Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nose Picking, Willy Grabbing and Scene Stealing: Our Christmas!

This Christmas was nearly perfect!  The only part I would like to do over would be the part where I suffered through a nasty headcold.

We have been spending our days visiting with friends, baking, sledding, climbing the giant snow hill, warming up by bonfires, eating baking, more visiting.....    All around fun and relaxing times!  At one point we ended up at a gully in town with about a dozen other families.  We were sliding down and then being hauled back up by skidoos.  So fantastic.

Christmas day was pretty low-key here.  Presents were opened by gleeful boys, chocolate was consumed by the pound(s) and we went sledding with another family.  We didn't have company for supper and I just cooked a big ham in the crockpot.  We watched Cars 2 and all crashed pretty early that night.

I love that Faro gives us so much time to just relax and enjoy the family time.  With only two stores (the general store and liquor store) there isn't much for last minute shopping or Boxing Day sales.

This video is one of the most memorable moments of the holiday.  My kids crack me up. 

Nose Picking, Willy Grabbing and Scene Stealing:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rink Rats

Our family has started to live at our local rink!  We are full on rink rats now. 

Hunter is taking skating lessons and we are so impressed at quickly his balance and coordination are improving.  We got to at least two public skates a week and Matt also helps out with youth hockey a couple times a week.  The arena is busy spot!

It is also quite the steal compared to larger centers.  Hunter is signed up for two sessions of skating lessons and we also have a family pass to cover all public skates for the season.  The cost?  $195.  Amazing!  Plus the arena has heaps of used skating gear that you can borrow.  Both boys are using skates that belong to the town.  We did buy them their own helmets.  What an inexpensive way to entertain our kids over the winter.  And if you cannot afford that fee?  The town of Faro has a lot of grant money for recreation to hand out to families to cover that costs with just a bit of paperwork.  How great is that!

Skating lessons with Michelle and Emily.  Hunter is in the middle.

Don't want to skate?  There are lots of toys and games to use as well!

Learning how to turn.

Craft time at the rink!  Reindeer! 

Alex and Cavan racing chairs.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Tools of Distraction

Prior to having my weight loss I put a lot of though into how I was going to distract myself after surgery to keep from eating.  Binge eating has been part of my life since I was a young child and I knew it was going to be a really hard habit to break.  But I am breaking that cycle little by little as each week progresses.

Here are my best tools of distraction:
A friend gave me a very generous monetary gift and I used it to buy some things for myself that I would never have done else wise.  I bought a Kindle and a bunch of books, an online subscription to a weight loss magazine, and a subscription to a month beauty product sampler.  All things I would have felt so bad spending our own money on, but they have been so fantastic at helping me.  Thanks Letia for playing such a big role in my success so far!

If I am typing I can't be eating!  And I have been drinking a lot of Crystal Lite to make sure I get all my fluids in during the day.  Thank you to everyone that I correspond with online.

Train building with Hunter keeps me away from food.

My sewing machine and hands have been in overdrive filling orders for Christmas!  Again, if I am sewing I am not eating.  I have some exciting ideas to start with in the new year as I work to expand my business out of the traditional crafts and into new areas.

I love shoveling.  I really do!  I am keeping our driveway well groomed after each snowfall.  Time outside just boosts my energy levels and burns up calories.

These boys are professionals at distracting me!  They had a friend sleep over for two nights this week and I was so busy, there was definitely no time to think of eating.

Any other suggestions for ways to keep myself distracted?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Christmas Concert

Last night we attending our first Christmas concert as parents and it was fantastic! I have been hearing from other parents that a number of schools no longer put on Christmas concerts and I so glad this isn't the case in Faro. The whole evening was so well planned right down to a spaghetti supper for the kids before the concert. Thank you to all of the teachers and volunteers who helped make the evening so memorable!

I was secretly hoping that my kid would do something on stage that I could blackmail him with later in life. But Hunter got up there and sang his little heart out along with his classmates. Cavan was upset the entire evening that he could not get up on stage with the other performers. School cannot come soon enough for that one.

Here is the video from the Kindergarten class and a few other photos:

Time for makeup!

Cavan wasn't too impressed with some of the performances.
Cavan and his buddy Alex really wanted to be part of the performance.

So they opted to put on quite the performance of their own.

Our little reindeer!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soon this will get exciting.

In another 7.5lbs my life is going to become a lot more interesting.

Here is a picture of me from one year ago- December 2010- at 271lbs:

And here I am 8 months later in August of 2011 at 319lbs:

And a photo of me now in December 2011:

 In 2010 I lost 50lbs.  I went from 321lbs to 271lbs in twelve months.  But then over an 8 month period I gained all but two pounds back.  That huge failure played a major role in my decision to have weight loss surgery.

I have nearly made up that loss and in another 7.5lbs I will be back at 271.  The weight that I have lost since surgery has been great, but I think it will be a heck of a lot more exciting once I break through that old barrier. 

Since October 1st, I have lost a total of 40.5lbs.  Eleven pounds of that was prior to surgery and then since surgery on the 19th of October I have lost another 29.5lbs.  I am hoping to hit 50 by the new year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Cookie

Every year at Christmas time I send an email to the mother of one of my dearest friends.  Each year the email is the same:

Help!  I want to make your awesome shortbread cookies but don't remember where I wrote the recipe down!

And every year this lovely woman shares her recipe and wishes of love for our family.

I have had a few requests for the recipe and I am sure she wouldn't mind me sharing it.  So here it is with my little tweaks:

1 cup soft butter
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup fruit sugar (comes in those little bags also called Berry Sugar)
Cream butter and add sugar gradually.  Beat until almost white.  (Then I whip it in my kitchen aid for about 6 minutes)
Add 1 3/4 c flour gradually.  Whip again once all of the flour is added for 2 minutes.
Roll into tiny balls and squish a little hollow into the top of each ball with your thumb.  Put half of a glazed cherry into the hollow.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes  

The cookies don't brown up except for a little on the bottom.  And good luck trying not to eat a dozen by yourself right when they come out of the oven!

Thank you Mrs. Whitrow! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sense of Community

Just over a week ago I attended the annual Church Ladies Tea and Craft Bazaar here in Faro.  It is a fun event held every December.  Tables are rented out crafters, artists and other groups and the public pays $2 to get in to shop and enjoy tea, coffee and lots of snacks.

We have only lived in Faro just coming on four years and I have had a table each of those four years at the bazaar.  But this year blew my mind!  There were 26 tables rented out this year.  And then the community came and filled the rec center right up!

It is so fantastic to see this little community thriving, especially during the holidays. There were kids running around stealing snacks off the tables, adults mingling and sharing laughs over tea and money was being spent locally!  Faro is turning into quite the busy little hub.

The view from the stage in the rec centre gym.  Busy place!

We tied a helium balloon to Cavan and then laughed as he tried to run away from it.

Darn thing just kept chasing him!
And I am pretty sure my children ate their weight in cookies that day.  Every time I looked up I would see either them stealing a cookie from a table or someone feeding them a cookie and giving me an evil grin!  I love living in a community where my children can freely run around and the worst thing I have to worry about is how many cookies they ate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Having A Sale!

Have you been thinking of buying a pair of fur mittens?  Or maybe a pair of mukluks or a hat?  Then time to take advantage of my holiday sale at Went North Creations!

There are coupon codes on my etsy site to not only give you 11% off your total, but also free shipping!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Craft Show Success!

The craft show was a huge success and definitely worth my time to drive in from Faro for the night.  Not only did I make $1400 that day, but I have a few custom orders as a result of the business cards I handed out yesterday.  Now I am just trying to decide what types of new furs I am going to buy to try sewing with next! 

I am really proud that my hobby is completely self-sustaining and has been for the last couple of years.  It never seems right to me to spend our family money on my hobby when it could be better spent or saved.  Lately I have been dreaming of an industrial sewing machine and a fur machine, so maybe a bunch of this will go into that dream fund!

My table!  I just purchased some nice display units and they really made a difference.

Twirly display for the key chains and hair clips/elastics.

Three tier display for headbands.

Mitten rack thanks to Matt!

Hat area.

Here is Vicky, my friend from Ross River, who nearly sold out!  Her table had maybe 12 items left.  Great job Vicky!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Packing My Meals

I am packing up my meals for the rest of today and all of tomorrow since I will be traveling to and from Whitehorse.  I am not ready to try anything at a restaurant unless it is soup, and I eat so little there is really no point ordering anything!  So I have packed a little cooler of meals for myself.  Here is what my next nine meals will look like (I am trying for six small meals a day right now):

I have a container of greek yogurt, left over chicken stew, left over moose pasta sauce with a few pieces of penne, hard boiled egg, homemade tuna antipasto, egg salad with a couple of crackers, two types of cheese, a sugar free jello, a banana and my vitamins.  I haven't tried fruit yet, but am hoping that banana tastes really good!  I can only have a bit at a time, but I am still looking forward to it.  Half a cup of food at a time is seeming just perfect right now.  And then a number of water bottles and extra crystal lite packets.  I am ready to go!

All of my work is in the back of a friends vehicle and we are heading out early this afternoon.  I have my fingers crossed that I sell a bit at the craft show tomorrow.  If you live in Whitehorse, please stop in and say hello!  Check out how cute my baby headbands look now that I have them packaged:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Four Weeks

It has been four weeks since I went through with my life changing decision to have weight loss surgery.  This past weekend, one of my close friends commented that she was pretty sure that 20lbs had come off my face!  It is so true.  My face is where I notice my weight loss the most. 

So how much have I lost?


Okay, now that number does include the 11lbs that I lost on the pre-surgery diet I was on.  To be clear then, I have lost 30.5lbs since October 1st and 19.5lbs since I had the surgery four weeks ago.  I went ten days during that four week period where I didn't lose a single pound either.  My body was in a state of shock and there was no way in hell it was letting go of its hibernation layer.  But then for the last week it has been coming off rather quickly.

When I started my pre-surgery diet I was 319lbs and today I was 288.5.

I feel fantastic now.  My energy has me going steady until about 7pm and then I crash.  I am sleeping for at least seven hours a night.  Each day is still pretty much the same regarding food- five to six meals a day of half a cup servings.  The meals are high protein and still soft so my stomach can deal with them easily.

Since I am now four weeks post-op, I am now cleared for all activity!  I have to start with some weight training and increasing my walking each day.  Another week or so and I will add some more foods into my eating plan.  Slow steps, but I am making it!

Me holding Faro's newest baby back in August (weight about 319lbs)

Me earlier this week (weight 290).  Not sure if you can see the difference, but I sure can!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Semi-Lazy Sunday

Even after staying out late last night (playing pictionary with other adults!) and not getting a lot of sleep, my energy is 100% today and I am feeling like my old self!  The old self that hates sitting around and needs to be productive.

This morning we had a friend and her sons come over for a visit.  I was able to stitch and bitch at the same time and made a pair of booties identical to these:

A bit of house cleaning, laundry and then a trip to the school run coffee shop to visit with some other families. 

Then back home where I broke out the paints for the boys:
So thankful for paints that wipe clean off the floor.  And can you see the sock in the plant behind Cavan?  I have no clue who shoved that in there...  Boys!
Then while the boys drew on paper and played with picture cards I made this:
Coyote fur headband.  Fully adjustable with velcro on the back and lined with fleece.
Now the boys and I are watching a movie while Matt is working down at the Health Centre.  Hopefully he isn't out all night!  I am thinking of starting a pair of seal mittens this evening.  Only six more days until I attend the craft show in Whitehorse.

The next couple of photos are from yesterdays bouts of productivity:
Matt made me this mitten rack to take to craft shows! I can display 12 mittens at a time.

Wolf fur headband.  Lined with fleece and fully adjustable with velcro.
I love semi-lazy Sundays!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good Stuff

So much good stuff from today....
  • After watching other children and adults lay wreathes during the Remembrance Day ceremony, Hunter asked me if he could too.  I said of course and told him to head to the back of the gym and ask the adult in charge (a friend of ours) if he could help.  He ran back there all on his own and then helped with laying two wreathes.  At four years old, he is already one heck of a confident and adventurous kid.
  • Seeing that gym filled to standing room only made me a little teary-eyed.  Especially seeing all of the families in attendance.  
  • My crafting sales are picking up with the holiday season approaching.  Within minutes of posting pictures of some recently made items, I had five sales!  Next weekend I am going into Whitehorse for a big craft show and I sure hope I have success there.
  • I have turned the corner in regards to recovering from my surgery.  My energy is returning bit by bit.  In another week I should be cleared to exercise more than just walking and I can lift things again. That almost means I have to start vacuuming again.  Darn.
  • Since October 1st, I have lost 27lbs.  Wow.  
  • We had friends over for supper tonight and it was just a few hours of laughing and chatting.  Plus I made fantastic moose stew that I could eat.
  • And I got to hold a little baby boy for about half an hour.  Were my boys really that little once?  Oh that was a lovely half an hour.
I love crafting!  Both of these headbands are now heading up to their new home in my old home of Kugluktuk!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love Amazon

Box arrived in the mail today!  I am going to be keeping myself very busy this winter.  It is always nice to treat myself to some new books from my mitten making money.

I am excited to start so many new projects!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Support Local Artists

Please come and support Yukon artisans by attending the Spruce Bog Craft Show on Saturday November 19th at the Canada Games Center from 11am to 5pm.

There you will be able to find me and all of my wares.  Mittens, mukluks, baby booties, hats, key chains, hair accessories and more!  Take a look at my Etsy store to see a few of the items that I will be bringing with me:  Went North Creations on Etsy

Right next to me you will find Vicky, a friend from Ross River, also selling all of her goodies!  She makes beautiful hair clips, unique magnet sets and nifty snack bags.  Lots of great stocking stuffers on her table.

Why spend your money at the box stores on crappy gifts when you can purchase unique, locally made products?

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Simon's Cat

We have been watching Simon's Cat on youtube for the last year. The boys have those full on belly laughs whenever they watch it, especially this episode:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another week down

Today was my first day back at parenting and I am exhausted!  For the last week I have had childcare for the boys during the day and Matt has been home in the evenings.  I haven't had to do much during the day other than reading, napping and a lot crafting!  Pretty darn nice- thank you friends who took the boys off of my hands!

I am having to phase out my own napping since I was staying up too late into the night.  Sigh.  Those naps were glorious and energizing.  Each day I am trying to get in a few more calories, but it is tough getting even 500 calories in during the day.  It hasn't helped that I have had three weeks straight of diarrhea (yep, more information than you wanted yet again) that has been so horrible that I haven't wanted to leave my house.  Today though, an eye-opening thought- it might be the protein drinks that I have to drink each day that are causing all my problems.  Today I didn't drink one and I got out of my house!!  So I am going to stop drinking them and work at getting in all of the protein I need each day through my food.  Again, tough since I eat so little.

On the phone with my nutritionist today, I mentioned that I haven't lost any weight in the last week.  She told my that my body is pretty much in shock and is holding on to everything it can for as long as it can!  Come on body- give up that fat!!  Slowly I am moving away from purees and into soft foods.  Today I was able to eat cheese, tuna fish, meatballs and rice.  It felt great to eat food rather than drink it.

I also had my first experience with food tasting different.  I had heard that after weight loss surgery some foods would taste odd.  There was a nice bit of brie cheese in the fridge so I cut myself off a piece.  Well it tasted like Buckley's Cough Syrup!  Horrible!  I was so upset that I nearly cried (yes, I am a bit emotional going through all of this) because I just wanted that brie to taste good after my weeks of fluids and purees.  A friend on facebook looked into it for me and sent me a article that had this to say about it:

Actually, this is a common occurrence for most people after gastric bypass surgery. Even some people who have lost a lot of weight non-surgically over a relatively shorter period of time will experience this phenomenon. This is due to something that is called “ketosis.” Typically, when you are losing weight, your body will start to break down your stored carbohydrates for energy. However, these stores are not that plentiful, especially for those people who have had GBPS. After GBPS, you usually are not eating many carbohydrates. Instead, you are emphasizing your protein intake. Likewise, some of the popular diets that result in rapid weight loss are carbohydrate-restricting. Thus, your body begins to deploy your fat stores for energy and this results in ketosis. As the fatty acids are broken down in the liver, the body forms “ketone bodies.” The ketone bodies are released into the bloodstream to deliver fuel to the body. Excess ketone bodies can turn into a form of acetone. Acetone is eliminated through the breath and the urine. With higher keotone bodies and acetone levels, your taste is altered. This is the reason that foods may not taste the same as before your surgery during your rapid weight loss. Do not despair. Ketosis also induces a state of greater satiety. As your weight loss slows and your body is burning less fat stores for energy, the ketosis reverses. Your sense of taste will be restored to that of presurgical levels. Dr. Kathleen T. Baskett is medical director of the St. Vincent Healthcare Weight Management Clinic and author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight.”  

Hopefully brie will taste better one day, but it will take a long time before I am brave enough to try it again!

Now for pictures from the last week:

The pirates pillaging the neighbourhood.
Enjoying their loot!  We let them eat whatever they wanted that night. After that just a piece each day and Matt has been scarfing the rest! 

Puff ball key chains.

Puff ball hair elastic.

Coyote and moose hide mittens!

Oh these mittens are puffy!

Evenings are now spent in hibernation mode watching Thomas the Train.

This what I get when I ask the boys to stand beside one another for a photo.