I do not know how to swim, and Doug, for the past two summers have wanted me to enroll the kids for swim lessons. We spent much of this summer in Malaysia but there was no swimming classes available at the time we were in Malaysia.

We bought a pair of water wings each for the kids, and Duncan took to the pool like a duck to a pond. The first time I took them to the pool, they frolicked in the kiddie pool. Duncan floated on his back and dog paddled.

As for Denice, it took her a while before she even dared to get into the pool. As her confidence grew, she walked the length and breadth of the kiddie pool. Then she started flapping her hands in the water, and after a while she bent her knees a little as she walked in the pool. Later on she bent her knees even further and allowed herself to be under the water up to her shoulders. It is a good start for a child who is fearful of most things.

It is just too bad that I did not bring them to the pool any more after that.

There was a pool at the hotel we stayed at while in Sibu. It drizzled a bit that afternoon so Daddy and the kids did not stay all that long at the pool. There was no kiddie pool, but that did not bother Duncan at all. It was Daddy who was concerned about Duncan paddling to the deep end of the pool.

As for Denice, she had a suit with built-in floats on, plus the water wings on her arms. Yet she was too afraid to get into the water! She did however get onto Daddy’s back, but she screamed when Daddy went under water and she was partially covered in the water. :-)

There’s still time for them to enroll in swim lessons, and there is a public pool right here in our little town. Naturally, I do not want for my kids not to be able to swim!

Seems funny that the day before we left for mt washington pip and i were wandering through the yard counting the flowers that have bloomed for the annual flower count in the city. we went from counting over 2500 blooms to counting how many feet of snow we could bury our selves in, all in less then 4 hours. it is pure magic, that we can have such a beautiful mountain on the island providing us snow deprived people in victoria with just a taste of winter. also slightly  magical that we can turn around, drive back down the mountain and be back in our warm, sunny spring weather. our family had a wonderful sunny, snowy, love filled weekend. we shared a cabin with grandparents and had so much fun just being together. there were snow ball fights, tours of the little village on sleds, races down the mountain and hikes through the trails. i have almost forgotten the “i am so tired” that echoed through the trails on repeat. it truly was special seeing the kids skiing and spending time in the mountains with their grandparents. we sure hope that this turns into an annual trip together. so often we take for granted the beauty that surrounds us  daily and these past few days have been a  great reminder of that. even the kids couldn’t help but stop, and just stare out into the mountains and remark at how incredible they looked. all told, it was a great way to spend time while the kids were out of school on the teachers strike. somehow we planned the timing of the trip just perfectly. also so much fun to run into so many classmates on the mountain. the kids just had a blast.

for photographers, these images were all edited with the amazing new Red Leaf Studios- Film Solution Actions that were released last week. I have only tried them on these personal family images and i am dying to try them on some portraits as i instantly fell in love with them. they truly are my favorite set by Red Leaf to date and when they came out i have to admit that i secretly thought… why do i need new ones, i love the old ones from Red Leaf, but after using them on just my snapshot family images, i know why… they are brilliant. i LOVE them. i am truly inspired to get out and shoot, just so i can edit my images with the new actions. they are just perfect for my editing style, i just couldn’t be happier with the set.

Obesity and Snoring Fat is the most important cause of snoring, and when overweight people also smoke or drink alcohol there is a very high risk of sleep disturbances and snoring.

Obesity is a risk factor for very serious problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, blood clots, respiratory disorders and other diseases, and therefore it is of utmost importance to fight the phenomenon that is gaining momentum in Israel and around the world.

Obesity causes snoring in a variety of mechanisms, and weight loss helps to overcome sleep disturbance and snoring very significantly.

How does obesity cause snoring?

Obesity is not an ideal condition for the body, and many systems are damaged as a result. The appearance of snoring in people who are overweight is influenced by several factors:
Airway obstruction by excess neck fat – The main reason for obesity causes snoring is narrowing of the airway by excess fat appearing in the neck. People who are overweight suffer from an increase in the volume of fatty tissue throughout the body, as well as in the neck. When the neck thickens, airway a product and during the night appear snoring. This gets worse when a person is lying, and excess fat presses the airway further and causes it to be blocked.

Increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes severe sleep disturbance manifested by strong snoring and fatigue during the day. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for obstructive breathing apnea, which occurs after the throat muscles are slack during sleep and prevent the airway from remaining open properly. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that appears mainly in people who are overweight, and requires diagnosis and medical treatment.
Decreased physical fitness and muscle tone – overweight people often suffer from poor physical fitness and low muscular tone. Low physical fitness leads to poor pulmonary function and increased breathing effort. When overweight people struggle to breathe, their chance of snoring increases. In addition, low muscle tone also relaxes the muscles of the breath and causes the airway to be damaged.

Weight loss will contribute greatly to sleep disorders
Sleep disorders make life very difficult, and in cases of obesity, sleep disorders can be significantly alleviated by weight loss and exercise. The weight of the body depends on the amount of calories inserted against the amount of calories left, and in order to lose weight effectively it is important to maintain a negative caloric balance.

Weight loss is a very difficult process that takes a long time and requires great motivation and responsibility. In order to successfully lose weight and improve sleep quality, the following rules are important:

A balanced and balanced diet – It’s important to make a calorie count and keep regular, regular meals. Continue to eat healthy foods such as vegetables and fiber, and reduce as much as possible fat and sweets.

Exercise – Burning calories by exercise is essential in order to lose weight in a good way. It is important to exercise regularly and start gradually, so as not to get discouraged early or be injured.

Besides calorie burning, physical activity helps to improve physical fitness and cardio-vascular capacity, and to strengthen muscles and tone enhancement, which are also important for stabilizing the airway and preventing snoring.

In extreme cases – gastric bypass surgery

Bariatric surgeries, also called gastric surgeries, anti snoring devices, have become very popular in recent years and help many people lose weight. It is a proven way to achieve the most significant weight loss, which can, of course, help overcome sleep and snoring. Bariatric surgery can now be performed in a number of techniques, and this is a very effective analysis of weight loss and improving quality of life.

lean… well at least that is the plan, i never make new years resolutions, so please understand that this is not one of them! but i have decided to cut a few things out of my life. i know it sounds sad, but really it isn’t. i need to fixate on something anyway and this seems like the perfect thing. first off is spending. we have spent the past year spending way too much money. we have not too much to show for it either. no major purchases, nothing that people walk in the door and say “wow i love your…” not that i care about that stuff anyway, but seriously somehow my husband and i have managed to shop away some pretty good money. new socks, new shoes, new boots, new jackets, new kids clothes, new watches, new cutting boards… while i think it is important to have nice things, i do not think it is important if you have to purchase them on a credit card. so this year for us i would love to make only cash purchases.

so if you are still with me, then that is my number one lean plan.

my number two lean plan is eating. i spent pretty much all of last year cooking up a pretty yummy storm. i loved it. loved cooking, loved sharing it and loved photographing it. but it left me with about 7 extra pounds at christmas time. so i am almost a week into my plan of cutting out sugar and bread/wheat. now i won’t go crazy with my new regime, and i will still cook and feed my kids and family the usual but i will not be eating sugar, just for the sake of eating sugar. nor bread,  i am pretty sure that by cutting out just these two things i will be back to where i was before christmas and maybe even better. so there, i have said it, so if you see me walking down the street with a slurpee and a piece of licorice in hand, and a baguette in my back pocket  you are totally allowed to say something!  and for those of you who say i don’t need to lose the weight, thank you, you are very kind, but it goes with number one. my jeans don’t fit me very well anymore and i can’t afford to buy new ones!

Does your child cough at night?  Even when he is not suffering from a cold?

Duncan once had a cough that lasted more than a month.  He was not quite one year old at that time.  We tried giving him all kinds of cough mixtures but none helped his cough.  Finally, a pharmacist recommended an allergy medication.  It worked!  His coughing stopped

Now of course we know better.  Cough and cold medicines are not good for young children.  On his last visit to the doctor, also something to do with his cough, the doctor prescribed an inhaler called Qvar.  So far Qvar has worked really well for him.  His cold related coughs clear quite quickly with Qvar.

I also think that Duncan has some problem with allergies.  He is prone to night time coughing which sounds like dry coughs.  He doesn’t cough during the day so I am not in the habit of giving him his two puffs of Qvar before bed time.  But when his coughing persists, I will wake him up and give him the two puffs.

His dad has allergies and I won’t be surprised if Duncan inherits that gene that is prone to allergies!

I just read something about the relationship between eczema and asthma.  Denice has eczema and she coughs even more often than Duncan does.  The cough seems to be ongoing.  She doesn’t cough for a while and not long after that she will start coughing again.  Qvar has also been quite effective in reducing her coughing, for which I am glad!

This winter, the colds and sniffles in the family weren’t too bad.  Denice was the only one who had to stay home for a few days because of the cold she had.

Let’s hope the rest of the year will be a healthy one for every one in the family!

We do not have pets except for two gold fish and twelve geese. We can’t have a cat in the house because Doug is allergic to cats. We might keep a dog, a medium sized dog, maybe some time in the future.

For now, I don’t think we can have any pets of the four legged kind.

Denice has a big fear of animals. She has always been a fearful child and I do not think her fear of cats and dogs has anything to do with any bad experiences with the animals.

But the strange thing though, once we stopped to watch our neighbor’s horse, and she said she’d like to ride the horse. She does not seem to be afraid of horses or mules. She has taken a ride on her aunt’s donkey with daddy sitting with her on the donkey. She wasn’t afraid.

But she is very afraid of cats and dogs. She will jump on a chair or table if she sees a cat and cry in fear. If she sees a dog even if the dog is on a leash quite a distance away from her, she will cling to daddy’s legs and ask to be picked up. She refuses to enter a friend’s house because this friend has to two dogs, unless assurances are made that the dogs are outside in the back yard.

She’s afraid of the geese we have in our back yard too! We have a fenced area in the back yard so she can still play in that area without fear of the geese.

I don’t think her fear of dogs was helped when, during a visit to the grandparents, the cousin’s dog jumped on her! The poor girl was practically traumatized from that experience!

I don’t know how long it will be before she gets over that fear. Duncan has been asking for a cat, which I don’t think he’ll be likely to get any time soon. Maybe a rabbit?

Fear is a natural protective instinct in children, and as a child grows older certain fears will also lessen. We hope the same is true for Denice, and we are not pushing for her to get over her fears quickly. Let her get over her fears at her own pace.

I think i made this recipe just so i could use the word “cakelet” it just made me laugh. and really, on a rainy February day who doesn’t need a laugh. a super simple recipe that came with the nordic ware cake pan. i couldn’t find the recipe on the website so here it is. it really is delicious.

1/2 soft butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla

2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of lemon zest

2 cups of sifted cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup of plain yogurt

1/2 cup of buttermilk

preheat oven to 370 F. grease and flour pan. in large bowl, blend maragarine and sugar together on medium speed for two minutes, until light and fluffy. add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. add the yogurt and buttermilk and blend. add dry ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute. scrape bowl and continue to beat on medium for two more minutes. divide batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes. cool ten minutes and invert onto a cooling rack. i had to cut the tops of mine as they were too full and resembled muffin tops, but that was okay with my family as they happily ate the parts i cut off.

these would be delicious with blueberries and whip cream!