married at 29 and only two years later did we discover that we are expecting! Mmmkay...Hubby just informed me that I was 30 when we got married!! Who would have thought that timing, circumstance, and many other factors played such a big role in creating a little miracle?

Here we are, months later and with our very own little miracle in the making.
Sharon, Audrey and Jane, thank you so much for your friendship. Your comments on my blog and your sweet e-mail messages just to check in on me have been something I always look forward to reading.

Keep up the great work and may your Mom Generations years be filled with lots of success and excitement! I'm always so amazed at how your business has grown boomed since you first started Pinks and Blues! I even remember when you were just launching the Pinks and Blues site for the first time! You've come a long way, ladies!!


Check them out! You know you wanna!


Last week, we all had a few laughs about some of the recent 'afflictions' that have been bestowed upon me on this exciting journey through pregnancy. I'm sure you are not at all interested in hearing about my not being able to eat anything because everything makes me sick...or about how I have only been able to go one day without being sick.

Rowing and Sowing made me laugh with her Metamucil story (you can read it in her comments for this post). Row, thank you so much for that! You just made my day! I don't know why, but I thought of you as I made these...The bran muffins were totally accidental. I really did not intend on baking bran muffins at all. As much as we love getting lots of fiber in this household, for some reason (now that I'm pregnant) I cannot seem to get enough.

One of the doctors I saw mentioned that eating oatmeal every morning does wonders and if this is at all important to you, you'd be interested to know that eating oatmeal can help lower cholesterol. The doctor also mentioned "steel cut oats" being even better and having more benefits than regular rolled oats. It's less processed and it takes longer to digest, which leaves your stomach feeling full longer.
I grew up on the "just add boiling water" individual packets of oatmeal that come in different flavours like peaches and cream, maple-brown sugar, apple and cinnamon, etc. Since Hubby comes from an "everything made from scratch"/no instant anything family, I have been doing things the old school way. I was curious and bought some steel cut oats because I want our family to eat as healthy as possible. I followed the microwave instructions for the steel cut oats and...GAH! It was horrible!

Perhaps it is because I don't put anything in my oatmeal except a handful of fruit. I used to put a little bit of brown sugar, then I stopped doing that. I then started using more natural sweeteners like a spoonful of honey or maple syrup and soon stopped that as well. I started just adding berries to my oatmeal and was fine with that.

The steel cut oats, however, were icky! Maybe I'll give it another try, but plain (with no added salt or sweeteners) it was really unappetizing. I bravely swallowed every last spoonful in my bowl though, because I felt really badly for wasting such good food. Instead of throwing away the rest of the oatmeal (the microwave instructions followed were for two servings, but Hubby didn't want any! Can you believe that?!), I decided to bump up our fiber intake even more and add the steel cut oats to my bran muffins. This is what the steel cut oats look like. You'll notice how they are not rolled flat like the instant oatmeal. The steel cut oats look like the stuff my Dad feeds his birds! How's that for appetizing? Yeah, I thought so.

The steel cut oats & bran muffins turned out to be a hit! Well, only for me since Hubby wouldn't even eat one! I think the ingredient that made the muffins almost yummy was the handful of raisins I threw into the batter. I did add a bit of honey to the recipe though.

1 cup wheat bran
1 - 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk
A few tsp. of honey (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup honey, but I don't like using that much)
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg, beaten
Cooked steel cut oats (I don't know exactly how much I put in because it was the leftover from the 2 servings I cooked and I just had a bowl/one serving). I guess whatever one serving is, that's how much I put in.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Stir together the bran, flour, soda and baking powder. Stir in raisins and set aside.
Blend milk, honey, oil, egg, and leftover cooked steel cut oats. Add to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.

Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes or until muffins pull away from sides of cups.

Makes 12 fabulously fiber-rich muffins!
Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cowboys are HAWT!!!

Image from Google Images

Just visualize this:

Tanned skin, rugged good looks peeking from underneath that cowboy hat, and a strong, firm, tight body...
I never really understood the appeal of cowboys until this past weekend. It was my first time at a rodeo event. Coming from the city, this is not something I'd normally get to experience. I've seen rodeos on TV and in movies, but I had never been to one before. I had a great time! Oh my goodness! Cowboys are HAWT!!! There's just something so earthy and so appealing about cowboys!I went with some friends and my Mom and family from Montreal. My gal pal, Super Girl just loves the rodeo and all things country. I'm so glad I went with her, because it was a truly eye opening experience. Here are some photos of our day at the Rodeo in Wiky on the weekend.What interested me the most was that contrary to my ideas of what rodeos were about (I just thought they were silly daredevil acts that cowboys and cowgirls did for kicks), but there really is a lot of talent, practice and technique involved. Many of the events are taken from chores that used to be necessary on the ranch. Take for cattle roping, for example. Before, in order to brand cattle, they used to have to rope the cattle to do so. The cattle roping event at the rodeo is based on this. I found it interesting how even the horses are trained to help the rider rope the calves. The horse actually pulls backward once the calf is roped so that the rope is taut.
Of course, no rodeo is without a rodeo clown! If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know how terrified I am of clowns! They just freak me out!

While songs like this one played,

we got to see amazing events like barrel racing, bull riding, and calf roping. It takes a good rider to participate in events like those! It also takes a good horse to be able to do what the rider wants him/her to do. For the bull riding, I have no idea how no one got injured that day! If you think about how heavy and how powerful a bull is, it's amazing that none of the riders got trampled! You've got to have serious cojones to ride a bull! That is CRAZY!
In the above photo, this young cowboy nearly got thrown off his horse. I can't remember how many seconds he lasted before he finally fell off.
Mom and the gang got to eat lunch at the rodeo. Unfortunately, food and I are still enemies. As much as I would have LOVED to have a bite of Mom's Indian Taco, I just couldn't stomach eating anything at all. I was feeling a little left out with everyone sampling all that yummy food and sipping on lemonade! Boo hooo!On our way back to our vehicle, my uncle was saying he wanted to go to Hubby's barn and ride the bull! Ummm...Somehow, I don't think that would have been a good idea! I don't think the bull would have enjoyed that very much! ;)Since we don't have fast food chains on the Island like KFC, McDonald's, or Wendy's (not even Tim Horton's!), my family from out of town wanted to check out Wikwemikong's "Wiktucky Fried Chicken" on the way home. Unfortunately for them, it was closed for the day.
Saturday, July 05, 2008

Things I Never Thought About Before

...before I got pregnant, that is!

1) I never thought there would ever come a day when I needed to buy (and consume) Metamucil! Okay, I realize this is probably TMI, but things are changing so much in my body and ailments and "issues" I've never had before just seem to be popping up! We get lots of fiber in our diet, so I was surprised that now that I'm pregnant I'm having "issues" with...well, you get the idea! The doctor suggested taking Metamucil, and so far it seems to be working like a charm.What's even funnier is that I never thought I'd actually like it! Not so sure about the original/regular flavour, but the orange one tastes okay. It sort of reminds me of vitamin C tablets in the orange flavour.

2) I never thought I'd have issues with food. I love cooking, I love going to nice restaurants with friends and family, I love creating new dishes, I love watching the Food Network and making some of the dishes shown on TV, I love sampling international cuisine...I'm a foodie at heart. However, now food and I are not the greatest of friends. In fact, we're pretty much enemies at the moment. Everything seems to make me nauseous. I thought I'd be craving the things my friends keep telling me that they craved while pregnant...like chocolate, ice cream, dill pickle potato chips, etc! Nope. Sadly, the thought of anything sweet grosses me out and the thought of anything fried or greasy grosses me out even more. We never really ate sweets, junk food or fried food before (except on the odd occasion or when we are at a party or out with friends). I think it's good that I'm not craving those types of food. Wouldn't want to start now...especially with my family history of diabetes!

I haven't been able to eat a full meal yet, but I have been able to graze throughout the day on small things (even that is a challenge though). Yesterday, while Hubby was having a sausage on a bun with sauerkraut and mustard, I could not stomach looking at the meat...and I hate bread! I had this overwhelming craving for sauerkraut though! I had a few spoons of sauerkraut and was satiated. Hubby looked at me and said, "You must be pregnant if you're just going to eat sauerkraut and nothing with it!"

Poor Hubby. I haven't been able to cook any meat because just the thought of it sends me running to the bathroom. My toilet bowl and I have a very intimate relationship right now. Hubby's been going to my parents' house for meat! Haha! My Dad feels sorry for him and always feeds him. Again, hopefully this all the time nauseous feeling will magically disappear in a few weeks! I do feel badly for my husband. I'm fine without eating meat. I went without meat for 7 years. Hubby's a meat person, so I'm not so sure he'll be able to survive this pregnancy without meat.3) I never really thought much of old wives' tales or superstitions. Recently, many people have been trying to predict the gender of our little one. Hubby and I have decided that as much as we really want to find out the gender of the baby, we are going to keep it a surprise (at least for baby #1). Anyway, my good friend, Super Girl told me last week that she thinks I'm going to have a little girl. She said this because I have been super, super sick all the time. Apparently, according to popular belief, if a mother has a lot of nausea then she's probably having a girl. Well, I know several people who have had terrible nausea and they've had baby boys.

Another one that I really found interesting was about how the baby's heart rate can be an indicator of the baby's sex. This one was first mentioned to me by Sandy. I thought that was really neat. Karen and a few other friends mentioned it to me too! It is said that if the baby's heart rate is 140 or higher, it's most likely a girl. If it's below 140, then it's probably a boy. I mentioned it to Hubby, and he said that females generally have higher heart rates than males. I spoke to my aunt, who is a nurse and she said that at this age babies all have high heart rates and they slow down later on. I also went on a few websites and pregnancy boards online and saw that some women had boys even when the heart rate was in the 150+ and conversely, some women had girls when the heart rate was less than 140. It's a really neat thing to think about though!

One wives' tale suggests that if a mother craves sweets, then she is having a girl. If she craves salty or sour things, she is having a boy. This is something that many older people have told me. My grandmother even mentioned this to me. I'm definitely not craving anything sweet. Isn't that horrible, Jeanna? I did enjoy two handfuls of the yummy Bucky Badger Low Fat Caramel Coated Corn Pops you sent me! I had a bit here and there throughout the day yesterday and it was helped me to have something in me that I could keep down. Thank you!
I tried a tiny piece of chocolate cake my friend made last week, and immediately got really sick. Boooooo :(

A neighbour told me that if I have bad skin or acne during pregnancy, it's a girl. She said that this is due to an increase in female hormones. I don't know how much of that is true. I have to look into it, but my skin is pretty darn good! No acne (I've never been one to have any problems with acne in the past). Oddly, I do find my hair and nails to be growing faster and healthier than before!

This one is the funniest! One belief is that if the FATHER of the baby puts on weight during the pregnancy, then the baby will be a girl! That one cracked me up! I haven't gained any weight yet (mainly because I haven't been able to keep much food down), but my husband seems to be making up for that! My sweet Hubby seems to be having sympathy cravings and is putting on a little weight. He works hard in the field every day, so I know he needs all the fuel he can get for enough energy to work on the farm. Anyway, this old wives' tale has no scientific weight on the gender of the baby. It's just really funny to hear all these ways of predicting the baby's sex. Luckily, Hubby's been too busy to check out my blog. Hopefully this post will go under the radar and he won't know I mentioned this! ;)

Sooooo...If I were to go along with all of the popular beliefs on predicting the baby's sex, then I would be having a boy AND a girl! LOL! Lots of nausea = girl. Baby's heart rate over 140 = girl. Craving salty/sour food = boy. No acne or skin problems = boy. Baby's father putting on weight during pregnancy = girl.

The only way we'd really find out the baby's sex would be at our 20th week ultrasound...or when the baby arrives!!!

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About the Blog Author

City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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