by Carolyn Ekins
4:17 pm | No Comments » |
So I’ve absolutely given up with knitting needles.. I’d rather stick them through my eyes than try and get to grips with them for one more minute so I’m sticking to the little round knitting loom. There will be a lot less blood involved…
So now I’m knitting a scarf…
Ultimately I’d like to knit an authentic replica of the 4th Doctors (Tom Baker) scarf so this is a test piece to see if I have the perseverance, stamina and fingers to make something very, very long. It’s coming along nicely and to date only has several dropped stitches and no big holes..
Only another 8 ft to go..
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January 2, 2013
9:44 am | No Comments » |
If there is one thing I have become acutely aware of in recent months, is that time appears to be accelerating at a startling rate. Sure, there are still 24 hours to the day and these are still measured accurately in a series of hours, minutes and seconds, nevertheless, what phenomena is this thing where my days continue to flash before my eyes…..it’s obviously a perception, possibly age related and maybe applicable to all human beings rapidly hurtling towards being present on planet earth for 50 years. Regardless…I don’t like it. Not one little bit..
My mother is/was a talented knitter. She would watch a documentary, read the newspaper AND seemingly complete a glorious “Aran Sweater” in an evening. Mum worked hard, even relaxing she was always busy. I often marveled at her ability to do so many things at once. I wanted to knit like her.. alas, the several times I have seriously attempted to knit or crochet have ended in disaster. I see the problem as three-fold. Firstly, I just don’t understand how to do it and secondly, when I do grasp the basics, the product of much concerted effort ends up being a jumble of knotted, perforated intestines and never gets beyond 27 rows and finally, sitting down and spending hours knitting seems such a WASTE of time!
And then a friend of mine sent me some wool/yarn, crochet hooks and a circular knitting loom for Christmas. Once again I tried so hard to get to grips with a crochet hook and failed miserably, I’m not giving up, one day I’ll conquer it. So I moved on to the knitting loom…and used my internet connection to find online basic tuition and I did, and stuck with it, persevered and 5 hours later had created my very first ever, completed knitting project, a BEANIE!
It’s good to feel proud of oneself about something and for a while I was, the only problem being that spending hours knitting, to me seemed a waste of time so I took a leaf out of my mum’s book and found a solution. FREE AUDIO BOOKS! And I’ve been using free audio books in the public domain to educate myself on history and philosophy and currently am listening to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (looking forward to the new movie)…. so instead of using a couple of hours recreational time in the evening doing just one thing I’m doing two things and CREATING items to keep us warm in the winter.
At the moment I’m knitting a scarf which seems totally suitable to our current weather conditions, the fact that I have just received an interesting e-mail and photos from a friend currently staying in Moscow AND the location of Anna Karenina being set in Russia..
And then my youngest daughter decided to have a go, she multi-tasked too listening to music on her iPod while creating a rather wonderful slouchy beanie
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November 3, 2012
6:34 am | No Comments » |
When one is thrown into financial insecurity, for whatever reason, it calls for swift and tough measures. In my case, one of the immediate changes I made was to lose my telephone. I’ve NEVER been without a phone and I don’t even have a cell phone alternative so this was quite a big decision to make…
My standing charges, including Simply the World, BEFORE making any phone calls with Bell Aliant inc HST were $45 per month, which is a lot of money to try and find when you have little coming in.
Then my good friend Matt told me about “Google Voice”.. and how you could use your lap top to make FREE phone calls to any landline or cell phone in Canada and the US. I signed up by going to GOOGLE VOICE with my gmail account (go to http://www.google.ca and simply sign up for an e-mail account) and seconds later I was calling out from my lap top to test it out. So far so good! There is a little latency but nothing much and you soon get used to it.
And then of course I knew that I’d need to have the option to call overseas as my folks are in the UK. With Bell Aliant I was signed up to “Simply the World” at $3.95 per month and on top of that, to call the UK it was 5 cents per minute. With Google Voice the cost is slashed to just 2 cents per minute!
Alas, because I only had a visa debit card, Google Wallet would not let me load funds into it which is how it accepts top ups for Google Voice…
Never fear, I signed up for Skype and using Pay-Pal signed up for a monthly plan to call the UK for 120 minutes every month for just $2.25- thats less than 2 cents per minute!
The quality and connection was excellent making a phone call with Skype from my lap top!
And to take things a step further a friend of mine told me about a FREE app for my iPod which allows me to make FREE phone calls and texts to other iPods and regular cell phones in the US and Canada. The app is “Talk-a-Tone”
By making these changes I’ve saved myself at least $42.75 cents per month AND I can essentially make free phone calls on the move, wherever there is WiFi.
Next step… a NEW phone number so people can call me.
I’ll tell you all about that next time!
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September 12, 2012
7:21 am | No Comments » |
There was a time, many, many, many years ago…. OK about 15 + years ago, when I’d always have lots of people over. My house was in order, everything was kind of in control and I was pretty happy. It was fun having my ex-husbands work colleagues pop over during lunch break to our house or have pot-luck evenings.
Somewhere along the line things began to get messy. I believe there is a direct correlation between your psyche and your immediate environment. Currently my home is embarrassingly chaotic and almost like an episode of hoarders (although not as bad as it once was) and we definitely suffer with “can’t have anyone over syndrome”. My biggest dread is someone turning up on the doorstep to say….. “SURPRISE”… and I’d have to let them in. I hate living like this, I love people…
Yesterday I started asking friends (the tidy ones) how they maintained an ordered home, how they stopped things getting out of control. WHAT was their secret? I asked my Facebook friends too!
Tanya said “well if I come across something small that needs doing I just do it right away… it just takes a minute”
Other friends said they tackled a small chore every day, others had a small tidy up every night and some of my Facebook friends suggested signing up for http://www.flylady.com
I did and despite having an incredibly busy evening and not finishing dinner until 9pm, decided if we were to stop living in CHAOS then we were going to have to get started on this right away …
The first step “Fly Lady” suggests, is going to bed with a SHINY SINK (as I don’t currently go to bed with anything rather then a teddy bear I’m rather excited by this)
The SHINY SINK is a psychological, immediate, feel better tactic. I was willing to give it a try..
So I looked at my kitchen sink overspilling with plates from the day before, washed and dried them all, put them away and then scrubbed my sinks and buffed them until they really were SHINY
This morning I woke up and as I passed through the kitchen, the shiny sink, illuminated by the early morning sun, made me smile and everyone was told to ensure that if they used plates etc they were to be washed, dried and put away immediately.
Next step- 15 minutes a day of decluttering
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August 28, 2012
8:05 am | No Comments » |
A few weeks ago I found myself on one of my favourite websites www.ted.com watching an inspirational clip on “How we can eat our landscapes” . Pam Warhurst talked passionately about the folk of Todmorden, in the UK, taking responsibility for their local food supply and creating a thriving economy and reawakening a passion in fresh local food.
This morning I revisited Todmorden when a friend shared a clip on Facebook and once again could not help but be inspired especially as “Incredible Edibles” reached our town here in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia when our passionate sustainability team in town encouraged businesses to grow their own community gardens. Lighthouse Publishing did just this and has supplied it’s employees (and anyone else who wants some) with chives, basil, parsley, kale, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, lettuce and more… The daily care and attention showed by Donald Rafuse (an employee of Lighthouse Publishing) following the planting of the garden ensured such a wonderful, productive garden for all…
But I digress…
I’m leading up to my next blog post where I wanted to talk about one of the most amazing turn arounds in the history of agriculture… City Farms and Cooperatives in Cuba. I watched an amazing movie about the power of people, a return to sustainable agriculture following the Cuban Crisis and the withdrawal of Russian petroleum and it simply blew me away.
If I didn’t know before, I knew at that moment that the movement towards a more natural and organic way of farming where a high percentage of our food supply comes from small local producers through cooperatives, has to be the way we look forward to feeding the planet…
I’ll share that with you next time
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August 24, 2012
8:11 am | No Comments » |
I have a “Wild Edibles” app on my iPod and it has made me go “bat-shit-crazy” for FREE wild foods that I can utilize. Many wild greens have extraordinary amounts of iron, vitamins, calcium and anti-oxidants in them and picking them from a location that I know has not been sprayed (ie my wild garden), I can harvest them simply whenever I need them..
This morning I craved a detoxifying wild dandelion and blueberry smoothie and here is the recipe I used.
It was zingy and delicious.
Wild dandelion and blueberry smoothie
1 cup of freshly picked dandelions (check that they are real dandelions by running your finger up and down the stem/vein on the back of the leaf. If it’s smooth it’s a dandelion. If it’s hairy, it’s not!)
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of sweet frozen mixed fruit (or 1 large sweet apple)
2 oranges or 1 cup of orange juice
1 sweet banana (optional). This thickens the drink up. I popped in a few small plums instead
Place the dandelions in the bottom and the heavier fruits on top
Add the orange juice (if you are not using oranges)
Pulse until fruit and dandelions are well chopped
Blend for a minute or so until all ingredients are incorporated and blended well
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August 20, 2012
9:09 am | No Comments » |
I did my first hike in 23 years on Saturday and boy did I have a blast!
I often try and find frugal things to do and Saturdays entertainment only cost me some fruit juice and trail mix in addition to the gas money it took to drive to “Hirtle’s Beach” to do the Gaff Point Trail (7 km)..
The scenery was stunning and I’d highly recommend it especially with the surprise at the end of the point where INUKSHUK markers litter the landscape.
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August 16, 2012
3:01 pm | No Comments » |
I admit I’m rather obsessed with the healing properties of food…
Every evening, just before bed, I scour the internet for inspirational stores, documentaries and useful facts and figures on how we can use food to heal many of our modern day health problems. It never ceases to amaze me we have so much power all around us in the food we eat… to prevent and heal.
Recently I came across another little gem of a documentary trailer and immediately I went to the website to check it our in more detail..
Needless to say that having some free money in my pay-pal account, the temptation was too much to bear and I ordered a copy of the “Simply Raw” (reversing diabetes in 60 days) documentary and the accompanying “Raw for Life”- Ultimate Encyclopedia of the Raw Food Lifestyle.
QUOTE: Simply Raw chronicles six Americans with diabetes who switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, live, raw foods in order to reverse diabetes naturally. The participants are challenged to give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food and even cooked food- as well as go without their creature comforts- for 30 days. The results are AMAZING….
I’m REALLY interested in the raw food lifestyle. Eating about 50% raw already I would love to give eating 100% raw a 3 month trial later on this year and try the various recipes.
If anyone would like to borrow this DVD sometime (once I’ve watched it all over again of course) give me a shout…
I found it a fascinating study…
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August 7, 2012
11:41 am | No Comments » |
I’m quite pleased with my lunches… in my eyes they are nutritious, tasty, substantial, meatless, mostly organic and cholesterol free. Oh and did I mention that they usually come in at around $3?
When I used to eat meat and cheese I was much heavier and possibly lazier, as quite often I’d drive to the nearest store during my lunch break at work and pick up a large non-organic salad with cheese and bacon over the top and of course a creamy sachet of greek feta cheese dressing. It tasted good but calorie and cholesterol wise it sucked, and the price, if my distant memory serves me correctly, was around $8. Not good for a single mom on an impossibly tight budget…
Turning vegan, nearly a year ago, was quite a challenge. Challenging in the way that it was still important to me that my food should remain stimulating and tasty yet healthier and lower in calories. It is harder to overeat as a vegan if you are eating mostly fresh vegetables, pulses, beans and wholefoods…
I pushed the proverbial boat out today and added an extra ZING to my vegan lunch and made myself a huge, mostly organic, GMO free salad for $3.50. At the moment I am worshipping at the feet of the “Tempeh” God, especially the smoky bacon flavoured variety, which I use as a substitute for bacon, sparingly. It’s a great source of protein and iron too…
Two generous handfuls of organic spinach, 5 organic grape tomatoes, a few slices of organic cucumber, a small sweet potato, a teaspoon of organic dairy free margarine on the potato, a sprinkling of Daiya dairy free cheese, a little vinegar dressing and finally two slices of Tempeh, heated and chopped over the top for that bacon flavour most vegans find hard to not think about from time to time..
It was DELICIOUS and nutritious and came in under 500 calories and was pretty easy on the wallet..
Give TEMPEH a try.. it’s fab!
PS I got mine from Atlantic Superstore in the natural food section in the fridge. It’s $4.49 for 16 slices and less than 400 calories for the whole packet which is enough to feed 4 people.
PPS I bought what was left of it up (apart from one packet)… SORRY!
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July 30, 2012
9:16 am | No Comments » |
I saw something interesting on a Facebook friends wall at stupid-o-clock this morning…
My immediate thought was “What? This is only happening now?”….. the hidden entrepreneur in me has often thought for the last 10 years or so that Fast Food restaurants like McDonalds, should offer some sort of “ethical burger or eco food” where the meat is humanely raised, free range, organic and local and there are vegetarian and vegan alternatives offered, again organic or GMO free. But then when you look at it, many people looking for those products possibly wouldn’t step inside a McDonalds anyway just because ….
So I read this article with much interest indeed…
QUOTE: “At Lyfe Kitchen (the name is an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday), all the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows. At Lyfe Kitchen there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives, and no need for alarm: There will still be plenty of burgers, not to mention manifold kegs of organic beer and carafes of biodynamic wine. None of this would seem surprising if we were talking about one or 10 or even 20 outposts nationwide. But Lyfe’s ambition is to open hundreds of restaurants around the country, in the span of just five years….”
However the juxtaposition of the cofounder and chief executive of Lyfe being Mike Roberts (former president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s) doesn’t sit well with me. It’s unsettling BUT I am willing to look beyond this to get rather excited about a possible chain of restaurants that offers foods free of pesticides and GMO’s with emphasis on healthy and humane food.
I closely watched the various videos and devoured the website… I’m a little impressed
QUOTE: “imagine tens of millions of local, sustainable gourmet meals, served with the efficiency and economy that one expects from a national fast-food chain. Such a feat of feeding has never before been attempted, and if Lyfe Kitchen succeeds, the results will reverberate far beyond our stomachs.”
Further to the above lets not forget our LOCAL restaurants that are making headway to offer something similar.
I had the pleasure of a very nice lunch in the city a couple of weeks ago, with a friend at the “Wooden Monkey” in downtown Halifax. The lentil burger was very tasty, the portions generous and the ambience pleasing. I don’t eat out much because of economics but was happy to pay a little extra for something kinda local, organic and wonderful…
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