Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. My husband saving my life, quite literally, with his uniqye blend of stubborness and sweet talker.
  2. Joining up with the LEEK GEEKS!!
  3. Having a beautiful Mass in a beautiful Church.
  4. Tears of joy from an unsuspecting grandmother.
  5. Leftovers packed with love from maman.
  6. Having a completely unexpected miracle happen from a completely random chance meeting.
  7. Knowing God is there, and feeling His love.
  8. Seeing a beautiful modest gown on the Oscar red carpet, of all places.
  10. Future plans about to come to fruition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ashy Disappointment

Ok, that was a really bad pun intended.

But back to the serious stuff, I was so disappointed with the service at the St Marguerite Bourgois church for Ash Wednesday. It was full of confusing and offensive things that just turned the whole night kind of sour and quite anti-climactic.

It started off quite nice, I arrived maybe half hour before service to reflect and read, and there was a choir singing quite softly, and a man was lighting the candles in the front. I was wearing my scarf to cover my head with, and had prepared to get a ton of stares, but the church was empty enough and the people there were quiet, most of them so engrossed in their prayers they didnt even see me arrive, which was great. I sat down at the edge of my pew, and noticed that many people were kneeling before entering the pew, or when leaving it, which was also great. I even noticed a woman wearing what looked like a chapel veil. Awesome!

Then things started going weird. The priest and altar boys came and went as they prepared for Mass, and every time they passed in front of the altar, they would bow or kneel. That's not the weird part. Then, two women dressed in long white robes started coming and going from behind to the altar and around the church and they would never bow or kneel where the priest and the boys went, even though they passed in the same place. They touched everything. What was on the altar, around the altar, placing things on and off the altar. Then they went to sit down on two chairs and began to speak (quite loudly and annoyingly to those of us who were trying to pray) about a woman named Susan's boyfriend. Like, seriously?

Then Mass started. The priest opened the night with a prayer... in Spanish, saqid by one of the ladies. In a church full of mostly old French people. Then proceeded to tell the assembly that this was a Latino friendly church and to please invite all your family and friends to this church. It just honestly sounded like a cheap advertisement add. He went on with a sermon but kept getting lost

After that the Mass went on, and it was time for the ashes, but when it was my turn, the priest looked at me, smiled in a way that felt very derisive, and told me to take off my scarf. I shrugged it back a little and he sprinkled ashes on the top of my head, at the back where the veil was still on. So that was highly uncomfortable, and my scarf was full of ashes, rather than my forehead.

Then it was time for Communion which I don't take part of because I haven't confessed yet. Good thing too, because it was the two ladies that gave it out. The priest blessed the Host and Wine, and then handed it off to the ladies who each took one and took a sip from the Chalice, and gave them out to the congregation, blessing them and crossing their foreheads. What???

THEN to make things even better, they ended in a song where the ladies took out their friggin instruments (that would be including a tambourine) and sang a lovely upbeat call and answer song about how it was great to be in the arms of Jesus.

Maybe Im wrong, maybe Im still stuck in the Greek Church way, maybe this is how they do it now. But it just felt wrong and uncomfortable. Ugh.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ash Wednesday already..

Time goes by like its nothing. Lent already, and Ash Wednesday. I can't believe how much I have personally changed and grown in the Lord over the last year. Who was I, even, last year? Someone who was lost and searching, but for what, I didnt even know. Im still searching, and I think I will always be, in a way.

But I wanted to talk about what it was that I wanted to sacrifice and offer up for Lent. I have a whole list in my head, and my thinking is that I want to do these things, but that I am only human, and if I cannot accomplish everything that I had set out to do, then God knows what's in my heart, even if I don't. Which, really, is the beauty of this whole thing. So this can be read as a pledge, with you as a witness.

I will abstain from any alcohol or recreative drug use. I will try my hardest to refrain from using foul language. I will refrain from using social sites such as Facebook 6 out of 7 days, and generally cut my internet time down, as well as my TV time. I will dedicate at least an hour a day to reading a book of religious nature, and increase my Gratitude Journal entries from a minimum of 3 to a minimum of 6. I will especially dedicate my prayers for ending abortions and the preservation of life. I want to give up complaining as much as I can, and replace it with gratitude that I am here and alive and well. I want to do this really cute thing that I read: Every day take a picture of something or someone you’re grateful for and hang the pictures in your room. Perhaps I wont hang it in my room but I will post them here towards the end of Lent.

 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking a step towards real food

Im trying my darn hardest to move my household's food consumption towards eating as much homemade real food as possible, rather than weird unpronouncable, generally unedible store bought crap. This includes any and everything that I can make, and the general thought behind this is that I would rather figure all this out now than when we have children. This basically means buying and making food that you know what is in it, and most importantly NOT.

I am finding some challenges to this challenge, especially time, I find it very hard to dedicate as much time as needed to our real food conversion when I work full time and have a business on the side. Also space. In my tiny living space, I have almost no place to store everything that I can, so I have leeched space at my folks and friends' places. But its frustrating having to run elsewhere for a can of tomatoes. But still, I try to make a point out of introducing a steady flow of homemade items that were previously store-bought.

Of course, they all have to have the Hubby's stamp of approval, and that can take awhile of trial and error. BUT ANY PROGRESS IS PROGRESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL (OR SLOW)! My most recent success is chicken broth. Ive been egging Jeff to let me do this for such a long time, but the concept kind of freaked him out (who would want to drink chicken bone juice??) and when broth is relatively inexpensive, it wasn't such a big deal anyways. But, *shocker* there's some really nasty stuff in there, and the sodium is off the roof.

Campbell's chicken stock has a whopping 1118 mg of sodium in a single cup. Health Canada reccomends a daily intake of 1500 mg. So that's about 75% of your daily intake of sodium gone in a cup of broth.

So making my own stock as a base for soups, stews, rice, and other yummy dishes was something I was keen about. And since we had just bought a few whole chickens, there was nooo reason why I shouldn't. And its so darn simple. Here is my version, but this is such an easy thing to personalize, that as long as you have the aromatic basics, you can play around with this as much as you want.

Chicken Stock

  • 1 chicken carcass (bones, skin, cooking juice, anything that you wouldnt eat, basically. Ive even read about people using chicken feet with success) equal to a medium chicken
  • 1 large carrot, unpeeled, chopped grossly
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped grossly
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 1 clove of garlic, cut into two
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • pepper to taste
Fill your crockpot with chicken bones, aromatics, and herbs, and fill with tap water (if you have drinkable tapwater, if not, let the water sit out for 24hrs to let the chlorine evaporate) to almost the top. Simmer for 10 hours on low.

That's it. No joke.

I let mine simmer during the night, and when it was ready, I passed the whole thing through my sieve covered in cheesecloth, pressed on the solids to make sure all the juice was out, and canned the lot. My crockpot gave me almost a full 3 liters. You can keep refrigerated for two weeks or freeze. Its also a good idea to freeze some in ice cube format so you have little portions to add to cooking rice and such. Its probably the easiest 'real food' conversion yet, and seriously one of the tastiest. That broth is dark and rich with flavor that the canned sh*t doesn't even come close to.

Side note: I use broth and stock interchangeably, but from what I understand, they are different. Stock with veggies, broth without veggies. But whatevs.

Side note 2: Ive read a few articles that state that instead of using whole fresh veggies, you should just keep a Zipploc bag in the freezer and fill with onion skins, carrot peels, celery ends, etc. I think I will try that, and see how it works out.

photo source:

Sunday GJE

  1. The first peekaboo of good earth and grass through the snow
  2. Sun warmed sleepy puppy
  3. Unexpected gift
  4. Trading goods
  5. The color and smell of broth fresh from the slowcooker
  6. Boxes of cans waiting to be filled
  7. Pouffy, unruly hair
  8. Wearing Sunday best
  9. Smell of SUNSHINE!
  10. A friend's pregnancy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. New cellphone = reachable = social life can start again
  2. All types of goat cheeses.
  3. PIZZA
  4. A mother I dont deserve
  5. Great bargain books for 2$!
  6. Meringue that puffs just right and bakes just right
  7. Spending 15 mns to find the right type of pita without 39284 ingredients.
  9. My own bed. Crazy how you forget how much you love it when you always have it.
  10. Lemon pies that mean ILU

Monday, February 6, 2012

I love you because...

All right, so we`ve all seen those couples that are sickly sweet with their love, and make everybody want to either hit them or be them, right? Right. I am personally not a fan of PDA that goes any further than holding hands or hugging (and maybe a quick kiss on the cheek) because I really do believe that kisses and other outward signs of affection is best done in your home and not on display for the whole world to see. I feel that a kiss between my husband and I is a very private thing that belongs only to the two of us and not to any gawking spectators (which made me oh so thankful that the DJ at our wedding thought of a game that would stop that annoying clinking on plates & glasses that guests make to get the couple to kiss).

Same goes for any extravagant words of love between the two of us. I would feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, and very awkward if a friend of mine suddenly gushed out his love verbally for his girlfriend right in front of us at the movies, for example. Such things are best kept between person one and two, and not the whole world. So, knowing this about myself, I was very surprised when I suggested to Jeff while we were out a few nights ago that we play the 'I love you because...' game. This was something I had read about and never done because I thought it was silly, and potentially hazardous.

The game is simple, each person at a time says to his better half` I love you because... and adds a reason at the end of the sentence. It could be anything and everything, and when s/he is done, it is the other person`s turn to reply with a different reason than the one just stated. For example, you cant reply I love you because your hair is shiny to your husband`s I love you because your hair is long. You also can`t use the game to bring up a fight or argument you had i.e.: I love you because I KNOW you will do those dishes sitting in the sink that I asked you to do three days ago. The game goes on until you run out of things to say.

Got you gagging yet?

In any case, we started to play and shot off 20 something things easily without a pause. You know, those things everybody says to their better halves, almost generic things that are found in the Hallmark cards. And that`s when it gets interesting. Because once youve said those things your used to saying everyday or so, you get to the bottom of where you affection of stems for the other person, and the game becomes something special. I heard things from the hubby that made me choke on my water with laughter, like 'I love you because you don`t wear cleavagy shirts anymore', and I said things that I didn't even know I knew, like 'I love you because I know when you argue and get really pissed off and yell, its because you care.' . Huh, go figure.

Sometimes the breaks between the reasons were longer, and other times they flew out of our mouths. We thought at the end of our dinner, that we had run out of things but 5 minutes later we were quick firing them again. But it made me realize that we dont spend enough time identifying those feelings with actions. Yes, I love my husband, but why, exactly? Because this, and this, and that. And vice-versa. It really makes you understand how perfectly suited you are to one another, despite how different you are.

Because if anybody else yelled at me, I would probably punch them.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. Fuzzy blankets that cover cold feet.
  2. Money grinchy stingy husband.
  3. Hot coffee with maman.
  4. Leftovers = no cooking = no dishes.
  5. Ambition, vision, and dreams make for an exciting future.
  6. 'I love you because' game (to be explained).
  7. Strong shoulder to lean on when going down slippery steps.
  8. New packages of mason jars waiting to be filled with preserves.
  9. Enough frozen bananas to make at least 10 banana breads and then some.
  10. A gift bringing the reaction that was much anticipated.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” - G. K. Chesterton