Saturday, February 26, 2011

Scrapbooking and me = L-O-V-E

Life has been so hectic in the last month or so. Mid-term and a couple of intense projects due at school with testing for report cards, new philosophies of teaching being introduced at work, and the addition of a class of Yoga with my mother on Monday nights makes for a very burnt-out Cynthia. I have had literally zero time for personal projects, and things like socializing has taken a back burner role. This week is the last big stretch for work, with two 12 hour shifts on Wednesday and Thursday, but then its the start of the March Break. Thank God.

But enough commiserating, as it is evidence of this blog entry I actually found a few spare hours to do something I actually wanted to do for once. Was it catching up with my long-overdue personal reading, sewing a few shirts/coat buttons/zippers, or doing household chores? Guess again! I sat down and re-organized my scrapbooking tower shelving container thing.

Funny how my brain works, sometimes. I had recently (maybe three months ago) bought a few new things for scrapbooking which had been on sale, and hadn’t the time to store them properly, so I just stuck them in the first drawer assuming I would just go back to it soon enough. Since then, I’ve been given a few sticker sheets, some cardstock and other tools from people and did the same thing as with the first batch. Long story short, my cabinet was all over the place, but understandingly, it came very low on my inner to-do list. Or so I mistakenly thought, since the first thing I did with my free time was re-organize it lovingly into appropriate slots. Hey, don’t judge me because I love to organize things. When I move into a bigger space and can have all my library shelves, I also intend to separate my books into genres and make a list of the books I have for lending purposes.

But back to scrapbooking, rifling through everything gives me a chance to see what it is I have, and what it is I need. I have the adhesive drawer, non adhesive embellishments drawer, tools drawer, paper/cardstock drawer and ribbon drawer. Seeing everything made me realize two things...

1. I have a lot of things. I started a few years ago to collect all manner of scrapbooking things. Usually right after a major holiday/event/season, stickers and embellishments that are representative of that time period go on sale. For example, camping gear stickers tend to be .50$ rather than 3.50$ a pop during winter. Also, people have been donating things to me, and I have been lucky enough to get craft scraps from my work because the classroom teacher is the exact opposite of a pack rat. I’ve had a vague idea of what I had, but after tonight, I know I don’t need to buy anything unless I start a new scrapbooking project and use up all my stuff. Donations still accepted, though. Just saying ;D

2. I love to scrapbook, and am in my humble opinion, pretty darn good at it. Especially considering I never took any classes (which I will do) but based my pages on what looked good to my eye. I could do this as a side job, making scrapbooks for people, and I think it would be a successful endeavour, to a certain point. But then again, I only made two full size (30+ pgs) albums, maybe my love affair with them has made me blind to its defaults, so who knows?

Now if only I had the time to actually scrapbook again...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have extremely varied musical tastes, and am always on the lookout for new music (fyi if anyone wants to share) and it happens every once in awhile that an artist's voice or soul some would say, carries over extremely well and grips my mind for awhile.

This is one of them. I have no idea where I found her, but I thoroughly enjoy her sound and melody.

Song like nothing else, transports you to unseen places. Expression and appreciation is combined, sometimes more intensely than anything else I know.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zucchini rhymes with delicious

I remember growing up in my old house that was beside the Chateauguay river. We lived there for maybe 9 years? Now that I have perspective the house itself was tiny, but we had this huge backyard, bigger than anywhere else I have ever lived or visited. We had an equally huge garden (maybe that's where my urge to grow my own food started from) where we planted all sorts of things, from sunflowers to all kinds of berries to of course zucchini. We had a large patch of zucchini and I don't know if it was the soil or the love and care my mom gave to those little green squash plants, but they grew into monsters. They were HUGE, the size of spaghetti squash and they grew so rapidly! Usually we had one or two regular harvests, but I remember being late fall when the first frost had frozen the grass for the first time, and I had wandered over on the vegetable patch, and found this enormous zucchini that was hidden under the huge leaves. When my mom saw my discovery she responded by saying 'Another one??'. That was how much darn zucchini we harvested that year!

So enough remembering, this all came about because I just got some zucchini on special and decided to make some of my mother's zucchini bread! Delicious, moist, this is just as good as a breakfast bread as a slice of dessert! Mmm mm good!

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of grated zucchini (I also ad some bigger chunks to change up the texture)
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  1. Preheat oven at 350 *F.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together, including the zucchini.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and slowly incorporate them into the wet mixture. Mix until homogeneous.
  4. Bake for about an hour.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Three Small Successes

I've been following this website for awhile, and they posted an entry called Three Small Successes, which had me thinking. The sense of failure and general desire to just give up or give in is constant. In me anyways. Why is that? Is it because I was predisposed with negativity (which I most certainly hide away from everyone I can)? Am I that lazy that wanting to give up is coming almost naturally? Or is it because the goals I set for myself are high, long-term, and I don't take the time to aknowledge what I do in a million little ways to help myself reach those goals? Like finishing school? Like reaching my health weight? Like getting married and owning a home in the shape of a house and having babies?

So I decided to try it out. What the blog suggested, that is. It states that every Thursday the author posts an entry with at least three small successes that she has accomplished in her day. She urges her readers to do the same, and she just posted the 100th 3 Small Successes post, which means she has kept this up for almost two years. I can't guarantee that I will keep this up for every Thursday, but hopefully this will put me in a more positive and appreciative mind frame! Here goes!

1. I signed up for Yoga. With my mother, which means that I cannot ever skip, or she will come get me no matter where I am and in what state I am in.

2. Instead of moaning and groaning for today's Winter Carnival with the kids, I let go of everything that was on my mind and opressing me, and had fun. I built freaking epic snow castles!

3. Even though I am sick and snuffly and feeling awful, I made supper without grumbling and even made cinnamon rolls for Jeff. I deserve two high fives AT LEAST for that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

5 things I learnt while being in America

1. The American McDonalds, is insane. And not in the good way. They have things on their menu we have never even heard of up here, and maybe twice as many things.

2. The rate of obesity in the US is no new thing. I'm always hearing it on the radio and on the TV, and never really paid attention to it. I mean, Canada has plenty of fatties also. But down in the US, the rate is 74.1 % of overweight/obese people, and to my surprise, you can actually see it. I had settled into being a minority size wise, but down there? I could barely find someone who was average size, and I am not exaggerating. You would think that would make me feel more comfortable, more 'average', but it had exactly the opposite effect. Man, I was not feeling good down there. As a result, every store had plus size, and in fact there was no plus size section. Every single rack of clothes in every store I went into had plus size. That, is incredibly weird. I think what I felt was that instead of making efforts to change themselves, Americans had accepted and enabled their unhealthy eating habits. And that felt really awkward. Weird huh?

3. Continuing with number 2, I had always asked myself how so many Americans could be over-weight. Sounds hypocritical, but I knew why I was overweight, but couldn't understand how so many people could have applied the same lifestyle to their lives. But, I could see how easy it was to become overweight. It was ridiculous the amount of cheap unhealthy food one could find. Burgers for 40 cents, and xlarge pizzas for 5$ makes it much simpler for anyone to simply pick something up than go home, prep and cook supper and clean up afterwards. And some would say much simpler on the wallet as well. Temptation was everywhere, and it takes a strong will to say no over and over again!

4. Americans are much nicer and polite than I thought. Either that or I met some extraordinarily happy people.

5. I’ve been thinking for awhile about if the USA would be a better place to live than Canada, as they seem so intent on portraying their country as numero uno. But Canada rocks. And I’m glad to be one. Canadian that is.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Caution: Vibrant and healthy food ahead!

This week I have been making extra efforts to watch what I eat. Not merely in what I eat, but noting when I get hungry and what I've had before, how long I've felt full, etc. My eating patterns come somewhat as a surprise to me, because of bodily contradictions. Let me explain.

I find that no matter what, how much or how little I eat during the day, I will get hungry around 8:00-8:30 pm. The problem with this is that if I eat after 7:00 pm, apart from cucumbers apparently, I will throw it up, unless I stay up for at least 7 hours after. See my problem? My digestion is that slow. So on weeknights when I work in the morning, I cannot afford to stay up that late. So I have to endure the hunger pangs. It might seem like nothing, I mean who hasn't been craving munchies sometime in their life? But this isn't munchie pang, this is full meal pang, which I cannot ever satisfy. And that sucks. I have been thinking of asking my doctor if there are any medications to help control my eating schedule, or stop my stomach from sending the 'feed me' signal to my brain...

But back to watching what I eat, I started to follow the Weight Watchers program again. In a very loose manner of speaking, because I don't go to meetings or weight-ins, or buy any Weight Watcher things. I simply write on a notepad what I eat, and attach the point value next to it. I use a Points dictionnary I found online (I checked up with the official WW mini-dictionnary I had to see if it matched up), and a points finder slide that I had from previous enrollment in WW. At the end of the day, I calculate how many points I have, and if its under 35, I am happy. It usually does.

Along with this, I've been using my 'cook-healthy' techniques that I had slowly been dropping again, and am surprised by how easy I am falling in that rhythm again. Here is what I ate today day, for example:

1 cup OJ (100% juice)
1 Activia yoghurt

4 pepper triscuits
1 slice of cheese
1 mini can V8

1 cup Mexican Rice (spiced brown rice with mushrooms/peppers/onions/zuchini/eggplant and 3 oz of chicken)
1/2 cup 'fried' mushrooms (thickly sliced button mushrooms sauteed in a pan with 1 tsp olive oil and a few drops of soja sauce)
1 pkg of 100 calorie cheese crackers
2 small tangerines
2 bottles of water

Lime Jell-o

1 chicken breast (measuring my palm) cooked with onions and red peppers in a skillet
Greek Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, cucumbers) with oil/vinegar/italian spices vinaigrette
1/4 cup of herbed pasta
Bottle of water
large apple

I have always found that cooking meats with bright and flavorful vegetables, rather than with butter or sauces, makes them tastier, and better looking. Plus, its much healthier than dousing everything with gravy. That was deeelish and was worth 6 points. Yup. Compared to, say, McDonald's apple pie which is worth 14 points? Ridiculous. My tummy is happy.