Thursday, May 31, 2012

New summer hair!

 I had my hair done last night by the lovely Lucy at Thrixx Salon, she has been doing my hair for years now and does a great job. Plus, we get a long really well so it's always fun catching up, we always have a ton to talk about!
When I arrived I didn't really know what I wanted, which is so unlike me. Usually before a hair appt I spend lots of time going through pics etc until I find a cut/colour that I really like. This time I had decided to keep the cut I had(it's a great cut that really works for me, plus I want to grow my hair out), but I was really waffling between dark burgundy highlights or lots of blondish ones for summer. In the end the summery ones won out and this is what I ended up with...super happy with it. :)

Made a delicious dinner tonight! So good, and I can't believe it was fairly low calorie. I am getting addicted to the Skinnytaste website, so many great and really yummy ideas!
Tonight was Sweet and Fiery Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa. I didn't add any sriracha because quite frankly I don't know what that is and I was worried it would be too spicy which wouldn't go over well with the kids. I did end up cutting a bit of the outside off of the tenderloin off when I gave it to the littles just to make sure it wouldn't be too much for them with the sweet chili sauce. I left Ella with a little but I don't want to do anything to discourage Marshall from eating. As I side I made: Brown Coconut Rice with Cilantro, again a total hit. I used jasmine rice(love!) instead of brown rice. BOTH kids ate everything right up tonight so it's a definite "make again". We finished everything off with some strawberries for dessert.

I leave you with yet another song. :)

Product review and other things

 I mentioned in a previous post that I had picked up a beautyblender sponge from Sephora and that I would be reviewing it once I had a chance to use it a few times. Honestly, I have nothing bad to say, this sponge is A-mazing. Chris even came home from work and said to me "you look all glowy", that is how good it is. You just dampen the sponge with a little water, put a little foundation either on your face or directly on the sponge and stipple(pat) it all over your face. I do a combination of stippling and pulling the  sponge over my face. The large end of the "egg" works all over your face and the small end is great for harder to reach areas like the spots around your nose. This sponge is worth every penny, I won't be using a brush or cheap wedge sponge ever again. It gets two thumbs up from me. :) Here is a direct link to it's page on Sephora: beautyblender

A little update on the They're Real mascara from Benefit I've been using, still loving it and one of the best things about it.... ZERO flaking. That to me is worth it's weight in gold.

I also mentioned in a previous post about a lower calorie potato salad I was going to try and it turned out great! Here's the link: Baby Red Potato Salad 
Instead of having a ton of mayonnaise like regular potato salad would you just use a little low fat mayo, a bit of olive oil, dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. So tasty and way less calories. I always use Chris to gauge the "yummy" factor and he finished it off later in the evening so I would say it passed. ;)

I've almost hit the 6lbs lost mark and I'm feeling amazing! I got out for another hour+ walk with Marshall today, between that and the clean eating(minimal processed food, lots of veggies, large amounts of water all day long) I really do feel so much better. And the best part is I feel encouraged to keep it up.

 I had a long overdue hair appointment last night and am now sporting my full on summer hair, love it! Pictures to come!

I'll leave you with my new favourite running song: HAVANA BROWN - WE RUN THE NIGHT 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Take a walk with me

I have been really trying to spend more time outside lately. The weather has been so amazing, bright sunshine and perfect temps. Today was a little overcast with some sunny periods, a great day for a walk. I naturally walk quickly so it turned into a decent workout too and I was gone for about and hour and 10-15 min or so. I took a lot of pictures along the way, as there was just so many things in bloom. The wild roses smelled lovely, Marshall was perfectly behaved and it was a real spirit lifting walk. I feel very grateful to live where I do. 

The first picture is hawthorn I believe(Mom, if you're reading can you leave a comment below and tell me if I'm right?) and there was a lot of it and in three different colours...white, dark pink and a nice pale pink.

Wild roses.....about half of the roses were done blooming and in the hip stage already.

Someone's beautiful lilac bush. These people were out working in their garden and gave me a wave and a smile when I took a picture of their lilac. So friendly. :)

The broom is in full bloom right now and it's everywhere. I know...I know....people spend so much time trying to get rid of it but it is so beautiful. It's too bad it's so invasive.

Am I the only one that finds this sign ironic??

I think these are snowballs and ??? Mom, what do you think? You're the gardening guru. ;)

More hawthorn.

I went a little farther than I usually go and ended up on a part of the trail I hadn't been on before...the best part! It was so peaceful here with a gentle breeze and the birds singing their hearts out.

The pictures coming back are dark for some reason...who knows how the iPhone just does what it wants sometimes. 

Lots more broom blooming.

Took this picture of a clamatis blooming over someone's fence. I know this is something you have tried to have bloom for years Mom so this picture's for you. :)

I had a beautiful view of Mt Prevost on my way back.

This is how Marshall enjoyed the walk...totally relaxed, his hands were even behind his head. I tried to get a picture like that but he moved.

This one's close.

I will definitely be walking this way a lot more, I'm going to try for three times a week. Marshall wasn't good in a stroller in his younger(?) days but he has gotten way better which makes things much easier for me.

 Eating has been going well. I got a little off track over the weekend with Chris's mother here, which means she sends us out for a movie and we have popcorn and we go out for Chinese food at some point. I felt very tired and sluggish after the Chinese food, all that grease(and it's good Chinese food) drags you down so I think it will be easy to stay away from it.

I made quesadilla's last night for dinner and they were actually pretty healthy and relatively low fat. The  tortilla wasn't that bad and the cheese was low fat, the rest was grilled chicken and vegetables with spices and a bit of olive oil. To go with the quesadilla's I made a new salad which turned out quite good and is very easy to make:

1 can of black beans(drain and rinsed)
1 can of garbanzo beans(drained and rinsed)
1 cucumber diced
2 tomatoes diced
chopped cilantro to your taste(I like it and put in a lot and I still thought it could use more)
1/4 of an onion diced(I skipped this step...not a fan of raw onions)
For the dressing:
2tbsps of olive oil
2tbsps of balsamic vinegrette
1/2 a lemon squeezed
salt and pepper to taste

You can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking of course. The salad was yummy and with the beans it was also very filling.

Tonight I'm trying out a low fat version of potato salad. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A new product and a fun weekend

 I'm starting with a new mascara I got from Sephora this weekend because I really like it. I had been hearing good things about this particular mascara so decided to give it a try even though the price point is on the higher side. I usually use one of the different versions of Cover Girls Lash Blast. I like a big fat brush that delivers quite a bit of product as I don't have a lot of lashes on my own. I took some test photos to show you the difference between my lashes with no mascara and with this new Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara . I like how the brush is designed(there is a close up of it in the link) with the spiky ball on the end.

I can see quite a difference, what do you think?

One side

 One side

Both sides

I also got a Beauty Blender sponge which is supposed to be amazing for doing your foundation. I haven't had a chance to use it yet but I will post about it in the next couple of days and let you know what I think.

The weekend started with painting our master bedroom. I was really excited to do this as we had picked out and bought the paint when we moved to this place in September and with all the things going on and keeping us busy we just never seemed to get it done.

Prepping walls, such a happy guy. :)

I'm just giving you a little tease of the colour because I want to show you the full on finished look once the trim is up and the bedroom is back together. The colour we used was Granite Grey and it looks amazing! The perfect grey and exactly what I wanted. Quite a change from the hospital white that was in there before.

 On Sunday we made a trip into Victoria to take the kids to Beacon Hill Children's Farm . We had taken Ella a couple of times before, but this was Marshall's first time. He had fun running around and touching everything(I was continually washing his water...ewwwww!), but he isn't as in to the animals as Ella is.

There were peacocks everywhere and the males were really putting on a show for the girls. You could hardly turn around without seeing another one like this:

So beautiful!

And last but not least a parting shot of my girl and I. Love her so much. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eating well

 Working at slimming down is going well so far. I stepped on the scale this morning to a sweet 3lb loss! I'm thrilled with that even though I know it's just water loss. I have been drinking so much water and eating so much watermelon that the rest of my day is pretty much spent going in and out of the bathroom because my back teeth are floating. ;)

I thought I would share this recipe for the meal pictured below. It is Sweet Potato and “Un-Fried” Bean Tacos and they were DELICIOUS. I made a couple of adjustments(more cumin and flour tortillas instead of corn), but pretty much followed the recipe. Ella and Chris both ate them right up and I could have eaten them all day long. Really good, and really healthy too, a win win dinner. :)

 I found another website that I have been pinning(Pinterest) recipes from that look really good. It's Skinnytaste and I think that I will be able to incorporate quite a few of the recipes she posts to our regular meals. I've been trying hard to find some tasty meals that are also low in calories. I will try to post different ones I've tried to this blog. It's always nice to have a guinea pig testing them for you first. 

Ah I've missed you. I think it may be the perfect diet food. It's sweet and delicious, fills you up and you can eat a lot of it without really worrying much. I was glad to see it making it's way back into the grocery stores just in time for me to really be needing it.

I've finishing a couple of books lately. The first one I have mentioned on here a couple of times and that was Bringing Up Bebe. Overall this book was kind of a fun read and there were some things I agree with(parents need parent time away from the kids -they need a life too!, offering as many different kinds of food in different styles and flavours as you can: please, thank you, hello and good bye to everyone, and teaching kids to play on their own - it's ok not to have someone entertaining you), but there was a real degree of coldness in a lot of the parenting style in my opinion. The author talked about  the french mothers taking their kids to the park and then pretty much ignoring them, they don't get involved in their play, most mothers get their babies on formula as fast as they can and they are sending their kids off on week long field trips that are hours away from home at five years of age. There are no little ones crawling into bed with parents if you follow what this author is saying and quite frankly I like that my kids do that. I prefer a warmer, more affectionate style of parenting.

The other book I finished was A Stolen Life: A Memoir: Jaycee Dugard.  This book was about the girl in California who was kidnapped on her way to school at 11 years old and then kept in the her kidnappers back yard for the next 18 years, even giving birth to two of his kids there. It was written by Jaycee herself and honestly, it was horrifying. Her kidnapper was an animal, and I can't believe there are people like that out there, never mind that they can find someone to marry them like this guy did. His wife was fully aware of everything going on. They are both in prison for life now, but as the title of the book says Jaycee will never get her life back. Terrible.....

 Now for something a little lighter.....
 I've been finding some great, very different music lately so had to share. The first is actually not all that different, just someone I hadn't heard of before. Here are a couple samples:
The next is in spanish so I don't even know what she's saying but it's so it! ;)
This is great background kind of music:
An older song from Moby that I really like:
And just to add in something mainstream, I really like this new Sam Roberts song:

Hope you're enjoying the sun, it's gorgeous here! :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Amanda!

 We had such a wonderful long weekend here. It started with a day of shopping in Nanaimo with one sister and ended with a trip to my brother's Coastal Black Estate Winery to celebrate the birthday of another. 

My sweet Amanda, always so supportive of me and an avid reader of this blog, huge Birthday wishes to you my girl. I love ya! :)

 We enjoyed some pizzas made in the brick oven at the winery. They turned out very yummy and with most of the family there(miss you Jasmine and Josh!) they didn't last long. Add to that a delicious salad, wine and home made coconut cake(baked by Mom) and it made for a really enjoyable afternoon.

 The winery is expanding all the time, and just recently put in a huge new patio around the brick oven and are in the middle stages of big new reception building. Pretty soon there won't be anything you can't do there. 

  Today brought another trip to the airport to ship a dog(yay Westjet!), and afterwards I decided to take the kiddies for a "breakfast for lunch" at White Spot. I had two eggs with my breakfast and had stomach pains until late this evening. That was the worst it's ever been and I think I can safely say they are off my list to eat anymore, definitely have an allergy going on! It's really too bad as I like eggs and they made such a quick, easy and protein packed meal. I guess I will just have to find something different.

 I'm feeling really fired up and ready to shed some pounds(don't look at that picture above of me eating pizza..haha) and did a good grocery shop today with that in mind. I look forward to posting some "after" pics in a few months! :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

EllaMarsh giveaway on Facebook!

 I'm doing a giveaway of the braided hex nut bracelet on the EllaMarsh Facebook page. This is a chance to get one of your own so be sure to check out the page and share it with your friends. Here's the link: EllaMarsh
 Thanks! :)

A visit to Pacific Northwest Raptors

 Ella had a Pro D day on Friday so I planned a little trip to Pacific Northwest Raptors. I had been wanting to check this place out for awhile and it seemed like the right time to go when I got a couple of 10% off admission coupons when I ran into the girls from the raptor park leaving tickets on windshields at the dog show last weekend. I gave my friend Lee a call in the morning to see if she and the kids might want to join us and so we all met up to see the birds.

The park has been around for about 10 years and most of the birds have been raised there. There are a few who have been rehabilitated and some have been deemed unrealeasable because they have imprinted on humans. Can you imagine walking through the forest and having a falcon randomly land on you? Yeah, that probably wouldn't go over so well.

Elton the spectacled owl

Manwe the bald eagle who was later used in the flying demo

Snowy owl

We arrived about an hour and a half before the flying demonstration so we had lots of time to see everything. They had a really great selection of birds, lots of owls(snowy, barn, screech, spectacled and more), hawks(harris, redtailed and more), falcons(peregrine, saker and more) and eagles(golden and bald), even a couple of turkey vultures and some kookaburras(these guys sound so cool). I'm saying more in my descriptions by the way because I can't remember the names of them all, they really did have a broad selection.

 Once we had wandered around and seen everything we went down to the flying field for a demo. It started out with Manwe the bald eagle who is nine years old and quite the performer.

He flew back and forth right in front of the crowd which was very impressive as he was quite a big bird(we learned that males are about 30% smaller than females so he was actually not that big for a bald eagle) and had a big slow way of flying. At one point he did fly up and land in the trees and to get him back down they use a big fishing lure and that apparently resembles salmon scales and he came right down to get it. He was a bit of a performer and the kids loved him.

 Next came Ollie the barn owl who was very chatty and so cute. He had a bit of a mind of his own and didn't always want to come back to his handler but the meaty bits kept bringing him back. 

After Ollie came Chinook the red tailed hawk and my friend Lee's son Dillon was picked from the crowd to run with a lure to see how Chinook hunts. He came flying down to land on the lure and then did what is called mantling, which means he spreads his wings out and around the "prey" so that Matt his handler couldn't get it. It was quite interesting to see.

And last but definitely not least was Arrow the saker falcon. This type of falcon hunts birds and they are so fast(Matt told us that the fastest one clocked on record flew at 340 miles per hour!!). They have sort of a quick in and out way of flying and they have a kind of tooth on their beak that they use to hit their prey with on the way by. This enables them to bring down much larger birds than themselves, and while it is quite rare, they do occasionally bring down full size geese. Saker falcons are from the middle eastern areas and were the first type to be domesticated and used by humans for hunting.

 All and all we had a really great time and I would definitely recommend it and go back again too. They have things called owl walks where you get a guided tour with one of the biologists and he brings the owl along for the walk and you also get to see what it's like to have him come in and land on your for a piece of food. I think that would be a fun birthday for a kid.

Hope you get a chance to check out the raptors in the near future, so fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flying dogs

 I spent most of yesterday at the airport, flying two dogs to their new (excellent!)homes. I ended up taking Ella with me as I was worried about making it home in time to pick her up from school(turned out it was very lucky I did) and she is such a great help with Marshall.
 The first dog flying with Westjet to Edmonton went off without a hitch, no problem, all was well...just signed a few papers and he happily went off to become an Albertan.
 The second dog flying with Air Canada to Prince Rupert was not so easy. I had heard that Air Canada wants dogs to be in way oversized crates and I always use Westjet when I can. But of course, the only airline going to Prince Rupert from Victoria was Air Canada. The crate I brought with me was the same size as what the dog sleep in every night and is more than big enough for her to fly in, but no, to them it wasn't acceptable. They want the dog to have three inches above their head when the head is straight up. Now that is HUGE on a prick eared dog. They were kind enough to help me track down a crate(which I paid through the nose for!!! $380!!..I'm sure that pet store knows they have the market cornered being only 10min from the airport and they are way overpriced), and I packed up the kids and the dog and rushed off to get it. Air Canada even called the pet store back to make they they would assemble the crate while I was one my way which was very nice of them. There was no way that crate would have fit in anyone's vehicle but my enormous dog van(when the dog arrived at her new home they had to disassemble it to get it in the door), it was huge! Definitely meant for the giant breeds(just like the crate says...the size is called GIANT) like Great Danes, not Dobermans.
 It was a little tight but all the running around got done and the guy at Air Canada did some of the paperwork while I was racing to Sidney. Other than needing a ridiculously big crate Air Canada was very nice and helpful.
 Ella was a great helper for Marshall(and earned herself three chocolate Timbits for her efforts) and they watched cartoons on my iPhone, which is why there are no pictures with this post.
 We arrived home at about 3:30 and put a sleeping Marshall straight into his bed. I headed right back out the door to run errands and came home with Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken for dinner. Lee's just moved into a brand new location and they were very busy but the staff seemed to work like a well oiled machine.
 My days seem to be thwarted on the low calorie eating front(or as my Bring Up Bebe book calls it "paying attention"...they don't "diet" there apparently which I think is great). I need to have some easy quick to assemble ingredients on hand so I don't go for the quick fix.. i.e. take home dinner from Lee's. I started this morning with a smoothie and a cup of tea so we'll see how the rest of the day plays out.
 Off to Pacific Northwest Raptors  today with the kiddies. Photos later!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Loving the summer weather

 The weather here has just been so nice. I know I have been saying that a lot but I just miss it so much that it makes me deliriously happy when it returns. 
 I didn't get any running in yesterday or any other cardio actually, other than running around town. Does that count? How about packing around a two year old? Does that count as weight lifting? 
 After I washed the floors and did some other housework I headed out to get the kids some flip flops/sandals. Couldn't have them in closed shoes with the hot weather, that would just be a bummer and would probably lead to some stinky feet. I got some cheapies for now until I can find something better. Ella was thrilled when she came home and saw her new flip flops. Doesn't take much to make a five year old happy, something to keep in mind really.....

 Once Ella got home from school we tried out a recipe from my Bringing up Bebe book that I showed you in an earlier post:Bringing Up Bebe . It's a yogurt cake that is fun for kids to make because you just use two 175ml yogurts and then you measure all the rest of the ingredients with the empty containers. It was a great idea and easy for the Ella to keep track. She made a mess but had fun. ;)

 I was very disappointed with how the cake turned out. The recipe said to use a loaf pan which I did, but after the 35min baking time it was far from done. I ended up cooking it a further 50(!!) minutes before it would pass the knife test and even then by the time it had cooled the middle was still like eating dough. Not sure what happened there but it ended up in the compost.

 I went out with my friend Amanda last night to watch a movie and we ended up seeing The Five Year Engagement: The Five-Year Engagement  . It was really funny, a little crude but I would recommend it.

 My sister in law and nephews are coming by to visit for the afternoon/evening. So excited to see them! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back at it!

 Just like I said I would in my last post I headed out the door and got a run in. It was the first in a couple of months now I think and the first one I have done pushing a stroller so I took it easy, plus it was dang hot. I am going to try to go earlier in the day from now on if this gorgeous weather keeps up. There were a few shady patches during the run but they had some lovely little bug swarms in them and it's hard to hold your breath when you are puffing from running. I did manage to avoid inhaling any of them but I think I was just lucky. The trail that I run on is gorgeous and the beginning part of it weaves through little farms and pastures. There were even a few apple trees still in bloom and they smelled so good.

  I did well in my eating yesterday until dinner time and then we had boiled new potatoes and corn on the cob. Well, those things just don't taste the same without butter and it was such a perfect summer dinner that I indulged. I didn't do any after dinner snacking though so I'm focusing on the positive rather than the negative.

 Today is floor washing and bedding day so I better get at it. More later!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

 I have the BEST family and they treat me so well. I'm a very lucky woman. :) I was treated to a lovely Mothers Day breakfast prepared by Chris and Ella(she wouldn't let me forget that she stirred the waffle batter ;) ).

 Chris always cooks for an army, so there is tons of food. No one goes hungry at our table!

Ella flashing her peace signs that the girls at the dog show taught her the day before. This year the Tyee Kennel Club had a 70's theme and they sported some great outfits. I wish I had brought my camera!

The man himself! I love you so much....xoxo!

 I also got some lovely flowers and a beautiful hanging basket(I'll include a photo with my next post). Ella choose all the flowers. :)

 The weather over the weekend was fabulous and I broke out the shorts for the first time this year. My legs were a little on the white side but the only way to get colour is to expose them right? ;)
 We had a lazy afternoon playing cards on the deck while Ella coloured alongside, jumped on the trampoline and watered the flowers(rocks, lawn, sky....whatever... ;) ).

 I also thought I would include this picture from the show of one of the dogs I bred taking a nice win over the weekend.

 Today I am back to the grind. It's another lovely day and I intend to get back to the running by strapping Marshall into the stroller and going. I'll let you know how that plays out. I was very dismayed  stepping on the scale last night all full of my overindulging weekend(and a little before that, I'm not going to lie). It's time to rein myself in a little. Chris and I have been talking seriously about making a trip to France and I would prefer to go fit rather than fat. 

 Ok, gotta run and throw laundry in the washer, make a few phone calls and then I'm out the door! Enjoy the sun!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A little bit of everything

 I've gotten a little behind on posting here but I have had quite a lot going on so there is stuff to talk about. :)
 Ella's class went on a field trip to a local dairy farm so I went along with Marshall to help out with the kids. It was a fun trip and interesting for the kids. The farm was absolutely gorgeous, nestled at the base of Mt Prevost the views were amazing. Apparently the farm is over one hundred years old and if you could call a dairy farm quaint than that would describe this one. 

 I had to have a shower as soon as I got home though to get the cow barn smell out of my hair. I'm glad I don't have to work in that everyday(anyday!).

 Speaking of hair... I had been on a bit of a mission to find hot steam rollers and finally had success at London Drugs. I had been able to find hot rollers, but not ones that used steam. I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but I will let you know how they work in an upcoming post. They are supposed to make your hair less flyaway and shinier than the regular hot rollers.

  This is how we ended the day on Thursday....after dinner and a bath the kiddies got into their pajamas and we had an impromptu trip to Dairy Queen.

The weather has been so outstanding the last few days(today we got up to the high mid 20's!) and with work being a little slow Chris took Friday off and I kept Ella home from school so we could have a fun trip to Victoria. Our first stop was Chapters where I picked up this book:

And of course found more that I wanted but they will have to come by mail order as it's just SO much cheaper that way. Chapters is great for ordering online, delivery is really quick and if you order over $25(easy!!) the shipping is free. The books are also much cheaper than they are in the store.
 You could really feel the summer vibe in Victoria, lots of people in shorts and t-shirts and well, lots of people period, all out walking the streets. The panhandlers were out in full force(good to see Darth Vader back playing his fiddle), along with lots of horse drawn carriage rides, and everyone eating outside at all the restaurants.
 We had lunch at Cafe Mexico(more about it in this post: Two days in one) since it was a hit with the kids last time and it went over well again. I had a burrito, a big burrito that I couldn't finish and had to take home. I gave it a good try though, it was so darn good.

 Today was yet another gorgeous day. Everyone(including Marshall!) had a nice sleep in and then after a relaxed morning I headed over to the Tyee Kennel Club dog show( Tyee Kennel Club )to watch a couple of dogs I bred who were in the show, and actually even ended up showing one of them. They have done well so far this weekend, and hopefully continue the winning tomorrow.
 I have been really cutting back on the amount of dog shows I have been going to as I have just gotten so busy with the kids that I don't really have the time, or quite frankly the same drive to go anymore. I still enjoy seeing my dogs win though and I have some great puppy owners and they are always fun to catch up with.
 When I came home from the dog show Chris had made an AMAZING dinner of Greek food and we all fully indulged(I'm still full!). It was the all in the theme of Mother's Day weekend. We always do quite extended celebrations around here....instead of a BirthDAY, we do a Birthday WEEK, and Mother's Day becomes Mother's Day weekend etc... If you don't already do this yourself I highly recommend it, it's the best! :)
 Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. I'm thinking it might involve a pretty yummy breakfast...... I'll keep you posted. ;)