Thursday, 27 December 2012

I'm no Martha, but.....

I do like to bake. Especially at Christmas.
Store bought cookies just don't do it for me, too many ingredients I can't pronounce.
Baking makes me feel so much better about myself. I bake for self-esteem.

The last few months have been all about avoiding wheat, as I recently discovered it doesn't like me.
Gluten I can do. But no AP flour for me. I have experimented with lots of different flours, almond, coconut, spelt, kamut, buckwheat. I have never created an "All purpose gluten free mix" cause I simply have not needed to (yet) Since I don' t need to be gluten free, spelt, and kamut are fair game and as luck would have it easy to substitute.
So this year I adapted three different recipes to accommodate the flours I had on hand

1.) Good ol' gingerbread men.
 These came from the WeightWatchers website:

I substituted kamut and light spelt flour for the AP flour, palm shortening for the "light butter", and palm sugar for the sugar.

2.) Chocolate Chip Shortbread, adapted from Thanks Kerrie.

For this one I simply substituted light spelt flour.

The next two are adapted from Clean Eating Magazine website's
I use this a a base recipe then added ingredients to create 

a.) Cinnamon Roll Almond Butter cookies
for these I added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 tsp of vanilla and omitted the dark chocolate

Props to Leanne Vogel of  Healthful Pursuit for this 
as my failure at this recipe led to these cookies. 

b.) Cocoa Candycane Cookies

for these I added 1/3 cup cocoa powder and 1 tsp peppemint extract, then sprinkled crushed candycane on top. 
I think "Elf on the Shelf " left the "kiss"

Here are the finished products ready to go to Grandma's 

All in all I was pleased with this years batch....looking forward to next year.

What are your go to holiday recipes??? 

I'm New Here

To the folks who come upon my blog,

I'm new here, really new. I am going to make mistakes and some of my posts will not be the greatest words ever written. But I do promise that they will be honest, entertaining (mildly) and written about things I am passionate about. I am passionate about a lot of things so it may seemed scattered at first. But keep coming back, I grow on you......


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Create Lasting Memories With Music

Christmas Music.

You either Love it or hate it.

I happen to love most of it. Why? because of the memories it recreates for me, childhood memories of singing in a choir, the Charlie Brown Christmas show, playing church services, orchestra gigs, and of course playing Christmas music in my home while I carry out all my Christmas activities. Baking, making ornaments with the kids, our annual gingerbread house, wrapping gifts. I do all of this while listening to may holiday favorites. 

So here are my favorite Christmas Albums of all time.

Not because they are the greatest singers or musicians of all time-while some of them are, I choose these for the memories they create, and I hope they will create wonderful memories for you too.

1.) The Carpenters Christmas Collection 
2.) Boney M Christmas Album
3.) A Charlie Brown Christmas
4.) Michael Buble, Christmas, Deluxe Version-AMAZING BACK UP BAND. 
5.) All the oldies, Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Harry Belafonte, Elvis. Pick your favorite singer-they've got a Christmas album.
6.) Gotta add the Dreidel Song and O Hannukah as my two non-traditonal tunes, but would love to have more on my collection.

I recently played a Chistmas Service and I was so amazed at the Choir director's choice of music, he chose music from across the globe and it made the program. Thank-you John Leek!

So there really is something for everyone. If Christmas isn't your tradition. What do you listen to? I'd love to add music from other traditions to my collection.

Happy Holidays to everyone and may your homes and your hearts be filled with music!!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter?

Ever have those days where EVERYTHING is a struggle? Even the simplest things like putting on your make up, doing the dishes.....that turns into forgetting to pack your lunch or a snack, your gym clothes, your bank card. I could go on. I have been having one of those days, well to be honest it is more like one of those months. 

So today I embark on the path out of the darkness....back to feeling good, healthy, strong.

How? Glad you asked. 

1.) Start small.Pick one thing you can commit to. Waking up at the same time every day, making your bed, drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Make it small, make it fit your lifestyle, and do it!

I commit to drinking 2 litres of water a day 

2.) Be kind to your self. Look back at all the things you have accomplished in the last ten years, five years, year, 6 months. Start recording the things you accomplish everyday.

Today I:

folded laundry
baked cookies, muffins and squares,
kept my children fed, warm and safe
worked on my presentation
practiced, my horn
practiced yoga

While some of these things we do everyday don't seem like much, when you write them down and REALLY look at them you will be amazed at how good it can make you feel. When you feel good you get MORE good.  

3.) Do five acts of kindness everyday. Leave quarters in the grocery carts at the grocery store, Tell someone they look nice today, offer to watch a new mom's baby so she can have a nap.

Sound do-able? 

Since I started this post two days ago, things have been looking up. My strength is back! (I did two hot yoga classes yesterday and felt AMAZING after each) , I am drinking LOTS of water, lots more veggies and doing my best to be kind. (ACTUALLY someone gave me their cart at No Frills on Friday, so I made sure I filled up the others before I left )

How do you "Break the Bleak" ?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Endings and Beginnings

For the last 25 days, I have been participating in a 30 day challenge at my local Yoga Studio, Moksha Yoga Peterborough. I have to say it hasn't really been a challenge in many ways because, honestly if I could I would practice there everyday. Unfortunately, that is not always possible for me because I live 30 minutes away, and always have too many balls in the air.

Regardless this was challenging to me, but not for the reasons I thought it would be. It was not physically challenging, I paced myself, listened to my body, drank LOTS of water.

It was very hard to  accept that I was not going be able to practice at the studio everyday. I'm not sure I am quite over that one. Like I said, if I could I would be there everyday.

It was hard to practice at home on the days when I could not make it in. I have three young kids 9, 5 and 3. Needless to say a 90 minute Ashtanga practice and a five year old do not mix. Though I am pleased I got through some of it.

I felt awful if I planned to practice and I didn't.
This weekend I was away for work. I checked the local studios for class times, googled mapped it even had a lovely friend to come with me on one day. When I arrived things rapidly changed when I realized just HOW far away the studio was, and that the class would have me arriving for my meeting right on the nose. Not something I am comfy with.

So I did manage to practice in the fitness centre at the hotel, sustaining a slight yoga injury (carpet burns on my feet-left my mat home) But I did it.

So coming to the end of the challenge is the best part of all. Reflecting on the journey so far, I am armed with the knowledge that I DON'T have to be in the studio everyday, I CAN practice at home. And that despite your best intentions, some days just don't go as planned. Looking forward to getting in to the studio this week for about five more classes before the end of the challenge which will put me at 26 out of 30 days. That is amazing. The craziest thing of all is that I thought in the beginning that I would not be satisfied if I didn't do 30-30. But you know what?  I am.

Would you consider doing a 30 day challenge of any kind? Have you? I would love to hear your experiences. If not? Why not?

Today I started another 21 Day Meditation Challenge. Care to join me? Check out
for details its free and its a great way to see see what meditation is all about.

It's been Tu Lang.

I couldn't resist.

 Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Fall is a busy time for many of us, getting back into routine, sending the kids off to school and for me returning to my own personal path.

My current path is seeking balance in all aspects of my life.  Should be simple right? Not so much.

There are a lot of things I am passionate about: My family, my friends, yoga, meditation, food and nutrition, cooking, creating, helping people, reading, and playing and teaching music.

I am so grateful that my life is filled with so much love, laughter challenge and joy. It is all around me. Being able to dip my feet into so many pools is what creates balance in my life. It is also what can spin me into a hundred different directions, so that one of the many "balls" I am juggling inevitably falls to the ground.

But I always manage to pick it up eventually. So here I am back to the blog. Some things are going to change. I am going to post more often, and I am going to post about everything I am passionate about. Not just about creating balance, but showing people how it really IS possible to do it all. All it takes is a little planning, a little "tula" and a lot of passion and love for what you do.

What do you love? How do you express that love? How do you share it with others?

Can't wait to hear from you.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How I lost it all-this is a long post

At almost 42, I am probably at my healthiest weight ever. My eating habits have changed drastically since my 30's, 20's and teens. To say I am obsessed with healthy eating would be an understatement. But really what I want most is to eat a diet that fuels my body. Nourishes me. Balances me. Just another place in my life where I strive to create balance. The reason is simple when things are balanced I feel good.

I grew up in a family where there were three vegetables. Potato, Corn and Peas. I suppose a carrot was occasionally thrown into the mix, for some color (they say you should eat a rainbow!)

Bologna was protein.

Lucky Charms were carbohydrates, along with white EVERYTHING.

Margarine not Butter

Getting the picture?

This is just how we ate. As I grew up and my parents knew better, they did better. Despite this overly processed diet. I did not gain weight. In fact I was extremely thin-about 108 lbs 5'5, so much so my brothers and sisters teased me about it.

When I left home at 18 to go to University, I had to fend for myself. I can remember shopping at the local IGA for "groceries" It usually went something like this:

Zesty Cheese Doritos
Canned Corned Beef-I KNOW
White bread
Frutti-like Kool-Aid
Kraft Dinner
Cooked Ham
Cheese Slices

That's all I can remember

I also started drinking-not daily or anything, but I did drink some beers, coolers etc. Ah, Frosh.

Started to gain weight-Didn't really catch on though, wasn't enough to "show"

By 21-22 I weighed about 160 lbs.

When I moved to the "big city" Toronto in 1991, the world of vegetables opened up for me.  I started eating ACTUAL protein. Still hadn't started cooking for myself much, but I was getting there.

Took off 20 lbs that summer thanks to the 20 minute workout, a track close to my apartment and lots and lots of stir fries. I did consume a lot of pink lemonade though....I guess that was fruit.

After a break-up the summer of '93, the weight came back on. And with that something new. A self hatred and disgust for myself. I felt like a failure at everything I was doing.
 I covered it up by eating, drinking, smoking pot and dating A LOT.

I gained weight. When in 1993 I moved back home to "find myself" I weighed about 174. I joined WeightWatchers.

Oh so that's how she became a WW leader. NOPE. I joined got the books took 'em home. Lasted a couple weeks. Then it was Susan Powter-STOP THE INSANITY-pizza with out the cheese, carbs, carbs, carbs. My lifestyle didn't help. I went back to University-grudgingly to attempt to finish my music degree. That meant beer, and food, and fried pepperoni....oh, and I had been smoking for about two years at this point. Then, my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Frig.

I am so grateful I was home and able to be with her, throughout her treatment, and ultimately her death in 1995. She was very strong until the end, and had a sense of humour that was unbelievable. She was ready. Thinking back now it gives me the greatest sense of peace. Then, not so much. This was when my first clinical depression hit. I struggled my way though it balancing school, living at home, and working a a freelance musician. It was a small city, with not much work so I ended up back in Toronto. Then things started to change.
Lost some weight-about 155 at this point. Finished school with two diplomas in music performance. Not a degree, but something to show for the years of practising and dedication. Still had some vices, smoking, drinking occasionally, still a party girl-but a balanced one.
The year is 2000. I am heavy-ish 155-160, I have a "real" job, I am freelancing as a performer, and generally enjoying life. But I feel like CRAP. I join WeightWatchers again......this time I at least attend the meetings.

On a gig, I meet someone, Kevin, my wonderful, beautiful, amazing husband. My "Upa Guru"
Everything shifts. Suddenly I am with someone who knows ME. Accepts ME. Loves ME.

Now I just had to start loving myself.

Quit WW after losing 20lbs, joined the Y worked out until our wedding-145 lbs.

2004-Baby 1
2006-Build a house
2007-Baby 2

The week my second child was born. My father, my hero, the sweetest, kindest most loving thing I know was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He survived 2 quadruple bypasses. He was a kind, giving man, who dedicated every ounce of himself to music and music education. He was my world.
I thought it would crash down around me.
I started eating better. Clean. Organic. I lost weight, not much but some. I visited, with the baby, he held her-something he rarely did he was always worried he would drop them! he deteriorated quickly. It was awful, unlike my mother he was not ready, he had so much more to do and give.
He passed away April 14th 2008, at home, surrounded by family.

Now I have two kids, no parents, a new house, a job with a two hour commute. Something has to give. I keep up the healthy eating and I feel....awesome.

I get pregnant. Baby 2 is 6mths old. YAY!

Baby three born March 14th 2008.

Three months later I joined WeightWatchers. Went to EVERY meeting. Did the program. Lost 50 lbs. Changed my freakin' life.

I drink rarely, I don't smoke. I don't eat anything refined (well occasionally, I'm not perfect) I try not to eat gluten, I eat a mostly plant based diet, and I am working on finding the right balance with my eating to give me the nourishment, energy and vitality that I  feel inside. And I am studying Holistic Nutrition, and practicing Yoga and Meditation. AND I am happy-not uber crazy happy, but peaceful happy. It is an ongoing process. But one I enjoy waking up to everyday. This is my wish for everyone who has struggled with finding the right balance in their life.


Hello I must be going....

Well, I got OFF to a great start.

That is the difficulty when trying create balance in your life. When you have too many balls in the air, one or two, or even three will fall to to the ground.

My balls fell. :) Somewhere between three kids, maintaining a daily meditation and yoga practice, working extra shifts for a co workers vacation. I dropped them. I did however manage to drop them on various days so one day I meditated, another yoga, tried starting a couch to 5k, baked a lot of gluten free zucchini bread......But I wasn't able to keep them all in the air.

 I am ok with that. Being ok with that means I can always keep trying.  Back to trying to balance the things that I love. Family, healthy food, yoga, music, feeling great. Living my life. Harmony.


"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."


Monday, 6 August 2012

Following my bliss....

This week rather than create weekly goals for myself, I have decided to simply follow my bliss. When people hear this I am sure immediately their minds go to luxurious treatments, getaways, not working, perhaps eating and drinking forbidden foods, you name it.
But it is so much more than that.

By taking the time to create an awareness of what I want to do, I create a much more positive energy about EVERYTHING that I do. When you begin to do everything from a positive and loving space, anything and everything seems to get accomplished.

For example:

I am not stressing over the dirty dishes that are sitting in my sink, waiting for me to wash them. Instead I am writing, which is currently my bliss. When I am finished I am much more likely to go and get the dishes done, but with a much better attitude.

So this week, I follow my bliss....Aham anandan!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

21 Days....

They say it takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit.

I have just completed day 21 of the Chopra Centre 21 Day Meditation Challenge! Woo Hoo!

So this is not my first foray into the "silence" I have been cultivating a "practice" for the last few years. I am so happy that this last challenge I was able to do the mediations everyday in succession. I have noticed that I am reacting less to situations that would normally send me off my rocker, that I am more appreciative of my surroundings, and that I am quite capable of a daily practice.

So tomorrow I begin a 28 day Challenge, one I was directed to by the owner of my Moksha Studio, from Yoga Journal. I subscribed to the challenge at the beginning of July, but decided to do the familiar Chopra Centre Challenge first. So if the links still work I have 28 more days of stillness ahead of me.

See you in the gap....


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Weekly Goals Mid-week update!

Weekly goals are coming along:

1.) Drinkin' lots of H20. Yesterday I almost didn't make my quota, but stuck it out b/c I needed to stay hydrated after hot yoga last night, halfway through my quota for today

2.) Sleeping is OK, went to bed late late night, then had some trouble getting to sleep, but eventually got there, up early to do a WW meeting at 7:30 GAH! Snuck in a nap after I taught private lessons today.

3.) Have written down mostly everything I have eaten for the last two days, except today as I left the house at 6:30 with no lunch box. As a result I ate crap.

Here it is-my penance

2 McDonalds breakfast wraps-double suck b/c I do not tolerate wheat or refined carbs-super bloat

Nut Bar

Chinese Take Out- Pepper Steak, Mixed Veggies and Rice Noodles-inhaled

6 squares of Green and Blacks dark choclate mint YUM

Couple ounces deli chicken, fressh green beans from Grandma's garden and some baked potato wedges (thank-you McCain) also sure to cause bloat, and a table spoon of ketchup.

Not so bad but most likely 56 or so PP, with a daily target of 32 to maintain, so hmmmm......perhaps I should go for a run-oh wait-I dont run. GAH

It is not like me to be discouraged though and this will be the best part of this post.

What's done is done. The only thing that matters is this present moment. That is where the power is. At any given moment we have the opportunity to change. Change how we feel, act, eat.

What a gift.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Milati means to "join" in Sanskrit. Today I feel things coming together. Joining.

Today was a day like any other, kids woke up, one tummy ache, one sleepy princess, and a very determined youngest-he knew what he wanted and did it. Sigh. Breakfast, moaning belly-acher who after the threat of the emergency room and some Pink Panther on Netflix felt much better.

Meditation- with kids safely ticked away with the Pink Panther, I did Day 16 of the Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation Challenge. It is a short, guided meditation. I have been working on creating a regular practice for about a year now, it is quite a challenge, but one worth taking.

Paint the nails/toenails of the Princess, send on to swimming, one to Grandma's and it is off to yoga for the Princess

Yoga-Tim Horton's for a bagel (Princess) and a not so nice latte.

Drop Princess, drive to work. Work. Hot Yoga. Home, Snack-Apple, Balderson Cheddar and Rice Crackers and here I am.

So what the %$%^* is this post about? Didn't she say something about joining? Milati?

It would have been very easy to be overwhelmed with everything I had to do today.

But I wasn't

It could have been very easy to lose my patience at work tonight.

But I didn't

I could have been very easy to judge/beat myself up/ feel frustrated with my Yoga Practice.

But I felt good. Peaceful. Relaxed.

All of the parts of my are beginning to join in ways I did not see before. In beautiful amazing ways.


Monday, 30 July 2012

Weekly Goals

Since it is Monday I have decided to create some weekly goals for myself. I like lists. So this week here is what I am prepared to do.

1.) Drink two litres of water a day
2.) Get caught up on sleep
3.) Write down what I eat

Here's why:

1.) Water is good for you.  It is the primary component of all bodily fluids. It is cleansing, detoxifies (especially when you add lemon), fills you, has zero calories, helps with weight loss.

Water should be consumed throughout the day, and about an hour before meals, but not after as it can affect your digestive process.

I drink an 8oz glass on rising, and then fill my bottle up after breakfast with ice and lemon. Some people believe you should consume it at room temperature, but I like it cold.

Yes I go to the bathroom a lot. It is the price I pay for feeling good.

2.) Sleep. I have three kids. I have not slept in 8 years. Finally, my kids are all sleeping throught the night. Now is my chance to sleep. I have slept in for the past two mornings-til 8! Shhhh!!! What I have been trying to do is wake up BEFORE everyone else, so I can meditate, do some yoga postures (or go to my favorite studio MOKSHA Peterborough for the early morning class) You can imagine what that might entail....This resulted in a very tired, grumpy person so now I have to adjust
CHANGE-there is that word again, well at least until I find the right balance.
Ten years ago waking up at 8:00 AM was AGONIZING. Now it is glorious.

3.) Write down what I eat. As a WeightWatchersTM leader, I talk to my members all the time about the importance of writing dow what you eat. Research shows that people who write down what they eat lose twice as much weight. Though I am just trying to maintain my weight it will be helpful for me to keep things in check by writing them down.

So far I am three for three today!

What will you do this week to spark a change or create more balance in your life??


"Be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi

Change is difficult. Changing your life........

I have been changing for about 10 years now.  It is an ongoing process that has led me here. The last ten years for me involved getting married, having three kids, the death of my father and father-in-law, building a new house and moving from the city to the country, getting my driver's liscense at 38, losing 50+ pounds, two new jobs,treatment for anxiety and depression, beginning a yoga practice at 41 and my husband opening his own business.

Still breathing.....

I know that I have not surpassed insurmountable odds as many have, I am healthy, getting fit, emotionally strong and my family is amazing. I am a very lucky person.

This blog is about my quest to create balance in my life. Balance in family, career, health and spirit.

I hope is that you will find inspiration, hope, humour and love in my posts.