Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Final Day

I am continually amazed with how fast a month goes by. You blink and a month has gone by. I feel like it is the first week of September and I still have time to get into the fall groove, that worry about October’s fall can wait because it is still weeks away, and I am just starting the veggie challenge. I am delusional. The kids are back in school and the groove might actually be a rut, the fall festival plans are two weeks behind, and today is the last of my 30 day be a vegetarian challenge. Where did September go?

I enjoyed the vegetarian experience. It was fun. I liked the meatless recipe books I discovered at the library. I am still finding new books with cool dishes to try. I learned that I do like hummus, not all vegan meat substitutes are gross (but some are), and I still dislike tofu (but I am willing to try a different brands and types in the future). I haven’t decided if I’m going to remain vegetarian in the coming days or not. It’s become a struggle. Tomorrow won’t be different then the past month, I am not going to run out and order Wendy’s Baconator at 12:00:01. I am expecting most of my meals will continue to be meatless but I haven’t decided if all will. I still really *miss* having meat in my diet. There are also other food issues I am finding I am more passionate about like eating locally grown foods. Well, my tummy is growling I am off to make pasta.

Final thought AJ’s warning about needing to find a variety of favorite dishes was 100% true. Anytime I was in a rush, lazy, or behind on making my menu plan I had pasta with a veggie sauce. Over a longer period of time I would hate my favorite food.

Good-bye Veggie Month


Insert crave *here*

Monday, September 29, 2008

Make It Monday: PlayMais

Have you heard of PlayMais before? I hadn’t, till I was visiting my friends the O’Connors. Kim had bought the pirate set for her three year old son Timothy. He was so excited to make crocodiles and treasure chests. The stuff is great and simple to use. It only takes a little water to stick the foam like pieces together. Once wet the playmais is stuck stronger than glue. Together we made a whole imaginary world for ships, islands, parrots, and pirates. Here are a few of the things:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It was a rough day so I took a poll.

Here are things to be thankful for:

-Bear (the dog)
-Rock Band
-Playstation 3
-Roommates
-Birthday Breakfasts
-Sleep

What would you add to the list?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nano Countdown: 37 days

I had an epic dream last night. It was amazing; there were spells, a daring rescue, tribes, and a lair. I woke and thought, “Hey, this could be my Nanowrimo story.” I was going to write it down, or at least the main point, when I look at the time and realized I had over slept. I jumped out of bed, changed, feed the cats, and dashed off to the church. Now it late afternoon and all I remember of the dream is that it was movie like and I felt super creative. It would have made a great story.

Even without the dream I am pressing on. Nanowrimo will be here before we know it and this year I will be ready. The rules state that you can’t begin writing till 12:00:01 am local time November 1st. But they also state, “Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written prose, though, is punishable by death.”

While looking up something else online today, I found seven creative writing assignments for children on the Spiderwick Chronicles site. They sound pretty fun. I’m going to try the first one tonight. If it works out I might even use it as background history in the novel.

Activity 1: In The Field Guide, the Grace children find suggestions on how to prove that a brownie is lurking about (sprinkle flour on the floor to look for footprints) and how to repel faeries (wear red). Write your own methods for catching and/or repelling mischievous magical critters. Be sure to use your imagination and be creative. For even more fun, draw a picture of the creatures that you met.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Food Friday

Traditionally “food” hasn’t been a subject I thought about. If asked I could give a ice breaker answers to my favorite foods, my choice of last meal, or food I would be willing to eat every day. But to think about food, what was there to think about? I would never have thought about blogging about it, maybe sharing a good recipe or restaurant experience but not a post about food. What is there to say about food?

I started rethinking my food habits earlier this year while reading the 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating (the US edition is called Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and Raucous Year of Eating Locally, it also has different cover art). If I didn’t post about it when I finished reading it, I loved the book. I loved how both authors wove their lives into each chapter while sharing their challenges eating locally grown food. You can learn more about their site at 100milediet.org

After finishing I began reading Plant, Animal, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver). The concept was the same; eat locally grown foods for a year. It was interesting but a slower read, the library due date came and went and I was only half through it. I plan to sign it out again and finish it some day. What interesting to me while the topic was same they presented a whole new look at the topic and issues.

Then last month, Jessica got me thinking about what I eat, how North America farms, and vegetarianism. To the point I am day 19 into a 30 day vegetarian challenge. What I've learned is that there is more to food than just eating. Leads me to a question for you the reader:
When buying food what do you care about most?
Freshness
Cost
Locally grown
Organic
Health issues/benefits
Vegetarian/vegan choices
Convenience
Other
Free polls from Pollhost.com



If you said “other” please leave a comment explaining your choice. Thanks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Youth ministry is going really well. I feel encouraged. The leaders involved are my heroes. And I am thankful that God answered my prayer and got me through the lesson even with me still being sick.

God is so cool like that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Make It Monday: Knitting Ideas

Neither Monday nor Tuesday went as I had planned. I’ve come down with some type of head-cold that is going around the area. I’ve been drinking my mom’s favorite miracle medicinal solution –flat ginger ale. But I had to skip the chicken noodle soup. What do vegs eat when they are sick?

If I had of been able to post on Monday I would have shared this cool knitting site I found, Meta Post Modern Knitting. It has trends, patterns, a blog, and great links. There are a few different patterns I’d like to try. I just need to finish the two projects I currently have on the go.

Also for knitting fans, I strongly recommend reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s books. I finished reading “Things I Learned from Knitting” last night. It was a very humorous look at the crazy hobby we enjoy and the lessons it can teach.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Six

1) We started a new Sunday morning children’s ministry program and curriculum. It follows a multimedia large group small group format. There were still a few kinks to work out after last week. We didn’t do a big kick off or launch. I spent the afternoon today working through the PowerPoint and other elements of tomorrows lesson.

2) I have finished watching every Battlestar Galatica I could find…I want more. There are too many unanswered questions. Sadly the next episodes won’t be released till 2009.

3) I began and finished reading Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (also wrote the shopaholic series) yesterday. It was chick lit. but it didn’t feel like click lit. Lexi the main character wakes up from a car accident forgetting the last three years of her life. She finds herself a completely different person married to a multimillionaire but no clue who he is or how her became this Cinderella, and she discovers everything isn’t what it seems…I liked it a lot. It was a nice junk food read.

4) The youth group had a golf tournament fundraiser today. It was well done, organized, and successful. The youth had roles, the golfers enjoyed themselves, and lunch was amazing. The best thing, the idea, planning, and executing was all done by two of the adult youth leaders. It was their baby and they rocked it (wow that sounded cheesey). They are my heroes!

5) The amazing golf lunch was an all out turkey dinner…I was in the church all morning as they prepared. Today has been the hardest day as a vegetarian yet. I am not sure if I am really up for this lifestyle change. The turkey smelt so good. I had carrots, corn, peas, and mashed potatoes (no gravy) for lunch…but of how good the turkey smelt. They were also lots of leftovers. I have a huge pot of carrots, corn, and peas to take home. There is almost enough to last me a month; if only it would last that long.

6) I watched part of a football game this evening; it was between the two high schools our youth group kids attend. I cheered for the underdogs. When I left at half time the score was 14 to 0. There seems to be a lot of waiting in football.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Friday

I have good friends, great friends. Two such great friends are Kim and Brent. This couple invites me into their homes, shares meals with me, and talks about every subject under the sun. They have introduced me to new foods, hobbies, board games and ideas. I love spending a late night playing Settlers with them. On one such occasion the conversation of favorite beverage came up. I shared my deep love for Fanta Pineapple with them. This was a while back. Recently, the same night as the husk tomato adventure, they bring out a bottle of pineapple Crush. They saw it at a convenient store and thought of me. It is not exactly the same as Fanta’s version but it is still pretty fantastic.

What’s your pop (soda) of choice?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for simple surprises like a friend dropping by my office with tea. I am thankful for honest conversations on complex topics. I am thankful for things that seem wrong going better than expected. I am thankful for this day.

It is a good day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Storytelling

Fifty-one days till NaNoWriMo, the write a novel (of 50,000 words) in a month challenge begins. I got a story idea this week that is getting me excited to write again. Plots and characters have been filling my mind since December 1st 2008, the day after last years challenge ended. But I decided this year not to tell anyone anything about my story before it was on paper. Last year I found the details I had already shared out loud harder to write. I hope the secrecy helps the creative juices flow. So far so good, I even have a title…but you have to wait till November for it to be unveiled.

I began watching season four of Battlestar Galatica today. I’m still loving the series. There are so many aspects I enjoy and respect. I tried to sit down and reason through what I liked about it. My list so far is:
-The characters are whole and complicated. They make good and bad choices. Some times the hero of one episode will disappoint you in the next.

-The plot is appealing. Post-apocalypse, who hasn't wondered what they would do or how they would survive.

-The twists and surprises and not just because they are unexpected but because some times it’s the exact opposite of what I want to happen…makes things interesting, like the end of the mini series when cylon No. 8 was revealed or the events on New Caprica.

So here is a question, what are your favorite stories and why?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cat Tales

Mid July we (mom was visiting) noticed that both Inu and Kima were having some health issues. I got some meds from the vet which helped one of the problems. Then talked to other cat owners and decided to change their food. The troubles went away. Kima has become picky this week and not really eating the change so I’m mixing a higher priced brand in with the meow mix. Got me curious, what do other cat owners fed their pets?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Make It Monday: A Terrarium

After killing yet another plant last month I was ready to give up on the green thumb thing. Then saw a Thread Banger video on terrariums posted last week. I decided to give growing things one more chance. The supplies were easy to gather: a large cookie jar, aquarium stones, carbon used in fish filters it was suppose to be charcoal but the carbon was the best I could find, potting soil, and plant.




And this is my finished terrarium, the ornamental pepper that I bought was larger than the jar I bought. I’m looking for some smaller plants that will fit better.

Day 8: I was finally able to upload the pictures of husk tomatoes.

My first week as a veg is over. I’m still liking it, missing bacon, but finding it an ongoing adventure. Yesterday I ate at Brent and Kim’s, they made meatless lasagna. They are making it easier at discovering new veggie recipes.

I had a good veggie surprise today, my neighbor knocked on my door today to give me fresh tomatoes from their garden. She also let me know I could pick blueberries off their bushes. I’ve lived here two years and had no idea there were blueberries on the property. I picked a whole huge bowl, they are very yummy. Some will be for snacks but I’m freezing half.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Food Friday: Food Discovery

Breaking News: Thank you everyone who shared your concern about my cat. Inu came home this morning. I think he was hiding out at the neighbors place. He seems to like them more than me…maybe they have better cat food. I am just glad to know he is safe.

Earlier this week Kim and Brent introduced me to husk tomatoes this week. We took a great picture of the bucket of tomatoes but for some strange reason my computer won't read my camera or let me upload the pictures. I found a great picture on Alejna's website Collecting Tokens. The balloon like husk pulls back to reveal a tiny, green tomato smaller than a cherry tomato. They are very yummy, I would describe the taste as berry sweet, very little reminds us of tomatoes. I really enjoyed them.

Fun Food Fact: Did you know that tomatoes are really a berry? I didn’t; this neat tidbit was found on this tomato filled fact page. You learn something new every day.

Day 5: I had lunch at Tim Horton’s today. The veg options were limited to bagels, a hearty vegetable soup, and a veggie sandwich. I went with the sandwich; they put lettuces, tomato, cucumber and cream cheese on it. Who ever heard of putting cream cheese on a sandwich? It tasted fine but felt wrong. Supper tonight I’m trying a frozen veggie pizza.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I didn't want to get out of bed today. I wanted to just stay in bed and hide from the world. Nothing bad has happened, there is no crisis, no disastrous situation, I just wanted to give up. It is the same numb feeling that led me to type a three word post “I am lost” in the past. The feeling has been creeping up on me all week. In the midst of it I called a dear friend…it was wonderful. After we hung up my mom called…it was wonderful.

Today I am thankful for the invention of the telephone.

Day 4: I have a new veggie challenged. Thursday is normally a rushed take-out night because of youth. Tonight there was even more to do because I had a extra person to pick up. I ended up buying a salad from Sobeys. What other ways can a veg eat on the go? I don’t want to have a salad every Thursday night.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Two for the Price of One

Ever have a moment when a conversation, book, or observation sends your brain thinking in two opposite directions. It’s a common occurrence in my head. I find it most frustrating when the ideas are connected to something I want to post. So instead of trying to weave the unrelated ideas together I’m just going to post them both. Today you’re getting two thoughts on the topic of “reality shows.”

1) I like most reality shows. This could comes from living in TP for two years in college. The lounge TV was most commonly set on TLC. Hours were spent watching “What Not To Wear,” “Trading Spaces,” and the baby story, dating story, wedding story, proposal story, and on and on.

Since college I’ve been introduced to UK reality shows like the original trading spaces, “Super Nanny” and “How Clean is Your House.” I have to day the UK’s reality shows are better than ours. They have better concepts, better hosts, and better episodes. Even when the same person is a part of the American counterpart I still prefer the UK version. I wonder why? It might just be the accents but I doubt it.

2) I've been watching "How Clean Is Your House?" Which got me asking myself, “Do the people really change?” The earliest episodes had the two clean queens visit the house one year after they had “helped” grim offenders start over. The houses and owners had resumed their pervious states, neither had really changed. The next few episodes had the ladies visit after a month. The house was mostly clean but the dishes were piling up, the sinks weren’t as shiny, and the clutter was growing. Then the show started visiting after two weeks. The house was still beautifully clean. The show ends with a warm fuzzy feeling that we can break bad habits because people do change. If change happens it would have to takes more time a one day clean sweep. Can people break habits and if so how do they really change?

Day 3: Becca and I shared a huge plate of veggie nachos for a late supper. The meal was yummy but I was sad I couldn’t order potato skins…they are covered in bacon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cat Tales: The Cat Came Back

I’m worried about Inu. Both my kitties have become outdoor cats. They come in to eat, some times stay for some cuddles or a nap. Then they are at the door wanting let out to explore the world. Saturday night I let both Inu and Kima out; Inu hasn’t come home. I miss my cat.

In other cat news: Kima and I have a new obsession. Drum roll please:

Battlestar Galatica!


It’s amazing, wonderful, brilliant, fabulous and amazing, wait I’ve already used amazing. The show is an excellent drama and it's in my favorite genre sci-fi. And yes, it is really more my obsession than hers. But since Friday night she has sat through all of the mini series, season one, and most of season two with me. There were a few times I think she took a cat-nap but for the most part she was either crawling on me or sitting somewhere close by. Which I think is great because she is normally anti-cuddles. Battlestar has brought us together

Day 2: Kim and Brent invited to join them at Pizza Delight. This was my first “I’m a vegetarian eating out” experience. The store just started a new pasta menu that looks wonderful; the chicken-something yummy-bacon-pasta almost tempted me. But I went with an even better choice “Chunky Vegetable Greek” pizza. It was so good, who knew I liked Greek pizza.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Vegetarian for a Month

Starting today I am following a vegetarian diet for the next thirty days. For those who have concerns about vegetarian diet not providing all the bodies’ nutritional needs please do not worry; I’ll be following a form of lacto-ovo vegetarianism. I won’t be eating meat, poultry, or fish but I am still including eggs and dairy in my meals. I’ve also been reading many guides, cookbooks, and nutritional plans to help prepare for this transition. I am making a 30-menu plan that will have a variety of foods that provide the essential nutrients. Truth is, I will be eating better the next thirty than I normally do.

There are a number of different reasons someone would choose to be a vegetarian. The big ones I’ve found were a love for animals and/or a desire to need animal cruelty, health issues, and a way to protect the environment. My reason is some what smaller, my friend Jessica asked me to try it. Jessica were friendly acquaintances in college, through blogging I believe we’ve become friends, we both similar loves and interests, and last year she joined me in the insane pursuit of nanowrimo. Thirty days without meat wasn’t too much to give up for a friend. And so it begins…

Supper Day 1: Spaghetti with mushrooms and green pepper sauce.