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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I survived!

No, I haven't been hibernating for the past three weeks... although that wouldn't have been a bad way to spend the month of December.  The real reason for my silence can be summed up with a phrase my mom used to say: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"

Well, I am here to say that I was wrong, for the most part anyways.  And yes, believe it or not, I can be wrong sometimes, just don't tell my husband okay?  You see Christmas of 2009 was what plunged me into the depths of such despair as to provoke me to do something drastic.  You know, drastic, like starting a blog (enter sarcastic tone here).  Seriously though, I was feeling so frustrated with the fact that consumerism was taking over our lives that it managed to plunge me further into my depression... for real.  Despite the fact that the past three weeks have been filled with a sense of foreboding and a dash of dread, I am happy to say that we made it through this Christmas with my emotional sensibilities still in tact - although I did go straight to bed on Christmas at 8 pm and sleep until 10 am the next morning... Yup, it is the 28th of December and I am feeling a-okay.... even after enduring five (yes FIVE) Christmases, straight through from December 22 until December 26. 

How could you be stressed out waking up to this guy everyday!?
To what do I credit my survival?  My friends and family of course!  These are the following strategies that seemed to work at keeping things under control this year (and I share these here because other people have shared similar Christmas anxieties with me):

  • My family decided on a spending limit of $50 per person.  Now, I am not exactly certain that my parents kept to this as strictly as I had hoped, but they did turn it down a few notches for sure, which was noticeable and much appreciated!
  • For my gifts, I either made or purchased handmade gifts almost exclusively.  Some exceptions included edible gifts or gifts of 'experiences': concert tickets, a dinner out, etc.  For the gifts that weren't handmade (a few Children's books), I purchased them at a local business.  The biggest benefit of this strategy?  NO MALLS!  (Which are the scourge of society in my humble opinion)
  • As for the gifts that we received, I am feeling very grateful... most of Chephren's gifts were books and/or puzzles, two things that I really have no problem with (educational toys RULE!).  Chephren also received a handmade touque (thanks Gigi!) and a few beautifully made knit items including a sweater from Ecuador and a touque from Nepal.  Cool!  
  • Remembering that the best gifts at Christmas are FREE, well, mostly free anyway!  Cross-country skiing with my parents on Christmas day has been a long-standing tradition and one that I cherish greatly... Other favorites include: My mom's Christmas letters to each of us (I will share some of my letter in a future post because it pertains to the blog).  She writes them every year and we mount them on the fridge to read daily until the next Christmas comes around.  They are always my favorite gift by far.  Spending time with our families (all four of them!), and speaking of family, it was especially fun to watch Chephren 'prepare' for Santa's arrival and come bouncing out in the morning to find the present that he asked for... a donut!  
  • Tobogganing in Fairmont
  • Finally, we did something that we should really do every year when things get a little 'crazy' before Christmas: LEAVE!  We went on a relaxing holiday for a week to the mountains in the 2nd week of December just to chill out, play in the snow and teach Chephren to ski.  It was such a great holiday!

Next up on the horizon is New Years, my favorite holiday of the year by far!  For me, New Years represents the ultimate time to reflect on the past year's triumphs, failures, trials and tribulations.  2010 has been such a positive year of growth for me in so many ways and yet I feel that I have so far yet to go on my journey. 

As for the Marebare Necessities blog?  I have had many inquiries as to its fate in 19 days when the year is up... All I have to say is you will have to stay tuned to find out!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you and THANK YOU for your support, ideas, feedback and best wishes throughout the past year!

Marebare xoxo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Livin' La Vida LOCAL

I never thought that I would EVER think of using, referring to, or quoting a Ricky Martin song lyric (gag!), but when I think of Living Local... this silly song persistently pops into my head.  Now if you are stuck with this powerful association too (I hope so... insert evil laugh here), don't fret, it is for a good cause.  My entry today is about a new-to-me program that has been launched in Edmonton called Eat Local First.  For the past few weeks I have been ordering food from this site, including 'The Good Food Box': an assortment of 8-12 fresh, locally produced vegetables that are out-of-this-world amazing!  Eat Local First/The Good Food Box are part of the Live Local Alberta initiative, which encourages Albertans to eat local, shop local and dine local... definitely a program that 'Marebare' can get behind (ahem, see the above statement in my banner). 

I was waiting to promote this program until I had sufficiently sampled the 'goods' and now that I have (we have ordered from there for 3 weeks in a row now), and for what it's worth, I am more than happy to get behind their products.  Of course I took some photos of the 'real thing' so that you could see for yourself:

This week's Good Food Box
Is your mouth watering yet?

Now for the downside (yes, of course there is a downside).  This program delivers to Edmonton/Sherwood Park addresses for a small fee, however, given that I live so far from town, I have to take the drive into the city each week to pick up my order.  Don't get me wrong, it is well worth it, however I would really like to get a group together from Stony Plain/Spruce Grove/Parkland County who are all interested in buying some of the goods from this organization (they sell more than just produce).  This way, we could take turns picking up the week's orders and reduce our impact by driving less as a group.  If you are interested and live in this area, PLEASE contact me!  If there is interest, I will set up a group on facebook for us to communicate on...

Finally, one of the things that I LOVE about the Good Food Box (aside from the amazing quality of the produce), is the fact that it forces us to 'think outside the box' (pardon the pun) in terms of cooking.  We are forced to use what we have and so far have come up with some really different and delicious recipes.  Trent and I both love a challenge in the kitchen so it has worked out really well.  (A further incentive for all of you interested in partaking... we could share recipes!)

I know that you're not supposed to play with your food, but I couldn't resist!
Happy shopping/cooking/eating!