Summer Slow Down

Our summers are usually fiercely busy and therefore go by way to fast. The main problem is that we try to stretch ourselves too thin. We spend most of the summer in Northern Ontario where our parents live. We then split our time between Kurt’s father’s camp, his mother’s house and my mom’s. Plus there are also other random people to spend time with. This all equals a lot of driving around and being stretched thin. It’s hard because we want to be able to spend time with everyone, but on the other hand summer is our vacation time so we should be able to relax.

This summer will be especially busy because we have our trip to Belize, then our wedding, plus we have our own home now that we will likely spend some time at.

But this summer I’m going to make a conscious effort for things to be different. I would like to slow down and enjoy my time with my family. I will say no to some things, and try to leave time to be spontaneous. I am going to try to savour every last minute of my summer. I’m going to try to have this attitude during wedding preparations also. Hopefully I can succeed at my mission!

Advertisements

Beans and Rice

Beans and rice is something I make quite often because it’s easy, it all goes in one pot (except if you use dried beans) and it tastes even better the next day for lunches.
My method is pretty simple. I soak some beans a day or two ahead of time in the fridge. I use whatever kind I have, black, kidney, this time I used mung beans, which worked out really well because they are tiny so they cook fast. Mung beans are also good for those who don’t really like beans because you hardly notice that they are there.
I chop an onion and put in an oiled pot to brown, then add some chopped garlic (I used two cloves), and a chopped pepper or two (whatever colour you have). I then add some spices, usually cumin and chili powder and a bay leaf, but you can get creative. I let it cook for a bit then add a can of chopped tomatoes. I throw in however much rice I want, then add broth or water and a few splashes of hot sauce. Let it cook, stirring every once in a while to prevent it from sticking. If it looks like it’s getting too dry add more broth or water. Once the rice is cooked it is ready.
We either eat it on tortillas, or by itself with cheese grated on top.

The picture isn’t great so I threw in one of Daisy in her new favorite spot to make up for it. Enjoy!

beansrice

IMG_3342

Travelling with Cats

Later this week I will be embarking on a dreaded journey. I will be travelling with these guys:

IMG_2842

Sure they look all sweet and quiet in this picture, but them doesn’t mean that getting them into a car is any picnic.

As soon as the carrier comes out Homer bolts, usually under a bed where it is really difficult to retrieve him. Heck, he’s even on edge if a suitcase comes out. Daisy on the other hand, only reacts once Homer does and her hiding….we let’s say she won’t be winning any hide and seek tournaments. She’s better at playing dead.

Oct&Nov '11 039

So anyways, after we run around and try to catch them the real fun begins. We put them in the car and as soon as we’re to the end of the street the performance has begun. It’s almost as if they think that if they hit the right octave of meows that I will turn the car around and go home. Their ranges go from pathetic squeaky little meows to what we affectionately call Homer’s fog horn noises. It’s really quite hard on the nerves. Even a short trip down the street to the vet is made horrible by this.

Thankfully, the eventually fall asleep. Until, heaven forbid, I have to stop for any reason. Then it starts all over again. Fun.

Anyways, here are some of my tips to make travelling by car with cats less terrible:

We have a soft sided carrier similar to this. We switched from a regular plastic one because Homer was scratching at the air holes and the plastic was hurting his little toes. The only thing with a soft carrier is that you should check the seams before you travel, otherwise you may have a problem (speaking from experience) when your cats Houdini out mid-trip.

We try to keep them covered in a blanket so that they can’t see out the window. I think this helps them not panic when they see the movement of the vehicle.

Also try to the vehicle cool, otherwise they may overheat. When I am travelling alone with them, like later this week I put them in the front seat so that the AC reaches them easily.

I try to make sure that their claws are trimmed before we leave. This helps with less destruction to the carrier.

I don’t give them any sort of medicine or anything before we travel, because I don’t really think those things are safe. I wanted to get them Thundershirts, like this cool kitty, but Kurt wouldn’t let me. If you’ve tried them on your cat with success let me know, it may sway him.

Last tip (I almost forgot this one, but it is tremendously important), cats hate Megadeth (or any other loud metal). Whenever something like that comes on the radio the cats immediately wake up and start howling, or maybe I’m wrong and they are singing along. Either way, it’s best avoided.

Wedding Registry

Well with a little more than a month to go before the big day wedding gifts have started to arrive. While it’s very exciting to get all of this cool stuff, we tried to be very careful and aware with our registry. Having already lived together for several years and now for a few months in our own home, we already have most of what we will ever need. I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of stuff that would have to be stored, just for the sake of people getting us gifts.
The things we put on our registry were not necessarily things that are traditionally given for weddings, but they were the things that we needed. We do have some of the traditional items like a set of dishes (fiestaware) and some linens, but we also have things like a wheel barrow and a composter.

I think that your wedding registry, like your wedding should reflect you and the type of life that you live. We don’t want fancy, expensive things, we are happy with hand me downs or thrifted items. Honestly, that was what made choosing items difficult for me, because I knew that the places offering the registries were charging more than you might pay elsewhere. Most of our guests know us well and will hopefully be okay with the unconventional nature of our registry (and wedding) and hopefully those few guests that don’t know us well will just give us cash! Just kidding….

Here’s our awesome dual-batch rolling composter that we recently received and laboriously put together.

IMG_3347

Spice Cookies

I had some molasses and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it, so as usual I just did a search for ‘molasses’. A few cookie recipes came up, so I decided that’s what I’d make. I found a recipe that I had all (or at least most) of the ingredients for. I didn’t exactly have all of the spices that the recipe called for, so I dug through the spice cabinet to see what I had. I didn’t have the cloves or ginger, but I did have nutmeg, cinnamon and five spice. Done. So basically, I followed the recipe, but used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of nutmeg and half a teaspoon of five spice.

They are just mildly spiced, but very tasty. I might even try it with a little more five spice next time just to make things a little more interesting. The recipe was definitely a keeper.

IMG_3304

Backyard= Big Mess

Let me introduce you to our backyard:

Backyard1

Backyard2

Backyard3

It was one of the reasons we bought the house. The yard is huge and backs right onto a conservation area with a park, walking trails and a river. It will be a while before we get it to where we want it though.
Right now it’s a big mess. Currently there are piles of garbage (from demoing the pool and left by the last guy) and huge piles of pulled weeds and cut down tree limbs. There is lots to do. The biggest jobs will be demolishing the pool (it wasn’t in good shape when we bought the house), levelling the part of the yard that was built up for the pool, landscaping (or at least getting a handle on the thistle population) and building a deck. There are also smaller things I’d love to do like build raised beds for vegetables (to keep the bunnies out), maybe make a patio area and also make flower gardens.
It has so much potential it’s is just going to be so much work and time before we get it there. Eventually we hope to have a beautiful, low maintenance oasis, but for now we have a lot of hard work in front of us!

Real Homes

Do you ever get the feeling that you are the only one that lives in a house that isn’t perfectly perfect? Do you see houses on Pinterest and blogs and websites that are bohemian and creative and just exactly what you’ve always wanted, only have no idea how to create? Maybe it’s just me. Sometimes I stare longingly at these pictures of rooms that are simple yet astoundingly beautiful in their design. I Pin these pictures and hope somehow that the beauty will creep out of my computer and into my own house. Because, let’s face it, my house doesn’t look like those pictures. It’s usually messy. My frames don’t all match. My throw pillows aren’t all different yet somehow perfectly coordinated. Actually the only throw pillows we have either came with our couch or cost 99 cents. A lot of our furniture is thrifted or hand me downs, and not all of it in the shabby chic kind of way.

I’m beginning to realize that that’s okay. My house doesn’t have to be picture perfect, as long as it is my home. I will no longer feel bad about it, or worry about, or try to make it look like the pictures. It is lived in. It functions for us (most of the time), and it contains the things that we love, even if all of those things aren’t perfect. I am going to embrace my real home and I am encouraging you to do the same.

If you have pictures of a room you love and the story about why you love it please email me at tryingchange.blog(at)gmail.com