Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Clean Eating



It seems like everyone is into clean eating these days. There's even something called the Paleo Diet that I haven't really looked into but can kind of guess what it's about. I saw this recipe for ricotta cheese, chia seeds, fresh papaya chunks, and agave nectar drizzle and thought that it would make a really nice, healthy breakfast. So I made it this morning before we took the boys to their swimming lessons. I've only had ricotta in baked pasta dishes and assumed it would be similar to cottage cheese when eaten cold. I took one bite and frowned. Maybe I can overcome the gritty saltiness. Another bite. Nope. Scoop off the papaya and whatever I could of the chia seeds and the rest got thrown away. What a waste. Son #1 is pretty open to new and different foods but he didn't like the grittiness and refused to eat it. I would definitely replace the ricotta for Greek yogurt or cottage cheese next time. Even better for me would have been if I had time this morning to make some steel cut oats and sprinkle that with the chia and papaya. I love my sweets but I can do without the agave or any other sweetener when it comes to oatmeal, as long as there's some fruit.

Speaking of healthy eating... has anyone tried Caffarel chocolates? The Lindt chocolate outlet was having a 50% off sale and I bought a bag of these expensive beauties. It seems like they were bought out by Lindt a while ago and thank goodness for that, otherwise I would have never tried them. Even at 50% off they are quite expensive, but one piece of chocolate goes a long way. If you love chocolate and hazelnuts, especially whole hazelnuts, you have to try Caffarel's Nocciolotto chocolate. It's sooo smooth and delicious with crunchy hazelnuts. I gave a small bag of them to my parents to try and my mom told me that my dad ate all of them but left one for my mom, presumably out of guilt. Like father, like daughter.

I don't think I will be doing a complete clean eating makeover, but I will definitely try to tidy up my diet. I need to drastically reduce my sugar intake, especially since several of my uncles have Type II diabetes and also reduce refined carbs and trans fats. Time to whip this body back into shape. Wa-pish! (Whipping noise, in case you were wondering.)

Monday, 29 April 2013

T-shirt in the Swimming Pool




Today was the first time that I did a spin class in over 15 months. According to my watch, my heart rate went up to 192, averaging at 176, and I burned 646 calories in 52 minutes. I wasn't even pushing myself super hard so that kind of gives you an idea how out of shape I am. Due to potential complications and some pregnancy scares early on in my second pregnancy, I decided to skip the gym and just do light exercises like walking. My friend who is due to give birth in two days just went to spin class last Saturday. I texted her and told her that she was intense.


After Son #1 was born, I hit the gym as soon as I could and by this time, I had already lost all of my pregnancy weight. Not so much this time.

We registered both sons in swimming lessons and tomorrow is the first day. I will be taking Son #2 and Husband will be with Son #1 in his class. I was hoping to have lost enough weight to be able to wear a one piece swimsuit, but looks like I will have to be one of those people who wear t-shirts in the pool. I'm aware that the t-shirt will cling to my body in the most unflattering way, but I think it will be my security blanket in my time of insecurity.

The swimming lessons are actually coming at a good time. Tomorrow is April 30th and is when personal tax payments and most returns are due in Canada (unless you are self-employed, deceased, etc. etc.) so that means that I have an excuse to not go into the office and help. Not that I need an excuse. I'm on maternity leave, people! I actually went in today after my spin class (and shower!!) and it wasn't too busy so I don't feel too bad about not coming in tomorrow.

As an aside: why the picture of the accountant cake? Because I noticed that some people find my page by Google searching for a birthday cakes for accountants and I hate to disappoint ;)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CA/CGA/CMA = CPA?

The other day I received an e-mail from the Alberta Institute of Chartered Accountants regarding the amalgamation of the CA, CMA, and CGA designations in Alberta into the newly formed CPA designation. That was surprising because the last I heard, the Alberta CAs had opted out of discussions to join into one designation. Not that I was closely keeping up-to-date on the situation or anything. From what I understand, this decision is now in the voting stage and aside from Quebec, Alberta will be one of the first provinces to implement the unification strategy.

Do I agree? I'm not sure. I think CASB was pretty torturous and would have found the CGA program a lot more manageable. I hate group projects because you always have the one slacker/freeloader in the group who never does any work and that's what I heard the CMA program involves (group projects, not slackers/freeloaders) so that wouldn't have been appealing to me anyway. Not that I'm saying that CGAs are any less qualified than CAs, but since I already had a University degree, I would have only needed to take a few more courses in order to obtain that designation. Granted, I will be given the option to still add "CA" after my name for 10 years once the unification goes into effect. I'm not sure how that affects how CAs will be linked to other CA organizations in the world either. Obviously I have some more researching to do.

Another thing that mildly annoys me is the acronym that they chose: CPA, which stands for Chartered Professional Accountant. Wait, doesn't CPA stand for Certified Public Accountant? No, silly. That's CPAs in the United States! Couldn't we have selected one that was different?

In the end, I guess we are all accountants and not everyone knows or cares about the difference anyway. Here's to hoping for lower professional fees and lower costs for continuing education courses!!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Work vs Stay-At-Home


Tax season. Ugh. I'm so glad that my maternity leave lets me bypass tax season this year. Crazy me, though, had to offer to help out for a few hours a day since I felt bad. Today was my first day back at work and it was only for about four hours. I think I will only come in for four hours a day until the end of April since I'm still nursing Baby #2 and he doesn't really like the bottle. I want to help out as much as I can, but I don't want to make Baby #2 have to sacrifice his comfort and nutrition! I also thought that going back to work would make realize how horrible it feels to return to work and then be warned to never return once my maternity leave ends. But it was nice to see my coworkers again and of course it wasn't bad since it was my first day back and for only four hours! If I could only work four hours a day, I wouldn't mind :) We'll see how the rest of the month goes. One thing I forgot was how tiring it is to wake up early and go to work, especially after the baby was up numerous times throughout the night.

It's actually been a while since I've only been assigned to do personal tax returns. I'm usually working on audits at around this time of the year or other corporate tax files so it's a nice change of pace. I find that a lot of people have personal tax questions once they find out that I'm an accountant so it's good to keep up-to-date on this kind of stuff so I don't seem like a complete idiot. Or maybe it's bad because then I can't use the excuse that I haven't done personal tax in a long time...

Any other parents or parents-to-be out there in accounting? I would like to stay at home after my maternity leave/pay comes to an end, but sometimes I worry about finances. I don't really want to work from home because we don't have an ideal space where I could set up an office and it's hard for me to get any work done at home anyway. Plus I would have to pay extra professional fees, software, access to accounting info, etc. And if I wanted to stay in public practice, I would prefer to work with another partner. But that's not where I'm at right now. Working in a small firm, I know how stressful it can be and the huge amounts of overtime that have to be worked. I want to be there for my kids and for my husband. I enjoy being at home and cooking, (sometimes) cleaning, and spending time with my family.

If I go back to work, it would be nice to be able to work part time or at least somewhere that doesn't require large amounts of overtime (i.e. government job). It's not that I'm lazy, but I really want to maximize the amount of time that I can spend with my sons while they're still young! I think that this is a really important time for me to be there for them so I will try really hard to make sure that I can as much as possible :)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Lemon = Spring


I was originally going to write a huge post about how busy I was, but no one wants to hear that right? So instead, I will write about some yummy desserts. This past Winter has been one of the worst ones that I can remember - and that's saying a lot seeing as I live in Edmonton, Alberta. The snow is finally melting but I can see that there is a chance of flurries this weekend. Seriously??

Side story: I was at Costco - by myself (!!!!!) - and realized that I should have went home and slept after I dropped the boys off at my parents' house. Son #1 did his usual opening our bedroom door and slamming it and yelling "all done sleep!" at 7:00 a.m. this morning. We're "late" sleepers and wish we could sleep until 8:00 a.m. or even 8:30 a.m. Do they have beds that are shaped like cages for toddlers?? Just kidding. While I was at Costco, I was in the dairy section and grabbed a 2L of 1% milk and then put it in my cart while looking at the organic milk that they offered at double the price. Then this lady looked at me and said in a very polite voice "excuse me, this is my cart." I looked down and noticed that there was a very expensive purse along with a lot of groceries that I did not purchase. I quickly apologized and put my milk into another cart - which, again, was not mine. Before the rightful owner of that cart noticed, I pulled the milk jug out and giggled "heh heh, maybe I should get some more sleep!" and then speed walked to my cart which was outside of the dairy section. That was so bad. And I didn't even have my boys with me so that I didn't seem so crazy. See? I have kids. I'm tired and have so much on my mind! Oh, I see. All is forgiven.

Anyway, for a little bit of Spring even though it still looks like Winter outside, I made some nice lemony desserts: lemon tarts and lemon cupcakes. I usually make the Tartine lemon bar recipe, but find it a bit sweet for my taste so I used this blogger's recommendation to use the Tartine crust with the Cooks Illustrated topping. I really liked it! It was like a lemon meringue pie without the meringue, in a square form. Then I made these cupcakes (the dense cupcake recipe) with my own frosting. The cupcakes had a good flavor but were a bit too dense for me. I might try the fluffy cupcake recipe next time. Maybe if I used the time that I did for baking to take a nap instead...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Toddlers and airplanes



Whew! What a week. Brother and Sister-in-law just left today so now we can get back into some kind of routine. And by routine I mean not eating out all the time and the boys getting some more rest.

Son #1 was so sleep deprived today that he was having night terrors during his "afternoon" nap which started at 5:00 p.m. Yup. He stayed up all afternoon and then fell asleep on my lap, woke up 20 minutes after and started screaming and crying so loudly I thought he was possessed. I carried him up to his room and closed the door and let him tire himself out. While I was giving Son #2 a bath, older Son went downstairs and pulled out a garlic cheese bun from a bag on the kitchen counter and sat down and ate it at his Lego table. Nice to know that he can be self sufficient...

Since I had a ton of cleaning up to do, I let Son #1 watch some videos of airplanes on YouTube. He loves airplanes and rocket ships. My brother and SIL spoiled him this past Christmas with a deluxe Playmobil airplane that cost around $100! I have to say that it is a very well made toy and very good quality. But anyway, I found that the YouTube poster, AugmentedB737 (click here to watch some of his flight simulation videos) has the best airplane videos! I don't know who this person is but Son #1 loves to watch the flight simulation videos that he (she?) creates. They're very well done and after trying to find some good quality airplane videos before finding these, I would recommend them! Just thought that I could save some parent who is trying to find a good airplane video some time!