Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cookin' Time

Today is my day off - so I have time to make a good dinner tonight. I'll be making Chicken with a sauce I got from the blog: "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" It's simply called "Yummy Sauce for Chicken," and it sure looks like it!

I've also been creeping all over again. I keep forgetting that it's such a great site. I found this recipe for Creamy Rice Pudding which will be dessert tonight.

I also made, from that site a Triple Threat Fruit Smoothie. I used all fresh fruit: Kiwi's, bananas, blueberries, then added orange juice, ice and vanilla yogurt.
No sweetener added, just all the fruity-goodness.

I made two large glasses and put them in the fridge, the top covered with Saran-wrap. I wanted Jeremie to have a nice shot of fruit for the morning, which worked out well. Except that the fruit and the juice separated. Once stirred it was fine, but it definitely wasn't as sweet and fresh as when I made it the night before.
Is it possible to keep smoothies overnight and have them nice and fresh??

In other news I got some fun stuff from the library. I was able to borrow "Hell's Kitchen Season 1" for Jeremie, he just loves that show.

And for me, I got "Project Runway" - unlike America's Next Top Model, this has nothing to do with catty, prissy models.
It's all about the poor designers that have to work with them.

A group of 12 designers, ranging in age from 22 to 45, are given challenges to complete and at the end of the challenge have to show their clothing on the cat-walk in front of judges. (using models of course.)
These people are amazingly talented - creating a wedding dress in two days, a new outfit for Banana Republic in one day, or a bathing suit in just 5 hours!
The skill astounds me, and it's so great to watch.

So I'll be cooking and watching fashion today! Good day to me. :D

- Jenny

Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting Organized - A Lovely Day Off

Today I was lucky enough to have the day off and get myself organized.
I was relaxing and enjoying the quiet morning when I realized I had not prepared anything for dinner - or had anything planned.
Quickly I strode to the freezer and glanced at the clock. Only noon - Good I have lots of time. Hubs wasn't expected home until 5:30 - so most of the afternoon was free for me to make a scrumptious dinner - If I had the ingredients.
My face fell when I saw the two pounds of hamburger meat chilling. I had just made meatloaf a few days ago, and didn't feel like making another loaf.
I thought and thought, before finally remembering I had a honest-to-goodness live recipe book with all the answers just a phone call away!

"Mom?. . . I have two pounds of ground beef. What should I make?"

"Well you just did Shepherds pie right?" Darn! I did too! "What about meatloaf?"

"I made that just a few days ago!" I said dismayed.

From the background noise I heard my sister yell: "Meatballs!"

I thought for a moment and realized I had pasta and sauce, I supposed I could throw in a few meatballs to spice it up.

"What about Sweet and Sour Meatballs on rice?"

"Perfect! But how do I make it?"

We figured it all out, and apparently I had the recipe in my Company's Coming Crock-Pot Recipe book.
Bizarrely I even had the cranberry sauce in the cupboard - a left over from Thanksgiving it seemed.
Everything went smoothly until it told me to broil the meatballs before placing them in the sauce in the crock-pot.
I called up mom again.

"Jen - there's three ways to make meatballs: Broil them, Bake them or Boil them. Boiling being the quickest."

Since it was now 2:00 and the crock pot recipe called for 4 -6 hours of cooking time, quick sounded pretty good.
I carefully placed my meatballs in the boiling water, my expectant face furrowing when I saw all the floating bits of onion and meat.

AHHH! They're falling apart!! It was a big deal! I was on a time limit here! I didn't have time for crumbly meatballs!

Well, they didn't crumble completely, but they sure seemed a lot smaller out of the pot than when they went in.
Sadly I dumped them into the crock-pot and gingerly tried to coat them in the sauce. The delicate meatballs however burst apart at the softest touch from my wooden spoon.
Completely upset now I called mom.

"Jen it's okay! It'll all taste fine - don't worry!"

Well, it sure didn't look like the picture in the recipe book, but it did taste pretty good.

"Jen, just call it sweet and sour beef on rice" Nessa suggested.

I had to laugh - okay, I guess I could do that. Jeremie loved it regardless, just like I knew he would, and now we have very nice lunches for tomorrow.

My other accomplishment today was organizing Ugly Room. We had moved into that room a week ago, but due to work and general busy-ness, it never got done.
Well I had finally had, had enough of tripping over baskets of laundry, and my little woven baskets of knick-knacks.

Here is the end result:

I even hung a little picture - It's amazing what a little colour in a white room can do!

The end of our bed, and dresser that fits quite nicely between the two closets.

A lovely rug I bought at Safeway for an awesome $39.00

So all in all it's been a very good, organized day!
- Jenny

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Taste of Edmonton

So I finally ventured to "Taste of Edmonton 2009." It was actually really fun.
You bought tickets then spent the tickets at different vendors which would give you a sample of their food. There was generally two choices per vendor.
My favourite was the rice pudding from a Korean restaurant, Jeremie's favourite was the pad thai.

We both had a bunch of fun, there were people everywhere though. The crowd was huge, but still manageable. There was a live band playing and a wading fountain to cool off in.
It was a stinking hot 33 degrees, but it didn't seem to stop people from eating hot food on the sweltering sun.
The hottest thing I ate was a deep-fried Mars bar. I remembered my sister telling me once how amazing it was - and it was delicious, but I think I would have appreciated it more had I myself not been melting in the heat.

I've been going to "Planet Organic" a lot. A local organic market - I do have to be choosy of course, as Organic tends to be quite a bit more money. But for things like fresh veg and some fruits, I find it worth it.

I bought Jeremie a light cotton shirt, and he's been just living in it that past few days. Like any fair-skinned person, he burns easily, so when he found he could be covered and cool, it just took the cake.
It's tan coloured and tunic-style with a small collar and three buttons that go halfway down his chest. With his shaggy wavy blond hair, he looks just like a hippie. It's pretty funny.

I borrowed this book from the Library a few weeks ago - I had seen it at the bookstore, but decided to borrow it first before buying, and boy, do I love it.
It reads so well, and is interesting from cover to cover. It's informative without being full of lingo and resourceful in a very practical way.
Did I mention it's also Canadian?!? Heck yes it is!
I've already recommended it to Mom, but I thought I'd share it with everyone else too.
It covers everything from beauty/bath products, food, clothing, personal hygiene, cleaners for your house - everything! All backed with Internet sites, resources, and store guides. It talks about different chemicals and ingredients without being confusing, and talks about how alot of "organic" labeled isn't quite as organic as it sounds.

So if you're worrying about what you're eating/cleaning/absorbing into your body, I would check out this book. You won't be disappointed.
Well, enough babbling from me!
- Jenny

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mouse Rescue

It all started innocently enough. I was simply going downstairs to do some laundry, that cat following faithfully in my wake.

I was enjoying the quietness of the house, being home alone for most of the day and was looking forward to getting some of my "to-do's" done.

Laundry being one of them.

I'm filling up the washer when suddenly Lyon the cat starts darting around the boxes on the floor. I didn't really pay any attention, thinking the noise of the washing machine had just made him hyper, when he pounced on something and stalked quickly out of the room.

Uh oh. I thought. I wasn't afraid of mice and I hadn't even seen it in his jaws, so it must be a little mouse, even if it was a mouse.

I followed Lyon to the family room and getting a bit closer I noticed a mouse tail. So it was a mouse! Lyon looked up at me triumphantly, and I was about to leave him to his meal - he did catch it after all, and if he ate it, it would mean less clean-up for me - when suddenly the little mouse darted away from Lyon and straight at me.

Ashamedly, I did what I always mocked women for doing - I screamed bloody murder and tried to climb the nearest bar stool.
Lyon was quick though, and in no time he had the mouse back under his paws, and giving me a condescending look.

I made a face back at him and watched for the next 5 minutes as he played "catch and release" with this tiny mouse who couldn't be more then 2 inches long, including his tiny tail.

Finally, more out of worry of Lyon losing the mouse, then killing it - I decided to finish the job myself.
I walked back to the laundry room thinking: Why is there never a man around to do this stuff?? and tried to find a small box to trap mouse in.

The plan was simple, catch in box, bring outside, smush with Jeremie's work boot. Done.

I couldn't find any small boxes, so I ended up grabbing an old-school pencil box. It was small and plastic, should work right?
Bravely, I crouched near Lyon and after a few mis-fires had the little mouse under my box.
My triumph lasted very shortly however, when I realized I had no idea how to pick the mouse up! The pencil box had a hinged lid - I couldn't close the box without letting little mouse out.

So! I ran back to the laundry room and ripped off a piece of cardboard, figuring I could slide the cardboard under the pencil box and little mouse and carry him outside.
But no matter how I tried, mouse would not get on top of the cardboard.

I lifted the box up just enough for a peek.

That was my undoing. I saw little mouse, cowering in the corner shaking, his little beady eyes looking right at me, blinked once, then he let out the tiniest little squeak.

Oh, SO not fair! Don't look so cute at me - you're vermin! But no matter how much mean-talking I did, I knew I couldn't kill little mouse anymore.
Sighing, I told little mouse that if he stepped on the cardboard, I'd take him outside and release him...beside my neighbours house.

Well, he stepped right on and we made a quick jog to the front door, where I went out into the front yard, in my pajama's and crouched beside a shrub fence.

He was a little shell-shocked, all of a sudden being in the sunlight and fresh air, but after a little nudge with the box he darted off into the grass.

"And don't come back!" I told him.

- Jenny :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bookish Me

Today has been beautiful - the cool weather has once again turned hot but at least its sunny and not muggy anymore. I actually enjoyed the bus to work, the walk to the stop was pleasant and the bus was cool due to all the open windows.

I returned back to the Library "Little Mosque on the Prairie". I had watched a few episodes here and there, but since recently loving and watching all of "Corner Gas" I thought I'd give Canadian sitcoms another go.
I loved the series! My sister in law and I watched it all in one evening while folding massive baskets of laundry. I'm ordering season 2 which will hopefully be in soon.

Speaking of interesting books; while Jeremie and I were at the theaters the other day I saw a trailer for a new sci-fi movie called "Surrogates" .
Basically humans have 'hooked up' to android copies of themselves and can experience all of their "surries" (surrogates) feelings and senses.
It's like virtual reality overload. You can even have your surrie smoke a cigarette and feel all the same emotions you would if you actually were smoking, but without any of the harmful effects.
Interesting idea eh?
Well the basis for the book is basically that someone is killing surries, and somehow it actually kills the operator, even though they're only connected mentally to their drone.

To make a long story short, it was first a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele.
The Librarian in me couldn't resist. I'm in the middle of it, and it's pretty good so far, but we'll see.

In other nerdy-news, my friend Teri found this site today at work. "Awful Library Books." Apparently this blog was started by a Librarian who was in charge of 'weeding' their collection, and in doing so came across some ridiculously, hilarious, horrible books.
We spent most of the afternoon laughing and justifying the books the Librarian posted; complete with book review and photos. I would check it out if I were you!

Well, have a nice day!

- Jenny

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Sunday

My Sunday was nice and relaxed. It's a nice, breezy 18 degrees out, a relief after the +30 degree weather we've had over the last two days.
The hot weather broke finally last night when a huge storm rolled in. Thunder, wind, lightning the whole deal. We had a severe storm warning even!
Anyway it cooled the temperature substantially.

I made a nice minestrone soup for dinner tonight - it turned out really well, though it probably could've used more tomatoes in retrospect.
Jeremie certainly enjoyed it.

Jeremie and I were planning on going to "Taste of Edmonton" but with the weather still be rainy and dreary we decided to go see a movie instead. We decided to go see "The Proposal". It was hilarious, both Jeremie and I loved it.
I would definitely recommend it.
Just as a side note - I love "The Big Lebowski" my parents got it as a Christmas gift for Jeremie last year, and it is hands down one of his favourite movies and beginning to become mine as well.

Well, work tomorrow! And hopefully sunnier days.
- Jenny

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Banner

A new banner made using Picnik. What a great little program :D Just a little update.
Now off to get ready for work.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quick Post

Poor Hubs is sick today - he was painting all day yesterday and though he was wearing a mask the fumes really messed with his head (dizziness and light-headedness) and his throat is completely raw.

I don't know what kind of mask he was wearing but clearly it didn't do the trick.

He's pretty sure that he'll be fine tomorrow though. In the meantime, I'm feeding him lots of tea with honey and just letting him relax.

Good thing I borrowed all those movies from the Library recently. He'll have pleanty to choose from, which is good because I'm going to be all over the city today.

It's my day off and I thought I'd be busing, but since I unexpectedly have the car I'll be using that.

I plan on checking out that organic grocery store "Planet Organic" it's supposed to be quite good, and there's one right in the north end, so not too far away either.

I need to go to Dollarama to get some more cheap paints for my altered book which is turning out swimmingly! I can't wait to post some photos.

And, as much as I hate to, go to Walmart. Jair and I decided to move into "ugly room" we just need the space! So I'll be getting a floor-rug to cover some of the ugly and some hooks and shelves.

The good news is, I'm going to be turning our new guest-bedroom into half of my crafting room.

True, there really isn't much room, but enough for a small table, a chair, and a closed door to keep the cat out of my paints. Sounds pretty good to me!

Well, better get going.

- Jenny

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why Is There A Dog In The Library?

Not a question you hear very often.

Today has been a busy day from the get-go. Navigating the buses, getting to work on time, a two-hour meeting first thing - Phew! No wonder I'm tired.
But the strangest thing happened when Mel, the head Librarian, came in from her lunch break carrying a small copper coloured, wiry-haired dog.
Apparently the dog had crossed 118th (a four-lane road) several times carelessly, before Mel saved the pup.

It was collarless but very friendly and happy to see people.

It seems, the only thing Mel could think of to do was to bring it to the Library! So for most of the afternoon "Franny" (the dog had originally been nicknamed "frank" by the staff, until we realized "frank" was a girl) ran around in the back getting under people's feet and stopping to be petted and loved.

All was going well, and Mel had decided to call the SPCA when Franny bolted out of the back room (someone had left the door open accidentally) and happily started to sniff around patrons and beg for pets.

The patrons took it well - and most enjoyed seeing 4 Librarians dashing out into the relatively quiet Library to wrangle down a puppy.

It made the afternoon go by quickly. :D

Oh! And this morning was interesting too! Anyone walking by the Library at 9:00 AM would have been pretty confused to see two Librarians laughing their heads off, one of which is lying on the ground, the other, unsuccessfully trying to trace her with chalk.
We had a detective children's program running this afternoon, a live "Clue" game for the kids to play. Teri, my co-worker was organizing it and volunteered me to be a "dead body" for her to trace around in front of the Library.

So there I was lying on the pavement at nine AM, thankfully on top of my rain coat because I refused to lie down on goodness knows what! and in the basic 'dead-body position' right leg bent out, one arm raised above head etc.
And Teri laughing at the ridiculousness of tracing me with thin chalk-board chalk, because she couldn't find her sidewalk chalk.

So all in all, one heck of an interesting day.

In other news, our high was +16. That's right. Plus Sixteen.
It felt like October when I went to go catch my bus, I was almost in the mood to go get a pumpkin to carve.

Please warm up Edmonton!

- Jenny

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Whyte Ave Art Walk

Hello Again,

I'm so happy to have a sunny day; for the last week its been constant cold drizzle. The rain and storms have been relentless, and we even got a tornado warning a few days ago! Thank goodness there were no sightings or I'd be hiding downstairs under the staircase for the rest of the day.
As it is, today was gloriously sunny and warm. A perfect day to kick off the "Whyte Ave. Art Walk."

The art walk is basically local artisans who have displayed their wears on the sidewalk outside shops that run along Whyte Ave. A well-known 'artsy' section of the city. Not only do they sell their artwork, but the majority had easels up and were painting right beside the passersby.

Jeremie and I, as well as Vince and Paula (dad and mom-in-law) walked along the streets for a good few hours. Although we did lose each other a few times and would suddenly spot each other, wave like mad-people and dodge across the street to meet.

There were so many things I would have loved to buy - but most paintings were approx. $80-$400 dollars. So not happening any time soon.
However, I did get this lovely necklace for $15.00.

It's hard to tell, but the pendant is actually a domino piece. It's painted on one side, stamped then varnished.
I loved it right away.
It was so much fun talking with all the artists about their work. Finding out the mediums they use and how they do it.
I found a really cool artist who did "Altered Books" and I wish I could post a photo here, but, as a courtesy, I didn't take along my camera, as most artists prefer not to have their work photographed.
It's basically an old, fabric book turned into a journal by painting over pages and decorating the page before journaling.
I'm hoping to take a class in Fall - though I will probably try it by myself before then. ;)
Tomorrow we drive Vince and Paula to the Grayhound station for their long bus-ride back, and then work tomorrow!

God Bless,
~ Jenny

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hello Again!
It seems there's never a dull moment at my house! The in-laws are visiting, and it we're dog-sitting a little westie by the name if "Rigby" - well, technically "Elenore Rigby" - but Rigby, Riggers or Rigger-Roo for short.

She's a cute little mutt - but having been raised in a condo - means she has some trouble with remembering to do her business outside. Thankfully she has little "puppy pads" that do a pretty good job when she does forget.

More exciting events! Both Jeremie and I received employment in our fields in the same week!
Jeremie is back in a welding shop, doing what he does best - and I'm back among my books and loving it!

It's amazing really; both Jeremie and I were so stressed about money, especially since he was almost done his EI and my meager earnings in retail wouldn't cover our expenses.
We prayed and prayed - and stressed.
Well, really it was me who stressed the most. Jeremie was calm as ever, he admitted worry of course, but always ended it with: "God will provide, Jen."
To which my response was always scoffing or depression.
And sure enough, 3 weeks before EI finished we both got phone calls asking for us to work right away.
I was amazed and demanded how Jeremie knew this was all going to work out, he just shrugged and gave that grin that half drives me crazy and I half love, and said: "I just knew."

Go figure.

I'm pretty sure now that God is trying to teach me trust and patience and I keep ignoring the lesson. I hope this time it got through my thick skull and God can stop testing/teaching me!
A break would be nice! :)

Speaking of breaks - my new job is allowing me to have more time at home, and I'm starting to cook regular meals again.
Something I realized, had to change.
I had grown up on rich, healthy, grown right from the garden food (or in the field) for most of my life and since getting married and moving, I had fallen, like most people, into the hole of convenient instant food.

It's so horrible for your health and I knew it - I just didn't know quite how to make the change.
My mother-in-law is a homeopathic doctor and quite knowledgeable in nutrition and healthy eating. Between her and my own mother's wonderful, home-grown advice, I was able to come up with a new eating plan:
Basically a mix of "The G.I. Diet" and "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.

I like the simplicity of the G.I. diet and the natural recipes in Nourishing Traditions. So far I've been going by some simple rules:

- 5% or less of fat per serving.
- 5% or less of sugar per serving.

And following the "green light" food.
Jeremie, who wants to lose weight as well as get healthy is only eating from the green section; because I don't want to lose weight, but get healthy, I can eat from the green and yellow section.
He's doing so well giving up sugar and his salty cravings.
But we're in this together - and I am trying to cut back on my own sugar intake (the main culprit in my diet) and have gone to skim milk.
Not quite the 2% I'm used to - but not horrible either.

I bought organic sugar cane granulated sugar and it seems to be doing a great job.
Lunch foods consist of:
  • whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 fat mayo (with no trans or fatty oils)
  • roast beef
  • Swiss or mozzarella cheese
  • mustard
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • boiled eggs
  • sugarless yogurt
  • sugarless applesauce
  • fruits
  • Kashi granola bars

Etc. So we're certainly not starving, but even making those few small changes can help you lose weight and get rid of all the nasty junk you've got in your body.

I got this at my new Library, we're selling them for one dollar even. They're wonderful bags and I love what they have printed on them.
My new goal besides eating healthy, is to try to buy only fair-trade, sweatshop-free items.
Jeremie was more than encouraging - and it took me a moment to wonder why the enthusiasm, when it hit me: This would reduce my shopping habit immensely, and save more money. all comes together now. Lol!

True to my word, for the past month and a half all my purchases have been fair-trade, sweatshop free.
I got this little coupon holder for a dollar-fifty, and have started keeping it in my purse to hold all my receipts, lists and papers. I has come in handy more then once! Not to mention, I feel so organized! ;)

This shirt I bought at "Ascension." A local clothing/accessory store that sells only sweatshop-free products.
The shirt was made by the "Ark" company - a fair-trade company based in Nepal. I already own several items from them bought in Drumheller and was happy to find a source here in Edmonton.

Cost: $25.00
100% cotton

I love this shirt to death. Even on the hottest days, this shirt stays cool because of the cotton fibers.
Even Jeremie wants this fabric in a mens shirt - which I'm almost positive they have. :)

This little guy is a frog in case you're wondering. He's made in Africa and is fair-trade. *yay!*
You run that stick over the bumps on his back in an up-ward motion and it makes the most convincing frog sound I've ever heard.
It reminds me of being home in Ontario and driving through the road by the swamp and hearing all the peep-toads singing.
I just couldn't resist.
He's pretty big too - probably about the size of a baseball.

Well I better get to bed! Almost 10pm and I have work tomorrow.

God Bless!
- Jenny