Follow the journey of a mom in her mid-forties, as she hits the trail to try to get and stay healthy - mentally and physically!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Morning at the Beach

It's Hump Day, in the middle of a week forecast to have lots of rain,
so I took my coffee and went for a little walk on the beach this morning before work
to enjoy a few moments of sunshine.  I hope your day starts as well!

Have a great one!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

12 years ago, on June 1st 2002, Steven and I got married. We took a little walk with our wedding party that day, so today we thought we'd take one with the kiddos to celebrate a dozen years together.

Have an inspiring day!

Have a wonderul day!
Thanks for looking!

Friday, May 30, 2014

For the Love of Oatmeal

I love oatmeal! Instant or old fashioned, rolled or steel cut, it matters not to me. Maybe it's my Irish and Scottish roots, but could eat it every day. I especially enjoy making oatmeal when I'm on the trail or in camp. I almost always have some in my food kit. As long as you can boil water, it's a yummy, convenient and stick-to-your-ribs snack or meal. It's easy to pack and make, and there are so many way to prepare it that I never get bored.

Yesterday, I simply brought a package of Quaker instant Maple and Brown Sugar. It's not the most creative or bushcrafty but it made for a super easy and tasty breakfast. It also got my taste buds and culinary wheels turning.

Given the choice and the time, I prefer steel cut oats. When they're a al dente, they're a little chewy, and I really like that. (If the spoon can stand up in it, it's perfect oatmeal, in my opinion!) One of the downsides has been that steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats. I don't mind a longer cooking time at home or when I have a campfire, by most of the time when I'm on the trail, I want something instant to save fuel. A couple of years ago, I discovered quick cooking steel cut oats and they were like a gift from heaven for this backpacker.

Decisions, Decisions!

When it comes to toppings, the choices are endless. Milk or cream, fruit, nuts, sweeteners, peanut butter, jam...  I even know guys who adds bacon and sausage to his. Personally, I like mine a little sweet and crunchy. Maple syrup and trail mix are my personal favourites. bacpacboy loves making a s'mores version with chocolate and mini marshmallows. For family outings, we bring a little flask of maple syrup and sometimes even use hot chocolate instead of water or milk.

S'more's oatmeal: one of bacpacboy's favourites

Of course, when it comes right down to it, simple is usually wonderful. for quicker trail prep, I often pack my uncooked oats in a container with a little powered milk and a shot of brown sugar and cinnamon. So easy. So good!

Have an inspiring day!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Quiet Breakfast for One

It's been almost a week since I last went for a hike. We've walked to the park with the kiddos almost every day, including a great family walk along the beach last night. It's been awesome. They love going on adventures, and I love going with them, but sometimes, a mom needs to recharge her batteries. 

Family walks rock!

Today was just such a morning. I didn't need to be into work early, so I headed to one the local trails and had a little hike and breakfast by the creek before I headed into the office. It was awesome! What a way to start the day! 

It's not Wordless Wednesday but I can't do the morning justice with words, so here's a little photo recap. This wonderful spot in along the Seaton Trail and Duffins Creek in Pickering, Ontario. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it! 

Have an inspiring day!

And here's a little video:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We took Abby for her 16 month healthy baby check-up yesterday. On the drive into Toronto, Steve and I were talking about what we wanted to review with the pediatrician, getting our ducks in order as it were. (It's interesting to me how a kid's doctor's appointment can feel like parental report card time for so many of us!) The only real concern we had was Abby's weight. (I admit that the "chunky baby thighs" comment might have stuck with me.) We thought maybe she might be getting a little on the heavy side. We wondered whether we should cut back on the amount of fruit and dairy she's eating.

It turns out that at 23 pounds and 80 cms tall, she's right in the middle of the curve and, according to her doctor, "growing perfectly." It's funny how our perceptions can be so skewed. All babies grow and develop on their own timetable, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Abby is very active and has healthy adventurous appetite - two things that should have reassured us that she's on the right track. We know this. It isn't our first rodeo, but still we worried. Or rather, I worried. Steve said "She's fine."

Since before she was born, I've had a little voice in my head reminding me that I don't want her to have body or food issues. It's a two-sided coin that can easily become an obsession: I want her to be confident and self-assured regardless of her body, but I also want to help her to have a healthy body. I want her to care about and for her body, but not be focused on weight loss or calorie counting, and I pray she doesn't get caught up in the unattainable quest for "the perfect body". It's a fine balance between making conscious healthy choices, and developing good habits, without becoming obsessed.

I am aware that as she grows older, she will be watching,  listening, internalizing what I say and do when it comes to not only her body, but my own as well. I think that's going to be the hardest part for me. Poor body image and constant dieting are habits that have passed from my Grandmother to my mother and to myself. The legacy comes from good intentions, but I'd like the cycle of self-criticism to stop here.

My wise husband reminded me that I'm on the right track. (So did friends at a weekend BBQ, which I have to admit, felt REALLY good.) I'm taking care of myself by eating mostly healthy, exercising regularly and I'm making sure the rest of the family does the same. He's right, but when I look in the mirror I see the bumps and lumps and stretch marks. He stood in front of the mirror with me yesterday as we were getting ready to go, reminded me that those stretch marks come from carrying three babies. He then pointed out a couple of my most hated body parts (yes, hated, but I'm working on loving them) and showed me that "they're beautiful and strong". I love that man!

After her appointment was over, the three of us spent a little while walking around Greek Town, doing a little shopping and enjoying the summer-like weather. We had organic super fruit smoothies for lunch while we strolled, and a yummy stir-fry of fresh veggies and pork tenderloin for dinner after Jonas finished his homework. And then, just to make sure that we maintain our balanced approached, Steve and Jonas made us all homemade ice cream sundaes for dessert. YUM!

Thanks for helping me stay on-track!

bacpacjac's Super Salad

This is one of my favourites! I have it a few times a week at work and often have it at home for dinner, with beef, pork or chicken. A friend brought a similar version to a BBQ this past weekend, and I'm having left-overs for lunch today.  I switch up the dressings, but generally prefer something tangy, like a nice ginger-sesame or citrus vinaigrette.


Red leaf lettuce
Red Swiss Chard
Baby kale
Baby spinach
Bok choy
Cabbage (red and/or green)
Snap peas
Shredded carrots
Bean sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts
Dried cranberries
Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Cheese (shredded or crumbled, whatever I have on-hand)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stopping to Smell the Dandelions

I haven't had much time to blog the past few days. I'm just too busy. I have no idea how those professional blogger moms do it! I am stopping to smell the roses though, or in my case - the dandelions.

After a fabulous long-weekend, I'm enjoying a slow week at the office. I spent most of the weekend outside with the kids, and I've been home early every day this week. I'm loving the extra time outside with the kids. Mother Nature has even cooperated, by holding off on the heavy rain whenever we've had the opportunity to head out. Abby and I have gone for a walk every day, including lots of play time at the park. Big Brother Jonas has been kind of hit or miss when it comes to joining as, as we now have competition from the other kids in the neighbourhood, who are finally playing outside again now that winter has passed.

Here's a little clip from one of our weekend walks. It pretty much sums up all of our walks now that Abby has found her legs. Exploring every little thing that catches her eye, we don't go very fast but we sure have fun!

We've also been doing pretty well when it comes to eating healthy at home and on the trail. We've started BBQing again, and have even found some good spots and made time for a few brew-ups on the trail. I know coffee isn't good for me, but there's something about a fresh cup when I'm in the woods - I don't even mind instant. Just boil up some water on my little camp stove, and voila!

I hit a snag in my healthy eating plan this week though: I forgot my lunch at home and didn't have anything healthy at work yesterday. I'm ashamed to admit that I resorted to McDonald's. So, this morning I did something about it.

One of my secret weapons for eating healthy at the office, or at least trying to, is turning a drawer and shelf in the fridge into my personal pantry. I try to hit the grocery once a week for an office-specific shop. Today's selection includes salad mixes & veggies, cherry tomatoes, onion, apple, yogurt & cottage cheese, pita or wraps, trail mix, OJ, coconut water & juice, water bottle.

Thanks for helping me stay on track!