Thursday, October 23, 2014

Look At All My Check-Marks, Honey!

When I became a housewife 2 years and 10 months ago, I was really bad at it. Like, really bad! To be fair, I was pregnant with a broken collar bone and off my medication, but after giving birth to my daughter and starting to work part-time, I did not improve much at all.

You see, I have always hated cleaning ever since I was a child. My room was always a mess. I hated chores, especially the dishes! Cleaning sucks. It's not fun to do, it takes a long time, and it's energy I'd rather spend doing something more enjoyable like sitting on my ass in front of a screen. Cleaning is a never ending project that you cannot win at. No matter how often you clean a room or a thing, you will always have to clean it again. I think I despise the repetitive nature of cleaning the most.

So, a couple of years ago, I did some research and came up with my very own personalized weekly chore chart. I posted it on the fridge and never followed it haha. Recently I revamped the chart now that I live in a house instead of an apartment and I have to say, it's working out quite well for me. I've been following it for almost 2 weeks now in conjunction with a daily planner chart. Check it out!
That weird type-o should say Take out recycling lol I don't know what happened there.
The fonts don't match as I adapted this from a free DL from Great site!

I put them in those plastic sheet covering things, like you use for projects in duo-tangs in school, that way I can use a dry erase marker and save on paper and they're in plain sight on the fridge. Every night I fill in my daily planner for the following day. When I wake up, my day has been roughly planned and I can avoid decision fatigue. As I complete tasks throughout the day, I make a check-mark in the box.

It sounds so juvenile, but those check-marks are incredibly satisfying! I crave check-marks! When Bob comes home from work, I proudly display them like Vana White and say, "Look at all my check-marks, honey!"

The whole concept is that on any given day of the week, at least one area of your house will be clean. The work is pretty evenly spread out, with some days being easier than others. If something doesn't get done for whatever reason, you can leave it and know that in exactly one week you will get to it.

I was reading an article about how you should treat being a stay at home mom as real job. I'm supposed to wake up on time, get dressed, even put on shoes, follow a routine ect. I read another article about decision fatigue that said your will power rises and falls throughout the day, but you have the most will power at the beginning of  the day, and after meals, so plan your most important tasks for after breakfast and after lunch and you will more likely have the will power to achieve them. Spending too much time making too many small decisions eats away at your will power. (Deciding what to eat, what to wear ect) The more you decide ahead of time, the more you will have scheduled, the more will power you will have to spend on more important tasks. Trivial decisions should be made at the end of the day so you can wake up fresh, ready to tackle your most important task, (like exercising or starting a special project, or something career related.) And that's how you accomplish everything you want to in a day.

I believe it to be true! I feel like my chore chart and my daily planner help me avoid decision fatigue in a big way by adding structure to my day. Every day is planned out, I just follow my schedule. For once it feels like I have time to do all that I want to do and I actually get it done on time. It's a great feeling and the proof is in all my check-marks!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Feezer Meals Was an Epic Fail

Perhaps epic is too strong of a word. It was a slightly larger than moderate fail.

The majority of the meals I made tasted terrible and ended up in the garbage. I'm usually not an idealist, but I must say, I am surprised I failed at this. I thought this was going to be an awesome idea, yet here I am feeling foolish. I did not save any money. I threw my money and my time into the trash, wasting it nearly completely. The food tasted bland. It needed salt. It all smelled great while I was cooking it, but perhaps the freezer zapped the flavour? Is that why commercial freezer meals are loaded with sodium? Everything needed salt!

A couple recipes did turn out though. Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs was my favourite. It's a marinade you pour over raw chicken in a bag and freeze. When you want to thaw it out, the chicken sits in the marinade in the fridge, slowly thawing, and by the time it's ready to cook, it's perfectly marinated. Nothing else is worth mentioning.

So, my master plan of stocking my freezer with food to eat for when baby comes is a bust. I've had to come up with a new plan. There was a sale on Smart Ones at Superstore, an okay tasting TV dinner, so I bought about 2 dozen. I also got individual microwaveable soup and Chef Boyardee bowls. I've been finding great deals at Costco and stocking up the pantry with easy meals and snacks. A lot of it is organic, but let's be honest, it's still convenience food and it's not Primal.

It's not the best food, but it will do in a pinch. I know my limits and for my son's first month of being alive, I need to cut corners where I can so I can focus on the new baby and caring for myself. I don't know how much time I'll have. I don't know how much energy I'll have. But to have those convenience meals on hand that can be prepared in less than 5 minutes will definitely save my sanity if I feel myself start to spiral out of control. It's like a little safety net. One less thing for me to worry about.

As it stands now, I am still eating grains and gluten. I hope to be completely Primal again by the New Year. Tesla and Bob will need more time to be weaned, so it might be a slower transition for them and Christmas isn't going to do me any favours either. I just hope both sides of the family are more supportive this time around.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Around 5 weeks ago I started feeling slightly depressed. I had 2 panic attacks. I was feeling irritable, I was crying about dumb stuff, and was feeling overwhelmed by all that had to be done. But I was still able to (mostly) keep on top of all that needed to be done. I blamed the pregnancy for my mood swings at first, but soon I could tell it was more than just the pregnancy.

Last week I quit my canvassing job. It was becoming too physical and the canvassing season was about to end anyway. Coincidentally, I have had no daycare kids this week either as the family is on vacation and won't be back until the end of August. I thought that my stress would go down, since I'd have less to do, but my stress has actually skyrocketed. My manageable depression has become unmanageable.

I don't clean. I cook once every couple days. Getting dressed and self care is hit and miss. My appetite is lower. My patience is lower. I just want to sleep or have quiet time in front of a screen and live in a bubble where I cannot be bothered.

Taking care of Tesla is incredibly taxing. She wants to play outside, to be read to, to be played with, talked to... I can't. I would love to, but at the same time, I really don't want to at all. I don't want to deal with her. I'm not even taking care of myself properly, how am I supposed to take care of a toddler? Thankfully my mom takes her once a week, usually overnight, and it's something Tesla and I both look forward to.

My psychiatrist is currently on vacation, so I hope to see her as soon as she comes back. I told my gyno about how I was feeling and she wants this addressed as soon as possible given my history. I feel very unhappy and useless, especially since I haven't been working.

I've made it pretty well known that I hate being pregnant. But, I am looking forward to raising this baby and I am looking forward to giving birth. I'm getting along with all of my friends and family and have been keeping up with my correspondences. A bunch of special events are coming up soon that I'm looking forward to attending. For once, money isn't an issue. There's lots of stuff I'm happy and excited about. I don't know why I feel this way and it's frustrating to feel like shit and to not have a good reason, or any reason for that matter.

And I think the worst part is not knowing how to push through it or how to get motivated to at least try to give a damn. I don't care about accountability. My psychiatrist has always been very good at helping me take off my blinders and see things in a new way. Who knows when I'll get an appointment with her though. It could take months. I can't wait that long!

I know about all the stuff that I "should" do to help myself, this is not my first rodeo, but it's still really hard to follow through on my own. I still want and need someone to hold my hand and coach me through it. Unfortunately, the person I want to have help me the most has never been good at that sort of thing, pleads ignorance all the time, and often practices avoidance strategies in order to not have to deal with me. You probably think that sounded a tad bitter, and maybe I am a little bit, but it is what it is. I'm trying to accept it and get over it.

I can't hardly wait for this year to end. I'm sick of summer. I'm fed up with pregnancy. I just want to get on with the next phase of my life already.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How To Win Friends & Influence People In The Digital Age

Earlier this week I ordered this book online and I just finished reading it. It was such a great book, I just had to sing my praises!

How To Win Friends & Influence People In The Digital Age is adapted from one of the best selling self-help books of all time written by Dale Carnegie. Published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies worldwide!

I opted to buy the updated version which covers the aspects of using social media to your advantage or detriment. I've never read the original, but according to many reviews I read online before purchasing, the core information from decades ago is timeless and this book just uses a modern perspective with some updated examples and references.

Bob asked me why I would want to read this book. I first learned of it while watching Big Brother 14. Wil Heuser and Janelle Pierzina were talking about it during Big Brother After Dark. I had actually forgotten about it until this week, (Big Brother 16 woot woot!) but I found it online while I was researching some other books on Amazon. After reading about it and many reviews, I thought maybe it might help me with my canvassing. That and I recently read an article that said the difference between poor people and rich people is that poor people read fiction for fun and rich people read non-fiction for self-improvement.

Initial thoughts: Everyone can benefit from reading this book. It is slightly geared toward someone who is working in a management position toward the end, but really anyone, employed or not, can benefit from the majority of this book. It's really insightful, and shows you how changes in the way you speak to others, how you react to others, and even changes in the way you think about others, will have a lasting impact over time, make you a more likeable person, and make you a more successful person. You'll be able to form connections faster and more easily.

There were so many great quotes in this book. Here's one of my favourite ones that really resonated with me:
"Many are accustomed to to holding a sword called the First Amendment in one hand and a shield called the Fifth in the other."
He's talking about how prevalent criticism and judgement have become online. With so many digital soapboxes, people feel like they can say whatever they want, when they want, especially when they think they are in the right, and then refuse to open their mouth when it is they who are wrong. Acting in this manner will most definitely stunt your success and it could even lead to your downfall.

What it really boils down to, if you want to have better relationships with others and become a more respected, trusted person, you need to be positive more often than not, take a genuine interest in others, be transparent, forgiving, patient, empathetic, and encouraging. That's the essence of this book. It sounds a little bit hokey and simplistic when I lay it out like that, however those are the main points I took away from the book. The examples and anecdotes included really flesh things out obviously and can help alter your current perspective on things.

And something that really drove home these points was as I was reading this book I could visualize certain people, famous or ordinary or in my life, who seem to naturally have some of these qualities and characteristics. They're popular, they're charismatic, they're leaders.
"The two highest levels of influence are achieved when 1) People follow you because of what you have done for them, and 2) People follow you because of who you are."
I believe that.

You should read this book and tell me what you think about it!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Bacon Fat Cookies

Ever since I started cooking all the food to freeze, I've been sort of on a roll cooking different comfort foods. I bought rice flour pasta and made macaroni and cheese with jalapenos in my homemade cheese sauce. And then I made a homemade bolognese sauce for rice flour spaghetti. Finally I invented a cookie recipe. Chocolate chip bacon fat cookies! Sounds disgusting, but it's not!

During my freezer cooking thing, I saved all my bacon drippings. I had at least a solid cup of bacon fat leftover. I enjoy cooking with bacon fat for certain foods, eggs and hashbrowns, toasting nuts in it, adding it to vegetables ect, but I don't use much of it at a time and I don't use it nearly as often as other fats and oils because the flavour is strong by comparison.

I started doing some research on what I could do with all this fat and I came across a traditional cookie recipe that I thought I might be able to convert to grain free. I've done a lot of experimenting with grain free baking in the last year, which included a lot of failed recipes thrown in the trash, so I wasn't sure if my made up recipe was going to work, but it actually did!. If you want to check out the original recipe, visit Something Swanky. It's quite different from mine, but that's where the inspiration came from.

  • 1/2 cup cold bacon fat
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups paleo flour (4 parts coconut flour, 4 parts almond flour, 1 part tapioca flour and 1 part arrowroot flour)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
In a food processor, I mixed the first 5 ingredients together, then added the baking soda once the batter was smooth and kept it running till it mixed in. The batter did not smell sweet like cookie dough usually does, it smelled like warm bacon fat and I was worried it would taste too salty and briefly contemplated adding agave or something else to sweeten it, but I carried on. I dumped my batter into a bowl and added the paleo flour and then folded in the chocolate chips. I ended up mixing it by hand because it was easier.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper I shaped a tablespoon of dough into a ball and flattened it a bit. Once the tray was full, I put it in the freezer to chill while I worked on the next tray. I didn't want my cookies to freeze, but once it had chilled for 10-15 minutes and the fat was cold, I popped it in the oven for 9 minutes at 375 degrees F. This recipe yeilded 2 dozen small cookies. Don't try to make a dozen large cookies, they won't turn out. Trust, me I've learned the hard way with past recipes lol.

I was so nervous while they were baking, but when I opened the oven and pulled out these delicious smelling cookies I knew everything was right in the world. Straight from the oven, the chocolate was gooey and the cookie was smokey and soft. In fact, it was chewier than I expected. I thought it would be more crumbly and cake like since grain free baking has that effect, but it was just as a cookie should be. Must be all that fat!

I left them on the cooling racks over night and in the morning put them in a ziplock bag and put them in the fridge. After lunch I grabbed a cold cookie, wondering if they would taste different, but they were still fantastic! They were so smooth and velvety, like it melted in my mouth. I think I like them better cold than I did warm!

I'm so excited to go to Costco and buy more bulk bacon so I can fry it all up and make these cookies again! Oh, and eat more bacon of course.