Saturday, March 26, 2011

The yoga class the first

Yoga class kicked off on Thursday; luckily, even though Hubby had Bible study that evening, the timing worked out that he was able to look after baby D while I was out. It took while to get started, because there were forms for everyone to complete, and the instructor explained how we'd spend our hour together. Also, I felt a bit silly for bringing shoes, since you go barefoot or sock-foot in this class. However, I did have the presence of mind to dig out my old purple yoga mat from the closet AND actually clean the dust off.

I wasn't expecting to find the class physically challenging; I mean, I've done yoga before, and I'm not competitive, so I know to go at my own pace and just watch the instructor and myself, rather than the other participants. Anyway, some of the poses were difficult to hold! We did one that was sort of a squat, with the feet pointing outwards, and the instructor was talking and lost track of how long we were supposed to hold the pose. I did the best I could, but had to stop ages before everyone else did.

A lot of it felt like stretching, which was nice. I'd had a bad headache all day, and was planning to hit up my dad's clinic for a chiro adjustment the next day, but I felt so much better after yoga. (It also helps that I have a new crazy-looking pillow that's not memory foam and doesn't hurt my neck.) The only weird thing about the class was that, at the end, the instructor had us sing a song about the long-time sun shining upon us and our pure hearts guiding us home. She had said earlier on that if any pose gave us discomfort that we could stop, so I extended that to mean that since the song made me feel awkward, I didn't have to sing it. So I didn't, and all was well. Looking forward to next week! And who knows, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I may try doing my own yoga at home as a supplement.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting ready for spring

Instead of dividing and conquering our errands tonight, we made a family trip of them. First, we had dinner at Harvey's, then went over to my favourite kid's consignment boutique, Belly Laughs. We were looking for some pants for baby D, but we found a couple of other things, too.

The rain boots and matching coat:

Altogether just over 30$, and I'm very pleased!

Next up was Home Depot. I'm not a huge fan of going there, but I am a huge fan of spending time with my favourite guy and girl. We're looking to get a new water heater, as ours is the same age as our house (16 years old, and as drippy as you'd expect from an adolescent). We're just looking into pricing and installation costs for the moment, but we definitely want to own instead of renting. It saves hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the water heater. While we were there, we also looked at springtime things: seeds, a seed starter kit, and a new garden tool, to be specific. Also a bistro set for 79.99$, now that our porch is a year old and could use better furniture than our old camp chairs. So we got all that, plus four storage bins for baby D's outgrown clothes, for 140$.

Regarding the gardening biz: I do not have very green thumbs. We have a rhubarb plant that my friend Mrs. Mac gave me a couple of years ago; I forgot it in the garage for two weeks, and then had to move it shortly after planting it, in order to make room for my clothesline. It still gave us two decent rhubarb crops last year. That kind of hardiness, where you all but kill something and it still flourishes, is a quality I can really get behind in a plant. This is my kind of plant.

I'm now branching out, so to speak, to growing things from seed. The little seed packets tell me that I am first to guess when the last frost will be, then nurture the seeds indoors for up to 8 weeks beforehand. I did try to grow some flowers from seed in the window boxes of our shed, but the boxes didn't drain properly, or at all, so it didn't work out. I'm hoping for better with the seeds. Here's what I got:
-zucchini (meant to be very easy to grow)
-cherry tomatoes
-sweet corn

Can't wait to get started- spring is just around the corner!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Go for yoga

Since my current fitness regimen is restricted to walks when the weather permits, and copious toddler lifting/carrying, I thought I'd take up yoga again. I haven't done it since we lived in Hamilton four years ago, and I went to a gym that offered non-meditative yoga. I found that my neck and back were in much better shape (which was good, considering my chiropractor dad was five hours away), and I felt great. The thing is, I gave up my gym membership at the Y last year due to lack of use, and they had you pay extra for classes anyway. So I've been looking into yoga classes and the cost thereof. Here's what I found:

-The City parks & rec department has a class at a rec centre 10 minutes from my house, with 14 classes for 84$. Six dollars a class, not bad. Also, since it's run by the City, I'm hoping it will be non-meditative. I'm not into emptying my mind or focusing on my inner energy or whatever.

-Blue Bamboo Yoga offers pay-as-you-go options, so for the same number of sessions as the City offers, I'd be paying just over 200$ including tax. And they're like 20 minutes from my house.

-Yoga & Tea Studio offers a 13-week course for 177$ including tax. About 13$/class. 30 minutes from my house

-The YMCA doesn't offer the kind of yoga I'm looking for, and they're a 15-minute drive away.

My choice was clear. I registered with the City over the phone this morning, and my first class will be a week from today! I was so excited, I wore yoga pants today. No green, though.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A walk to the post office

The weather has been SO beautiful lately, and I am very grateful for it. Not that I wasn't all over the -20 degrees and huge drops of snow that came our way. But now I can actually go out walking with the girls (D and her friend E, whom I babysit twice a week)! We strolled to the post office the other day to mail gifts to a few people:
-a new baby cousin out West
-a former roomie-turned-rockstar in Southern Ontario
-our friends' awesome kids who live 5 hours away
-two great friends from university who enjoy writing and receiving letters

Mail is by no means cheap to send, but it is fun to get. In baby D's first year, we were blessed to receive all kinds of packages from family and friends sending us cards and gifts (like board books, stuffed animals, a Roots hoodie, a sheepskin rug, clothes and more). They came in from the UK, Australia, and of course around Canada. So if I want to give someone a gift and I won't be able to see them for awhile, it's nice to mail it along.

Today, we got a card in the mail from a very lovely aunt of mine who loves to send cards for all occasions, and it reminded me of a St. Patrick's Day card I once received.

Happy Dieticians' Day from my sister (we celebrated with Swiss Chalet and homemade chocolate chip cookies), and Happy St. Paddy's tomorrow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stew for a winter's night

If I were Gordon Lightfoot, I would write a song about it. If you're in the mood for beef stew, this is the one to make. It was the one I had growing up, usually in the winter. It was so good that I almost feel bad for you if your childhood didn't include a similar version (sorry, vegetarians). As a result, I have no time for any other beef stew, especially flavourless or watery ones. You need a bunch of cheap ingredients, a crock pot, and about 8 hours. Make that 10.

Oil or shortening
Stewing beef
8 cups water
4 packets beef bouillon
1 packet onion soup mix
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup peas
1/2 cup flour

Heat the oil or melt the shortening in a pan over medium heat. Add the stewing beef and lightly brown it, turning with tongs to make sure all sides are browned. Transfer to crock pot, leaving fat in pan. Add 4 cups of the water, the bouillon, and the onion soup mix. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.
Peel and chop carrots; scrub and chop potatoes; add carrots and potatoes to crock pot, along with 4 more cups water. Cook on high for 2 more hours
Using a ladle or turkey baster, draw out 2 cups of the stew broth. Add to a bowl with 1/2 cup of flour, and whisk until smooth. Pour into crock pot. Cook another hour or two until broth has thickened to a gravy-like texture.

Serve with bread.

I polished off my share of the stew too fast to take a picture, so I quickly called Hubby and asked if he could photograph whatever was left of his.