Friday, December 27, 2013

The Proof is In The (Christmas) Pudding

I had hunch that my hormonal acne was caused by the wheat and corn in my diet because it went away when I started eating primal/paleo. While I do try to watch what I eat, I did have some purposeful slip-ups over the month. I knew that I was going to be going off my primal diet over Christmas and I wanted to test my tolerance level.

It started off with a Pop-tart in the evening a couple weeks ago. It gave me diarrhea. The next night I had another Pop-tart and nothing happened. I was totally fine. So from there I progressed. I made homemade macaroni and cheese (with a real cream sauce) and penne with Alfredo sauce. Oh, so delicious! I really love pasta. There were no negative side effects right away.

As Christmas approached, I ate more popcorn, more baking, and just more junk food in general, along with more anti-primal food. And what do you know, my face completely broke out! I had three Christmas dinners to attend in a row and I did not hold back! Perogies, gravy, dainties, french toast, Pillsbury rolls, vegetable casserole with breadcrumbs baked on top, homemade nuts and bolts mix, and Christmas pudding! Oh, how I love Christmas pudding!

Also, I could really see the difference between how full eating primal makes me feel. When eating wheat, my stomach was this bottomless pit where it took so much more to fill me up.

Now my face is really irritated! I hope it doesn't take long to go back to normal. My sister got me some detox tea for Christmas, so I'm going on a raw fruit + veggie + tea fast today and for the weekend to try to help bring my body back into balance. Then it's back to good primal eating.

Because wheat and corn doesn't make me feel sick or make me have to go to the bathroom, the effect it has on my body is more subtle and lasts over time. In the past, I would have never connected eating wheat and corn with my complexion, but there is a very clear connection now. This is all the proof I need to stay far, far away from wheat and corn.

Plus, Tesla needs to detox too. For 3 days all she's eaten is starchy carbs, meat, and refined sugar. It's time for everyone to get back on track.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Genderless Dolls

This morning the kids pulled out the Barbie and Ken dolls to play with. The almost-two year old was frustrated because he found a dress he liked, but it wouldn't fit on his Ken doll he'd picked out. Trying to promote my feminist values, I wanted to choose my words carefully.

"That dress is too small for your doll. You'll have to find something bigger."

But after repeatedly picking out "girl clothes" for his Ken to wear, I found myself finally saying, "No, that dress only fits a girl doll. You need to find some boy clothes." As true as it was for the situation, I hated saying that. I hate saying something is only for a girl and something else is only for a boy. Specifically when talking about my daughter, I want her to believe that it doesn't matter what you wear or what you want to play with.

So, it got me thinking. Do sexually ambiguous dolls exist? Are there dolls out there that, depending on how a child styles them, they could be either a boy or a girl. I'm envisioning a young face with no make-up and no hair. The child can pick out a "wig" and there would be girlish clothes and boyish clothes to choose from to form an outfit that's feminine or masculine or somewhere in between.

Dolls are almost never given a penis or a vagina anyway. Why not let the kids decide who they're playing with? Why set so many limitations?

I didn't find anything on the internet, but if anyone sees anything, let me know. I would love to create a prototype, but I don't sew, I don't have any money, and I wouldn't know where to begin in creating something like this. But I do think it's a million dollar idea! Child-gender issues are only getting hotter!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Someone Tried to Scam Me!

I posted an add on about a week ago, to advertise open spots at my daycare. People looked at the ad according the counter, but nobody emailed me or called me. In less than a week, it had already gotten bumped to page 7, so I was thinking about re-posting it, maybe changing around some of wording, when I got a hit!

Mr. Henry Johnson emails to say he's looking for childcare, he'll be excited to find the right match, and could I please email my resume.

It was a very short and sweet email and the request for a resume was reasonable, so I spent four hours modifying my resume to highlight my relevant experience, as well as get my reference list in order and type a cover letter. It would have taken less time, but I've got a business to run, so I had my hands full with that.

After sending it off, I was so excited and hopeful to potentially get a new kid. I worked really hard on my resume and cover letter, soliciting Bob to proofread for me. I wanted it to be perfect.

A few hours later, around 5pm, I get this reply:
Thanks for your email, We appreciate your response to the childcare service we urgently needed, as you know I'm  Mr Henry Johnson, I am 50 years old and my Wife name is Linda. We are relocating to the city of Winnipeg from United State with our daughter Sarah. We will be offering you $450 weekly ($45/hr) for 10hrs a week, we will be needing your services for five hours from 10am-3pm or 4pm-9pm for two days in a week, probably (Thursday and saturday) or  (Monday and Wednesday)

We would be needing the service of a childcare Nanny with positive personality to take good care of her for six months on a part time basis.Moreover, I will need someone who could be taking care of my child while I am off to work because we are expecting our second child soon ,I want to be certain you are fit for this position, you will need to prove yourself to be a reliable, honest, and hard working person.Our arrival date would be 6th of january 2014, you will start working on same day.

 It's okay if you prefer to be a live-out nanny as I can drop her at your home every time, I do not mind  a live-in nanny if you can take care of her in our home.

I will be spending about six months on an Oil spill research job While my wife would try to push to the market the book she just finished, and you will be rendering us your services for that duration, if you meet up to our expectation with your services. We have a financier that will be handling the payment and as well as our other expenses, so she will be the one that will be taking care of your payment, I will instruct her to pay for the first week before our arrival so as to secure your service.If you accept our offer, my financier would be needing the following for background check on you and your first week payment.

Full Name :
Home Address or Office Address(where payment should be mailed to.Pls no P.O Box) :
City ::
Postal Code :
Home & Cell Phone Number(Best time to call Day/Night)  :
You Age Please

 Most importantly,  I'll need your total honesty, organizational skill and ability to carry out the task with less or no supervision. I want to believe you will be committed to the work, you can be sure of a great time while watching over our child. I will be waiting to read from you.


Henry Johnson For The Family.
I read over the email a dozen times, making Bob read it too. Something seemed really off about it all and then it dawned on me! Someone is trying to scam me! I was so mad. Just to be sure though, I sent this email:
Hello Henry, 
It was good to hear back from you. Due to the nature of your proposal and your location, I feel as though I need to protect myself in the event that this is a fraud. If you don't mind, I'd like to know the name of the company you will be working for in Winnipeg as well as a number I can call to verify that you are who you say you are. Your response verges on being "too good to be true" so I am treading with caution.

Have a great weekend and I hope to hear from you soon!
Just as I suspected, I never heard back from him.

I looked back at the first email Henry sent me and saw that it was sent at midnight. I suppose he could live out west, (since he conveniently never mentions where he's from) maybe sending the email before bed. However, a seemingly educated man, one who does important research on oil spills and writes emails so formal he dresses them in tuxedos before hitting the send button, misspelled United States, the name of his country. Perhaps you also noticed his random capitalization of words and run on sentences too? His entire candor is sketchy.

Why is he asking for my full name and address when it's clearly stated on my resume I sent him? And doesn't he know it's illegal to ask me how old I am? Someone looking for child care fails to mention a single fact about his child, except her name, and doesn't even bother to ask me any questions about how I run my daycare. The day he gets into town, he's dropping his kid off? He doesn't want to check the place out first, maybe make sure I'm clean and friendly or even anywhere near where he lives or works in Winnipeg

Even the name of his family sounds phoney! They're such generic names, I couldn't get any hits on Google and I didn't expect to. I actually did find an American author by the name of Linda Johnson, but after reading her bio, it was clearly not the same woman.
The biggest and final red flag of all was the absurd amount of money he was willing to pay me. Nobody makes $45 an hour babysitting! If he's so rich that he has a financier and can pay me a ludicrous amount of money for 10 hours a week, why not go through an actual agency that would place him with a qualified nanny? What's he doing on page 7 of the internet classifieds at midnight?

He's trying to scam me, that's what! How does this scam work? I bet once I sent over the redundant information, he would start making excuses for why he can't mail me a payment and all the alternatives I suggest to him won't work, so he'll ask me for my bank account information in order to "give me the money" when in actuality he's draining my account.

Joke's on him though - I'm in overdraft! Good luck accessing my negative funds, bitch!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Forced Fast

Tesla is 15 months old. She's growing in all ways and watching her develop and learn brightens my day. She's got this sparkle in her eye all the time. But there's one problem - she's been refusing to eat vegetables for a couple of months now. Even the vegetables she used to eat before. I'm trying not to create a power struggle, but I don't want this type of eating habit to carry on throughout her years.

Now, I've read more than my fair share of parenting articles, especially ones related to food, and yet I'm at a loss for what to do. You see, it's not as straight-forward as all the mommy-blogs make it out to be.

My job is the serve healthy, balanced meals. The child's job is to decide what and how much to eat, if at all. Forcing, coercing, bribing, cutting deals, rewarding, and punishing are all big no-nos. Young children never intentionally starve themselves and they will eat when they are truly hungry.

Well, that's all great in theory, but in practice, I'm having a very hard time with that. You see, I did a little experiment just to gauge how far I could push things with Tesla. In the morning she had breakfast and ate until full. At 9 am, I serve a snack to the daycare kids and if Tesla is hungry, she gets a snack too. So, she had a snack at 9 am.

At 11 am I serve lunch. This is when my experiment began. I put 2 slices of cucumber, 2 cherry tomatoes, and 2 slices of red pepper on her plate. She freaked out. I knew she would, but these are foods she used to eat, so I wanted to see how long it would take for her to try them again. I excused her from the table because she was angry about her lunch options and 10-15 minutes later I put her back in the high chair and offered her plate again. She cried about it, but then she picked up a slice of red pepper, took a bite, chewed, and spit it out. She was done with lunch after that, so down she went.

She threw a fit, begged for different food, begged for milk, but all I would offer her was water or her veggies. She eventually went and played, but she was cranky and not much fun. She even took a nap for a bit, but it wasn't as long as she normally naps. She was probably too hungry to sleep.

At 3 pm I served the afternoon snack. I grabbed her plate of veggies from the fridge and offered them to her. She cried, but it was different sounding. Like she was defeated. She ate 1 cherry tomato and that was it. She sat there for 10 more minutes, pouting, while I hoped she would try another bite, but she didn't. She was miserable.

Except for that one cherry tomato, she hadn't eaten in 6 hours! I felt like that was too long to make her go without eating, and she did try the cherry tomato, so I gave her half a cup of fresh pineapple, which she devoured greedily. She wanted more food, something, anything but the vegetables, but I refused and made her wait until supper at 6 pm where she got a new, different meal. She was so hungry!

I felt evil. I can't imagine doing that to her every day. Won't she be malnourished? How is she supposed to grow and develop if she's skipping all her meals? A lot of kids refuse foods because they have small appetites. Not Tesla! She's always had a big appetite and during my experiment she was clearly hungry and asking for food, but by limiting her options so severely, isn't that just another way of trying to force her to eat it? (Something you're supposedly not supposed to do.) Making her choose between this or nothing isn't exactly giving her a choice. On the flip side, I run the risk of raising a super picky eater by catering to her all the time.

So, then what's a mom to do? Where do you draw the line? If she's hungry, she's unhappy, she can't sleep well, and she's miserable to be around, throwing fits like crazy. Does she even understand why I'm not feeding her? Probably not. This popular tactic doesn't work on children who can't comprehend what's happening.

And I ain't some softie parent either, oh no! I'm the tough one. I laugh in the face of tantrums. But seeing her face, so angry and confused when I wouldn't feed her, broke my heart and it just didn't feel right. She's too young to implement this sort of food rule. Even if she ate just enough to survive, (remember, they won't starve themselves to death) it's not enough for optimal growth and development. I will try again when she turns 2. She eats meat, she eats fruit, and she eats dairy. That's good enough for me for now. There are kids who eat less.

Breaking The Faith

I started watching a new show on TLC called Breaking The Faith. It's about some teens who are trying to escape the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS.) They live in a fenced compound as part of a polygamist colony. Warren Jeffs, their prophet, is currently serving time for seriously sexually assaulting 2 of his under-aged wives (12 and 15.) Despite being in jail, he still runs the show. I love cults, so I thought I would like this, but unfortunately, it's too much like the show Breaking Amish, or more appropriately titled Faking Amish in some circles.

It's a reality-style show where everything is scripted, but made to look like real life. There are 2 parts to the show; the scripted monologues made to look like interviews, and then the scripted reenactments made to look like it was shot live. It's annoying how TLC  tries to pull over viewer eyes with their crafty editing and choice of words, but nobody's fooled. One Google search and I can see that these teens have all been out in the real world for some time now. But, a past tense show just isn't as captivating I suppose.

The FLDS way of life is fascinating though. Almost everything is forbidden: Most foods, socializing with the opposite sex, many games, sports, and leisure activities, most books, newspapers, and magazines, even expressing love to your children or having sex with your wife is forbidden. There are very strict rules pertaining to dress codes, hair styles, getting married, getting pregnant, and how to deal with deserters and sinners. (They're shunned of course.)

Three wives is the perfect amount needed to get into heaven, but more is better. Families are broken up and wives are given to other men seemingly on a whim. Men lose their children and often women lose their children too. Young girls are married off to much older men or even cousins without any choice in the matter. Young men are excommunicated all the time too, supposedly to free up fresh, young girls to be married to the older men. It's very twisted.

Many young boys are forced to work a full day while girls are in charge of the domestic duties. There's a lot of physical and emotional abuse. Parents abusing their children, husband's abusing their wives... with so many rules to follow and dark clouds hanging over head all the time, the stress is often too much to handle. There's no one to tell and no where to go for help. It's no wonder so many try to escape.

But to try, fail, and get caught is another story. There's surveillance cameras all about the compound, a "God Squad" on patrol, and even people taking photographs and following you around to make sure you "keep sweet." Sounds intimidating. But not as intimidating as being told on a constant basis that if you don't obey you'll go to hell and burn for eternity. You need to be perfect at all times.

I hope the show gets better and I can learn more about their lives. I really do find it fascinating!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Immunity Tea

Yesterday I felt a flu coming on. I did a search to see if there was anything that could be done about it and came across a recipe for Immunity Tea. The writer claimed if you drink this tea, your symptoms for a cold or flu will be greatly reduced and would be the difference between staying home sick and feeling like hell or going to work with mildly annoying symptoms. I had to try it. With the daycare kids coming over and Bob going to work, I needed to find a way to get through the day. Plus, my great-grandmother was a huge fan of garlic and onions, eating them raw to maintain her immune system. She was never sick apparently. My dad eats tons of fresh garlic and I've only seen him have the flu once in my life.  It was definitely worth a shot.
Ingredients for 2 servings:
  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 3 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
  • Honey to taste
After bringing your broth up to a boil, add in the lemon juice. If you have a submersible colander,put your chopped up ginger and garlic in it and place in the boiling water. I didn't have that, but I did have a bunch of tea infusers and those did the job quite well. The recipe said to reduce the pot to a simmer for 15 minutes, but I did not read the recipe properly. I let it go for a full boil for 15 minutes. The end result was 200ml of very potent tea.

I mixed in a tablespoon of Buckwheat Honey and poured out two cups. Bob isn't sick, but I told him he must drink it for preventative measures to see if it actually prevents him from getting sick. It smelled good to me, but Bob didn't agree. It tasted like an Asian stir-fry sauce, very salty, and adding more honey didn't help the flavour. It was kind of like drinking soya sauce or terriyaki sauce. I brought out fresh pineapple and strawberry slices so that we could have a chaser to help us get the tea down. It worked well and actually complimented the tea nicely.

My symptoms before the tea were:
  • Muscle pain in my lower back, shoulders, and neck
  • Sore throat
  • Migraine
  • Nausa
I know my body and things were about to get worse before they got better. I could just feel it. I brushed my teeth and tongue very well after drinking that tea and tried to get some sleep. I was tossing and turning and freezing and sore. I made Bob go into the storage locker beside our apartment and bring out all these extra warm blankets and crank the heat up. I slept for 2.5 hours, waking up at 2am.

I was very, very dehydrated. I could feel the cold water splash down my throat and hit my stomach. I know some people like that feeling, but I do not. It's very uncomfortable for me and I'm not used to that feeling. I ate some more fresh pineapple and strawberries and went to the bathroom. Let's just say my number 2 was more akin to a number 1, but it was a one time deal.

I wasn't sick to my stomach anymore. I felt thirsty and hungry which I think is a sign of being more well than ill. I kept down the fruit and the thought of throwing up never crossed my mind. My back pain and migraine are not extreme as they had been before. Neck pain is still brutal. I drank a large chocolate milk and the dairy did not affect me negatively at all.

I've been awake for almost 3 hours and watching TV for an hour didn't lull me to sleep like I wanted it to; that's why I'm blogging so damn early in the morning. I'm going to try to go back to sleep now and see how the rest of the day goes. Bob bought some "real" flu medication for me to take in the event this tea isn't all it's claimed to be. I may make another batch this afternoon, though, I will reduce the amount of Chicken OXO I add to the water. I found it to be way, way too salty, but I also condensed the hell out of it, so that's probably why it was like that. Live and learn. (Though drinking 100ml is way more manageable than a cup and a half! I don't know if I could drink that much! Maybe I'll just boil the hell out of it again and use less OXO.)

If you feel even the slightest inkling that you're about to get sick, I highly recommend this tea. I didn't think it was as nasty as Bob did, but you be the judge. I'm not totally cured or anything, but I feel like it's safe to open up the daycare and that I'll be able to do my job properly without breaking out into a cold sweat and passing out. This will probably be the shortest flu I've ever had!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What It Means To Be Grateful

Someone posed a question in a forum about daycare food going to waste; If uneaten food goes in the trash, what's the difference if the child had eaten it instead? Isn't eaten food wasted food too?

A bunch of people agreed with the poster for some reason, but I just can't wrap my head around that. Food is fuel for the body. If you filled your car up with exactly enough gas to get somewhere, but found you didn't use it all, would you save it for later, or would you dump it out because "it's gas you would have used anyway"? That's not economical at all!

Wasted food makes me sad. Bob worked hard to pay for that food and when something forgotten in the back of the fridge grows mold, or a box of whatever in the cupboard goes stale, that's a waste of money too. That food could have provided me with energy and nutrition, and now I have to go out and get more of it. And when perfectly good food gets thrown out instead of eaten, well that feels worse than chucking something expired. At least with the expired food I had intended to try and eat it.

The kicker is that I don't really like eating leftovers. I do it because I can't afford not to and I see the value in making meals ahead of time, or preparing extra food at supper for lunch the next day. Foods I'm not keen on eating again I give to Bob and Tesla or the daycare kids. And if they don't eat it... well, it's food I would have thrown out anyway, so it doesn't hurt the same way as throwing out food I would have eaten.

We're such a rich country, children (and probably some adults too) living here can't fathom what it means to go without. It's only those who take their excess for granted that waste. (So, pretty much everyone living in the western part of the world.) I think of all those people in the Philippines who have nothing right now, and I do feel a bit guilty for having access to so much, wasting food, wasting water. I can't help but feel removed from the situation, since it's so unlikely that would ever happen to us in Canada.

But I'm not the type of parent that gives the "there are starving children in the Philippines and Africa and China that would love to eat what's on your plate!" speech. So send it to them! I would tell my father when he would yammer on about Africa. I thought it was such a stupid saying growing up and I didn't understand it. I didn't know what it meant to be grateful.

That all changed when I was an adult. Not because I had pay for and prepare my own food, but because of a holocaust survivor's presentation about his life. When I was working at CBC I went to his presentation he was giving to a group of high school students. During the war he and his family had to live under a crawl space and they rarely got to get out. They had nothing to eat but rotten onions for months on end. Every day, raw, rotten onions to eat. He hated onions. He said he would have eaten anything, anything else but an onion if he had the chance. He would go to sleep and dream he could have a tall glass of cool, refreshing water to drink, all for himself. They were all so thirsty and hungry and cramped, just trying to stay alive and fight off illness.

His story was so powerful, it was hard not to cry.  That stupid saying... there are starving children in the world that would love to eat what you have... it finally made sense to me in that moment.

I can't wait until Tesla's old enough to understand that story. Just because we can and do waste food, doesn't mean we should or that it's okay. Remembrance Day combined with the disaster in the Philippines has me thinking extra hard about all the things I'm thankful for. We're all privileged. Let's not forget that.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan's Purse has been around the globe many times over trying to convert heathens and shine God's light into the darkness ie. impoverished places with a lack of Christianity. While I don't agree with evangelizing people, especially vulnerable children who then try to convert their parents, I do like the idea of giving a gift to a child far away. (And I think Samaritan's Purse exaggerates how many people they've actually converted. Just because a child takes a free bible study course and signs a piece of paper, doesn't mean they've truly converted their heart and mind and soul. If I was poor and starving, I would say yes to anything that gave me a free gift too.)

Despite being an atheist, I decided to put together some of those famous shoe boxes for 3 lucky girls and 3 lucky boys aged 10-14. I did a lot of research for this project because I wanted the boxes to be of good value. The suggestion list on the Samaritan's Purse website was not very comprehensive and I found a lot of ideas elsewhere. The best ideas came from those who actually helped hand out the boxes to the kids and saw their reactions when they got opened.

It is suggested that I include some hygiene items such as soap, a face cloth, and toothbrush. However, the soap stinks up everything in the box and the children often don't use their soap if the smell is too strong. In many parts of the world, face cloth aren't used, so when children find these in their boxes they think they're rags and don't know what to do with them. Also, sending hygiene supplies sends the message that the way they clean themselves is not good enough and the Western way is superior.

What I included from this category: Mom gave me some hotel soap, a sponge, and some toothbrushes, so I put those in, but not every box got it. Each box got tissues and a First Aid kid and I added reusable sanitary napkins and cloth storage bag for the girls' kits.

It is suggested that I include various school supplies. School supplies are the most popular thing to add to the shoe box. They're in high demand and everyone cherishes them, so I wanted to put in as much as I could. Mom contributed quite a bit for this one working at a school and all.

What I included from this category: Each box got a handful of pens, pencils, package of pencil crayons, an eraser, pencil sharpener, notepad, scribblers, stickers, crayons, markers, and a pencil case. Not too shabby.

It is suggested that I include something soft for the child to immediately hug like a doll or stuffed animal. Toys are not the most popular things in the shoe boxes. Most children just don't know what to do with a stuffed animal or doll. Days are spent trying to find food and taking care of younger siblings, not playing make-believe and hugging stuff. Plus, I feel like most dolls sold in N.A. are not appropriate at all. Blonde hair and blue eyes with ivory skin, sexy outfits, make-up... not very relate-able.

What I included from this category: My shoe boxes were for older kids so I included 2 or 3 things like, travel magnet games like checkers, wooden dominos with animals instead of dots, Jenga, jump ropes, hacky sack, Sudoka puzzles, and connect the dot colouring books. I figured the missionaries could teach the kids how to play if they were interested, or maybe they'd figure it out for themselves, and if not, they could always sell or trade the toys to someone for food.

It is suggested that I include clothes, candy, and a photograph of my family and a short note. A lot of people add full outfits, pajamas, shoes, and socks. You're really taking a gamble adding these things because you don't know where your box is going or what size to get. (Apparently God makes sure the right box gets to the right child.) I don't believe that, so I chose not to include those things and just get something more universal.

What I included from this category: I added Cooler-style tote bags, (apparently sometimes the boxes get damaged and at least the child will have a way to carry all of their stuff home,) a large variety of hard candy, water bottles, and work gloves. For the girls' I added hair barrettes and head bands, wooden beads, assortment of embroidery thread, bamboo spoons and spatulas, bamboo skewers, and some necklaces I never wear. For the boys' I added twine and a solar powered flashlight.

I also wrote a short note that says: We hope you enjoy your gift! It was fun putting it together for you. Have a great year and best wishes to you and your family. Much love. And then I used Google Translate to translate the message into the 9 different languages of the countries these boxes could go to. (I read some missionaries have an overwhelmingly amount of translating to do, so I thought I'd make it simple for my boxes.) Some people send an international stamp and stationary so the child can write them back and thank them, but that would cost me another $12, so I doubt I'll do that. (Though I do love mail and pen pals!)

I wanted my gift to be practical. Everything could be sold or traded if it couldn't be used by them and that's what was really important to me. I wanted it all to be useful somehow and not some trinkety junky shit. A lot of people add kids meal toys, and random toys from the dollar store, but those aren't made to last and a lot of it isn't even culturally appropriate. (Kids have been known to eat Play-dough and Silly Putty for example since they don't know what it is or what it's for.) And I don't know why, but a lot of people think it's okay to include battery operated toys with an extra set of batteries. Once the batteries are dead, that toy is useless. There are no batteries to buy where these kids live. With Tesla's toys, her batteries are dead within months. It seems like a waste of a gift to me.

Each box cost me $21.67 to fill. The suggested minimum donation of $7.00 per box to help cover the cost of shipping would mean I'd have to pay $42 to the ministry. I'd get a tax receipt for it, but because this is optional and I'm atheist I don't want to the give the ministry anything. I'm already giving to the children. I bought the supplies and put it in the box. What they do with it from there is up to them I guess. (Or God?)

What these poor communities really need is money. I was willing to spend $130 on stuff for complete strangers who don't live in my country, yet I won't give $40 cash. That $130 would go so much further there compared to the things I bought here with it. That's just how we Westerners roll though. The way I see it, 100% of my gift is going to a child, where as only a percentage of my cash donation would actually go to the child and the rest would go to administration type stuff.

Samaritan's Purse's number one objective is to spread the gospel. That's what they use their money for and it's listed clearly on their website. Helping impoverished people get access to clean water, livestock, ect is just a by-product of their true goals. They give gifts as a way of accessing communities to convert others. Here's a goat, it's a gift from above, now listen to my sermon.

There is an "optional" 12 week bible study course the kids can take. It's a big deal with a graduation ceremony afterwards, including cap, gown, and certificate. Apparently 9 out of 10 kids are coerced into doing it. I guess I'm hoping that my 6 boxes will go to the kids that are in that 10% that choose not to go. Either way, I won't ever be making shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse again. It was fun putting the boxes together, but there are better ways to give and make a difference and definitely better charities as well.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Bob and I want to have another baby, so for the past 2 weeks I've been tapering my lithium dosage. I reached the midway point on Thursday and I'm down to one 300mg pill a day. On Halloween I will no longer be taking lithium, and I will hopefully be pregnant. The earliest I can test is in one week. (Stoked!)

Even though it hasn't been that long, I can already notice a bunch of changes:

- I have very little desire to eat all day, often having to force myself to eat breakfast, and then an overwhelming desire to eat chips and candy ravenously for about an hour or two in the evening. Not the best diet for when trying to conceive. I have been taking my prenatals though!

- I have no motivation to do the things I used to do before. I went a full week without taking a shower. I have no desire to prepare meals, (which is because I'm never hungry,) I do the absolute bare minimum for cleaning up the house. I don't know when I last scooped the little box.

- My energy peaks at about 9 pm and can last until 2 in the morning. I used to go to bed at 11pm. My body and my brain are not in sync when it comes to sleep. I'm getting 2-3 hours less sleep a night which is actually a big deal because those lost hours add up over the week and it's like I missed out on 2 whole nights worth of sleep each week. Insomnia sucks.

- Physical symptoms of constant headaches, neck aches, and shoulder aches are back. I feel run down during the day, especially the morning, and it feels like I'm coming down with something even though I know I'm not.

- I'm hypersensitive to sound. I can hear everything, everywhere all the damn time! I can't fall asleep at night because there's too much noise and I can't turn my brain off. I can't sleep in or take a nap during the day because of those same reasons. And when the extra kids are here, omg, I can't think straight. They're so effing loud! Every little noise they make just makes me think I'm going to lose my mind. Deep breathing does help me relax a bit, but I can't meditate because there's constantly too much going on, even at 2 in the morning.

- I don't feel any more irritable than normal, but Bob says I am slightly more irritable than normal.

- I have heartburn now for some reason.

I can definitely make it through 2 more weeks of this before going to see the psychiatrist again. It feels manageable. I mean, I've definitely felt worse than this! Tesla's getting everything she needs and I still enjoy playing with her. I go outside almost every day.

Sometimes I feel more overwhelmed than usual, but I've learned to take that as a sign to slow down and try to focus on one thing only and not 30 things. Or sometimes I just sit down and play a game of Catan online. I always feel better and ready to work after a good game of Catan. And of course I'm not afraid to delegate jobs to the daycare kids or Bob! That helps too!

Monday, October 7, 2013

"This might be the last..."

My grandma has lung cancer. Back in July they said she might only have 6 months left to live. As we get closer to that mark a feeling of dread has been sinking in and I suddenly feel like all I've ever done is waste time. Time that could have been spent with Grandma.

Yesterday was her 89th birthday. She barely has any grey hair, she can see, she can hear, and most importantly she's got all her wits about her. She broke her leg in the summer, so she uses a walker now to help get around, but she lives alone and can take care of herself just fine. She doesn't look sick. She doesn't act sick. If she didn't have cancer she'd probably live for another 5-6 years at least! Her older sister is in her mid-nineties already and still going strong.

Was this her last birthday? Doctors can only you give you a fact sheet with a bunch of averages on it. The "6 months to left to live" was a calculation based on her illness, her age, her per-existing health problems, and was essentially the average lifespan of people in a similar situation to hers. So, it's not a death sentence exactly, she could live longer, or on the flip side, she could die sooner. Either way it sucks to think about a person you love so dearly to be dead in a predetermined amount of time.

But I can't stop thinking about it. I think about her and I miss her and my heart starts to ache and my eyes get all watery. There's so much I want to ask her and so much I want to talk about with her. My throat closes up. Sometimes the pain in my chest hurts so much I feel like I can't breathe. She's dying and it's a total What The Fuck moment for me. Though I've been to several funerals, nobody close to me has ever died.

She's still alive, Bob reminds me. You have time. Some people die suddenly. Some people are sick and keep it a secret from you. I know. I have the opportunity to do something about it, to say what I want to say and spend that extra time with her. So many people wish they had the knowledge and the time with their loved ones. This feels like the longest goodbye ever though. I hate long goodbyes. And grandma hates it when people fuss over her.

My sister and I got Grandma some flowers for her birthday and I wrote her a letter. During dinner I slipped it in her purse so that nobody would know I wrote it for her and she could read it in private at home. It was a letter of thanks and appreciation, telling her how much she means to me and sharing a few memories. I would never be able to say all that with a straight face in person, (I cried the entire time I wrote the letter.)

I hope she likes it. I'm sure she will. It came from the heart and you can never go wrong with that. Now we just have to get through the "the last Thanksgiving," and "the last Christmas," and if Grandma's not too uncomfortable, I hope she'll make it through the new year and live to see her 90th birthday. It seems like a nice milestone. And she spent the majority of her summer in a hospital bed this year, so I wish she could have one more hot summer to enjoy outside. And if she could live long enough to meet her second great-grandchild, that would be nice too.

Old people are the glue that hold families together sometimes. The only reason why everyone gets together is because the old people want to see all of their family together under one roof. Life is going to be very different without Grandma. She's the only grandparent I've ever known and she's always been very involved in my life. I just hope things don't fall apart without her around.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Time-Outs & Time-Ins

After having a very frustrating day dealing with an impossibly defiant child, I decided that I needed to reevaluate my discipline techniques and possibly make some changes. As children grow and evolve, caregivers should recognize, rethink, and respond. I've had too many power struggles this week, all of which could have been avoided had I just done something differently.

Currently I have a couple ways of dealing with unacceptable behavior. First and foremost I ask the child to please stop doing whatever it is they are doing and I give a reason why. Or if it's a house rule that has been broken, I will ask the child if that type of behavior is allowed at Chelsea's house. The answer is always no, of course, but cheeky children like to smile and say yes. From there, they're either redirected to a new activity, a different part of the play area, or in some cases, a Time-Out.

I love using redirection. It doesn't usually evoke those strong tantrum feelings that issuing a Time-Out does. It's so simple and it feels mostly positive. I'm giving the child an alternative, not an order and the child often has some say in it. The problem I have with redirection is that if it doesn't work, I have to take things to the next level, and there are some instances where redirection isn't appropriate.

At Chelsea's house, you get one warning to try and correct your behavior yourself. I firmly believe that the more warnings and chances you give a child, the more and more chances and warnings you'll have to give in the long run and you won't actually make any progress. Imagine your city's by-law stated that a police officer could pull you over for speeding and give you a warning 3-5 times at his discretion before issuing a ticket. At what point would you minimize your speeding? Do you see where I'm going with this? Kids are playing roulette wondering how many times they can get away with something before somebody steps in and actually hands out a ticket.

After one warning the toy or activity is taken away or cleaned up, or a Time-Out is issued. In this house, defiance and not listening are the two biggest problems. I can't redirect a child who isn't following instructions. There's no toy to take away when a child is acting defiant. The best I can do is offer a choice and let the children choose for themselves what happens next, but sometimes I need to pull rank and make an executive decision. Time-Out is the only option left it seems. But lately it feels like I'm using it too much.

So, I started researching Time-Ins. It is a place that is slightly away from others and it's purpose is to help a child learn how to calm down by themselves. The best uses for it are for when a child is having a tantrum, a child is feeling emotional, a child is frustrated, or a child just generally needs to take a break before they explode. The Time-In is equipped with a big sitting pillow and a box of sensory items to help a child get back to being calm. Things I've read include snow globes, stress balls, odd shaped or textured balls, stuffed animals, little books, container of rice and spoon for digging, mirror, crayons and paper, rubix cube, pin-wheels, bubbles, something to smell like a candle, or even an ipod to listen to relaxing music or a book on tape.

I love this idea so much and I do plan on adding it to my arsenal! But I'll be honest, I sort of have my doubts. The majority of my issues with the kids are listening/calmly defiant ones, not emotional/aggressive ones. Does a child who says in a strong, firm voice, NO, when I ask to clean up the toys need a Time-In or a Time-Out? Does a child who ignores me when I try speaking to them about their behavior deserve a Time-In or a Time-Out? Does a child who doesn't listen to instructions after being asked twice need a Time-In or a Time-Out? It's not so cut and dry.

I understand the long-term psychological advantages of using a Time-In over a Time-Out in certain instances, but for my specific plight, I'm still confused. Time-Out is supposed to be a brief withdrawal from attention to calm down and reflect. Time-In can be preventative, should last as long as the child needs it to, and is supposed to teach a child appropriate ways to calm down, reflect, and analyze.

Discipline means to teach, not to punish. It certainly seems like Time-In should do a better job of that. But for a child that's already not listening, will asking them to have a Time-In really make a difference? I can't force a kid to sit on a pillow and shake a snow globe. Then that's just a cushy Time-Out with toys, isn't it? Either way, Time-Outs are not effective at correcting this behavior at this time and I do not wish to waste any more energy on it. The smug satisfaction a caregiver feels when they've "won" by successfully enforcing punitive discipline tactics pushing the child to the point where he or she gives up, cries, and obeys, is not the sort of relationship I want with my kids. Ever. I'll let you know soon enough if this works out.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Milk vs Juice

I drink water. A cool glassful on it's own, or often I'll add a frozen lemon wedge or a squirt of lemon juice. It's so refreshing! It's the perfect drink to rehydrate or accompany any meal. I rarely drink anything else. (Except my guilty pleasure of chocolate milk.) So, naturally I want Tesla to drink water too. And she does! But I think that she needs some liquid calories too.

My pediatrician recommended she drink no more than 16 oz of milk a day, (or 2 cups if you understand metric better.) He made no mention of what she should drink at other times and we never talked about juice.

I was doing some research online and from multiple sites I read that children should drink unlimited amounts of milk and water, but only 4-6 oz of 100% juice. They claim that juice has too much sugar and too many calories compared to milk and that drinking sugary drinks all the time can fill their little bellies leaving not enough room for real food. Also, the more sugary drinks a child has per day, the more likely the child will be obese.

For the past month, Tesla has been drinking:
10 oz of 3% milk a day
5 oz of Bolthouse Farms 100% fruit juice smoothie (assorted varieties) and
5 oz of Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot juice daily.

She eats 4 meals a day, so at each meal I offer a cup of milk or juice to drink and the rest of the time she has water. I see milk and juice as a supplement to the meal. She's been drinking her food for her whole life, so I see milk and juice as an extension of that. She can quickly and easily get some of the calories and nutrition she needs without having to spend all that extra time in her high chair.

But I still can't wrap my head around why milk is "healthier" than juice. Why should I cut out one of her juices and replace it with milk? Honestly, I don't believe one is necessarily better than the other. They both have their place. Yes, the juice has twice as much sugar, but it's natural sugar she would have eaten anyway had I fed her all the ingredients in the juice raw.

I think the reason why whole milk is pushed over juice is because A) Dairy is a made up food group that we don't need to consume, but it happens to employ a lot of people and many people make a profit off dairy farming, and B) there is fat in milk and infants and toddlers require a high fat diet for proper growth and development, but so many children exist on carbohydrates, their milk is the only thing they consume that has fat in it.

Tesla eats a high fat diet just like her parents do. The only foods we have trouble getting her to eat are non-starchy vegetables. (She tries a bite or two, but usually just spits it out.) She'll eat them if they're mixed into her omelet, or blended into a drink or smoothie though. It just makes sense for me to give her 100% fruit and vegetable juice. She doesn't need more milk.

Raising a primal baby is so much harder than raising a SAD baby. When she's bugging me for a pre-dinner snack, I can't just throw some goldfish crackers or a cheerios into a bowl to distract her. Any of the acceptable foods to give her are either messy or a choking hazard, except for a stick of cheese, but sometimes she's already had cheese, so there's a fine line between how many ounces of cheese I want her to eat in a day. Filling up a sippy cup with 100% Orange-Carrot juice... vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium... that's pretty quick and easy for an appetizer and damn nutritious too.

As she gets older the juice will be less necessary because she'll be eating more well rounded. I don't think I'm making her at risk for being obese by feeding her twice the daily recommended limit for juice. She's tall and her weight is average, plus we brush her teeth every day. She eats a hell of a lot better than most other kids I've met, and she eats more variety too.
Only time will tell if I'm making a good, healthy choice for my daughter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Yesterday I ate a few Reece cups. I used to really like them and they were in my top 10 favourite chocolate bars. However, there was one problem; It tasted disgusting. It tasted like sugary, cheap, artificial dollarama candy. Reece used to taste like the perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolate, but now it tastes fake. I just couldn't believe it!

Well, I guess I can believe it. The main ingredient is processed sugar. It's more sugar than chocolate and peanuts and I guess I'm not used to eating that anymore. I still eat processed white and brown sugar, just not as much. I use honey, maple syrup, and organic cane sugar too.

I find that I'm somewhere in between my new way of eating and my old way. Most of the paleo dessert recipes I've tried are not sweet enough and I find myself adding sugar, yet all my old dessert recipes are too sweet and don't taste good like they used to!

Bob's taste-buds haven't adjusted the way mine have yet. Not only did I have a head start on him, but he also still drinks Pepsi, and lately, vodka coolers. Though he has been trying some natural sodas and spritzers and says he enjoys them. Some of them are a tad pricey, but we have a soda stream so one of my goals is to make natural cherry cola for Bob before the year is through.

I'm impressed with the progress my whole family's made. We're trying totally new foods, (squash varieties, plantains, cassava, pumpkin seed butter, dried fruits, coconut products...) we're eating more meat and eggs, eating healthier starches, and more fruits and veggies. I can see a difference in my skin and hair. I can see a reduction in the dark circles under my eyes. My adult acne always flares up at that time of the month and this month my acne was greatly reduced and lasted half as long.

Keeping this family on track is a lot of work. I do an incredible amount of list making, research, and prep work. Cooking primal/paleo meals isn't necessarily difficult, but it's sort of like relearning how to cook and bake. I never used to use recipes because I never needed to. I looked at the ingredients I had and knew just what to do with them. Now I'm working with some unfamiliar ingredients a lot of the time and their cooking properties are totally different from what I'm used to working with. I have to do my research.

Tesla's doctor's appointment is this week and I'm really excited to show off how big and strong my grain-free baby is. I don't know how her doctor's going to react when I tell him she doesn't eat bread or crackers or cereal since that's what most children live off of, but I guess we'll see how the examination goes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Not What I Was Hoping For

Yesterday was Tesla's first birthday party. Her real birthday is in 2 days. There were 20 people crammed into my mom's living room! We set up a buffet in the kitchen and then everyone balanced their plates in their laps or shared a tv tray.

I have to say, I was disappointed in the mixed reviews I received regarding the food I made. I think only 2% of guests took any of my fruit and nut yogurt parfait. Mom didn't set out bowls and spoons and I had to remind her. My bacon wrapped prunes were polarizing. Some people loved them and some people thought they were just too weird to try. The quiche got eaten up at least.

Mom's "normal" foods of pulled pork and sloppy joe sandwiches got eaten as well as her coleslaw and potato salad. And it wasn't enough that I spent hours making those paleo cupcakes, even piping the frosting. I made enough for everyone and half of them weren't eaten. Mom had to make her own "normal" cake to serve to guests. I feel slightly sabotaged and annoyed, but I won't get into any more details right now.

Tesla ate her entire cupcake though, so I'm glad about that. She looked super cute doing it too!

There were so many presents! There were the usual clothes and toys and books that she received. I'll share some of the really neat ones:
- children's version of the book Les Miserables
- reversible tunic that was hand-sewn by her Aunt
- t-shirt with Nikola Tesla's bust on it to replace the newborn onesie she's long outgrown
- gift certificate to Kid City
- and a big creepy doll that rests on a stand up high on a shelf and you're never ever allowed to play with it. Actually, it's very beautiful and not creepy at all. It's from her great-grandmother and I hope Tesla will treasure it forever and not be afraid of it.

I'm glad we had a big party for her first birthday. Things are going to be different next year though. We had to have the party at my mom's because there wasn't anywhere else to do it with that many people, but if I can help it I would like to do things at my place, my way, with my food, and have total control over the guest list and everything! It was a good party, but there a lot of things I wish would have been different.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Putting Away the Kitchen Scale

I've spent a solid month counting calories, weighing my food, and logging every bite I eat. It can be tedious and even exhausting at times, but it's been a necessary evil in order to achieve my desired weight. However, I know I can't be spending the rest of my life living this way, so I've been taking a break from it to see if I can continue with my 1.5 lbs per week weight-loss trend without the scale.

I weigh myself on a daily basis and log it online. Some people say not to torture yourself doing that and to stick to once a week weigh ins, but waiting a week to weigh myself would be torture. It's only been half a week, but I've noticed that I'm maintaining my weight and not really losing anything. I also know I haven't exercised since last week. That's probably part of it.

Maintaining is better than gaining, but I want to be losing! I thought about bringing back the kitchen scale because I don't want to mess up my progress I've worked so hard for in the past month. On the days I did no exercise, I really relied heavily on counting calories so I could still make sure I was going to have a deficit by the end of the day. Now I go to bed and I have no idea how I did for the day. Well, I sort of know, but I don't exactly know. I like exactly knowing.

By the weekend I'll decide if I should start using my kitchen scale again. I honestly can't imagine someone trying to lose weight without a scale. I'm little bit obsessed with mine. Is it weird that I miss using it? Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom of being able to cook and eat a meal without going through all those extra preparations, but I do miss the security blanket of knowing exactly how much I was eating. I like pouring the food in and watching the number of grams climb. I can have this much.

The only 2 kitchen appliances/gadgets that rank higher than my scale are my blender and my food processor, (which is now deceased, RIP Black & Decker Food Processor, and I've yet to replace.) I could live without a microwave, a toaster, a coffeemaker, but my kitchen scale is here to stay even if it stays in the cupboard while fit and sexy me eyeballs all future portions of food. It's just too damn handy!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Primal Birthday Party

My little girl's is turning a year old in a few short weeks. She's so bright, funny, and totally adorable every single day. I just want to squish her with all of my love! If you know me, you know how much I hate celebrating my birthday 6 bloody times in the month of April. And how I hate celebrating it again in the month of May even more. There's the dinner with my family, the dinner with Bob's family, dinner with Bob on my actual birthday, and then the going out with friends party, and then the going out with the other friends party. And there's the random people who couldn't make it to any of these events and so we do lunch. For my birthday. Ugh!

Well, let it be known that Tesla also hates more than one birthday celebration by association. She's getting one party. If those invited can't make it, too bad for them. See ya next year! Literally, it's all the family from far and wide and a few honorary aunties that happen to live close. One big mega party!

Due to the eating restrictions I have placed on myself and Tesla, Food for this party is going to be essential. Also, there will be one vegetarian in attendance. This is my chance to introduce primal eating to a bunch of people at once and show them how rich and delicious our diet is. We can eat satisfying and filling meals without ever using grains!

The menu I've prepared for our Sunday brunch birthday party consists of:

- Spinach and avocado quiche with cheese. No crust obviously, and no meat so the vegetarian can have some.
- Greek yogurt and mixed berry parfait with a topping of toasted nuts and seeds on the side so the birthday girl can have some.
- Bacon wrapped prunes. Not vegetarian, but I gotta eat some meat at this meal! This is the one thing I haven't taste-tested it yet, but it got rave reviews online.
- Spiced Paleo cake with maple cashew frosting. This will be Tesla's birthday dessert. After much consideration, I think I will make a tray of dainty squares instead of cupcakes or a layer cake. Paleo cakes just don't rise and a layer cake would be a lot of work. This way, everyone can sample the cake and I don't have to listen to "a small piece place," 15 times while cutting the cake and then have all this dessert left over.

And my mom is going to prepare some non-primal foods as well. Apparently my menu is "interesting" and she's worried certain people invited aren't going to be able to eat anything because it's too weird for them. That's fine. I know this menu will be a hit. Yeah, it is different from what is normally served, but it's not like I'm trying to feed people goat's tongue wrapped in lettuce or something. I thought I chose really normal foods. Well, they're normal to me.

There's always opposition every time someone comes along and introduces a new dietary restriction, but over time it becomes normal, acceptable even, and people accommodate it. Bob's sister was saying that when she decided to become a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, her family didn't approve and the best they could do for her was buy 2 Michaelina's a week, those frozen microwave dinners. Everyone had a laugh and we looked how far the family's come.

I hope I can have the same happy ending because eating this way is really important to me. Not many people seem to get it right now, but over time I hope they will.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Eating Paleo This Week

On the weekend I decided I was going to do a full week of paleo only meals just to see what it felt like and if it was something I could adapt to at this point in my life. Changing your lifestyle overnight is hard, but I've been working toward this for nearly a month now, so I am ready to give it a test drive.

Our Sunday grocery shopping didn't cost any more than it normally does, so that was a relief. (Also sort of telling in a way. Those who base their meals around discounted boxes of processed foods are the only who get the sticker shock of what real food costs I think.) We did buy more meat than usual though and more fresh veggies, but a lot less dairy items. I also had to buy some staple items that were expensive to get all at once now, but will last a while. Things like coconut oil, milk, and flakes, as well as almond flour.

Planning out my menu was easy and I've been in the habit of doing this for months now. It makes shopping and cooking so much easier and really takes the guesswork out of eating. I even tried to get Bob in on the action by packing a Paleo Pack for him for lunch. (It's a trail-mix made up of jerky, nuts, and dried fruit.) He said it was good and filling and it was only 500 calories. Definitely better for him than the bologna sandwich and Fibre 1 bar he's been taking, cringe. In the future, I think I'll make some more Paleo Pack variations. It's very portable and easy for either a meal or a snack on the go.

For breakfast this morning, I was originally going to make some quiche. I like crust, so I was going to make a paleo crust, but I was feeling tired and lazy this morning. Bob made my bacon for me, so I just needed to make something else. I decided to make an omelette. Avocado, spinach, and cheese! It was fantastic! I fried up a bit of frozen shredded hash-browns in bacon grease and my meal was complete. It was absolutely to die for delicious! I am making it again next week for sure!
I'm making a stirfry sans rice or noodles for lunch and roasted chicken with broccoli and sweet potato for dinner. For Tesla's birthday coming up, I think I'd like to tackle making some sort of paleo dessert. I'm not a cake person and paleo cakes are so dense and heavy anyway. For my birthday I always have a birthday trifle, so not serving birthday cake for my little girl's first birthday is not a crime, I promise. Perhaps there's some sort of paleo parfait I can make for our guests.

If I can be full on paleo by the time Tesla turns 1 in 3 weeks, that would be amazing. I very much would like to raise a paleo baby, but that's another post for another time. Until then, I urge any and all who read this to try one meal a day without grains just to see how you like it for a week. It's filling, it's satisfying, and that's what I did before deciding to eliminate them altogether. Happy eating!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paleo for BP

I've been counting calories for nearly 3 weeks now. I'm having a moderate amount of success, having lost 5 and a half pounds thus far. It should be higher, but I mostly maintained my weight this week and didn't lose anything.

One thing I'm trying to do is keep my carbohydrate intake to 150g or less a day. I guess it's sort of like a Zone thing I'm doing, 40% of calories from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat. Eventually I want to be able to only have 30% of my calories from carbs and then 20%, but I'll get there in my own time.

I quickly realized that if I cut out grains, I will meet my carbohydrate goal. I love rice and pasta and chips and crackers! I still have extremely small amounts of these foods, but I hope to one day completely remove them from my diet. I want to follow a paleo diet.

For those not in the loop, a paleo diet focuses on eating vegetables, meat, fruit, seeds and nuts in that order. No grains allowed! Any breads or desserts would be made with nut flour. Dairy is permitted in small quantities, though the purists stay away from it, as well as peanuts, beans, and rice. The whole point is to eat like our ancestors did prior to agriculture existing.

In my quest to find more information about the paleo diet, I came across something very interesting and relevant. There is a link between eating a modified ketogenic diet and having a reduction in mood swings in bipolar patients. There has yet to be a single scientific study of ketogenic diets in bipolar disorder patients, but in the article I was reading, the doctor said he had patients who followed an Atkins, paleo, or other low carbohydrate diet and reported a significant improvement in their symptoms.

How incredible would it be for me to change my diet, lose the weight, and stop taking lithium?

Studies have shown there's a whole bunch of medical conditions that patients have seen improvements in when switching to a low carb diet, (we're talking 10-20 grams a day,) like:
  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Brain Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Pain/Inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Insomnia/Circadian Rhythm disorders
Living off of only 20 grams of carbs a day seems so impossible right now when I'm having a hard time living off of 150 grams, but I feel like I have to work toward it, and keep modifying my diet until I can get there. When my psychiatrist told me 3 years ago I was probably going to have to be medicated for the rest of my life, I cried. When my dad got hyperthyroidism, I thought what does this mean for me? Lithium affects the thyroid function.

I want to be off medication so bad. I know it may take a few years and I need to be comfortable with the transition, but losing weight isn't nearly as big of a motivator as this! I will gladly never step into an Olive Garden, order in a pizza, or eat deep fried food again if it means controlling my bipolar naturally. There's no proof it will work for my body specifically, but there's no harm in trying, and I was going to try it anyway, so this new piece of information is a nice bonus!

Monday, August 5, 2013

16 Hours of Driving

For the long weekend, Bob and I drove up to Snow Lake with Tesla to visit my bff Steph and her husband and 2 daughters. It's a solid 8 hour drive up North, and very scenic too! We spotted a baby lynx, pheasants, and this huge hawk almost smacked into our windshield!

To keep ourselves entertained and awake we played games like 20 Questions, I'm Going on a Trip, (we memorized items for an entire hour!) and Last Letter Game. All very good games, but by far the funniest game we played was Think Pink. Basically you think of a simple way to describe two words that rhyme. An example would be, A dwelling for rodents: Mouse House.

Of course we got totally ridiculous with it. Hover over or click Answer to see the the solution. I'm not sure what this html does.

"In the event that things in the stratosphere went to school and came home with straight A's on a report card you would have a..." Answer

"In the event that a type of aspirin would be elected to city hall, you would have a..." Answer

"A citrus smelling thing that is part of an entrance way would be a..." Answer

Bob and I have a lot of fun together. And Tesla was so good the whole time! She slept or played quietly and didn't cry or fuss at all. When we got home, she was excited to be back. She recognized where we were before we even got inside and made these cute little squeals of delight. She just started crawling everywhere once inside, finding all of her toys and chasing the cats.

Bob and I are ordering a pizza to eat tonight. It's sort of a last hurrah before getting back into the old routine. Also, I took time off of my diet this weekend, so pizza is my last hurrah before getting back to counting calories and hardcore exercise. I'm nervous to step on the scale in the morning.

I know this blog really focused on the driving aspect of the trip, so I'll mention some of the actual trip. We went to the beach, went for a short hike to see the falls, and made s'mores over a campfire. We took a walk through town and enjoyed some soft serve, and we just hung out with our kids, relaxed, and enjoyed the company. It was wonderful! A very rejuvenating weekend. I should have taken more pictures, but oh well. This blog post is memory enough. For me, vacation memories have always been about how the trip made me feel, not what I actually did on the trip. I hope y'all had a great long weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cottage Cheese

It's a body builder's dream food. It's clean, it's high in protein, but low in carbs and fat, and it's very versatile! Some people love it so much, they eat it straight out of the tub with a spoon. (A certain scholarly gentleman named Chad from ACC comes to mind.)

The only time I've ever bought and eaten cottage cheese is when I'm making a lasagna, but even then, half the time I use ricotta cheese instead. In my effort to lose some weight before November, I bought Dairyland Cottage Cheese Combos on sale at Safeway. I didn't like it at first, but quickly acquired a taste for it and came to enjoy the filling snack.

When they were all gone, I bought a tub of plain cottage cheese so that I could mix in whatever I wanted. I went on some forums and got some ideas. This morning I mixed 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with a half of a thinly sliced banana, flax, and cinnamon. I took one bite and wanted to throw up. SALT! Holy effing sodium! I added 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and it still tasted like ass. Those cottage cheese combos must have had a lot of added sugar because my concoction tastes nothing at all the same.

In order to cut the salt, I think I'll need a fruit like pineapple which pairs very well with salty foods and cheese. I thought bananas would be good since I find them to be too sweet already, but pineapple taste more like juicy candy than bananas do.

I don't know what I'm going to do with all this cottage cheese if I can't find a suitable way to consume it. I don't eat pasta anymore and I don't eat breads or tortillas either. There's so many recipes out there, I'm sure I'll find something that fits my lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dieting is like Banking

I like to think of my body as a bank account and calories like money. Every day I receive a small allowance of calories to spend on food. This meets my basic needs for weight loss, but I also have the option to exercise to earn extra calories for more food. I can save up my calories and those go toward my deficit so I can lose weight faster.

This analogy really helps me stay on track every day. These are the things I think about every day.

Budget Wisely

Just as you would calculate a budget for your household expenses to make sure you are living within your means, you need to budget your calories to make sure you're not getting fat, but still getting everything your body needs. Calories Consumed - Calories Burned = Net Calories. It's a very simple formula, however figuring out the numbers to plop into the equation can be time consuming. It's worth it though! And it gets easier to do the more you do it, especially with all the sites out there you  can sign up to use for free.

Choosing The Right Investment Strategy

Now that you've got your budget under control, you need to think about your investment strategy. We know in the banking world that what works for one person, may not work for you and the true is same for dieting. Eating fewer calories than you burn is only half the battle. You need to eat the foods that are right for you.

Eating 2 Pop-Tarts for breakfast is not a good investment strategy for my body. I would much rather spend 400 calories on more nutrient dense foods that provide the many things Pop-Tarts are lacking. Maybe you really love Pop-Tarts though and are able to make it work for you.

No matter what type of diet you decide to follow, you need to find a ratio of protein to carbs to fat that works for you, keeps you feeling full and satisfied, and gives you energy for your day. Personally, I'm finding that my ratio of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat is working for me. It's a moderate approach and it makes me happy.

Stay Out of Debt

Just as you shouldn't make purchases with a credit card you know you can't pay back later, don't eat extra calories that you know you're not going to work off later. I always earn my calories first by exercising before spending them on food I can't afford to eat. Plus, it's so much more rewarding to take that first big bite and know you had to sweat hard to get it. Someone once told me it's easier to work toward a goal rather than work off the guilt. True words!

On that note, this week I need to work extra hard so I can take the long weekend off. I'm going up north to visit one of my best friends and I don't want to be consumed by calorie counting. I still want to make good choices, and I know there will be opportunities for exercise, but I don't want to obsess. I sometimes obsess.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Chili is not something I would ever order at a restaurant. The only chili I've ever really liked is my dad's recipe. He doesn't have the recipe written down and he's never told it to me, but I've spent some years trying to recreate it.

I'm not one of those chili purists either. I believe that "real" chili is for the foodie snobs who have nothing better to do than write food blogs and complain. All recipes are adaptations from other recipes and I think a little variation is always a good thing, especially in cooking!

With that being said, I put beans in my chili! Today I used black beans and pinto beans. I also used beer in my recipe. It made the chili smell so sweet! Chili powder, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, and lots of garlic too, very hot and spicy. I don't like stewed or diced tomatoes, so I just used crushed. I also added a bit of salsa and red onions. Then there's the corn, the ground beef and of course, dad's secret ingredient, peanut butter.

I let it simmer on the stove for 2 hours. I would have just used the crockpot, but it's not big enough. This huge pot of chili can feed 6 men! A cup and a half of my chili is 420 calories, 8.6g of fibre, 29.2g of protein, and 99% of your daily intake of iron. I consistently have low iron and I take supplements, so that is major for me!

I paired my bowl with some focaccia bread and a bit of butter. Boom 600 calories in total! What a delicious, filling, healthy meal that doesn't break the Calorie Bank. I don't think my chili will ever taste exactly like dad's, but this version here deserves an index card to be added to the recipe box.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Healthy Living

Food tastes so much better when you work for it! I'm back on Calorie Count and I'm really impressed with my progress so far. Since Friday I've lost 1 pound! I was really upset over the weekend because when I weighed myself on Friday, I hadn't made any progress and then I got drunk on Saturday and had drunken onion rings and a turnover from A&W.

But I also did a lot of walking on the weekend. We had 2 hour long walks as a family and I did watch what I ate very carefully on Saturday and Sunday, (minus the booze and fast food, which was well over 2000 calories just by itself.)

Today I've been having fun keeping track of what I eat and it's getting easier to live on less. Last night I was starving so bad, I made a box of Kraft dinner at midnight. I just had a single portion and put the rest in the fridge, but I was hungry enough to eat the whole box. It took a lot of will power.

I had a walking friends date and we walked for a solid 90 minutes and just chatted about our lives. It was so nice, but now my hips are so sore because I did 3 rounds of tabata this morning too. I love walking friend dates. Instead of sitting on our asses talking, we can work off our asses talking. It's a win win situation. In fact, I think all my friend dates are going to active from now on. Why spend $20 at a restaurant when we could spend $10 and go bowling instead! I'm on to something....

Anyway, when I got inside from walking and put Tesla down for her nap, I realized it was time for a snack. I had 4 low sodium Triscuit crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a container of low fat Greek yogourt. It was so delicious I actually said mmm more than once. I worked hard for that snack! I really savoured it.

I know 1 pound probably doesn't seem like much, but I'm really trying my hardest and I'm going to take this small victory and build on it. I have an end date in mind for when I want to reach my goal weight, but we'll talk about that later. Cheers, to healthy living!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elmo Singing With The Stars

I saw this DVD in the bargain bin at Superstore. It was $9 and I thought, this might be okay for the daycare kids. I've yet to meet a child that dislikes Elmo and there were some pretty famous artists singing on this DVD, so maybe I might like it too.

I popped it in today after lunch for the kids. I laughed hysterically through much of the video. The 3 year old kept asking what I was laughing about and I had tears in my eyes. I don't know what it was, but it was just so funny to me. I could be losing my mind.

Almost all the songs were parodies, but there was one song by Ricky Gervais that I laughed really hard at.

Just awesome! I also really enjoyed My Triangle by James Blunt.

And REM's Furry Happy Monsters was pretty good too.

Other artists I either enjoyed or laughed really hard at because I couldn't believe they were being parodied were Goo Goo Dolls, N'Sync, Destiny's Child, Fiest, and Alicia Keys. I was excited Adam Sandler was one of the artists, but his bit wasn't very good. And it ended kind of weird too, like he was trying to get away from Elmo.

This DVD was well worth the $9 and I'm so glad I bought it! It's so hard to find age appropriate music for kids that's complex sounding. So many kids tunes are just sort of simple and silly if you know what I mean. It's repetitive in an annoying way, or it's just boring to listen to. Sometimes when I put on the Galaxie Kids Stuff station I hear a good song or two, but most of it is just meh.

I'd be curious to find out if there are any children's music artists working in the rock, alternative, or indy genres. Most kids songs are too bubblegum pop for me. Is there a market for children's speed metal? The thought of it makes me giggle. I should send out fan letters to unsuspecting artists and ask them to write a children's song for me.

This blog is getting off topic now. I'll leave on that note.
To be continued....

Monday, July 8, 2013


Today I started a new exercise program. It's called Tabata and it was invented in Japan. I don't know for certain that it's a more efficient way to exercise or that you'd get faster results using the Tabata method, but I really liked what I've read about it and I've decided to give it a shot since it fits my lifestyle.

The basic flow of Tabata is that you do 8 exercise for 20 seconds each and then rest for 10 seconds in between for a grand total of 4 minutes of exercise. This is considered 1 Tabata.

The point is that it is a very high-intensity exercise. You're supposed to go your absolute hardest for the full 20 seconds. You can use any exercises you like, including aerobic and anaerobic. You could do 8 different exercises, or just use one exercise per Tabata. How many Tabatas you do in a row is up to you. The more you do the better, of course!

Today I did just one Tabata with 8 different exercises. I'm easing my way into it since it is pretty hard on the body. My goal is to do 3 Tabatas a day, 5 days a week by mid August and I'll adjust my Tabata design as I get in better shape. I'm also keeping track of of my progress by charting how many reps I can do in the 20 seconds to see if I'm improving at all.

Four minutes of exercise seems like a joke compared to those who go for 2 hour runs, but any exercise is better than no exercise. Once I reach my goal, I'll be meeting the minimum 1 hour of vigorous exercise a week that healthy adults need.

Next on the list... work on my diet!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oven-Baked Babies

A toddler in Edmonton died after being left alone in a hot car. He didn't actually die in the car, but later in hospital. The car was locked when police arrived and when they pulled him out the temperature outside was above 30 degrees Celsius. That blows my mind. How hot and stuffy do you think it was inside that car?

It's so easy for children to fatally overheat. They don't have the sweat glands adults do and can't cool down their bodies. A lot of times they can't even tell you that they're dehydrated. Leaving the window down a crack doesn't help pets or kids. It's just wrong and plain ignorant to leave them unattended in a car no matter what the weather and no matter what the errand!

Growing up, I spent lots of time waiting in the car while my mom or dad ran in to get something. My mom would do it when I was older, like 11, so there weren't as many risks there. Except maybe being abducted, but the chances of that happening are pretty low, especially if the doors are all locked.

My Dad however, is a different story. He'd drive over to the bar in Richer, buy a big bag of cherries from the BC Fruit stand and I would sit in the truck alone with the window rolled down to spit out the pits while Dad went in to buy a case of beer, (and also drink some beer and probably play pool.) It always seemed like he was gone a long time, but it couldn't have been more than hour. I was much younger... maybe 8 or 9, sometimes my little sister was with me. We could have been abducted for sure, but with the windows all the way down and the cherries to eat, I doubt we would have gotten heat stroke. It did get pretty hot in that truck and I remember feeling very thirsty!

I can't imagine doing that with Tesla. You'd think times have changed since when we were young, but when so many kids are dying while waiting for their parents in a locked car, it really makes you wonder if our society has learned anything at all. With all the improvements we've made to car seats, cribs, and laws regarding kids wearing proper helmets and safety gear, how is it that there are still kids today dying from being over heated? We have plenty of fresh water, air conditioning, fancy strollers, and yet children die in hot cars. Are the parents just too lazy to bring them into the supermarket with them?

Yes, it would be easier to leave Tesla in the car while I run into the bank quick, but you don't have children to make your life easier. If you feel safe enough to leave your kid alone in the car, maybe just leave your kid at home alone instead. (I don't think it's safe to leave a 3 year old home alone though.)

I'm just going to throw this out there, though I really shouldn't have to: If you have a kid or pet in your care... don't leave him or her in the car alone. If you are in a parking lot and you spot a dog or a child alone in the car, break the window and call police. It's not illegal if you're doing it to save a child or animal's life. You don't know how long it's going to take the police to come, that's why you always break the window first. Otherwise a forgotten child could die waiting for help.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Children's Menus

I hate the kids' menus at restaurants. It's nothing but beige coloured crap, even if you're eating at a 3 or 4 star restaurant.
  • Plain Cheeseburger
  • Hot Dog
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Chicken Fingers & Fries
  • Mini Cheese Pizza
  • Grilled Cheese
Without even looking, I guarantee at least half, if not all, of those meals are served with fries at any given sit-down restaurant. Where's the flavour? The colour? The vegetables? So boring and greasy! I don't want my kid eating that stereotypical junk. When we go out to eat, I want Tesla to expand her horizons and not be afraid to try something new. How can she try something new when all of the restaurants have the exact same kids menu?

But I've found some restaurants that serve interesting dishes on their kids menu!

Chopstick Chicken n Rice Bowl
From Boston Pizza, the Chopstick Chicken n' Rice Bowl.
Chicken, red peppers, pineapple and seasonal vegetables tossed in teriyaki sauce and served on rice, topped with crunchy noodles.

At Moxie's kid's can have Teriyaki Salmon with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. They can also have Grilled Chicken with asiago cream penne and steamed vegetables.

Quarter Chicken with Garden Salad
From Swiss Chalet you can order the all white meat Quarter Chicken with your choice of a garden salad or fresh vegetables.

If you're ever at Chop Steakhouse, you can get the Sirloin Dinner for your kid. A 7oz AAA sirloin served with seasonal vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

At Montana's Cookhouse, you could get Pork Back Ribs. They're hickory smoked pork back ribs brushed with barbeque sauce and served with your choice of side. Some of those sides include cucumber coins, apple slices, salad, or fries and carrot sticks.

From Red Lobster, of course you can get seafood. Try ordering the Snow Crab Legs or the Garlic Grilled Shrimp off the kids menu for your offspring. The meal comes with milk and your choice of orange wedges or broccoli.

The stereotype that kids won't eat vegetables or properly seasoned food and will only eat bland "kid" foods is such non-sense. Food is for everyone. My 9 month old baby ate yam fries with chipotle-ranch dip just last week.  She eats everything I eat.

I love garlic and onions and when I cook I use all sorts of different herbs and spices, even crushed chilies. The only thing I don't season food with is salt. Tesla eats all of it! I try to expose her to as much flavour and texture as I safely can.

Tesla's too young to order off the kids menu, but if none of these restaurants ban children in the next 3 years, I think I'll keep them in mind for when we decide to go out to eat as a family.  It's nice to know there are places that serve child sized portions of food that aren't part of the "Stereotyped Six" listed above.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sippy Cups

I'm making a parenting choice that all the books disagree with. I put liquids other than formula in Tesla's baby bottles. (Gasp!) Tesla hasn't mastered the sippy cup yet. She's not even close. So why should she be excluded from trying new things just because the experts don't want her to try them in a bottle?

Tesla drinks broth, vegetable juice, fresh fruit juice and water in her bottles.

Apparently the whole thing is that doctors want babies off of their bottles by the time they're a year. By giving Tesla drinks other than her formula in her bottle, she going to apparently be even more attached to her bottle and not want to let it go, thus making it harder for her ween.

If I give her liquids in sippy cups, she will make the association that bottles are for formula and sippy cups are for everything else. When I stop giving her formula, it won't sting as much not being able to have a bottle.

Here's the thing: Tesla isn't attached to her bottle. Not even a little bit. I've never given her a bottle to go to sleep. She absolutely loves table food and I think she actually prefers it to her bottle. In August when I start to ween her off of her bottle, I know it will be a piece of cake.

But I still have 2 whole months, plus some days for Tesla to learn how to use her sippy cup "on time." I'm not really worried about it. Tesla has already shown that she will do things her way when she wants to. She's often offered a sippy cup with water and she really doesn't get it. She just likes to shake it and throw it. It will come to her.

Until then, I want Tesla to be able to enjoy soups and juices because it shouldn't matter how she gets her nutrition, it should just matter that she's getting it and she's trying new things.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Perfect Cursive

I was reading an article about how cursive writing may become extinct. Ontario, Quebec, and at least 45 US states have all taken cursive writing out of the official curriculum. In lieu of learning to type, cursive just isn't an integral part of our life like it used to be. Everything we do is on a computer and a lot of it is mandatory that it be typed. Imagine submitting a 5000 word essay to your university professor completely handwritten? What a nightmare for everybody involved.

Due to the illegibility of most people's handwriting, I would say that more people choose to print as opposed to using cursive when it comes to having to communicate via the written word. And on any official document or form that must be filled out with pen, it is clearly stated that you must print.

So, who uses handwriting on a regular basis? Doctors who write prescriptions? My doctor uses a computer to print out prescriptions, but I know that system isn't set up everywhere. People who need to write quick notes, maybe? Most people email notes to coworkers, or just send a text. It's so rare to have to leave a physical note somewhere. Most students take notes on their laptops.

The only time I use cursive is when I'm signing my name, making lists, and when I'm writing in my journal. I find handwriting to be faster then printing. That was the whole point to learning cursive, wasn't it?

I'm a little sad that cursive will one day be extinct, but our society just doesn't use it and so I can see the value in dropping it from the curriculum in order to spend time on more important subjects. I really enjoy using it on a regular basis and am glad I learned it.

Maybe if Tesla is interested I can teach her myself when she's older. (I should look for workbooks now before those are extinct too) By the time she's a teen it will be cool and ironic to use cursive and everyone will be jealous of her skills. Or maybe in however many more years cursive will turn into an art form like calligraphy or glyphs or something.

Not all hope is lost for cursive though. In Prince Edward Island cursive remains a mandatory part of the curriculum, and in Nova Scotia teachers get to decide how much time they spend teaching their students cursive. Good for them! Long live cursive!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Home-Made Cough Syrup

It's 11:00 at night and I'm very sick. Not as sick as I was yesterday, throwing up, cold-sweats, and dried up like a raisin, but my neck is stiffer than an adolescent's erection and I've got this dry cough that won't quit.

I look for some cough syrup. I can't find any. I know, let's make some!

I find a simple recipe online and start to throw it together. I need to can it to preserve it better, so I get some clean baby jars I've saved and begin the process of sterilizing them. The fucking stove catches on fire! Yeah, I haven't cleaned up in a while.

It was a small fire and I doused it with just one cup of water. The smoke detector didn't even go off.

Now it's almost 11:30, I'm still trying to sterilizing the jars and I'm totally exhausted. I caught this bug from one of my daycare kids. Thankfully 2 of them are still sick and aren't coming in tomorrow. I'll just have the 4 year old and my baby for the third straight day.

I had to call in reinforcements for Monday and today. I just slept and fasted for 2 days. I knew I was feeling better when I had a bit more energy despite having not eaten anything. I actually left the house and went grocery shopping. It felt good to get some exercise and fresh air.

Nobody is coming to help me tomorrow and I really hope I can make through the day. Netflix is a miracle time waster for children and adults alike, but not being able to nap is going to be tough I think, especially since I'm not going to be getting a full 8 hours tonight.

Moment of truth: This home-made cough syrup tastes like... super sweet, yet sour syrup. It's mostly made out of honey with some olive oil and lemon juice mixed in.  Here's to hoping I can fall asleep before midnight and that my cough stops.


I took 3 tablespoons of my home-brew, which didn't work,  and 2 hours later I completely lost my voice and felt worse than I have all week. I didn't get any sleep and Bob had to stay home to help me because I was exhausted.  He's also sick.

I can't wait for this virus to be over with!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Colonies of Catan

The island of Catan evolved over hundreds of years. Weary settlers founded cities that would one day have their populations explode. Fields of wheat and pastures for sheep were eventually paved with concrete and decorated with skyscrapers and parking meters. The lovely forests, once thriving and healthy, were chopped to oblivion. The ore mines had all been expended.

A smoggy and grey metropolis, the island of Catan was booming with factories and shops, and was very dependent upon modern technology. Blissfully ignorant, citizens went about their daily lives, unaware that tragedy lurked just beyond the setting sun.

An asteroid was headed straight for the island. Scientists were baffled by its speed and didn’t see it coming until it was too late. There was little time to warn others to evacuate. Much of the island perished.

Now survivors must rebuild by using only what's left of the island to help them. A new world order has begun where it’s a race for resources and a fight to keep what’s rightfully yours. In this post-apocalyptic version of Settlers of Catan, players must recolonize the island, avoid being raided by marauders, and do their best to live off the grid.

Come play The Colonies of Catan.

Except you can't because of intellectual copy-write laws.

After spending a solid week of creating and designing my Settlers of Catan spin-off, I was told by the company The Game Crafter (a site that helps you create custom games and cards) that it was illegal for them to print a single copy of my game and I had to make changes or else provide express written consent from someone at Mayfair Games and their contact information for verification.

So I changed the name of my game to Colonies of Kazzah and that seemed to do the trick because my game has been shipped and I'm expected to get it by the end of the week. The game costs $65.31 to print one copy. It costs $30.60 to ship it to Canada. Not very cost effective, but I look forward to playing my prototype with friends. And if it's any good, maybe I will try to sell it at some point in the future.

So come play The Colonies of Kazzah!