Getting Rad-i-fied

Last Saturday, the twiddles and I decided to get our run on. We signed up, whole family, back in February to do Colour Me Rad. It’s a fun run/walk where you colour bomb everyone. You get a shirt, sunglasses and some awesome temporary tattoos to complete the package. For Calgary, the course weaves up C.O.P to the top of the bob lead run and then down and around to the finish all the while clouds of coloured cornstarch is thrown around. There are certain colour stations that the people running the show toss their own supply at you. I think the only think that would make it better is if Cindy Lauper were there with here 80′s awesomeness.

Now this race is not about the time, it’s about the line. There is no pressure to run the fastest or be the best, unless you are a Kneelanderthal. It’s just to get people moving and have the most fun while doing it.

Sadly, the Mad Hatter wasn’t able to join us. He had Bishopy things to do. His priorities were in the right place even though we missed him. My friend Bonnie joined us and she was such a trooper having never done this before. She might even to it again.

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my phone in the protective ziplock being carried where I can only carry it when my hands are full. I am still a sherpa even during a race

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I swear my kids got all my swagger and I have nothing left. NOTHING.

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We met up near the end of the race with Lisa, Matt, Brendan, Nadia and Q. Lisa managed to snap some pictures which are in this post. Thanks so much because apparently every picture I took had my plastic protective ziplock in it and since I couldn’t see because the sun was too bright. Just so you know adjusting the brightness requires being able to see the phone to make it brighter so I was snapping willy nilly and a ziplock.

 

 

Human Lab: DIY Dry Shampoo Results

wig-powder

So back in April, I decided to try out a dry shampoo recipe that is floating around the internet. I’m in my 4th month and we haven’t really hit the sweatiest time of year, but things seem to be going great. I have to admit this is a hard one for me to wrap my head around. Who puts food in their hair? Really?! IT reminds me of that brief time in middle school where I studied a bit of European history. One thing that really stands out was the powdered wigs and how everyone had lice. YUCK! I know it wasn’t the powder that caused the lice. Clearly this is a classic case of guilty by association, but I can’t help it. Anyway, I managed to push through and give it a try.

I am happy to report my head is still bug free and the shampoo seems to get me an extra day between washings. Yes I still use regular shampoo. The Redken colour safe one to be exact. This just helps me to treat my hair a little gentler with less processing. Remember if you are going to give this a try don’t go crazy with the application. You wouldn’t want to have frozen hot chocolate running down your head in the rain. Apply just enough powder mixture to absorb the excess oil. I’m looking forward to the summer and seeing how it works.

 

Pahhhhstahhhh

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We aren’t big pasta eaters, we would be but husband isn’t a fan unless it’s lasagna, the heaviest of the pastas. So if we get 2 pasta meals in in a month, it’s a big enough deal that comments may or may not be made. I say maybe made as one knows if they complain, they might be on dinner making duty for the next 3 days. I however could ,if not careful, get into a pasta rut and eat it 3 times a week. It’s good I have a husband, he provides balance.

So recently I was shopping and found Catelli’s Gluten Free Pasta. It is made from white rice flour, brown rice flour, corn flour, quinoa flour and monoglycerides (whatever that is). The calories per serving are comparable to regular pasta and the taste, the most important part, is pretty much the same. I say pretty much because if you don’t watch how long you cook it for, they kind of melt together and get mushy. So far this is the best gluten free pasta I have tried, just make sure you cook it only for 8 minutes.

We team it with Kelly Ripa’s mother-in-law’s sauce. It makes a lot and so I can freeze it into 3 servings. My family likes it and they get extra veggies. I haven’t used the bouillon cubes because I don’t ever have any in my pantry but I add a bit broth instead and try to reduce the sugar.

INGREDIENTS:
3 lbs. ground round beef meat

3 (28oz.), cans crushed tomatoes with puree

1 large sweet onion

5 celery ribs

1 lb. carrots

5 big cloves of garlic

2/3 cup virgin olive oil

2 beef bouillon cubes

a “pinch black ground pepper

1 cup fresh basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

5 teaspoon sugar (or as needed depending on the acidity of the tomatoes)

DIRECTIONS:
-Brown, crumble and drain the meat. Set it aside.

-Peel onion, carrots and celery. Cut them in small pieces and finely chop them in food processor to a puree consistency.

-In a 10 qt. non-stick pot pour the olive oil and cook the pureed vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, at medium heat.

-To the cooked vegetables, add the meat, the tomatoes, the bouillon cubes, the garlic, the pepper and the sugar.

-Cook at low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

-Finely chop the basil and crush the oregano. Add them to the cooking sauce.

-Cook the sauce for an additional 1½ hours.

-Remove the garlic, put it on a small dish and crush it into a puree consistency using a fork. Put it back in the sauce, stirring thoroughly.

-Cook sauce for 5 more minutes.
Note: Generally, the sauce is done when the garlic is soft.

Easter at home

With the way things have been going, it feels good to spend an Easter at home.Only one day of slight travel (across town) to my sister’s on Friday. She is hosting for the  first time. Sadly her kids couldn’t be there, the were with their dad, but it was fun all the same. My older kids haven’t spent much time with Aunty Jen since before she got married and Tweedle 3 can count the number of times he has seen her on one hand. Circumstances being what they are, she is finally free to enjoy the love of her family again. So we celebrated anyway. She looks so much happier and healthier. Sure things are hard and they will be for a while but if it’s right, then it’s right. The only one who can know if it’s right is her and her Heavenly Father.

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Yesterday (Saturday) we had the opportunity to clean the church. I know it’s weird but my kids love to clean the church and I figure I had better take them up on that. The certainly aren’t learning to clean all that well at home (it’s getting better) so they can learn at the church, where the company is good. My sister has a saying anything is fun if you have your friends. We were on vacuum duty and the boys helped clean surfaces. After the church we settled on colouring eggs and then a movie. Rio 2. Tweedle 3 would probably give the movie *****. There were things that I liked but it was kind of weird. I know I’m not their target market so I’m sure it’s fantastic. I would give it ***.

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Today, we got bunnied and then we went to church. Following church we rolled eggs. I know egg rolling isn’t that popular but the Mad Hatter told me today he only knows that my family rolls eggs. This couldn’t possibly be so. I took an informal poll and so far, through third hand, one other family that isn’t related to me on my dad’s side rolls eggs. Surely it’s more popular than that. Oh well. It’s what we do. That’s how we roll.

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Human lab results and a new experiment.

So I tried the oil cleansing, retin-A and Greens plus to improve my skin. I liked the oil cleansing originally, but as the weeks passed not so much. It felt much greasier by the end of the day (even a month into it) and when I had breakouts they were worse. I read somewhere that one shouldn’t use olive oil and that might be part of the problem because it was in my combination, but in my defence other sites said I could use it and since I had it that is what I did.

As for the retin-A, I will keep using it. I like the turn over on my skin and I think it is improving.

Healthy Greens Beautiful Skin smoothie: I will continue to use it (at least until it is done) I’m not sure how it’s helping my skin, but (sorry for being blunt) it keeps me regular and that is also very satisfying.

The new thing I will be trying is DIY dry shampoo for dark hair. It only has two ingredients (that I have in my home). It can have more like cinnamon or essential oils to add smells, but I have never been big on smells.

 

Recipe for DIY Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair

2 tbsp Coarn Starch

2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa (you don’t want sugar, it attracts bugs)

Mix together in a air tight container. You can add 5 drops of oil or a bit of cinnamon. I didn’t. I am applying with an old powder brush at the roots scrubbing my fingers through and using a boar bristle brush to brush it through. We shall see how it helps me with my fine dark hair. And well, if it doesn’t work, I could always make cookies. I know that was gross. sorry.

 

 

My House Hunting meltdown is over…for now.

Husband has asked me to stop looking at the MLS system. It seems I have been a little hard to live with. I should probably stop listening to the news as well because they seem to either think there is an unsustainable bubble in the housing prices or that it’s so healthy that this will last a long time. In the meantime quotations of how this time is so like the market in 2006 are everywhere and well I can’t do anything about it.

I had faith, when I started, that my short laundry list of wishes would be met. Hey if anyone could do it God could do it. Lets just say my faith wavered and to protect my heart I need to listen to my husband. There is nothing I can do for the next while anyway.

Instead I will have a meltdown of a new kind. The in-laws are coming and I have been trying for the last week to get my kids to clean. Apparently I am a push over because they just kinda shrug me off and go about their business (games and tv ) as if I didn’t say a thing. I dole out punishments and take stuff away and still the house is a mess. I normally scream and yell into submission but that isn’t working and supposedly I gave yelling up for Lent. Ugh when is Easter? Stress Level is back to high now. Seriously though how did this happen? I used to wield so much power and now everything I say is taken like a suggestion, including when to eat.

Actually I have almost given up on having a clean house and decided that my in-laws will love me in spite of my children and my house. They have to, they are stuck with me. Actually they don’t have to, that too can be taken as a suggestion, but they are stuck with me.

One day, I will look back on this time and think man what was my problem? Or hopefully I will laugh. Sooner rather than later would be nice but maybe to help the way along I should take down a lucky nickel or quarter and use it in vegas. Gambling is so against every cell in my body but a quarter or a nickel wouldn’t hurt? Would it? I guess you can ask me again when I enter rehab.

Oh yeah, Husband and I are going to vegas soon. We have been married 16 years (that went fast) Gretchen Rubin says “the days are long, but the years are short” It’s so true, especially this week. Silly spring break has been hijacked by a persistent winter so the days have been terribly long and with that unproductive due to the aforementioned shrugging off of responsibilities. Don’t you just wish that sometimes you could give up all responsibilities? Perhaps this is my midlife crisis or my terrible coping mechanism to stress. Maybe I should take up running :P Again or better.

Clearly this is a stream of consciousness entry so maybe I should just end here before I say something stupid.

 

House Hunting Sucks

About a month ago I thought house hunting rocked. I enjoyed looking at peoples homes and the promise of something that would be our own and be where we wanted it to be was quite appealing. So fast forward to now. On friday I got a call from our realtor that he was setting up appointments for Saturday. Almost all the houses we wanted to see were already sold including one that was listed that morning. The signed were reminiscent of the early market days of 2006 (coincidentally another immediately post flood year). Back then housing prices were pretty much going up $1000/day. A nice average home (that we were looking at back then ) went for around $260,000 now they go for $450+. It’s really sick. Anyway we were obviously priced out of the market in a like a month back then. Never mind The Mad Hatter was going to school.

So Yesterday, with this thought in my mind, I am feeling the pressure and realizing that for what we need, we can’t get where we want. We travel to what feels like an eternity away to look at houses. Enter our first open house. Walk into a large home with a beautiful view that smell of cigarette smoke. The carpet on all levels seems like it has lived an eventful life. I want to do some work on a house but I don’t think I’m ready for a full gut. Anyway we walk in and like 10 couples are leaving. The realtor pipes up that he already has 2 offers and the way the day has been going, it reminds him of 2006.

I figuratively wanted to through up right then and there. I literally wanted to cry but didn’t. You see it takes me months and many visits to buy a pair of shoes for $40 and now I’m asked to drop $XXX,XXX amount in an area I don’t want to live (because we can’t afford where we are) and to do it in hours. If I don’t we could be priced out of the market again. This goes against every cell in my body. We saw one more house after and it was nice. There was some weird stuff about it but a lot I liked. When we got in the car to go home The Mad Hatter asked me what I thought and I just started to cry. I cried because I don’t want to leave friends. And I mostly cried because of all the work I have done at the school and now I get to rip my children away from what few friends they have. We didn’t make an offer but I see the writing on the wall. I need a miracle. My one rich uncle died years ago and we didn’t see a thing so I’m doubtful. Oh my heart hurts right now.

I couldn’t go home right away as I was afraid I would loose it in front of the kids. So I made Husband and I go check out the Lindt Store that is near our house cause chocolate cures everything (well almost everything) and who knows, this may be the last time I get to go to it.

Resolution Check Up

It is almost the end of the first quarter and I am checking in to see how I am doing. I think I resolved, sort of, to do something to better myself.

1. I think the first one I wrote down was a weekly savings plan. I think we are chronologically on week 12. Savings wise, I’m a little behind, but I still am saving. It’s really the act of saving that I am trying to develop and the chart is helping. Now that I have a printer I can finally check off what I have done because I finally printed the chart. Charts are important, they show progress.

2. I have been baking. A lot more than I have in the past so yay me. However now I have been eating more. Boo me. I have put on some weight and it’s not entirely because of what I have been baking but I’m sure it doesn’t help. This week I took a bit of a break as things have gotten significantly busier, but I will probably get back to it. I just need to have more self control … and a hiding place plan so that I forget that I baked. I am enjoying making the bread. It feels like such an accomplishment when I am done.

3. Weights was another thing. I have been doing it and I have been feeling a bit stronger. I have also had a bit of an exercise epiphany and when I wrap my head around it I think I will be changing up what I regularly do. I am of a certain age and things that may have worked for me in the past may put too much stress on my body and consequently having the opposite affect.

4. Being prayerful has been hard. I love sleep and I have all these due dates, but I am acknowledging there are more blessings in my life. There have definitely more opportunities to say prayers, and I feel more guided, but I am not where I think I should be or giving what I think I should be. There is always room for improvement. Am I more prayerful? Probably yes. This is one that I need to work on more.

Raspberry Chocolate Banana Bread

Its been cold. Not only outside but in my home too. Not as bad in the past but still. If one is wearing a hat all day and under 2-3 blankets just to get warm there is a problem. My body wants to put on insulation. I can’t believe how much I am craving the carbs right now. And it’s not even the good carbs. I want white flour and white sugar. Normally a hearty vegetable soup is on the menu or some  delicious chilli, but not now. I want cookies, muffins, bread, and cake. I almost never bake because I know that is a weakness.

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I have some theories as to why this is happening.

1. It’s cold and my body feels it and wants to put on insulation

2. I love Chocolate

3. Sugar is the quickest way for my body to get energy when it needs it.

4. Sugar also causes me to go into a coma like state where I want to sleep all day long under a blanket, thus conserving my energy

5. Baking turns on my oven and my oven makes my house warmer.

6. My Sister has been going through a stressful time and consequently I am stressed so I eat.

7. Have I mentioned I am cold.

8. My my go to comfort food is baked goods

Ok enough complaining. And lets get to the food. There is something great about banana bread, especially or singularly homemade banana bread. I don’t like most store bought banana bread. It tastes fake. Fake banana is gross. It starts off a little “sweet”, then you say “I think thats banana”, and then your like “nope, it not.” Then sadly that taste stays with you because there is some sort of oil that coats your mouth. Yuck.

So I stick to homemade banana bread. Even the Jessica Sienfeld cauliflower banana bread is better than factory bread.  Today I have a proven winner. Bananas, chocolate and raspberries. Please note that this is not a low calorie version, but it does have whole ingredients (aside from the white flour and chocolate chips, cause I want white flour and chocolate chips right now ). It is seriously delicious and makes fantastic muffins.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread - adapted from a recipe found on food.com by licked_cupcake

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 eggs (room temperature)
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark semisweet chocolate chunks (I prefer the Safeway select jumbo chips if making a loaf)
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon flour

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Cut raspberries in half, then toss them with 1 tbsp flour. If frozen break them apart. Or if your lazy like me just leave it.

4. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture; just until moist. Don’t over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chunks and then gently stir in the raspberries.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Just note: I had my loaf in for 50 minutes and it was fine, but the original cook had hers in for 70 min. Make sure you watch your loaf. If you make muffins check it after 20 minutes.

Below is a link to the original recipe.

Read more: <a href=”http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-raspberry-banana-bread-501767?oc=linkback”>http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-raspberry-banana-bread-501767?oc=linkback</a&gt;