30×30 Challenge: Get Out!

The first hour of every morning is always spent lying in bed with the baby while he’s smiling, romping, kissing, laughing, rolling, prodding, standing, and cooing. His happy mood in the morning starts my day off on the right foot. Yesterday morning was no different, and while lying there playing with the baby, there was an interview on CBC radio with David Suzuki about his 30×30 Challenge.

Essentially, the challenge is to get outside for 30 minutes for 30 days.

Now, I have been making it a point to get outside with the baby about every other day, but I keep feeling guilty that it should be every day. So I decided to sign up for the challenge as a kick-start to getting me moving again. Note that I have just gotten over a really bad cold, which means I spent almost no time outside other than for getting to my car to run an errand or two. This tidbit was made very clear when answering questions in the survey when signing up for the challenge: “How many hours have you spent in the last week outdoors in nature?” Zero. Ziltch. None. (Picking up dog poop in the backyard does not count in my books!) It would have been nice for the survey to ask what a typical week looked like or to have a comment box. At least I could explain and not look so damned lazy. Regardless, those were the facts for last week.

A little addendum to this challenge is that I have to bring the baby out with me. So if I decide to go for a jog alone – I started getting back into it a couple days before my cold hit and had to stop – it doesn’t count for the challenge. Because this is about getting the baby outdoors every day. It’s about making it a habit with him. It’s about him, really.

And more of this:

The Great Outdoors

Silver Dollar Breastmilk Pancakes

In January I had to head to Edmonton for medical tests. That meant being away from the baby for a whole 48-hours. If you’ve ever breastfed, you know how much time and effort it takes to extract enough milk to feed a seven-month old baby for 48 hours; it took me about two and a half weeks. Therefore, I didn’t relish the idea of just dumping my milk while I was away. So I got myself a couple of bags of frozen peas and an insulated lunch bag to carry my breastmilk home to put in my freezer. Thankfully, rules have recently changed which allow breastfeeding moms in Canada to bring breastmilk as carry-on, even if the infant is not accompanying the mom.

The last couple of times I tried to use some of the frozen milk, I discovered it had gone sour. What to do? Well, we always use sour milk to make our own pancakes, so I decided that the baby’s milk would make delicious and nutritious pancakes for him. So I thawed all the frozen milk I had from my trip and made silver dollar pancakes this morning for the baby, most of which ended back in my freezer. It was also the first time he had them, along with a dollop of strawberries mixed with a drop of maple syrup. Let’s just say I didn’t have to twist his arm to eat his breakfast.

To make these, I followed our regular pancake recipe and substituted half of the white flour with whole-wheat and a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten. I did have to add more flour than usual. It seems that breastmilk tends to make foods more liquidy. (I wonder if it’s due to the enzymes in breastmilk that start breaking down food? I notice this when adding breastmilk to any of the baby’s food.)

Breastmilk Mini-pancakes

Breastmilk Silver Dollar Pancakes

A New Hobby

Last Christmas, my goal was to purchase mostly handmade gifts made locally. My husband and I already knew what we wanted to get his brother and his new bride, especially since we hadn’t yet sent them a wedding gift: a locally-made quilt. After going to the local quilt shop and browsing at several craft fairs, we settled on a beautiful wall-hanging quilt featuring a salmon in the style of west coast art.

I also liked the idea of getting a bed quilt made for my mother, but the cost of such an item was a bit out of my price range for the time being. Since I’ve always wanted to learn to quilt, I figured now would be as good a time as ever to start learning. So, I marched down to the local quilting store and signed up for a beginner class, and here is the result:

Table Runner

Table Runner

Of course I was eager to learn more and make something else, so I opted into three other classes. Last night I finally finished piecing together my first quilt. It’s supposed to be a lap quilt, but obviously it’s a bit big for that. The quilt will look perfect in my little boy’s room and matches the roman blind I recently made using some of the same fabric that’s in this quilt. I am so pleased with how it turned out.

2013-04-22 21.18.16

Now I can’t wait to head down to the quilting store this afternoon to buy fabric for the back. Yay!

Easter Weekend Nursery Project

Since we’re finally planning on moving Baby to his nursery, and, as it happens every Spring in the Yukon, the daylight hours are getting longer – much longer, we decided it was time to find a solution to block out sunlight in his room so he could sleep at night. Our venetian blinds were just not cutting it. After surfing the web for ideas, this is what I came up with:

Roman Blind with Pelmet Box      Blind
Blind down










I found a tutorial for this roman blind at Shanty 2 Chic. She did an excellent job for a first timer doing a tutorial. Hers was meant for a blind sitting inside the window frame, so if you decide to do it, keep in mind that one little oversight that crept through is to make sure you allow for seam allowances (not mentioned in the tutorial), otherwise you’ll be short. However, she did a great job explaining the steps involved.

When my blind was finished, I found it looked too plain and needed dressing up. I was inspired by Erin at Domestic Adventure and made my own pelmet box with a striped fabric. I used corrugated plastic instead of wood, and therefore used a glue gun, and it turned out great!

I absolutely loved working on this project. My next one is a quilt (I didn’t mention I started quilting classes at Bear’s Paw Quilts) for my little one’s room. The borders will be made with the same fabric as the roman blind, while the squares are different patterns of green, purple, and blue. So excited!

Better than cranberry-banana loaf? Hint: HDR

Not possible, I would answer, that is, until recently. I’ve always enjoyed the tartness of cranberries contrasted with the sweetness of banana bread. That’s why, since I’ve discovered putting cranberries instead of chocolate chips in my banana bread, I’ve never looked back.

UNTIL I discovered crowberries (sometimes called mossberries). So, what does the crowberry have that the cranberry doesn’t? Texture

It was already more than half gone when I took this photo. In the Yukon, cranberry picking is a August-September ritual, and I usually pick enough to last me the year. However, this year I was a wee busy with other things, even better than a crowberry-banana loaf.

Welcome to the world my little sweetness

After lots of hard work, Mommy and Baby take a nap.

HDR was born on June 16th, 2012.

After just two months, his personality is already shining through:

Although we regularly put him in front of the mirror, this was the first time HDR actually discovers his reflection (at 4 1/2 months):


Oozing cuteness!


Playtime (Photo taken just yesterday)

Ready for a ride!

So there you have it! You have been photo-blasted with cuteness and sweetness, far better than a cranberry-banana loaf.


How does one say goodbye

Knowing you will never see her again?

You are leaving to go home – 5000 k’s away.

She is leaving too

For a different place.


Tears form streams form rivers

Flowing, running


Memories of face make-up and perfume

Hard-working hands

Kind words

Laughter (God how she loved to laugh)

Until the pain became unbearable

The shame of loss of independence

Losing vision and mobility.

But not her mind.

No, that she had until the very end.

Her mind and her smile.


Goodbye Grandma

My Godmother

My teacher

My friend


You will be sorely missed

Your wish for a peaceful place has been granted to you today

On your 89th birthday


Happy Birthday

And goodbye

Life philosophy worth adopting

Three things Ric Elias learned about himself from his experience being on US Airways flight 1549, the plane that landed in the Hudson River:

  1. He’s a collector of bad wines.
  2. He has one regret.
  3. He has one wish.

Rowan Manahan’s blog Presenting is Simple (It’s just not easy) has a short TED video of Elias speaking.

It’s worth every second.

Navigating Korea

Visiting a foreign country involves exercises in daily life that are sometimes familiar, sometimes unusual, and sometimes downright quirky (for the Canadian visitor, at least). But getting to Korea meant first flying south to Vancouver, then back up north over the Yukon, Alaska, and Russia which afforded us a view of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

Getting Around

Orienting yourself is not an easy task as all signs are in Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Even when translated into English, the names are so foreign to the English speaker that it’s difficult to wrap your head around the words. These street signs are found on major roadways or highways that travel through the city.

Like in Canada, small areas of cities are further subdivided by smaller residential streets and roads, but in Korea, many of these roads (that are more like laneways to us Canadians) are so narrow that you cannot fit two cars side-by-side. If you can, then parking still reduces them to one-lane driving.

Residents who park their cars here at night generally display their phone number on the dash so that others who want to get in or out can contact them to move the vehicle. This doesn’t sound very efficient, but then again, I live in a country that has wide open spaces.

We noticed that most vehicles have some kind of small contraption hanging over the rear window. Apparently this is a mirror for backing up, and drivers also have a feature where, at the touch of a button, the side-view mirrors can be tucked in for the narrow street parking/driving.

Notice how narrow this street is and the tucked in mirrors.

Don’t be fooled by the house number on the right in the photo above. House numbers are very random which makes it a nightmare for taxis, delivery people, and mail. House numbers are assigned according to when a building or house is erected. So 542 Smith Ave. can be right next to 1087 Smith Ave. which is next to 49 Smith Ave. and so on.

Delivery people and mail have access to maps detailling addresses, and taxi drivers refer to landmarks rather than addresses. For instance, getting to my brother-in-law’s apartment meant telling the driver the name of the all-girls school or the library in the neighbourhood. The subway station (Bupyeong Station) was also a good bet since we knew where to go from there.

Slurping, Eating, and Drinking

Speaking of delivery people, we ordered out one night from a Chinese restaurant and were surprised to learn that restaurants deliver food in real dishes, not disposable ones. They tightly wrap it with cellophane, and voilà! How they get the food to your door without spillage is a mystery. As an added bonus, they return a couple hours later to pick up the dirty dishes.

Eating out is very inexpensive, so guess what we did most of the time? You could have a full meal for $5 – $6. The only expensive item on the menu was Canadian beef.

In most restaurants, patrons remove shoes at the door and sit on mats on the floor. Certainly not meant for very tall people; notice Dave’s knees.

A variety of side dishes are served with the meal, and you can order them to your heart’s content. Hot, hot, hot! Koreans love hot, so there is no shortage of hot spices on side dishes, cooled down with Soju.

And more Soju in the Soju Tents if you haven’t had enough. These will keep you busy, and staggering, until the wee hours of the morning. Call it city camping!

Slurping: eating and drinking simultaneously. No, slurping your noodles is not considered rude and is thought to bring out the flavour. Here Iain gives us a demonstration on our first day in Korea.

Outdoor vendors sell everything from sweet potato chips, to dried seafood, to roasted hazelnuts.


Shopping in traditional markets means navigating narrow mazes through throngs of people and merchandise. If you decide to go to underground shopping areas, it means navigating narrow mazes through throngs of people and merchandise.

But it’s all worth it for a good deal. Check out the logo for The Cools Pace next to a better known brand.



Or you can stop by Chinatown because there’s always one near you, and you can purchase traditional Chinese clothing. Don’t they make a cute couple?

Beware of Heights and Bites!

Daycare Heaven

Check out this daycare in Incheon, Korea.


Our brightly coloured slide conveniently places your child under your waiting vehicle, ready for pick-up.

Daycare Slide




Canada Day on The Hill

After spending some time with family in Northern Ontario, my sister and I decided to zip down to Ottawa for the Canada Day long-weekend. No, I do not have photos of the royal couple because first, my 13-yr old niece wasn’t interested in seeing them, and second, I already had a princess in the house (my niece, of course) sleeping in ’til 12:30.  How appropriate that her father named her Tiara, but we just call her T-Bone. You can always count on family for keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Here she is:

And when you’re 13, a celebration is not a celebration without cotton candy:

When you hit uni, you move on to healthier foods like french fries and poutine, and to new dress: a mixture of Sparta, Ottawa Senators, and Canada flag capes.

This is Sparta CANADA

And this young man must make his momma proud:

Guy with no ass

It wouldn’t be right to not visit the National War Memorial on Canada Day:

National War Memorial

The city prepares for the big event by closing off some streets near Parliament Hill:

And the people respond:

The moment you’ve all been waiting for: the non-edited backs of people’s heads, bald spots, and children on shoulders.

The end.

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