“The Imperfect is Our Paradise” — Wallace Stevens

When Buster and the Lady were too little for school, I was lucky enough to teach aquafit at a pool with childcare. Twice a week I would drop them off for a little over an hour in the FunFactory with a tiny backpack of diapers and snacks while I yelled at motivated a very chatty group of women to a ramped up “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini”.


One day after class, one of the staff remarked to me as she opened the door for Buster and handed over the Lady that I always packed such good food for my kids. And I really did try to pack good food, believing that GOOD mothers ALWAYS have muffins for their children. I’m not sure how these trinket success markers get placed so deeply within me. This one must stem from my own fantastic mother, my memory of how often we had muffins and my belief in a 6th love language-food.

Flash forward 5 years. Sometimes there are muffins but more often these days I am a granola bar and cheese string type mom. I was thinking of this recently when I took my small army swimming at that same pool. I packed my swim stuff and made sure the Lady and Buster packed theirs. I packed a snack for after- yogurts and apples and the muffins I’d made that morning. This is how I found myself, in my swimsuit, 2 kids ready to play, congratulating myself on being a good Mum because we were at the pool and there were muffins, only to realize I’d forgotten all the baby things at home.

After I’d begged two free but two very much too big swim diapers off of the sweet women at the front desk, we had a great time. It was the day the Lady perfected her cannonball. It was a day that Buster made huge progress on his Butterfly. This was the day Squidge decided he could lean off the edge of the pool and fall in on his own volition-a major victory for this, my first baby to not like the water. And Squdge was just happy to be there in the waves, in and out of his much too much too big diaper.


But the thing about forgetting the Baby bag is that I also forgot all the diapers. With a shrug I had to remind myself that Good mothers do bake muffins but sometimes they don’t. Good moms sometimes- almost always- pack diapers and sometimes they use their creative problem solving to pick through the trash and put old wet diapers back onto their babies until they get home. But Good Mamas do take their kids swimming, or for walks or to the park and they read stories and do crafts and smile when they are too tired to see straight.  Good Mothers are not made by the muffins baked but the memories made–as imperfect as those memories are… Delicious muffins do help though.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s Zucchini season! I love zucchini season. I love having all the zucchini I want just outside my door. Zucchini noodles, zucchini grated and added to just about every sauce, hamburger and egg dish, grated and frozen for later, zucchini brownies and this sweet and moist muffin recipe.


ChocolateZinni Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour***
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium garden size)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup regular or mini chocolate chips

*** I prefer the gluten free version made with these changes:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • Bake for an extra 3-5 minutes.

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl add coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs mix until smooth and well combined. Stir in zucchini, applesauce, and milk

Add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

This batter will be thick and If you’re a person who likes to taste the batter, it won’t be very sweet. Don’t be concerned. When the zucchini cooks in and the chocolate chips melt they will be moist and sweet.

Evenly divide batter into prepared tins. Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. After 5 minutes, remove muffins and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes ~24 large muffins

“Energies are contagious”—Rachel Wolchin

“Surround yourself with people who reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious”—-Rachel Wolchin

I’ve been thinking about woven fabrics lately with all the baby wearing talk on my Facebook. While I’m not ready for woven wrap baby wearing, I think they are so beautiful. Woven fabric can range from a loose to tight weave, a weave with diagonal give to no stretch at all, a grippy to slick weave based on the fabrics being used (cotton, silk, linen, bamboo…) and how they are laced and fit together.

I’m soft. It feels like no matter what I wear, My clothes seem to show every bit of squishy me- not enough muscle, not enough structure, too much of everything else. Things feel tight where they should be loose and loose where they should be tight. And it’s not about how I look, not really. It’s about how I feel. And I know. IknowIknowIknowIknow. This body- my body, spent 9 months creating these 2 tiny people and it’s going to take time.

And I know. IknowIknowIknow. Six months from now I’ll be living in the body I started to build today. But that’s just it- I haven’t really been building a body today. I went from eating-whatever-I-want-because-I-Just-gave-birth-to-twins right into “Oh little town of constantly eating” Christmas then the comfort-food-because-you’re-tired-and-depressed-January became buy-a-bunch-of-candy-to-make-sweet-valentines-but-then-eat-it-all-myself-February.

IMG_5150

But I’ve gone back to teaching aquafit. Just one night each week for now. It’s been 4 weeks. Four Drop-In classes and four bootcamps. And it’s so good for me. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. The splashing water, the bright pool lights, the pumped up music. The pressure on me to be excited and positive and energetic. There is something so cathartic about being paid to yell at people for 2 hours- “Harder! Faster! You think I can’t see you? I see you! I know you can do better than that!” It’s good to be surrounded by people who want to get fit, to be a part of it, to be responsible for creating and reflecting that energy.

Wednesday I went to watch the elementary school indoor games. It was the 8×200 relays. Buster joined his school running club after Christmas and even though he’s in grade 3 and only second alternate and didn’t get to run, it was fantastic to go and cheer; Important to tell him over and over how exciting it was to watch his team and how amazing that he gets be part of a team like this. I just love to see people really rock their sport, giving their all. Of course there is something to be said for and admired in the back of the pack participant who perseveres. I stand and cheer for the underdog with the rest. But it’s the person who creams the competition, who has prepared and worked for it and not just wins but blows it out of the water that pulls at my heart and our A-team boys lapped every other team in their heat. It was incredible to watch. The energy in our little corner of the stands as we cheered for each student as they ran by was inspiring.

And I missed that. I miss feeling like that myself. I miss it when I go to a pool and have to swim in a lane with “recreational” swimmers because I can’t keep up to the serious swimmers. I miss it whenever I drive past someone running, really running. I missed it on Saturday standing in line at Costco behind the woman with the Ironman Finisher jacket. I miss that part of me- The me who wasn’t the fastest one running in the river valley, but who felt like a runner; The me who could do a strong 3000m in the fast swim lane in under 50 minutes ; The me who didn’t just do triathlons, but was a triathlete. It feels like a dream, a dream I want back. I want to be a part of the fit and fast and love to kill it without killing myself culture, to feel the momentum of growth and ever changing training plans and progress and energy…at least a little bit.

I’ve just finished a week long food challenge- no dairy, grains or sugar. Its felt so great to take care of myself, of what my body needs to feel good and strong (except for weak times when I wanted to eat chocolate chips or chew off my fingers). It was important to be reminded that food isn’t just for filling a momentary emotional void, that 5 months of lack of sleep isn’t going to be fixed by another handful of corn chips. Food is for fueling my machine of a body. And even though I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, it took a challenge full of people I haven’t actually met to get me to where I wanted to be all along. I needed the energy of group momentum, to cheer and be cheered for by others. I needed to be a part of ever changing menu plans and physical change. Exercise club is back on.

IMG_5239

So I’m on my way. Slowly. I heard once that it’s pretty impossible to find a balanced life -all we can do is have a woven life- Weaving in healthy eating and fitness between the threads of children and husbands and school and church and dishes and nap-time and laundry and icy sidewalks…so I’m slowly weaving. I may be a soft weave for now. But I won’t be forever. I’ll keep working at it (and working and working and working at it) and surround myself with others who are doing the same. Each day my weave will get stronger and so will I.

IMG_5233How do you find a way to fit in all you need to and still time for the things you enjoy?



The Lady had a birthday party to go to the first day of my food challenge. I often make gluten free cupcakes to send with her to a party and Monday was no exception. Cupcakes are fun but I always feel like the secret to a good cupcake is in the frosting. Good cupcake frosting should be light and fluffy and melt on your tongue and not too sweet and stand up when piped and it has always alluded me. Is it that I refuse to add enough sugar? Enough butter? That I expect too much without the use of flour, egg whites and cream of tartar?

Monday we made chocolate coconut cupcakes and so I wanted a chocolate coconut frosting. This frosting did not disappoint. It was creamy, rich, not too sweet or heavy and did well when piped. Days later it was still soft without melting into the cupcake. The Hubs called it “dangerously good”. My dad spread it on bread like Nutella. It almost has a mousse like texture and could be served that way- my favourite way- with some fruit. Or, and let’s be honest, with a spoon right out of the jar.

Chocolate Coconut Mousse Frosting
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Open your coconut milk and scoop just the firm and creamy coconut oil off the top, leaving the watery bit and place in a mixing bowl. If it doesn’t seem firm enough, almost like butter, place your can uncovered in the fridge over night.

Add the cocoa, vanilla, and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Of course you can go right in with beaters but experience and cleanup would suggest mixing it a little first with a fork to avoid the fun —Poopth– of sugar and coco dust that beaters and fine powder like to create.

Store in the fridge.

IMG_5242If you’re interested in my gluten free coconut cupcake recipe I’d be happy to share it. It’s one of my most successful gluten free adaptations.