“Say It Isn’t So”

While out on a Kijiji run this morning, I stopped in to visit a friend.  During our visit, she shared some sad news regarding a young boy (12ish, I think) named Justin.  Justin was recently diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer that primarily strikes children.  Being a mom, it is always heart breaking to hear about a child fighting illness and especially something as severe as this and so close to home.

Ewing’s Sarcoma

Ewing Sarcoma is a primary bone cancer that accounts for only 1% of all childhood cancers.  This cancer originates in the bone and symptoms can include pain or swelling (generally in the leg, arm, chest, back or pelvis).  The swelling may feel warm to the touch and cause limited joint mobility.  An unexplainable fever may accompany the swelling.  The medical prognosis for this form of cancer is not good.  It is often “staged” based on whether the tumor is localized or has metastasized (spread to other organs).  Other factors that can affect the prognosis include the size and location of the tumor, as well as the age of the child.

Justin’s Journey

Justin’s mom Trish has started a blog called fightingforjustin.  She documents his journey through this horrible ordeal and how they are coping as a family.  She writes about how their nightmare began on June 15th, 2013 with an admission to Children’s Hospital for what they believed to be a case of pneumonia and how after many tests, the cancer diagnosis was received on June 28th.  My heart breaks as I read her posts and well-up with tears as I give thanks for the health and well-being of my own two children.

A Community Rallies For Justin

It is tough to see the silver lining in this tragedy, but in reading Trish’s blog you can see the love that is threaded through her posts, and the support that their community has given them is almost tangible.  Many initiatives have been put in place through both the town and their church family.  Children have being raising money for cancer through their “Juice for Justin” drive.  A special box called the “VICTORIOUS BOX” was delivered to the family and packed full of little inspiration gifts to lift Justin’s spirits.  The “Victorious Box” is based on this scripture:

Don’t be afraid for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

A friend from their church family also began an “Orange Ribbon Campaign” in support of Justin.  Orange ribbons are springing up every where to encourage Justin in his fight. The town Youth Group. as well as friends and family members, are shaving their heads to honour him in his fight.

Let’s Support Justin

I don’t know the family personally, but I know that they would appreciate us praying for Justin.  Think of Justin, pray for him and his family and give thanks for your health and for the health of those you love.

I am not sure if there are donations formally being collected for the family or not, but check-out Trish’s blog or the Facebook page to stay up to date on Justin’s fight.

The Fight Against Cancer

In my little bit of research regarding Ewing’s Sarcoma, I came across a testimony from another mother, Karen, whose son was also diagnosed with this horrible disease.  In her testimony, she talks about how her son’s immune system became so compromised that it became essential for him to raise his glutathione levels in order to have the strength and ability to fight the disease.  This is an excerpt from her testimony.

….to understand what role glutathione plays in the cells: that it’s the “master antioxidant”, an immune system booster, and a detoxifier. He explained that Immunocal is a biologically active, undenatured whey protein isolate which supplies the body with the “precursors”, or building blocks, for the cells to make more of their own supply of this precious antioxidant. In the case of someone with cancer, the tumors themselves are very high in glutathione, which contributes to their rapid growth and explains why they are often resistant to even chemo and radiation. A very interesting thing happens, however, when a cancer patient eats Immunocal daily. The healthy cells INCREASE their supply of glutathione, while the tumor cells become DEPLETED in glutathione! This phenomenon is called “negative feedback inhibition”, and it is extremely useful for treating cancer. It was clear to me this was exactly what I had been looking for over the past 7 months — something non-toxic and natural to build Brian’s immune system and also protect his organs and blood supply while undergoing the rigors of chemo!

If you know someone who is currently fighting this horrible disease, I encourage you to do some research into this product and the incredible results that many cancer patients are having when they couple Immunocal with their prescribed medical therapy.  (Google Immunocal and type of cancer).

My thoughts and prayers are with Justin and his family.  Let the orange ribbons fly!


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“Hope” ~ The Secret Weapon to Success

I found this video this morning when I logged in and couldn’t help, but share. I know from my “Quest for 44 Acts Of Kindness” (see previous post) how great it feels to totally refrain from thinking about yourself and focus on others. I wonder if this awesome act of kindness is the seed of hope that this homeless man needed to put him back on track.  I personally believe that hope can be the difference between life and death.

Where there is no vision, people perish ~ Proverbes 29:18

The Seed of Hope

I was recently listening to Pastor Scott Anderson on my iPod and he said something that made perfect sense to me….”fear exists where there is no hope”.  He went on to talk about how people who complain are often those who are not taking steps to make changes in their lives.  Complaining often stems from a fear that a situation will not change and fear becomes more predominant when a situation seems hopeless.  The key is simply taking small steps.  Any step that moves you forward towards rectifying the situation will help to foster hope. You may not have a solution to the circumstances, but by taking action, you create hope and that is the key.  You need to have your sights on where you are going, but the path to get there does not have to be clear.  You can tweak and make changes as you go, but clarity will come as long as you are taking steps forward.  The example he gave was trying to hook-up his TV, DVD, speakers, cable, etc after moving.  He said it was a huge tangle of what looked like a hundred cords.  He looked at the heaping mess of cords and decided to call someone to come and install his devices for him, but would have to wait for several days.  Over the course of those days, he would look at the mess of cords and feel completely overwhelmed and thus do nothing.  Eventually, he became so frustrated with the waiting, that he began to work at the mess one cord at a time. He didn’t know where the cords were supposed to go, but through trial and error, he made it through the pile and was able to cancel the service call. At first, it seemed like a hopeless task and so he did nothing, but as he began to take steps towards sorting it out, answers and ideas came to him and cord by cord he was able to hook everything up properly.

How many of us in life have great ideas or aspirations, but they seem like nothing more than big dreams with no hope of achievement.  It is the fear of failure that keeps you where you are at and prevents you from breaking through and taking those first few steps.  Even when the path is unclear, hope is multiplied by the simple task of taking a few steps in the direction you want to go.  Action=Hope and together, they make the impossible seem less daunting and even possible.

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.  But I can’t accept not trying. ~ Michael Jordan

What Are You Waiting For?

So many of us have given up on so many of our hopes and dreams by the time we reach 40, and just settle for “doing life”.  We go from day-to-day just getting “the job done”.  How many of you have something deep within you…a dream, a desire, a secret gift or maybe just a project that seems overwhelming.  The fear of failure exists because you have not yet taken any steps towards that dream.  Take at least one small step today and begin to transform that dream into hope.  The change in attitude that comes with hope can be exhilarating in itself.  Remember life is a journey. You will never look back and say “I am so glad that I never took risks or chased my dreams, and just played life safe.”  If you aren’t inspired yet, take the time to watch this inspiration video of a man who simply would not give up on his dream.

Life’s a Dance

This post made me think of one of my all time favourite songs. Remember you don’t have to have it all figured out right now, just start. The only sure way to fail, is to never to have started in the first place!

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My Favourite Breakfast: Homemade Flax Granola

I am so hooked on my Flax Granola and can hardly believe that I had to choke it down when I first got the recipe in May.  The recipe is from Lyn-Genet’s book The Plan.  The flax granola itself does not have much flavour, but by the time I load it up, it is yummy and very enjoyable.  It is super easy to make and an absolute staple in my diet. I do try to change-up my breakfasts because I feel that it is important to do so, so I tend to switch it up with an omelette a few times per week.  After the initial 20 days on The Plan, Lyn suggests only having the flax granola twice per week.  I must say that I generally have it at least 3 – 4 times per week, so I guess I should cut back. I haven’t “tested” oatmeal yet, but will definitely do so to see if porridge might be another suitable breakfast option for me during the cold winter months.

Homemade Flax Granola Recipe

1 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup water
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves to taste (I use a very generous amount of all the seasonings).
Raisins, almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, etc. to taste.
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, but I use it)

Mix the flax seeds with the water and seasonings.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the fridge and spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.  (I line my baking sheet with parchment paper to avoid sticking).  Stir every 20 minutes.  Optional:  Add the fruits and nuts during the last 10 minutes.

flax granola

When I make this, I use all of the recommended seasonings and the vanilla, but do not add any nuts or berries.  However, when I eat the granola for breakfast, I top it with fruit and nuts.  This is my favourite combo:

1 cup of flax granola
1/2 a chopped apple
chopped raw almonds
cinnamon sprinkled on top (generous amount)
Rice Dream in lieu of milk
At times,  I have even microwaved the flax a bit and served the granola warm….mmm.

flax granola with apple

The Facts About Flax

flax seeds Flax seeds offer many health benefits.  They are high in Omega-3’s, calcium, and protein.  I cup of flax seeds has 40 grams of protein.  They also contain mucilage which supports digestion and helps to give your intestines a “clean sweep”.  Lyn mentions the importance of using flax seeds over ground flax.  Eating whole flax seeds help to cut down on the risk of absorption of the estrogenic properties present in flax.  Flax has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and there is evidence that it offers anti-inflammatory benefits as well.  Due to the anti-inflammatory benefits, flax can also be considered a possibility for helping to reduce the risks of cancer and other inflammatory conditions.


Farmland Flax Cookies

flax cookies

A colleague made these flax cookies a few years ago and shared the recipe.  They were very good, but I have not yet made them myself.  Here is the link to the recipe.



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The Power of Paint

I picked the kids up at camp on Friday night and then spent the weekend with my cousin and her family out at their farm.  The kids had a blast at camp and enjoyed the weekend with their cousins, but couldn’t wait to get home and see their dad.  It is already 11pm and I have not yet posted for today, so I am trying to post about a previous project.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any before shots, but I will try to explain.

Our New, Old Home Needed Paint

We moved into our home in July of 2008.  The house was built in 1921 and was really in great condition, but needed some cosmetic work.  Most of what we have done has been minor, with the exception of a complete bathroom reno.  Our home is a one and a half story with 2 bedrooms on the upper floor and two on the main floor. Although the upstairs bedrooms are the largest, it made the best sense to put the kids upstairs and for us to have our master bedroom on the main floor.  The second floor consists of 2 large bedrooms with walk-in closets, a good-sized sitting area at the top of the stairs, and a full bathroom. I believe the square footage on the second floor is around 700 square feet.  When we moved in, we removed the 1970’s brown carpet and began to transform the space with paint.

Despite the fact that we live in a heritage home, we knew that there was no hardwood flooring beneath the carpet. We decided to replace the ugly carpet with oriented strand board (particle board).  This may sound completely crazy, but we had this in an upstairs of another home (a long story) and absolutely loved the look, value and durability. We bought cheap OSB (oriented strand board) and laid the 4 X 8 sheets on the entire second floor. My husband sanded them down to a beautiful blond colour and put on several coats of urethane. I absolutely love the textured look and we are not concerned about the wear and tear of the kids on the floors. My son even plays floor hockey in the oversized landing area! The entire second story floor was done for under $700 including wood, machine rentals, urethane, etc. and we love the look!

It all turned out well in the end, but we did have some glitches in this project ~ the urethane yellowed and I was so upset that my husband re-sanded the floors (this did not go over well) and to top it off the heat from the sander and saw dust combusted during the night and the result was a minor house fire ~ YIKES!! We were all sleeping on the main floor during the renovations and woke to alarms blaring.  Luckily no one was hurt and the damage was minimal, but it was a very stressful event. The moral of the story ~ should you decide to install OSB, be sure to buy a urethane that dries clear without any yellowing or you will be disappointed 🙁

The entire upstairs needed to be repainted and we proceeded to do so, with the exception of the bathroom.  (It was not to my liking, but had been recently re-done.)  My daughter’s bedroom is the largest at 15′ X 17.5′, with a large walk-in closet in the back corner of the room.  She had lots of space, but the dark brown carpet and chocolate-brown walls just had to go!!

Recipe for Revitalization:  Just Add Paint

I am so hooked on colour and paint. I truly believe that almost anything can be made to look a whole lot better with a coat of paint.  Generally speaking, paint is a simple and inexpensive solution to any out dated space.  The inspiration for her room came from a cushion that was purchased a few years prior.  I actually designed this room when she was 4 and had a similar design in our previous house.  She is now 11 1/2 and still loves it.  The greatest part is that some of the items are still from her original nursery, as it was done in the aqua tones that are still a part of her current colour pallet.


The Room Inspiration: A Cushion

The Colour Pallet

The main colour for the room was taken from the flower on the cushion and applied to the walls using a colour wash.  The aqua blue walls were painted using a translucent colour wash over white walls. Of course, the chocolate brown walls had to be primed and painted white in order to provide an appropriate base for this technique.

Aqua Walls

You can see the door to the walk in closet to the left of the antique vanity.


Here is a before shot of the antique vanity and bench.

I picked up two vanities, a dresser, the little table beside the vanity and the bench for around $50 or $60 through Kijiji. I stripped the paint and gave it a fresh coat of white paint. I also put a few coats of urethane on the top to protect it from wear and tear. I kept the original hardware, but gave the handles a coat of silver spray paint to update them.  I painted the bench and re-covered the seat to match the upholstered chair in the opposite corner of her room.  (I re-upholstered this chair for Eden’s nursery when she was born.  Her nursery, was the same aqua colour with apple green.)

I decided to leave the little nook white, but incorporate some striping mid way up the wall. This nook sits to the left of the walk-in closet.  It has sheer curtains bordering it.  At times, she has put her bed in the nook instead of the craft/homework desk.  (These curtains were also in her original baby nursery.)


The dresser on the left was purchased with the vanity.


Here is a before shot of the dresser.


The stripes in the nook were created by applying 1/4″ painter’s tape over the white wall. The green was applied and then the tape removed to reveal the squiggly stripes created by the negative space of the white wall behind the stripe.

The Wall Mural

The throw pillow on Eden’s bed also became the inspiration for this hand painted mural on her bedroom wall. It incorporates all of the colours in her room and ties everything together. It was a huge project, but the style is one that has lasted from little girl to tween and she still loves it, so it was really worth the effort. (This is actually the second time I painted her this mural, as she had the same one in our previous home.) The little cabinet on the right is just a Walmart cheapy that was hand painted and designed to match her room. The chair next to it is the upholstered chair from her baby nursery.


Hand painted mural.

Side-Tracked: DIY Cedar Chair Upgrade

Okay, on my summer camp “to do” list this project looked like this:

  • put cedar chairs together

Despite the simplicity of those four words on my list, this ended up being a much bigger project and consumed much of my time and energy this week.  The result is great, but the reality is this project meant that I did not get to some of the other items on my list.

The Story of the Cedar Chairs

I bought these chairs for my husband about 10 years ago, I am guessing??  We had them at our cottage and although we liked them, they seemed to be like some kind of a wild amusement park for the spiders at the lake.  Every single time you went to sit and relax on the deck at the cottage, you would first half to remove the tangle of webs that were in every nook and cranny of the structure.  Of course, having done this, I was never quite as relaxed knowing that the likelihood of a spider looming about was in the 90th percentile.  Needless to say, they were not used much, but all the same were badly weathered.  When we sold our cottage, the pieces sat in a pile in our basement.  I had often requested that my husband put them back together, but the chairs are quite large and he felt we had no place to put them.  So, this week, I have been on a mission to purge our home of anything and everything that is not being used and those chairs were #1.  There was no way I was asking or telling my husband of my plans, so I waited until he went to work and set-out to put the chairs back together ~ without instructions I might add.

chair pieces

The Assembly

First off, it took a lot of brain power for me to figure out the pile of boards. Luckily I had a bit of a visual memory of how these looked when assembled (from about 6 years ago), but no instructions to follow.  ratchet My first task was to sort the boards.  I knew that somewhere in the pile there were the makings of two chairs, so I set to work to make to identical piles and then proceeded to try to visualize how this all might come together.  I even found the little bucket of screws and washers without too much effort.  I quickly I discovered I needed one of those tools that slips over the nut or screw head and magically tightens them without too much effort ~ a ratchet. The problem is that I soon figured out that I also needed a second one for the other end of the bolt and could only find one.  I found some make shift plumbing angle iron type thing and struggled away to get the sides of one chair assembled.  This took lots of time and muscle to manage the less than perfect tool selection and falling pieces.  I came out with a few scratches and bruises and not too much accomplished.  The worst part was that as I looked at the poor old partially assembled chairs I realized they needed a lot more than re-assembling.

cedar chair

Reality Check

I still didn’t know if we were actually going to have a spot to put the chairs or if they would end up on Kijiji, but the truth was they weren’t in good enough condition for either.  So what began as a little project soon became a major one.  I took the back supports off and began the process of sanding the sides and support boards.  Once sanded, I removed all of the dust and proceeded to stain them a dark brown colour.  The difference between the redish warn cedar colour and the deep brown was dramatic, to say the least.  In order to make them withstand the outdoor conditions, I then had to apply 2 coats of urethane to protect the newly stained pieces.  This was very time-consuming and also meant that my garage was no longer available for other projects that might disturb the dust on my turn of the century wooden garage floors ~ can you believe that??

dark stain

The Finished Look

I am really pleased with the finished look and I must say my husband was impressed as well.  He even helped me in the final stages of the project.  We have them out on the front porch and I think they will be keepers after all.  I was never really crazy about the bright green with the red cedar, but I have to say that the dark wood looks much better with the green fabric seats.  The chairs are super comfortable and provide the extra seating I was hoping for on the front porch.  The kids will be excited to have some extra seating around the porch swing on the other side of the porch as well!

finished chairs

finished chairs

If you like this post please leave a comment below.

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Dinner Out with Lamb-burg-ini

Well, summer camp week has come to an end and I am off to pick-up the kids today. Can’t wait to see them.  The weather has not been great here, so I hope they had a good time and didn’t get too much rain at camp.  As usual, my “to do” list is far from done, but I did manage to get through many things on my list.  This year I was bound and determined to take some time away from giant list of projects and spend a nice evening out with my husband.

The Decision

We contemplated trying something new as there are so many great restaurants in town, but we decided to go back to afude place we know and love.  The regular menu at Fude offers a great selection, but they also offer a feature menu that is always incredible.  The food they serve is very unique and often a mixture of unexpected flavours and combinations.  Much of the menu consists of “Manitoba grown ” food and they offer a “Love at First Bite” guarantee.  The service is always excellent and if the owner is there, he will often come out and give you a personal welcome.  We are never disappointed when we go there, but we decided to go the website to check out the current features just to confirm our decision.  I immediately made a reservation when I saw that they were serving lamb burgers.  Here is a screen shot of the feature menu and a description of the lamb burgers.

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 10.05.58 AM

What’s The Big Deal With Lamb?

Well, as all of my readers know, I have been following Lyn-Genet Recitas book The Plan as a guide to healthy eating for about 2 1/2 months now.  I have been extremely pleased with the results and for the first time ever, I feel completely in charge of my own body.  I am still learning what foods are reactive and which are friendly through continued controlled exposure to new foods which expand my menu of friendly items.  What I love is that I already have an extensive list of “go to foods” which have tested “friendly” and are easily digested by my body.  Whenever I do indulge (eat a proven reactive food, try something new as a test or when eating out),  I can immediately follow with a friendly day and get right back on track.  So, how do lamb burgers fit into all of this?  Well, the premise of The Plan is to discover what works well for you specifically.  It is not about good or bad foods, but about how you react to specific foods in your diet.  Which foods cause an inflammatory response in your body and thus cause weight gain? (A reactive food can cause weight gain ranging from half a pound (for a moderate response) to few pounds for a food that you are wildly reactive to.)  Basically, everything is a test. I tend to test the foods that I love the most, so that I can discover how my body reacts with them.  I have eaten very little lamb in my life, but many years ago I did the “Eat Right For Your Blood Type” plan and it suggested lamb was highly beneficial for my type AB blood type.  At that time, the internet was not used as tool for finding great recipes and although I did eat some lamb during that time, I really never had a great recipe to work with.  In Lyn’s book,  she talks about what a great dense protein lamb is and Chai Cheesecakehow easily digested it is by most people.  In her list of reactive foods, she has found that 10% or less of her clients have reacted to lamb. She even suggests that you should be able to tolerate lamb up to three times per week.  (Most people who test “friendly” to beef, are still only able to tolerate it once a week or it sets off an inflammatory response in their body). She also says that ground lamb is less “gamy” tasting that other cuts of the meat. I had not yet had a chance to test lamb and although I knew that dinner out would not be a valid test (because of exposure to so many other foods at the same time), I was excited to try a lamb burger.  The burger was juicy and delicious with the perfect amount of seasoning. I can’t wait to make my own!

Of course, I did not limit myself to the lamb-burg-ini.  Tim and I shared an appetizer ~ baked brie with rhubarb chutney ….mmmm!  I had the burger and Tim enjoyed elk tenderloin for his main entrée.  For dessert, we didn’t share.  Not a chance.  I had a hot rhubarb crumble with vanilla bean ice cream and Tim had their signature Die By Chai Cheesecake.  The meal was incredible and we enjoyed a great evening out together!

Nutritional Value of Lamb

Like beef, it is ideal if you can get grass-fed lamb.  There is in excellent article put out by whfoods.com which outlines the nutritional components of grass-fed lamb in detail, but here are a few highlights from it:

  • great source of Omega-3
  • good source of Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins as well as niacin
  • contains selenium and zinc
  • conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which reduces inflammation
  • great source of protein (60% of daily requirement)
  • rich in iron

lamb nutrients

What Health Benefits Might Grass-Fed Lamb Provide?

  • beneficial in general heart health and cardiovascular disease
  • helps in blood sugar regulation
  • niacin (aids in protection against Alzheimer’s and osteoarthritis and helps promote healthy skin)
  • B12 is important for brain functioning and supports the nervous system
  • zinc is important for general growth, cell development, healing and the immune system
  • easily digested by most people
Homemade Lamb Burgers

I must confess that I have not yet tried this recipe, but it is from “The Plan” and Lyn says that many of her clients claim it as one of their favourites.    Here it is:

1 lb. ground lamb
1 zucchini, grated
4 to 5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
Herbs and spices of choice (Italian, Herbes de Provence, cumin, turmeric, fresh ground pepper, Sriricha, etc)

Combine all ingredients, form into 4 patties, and pan sear to medium rare for 6 to 8 minutes.

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The Power of Water

I saw this cool video this morning and it made me think of how important water is to our overall health and wellness.  Check out this song with all of the sounds and music made entirely out of water.  Very cool!

The Importance of Water

Our bodies are literally made of water.  50 to 65% of an adult body is composed of water, so it is no wonder that is vital to our health and well-being.

Water is needed for every metabolic and cellular function in your body.

This quote was taken from Lyn-Genet Recitas’s book The Plan. In her book she talks about how low water intake forces your body to extract water from food and your body then holds onto water in your cells in the form of a reservoir.  Ifunctions of watert takes a lot of energy to do this.  When your body is forced to use this energy for water extraction, your body may not have the stamina to keep your body healthy and/or repair tissue damage.  This often leaves you feeling tired.  When you drink an appropriate amount of water in a day (half your body weight in ounces), your body is free to release the water in your cells and tissues.  This is extremely important if you are attempting to lose weight.  Water intake that is too low can show up as weight gain on the scale.  Lyn suggests that 2 glasses of water less than your ideal consumption level can force your body to hold onto up to half a pound. Depriving your body of water can also cause an inflammatory response.  For some people fighting weigh loss, simply following this formula for water intake can make a dramatic difference. Ensure you are properly hydrated every day.

In Dr. Batmanghelidj book called Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, he talks about the many wonders of water and uses the tag line:

You’re not sick, you’re thirsty.  Don’t treat thirst with medication.

Water Book



On his website, he discusses ailments and diseases such as angina, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, back pain, colitis, diabetes, heartburn, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pain and migraines.  If you suffer from any of these conditions it is worth checking out his website to see what he says regarding water consumption and dehydration.  The section on autoimmune diseases is particularly interesting.

A Water Testimony

Of course, I don’t know if all of this is true, it is merely what Dr. Batmanghelidj’s research and experience have revealed to him.  What I do know, is that water proved stronger and better than any medication on the market for my own mother.  Back in the late 80’s (I think), Oprah did a show all about water and how miraculous it was.  I was already living on my own away from home, but immediately called my mom to tell her about the show.  One of the claims on the show was how water helped with migraines.  (Today, we are all much better educated and know that dehydration causes headaches, but back then it really wasn’t as well understood.)

My entire childhood, I had watched my mom suffer with the debilitating pain of migraine headaches.  I don’t remember details well, but what I do know is that she seemed to be sick often and when a migraine struck she would be bed ridden for days and usually throwing up with the severity of the pain.  I remember always thinking of my mom as a “sickly person”.  She had medication for her headaches (222 Pain Killers with Codeine), but the headaches were not prevented and still lasted about 3 days.  I can remember her saying that if she could “catch it” and take the medication fast enough, the headache might not progress and be so extreme.  I guess the pills must have helped with the symptoms and pain somewhat or she wouldn’t have taken them.

I had always been concerned about my mom and her headaches, so I was excited to share the news that water might be the solution to her health issues.  Water was cheap and it was certainly an easy solution worth trying. She immediately began to drink one “pint” of water per hour throughout the day.  (She was a little heavier set, so I am not sure if this would have been similar to half her body weight or not?)  She would also get up to go to the washroom once during the night.  I remember her telling me that she would do a few stretches and shrugs just to loosen her muscles and any neck tension while on route to the bathroom down the hall.  She would also have one pint of water during her bathroom break.

The results were amazing!  She went from regular migraines to no more than a couple per year.  The water intake totally rectified whatever imbalance there had previously been in her body.  That Oprah show on water literally changed my mom’s life.

Other Benefits to Drinking Water

Although the list of pros for drinking ample water seems to be endless, here are a few other good reasons to consume appropriate levels on a daily basis:

  • Water aids in digestion and helps lessen constipation 
  • Water can contribute to making you look younger, but keeping your skin hydrated and much healthier looking.
  • Water energizes our bodies and muscles.
  • Water helps curb hunger and control calorie intake.
  • Water is great for lubricating the joints.
  • Water can boost your mood and your brain power.
  • “Hot lemon water first thing in the morning can help reduce bacteria that causes acne. ” (according to Skincare specialist Rouleau)
  • Water helps to flush your system of toxins.

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

The answer is yes.  In fact, drinking too much water can cause adverse health effects as well.  Robin, at thankyourbody.com wrote an interesting article regarding drinking too much water.  Some of the information she shares contradicts what I have said above, specifically regarding the amount of water one should consume in a day.  She mentions some of the signs to look for if you may be drinking too much water and she also lists some of the side effects.  Robin covers water intoxication, which is more of an extreme condition caused by overloading your system with water.  Below are some of the problems that you might notice if you are drinking too much water.

Drinking too much water can lead to:

  • Decreased metabolism
  • Decreased mental clarity
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Cold hands/feet
  • Decreased emotional well-being
Water Summary

I think we can all agree that water is essential to our overall health and well-being.  How much water you consume may vary from person to person and you really have to discover what is right for you.  If you are very active or working out, you will need to increase your water intake.  Other things to consider are consumption of alcohol or coffee, both of which deplete your system of water and therefore you may need to compensate with additional water.  Discover what works for you, but don’t ever underestimate the power of water!

My sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Summer Camp Project Blitz Day 2: Grandfather Clock UpCycle

Yesterday was a busy day!  Got up early and cleaned out the “Lazy Susan”.  Yikes!  That was long over due.  After that I ate breakie, wrote my post, spray painted a magazine rack to give it new life, spray painted some very dated candle holders that I bought at a garage sale for $3, drilled earring holes and spray painted an old spoon rack ($3) to upcycle into a jewelry holder, started to put together some cedar deck chairs that we have not had put together since we moved here in 2008, emptied the dishwasher, washed the covers for the cedar chairs (X2 loads), made supper, went to Mitchell, Manitoba to pick-up what will be my new dining room china cabinet (thank-you Kijiji), and finished my main project…..the grandfather clock upcycle.   However, before heading to bed, I did a few hours research to see if I could identify these oriental tiles that were found in our basement rafters. I learned that they are Chinese Mohang Game pieces, so I took pictures and wrote a comprehensive email to a guy that will give us an evaluation via email.  Whew! What a long day!

(PS If you click on any image in my posts, it will automatically take you to a slide show with enlarged images.)

Grandfather Clock Upcycle:  Before Shots

I don’t usually spent this much on an upcycle project, but when I saw this clock on Kijiji, I just had to get it.  I paid $60 for it and had to purchase rope molding ($11), wire mesh ($2) and floral backing ($1).  I had all of the other supplies on hand.  For me this is an expensive upcycle.  I usually only purchase items under $40 unless it is something that I have an actual need for (like my new/old china cabinet for $170).   The joy in doing upcycling projects (aside from the dramatic before and after ~ of course) is usually the satisfaction in knowing that an item was literally one step from the garbage before I salvaged it.  I love taking something old, worn and outdated and creating something of value that is visually appealing.

Grandfather Clock Upcycle:  Get’r Done!

  1. Remove the clock components, decorative top  and doors.
  2. Wash cabinet down with TSP and/or lightly sand to ensure the paint will adhere.
  3. Use clean water to rinse off the TSP and let dry.
  4. Using the existing top panel of the back (behind clock face) as a template, cut a new backing from scrap wood.  (The original had a circle cut out of the back.)
  5. Measure out the base of the top portion and cut a piece of scrap wood to fit in the bottom over the hole that held the “chains” for the original clock.
  6. Use old pallet wood to make shelves for the bottom portion of the cabinet.
  7. Use old 3/4″ square molding (or something) to make little wood slats to sit along the inside walls of the bottom portion of the clock, for the shelves to sit on. This was a bit tricky as you need to make sure that the wood pieces are installed completely level. I ended up using a 2 X6 scrap piece of wood that was 10″ long as a template/marker for my shelves.  I just stood it on end on the bottom of the cabinet, flat against the side of the cabinet. I laid the wood piece on top of the wood (but not so snuggly that I couldn’t remove the 2 X 6 after) and then used the nail gun to attach the slat to the side. I then repeated the process on the other side. I placed the bottom shelf on the slats (level – nice!) and set the 10″ board on top of that shelf and repeated the steps for the next shelf. It worked well.
  8. I primed and painted the rope molding and shelves.
  9. Primed and painted the entire cabinet…inside, outside and back.  I later decided to paint the interior of the top blue. I bought a small container at Home Depot for $1 as it was mistint.  (I use lots of mistints).
  10. Placed floral backing on the bottom portion of the cupboard.  (Love that – who would know I got it from Dollarama!)
  11. Attached the rope molding with wood glue and held it in place with clamps until it was firmly attached.
  12. Re-attach the decorative top portion of the cabinet as well as the door for the top.  I was leaving the bottom door off of the final piece.
  13. I did one final coat on the exterior of the cabinet to make the rope molding look like it was part of the original piece.
  14. During dry times, I had spray painted the hinges and handle for the top door and then replaced the glass with wire mesh.  It is pretty easy to cut the mesh using tin snips, but make sure you wear heavy work gloves as the ends are sharp.

Grandfather Clock Upcycle Project:  Status Complete

Last year when the kids were at summer camp, I made my husband show me how to properly use some of his power tools and how to install wall plugs for hanging items.  I am so grateful for that bit of knowledge.  I am a bit of a “go getter” and I hated having to wait for my husband’s help.  He always use to say “Why do your projects always become my projects?”  I get that.  I would decide to do a project and would end up needing my husband to part of the job.  I knew that it was frustrating for him, but even more so for me.  I didn’t want to wait for him to do and I hated that I could not do it myself.  I still have lots to learn and by no means is my work without error, but I am getting much better at working through a project on my own.  For this project, I had to get my husband to help me staple the screen on the back of the door, I just didn’t have the strength to staple in the little space that was available to me. He also helped with a stripped screw.  Other than that, I did it all by myself.  Yay!

My plan for this clock was to upcycle it and then resell it.  Now I am not sure.  I know I should not have found my own personal items to put display inside for the photo of the finished product, but it just seemed to need a little something to stage it. Now that my own things are inside, I am not sure whether I am ready to part with this little gem or not.  Maybe I will post it, but be firm on my price…that way I can keep it if I don’t get what I want for it.

Well, back to work.  I still have lots on my list for the week and time is ticking.

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DIY Front Entrance Make-Over

Well, the kids are off to camp and I am up to my neck in projects.  Yesterday was productive, but I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped.  I had some errands to do and was meeting some friends from work for lunch and an Ikea shopping trip.  We are re-designing our staff room at work and so we thought we would go and look at some tables and chairs for our newly created space.  So, yesterday seemed to be gone in a heart beat.  I got up, showered, ate, wrote my post, met the gals from work, did my own errands and got home just in time to give my husband a big kiss before he left for work.  I had a quick dinner and then set to work on my “to do” list.  I had a very productive evening, but none of my projects are ready to post, so I thought I would share one of our accomplishments from last year’s summer camp week.

Front Door and Entrance Before Shots

Our home is an Arts and Crafts style home that was built in 1921.  When we purchased the home there was an aluminum screen door on the front which we both hated.   Issue number two was our crazy front entrance.  Once inside the house, the entry consists of a narrow hallway with two little alcoves along the left wall.  Both are recessed about 12″.  Of course, this is not deep enough for an actual front entrance closet, so in the first one, we installed an antique wall mount table and in the second we put up hooks to accommodate the coats and backpacks.  However, the reality was that the entrance was a complete eye-sore and I hated it, despite all the beautiful woodwork and charm. (A few of these shots are a bit dark, not sure why, but it will give you an idea of what we were dealing with.)

Project Number 1:  Replace the Screen Door

Well, we found a door (at The Old House Revival Company) that would fit the oversized opening and my husband installed it during summer camp week 2012. This ended up being a pretty major project that kept him busy for a couple of days. He sanded it roughly, but we really wanted it to show all of its age and wear, so I just stained over what wasn’t sanded off. We love the finished product and the “slam” of the wood on wood when the door closes….it seems to take you back in time. Of course, this project was not nearly as easy as it sounds. Tim had to cut down the door to fit, and it was lots of work to get it to hang and close properly in the existing door jam. He also had to install a screen as the door did not come with one.  All in all, I love the change and it seems to fit better with the era and style of our house.

vintage wood screen door

Project Number 2A:  Install an Antique Solid Oak Door on 2nd Alcove

We found an antique oak door on Kijiji that only needed to be trimmed down slightly to fit the space.  It was quite a bit of work to sand and stain it, but I think the finished result is good and it matches well with our existing woodwork.  The door we purchased had 9 panes of beveled glass at the top.  In addition to the two alcoves, the hallway is banked with 4 French Style doors, each with 15 panes of beveled glass. Although the glass would have matched okay, I wanted a bit of a different look and it was important to hide the contents of the closet (or it would defeat the whole purpose of installing a door.)  We also had to install a plate to cover the deadbolt that was previously installed in the door.  The black hardware is different than the other hardware in the house, but I think it still works okay.

Project Number 2B:  Faux Tin Tiles

I decided to try to create the look of tin tiles in lieu of the glass panes.  I found a tutorial on Pinterest and used it as a guide to create my own faux tin tiles for the door.  The tiles were made using aluminum foil baking sheets that I purchased at Dollarama. Basically, I used one of the free patterns offered with the tutorial and etched it onto the aluminum foil squares I had previously cut to size.  I used an embossing tool to do the etching.  I then used a combo of brown and white shoe polish to distress each of the 9 pieces.

tin tilesall 9 tin tiles







The New Entry Gallery

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Summer Camp ~ The Ultimate Score!

I personally can not say enough about summer camp.  My eldest is 11 1/2 and my husband and I have never had even one weekend away without our children.  Unlike many of our friends, we just don’t have the support to be able to get away.  We certainly have friends that have taken both kids for one night once or twice per year, and for that we are very thankful, but we have never had the opportunity for the two of us to get away for a few days, let alone a week.  Fortunately, we came up with an awesome solution last summer.  For the first time ever, both of our children attended a 5 night summer bible camp.  Yahoo!  Unfortunately, when you have 10 1/2 years of virtually no time without kids, you really don’t know where to start.  Last year, my husband took holidays while the kids were away at summer camp, and we literally worked around the clock trying to get as many projects done around the house as possible, without interruption or concern we might be deemed neglectful parents.  This year, my husband is working for the first 3 days and my goal is that we’ll have a bit more fun than last year.  We’ll try to squeeze in at least one date (if not two) and just enjoy some real quality time, in amongst my lengthy list of “to do’s”.

Top 10 Reasons to Send Your Kids to Summer Camp

10. I can write my blog without negotiating my computer time with my 9 year old!

9.  I can cook what I want, when I want without any complaining ~ or maybe not cook at all!

8. I can have a clean house for a whole week and not have to pick-up after anyone but me!

7. There will only be dirty clothes in the laundry basket this week!  (My daughter’s idea of cleaning up is throwing everything in the laundry basket regardless of whether it has been worn or not.)

6. The kids get ample exercise and are totally immersed in nature.

5. I can be about 400% more productive than in a typical summer week ~  “To do” list here I come!!

4.  No sibling fights to referee.

3.  Mom and Dad get to have uninterrupted conversations, dates with no sitters needed and eat at a restaurant of our choice!

2.  The kid’s are immersed in one full week of biblical teaching and age appropriate activities, in a safe and caring environment!

1.  And the #1 Reason to send your kids to summer camp is for a good old dose of Digital Detox ~  5 days without having to monitor content and their time spent on devices ~ they are completely unplugged for 5 days.  Yay!!

Other Benefits of Summer Camp

Summer camp can be a great way for your child to develop self-esteem by being given opportunities to explore new activities and discover new personal interests, gifts and abilities.

It is a great way to help foster independence and develop a stronger sense of responsibility.  The children are expected to care for their belongings and share in the task of keeping their cabin clean as well as doing dishes and other jobs throughout the week.  For some children, being away from home is difficult, but what a great way to build up that confidence and independence, with a group of supportive peers who can relate to what they may be feeling.

In a world that is consumed with technology, summer camp offers a fabulous venue for reinforcing their social skills.  They will have ample opportunity to practise using the manners they’ve been taught at home without a hovering parent to remind them.  Camp also offers a unique platform for bonding with peers and building lifelong friendships. The children will engage in digital-free, real conversations with their counsellors and peers, something so simple, yet so absent amongst many youth today.

Summer camp provides a variety of possibilities for children to engage in active outdoor play, which for many of today’s children is a rarity. There are ample options to explore the outdoors and many exciting adventures to be had.

Being immersed in nature also gives kids a chance to learn about their environment and gain an awareness and respect for the world in which we live.

Summer camp is great fun and leaves a lasting impression on kids.  Last year, our kids talked about their summer camp experience for months.  From pudding fights to drama productions to the songs they learned.  Remember….”laughter doeth good like a medicine.”  Friendships created, laughter shared and memories made, that is really what summer camp is all about!

Some summer camps offer biblical teaching ,as well as reinforcement of good values, citizenship and morals.

Summer Camp as a Combatant to Nature Deficit Disorder

This quote was taken from The Telegraph, a British publication, but I am sure that the stats are much the same in Canada and the United States.

By the age of seven, a child born in Britain today will have spent an entire year (8,766 hours) of their lives looking at TV, computer and game console screens.

This stat is alarming and yet sadly, not surprising.  As an early years teacher, I can say that I have seen first hand the changing trends in our children. I see an increasing number of children entering school with delays in their speech and language skills, limited fine motor skills and difficulties attending during class time.  Summer camp is the perfect method for getting kids outside and away from television, iPods, iPhones, computers, iPads, and video games. It reconnects them with nature and stimulates the concrete building of human relationships.

last child in the woods

In his book, Last Child in the Woods:  Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv, focuses on the negative trends effecting our children and the impact that technology is having on their lives and development.

Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

We can not step back in time and remove technology, we all depend on it in one way or another and it has become vital to our existence in today’s world.  However, as parents and care givers, we need to consciously figure out a way to weave it into life at home, so that the use of technology does not come at the expense of other vital areas of child developement.  We must be diligent in making sure that technology is used as a tool and not a teacher.  Kids must have a balance in their lives with ample time for verbal interaction and conversation, experimenting with writing/drawing tools and time outside.  Playing outside stimulates creativity, problem solving skills and improves general health and fitness.  So get outside and play, go on a family camping trip and send your kids to summer camp!


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