Browsing the blog archives for June, 2010.

Marriage Challenge #1-3

Churchy, Marriage

I’ve been participating in a challenge set out by Courtney at Women Living Well for a few weeks now, and I’ve yet to blog about it. Since I don’t tend to get too personal around here I was holding off but frankly I don’t want to deal with keeping up two blogs, and so much of the rest of my life is touched on in this blog – here we go.

Seeing as how I’ve missed a few posts on this topic already, I’m just going to touch on each week’s topic and what the participants should have written about. Essentially, Courtney created a challenge for like-minded women to put their marriages first and try to be the best they can be. I’m always down for trying to be the best me I can be, so let’s have at it. Plus it’s my blog. So there. 😛

The first week was an intro post, talking about what the challenge is about (done above), the second post was to be about remembering when we dated our husbands and the third was Monday, about praying for our husbands.

Here’s my intro: I’m doing this challenge because I’ve always been one of those sometimes annoying self-help book loving eager beavers. When I got pregnant for the first time, I read everything I could get my hands on and plunged in with both feet. That was 10 years ago and we have 3 kids now, but I’m still reading books and going to classes and workshops on how to be an even better mother. All along the way, I’ve been doing the same with my marriage, so this challenge makes perfect sense to me.

So, part 2: We met through mutual friends and spent a lot of time together in a large group, eventually we had fallen head over heels for each other, but we didn’t want to mess with the dynamic of our group of friends. So we just didn’t say anything to anyone – including each other. This went on for at least 6 months, until one day we were sitting around listening to music and we spent a night talking and talking about talking and finally admitting to each other how we felt. I was 18 and he was 20. We got married exactly a year after that conversation and had wee one #1 shortly after that.

Part 3: Prayer is a fantastically personal thing, but it can be done a sentence at a time over the course of a whole day. It can be lighthearted and down to earth, it doesn’t always have to be something you set aside a chunk of time for. Courtney suggests we use our wedding rings as reminders to pray for our husbands throughout the day. If you know there’s an issue your husband could use some help with, you already know what to pray for. Otherwise, his health and well being are always a good start. Every time I have noticed my wedding ring in the past couple of days, I’ve had a positive thought about my husband and said a little prayer for him. Life is all about the power of positive thinking, people! 😛

*Most people who are participating in this challenge posted photos of themselves with their husbands from their dating years. My husband is not fond of any of our early photos. I will put a recent one in the sidebar for you, but no dice on the wedding pics. 😛


The Carputer


When I refer to myself as nerdy, I’m not sure I can possibly convey to you just what kind of nerdy I qualify as, and exactly how nerdy I am capable of being. Everything I know about computers I learned from my husband, actually I knew how to use the PINE email program at the university, but that was it when we met. Our childhood experiences with technology were not at all similar, by the time I met him he was building his own computers and restoring discarded laptops, and maybe borrowing some internet from neighbours and writing irc bots all night. I? Was not. So over the years all I’ve ever known is the nerdiest of nerdy – I know my husband feels responsible for creating a monster, I’ve been so hilariously sheltered from how normal people use their computers. I only discovered a few years ago that people actually just plug their computer directly into the internet! What?! No firewall? No router? Nothing? Or that there are people without an email address.

After going from knowing nothing about technology to referring to my BlackBerry as a appendage, when my husband announced he was installing a computer in the car I was not only not at all surprised, I was so very excited! Immediately, I started calling it The Carputer. Because right?! He was very lucky in that he came across one of those treasures of Craigslist, a man who didn’t know the worth of what he had. We had to drive out to Ajax to get it, (of course it was Ajax, the TO burb I make fun of the most), it turns out the guy we bought it from was using it with a DVD player and thought it was clunky. O. M. G. We got the monitor, skinny keyboard, power supply and actual computer (all Xenarc) for $500. That’s probably about 1/3 of what it’s worth. Hooray for others not doing their homework.

The monitor is a touch screen, it also has a remote with it to move the cursor, but the touch screen works so well I’ve never used the remote. The monitor needs to be mounted, so to check it out before we installed it, we set it up on my tripod.

Carputer Monitor

The next few steps are a little sketchy to me. I know he needed to add this port, and I know there was a lot of soldering going on in the garage. That night, he and Andrew installed the actual button on the dash to turn on the system in the trunk.


One they had that working, they just had to make it neater and hide all the cords under the carpet and door trims. Success! The first is the trunk view of the system, behind the backseat. It pops down into the car for easy access!


Then came the really fun part. No, we didn’t make out in the garage – well, maybe a little. The really fun part was mounting the monitor to the dash! We had spent over a week trying to figure out how to mount this sucker so the passenger could easily use it, but not take up any leg space. In the end he picked up a metal rod and a pivoting tripod head, and a few u-rings and bolts and he just bolted it to the side of the dash.


He had to drill both into the side of the dash and into the front (behind the stereo) so he could get his hand through to hold the u-ring in place to secure it.



So, halfway to Sudbury the following weekend, we tried it out for the first time on the road. I hit Twitter and chatted with Kit through Parry Sound and was impressed at the speed! The keyboard is really, really slim and tucks just between the passenger seat and the center console. Under the top of the mat by my feet is a USB hub and plugged into the cigarette lighter is the husband’s iPhone – we used internet tethering from it! We have a rocket stick now though, so next time we’ll be using that which will be much faster, though even the tethering worked fine!

It’s such a silly indulgence because really, I could have my netbook on my lap in the car, with either internet tethering off the iPhone or with the rocket stick, but the mounted monitor is a dream and the keyboard is so much lighter than the netbook. From start to finish this took about two weeks to pull together, and a lot of that was time spent on other projects. I think this qualifies as uber-nerdy.


50 Things!

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Naughty, Nerdy, Pretty, Toronto

In the spirit of new blog friends, and good friends starting new blogs, I’m posting a rando ’50 Things’ list of stuff about me that isn’t too obvious. Consider it the intro I never wrote. I’d love to read your 50 things!

1. I got married when I was 19 and my husband was 21, and we just celebrated 10 years of marriage!

2. Our first child took us by surprise, it took four years of trying to have our second, and we patiently waited for our third (who arrived 3 years later).

3. I am a very good long distance friend. So many dear friends have left our amazing city for adventures in other countries and then settled there. I’ve also made some wonderful friends online over the years that are scattered all over the place.

4. My husband is a hard core computer geek and he works from home 100% of the time. I shudder to admit how many computers we have in the house – all actually doing something I swear.

5. I go to a big Sunday dinner at my 87 year old Grandmother’s house every Sunday where I get to see my parents, my sister, my aunt and my uncle.

6. Every weekend I host a knitting/board game night with my girlfriends and my sister, there are 5 ‘regulars’ and another 10 or so that are in and out from one week to the next.

7. I was born on University Avenue and am an unapologetic Toronto snob.

8. I am still very close with the two first friends I ever made in kindergarten.

9. I am firmly planted in 1996. Soundgarden is still my favourite band, Party of Five never gets old and I still say ‘duh’ and ‘rad’ like they never went out. However, I do not wear plaid flannel shirts or babydoll dresses with no stockings and mary janes like I did in 1996 – there are limits.

10. When I was 24, I was freaked out about turning 30. Now, I’m 29 and totally fine with it.

11. I am way more religious than I ever let on. Partly because it’s really none of your business and partly because I can’t help but feel people will look at me differently, even though I’m still just me.

12. I am still totally head over heels for my husband, and we are so into each other life is still spicy! Yes really.

13. I got hooked on fitness and nutrition after my third wee one was born. I work out 6 days a week and allow myself one cheater meal a week (but not on my off day lol).

14. I am the opposite of a helicopter parent. I really think it’s important for kids to do kid things like playing in the dirt and sneezing on each other and making messes and splashing in the tub (with the curtain or shower doors closed!)

15. I have 9 tattoos (both shoulders, back of my neck, side of my neck, right breast (scandal), right leg, left big toe and both wrists). Somehow, I don’t look like a biker. 😉

16. I am a 50s housewife to the bone. I own a closet full of cute dresses and only 2 pairs of pants. I cook almost all meals from scratch, handle the kids on my own, keep the house impossibly tidy and fetch my husband coffee. Sometimes with pearls on!

17. Ever since I got pregnant with my first wee one, I’ve been reading books on parenting and I have learned so much. I also read heaps of classic fiction and my friend Romi has got me into new fiction – which I also love.

18. I learned to knit 6 years ago and I loooove it. I feel like I hardly knit anymore, but I still do. My preferred thing to knit is socks and small creatures. I taught a bunch of my girlfriends how to knit a few years ago and now one of them knits way more than I do.

19. I’ve been off and on with blogging a lot, but lately I’m so in love with it I can’t picture stepping away again. I think I just needed to find my groove.

20. I got hit with awful postpartum anxiety and it lasted a year. I am terrified of it happening again, so no more wee ones. Otherwise? I’d have two (hundred) more. I recently feel like I’m coming to be ok with this and really, if I had a fourth would I have a fifth? Where is the line? I live in a major city!

21. I call my Dad at least once a day, sometimes more. He gives good advice, has great recipe ideas and is really good at listening. I refuse to believe that one day he wont be there, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

22. I am more addicted to my BlackBerry than I care to admit. But it tends to keep me off my actual computer during the day.

23. I aspire to be an amazing gardener, but I’m not very good and mostly just resent my flower beds for allowing weeds to sprout. I’ve also been known to say ‘I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut itself’ (yes, I stole that from a tshirt).

24. I won a beauty pageant when I was 8. My mother was terrified of pageant moms and didn’t encourage me to go to to the next level – which I am so thankful for!

25. I quit smoking over 2 years ago!

26. I have dyed my hair every colour possible in the last 14 years. Currently, it is black with blonde chunks. Yes, I am ‘that’ girl. I even sometimes rock the guido poof!

27. When people say ‘and Becky was all like, OMG, I know!’, they’re talking about me.

28. I have broken my right ankle 5 times, all my fingers and toes at least once, and my left arm once.

29. I took pre-law in university and honestly thought I’d be able to put my kids in child care and go off to law school and be a lawyer. Maybe when they’re all grown.

30. I’ve given birth three times. First and third were natural, second time I had an epi and later wished I hadn’t.

31. My husband and I have a monthly date night, even though we hang out every night.

32. My three favourite magazines are Martha Stewart Living, Cosmo and Today’s Parent. Which is actually a pretty good layout of my life. 😉

33. I caught chicken pox from my sister when I was 14. It sucked.

34. I love really, really bad television. Like Bromance and Paris Hilton’s new BFF. I know it’s awful but I can’t help it.

35. I could play Mario Kart everyday and I played an 8 hour game of Mario Party last year.

36. My husband and I are huge on movies and watch at least a few every week.

37. I have a serious crush on Anderson Cooper.

38. I once dropped a butcher knife in the top of my right foot and I had to *pull it out*. Yuck.

39. I used to hate cars and never wanted to learn to drive or buy one. Then my husband got his license and a car last year and now we go on road trips all the time and I loooove having a car.

40. It is eerie how quickly and easily I adapt to new situations and circumstances.

41. Our favourite date night activity is going to the drive in <3 42. I wear makeup every day, even if I stay home all day. 43. I used to drink 3 + cans of pop a day. This year, I quit! 44. I have alarmingly ugly 70s tile in my kitchen and I embrace it. My dear friend Brigitte made me an apron from matching fabric. Bless! 45. I keep a 'quote book' file on my BlackBerry to record all the hilarity that goes on with my girlfriends, my husband and our kids. The funniest quote is too graphic to even put here! 46. My bestie, aka my girl soul mate, aka Talea moved 5 hours away almost 5 months ago and we both feel like we lost a limb. We text and Facebook message each other like we’re 17.

47. I really love red wine. I didn’t at all until a few years ago when the above-mentioned Talea got me hooked. Now, it’s all I drink, aside from theme drinks for parties, of course. Thanks for turning me into a wino!

48. I’m awesome at Monopoly and suck serious ass at charades.

49. I have drank my coffee black since I was 14.

50. Technically, I was a teen mom. My oldest was 3 months old when I turned 20.


Eat Your Fruits and Veggies (and Check Your Oil)

Domestic, Healthy

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t eat anything green – unless it was some form of candy or ice cream. This horrified my then strictly vegan father, a hippie powerhouse of health, which very likely amused my mother, who was a Kraft Dinner loving, late night ice cream eating kinda gal (I say ‘was’ because she had a heart attack 5 years ago and now eats like my dad). He was huge on smoothies, but not just the delicious fruity ones, he’d also do the veggie shakes – who does that?! He made his own breads and chocolate cakes and cookies and all kinds of amazing treats as well as wonderful stir fry’s, casserole-type dishes, and soups. I’d eat some of the treats, but mostly I’d turn my nose up at them and eat some disgusting sugary and/or marshmallowly concoction. I didn’t know it then, but most of these creations were hiding a veggie or two. I do it too now, some recipes are from him, some I’ve found online or in cookbooks and others still are from my friends. Gill makes the most amazing black bean brownies, Jessica Seinfield has a chocolate chip cookie recipe with chick peas – it works!

Now? I’m on the phone with him constantly asking for ideas and tricks for substituting healthy options for the more horrible ingredients in my favorite recipes. The easiest change to make was using mashed bananas or applesauce instead of oil in cakes and muffins. Mashed bananas work best with chocolate or oatmeal items and applesauce is a good pick for pretty much everything else because you can’t taste it as much. Usually people don’t notice there is applesauce in it unless I say something, or people comment that it’s moist. Sometimes, if the main taste of the cake is a fruit anyway, I’ll just add more of it’s liquid in place of the oil called for, like in the chocolate-cherry cake I made for our Miss America party (I swear, I will post about this little gathering soon).

My favourite combo is chocolate and banana, there’s just something about it that tastes ‘right’, you know? Here is the recipe I use the most – this was the decoy cake I made for our dear friend Andrew’s 29th last year. It was the decoy for a hilarious cake Gill had done for him at Dairy Queen, where they used an image of Burt Reynolds body on a bear skin rug – with Andrew’s head! Anyhoo….

Chocolate Banana Cake
2 cups white sugar
1 -3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat to 350. Whisk your sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.


Then mix the eggs, bananas, water, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet to dry, as usual, till well mixed. Note that this batter looks really runny but bakes up just fine.Pour into your cake pan (10″ round or maybe a medium rectangle) or cupcake liners, and bake for about half an hour. Adjust time for the size of your cake/s or cupcakes.

Other more obvious tips were to use low fat or no fat vanilla soy milk instead of 2% milk, whole wheat flour over white flour in pretty much every recipe (I drew the line at pie crust for lemon meringue, it just wasn’t right), and to use parchment paper or a non stick pan instead of greasing. That’s all fine and the flavour of most of my regulars haven’t changed much.

There have been a few silly attempts at making fundamentally unhealthy food healthy. Like when I tried to make onion rings with crushed Fibre 1 cereal as the coating. Not only was that a bad idea (I guess it wasn’t *that* bad, but it wasn’t exactly a substitute for the taste, or even the texture, of an actual onion ring. The real secret to making decent-for-you onion rings is in the oil! Using french fries as a classic example here, if you fried them in vegetable oil (as most people do), you’re looking at a top temperature of about 300 degrees. The issue with that is most foods (yes potatoes included) don’t have a low insta-cook temp, so they have to sit around in the vegetable oil for a few minutes to cook and while they do that, they of course soak up awful amounts of oil that no amount of paper towel patting will remove. Now, enter higher temperature oils, like canola, saffron and sunflower. These oils have temperature ranges much higher, closer to about 450+, which is perfect for your fries and little shrimp pops and yes, even your deep fried chocolate bars (even I think that’s gross and I looooove Snickers muffins). Most foods will cook within about 30 seconds in oil that’s 450 or 500 degrees. I’m not saying that your canola oil onion rings are going to be totally free from any oil at all, but I am saying that the amount absorbed is negligible and that’s before you’re patted them down with a paper towel! Sidebar, don’t mess around with weird and likely dangerous ways to guess your oil’s temperature. Just use a candy thermometer and know for sure! Second sidebar, make sure you’ve got a fire extinguisher when you’re cooking with oil. I know we’ve all used oil hundreds of times with no issue, but a grease fire is unpredictably dangerous and not something to mess around with at all. Also, from experience, keep the fire extinguisher just outside of the range of fire from the stove and not right beside it. ‘Quick, jump through the flames to get to the fire extinguisher!’

I’m still not especially fond of most green foods, but I know better and actually eat them now.


Chocolate Minis with Peanut Butter Frosting


In my efforts to be healthier in general and make better snack choices, I have been skipping cake days occasionally and the domestic goddess in me is outraged. But the slimmer and overall healthier-feeling goddess emerging is totally cool with it. I’m sure there will be enough potlucks and school fetes by year’s end to have at least 52 different cakes or cupcakes. As of tomorrow, we’re at week 24 and cake #24! I’ve also been having too much fun to blog lately so I’m behind with my posts, but I have a lot of photo-heavy posts coming up as a result.

Unlike my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake, these little gems are straight up cocoa cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. The Cocoa Cake recipe came from Now…you’re cooking, and it was super simple and good!

Cake #21 – Cocoa Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mini Cupcakes

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar



You know the drill, beat the butter, sugar and eggs till ‘light and fluffy’, then in a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix water and vanilla, add. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture and you’re ready to pour.

This recipe will make an 8″ cake, 12 generous cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes. Bake any of these at 350, 30 minutes for a cake, just slightly less for the cupcakes and 15 or so for the mini cupcakes. Check early and often! I used my silver tin mini liners for the first time and I am madly in love with them.


For the peanut butter frosting, cream the butter and the peanut butter together, gradually add the sugar and once it’s thick add the milk, a little at a time till you’ve reached the consistency you’re after. Voila! I had ‘just a taste’ of this frosting and wanted to mainline my icing bag. It is pretty sweet though, so a little dollop on these minis is slightly more than enough.

Overall, these wee creations were a hit except my sister pointed out, and then didn’t want to let me live down, how wasteful the liners are. Especially since we ate them here, it’s not like they had to be transported anywhere. I think in the future, I’ll save all liners for bake sales, school fetes and gifts.

There is so much going on this summer in the way of theme parties and road trips and baking with friends and so many fun things to blog about. I am most looking forward to the Barbie party (the idea for this was based on a shockingly pink nail polish) where we all dress as different kinds of Barbies like say Homeless Barbie or Soccer Mom Barbie. Right?! There will also be a Bind girl night, where all drinks are ‘shaken, not stirred’ and a ghetto/club dress night. That one needs to happen this summer because my friends can’t be getting on the streetcar in micro minis in November.

Here’s hoping there will be enough time between each adventure to stop and write about them.


‘Naughty’ is Relative to Everyone, & Unexpected BJs


When I added the term ‘naughty’ to my little list of things I’m all about, my husband-machine was a little taken aback, fearing I’d be writing about our exploits on a daily basis, or that I’d be going into gruesome detail about what silly (or amazing) things we’re up to. He can breathe a sigh of relief, while I am going to talk about all manner of how I keep it naughty in future posts in this category, I’m going to do it with a little class, yes, with a ‘c’. Potentially some product reviews, and definitely some chatter about positions, toys, potential date nights and the like. I wanted to add this category for a lot of different reasons, but I didn’t out of fear the mommies or crafty gals that read my blog wouldn’t be into it, and then I met Samantha and Kit on Twitter and realized that there are other naughty ladies out there married with kids and a full life who would be into reading about that kind of thing on this blog.

I almost launched into a bit of a rant here about how important it is for both partners to be aware of the other one’s drive, and of their mutual comfort level and willingness to experiment. Ranting aside, even ‘willingness to experiment’ means totally different things to different people. For some, it might mean trying out some backdoor shenanigans, for others it may be introducing a new toy and for others still it could mean treading waters most people wouldn’t go near. Find your zone and go with it, there is no reason for any couple (even, or especially, the most vanilla of couples) to push themselves further than they are comfortable just to be like someone else. So if you’re both perfectly happy with once a week, then a post on 17 positions in 17 days could easily be adapted to 17 positions in 17 weeks, yes? So having said all that, let’s roll, shall we…

Anyone who knows me could probably assume correctly what my first naughty post would be about. Not only do I think it’s an important part of my day, but I freely talk about it with my close friends as if we’re discussing the weather. That’s right people, I’m talking about blow jobs – or more specifically I’m talking about spontaneous unasked for blow jobs. Now I understand that there is a percentage of the together-for-a-long-time population that feel if they are not going to directly ‘get’ anything from an act, they’re just not going to do it. I also understand that there are some dudes out there that don’t like to give their women head, and because of this they’ve gone on blow job strike. As far as I’ve been told there are even more who just don’t like doing it. I can only help the first 2/3 here because people decide they don’t like doing it for a whole list of reasons I just am not equipped to handle. Personally, I’m into it, I like doing it, I think it’s fun and most of all I love seeing what I can do to him when I’m just focused on him. To his credit he will often do the same, but it wasn’t always like that.

However, not doing it because you’re not getting anything back and being on strike because you’re not getting any ‘face time’ (ha!) I can totally help you out with. Generally, we all do things for our partners just to make them happy, right? We’ll make a meal we don’t care for that they love, or we’ll go on an outing somewhere we’d never pick for ourselves because they really want us to go with, or maybe just little stuff like how we do mundane tasks or movie and TV choices. So why would giving your man a BJ be so much different than that? ‘But May’, I can hear it now, ‘how can you compare making spaghetti or watching a football game with giving a blowjob?!’ Simple. You’re not into it because you’re not getting anything out of it, but you do it to make him happy, so add this one to your list. At least offer it up the next time you have the opportunity and try.

If you make it a habit, you may surprise yourself by really getting into it, and if you still want to make it more mutual you can always ask him! The obvious choice of course is to flip over, but if you’ve got most of your clothes on and you’re not somewhere comfy, that can end up being a bit of a mood breaker and not as much fun as you’d hoped. A personal favorite is to just twist slightly (which is actually a great position for a seriously deep BJ but we’ll leave that for another day) so he can use his hand. No interruption to your current mission!

Never would I suggest giving head just to get it. The whole point of randomly offering it up and delivering is how fun something so one sided can be. Having said that, getting a random, unexpected BJ here and there can do wonders for a guy’s mood and overall outlook. Doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily translate back to the bedroom for you, but a good mood is a good mood, right?