Posted in JMaxwell's Rambling

Rambling with JMaxwell: Happy birthday to me!

Another year has gone by and my birthday is here again.

Today, I turned 23!

It feels like every year goes by faster than the last and it reminds me not to procrastinate on things I want to do in my life.

I am very much the type of person that will do everything to help other people out, I will make sure they have everything they need and often forget about myself but as the years go by, I have learned the importance of caring for myself. This was a tough lesson, but it has helped me to be the happy person that I am today.

I can honestly say that I am happy with how my life is right now.  Sure, I have dreams and goals that I haven’t attained yet but I will when the time is right.

Right now, I have a loving family, a bunch of great friends and I do the things that I love on a daily basis.

I used to dread my birthday every year, I felt that I was getting old too fast, that nothing had changed so how could a year have gone by.

This year, I was actually looking forward to it.  Not for the gifts or the day being all about me, I’ve never been that person, even as a small child but because I understand why birthdays are a cause for celebration now.

A big thing that changed is my attitude towards life. I decided last year that I would stop living such a fast life, I seemed to always be on the go. I needed to do everything right away, I needed to be doing a million things at once because there is no time to sit idle.

I’ve realized that doing this burnt me out and made me less appreciative of the things I was accomplishing during that time period.

Last year, I was going to George Brown College. Travelling to the city every day making most of my school days 10 hours long, then homework, cleaning, preparing for the next day while trying to spend time with my then two-year-old. I could handle all this for about 3 weeks straight and then I’d collapse.

I was always sick, tired, grouchy and I was suffering emotionally. I didn’t want to be away from my little family, I didn’t want to be working myself into the ground for little payout. I loved what I was doing but I wasn’t 100% invested in it so it took its toll on me.

This past year, (March, 2013.) I decided that it was time for me to become a priority in my own life. I started thinking about the things that I wanted while of course still caring for others. That’s a part of me that will never go away.

I decided Journalism was a good start and I applied for it in my own town so the travel time was greatly reduced. I decided that though I loved culinary, I also loved writing and I would never be 100% happy if I didn’t explore all my possibilities.

I started working out and eating healthy, (well most of the time.)

I spent more time with my loved ones and took personal time when I needed to refresh, recharge and reflect on my life and where I wanted to go looking forward.

My biggest goal is to be happy.  I want a lot of things in life, a permanent house, a nice car, nice clothing, etc.

All those come secondary to my needs in life and are not absolute requirements. I consider them to be my “it would be nice” goal list.

My needs are for my family and I to be well fed, sheltered and happy. I want us all to be doing the things we love with people we love and to be the best people we can be.

This year, on my birthday, I can honestly say that we are happy, we are together, we are safe and that’s the best birthday present I could ask for.

Now, I have started to ramble so I will leave you with these pictures of the people who keep me moving forward with my life. They keep me grounded and remind me of who I am.

Cheers,

JMaxwell

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Posted in Book Reviews

Monday Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Ch 5-6

Brief Overview of Chapters 5-6

Beatrice finally chooses the faction she will be in for the rest of her life, if she makes it through initiation.

When the choosing ceremony ends, everyone leaves with the faction they chose. There are no goodbyes to your family. If you chose the faction you were born in, you will see your family again. If you are a transfer, you will get one chance to see your family on visiting day in a few weeks.

Beatrice is immediately immersed with her faction and begins initiation right away.

They will be tested to make sure they are suitable for the faction, if she doesn’t pass, she will become factionless.

An ultimate test is given and Beatrice thrives at it.

She is welcomed to the faction initiate program.

 

 

**SPOILER ALERT AHEAD: IN DETAIL DISCUSSION OF CH 5-6**

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5: The Choice.

 Summary:

 The day of choosing has come from Caleb and Beatrice. Caleb is completely calm where Beatrice is going to pieces in her head about the choice she has to make.

Once inside the building, the children who are making a choice are lined up in alphabetical order and are called up in reverse order.

This year Abnegation is in charge of the ceremony. Their leader Marcus speaks of history, war and how far they have come since splitting the city into 5 factions.

 

There are 5 bowls on the stage:

Grey stones for Abnegation

Lit coals for Dauntless

Water for Erudite

Earth for Amity

Glass for Candor

 

When each child makes their choice, they cut themselves with a knife and drip their blood into the bowl of their chosen faction.

As the saying goes, “Faction before blood.” (Roth. Pg. 43.)

Caleb and Beatrice hug and kiss their parents before sitting down.

Their dad says, “See you soon.” (Roth. Pg. 41.)

Their mom says, “I love you. No matter what.” (Roth. Pg. 41.)

Caleb and Beatrice hold hands as the ceremony begins and Beatrice wonders will her blood fall on stones or coal.

People are being called and they all choose their born factions.

The first transfer leaves Dauntless to join Candor. Dauntless will now see him as a traitor. He will not be allowed to go home.

Caleb is called and he chooses Erudite. Everyone is shocked; there are gasps and cries of rage.

Beatrice doesn’t know what to think because he seemed born for Abnegation. She now doubts whether she can be Abnegation, if he can’t. She vows she will stay for their parents, “I will be the child that stays; I have to do this for my parents. I have to.” (Roth. Pg. 47.)

Beatrice is called. She walks to the stage thinking about Caleb and her future life in Abnegation.

She drags the knife through her hand and holds it out. She shifts her hand and her blood sizzles onto the coals.

The chapter ends with Beatrice thinking, “I am selfish, I am brave.” (Roth. Pg. 47.)

 Favorite quotes from chapter five:

This quote is when Beatrice realizes why Caleb chose Erudite, “When I close my eyes, I see the stack of books on Caleb’s desk, and his shaking hands sliding along his legs after the aptitude test. Why didn’t I realize that when he told me to think of myself yesterday, he was also giving that advice to himself.” (Roth. Pg. 46.)

 

Chapter 6: Initiation Begins.

 Summary:

 Beatrice chooses Dauntless. She almost cries when she sees the look on her dads face.

Beatrice has second thoughts because Caleb seems to be doing so well with fitting in with Erudite.

There is no more time for her to think because Dauntless begins to run and she must follow.

They run, laughing and burst outside. Beatrice feels free as she runs because in Abnegation running is seen as selfish.

As the train arrives, all dauntless born initiates run and jump onto the moving train and soon it’s the transfer’s turn.

They start to jog and one by one, jump onto the moving train.

An Erudite boy isn’t so lucky; people try to help him on but don’t succeed.

He is left behind and is now factionless.

Beatrice muses that any one of them could be factionless next.

When Beatrice thinks of her parents as childless, she wants to cry and wonders if it is because of selflessness or if it is selfishness because she knows she will never be their child again.

The initiate must now jump off of the train onto to a rooftop, the drop between is deadly and all the transfers are freaking out.

Christina, a Candor girl and Beatrice land on the roof and scrap themselves up but are laughing hard about it.

They all make the jump one at a time, landing in various positions on the gravel roof. All but one girl makes it. She falls to the ground and dies.

Beatrice is affected by the death of the girl but she scolds herself thinking, “This is how things work here. We do dangerous things and people die. People die, and we move on to the next dangerous thing. The sooner that lesson sinks in, the better chance I have at surviving initiation.” (Roth. Pg. 56.)

Beatrice lifts her sleeve to inspect her scrapes and cuts. Another transfer named Peter yells that she is a ‘Stiff’ and ‘Scandalous’ for showing her bare arms.

Max, one of the leaders of Dauntless tells them for the next test, they will be required to jump off the rooftop into the Dauntless Compound. They aren’t told what is at the bottom. They must face this fear if they want to be part of the Dauntless initiation.

Beatrice walks to the ledge first and everyone snickers. Beatrice is sure it’s a scare tactic so she will land safely.

Beatrice undoes her shirt and reveals a tight tank top and whips it at Peter before jumping over the edge and falling into the compound.

She bursts out laughing as she falls into a net and grabs an outstretched hand.

She tumbles out of the net and a bright blue-eyed boy catches her, his name is Four.

Four asks her what her name is and she chooses to be called Tris.

A dark-haired Dauntless is shocked that the first jumper is a “stiff.”

Four scolds the girl, “There’s a reason why she left them Lauren.” (Roth. Pg. 60.)

The chapter ends with him saying to Tris, “Welcome to Dauntless.” (Roth. Pg. 60.)

Favorite Quote from chapter six:

 When a Dauntless girl named Lauren realizes the first jumper is a ‘stiff,’ “’Can’t believe it,’ a voice says from behind [Four.] It belongs to a dark-haired girl with three silver rings through her right eyebrow. She smirks at me. ‘A Stiff, the first to jump? Unheard of.’”

Thoughts on Chapter 5-6:

 These two chapters gave a lot of insight to the city and how it is run. I love the detail of the choosing ceremony and how much trouble Beatrice has with choosing.

I wanted to cheer for her when she chose to do something for herself versus doing what she is supposed to do.

I also love the Dauntless and how free they are in comparison to Abnegation. They look like an absolute riot.

You can already see Beatrice start to blossom in her new faction, she really looks like she belongs.

I want to know what is going to happen with her being Divergent, will it cause problems? What is in store for her during initiation? Who will Tris become?

I will be reviewing Chapters seven and eight next Monday, (Aug, 4th, 2014.)

Cheers,

JMaxwell

Posted in My thoughts

Things I do instead of sleeping

Let’s talk about sleeping. Well not quite, more about not sleeping, at all.

I sleep about 4 hours a night and not because I have to.  My little guy sleeps from 7:30 P.M.  to 8:00 A.M. every night and rarely wakes up throughout the night. I am also on summer break from college so I have nothing to wake up to do other than be with my family, do household chores and shop for food, etc.

I feel so tired during the day that I am practically passing out but as soon as I put my son down to sleep, BOOM! Wide awake.

Now without further ado, here is the list of things I end up doing at night when I should be sleeping.

Netflix: Now I use Netflix during the day but at night, I re-watch movies, shows, etc hoping to just hear familiar things and drift off to sleep on the couch without worry of missing something.

Reading: This is a huge problem of mine, I have ended up pulling all nighters because I picked up a new book and literally read all night and into the early morning.

Cleaning: I get my best cleaning done when I can’t sleep.  The kitchen becomes spotless and reorganized, all the laundry gets done and folded, stuff gets donated.  Seriously, I think my boyfriend loves it when I get on a cleaning kick.

YouTube: I catch up with my favorite YouTubers, find new DIY projects, listen to new music until I can no longer keep my eyes open which usually ends with me sleeping on the couch with my Macbook on my lap.

Blog: Yup, this is a big one. Night time is when I sit down and write out new concepts, new blog ideas and respond to emails related to this blog. Seriously, if I’ve ever responded to your email, you would see that it was probably between 1:00 A.M. and 4:00 A.M.

Nothing at all: Seriously, sometimes I am so physically tired but my brain is awake so I just stare at the wall, ceiling, etc. I just lay there begging for sleep as the hours tick by.

This isn’t all of them but you get the idea.  I do everything except sleep at night and it turns into a vicious cycle.

Cheers,

JMaxwell

 

 

 

Posted in Testing Recipes

Recipe Myth Busting: “Sinless cookies”

Have you ever looked on a social media site and saw a recipe that you want to try but are worried that it won’t turn out? Well that’s what I’m here for!

I thought it would be fun to try out new recipes that are posted on social media or sent in by you guys and see if they work or not.

I found this photo recipe on Facebook,  I wish that I knew where it originally came from but unfortunately it has been shared so many times that I can’t find the original poster but if you click the pictures it will take you to the page I found it on!

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Let’s talk about the 3 ingredient cookie for a second. This has been posted so much on Facebook!  It has taken over. It is absolutely awful but it’s because it’s bland. Organic lovers or health nuts will absolutely love this cookie but for me it’s big “no thank you” cookie. These cookies are a BUST!

BUT! I found a very similar cookie on Facebook through a different person, the cookie has been deemed the “sinless cookie.” It is a lot like the first one but some added ingredients makes it delicious while still remaining pretty healthy.

 

 

 

 

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Note: When it comes to the oats, you can choose to grind them so they are super smooth cookies or leave them and have rustic, textured cookies. Also I used what I had so just normal peanut butter in these babies.

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Mash two bananas in a bowl and add the oats.

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Add peanut butter.

Mix well.

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Add dark chocolate chips and mix until well combined.

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Grease your pan and then roll small balls of dough and put them into a 350 oven for 10-15 minutes.

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This is how mine turned out and I absolutely love these.  They are super moist, flavourful and delicious!

I approve of this recipe and would definitely make it again!

Cheers,

JMaxwell

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Monday Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Chapters 3-4

Brief Overview of Chapters 3-4

Beatrice comes out of her aptitude test and Tori is acting suspicious.

Beatrice becomes worried and has a further conversation with Tori who tells her something huge as well as her results.  Beatrice rushes home to think about what her decision will be.

She reflects on her life in Abnegation, she has no idea what faction to choose.

You get a real good look at her family and how her life is.

The choosing ceremony is happening and her brother has shocking news.

You get insight into how and why they have this system set up and how the ceremony happens.

The fourth chapter leaves off on a dramatic note that makes you want to read further.

 **SPOILER ALERT AHEAD: IN DETAIL DISCUSSION OF CH 3-4**

 

Chapter 3: Divergent.

Summary:

Beatrice comes out of the aptitude test sweaty and nervous. She has a feeling that the test did not go well. This feeling is confirmed in her mind when Tori is acting weird.

Tori unhooked Beatrice from the machine and rushed out of the room.

At this point Beatrice is feeling like she failed the test.  She goes on in her head thinking about the factionless explaining that they are “divorced from society.”

Tori returns and apologies then explains to Beatrice that her test results were “inconclusive.”

Only two factions had been eliminated, Amity when she didn’t take the cheese and Candor because she lied.

Tori said that Beatrice identified with Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation but only half of her responses were to Abnegation.

This only means one thing, Beatrice is Divergent and this is an extremely bad thing for her to be.  She is told to never tell anyone and to pick one faction to “hide” in.

Tori tells her to leave early so Beatrice walks home and on her way she encounters a factionless man.  When she tells him her age he says, “’Then isn’t today a special day for you? The day before you choose?’” (Roth, Pg. 26.)

The factionless man has a hold of her wrists and she is mentally preparing herself to fight him when he lets go of her and says, “‘choose wisely, little girl.’” (Roth, Pg. 26.)

Favorite quotes from chapter three:

“No…this is different. I don’t mean you shouldn’t share them now; I mean you should never share them with anyone, ever, no matter what happens. Divergence is extremely dangerous. You understand?” (Roth, Pg. 22-23.)

Chapter 4: Decisions, Decisions.

 Summary:

Beatrice arrives home from the test and she is reflecting about Abnegation again.

She thinks about why everything is grey, the houses, the clothes, everything is simple and exactly the same.

She muses that it is to protect the Abnegation people from greed, envy and vanity.

Beatrice thinks about how much she loves her faction from the outside but can’t make herself fit into the world of Abnegation as hard as she tries.

It is her turn to make dinner tonight but Caleb chooses to help her, she is quietly annoyed at how easy selflessness comes to her brother.

At dinner, her mom and dad speak together about the “anonymous” test mess up and how he had to be reported by hand.

Beatrice also finds out that Erudite has been writing crude things about Abnegation and the latest is about Marcus, one of their political leaders.

Jeanine Matthews is the sole representative of Erudite and she released a story about how Marcus had beat his son Tobias and is the reason why Tobias transferred to Dauntless years ago.

Beatrice’s dad makes it clear that Tobias betrayed his father by transferring and that the abuse allegation was false.  Her father goes on to speak about why Erudite attacks Abnegation and Beatrice decides that she will definitely not choose Erudite as her faction.

As Beatrice goes to her room, Caleb stops her and says: “’Beatrice, we should think of our family,’ There is an edge to his voice, ‘But. But we must also think of ourselves.’” (Roth, Pg. 36.)

The chapter ends with Beatrice struggling to choose between Abnegation and Dauntless.

She muses, “I realize that the decision might be simple. It will require a great act of selflessness to choose Abnegation, or a great act of courage to choose Dauntless, and maybe choosing one over the other will prove that I belong.” (Roth, Pg. 37.)

Favorite Quote from chapter four: 

“’You know why? Because we have something they want. Valuing knowledge above all else results in a lust for power, and that leads men into dark and empty places. We should be thankful that we know better.’” (Roth, Pg. 35.)

Thoughts on Chapter 3-4:

 I thoroughly enjoyed these two chapters.  You get a real sense of the struggle and fear that is running through Beatrice’s head.  You get a lot of information about some of the factions, the process of how you become part of a faction and also about a mysterious new thing called Divergent that is apparently dangerous to be.

It has definitely caught my attention and I am looking forward to finding out which faction she chooses. What will become of Beatrice?  Will she choose selflessness or courage?

Tori was really acting sketchy which makes me wonder if she is also Divergent and maybe that’s why she is helping Beatrice.

I am excited to find out more about what Erudite is up to and also about what the choosing ceremony will be like.

Next Monday, (July, 28th, 2014.)  I will be covering Chapters 5-6!

Cheers,

JMaxwell

Posted in Testing Recipes

New concept: Recipe Myth Buster

Hello lovelies,

good-testers-guide

I am releasing a new category on my blog next week that features recipes just because I love food 😉

I will be adding recipe testing to my mix of blog posts because I usually only post my own tried and true recipes here and I thought it would be fun to test out some social media posted (and follower sent in) recipes and decide whether I like them or if they are busted.

When I can, I will post ways to fix the recipe that I busted but sometimes recipes just can’t be fixed.

The first instalment of this new category will be July 24th, 2014 and it will be random in when I post these testers as I need to find recipes and get the ingredients but I aim to do it at least once a week, (no promises.)

I will still upkeep the rest of my normal blog postings aside from this new category.

If you have any suggestions, go to the contact me section and send me an email 🙂

Cheers,

JMaxwell

 

Photo Credit: http://leitesculinaria.com/recipe-testers

 

Posted in Recipes

RECIPE: Cold Quinoa Salad

I have recently fallen in love with quinoa.  It is now one of my favorite grain products.  This delicious salad is great served chilled and will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

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What you will need:

1 cup of quinoa

1 cup of cherry tomatoes

half a bunch of green onions

1 can black beans

Dressing:

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp red chilli flakes

3 tbsp lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

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1 cup of quinoa will require 2 cups of water.

Bring two cups of water to a boil and dump in your quinoa.

Cover and turn down to low heat for 20 minutes.

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While you are waiting, make the dressing.

Add salt, red chilli flakes and cumin.

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Add your olive oil and lime juice.

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Stir until well combined and then set in the fridge until needed.

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Now that your quinoa is cooked, lay it in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer to cool it quickly.

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While the quinoa cools, slice the green onions and the cherry tomatoes.

Drain the black beans and rinse thoroughly.

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Combine everything together into the bowl and then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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There is the final product, so so good and very easy to make.

Cheers,

JMaxwell