Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Goodbye, Friend

I have some sad news.  I posted about it last week on my other blog, but not here.  My thought process was that it is more of a "family" blog, and it was more "family" news.  But I haven't been able to post on here without recognizing what happened, and I'm sure once you read, you will see why.  

We lost a very dear friend a few weeks ago.  Ivan passed away on August 9, 2012.  He has been on this blog a lot.  
You can see him here:  When he first joined our family.
With Dad here:  Getting cuddles.
You can see his sweet face here:  Under the Christmas tree.

This was his most recent photo. 

I am devastated.  He seemed perfectly healthy when I fed him his dinner and said goodnight on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning he looked so terrible, we rushed to the vet.  She took him in the back, ran some tests, did x-rays, and everything was normal, save for him being very dehydrated.  I thought that was good news, that he would be fine. I set him up in his carrier, said “see you later”, and went about my day.

Later, she called to tell us that he was looking better, but they wanted to keep him overnight just in case.

Thursday morning I had a missed call from her, and called back right away; thrilled that he got come home so soon.  But the news I received was the exact opposite.  Physically, Ivan would never be coming home.

The shock, complete and utter shock, has worn off, but not the sadness. My furry friends hold such a respected place in my family, and a tender place in my heart.

It is particularly breaking my heart that I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I had no idea he was going to leave this world.  He barely got an extra head pat because I was running around after Little B.

Speaking of the munchkin, I never imagined having to go through this.  Not being able to explain to my son where his friend is.  Ivan was obviously around since the day LB came home from the hospital.  When he was younger, he just let him play on or around him.  Now that Little Brontosaurus is older, they played out in our mudroom together, daily.  To the point where Ivan was almost a live-in babysitter.  His second word (second only to dada) was cat.  When we leave the house, he still calls out “Bye cats!”.  He goes to Ivan’s room, and points in there and says “Cat?”.  He wants to know where his friend is.

I want to thank everyone who has shown support, and who will once they read this.  Also, thank you for all the love and prayers that were shared when he was sick in the past.  This was unrelated to his urinary issues.  In fact, I really don’t have any answer as to why he passed away; something else that will forever haunt me on sad days, I’m sure.

Our house feels empty. My heart feels heavy.


My dear sweet friend.  I miss you so much.  As I sit here writing this, I miss you trying to fit yourself between my belly and the computer.  I miss you when we come home and you aren’t in your favorite sun spot by the door, and I miss the sound of your expectant “meow” for your breakfast.  I miss you trying to eat our food, and breaking into the groceries.  I miss you following me everywhere I go.  I am sorry for all the times I yelled at you, squirted you with water, and pushed you aside (because you really did follow meeverywhere), but I am sure you know that I love you.  And I know you love me.  No one, feline or otherwise, will ever replace you, be certain of that.  You were truly a one of a kind, a wonderful cat.  So sweet, so loving, so mischievous, and full of energy and life.  I am so sorry that our time together had to end so soon, I will forever wish that we had more. You will always be fondly remembered, and dearly missed.
- Mom

His first day home.


I am not sure how long it takes for it to stop hurting every day, but I’m not there yet.  I know it is different for everyone, so if it hard to understand that I’m still upset, I’m sorry.  We have been keeping busy and it is easier when we are out of the house, but…we always come home.

I am doing a few things to memorialize him/help make me feel better:

1.  I am going to put up a standalone bird feeder and plant a flower garden outside our big dining room window.  I had wanted to put one up for him since we moved in, but our trees are too tall to hang one.  I had thought of it the day he was at the vet, that he would be able to see great from that window, and it didn’t have to hang from a tree.  I might sprinkle some of his ashes in the garden, I haven’t decided yet.

2.  I bought a nice frame to print out a 8×10 of our favorite photo of him to keep with us.  It is a semi-shadow box, so I will put his collar and his favorite toy in there as well, along with one of our address labels that has pictures of all of us on them.

3.  I  love the symbology of the tree of life.  I have a few necklaces already, but I found a plain pendant that I really like, and I am going to add a paw print charm and a tiger’s eye charm to it.  Such a thing doesn’t exist, I’m trying impatiently to find a way to get it done.

Originally I did not think we would get another cat for awhile.  That has changed a little.  It will still be a few months, but I do think another cat will find its way into our home.  


Thank you for reading.  This has really been especially hard for us.

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)”

Goodbye, friend.


Friday, August 3, 2012

July Vegan Food Swap

I had intentions of jumping back into blogging.  In fact, I still act like I blog every day.  I take pictures of my food, I blog in my head as I'm eating (I can't be the only one who does that, right??), and then I put my Little Brontosaurus to bed and sit down on the couch and...

What can I say, the little guy wears me out!

But, I did at least take the time to sign up for last month's Vegan Food Swap, hosted by Cat at The Verdant Life.  

I had a ton of fun making up a box for Ashley at Season of the Vegan, and received a lovely box from my partner, Barbara (who is not a blogger, I didn't forget a link!).

Along with some fun snacks for me, Barbara sent some snacks for the little saurus, and a nice box of red quinoa.  

RED quinoa!  

I know this isn't a new thing, but it is the sort of thing I'd never spend the extra money on myself.  Barbara sent a lot of graet quinoa recipes that I haven't gotten the chance to try yet, but I thought this would be the perfect time to share my new favorite quinoa recipe.  

Buttery Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa

This is one of those recipes that was thrown together one day with what I had lying around.  I pulled out the mandolin, started thinly slicing some Brussels sprouts, about a cup and a half.   I added the Brussels sprouts to a pan that had already started cooking some minced garlic and olive oil, about 1 clove, and 1 Tbsp, respectively.  The Brussels sprouts were cooked until they were soft.  At the same time, I was cooking a small pot of quinoa, maybe 3/4 cup.  While it cooked, I tried to figure what to do with the quinoa.  I don't mind plain food, I eat a lot of my food plain.  Plain potatoes, plain rice, plain quinoa.  Not bare, I use salt and pepper, sometimes olive oil, but really very basic.  Well, the small person I live with does not agree with that.  So on a whim, the quinoa got thrown into the pan with the Brussels sprouts.  Added to that was 2 tbps of vegan margarine (we use Earth Balance around here), as well as salt and pepper to taste, and a few splashes of white wine vinegar.

This has become not just one of my favorite ways to use quinoa, but Brussels sprouts too!  It is all around one of our new favorite side dishes.  I have Brussels sprouts in the fridge, and plain quinoa in the pantry, I can't wait to make this with some of the red quinoa thrown in, to make it extra pretty!

Thanks Barbara, and thanks to Cat for hosting the Vegan Food Swap!

Monday, July 2, 2012

My "Vegan Journey"

I think it is really cheesy when people refer to their experiences as journeys.  

Some examples:  "my yoga journey", "weight loss journey", "a spiritual journey".  

But sometimes, "journey" really is the only word that fits.  And where else would be more fitting to start a new point on my "vegan journey", than here?  Since this is where it all began, almost 5 years ago. 

I posted pretty recently that I wasn't vegan anymore, and that was obviously a pothole in the journey.  I did not stop blogging because I was no longer vegan.  I stopped blogging quite a bit before that.  And the reason I stopped blogging was because I didn't feel like myself.  Within the span of a year we lived in three different places.  We packed, unpacked, changed jobs, found out I was pregnant, had my husband out of town for awhile; I didn't have time to cook, I didn't want to cook, I didn't want to blog, and nothing is worse than a forced blog post.

So yes, I was pregnant with my little boy when I had a hard time staying vegan, but that wasn't the whole story.  Something in me was off, and has been until the last few months.  Something woke up!  Its a great thing to actually feel change inside yourself, especially when it is in a direction you see as positive.  

I realized recently that I hadn't been vegan for almost 2 years.  That made me sad.  Then I had to think about why that made me sad.  I still believed in being vegan, in everything it stands for.  In fact, I really did make an effort to keep us "as vegan as possible".  You can probably guess what that means:  We stuck with our almond milk, but we went out for ice cream; we still use lots of nutritional yeast, but sprinkled parm on our pasta alongside it.  Why?  I'm not sure.  When I was pregnant, I truly did crave cheese.  Whether or not giving in to that craving was the best decision can be debated, but at the time I obviously felt it was.  Why I stuck with it though?  Because it was easy.  Also, because of the reaction I got from close friends and family when I went back to being vegetarian.

I was shocked, really honestly shocked, that no one asked me if I was okay with not being vegan anymore.  Because, I really wasn't, I struggled with it.  I realize now the reason for that is they didn't understand why I was vegan in the first place.  Instead, I had multiple people tell me how happy they were that I wasn't vegan anymore.  They were happy that I would be able to enjoy the same things that they enjoyed, that we could share in more of the same food experiences.  I didn't realize how much my decisons about what I ate affected them.  That was ignorant of me.  And I can see how maybe being vegan is a little selfish at the same time as it is selfless.  It makes people uncomfortable, and I am sorry for making my family and friends uncomfortable.  

But, it is time for them to be uncomfortable again, because I'm happy to be back to vegan.  

I know this is a lot of words after not having been aronud for awhile, so if you chose to read this, thank you!  If you're hoping for more posts, I hope you will wait and see.  I would like to keep up with blogging again, but my life is very different from when I was doing this before.  I don't have time to post every day any more, but I do have some time.  

It feels really good to be at the next stop on my "vegan journey".  It also is exciting to be writing on my old blog again (although I do still plan to keep up with the newer one, with more family-type updates), and I have a few reviews and a giveaway to celebrate!  So hang around, I'm hoping to make this journey a fun one!

Stay Strong,      

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Baby's 1st Birthday!

Simon's 1st Birthday was today! I am so proud of him and our last year together. I hope we have a lot more, little guy.

Join us for some pictures of his first cake experience!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This is not The End

Well, hello there.

If you are reading this, thank you for not deleting me completely. Or, maybe you are just bad at pruning your inactive blogs? Maybe? I know I am.

So much has changed since my last post, obviously, since it was almost a year and a half ago now. At that point, we were getting ready to move to Connecticut. The two of us lived there for 6 months, then we both moved to Missouri for about 8 months, then all three of us moved to New York this past June. My husband is back in the military, which I "could" say is "interesting", but its really not. The whole time he was out, we still moved a lot, he still wore a uniform to work, and more or less kept the same hours, so it doesn't feel much different. We did buy a house this past June...which has been exciting. Keep yourself tuned in for home improvement updates. At the very least home upkeep updates...the house was built in 1900, so it needs lots of attention!

The thing is, you're going to have to stay "tuned in" elsewhere. I just started a new blog, which I did for a number of reasons.

First, if you paid attention up there, we are now 3. I had a baby in February! He is my Little Veggie Brontosaurus, and he is adorable:

I just don't have the time to do a blog that is so heavily involved in food or working out anymore. My time is limited now, and I still work out, and I still cook, but my life has new focus. And I wanted to take that to a new blog.

So if you would like to follow me over there, I would love it! Go to Oats and Beans and Baby Grow.

If you need to contact me for any reason, if you just want to chat, or if you have a question for me, please email me at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Popping In and Dropping Back

Hello all! Does anyone else have this weird innate sense of what the weather is like before you've looked outside? I can always tell if it rained before I get out of bed. Today, it was very nice when I left for work, and I was telling my manager how I couldn't understand why it "felt" like it was so crummy out. Turns out it had become pretty dreary and rainy. She thought I was nuts (in a good way, we like her).

Anyway, I would love to say that I have a million things to talk about but the thing is...I don't. Hence the lack of posting. Food has been so boring, mostly because I have been super stressed out. And I have yet to announce the reason either, because we weren't sure if it was happening or not until last week. Anyway, we are going to be moving. This month. In less than two weeks actually. We're going to be going to Connecticut for a few months, while my husband waits for his paperwork to be completed so that he can re-enter the Army. After that, we'll be moving again.

I don't handle stress well, although working out helps with that. And of course yoga usually helps the most. A few weekends ago, I had my husband video my dropbacks while were visiting his family in North Carolina, and since I have no food or pictures today, I thought I'd share that. For the record, I thought the sound was off. It wasn't. Yay. Anyway, enjoy. Then come back for the rest of the post.

Last week I was at the point where even yoga was stressing me out, so I've taken the last week off. From everything. This is huge because I even got a new Manduka yoga mat and have yet to even use it. Crazy!

The good news is that change creates things to blog about, plus I'll have a lot more free time since I have yet to decide what I am going to do about that whole job thing. You can expect more from me soon, but no guarantees until after we get settled in Connecticut. Please don't leave me, I promise I have not left!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Surf Sweets

How do you decide when to blog? Do you do it everyday? When the mood strikes? When you have something to post about? I've been trying to post two or three times a week, but this week I haven't a had a lot to post about, and I also wasn't really in the mood. Then I came home from yoga this morning and went straight to the computer to blog. Well, that's a lie, I fed the kitties first, THEN I went straight to the computer to blog.

Today, I have a little review for you. I was contacted recently by Surf Sweets, asking if I would like to do a review of their products. My response was a resounding yes yes yes!! I try to be healthy, I really do, but in my moments of weakness, I have a huge sweet tooth. And I LOVE candy. Now, I know we have a lot of chocolate lovers out there, and I'm not dissing chocolate, but I love CANDY. Fruity, sugary, jelly, crunchy, candy, in whatever colors of the rainbow I can get. When I was in high school I perpetually had a big bag of candy from the bulk section of the candy store in my backpack. Jelly beans were a favorite, but anything was fair game: lemonheads, raspberries, gummy bears, rock candy, sour patch kids, etc.

You get the point, right? I loved candy. Okay, I still love candy. The news that Skittles are now vegan was a very big deal for me.

So I was super excited to try out Surf Sweets Natural and Organic Candy. They are made with organic fruit juice, have no high fructose corn syrup, 100% RDA Vitamin C, gluten and casein free, non GMO, and made in the USA with natural flavors. Yummy! All that mattered to me was that they were vegan.

Vegan gummies? Sounds too good to be true, and be warned that for some of their products, it is. About half contain gelatin. But all the samples they sent me were animal product free, and I happily munched. And munched. And Munched (yes, I munched with a capital M that last time).

First up was the Sour Berry Bears. All a bright red raspberry color, these were super yummy. They were also in the smallest package, and were gobbled before any photo was taken. They're not super sour, but they have a bit of a twinge to them.

Next up was the Sour Worms. They came in a few flavors, maybe two or three, but they really had a strong flavor. In a good way. Like, the cherry really tasted like cherry not just some obscure "red" flavor.

Last, but most certainly not least, were the Fruity Bears. These were so cute, and kind of reminded me of a mix between gummy bears and fruit snacks.

Because they don't have gelatin in them (this goes for all the snacks), they don't have they chewiness that other gummies have. I don't miss that though, these were tender little bear shaped candies, in citrus and berry flavors that totally pop in your mouth and cover your teeth in sugary goodness.

The verdict? If I haven't made myself clear already, I love these! They're not an everyday thing, or even something I could keep in the house as I would eat them immediately. While they're made with better ingredients than other gummies, the first ingredient is still organic evaporated cane juice...and that is still sugar. I don't think they're trying to fool anyone with that though, these are clearly meant to be a treat. I especially love that you have the option to buy little treat size packages: the small package of Sour Berry Bears is only 80 calories.

If you are getting nostalgic candy cravings, as I did when I got the email from them, I saw these are Whole Foods yesterday, and they actually only had the vegan varieties, which was nice!

Have a good day people! My birthday is coming up, so I'll have some fun stuff to post about soon.