No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

A breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we just need some fresh air. ¬†There is something about spending time with nature that is soothing, and helps you find peace with whatever you are struggling with. ¬†We really wanted to go camping (secluded style, not in a massive field full of tents), and although it is a cheap thing to do, we just couldn’t afford it. ¬†I was really upset, annoyed, etc. but tried my best to stay positive and come up with an alternative. ¬†We decided to take a walk at Castlewood State Park, and then a drive through Lone Elk Park instead. ¬†Our walk was very beautiful, and the air was very crisp- just the way we like it. ¬†There was a bench on one of the bluffs, so we sat down and just enjoyed the view for a bit. ¬†We breathed in that beautiful fresh air and just talked, and although I still want to go camping, I didn’t seem to mind as much anymore. ¬†It was very calming. ¬†Afterwards, we drove through Lone Elk Park, and briefly got to seek some elk and even a bison in the distance!

I often find myself craving to spend time outside or be with nature in some way, which I take as a sign that I am carrying around too much stress and need to take care of myself.  So, take care of myself I did.

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Top 6 Ideas for Easy Preparation of Weeknight Meals (and even packing lunches too!).

My sister and brother-in-law are very busy career folk with 2 dogs, a house under renovations, and a million other things to do, and freeze a lot of meals for quick dinners on busy weeknights.  After a recent conversation, I was inspired to share what I do for quick and easy meals, and how this preparation and routine has helped me maintain a healthy, whole foods diet (for the most part, haha!).

1. Have cooked or thawed protein in the fridge at all times.

I like to buy in bulk and freeze meat, and there is nothing worse then being hungry for dinner and having to defrost something before you can even cook it!  I like to bake 5 or 6 chicken breasts in the oven, with a simple seasoning such as salt and pepper, or some herbs.  This way, they can be doctored up later.  Add a drizzle of oil for extra flavour and juiciness.  Chill in the fridge in a container for later use.  P.S. Cutting cooked and chilled chicken is so much easier and slices SO nice.  Now you can add it to a salad for an entree-style salad, make a quick wrap, or pasta.  You could also cook a whole chicken, bone-in chicken, etc. and do the same thing.  For pork and beef, I prefer to have them thawed and even marinated for a day or two in spices or whatever, or even cut up and put on kabobs for quick grilling.  This works with chicken too.  Or with thawed meat you can cube it or slice it when raw and store in the fridge.  Sometimes cleaning and cutting the meat takes awhile, but this way, it is already done.

 

2. Make a big batch of homemade tomato sauce.

When you have tried this, you will never go back to the canned store bought kind again.  I freeze it in batches and always have one ready in the fridge.  Chicken parm sandwiches, english muffin or pita pizzas, or pastas are made super quick easy.

 

3.  Triple recipes, or just make a TON of something at once.

Put on the radio, and spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend and cook up a favourite dinner. ¬†We love pasta dishes in our house and make huge batches of them. ¬†Mac n’ cheese is really delicious for leftovers, and can easily be healthified. ¬†We will make a pasta that has 4 or 5 chicken breasts in it and a mound of veggies is on the cutting board waiting to go in. ¬†Pasta is good for leftovers and re-heats well too. ¬†If you have a microwave at work (or like cold pasta) you will have lunches for several days, or leftovers to eat anytime.

 

4. Prep all your produce.

Wash, cut, and prepare all the fruits and veggies (including lettuce and greens) in your fridge store in containers (which also makes for easy snacking, I find I am much more likely to grab them if they are ready to go).  For lunches, I even take it a step further and portion them into baggies for small lunch containers for the week.  That way, all the work is done and I plop them into my lunch bag.  And having peppers and mushrooms sliced and washed already, and lettuce clean and dried, cuts dinner prep time way down.  I even sometimes do things 2-ways, for example, I will cut carrots into sticks for snacks and side dishes and also shred some for salad toppings.  Words cannot describe how useful it is to have a fridge full of washed and prepped fruits and veggies.  If I have edamamme, I will cook it and do the same thing (it is good hot or cold, or added to salad or stir fry).  Or I will have a can of beans or chick peas rinsed and ready in a container for salads and topping any dish basically.

 

5. Cook up a batch of rice.  A big one.

With your veggies already prepared and meat thawed, you can stir fry it all together and then serve over rice for such an effortless, yet delicious dinner.  I find rice re-heats well, in my opinion.  Or make a curry, which is really easy, yet really hardy, and serve with rice.  And combine leftover cooked rice with leftover cooked chicken, you get an amazing homemade chicken fried rice.  I even like our homemade, healthier version better then take-out now.  We almost never buy it out anymore.

 

6.  Use the slow cooker for everything.

Casseroles, meat, roasts, sauces, etc.  It does the work all day and you come home to a delicious meal!  For extra fast meals, do something all-in-one, like pork loin with potatoes/onions/carrots, seasoning of choice, and voila.  You could even add a side salad or corn on the cob for something extra.

Now I bet all of this sounds like a ton of work, and just really not do-able at all. ¬†But I don’t have every single example above ready in my fridge. ¬†My rule of thumb is: always have cooked or at least thawed protein available and abundant, and prep all produce. ¬†One week I might have a ton of cooked chicken breast and rice in the fridge, the next week might be more grilling with side salads, and the next week might be making loads of 1 or 2 dishes for leftovers.

I pick a day when I have some time, put on my favourite radio station (oldies or NPR usually) and head into the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It’s very relaxing, because there is no time frame, I am not starving, and can putter around. ¬†Or the Artist and I will do it together one night, and catch up, be silly, or have really great talks about life, or all of the above. ¬†Being in the kitchen together is one of our favourite ways to spend time together. ¬†Sometimes we even take it a step further; the Artist will prepare a big dinner with tons of leftovers, and I will prep all the produce for the week, and we will pour drinks, turn up the tunes, eat the dinner by candle light, and make a mini-date out of it.

When these are all prepared, and I even pre-portion for lunches (so I literally grab my lunch from the fridge and plop it in my lunch bag in the morning), I eat a lot healthier and a much more balanced diet.  We are less likely to resort to junk or take-out when we get home tired after a long day because we can make something delicious and homemade in minutes.

The fastest meals, I would say in 15 minutes or less, would be: entree-style salads, tacos (using already cooked meat or beans), quesadillas, wraps, and grilled kabobs.

On the more medium side of things, in about 20 minutes, you could have: grilled meat, stir fry (less time probably if you use cooked meat instead of sautéing), pita or flatbread pizza, or grilled paninis.

And in about 30 minutes, you could make: spaghetti, chicken fried rice, any pasta dish, prepare pizza dough ahead of time by rolling it in desired shape(s) and freezing (you could even cook it for a few minutes to help it hold its shape) for taking pizza at home to the next level, spicy orange chicken with cashew nuts (or any Asian dish that doesn’t involve battering and frying the meat before starting), or larger cuts of meat including larger cuts of bone-in meat either grilled, or oven roasted.

In 30+ minutes: mac n’cheese casserole, sweet and sour chicken (or Asian dishes that include battering and frying meat), Mongolian style stir fry with Sriracha sauce, and of course things in the slow cooker. ¬†These just mostly require time for cooking and don’t need as much attention other then checking or stirring during this time.

And for all of these examples, having prepped produce will come in handy for easy and quick side dishes and salads.  For example; grilled peppers, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, raw veggie platter with hummus, and never ending combinations of salads.  And to keep things as healthy as possible, choose whole wheat options, make your own marinade instead of using a bottled one, and be aware of how much sodium and sugar you use so that you can adjust to fit your needs/wants.

I hope this was helpful ūüôā

 

A Glimpse of the Day I Turned 25.

This 4th of July, I turned 25.  Yikes.  25.  Life is moving so fast.

The Artist asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday.  There are so many fun things to do on a budget in St. Louis, but all I ever want is just some good, quality time together.  I had been wanting to go bowling for awhile, so we decided to incorporate that into our day, and there is so much good food around here of which I have a hard time choosing where to eat, I asked the Artist if he would pick the restaurant and then not reveal it until right before we left.  That in itself is a great birthday gift, haha, because I can never make a choice and am always overwhelmed by the oh-so-many delicious options.  It was SO nice to not even have to think about where to eat!  He decided on one of our favourites: Mission Taco.  Read about the extreme levels of awesome they have here, https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/moving-food/

But even after we made these plans, I told the Artist that I didn’t care if they didn’t happen or if we ended up doing something else, that if the night organically led us elsewhere, or nowhere other then the couch, I wouldn’t mind. ¬†The Artist and I spend a lot of quality time together on a regular, daily basis, and we are always going out on dates and doing fun things. ¬†So my birthday was like any other day when you boil it down. ¬†Even if we both have a busy day, we always take some time together, even if it is just a few minutes. ¬†Sometimes we will chit-chat and snuggle and giggle before we go to sleep, or sometimes we will take time out of our busy days to cook together, which always brings about great conversations. ¬†This is a quality about our marriage that I just love; we don’t use special occasions as a “reminder” to do something nice for one another or to go out on a date. ¬†Actually, the last 2 years we weren’t even in the same city on Valentine’s Day, and we did our own little thing weeks earlier. ¬†But on that day, we knew we were thinking of the other, and that is enough ‚̧

My birthday ended up including a delicious breakfast of chocolate pancakes and bacon, sleeping in late, a great after-breakfast conversation about our favourite actors (which included Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carell, among so many others), a present, drinks, bowling, RummiKub, and tacos.  I have been loving the TV show Orange is the New Black, and really want to read the book.  But all the libraries around here have pretty large waiting lists, and each person have have the book for up to 3 weeks!  I was so disappointed when I discovered this, because I have such a craving to read it!

To my surprise, when I opened my birthday present, was a brand spanking new copy of Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. ¬†It smelled amazing. ¬†I even fanned the pages a little because there is just something about the shininess and smell of a brand new book that is just so satisfying. ¬†We usually use the library to read books, or get them for a quarter a piece at thrift stores or library book sales and in used conditions, so this brand new copy of my very own is such a treat ūüėÄ

He also got me new sunglasses because I broke mine and my backups are scratched like crazy, and then took me to the new candy shop that just opened down the street to pick out some candy. ¬†He gets me. ¬†He pointed out Sour Patch Peaches to me because he knows how much I LOVE peach candy, (a very specific flavour, I know, haha) and I couldn’t resist. ¬†I also picked out some taffy, a cherry jolly rancher stick (which is awesome because that is the only flavour I like and didn’t have to buy a whole pack to get a handful of cherry candies), and what I was most excited about: the Harry Potter Chocolate Frog.

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Then onto a blueberry lemonade Smirnoff slushie, tacos and bowling.  I grew up with 5 pin bowling with tiny balls, so this intimidating 10 pin stuff was hard!  My goal of zero gutter balls went out the window in a hurry.  But it was fun, and we will be back.

 

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When we came home, we decided to play RummiKub, which is one of our favourite games. ¬†We turned on some oldies music, ¬†and of course, I won ūüėČ

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We finished the night with some silly pictures, and watched Corner Gas in bed.

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Perfection.

What a wonderful life I have ‚̧

All you need is love <3

Some people go through the processes of life seamlessly.  They progress through post-secondary school and graduate studies with no problems, and come out with no debts and even get a perfect job right away.  They somehow make and/or have a lot of money.  They have children.  They own a home.  They have pets.  They have nice, reliable cars, and more then 1 for the entire household.  They never have a single medical issue.

Not me.

I have completed undergraduate work, with mounds of debt. ¬†Not just student debt, but personal debt with family, and with credit cards. ¬†Student loans only cover so much, and I have to eat and pay the rent. ¬†When we don’t have our heat on and live in a crappy apartment and use our credit card to buy only essential groceries, it is those purchases that add up to our credit cards. ¬†But what is the alternative? ¬†We already don’t have heat on, no cell phones, no cable, our bills are minimal and only essentials. ¬†I have been trying to go to grad school, but I can’t afford tuition and am not eligible for student loans in the states because I am Canadian, and there is so little funding and scholarships for social work studies it is ridiculous. ¬†And you can forget about stipends for social work graduate studies, they don’t exist. ¬†Yet, social work strives for change for the greater good of society, so you would think it’s extremely crucial to get well trained individuals up and running….but it is impossible to get trained without funding. ¬†Getting the perfect job after graduation? ¬†Well there aren’t many social work jobs because of cutbacks, which reiterates my point above. ¬†And the jobs are usually not in the high-paying category….but then how do you pay off the massive debts your have from just getting the education to get that job in the first place? ¬†It seems I am always broke. ¬†The Artist and I do not have children, unlike most of our peers right now. ¬†How on earth could we afford to feed a child when we can hardly feed ourselves? ¬†We do hope to be fortunate enough that in the future, having children will be possible. ¬†We do not own a home. ¬†Obviously because we can’t afford it, but we aren’t even sure if we would want to. ¬†I think we would have children well before we owned a house. ¬†And we like weird places, like lofts with concrete floors and brick walls, or warehouse space, etc., not necessarily a house, unless the house meets our weirdo-style- haha. ¬†We do not have pets. ¬†We are reallllly wanting a dog, we love dogs. ¬†We have only 1 car between the 2 of us, and it is quite old and has seen a lot of mileage. ¬†The Artist has had it for years, it is the first car he ever bought and it is still hanging in there. ¬†Just 1 car between us is most inconvenient. ¬†And I have a crazy thyroid issue, as talked about here:¬†https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/under-active-thyroid/

So I have been navigating through life much less then seamlessly. ¬†There is always some ridiculous barrier happening to cause us more struggle. ¬†It is exhausting. ¬†It tests our patience. ¬†It tests our faith that it will all come together in the end. ¬†But, we can always find a way to get around the roadblocks, and we never lose sight of what we want in education, careers, and our ultimate goals. ¬†We are hanging in there, and not giving up on them. ¬†I can only do my very best at everything I embark on, and sometimes, after that, things are out of my hands. ¬†I did my very best on my scholarship application and sent it in, now it is up to others to decide if I get it. I can’t control what others think and do, so I try not to worry myself with it. ¬†I concern myself with putting my best effort forth, which is something I can control, and avoid concerning myself with things beyond my control.

Yes, this is stressful. ¬†Yes, I want to get paid to work and not just volunteer. ¬†Yes, I want to go back to school but can’t afford it. ¬†But at the end of the day, I have a loving family, and a great husband. ¬†When I lay my head on the Artist’s shoulder as we get into bed, and he wraps his big arms around me- that is all I need.

I believe in the butterfly effect, that if I changed even 1 thing I wouldn’t be where I am today. ¬†If I didn’t choose to attend Georgian College I never would had met my Artist, for example. ¬†So if I had to go through some craziness to get here today, then so be it- because happiness and love are priceless. ¬†And if the Artist and I have to continue through more craziness to reach our goals, then fine- why should we settle for anything less then exactly what we want?

I may not have much aside from struggle and debt, but I do have the most important things- great love, and indescribable happiness. ¬†And without that, everything else seems pointless. ¬†‚̧

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Parcels, Easter Eggs, and Sleep.

I have such a great family.  My parents sent another care package from home containing easter crafts and chocolates.  I am surrounded by so much love, even though they live in another country, we stay in touch as if they lived around the corner.  Right away, I started building my easter cookie house and stuffing my face with Kit Kats, Cadbury Cream Eggs, and chocolate bunnies.  Not sure why I made a weirdo face while holding the parcel, I blame it on excitement as to what is inside.

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Despite me turning 25 this summer, I still enjoy my favourite activities from childhood. Clearly, as you see above. ¬†In the box was also the supplies to paint easter eggs. ¬†I couldn’t justify boiling the eggs and then just throwing them out afterwards- too much of a waste for me. ¬†So I carefully poked holes in the bottom and to get the egg out, and then cleaned the shells. ¬†Lets just say the Artist was eating lots of eggs for breakfast, as I don’t like eggs like that. ¬†After I had a bunch, I got to work. ¬†Funnest easter craft ever. ¬†Throwing them out, and taking down all my easter decorations was so depressing. ¬†Especially tossing my eggshells. ¬†Sigh.

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Just to add to my love for old childhood activities, during a thunderstorm the other day I put on my Dumbledore’s Army pin and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with a bowl of popcorn. ¬†I even have the old fashioned air popper, so it’s a healthy snack, yet still has the nostalgia of the classic snack my mother used to make.

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I do have an abnormal obsession with dark afternoons, there is just something about a good rain/thunder/lightning storm that is soothing to me. ¬†There were several days in a row a weeks ago of thunderstorms, rain, and the darkest afternoons I have ever experienced. ¬†There was even a tornado, with the sirens going off and everything. ¬†It occurred in the wee hours of the morning, really close to where we live, and I slept through the entire thing- sirens and all. ¬†It was by far the best sleep I have ever had- ever. ¬†Just thinking about it makes me feel happy and refreshed. ¬†I love to sleep. ¬†I have never had problems falling asleep or staying asleep. ¬†But I do have issues with waking up, and not getting enough sleep. ¬†Every morning, for the duration of my entire life, is a struggle. ¬†Waking up is almost a little traumatizing, I need lots of time to slowly make the transition. ¬†Showering immediately is out of the question. ¬†Which is why I have been an evening showerer since I was a kid. ¬†Whenever I tell people that I need at least 8 hours a night of good, deep sleep just to function, they usually laugh. ¬†Then when I tell them that 9 hours is what I prefer because I feel so energized, they usually give me a strange look, eye roll, or head shake, and then proceed to tell me about how they don’t have time for that- that they get 5 or 6 hours a night.

I simply can’t handle that. ¬†If I get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, I feel like I have a hangover combined with the flu, combined with being hit my a moving vehicle. ¬†And everyone says they just push through it, and go about their day. ¬†But I feel lethargic, my brain is foggy, I can’t think or focus despite my maximum efforts, and stare into space all day. ¬†If this is the case for me, why should I live like that? ¬†In terms of “not having the time or sleep that much”, I would rather leave the dishes and laundry until another time and take care of my body and brain, and sleep. ¬†Housework will be there tomorrow. ¬†Walking around only half there all day is no fun, I want to enjoy the day and be fully present and feeling vibrant and full of energy. ¬†So I guess you could say, sleep is important to me. ¬†It is a priority. ¬†And since I have started making the time and effort to get 8-9 hours a night, I have energy to go to the gym (and sleep is important for muscle recovery), I enjoy everything so much more, like cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping, and even watching TV is more fun because I am not zoning out, I am actually watching, and laughing, and engaging. ¬†My skin is clearer, and dark circles around my eyes are minimal. ¬†I feel more motivated to eat healthy, nutritious foods, and go out and about doing fun things and experiencing the city.

And I love snuggling into our soft bed, with cozy blankets, all comfy, snuggled up with the Artist’s arm around me as we chit chat before drifting off, is a fun little excerpt of quality time together.

To summarize: I refuse to walk around like a grumpy zombie all day because I didn’t get enough sleep. ¬†I want to feel energized and enjoy every day as it comes. ¬†Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

 

Donuts, Poutine, Truffles, and a Homemade Scarf.

My cheat treat this week was poutine, something I had on my mind and it was long overdue for achieving satisfaction. ¬†I did it at home, because St. Louis has no clue what poutine even is. ¬†I couldn’t find any cheese curds, so I just used mozzarella. ¬†For make-shift poutine at home- I did pretty darn good. ¬†It was really yummy, and the Artist even liked it too.

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The next morning we planned on grabbing donuts at World’s Fair Donuts-ok, so I had 2 cheat treats lol-on our way to the free admission of the Botanical Gardens. ¬†We are cursed for this. ¬†We have to get there before noon to get the free admission on Saturdays, and something always happens. ¬†Sometimes there is traffic or an accident and we are stuck, etc. but this time, we got lost. ¬†The road we were supposed to take was not a through road, therefore we couldn’t turn where we were supposed to. ¬†Obviously, we got lost and drove around for like 2 hours. ¬†We got there just after noon, and they wouldn’t let us in unless we paid. ¬†So we got donuts afterwards and went grocery shopping instead. ¬†World’s Fair Donuts are amazing, and so cheap. ¬†A buttermilk cake donut is just 56 cents. ¬†And boy are they ever tasty.

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There are no words to describe this.  You must try it to fully grasp what I am trying to tell you.  I could eat an endless amount of these and never get sick of them.  So good.

Hopefully next time we make it to the gardens on time. ¬†I want to go again now that it is fall because of all the beautiful fall colours and nice weather. ¬†And by nice, I do not mean scorching hot. ¬†And by nice, I do not mean lung burning cold. ¬†By nice, I mean a light jacket or sweater is all that is needed because the breeze is fresh and the sun is out- and we are far enough away from it now in November that it doesn’t feel scorching.

This nice weather makes me actually want to spend time in the kitchen, and not have to slave over a hot stove and oven sweating like a maniac- like during the summer. ¬†So I made some healthy treats that taste amazing. ¬†These little truffle bites are made with chick peas. ¬†The Artist says they taste “healthy” but I think they taste the same as my non-healthy ones. ¬†I posted about the non-healthy version previously….chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel truffles (or balls, or whatever you want to call them). ¬†These ones consist of chick peas, organic natural unsalted peanut butter, a few pieces of chopped dates, and pretzels, blended together in the food processor. ¬†It is sort of crumbly, but you can form balls in your hands and I rolled a few in dark chocolate, a few I left as-is, and a few I rolled in crushed peanuts. ¬†I keep them in the freezer and eat them frozen- for some reason I like to eat frozen things. ¬†Cheesecake, brownies, chocolate bars, fruit chunks, cookies, etc. etc. ¬†I think it started with my impatience for not wanting to wait for them to unthaw, and now I prefer them frozen.

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On another note, I recently finished up another knitting project. ¬†I have been doing this one forever- like over a year haha. ¬†Like I said in my last post, I don’t get addicted to projects with smaller needles and yarn- and this one is both. ¬†I made a scarf, with alternating knitting stitch stripes and stockinette stitch stripes. ¬†It is attached at the ends, so you put your head through the whole, versus wrapping it around.

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The Artist is so sweet, today he made the bed for me. ¬†And the other day he “forced” me to buy a $1 pair of Christmas socks, because he knows how much I love festive items, especially socks. ¬†And this pair, for some reason, are my absolute most favourite, and he could tell instantly that they were perfect. ¬†He also talked with me about future plans, where to live after he is done school, goals, career moves, etc. and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning having an amazing heart-to-heart laying in bed in the dark. ¬†Snuggling of course. ¬†It was a really great talk. ¬†He knows me inside and out, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do for my happiness. ¬†And I for him. ¬†This morning I made hime his coffee before I left, and placed a little love note on top of the coffee make so he would see it right away. ¬†He says when he makes coffee, and when he does, it tastes like swill. ¬†Swill, or hot brown water. ¬†But the funny thing is, I don’t even drink coffee. ¬†We came to the conclusion that when something is made for you by someone else with love, it makes a difference in the taste ‚̧ ¬†The other day he made me smile, and warmed my heart to the core. ¬†He is so funny, and I love discovering his antics after the fact. ¬†I come in and sit down on the couch beside him, and told him that his shirt is on inside out. ¬†He hadn’t realized this and had been walking around all day like that. ¬†“Thankfully”, he said, he “didn’t go out in public”. ¬†My heart=warmed instantly. ¬†He was more then likely focused on his painting and other works that he didn’t realize. ¬†He sees the world in a way that no one else does- every shadow, shape, and colour is interesting. ¬†Flaws are not undesired, but rather, beautiful and tell a story. ¬†From his perspective, noticing his shirt on backwards, or being bothered to switch it, wasn’t important. ¬†The world has too much else to offer.

Sometimes, we don’t need to “do” or “say” something, all we need to do is embrace one another. ¬†These extended hugs communicate everything between us when words don’t have the right, or enough, meaning.

Take a moment out of the day and hug your wife, husband, partner, or significant other, and pause for a moment. ¬†Embrace with your heart. ¬†Draw a gentle circles on his/her back with your hand, or cradle their face. ¬†Tell your partner how much you love them, how you feel. ¬†Give gentle, tender kisses. ¬†Maybe whisper words in their ear so it tickles a little, maybe even causes some giggling. ¬†Touch your noses together, in an eskimo kiss. ¬†Take a moment from the hectic, crazy, wild adventures of the day to really be 110% present with your partner during this embrace. ¬†You may not even need words, because your hearts will say everything. ¬†I can’t think of a better way to recharge. ¬†Life is precious, and the little moments can really make a difference in helping to enjoy every moment of it, and treasure it. ¬†You will be surprised how intimate this can be, and how it can really help connect you when your brain is running a mile a minute.

Happiness is contagious.