Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our garden-2016

Are you growing a garden this year? I always love documenting what we're growing and looking back on previous years, which I've linked here: 2012 2013 2014 2015

We've got two little gardens. I wanted to continue our tradition of having a container garden, so I planted three each of brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Unfortunately, a pest has invaded those plants. From the research I did, I believe they're sawflies.
 Broccoli plant.
Here's my pest caught in action. I actually removed most of these by hand over the last couple of days. It has not been fun! I hope that I have caught them early enough to save the plants. They also invaded our rose plants.
I think I caught a sawfly parent in action and he or she was checking on her larvae. 
Craig was in charge of planting the tomatoes and peppers in a little garden at the edge of our woods. Two of the tomato plants that we purchased in early May are taller than me! I seriously don't think I've ever seen tomato plants grow that tall before.
Happy to see his garden is healthy since I am on the fence about mine right now!
I'll be sure to check back in late summer/early fall to update you on how my plants did after the sawfly infestation!

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Everyday Life [Week 26]

Here's what I've been up to in the last week. 

Last Sunday, we had my in-laws over for Father's Day. We went for a hike and then I made smoothies for us. They joked that they didn't want any vegetables in their smoothies (they know me well), so I stuck with fruit, but I should have snuck some spinach in for fun.
Speaking of smoothies, I found this mix at Costco and took a photo of it for future reference. Once I run out of protein powder and other mixes, I might try this if they still have it in stock.
I accepted a job offer on Wednesday morning and that called for a celebration! We tried to go to the Gasthaus since it shut its doors last week, but it was packed. Instead, we checked out a new Mexican restaurant near our house and had margaritas to celebrate my good news.
 Pretty flowers at my brother and sister-in-laws's house.
I picked my nephew up from camp and we went back to his house to play board games. We enjoyed bounce off and connect four. I ruled at bounce off, he kicked my butt in connect four. 
Found these pajamas at Target and now I regret not buying them, but I am trying to abstain from purchasing things I don't really need. This is perfect for me (and my dad). 
Bought a box of these at Costco in hopes that Craig would take them for lunches too. They're a winner! He doesn't like beans, but he'll eat this. Hooray!

I stole this photo from the Waukesha County green team Facebook page. Craig and I are in the middle to bottom right. We attended a green drinks talk at Good Harvest. It was on indoor air toxins and we learned a lot!

After this presentation, I ran home to join "ladies night" at a nearby house. Since I'm the new girl in the area, I was a little nervous to meet so many new people (total introvert at heart), but it was fun.
I had been wanting to try Henry's hard orange soda, so I picked up a can this week. It was really good. I was surprised it didn't taste sweeter, but that was a good thing. 
We had a little surprise visitor on our back patio Sunday afternoon. I saw a face peeking in the patio door and saw the neighborhood outdoor kitty there. Of course, once I opened the door and had the cats go up to the screen, he didn't come back over and stayed under our chair. Silly cat!
That was my week! This one is a bit more exciting, although accepting a new job was very big news for week 26.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mad City Vegan Fest 2016

After attending my first ever Mad City Vegan Fest last summer, I was really excited to return again this year. I was happy to bring my mom along with me too!

Last year was so crowded. This year was no different, but their new location at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison helped spread everyone out a bit. Once again, the entrance fee and parking were completely free!

We received programs when we arrived and they outlined the different food vendors and menus, exhibitors, speakers and more. 
Mom and I started the day out by heading to the exhibitor hall. There were so many great booths to check out featuring clothing, food and drinks, animal sanctuaries, skin care, chiropractors, etc.
We started to get hungry and braved the massive crowds in the food court area. After checking out the menus and lines, we settled on Ladonia Cafe for lunch. 

If I had one negative thing to say about the organization of the event, it was that it was very difficult to see which lines were for which vendor and there weren't a lot of seats for eating. 
I ordered the frito pie and mom got the eggless salad. Both were really tasty! We shared a ginger limeade too.
Next, we checked out part of the "Ask a Vegan" panel, which was really interesting and inspirational. It featured vegans from all walks of life and of all ages. I could relate to each of them and that was such a comforting feeling. It's SO wonderful to be around like-minded people!
After the "ask a vegan panel" was Matt Ball who co-founded Vegan Outreach and is currently Director of Engagement and Outreach for the Farm Sanctuary. His talk was "Can Our Choices Make a Difference?" I definitely felt like he covered a lot of ground in a short period of time and had some interested statistics to share. I liked that my meat-eater mom heard those and I had some information to bring back to my husband as well. 
Every vegan and vegetarian's least favorite question!
Next up was Michael Greger, M.D. who wrote the wonderful book How Not to Die.  My mom finished the book and I'm about a quarter of the way through it. He also runs an amazing site that you must check out called I took this shot just to show how many people showed up for his talk. He was hugely popular and a bit of a comedian as evidenced in the photo below where he's hiding behind the screen! 

Mom and I both loved his charisma, message, and passion for the topic. I could have listened to him talk all day, so I am thankful that I can watch his videos on to learn more on my favorite topic of nutrition. 
Basically, his message was to eat a plant-based diet to prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc.

All three talks we attended were hugely influential on me. Last year's festival inspired me to want to go vegan someday soon and I felt the same way again this year. I don't know what's stopping me, but once the greek yogurt and half and half are finished, I think I might try a vegan diet. 

As someone who has organized events like this for work over the last ten years, I know how much time and how many details go into planning it. I appreciate having such a wonderful fest close by. I really love that the organizers are able to keep the event and parking free. We had a great day in Madison and I'll definitely return for next year's Mad City Vegan Fest. 

Interested in learning more or following the fest on social media?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Retzer Nature Center, Waukesha

We've visited Retzer Nature Center a handful of times in the last couple of months. It's so close to our new house and a great park to have nearby for two people who love hiking as much as we do.

I thought I'd share some of the scenes from our recent visits. As a birdwatcher, I was sad that I didn't capture any shots of birds. We did spot a beautiful hawk in the woods, but my image turned out blurry.
My husband is always being silly. 
I love this picture of him. :) 
I thought this was a chipmunk, but Craig quickly shot back and said, "it's a baby squirrel." I really don't think I'd ever seen a baby squirrel before this hike.
 See the fawn!?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Everyday Life [Weeks 24 and 25]

I've combined two weeks into this post! Here's my everyday life recap coming at ya on this lovely Father's Day evening.

I've been getting lots of walks in. Need to keep getting over 10,000 steps every day or close to it.
I was using the Asana Rebel yoga app and Pema had to join me in my practice. I can never do yoga without the cats sitting on my mat.
These bums can usually be found sleeping upstairs on the bed.
Coffee flavored gelato and reading Wellth out on the patio of Good Harvest. 
A deer was right to my left while I sat on the Good Harvest patio.
They want to go outside so badly. Having the patio door open makes them happy.
Zoo day with my friend Danielle and her two daughters! The birds of prey show made this girl smile so big. Danielle knows I am a bird lover and kept laughing at how excited I was during the entire show. Seriously--coolest thing ever to see this bald eagle fly right towards us. I have mixed emotions about zoos though.
Celebrated my dad's big 80th birthday by hiking with him and my mom at Retzer Nature Center!
Mom is always walking ahead of us!
Chocolate birthday cake and vanilla custard at my parents' house!
My niece Sara and her husband Chris are having baby Evelyn in July, so we showered them with love and presents last weekend!
We all got "babies" in ice cubes and if the ice melted, had to yell "my water broke!" First person to have their water break won a prize. Mine sadly did not break early. It made for a fun picture to send Craig in a text and he responded by saying, "this is the weirdest text I have ever received."
I've been making smoothies for us for dinner lately. I love summer. Oh and adding avocados to smoothies makes them amazing and so creamy.
I've also been adding this wonderful Bob's Red Mill vanilla protein powder to water as a post workout recovery drink.
My kitty love. So handsome. 
A cool quilt--I'd love it in different material.
We saw my brother and his family at Jason's Deli on Thursday night. My nephew got the salad bar! The kid is a very picky eater so I was impressed that he ate lettuce!
A delicious vegan wrap at Good Harvest.
My tummy was giving me some trouble last week, so I purchased one of these ALO aloe vera drinks. Don't know if that did the trick or if it was all of the probiotics I took, but I felt better after about 24 hours. I think it was also a bit of stress and nerves. 
My love Shiva and I chilling.