April 22, 2012

The Pink Ladies

It was a long and uncertain road, but yesterday I had the chance to celebrate the months I spent fundraising with 6 hour long fitness classes at Bust A Move! I joined 4 other lovely ladies from the Losing it in Ottawa community to get our sweat on.

The event itself was terrific. Everything was very well organized and the most impressive part was that they managed to seek out enough sponsors to cover the cost of the event so that all the $349,000 raised will go directly to support both the Maplesoft Centre's Cancer Coaching Program and the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.

As some of you know, I actually reached my $1,000 goal and so, as promised, on Friday night I went from blonde to PINK!

I can't believe how well the colour covered!

I joined the rest of the "Pink Ladies" at the Ottawa Athletic Club on Saturday morning. The atmosphere was invigorating and we were all anxious to get moving. 


After a few opening remarks, the exercise began with an old school hi-low aerobics class. I broke a sweat in the first 10 minutes and loved how intense it was. It also had me second guessing my ability to keep it up for the whole six hours! 

Luckily, hour number 2 has a surprise in store with Richard Simmons leading a low-impact dance style class. I ended up on stage for the opening set and let me tell you, I had a blast! When I first heard he was coming, I was definitely a little creeped out. I'm not sure whether it's the short shorts or his gregarious personality, but it was a bit much for me. Now that I've "met" him in person, I have gained a lot more respect for him and really got a kick out of his workout. 

It seems like the camera really had a thing for my pink hair -  it made several of the local newspapers!

Not sure why my arms are up, when clearly that is not what we're supposed to be doing!  Photo credits to The Ottawa Sun

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Photo credits to The Ottawa Citizen

Got to love the wide angle lens - look how long my leg looks!
Photo credits to The Ottawa Sun

The day continued with Zumba, Yoga, Kickboxing, Belly Dancing and even a free massage thrown in for good measure! While I found it to be a good workout, I didn't find it over taxing, although my knees and calves are a little worse for the wear today.

I ended the day with a quiet evening at home while the kids were out at Grandma's and Grandpa's for a sleepover. As I expected, I didn't make it much past 9pm before I fell into the wonderful deep sleep that follows a day of being active.

Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who donated to support this worthy cause and allowed me to participate in this amazing event. 

I couldn't have done it without you. 

April 11, 2012

How much are you willing to give?

Today, I made an executive decision.

I registered to become an organ donor.

You might be asking yourself why it has taken me so long to do so. I have been thinking about this subject for many years and finally today I had the AHA moment that I was waiting for to push me to make this decision.

Like many of you, I have been following Hélène Campbell’s story of her battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and her quest for a new pair of lungs. She has been advocating for organ donation through social media and has even received the support of celebrities like Justin Beiber and Ellen DeGeneres. Last week, Hélène underwent a double lung transplant and thankfully, she appears to be recovering well.

After reading several articles and tidbits over the last few months, I have finally managed to change my perspective on organ donation. I started thinking about how I would feel if it was my daughter waiting for a lung transplant. I couldn’t imagine being put in a position that so greatly relied on the generosity of others. More so, how could I possibly ask someone else to donate their organs if I was not prepared to do the same myself?

To be honest,the biggest factor holding me back was fear. What if I was in a coma and there was still a chance of survival, but someone I don’t even know decided that my organs would be better donated to someone else, than to keep me alive on the chance that I could survive? A bit silly, I know. Maybe I’ve watched too many medical dramas with unethical pushy doctors that they have made their way into my subconscious and now have me doubting our healthcare system.

Today, I turned over a new leaf and have decided that I trusted the health care system enough to fight for me. I trust my family enough to know that I would want to keep fighting for as long as I could. BUT, if there was absolutely no hope –then I would want to help someone else.

What do you think about organ donation? Have you registered to become an organ donor?

If you’re from Ontario, just go to beadonor.ca and have your health card ready. You can also check to see if you’re already registered. 

April 5, 2012

Sweet Easter Treats

Lately, Cate and I have been in the habit of baking together once or twice a week. Usually it's something healthy like my favourite cinnamon swirl protein bread or a whole grain fruit muffin, but with Easter coming up this weekend, we'll be doing the rounds for family dinners and so I decided that we should have some Easter treats to bring along with us. 

Since they turned out so well, I thought I would share the recipe with all of you. I had to make a few modifications from the original recipe that I found here http://www.curiositiesbydickens.com/easter-birds-nest-cookies/

Aren't these just adorable?

Easter Bird's Nest Cookies

1 cup Butter
1 8oz package of Cream Cheese
2 cups Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Coconut Extract
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
2 cups White Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
Flaked Coconut
Green, Yellow, Red, and Blue Food Colouring
Candy Covered Eggs – I used PC speckled eggs because I liked the natural looking colours.
Royal Icing – You can make your own with icing sugar and water or you can buy the premade cookie icing with a piping tip already on the package.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and cream cheese till smooth. Beat in sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and extracts. Mix well. Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Roll dough into balls (about the size of ping pong). The batter was really sticky for me so I added more flour to make it more manageable. Place them a couple inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make an indentation in each one using your thumb.

Bake for 10-12 minutes on the centre rack. Cookies won't brown, so keep an eye on them. Remove from oven and use the back of a spoon to press down the indentation again.

Meanwhile, mix coconut with a couple of drops of each of the food coloring in a small bowl with a lid or a large freezer bag. Cover and shake until all the coconut is evenly covered. Adjust the colours until you get a nice deep brown colour. Spread icing in the indents on each of the cookies (I used a small paint brush) and fill with coconut. Press down on the coconut flakes and then tip them over to get rid of the excess. Place another dab of icing on top of the coconut in the centre of the cookie and place 3 multi-coloured eggs. Press down to secure them in place. This recipe makes about 60 cookies.

Et voila! Now you have adorable little bird nests! They make cute Easter table decorations, but are also tasty and satisfying.

These cookies were a lot of fun to make and kid friendly too. Cate pitched in to do everything from measuring the ingredients to "painting" on the icing and placing the eggs. Best of all, she is quite excited to deliver her special gifts this weekend. 

Happy Easter (and don't eat too much chocolate!)