Floating tank

Too noisy inside your own head? Try floating.

When was the last time you switched off for at least an hour? I mean completely. No phone. No traffic. No kids. No noise, flashing lights or other distractions. Besides sleeping, it probably doesn’t happen often. And when it does, your brain is no doubt racing through everything that needs to get done by the end of the day.

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Self-care, Nadia Style

Self care, or self love, is the voluntary practice of maintaining your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Practicing self care regularly not only keeps your mind and body in great shape, it also enables you to better care for others.

When you’re feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, disorganized, chaotic, or stretched to your limits, self care helps you gain focus and clarity, and feel calm and relaxed. But it’s not just for when you’re stressed; self care should be a regular part of your weekly routine. It also brings us joy, a more positive outlook, and the ability to better deal with conflict, anxiety and difficult situations.

There’s no official self care strategy, or right or wrong way of doing it. It’s about finding what works for you and making the time to do what you enjoy most. Whether you dedicate ten minutes of your day or a whole hour, it still counts. Try some of these self care activities and see which ones work best for you.



Meditation is a fantastic self care activity which helps bring stress levels way down. You can do just about anywhere, and it’s free! Find yourself a quiet(ish) corner, sit on the floor or on a chair, and close your eyes. You can pop in some headphones and tune out with calming music, or use guided meditation podcasts like this one from Sip and Om. You’ll learn new breathing techniques from the guided meditations that you can use whenever you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious. It’ll take some time to get good at clearing your mind, but keep it up and you’ll soon get the hang of it.


Ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night (that’s 8-10 hours for most people), and don’t feel guilty about having a sleep in or a nap when you need it. Recharge your body, so it’s prepared for whatever life throws at it. Resting also includes disconnecting yourself from the TV and social media. Give your mind a break from all the distractions vying for your attention.

Diet and Exercise

We all know a healthy diet and regular exercise keeps us physically in shape, but our mental and emotional well-being relies on it too. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever, while a healthy diet keeps our brain sharp and our immune system strong (among other benefits of course!). Try keeping a diet and exercise journal for a week to see what you’re putting into your body, and how you’re looking after it physically. See where you can improve and set yourself realistic goals for the following week/s. There are literally gazillions of online templates, apps, and even actual “book books” you can use – even a plain lined notebook will do the trick!


Do you have a pile of unread or partially read books lying around? Reading is a perfect self care activity. It distracts your brain, relieves stress, and improves your memory and focus. If you need some motivation, join a reading club or start your own! Can’t commit to an entire book? Grab an interesting magazine or newspaper. Don’t want to read? Jot down your thoughts in a journal instead.


Colouring is huge right now, and you can pick up colouring books at just about any store. A great anxiety-buster, colouring polishes your fine motor skills and concentration. Leave a book in your drawer at work and take colouring breaks throughout the day – even 5 or 10 minutes. Or colour while you’re on the phone. I have The Secret Garden colouring book, and love it! If colouring is not your thing, puzzle books are just as effective.

Pamper Yourself

Get a relaxing massage, take a long soothing bath, start a new hobby (how about cooking or painting classes?), start a garden, go on a trip, take the afternoon off. Set time aside to just do ‘you’.

How to practice more self care

Practicing more self care is about making it a priority in your week and committing to it. We’re all ‘busy’, but we have just as many hours in the day as everyone else.

So either set aside the same time each day (for example a 15 minute meditation as soon as you get up each morning), or book an hour of self care activity time in your calendar–just like you’d book any other important meeting–and go to the gym or get a massage. Saying ‘no’ is another way of practicing self care by freeing up some of your time to focus on yourself.To do list

You’ll soon start seeing the positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional well-being and realize for yourself why it’s so important to spend more time on you.

Now it’s your turn – what do you do for self-care? Are you accountable? Join me in my February 2016 challenge which will be to consciously practice self-care at least once a week.

10 Great Things About Nadia!

Catchy title, eh? Thanks for reading anyway.

Truth is, this post is more for me than for you. Over the last few days (weeks? maybe longer?) I have felt – and mostly ignored – the mounting and overwhelming feelings of insecurity, uncertainty and general self-dislike. This happens from time to time, and usually ends the way it did today, with me sobbing uncontrollably in the shower trying to figure out *exactly* what is wrong. I still don’t actually know.

The tough part about being me is that most people see me as this happy-energetic-nothing-gets-me type of person, but honestly nothing could be further from the truth. Behind the confident smile and quick responsiveness is a little voice.  The little voice says things like “Really? Are you SURE?” and “You can’t do that!” and “Who do you think you are anyway?”

I would say that I’m having my semi-annual meltdown. The culmination of a severe lack of sleep, endless “to-do” lists and the desire to keep my shit together.  The truth of the matter is that Successful Business Nadia cannot simultaneously be Get To The Gym and Eat Perfect All the Time Nadia.  Supermom Nadia cannot simultaneously be Crazy Workaholic Nadia and Selfless Nadia cannot simultaneously be Please Pamper Me Nadia.

My mother is probably the best at dealing with Extreme Meltdown Nadia, although I’m sure she does feel a bit at a loss these days.  During my last catastrophic meltodown, I ended up in a friend’s basement at midnight, ugly-crying into her throw pillows while she looked at me incredulously and said “Wow. I have no idea what to say or do right now. You are my most ‘put-together’ friend. Huh.”  I realized at that moment that I’m seen in this world as someone much different than I see myself.

Sometimes, it just sucks.

Instead of a woe is me pity party, or a let’s go find someone who has things much worse off attempt (neither of these are difficult tasks), I decided to tell YOU some great things about me. The purpose of this whole thing, of course, is really just to tell ME some great things about me. Because me needs to hear that – from me – right now.

1) I give.  Yep, I’m a giver. If I have something, and you need it, I will give it to you.

2) I’m an open book. You might argue that this is a not great thing about me. However, I will share anything, with anyone, at anytime about my life or experiences.  I have learned *so much* about life and how I live that if would benefit someone, I’m happy to talk about it.

3) I don’t do passive-aggressive.  I’m honest about my feelings.  I don’t get “secretly mad” and not say something about it. How I’m feeling is exactly how I say I’m feeling. I don’t say I’m fine if I’m not fine, and I don’t “act.”

4) I love being a wife. I absolutely love it. I love the smile on Brent’s face when he sees me, I love cooking and taking care of the house, I love being “wifey”.  I would like to clarify that I’m not trying to say I’m the perfect wife, or that I’m an awesome wife. I just love being Brent’s wife. Even the messy parts.

5) I have a pretty catchy smile and a great sense of humour. I love to smile and laugh.  I’m trying to be as positive and happy as I can and it’s tough. But I think my smiley face makes other people smile.

6) I’m a great travel partner. I don’t stress about travel, I’m willing to go anywhere, with anyone, and try new things.  I don’t fuss about travel delays, and I generally love seeing new places.

7) I never complain in restaurants, and I don’t return things to retail stores. Ever. Like, ever.  I once read that someone who is not nice to wait staff is not a nice person. I believe this, wholeheartedly.  I will never, EVER treat anyone in a retail store or restaurant poorly (on purpose). I give loving feedback if I have a complaint, and I’m a fantastic tipper. On the flip side, I won’t shop or dine with you if you are nasty to wait staff or store clerks.

8) I’m a very hard worker. I like to work, and I like to get things done. I always try my best.

9) I love to cook for people. And I’m good at it! I love having people over, entertaining and feeding people.

10) I’m fiercely loyal. Always.  If you are a friend of mine, you are a friend forever.  I love a lot, and forgive easily.


🙂 I feel better already.  Off to face this day!

Season with Salt

When I need some downtime, I pick up my phone and scroll through my Facebook feed. It gives my mind a much needed break, and I can catch up on the latest happenings with my friends at the same time.  Like most of us who use Facebook, I subscribe to various groups for various reasons – parenting tips, Hollywood gossip, and groups that pertain to my companies.

Yesterday, I came across a sternly worded post in a group that started with “Avoid (business name) and (business owners name) at all costs!”  Reading further, I was then privy to nothing short of a rage-filled rant about this person’s experience with the local company, followed by 66 comments with varying degrees of support. Included in the comments were screen shots of emails exchanged between the business owner and the furious client, interspersed with threats of legal action.  By the time I finished reading it, (and yes, I shouldn’t have read it, but it’s the whole driving past a car crash thing…) I had felt as though I was punched in the gut.

Here is a sampling of some of the comments:

“..is the most awful excuse for a business…”


“…sounds like this business should be shut down.”

Sadly, some of these comments are from (soon to be removed) Facebook friends of mine.

Why does this affect me so much you ask?  Well, it’s because, as a local business owner myself, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that me or one of my companies could one day be the target of this type overreactive rage. I’m certain that there is likely some truth to the accusation; that the poster was perhaps in fact “wronged” by the business and is upset.  It happens all the time…because none of us are perfect. I have never met anyone who hasn’t had some sort of negative experience in a local establishment.  Does this warrant a social media rant like this?

What a lot of people don’t necessarily realize in moments like these is that people who own businesses use the income generated from their company to provide for their families, much like employees use their paycheque.  Imagine for a moment that, when you followed a policy or tried to work out a dispute with a client at your job, or made an error, your boss initiated a post on Facebook that started with “Jane is the most useless employee ever. You would not believe what she did today…”

How would you feel?  What would happen after that if 66 people commented with things like “What?! That Jane is just TERRIBLE! She should be fired!”

Regardless of the level and amount of truth in the initial post, you’d likely feel hurt, threatened, defensive, sad, emotional, violated, sick to your stomach.  If social media told you that your livelihood, or an error you made, or anything was “awful” it would suck.

Here are some guidelines (from my vantage point) on how to proceed with disputes with any organization:

1) Do it in private – Facebook, and other various forms of social media, are not appropriate ways to get what you want. Have a conversation, one that you can look back on later and say to yourself “I was really nice to that person, despite feeling upset.” Use peace, grace and kindness as the overriding principles when dealing with local business owners and never, EVER publicize emails or other written communication. At the end of the day, the conflict involves you and the other party, not the rest of your friend list.

2) Be reasonable –  Remember that you might not get your way. A business owner doesn’t “have to” refund your deposit, pay you damages, publicly apologize, or any such lunacy, much as you wouldn’t have to do that sort of thing if you screwed up at your job.  Being a bully as a result is never the right answer.

3) Handle it yourself –  It’s fine to seek advice from others. But dealing with a situation with 66 “backers” means you need to bring the whole rugby team to beat up the school wimp.  It means that you don’t have the strength to fight your own battles.

4) Pick up the phone, or pay a visit in person – So many disputes get escalated in emails and texts. The written word is greatly misunderstood at times, and if we are all being honest, we are MUCH meaner and more courageous behind a keyboard. So pick up the phone. Use email only as a way to schedule an appointment to discuss the situation in person.

5) Talk about you, not about the other person – Phrasing is critical.  I have found that phrases like “I feel that I have been wronged here and I am hoping you might consider refunding my deposit” rather than “You screwed me over! Give me my money back!”

6) Promote the resolution as much as the problem – You know how bad customer service spreads like wildfire? How about a Facebook post that says “Hey everyone! Guess what, (business) and I figured out a reasonable compromise!”

7) Be humble – I have never bought into “the customer is always right” – because it’s not true. Every disagreement or conflict requires at least TWO participants. Which means you, customer, are also somewhat wrong. Own it. You didn’t read the contract? Admit it. You misunderstood something? Say it. It will get you so much farther.

8) Don’t be a jerk – Ever. Seriously. Airing your disputes on Facebook is low, and it sucks. And that makes you suck. So don’t do it.

9) Be productive – Are you really, REALLY going to hire a lawyer over a dispute of $50? No. You aren’t. So don’t say you are going to. Speak the truth and have every interaction take you one step further to the resolution.

10) Season with salt – This was the best advice I had ever received, by way of a message at Grassroots.  It’s derived from Colossians 4:6 which says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” How I interpret this is to always let your words be live giving, instead of life taking. Deep down, is there ever any real satisfaction from “showing them” or “sticking it to the other person?” No.  If we are all honest with ourselves, it makes things worse.

Yesterday, I reached out with some words of encouragement to the fellow business owner.  What I’m hoping is that the rest of the population that reads the post takes everything that is written with a grain of salt (pun intended).



Insane Insomnia

I love sleep. I love that feeling that I get just before I fall asleep, and the feeling of waking up after a good sleep or a nap.

I have always prided myself on the ability to fall asleep quickly, and anywhere. Moving vehicle? I’m out. Couch? No problem. In fact, I can fall asleep pretty much 90 seconds after getting horizontal. I can fall asleep in the light and with noise.

I think my falling asleep abilities make some people jealous. I have heard horror stories about people who can’t “shut off” their brains to fall asleep at night, and take hours to do what I can do in less time than it takes to tie up shoelaces.

Also, up until about 2 years ago, I could wake up in the middle of the night and then be able to fall back asleep.

Not so much these days. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure that if it keeps up much longer I will have to do something a little more deliberate.

For the past 3 nights I have suffered from insomnia. Now, I hesitate to use the word “suffer” lightly. Cancer patients suffer. Impoverished communities suffer. Disaster victims suffer. But the inability to sleep being referred to as “suffer?” I dunno. Seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it?

But, ya, I’m suffering. I struggle to contain myself. I’m snappy, short-tempered, forgetful and illogical. And, I’m awake. And it’s 2:42am. I’ve been awake since 1:17, and I have no reason to believe that I am going to be able to fall asleep anytime soon.

The internet has some pretty funny stuff on insomnia, doesn’t it? It seems that those of us that can’t sleep try the most ridiculous things to achieve sleep. Here are the top 10 silliest things I have read on how to fall asleep.

10 – Get a massage. I don’t even want to know what would happen if I woke Brent up at 1:17 in the morning and told him that I couldn’t sleep and that he needed to give me a massage. I also don’t have an in house massage therapist, but I will say that my irrational sleep deprived mind is trying to figure out how to work this into the household budget right now.

9 – Drink milk. Specifically, warm milk. This is wrong on so many levels.

8 – Eat a banana. Ha! My mother was right! I can’t find any scientific reasoning why eating a banana will help me fall back asleep, but I assure you there is currently a banana working its way through my digestive system.

7 – Get up earlier in the morning – Brilliant! Except…waitaminute…it IS early in the morning and idontwannabeawake!!!!! Besides, I get up at 5:25 every day. One would think that I would drop into bed each night and stay there without any issue.

6 – Count sheep. Where did this come from anyway? Why sheep? Why not…chickens? Or money? Counting sheep for me goes something like this: 1….2….3….I really should remember tomorrow to address that email that Jane sent me….4…5…crap! I forgot to do that calculation…6…7…pizza money for the girls in their lunch…8…lunches…do we have bread? Did they put the jam away after their snack? What did Brent mean earlier when he walked right past me with his toothbrush in his mouth? I wonder if Zoom is going to be busy tomorrow. I really need to get started on that project that Bob asked me about…what was I trying to do? Oh yes. Sheep. Or was it chickens?

5 – If you can’t sleep, get up. Well this I understand, I guess. I’m up now, at my desk. I have a splitting headache. I’m debating coffee (yes, I know that’s wrong.) One thing is certain, I’m not asleep.

4 – Sleep with your head facing north – I think if I went into my bedroom right now and flipped my bed around so my head faced north, my husband would wake up pretty pissed and our bed would be on some crazy diagonal angle in our bedroom. Also, since insomnia has been a pretty new issue for me, I’m sure that my non-north facing habits haven’t caused it.

3 – Sleep with your head facing south – oh boy.

2 – Imagine it’s time to get up – Whaaa? Is this some sort of backwards psychology? Well, I did this. Guess what happened? I got up. Imagine that.

And the silliest insomnia cure I have read tonight is:

1 – Smoke yourself to sleep. I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Then, I clicked on the link, expecting to find this huge article on how smoking up is scientifically linked to better sleep complete with some plug about making this legal. Here is what it said, in it’s entirety:

“I’ve found the best thing to get me asleep is cannabis—and all the people I know who smoke it agree.” – Anonymous

Well, that settles it now, doesn’t it? Anonymous and all his high-as-a-kite friends are sound asleep.

To keep the record straight, me and my partially digested banana are going to try to have a bath. Good night!


Love is kind

It’s been a crazy month and a half. I couldn’t believe it when I logged in to find out my last post was in January. I would like to humbly admit that my first attempt at my second attempt of the love dare didn’t go well. To be brutally honest, Brent and I have had a rough six weeks.

I understand that most of the nonsense in our marriage is a direct result of my terrible sense of self worth and my lack of self confidence. It was some time after my last post that I realized that there is actually nothing about myself that I like. Now, before you all start awwww-ing, just hear me out. I’m actually ok with realizing that I don’t like anything about myself, because from there I was able to identify and conquer these items.

I have some broad goals for this year, in no particular order:

1) Get my body in better shape.

I don’t quite have this mapped out just yet, but I am struggling through the ongoing frustration of having drastically changed so much about my eating and activity habits only to see absolutely no changes in my physical appearance. 5 years ago I gave up soda pop, fast food and started actively exercising. Then, two years ago I gave up gluten, and started eating more fruits and veggies daily. Then last year, I started running regularly. Guess what the result was? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I haven’t lost any weight or dropped any inches.

My new view of this is that a dedicated and serious attempt is required: mindful eating of whole clean foods only. The only liquid to enter my mouth is water, 64oz per day minimum and sweat-inducing workouts 4 days per week. I have decided to track this for the next 12 weeks (with your help, Dear Reader, of course!)

2) Get my marriage in better shape.

Isn’t falling in love fantastic? Isn’t staying in love the most difficult thing in the whole world? Why does no one point this out in a clear fashion *before* married couples find themselves on the brink of emotional disaster? Truth is that Brent and I love each other terribly. I know this. I have read pretty much every relationship book there is, and the basic premises of these writings all make perfect sense – and all seem to completely vanish in the moment of a good argument. Our last big fight was on Valentine’s Day – how ironic. I miss being romanced and being doted on, something Brent pointed out was not in our wedding vows.

He has told me clearly that he has no intentions of being more romantic or changing in any way, so the reins are in my hands on this one. I’m going to try again.

3) Get my house in better shape

All five kids have grown since we last went through their closets, my room and kitchen need a major overhaul and the basement, well…ya. I am blessed to have Katie Miller in my life – she is coming to give me a hand at the end of the month. I find that I am much more relaxed when I feel like the house is in order.

4) Get work in better shape

All things considered, work is going pretty well. I have already completed a bunch of training this year and have a clearer idea of where I want the companies to go – implementation will begin May 1.

So – back to my love dare. On the topic of kindness to Brent, I have a long way to go. Some “journal” thoughts are this:

How would your husband describe you on the kindness meter? – Very low, ashamedly.
How harsh are you? – In general, I feel I come off as very harsh. This is not intentional. Brent has said to me “you have no idea how you sound” and I hate that about myself.
How gentle and helpful are you? – I feel like I am quite helpful. I try to lighten his household burden, but I get frustrated when it goes seemingly unnoticed. As for being gentle, yes, I am, but it’s intentional instead of natural.

I guess what I am realizing is that love needs to exist in me, even if I don’t feel I am receiving it. So, for the next 3 days I will say nothing negative to Brent, and I will show him at least one act of kindness per day.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.”- Ephesians 4:32

The Love Dare, Round 2

Last year I very quietly read, and (tried to) implement(ed) the Love Dare and the Respect Dare. At the same time.

They aren’t written by the same authors, but their 40-dare systems allow for integration, somewhat. So it worked…ish. I think most people that read these books operate like this is a “one time thing” because each dare gets more challenging than the next. They are geared towards a happy marriage, creating one, fixing one or preventing undue stress. I don’t consider myself to be a marriage expert by any means, but lately I have found odd trinkets of advice come out of my mouth. Brent and I are constantly talking about and trying to improve our marriage, and we can both humbly admit that we have said and done things to each other that were far less than what we’d expect from ourselves.

My goals this year include learning more about myself and expanding my consulting/teaching aspects of my job. I firmly believe that one cannot give what one does not have, so I have decided to take the Love Dare and the Respect Dare journeys again, only this time slower, and one at a time. I am starting with the Love Dare.

I would like to integrate each dare for a series of days, for three reasons:
1) I sometimes fail, (like I did with this first dare when I tried it, oh, 4 days ago!)
2) I don’t want to forget the progress. I want to make these 40 dares more like 40 habits, so I think I will decide on a number of days to practice each dare.
3) I need time to process the impact of each dare before moving on to the next one.

Dare #1 – Based on the principle that love is patient, my challenge for the next 3 days is to demonstrate patience by not saying anything negative to Brent.

When most of us hear “love is patient” I bet our minds wander to the popular bible verse from 1 Corinthians. Although that is a great verse, and I’m sure our friends at Hallmark must have made just a fortune on artsy “I’m sorry” cards with it, the premise behind my dare is to pause for a moment so I can fully listen to what Brent is trying to say to me without interrupting. I feel like mastering this will make my thoughts wise, my emotions more controlled, and my marriage stronger.

If anyone chooses to join me on this journey – welcome. Reach out to me if you wish, I would love it! Here is my first bit of encouragement: Few of us do patience well, and NONE of us do it naturally. What this means is that this “unnatural” calm is something we need to work at, to allow those around us to fail without feeling shame from us. There is nothing more rewarding than actively giving someone more time than they need to correct a mistake, and visibly avoiding an argument. Trust me, it’s exhilarating! Too often we feel the need to lash out, or give our spouse the gears. I bet all of us feel bad afterward, even just a little bit. Take this dare with me, and try extending extra patience to your significant other.

2014! The year of less….and more :)

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I have a list as long of my arm of New Year’s “resolutions”. Sometimes I wonder why each year I continue to go through this exercise in biting off more than I, or anyone else, can chew. On one hand, I like to have a to do list, and a good reminder of things that I have accomplished, and things that I need to work on. Sometimes though, I feel overwhelmed and a sense of failure.

Around December 28th, Brent nonchalantly announced “I think 2014 will be the year of doing less.”

Well no kidding. Here is a short list of the 2013 highlights:
– spent January in Victoria BC and finished my MBA
– bought a laundromat (like, what??)
– bought the building next door, gutted it and renovated it from top to bottom, inside and out
– took on a major renovation at our Cumberland property
– got married

In all of this, we worked at our full time jobs, kept the businesses growing, kept the kids fed, and still managed a family vacation and a lot of time at the cottage this summer. All things considered, 2013 wasn’t a bad year. But we did find that a lot of our days started with “I have to .” We didn’t connect with each other, our children, our family or our friends as much as we should have. As much as we *wanted* to.

So, I resolve that 2014 will be different. You’ll be seeing more of me, friends. When you call me to arrange a time to get together, I will say “Sure, how’s today? Or tomorrow? Or next week?” I’ll cook you dinner or make you tea. You can come visit me, or we can go for a walk. Or a run. We can go to the movies, or for dinner, or play a card game. Whatever you want to do, just ask.

Handy-dandy Travelling Kitchen Kit

Travelling as a family of 7 is never easy, but Brent and I agree that it is a good idea to expose the kids to travel as much as possible. There is nothing better than the ear-to-ear grins and the contagious excitement that literally flows out of them as they come spinning down the waterslides here at Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Lodge.

I chose this place for the condo-type accommodations. I firmly believe that even after 2 or 3 days of vacations, we all need some space from each other. The standard hotel-room setup just won’t work for so many reasons, the main one being food.

I love the idea of having a kitchen where I can prepare meals for the kids. Dining out as a family just is not a sustainable option for a week long vacation. Besides the obvious price impact (I can healthily feed our team on a budget of $300-$400 per week, where trying to get 21 meals in restaurants would cost at least twice that!) it is really difficult to get everyone to sit still long enough to not cause tears, yelling, broken furniture and wasted food.

I must say, this kitchen setup, while good in concept, came rather understocked. So, I decided to make myself a travelling kitchen kit, filled with my essentials.


There is nothing – and I mean *nothing* – more frustrating than trying to cut with a dull or improper knife. Our family loves when I make the chopped salsa which means that I have to cut tomatoes, peppers, avocados, garlic and onion. Try doing that with a sucky knife. I bought these two and a cutting board and my happiness level increased dramatically.

Oven mitt

Don’t you think it’s just awesome when you the timer on your hotel oven dings and the frantic search for a proper oven mitt ensues? No, me either. Grabbed these, and saved myself the “do you think I should try to use a bath towel to get the chicken out” debate.

Measuring cups

Let’s just say things taste much better when they have the right quantity of ingredients in them. I’m not one of those eyeball each recipe and it always just works out sort of cooks. My food tastes great because I measure out everything and get it right.


Go ahead, try to get overeasy eggs off the hotel-provided pan without a spatula. If you love cleaning egg goo out of stove elements as much as I do, you’re going to want to make sure you have a heat-resistant spatula on hand.


I’m travelling with 5 children. Do I need to explain this one any further?


Since hotels don’t always leave everything as clean as I would like it, scrubbing sponges are a must.

Everything fits nicely into my stacking “Snapware” tote. Throw it in the back of the van, and we’re in business. My idea is that I’m going to leave it packed at all times and store it with the suitcases so it is ready to go at a moments notice. (self back pat) 🙂

All Things Book

I have no idea what this blog is really about. The other day someone said “oh! I read your blog. So, what is your blog theme anyway?”

I returned a blank stare.

I guess this blog is about….me….and all parts of me? I have no idea. I have often thought about sticking with one theme or another, but I’m really not *that well versed* in much of anything. So I guess this blog is really about anything.

I haven’t really given poor blog a lot of attention these days, primarily because I have so many things on the go right now and different projects scattered about my life. Today was a rather overwhelming day, pretty much from the time I got up until about 30 minutes ago. Today I decided that I will try to streamline “the nadia mode” a bit, and start to actually focus on something. What that something is remains to be seen.

What most of you don’t know about me is that I am a HUGE book reader. I love reading all sorts of books, from Douglas Adams (side note, Brent casually suggested that we watch the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie the other day, and I actually got chest pains) to Jodi Piccult, to Stephen King to John Grisham to Margaret Atwood to A.J. Jacobs to Craig Groschel. I read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, fantasy, true crime, anything. However, I have felt a bit out of touch with books these days due to lack of time and the overwhelming “what to read next” dilemma. Combine this with my scattered life, I decided to focus my reading on calming myself down and getting happy again.

So, I hit Chapters this evening, and picked up a few idea books and motivational starters. I settled on two authors: Gretchen Rubin and Keri Smith.

A few years back, I started – and did not finish – my own happiness project. So, I will certainly be picking that up again. The problem is that as soon as I get a little happier, I think “who needs a happiness project when you are already happy?” and out the window it goes.
I’ll try to stick with it a bit longer this time.

Keri Smith books are so awesome everyone should own one. I decided on “Wreck This Journal” which brings me to my “All things Book” topic of this blog entry. On page 1, Journal suggests “Crack the Spine.” I flipped the book to the middle, and bent it back. In return, I got the most satisfying spine crack, complete with new book smell. And I broke out into a wide grin 😀

Memories of my childhood flooded back to me. My mom bringing home books from work, my dad taking me to the library every week, and walking with him in the mall after leaving Cole’s bookstore as a young kid with my brother. We each had a good armload of books. I asked him “Dad, are you sure you don’t mind that you spent all that money on these books?” I will never forget the way he looked at me when he said “I *never* mind spending money on books for you guys. I’m the luckiest dad in the world because my kids love to read.”

It’s been sooooooo long since I actually read a book that isn’t through my kindle or via some audio podcast. I had been looking for some inspiration and I found it! So happy.