Okay, everybody! It’s my birthday today, so it’s time for my birthday tradition (started by my mom when I was a little kid) of listing all of my favorite things right now, as I enter a new year of my life. (To see last year’s favorites, go here.)
Surprisingly, it was more difficult to make my list this year than it was last year, for a few reasons: 1) Last year, I had never publicly made a list, so it was easy to think of things no one knew about. 2) I also made a small list half way through this last year, and I should not have done that! Save it all for the birthday, and make it easier for myself!!
However, I have managed to think of some significant things that I’ve added to my life that have provided increasing joy, and so now I will share them with you:
1. Favorite Snack: Macadamia Nuts
I loooooooove these nuts. Too bad they cost an arm and a leg. And a foot. The rest of the family loves them, too, so we kind of have to ration them around here or else our entire grocery budget would go into macadamia nuts. But maybe no one would mind…. (Bulk Barn is the cheapest place to buy macadamia nuts, in case you’re wondering.)
2. Favorite Place to Shop: Value Village!
While writing this post last summer, I did some long, hard thinking about my shopping habits. I used to shop at Value Village occasionally, but stopped because my pride likes to go to the mall better. I like to buy new stuff. But since I wanted to make some changes in my purchasing choices, I gave Value Village a try again last fall, and I was hooked. Here are the reasons why I love shopping at there:
- Our clothing budget goes so much farther.
- It’s a one-stop-shop! I can buy clothes for the girls, Ben, or myself, as well as pick up some summer reading and home decorating items, all at one place!
- I love the thrill of the hunt. The Mennonite in me just loves to find a great deal. I think I feel like I’m actually working for my purchase when I hunt through a pile of junk to find a real treasure.
- It is very environmentally friendly to shop there. There is so much stuff in the world already, so it’s great to reuse what we can. And anytime new clothes are made, they “off-gas” chemicals for a long time after. When I shop at Value Village, some children I don’t know have already run around in those clothes during the off-gassing stage so that it doesn’t have to happen while my children are wearing them. (I know that some people would think that’s ridiculous, but I still think it’s a nice perk.)
- It is usually cheaper to buy slightly used, brand name, good quality stuff at Value Village than it is to buy cheap quality, non-brand name stuff brand new.
And to make things ever better, you can now become a member, and get coupons! This makes my world extremely happy – coupons that make cheap clothes cheaper. Then I have more money to spend on the stuff that we can’t get a deal on.
If we lived in civilization, I might really love garage sales, but as long as we live at camp, the garage sales are very far away, and only on certain days. Value Village is always waiting there for me.
3. Favorite Date Night: A movie, followed by sweet potato fries at Montana’s if we’re in the city, and if we’re at home, an episode of Heartland or Everwood, and fresh veggies with hummus.
I know that I wrote about the wonders of Heartland in last year’s “Favorite Things” post, but I have never introduced you to Everwood, our first TV love. Four seasons of pure wonderfulness. (Well, things get a little sketch in Season 3, but they make up for it in Season 4.)
It is just such a great show. Season 3 arrived at Costco recently, so that’s what Ben and I are watching these days. One episode a week – Ben is very disciplined about stretching out the enjoyment, rather than watching all of the episodes right away.
I used to feel really guilty about the fact that I enjoy movies and stuff so much, but I read recently that people who love to write and read usually love watching movies, as well. It’s all about a good story. I don’t have much use for TV, though, with the exception of Everwood and Heartland.
4. Favorite New Movie: I would have to say Tangled. It was the best movie I saw this last year, which is a bit weird since it’s Anika’s favorite too, so I feel a little juvenile in that choice. But my goodness. I left the movie theatre with that happy, satisfied feeling you get when the story ended perfectly, and the whole thing was just pure pleasure.
5. Favorite Way to Exercise: Pilates!
I tried pilates years ago, and thought it was boring. And silly – “rolling like a ball”??? Please. What kind of exercising is that?
But my physiotherapist (whom I love so much that I’ll keep going to see her for appointments even once I’m healed, just so I can spend time with her) told me to start doing pilates to help with my pelvic/hip problems, and I am so, so glad I listened to her. It has made the hugest difference in my life. Last year, yoga was my favorite, but pilates has surpassed that. Now I alternate yoga and pilates. I’m working my way up to resistance training….It’s my goal to have that on my list of favorites for next year!
6. Favorite New Recipe: Mediterranean Bean Salad
I eat embarrassing amounts of this stuff – for lunch, supper, snack….I haven’t had it for breakfast yet, though! But it’s a good one. And very easy, fast and cold for in summer.
1 1/3 cups barley, cooked (I leave this out, or add cooked millet)
1 1/3 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
1 1/3 cups white beans, cooked
3 bell peppers of various colors (orange, yellow, red), chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together barley, garbanzo beans, white beans and veggies. In a seperate bowl, mix basil, parsley, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Add dressing to bean mixture. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Makes 6-8 servings.
*I found this recipe somewhere on the internet, but can’t remember where.
7. Favorite New Book: The Happiness Project
But you probably already knew that, because I wrote about it here.
8. Favorite New Blog: Oh She Glows
Interestingly enough, this is a food blog that contains strictly vegan recipes. I would never have thought that would excite me, because I am not vegan, but I can eat a surprising amount of things posted there, the pictures are beautiful, and the food is healthy! Of course I have a bunch of old favorite blogs, but this one stands out in my mind as being the new one that I look forward to reading the most right now.
And what is it with me and recipes?? Ben and I had 15 luxurious minutes in a book store on Saturday, and out of all the wonderful choices available to me there, I spent the entire time looking at recipe books! Of foods that I can’t even eat!!
9. Favorite Resolution That I Kept This Last Year: Do everything I can to improve my health.
Last spring, I sat down and made a list of everything I could possibly do to improve all of the little things causing discomfort and sickness in my life. I decided that I was tired of dealing with it all, and I was going to take charge.
I found health care professionals in every area that was necessary, made some very big changes in my life, and went to hundreds of appointments. I met some amazing people who have helped me in ways that I never imagined were possible. Here’s my list:
- Jamie Angus @ Donna Sarna Physiotherapy for pelvic/hip problems
- Dr. Marianne Hembroff @ The Nature Doctors for general health/Candida stuff
- Dr. Steven Lawson for TMJ
- Dr. Gupta @ Fort Garry Foot Clinic for orthodics
- Renee @ Fort Garry Foot Clinc and Raffaela Pingitore @ Body Serene Massage Therapy for massages
That list looks really insane, but some of these doctors I only needed to see a few times.
I am so glad I did it. I feel really different than I did at this time a year ago, and I am very, very thankful.
Now I need to come up with some resolutions for this next year…
And that’s the list for this year of my life! And now I’m curious…
What are your favorite things right now? I need some ideas of new things to try for this next year…