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November goals

Can you believe it’s already November 1st? That means in two months, it will be 2012! Crazy, right?

Even though yesterday was Halloween, I was still surprised to see the word November showing up everywhere this morning: on my phone, computer, tv, etc. It just seems like the year has flown by, but then again, I think it feels that way every year.

I haven’t done this in a while but I couldn’t help but remember that the 1st of the month is a great time to set some new goals. Not like “lose 5 lbs this month” or “do x number of yoga sessions” type of goals. I have been looking at things a lot differently lately. My goals this month are more in the realm of mental and spiritual as opposed to physical challenges.

My November 2011 Goals

  1. Get at least one more room of our house “finished” - We moved into our new place back in July and sadly, the only thing that’s really done is the basement, which is because my awesome husband spent a whole day down there putting it all together. I’ve just been too busy or tired to get started anywhere else. It makes me feel better to have things in order, so I will remember that as I work on some things this month.
  2. Send out some handwritten cards - I have a couple of cards to send this month and maybe some more if I think about some people I’d like to contact. One is for a family member that is ill and another for a sweet family at my church.
  3. Bake, bake, bake - I made some oatmeal raisin and pumpkin cookies this past weekend to take to the Hootenanny and even though I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on them, they turned out great and it made me want to make some more stuff. We are having a special “Parent Sunday” at the youth cafe this week, so I will get to start on this goal sooner rather than later ;) I also want to practice some holiday dishes I hope to make.
  4. Homemade Christmas presents – Since it’s November 1st, this means I have about a month and a half to get my Christmas presents ready. I plan to make a lot of stuff this year, I’ve already started on some knitting projects and I have some ideas for a few other things. Just need to nail these down, get the supplies and get going. Making things makes me happy!
  5. Rest – Even though the previous things I’ve mentioned are going to take up some of my time, I do want to mainly focus on relaxing this week. I have been busy nearly every weekend over the Summer and Fall and finally, November is here and I have ZERO plans on my Saturdays for the next several weeks. I want to go out for coffee, maybe browse a store or two, then spend the rest at home taking naps and snuggling with my doggie :)

That’s about it over here! What are your goals for November?

My favorite things about Fall

I love Fall.

Do you call it Fall or Autumn? I never say Autumn but I like how it’s spelled. Either way, it’s one of my most favorite times of year.

The only bad thing about Fall is that it means Winter is just a little bit closer. But, except for the snow/ice hazards and the extremely bitter cold days, I have learned to appreciate that season more as well. But let’s not jump the gun. I’m here to talk about Fall because it’s what’s almost here!

I started this post about a month ago when we had a break in our seriously hot weather. But then it got hot again and didn’t feel like the right time to be talking about Fall just yet. Even though it was 94 yesterday, it seems that the cooler weather is just about here to stay and it is almost October so I did not want to delay any further!

I’ve also been thinking about Fall a lot because I work on a college campus and once the semester finally started, the students came rolling in and the restaurants and coffee shops went back to their normal hours (read: later than 2 p.m. and places that have been closed all Summer are finally open!) and there will be other exciting events going on here between now and the Christmas break.

Most days, the mornings have been on the cool side, cool enough as my friend Carrie said “to have a cup of hot tea in the mornings again!” She’s right about that. It’s also been darker in the mornings when I go out to walk Suzie and it’s been getting darker earlier at night. As much as I do love my daylight, it’s sort of cozy when it gets dark early and that makes me want to go to bed earlier, which is a good thing for me.

I have been feeling inspired :) Change is good.

Fall means a lot of things to each one of us. But I think we can all agree that it’s generally a fun time of year. Now I just thought I would share a few of my favorite things about Fall with you :)

1. P-U-M-P-K-I-N!

Seriously, as soon as I see this stuff, I’m stocking up again! It’s been too long!

My pantry last Fall

I like to bake with it, put it in my oatmeal, make soup with it, pumpkin dip with ginger snaps, you name it. I’m also excited about pumpkin spice tea and pumpkin flavored coffee (not the syrup but the actual coffee flavor) and anything else coffee shops, cafes  or companies come up with to entice me into trying something. If it says pumpkin on it, I will probably at least give it a second look.

2. Art fairs, charity walks, outdoor events, etc.

Such as the St. James Court Art Show!

St. James is the event that really kicks off the Fall for me and it’s just a little over 2 weeks away. It also has the most unpredictable weather! I believe this picture is from two years ago, while last year we were in shorts! You just never know ;-) But I’m kind of hoping for a chilly morning this year, just not too cold!

The Louisville Walk for Farm Animals

I am one of the co-coordinators of this year’s Walk for Farm Animals (Farm Sanctuary)  on October 22nd and I am really excited about all that we have planned! Last year, we had a decent turnout and raised a good amount of money through our walk and a bake sale that we had beforehand. I’m looking forward to topping all of that this year! If you would like to sign up to walk or donate to my walk page, click here (thanks!)

Mighty Kindness Harvest Hootenanny

The Hootenannies take place in the Fall and in the Spring (on Earth Day) and it’s another time of rather unpredictable weather. Last year’s Fall Hoot was absolutely freezing and then the Earth Day hoot this year kept a lot of people at home because of rain/storms. Hopefully this time we will have a better day. I will be working at the Louisville Vegetarian Club booth this year and I hope my friend Kristin (pictured above in the hat and sunglasses) is there selling her goods again too :)

Fall Road Races!

While I haven’t decided to run any races this Fall (yet), I am going to be supporting my friends Farrah (pictured above on right) and Chloe in the Louisville Marathon on October 16th! I know it sounds corny but it’s long been a dream of mine to be on the sidelines cheering for someone else :) This will be the first marathon for both of them and I can’t wait to see them cross that finish line!

3. Haunted Houses and horrors!

Courtesy of Nightmare Forest Louisville

I don’t scare easily but I do tend to jump at loud noises! My husband and I love the Halloween season. Soon we’ll be busting out our collection of horror movies and lining up on a Friday night to go through some scary forest, hotel or whatever attraction we choose to visit this year. We are also big fans of the Danger Run, even though we usually end up arguing and get lost at some point. All in good fun!

4. Football (sigh…)

I'm bummed he's not playing :(

Never in my life did I think I would include this on a list of my favorite things about Fall. But the truth is, I do enjoy watching some football. It gets overwhelming when there are several games on in a week or when my husband is in the basement yelling at a particular team and I can hear him two floors up.

He’s not the only one who does this, but I just don’t like it when people get so mad about a game that they say terrible things to a team they claim to be a fan of and they just plain ruin my good time! But most of the time, it’s enjoyable to root for your favorite teams while spending time with family and friends over some chips and salsa.

We used to host Monday Night Football at our house every year but since we just moved and aren’t quite unpacked and my husband’s work schedule is a bit unforgiving (he wakes up at 4 a.m.!) we have decided not to do it this year. I kind of miss it already but hopefully we can get some people together for a game sometime this season!

I’m sure there will be some other adventures that I’m not even aware of yet but I will leave it at that for now. We are still settling into our new house and hopefully someday I will finally sit down and do a before and after post on some of the rooms we have redone and how the place looks now that we actually live here :)

What are you looking forward to this Fall? Anything not on this list that I should check out?

Day 31: Not the end

Happy Halloween everyone! Did you get scared yet today?

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For breakfast this morning, I had a very Halloween-appropriate bowl of pumpkin oats :)

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I finally figured out what was missing from my previous attempts at re-creating the pumpkin oats that I loved so much last year…raisins!

I also took a lot of people’s advice and used vanilla extract and cinnamon :)

Even though I’m still not feeling too hot today, I went for a walk this morning. I felt good for a while but then I started getting chills again and have basically had a headache and sore throat for two or three days now. So maybe it wasn’t such a good idea!

Today is also Day 31, the last day of the Vegan Mofo III. I have been vegan, officially for 31 days. Even though I have had a few bumps in the road, for the most part, it has been really easy and enjoyable.

I love the foods I am eating now more than I ever have. So I won’t be ending this anytime soon. I will, however, be ending the use of “Days” on my titles, thank goodness ;-)

Tomorrow is World Vegan Day! I’m also planning some more mini-challenges for November that I can’t wait to get started on, in addition to Pile on the Miles.

After my walk, I snacked on some plantain chips that I found at a local health food store here in town called Amazing Grace. I saw a lot of other cool stuff there that I wanted to get but I’m going to have to save for another trip.

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These were so good (and addicting) and reminded me of the ones I got in Nicaragua last summer :)

For lunch, my mom treated me to some Great Harvest. I got the veggie sandwich on Nine Grain bread with Sun Chips on the side. I couldn’t get a good picture so I just said forget it.

Note: the Nine Grain bread contains honey, which is not vegan, but since I am vegan mainly for health reasons, I did not sweat it so much. However, I did purchase some unsweetened whole wheat bread to take home with me which does not contain honey :)

I had to stop at the store to get Josh a lock for the new gym he is going to starting on Monday (hooray) and I picked up some Halloween candy while I was there (oops).

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Oh my these are good! I like them better than regular Dots flavors and I’m glad I only bought this one box and that they are seasonal ;-) I just had one serving. Josh got pumpkin cremes (they look like candy corn only pumpkins).

I feel bad that I didn’t buy any candy for the kiddos but I just couldn’t find anything I felt okay about handing out. Considering I was an overweight kid, and I got a lot of cavities, it’s a sensitive issue for me. I’m thinking next year I’ll get some “healthy” candy or maybe some stickers?

Later in the afternoon, I got hungry so I snacked on some Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal with some new hemp milk I got.

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It was different. I’m not sure what to think about it yet but I will keep trying it. It’s definitely lower in sugar than most milk alternatives. I might use it in some recipes too.

Yes, I ate honey again. I got this box of cereal for free because Kashi sent me a coupon. I probably won’t buy it again because keeping cereal in my house has proven dangerous before. But like I said before, since I am eating vegan for health, it’s not a deal-breaker for me right now. It is something though that I want to think about for the future (of my vegan life).

Anyway…for dinner I got to try another new thing.

Spaghetti Squash!

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I remembered reading about how to cook a spaghetti squash on Tina’s blog earlier this year and luckily it was easy to find it again.

I followed her instructions exactly and found picking out the seeds to be the most time consuming part!

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But once it was done and ready to eat, I knew I had something great!

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I love the fact that I’m eating a vegetable instead of pasta! There’s nothing wrong with spaghetti but it’s one of those things I don’t eat too often because it sits so heavily on my stomach.

I heated up a cup of Emeril’s pasta sauce with some chopped spinach.

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I found this sauce to be a little watery but I think it was the spinach. Then I put it all together.

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It was a bit of a different taste than spaghetti but it was still very tasty! It’s definitely a good substitute. I think I have been converted!

There was also enough for another meal, which I saved in the fridge.

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Two meals and the squash only cost me $1.18!

I just snacked on some more Dots and plantain chips. I’d better go brush my teeth and go to bed soon ;-)

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It stinks to be at home on Halloween but I need my rest because tomorrow I AM SEEING RENT!

We are heading up to Cincinnati in the morning to see the matinee performance featuring two of the original cast members. Not bad for my first time seeing it, eh?

I’ve already picked out an awesome place to have dinner after doing some research and consulting with some awesome vegan friends on Twitter. Hopefully I will be feeling better too.

Good night, blog friends. Hope you have a safe and happy Halloween! And be sure to check out my Major Coupon Giveaway – just 6 more days to get in :)

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