Sunday, January 23, 2011

Master Club

At the end of last year, Jaymi was invited to join the Master Club in her Tae-kwon-do school.  She has attended almost every class she possibly can in the last few months, has excelled in tae-kwon-do, has improved and worked so hard at it, and they recognize effort and motivation like hers.  So we had a meeting in December, with the head of the school, and she is now in the Master Club.

What does that mean?

Well, the most obvious part is the new black uniform she gets to wear.  It is a visual significance for her.  A way of visualizing her motivation and her goals in tae-kwon-do, and therefore making them happen. (It just happens that this month's theme is "vision" and they spend a lot of time discussing how to visualize yourself completing your goals, in order to achieve them.) 
She is so proud to have the new uniform.

It also means access to extra classes.  Master Club classes.  Classes that are longer, that teach more specific details about the techniques used.  Classes that are geared toward the kids who are more serious about staying in tae-kwon-do.  Only Master Club members can attend these classes.

It means weapons training and sparring training.  She doesn't begin the sparring yet, but she has started the weapons training.  She had the chance last week to attend her first master club class and she learned a few forms with the wooden sticks.  I realized then, that the weapons training is fantastic for memory and co-ordination.

It also means she gets pushed a bit further in those classes.  They started off the Master Club class last week, with 120 jumping jacks!  Wow.  I can't believe she did it.  The most they start with in the regular class is 50 or 60 jumping jacks.

Here are a few videos of Jaymi in her Master Club class.

Doing some kicks...

and some punches...

learning how to use the sticks...

and doing some one-on-one sparring with a pool noodle - fun!
I was so proud of her as she held her own!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dressup, breadmaking, and a new haircut!

Jaymi has had a major dressup phase going on lately.
She has always been into dressing up, but lately her imagination has been in overdrive. LOL ;)
Her most interesting idea recently, was when she spent a few days pretending to be a bat.  She made her own bat wings out of construction paper at first, but they didn't work out quite the way she wanted them to.  When I told her that I had an idea of how to make a bat costume out of a black garbage bag, she was excited.
This was the result.

It was her idea to take an old black toque of Mark's (with his permission) pull it down over her face and cut holes in it for her eyes.

She kept going to the couch, or wherever, and would just hang out upside down for a while.

And of course, her favourite dressup costume is her Snow White costume.
She loves to pretend to be a princess, especially Snow White (and Cinderella).

She even had a storytime with her 'forest animal friends'. :)

And she loves to act out the part of Snow White, where she eats the poisonous apple and immediately drops dead.  (She likes to do apple bobbing first, and then when she bites into the poison can see what happens.)

She was awesome at making that bread recipe that I just posted.  She made a whole loaf of artisan-style bread all by herself.  The only thing I did was to put it in the oven and take it out.

And the big news of last week is....Jaymi got a haircut!
Not just a regular haircut.  A short one.
She has been asking us if she could have her hair short (above her chin) for months and months now.
We have made her wait for a long time.  Partly because we hoped she might change her mind, and partly because she does change her mind about things so much, and we wanted to teach her that she needs to be sure before doing something like that, as well as patience.
She hasn't wavered from the desire to have short hair, and although it was pure torture for her to wait that long, we finally decided on a date to get her hair cut.
And she absolutely LOVES it!

Here is the BEFORE and AFTER picture that I took:

 Although we weren't thrilled about the idea, it does look pretty cute, I think.

She loves the little pigtails that she can try out now.

And it looks great with her glasses on too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ultra-Easy Bread Recipe - NO KNEADING! :D

artisanbread Artisan Bread (in Five Minutes)

I came across the EASIEST bread recipe ever.  I love it, because there is no kneading!  
Jaymi did the entire first day by herself, and I did the second day (because she wasn't around to do it).  What you do, is keep the bucket of dough in your fridge and take whatever amount you want to bake, each day or so.  2 days ago I made fresh multi-grain bread with it, and yesterday I made a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread - yum!
I'm looking forward to playing around with this recipe...making pizza dough, pretzels, various breads...Jaymi wants me to make chocolate bread!

Here is the video where I learned how to make this wonderful bread.

Easy 5-Minute Artisan Bread:

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Whisk all ingredients together, then add 4 cups (I added an extra cup, almost, because it seemed way to dry) lukewarm water.  It has to be lukewarm, otherwise it will take longer to rise.
Stir everything in a bucket (that has a lid).
Cover with a lid, leaving a small opening (or drill a hole in the lid) to let the gases escape.
Leave at room temperature for 2 hours.
Store in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take some of the dough (it will be wet and sticky), make a ball (DON'T KNEAD), stretch it into an oval (or whatever shape you want), and lay it on a piece of parchment paper.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest on the counter for 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450F, with a pizza stone on the middle rack, and a broiler pan on the bottom.
Brush the dough with water, sprinkle on seeds if you like.  Make 3 or 4 slashes, 1/2-inch deep diagonally across the dough.
Put the dough (still on the parchment paper) in the oven, on top of the pizza stone, on the middle rack.
Pour 1 cup of hot water in the broiler tray underneath, to make steam.  Close the oven door and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack (take the parchment paper off). and enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brain Surgery Again

Most of you know about our big news, but a few of you still don't know.  And I can blog about it now, because Jaymi officially knows, herself.

When Jaymi was 6 years old, she began to get headaches.  These headaches gradually worsened, and eventually she began to have more and more symptoms.  All of the tests she had, turned up nothing, until June 1st, 2009.  That was the day that we found out she had a brain tumour.
It is called a pilocyctic astrocytoma, and it is in her cerebellum, and also wrapped around her brain stem.
She had emergency brain surgery June 3rd, and has spent the last year and a half recovering very well.

Here is the original story that I wrote about.

Since then, she has had regular MRI scans, to keep an eye on the piece of tumour that the surgeons had to leave in her brain.
In June of 2010, we found out that that piece had started to grow again.  Not enough to need surgery or worry much, but enough to schedule an MRI a bit sooner than they had anticipated.
In December 2010, at her next MRI, we found out that it had continued to grow, and at a quicker rate than they had thought it would.
The result is, that she needs to go in for another operation.  The same as last time.
Jaymi's neurosurgeon is hopeful that he can get more of it this time...maybe even all of it.
We are presently awaiting a date for her surgery, but it will be within the next 5 or 6 weeks.

It is frustrating to go backwards, to do this all over.  And it is scary, of course, to be going through a risky operation on our now-8-year-old daughter.
But we have a lot of people praying for her, and we are hopeful that the doctor can get more of the tumour with this surgery.

Jaymi said a prayer last night, that the doctor does a good job with her surgery, and takes care of her through it, and gets the whole tumour out.
She added, "please, please, please, please, please, please.....".
Then she added, "a dozen pleases".
And lastly, "no - a BAKER's dozen.  That's one better!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Jaymi tried out a trial month of Tae-kwon-do in August.
It was a free trial that we won at a fair, and we thought it might be a fun thing for her to try, as well as good for her.

She reeeeallly wanted to sign up for it, when the trial month was finished.
She was so excited about it, and there are so many benefits to her being in these classes, so we decided to sign her up.

She has excelled incredibly, in Tae-kwon-do since.  And she still loves it - wants to go to as many classes as she can fit in.
She began regular classes in September.  Of course, everyone begins as a white belt.
She is now a yellow belt, and is ready to test for her orange belt, when the next belt test is scheduled.

We have seen a ton of good influence that Tae-kwon-do has had on her:
- balance
- co-ordination
- physical exercise
- pushing herself further (physically) than she is used to
- respect
- confidence
- strength
- self-discipline
- responsibility
- patience
- happiness

She is so motivated to get to each belt, and eventually strives to be a black belt.

She has gone from an extremely shy little girl who, at the beginning, needed one of the instructors to come over and accompany her to the group, sticking with her to encourage her, to.....a little girl who is ready to go each class, jumping up instantly when they are called, and running to get in her place.

She has learned to set goals and make action plans, take responsibility at home, act respectfully at home & school, and she has learned that when she is in a bad mood or has a bad day, Tae-kwon-do ALWAYS turns that mood around.
She told me one day, while we were in the car on our way to a class, "Mommy, when we're going to Tae-kwon-do, I get a neat feeling in my stomach - like an excited feeling.".

She has also learned self-defense, which is fantastic.  She knows how to get out of a number of positions, which she LOVES to practice with Mark and myself.  And she is FAST at it, too!

They award stripes for various things.
They earn stripes for certain homework assignments that they are given, once in a while.
They earn stripes for reading at home every day.
They earn stripes for doing jobs around the house.
They earn stripes for practicing Tae-kwon-do at home.
And they earn stripes for doing special things without being asked.

And I love how she has her own style.  She'll come to Tae-kwon-do sometimes, with the prettiest bow in her hair. :)

As she was awarded her yellow belt, the instructor got her to say, "I am happy...but not satisfied.".
I like that.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the museum

On the last day before school started this week, I took Jaymi to our local museum, where they were having their annual week where you could experience all that the museum has to offer, for whatever amount you are willing to donate.

Right now there is an exhibit called "Behind the Scenes" where there was a lot of hands-on stuff for kids to do, tons of animals, and information about how the museum collects and processes their information, etc..

Jaymi was thrilled to find a bat display.  She has recently become interested in bats.

There were so many different types of animals to see, that we have never seen in person.

 Different types of birds...

A huge amount of bugs....

Ocean creatures...

A giant turtle shell.....

An interactive play area for kids, where they could dress up as various animals,

play a maze game about animal habitats,

play a memory game,

There were x-rays to look at....

and find out how much they weigh compared to various animals.

 There were microscopes everywhere, focused on insects, plants, etc..

One section that every little kid loves...the animal poo section.  LOL ;)

 One of the cool things that we always look at, is the collections of items from different decades.  I love showing Jaymi the 80s/90s decade.

And of course, the main exhibit that is always at the museum, is the one where you get to see local wildlife in B.C., as well as learn about aboriginal culture, local agriculture, and B.C. history.