Friday, May 31, 2013

I love...


I am struck several times a day by thoughts of things I love. I mean besides the obvious, my family, my friends, my life in general. Of course I love these things truly, madly and deeply. I mean those little things that make you smile, that remind you of some one or that smell that just totally comforts you.

Of course, there are many things that I love. The lists goes on and on. I am sure it is the same for most people. We just have so many things to be thankful for, to appreciate and to love. I really want to focus on these positive things in my life. The things that make me happy, even the small things. The positive that most certainly out weighs the negative in our lives yet somehow the negative just seems to claw its way to the top sometimes and smothers the good.

Hey you, negative stuff, quit hogging all the warmth and light. I am gonna let the sun shine in.

Today I would like to share with you something that I love. My own little piece of awesome. I may do this from time to time from now on.

I love waking up, frantically glancing at the clock on my bed side table (thinking, holy crap, did I miss my alarm, what time is it? Am I late?) only to realize no, you have not overslept, your alarm has not gone off yet and you still have more time to sleep. i think I might actually outwardly smile, the moment I realize I can go back to sleep. It's a great feeling to huddle back into the covers, find that sweet spot on your pillow and go back to sleep. Awesome.



Do you ever wake up in a panic thinking you overslept but haven't? Why do we panic right away?
What's a little tidbit of awesome for you? What little thing makes you smile or make your heart happy?






Friday, May 24, 2013

A disappointing trip(s) to Target and an unplanned sunscreen review...sort of...







So over the past few weeks Target stores have been opening up, finally. Target is new to Canada and after hearing so much about the American version and how awesome it is, I was anxiously waiting for our version to open up.
I took my first browse at the one that opened up in one of our major malls. My first impression? Meh....nothing special. The prices were a bit higher than what I expected to see, and definitely seemed higher than Wal-Mart . It also didn't seem to be ready to be opened up either. The shelves seemed a little bare. I left without buying a single thing.

Then I took a look at the one closest to my house when it opened up just to see if it was any better and if they were able to fill the shelves up a bit more. Again...meh. Still disappointing. All the same food brands that you can get anywhere. And not to mention all available, and cheaper at Wal-Mart. The home decor section, nothing all that spectacular either. I picked up a few nice big fluffy bath towels for a decent price though. They seem like better quality then any I have seen at Wal-Mart. None of the departments were really any good. The cosmetics had a few brands I have never seen or heard of but other than that it was pretty mediocre as well. It actually felt a lot like being in a Zellers only a little cleaner. I went through the check out with a pretty empty cart. Very disappointing indeed.

I did give it one more go today though. But I went for a particular reason. Last night I was watching the news and they were doing a piece on sunscreen and the best ones for your money. They tested several brands, in different price ranges. Their findings were a little surprising. They found that almost all the brands tested actually provided lower levels of protection than what the labels claimed. Also, that the more expensive brands were no better than the cheaper ones. And their final verdict... the two brands that topped the list as providing the best UVB and UVA protection are...Targets own brand "Up and Up" and Hawaiian Tropic sheer touch. As I noticed the other day that our sunscreens have all expired, I needed to replace them. So I headed off again to Target to check out the prices of their Up & Up since it was rated so well.
I did another walk through and found a few small items but still nothing exciting.But I did snag the Up & Up brand sunscreen. And can you believe that it was actually a good deal? I actually finally found a good deal at Target this time. I got a 2 pack of the continuous spray (this is the one that they tested for the news story) for $9.99. That's a good deal for 2 bottles. A single can was $6.49. I grabbed the twin pak as I needed 2 (one for the trailer and one for the house) but it did save me a few bucks as well. I checked the expiry date (I only found out a few years ago that sunscreen expires, duh-how did I not know this?) and it's good until 2015 so it wont expire before we use it up.
So at least this trip to Target was not a total waste. I won't be rushing out to Target again any time soon. I ended up at Wal-Mart after my trip to Target anyways to get the rest of the stuff on my list. And of course I got everything I needed and for better prices.
Sorry Target, I think you missed the mark here. You gotta do better than that to win me over. No loyal Canadian customer here, except when I need sunscreen!


up & up™  Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF-30 Sport - Twin Pack
Target's brand Up&Up sunscreen rated high  on value and protection level
Hawaiian Tropic sheer touch sunscreen also rated high on value and protection level


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Great Canadian Rebate

I have blogged about this before I am sure but I have to do it again. It is just so easy and so worth it.
I signed up a while ago to Great Canadian Rebates. Why? Because I like to save money, make money and shop online. Great Canadian rebates is awesome for all of these.

What is it?

Great Canadian Rebates is a Canadian online shopping website that pays you Cash Back Rebates on online purchases.

Why join? You can start or continue to shop online at many of your favourite merchants.  The expanding list of merchants includes: Dell, Expedia, Indigo, Travelocity,
Sears,  Home Depot, Toys R us, Wal-Mart.ca, Old Navy the list goes on and on!  Savings and rebates are only a few clicks away.

GreatCanadianRebates.ca is extremely easy to use. To get started, register by
following the link below, shop as you currently do and your rebates will be
automatically credited to your Cash Back Rebate account.
GreatCanadianRebates.ca also has many great coupons, free shipping specials,
and sales directly from the stores.

As a bonus for registering GreatCanadianRebates.ca will give you a Toonie.
That's right, $2.00 will automatically be deposited into your account, just
for registering. GreatCanadianRebates.ca also has an incredible referral
program that will make you money. You will earn a 15% Referral Bonus on all
Cash Back Rebates earned by any new Member you refer for the next 5 years.

Please register at:
http://www.GreatCanadianRebates.ca/register/135621/

So, do you shop online? Like to save money? Like to make money? Then go, register!
I love getting money back on purchases I was going to make anyway, wouldn't you?
And a total bonus, if you sign up under me using the register link above I will make money on your purchases as well. And then you tell your friends about it and they sign up under you and you make money off their purchases. We all win!

Now, go and register and tell all your friends about it. Yes!!!!

*And remember (after you register) to log into Great Canadian rebates anytime you shop online so you get credit for your purchases and get the rebates!!!*

Friday, May 17, 2013

A little too much info and a recipe

Over the past several months I have been trying to eat better. Most of us are these days right? One of my main focuses has been cutting out as much wheat as possible. I discovered 2 things while trying to cut down on my wheat consumption.
Number 1, I feel better. Like, way better. After just a few days of cutting down on it (I don't cut it out completely, come on...that would crazy hard for a lover of cakes and cookies like myself!) I noticed that the "tummy troubles" I had struggled with for years had simply gone away. Too much info coming at ya...it was common for me to have bouts of diarrhea a few times a week. And always feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I thought for a long time it was an intolerance to milk. Then I shifted my thinking to stress as it seemed to hit when I felt a little stressed and left it at that. But after reading some articles on what wheat does to your body (what's homemade playdoh made of? Flour and water. Picture that just sitting in your belly...yeah. That's what it does, just sits there!) I decided to try it cutting down on it. And the random bouts of running to the washroom like a mad woman totally stopped. And I no longer had that bloated, uncomfortable feeling anymore. Awesome right? Am I intolerant to wheat? I have no idea.  I don't want to sound like one of those people that jumps on the band wagon of what's trendy ( seems a lot of people have suddenly having wheat allergies and intolerance's among other allergies and intolerance's we rarely heard of 10 or even 5 years ago) but I can't ignore how much better I feel when I watch how much of it I eat.
 And the second discovery, in one week I lost 5 pounds. That's huge for me. I don't loose weight easily. But also, the huge discovery for me was that after just a few "bad" days of eating more wheat products ( pasta, pizza and cake...mmmmm!) than I had been, I gained those 5 pounds back. In just a few days!!!! So although it was not my intent to do this to loose weight, I did. More importantly, I realized how much weight I put on when I wasn't careful about my wheat consumption. Think of the homemade playdoh scenario again...I picture a big lump of dough just sitting in my belly when I go to reach for a muffin or a bun that is sitting next to my fruit bowl...be smart, be smart. Do you really need that pile of flour or would an apple fill the hunger void just a s well?

It's not always easy. And I by no means am ruled by it. I just pass up bread and pasta sometimes. And when I can, I use other products like gluten free pasta, rice four for baking...that kind of stuff. It's a little more expensive, yes. That's why I don't always do it. But I try to make better choices. That's something I never even considered doing even a year or two ago.

On that note, I am going to share a fave recipe of mine. It's a quinoa salad. I am a huge fan of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I discovered it while looking for gluten free alternatives to rice and pasta. Not familiar with it? Click here to read about how awesome it is for you. And it's not expensive at all, I get a 200g box of it at Walmart for around $3.00). I love quinoa salads...so yummy!


Quinoa and Cucumber Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (I don't use salt or pepper in mine, just cause it seems to over power sometimes)
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (I actually use rice vinegar sometimes instead, just cause I like the taste of it)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup corn ( I use canned corn and it's fine)
  • fresh diced tomato or halved cherry tomatoes (however much you want!)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (I don't always throw this in)
  (sometimes I throw in a few squirts of lime as well, it adds a little "summer" to the salad. Not sure how it would taste if you were using red wine vinegar though! I only add this when using rice vinegar. )
 
Directions
  1. Combine quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan; add salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and has absorbed all liquid, 11 to 13 minutes. (The germ ring should be visible along the outer edge of the grain.) Transfer to a medium bowl, and cool to room temperature.
  2. Add vinegar, oil, cucumber, corn, tomatoes and parsley; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  3. Enjoy!
 
    And to all my Canadian friends out there...Happy Victoria Day long weekend!

     

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Ahhhh...euphoria!

    Now before your mind hits the gutter (or is there already?) let me explain. I suffer from eczema. It's at this very moment the worst it has ever been. It mysteriously appeared as a tiny little circle of bumps the size of a quarter on the bottom of my foot about 4 years ago. It was only on one foot and then within in days it showed up on the palm of one of my hands. After a trip to the doctor he took a quick look at it and prescribed a cream for it. I used it a few times and the patch on my hand went away totally and never returned. My foot however is a different story. It came and went over the next few years, never really getting bigger than a the diameter of a couple of quarters. That was until this winter that is. It got inflamed and angry this winter. And it spread with a vengeance. It covers more than half of the sole of my foot and is now coming up the sides to the top of my foot. And it spread to the other foot as well. And that foot is on it's way to matching the other.
    I refuse to take a picture of the nastiness that is going on with my feet but I did google it for images and I feel like a little brat complaining about mine now that I have seen pics of how others are suffering with eczema. Those poor people, whoever they are. Seriously. I should just shut up right now. But yet, this post goes on...
    The itch, oh the itch of it. This is one heck of an itch. I am not talking a little itch. It's like I want to stab my foot with something sharp (I have had pictures in my mind of doing just that with scissors and even one of my Mom's knitting needles, no joke) and then scratch the crap out of my foot from the inside. It's like this really deep in the tissue type itch. I get temporary relief from lavender essential oil (seriously that stuff is amazing!) but it's getting out of hand now.

    But when I scratch it...oh my...it's euphoric. For real. You have no idea. Now I am not talking the big "O" type stuff is happening (this is where you are to get your mind out of the gutter!) but it definitely is more than scratching an itch and just having it go away. There is an actual feeling of "AHHHHH" when I allow my self to scratch my feet. It does feel amazing. This post is actually sounding very weird at this point. but, I will carry on. It's how I roll.
    Please note, I am not sitting here scratching my feet and hollering out like a orgasmic lunatic. Just for the record.

    It led me to look up why that is. I read a few articles that suggested that scratching may release endorphins in some people. I never knew that. I also read that there are people with skin conditions similar to mine that actually have found that heat helps with the itching. Some scorch their skin with scalding hot water for relieve, or use their hair dryers on the spots or even burn themselves on hot radiators for relief. This scares me! Not to mention that heat actually makes the eczema way worse so for that temporary relieve they actually do more damage! What a terrible situation to be in. And mine is an area that is not visible very often. I can avoid having it visible ever, If I want to. But some people have it all over their bodies and even on their faces.

    I see things a little differently right now. My feet are insanely itchy and nasty looking right now but I have seen how lucky I am. And that was not the intent of my post. I actually starting this post totally with the intent on complaining and telling you about how awesome scratching my feet can be these days.

    I am an ass.
    You can say it. I just did.

    And to further my assness (not a word I am pretty sure)  I did find a pic of someone with a similar case of eczema to mine. These are not my feet but mine look similar.

    I won't show you my own feet, but I will show you some strangers feet. Nice eh?


    But guess what! I am fine. I am totally fine. This is minor. I am totally fine.
    Nothing like a good dose of reality to open your eyes up. That and some pretty nasty images on Google.
    And now, I am going to put some lavender oil on my feet and shut up.


    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    I am back!





    Hello!
    It's been a while hasn't it?
    I am sitting on my couch, feet up, sipping tea and just relaxing. My house needs to be cleaned, laundry desperately needs to be done but here I sit. I am a little weary, and a little sad.
    KingK's family from Belfast N.Ireland were here for 2 weeks and have returned home. And I miss them already. We were able to cram in quite a bit of sightseeing while they were here. It was chaotic, a little noisy and absolutely fabulous! Since we said our goodbyes at the airport, I can't stop thinking about how amazing they are and how badly I wish we were not so far apart...
    Map - Shortest path between Calgary and Belfast

    An approx 9 hour flight, if we were to go non-stop (which is not really an option, there is always a stop in London that comes with some sort of lay over, boo!). Sadly not a trip we can make easily.

    Anyways, so while I sit here, just kind of "recovering" from the hustle and bustle of all the fun, I am grateful. So very grateful. How fortunate we are to have such great memories and great family on both sides of our family tree.

    Cheers to our wonderful family, here in Canada and abroad!

    And for other news? Well, there isn't any really. I did reactivate my facebook account after being off for a few years.I guess that might be news. I have been pretty anti facebook as I have seen the drama it can cause. I like to stay in the no drama zone as much as possible.


    I am still not totally pro-facebook but I have conceded that it will allow to me to keep in touch with family easier. I still have a few issues with how some use facebook and how much it is used by some but I have to admit, I do see some value in how it allows us to keep in touch. So I won't be posting any status's really, no play by plays of how my day is going. I won't be using it as a platform to air dirty laundry or send cowardly messages venting my beefs with anyone. I might send a message now and then to say Hi or invite someone to an upcoming event though. And I will absolutely comment on the lovely family pics and tell them how great they look or how proud I am off them! And at the first sign of drama...I am out of there again. Some people can't live without checking their facebook...I am not one of them. I know from experience that I am fine without it. Shocking right?

    And that's me for today...

    Over and out!