Confidence Waning

So for a little over 4 weeks, I have been eating a vegan diet. Last night, in a tired, hungry rage, I was ready to make myself a cheese burger. My husband intervened and made my dinner-veggie burger-ending the rage. Today, all I can think about is a nice big omelette and a side of greek yogurt.

These past two days are the first time in my vegan trial period in which I have started doubting if a vegan lifestyle is for me. *Sigh* I am wondering if my body is just craving protein as I haven’t been eating many beans or nuts/nut butters this week. Thing is…Im sick of beans.

I have just over a week and a half to go. Going to need to start making some real decisions soon. 

Since becomming vegan, I have only had one headache as compared with my usual every-other-day headaches, so that part of me wants to stay vegan forever. However, I haven’t been planning very well this week…. Eating vegan is a lot of work.

Anyways. Enough of my whining. Im going to go nap on the couch before I have to pick up my husband from work. Send your thoughts my way as I finish off this vegan trial strong. I don’t want to quit early, but a vegetarian diet is looking MUCH more appealing right now….

Looking Back with Greatful Eyes

 

 

What inspires you? What makes you, you?

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As cliche as it sounds, my parents and my grandmother shaped me. Of course many people along the way helped…but the older I get, the more I learn to appreciate my younger years and understand how lucky I was to be raised the way I was. I begin to see the ways I am just like my mom, and my sister just like my dad despite always thinking I was ‘my father’s child’ and she was ‘momma’s girl’. I am now seeing my parent’s hearts and soft spots rather than the strong fortress of all knowing and being I thought they were when I was a child. I see how my parent’s have changed from floundering twentie-somethings….to these confident, strangely human mid-lifer’s…..

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The older I become, the more I see my grandmother. The more I see her smile, her humbleness, her joy, in strangers. As the line’s in my mother’s face begin to engrave, I see her youth, yet I see the loving grandmother I hope her to be one day. I see my loving mother’s eyes….and if I look deeply, I see my grandmother looking back at me from deep inside.

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Because of my mother’s upbringing by my single parent grandmother, I’ve learned to be self-sufficient as a women. I learned not to rely on a man, but my own strength and faith in God.  I’ve learned that everyone has insecurities but to be content in myself first and foremost. I’ve learned that love really does make the world go round. I learned that dedication to your family and hard work pay off.

Sarah Kat Mom- Spring Break '08

Because of my father’s upbringing I’ve learned that even grown ups struggle. Even grown ups have been broken. Its the strongest ones who delve deeper into themselves and come out even more loving and compassionate, no matter how they were hurt. I’ve learned that only I can choose my future. I’ve learned that I control my destiny. Because of my father, I’ve learned resilience.

Dad- Christmas '07

I only had the priveledge of having my grandmother until roughly the age of 11. I didn’t realize then the capacity for growth she should bestow on my life. Over a decade later, I remember her as if it were just yesterday. The texture of her lips when she kissed us good bye, the softness of her shoulders when she hugged us, even the smell her apartment had,;no matter where she lived- when I smell it now, it brings me into a tunnel of memory. As the memory of her face sometimes fades….I am jolted back to remebering when I meet someone who’s eye’s I can’t shake, or demenor reminds me of her. It is because of my grandmother that I learned utter joy and security. I know how feirce her love for me was.

I am inspired by my parents. I am inspired by the way they have clug together through 25 years of marriage. I am inspired by the mear fact that they both returned to college after having three kids and established careers. I am inspired by their work ethic, and their ability to love almost anyone unconditionally.

As I travel this twenty-something life, I am greatful for my upbringing. I am greatful for these people have shaped me. I am humbled by the voice in my head that still asks ‘will this make them proud’.

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I was lucky enough to grow up with silbings…and while my brother is still young, I see the same yet completely different upbringing in him. At 16, he is a joy to spend time with. He is resilient, and soft-hearted (even if he’d hate me for saying that). My sister, I look at her and see the mother that my mom was. My sister mothers everyone she knows with her undying love, and ability not to judge. Utterly caring. I see the hardwork and passion for giving of my father.

Kat and Sarah- Spring Break '08

As I continue you on my path, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect. To be greatful for the amazing family I do have. I miss them every. single. day. Could only dream for a day where we all live in the same city again.

Humungo Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

Humungo Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

Makes 4 HUGE pancakes

Calories per serving? Unknown. Will start counting again SOON [so check back…I’ll update this]

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2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup oat flour (throw oats in the food processor)

1/3 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp coconut extract

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

3/4 cup warm water

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

Mix everything in a stand mixer until batter is smooth and fluffy. Hand-mix-in blueberries. Over medium heat in a non-stick skillet (if not nonstick, use 1 tbsp oil or vegan margarine) pour 1/4 batter into skillet at a time. As you are pouring, spread out with a spoon slightly. Cook until golden on bottom, and batter starts to bubble, aprox 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until remaining side is golden. Repete with remaining batter to make 4, salad-plate sized pancakes. Top each pancake with more maple syrup, nut butters, shredded coconut, and fruit. Can be frozen and reheated.

 

Dear 16 Year Old Me….

WordPress Daily Prompt, thank you for inspiring this post. I had been thinking about writing a ‘Dear 16-year-old me’ post for weeks, figuring out how to introduce it, and play it out. This question prompt was exactly what I needed to get this post rolling today.

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

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16. In some ways it feels like this tender age was a life time ago, in other ways, I can’t believe I am NOT 16 anymore. 16 was a great. I loved being a careless teenager, wrapped up between feeling like I loved ‘the wrong guy’, and trying to love ‘the right guy’ even though everything I felt  in my heart told my head he was in the ‘friend book’ and that the other guy would never treat me right.

Highschool wasn’t tought for me, but it wasn’t ‘the glory days’. Moving in grade 11 made it difficult to make friends, but my BEST friend ended up transfering to my school, which made it completely tolerable and most days, enjoyable.

I worked 20-30 hours a week at a fresh food place in the shopping mall, and I was highly involved at my church with the brass band, timbrels [a dance sort of thing with tamborines], bible study, praise and worship team [I sang], youth group, teaching sunday school, bible study, and volunteering at a local soup kitchen with my bible study class. In the summer, I worked at a summer camp as a counsellor (and years later, a nurse)….where I met almost all of my current closest friends, and husband.

I was blissfully independent, but not rebellious, eager to take on life as an adult. I was ambitious.  I was incredibly insecure. I needed approval. I needed to be liked. I had great plans to travel, start a career, find love, marry, have children, be sucessful in my hobbies, etc. Everything I thought I ‘should’ do.

If you had asked me what life would be like now when I was 16, I probably would have said something along the lines of: Married, working as a nurse, travelling the world, singing and painting in my free time.

Yep…life turned out exactly as I planned, but not exactly as I picture it.

I am married…to a completely different guy. I don’t even talk to the guy whom I thought I would have married back then-for the better? Absolutely. I can’t even imagine if life had gone the way I thought it might. The ‘friend book’ guy? Yep…he got hurt. But always remained in the ‘friend book’. I met this incredible guy a few years later…my husband, my perfect match. He makes me incredibly happy and loved every. single. day. He helped me to figure out who I really was. Without everyone else. Who was I? The me that would be standing in 10 or 15 years. Not the person I was trying to ‘play out’.

I am working as a nurse…. in the ER. I had no idea what nursing would hold for me back then. But I did it. I wanted to do it because I had some sort of messed up idea in my head of what a nurse did thanks to tv shows like ER, Greys Anatomy, etc., and I thought they made TONS of money. I thought it would make me smart, sucessful. Nope. Nursing is nothing like on tv. Do I make a good wage? Yes. Did I account for the student loan debt I would have? Nope. Is it by pure miracle that I fell in love with a career that started off so incredibly uneducated? Yep. Silly 16 year old me. 😉

Now my hobbies include writing, running, yoga, and cooking. I sing….in the shower. I paint….once a year. Tbe things I thought were important to me back then? Turns out they were what people told me where important. They were things I thought people liked me for. Now. Fiercly secure in myself. I know that I did enjoy those things-but they were not what made me me. They weren’t my PASSION. I now do the things I love to do, in my time, without any pressure from anyone….because I love me. Im looking out for mine, and my husband’s happiness. I’ve learned that your life is what you make it. Not who you please in it.

Travelling. Ha. I think at 16 I had no real concept of money. Yep, I worked part time…but I had no sense of what a real adult life would cost. I still have plans to travel…but my plans have fiercly changed. They will most def. not be happening for a while. Hello student debt. 😉 I have also discovered that as free-spirited as I want to be….that isn’t me. I am planted. Like a flower. Id love to be potted and venture…but as long as the promise of return to the garden awaits…if you catch my drift? I love home, and the security HOME brings.

So….16 year old self…..

You are special and unique. Stop trying to please everyone. Learn to say ‘no’. Follow your dreams. Not the ones that you think will make people happy.

Save your cash. All those weekends at the mall, and summers at camp could have paid A LOT of your schooling…and you could be travelling MINUS student loans!

Those guys you are chasing after, and letting chase you? Yep…dating is fun. Friends are wonderful….but they don’t define you. As for breaking hearts? You will regret it. No one deserves to have their heart taken advantage of for someone else’s gain.

Love yourself. You are fully and wonderfully made. You are aboslutely perfect. Stop scrutinizing every pimple and extra pound. You are a beautiful, happy, healthy weight, LOVE that.

And 16 year old self? One more thing….

Cherish you family. They will move away in a little while…and you will finally realize what family means, and how much you love and miss them.

Oil Cleansing Method, Two Months Later

 

I started using the Oil Cleansing Method about two months ago. In the begining, my skin raged a war of white heads, and continued on and off for a month.

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I decreased my cleaning from every day, to once every two or three days, using mear water and coconut oil (to remove make up and moisturize) in between. This change seems to have been the most effective. My skin is now MOSTLY smooth. This pic below, I am wearing some under eye concealer and some shine powder, however no pigments in the areas I used to have acne. Ive also waxed my eye brows since…so it isn’t all skin magic! I have to say, my skin feels happier, more moisturized and more ‘natural’ [no harsh chemicals! Yay!]. Not to mention I have barely used one bottle of the home made cleanser, and the supplies which cost me about 24$ in the beginning should stretch me about 15 months according to my current use. 

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That is $1.60 a month for a full-fledged natural, organic skin cleansing regime! Ill be sticking with it! As for some stubborn acne that comes back every few weeks-my doc is doing some blood work….she thinks it is a hormonal issue, NOT a skin care issue. =) 

**Note** I also became vegan two weeks into this program which may also have some effect on my changing skin. 

Green Beans and Childhood Memories

Today I woke up at 4:55, and forced myself to stay in bed until 5:30-thankfully I drifted back to sleep until about 7 when I woke up as my hubbie was getting ready for his practicum, but drifted back off to sleep again shortly after he left. A broken 8 1/2 hours of sleep- and then I was woke by the phone ringing. It was G…his bus never came-he ended up waiting in -23C weather (-40 with the windchill)….for no bus. *Sigh*. He was going to be late, so I drove him. Darn city buses. If we are going to pay $75 a month to use you, the least you could do is ACTUALLY SHOW UP! Rant over.

When I came home, I was still in my PJ’s….just threw on a sweater, scarf and boots. I made a huge pot of coffee, did my usual blogging/reading and made some tofu scramble. I know, sounds gross…but is actually one of my favorite tofu recipes. If I didn’t know it was tofu I would have thought it was egg-whites.

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I then got down to budgeting. I feel like I have been running this race of trying to pay back debt/pay my husband’s way through school all while living on one income (his part time job makes hardly anything and is more of a hobby)….and loosing the race. Today I did a lot of reading/consulting with B, who I admire a little for her ability to manage money. I formulated what I think is a realistic budget, labelled envelopes, wrote lists. We will be living on a cash-only diet in an attempt to get in a better place financially, pay off debt, save, and still donate to our charity. These are all very important to us no matter what our income bracket.  I had to resist that HUGE batch of cookies at the same time while I sat beside them at the kitchen table….lets just say….the huge batch is a little less huge. Bad day for eats today.

ImageAfter that was all said and done, it was basically time to go pick up G from his practicum. I headed out there, with the plan of getting my check-up blood work done (and some tests to see if I have PCOS, which my doc thinks is pretty probable), which I was told fasting was not necessary for. Anyhow-it was necessary….and one of the orders my physician wants done can be done in a few different ways which she didn’t specify. One of which is a glucose tolerance test (because a problem with PCOS suffers is insulin resistance, diabetes, in even normal weight suffers). So now I have to head my doctors office in the morning to sort it out….while fasting…and then head to get it all done. 

When we got home, I started on curry, G’s request for dinner. I basically made basmati rice in the rice cooker (white…G’s request again, I try to always get brown for health reasons) with half a can of coconut water/cream and then cooked up some carrots, black beans, a potato, onion and garlic with some curry paste, curry powder, tumeric, salt and pepper, cumin, and the other half of the coconut water/cream. Simmered for about 40 minutes while waiting for the rice to fluff up in the rice cooker…..and voila! Delicious. I wish I took measurements to share, next time!:) Served it up with some oven roasted green beans (massaged with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt…roasted for 12 minutes, until caramelized and crispy). Perfect meal.

ImageNow, G is washing up the dishes (a perk of being the only cook in the house…no dishes!=) SOOOOOooooo worth it. Plus, I LOVE to cook, if you haven’t noticed. )and  then he has some school work, so I am delving into the book I got from my parents for christmas in my stocking: The Doula by Bridget Boland; its pretty good so far…chapter 4….Stay warm!

SIDE NOTE: I am SO incredibly thankful that my parents raised me to adore cooking. One of the best gifts they gave me, other than raising me in a home full of christian faith and love. I can’t remember an age that I couldn’t cook…I was always in the kitchen as the ‘chef’s assistant’ with my Dad, who also has a passion for cooking. Cooking for Dean-O’s Diner[my maiden name was Dean]….some of my fondest memories with my Dad……