Friday, December 30, 2011

#5 Buy a membership to Moksha Yoga

I bought my intro membership to Moksha Yoga at the end of November.
It's only $40.00 for the intro month - Sweeeet!

I'm not going to lie, it's not always easy being in that hot room and there were a few times that I had to lay down on my mat - but that's ok, there's no judgment in that room (or at least not obvious judgment, they may have been making fun of me in their heads...)
The more often I went, the easier it became (I use the term 'easy' very loosely - because the goal is to always push yourself so it's never really 'easy' BUT I had to lie down a lot less!) and the better I felt.

Unfortunately I started to feel icky & sickish toward the end of the month (because I started eating a lot of baaaad food... but that's a whole other story!), so I didn't go to class for about a week and a half but I'm feeling better now and I can't wait to buy a new membership and get started again!

Because I was so excited about my new found yoga love, Santa brought me a Manduka Equa Towel from lululemon, a nifty bag to carry all of my sweaty stuff in and the Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD for Christmas. I'm feeling very supported and excited to use all of my new goodies!

I've already seen quite a few benefits from doing less than a month of yoga; my skin feels better (it's actually pretty broken out right now - again with the bad food) BUT it feels amazing after class, I'm more conscious of my posture (especially when I'm walking around carrying a yoga mat, and I'm much more conscious of my breathing. I find myself taking more big deep breaths throughout the day to energize or de-stress.

I totally recommend it to anyone, the instructors are super friendly and make you feel welcome from day one. 
If you're going to give it a shot, just make sure that you eat well the day you're going (or in life...), don't have anything too heavy beforehand, and drink LOTS of water.

Namaste  ;)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Wreath Craft

Last night was craft night... yaaay!!
I love craft night (or craft afternoon, or craft morning... you get the point)

The thing that separates craft night from any other crafting session is that husband and I are both working on crafts. He makes these amazing dioramas (mostly of Star Wars  scenes.... MAN we're sounding cooler and cooler...)
Anyway, it's fun because we're spending time together that doesn't involve tv or video games, and we can show each other how we're doing with our projects - just like little kids - "Look what I made!!!"

Last night I made a Christmas wreath - it was the cheapest, easiest thing EVER! (like under $10.00 cheap!!)

Here's how I did it...

Pair of scissors
Glue gun
Duct tape

(pretty easy so far right? No fancy supplies needed - just stuff that pretty much everyone has around the house)

I bought all of this stuff from the Dollar Store.

Christmas bells $1.25
Silver acorns $1.00
Silver bird $1.00
Blue ribbon $1.00
Silver ribbon $1.00 (I didn't even end up using the silver ribbon)
Dollar Store total: $5.25 + tax

Foam insulation stuff from Kent Building Supplies

Also from Kent, fake greenery stuff (please don't be intimidated by my technical terms.. just 'try' to follow along.. hehe!)

I used two of these, they were $1.99 each

Kent total: $4.33 + tax

Grand Total (drum roll please): $9.58 + tax
Ok, so it ended up being a little more than $10.00 after taxes BUT I didn't need the silver ribbon, so I think it will even out if you decide to make this. :)

 Step 1. 
Use the duct tape to secure the ends of the foam.
 I got this tip from Pinterest, (MAN I love Pinterest!! You should all join, and if you follow my boards, I'll follow yours! :) 
It's sooo much cheaper to buy this stuff than it is to buy Styrofoam wreath things from craft stores.

 Step 2.
Wrap the greenery around the frame.

Literally just wrap it, you don't have to be fussy and you don't have to fasten it or anything.
I just tucked the end under the wrapped wire next to it.

 I used 2 packs of greenery, and again, I just tucked the end under the wire next to it.
Super easy - only takes about 10 or 15 minutes (depending on how many cats you have and how intent they are on playing with, catching, and eating the greenery - if you don't have cats... this will take under 5 minutes...)

Once you're finished wrapping, just fluff it up a bit.
Cover any gaps there might be & arrange the branches.
I did mine so that it was flat-ish on the bottom & so that there weren't many going towards the middle because it's kind of a small hole in the middle so I didn't want to make it look any smaller.

 Step 3.
Make a bow
I used pretty much the whole spool of ribbon (not a whole lot comes on the spool anyway.

I did save a little bit of it to hang the wreath though, it only has to be as long as half of one of the bow ends.

 If you want to have 'fancy' ends on your bow
Fold the ribbon (lengthwise) and cut from the bottom corner of he open side, on an angle towards the closed side.
Like so.
OooOoohhh fancy!

Step 4.
Glue the bow on with the glue gun.

I also glued the ends of the ribbon, so that they "look" like they're hanging naturally-ish, but they're not hanging straight down.
(I should clarify - by 'ends' of the ribbon, I mean the parts that aren't the bow... I don't mean that I actually glued the bottom that we cut. I glued somewhere closer to the middle)

 Step 5.
Add the pretty, silver, dollar store bird.  lol

 Just pop it in there and glue it where every you want.

I chose the bottom inside of the wreath, so it looks as though it's perching there.

 Step 6.
Glue everything else.

You don't have to use it all.
Just keep placing and gluing until you're happy with the look.
 Step 7.
Add a piece of ribbon to hang it with.

I just used some left over ribbon from the bow & tied each end around the foam at the top then rearranged the branches to cover the small knots.

Ok, it's not the best picture - but I have a bad camera, bad lighting and no photographic skill to speak of. So this is the best I could come up with. LOL
It's simple, but I think it's pretty and it's CHEAP so that makes it so much better! lol
I think I'll try another one with red & gold.

Hope this inspired you to make some inexpensive crafts of your own, and if anyone tries this out, I'd love to see some pics of your version!

Happy crafting!! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

#6 - Try one new recipe every month - October

I was really looking forward to this one, because we sometimes get into a rut with our meals - so it's really nice to try new things.

I used the AMAZING cookbook Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.
This book was a gift from two of my good friends April & Pam when husband and I became vegan - and it's one of the best cookbooks I've used! (Thanks again friends!)

Here's what to look for if you decide to get this book

Ok, back to the meal.

I made leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits on page 172 of the book (translation, leek & bean stew with dumplings for those of you who, like me, aren't fancy... lol)
This was fun, because I've never used a leek before... in fact, I didn't even know what a leek looked like until I went in search of one.

I'm not going to go into all of the instructions (because I don't want to get sued by the authors... hahaha... but seriously...) now you'll just have to buy the book! ha!

Here are the ingredients for the stew

The measuring cup has some beans that I just happened to have in the freezer

Here are the ingredents for the biscuts

Here's some "action" shots of the cooking process...

First (ish) Step

Adding some 'flava'

Add MORE veggies you say? OKAY!

Final Product

This was so delicious! Husband loved it too.
It was hot and comforting - I can't wait to make it again!

October's new recipe = a success!!
And that makes me happy!

# 1 - Buy myself flowers once a month - October

So I started tackling some of the things on my list of 30 things to do before I'm 30 - I decided to go wild and start with #1... I know, I know... I'm livin' on the edge.

But #1 was to buy myself flowers once a month - FUN!
So, at the end of October I bought myself a little bouquet of flowers, nothing too fancy but that's ok, I figured I would start out small.
It made me really happy to do something for myself though... and my kitties loved them! haha

Here are some pictures.
(Please excuse the crummy pictures, I've lost the charger for my camera so I've been using my video camera and it doesn't take the best pictures {not that I took great pictures to begin with - so this is just extra bad!})

These are my October flowers - they're so pretty and bright!

Gabby had to check them out too

Einstein enjoying the flowers


So that's it, I've started my list.
 #1 for October - check!
Only 11 more months to go... plus 29 other things to do; but so far it's making me happy!  :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 things before I'm 30

Today is my 29th birthday! Happy Birthday to me!!

So, in honor of my last year of my 20's - I've decided to make a list of 30 things to do (that I've never done before) before I hit the big 3-0. (dunn dunn Dunnn)

My list is not in any specific order, I'll check them off as I go - and take lots of photos!

I encourage everyone else to make a list of their own, even if you're not in your late 20's; it's a fun way of setting goals and feeling like you've accomplished something.

Here we go...

1. Buy myself flowers once a month
2. Lay on a bed of nails
3. Go to the movies alone
4. Try rock climbing (indoors)
5. Buy a membership to Moksha yoga (because I'm in LOVE with hot yoga... after doing it once.. lol)
6. Try one new recipe every month
7. Spend one month doing a random act of kindness everyday
8. Finish my children's story and enter a writing contest
9. Go to a professional sports game (I might let husband decide which one)
10. Volunteer for at least 200 hours
11. Shoot a gun
12. Do a 30 day yoga challenge (this one will come after buying a membership to Moksha)
13. Make a pie from scratch
14. Have a candlelight picnic with husband
15. Take a chunk out of our debt (a more specific amount TBD)
16. Knit a scarf
17. Visit an animal sanctuary
18. Plan a weekend getaway with my friends
19. Take a ride in a hot air balloon
20. "Unplug" for a whole weekend
21. Put together a zombie preparedness kit
22. Keep a gratitude journal - write in it every day
23. Finish every unread or half read book I own
24. Plant a tree
25. Take a sewing lesson
26. Watch Citizen Kane & Casablanca
27. Read at least 5 "Classics"
28. Eat ice cream and cookies for breakfast, lunch, & dinner one day (I'm really looking forward to this one... haha)
29. Buy 10 pairs of white underwear and tiedye them
30. Make my own soy candles

So there it is - my "to do" list for the next year.
I'm so excited to start crossing things off!

I can't wait to hear about everyone else's lists!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yummy "What's in the cupboard meals"

Ever have one of those days where you want something yummy, but you're in desperate need of groceries?
(I have those days all the time!!  haha)

Some of of my best creations have come from just throwing things in a pot and hoping for the best (and adding lots of garlic... everything is better with garlic)

Here's a tasty burger that's super easy to make

Red pepper
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds
Hemp seed oil

I don't have measurements because I'm more of a "throw in what looks good" kind of gal (unless I'm following someone elses recipe that I've never made before - then I'm the measurement queen!)

Anyway, here's what I did.
Ground up a large hand full of flax seeds until they were a power (then dumped it in the blender)
Chopped up the red pepper, onion and garlic (about 2/3 of the red pepper, half an onion and about 2 cloves of garlic) and set it aside for a moment.

Next I drained the chickpeas, and added them to the blender with the sunflower seeds, pepper, onion & garlic and about 1/3 of the tofu. I also added a little bit of the hemp seed oil (somewhere between a tsp & tbsp I guess)

Then I blended - my cats were afraid of the blender for a very long time, but they've finally worked up the courage to stay in the kitchen while I'm blending - I'm kind of hoping that they won't grow accustomed to it, because it's pretty much the only thing that keeps them off the counter while I'm cooking!! hehe

Once I was finished blending, I threw some salt & pepper on those suckers, then I spooned it out and made it paddy shaped (as opposed to Patti shaped, which would have been more difficult)
Here's what they looked like before I cooked em.

I threw them in the frying pan with a teeny tiny bit of oil and cooked them till they looked done.
I was careful when flipping them, because I was afraid they'd break, but they weren't as crumbly as I thought they'd be.

Here's the final product.

They turned out really well, we used iceberg lettuce (because that's what was in the fridge- but I usually prefer spinach) tomato & pickles.

Usually when we get store bought veggie burgers, Wayne eats at least two before he feels full. But with this, he was super full after just one.

I realize that these "instructions" involve a lot of throwing, but that's how I cook (you should see the kitchen by the time I'm done with it... yikes!! Soooo glad husband and I have the "whoever cooks doesn't have to clean" rule LOL) The photo's aren't the best either - but hey, I'm no pro!! lol

Anyway, yummy food that cruelty free makes me happy! Try it - it will make you happier too :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Busy Busy Summer!

So it's been awhile - let's just count this as my one get out of jail free card, shall we?
It's been a busy/ fun few weeks, we've had lots of weddings and festivities surrounding those weddings.

Seeing my friends being happy makes me really happy!!
Having so many of our friends in the same place at the same time always makes me happy too - this is why I love weddings!
Wedding just bring out the best in people (even though the planning process sometimes brings out the worst in people! lol) everyone is always so cheerful, hopeful and excited for the bride and groom.
And aren't brides just so beautiful? Yes the dress is beautiful and her hair looks great... but that's not what I'm talking about, I mean her smile, the light in her eyes the excitement and joy bubbling up from her because she gets to spend the rest of her life with the person she loves the most - that's what makes brides so beautiful!

The other thing I love about weddings is the dancing!!!! Ohhhh the dancing... my partner and I live by the saying "dance like no one's watching" LOL
He does a mean Angus Young guitar solo and I love me some running man... and other people just stare in awe... or laugh nervously...
People take themselves too seriously sometimes, I love it when we can just be silly and dance like idiots - it makes me REALLY happy!

I also love the speeches at weddings, all kinds of people saying thank you and being grateful for each other, I wish we all did that more often...

I get to stand in my best friends wedding as her maid (technically matron - but I don't like the sound of that as much... lol) of honor and I'm SO excited!  She is the most beautiful person I know, inside and out and she and her partner are perfect for each other. I can't wait until her big day - I also can't wait to dance like a fool at her reception! hahaha

Anyway, long story short, weddings are fun - happy friends are my favorite!! :)

David MacVicar Photographer
Wayne and I in the Whackybooth at our friend's wedding - you can tell we take these things very seriously! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You love me because I'm quirky...

Poor husband... he came home from work one day last year and I met him at the door and said "remember... you love me because I'm quirky..."


He's a trooper though, so he went along, "okaaaay... what did you do?"
So I took him by the hand and led him to our bedroom... wait a second.. it's not THAT kind of blog!!!  heh!
I wanted to show him what I had done while he was at work that day.

I had made our headboard the day before, it was super easy.
I just got a big piece of wood, stapled some cotton batting and fabric on it and voila! Headboard!

Anyway, I decided that before I could hang the headboard, I needed to paint the wall.
And I needed to have a tree on that wall.

I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, I'm not much of an artist and I didn't have a handy projector around to trace an image, so I had to be creative.

Here's the 10 step plan I came up with:

Step 1.  Scour the internet for a picture of a tree

Step 2.  Save tree picture in paint, erase everything else in picture except outline of tree

Step 3.  Print off tree picture

Step 4. Glue tree picture onto piece of cereal box

Step 5. Cut out shape of tree

Step 6. Prop up cardboard cut out of tree (you may have to be creative with this, I used a wine cork with a slit in it, propped up on some milk crates)

Step 7. Prop flashlight behind tree cut out, adjust flashlight until the shadow is where you want it on the wall (I propped the flashlight up with a cushion)

Step 8. Trace shadow lightly on wall with a pencil

Step 9. Paint around image you've traced

Step 10. Break the news to your partner that you've painted a tree on the wall...

Fortunately, husband is an easy going kind of person ... so he said "hey, cool, great job"

Here are some pics of the final product, it's not for everyone, but I'm happy with it.

Since I've taken these pictures, I've added some blue pillow cases and another throw cushion or two.
I ended up doing some of the tree free hand, it was pretty fun & way less stressful than I thought it would be! lol
Like I said above, the headboard is really simple, but effective I think.

Trees make me happy... bed makes me happy...

Now I have to go finish *watching* the hockey game... cause that's what I've been doing this whole time... 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Banana Ice Cream - YES!

What a glorious weekend!!
The weather was beautiful, I slept in both mornings and did a whole lot of NOTHING; if you don't count cleaning, cooking, watching movies and reading... which I don't.

I use the term "cooking" lightly, mostly, husband & I prepared food but didn't actually cook much.

Yesterday we had leftover couscous and salad from the night before and husband grilled up some asparagus... delish! Today we had veggie sushi, I'll do a whole other post on that at some point.
No photo's right now, sorry!

I also whipped up (literally) some banana ice cream.
A friend of mine mentioned a few weeks ago that she had made banana "ice cream" and it intrigued me, because we are totally addicted to rice dream ice cream, and so delicious ice cream and it's soooo expensive!

So I figured I would try making it and if it turned out ok, then we'd have a MUCH cheaper alternative to the ice cream we usually buy. I made it, we loved it, now I want to eat it all the time! lol

Here's some photo's from my first attempt.

You know there's a camp song that we used to sing that this reminds me of...

"Peel bananas, peel, peel bananas..."

"Slice bananas, slice, slice bananas..."

The rest of the song goes like this...
"smoosh bananas, smoosh, smoosh bananas..."
And you jump around like an idiot

But that's not what I did... I froze the bananas then I blended them

Here's a shot inside the blender... starting to look ice creamy...

I decided to add a little honey


And some cashews for good measure

Blended just a little bit more and dumped it in a bowl to freeze for a while longer

But I couldn't wait so I didn't leave it in there very long,
it was more like soft serve than anything.. but soooo delicious!

I took a few pictures... husband was like "umm... can you please stop taking pictures, so that I can actually eat this stuff?"

There was still lots left, so I put it in the freezer and it got nice and hard (just like ice cream!) there was enough for a few more servings! Alas, I didn't get a picture of it (camera died) but it looked the same, just darker.

Next time I'm going to try adding some peanut butter! Yum!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Emphasize the Positive

 Teens get a bad rap, don'tcha think?

I remember when I was a teenager, I felt like adults blamed us for everything and painted us all with the same brush... and it was a bummer.

Molly Ringwald - poster child for teen angst

There was one incident at a certain donut shop that won't be named...

Two of my friends and I went in to the shop because they wanted something, I didn't want anything because I had just bought a slushy at the store across the street. After they ordered, the woman behind the desk asked me what I wanted and I said I was fine, thank you.
She told me that I would have to leave if I wasn't ordering anything and that I couldn't just "hang around there". I was shocked.
We weren't causing any trouble, in fact, *some* may have said we were "goody goodies".
Then she said, "you can't be in here because you didn't buy that here" I told her that I would have bought it there... if they sold it, but they didn't, so my hands were tied.

 Long story short, we were offended, outraged even, so we left, telling her she just lost three customers then went home and told my mom about it.

Mom taught me an important lesson that day, she was angry on our behalf, she said "you girls are paying customers, they wouldn't kick out an adult who wasn't buying something in a party of three, you deserve the same respect" (she was never a parent who thought I was always right just because I was her child... she would call me on my BS and let all the parties involved know that she had done so).
She was so angry that she called the store, and since she is always polite but firm, she kept getting put through to other people until she ended up talking to some "head honcho" guy, on his personal cell phone while he was flying somewhere (it may have been a company jet... I don't remember the details, but I do remember thinking - they are taking this seriously!)
He offered mom all kinds of free stuff to make it better, and she said "no thank you, all I would like is an apology for these girls, they are good kids and deserve to be treated with respect".
But this time my friends and I were completely embarrassed and a little in awe of what was happening.

So the next day, we went down to the store, the manager met us there, asked us to go in the back to look at video of what happened, apologized for what happened and acknowledged that an adult wouldn't have been asked to leave if one out of three people wasn't purchasing something.
Then she insisted on giving us a free drink and donut (that was nice of her)

It was great, I felt validated, adults were taking my concerns seriously and treating me with respect. That day I learned how to stick up for myself and that I deserve to be treated fairly.

That leads me back to my point, teens are treated unfairly. The media usually only reports widely on the negative things that teens do, swarming, fights, drinking, vandalism etc. fill our TV screens and the pages of our newspapers, but what about the wonderful things that teens do?
What about the teens who volunteer in the community, babysit their siblings and cousins every weekend, excel at academics or sports or work after school to help support their family?  Where are all of these stories?

The last few weeks there have been a lot of reports about a 14 year old boy who called in a bomb threat to a NS hospital (thankfully it was a hoax), it's been all over the news.
What about the 14 year old boy who entered a science competition and then wrote a letter to General Motors about his project and received a very positive response? I happened upon this story on the MSN homepage, it certainly wasn't splashed all over the news.

If we emphasized the positive more often, maybe youth wouldn't feel like the world was "out to get them" and that all adults are "the man" maybe if we praised the good stuff, it would show kids that we do care, we are listening and we are proud of what they're trying to do.

Two 14 year old NS boys, on very different paths, neither of them is "bad", one has just made some bad decisions. I wonder if anyone ever told him "you deserve to be treated with respect..."
I realize that many people believe that respect is earned, not given, but personally I choose to believe that each person I meed deserves my respect and unless they prove different, they will receive it.

Next time you "catch a kid doing good" let them know, tell them you appreciate them and that they deserve respect, help shape their life - you have that power!

Here are the articles I was referring to:

Night all, try to be positive and look for the good in others, it's there, let's foster it.