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11/11/2019

11 Nov

Remembrance Day. A day where we pay our respects to those in the military, past and present, who have kept us safe and make it possible for us to live freely.

poppies

I’ll admit, I don’t take part in any of the ceremonies that happen around here, and I don’t watch the live feed from Ottawa. Most years I am working and do my best to pause at 11am to have a purposeful thought of thanks. On years I’m not working I avoid the craziness of the crowds and have a quiet, reflective time at home. I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding your own way to honour those who have protected our freedom, isn’t one of the bonuses of being free being able to choose how to do something?

Every year I do a bit of research in to Remembrance Day, and this year here is what I learned:

  • it was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth and was originally called Armistice Day
  • from 1921 to 1930 Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week of November 11th, in 1931 a bill was introduced to observe Armistice Day only on November 11th, the bill changed the name to Remembrance Day, was passed and the first Remembrance Day was observed November 11th 1931
  • more than 2,300,000 Canadians have served in the military, and more than 118,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice

Whatever you are doing this November 11th, I hope you find time to send thanks out to the universe for those brave men and women who join the military, our country wouldn’t be what it is without them.

 

flanders field

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My Protein Smoothie Skills

9 Nov

I used to make delicious protein smoothies. Which I know is a stupid thing to be blathering about but hey, if it is something you are eating (or drinking) daily, you want it to taste good, and fulfill your nutritional needs…but mostly taste good lol

My preference was for unflavoured protein powder because then it wouldn’t interfere with the flavours of the other ingredients, or have that gross artificial taste that so many of the powders have. Also, the tubs are huge, and I didn’t want to be committed to a specific flavour for so long. What if I buy chocolate because when shopping I want chocolate but three days later I’m not in a chocolate mood anymore? I’d rather buy unflavoured and switch up the other ingredients to make the protein smoothie taste however I want it that day.

I got off the protein smoothie bandwagon a while ago, so haven’t made one in ages. I did however, in a half-hearted attempt to get back in shape, buy some protein powder maybe a month or so ago and started experimenting with smoothie bowls.

They were not good.

At all.

I thought I didn’t have ratios of ingredients in there correctly, I thought because I was making them thicker, more ice cream texture, vs a drink, I’d messed something up. Then I realized that it was the powder I bought.

protein powder gross

When I was at Costco they had a powder on sale and I figured I’d give it a try. It is a smaller sized tub, wasn’t too expensive, and sure it came in vanilla flavour but vanilla goes well with so many fruits and I figured mixing it with water or milk for just a simple protein drink will make it suck less than when I did that with the unflavoured powder…though I did add some cinnamon to the unflavoured one to make it palatable, but that’s a whole other thing.

So! I bought the vanilla bean flavoured stuff and oh the regrets! It is not good. The flavour is that horrible fake flavour I was wanting to avoid and the powder does a crap job of dissolving when mixed, even when mixed in a blender. How is that even possible?

I’d heard I could take it back to Costco, even after it was opened and tested, but I didn’t have the receipt anymore, so I was stuck with it. Which meant I stuffed the container in the back of a cupboard and tried to justify buying a different type when I have a protein powder already. Oh the perils of being cheap and trying to avoid wasting food, sigh.

Out of nowhere I realized something that others would most likely have thought of way sooner, I could add some vanilla extract to the smoothie, force a truer vanilla flavour, and that might drown out the fake vanilla flavour.

Right?

Well, maybe, but worth a try!

So this evening I made a protein smoothie, there was the protein powder, milk (I used to use almond milk but didn’t have any so regular milk it is!) plain Greek yoghurt, one frozen banana, frozen peach slices (cause peaches and vanilla are two flavours that pair well), and a bit of vanilla extract.

After almost killing my blender, it apparently doesn’t care for frozen peach slices, I taste tested it and decided it was a bit bland, so I tossed in more frozen peach slices and hit puree. On the second taste test I figured it was ok enough to be palatable so poured it in to a cup and voila! Protein smoothie.

protein smoothie

Peach Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Uh, yeah, so apparently my skills at making a delish protein smoothie are a tad rusty. It was not bad, but not good. Nothing I’d Instagram about, which is saying something considering how many food pictures I have on there!

I’m hoping my skills at making a tasty and nutritious protein smoothie will return, maybe they just need practice, it has been a while after all. If they have deserted me, well, I guess that is why Pinterest has so many protein smoothie recipes pinned on boards!

protein smoothie drinking

Proof I drank it!

The Three Things

7 Nov

Tonight I baked two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread, and since I know nothing is believed without proof I’ll pop a picture in here once they are done in the oven. Until then, you’ll just have to believe that my apartment smells amazing. πŸ˜‰

I really like to bake and yet I’ve hardly done any baking this past year. 2019 has most definitely not been a year of baking for me. When this baking project came up I got excited I’d be baking, which got me wondering why I was so excited, and since I have an hour long commute that gives me plenty of time to think about things…in depth.

The conclusion I came to is that I need three things to align perfectly in order for me to bake:

Time to bake.

Money to buy ingredients.

Energy to bake.

These three things may not seem all that important but this past year has been a perfect example of how with even one of these things missing, baking just isn’t happening. At least in my world.

If I have the money to buy ingredients I most likely don’t have the time to bake because I’m working all the time. If I have time to bake it is probably because I’ve not been working as many hours, which means I can’t afford ingredients. And if by magic I happen to have both time and money I am usually exhausted and don’t have the energy to care about baking.

Those three silly things all of a sudden add up to some annoying results don’t they?

Truthfully, I didn’t really have all three aligning this evening but the baking had to be done this evening because it is for something tomorrow and I gave my word I’d bring it so I had to force two of those three things to fit. Which I mean, fine, this one random time is ok, but I can’t always do that…so maybe I need to change some larger things in my world so those three things can align more often…looks like I have something to ponder on my next commute!

I do after all like to bake, and winter is perfect baking season…not only does it keep my apartment warm but people are more likely to eat what I bake, sweater weather tends to make people more forgiving with their meal plans lol

For now though, I’ll just be content that I got to bake something this evening and I’ll enjoy the warmth of the oven and the smell of the bread while they last.

(apologies for the slide show below, I couldn’t decide which angle I liked best so you’re stuck with all of them lol)

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Christmas Movie Countdown

11 Oct

Since I’m already counting down to Christmas (only 75 days away!) I thought I should buckle down and start watching some Christmas movies. Nothing like getting in the spirit early, am I right?

daddys home 2

Tonight I watched “Daddy’s Home 2” which doesn’t sound like a Christmas movie, but is. Well, it is a movie set at Christmas time, it isn’t just about Christmas.

It’s from 2017, stars Mark Wahlberg (yum), Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, and John Lithgow. The basic gist is Mark and Will’s characters are co-parenting Mark’s kids since Mark’s ex is now married to Will. They are total opposites, which is where a lot of the comedy comes in from the first movie. Now they have a bit of a system working for them, a faux balance to things, then each of their dads shows up for Christmas and basically screws with that just by being there and being themselves.

There is a lot of macho one upping, random reveals about how people really feel, kids trying and succeeding with getting in to the eggnog and getting drunk, all those classic Christmas tropes.

It is funny, funny enough that I legit laughed out loud a couple times, well, more like snorted in a lady-like kind of way, cause ya know, I’m totally a lady. πŸ˜‰

Now that I’m watching Christmas movies I should probably start with other Christmas activities, right? I don’t decorate, and people may get a touch upset if I start bringing them Christmas baking before Halloween, so what else is there? There’s no snow so I can’t start a snow ball fight…hmm…I’m thinking I’m just going to have to continue on with my informative (though some would say annoying) Christmas countdown, and keep watching those fun Christmas movies!

So, just so you know, it is:

75 days until Christmas

11 weeks and 1 days until Christmas

1779 hours until Christmas

Don’t you feel more informed now? And not at all annoyed right? Right!

Tuck Visor Review

9 Sep

I bought a thing called a Tuck Visor to help block the sun streaming in through my driver’s side window when I am commuting to and from work. It arrived on the weekend and today was to be the first day trying it out.

Tuck Visor 2

May I present…the…Tuck Visor!

Which means it of course was pouring rain when I woke up, and when I started driving, and for most of my commute. It would appear that fall is well and truly here…it also appears I should invest in rain boots…

Since it was pouring enough rain that there were flooded streets during my morning drive I almost didn’t take them with me, it was predicted to rain all day after all, but I’m lazy and figured if I don’t take them in to my suv now and tuck them away somewhere I’ll forever forget to take them to the suv and who knows how long it will be before I try them.

And yes, that really is how my brain works. shrug.

Good thing I made that choice because by the time I was driving home it was sunny. Well, sort of sunny. That type of sunny where it goes between so sunny you think your eyes will be burned out of their sockets and cloudy with the potential to start raining again at any moment.

I decided to put the Tuck Visor in to place before I started driving, figuring even if it wasn’t sunny enough to really need it, it shouldn’t be in the way, so what was the harm with having it up.

That thing is brilliant! It used a combination of static electricity and being tucked up in to the top edge of the window to keep it in place, it didn’t shift the entire drive, it doesn’t come down any lower than the sun visor when you have it swung to the side, and it blocks sun. What more could a sun avoidant ginger want?

Oh, and it was relatively cheap. Thank you Amazon.ca!

When I first put it in to place I worried about loss of vision out of the window, it is solid black after all. But then I realized it is only blocking the upper part of the window and when I’m looking out of the window I’m not looking at the sky, I’m looking at the road, and traffic, and all that fun stuff, and the Tuck Visor doesn’t block any of that.

One review I read said a negative about it is that you can’t have your window open and use it, which is a valid point. I don’t like driving with my window open so I don’t care about that, but if you like the window open than this won’t be for you.

The pack I bought has two in there, and when not in use I am keeping both in the packaging tucked in a pocket in my suv so they are out of they way and not visible to those who may look in. The ad on Amazon made it seem like it is easy to put in place when driving but I don’t know about that, I used two hands to get it in place which, in case you didn’t do the math, leaves zero hands for the steering wheel. Not a great equation. Maybe positioning gets easier in time?

This is what mine looks like when in place, apologies for the bad picture, I wasn’t willing to climb over the middle console to get farther away from the window to get a better picture, tsk tsk bad blogger.Β  πŸ˜‰

Tuck Visor

I’ll provide a link to the ones I bought on Amazon.ca…

Click Here!

The company itself does of course have a website, http://www.tuckvisor.com if you want to check them out.

They also have a version that is not solid black, it is a bit see through. It apparently also effectively blocks the sun but I figured I’d rather the solid black one than one that still lets some sun come through. It doesn’t take a lot to burn me so why chance it?

Hopefully this random little invention will be the end to my getting sunburned on my commute to and from work, oh wouldn’t that be nice! πŸ™‚

 

The New Job

4 Sep

It has been almost one month since I started at my new job and so far it seems to be going well. πŸ˜€

Made new friends, which any adult knows is not an easy thing to do. It’s like once we leave school we forget how to make friends or something.

make friends comic

I’m doing well with the actual work, least the feedback I am getting indicates I’m doing well. I don’t know that I’m the best judge of that *shrug*

Besides that whole debacle where my suv broke down on the side of the highway on my way home one Tuesday the commute is decent. It ranges between 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and construction. At this point my only issue with the commute is that I am getting sunburned from being in direct sunlight for so long twice a day. Not pleasant.

I’ve been looking in to extenders for my sun visor and will eventually cave and buy one, cross fingers it works! Until then I have a light scarf that I drape over my head like an old lady, sigh, and use that to save my poor left ear from being cooked right off my head. I’ve also been researching a tint I can get on my windows that is an SPF protector, I’m pretty sure the tint my suv came with does not provide any kind of sun protection, what with my getting sunburned while driving an all. It’s pricey though, so first step is the sun visor extender.

Meal prepping is a thing I am trying to remember how to do. Not gonna lie, it hasn’t been pretty. I’ve been taking weird combinations of foods, if I manage to take anything at all, so more money has been spent buying lunch than I am comfy with. This week I managed to be a full on adult and make lunch on Monday to last me the whole week! Granted, the work week this week is only four days thanks to Monday being a stat but let’s not focus on that, k? πŸ˜‰ This week, for lunch, every day, I have crackslaw, a buttered dinner bun, Greek yoghurt (I tried the Compliment’s brand from Safeway, don’t do it! It is not good, ick!), and a piece of fruit for afternoon snack (either an apple or a nectarine, depending on the day). If that isn’t mastering a week of lunches I don’t know what is! Only thing is by the end of lunch today I was craving sugar at a level that was driving me crazy. I tried to appease it with a Diet Coke, which I know doesn’t have sugar but at least tastes sweet. Nope. Didn’t work. Then I was offered this granola nut bar type thing, 7 grams of sugar in that, so obviously I said yes. I don’t know if it is a “mental I tricked myself” thing, or if those 7 grams of sugar actually did something, but the craving went away, yay! Good thing it went away before I walked past Purdy’s Chocolates on my way to where I was parked lol

adulting 2

I still miss the people I used to work with, but I like the new people I’m working with so that’s good. Life is change, and while I had some doubts leading up to the move, I think this change was the right choice. I mean, if nothing else, I’m relearning how to plan meals and act a bit more like a grown-up, that’s probably a sign this move was the right choice…right? πŸ˜‰

Battery AND Alternator

14 Aug

So…remember yesterday when I wrote about my SUV breaking down on the side of the highway and how I had to get it towed to the mechanics then go rent a car?

Do you also remember how I was crossing fingers and pleading with the universe the problem would be the battery, a fairly easy and compared to other problems, cheap-ish thing to fix?

Well! The universe decided it was time to come for me and instead of the problem being the battery OR the alternator, it was both, with the serpentine belt thrown in for fun.

Seems the alternator was dying and as part of it’s death dance it took the battery and the serpentine belt with it. Like a double murder and suicide, inside my engine. My alternator was one mean bitch.

On the positive side (because oh boy do I have to try to find one!) the mechanic I go to is amazing and had it fixed by this afternoon so I left work early (which sucks) so I could drive in the rental to the shop, hand over my credit card and have a little cry over all that money being added to my debt (sigh), then leave my suv there so I could drive the rental back to the airport in rush hour, then take public transit back to the shop to finally get my suv.

I left work at 3:15pm and got home around 7:45pm, so ya know, just a minor chunk of my day eaten up. *rolls eyes*

At least by taking the rental car back before 8:30pm I am refunded for one of the two days I booked the car for. Only not right away. Seems they charge you right away, when you pick up the rental, but if you return early and get a refund that can take 2 to 3 days to process. Kinda annoying but I’ll keep an eye on the Visa and make sure the refund goes through.

The cost for all those repairs, in case anyone is curious, is $1485.43. Then add in the car rental which should, once the refund goes through, be somewhere in the mid $90s. Oh, and don’t forget to add in the cost of the tow at $77.

It’s been an expensive 24 hours. 😦

piggybank

The mechanic confirmed the battery did last way past the normal length of time, and with all the repairs those three things should be good for, shoot, I can’t remember how many years he said, but a good chunk.

So yeah, now I am even more in debt, but my vehicle is back to working and hopefully thingsΒ  will calm down a bit. There has been a lot going on the past couple weeks and I could really do with life just settling down a little bit, the stress ball in my stomach would definitely appreciate it lol.

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