Introducing The Great Canadian Housewife!

I’ve mentioned on this site in passing back in March that I was working on a new project. A blog for me to separate things such as recipes, product reviews, crafts, and a lot more from this blog as I want to keep this as more of a personal journal-type blog. I’d like to introduce The Great Canadian Housewife! I have finally gotten it to where I want it and starting to work on monetizing it. I think I have also mentioned before that I really wanted to sort of turn blogging into a job. Well, since I am going back to school and taking web development I figured this would just be another project that would provide me with experience and give me another project to work on.

Initially, I had planned to create my own theme for it but when I was looking around for ideas I stumbled upon the theme I am using for it in on a blog in a post for free WordPress themes. I sometimes will download a theme, play around with it and see what I can do with it, mainly for practice and inspiration but once I got in there and started customizing it a little I realized it turned out perfectly the way I wanted it so I figured for now why spend the time making one from scratch when it works perfectly. Eventually, I will but for now, I actually ended up really liking the theme. It has some elements in it I really like and am not able to re-create myself (for now).

The name, The Great Canadian Housewife came to me one day when I was trying to come up with a domain name and project and I was thinking about shows and thought about The Great Canadian Race and I wanted the blog to be themed towards being a housewife, maybe one day a mother, and about all the fun things you can do right in the comfort of your own home and the name came to me while I was thinking about it and I fell in love with it and registered it that night. The only bad thing I would have to say about it is the length but at the same time, it’s pretty easy to remember.

Obviously the blog has “Canadian” in it because I am Canadian (and frankly I didn’t think about using Nova Scotia) but you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy it. It’s for everyone!

So please go visit, comment and let me know what you think of The Great Canadian Housewife!

Creating a WordPress theme

First off, I’m going to apologize, this is not a tutorial or anything like that. Just observations. I’ve had this theme a while now. It was completed mostly from scratch from a blank starter template because I am too lazy to code it from the beginning (and honestly I am guessing I am not the only one, it’s beyond laziness it’s about productivity). I don’t really know everything I need to do to make one that will be responsive etc, so I started with _s (underscores) and then it was suggested to me on the WordPress forums to switch to components a little while back as it was more up-to-date. At the time I was just getting started with _s and getting used to taking a design which I had conceptualized either in my head and/or in Photoshop and turning it into a theme in WordPress, so I wanted to continue with _s before delving into another starter theme.

For those of you not familiar with a starter theme and I am sure a lot if not most of you are but I will give a brief explanation of what it is and why some developers use them. I’m no developer by far but I plan to be one eventually. Basically a starter theme is a WordPress theme that is blank with minimal or no design, they usually come with the most commonly used templates in WordPress. You can add templates, edit the existing ones, change and add CSS and much more. So why should WordPress Developers consider using a starter theme? Well, it gives them a head start on projects, gives them a good solid base to start on whether they have created their own starter theme that they re-use, or whether they are using one of the other good ones that are out there already.

I hope one day to create my own starter theme that I will use for projects with everything I think a good solid design needs and with options that can be added or omitted for certain types of designs. I think once you have a good foundation of PHP and WordPress templates along with HTML and CSS it should not be too hard to do. It has taken me a while to get this theme where I want it. I have been working on it ever since I put it up back at the beginning of the year (or was it last year some time? I don’t even know). I have been able to create a good theme for my blog that I can use as a basis and I want to eventually start re-creating it in components or another starter theme. I’ll look into them more when the time comes.

In the meantime, I have made some changes over the last few days to this theme. Obviously I have changed some of the colors a little (not much) and added a background that shows at the top and bottom to make it less plain looking. I’ve been working on fixing errors, bugs or whatever you want to call them. If you happen to notice any more please let me know. I want to try and recreate and fix them as they are found. I was able to fix a few things as well that were driving me nuts. My 404 and search pages were missing the sidebar and just looked weird so I fixed that as well.

I am not so sure about the responsiveness right now. I have been looking for some good tools to help me test things out so again if anyone knows of any please let me know what your go-to tools are for testing your websites. I know for instance that depending on your screen size the menu may not look quite right. I have tried to fix it but not 100% sure I have. I am not sure how to make a good responsive menu and looking it up has not really given me anything that seems to work right so I a still working on that and a few other things especially when viewing the site from a mobile phone or tablet.

So far I really feel a sense of accomplishment with what I have taught myself over the years and it just goes to further cement in my mind that this is the right option for me. I love this and could not imagine a life without blogging and creating themes and designing websites. Right now I am most comfortable with WordPress but I want to start learning and exploring some other content management systems and website and blogging platforms that are popular at the moment (or at that time). I am really happy where things are headed and feel like I finally have found something I am good at and now I am finally realizing that with a bit of guided structure I can become much better and really make a good career out of it.

I feel like I’ve lost all control

This is not necessarily only about diabetes but my depression and anxiety too, that being said diabetes is such a frustrating disease! Just when you feel like you are getting somewhere and you are proud of yourself something happens and it all goes to shit. I’d like to blame being at home but really I can’t, that should be one of the times I have more control, not less. I’d like to say I am eating the same things as I was when I was out working but again I can’t, I’m not. I do eat a lot of the same things. But now I have free access to everything in the fridge and the cupboards and though sometimes I am not even hungry other times I feel constantly hungry. It’s a little hard to explain, to be honest. I think honestly it’s more mental than physical.

Since childhood, I’ve always just been a creature of habit. I get into habits easily. Even if it makes no sense. I don’t get great pleasure out of food usually. I’m not huge on tastes or textures, in fact, a lot of textures turn me off. I’m sensitive to smell. I won’t eat certain food just because of the smell. When I was little I survived on Kraft dinner and bread and water. I would not eat anything else. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I even tried pizza and then I would only eat cheese and pepperoni. I got used to some of the dishes my parents made in my pre-teens and teens such as spaghetti, sheppard’s pie, tacos, scalloped potatoes, and ham or bologna but I was very limited. No matter how much they tried I would not eat anything else.

In my teens, I started trying other things, got hooked on Pepsi and root beer, pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, and other things. Typical teen things. Again though, I would not try anything else. If my parents got Chinese I would eat plain steamed rice and soya sauce. Eventually, I took a liking to ginger beef but even now that’s the only Chinese takeout food I will eat.  I can’t handle spicy. I started eating stew in my 20’s and fajitas. Everything though I liked rather plain. I was never a fan of sauces, spices, or anything like that. Imagine eating spaghetti with nothing but margarine and maybe a little sprinkled parmesan? Or a hamburger with nothing on it. Eventually, I started adding bacon (my go-to now) but otherwise, I wouldn’t eat much. Even veggies it was simply corn, carrots, or cucumber. Greens I would only eat romaine or head lettuce. Fruits it was apples, oranges. Berries it was simply strawberry or raspberries.

Over the last few years, I have really opened up my tastes and started trying things I wouldn’t even consider before.  I had started eating more veggies and trying new ones, same with fruits and greens. I started liking more varieties of stuff and was getting more adventurous. I have never been much of a cook but Edward likes cooking. I do know how. It’s not that. I even know a lot of the recipes my parents used off by heart but I would walk him through it rather than doing it myself. I guess I had no confidence in myself and still don’t. Sometimes I think it has to do with depression and anxiety as well though. The anxiety makes it so I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and then anxious really easily. I see this a lot with every day things like cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. I also don’t like going into the grocery store alone. The selection intimidates me. Trying to turn recipes or meal ideas into a grocery list overwhelms me.

Anyway, I had been doing really good with drinking more water, only diet pop occasionally and cutting back on sweets, eating veggies and fruits and we were making (well, Eddie really) meals up ahead of time so we had leftovers and using my freestyle libra I was getting decent results with my blood sugar. Now I just seem to have lost all control. I eat what I like when I like again. I drink more diet pop or even sometimes regular rather than water. We don’t make meals up ahead of time much anymore. We don’t by veggies or fresh meat much. I guess some of that can be blamed on supply which is a little rough right now but I know that even with exercise and eating semi-decent foods I can get my sugars back under control.

Mentally though I am having a hard time rallying myself and getting things back under control. I feel a bit lost actually. In so many ways. Some of it has to do with things going on right now all around the world but it started way before this. It started about the time I stopped working. It was such a big setback to me at the time and I still haven’t quite got over it. I have things that I feel like I should be able to do easily that seem such a big struggle, like cleaning and cooking. I’ve never been big on either but I did it out of necessity. Maybe having someone else around is fostering laziness in me that was already there? Not sure.

One thing I was really proud of this past month was the fact that I lost 20lbs, but looking back on it I realized that I was kind of cheating myself because I did not lose it due to good control, healthier eating, exercising, etc., instead, I lost it because I was extremely sick at the beginning of the month (again). I didn’t want to eat anything, I wasn’t eating anything, I had constant bouts of diarrhea and slept 20 hours a day or more with whatever it was that I got. Add antibiotics to that which caused more issues and it was easy to lose 20lbs in about 3 weeks. In less then a week I have gained 5 back. So yeah, I really can’t take credit for that. One good thing though is the 20lbs lost made a big difference in my pain. So I need to grab onto that, grab onto the way it made me feel good and work on losing more, getting healthier both physically and mentally, and really concentrating on school so that this is not another missed opportunity.

Speaking of that, I have school starting in a month. I registered my courses and have my list of courses for the semester. I got my school email account all set up. I’ve been doing some prep work to ensure I don’t get stuck or lost in my courses, but not as much as I would have liked. I’ve stalled there a bit too, which scares me. I feel like my biggest issue right now is my loss of control on so many aspects of my life. So many good things, but so many bad things. Even the good are daunting and cause me anxiety. Normal, I know, even for someone without depression or anxiety. The difference is they learn to cope. At the moment I don’t feel I am. Thankfully I have a Zoom appointment with my psychologist this week on Thursday.

She is really great. She encourages my blogging and encourages me to get out and try new things and explore. I have never felt in the past that therapy has helped me much and always had rather bad experiences with it. She’s different though. I feel like I’m making breakthroughs with her. My husband and family back me up on things as well. They are super supportive. My husband sometimes though gives in because he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings or he just wants to make me happy and sometimes pushing me to eat healthily and not eat things I want feels to him like he is being mean, at the same time though he understands my health is in jeopardy so I think he struggles as well with that balance as well.

I know I will get through this, if nothing else I a stubborn as fuck. Even if I sometimes give in when the going gets tough I pick myself back up, tell myself no, I can not give in and I try again, even if it takes a while to get to that conclusion (umm… like 20 years for school, but who’s counting anyway). Again, I know I will get through this. I have support both professionally and through friends and family some of who have always been there and others who are newer but super supportive. I’ve just got to keep pushing myself outside my comfort zone and never give up and on that note, it applies to my diabetes as well. I can’t give up. If I make a mistake I need to just get up, dust off, and try again. Really use the CGM to watch for trends, watch how certain foods affect me, and find suitable alternatives that I still like and satisfy any cravings I have.

I so badly want to get everything under control. I feel better obviously when my blood sugar is in my goal range (5-10 mmol/l) and I know that the complications can be really bad if I don’t regain and keep control. I have seen it in my father and my grandmother. My mom too to a point. She’s a little better at controlling hers than my Dad and I though (yes, my mom, dad, and I are all type 2 and so was dad’s mom). It can be frustrating but at the same time, it can be interesting too. I know being able to cook and bake would be beneficial here because I can learn to change recipes to suit my needs (ie. no sugar, low carb, etc) but still satisfy my sweet tooth and still make me feel like I am not sacrificing. I just have to get better at it. Really push myself, the problem is there is so much I need to change, so much I need to improve or learn that it again seems so daunting. I am not giving up though. Never. I will always keep trying.