Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Protein Snacks

A few days ago a friend was telling me about protein balls that she makes. I never seem to eat enough protein, or fiber in the day, so I thought I'd try a version of my own.

I don't know the calorie count, but they're just snacks not full meals.

Protein Snacks
1 cup almond butter
1 cup cashew butter
1 cup peanut butter (organic, unsweetened)
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup hemp seeds
1 cup nutella
(add more sesame and pumpkin seeds and almonds if desired)
(optional, more hemp seeds to coat balls)
Mix all ingredients together. Chill for one hour or more. Scoop out small balls (1 inch diamater) and roll in hemp seeds. Refrigerate and use them for that mid afternoon snack/energy boost.

I'm enjoying them, almost too much!

Monday, 24 January 2011

The New Snowblower

Regina residents hit the streets armed with shovels and even snow blowers
 to dig out vehicles trapped by piles of snow after a storm hit the city
over the weekend. Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser, Leader-Post
The picture is from our local newspaper...and isn't of me.
The stars have aligned...

We've had a record amount of snow this winter and we've bought a snowblower.

I didn't realize how much of a gadget geek I am. I love checking the gas tank and the oil. I like getting that motor started and moving the snow. I'm disappointed when I've finished the walks and driveways. At that point I start looking at my neighbours' sidewalks to see if they need some clearing.

The snowblower has heated handles, a great headlight, and a good amount of horsepower. I don't know what else to say about it...I don't speak motorized vehicles. But, I'm really enjoying it!

Between my snowshoes, skates and the snowblower I'm having a great time this winter!!!

Be a Better Leader

Harvard Business School:
An interview with Stewart Friedman, Professor, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Traditional thinking pits work and the rest of our lives against each other. But taking smart steps to integrate work, home, community, and self will make you a more productive leader and a more fulfilled person.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Wingnuts and Customer Service

With a carpenter husband, I don't often visit the hardware least not alone.

Now I'll try not to rant, but frankly, my recent experience was absolutely ridiculous.

I went in to buy two precut pieces of wood, four bolts, washers, wingnuts, and a handle (I'll explain their purpose in another post) My trip to the store occurred at about 6:30 p.m. The store was virtually empty, but the shelves contained many mysteries.

Off I went in search of someone to help me on my mission. After wandering the store for about 10 minutes I began to wonder if the clerks were scurrying to other aisles as they sensed my approach. Finally I found someone. He told me that I needed to go to the "Lumber" desk and the guys there would help me out. Oh, and he also told me to have a great night.

I won't get into too many details, but basically I felt like I was living out a bad phone call being shifted from one department to another and back again. Then I also had the two sales people waiting on one customer...talking about football.

After 45 minutes in the store I left in disgust, without my purchase. I trudged through the blowing snow cursing the store, the clerks and my 'bad' luck at having a carpenter husband. By the time I got to my car I was angry with myself. When had my lack of knowledge ever stopped me from doing anything like this before. This was how I learned things....although the service was painful.

I marched back into the store and asked to speak to the manager. I was ticked off at the service and decided to let them know. (not a usual step for me) The manager was convincingly contrite, offerring to help me with my purchase. 10 minutes later I was walking out of the store.

So, what the heck did this experience teach me? Next time I go shopping in a place like that, I may bring my husband. I'm also going to ask lots of questions, though, and I'm not going to let some huge hardware store frighten me away. I may have felt like some poor guy in a lingerie shop, but I shall prevail.
By the way, wingnuts are not that common anymore...but I found the ones I needed!


The difference between the impossible and possible lies in a person's determination. ~ Anonymous

Monday, 17 January 2011

More Steps?

Last post I wrote about adding steps to my day.

Recently I've begun walking the flights of stairs in my building. The first day I walked up to the second floor of my building with a colleague. We huffed and puffed along the way and then walked up one more flight. A few days later I added another flight of stairs. My goal is to continue adding another flight every few days. As well, I've begun walking the flights in the morning and the afternoon.

I figure I'm doing some great weight body mass is larger than it should be. If I'm "lucky" and my weight begins to decrease, I'll still be adding more flights to keep getting in my steps. My building has 15 floors. I wonder how long it will take for me to get to that height on a daily basis?

I've also invested in a Nintendo personal trainer to use on a Nintendo DS (We already had one, which I used once in awhile to exercise my brain with sudoku and "Brain Age") The cost for the trainer wasn't too bad, since I already owned the DS.

Anyway, this little personal trainer is pretty interesting. It clips on to your waist band like a regular pedometer. What it does that other pedometers don't do is provides me with an overview of my daily activities. For instance, when I connect it to the Nintendo DS I get a graph that shows how many steps I was taking at different parts of my day. It allows me to note where I am sitting too long and also compare from day to day.

The product also comes with two pedometers so that other members of your family or even a pet's steps can be measured. You can keep up to 4 people's activity records on the system. While I don't need to keep the record for long, I do find the ability to see these graphs and my activity on a daily basis, as well as compare it quite an incentive to do more. The tangible quality actually motivates me. The interacitve piece may not be for everyone...some people are turned off by a computer telling them they've done a good job. For me, however, it is easy to 'step' past that and make some new decisions to keep improving.

It also allows you to set daily targets for steps. When I first started using it, I was able to set the target of 3, at least hit the bare minimum. Gradually I have increased my target and am hitting it more regularly.

What I'm noticing is that I really remember to get up from my desk more often to take a quick stroll. I'm drinking more water and while I am walking more often, I am actually more productive. It took a while to bring my steps up from the barely 3,000 I started at, but I am well on my way to 10,000 or more a day.

If I continue on this, I may just lose some weight!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Social Intelligence

Are you Socially Intelligent?

Friday, 14 January 2011

How Many Steps?

In the fall at my physical my doctor challenged me to begin tracking how many steps I took each day. She told me that 5,000 steps per day were what you would expect for a sedentary person and my goal was to get to 10,000 steps per day. 

I began tracking my steps...I barely hit 3,000 the first day. I didn't set out to do more than usual, but I did assume that I was walking a decent amount already. The 3,000 even included a quick 15 minute walk with my dog, for goodness sakes!

It's a bit more work than I expected.

So, over the last couple of months I've been tracking my steps and trying to get more every day. Some days I definitely get closer to my goal of 10,000, other days not so much. I do want to lose weight, as well, so I actually need to get to at least 12,000/day.

Here is some research I found from

Based on the best evidence as of the end of 2003, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke recommends the following:

Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a "sedentary lifestyle index"
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered "low active."
3) 7,500-9,999 likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered "somewhat active."
4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as "active".
5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as "highly active".
If you add just 2000 more steps a day to your regular activities, you may never gain another pound. So says research by Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. To lose weight, add in more steps.
Sneaky Steps at Home and Work
• Park in the far back of the parking lot and walk further to the door.
• Get off the bus a stop or two before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way.

• Use the furthest entrance into your workplace from your parking spot or bus stop, and walk through the building to your work area.
• Don't stand, pace - when waiting for the bus, waiting at an elevator, etc. pace around in circles rather than just standing.
• Circle the room when waiting for meetings to start.
• Use the restroom, copy machine, water fountain, break room, etc. that is further from your work area.
• Take the stairs rather than the elevator, especially for one to three floors, both up and down.
• When making a phone call, stand up and pace around as you talk.
• Rather than phone or email, walk to a coworker's office or neighbor's house and talk to them live.
• When people stop to talk with you, make it a moving meeting and walk around together while chatting.
• Hide the TV remote and walk to the TV to change channels.
• During TV commercials, get up and walk around the house.
• When doing errands, park in a central location and walk to your store destinations.
• Return the shopping cart all the way into the store after grocery shopping.
• Never drive through - get out and park and walk into the bank or fast food stop instead.

Short Dedicated Walks
• Marching Minutes - every 30 minutes get up from your desk or easy chair and do 1-5 minutes of walking in place and stretching your arms, shoulders and neck.
• Before eating lunch, take a 10 minute walking break.
• Walk the dog.
• Look over your usual trips in the car - are there any that you could do as walks instead, such as to the post office?
• If you take your kids to sports or activities, dedicate 10-20 minutes of that time to walking around after dropping them off or when you arrive early to pick them up.
• When waiting at the airport - secure your bags and take a good walk around the terminal area. Don't take the people-mover sidewalks.
Walking Steps Equivalents

1 mile = 2100 average steps.
1 block = 200 average steps
10 minutes of walking = 1200 steps on average
Bicycling or swimming = 150 steps for each minute.
Weight lifting = 100 steps per minute
Rollerskating = 200 steps per minute

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


"There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life." ~ Sister Mary Rose McGeady

Monday, 10 January 2011

Homemade Exfoliant

Exfoliating removes dead skin from our bodies. This eliminates flaking and gives our skin a more polished and healthy glow. You can exfoliate with special gloves, loufahs, as well as commercial products.

I have bought many commercial exfoliants over the years, but I always gravitate back to my homemade one for the best results.

This simple recipe is one I learned a number of years ago. I keep a batch that I place in a plastic container. I keep it by my tub and use it once a week or so when I shower.

You can find lots of recipes for the following scrub on the internet. Here is the one I have followed for the last five or ten years:
The recipe:

1 part olive oil (I usually start with 1 cup)
2 parts sugar

Add some drops of essential oil, if you'd like (I prefer almond oil)

I often buy some oversized popsicle sticks or tongue depressors that I keep on hand by the container.

The popsicle stick/tongue depressor is good for stirring up the mixture and for taking out a dab to put in your hands.

When my skin is really dry I rub it on my legs, arms, and torso. I rinse it off and pat myself dry. It really helps smooth down my skin and keep the moisture in. 

This mixture is also really great for gardening hands. This is also great for when I do needlepoint and need nice smooth hands for my linen fabric and silk threads. 

Another use is for feet. I like to put peppermint oil in that batch. I apply it generously (especially to my heels) after I've soaked my feet for a few minutes in warm soapy water. 
I have friends who say they have used it on their faces. I don't recommend this without talking to someone knowledgable, however. While I've seen many exfoliants with sugar in them, facial skin is delicate and I'm just not comfortable trying this on my face.

This stuff is also ok for them men in your life.... even if just to use on their hands.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Social Intelligence and Leadership

Daniel Goleman has done extensive research on Emotional Intelligence. This brief interview comes from Harvard Business School.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Cash for Gold

What is it with all of the recent commercials that have annoying men talking too loudly and over emphatically as they try to convince viewers to put their gold in an envelope and mail it to them...with the promise of cash being sent to the seller?? I absolutely hate those commercials. They are brash and annoying and make you want to change the channel immediately!

Do people really put their gold in an envelope and send it to people they've never met? What kind of money do they get for their gold? How do they know that they got the right value?
I also have other questions...maybe it's because I don't have any jewelry that's been passed down to me, and the fact that I don't actually own all that much...but what are they sending? Family heirlooms? Rings and necklaces from boyfriends and husbands past?
Now I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to sell the jewelry they no lo
nger wear. Nor am I dismissing the need for money, but I do have trouble understanding the blatant capitalization of people's need through these garish commercials.

Do people really get an appropriate amount of money for their jewelry? or, is their need for instant cash something that makes them someone easily taken advantage of? I really hope that people in need, who actually have some jewellry around, aren't getting ripped off.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


"It's not what people do to us that hurts us, it's our chosen response to what they do that hurts us." ~ Stephen R. Covey

Monday, 3 January 2011

Keeping Active in Winter

Belly bulge...muffin top...pudge...spare handles...

Whatever you call the weight, winter seems to bring it on even more than usual. Maybe that's why so many people make weight loss a part of their New Year's resolutions?

I actually find it easier to stay active in the winter...once I get past the fewer daylight hours. I find it far more fun to get out and do things in cooler weather, than in the heat of the summer.
Just before Christmas I treated myself to some snowshoes.

Snowshoes are made for walking on snow, distributing the weight of the person over a larger area, so that you don't sink completely into the snow.

Traditional snowshoes are made from hardwood and rawhide lacings. There is laticework on them, to keep the snow from accumulating and have bindings to attach to your boots. Traditionally, snowshoes were an essential footwear for fur traders and trappers and many others who spent their days working in and traversing across the snow. While there are many people in various regions who still rely on snowshoes to help them complete their daily tasks, most people who wear snowshoes these days do so as a way to get some exercise. Snowshoeing is easy to do and learn. Once they are strapped on it's as easy as walking.

My snowshoes are a modern version. They are purple, with aluminum rims and a fabric mesh. My husband says that they aren't as good as the traditional ones, but I have to say that I am enjoying them. And so is my dog!

We've been out to the deeper parts of the park and fields where she jumps through the snowdrifts like a rabbit. I get out in the sun and have a great workout. There's nothing like a crisp cold day with the sun bouncing off of the snow.
I'm off to make some tracks with my dog!

Saturday, 1 January 2011


"When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." ~ Victor Frankl