If You Keep On Believing

As the end of December loomed, and we were placed into yet another lockdown, with school and sports and even outdoor visits taken away from us yet again, my word for the year came to me: Believe. With so much of my “normal” everyday life stripped away, more than ever I needed a word as a touchstone this year, something to ground me in the hope that things will get better.


1. Accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of, without absolute certainty.

2. Hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose.

3. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy or ability of something.

With today being the last day of January, I’ve had a month to live with my word. And it hasn’t been easy. Little beliefs that I had been clinging to were gradually dispelled of as case counts of the virus increased and restrictions on our movement and activities were correspondingly increased. And it all came to a head yesterday when I felt truly overwhelmed by the sadness of the reality to which we keep waking up. The irony that it is Groundhog day here on Tuesday is not lost on me.

But I digress. This morning, I woke up to an email announcing the start of the #The100DayProject. It was just what I needed to read this morning; I needed a call to action; something to stir me out of my doldrums and get me excited about what is to come when lockdown will inevitably come to an end and some form of normalcy will resume.

And so, welcome to Day 1 of my 100 Days of Disney quotes:

Why Disney quotes for 100 days? Well . . . I have been working on a project with the kids since the start of the year – every school day, we start the day by copying a quote into a notebook and illustrating the quote with chalk pastels while we talk about the quote. I started this project so that the kids could have a tangible record of the kinds of words and ideas and people that are most important to me. My hope is that they can refer back to their books when they need words of comfort, or inspiration, or wisdom. And that they will remember the cozy mornings we spent together in lockdown creating these books.

Anyway, this little project with the kids has reinforced for me my belief in the power of words. And that power, combined with the magic of Disney, surely will be the light and inspiration I need to climb out of the darkness of this particular winter and into a new season, in every sense of the word.

Emerging From the Proverbial Cocoon & The End of the 100 Day Project

For the last TEN weeks, our house has been under renovation.  What was supposed to be a quick and painless project turned into a long and tedious one that culminated last week in most of the contents of the house residing somewhere other than where they’re meant to be.

I had been prepared for a 6-week adventure of living and cooking out of our basement.  Six weeks, I figured, was nothing.  We could totally get by using 2 bar fridges, a chest freezer, a barbecue and an instant pot.  Six weeks, with the end of school, the start of summer, and all the activities that happen during that period, would fly by.

But as six weeks turned into ten, the project started to take a toll – at least on me, anyway.  My entire way of living was thrown for a loop.  Meals were consumed at odd times, composed of things that didn’t need to be cooked (no eggs), that took up little room in our compressed refrigerator space, or that could be prepared in about 5 minutes flat.  Daily visits to the gym were more often that not cancelled as I found myself running out to Lowes or Home Depot for emergency supplies, or simply waiting in my house for tradespeople to show up.  For someone who has such an entrenched routine (one that has been devised over the past few years to produce optimal vitality), and who craves consistency, predictability, and order, this past month has been nothing short of torture.

With that being said, the final aspects of the project should be completed on Friday, marking the end of this long cocooning period, with my new kitchen emerging out of the dust and debris like a beautiful butterfly.

Which means . . . I can go back to life as usual.  I can cook and eat the way I want to.  I can exercise when I want to.  And of course, I can putter around my house and my garden without having to look out for where the tradesmen might be working.

Sadly, over these last ten weeks, #the100dayproject has also been running.  And while I have been taking photos of the sky every day, for the last few weeks, I simply haven’t had the energy to post my photos and quotes.  As day after day went by without posting, the guilt grew over my inability to complete this project the way I had intended to 100 days ago.

Taking a page from Emily Ley’s Book, Grace Not Perfection, I decided to cut myself some slack, relax, and and be content that I at least managed to take a sky photo every day, even if they weren’t all posted.

And as I was contemplating all this, while I stepped out tonight to take my 100th photo, I found a very fitting sky . . .


An absolutely stunning show of a sunset . . . with . . . a few dark clouds rolling through for good measure.  Proving once again, that nothing’s perfect.  And that perhaps the sunset was made even more beautiful by the start contrast with the dark storm clouds.

So, with that wonderfully, metaphorical photo, I will once again be bringing my 100 Day Project to an end.

However, with my new kitchen, renewed time now that I’m not dealing with the multitude of issues that arise from any sort of renovation project, and the bevy of wonderful things that summer brings, I will once again get back to sharing stories and adventures, and workouts and recipes, and other assorted good things with you.


The Return of #The100DayProject

So today marks the start of this year’s #The100DayProject – 100 days of doing something creative – and posting about it on Instagram.  I LOVED this project last year.  And I am pretty excited to start it again this year.

Just like last year, my plan is to take a photo of the sky every day for the next 100 days.  Last year, I found this practice profoundly enlightening; even on the greyest days, I was forced to find beauty in the clouds.  And on the days with the clearest of blue skies, I was forced to find something interesting to capture.  All of which, of course, is oh so applicable to real life . . . that even in the worst of situations, there is a little bit of good (you just have to search for it).  And that things are never truly interesting if they are completely “perfect”.

So . . . without further ado, I’m kicking this year’s project off . . . with a photo of the stormy skies we’ve had all day today.

“Without rain, nothing grows.”

Even though I was hoping (kind of like last year) for a spectacular sunrise, I am not disappointed to have had grey skies all day today.  100 days from now, these same trees will all be covered in brilliant green leaves.  The flowers will be in bloom.  And the birds will be happily chirping.  Or, to put it differently, within the span of the next 100 days, we will be out of the grey rainy days of April and into the sunny, verdant days of summer.  A metaphor for life if ever there was one . . . out of grey, difficult times, we emerge, a brighter, more interesting version of ourselves.

The End of My #the100dayproject

As I went to sleep last night, I was excited.  I brought the kids to the cottage with me, and I could not wait to take the last of my 100 photos of the sky up north.  I was hoping for a gorgeous sunrise photo – the kind that I seem only to be able to capture from the rocky shores of Georgian Bay.

I was woken up by the first kid at 5:45 – the older one, anxious to see the highlights of the Jays game from the night before was up and begging to turn on the tv.  As I opened my eyes and looked out the window . . . all I saw were clouds.  I resigned myself to the idea that I would simply take a photo later in the day – maybe of a gorgeous sunset instead – and went on with my morning activities – like making coffee and breakfast for the kids.

As I was puttering around the kitchen, I looked out the window only to see my sunrise.  What had been an overcast sky had turned into one with just a few clouds and the sun miraculously rising through them.  It was gorgeous.  And with hushed instructions NOT to wake granny & granddad and to wait for me to get back, I ran out the door to try and capture my photo.

But not matter how hard I tried, I could NOT capture what I had seen out of the kitchen window.  All I got was this:


I returned defeated yet again, and got back to assembling breakfast.

As I set the table and sat down with the kids, I looked out and down towards the Bay.  For the second time this morning, I grabbed my phone, issued hushed instruction to the kids to behave, not to move, and to WAIT till I got back, I ran down to the water, and was able to capture this:


And once again, I was reminded that things don’t always work out the way you hope or expect them to.  And that sometimes, that’s for the best.  I didn’t get a perfect photo of the sun rising this morning.  But I did capture an image that I absolutely love.

And why is it that I love this photo so much?  Because it perfectly captures both the light and the dark.  Like some of the other photos I’ve shared, it’s a reminder (to me, anyway), there there is always light after the dark (or that there really is always a silver lining to every cloud).

But more than anything this morning, I was reminded of the concept of perspective.  Throughout this project, all I’ve had to do to capture a really interesting image, was to turn a quarter turn, walk a few extra steps, or simply try to look at the sky from a different angle.  Today, I was looking, and hoping and expecting to find my perfect photo in one direction, when all I had to do was look in the opposite direction to find it, my joy for the day.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…………….

If I’m to be really honest, I’m sad that this 100 days has come to a close.  I have genuinely looked forward to taking these sky photos every day, and while some days the quotes I used just appeared to me, other days I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few moments looking for the perfect quote to use.  I have loved taking a few moments out of every day to look up at the sky, to pause whatever it was that I was doing, and spend a little, even it was only 60 seconds, by myself.  While I’ve thought about continuing this project for another 100 days, I don’t want to spoil the magic of these past 100 days.  And so, with this I’m saying goodbye to this project and I’m off to figure out something to challenge myself with next . . .






If someone asked you how you nourish yourself, how would you answer the question?

Would your thoughts automatically turn to the food you eat?  Or would you think about the things you do for yourself, the things you love, the things that make you come alive?

As the pace of life speeds up around here in what seems like an exponential fashion, with the plethora of end-of-year plays, presentations, recitals, competitions . . . I’ve found myself saying to the Husband, “I just need an hour to myself”.  Evidently the Husband grew a little tired of my refrain and finally asked me point blank “How in a day do you not have an hour to yourself”.

And then, in that funny way the universe has of delivering exactly what you need when you need it, I came across this article, “The Busy Person’s Lies” in the New York Times.  To paraphrase wildly, turns out I, along with pretty much the rest of us, have more “free” time in a day then we think we do.  Which means, the Husband is right.  I most definitely do have an hour to myself in a day – it might not be 60 consecutive minutes, but those little bits of time here and there most definitely add up.

Which brings me back to the title of this post . . . Nourish.

For the past 42 days, I’ve been taking a picture of the sky, pairing it with a quote that appeals to me on that day, and posting it on Instagram.  I’ve been LOVING this project.  I’ve found myself slipping out of the house, often walking a block or two, or sometimes just out on to the front porch, to capture something in the sky that’s caught my attention. These little “outings” (they take less than 5 minutes usually), nourish me more than you can imagine.  And while I might spend more than a few minutes reading quotes to find the best one to go along with my photo, these are not minutes I dread . . . in fact, it is quite the opposite . . . I have loved and learned and been reminded of so much in the words that I have read.  Put differently, and much more succinctly, this little project that takes just a few minutes each day, makes me happy.  Really happy.

And when you’re happy, your likely to enjoy doing a lot of other things too – ok, household chores may still be a well, chore, but they seem to be so much more enjoyable when you’re in a good frame of mind.

Of course, when you’re in a happy state of mind and things are ticking along nicely, you might just find you’re not desperate for that glass (or 2 or 3) of wine at the end of the day.  Or you’re not raiding your cupboard for something sweet or salty or “not good for you”.  Instead you might find yourself choosing to physically nourish yourself with more nutritionally dense foods (you know, the foods that are “good” for you).  And as you eat less of the “bad” and more of the “good”, you start feeling even better . . . . lighter, happier, energized . . . and so the cycle continues.

My point in all of this is this . . . we likely all have more time in a day than we think we do. We likely all have at least 15 minutes, if not an hour (even if it’s not all in a single 60 minute stretch) do to something that nourishes us.  If we can take that small amount of time, and really appreciate the fact that we are doing whatever it is that we want to do in those minutes, we might just find ourselves a little bit happier.  And from that, over time you may find yourself making most more little changes that bring you even more happiness and nourish your body and your soul.

And on that note, I promise to no longer utter the words “I just need an hour to myself”.  Because I now know, that I don’t need an hour.  I just need a few minutes to connect with what brings me joy and to show gratitude for those few minutes and all will be right in my world.





A Moment of Gratitude

I was mid-workout at the gym today when I saw something out of the corner of my eye that struck me so deeply I needed to pause and take a moment of gratitude for where I am in life, and the fact that some days I am blessed with, and can appreciate, moments of pure unadulterated joy.

To backtrack for just a moment, I feel like I have to explain a few things here . . . I haven’t been writing much, mostly because I’ve been away.  We just got back from (another!) trip to Disney.  This trip was special though . . . this trip was a real family trip . . . my parents took my family and my brother’s family for a week in the Magic Kingdom.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  I can’t remember the last time our whole family was so happy.  I will forever remember my parents walking around the Magic Kingdom holding hands wearing ear hats.  I will never forget the Husband and my brother pushing strollers wearing ear hats around the Magic Kingdom either!

But I digress.  Five years ago, our little family of four made their first trip to Disney.  Five years ago, on that trip to Disney, I was forced to face the fact that my symptoms were not getting better, they were getting worse, and it was after getting back from that trip that I started in earnest down the path that would lead to my diagnosis, and everything else that followed.

In 2 weeks, I have my annual follow-up MRI and checkup  And after that’s done, my 5 years post-treatment will have passed, and I will officially be declared “cured” by the medical community.

I will admit that going into this trip I was thinking that the timing of it had worked out pretty perfectly … What better way to mark the end of this chapter of my life.

But looking back, this trip didn’t feel like an ending … It felt like a celebration of a new beginning.  A lot has changed in the last five years …. (I know it’s gratuitous, but I had to throw in these before and after photos – the dress my little one is wearing in the first phot was given to her by my amazing friend that she is named after, making this a very special photo for me) ….



But most of all, I’ve changed.  I know now that things change.  All the time.  And that it’s not always good to hold on to the past or what is . . . because some really good things can come from change.  This has really been reinforced over the last few weeks as I’ve been working gone my #the100dayproject.  The sky is constantly changing, sometimes it gets cloudy, sometimes the clouds give way to clear skies, and sometimes, there is just a sea of blue sky.  Just like life, sometimes bad things happen, but the bad times do end, and give way to happier times.  And sometimes, there are nice stretches of happiness.

I also know now that I know how to take care of myself when things aren’t so good.  I  know how to properly nourish myself and my family.  I know what my, and my families’ sleep needs are.  And I know how to take care of myself and my family on an emotional level.  And so, when something that’s “not so good” happens again (we’re human, it will) I have an amazing set of tools to rely on to get me and the family through the tough times in a much better way that I ever could have before.

In my old role as a banker, I would be taking this time to sit down and plan out the next five years.  To envision where I’d like to be, what I’d like to be doing, and to think of the steps that need to get taken in order to get there.  But what these last 5 years have taught me, since none of it was planned, mapped out or premeditated,  sometimes, it’s just better to go with the flow; to do what feels best for you in your gut/heart/soul, and that as long as you come at things from a place of love, things will be ok.

And as I finish up this post, I am again faced with that deep sense of gratitude.  I am so very grateful for all that has happened since that trip 5 years ago.  And I am so very grateful for the place I find myself in today; a place of pure joy.


#100DaysOfLookingToTheSky & Some New Super Quick, Super Easy Recipes


The universe works in magical ways sometimes . . .

In my last post, I talked about how much happiness I derived from watching the sun rise with my kids each morning while I was on vacation.

Shortly after, I came across the #the100dayproject . . .

And an idea was born . . .

For the next 100 days, I’m going to take a picture of the sky.  It might be a photo of the sun rising . . . it might be of rain clouds . . . it might be of the sun setting.  From now until July 27th, I’ll be collecting these photos under #100daysoflookingtothesky.  I’m excited about this project.  Watching the sky is nothing if not life affirming.  I suppose that’s why so many phrases and sayings about the sun, the sky, the moon (the sun always rises, even the darkest night will end, the sky’s the limit . . .).  But I digress.  Like I said, I’m excited about this project and where it might lead me . . . metaphorically and physically.  And today could not have been a better morning to start the whole thing off . . . As I ran laps around our neighbourhood park early this morning, I captured the gorgeousness of the sun rising, and I have been in a happy frame of mind ever since.

And now to leave the esoteric behind and focus for a minute on the practical.  Spring is that magical time of year when activities like hockey and skating should be wrapping up with sports like soccer and baseball taking their place.  Instead, I’ve found the next few weeks will have us playing hockey, skating, AND playing soccer and baseball . . . which means, dinners in our house need to be able to get on the table quickly AND they have to be consumed quickly by everyone.

While it can be tempting to answer the call of the mac & cheese boxes that seem to scream my name from the pantry, I remain 100% committed to feeding myself, and the Husband and the kids real foods that aren’t processed and that contain minimal amounts of gluten and sugars.  So, what is it that we’re eating???  Well, last week we got home at 5 and I had 45 minutes to get my son fed and out the door . . . so I made salmon cakes with an avocado cream sauce, roasted cauliflower and steamed carrots.  In fairness, I did have 5 spare minutes in the afternoon before I had to pick the kids up from school, so I got the cauliflower chopped then so it would be ready to toss in the oven when we got home . . . but really, that only took an extra 5 minutes . . .

Baked Paleo Salmon Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


4 tins of organic salmon (I use the Raincoast Trading brand)

3 eggs

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbs coconut flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs, paprika, salt, pepper and coconut flour.
  3. Drain the excess fluid from the salmon and add it to the bowl.
  4. Mix well so that the egg and salmon is completely combined.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop, drop about 1/3c of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I make about 7 patties from this recipe.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven, flip the patties over, and bake for another 10 minutes.

While the salmon patties were cooking, I threw a cookie sheet with the chopped cauliflower (which I had tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) into the oven too.  I also used the cooking time to scoop the flesh out of one avocado.  I put it into a bowl and mashed it well with a fork.  I added a few tablespoons of our kefir and stirred it around till it was well mixed – you could use sour cream, greek yogurt, plain yogurt in place of the kefir).  And I put a pot on the stove to steam some carrots to complete the meal.


Yes, everyone ate this meal . . . everyone enjoyed eating this meal . . . and I was one happy mom.

Best part . . . I could use one of the leftover patties for my lunch the next day, and the rest of the leftovers were frozen so we could have a SUPER quick meal at a later date . . .

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