Friday 30 March 2012

Kids and Conference

I have two small boys, something that most returning readers are more than aware of. Because of this fact I have been asked by a few people how I actually watch - and enjoy - four two hour sessions of General Conference in a two day span. Are you curious too? Well, here's my not so secret secret: candy. Yup, this health conscience - lead by example - berries are an awesome dessert Mama uses CANDY to illicit compliant behaviour on occasion. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I set out bowls of candy and say "only those watching can partake!" Instead I make a game of it, and every time a key word is heard then Darius gets 1 jellybean/skittle/m&m or whatever treat he picked out. Not only does this make it into a game for him, but he listens intently so he can receive a treat. I have done this for two conferences [this weekend will be Darius' third full weekend of conference] now and it works like a charm! Last conference his key word was "Jesus Christ" or any of the synonyms used in the scriptures. After two full days of conditioning it took a while for his candy reflex to relax, and it was common place for him to shout out during sacrament meeting "I heard Jesus Christ!!!" I'm not sure what the rest of the congregation thought by these exclamations ha ha!

Pinterest being the excellent source for all things that it is, I have compiled other Mama's favourite ways to help there kids enjoy and look forward to conference [as opposed to the one wants a scheduled semi-annual power struggle with their kids] and thought I would share them with you.

To download yours for free, check out this link! It contains all sorts of colouring and attention activities - perfect for your primary star!

This printable puts crayons to good use!

another colouring page - because we all know busy hands keep sweet ones happy!

What about building your own Reverence Tent? For the story behind it, and a good way to present the idea to your kids, look here.

Another great idea is to do a "Conference Wall" to organise pictures of the speakers by the topics on which they speak. Great idea for visual learners! For the details on it, check out this blog.

As for us, we'll be expanding our 'keywords' to nine, having a treat or snack attached to each, and I am going to try to build a reverence tent tonight to surprise the boys with in the morning. There's nothing like a tent to make conference a special gathering!

Thursday 29 March 2012

This Weekend

Twice a year the church I belong to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, hold a General Conference. I look forward to conference, and every time it rolls around I have questions ready to be answered as the boys and I tune in. A friend posted this graphic on facebook, and I think it is perfect in its simplicity, and awesome in its design so I needed to share as well. Here's a glimpse at how I'll be spending my Saturday and Sunday this week - being uplifted and edified!

[for a larger image, click on the image and it will take you to the original source.]

Tuesday 27 March 2012

PROJECTS and more projects....

It seems lately that my time is being sucked into a vortex of projects, goals, and make believe games. My life feels whole and sweet, I am far from complaining, I am simply amazed at all that has been on my plate. Here's a little photo run down of some of the projects on the go lately...

party favours for a baby shower. I got the idea here.

A little something for the special girls I visit teach. I found these through pinterest [my totally addictive guilty pleasure of late] on this site.

I have been filling and sewing a bazillion heating bags! These beauts' are part of a bigger project for the Relief Society committee I'm on. To learn more about this AMAZING world wide women's organisation, look here.

And, I completed a top secret project last night, and it will be arriving in the mail in a few weeks! With all this on the go, plus being a Mom, running a household and all the cooking, cleaning, and organising that goes on here, it feels like certain aspects of my 'normal' life have been put on hold. A nagging knee injury has kept me away from my runners for just over a week now, so these projects have been a good distraction - but I'm getting ready to jump back into my routine again. Run, play, blog - let's go!

Friday 23 March 2012

Smile, and a Laugh, and a Hug for You!

My Aunt Heather is a bold, happy, wonderful woman. No matter what challenges she is facing in her life, or the battles you may be waging, she always brings a smile and makes others smile too. Being one of the oldest grand kids on my Dad's side, I have known Heather since before she married my Uncle Rich. I remember travelling home from Grandpa and Grandma's house one weekend, the three of us arriving late to the ferry terminal and having to sleep in the car until the next departure. I remember wearing a horrendous peach dress to their wedding, a wedding in which Heather wore a equally horrendous puffy sleeved white dress [am I dating you a bit too much? ha ha] I also remember a very sad day when I arrived home from the hospital having miscarried at 16 weeks pregnant, and there waiting for me were flowers from my Aunt Heather telling me she loves me, cares for me, and is always there to talk. Aunt Heather is thoughtful, kind, and tender. And today is Aunt Heather's birthday! Because she is always doing for others [right now she is half way through school to become a Nurse, raising five kids sixteen and younger, a loving wife, and so much more!] Darius and I decided it was time to venture into the kitchen and create a recipe in her Honor. We came up with something that is perfectly Heather - sweet, nurturing, and so good you'll crave more! Since we live fourteen hours apart she'll need to whip up a batch to try them [sorry Heather!] but trust me, it will be well worth her, and your, time! Happy Birthday Aunt Heather - may this be a year of dreams coming true!

Heather's Chocolate Cupcake-y Muffins

1 heaping cup zucchini, finely grated
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 banana mashed [mash until there are no chunks so you don't get any banana bites in the finished product]
1 1/4c cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix the wet ingredients in your stand mixer, or in a bowl with a spatula. Once thoroughly incorporated, mix in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until there are no lumps. Then pour in the nuts and chocolate and stir to combine. Pour mix by the 1/4 cup full into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let stand on cooling racks until completely cool before enjoying as they need to set up or they'll be very soft and gooey.

Happy Birthday Aunt Heather! Enjoy!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Proactive vs. Reactive

As I was sitting in the audience hanging onto Dr.Oz's every word, it occurred to me that even though this famous doctor has been pleading with the public to be their own health advocate for years that the obesity and disease epidemic has continued to spiral out of control. How many people nod their heads emphatically as they listen to Dr.Oz, Dr.Roizen and others, but then hit up their local McDonald's for a Big Mac on the way home? Are we getting the message? The under lying message is be PRO-active and take steps now to safe guard your health, stock pile longevity, and ward off illness. Why wait until cancer is knock on your door to fortify your defences? Here are a few simple steps you can take to take your health and wellness to the next level:

   1. Get a full blood work up. Not only will this give your doctor an accurate picture of your health, but it will give you a good starting point to measure your success. Health is not measured my the numbers on the scale, but by your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, iron levels, and more.

   2. Eat more colour. If you focus on eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables, you will be ingesting a wide range of antioxidants. Antioxidants cleanse your body of free radicals which travel around your body causing damage to cells. Since our health is a manifestation of the health of our cells, focusing on increasing the antioxidant load in our diets is a fantastic way to increase health and vitality.

3. Drink more water. Just like antioxidants, water is vital to cellular health. Think of it this way, do you want your cells to look like plump, round, delicious grapes, or like dried, wrinkly, dying grapes? Drink enough water to keep your urine clear. If your pee is yellow or foul smelling you need to drink more!

  4. Move! Chris Powell [from ABC's Extreme Makeover Weight loss Edition] recommends 5 minutes a day. Anyone can move for 5 minutes a day! While watching your favourite show today, march in place, do some squats, jumping jacks, or even high knees for just five minutes.

  5. Take a full spectrum multi vitamin. Dr.Oz recommends taking a half dose in the morning, and the other half in the evening. This will give you a more even absorption rate, as well as keep your immune system in a high functioning state. Think of your supplement as an insurance policy, and look for something that will give you the best coverage possible [would you only put theft coverage on your house? or are you looking to cover fire and water damage too? Same logic applies here] containing A, B, C, D, and E at a minimum. Look for a big reputable company, and for a delivery method that has high bio-availability [meaning, it absorbs quickly and that the majority of what you are ingesting is absorbed into your blood stream instead of being excreted as waste.] The highest bio-availability will be found in a liquid form, but that being said, you need to find one that does not contain preservatives, and comes from whole food sources. Personally, I take liquid Vemma, and also give this to my kids and Hottie Husband.

These steps are simple, straight forward, and easy to implement into your life. Do yourself a favour and become a proactive participant in your health and wellness!

Sunday 4 March 2012


Sun is spilling in my hotel room window, and I have barely to incline my head upwards to gaze at a beckoning blue sky. I have been at a Convention in Vegas all weekend long, and while I have loved many of the speakers
[hello Dr.Oz! Chris Powell! Darren Hardy!] I have also been very intrigued by my reception of the whole experience. I will definitely be sharing my copious notes, but not in this post. This morning as I have been musing over why some people jump up at every opportunity to give standing ovations, why others nod and agree with everything that is said, and why attention to detail exercises are lost on me because I spot the moon walking bear and photoshopped heads before they're pointed out. You see, I have a not very carefully guarded secret that my family knows very well. I am an introvert. I prefer to sit quiety, ingest information and catergorize it myself, take notes to soak in knowledge [and also to recognize BS when I hear it,] and shy away from noise pollution. Yet, I have been pushed all my life by my teachers, parents, and friends to step outside my comfort zone and walk where the extroverts walk. Now, after all my musing this morning I headed over to, and low and behold on the front page there is a fabulous presentation on the power of introverts! Susan Cain explains better than I why I have been having a unique experience among the 3500 people surrounding me in the convention. It's not that I am the only introvert either [when you watch her clip, which I hope you do, you'll hear her state the statistic that one out of every two or three people is introverted] but I have embraced my introversion in the past few years, and don't feel a need to pretend I'm something else, as I did when I was younger.

Here is the link to Susan's insightful presentation:

In closing, Susan summarizes with "3 Calls of Action" which are:

1. stop the group projects! Have a place where casual group thought can organically occur, but do not force group collaboration at every turn.

2. go to the widlerness - be like Buddha and have your own solitary revelations.

3. take a look at what's inside your own suitcase and see what's there - books, champange glasses, scuba gear - and share what you have with others

As an introvert, Susan's words are like a breath of fresh air, and so I must echo her closing remark in closing this post,

"Have the courage to speak softly."