Pigs are not food....

Two months ago, my youngest child announced to us that she is now a vegetarian. 

This happened to coincide with her age appropriate realization that pork = pig and beef = cow. 

And my girl loves pigs. Like really loves them. Like, has a girl gang with a couple of friends and they call each other, Space Piggy 1, Space Piggy 2, and SpacePiggy 3. AND she spawns and collects all the pigs in Minecraft, AND she has created a whole story world around a family of little pigs that she refers to as Pigibo Jr. and family. 

Oh, and we also finished reading Charlotte's Web and watching the movie right before all of this went down. 

It's not hard to see that Pigs are special to my girl. 

Yes, she even has a pig hat. 

Yes, she even has a pig hat. 

And because I am that parent who believes my kids are actual people, allowed to have their own opinions and thoughts and desires, I respect her wishes in this regard. We have been making the necessary changes to our meal planning and grocery shopping since her big announcement and so far all is going quite smoothly.

To be completely honest, this hasn't been much of a big deal really. As a family, we've been slowly moving away from eating red meat this past year, and we only eat pork sourced from local, free-range, organic farmers. 

AND the thing making my life even easier is our fabulous grocery delivery service, SPUD.ca. They have a handy, dandy section dedicated to simple meal packs and boxes with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options for our family of four. 

I've been letting Seven help me with the weekly "shopping" and she's been picking out one meal pack a week, based on her preferences. We've had a lovely Chickpea and Quinoa salad (which was a miracle, because up until now she had refused to eat both of these things!), our usual tofu stir-fry, and last week she wanted to have the Vegan Finger Food meal

Gardein makes some wonderful vegan options and we've been sampling a lot of them lately in our weekly SPUD order. The Crispy Tenders are a hit with both the vegetarian and the meatatarians in my house, and the Alexia Sweet Potato Fries have been a fave for a while now.

Also, this simple meal is a great one on those hot days. It's quick, easy, and the fresh crisp veggies quench both thirst and hunger. I swear my kids could eat a whole basket of these sweet local grape tomatoes in one sitting!

We do our family meal planning and Spud shopping on Sundays, and I can't wait to see what she is going to choose for us to try next week.

Check out all the different Meal Packs Spud has to offer (not all are vegetarian) and if you decide to give them a try, remember to use the code: CREDM-CHINAA to get $20 off your first order!

*I am a local Spud Ambassador and this post is brought to you by the lovely folks at Spud.ca.
All opinions are my own and those of my picky little eaters!*

Cheers, 

N~

self-preservation

When I am feeling down, I am usually quite good at recognizing that I need to slow down, get off the internet, organize myself a bit more, and engage in some self-care. I routinely refuse to get the gel-nail pedicure at my wonderful little nail salon because I actually don't want it to last longer. When my nail polish starts to chip, I know it's time for me to get a weird chair massage (seriously the part of the chair that "massages" my butt feels so wrong), a new colour on my toes, and to zone out for a bit. 

Self-care can take the form of many things and for me, routine and order is one of them. I also like some good old retail therapy, and a giant bowl of popcorn and red wine for dinner. Sharing and making other people happy is also a form of self-care for me.

In that vein, here you go: some of my most recent favourite things to help on days when you need a little pick-me-up.

...........

1. The Blackbird Potpie at BlackBird Cafe. This single serving potpie is made with a creamy mushroom filling and served with a delicious tomato chutney. I like to get it with the House Kale and Spinach salad. It is my comfort food right now. And the coffee at Blackbird is fabulous too, and as of this week, the staff know my order and have officially granted me "Regular" status!

Comfort food is good for the soul.

Comfort food is good for the soul.

2. BAMBOO BED SHEETS. (That's it, just get some. Seriously!) The ones we have are from one of my favourite local boutiques, My Filosophy,  and I don't know why we waited so long to get them. 

only downside is it is so hard to get out of bed now!

only downside is it is so hard to get out of bed now!

3. This new lipgloss from Lipstick Queen. Don't let the Elphaba green sparkle fool you. This stuff is all kinds of witchy and wonderful and goes on green and within about 20 seconds changes colour according to the body temperature and PH of your lips. Mine goes a nice natural pink colour and really, who couldn't use a little bit of magic in their day?!

Available at Lux Beauty Boutique. 

Available at Lux Beauty Boutique

4. I am reading the MaddAddam trilogy from Margaret Atwood and have fallen in love with her writing all over again (it's been far too many years since I first read The Handmaid's Tale). ORYX & CRAKE was phenomenal, and I have just started The Year of the Flood. Get your summer reading on and pick up all three books from your favourite bookstore or get on the wait list for a copy at your local library!

5. I know you probably have a long queue of shows to watch piling up on your Netflix List, but if you like the female prison drama genre (and OOOOwheeeeee do we ever have to talk about OITNB Season 4 another time), you'll need to add one more. This one is a Canadian production called Unité 9 and is set in a women's prison based on the real one in Joliette, Quebec. The show does have subtitles, so you can totally follow along even if you aren't a little Frenchie like me. The acting is wonderful, the character development superb, and I can't get enough of it right now. 

6. Hair products. It's what happens when you finally take the plunge and say to your stylist. "OK, just cut it all off!" I have been a Kevin Murphy user for a few years now and love that these products are eco-friendly, free of all the bad things and do the job they are supposed to do. The two products pictured below are my go-to duo for keeping my fabulous new coif, coiffed! Oh, and you only need a tiny bit of each - as with all KM products, a little goes a long way!

These should last me at least one year.

These should last me at least one year.

..........

The world is a nasty place right now, and we have much work to do to clean it up and make it better. And we will. I truly believe that. But we can't do any of that if we don't take care of ourselves first. Like the amazing poet and activist Audre Lorde said, self-care is in and of itself an act of political warfare. 

Do what you must to preserve yourselves people. 

So you can get up and fight the good fight again tomorrow. 

With new polish on our toes, a good meal in our bellies, and pretty pink lips.

Much love,

Natasha~

feel good friday

Ever have one of those weeks where, whether it is true or not, you feel like the world is against you and nothing is good and life is shit?

That's me this week. And I've been trying not to have a giant pity party for myself, but it has been a struggle and all came to a head on Wednesday. 

Earlier that morning, while out walking Willow, I fell. And by fall, I mean, I stepped into an overgrown grassy hole in the ground, rolled by ankle all the way over and then did what in my mind was a graceful tuck and roll down a small hill, but in reality, was probably something more like this: 

I sat on the ground cradling my ankle, making whimpering noises for a good fifteen minutes, while my dog ran off to do her business as far away from me as possible (which might be the only silver lining here - I didn't fall IN any dog poop).

When I was able to finally get up, I went on the search for the poop ('cause I am not THAT person) and on my way back to my car, realized my keys had flown out of whatever pocket I had put them in while I was rolling down the hill. By this point, I'd like it known (ie - give me a damn cookie here!) I had not yet succumbed to the flood of tears building up inside me and threatening a giant headache to put the icing on my shit cake of a week.

After what seemed like a very long time, and some serious breathing exercises to shake off the impending panic attack, like a beacon on a foggy night, I finally saw the tell-tale sparkle of my keys in the grass, and Willow and I headed back home. Where I promptly got the ice pack from the freezer, put it on my ankle, made a nest of pillows and blankets on the couch, and settled in for some serious self-pity time, a few tears, a giant bowl of Boom Chicka popcorn, and 5 hours of Unité 9 (my new favourite prison drama on Netflix). 

Today is a better day. The swelling is down on my poor ankle. My back is feeling better after a couple of trips to the chiropractor (did I mention that I threw my back out WALKING a few weeks ago?), and I have done the laundry - which is kind of like a "how awful is Natasha feeling" gauge in my house. This week we were all almost out of clean underwear, and precariously close to the red DANGER zone!

This weekend is going to be one of self-care, and surrounding myself with the people I love, and who love me back. I will also be staring at these two great photos of my kids that the lovely and talented Julia Gabriel shot a few weeks ago. I can't wait to get them on canvas and onto a wall somewhere!

Sometimes all it takes to turn things around is a good hard look at what is good and beautiful in your life, and sometimes you may also have to up your dose of antidepressant again. Either way, life is not shit, the world is not against me, and it will all be OK.... eventually.

(repeat, repeat, repeat)

N~