Bieksa and Buble make a great team

18 10 2012

There are few things that draw Canadians together as much as hockey or charity events. So it would seem to make perfect sense to combine the two!

Last night the “Bieksa’s Buddies” charity game went off without a hitch. I wasn’t able to go but I found it a heart-warming event nonetheless. Kevin Bieksa’s fun idea raised a total of $100, 000 from ticket sales and then Michael Buble added another $100, 000. The money was contributed to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Canucks Autism Network and the Canucks Family Education Centre.

It was cool to see these celebrity players putting their skills towards something that makes a difference. In the face of the NHL lockout, it truly paints the Canucks team in a favourable light.

It was a fun night for everyone involved, not all about competition and winning. The game was probably one of the few times these professional players could really enjoy the game for just playing. They could cheer along with the fans about their success in raising the money and for once, everyone was on the same side.





It’s all worth it

16 10 2012

Day in and day out, we struggle and strive to get through our seemingly endless list of work. No matter what your career, some days it seems to be a never ending drudgery.

As a writer/journalist student I find weariness creeping up on me each night and making each morning far too early. We research and interview and compile information. We write…and rewrite. We publish, promote and promote some more but success is so hard to measure. Is there really any purpose for all our efforts?

And then that moment comes when see your work recognized. When it is published and out there and people are paying for it. When all your hard work has become something tangible and you can hold it and flip through the pages.

And you know that the trials and the struggle is worth it.

And so you can get up and start again each morning and you find your passion again.

Genius of Ancient Man book

After two years of research and almost another year of wordsmithing and editing, out team from Jackson Hole Bible College is excited to see “The Genius of Ancient Man” finally published: http://amzn.to/SYpTxj

Visit the Ancient Man Blog: http://geniusofancientman.blogspot.ca/





No recipe needed

15 10 2012

On this wet, wild, and windy fall day, I decided to embark on a grand adventure; do something that I had never done before: make applesauce!

We had a laundry basket full of apples from the trees in our backyard  and we already had several bags of sliced apples for crisp and pie over the Christmas season. I only recently discovered that applesauce is actually a very tasty snack and I’ve been craving some. Our family has never eaten applesauce as we were rather picky as children.

apples and slicer

Apples for crisp and pie and all things tasty throughout the winter

However, I have now matured and grown up (at least I like to think I have) enough to truly enjoy some of the better things in life… like applesauce. And so, with no idea what we were doing, my mother and I set out to make it.

I found it rather amusing how many recipes there are available online for making applesauce. We didn’t use any of them but rather used our own brains and some suggestions from friends. Most of the recipes will point out the obvious: making applesauce is EASY.

So why the recipe? That was my question. I think if you are going to make homemade applesauce, make it your way. Experiment! Have fun!

And so chop chop when our knives slicing in unison and into the stockpot went the apples with a little water.

All it takes is a large pot and a stir stick!

Almost overflowing, we let it come to a boil and then left it simmering while we sliced even more apples for freezing.

After we had a sufficiently mushy, delightfully smelling sludge, we spooned the contents of the pot into a strainer and soon had about 32 cups of warm tart apple goop.

Not the most attractive looking dish but our applesauce turned out delicious!

Out came the brown sugar and cinnamon and with much taste-testing and laughter, we concocted the most delicious yet simple blend of flavourful applesauce that I have ever tasted.

As all the other recipes and bloggers say, it really is that easy.

I think we could benefit from taking this approach to more things in life. I know I can become so obsessed with perfection, precision and recipe-following that life becomes more stressful than enjoyable. I think I make things out to be more complicated and important than they are. Most are more like applesauce, a simple blend of fun and experimentation and really, in the end, its just a tasty treat to eat, not a seven course meal meant for the president, so why the stress?

Catch the spirit of adventure! What will you add to your applesauce?





Warning: Cereal Killer

13 10 2012

You know the world is becoming a dangerous place when you can’t safely eat your cereal.

@GlobalBC tweeted this morning about Kellogg’s recall of a variety of their Mini Wheat products. Apparently the popular breakfast cereal could contain metal fragments.

Recalls seem to be trending after the massive recall of Alberta’s XL Foods beef. Now the mini wheats and these quickly followed by some Fresh Express brand romaine salads also tweeted by @GlobalBC. Officials fear salmonella contamination.

The mention of Kellogg’s cereal brings me back to the days when Mini Wheatswere a staple in our house. Every morning before school, I filled my bowl with milk and dry cereal. From Rice Krispies, to Cheerios to Mini Wheats, as a kid, it was a normal and pleasant way to start the day.

Cereal

No one would expect anything dangerous in their morning meal. Cereal is a staple for many households and recent recalls are a surprise for all.

Nowadays, I don’t even have time for that simple meal. I am rushing around, always on a tight schedule and surely not doing myself any favours where health is concerned. Up early, up late and practically running through the different events of my day in between.

Don’t even have time to read the news…hence regulated to reading tweets about it.

Sometimes I long for the slow-paced easy days of my childhood when my biggest concern was my older brother eating all the Mini Wheats before I could get any. But then again, after the recent recalls, maybe I’ll just stick with Cheerios.





Disappointment rises when skydiver doesn’t fall

10 10 2012

Anyone watching for Felix Baumgartner falling from the sky yesterday was left disappointed. High winds forced the Red Bull Stratosteam to call off the launch. With so many possibly risks, there is desperate need for caution.

Joseph Kittinger and Felix Baumgartner were disappointed to learn that the Tuesday launch was cancelled just before take off. (screenshot from live stream on National Geographic, Tuesday)

If you’re out of the loop, Baumgartner was planning to skydive from the “edge of space” as his team puts it. Jumping from a height of 37km, the dive will break records for the highest, fastest and longest skydive in history. The previous record holder, Joseph Kittinger, is supporting with the jump and acting as Baumgartner’s personal mentor.

All for the sake of science?

Apparently it’s not all about record-breaking. Baumgartner’s pressurized suit will be able to collect data for scientific research and the jump itself will tell scientists a lot about how the human body can handle the extremes of space. “The Mission” is just part of todays medical and scientific research hoping to gain information for future pioneers.

The plastic film air balloon designed to lift Baumgartner to the height of 37km above earth could be stressed by temperatures as low as -57° C (screenshot from live stream on National Geographic, Tuesday)

One has to wonder if it really all comes down to science. How much of this is really just thrill-seeking? It’s an expensive thrill, that’s for sure. And a potentially deadly one, hence the unfortunate delay in the proceedings.

Hopefully the event, rescheduled for Thursday, will go off without a hook and the world will be looking at a new record holder and some more research from the edge of space.





The unknown history of Thanksgiving

8 10 2012

Now I know, today is Thanksgiving and everyone is too busy catching up with distant family and stuffing themselves with delicious food to be online reading random blogs about history. But maybe you will get around to reading this sometime as you recover from all that turkey in the coming week.

cheesecake

The amazing food that always comes with Thanksgiving is usually at the foremost of everyone’s minds during this holiday!

What DO we know about Thanksgiving?

I find we Canadians don’t really seem to care so much about the history of this holiday so much as we are concerned about the food.

We know the what: turkey, pumpkin pie and thankfulness.

We know the when: second Monday of October

We know where and who: Canada and Canadians

But have you ever wondered about the “why?” we have this holiday?

I did and so one day…I did some digging. The history behind Thanksgiving in Canada is actually rather interesting.

The unknown history of Canadian Thanksgiving 

As tradition today has it, Canadian Thanksgiving DOES celebrate the harvest and has ever since 1959 when Parliament officially designated it. The second Monday in October was to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. But Thanksgiving has been celebrated in Canada long before that in all different ways and for all different reasons!

For instance, the Natives have all had harvest celebrations throughout their long history in the country.

The first thanksgiving by Euro-people in Canada began with  Martin Frobisher who was an explorer and was celebrating his safe return to Newfoundland in 1578.

Then there were the French settlers who celebrated the Order of Good Cheer to keep the citizens content throughout the harsh Canadian winters.

After the American Revolution those loyal to the British brought their own thanksgiving traditions over to Canada .

The first time Thanksgiving was a civic holiday was April 5, 1872, in celebration of the recovery of the Prince of Wales from an illness. After 1879 it was observed annually but announced each year on a different day and for different reasons for which to be thankful for.

So really, we do have quite an interesting history surrounding our thanksgiving. But at the end of the day, it’s always been about thankfulness, “to God, the Queen and the benefits believed to flow from both” as Canada.com puts it.  

Sunset, ocean

Another beautiful Thanksgiving day sets into history.





Can a turkey tweet?

6 10 2012

Thanksgiving is here (for those of us in Canada) and of course the social media is all a-twitter. Yes indeed Twitter is a great source of all sorts of Thanksgiving news. More than just good wishes for the holiday, there are tweets about traffic, health stories, recipes and advertisements. I’ve collected a few here to get you in the spirit of the holiday… if you haven’t yet joined the crowd.

Thanksgiving food safety

Ottawa Health tweeted to warn about the dangers of feasting on undercooked meats. Their article gives some quick facts and then tips for making sure that your delicious meal is safe for everyone to consume.

Recipes

The Vega Team gave a link to a whole selection of vegan thanksgiving recipes on Pinterest. This pumpkin cheesecake caught my eye!

Pumpkin cheesecake pinned by Sarah Dougherty has that characteristic Thanksgiving appeal

Pumpkin not your thing? Style at Home suggests a classic apple pie in their tweet.

 

Putting the “giving” in Thanksgiving

The Union Gospel Mission reminds everyone to build community and contribute to those in need this season. UGM is an urban relief center serving Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds this season.

The Salvation Army also gives people some ideas of how to reach out this weekend. In some ways, giving is a true sign of being thankful.

And the “thanks”

And of course, the heartwarming #thingsIamthankfulfor. Truly, it is a delight to read through these posts and realize how truly blessed we are to live in this country.

So what are you thankful for this year?  If you need some help, check out Twitter as just one way to be reminded of all the blessings you have.





Art or science?

4 10 2012

National Geographic is promoting the “new fanged dwarf dinosaur”.
Photo credit: National Geographic http://bit.ly/O7VAn0

The new “parrot-porcupine” being heralded as the latest in dinosaur discoveries is definitely an eye-catcher.  With a small beak-like nose, a collection of long quills and frighteningly sharp fangs, this small but unusual dino is truly a work of art. But is that all it is: art?

Truth or imagination?

How much creative license should scientists be allowed to take? Usually paleontologists find only bones or even fragments of bones. Rarely is a whole skeleton of some long forgotten beast found. And yet, detailed and colourful images of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures cover the pages of children’s stories and textbooks. Sure it makes for a beautiful illustration and fun science but what about truth?

The video shown on National Geographic website makes this point clear. They had to add a lot to this little critter’s skull in order to come up with the fearsome image they are projecting.

Lucy, the ape-woman

Lucy exhibit at Kentucky creation museum: same skull, different faces!
Photo credit: AiG http://bit.ly/T3KZpQ

The Creation Museum  in Kentucky has a whole exhibit highlighting “Lucy” that explains how simple changes to skin colour, hair and expression can create a completely different image, sometimes a different species. It is important to always be critical of every “new” discovery and to look foremost at the facts. Be sure not to be swept away in the intrigue and excitement and in the process, forget to think about the other side.





A Nature Shortage

2 10 2012

Are children out of touch with nature? Are they mentally, socially, and physically hindered by their lack of outdoor experiences?

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, will answer these questions with a definitive, “YES!” He coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” which describes how todays children and adolescents are completely disconnected with nature and the potential ramifications of such a disconnect.

A common alternative to outdoor play, kids are spending more and more time playing video games or other electronic devices

No one can deny that with the growth of technology such as the computer and internet, video games and television, staying indoors has become easy, entertaining and in some ways, natural. Parents even feel that their kids are not necessarily safe out-of-doors and so encourage their children to find ways to play inside. Furthermore, in some areas, finding an untouched “natural” environment is next to impossible. But are the problems that can come from too much indoor play worth keeping kids in the easier, “safer” environment?

Effects of Nature Deficit Disorder:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • obesity
  • attention problems
  • health problems (asthma, cardiovascular issues, etc.)

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) has been linked to a deficiency in outdoor exposure with several treatments suggesting that kids need to spend time outside. Some studies conclude that getting to use all of the senses in a natural, peaceful environment can be very helpful in reducing ADD symptoms.

toddler picking blackberries

Getting outside gives kids a chance to use all their senses

toddler eating blackberries

Munching on freshly picked berries is just one of the many activities that young kids love.

Being outside not only helps kids to avoid the problems mentioned above but it can truly help children grow into healthy, responsible, and intelligent adults.

Benefits to interacting outside with nature:

  • better overall health, lower blood pressure, reduced stress
  • decrease in aggressive tendencies
  • better immune system
  • higher sense of self-worth
  • improved attention span
  • more responsible when it comes to environmental interaction (littering, sustainability)

How do we make a change?

Louv suggests that parents don’t try to force their kids outside but rather foster a love for nature through their own habits. Encourage children to join you in your walk about the park or takes your kids fishing or on a hike. Give kids the freedom to explore, even if it’s simply the discovery of bugs when turning over a large rock. You won’t be sorry you got outside a bit yourself and your kids will thank you in the years to come. Join the Children and Nature Network to join thousands of others in the effort to connect kids to nature.

Grand Teton National Park

There is a beautiful world outside waiting to be explored. (Grand Teton National Park, WY)





To be hipster…or not to be hipster…

1 10 2012

A quick #hipster search on Twitter will reveal it is a popular trend. An Instagram search of the same hashtag will give you over 1.1 million results and that’s not including the thousands of other photos tagged under various similar names “hipsters” or “hipsterfashion” or, amusingly, the common misspelling: “hispter”.

Being a hipster is about “looking like you aren’t trying”.
Photo credit: stefan.erschwendner on flickr

What is a “hipster”?

What is this trend sweeping the nation? According to WikiHow, “it’s that, ‘I can’t be bothered’ look that actually takes some planning until you get into the habit”. WikiHow tells the hipster wanna-be that they can’t take themselves too seriously and that the goal is to look like you aren’t trying.

For someone who is most definitely NOT hipster and not into the whole “hipster” scene, I’ll admit, it’s hard to understand. I hear that it’s about being non-mainstream, non-matching patterns, shopping at thrift stores, growing your own food, being vegetarian, looking vintage, hanging out in the right places – with the right people and yet… not trying. Sounds like a whole lot of work to me.

The affects of being “hipster”

And is all that work really worth it? Do people choose to be hipster because it is “cool” or because it really defines them? The “not trying” attitude of the hipster culture is not very attractive to the rest of the world. How do you expect to find an employer when you give off the impression that you don’t like to try? And if that negative attitude starts to influence your relationships, how do you expect to keep your friends?

“ironic” T-shirts are a great choice for any hipster wardrobe.
Photo credit: juplife on flickr

And what happens when it becomes mainstream to be hipster? Then what? What happens when it becomes mainstream to be non-mainstream?

I suppose this trend will come and go like the rest, but until then the #hipster will continue to flood the social media and the streets of our cities.

I love the diversity of our world, the freedom we have in our country to display our personalities and quirks, the beauty of multi-culturalism and unique tastes. There is always something new to learn about the people around us.

If you consider yourself hipster, or have more insight into the hipster world, please enlighten me with your comments. I love to hear your take on the trend.