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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Family Dinners

I grew up in the 80's/ 90's (thankfully, I was just a kid in the 80's so I don't have any pictures of 80's bangs - well, none that I'm responsible for... but that's a whole other story...)

Anyway, I grew up with smurfs, snap bracelets, hyper colour shirts, and I thought Zach Morris was dreamy (if you don't know who that is, look up Saved by the Bell - it's totally rad)

I TOTALLY had this poster on my wall!!!

I watched Saturday morning cartoons and played outside with my friends until my mom yelled
"Paaaaatti Lyyyyyynnnnnn" from the back porch. Then I ran home as fast as I could and I ate dinner.... with my family.
Shocking, I know.

My family ate dinner together every single night. My dad owned a business in town so he worked shift work, but he always came home for dinner then went back to work (not everyone is able to do that, I know, but he made a point to be there at meal time - and I'm just now realizing how cool that is)

Mom or dad cooked dinner every night, we were very much a "meat & potatoes" kind of family, spaghetti was "something different for a change" as my mom used to say.
We were so "meat & potatoes" in fact, that when I decided in my late teens that I didn't want to eat meat anymore, my mom (horrified) said "What will you eat??? Carrots and potatoes??"
We still laugh about that, and mom has since experimented with all kind of plant based dishes. Because she's supportive- and wonderful.

Don't get me wrong, these meals weren't always peaceful - we were far from a perfect family, my sister and I fought, I sometimes refused to eat, mom and dad would sometimes use these meals to lecture us about one thing or another BUT we ate together every day.

Sometimes family dinners looked like this...

And sometimes they looked more like this....
I didn't realize that eating together every day wasn't the norm until I got much older and people told me they they ate their meals in front of the TV or they would go to a fast food restaurant most nights.

We went to fast food restaurants... but not often, and if our parents let us choose what restaurant to go to we never chose a fast food place. We would want Chinese food or Swiss Chalet or something like that - so at least it was closer to real food than a burger and fries.

But I'm wondering if it's odd that we shared meals? Is it totally a "1950's", outdated practice? Or do families still sit down together at the end of the day and 'break bread'?

My partner, who I've affectionately referred to as "husband" since the day we got married... I was excited that I could finally call him my husband - so I started calling him that, all the time. So much so that it's a year and a half later and I still rarely call him by his name. If any of my colleagues take a message for me when he calls they always say "Patti, husband called" LOL

What was I saying...

Right, my partner and I sometimes eat in front of the TV and watch Big Bang Theory (because it's hilarious)

This is what we do when we eat in front of the TV too!

but we often sit at the table while we eat and we chat, and ask how each other's day was - and listen. It's nice.
I guess what I'm wondering is, are we old fashioned? When we have children are they going to eat with us? Or text us from their bedroom that they're ready for dessert? (That would involve me getting a cell phone.. which is a WHOLE other post.... maybe I am old fashioned... )

There is a ton of research out there about the effect that eating meals as a family has on children, but I'm not going to get into any of that. All I know is what I lived - although sometimes it was a pain, and I really wanted to get back to fort building or barbie make overs I had to sit with my family and finish my peas before dessert.

I'm curious about other peoples up-bringing, is it similar or the exact opposite to mine? And would they/ are they raising their children the same way or completely opposite to how they were raised?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Danger of a Single Story

I attended a work shop at ISIS  (Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services) a few days ago; it was excellent. We heard about Canadian immigrants and refugees and some of their needs and challenges in a new community, I learned a lot of interesting statistics and met some cool people.

But the thing that really got my attention was a short video that we watched of a speech called The Danger of a Single Story. Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author gave this talk at a TED conference. She is so eloquent and her message is so important that I've watched it a few times since the workshop.

All too often many of us are guilty of buying into stereotypes and projecting a single story onto others, and sometimes we are the "recipient" of the single story, this is a kind reminder to open our eyes and look at people, places, things from a different perspective.

Growing up I always saw people who looked like me on television and in books and magazines and until I listened to this speech I definitely took that for granted, I never really "got" why it made a difference or why it was important.

I think everyone should watch this talk, and watch it often.
The Danger of a Single Story: Chimamanda Adichie

Inclusion, diversity, and new perspectives make me happy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wanna- be DIY'er

I love DIY projects... I'll never have my own tv show about it or make any money doing it, but it makes me happy AND it saves me money (sometimes... lol)

Here's the first DIY project I completed after husband and I moved into our apartment, he brought a dresser into the relationship that I HATED (I had been using milk crates to put my clothes in... so really.. who am I to complain? I mean, it didn't stop me from complaining, but at least I acknowledged that I had no right... lol)

My mom loved this dresser as it was, and was very worried about what I would do to it (I went through a phase in my teens where everything needed to be as bright as possible, check out my room from jr. high

I chose the colours for the walls and mum tried to "bring it all together" by making some throw pillows, curtains and buying that bed spread. There's a great picture (somewhere) of my dad painting the first wall yellow wearing sunglasses...haha

But, I digress...

Back to the dresser.
So my mom was very worried about what I would do to it (now you understand why) so she really wanted me to leave it as it was, we have very different tastes. Leaving it like that would have been *almost* as bad as hanging on to the milk crates. lol

Just to drive home my point, here's a close up of the gold flower part.

I don't have any pictures of the steps (cause who knew I'd be blogging about it!!)

Step 1. I put down some garbage bags - *tip* splurge on a tarp, trust me.

Step 2. I sanded the crap out it. Not with a fancy sanding machine... but with actual sand paper...that's right, I'm hardcore!

Step 3. After waiting for the dust to settle and wiping it down with a damp cloth, I stained it black (classic black satin to be precise). I was super impressed with the stain, it only took one coat and I still have over half of the can left!! (946 mL can!!)  Maybe it's because I don't know much about painting that I'm so impressed about that. LOL
It cost about $15.00 for the can of stain.

Step 4. I replaced the hardware, we bought 2 packs because I plan on buying another dresser on kijiji and matching it to this one.
It was about $40.00 for both packs.

Here's the finished product.

The flower is still there, just not as gold... lol

It was super easy to do, so much cheaper than buying a new dresser and prettier than milk crates.

The one downfall was that I spilled paint on the carpet... whoops... so let's add $20.00 on to the final cost for the mat we had to buy to cover the black spot on the carpet. (but yay for a new mat... haha)

It took me the whole day to do it (you'll notice how much darker it is in the second set of pictures).
I love doing projects like that, because at the end of the day you can say "hey, look what I did!" and that makes me happy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

Hello folks,
Thanks for checking out my blog.
I've been throwing the idea around of starting a blog for a while now, and when a friend of mine told me that she had started one I thought "why can't I do that?"
The answer was, there's no reason why I can't, I was the only thing stopping me!
So here it is, my attempt at blogging.

I was trying to choose a "theme" for my blog, but there were so many things I wanted to be able to touch on like delicious food, DIY projects, beauty in nature and things I just think are neat, then I realized that these are all things that make me happy. VoilĂ ! There's my theme.

It's kind of awesome actually, what a great opportunity this is to try to spread some joy; maybe someone out there in internetland will see this and decide to try out an awesome plant based recipe or choose to find the silver lining in a crummy situation, or maybe I'll be able to raise awareness about things that matter deeply to me, OR maybe no one will ever read this and at the very least it'll give me an opportunity to take a few moments for myself and try to focus on the goodness in life.
Either way, I think I'll get some joy out of this little project.

To close my first post (exciting!!) here are some things that make me smile.

Gabby Cat enjoying some of my smoothie
My kittens (yep, I'm totally one of those people who call full grown animals kittens and puppies) always bring me joy - even when they're being monsters (because when they're being bad they're still hilarious)

Living in Nova Scotia, makes me ultra happy. The weather has been a little crummy lately, but compared to other parts of Canada and the world, I really can't complain (although I might at some point...).

This is one of my favorite videos of all time.
Try not to laugh while watching this. I dare you.
If I'm feeling bummed out I throw this on and it never fails to make me laugh.

Partly because it reminds me a a camp game I used to play, the "HA HA game" (aptly named). We would lie on the ground with our head on the next persons stomach and the first person would say "HA", the next person would say "HA, HA", the next person would say "HA, HA, HA" and so on. The idea was to say it in a very serious tone and not laugh. If someone laughed, you had to start allover again. You couldn't even cheat with a silent laugh because someones head was on your stomach so they would feel it moving and they would start to laugh. Good times.

Well, that's if for me.
Night all.