Sunday, January 30, 2011

A snowy day outside

This morning was a beautiful bright morning with light snow falling - a perfect winter day. We decided to get outside and take advantage of it. We bundled Ewan up, grabbed the sled and the dog and we were off. We were out for about 45 minutes and half of the walk was through knee deep snow, so we also got in some exercise. Sidekick loves the snow and ran through every snow bank and all over the golf course. Ewan just happily sits propped up in the sled laughing at the dog running around.

As we were coming up our street Alan and I turned around chatting to Ewan only to notice that he had fallen asleep and was hanging out of the sled! Once we got home we moved Ewan into his bed (yes, I am happy to say that when Ewan falls asleep you can move him, bring him anywhere, even take him out of a full snowsuit and nothing will wake him up). The best part - the dog was exhausted and slept in his bed for the rest of the afternoon and Ewan had a 2.5 hour nap - that has never happened before!!! So I did some food prep for the week, did some baking and watched Battle Star Gallictica - Alan borrowed 3 seasons from his brother - it is not a great show, but for some reason really addictive.

It was a really nice way to start our day off together - Sunday is the only day that we all have off to simply stay in our pj's and relax and we have been making a real effort to do just that.

PS. I have just finished planning my meals for the week and I am happy to say that I have made a new and different meal every day for the past 3 weeks all from the Family Dinner cookbook - I am still loving it :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hair cut!

Finally, finally, finally I managed to make a hair appointment - is that not always half the battle of actually getting your hair done?! The next challenge is actually fitting in 2 hours of child free time to get it done. And unfortunately, I have been working longer hours and so scheduling a time with my hairdresser became impossible. But I was so desperate to have something done that I called a few local hair salons. The lucky salon I decided on was Capucci's. If you have not been there before it is a very cute little place - actually a very clean and stylish place and they are very flexible with appointment times. The girls are super friendly and easy to talk to and they offer you a coffee when you sit down - and it was a really good coffee too!

I really should try and go to the salon more often. It really is a nice time to simply relax and sit and be calm for a few moments. And always refreshing to walk away with a new hairstyle!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just one of those weeks....

So this week started off with walking into the centre Monday morning realizing that the front entrance was flooded and I was then flooded with complaints about the front entrance from what seemed like every single person that had entered the centre over the weekend. By the way, I do realize that the front entrance is very small - we tried to do the best we could with the space we could afford. I have also come to realize after speaking with many business's that avoiding wet feet still remains an ever present and impossible problem to solve. With that said I agree that it is not a good way to begin an experience at A Gym Tale.

The other problem that comes with wet feet in the centre are salt stains - EVERYWHERE. Salt stains are so ridiculously difficult to get rid of that it makes me want to cry. The floors were washed about 20 times over Monday and Tuesday in an effort to get rid of them. And we finally succeeded!

Now much of the week was spent trying to find some sort of solution for the front entrance before the following weekend. I had hired a company to professionally clean the mats, thinking they had lost some of their absorption power. The company cancelled twice and finally showed up last night at 7pm only to say that the mats were not what they expected and would need to remove the mats and clean them off site. Well, having no mats was certainly not an option! So they will be back Monday to remove the mats and clean them as fast as possible. Let's hope it does not snow again this weekend!!!

Another idea we had is to schedule another staff member to work just the front entrance in the hopes of someone keeping all boots and coats tidy so that guests can more easily move around within the small space. The third attempt to solve the problem is to offer slip on slippers in the event that guests' feet do get wet. This way guests feet will be drier and salt will not be carried into A Gym Tale.

So I am crossing my fingers and hope that this weekend we will be able to better deal with the issue of the front entrance.

The week also brought with it a mysterious illness in my dog, which resulted in me being at the vet's office for test after test any time I was not at A Gym Tale. Just when it looked like all options had been exhausted and no one seemed to know how to help my dog (very lethargic, bleeding gums, and fever); yesterday when I arrived home he bounded out of his crate, running, jumping and back to his old self with no more bleeding! A miraculous recovery!

And Ewan is teething again. Enough said.

So, I am hoping that next week is a very different week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Family Dinner

Ever get bored of making the same thing for dinner week in and week out? I love food, to the point where I finish one meal and I am already planning the next. Two weeks ago, I had enough of eating the same thing! So much so that I used my christmas gift certificates for Indigo and purchased three new cook books - with the drive to find spectacular new recipes to get rid of this eating boredom. This scared Alan as he is the pickiest eater I have ever met - actually afraid to try new things - he could happily live on curry, shepherd's pie and meat and potatoes every week. While I studied the first of these cookbooks last week - we actually ordered take out or ate out every night because I really couldn't stand the idea of making one more boring dinner.

The first cook book that I tackled was named 'The Family Dinner' by Laurie David. I love, love, love this book - at first I didn't think it was what I needed as it goes into the importance of eating dinner together and really connecting over food. I have always eaten dinner with my family and continued to do so with Alan and Ewan - every night. But I actually read this book from cover to cover and I love the insights, ideas and especially the recipes. They are very straight forward, great pictures and written in the whole book is written in a similar style to a biography. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.

Well this weekend I was finally ready to tackle a few new recipes. I started on Saturday at lunch - I had just gotten home from A Gym Tale at noon and I had a good friend coming by at one for a visit. I had to walk the dog, so he wouldn't attack my friend and then get changed. By that point I was starving and she was going to be there at any moment. So I tried the 'eggs in purgatory' recipe - 1 jar of salsa and 5 eggs - all in one pan - cook them up for about 10 minutes - during which I warmed up some pitas and then sprinkled cheese over the egg mixture and it was done - a fantastic brunch in 10 minutes! And it was delicious!!

Sunday morning Alan had made the crepe recipe for when I got home from A Gym Tale - and again so simple and straightforward and delicious! That afternoon, I went all out - I made a roasted chicken with herb butter marinade with roasted potatoes and asparagus AND my very own loaf of French Bread! The house smelled divine and the food tasted even better! I am tempted to make my own bread every weekend just to get that smell back again.

Tonight I made tacos (a vegetarian recipe as we are trying to eat meat only 2-3 times per week to be more health conscious) and they were wonderful and ready in 15 minutes. And right this minute I have a banana bread in the oven for breakfast tomorrow morning. And I have a new recipe ready for every night this week - all from that book and all just as easy.

I feel a renewed energy for food!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! To begin with, the New Year's Eve sleepover at A Gym Tale was once again a success. We had a group of 20 children and we all had a wonderful time. The evening was filled with running, climbing and an obstacle course, snack and winding down with a movie. Afterwards, getting ready for bed and our countdown to midnight (which in reality was 10:15pm - but we turned all the clocks ahead to midnight!). And everyone slept until 7:30am the next morning!

One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is take inventory of the resolutions that I made last January and which ones were worth while and those that I did not continue with. I find it inspires me and re-energizes me to continue working towards goals.

During the last year, I really tried to focus on expanding my connections with clients as well as other local businesses. I feel as though through my blog, Facebook and monthly emails I am able to keep contact with the many families we see on a much more regular basis and it has been wonderful getting to know so many families better. As for other local businesses, I have also tried to run various promotions and exchange ideas and cross marketing strategies and I also feel that this has been a success over the past year.

Personally, I had wanted to get back to working out regularly. This was not successful - at all. This year it will be moved up to one of my priorities - and not excessive exercise by any means - 1 yoga class a week, running 2x a week and a daily walk with my dog. I feel as though I really need this to better cope with stress, gain more energy and simply to feel healthier than I am now.

The second personal goal I had for this past year was to keep in touch better with friends and to make the effort to go out with friends or date night's more regularly. This was not a success, but not a failure either. From January - June, we saw friends at least once a week - even if it was just dinner or coffee. During the summer I played soft ball a group of friends and had a great time each week. And then September rolled around and I have barely seen anyone since!! For this year, once again I would like to make a commitment to going out or seeing friends at least once a week.

I try not to make too many resolutions because than I cannot keep any of them. But I am hopeful that these two personal resolutions will be rewarding enough to keep me motivated! What resolutions have you made for this year?