Groundhog’s Day Resolution

This is something you might not expect from me and my blog.

I have a New Year’s Resolution!  But, given how it’s the first day of February, I’m going to make it my Groundhog’s Day Resolution – spice things up a bit.

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This is Libby, Mikey’s sister and honestly one of my best friends.  She’s a cool lady; if you know her you know I’m right.

This spring/summer Libby and I are going to {attempt} to get… wait for it… fit.  Yes, I know – it’s shocking.

But, regardless!  It is something we have decided to commit to, and take seriously.  I’ve wanted to do this for some time now, but I find I work better when I have someone else struggling with me, and no one ever wanted to join me in my “journey” or whatever.  But now I have a partner in crime!

We’ll see how it goes, I’m sure there will be a mixture of blood, sweat, and tears from both of us… but hey, no pain no gain right?

P.S. Libby recently started a blog of her own!  You can check it out here Finding It!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas has always been my favourite holiday.  I mean, how could it not be?  Some jolly old guy breaks into your home in the middle of the night, brings you presents, and then eats your food!  Who could possibly not love Christmas?

In all serious-ness though, Christmas is my favourite time of the year – period.  It’s a time spent with your family – all the {crazy} cousins, aunts and uncles included.  At my house, one of my parents is usually working – their jobs don’t exactly stop at Christmas.  After we have our little Christmas with my Nanny and Enno, we typically head up to my Grandma’s for a Christmas lunch.

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This year, we had not one, but TWO parents home for Christmas!  It was a Christmas miracle!  We got to wake up at a decent time, didn’t have to worry about being quiet for the rest of the day so we didn’t wake one of them up… it was marvellous.  We also didn’t go to Grandma’s for a Christmas lunch, but we had our own meal at our house with Nanny, Enno, and Michael – oh, and of course Willow.

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Now that my siblings and I are practically grown ups (I don’t care how old I am, I am not ready to be an adult.  So there.) we get less presents than we did when we were younger.  My parents tell us every year not to expect much for Christmas, and every year they seem to just tell us that to trick us.  Because, every year, it seems to me like we have plenty of presents.  My parents somehow manage to get us the things we want/need, as well as other gifts – enough that I honestly don’t really notice a drop in the amount of presents.

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Pictured above: not me.

As I was saying, we are lucky enough to have parents who always manage to make sure we are happy, and who spend more money than they really should on us for Christmas.  I’m not telling you what to do mom, I appreciate it and everything, I’m just sayin’.

Christmas is a time to appreciate what you have and who you’re with – especially if you spend the rest of the year taking it for granted.

Tell your family you love them.  Don’t wait for next Christmas to roll around.

Urban adventures

I’ve called the city of Ottawa my second home for about a year and a half now.  Despite the amount of time I’ve spent here, there are still aspects of the city that take me by surprise – as I’m sure there always will be.  One of these surprises was just how much green space you can find in this city.  I live in an area of Ottawa that is not only conveniently located quite close to Carleton, but is also situated near tons of park space and trails.

One of mine and Jess’s favourite pastimes is putting on our adventure shoes and taking a walk down all the trails around our apartment.  Our favourite spots to explore (so far) near the apartment is Hog’s Back Falls, Mooney’s Bay, the trail along the Rideau River that runs along the edge of Vincent Massey Park, and the Fletcher’s Wildlife Garden (which is right across the canal from the school, super convenient and a hidden gem).

Now we just need to get the boys out of the house to join in our adventures!

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Hog’s Back Falls is awesome for members of the waterfall fanclub (of which I am one) and in the fall the colours are spectacular.

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The river is so pretty and full of ducks if you’re lucky, which is just a bonus in my opinion.  And along the trail, you find THE BEST climbing trees that bring you back to your childhood.

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Fletcher’s Wildlife Garden is stunning, seriously worth exploring.

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Even the canal on the way to and from school is pretty, especially before it’s drained for the winter.  Although, when it’s ready for skating it’s incredibly beautiful and a great source of exercise in those winter months.

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The butterfly show that runs on campus in October is a fun detour too, just beware of the many children that you will find in there… seriously, it feels like there are more of them than butterflies.

Get out and explore, you never know what you might find!

Give thanks

As a university student, you learn to appreciate your parents and the stupendous ways they took care of you for the first part of you life.  You now understand that cooking for yourself isn’t nearly as fun as having someone else do it for you (and let’s just admit it – you eat a lot of Alphagettis and Mr. Noodles just because you can’t be bothered actually making a balanced meal).

So having the opportunity to enjoy a real home cooked meal in the comfort of your childhood home is an amazing opportunity, one that I once again took advantage of this Thanksgiving.

My mom worked basically all weekend, but that didn’t stop her from preparing a magnificent meal for my siblings, myself, and Michael.  (Seriously mom – good job).

She may not have had time to make a whole turkey, and I sure as heck wasn’t helping for fear of setting the house on fire, but she still managed to whip up delicious-ness.

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This little turkey breast was more than enough to feed five people (dad was away at work for this holiday meal) and it was super delicious.  It even came pre-stuffed, to help my mom out!

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We had an assortment of all my favourite veggies: green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and of course gravy and CRANBERRY SAUCE.  I seriously love cranberry sauce, I sometimes just eat whatever’s left out of the container in the fridge… so good.  We also had the crowd favourite: hashbrown casserole, and I was happy to sacrifice my portion so that others could have more.

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Seriously, look at this plate, doesn’t it look absolutely amazing?!  We even had my moms signature punch to wrap the whole thing together, I mean talk about a good time!  Even Mikey likes the punch and he doesn’t normally like pop – that punch is magical.

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And for dessert we had pumpkin pie with whip cream because no meal (yes, even an everyday one) is complete without pumpkin pie.  The Queen of all pies, in my humble opinion.  And as my mother informed me (thanks mom), the above picture is actually of pumpkin cheesecake, which we also had at dinner.  Because my mom is proof that there is a God.

Basically, this post is all about how awesome my mom is.  She worked I think four twelve hour shifts in a row and still managed to get a home-cooked meal on the table for her family.  That is dedication and love, and maybe it was just because I was coming home for the weekend, but whatever the case – we all appreciated it.  Thank you mom.

Go give your moms a hug for all that they do.

Home Sweet Home

Home sweet home. 

You know you’re home when you can’t imagine being happy, content, and comfortable anywhere else.  I still consider home as my log house in Huntsville, the place I’ve spent the better part of 20 years in.  But I have a secondary home now, one that is just as comfortable and cozy.

I moved in with my friend Jess at the end of August and it’s been such a cool experience.  We have to fend for ourselves, buying food and making dinner ourselves instead of sitting on the couch while someone else caters to our every need.

Of course, I’m lucky enough to have my AMAZING parents help me out with rent and tuition, which is extremely fortunate considering I’m still a poor university student.

Our apartment isn’t the biggest, but it’s the perfect size for the two of us.  We’ve furnished it in a very humble, cozy way – it almost reminds me of a cottage.  We lucked out and most of our furnishings are just items that our families didn’t want to keep around anymore (my parents have been hoarding things for forever, just waiting for one of us to move out).  Having a room that a queen bed can fit in, let alone having a queen bed to myself is a magical thing – one that I haven’t quite gotten used to (she writes as she lays on the very far edge of the bed).  I have so much space that I don’t quite know what to do with it… maybe I’ll start doing yoga, who knows?!  Things might get crazy!

Jess and I are also fortunate enough to have four of our closest friends live super close to us – Mikey and his roommates, James and Jamie, all live three floors up, while Tyler lives two apartment buildings over.  I’m lucky because I went to high school with these boys, but Jess has gotten used to them by now – it’s not like she really had a choice…

I’m looking forward to living here for the foreseeable future – it’s an amazing location, with lots of parks and walking paths close by, as well as the Rideau Canal and Mooney’s Bay practically right outside our door.

Do you think Jess and I sound awesome?  Well, you’re right!  Feel free to follow our shenanigans on Twitter @MJRoom220!

Fall Orientation 2014

A new school year is upon us folks.  It’s scary, but it’s the truth.

The beginning of this school year finds me living in an apartment with one of my best friends and participating in Carleton’s fall orientation program in a new and exciting way.

This year for frosh, I was a Facilitator, which basically means I was part of a stupendous group of people in charge of a bunch of first year students from a particular building.

This years theme was “Join the Conspiracy” (a conspiracy is a group of ravens… get it?) and my team was called the Evil Geniuses.  The Evil Gs were in charge of fourth floor Stormont and Dundas and they were seriously the best group of facils EVER.

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The whole reason I wanted to be a facil this year was because of how much fun I had during my frosh week, and let me tell you: it is WAY more fun to do frosh week as a facil.  You no longer care about how awkward you are because you’re too busy making friends with the people you’re essentially going to spend all of one week with.

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Sure, by the end of the week you can hardly walk from all the blisters and sore muscles, and you might be sleep deprived for the rest of the year, but it is all worth it.  Knowing that you helped new students – whose position you were in not too long ago – feel more at home in their new environment is so rewarding.

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I made some amazing friends and it gives me so much joy to be able to walk around campus and interact with so many more people than first year.  Frosh 2014 was a great start to what I can already tell will be an amazing school year.  I’m so looking forward to doing it again every year I’m at Carleton (and I love it here so much that will be a few) and getting even more involved in the Carleton community.

#evilgsforlife

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Family Time

My family has been going on camping trips for pretty much as long as I can remember. We started out in the typical fashion; we would set up our tent, roll out our sleeping bags and revel in the rustic-ness of tent camping. After a run in with a certain masked rodent, my mom decided that if we ever wanted to go camping again, it had to be in a slightly less-penetrable way. So, we upgraded to a tag-along trailer. This did the trick until we actually towed it to Niagara Falls, after which my dad decided he never wanted to go through that kind of stress again. Next came the fifth-wheel. We are now on our third fifth-wheel, but the concept of camping hasn’t changed much.

Now to go camping, we pack our belonging into our “wheel-estate” and make our way to any campground that will fit us.

We have used our trailer at Disney World, Mount Rushmore, the Calgary Stampede, Prince Edward Island, Billings Montana (the very first KOA ever), Washington D.C, Niagara Falls (a much less stressful trip this time around), Cedar Point, Manitoulin Island etc. etc..

The point is, we take our trailer practically everywhere we travel. This time we took a trip a little closer to home – McRae Provincial Park, just outside Orillia, Ontario.

The funny thing about camping with my family is that we always fight when we’re confined in our 38′ trailer in the rain, but I love going camping with them anyway.

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My parents friends can’t believe that my siblings and I would ever want to go on a trip with our parents – we are teenagers after all.

Besides the fact that going with our parents is the only way we’d ever get anywhere (sorry parents), I actually enjoy our time together as a family. 

It really puts in perspective just how little families interact with each other nowadays. We’re all plugged into our phones 24/7, talking to people miles away from us instead of the people right in front of us.

Admittedly, I’m writing this on my phone while my mom and sister work on a puzzle right in front of me. But it’s for the blog, that’s different right? 

The moral of the story, dear readers, is go and talk to your parents, sit with your siblings – have an actual conversation, enjoy some quality time. You never know when you might have the chance again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a puzzle to finish.

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Non-traditional French Toast

Alright everybody. If you are interested in any type of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free food, or are just looking for a way to change up your diet, you need to follow the Sprout Sisters.  They are three sisters who have been living a vegan/gluten-free lifestyle for some time now.  They post recipes for everyone to try at their leisure, which is exactly what I did!

I tried out the blueberry banana french toast, but because I am not vegan or gluten-free, I had to make some changes.

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Ingredients

1/2 banana

1 tsp vanilla extract (mine was artificial)

1/2 cup almond milk (mine was vanilla flavoured)

Dempster’s whole wheat bread

Method

1. Blend banana, vanilla extract and milk

2. Heat pan and dip bread in mixture, coating evenly

3. Cook bread and mixture, flipping slices when necessary

4. Enjoy!

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I particularly enjoyed this recipe because it smelled AMAZING and it tasted good too!  The original recipe calls for blueberries, soy milk and gluten-free bread, which I didn’t have at my disposal.  I think that the almond milk and whole wheat bread still tasted awesome.

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I enjoyed this breakfast outside with a lovely cup of chamomile and lemon tea which made for the perfect start to my Monday.

Bon Appetit!

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Hi, my name is Morgan and I think I’m an adult…

You know what’s hard?  Growing up, that’s what’s hard.

When we’re little, all we want is to stop having to sit at the kid table, to get treated like adults, to be what we said we wanted to be when we grew up.  When I was younger, I was determined that I was going to work at Tim Horton’s so I could see my dad every day.  If only it were so simple.

I’m starting my second year of university in September, which I am really excited about.  I’m living off residence in the same apartment complex as Mikey with my BFF Jess, and I’m getting even more freedom than last year.  This all sounds awesome, but honestly?

I’m terrified.

Growing up means having to pay for lots of stuff, even if you don’t have any money.  It means that your parents, who (bless them) are helping you pay for your education, have to fork out even more money, with even less scholarship funds available to them.  It doesn’t help when you don’t get your scholarship renewed because you didn’t make the cut.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when we’re younger, growing up seems like the best thing to happen to us.  But when we’re actually grown up, sometimes all we want is to go back to the times when the most we had to worry about was sitting at the little kid table and deciding whether we wanted to be a princess or a mermaid when we grew up.