MIMM #12: Did you miss me?

Blogging has definitely been taking a bit of a back seat as I study for exams. I had intended on sharing my Thanksgiving eats last week but it looks like I’ll be sharing them this Wednesday instead. We can reminisce about the good food we wish was still leftovers in our fridge right?MiMM

To be honest, even if I had blogged more frequently this past week, each post would have been pretty dull. I am thankful for so many interactions and opportunities I experience each day but none of them are that out of the ordinary. Right now I am at a time in my life where I am almost contemplating maintaining my blog since I don’t have many recipes to share or projects to explain. I feel like I am in a completely different spot in my life than many of the bloggers I idolize (and hope to someday meet) which works both against and for me. We will see, I’m going through a lot of personal changes such as devoting time to myself through journaling so I’ll just play it by ear.

Now that I’ve gotten my troubling thoughts out of my mind, it’s time to share what marvelous “study breaks” I have been taking these past few days. 1373455_354366861365765_442852624_n

Marvelous is scrounging together ingredients for apple crisp. A few over ripe apples, oats, raw sugar packets and butter packets from the cafeteria can go a long way when you are a student! Note to self: Bring baking supplies from home in mason jars. 1383569_354367951365656_106611557_n

Marvelous is visiting the Covent Garden Market. We arrived just after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning which gave us plenty of fresh selection from the outdoor portion of the farmer’s market. I found the venders so helpful in educating me about different squashes and kale. I ended up getting purple kale, buttercup squash, 3 large apple (this photo does not do their size justice), 50g pumpkin rooibos tea, Brussels sprouts and romanesco broccoli for $12.00! My friend Katie got purple carrots which we will be roasting later this week. What deals!1058954_354366851365766_2115642163_n 1376692_354366848032433_1312319324_n 1379175_354366858032432_1711697502_n

Marvelous is studying until your brain hurts. I had a few really long periods of productive studying which always feels good. I found this perfect booth area in Weldon library that is both comfortable and quiet (unfortunately it tends to be full) and since it isn’t directly beside my residence I find it less tempting to go home to take a nap! The key is keeping my technological devices in my backpack although recently I tried studying with music, which also worked well!  I’m starting to find enjoyment in learning again which is very pleasing since the past few weeks have been more anxious than fun. I had a research assignment and a few other homework projects that were interesting to complete this weekend.1384290_354367968032321_1445225764_n 1382963_354368031365648_1159859669_n

Marvelous is winning a chocolate bar for understanding Psychology during a review jeopardy game, fishing out (no pun intended) the mussels, scallops and shrimp in a pot of seafood soup, treating yourself (and a friend) to Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Tea before writing a Chemistry quiz, polishing off a 5lb bag of carrots in under 3 days without turning orange, breathing in fresh air on a fall afternoon and witnessing a wedding on campus and in your residence. This picture was just the beginning of their transformation of our eatery as they added in pictures from their destination wedding (in France), an Eiffel tower and more flowers!1380662_354368051365646_997331028_n 1201_354368008032317_822970106_n1381350_354367988032319_152883727_n 1381062_354366854699099_1519896172_n

Marvelous is finally getting time to blog which has changed my mood for the better.  What is marvelous about today for you? Since your positive math-y thoughts worked for Calculus (I am very pleased with my mark), please think about Psychology on Tuesday and Chemistry on Friday! Thanks Katie for a great MIMM roundup and star to the week! ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” – Amelia Barr

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MIMM #11: Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means I have today off but this weekend has still felt much too short. I suppose that is nothing new since time spent at home in the company of my marvelous family is never too long. This Thanksgiving definitely felt rushed. Last year I had the opportunity to press leaves, pick pumpkins and help my mom with fall decorations, but this year I barely had time to eat pie let alone bake one! MiMM

My mom and Emma came to pick me up on Friday morning after the completion of my three-hour morning Nutrition lecture. I was all packed and ready to go, so what should have been a fun and marvelous class seemed to drag on. I fed them lunch at my cafeteria before we headed back onto the highway (thankfully with minimal traffic) stopping only briefly at Ikea to look for a highchair (unsuccessfully). I did find a duvet to layer beneath my quilt since my residence room is already starting to get pretty chilly.1385625_351530854982699_1631944843_n

Three weeks away from home was much too long. Friday evening I caught up with Elyse, Caitlin and Carly over a marvelous bonfire. I never really realized how complimentary chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers could be since I usually eat them separately as opposed to in a s’mores. By 12:30 a.m. I called it a night, which was hard to do since we had so much to discuss.1373539_351530628316055_375718286_n 1384731_351530618316056_1310684331_n

We hosted Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner on Saturday for my Grandparents. Besides a batch of brownies I barely baked but I have a few recipes to try out later today before heading back to University. I’ll save the meal for Wednesday’s post but the eats were more marvelous than ever. With a 21lb Turkey and only 10 guests (…but Lottie prefers sweet potatoes so really 9) there were lots of leftovers for sandwiches. Lottie definitely entertained us for the night with her smiles, giggles and waves. She’s sitting proudly on her own and I can’t wait to see her again dressed up for Halloween. Last year she was not born yet so we were all very thankful to be blessed with her company this weekend. 1377174_351530868316031_810513216_n 1379028_351530624982722_165337714_n

Sunday we were all still tired from the turkey’s tryptophan (kidding), which meant a later start to my studying session. I worked on a Library Assignment and I reviewed a bit of Psychology and Chemistry for my upcoming midterms but I was easily distracted by PVR (I haven’t watched television in 5 weeks) running errands with my dad, preparing homemade turkey soup and baking gingerbread cookies. A less eventful but equally marvelous day to say the least!1380896_351530621649389_2025998700_n

Today I’m meeting Joyce and tonight my dad will be driving me back to residence. It seemed short but I guess that’s partly due to the commute and the fact that schoolwork isn’t easing up. No complaining here, Thanksgiving was marvelous. I’m so thankful for my entire life including but not limited to my family, friends, health, home, education, food, emotions, challenges, privileges and abilities. What are you grateful for?  Don’t forget to check out Katie’s MIMM roundup – Friday she featured some marvelous snacks and marvelous advantages of being a mom and this morning she posted a picture of Rocco (Now 15 weeks) as baby Dracula! He is so precious!  Here’s to making Mondays a bit more marvelous even if it means I have to go back to school and leave my family! ♥ Molly

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

WIAW: Normal Eating

I have a busy day ahead so I wasn’t going to post this morning, but then I decided why not skip the gym and blog instead. Sounds like a good compromise right?

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Since I’ve been at University I’ve definitely noticed an increase in my appetite. Maybe it’s because I am awake for more hours during the day, or perhaps because my exercise has increased (especially walking up the Brescia hill and 5 flights of stairs each day!). My brain is definitely devoting more energy into learning and studying, plus it consumes energy as I shiver in the freezing cold library (I was told this is suppose to keep me alert but I think it does the opposite). What I do know is that I’m still not eating big enough breakfasts (this has always been a challenge) and without falling culprit to the “I don’t get enough protein” bandwagon, I seriously don’t get enough protein at each meal! After tracking my nutrition for a food and nutrition assignment, it was brought to my attention that although I’m consuming adequate milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives, most of my starchier foods come from vegetables leading to a lack of grain products. Contrastingly, my diet overall is high in carbohydrates but low in fat and protein which would be the opposite of what my food groups suggested. Could my hunger be a result of the fact that carbohydrates are the fastest source of energy so my energy source is being depleted quickly? 564029_349519251850526_1469426416_n1391661_349518861850565_1541284653_n

While I know this isn’t necessarily an accurate representation since it was only a snapshot of my intake (plus the nutrition tracker was limited in terms of brands of foods and I eyeballed serving sizes) it got me thinking about how unaware I truly am of my daily consumption. I believed myself to be a pretty balanced eater but in actuality some days were examples of under nutrition while others were over nutrition. I’m not going to go into detail otherwise I mind as well have posted my reflection, but I wanted to spark a conversation in your mind as to what makes you eat the way you do? Do you track your nutritional intake? Do you take into accordance what you have already consumed in the day or are going to consume in an upcoming meal before selecting an item? Do you eat each meal in the present?1375229_349518875183897_1017553201_n 1377970_349519185183866_1543147004_n

Some days, as a food and nutrition student especially, I let others impact my food choices. I’m not saying this is a good way to be. In fact, it’s probably bad that I get gratification out of teaching others lessons and watching their reaction.  It gives me satisfaction to eat “junk food” in front of girls that believe you can only stay thin by eating vegetables. I enjoy being a positive example in front of the kids I babysit by eating a balanced dinner. Occasionally I purposely choose an unhealthier item with individuals who believe “Dietitians to be” only eat “clean food”.1384012_349518921850559_416927265_n539664_349519225183862_948359017_n

Notice how I am not listing specific foods? That is because I have adapted an “everything in moderation” approach where foods aren’t labeled as good or bad and nothing is off of limits.1391939_349518911850560_1314527251_n1380291_349519081850543_214560278_n

Sooner or later I would like to eat without feeling like others are judging me, but I am happy to say that I am no longer embarrassed by my choices and though I am consciously aware of what I believe to be their thoughts to be, they do not influence my choices so much that I ignore my cravings.1381581_349519171850534_1834493708_n 1186765_349519261850525_1195892337_n

So I’m not exactly sure where this post went, in fact it started and finished with me wondering what to write, but I guess I just wanted to talk a bit more about food since it is WIAW after all. I try not to over think food, but I’m noticing so many correlations between food in social situations some of which are criticized (food as a reward) and others which are supported (bringing a family together at meal time) that can really throw a loop in one’s eating patterns and it’s hard not to wonder whether the way in which you choose to eat is healthy or not. But I guess we are all left with the question what is healthy, what is disordered and what is obsessive? I’m proud to say that for the most part I have a healthy relationship with food and I eat a variety of vitamin and mineral (sodium and fibre included!) dense foods in moderate but adequate quantities balanced with the occasional (or not so occasional) less nutritious indulgence.  ♥ MollyWIAWbutton

“When the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers. ” – Ellyn Satter

MIMM #10: Get Togethers

Another marvelous weekend was spent here in London! I pride myself for working hard throughout the week so that I can enjoy marvelous outings on Saturday and Sunday.  I deserved a break, especially after completing my first midterm of the year on Friday evening. Thank you everyone for thinking math-y thoughts for me. Your kindness and my studying definitely paid off because the midterm went well. There were some challenging questions but I tried my best so I am hopeful to see a good mark when I get my results.MiMM

Not only was Friday marvelous because my midterm was a bit of a reassurance that I can succeed in University, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Food and Nutrition lecture. How it works is we have three professors who rotate through the different three sections that are taught on Friday morning. As opposed to having a big lecture of all first year Food and Nutrition students, they break it down into smaller sections, which allows us to have great discussions.  This past week our class’s topic was Digestion. I was fortunate to be able to take a Food and Nutrition class taught by an excellent teacher in grade 12, and my High School’s biology program was thorough so this lecture was a bit of a review for me (but much needed since I haven’t seen this material for 2 years). It fascinates me when Food and Nutrition brings together Chemistry and Biology in the form of Digestion. I find it neat how our food uses chemicals to break down food in conjunction with mechanical digestion. Our bodies are composed of some pretty specialized and marvelous cells. Honestly I could probably do a whole post on abnormal digestion, for example Celiac and Chrohn’s disease, but I have a feeling it might be a bit boring.1380598_348788808590237_2011727979_n

Friday was also marvelous because golden beets were back in the salad bar. I’ve decided that I should start loading up on the vegetables that I most enjoy for the days when the selection is scarcer. I also roasted acorn squash at 10:00 p.m. because that is what you do when you have a craving.1393003_348788748590243_441210251_n 1383879_348788785256906_1454995811_n1378730_348788765256908_1811413386_n

Saturday I slept in until 8:30 a.m., which was a marvelous, win in my books! I woke up intending to study but received a text message from Chelsea asking if she Andrea, Shannon and I could get together. Chelsea and Andrea had intended on visiting London the following day however a change in schedules meant that Saturday worked out better. A spontaneous car ride on their behalf left them arriving in London at 2:00 p.m. leaving us with just enough time to do a quick residence tour before we had to head to the Covent Garden Market to meet Shannon. On the way we stopped at Starbucks where I tried my first ever Salted Caramel Mocha! 1/4 syrup, non-fat milk with whip cream is definitely the way to go as it is pretty sweet! I really only purchased Nutritional Yeast (Chelsea C. you would have loved all the spices at Snack and Bake) because I was too busy catching up on everyone’s life to focus on fresh produce. Afterwards we visited Organic Works, the bakery and café that Chelsea used to work at. It was my first time visiting (although I’ve tried their bread before) but will not be my last. The eatery is so eclectic I just know my Mom would have loved their displays. It was a tough decision between the Smoked Salmon Sandwich, Kale Salad or Vegan Taco Salad, but I ended up deciding I wanted the crunch of black bean tortillas and a bit of a Mexican salsa kick. Although it was big, it wasn’t super filling, which is why I had plently of room for Chil frozen yogurt. After trying Chil with Shannon earlier in the year, no generic frozen yogurt tastes as good as organic Greek frozen yogurt offered at Chil. They are completely GMO free and offer Kerif, Soy, Almond Milk, Gelato and other dairy free options. This time I opted for Plain, Maple and Cake Batter Greek frozen yogurt with apple and pumpkin pie, sprinkles, butterscotch chips and oreo bits as my toppings. My bowl definitely was not full enough for my appetite. 1390697_348788658590252_1262545042_n 1383818_348788618590256_2092311122_n 1374306_348788638590254_2119040308_n

Sunday I managed to sleep through my alarm until 9:00 a.m.! Clearly sleep was a priority in my body’s mind but I felt a bit guilty for wasting valuable study time. I had been meaning to grab lunch with Victoria but we decided to grab coffee instead. This girl literally reads my mind when we are together; we have so much in common we could talk for hours. She’s definitely been a great support as I transition back into University. Her hugs make me feel so loved and her texts offer equally as much marvelous care.1378282_348788601923591_871201385_n

Apart from blog reading, pinteresting and chatting with my floor mates, my weekend was composed of studying. Last night I tried my first slice of Pumpkin pie thanks to Katie, which was absolutely delicious. I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t like pumpkin! I was missing out!1381773_348788571923594_412897182_n

I’m counting down the days until I get to go home on Friday afternoon. I had been hoping Friday classes would be cancelled for Thanksgiving but we have an in class assignment instead. It’ll be marvelous to be in the company of my extended family over Canada’s Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to bake some festive desserts. I’m also looking forward to the leftovers that I will get to bring back to residence with me. Some Universities get the week off (Fall reading week) and I am so envious! I could use a week of marvelous “me” time to catch up with my sibblings, parents and friends!1375306_348788585256926_49624765_n

So as did last weekend, Saturday and Sunday were so marvelous they flew by. I could have used a bit more sunshine as it rained a fair bit, but that did not stop me from walking around campus (My hair sure paid price (FRIZZY))! Nothing too big is happening this week which will give me time to review and work on group assignments. Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, I hope you are having fun at Kalahari, that Rubber Duck definitely couldn’t fit in Rocco’s baby bath! MIMM sure does make Mondays a little more marvelous and manageable don’t you think? Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. What was the highlight of your weekend? Has it started to look like fall in your neighbourhood? Are you a fan of frozen yogurt? Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend and if so what are traditional dishes that your family serves?  Take care, ♥ Molly

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

5 Favourite Things Friday

Thank goodness it is Friday! I cannot wait until 8:30 p.m. when I have finished my first midterm of the year! It’s calculus so think positive math-y thoughts this evening for me! Despite this week flying by since I’ve been absorbed in studying course material, I’ve managed to participate in some extracurricular activities and better my relationship with my floor mates. For example…1368740_347525048716613_591684650_n

Meditation

Western Student Services offers workshops to promote healthy living so I took advantage of their drop-in mindfulness meditation class yesterday morning. It surprised me that I was the only female student (The instructor was female) that attended. We did 3 ten-minute tapes (Jon Kabat Zinn), one that focused on awareness of breath, one that focused on awareness of external noise, and one that focused on awareness of body as a whole. I personally prefer to lay down but it was meant to be a sitting session. What I took from it is that unwelcome thoughts will inevitably work their way into your mind. Rather than becoming frustrated or trying to control your thinking, acknowledge your worries and let them go until a later time when you can figure out their deeper meaning.1370293_347525055383279_1680521912_n

Study Session

I’ve always thought that I studied better individually but this week I was finding my concentration to be off in my room or in the library so I decided to study with a friend in our floor’s study room! I was reminded how beneficial it is to talk out loud about what you are learning or how a solution is reinforced if you teach a friend your method. Our RA also held a discussion where we talked about study tips, which offered suggestions for calming anxiety and staying on top of course material before and during the exam.1374700_347525052049946_1663818256_n

Mail

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I love getting mail! This week my mom sent me a card with some stickers and a friend, Laura, sent me a homemade postcard. Simple gestures, or random acts of kindness, can really make a difference in your day! I found them to be extremely uplifting.1372919_347525042049947_1277531894_n

Gym

As if the 5 flights of stairs in my residence isn’t enough, I’ve been going to the gym about 4 times a week! I’m realizing how much more I enjoy weight lifting and strength training as opposed to cardiovascular activity. I typically do a 15-minute elliptical warm up followed by a Pilates or a Sweat and Sculpt class. If not, then I stick to a 20-30 minute elliptical session followed by some weight machines, a 5 minute plank and some other abdominal exercises.1371470_347525045383280_1660948070_n

Quizzes

I’ve officially completed two chemistry quizzes and tonight I’ll have also finished one calculus midterm. Test taking has always been anxiety provoking but I’ve felt surprisingly calm these past few days. With the help of my sister’s advice, I’m learning to set small attainable goals and move on when I complete them. I find that over studying can actually confuse me to a point where my confidence lowers.1379167_347525038716614_1541801768_n

What five things stood out in your week? Do you practise guided meditation? Do you have any techniques for studying? Have a great weekend! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact Friday: Did you know that 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 is equal to 12,345,678,987,654,321 !!

October Favourites

I’m turning into a fall girl. The sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet as I go for a morning walk in the crisp air, bundled in layers of sweaters, scarves, knee socks, hats, and mitts, apple cider in my hands, boots warming my toes, in the presence of a rainbow of beautiful autumn colours in the environment. The smell of pumpkin chai tea steeping, pumpkin pie baking, pumpkin cinnamon candles burning, or fresh pumpkin seeds as you carve a jack-o-lantern. The taste of roasted squash, mashed turnips, diced rutabaga, or sweet corn. The beginning of cooler weather that is warm enough to withhold frost but cool enough that it prevents you from sweating. Saying grace around a feast of turkey and green beans in the company of my family on Thanksgiving. Haunted Houses, Scarecrows, Applesauce, Rain, Harvest, Butternut Squash Soup, Caramels, Trick or Treating, Raking, the list could go on and on. October Favourites1. Leather Driving Gloves 2. Posey Patch Cardigan 3. Fall Superfoods 4. Raw Edie Kalahari Purse 5. Cassette Society Spike Overall Skirt 6. Pins and Needles Chiffon Slit-Back Dress 7. Marlen Boots 8. Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Mason Jar Candle 9. Talula Trooper Jacket

October snuck up on me. Although it feels like I’ve been at school for longer than 4 weeks, September as a whole really flew by. Like any new month comes a new opportunity for change. Although you don’t really need a fresh month as a reason to embark on new opportunities, I find it easier and almost more promising to do so.

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I’m taking a month off from any major goals because I want to focus on just living. I’m not going to set any real expectations besides working on feeling good enough with my marks, my body, my nutrition choices and my social activities. I want to try Kabocha squash, I hope to post new recipes on the blog, I owe a few people letters especially with a new season having just started, I anticipate I’ll begin regularly reading blogs (and commenting) more often, I’m going to start knitting again, I will be making a DIY Halloween costume for myself, and there are a few meditation workshops on campus that I have signed up to take to better my health. Realistically blogging is going to be scarcer so I apologize for the odd timing or big gaps in between. Exams are approaching and school is my job so it should be a top priority.  Blogging still seems like a new concept in my world and with my ever-changing schedule I can’t expect perfection. Besides my life really isn’t that interesting any more, but my blog is a way to challenge myself to get out of my studying rut and complete a fun activity. That being said I’ve become involved in a lot of nutrition oriented clubs that seem applicable (hopefully not too boring) to share with you!IMG_3003 IMG_2970IMG_2969

So I guess I do have intentions but nothing too big or major, because everyday presents new opportunities and a concrete schedule isn’t manageable because of daily surprises. My ambitions for the month are just small fun things some of which I’m already doing, some of which I’ve done in the past and should reintegrate, and some of which have always interested me and been on my to-do list. What do you home to accomplish this month? Which season is your favourite? Can you believe I worked at Starbucks last autumn and have never tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte? ♥ Molly

“Autumn is a second spring when ever leaf is a flower. ” – Albert Camus

“Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant