Monthly Archives: May 2014

Saturday Morning Smile

Yesterday I did not get home from work until 11:00 because I was leading an event.  My three boys had a great night of bike riding, eating take-out by the lake, and climbing trees.  This morning we awoke well-rested, with the sun shining, and a full day ahead.  And sitting on our table, to brighten my day, are my very favourite flowers in the whole wide world – lilacs. They smell absolutely beautiful!  The blooming of lilacs, for me, always mark that time of the year when the world comes alive again, the sun feels warm, and many days of summer are ahead.  It is that time of the year when optimism is easier to find and dreams seem that much more possible.  The boys picked these for me on the way home from their bike ride.  This is my Saturday Morning Smile….


Anniversary: Celebrating Two Years Together as a Family

Today marked two years since our boys came home officially!  Two years ago, in the days leading up to May 29th, Bassam and I lit seven candles for the seven days leading up to their move-in date….and each night we counted down, lighting one less candle, bringing us closer and closer to the night when our boys would be home for good.


And amidst the excitement, chaos, craziness, nervousness and emotional roller coaster that was that first night, we found a moment of calm and lit another candle…..this one having three wicks to represent the boys’ journey….the first wick representing their birth family, the second representing their foster family, and the third wick representing our special family….this last wick encompassing all of who they are, where they have come from, the people who changed their lives along the way, their adoption, and who they will become as they grow through life.

And so each year we continue this tradition and all week have counted down the sleeps until our anniversary day, lighting that number of candles each night.  And each day we have commemorated our wonderfully crazy adventure of the last two years by doing something a little out of the ordinary or off the beaten path.  We have set out to be light, free, and connected in all we do.

Some of the things we did to celebrate:

  • had a relaxing outdoor evening and picnic dinner with another adopted family we have grown to love
  • had a good-for-the-soul sailing day, that included us four working together to take our boat to its limit – attempting to make it heel as much as possible – concluded by hooting, hollering, and loud cheers of satisfaction after reaching a 40-degree heel.  Yahooooo!
  • went to McDonald’s where we met for the very, very first time….and sat at the same table where we laid eyes on each other for the first time (it is the only time we eat at McDonald’s so the anticipation builds well!)
  • cuddled in one bed together and watched funny youtube videos just for laughs
  • each chose an instrument and made music together (if you want to call it that, lol)
  • watched this video from Tuesday’s America’s Got Talent auditions – and talked about how we too will be the success story

To our boys:

We love you unconditionally, we are so proud of you and all you have learned the last couple of years…..and appreciate all that you have taught us too.  You are beautiful, inside and out, and deserve happiness, acceptance, love, joy, friendship, and everything you dream of.  You have completed us.  The adventure of us four has just begun! Love you, always and forever.  xxxxxxxxx

Organic Convenience

organic, delivery

Love this online shopping concept that makes eating organic food that much more possible for busy families.  I know for us, we don’t always find all the organic vegetables and fruit we want in one spot, and we certainly don’t have time for multiple shopping locations each week.  To top it off, when we stock up even just a little bit on fresh organic food, it often goes bad before we consume it!  A frustrating waste of money!

This company, Northern Organics, delivers weekly organic food baskets right to your door.  The baskets are organic, delivery 2customizable online and you can make them as small or large as you want, according to the size of your family.  They require no membership fees, no ongoing commitment, and no delivery fee!

If you live in the Toronto area, I have heard that Mama Earth Organics is another great company with similar services.

Know of any similar businesses that aim to get organic food to our tables at affordable prices and ultimate convenience?  Is there a similar company in your area? 

Please share with Our Cosmic Community!

Being Bullied

Have you ever been bullied?

I was bullied. Someone in my class kept doing it. They kept smacking my back while I was playing on my sled, making me land on my chest. They kept on poking at me, and then when I got mad they would say “RAGE” or call me a freak. They then pretended that they did nothing. They would also tease me that I was not good at something, constantly. They would also tease me about my lunches along with other people. This made me feel sad, and not want to eat around people. All the stuff they did also made me very angry. Sometimes I made bad choices because of that.

So I told my teacher and my parents. Now my teacher sits in my class for lunch and my mom writes down everything that the bully does each week so that we can find out how to stop it. She talks to my teacher a lot.

If you are being bullied:

  • Ask For Help: always tell your parents or guardian and your teacher
  • Summon the Halloween Hound! (I just watched Spooky Buddies – good movie, 8+ – check it out!)
  • Eat pizza and get happy!
  • Try to relax yourself doing things you really like to do (ex. Draw, read, play video games, climb trees, skateboard, ski, and snowboard….these are all thing I like to do, myself, to relax)
  • Ignore them so that they don’t bother you any more
  • Try to make friends with people who care about you

p.s. I like the rainforest

Share in the comments your story of being bullied, and advice you would give to someone being bullied.

Solar Energy

I was reading the news a few of days ago and found this article about a couple who’ve come up with a way to resurface roadways with solar cells that can generate electricity while keeping the roads clear of ice.

It is a very interesting idea and I think it would be worth exploring, although I think it would be more realistic to cover parking lots and generate power.  For example, to supply a shopping mall with power than trying to cover over roadways.

I wonder what the cost is and if this idea is even feasible. I imagine the cost of the cells must be high but I think it’s worth exploring.

Take a look at this video. What do you think?

Sailing Season is Finally Here


Nothing is like sailing on a sunny day when the winds are around 15 knots. You get a nice heel going and can feel the wind on your face.. just awesome. The only thing that is better is when you are in the middle of a race with twelve or so other boats around you, and when the race is over you can go and anchor by the beach and have lunch and a swim off the boat.

The boys really love the swimming part, that’s for sure.

So glad sailing season is finally here.



Canada’s Food Guide: Misleading our Kids About Healthy Eating

Canada's Food Guide Mislea

When I question what Canada’s Food Guide is teaching our kids about healthy eating, I must consider what guidelines I could give them that would help them be the healthiest, happiest, longest living children on the planet.

So why wouldn’t we logically look towards the trustworthy publication put out by the all-knowing authority that creates Canada’s Food Guide, (or the US Food Pyramid for that matter)? Well, because despite the fact that we have a relatively high standard of living and have a government that supports the self-proclaimed superior western medical model, we certainly aren’t topping the longevity list for living the longest, healthiest lives. Why aren’t we? And who is? This really causes me to wonder if we are teaching our children the right thing…


It is well documented and accepted that diet determines about one third of the longevity equation. So when asking the question, what should we be teaching our kids about healthy eating, it makes most sense to begin by examining what the healthiest populations on the planet eat, those that can lay claim to being right at the top for longevity rates. What do they have in common? What foods do they eat more of? Less of?

Here is what I found:


The Okinawa population in Japan is the oldest, healthiest demographic in the world, and a 25 year study was conducted with conclusions that stated their diet is “lower in calories, carbs and salt and higher in nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamins” than their Japanese counterparts. It was also found that they “eat as Canada's Food Guide, Healthy Eating 2low down the food chain as possible,” including “very low meat intake”.


And within Italy there exists another little miracle population, so called the ‘village of eternal youth’ by scientists since their elderly live to a healthy 95 (as opposed to a sick 95). Tracy Lawson went so far as to live in the village for three years with this population and she reported her findings.  “The people there live in harmony with the land, the seasons, and each other. A Mediterranean diet is widely accepted as one of the healthiest in the world and theirs is described as hyper-Mediterranean.” And here are the secrets she discovered: olive oil, garlic, shallots, onions, and red wine (no problem!!), lots of fruits and vegetables, eating food in season, less red meat and butter, only lean meat when it is consumed, oily fish often, and beans and legumes usually, to replace meat protein.


Okay, so I then decided to look deeper into the diet plan that does the best job of eating low on the food chain: plant-based diets, and find out if there is any additional evidence out there that confirms this type of diet is superior. Let me tell you, I not only found evidence, but found the research to be extensive and the evidence plentiful! This link takes you to a site with further links to many studies. In addition, this site shows an example of a new food guide idea that proponents of plant-based diets have created to encourage new thinking.  Much clinical research and many well respected studies have been conducted about the role of plant-based foods and have documented its ability to reduce disease, and have “revolutionized our thinking about heart-healthy foods.”  And if you do your own research, you will find sites such as this one that outline plant-based foods high in protein, eliminating the need for red meat to get sufficient amounts.  And still other studies that have urged physicians to incorporate this knowledge into their practice and spread the word!

 Canada’s Food Guide – A Criticism

So what, again, is the word we are spreading and teaching to our kids about healthy eating? And why aren’t we being revolutionary? Canada’s Food Guide and the USDA Food Guide both give guidelines based on eating reasonable serving sizes from each of the categories daily, and both have categories for grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, here is where the discrepancies lie (excuse the pun):


Both guides teach our children that they should be consuming daily doses of meat – a diet practice that has been proven to be far inferior to consuming other protein sources! Both guides even name one of their overall categories MEAT and consider the proven healthier options (yes, proven) as ‘alternatives’. In fact, the US Food Pyramid proclaims that meat is an excellent source of protein for our bodies, and on its list of suggested lean choices for this entire category, red meats are the first four and fish is only at the bottom! Haven’t the studies conducted by our very own physicians, in regards to red meat versus other types of protein consumption, shown that the list should be in the opposite order, and that the other protein sources, so-called ‘alternatives’ should be now placed at the top?!

Canada's Food Guide, Healthy Eating

When looking further at the food guides with a critical eye, I became very suspicious of another overall category: MILK. Both guides heavily advocate for milk, Canada’s Food Guide suggesting that we drink two cups every day, and the US Food Pyramid claiming that milk is the best source of calcium that exists. Really? Nowhere in the studies of the healthiest populations on the planet does it say they consume a couple of glasses of milk as a key component of their health and longevity secret. Strange then for milk to rank so high by our food guides that it too gets its very own category. I definitely needed to learn more about this.


I became even more disheartened by the food guides and the message being sent to our kids about healthy eating when I found out that for this too, there are many respected studies out there that actually prove milk to be an inferior source of calcium. What I learned is that many varieties of plant foods contain more calcium and contain calcium in a form that is much better absorbed by your body. These foods also provide your body with many other nutrients you need at the same time, something milk does not. In fact, milk has been proven (yes, by physicians, through multiple clinical trials, documented in medical journals) to DEPLETE your body of calcium. If you are questioning the milk myth yourself, here and here are a couple of links that inform you of how, in reality, milk depletes calcium and both contain references and/or links to studies that support this finding. Not to mention the links to studies that prove the multitude of other risks associated with milk consumption (including cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease).


And to further criticize the guides, why does Canada’s Food Guide suggest we LIMIT trans fat? Shouldn’t it be telling us to ELIMINATE trans fat given the fact that this man-made fat is horrifically linked to heart disease? Why can’t I find anywhere in the food guides anything about eating raw vegetables, when possible, to maximize nutrients? Why don’t the guides teach our children the skills they need to learn food combining as it is so important to getting the right amount of protein and calcium from the absolute best sources – plant-based foods? Why isn’t the food guide pointing out that olive oil is far superior to any other? And at the very least, why doesn’t it teach about the difference in food quality, red meat especially, and the fact that eating no meat or only organic, free-range meat is a necessary choice over other red meats that are cheaper but proven to be top cancer causers?

 Canada’s Food Guide – In the Classroom

Canada’s Food Guide directs the curriculum our children are learning in their classrooms. And so I continue to question…Shouldn’t the classroom be leading edge? Shouldn’t we be teaching our children the most current information, and teaching them to view both the old and the new with their own critical eye? Why are we using this old fashioned, well-disputed, very flawed guide when we have access to much better information? And if Health Canada is to slow to change its publication, why isn’t the curriculum itself modified to require that students look at this guide critically and consider the evidence available to us? Why wouldn’t we want the children in our country to be taught the very best information and become the healthiest kids on the planet?

Canada's Food Guide, Healthy Eating 3

And my biggest question: why haven’t the food guides modified their milk and meat category names to ones that coincide with the nutrients they provide rather than a food type that has extensive research that opposes its benefits?


That leads me to question yet another thing….who is benefiting from continuing to send these out-dated messages to our children?? I have my suspicions….but maybe that is something for a different day….and a different post….


One thing I do know, is that I cannot deny the evidence that is out there. And now, armed with this knowledge, I must follow the old adage, when you know better you do better. I am eager to begin incorporating more plant-based meals into our weekly regimen. And I am eager to spread the word.


Question life, because that is always your prerogative.

Your thoughts and questions? Ideas on how to spread the word? Your plant-based meal ideas?

Share in the comments section with Our Cosmic Community.

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Family Bonding: A Food Competition

Family Food Competition

Family Food Competitions are our way of smooshing our love for food, for a healthy challenge, and for each other all in one activity!  So here are our rules for Family Food Competition nights:

1) Has to be a night when noone has any other plans (this IS the plan) so that timelines are super relaxed…..there is nothing worse than trying this on a night when bedtime or other obligations are a priority…takes all of the fun out of it.

2) The family must be divided into equal teams. (For us, it works to have two teams, and Mom and Dad each pair up with a child for safety and logistics.)

3) Everyone agrees on a theme, food ingredient, or ethnicity. (examples: Under the Sea or Pumpkin or Japanese)


4) Everyone agrees on the number of dishes to be prepared by each team. (usually two)

5) Teams plan their recipes secretly and make a grocery list.

6) Everyone heads to the grocery store and teams shop separately and pay separately…..all food items must remain concealed!


7) Mom and Dad work out a basic kitchen rotation schedule. Easy to do – food that can be mostly prepared ahead gets done first, food that needs to be cooked right before gets prepared last.

8) Kids Favourite Rule: Teammates must spend time together even when it is not their turn in the kitchen.  Popular activities include: Boardgames, cards, reading books, and usually, a super loud dance party to try and totally distract the other team….often resulting in full family dance routines, belly laughing, and burnt food.

9) Food is served in whatever way it works (one dish at a time, two at a time, all at once….)

10) Eating involves lots of ooohhhing and ahhhhing and guessing spices/ingredients.

11) Our focus is on cheering each other on and the element of surprise in regards to the dishes the other team created. Once we are eating the focus switches from secrecy and competition to appreciation and brainstorming ideas for the next competition night. (Maybe this will evolve, when the kids are older, into electing winners.)

12) Team combinations must be rotated for future competitions.

amily Food Competition 3

For our latest competition our theme was SALAD.  Here are the dishes we came up with:


salad, food competition


salad, food competition 2


salad, food competition 3


salad, food competition


Share with us your thoughts, ideas, and what you might try for YOUR family food competition.

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If you love hotdogHotdogs then do not watch this video.

So will you still eat one?

Life with Boys: A Mathmatical Equation


(Saturday Afternoon) + (Rainy Day) + (Long Drive to Ikea) +

(Cheap Lunch) + (Kitchen Cupboard Shopping) + (Bored Kids)


Two Boyish Imaginations


Sword fights with Cupboard Protector Rolls


Suction Cup Kitchen Brush Battles.

Life with Boys.