My 3 Tips forToddler Recreation:
- Participate in community sports.
- Try out lots of different activities.
- Don’t gender stereotype sports.
This Saturday you can celebrate Canada Day without having to travel far. I was sold when I heard the Kids Zone would have inflatables, trains, and crafts. For more info check out this map of the festivities.
This event takes place at Willoughby Community Park. It begins at 11 AM and goes until 6 PM.
I hope you have an extra special Canada Day this year.
My hobby, sport, and way of keeping in shape is running. I’m a fan of the half marathon distance. I ran my first half marathon just over 10 years ago and have enjoyed many others since. My husband’s first half marathon race pic just popped up in my Facebook feed as a memory from 10 years ago, which was funny since he was 100% in the friend zone at that time and I kicked his butt in that race!
I find half marathons the perfect distance since it is far enough that you can’t skip your long runs, but not too far that your training runs take over your life. With a 10 kilometre (km) race, I could rest on my laurels and while it might be painful, I could jump into a 10km race and survive it without adequate training. However, in a half marathon, the level of discomfort and risk of injury is much higher if you don’t complete your training runs.
My longest training run for a half marathon would be under 2.5 hours long. If I started my run at 6 AM, I could be home in time to eat breakfast with my family.
After having a baby, running was a major challenge for me. The motivation to loose weight was certainly there, but my body wasn’t ready for that kind of intensity. My body had changed; I was nursing and had major nursing boobs that could not be tamed. Running wasn’t comfortable so my plan to run 6 months after giving birth and to start half marathon training went out the window.
I tried once more to run when my baby was 13 months and I had been back at work for a few weeks. While my body cooperated with running this time, I found it difficult to stay committed. Part of the problem was that I ran alone at 7:45 PM, after the baby was nursed and in bed. I was exhausted, it was dark out, and Netflix was calling me.
Third time was the charm! I survived a busy August at work and I knew the fall was going to be busy at work so if I didn’t get running soon I’d never maintain my fitness during the winter. Baby was now 18 months old and I was daydreaming about Disney vacations and it struck me: why not run a Disney race!?! My timing could not have been better as the Tinker Bell Half Marathon’s registration was coming up in mid-September. I laced up my runners and tried to run and this time, with the right motivation and a better fitness level than the other two attempts I kept up my training and ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon last month.
Starting my half marathon training in September for a May half marathon gave me ample time to build a foundation before I had to start logging long miles. September, October, and November focused on a run/walk program. This meant each week I’d run 1 minute, walk 1 minute until I’d reached 12 to 15 minutes of total run time. Then the next week I’d bump up my run time. After a few weeks I was running 10 minutes and walking 1 minute. From this, I switched to distance based training with 3 to 4 km runs during the week and a 5 km on the weekend. Each long run (weekend run), I’d increase by 1 km. I also listened to my body and decreased every few weeks to let my body have a break.
While I was focused on this training and really happy with my progress, I should note that I was nowhere close to the times I once ran. I don’t blame pregnancy on this as I had a health scare in the years leading up to pregnancy that I think took its tole on me. I’m a highly competitive person, but I took this slower pace in stride (pun intended). Now that I’m a mom, I’ve chilled out a lot more and having time to run and pursue my own fitness makes me happy. I’m not longer focused on my splits, although slow or not, I always aim for a negative split.
My mantra for running post pregnancy is: No expectations, no limitations.
A quick Google search can turn up dozens of half marathon training plans. In some you have to run 5 days a week, in others only 3 days. Some have steep build ups in long run mileage, while others are more gradual. I suggest you open a spreadsheet, take what you like from multiple plans that you’ve reviewed and plug that into your own plan.
For me I have a simple long run build up that I don’t mess with in the 7 weeks leading to the race, which is as follows:
While this builds my last several weeks, most training plans should cover a minimum of 18 weeks with a minimum distance of 10 km to begin. Keep this in mind as you set your sights on your goal race and plan accordingly.
Plan out when you are going to run, then make it happen. I nurse my daughter to sleep at 7 PM daily and I only have an hour with her before bedtime so I know during the week I need to run later that I’d prefer. Running at 7:30 PM means most of the year it is dark so I have a reflective vest and my husband knows my route.
For my weekend long runs, I aim to be home by 8 AM. This means I may need to be up before 6 AM or for a shorter run, closer to 6:45 AM. Yes, it is early, but I’m committed to my training and I find running enjoyable.
I’ve got an amazing training partner that happily runs at my odd ball times. She supports me, loves me, and let’s me talk on and on about whatever is bothering me. You won’t find a training partner better than mine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and find one. I forgot to mention, my training partner is my mom – my IRONMAN, marathoner, more energy than I’ll ever have, MOTHER!
Let me know if you have questions – I’m passionate about running and happy to help you figure out how to juggle it into your busy life.
Related posts: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report
I am happiest when I have solved a problem with the use of a spreadsheet. A few years ago, I began using a spreadsheet to make my weekly meal plans. Having weekly meal plans keeps me focused and efficient. Also, my husband and I both arrive home from work between 5:30 and 6 PM and that doesn’t give us much time to boil water, let alone make an entire meal.
If meal planning is going to be a shock to your system, then start out slowly with only planning weeknight dinners and plan to make more than you need so you can eat leftovers during the week. I know leftovers are a polarizing subject, but let it be known I’m #TeamLeftovers.
Below is a sample week for my family:
|Dinner||Leftovers||Veggie Stir-fry with chicken and rice||Leftovers||Pasta with microwaved meatballs||Crock pot Chicken w/root veggies.|
|Next Day Prep||Measure rice.
Take chicken out of freezer.
|Boil pasta + assemble.
Take whole chicken out of freezer.
|Chop veggies and get crock pot ready.|
|Evening Activity||8pm Run||8pm Run|
I find it very useful to add additional rows to my weekly meal plans to include “next day prep” and “evening activity”. As a result of “next day prep”, you don’t forget to take food out of the freezer. This allows freezer food time to defrost and you can also plan more evening prep when you anticipate a more hectic next day. The above example shows that I take my chicken out of the freezer and into the fridge on Wednesday night. Come Friday, I can put the thawed chicken into the crock pot.
Depending on the amount of time you have to prepare your dinner each day, you can adjust the amount of next day prep to do and move some to the day of. For me, it is useful to have my rice and water measured the night before so that it is ready – all I have to do the day of is rinse the rice and turn on my rice cooker and in 15 minutes, I’ll have my carbs!
I add rows to my weekly meal plans for my daughter (the Munchkin), to indicate who will pick her up from daycare (e.g., my husband or the grandparents) and on what night she needs a bath. If my husband and I are eating perogies or potatoes then I need to plan a meal for the Munchkin that is different from ours. She’s usually a good eater, but has always refused potatoes.
You can expand the weekly meal plans to include weekends and all other meals. I’ll be sure to blog about some of my favourite quick and easy week day meals.
My family likes that I use the Mickey’s Printable Weekly Menu [pdf] found on the Disney Family site here: https://family.disney.com/activity/mickeys-printable-weekly-menu/
I can quickly write in what our dinner is for each night and post it on the fridge. Alternatively, you can start with this if it is your first foray into meal planning. Posting the printable Mickey menu on the fridge helps us keep Disney alive all year in our home!
If you’ve survived a busy week, then treat yourself to my Churro Treats at Home Recipe for a weekend family brunch.
Happy Wednesday to all! Each Wednesday, I highlight a festival and local fun from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley. This week’s festival is the first event in the 2017 McBurney Plaza Summer Series in downtown Langley. As for local fun, I’m highlighting Campbell Valley Regional Park.
This event takes place in downtown Langley at McBurney Plaza from 12 to 3 PM on Saturday, June 24. Science World is taking to the road and will be doing live science shows at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30pm. Last week I took my 2 year old and nieces (9 and 11) to Science World and all three kiddos were surprisingly engaged watching the science shows. Get ready for occasional explosions, exploring electricity, and imploding marshmallows.
In addition to the shows, there are the spot activities, make and take science areas, and a discovery tent.
McBurney Plaza is located at 20514 Fraser Hwy, Langley. Website info: http://www.downtownlangley.com/events-calendar
As a high-schooler, I ran cross country through Campbell Valley and I always loved how immersed in nature you’d feel. This week I took my nieces and 2 year old to the park for a walk. We enter the parking lot off of 16th Avenue (between 208 and 200 St), which takes us to the start of the Little River Loop. Detailed map can be found here.
The Little River Loop is a 2.2 kilometre trail on compact, crushed rock and over a few wooden boardwalks. Not all of these boardwalks have railings and while the fall off would be short, you’ll want to keep little ones close.
I opted for my baby carrier (the Ergo still fits my toddler on my back) instead of the stroller. The main reason I didn’t bring the stroller was I didn’t want a dirty stroller in my vehicle.
Be prepared for birds and squirrels galore! I’m far from a bird watcher, but it was amazing to see the different colour birds around us. The kids loved running along the trail and searching for the biggest trees. We measured the size of the trees by our ability to hold hands and hug the tree. Pack a snack and enjoy some time with nature and your kiddos!
For more information on fun in Langley, check out my Local: Langley page.
When I’m at Disneyland, I have a weakness – I can’t walk past a churro cart without wanting to stop. I remember as a child, standing by Rivers of America, when my dad brought me my first churro from the stand by the Haunted Mansion. It has since been my fifth food group while on vacation in Disneyland.
While I crave churros all year, I’m fortunate to have grown up in an Italian family where we had a special occasion breakfast tradition of “fritti”, which is fried bread dough topped with sugar. When I’m not at Disneyland, I can make fritti at home and be reminded of the fried chewy, yet crunchy goodness of churros.
These are more like “beaver tails” or “elephant ears” than the long stick-like churros, but they are also a whole lot easier to make at home without much effort. That said, these are still fried-doughy goodness like that of a churro. Call ’em churros, call ’em fritti; as long as someone is making them, I’m happy!
1 loaf of frozen French bread dough
2 cups Vegetable (Canola) Oil
Butter, for spreading on finished product (use your pre-made butter dish)
1 cup Sugar
3 tsp Cinnamon
Take frozen loaf out of the freezer the night before and leave it out overnight on a cutting board with large bowl/lid on top of it to allow it to rise.
Cut off a piece of dough about the size of an egg. Stretch the dough with your hands; keeping it about ¼ inches thick. Shapes when pulled will be round or oblong – it’s not a science so don’t worry about messing it up! Note: in the pictures I actually made dough from scratch instead of store bought frozen bread dough. Using homemade (super sticky dough) is why I had to flour my cutting boards.
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Oil should be at least a few centimetres deep, this may require more than 2 cups. Allow oil to heat up (e.g., a water droplet will cause sputtering in the oil so stand back!). Gently lower the stretched dough pieces, one at a time, into the hot oil and fry each side until golden brown. Layer cooked fritti on top of paper towels. Serve immediately.
Combine 1 cup of sugar with cinnamon in a bowl or a pie plate. Add more cinnamon to your liking and set aside.
Butter your fritti then spoon the cinnamon and sugar mixture onto it. Shake off excess sugar. Due to shaking off the excess sugar you may prefer to have your mixture in a pie plate as it is larger and will catch more of the excess when you shake it off.
We make fritti for most special occasions so I keep a premade cinnamon and sugar container in my cupboard. Don’t fret about measuring cinnamon and sugar as it is best to make it to taste. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy fritti as much as I enjoy eating a churro in Disneyland. Thank you for reading!
In honour of Father’s Day this weekend, I’m dedicating this post to a fun activity dad will love: LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game!
Last month we had an amazing Disneyland vacation where I was able to research first-hand how to have a successful time at a LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game.
We opted for an afternoon game to give us some mid-day enjoyment. In reviewing the LA Angels of Anaheim schedule it appears that their home games on Saturdays are 6:07 PM and Sundays are 12:37 PM. As for weeknight home games, those appear to be scheduled for 7:07 PM.
If you choose an afternoon game then try to get a seat in the shade. This can be done by picking seats on the third base side, especially the 200 level. We sat third base side, section 104, row 3 (by the foul post), and were in sun the entire time. If we moved probably 15 rows up in this 100 level we could have been shaded. That said, we had amazing views!
My husband has a very specific fitted hat size and whenever we travel we always support the home team. To be sure he’d have an Angels hat we purchased them online a month before our Disneyland vacation. This way we had the hats for the entire trip and it was fun to walk through the Vancouver airport at the start of our trip being all matchy-matchy. The stadium had no shortage of shirts, hats, and other merchandise to purchase.
We rented a car for our vacation and from Harbor and Katella we had about an 8 minute drive to the Stadium. Directions were simple and we didn’t even need to plug it into the GPS. Parking at the stadium was $10 and the walk to the closest gate was no more than a minute or two.
I spoke with our hotel staff who advised that Uber would cost $10 and a taxi would be a bit more. We opted for a rental car because of car seat requirements.
The “Will Call” line was where we had to obtain our tickets and we only had one person in front of us in line. As for the line-up for security and getting in the park, that moved quickly as well. No bottle necks, at least not 15 minutes before the first pitch in what we experienced.
While the stadium had various food options ranging from hot dogs to poke, we stuck with regular ballgame food. Hot dogs, popcorn, and water were all priced similar to Disneyland. As a Canadian, I felt that the prices were more reasonable than what we pay at sporting events back home.
My 3 tips for a successful trip to an LA Angels of Anaheim game are as follows:
Have fun and happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
It must be Wednesday since I’m blogging about the local fun happening this weekend in Langley. As a resident of Langley, I’m always impressed that we can find lots of fun on the weekends without having to drive far. The highlighted festival this weekend is: Langley Community Day. The Local Fun this weekend is the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
This Saturday, June 17 from 11am to 3pm head over to the City of Langley Community Day festival. This festival is taking place at Douglas Park (20550 Douglas Crescent). The theme for 2017 is to honour Canada’s 150th birthday. Almost every 30 minutes a new act will be hitting the stage: from First Nations drummers to line dancers and even rock bands!
I’m looking forward to the Fire Rescue Kids Challenge to see how my munchkin will try her best to step up to the challenge. Also interesting is that there will be both a Teen activity zone and a Kids activity zone. BBQ concession for those in need of lunch. Best of all, the Langley Community Day is free!
More info can be found here: https://city.langley.bc.ca/events/community-day-festival
This weekend the Fort Langley National Historic Site is hosting Aboriginal Day on Saturday and Sunday (June 17 and 18). Events are planned from 11am to 4:30pm. There are 4 key events that are repeated three times each day. I’d plan to be there, ready to participate, on the hour or half hour. In addition, I’d intend on being there for 2 hours to participate in each of they key events. The 4 key events are:
Best of all is that in 2017, admission to the Fort is free!
See you at the City of Langley Community Day or at the Fort this weekend!
For additional information on staying Local in Langley check out my page: Local: Langley
Last month we enjoyed our Disneyland Vacation over Mother’s Day weekend.
To be honest, the trip was planned around the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the dates collided in a magical way! While we didn’t seek out a Mother’s Day vacation it was really special spending it on vacation. A full week of not having to wash dishes sounds good to me!
In planning how to spend Mother’s Day in Disneyland, I considered our itinerary carefully. I knew we would be going hard at Disneyland on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and another day might be too exhausting. Mother’s Day became our day for brunching, baseball, and pool time. I also wanted to keep the Disney magic alive so I added a Character Meal and time to explore Downtown Disney. I was also running a half marathon on Mother’s Day and didn’t want to over-extend myself.
Disneyland accepts reservations 60 days in advance, but in March when it was getting close to booking there was no Mother’s Day specific dining information available. Mother’s Day specific information is usually released closer to Mother’s Day on the Disney Blog. However, a quick Google search told me of past Mother’s Day events. These dining related events were typically a tea or special dessert being featured on a menu. I felt that obtaining a reservation 60 days in advance was more important than waiting for the information to be released.
I had reminders in my calendar to make my dining reservations exactly 60 days in advance. I’m up at 5:30AM for work, which was the perfect time to log in and get my reservation. Reserving this early allowed me to obtain the exact time I wanted (9:30AM) at Disney’s PCH Grill. I picked Disney’s PCH Grill because I knew I wouldn’t be in Disneyland or California Adventure that day and I wanted to keep the Disney magic alive. Disney’s PCH Grill is located at the Paradise Pier Hotel and upon arrival in the restaurant you are greeted by Mickey Mouse!
My Mouse House Mom tips for a successful Mother’s Day at Disneyland are as follows:
We added a baseball game to our Mother’s Day and I’ll talk about that later this week when I highlight Father’s Day fun.
Related Posts: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report (Race was on Mother’s Day).
In the last week before the end of my maternity leave I took the Munchkin in to the day care for a couple hours each day to support her “gradual entry”. I wish I had a gradual re-entry to help ease into my career after maternity leave. Instead, I spent the Munchkin’s gradual entry time at day care at the mall updating my professional wardrobe. Taking the full year of maternity leave, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I wore my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Due to seasonality and the need for stretchy maternity clothes, it had been two years since I wore spring clothes at work.
I remember my first day back after maternity leave being a Monday and I had to wake up before 5am to nurse the crying baby, put the baby back to sleep, and then start my morning routine. Many tears were shed that morning (mainly my own), but my little family survived the dreaded first day “after maternity leave”.
Our day care staff were all amazing and we didn’t have to worry about the Munchkin’s needs being met. After maternity leave ended, I needed to learn to manage all of the mom-guilt I was feeling.
In the first two months back at work, the Munchkin refused to nap at day care. This meant, as a one year old, she was awake from 7am to 5:30pm. On the drive home from day care she’d constantly be falling asleep. This lack of seriously required sleep caused mom-guilt.
When the Munchkin refused to nap at day care people kept telling me that “next time” I needed to start spending more time away from the baby closer to going back to work so that after maternity leave “next time” it will be better. To me that sounds practical, but I also know that after maternity leave ends, my daily time allowance goes from spending all day with the baby to spending less than 2 hours of quality time with the baby. I would go the “cold turkey” route again in a heartbeat. If there’s a choice between time with my child and time to myself, the decision is easy.
After maternity leave, I had to still supply the Munchkin with milk for her time at day care. This meant I had to pump at work and I alerted my manager of this a month or two before I returned so that I could have a place to pump in private. Pumping at work added another layer of complexity to determining my post-maternity leave office routine. It was a stressful time, settling in to this new office routine of pumping milk instead of grabbing a coffee or fresh air. I had also received a promotion so I was starting in a more advanced position and needed to catch up on all of the activities over the past year.
I think we’ve all heard someone say “pregnancy brain” but after I became a mom I heard “mom brain” a lot. This is an extremely demeaning term that we need to banish from our vocabs. This actually had me worried that maybe I’d have a lag and it would take my brain time to switch to analytical mood, but that wasn’t the case. In my opinion, society underestimates the work of parents in supporting and keeping an infant alive and thriving. When parenting, you are constantly making decisions and judgement calls, then immediately implementing those decisions and then moving to the next challenge. Now that I’ve been back at work a while I think I’m a more efficient employee and I second guess myself less, which I think is due to my other full-time job of being a parent.
I’ve now been back to work for over a year and my little family is surviving and thriving. I’m no longer pumping at work and I’m really enjoying being back in the office working. Having a career allows me to pursue my skills and passions and is a key piece of my identity.
Thanks for reading!