Posts filed under ‘Otown’

Fundraising for School Yards

I spend a significant amount of time in coffee shops. If you worked at home with your husband, you might too.

On each local coffee shop bulletin board I see flyers for local public elementary school fundraising initiatives for school yards (right now I see three in my area including Lil D’s school and just saw a tweet for another Otown public school).

So far the fundraising goals I have seen are all 100K plus. Lil D’s school needs $250K for the current phase of the project. The school yard needs renewal. In fact, the whole school badly needs renewal, but let’s just talk school yard.

There are just under 800 students at his school. That is a fundraising goal of $312.50 for each student, FOR THIS PHASE. The government is going to kick in $7,500 or 3% of the total. We know that not each family has the means or the willingness to participate so the burden falls to the few and the community.

This is a public school.

We wrote a cheque. Not for $312.50, but we wrote a cheque. The yard needs renewal.

Local businesses are being solicited but there is some controversy over how they prominent the logos will be displayed in the yard – you know, public/private partnership controversy. And are businesses to bear the burden of all the school yards in the local community?

I find this whole thing so wrong.

Am I the only one who considers the yard part of the school and thus the responsibility of the school board and Ministry?

I apologize for the brain dump, but I wanted to put this out there. Here is a link to an article about the initiative at Lil D’s school.



December 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm 2 comments

Recipes Please: Dressing, Fruit Pudding, Protein Fudge, Oat Pancakes

When I taste something delicious in a restaurant, I want to try to figure out how to make it at home. But of course it has to be simple and I usually have to try to make it “healthier”. Derek hates when I do this.

On Friday I had dinner at Churchill’s again. I had promised that I would give it a second chance, and a neighbour’s birthday gathering was planned there – perfect opportunity.

There is nothing on the menu that I would order as is. I am veg mostly, but do occasionally eat fish and seafood when I’m out. I avoid dairy as much as possible, unless it’s butter baked into a delicious treat :).

I ended up ordering the same thing I had when I visited in the summer, the Asian Beef Salad with the beef on the side for my beefy companion (husband). The salad on its own is really delicious. It is not filling, because there is no substantial protein source, but it tastes great.

On Sunday, I had a couple of hours on my own at home and I attempted to recreate the dressing. I’m very happy with the result:

Asian Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing

3 ounces rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce (I used half soy, half tamari)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger

I doubled the recipe and it’s in the fridge for this week’s salads.

We had terrible service again at Churchill’s. Our table of 7 was irritated, and the poor guy across from me kept trying to get the server’s attention to order another drink. Another guy at the table said he likes the ambiance there, but everyone agreed that the food is totally mediocre and overpriced and the service is really the pits.

Unless it’s because I’m invited there for a particular occasion, it’s off my list.

During my Sunday kitchen time, I also made two other delicious and nutritious treats just for me. I am going to get the kids to try the first one, but I think the second one is too rich-tasting for their palate:

Blueberry Chia Pudding
Makes 4 servings

2 1/2 c frozen blueberries
1 tbsp Artisana coconut butter (coconut oil would probably work too, or you could leave this out)
1/3 c chia seeds (ground is better but I only had whole in the pantry)

Blend until smooth. Refrigerate in portioned containers for at least an hour, and up to a few days. A refreshing post-run treat.
Nutrition Facts
Calories per serving: 122
Carbs 5g
Protein 3g
Fat 6g

Chocolate Protein Fudge
Makes 8 1″ squares

4 Tbsp Artisana coconut butter
1 scoop Sunwarrior chocolate raw vegan protein
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (the pure unsweetened kind)
1 frozen banana

Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until they are smooth and stick together. Fill an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin or similar with the mixture and freeze. It’s like eating a fudgicle with a banana undertone.

Nutrition Facts
Calories per square 77
Carbs 7g
Protein 3g
Fat 5g

And last but not least, tonight I made a new pancake recipe for dinner (Lil C’s special dinner request). It’s another oatmeal pancake, but I blended the oats into flour before I added it to the batter. I think the boys preferred the texture and they looked more like Nana’s famous pancakes (which are a fluffy and perfectly cooked pancake made with Aunt Jemima mix, milk and egg).

Blended Oatmeal Pancakes
Makes approx 12

1 c whole wheat flour
2 c oats (either quick or old-fashioned)
1 1/4 c of water
1 1/4 c of milk (recipe calls for all milk)
pinch of salt
3 egg whites
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c coconut oil

Blend all the ingredients in the blender. Pour onto hot pan in 1/4 c portions.

I made the batter this afternoon and refrigerated it in the blender pitcher until I was ready to make the pancakes at dinner time, and it worked fine.

Nutrition Facts
Calories per pancake 148
Carbs 19g
Protein 5g
Fat 6g

So, any good recipes y’all have to share with me? I just finished the full Friday Night Lights series and have found myself with “y’all” as a new addition to my everyday lexicon.

November 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm 1 comment

Fitness Friday: Canada Army Run Race Recap

What a whirlwind week! I’m exhausted. However, it’s Fitness Friday and I know if I don’t post my Canada Army Run race recap this week, I won’t get around to it forever.

Race Day Preparations

Saturday, Derek and my little guys came along with me to city hall to pick up my race kit. The boys took the opportunity to climb on some army vehicles but were disappointed when we cut their fun short so I could rush to the airport to pick up my run buddy and her man.

Over the course of the day, I drank four litres of water – hydrated for sure!

Day of the Race

Sunday morning, I grabbed a half a bowl of steel-cut oats with pumpkin seeds and raisins and a coffee. I gathered my gear, but, to my deep dismay, my Garmin had frozen at 11:51 pm on Saturday night… and it wasn’t until it lost it’s charge on Tuesday that I was able to recharge it and use it… no constant pace-checking for me during the race, perhaps a blessing in disguise.

I changed up my fuel strategy for this run: plain water with an electrolyte tablet (Nuun) and package of Sharkies. I ate one or two Sharkies at a time throughout the run beginning around 40 minutes into it. I also grabbed a few sips of Gatorade at the last two stations along the way.

My friends Jenn and Molly arrived to pick Jess and I up at 7:45 am. Molly was kind enough to drop us off near the start. We made a pit stop at City Hall and then met another friend before heading to the start.

The Race

What a difference the start was from the Race Weekend in May. I never felt crowded… I watched the big screen as the injured soldiers took off 15 minutes before the mass start. Finally the canon boomed for us. We walked just over a minute before we heard the distinctive “beeeeeep” as we crossed the start.

I dropped my “throw-away” sweatshirt at the 1k mark. We ran fast for 2k downhill and then tried to slow down. We were having too much fun. Jenn and our other friend were aiming for a faster time than me so I thought they were ahead. They weren’t. I was going too fast (there was at least one 4:40 km). Eventually they caught up with us and we ran together until I had to tie my shoe.

The run went by so many Ottawa landmarks on that sunny morning, I had a great time playing tour guide for Jess.

At about the 17 k mark I started to feel tired. The description “flat and fast” that is written all over the Run’s website is false advertising. I would call it “rolling hills and somewhat fast”. My expletives upon seeing another hill got worse as the run progressed.

At that point, we had time in the bank and decided to just run to enjoy ourselves (as we had been, but this meant slowing down to continue this reasonably comfortable feeling). We ran and chatted. I saw friendly faces along the way. At about the 20 k mark I had given up on my “A” goal, but suddenly the finish line was in front of us. They didn’t have those silly signs counting down the last 500 metres that I had been expecting!

The Finish

Can you see us in the bottom right corner crossing the finish?

Jess yelled at me to push myself to the finish, that I had trained for three months and what was a few seconds of hard work. So I did, and it felt great.

When I finished, I had no idea what my chip time was. I knew I had enjoyed the run and gone faster than I did in May, but it wasn’t till I got home and checked the computer that I realized I achieved my goal with a whopping nine seconds to spare.

Run done; let's eat and drink!

Post-Race Bullets

  • Lunch at The Corner
  • A kiss goodbye to Lil C and D who were off to a movie and a sleepover with my parents (They give the Lion King 3D two thumbs up “a little sad but good”.
  • A walk around the Byward Market where I happened upon a delicious box of brightly coloured chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
  • Dinner at Town. OH SO YUMMY. Two glasses of wine and I was toast – how times have changed. Have booked another dinner there next weekend.
  • Monday lunchtime break at Metta Massage – aaaahhhhh…

So who else ran this one? Would you agree with my assessment of the race organization and route? How did it go for you? What about the 5k? Was it hard to get moving in that run?

Regular Fitness Friday stuff for this week (recovery week!):

Running Rundown

Thursday 4k – easy

Friday 1k- easy with Lil D (who ran a total of 3k with his school’s KM Club) Way to go Lil D!


Wednesday – hot flow yoga

Back at it for real next week… Costa Rica on the horizon which means many hours in very little clothing.

September 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm 3 comments

Style Tuesday: Footwear and Lifestyle

This post has two parts. If you don’t care about shoes and are happy in your ratty old sneakers all day every day, then you’ll have to hold on for Part II of this post which should appear very soon.

Part I: Footwear

I had a fun weekend with my out-of-town guests. Among the many planned activities, we took a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to stroll around the Byward Market. John’s dad owns an art gallery in NJ and he wanted to see some Canadian art. We stopped into a couple of galleries on Sussex and then Jess and I happened on a lovely new addition to the Ottawa retail market, Wolf and Zed.

Wolf and Zed is lovely – that’s the only word I can use to describe it. It is laid out like an warehouse-style art gallery with stripped down walls and no decorative distractions. The shoes, boots, and bags are displayed along the wall like art.

I didn’t buy anything. There are two reasons. The first is simple: I didn’t have time to have a proper look around and actually choose from the many I would have liked to try.

You will have to wait for Part II of this post to find out the other reason… (cue suspenseful music).

But back to Wolf and Zed:

Most of the shoes are brands that I am familiar with and some I have purchased online in the past. I’m excited to actually get to try before I buy. They have shoes for all lifestyles. These days I’m walking all over the place and I need flats, super-comfy stacked heels or wedges. They had them! And the prices are inline with the online prices which means they even want us virtual shoppers to become their customers.

Shoes at Wolf and Zed are mid-priced to high-end and include Derek’s favourite Campers for men and women (yes, they have men’s shoes too) and gorgeous Frye boots in a few styles I have been after. Like these…

Part II: Lifestyle – coming soon.

September 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

Fitness Friday: You Really Get to Know Someone When You Run Together

When I started thinking about fitness challenges, I wrote about a plan I made 11.5 years ago with my friend Jessica. She and I ran our first marathons together in 2000 – Rock’n’Roll San Diego. We met through the Team in Training program in Washington D.C.

We ran together every Saturday morning for about 4 months and would often meet during the week after work or early in the morning. Jess made me run faster than I normally would and I forced her to slow down when she wanted to push too hard.

When you’re stuck with someone for hours on a trail in northern Virginia jumping over large snakes (okay that only happened once) and getting skinned knees on gravel (that happened more than once), you really get know someone. We worked through all kinds of boy problems, work problems, roomie problems and had a lot of laughs.

Here we are 16 kms into San Diego:

Jess & me (with very short hair and ugly shorts) in 2000

And then, after a year of friendship and running, I moved away. But we remained friends. I ran another marathon the following spring, and Jess has probably run 15-20 since then (including Boston in 3:23 and 3:32 in consecutive years).

While we were running that first marathon, we vowed that we would run or walk a marathon every ten years together. It’s now been 11 years. We’ve remained long-distance friends through life’s ups and downs, challenges and joys…but we haven’t run our second marathon together.

Jess and her boyfriend decided on shortish-notice to make a trip to Ottawa this weekend and it just so happens that I’m running the Army Half-Marathon. I managed to find her a race number and we are going to run together. This will count as our ten-year anniversary (albeit half) marathon. She is injured, but my pace is slow for her so she should be fine. It will be like old times: Jess running a half a stride length ahead of me trying to encourage me to run faster and me telling her we need to slow down.

And then, after it’s all over and I’ve hugged my children and my husband and high-fived Jess and John, my little boys will go sleep over at my parents’ house and the four of us will celebrate with wine and food here and then maybe if I have any steam left, we’ll play a few hands of black jack here.

Old Running Buddies and New Running Buddies

Though I do miss my old running buddy, I wanna give a shout out to my current running friends too! Jenn and I run together at least once a week with the gang at the Elation Run Club, and often once or even twice more during the week. Jenn reminds me so much of Jessica. They have similar body types and running styles and both push me to run faster; I seem to play the anchor role in this running partnership too!

That's Jenn by my side during Ottawa Race Weekend

And the rest of you who I run with on Saturdays and sometimes Tuesdays (don’t want to mention names since I don’t have your permission), I so appreciate the company and all the mutual encouragement and I think the same applies to you all – you really get to know people that you run with, and it would be painful to spend hours with people you don’t like… You get my drift; you’re all great!

Elation Run Club; I'm missing.

Best wishes to everyone participating in the Army Run this weekend! My race plan is still to try to break 1:50. I’ll start off at around a 5:10-15/km pace and at the 12 km mark, I will decide to either go for it and maintain or push the pace, or, I will give my permission to just slow down and enjoy the run without any time goal in mind.

Running Rundown

Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday – 10 km slow run (5:50/km pace) and then a peaceful found hour of conversation over coffee.

Tuesday – 5 km run with Jenn (approx 5:30/km pace) and then a 2 km walk; my short runs don’t feel that easy… getting nervous about the race on Sunday

Thursday, early morning– 3.5 km run with a few strides at the end.

Cross Training

Three long walks this week to burn off some of the unused energy.

I’m going back to watching the Season One finale of Friday Night Lights now. Happy weekend y’all! Should have lots of material for next week after the whirlwind I’ve got planned.

September 17, 2011 at 1:44 am 3 comments

Fitness Friday: Two Summer Race Recaps

It’s been so long since I wrote a Fitness Friday post. Now that routines are getting back to normal, I’m thinking about my fall fitness regimen. Today however, I want to catch up on two races I did in July.

July 1, 2011 – I posted a couple of pics from the Bushtukah Canada Day Races; I did the 5k. I hadn’t planned on it until the day before when I went to pick up Lil D’s 1k race kit and Lil C’s 100 m race kit.

A couple of weeks earlier I had run what for me was a fast 5k at the Do It for Dad. With the weather a balmy and humid 30 C, all I wanted to do was get under 25 minutes. It was a hard and hot run but I finished in 23:41, 13/83 in my age group, 32/344 women.

But I had so much more fun running the 1k with Lil D. He totally surprised me by pacing himself to run the whole thing except for a little hill. We finished together in 8:35. He was so proud of himself and asked when we could run the next one. I’m thinking the Rattle Me Bones race for the Ottawa Hospital Ortho Dept would be a fun one for him.

And as for Lil C, he wasn’t thrilled during the long 100 m run, that I didn’t hold his hand the whole way. In fact, he was so angry with me, that he wouldn’t wear his hard-earned medal. He vehemently exclaimed,

“I don’t want it!”

We then left the run and went to the Canada Day Festival at Andy Hayden Park and indulged in all kinds of sweet and gooey treats.

July 17, 2011 – This was the second hottest day of the entire summer and I had made a committment to be part of a three person mixed relay team for the Cow Pattie Relay in support of the Friends of Farm. This is a 10 mile 3 loop race that you can run alone, as a two person team, or as a three person team. I joined Jean-Pierre and Jenn as part of three person team, each of us running 5.33 km.

The race began at 6:30 pm at the Agriculture Museum in 35.8 degree celsius temperatures. The turnout for this race was not huge and I’m expecting that many who had registered and of course any day-of registrants opted out.

It was fun to be part of team though – and I survived – though listening to my painfully loud breathing for 25 minutes was not exactly pleasant. But guess what? We finished second out of the mixed teams! Yay for us.

So, lesson learned from mid-summer races: If possible, pay the late registration fee and only register if the weather is reasonable, and by reasonable I mean maybe below 30 degrees.

And that brings me to today. I am nine days out from the Army Half-Marathon. I have done all the training, as it was laid out in my schedule. I don’t feel any faster, but perhaps I’ll feel better at the end of this half-marathon compared to the one I did in May. I’d like to think I’ll run a smarter and more evenly paced race.

I’m well into my taper and here’s what I did this week:

Running Rundown

Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday – 15 km slow run (6:05/km pace). It was humid.

Monday – 10 km run with time intervals at between 4:45 and 4:25 km/min pace: 2.5 km warm-up; 8 x 2 min with 2 min active rest; 1 km cool-down.

Thursday, early morning– 9 km run: 2 km warm-up; 6 km tempo building from 5:20/km to 4:49/km; 1 km cool-down

Cross Training

Nada, zippo, zilch, does walking your kids to and from school count?

I would love to get some suggestions for the best fall runs/races. I’m thinking 5 or 10ks until 2012. Who has races planned that they can suggest?

September 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm 3 comments

Fitness Friday: Canada Day Edition

For some reason this didn’t get posted on Saturday… I thought hit “publish”. Oh well, better late than never.

Happy Day After Canada Day!

We started our Canada Day like this:

Then there was a bbq at a friend’s home including some naked trampoline jumping under a sprinkler.

And the last bit of fun took place at Andy Hayden Park where we enjoyed the crowds and the heat and the games and the rides and the mini donuts in powdered sugar and snow cones and french fries.

No fireworks though. The boys were fast asleep by 7:15 pm.

Running Rundown

Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday – 15 km run –didn’t end up doing this Friday evening; celebrated the last day of school instead.

Wednesday – 11 km 6 am run with time intervals at between 4:45 and 4:22 km/min pace: 2.5 km warm-up; 5 x 1 min ; 5 x 2 min; 5 x 1 min; 2 km cool-down.

Friday – Canada Day Road Races 5k followed by 100m Tot Trot with Lil C and 1k with Lil D for a total of 6.1 fun kilometers.

Cross Training (I’ve decided to change the title from the previous “Strength Training Stats”)

Monday: Greco Lean and Fit class with Derek

Are you noting a pattern here… less and less to report in this section. Uh-oh.

July 8, 2011 at 1:07 am 1 comment

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