April 30, 2011

Secrets Revealed

Last night was a great success!

We hosted a co-ed wedding shower for a friend and had a great time. My mom came by in the afternoon to pick up both kids AND the dog. I'll admit that it was strange to have such a quiet house for a couple hours! I got all dressed up for the occasion and thoroughly enjoyed the wine :)


For the weeks leading up to the party I've been working on a "secret fondant project" which some of you may have noticed by my Facebook status updates. Well now is the time for the big reveal!

I made Bride and Groom Cookies!








I also got crafty and altered some gift bags to make these...




We asked the guests to give the couple a gift that corresponds to a piece of marital advice. We gave them these...



We gave the bride-to-be a pair of crystal candle holders and we gave the groom some diamond shaped crystal paperweights. I had a lot of fun shopping and preparing for the party and also really enjoyed taking pictures of everything along the way :)

The weekend of celebrations has just begun and tonight is the Bachelorette party...

April 25, 2011

Little Black Dress

After a slightly indulgent holiday weekend, hubby and I decided to jump right back on board with an impromptu cleanse day. I hadn't lost as much as I hoped so far this month and so this seemed to be exactly what I needed to get back on track. I am now in good shape to get me to where I hoped to be by the end of April.

On Thursday, we will be completing our second 30 day cleanse. It is great timing since we have a very busy weekend of celebrations coming up.

On Friday, we'll be hosting a Jack and Jill for a friend of mine and I will happily be wearing my little black dress! This dress has been sitting in my closet for 2 years now, waiting to be worn. I bought it on a whim with the intention of losing a few pounds, which obviously never happened. I was feeling thinner tonight (the result of a successful cleanse day) and decided to try it on. I was delighted to be able to zip it up - unassisted I might add!. It looks great and I'm so happy to finally get my money's worth! I'll be sure to share some pictures on the weekend.

On Saturday, I'm heading out to a bachelorette party for the same friend. It would seem that we are heading out clubbing after some cocktails at a downtown hotel. I'm pretty sure that the last time I went to a club I was underage... Regardless, I'm stumped by what to wear as I will certainly be out of my element. What do people wear clubbing these days? What does a Mom of 2 wear clubbing? I have an awesome retro one piece jumpsuit that is sooo comfy, and yet super stylish with my hot pink heels, but I'm thinking that most club goers don't frequent Melanie Lyne...

Any suggestions?

April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter!

The day started off with a very exciting egg hunt. Cate was in charge of the hunting since Maddie was snoozing in the family room. I went with a mix of plastic eggs filled with Lucky Charms, as well as a few chocolate eggs hidden up high (to keep them away from the dogs). Today seem to include less chocolate than yesterday, which I think helped to keep her in a good mood for the most part.

Here's a short clip of Cate's third Easter Egg Hunt...

After the hunt, hubby and I got ready to tackle the outdoor renos. I was able to do a fair bit of painting, and hubby finished trimming the hedge around our backyard. It was great to have the in-laws staying with us so that they could watch the girls while we worked away, although I think we wore them out since they left a day early... oops!

While we were out working, Cate had TWO different groups of friends come calling for her. The girls who live down the road came over to play for awhile and then right after we FINALLY got her inside, one of her daycare buddies came by on his trike. That's right, the boys are already knocking on our door...

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and are one of the lucky ones that get tomorrow off too!

April 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Easter - Part 2

Today was a busy and productive day at our house. My folks ended up taking Cate for the day, so my MIL helped me put up some retro wallpaper in the dining room that I bought ages ago. It looks fabulous, but has now prompted the need to buy some artwork and shelving to put on that wall because it's a little psychadelic...

Today was also the day we were hosting Easter dinner for both sides of the family. We finished the wallpaper in time to set a cute little easter table.





Dinner was a great success and I somewhat managed to stay on track with my cleanse, although I will admit to drinking a couple glasses of shiraz (delish) which then lead to me eating the little chocolate lindt bunny (my fave). I did not overdo it and I left the table feeling satisfied, but not stuffed. The beauty of us hosting was that we could control the ingredients. We made a couple fat free hams, corn and carrots (no butter or seasoning), slow cooker potatoes (chicken broth, rosemary, garlic, onions, and a bit of olive oil), whole wheat rolls, and a salad. We had a couple other dishes - Pork roast, green bean casserole, and stuffing - that we avoided since we had plenty of other good food.

The house is now (somewhat) cleaned up and ready for the Easter Bunny.

Here's a peak at Cate's Second Easter Egg Hunt...

April 22, 2011

Getting Ready for Easter - Part 1

Today we were busy doing some odd jobs around the house, but we took some time out this afternoon to decorate some Easter Eggs. I hard boiled some eggs and used a 2 dollar kit from Loblaws. I am really impressed with how well they turned out. Much better than the ones I made with food colouring when I was a kid!





Also, here's a look at Cate's First Easter Egg Hunt. She was about 9 months old at the time.

April 21, 2011

Bracing for it

We're heading into the Easter holiday weekend and I must admit it has me worried.

We're usually very concious of how much chocolate and candy Cate gets. More recently we've become really careful because hubby allowed me to indulge in my pregnancy cravings for Iced Capps over the winter and Cate certainly took advantage. The other day I was driving her to preschool when she told me she was hungry. I explained to her that it's too late and she will have to wait until snack time at preschool. She replied by pointing to the Tim Horton's and telling me that we should go through the drive thru to pick her up a timbit...


Add to that all the jelly beans she was getting for potty training, and then all the "rewards" for various mundane tasks like eating her dinner or staying in the cart at the grocery store and it started getting pretty bad. We decided to use our change in diet to have a positive effect on her and so we eliminated a good part of the sweets from her diet.

When I picked up Cate from preschool today, I was shocked to find that they were giving out a ton of candy. They had the decency of giving it to the parents, but still, there were atleast 15 pieces of candy in the various little bags!

Last year, I filled plastic eggs with Lucky Charms and grapes for Easter. I figured it was better than chocolate and besides, most of it went to the dogs anyway. I plan on doing the same this year, but have also bought a bag of chocolate eggs out of guilt of depriving her from the traditional Easter experience.

The most challenging part of it all is teaching a toddler self-control. If a two year old gets a bucket full of chocolate eggs, they are under the impression that they can eat them all at once. Sometimes you can explain that they need to spread it out, but in my experience, they do not forget about the basket full of chocolatey goodness waiting on the top shelf of the cabinet...

I have no doubt there will be tears and tantrums over the next few days due to sugar overload. I can only hope that I have the patience to deal with it.

April 19, 2011

Second Guessing

When hubby and I first became parents, we refused to be the parents who rushed their kid to the clinic for every little cough. We were tough it out type of people and of the mind set that most issues can be cured with a little cuddle and rest.

We quickly learned that we were wrong.

Cate was a late term preemie and did not seem to show any signs of this other than being a slow eater and keeping her eyes closed for a few weeks. As she grew older, we are starting to question whether her current issues could be linked to her prematurity or just plain old bad luck.

At 5 months old, she developed a fever and fussiness that just didn't go away. On the third day I took her to a clinic who then told me to go to CHEO. After hours of waiting and a catheter insertion (poor baby) we determined that she had a urinary tract infection. We also learned that all babies who developed a UTI were refered for further testing for a very unlikely urinary tract malformation called Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR). A few months later, we learned that Cate was one of the lucky few to have this issue. On a scale of 1 to 5 she was a 3. It essentially means that any UTI she gets goes directly to her kidneys. Some kids outgrown it by the time they turn 6, others don't and need surgery to correct it. To prevent future infections, we started a regiment of profalactic medication as well as yearly ultrasounds and nuclear cystograms. This also meant that everytime she gets an unexplained fever, we have to take her to CHEO to screen for another UTI... fun...

Around her first birthday, we started noticing that her eyes weren't quite aligned. As she grew, it seemed to become more apparant and so at 18 months we brought her in to the Optometrist to find out that not only did she have ablyopia (lazy eye), she was also VERY far-sighted and required glasses. We never had any signs of her inability to see clearly, but were glad that it was caught in good time. We have since started a regiment of atropine drops in her good eye to help strengthen the bad eye, much the same as a patch would do without impeding on her toddler style. If you look closely, she does however have one giant pupil and one regular one...

Finally, around her 2nd birthday she developed a minor bout of pneumonia. It was caught and treated quickly. That fall she came down with a cold that took a bad turn within a few hours. I took her to a local clinic and they diagnosed strep throat. By 9pm that night, she was in terrible shape and having trouble breathing. Having never gone through this before, I was questioning whether what I was seeing was really bad or was I just exagerating. It turns out my gut was right and they rushed her right away to start the breathing treatments and steriods to open her lungs. That cold earned her a 5 night stay at CHEO with what they first diagnosed as asthma, and then later discovered to be double pneumonia with a partially colapsed lung... The ironic part was that she didn't even have strep throat! We were given a puffer to use as needed, and only used it a couple times over the winter until a couple weeks ago.


At the end of March, Cate came down with a cold (which happens every 30 days like clockwork) that once again seemed to affect her breathing. After a few doses of the puffer throughout the day, I decided to bring her to CHEO, just in case and was once again doubting myself. When we got there they took her right away and started the breathing treatments. They kept calling it asthma and were waiting for her stats to start improving. Six hours later, her stats were up slightly but not where they wanted them so they ordered a chest xray to rule out pneumonia. Well surprise, surprise, she once again had double pneumonia with a partially collapsed lung. The scary part this time was that she never developed a fever. We have since started a puffer regiment twice a day to keep the so-called asthma attacks at bay.


Kids with breathing troubles can be difficult to spot since they don't always slow down or show their symptoms clearly. I am slowly learning to recognize the signs, but am finding it difficult to walk the fine line of being cautious without running to see the doc everytime something is not quite right.

If you were counting, you will have noticed that Cate gets a total of three medications a day... THREE!!! She's not even three yet! By no means is she a sickly child, and so I worry about the effects these medications will have in the long term. Could it be that her 2 years of profalactic use for her UTIs be cause the recurring pneumonia? What about the effects of the multiple chest x-rays? And the nuclear cystomgram that she gets to check her VUR?

We are meeting with the Urologist tomorrow and I am trying to do my homework to make sure that we cover all of the bases since we only get one appointment per year. I would love to find out that the issue has corrected itself and that we can take her off the medication...

Now with a new (full term!) baby in the house, I am hopeful that there will be less medical issues and clinic visits the second time around. Maddie is currently fighting off her first cold and is a sore sight with a runny nose, leaky eye and gurgly breaths. We were at the doctor's last night to make sure all was well, but of course today she woke up with a cough that she didn't have yesterday. After googling a few things, I am siding with the fact that it's probably just post-nasal drip. I used to get that a ton as a child and it is a real nuissance.

So now it's your turn to share:

How many times did you question yourself before taking yourself or your child to the doc?

Were you ever surpised by how serious it really was?

How do you determine whether it's worth "going in"?

Do you second guess the advice that you're given?

April 16, 2011

Highs and Lows

I was on such a high on Friday from hitting my first goal. It was a beautiful day and I was anxious to start doing some clean-up in our yard. I walked to go pick-up Cate from daycare and soaked up the sun. This morning I woke up to gloomy weather and was up a pound on the scale. We've been calling this the post-cleanse day bounce back as it seems that every Saturday I'm up a pound from the day before. It usually drops again in a few days. Regardless, it put me in a pouty mood.

We had plans to go outside to start our clean-up early to try to beat the rain. It was so bitterly cold that Cate lasted a whole 2 minutes before the whining began. She couldn't figure out whether she wanted to go in or out and so finally I took both girls back inside and let hubby finish the raking.

I've also been snacking on little things all day. They are healthy things and very small amounts, but its the old habit coming back that has me worried. I know that it's stemming from boredom. I have to admit that I'm pretty bored with the way my days have been going lately. I wake up, feed Maddie, clean up the mess that hubby and Cate left behind in the rush to get to daycare, empty the dishwasher, fill it back up, wash bottles, make bottles, feed Maddie, etc... I realise that I probably get out of the house more than most new mothers, but for me it's a necessity, not a luxury. I am not a homebody. I feel restricted and never really get that sense of accomplishment that I do when I am working. Even when hubby is home and we want to tackle a project, I end up being sidelined trying to keep Cate from climbing up the other side of the ladder or running around with a screwdriver.

Today we bought blinds for our dining room and after dinner I decided I would install them myself just to get a little satisfaction and me time. I put hubby on baby duty and got them up with just a little help (because I wasn't tall enough and our stepladder broke last week). It felt good to complete a task that wasn't just going to get ruined 10 minutes later. It also gave me the strength to resist the popcorn that hubby had after dinner.

To all the moms (or dads) who have ever stayed at home for a period of time - how did you deal with your boredom?

April 15, 2011

Success #1

Yesterday was a killer cleanse day... but it was worth it; I have officially acheived my first goal of reaching my pre-pregnancy #2 weight! It took me 9 months of being pregnant to put on 40 lbs and it has taken me 9 weeks to take it off! I really can't believe it.

After my first pregnancy, I decided there were two types of women. Some women lost all of their baby weight right away and had the nerve to wear bikinis at the mom and tot swim class with their 4 months olds. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I gave those women the stink eye in the change room. They had no stretch marks and no baby belly - did they really just give birth? I doubt it...

Then there was the rest of us. The women who hung on to about half of the pregnancy weight for months. Trying to diet and exercise, but really only managing to exhaust ourselves. Add to that trying to not to affect the milk supply and it seemed like an impossible task. I took secret pleasure in seeing other moms a little on the heavy side and going through the same challenges that I was. Thank goodness I wasn't the only one...

The cards were stacked against me in my first pregnancy since I had developed hypothyrodism as a result of the pregnancy. Any woman still struggling to lose weight after 3 months postpartum should ask their doctor to check their TSH levels in a bloodtest. The tricky thing about hypothyroidism is that the symptoms are very similar to those felt by new moms; fatigue, poor muscle tone, sensitivity to cold, depression, joint pain, weight gain and water retention amongst others. I have since found a way to control and stabilize my hypothyroidism and it has made a world of difference.

I have lived on both sides and have learned that determination will make the weight come off. Set small goals and work hard to achieve them. Up next, I want to lose 5 lbs in the next two weeks... Let's see if I can make it happen.


P.S. Hubby has lost a whopping 50 lbs already! I'm so proud of him, although it does make me want to start sneaking butter into his dinner...

What are your short term weight loss goals?

April 13, 2011

Rainbows and Old Fashioned Shaving Bunnies

Since we bought a PVR a few years back, we completely stopped watching commercials. Hubby and I take turns fastforwarding through the ads and comment on the other's boldness for risking the quadruple fastforward.

Well, the other day hubby was doing something unheard of in our house... He was watching TV in real time. In doing so, he stubbled across this...

There's a whole series of ads that play off the same humour and they are worth looking up on You Tube if you have a few minutes to kill.

I admit that I've never had a DQ burger and despite their best efforts, they haven't convinced me to try one, however, I do love a blizzard every now and again. If only I hadn't looked up the calorie count for a medium Reese's PB Cup blizzard last week...

A whopping 760 by the way...

Staying strong to the diet, I'm hoping to reach my first goal of my pre-pregnancy #2 weight by Friday this week. I only have 2 lbs to go!

April 11, 2011

A Lost Passion

I started riding horses as a child when I lived in Canberra, Australia. I actually fell off on my first trail ride and my folks were sure that would be the end of it. I wasn't the bravest kid on the block. Despite falling, I got back on and finished the ride (obviously since we were out in the bush and my fear of poisonous snakes and spiders far outweighed my fear of an old trail horse). At the end of the ride, I was offered the chance to go to summer camp at the farm and take a few lessons. Riding soon became a passion.

When we returned to Canada a few months later, I started taking riding lessons at a local riding school. That summer, I competed in my first schooling show. All of a sudden, I found my calling. I fell in love with the excitement of the competition. I didn't really care if I won the class, I was more excited to see how I would rank against some of the older riders I looked up to. The next summer I started travelling to competitions, and the year after that I started eventing, which is a thrilling combination dressage, cross-country and show jumping, for those of you who understand the horse world. I was always looking for the next challenge, however I started to become aware of how big the jumps were getting. As an alternative to jumping, I decided to focus on my efforts on dressage.


The horse I was riding at the time was a former racehorse. She was a sweetheart, but was not ideal for the dressage ring. I took it on as a challenge to turn her into a dressage horse. We quickly moved up the ranks and I soon found myself competing in the national ring as a junior rider. I wasn't the best, but I also wasn't the worst. This acheivement gave me so much confidence and self-esteem as a teenager and helped to keep me focused on what's important - a challenging task for a seventeen year old.


In addition to riding, I was also teaching riding lessons and coaching student who themselves were starting to travel to competitions. I loved teaching the students who shared the same passion. It was such a thrill to see them succeed and finally feel the movement I had been trying to teach them for weeks.

As I grew older I lost my focus and let my outside life start to take over. At nineteen, I stopped riding and teaching. I started working full-time and going to school at night. Shortly after, I met my future husband and my priorities had completely changed. For a while, we did consider buying a small hobby farm on 50 acres, but the offer fell through and we moved on to something else.

After Cate was born, I decided to get back into riding at a new barn near our house. On my second ride, I rode a beautiful mare and we just clicked. That was the end of April. I couldn't resist the temptation to compete and so 2 months later, we were at our first provincial dressage competition together. By the end of the day, we were First Level Champion. A couple shows later, I decided to try my luck at a Second Level test and guess what - we got some decent scores! I was thrilled to compete on such a fabulous horse, however I felt that the deeper I got into riding, the less time I had for my family. A few months later I decided to stop riding for the second time.


I now have a basement full of riding equipment that hasn't been touched in over a year, but the thought of parting with it is like the thought of losing a dream. If we ever win big in the lottery, there is no doubt in my mind that we would buy a farm and some horses. More so, with two little girls, I am convinced that riding will be in our future. For now, I will think fondly of the rubbermaid totes in my basement and look forward to years of being a barn mom and maybe one day, it will be my turn again.

April 9, 2011

Dollars and Sense

Hubby and I have financial moodswings. We go from super-saving mode to super-spending mode. We are both culprits for convincing each other that we NEED something, rather than WANT something. These cycles continue for a while, and then we hit a peak where we revert back into savings mode. Hubby's mantra becomes "We have no money".

For example, this is what happens on Thursday nights after flyer day when we're in savings mode:

Me - "Hun, look at this awesome rug. It would look great in our living room AND it's on sale"
Hubby - "We have no money"

Me - "Look hun, that patio set we wanted is on sale"
Hubby - "We have no money"

Me - "Oh good, chicken is on sale"
Hubby - "We have no money"

In contrast, this is what Thursday night sounds like in spending mode:

Me - "Ooh, look at those sheets. They would look great in Cate's room"
Hubby - "Yes, hunny"

Me - "We should pick up another light for the backyard"
Hubby - "Mhmm"

Me - "Oh good, chicken is on sale"
Hubby - "Mhmm"

I guess it seems that I am always in spending mode...

Well, we are currently hitting the peak of spending mode. We recently replaced a bunch of light fixtures, bought a new double stroller, and hubby bought me some beautiful jewellery for Valentine's Day / Maddie's Birth / Making up for not getting me anything for Cate's Birth. Best of all, today we decided to move forward with painting the exterior of our house. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it was one of the first things we wanted to change when we moved in 2.5 years ago. I even got a quote shortly after we moved in, but it just wasn't in the cards at the time. The current colours are VERY dated and frankly, it looks like its never been washed. The exterior of the house just doesn't reflect how much we like our house (does that sound cheesy?).

So, this week I called up the same company and they said they would honour the quote from 2 years ago. Hubby and I "discussed" it and today we picked paint colours! We're hoping to have it done by the end of the month - I can't wait to share the before and after pictures.

With all of that being said, I am sure the end of the spending spree is approaching. It's time to get re-focused on paying off our debt and putting more money in the kids' RESPs. Time to once again go back to being a responsible adult. I am grateful that we both have secure jobs and good salaries to allow us to go through these cycles, but that also makes it difficult to live on a conservative budget and spend within acceptable boundaries. It really is true what they say - the more you make, the more you spend.

So here are my questions for you:

Who makes the financial decisions in your home?

Do you go through these cycles too?

I would love to hear of someone who actually lives on a cash budget - no loans, no credit card debt, no LOCs, just cash. It just sounds unheard of these days...

April 6, 2011

Two Kisses for Maddy

One of the first blogs I started following is Matt Logelin's. I started reading after his appearance on the Rachael Ray show in February 2009 and I've been hooked ever since.

If you want to check it out for yourself, go

I will warn you that his story is a tear jerker.

Matt has since written a book, "Two Kisses for Maddy". I had pre-ordered it back in October, but finally got it in the mail yesterday. I am now on page 74 and believe me, the tears are flowing...

Here's a sneak peak:

You can buy the book here.


April 5, 2011

New Look


I decided it was time to move on from the plain jane template I was using before.

Since the first time MS Publisher was released with MS Office, I became an advocate for good desktop publishing. Working in the marketing field, I strongly believe that it's crucial to present your ideas, presentations and reports in a clean and creative way to showcases your ability to sell. If people within your organization don't find your work interesting, how are they going to trust you to intice your target audience?

Unfortunately, it would seem as though MS Publisher is no longer released with MS Office Home and Student 2010, but is sold separately for $179.00. As an alternative, I found Serif PagePlus X5for $99.99, and after reading some reviews I bought it. It's pretty similar to MS Publisher, but offers even more functionality. I still have a lot to figure out, but I was playing around with it and was able to create the header and picture of "me" on the right. I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.

Next up are Cate's Birthday invitations...

Let me know what you think of my new look!

If you want to test out MS Publisher, you can download a trial version here.

If you want to check out Serif PagePlus X5, go here.

April 3, 2011

Seeking Perfection

I am constantly running out of time. I truly feel that there should be more time in a day and I am seriously considering starting a petition to add another 4 hours every day. If only the universe would take this into consideration...

I am always making to do lists in my head, although I rarely have the time to write them down. Between laundry, cleaning, kids and the never ending list of odd jobs the need to be done, I never feel that sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining since I thrive on staying busy, but once bed time rolls around, I feel like I could stay up for another few hours to strike a few more items off the list. My brain tells me to smarten up and go to bed.

I will fully admit that I have a problem. When I am on Mat Leave, keeping up the house becomes my job. A little bit of my OCD nature comes out and I organize every nook and crannie of the house. I also get really irritated by things left laying around. In my world, everything has a place and so that's where it should be.

Hubby was actually nervous about me going on Mat Leave a second time. He does not share the same affection for organization and anyone who has seen his office will know that it's true when they say that opposites attract!

I am trying very hard not to go overboard this time, however, I am quickly learning that it's something that runs deep in my veins. I am making conscious efforts to let things go and trying to lower my expectations of what I try to accomplish in a day.

I am a different person when I am working. I guess I focus this need for perfection at the office and so the state of my house has less value to me.

I can't be the only one with this affliction. Do any of you fight your need for perfection or find yourself compromising with yourself for the sake of a happy hubby?

On a different note, today we completed week 5 of the Isagenix program. We took one day "off" before starting another 30 day cleanse. I am officially down 18 lbs and only have another 4 lbs to go to get me to my prepregnancy #2 weight. Hubby, being the show off that he is, is down 38lbs... Jerk... Actually, I'm really happy for him and really do notice the difference. He now fits in the sweater I bought him for Father's Day last year :)