Best Birthday Gift Ever

Taking Care of Me

by: Erica Ehm

Best Birthday Gift Ever

I am having the best freaking birthday this year. Why? Partly because of this, and also because of this:


but really because I bought myself The Best Gift.

I don't know about you, but I have been putting myself last a lot lately - mostly due to time constraints. Forgetting to get a check up, putting off the yoga classes, sporadic, infrequent runs, not enough sleep, eating like crap. Shall I go on?

That's why, last week, I booked myself in for an executive check-up at a private clinic. It's not cheap, but I've saved some money this year and decided it was time to take care myself. Could the money have been better spent on my kids' programs or our grocery bill? Not a chance.

The way I see it - if I get sick, everything goes to shit. Especially my family life. So, I sucked it up, paid the bill and spent the entire day being shuffled from one doctor to the next, getting my body examined head to toe, inside and out. I bought myself peace of mind.

The experience at Medcan was kind of like going to the spa. You're guided to a calm waiting room with lots of healthy food for nibbling on. Then some doctor, nurse or technician comes to the room and calls your name for their portion of your check up.

I started the day with a full blood test, and then moved on to a chest x-ray, ultrasound of my pancreas, kidneys and liver, a hearing test, an ultrasound of my ovaries, a consult with a nutritionist, and then a sit down with a GP.

Then I had full eye exam which meant putting in those drops that dilate and freeze your pupils. This is what the inside of my eye look like.

Apparently, in the Victorian era, fashionable women were placing drops of atropine solution into their eyes as a cosmetic. The dilation of the pupils made the women more appealing by causing males to believe they were the object of emotional attraction. Didn't work for me. It just made everything look hazy. But I did find out I need glasses.

One of my biggest fears is the C word - I'll say it out loud. CANCER - specifically Breast Cancer. My grandmother survived the Holocaust but died ten years later from Breast Cancer. A mammogram was essential for me. If you've had one before, you get how uncomfortable they can be, as the machine needs to squish your breast in order to get a good view. Wanda was the technician in charge. She was delightful, careful and literally ran from my squished breast to take the shot to remove the pressure asap.

Right away she informed me I had dense breasts which meant the mammogram couldn't get a clear view of what was going on in my breast tissue. Nothing to worry about, but she sent me immediately down the hall for a breast ultrasound. This is what the inside of my breast looks like. No tumours or growths, thank you very much. Phew!

The one "station" I wasn't worried about was the stress test. First Ben, the technician, tested the pulse IN MY ANKLE to make sure there were no blockages in my arteries.

Then he hooked me up to an electrocardiogram and had me walk briskly on a treadmill. As he increased the intensity of the pace and incline, he monitored my heart to see how it was dealing with the extra stress. Since I've been running for a long time, I was cavalier about doing this; quite sure I would pass with flying colours. Ironically, I sucked. The only test important test in which I was below average for my age was this stress test. I was told to go home and work on getting my heart rate up. I left the room kinda freaked out that my heart isn't as strong as it should be.

The BodPod is a quirky machine that tests the amount of fat vs muscle. I was in the healthy range of 29%.

My twenty minute fit test session with fitness trainer told the same story as the stress test. I'm below average for strength and flexibility. I was told to go home and workout more. Seemed to be a theme.

The day ended with a wrap up discussion with the GP. After gathering the results of the day's tests, she provided her insights and a few key pieces of advice. Top of the list - to include more Vitamin D, Omega -3's and calcium in my diet. And to start using supplements. And start exercising.

I went home and had a big cry of relief. I am healthy. My body is still strong. I will be here for my kids. Now I have to follow the doctor's orders and take better care of myself.

So, can you imagine a better gift?

Happy Birthday to me!


A Smart Business Plan

Getting To Know You

by: Erica Ehm

A Smart Business Plan

Last week I attended a workshop on How To Put Together a Business Plan. The seminar was organized  by Leigh Mitchell's Women in Biz Network. Teaching us were my friends Cora and Kathryn from Mom Central and Amy and Danielle, YMC Mom Ink bloggers. After the two hour session, I had a better understanding of what a business plan is and why it's important for any business to have one in place. So, I need to get myself in gear and start biz planning.

The room was filled with approximately fifty women who were small business owners, there to network and learn. After the power point presentations and information session was over, it was fun when any of the attendees came over to introduce themselves to me - sharing a bit about how they heard about YMC and told me about their businesses.

Whenever I attend networking events with my peers, I inevitably receive emails afterwards from women who been at the same functions as me, but for some reason were too shy, nervous, tired, or late to connect with me in person.

It's always disappointing for me to miss out on connecting with other like-minded women - moms in business are my "peeps". So, I'm going to bribe you to get to know you. Here's how.

When I was at the Business Planning seminar, I won one of the door prizes. I scored a new Kobo e-reader donated by Random House. At first, I was going to give it back to Leigh and ask her to pull another winner's name that night. Instead, I thought this would be a great way for me to meet you. So, here it goes.

I am re-gifting a brand new KOBO e-reader to a mom (or dad) with a small business. Please leave a comment below telling me a little bit about yourself and your business. Feel free to include your URL in your comment - this may even lead to a little extra networking from other small biz owners or potential customers. I will then use to pick a winner!

So I get to meet you and you have a chance to win a Kobo. Sounds like a smart business plan to me.

Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until October 3, 2011. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using


Putting Yourself Out There

Being Cool With The Way the Cookie Crumbles

by: Erica Ehm

Putting Yourself Out There

It's hard to turn your dreams into a reality; to have the stamina and determination to beat the odds and make things happen. Especially when you do it in public in front of your peers. You need guts to put yourself out there - and be cool with the way cookie crumbles along the way.

I've been quietly watching two YMC bloggers throw their hearts and souls into the ring for a chance to host an Ottawa TV show. I know for Kelli Daisy and Loukia - having a TV show have been dreams of theirs for a long time. In fact, when I first met Kelli two years ago, she learned across the table from me, looked me in the eye and said very slowly, "!"

And guess what? She's damned good on camera!

I watched how both bloggers called on their communities to support them, pouring every bit of energy into their bids to get votes and inch closer to getting what they want. It made me proud to know them - to watch their passion bubble over into social media and see the reactions of their online friends who were clearly there for them.

In the end, they both didn't make the cut (which in my opinion was a travesty!) Yet Kelli and Loukia have been gracious and philosophical since learning they weren't moving on in the competition.

And so they should be.

By diving in and rallying the troops, they've demonstrated personal power developed over the years to stand out and make sh*t happen. They're also really good on camera!!

I speak from experience. It's not easy to put yourself out there - but each time you do, you are that much closer to making your dreams come true.

So congratulations Kelli and Loukia for going for your dreams. Stick with it. The best is yet to come!