Tag Archives: this month in jen

It is definetly getting colder out. We survived Halloween, and we are already trying to transition Wolfie for daylight savings time. Or rather the end of it. I never understood the point of it. We also now need to start thinking about Thanksgiving, and I am now knee deep in looking at winter gear. Figuring out mittens and rainboots… and I guess snowboots? Ugh, and an umbrella! I’ve got two raincoats though! You really take for granted all the things you need for different weather patterns until you need to periodically buy them every year or so. XD

Reading I randomly picked up The Book of Other People from the library because of.. well… the cover. It was in he non-fiction section… which I dunno… seems to be the wrong place. It is a collection of short stories by various artists with the common thread of featuring a fictional character. The book was edited by Zadie Smith, and I am pretty sure the proceeds went to a charity, though I can’t remember it right now. It is funny reading reviews for this book because it gets a consistent review of about 3 stars, but everyone’s favorite stories are all over the place! I guess the best way of putting it is the no matter what type of author/story you like, you will probably like at least half of the stories.

Watching As always Jon and I tried to watch as many spooky things for Halloween- sadly horror films were a bad genre for when you are trying to be quiet. Why? The dynamic range in the soundtrack. You have to jack up the volume to hear the characters talk, and then all the sudden there would be a loud thud to creep out the audience. Since I didn’t get to do my normal reviews I’ll try and do the same in a very quick form.

Fright Night

Year: 1985
Directed by: Tom Holland
Rank: 6/10
Spooky Type: Vampire
Watch: Amazon + Netflix
Does anyone remember my review of An American Werewolf in London? Well, this has the same issues. A total sausage fest. There are only two female characters- the mom and a girlfriend who is still a virgin. Something I don’t really understand why it has to even be part of the plot. Just like An American Werewolf, Fright Night mostly focuses on humor, which I liked. The overall story is that a boy finds out that his new next door neighbor is a vampire. He tries to fight him, and even tries to get an old actor who plays a vampire hunter on TV to help him.

Extraordinary Tales

Year: 2013
Directed by: Raul Garcia
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Edgar Allen Poe
Watch: Netflix + Amazon
This is a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories accompanied by CGI animations. Each story has it’s own style, so it isn’t a polished collection. You might like one short, but not the other. I have fairly “meh” feelings about most since they are usually just straight readings of the text with animations to go with it, one using an old recording of Bela Lugosi. But I think my favorite was the short for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. The animation reminded me of a comic book (still featured above). This story was also done without an overall narration like the others. It is worth checking out, and many people say it is a great way to introduce Poe to kids, but the last story The Masque of the Red Death has some nudity and sexual content. So keep that in mind.

Fright Night

Year: 2011
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Rank: 6/10
Spooky Type: Vampire
Watch: Amazon
Why can’t they get this right?! I think this time around the story has a much better flow. The transition into the neighbor being exposed as a vampire seems better, and they don’t open with the main character whining about not having sex with his girlfriend. The story takes place near Las Vegas, so it makes sense why a vampire would move there. Being up all night won’t be so weird, people move in and out all the time, etc, etc. The old hack vampire killing actor is replaced with David Tennant who is like a Criss Angel type of performer. Turns out he is a major expert of vampires, and unlike the old version, actually believes in it. The downfall of the newer version is that everything is amped up to WAY OVER THE TOP! Car crashes, burning houses, just really ridiculous stuff. I mean David Tennant was pretty awesome!

Worst Witch

Year: 1986
Directed by: Robert Young
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Kids Witches
Watch: Amazon
Before Harry Potter there was The Worst Witch. The story follows Mildred Hubble, who is the biggest fuck up in her class. She can’t get her cat to fly, she messes up her potions, and her cat isn’t even black! This made for TV movie has a star studded cast of Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue), Fairuza Balk (The Craft), Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life), and Diana Rigg (On Her Majesties Secret Service, The Great Muppet Caper). You would think it would be top quality right? WRONG! I mean the special effects were probably pretty good for a made for TV movie at the time, but goodness it is CAMPY. It has the best sequence with Tim Curry, which is probably why the film is a cult classic today.

Return to Oz

Year: 1985
Directed by: Walter Murch
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Kids Fantasy
Watch: Amazon
If you are going to watch a “horror” film with a kid, this is a great place to start. I wouldn’t call it a horror exactly, but it does fit in with Halloween’s spooky environment. This movie takes from two different Wizard of Oz stories and mashes them together. It puts Dorothy in a weird spot, trying to stay true to the books but assumes that the viewer has watched the classic 1939 version. Dorothy has ruby slippers (she has silver in the book), but the Emerald City isn’t really all green (in the book the Wizard had citizens and visitors wear green tinted glasses.) The movie was a box office fail since the series is pretty dark. But it is worth watching. Fairuza Balk plays a great Dorothy, and there are some great stop motion animation.

Get Out

Year: 2017
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Suspense
Watch: Amazon
Look at me- being on trend! Yes, I watched Get Out in a timely fashion and it was awesome. I could talk about it, but I don’t think there is much to say. If you’ve never heard of the film, the storyline is that Chris is a black man dating Rose, a white girl. He is heading over to her parents for a weekend, meeting them for the first time. Naturally he is nervous meeting them, and seeing how they will react to their daughter’s new relationship. But things are really weird when he gets there, and everything escalades. I strongly recommend watching this film.

Hush

Year: 2016
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Serial Killer
Watch: Netflix
I usually hate serial killer movies. I find them… boring? I feel like that is the wrong word. Pedestrian? That makes me sound pretentious. Unrelatable? Probably the best term. I wouldn’t say my husband loves them, but some of his favorite movies are 80s slasher films. This movie is more a survivalist thriller, with a twist. Maddie is a deaf writer who moves out into the woods as a way to get over her ex. A serial killer comes to her house, and she has to act quick to survive. This is an interesting movie, as the director and his wife (who plays Maddie) both wrote the film. Like in realist cinema, they acted out the scenario several times to make it as realistic as possible. As a result, my husband and I were constantly saying “why the heck doesn’t she do this?” or “shouldn’t she hide there?” but let’s be real, when your in a panic, you don’t think straight.

We also have been watching the halloween episodes of Bob’s Burger and the Simpsons. Plus watching some R.L.Stine’s Haunting Hour and the Netflix series The Worst Witch. It is funny watching The Worst Witch because at first my husband was pointed it out that it was a rip off of Harry Potter till I said the series was written in the 70s. I wonder how many other books use magical witch schools as a plot?

Crafting So I’ve been trying to work more on the shop, but not much to show for it. XD I’ve been playing around with a bonnet pattern, which I made a sample using a Giants handkerchief. It turned out cuter than what I expected! But I will have to make alterations to the pattern to make it look nicer. Pretty soon there will be some new items on the shop just in time for the holidays.. hopefully there will be bonnets as well!

Podcasts Trying to squeeze in as many spooky themed podcasts as possible. So I’ve been busy downloading spooky themed episodes from Stuff You Missed in History Class. I think the ones that sticks out are the recent ones about Edward Gorey and Carl Tanzler. I thought it was interesting to hear about Gorey’s later life, and his love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I although I like the haunting episodes, Carl Tanzler was just a very different narrative. If you listen, trigger warning of stalker-obsessive behavior.

Traveling We were going to try and check out Jawn of the Dead– a vegan halloween festival but there was a big storm that day. It was in Philadelphia so that would of meant driving in, parking, and walking probably several blocks with Wolfie. We decided it wasn’t worth it, and hope that next year they have the same popup. Wolfie will be older and will enjoy it a little more. Because of that Jon was pretty mad since he took some days off. So we looked at our local library for museum passes and decided to check out Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. I am going to write up a review of the place on the blog because it was really beautiful.

CSA We are getting the end of the share. Just three more weeks left, getting our last share in time for Thanksgiving. Luckily we are dwindling down to the veggies that last longer, the roots and gourds. We got some long pie squash, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, lots of leafy greens, carrots (orange yellow and purple), radishes, and turnips. Since the weather has been crazy, raspberries are JUST dying out, along with tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers.

Articles I thought I would share this article about how a bartender is making motherhood work. As someone who loves cocktails, I always wonder if it is something I could pursue as a career. I don’t think I EVER want to be a bartender, but it does make me wonder how people do it.


Went to visit my Grandmother in Amityville Long Island. I walked in her retirement community and it has some pretty views.

I tried so hard to post this in September so it wouldn’t get in the way of Vegan MOFO, but man I am busy. On October 1st I helped Alexa move into her new apartment (yey!) Earlier I went to a concert (yey!) and this week I have to go to my parents to help my Mom after knee surgery. So… yeah. Sorry about the break from food but you know how things get.

Reading: I really wanted to read The Whole-Brain Child since I heard about it. I put it off for awhile because- you know- I didn’t have a kid. So I guess there was a pitfall of it being over hyped. The book isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything drastically new information. Overall it is nice to hear the suggested ways to handle situations, but there is a lot of fluff page fillers. 

Watching: TV shows are coming back again! Horray! So we are starting to watch the new seasons of This Is Us, Goldbergs, and Speechless. The Goldbergs are starting to loose some steam, I am just not finding it as funny more, but most comedies do that after 3-4 seasons anymore.

Jon and I watched the first season of The Magicians on Netflix. It is a really good series, but like all SyFy originals, it is really tacky in the beginning. The first episode should of been stretched into two (honestly) but after episode 4 I think you get sucked into the overall story arch. I also love how after many episodes they give help hotline numbers.

Can’t you see those abs forming?


Crafting: Our shop is looking a little sad. Alexa (as mentioned) moved so she hasn’t been able to work on our logo, and my Mother (as mentioned) had knee surgery. But leading up to the surgery, her legs were so bad that she couldn’t even use the sewing peddle. Yikes! But you can see the AWESOME QUILT we made. Also if you want, you can favorite our shop and items. No pressure though. ^__~

Otherwise I’ve been picking up my Gwar needle point again. I started it over and over again because I kept miss counting. Finally I started from the bottom of the “T” and got a rhythm going. I think I finally got the hang of it. Whoo!

Photo taken by my friend Justine- I mean look at those boys. So well dressed. I betcha their Mom is back stage to pinch their cheeks and say how proud she is of them… I mean I would.

Listening: I picked up two albums from my library- Stars’ The Five Ghosts and Regina Spektor’s Remember Us To Life. As always Regina Spektor is awesome, and gives something that is refreshing from the all too similar modern pop music (no hate on specifically modern pop music, but it is all too calculated and running out of new melodies that fit the formula) But The Five Ghosts was surprisingly good! It was not what I was expecting from the album cover, I was expecting something much more melancholy. But it is catchy and upbeat.

I also recently went to a Hanson concert. Yup, you read that right. I am not a HUGE Hanson fan. The were my first concert when I was little. My Aunt and Uncle got us tickets, and I remember sitting the whole time, and my Aunt telling us that we could stand (like all the other screaming girls) But I remember sitting in a spot where you had a really good view of the stage, so I didn’t get why I would need to stand, and I felt awkward in front of family lol. ANYWAYS- I think Hanson is a really fun band to see live. They played on time (WHAAAAT?!) and it was super upbeat and family friendly. In fact I think I saw a total of 10 kids- 10 more than I’ve ever seen at a concert. The only downside is that I got the feeling that 99% of the fans were people who never stopped listening to Hanson as a kid. So they were much more intense that I was. Hands down the best part of the show as Taylor! Duh! I mean he had a cute butt and TRI-and-BI-CEPS that could crush a watermelon.

Podcast: Gastropod I love you. You are the BEST podcast on food. Sadly, not vegan, but they always have great historical context, sound editing, and scientific backing. Their more recent episode on Marshmallow Fluff really inspired me to do more with it. Maybe pick up some Ricemallow or try making my own with some aquafaba.

Another case of me loving how diverse my state/area is. Hasidic Judaism was something I was always familiar with as a child. Sometimes we would see families walking to and from church. Sometimes we knew when traffic would be bad on certain holidays, etc. So it was interesting to hear The Longest Shortest Time’s recent episode about Shpitzle’s Secret. The episode is about a woman who grew up in a hasidic community, and how she fought her way out for her son.

some cute lil mushrooms growing in a tree

Garden: I dug up my one bush and finally put it towards the front of the house. But that is about it. My Mother in Law bought us some mums, and I placed them next next to our tombstone Halloween decor. Maybe I’ll get some tulip bulbs from my Mom to plant this fall for next year. *crosses fingers* maybe they’ll bloom?

CSA: Thinks have gone by so fast lately. My Mom hasn’t been able to watch Wolfie because of her knee, so I started to work Saturdays, which means I haven’t really been to my CSA to get the produce. But we are moving out of summer and into the fall foods. So I’ve been getting my last bits of tomatillos, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and raspberries. And we are getting more sweet potatoes, blue skinned potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, garlic (cured aka dried), kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions again. It is nice to get more shelf stable good, and not have to panic to use all the produce by the end of the week. XD

Wolfie eats an upcoming chocolate cake

Other Eats: Cakes. Cakes. Cakes. I think my husband will divorce me soon. lol

Other Shares: I found this article about the nutritional content of plants very interesting. A quick TL:DR; is that the rising temperatures and CO2 levels are making plants produce less nutrients and protein, and more sugars. Naturally this isn’t an attack on veganism, because we don’t know what it means for meat and dairy (they have to eat the same plants as we do- duh) Just another thing to worry about with global warming (or to counter arguments saying that high CO2 is good for plants.)


In my usual fashion- just like 14 days late. No biggie right?! XD Well, here’s what I’ve been up to in August. I’ll leave you with that so you can read before it is October XD

Reading: Finished Strong Female Protagonist, so I get to return it to Alexa WHEN SHE MOVES TO HER NEW APARTMENT! Very exciting. But focus on the book- it took a lot longer to read than most graphic novels. It is fairly text heavy, but the visuals are still very awesome. I don’t think the texts take away from the medium. I liked the idea of superheroes in the everyday world, and I love how internal conflict that Alison has with trying to “save the world forever.” You don’t need to be a super hero person to really dig this novel.

After finishing that, I went to the library and saw Emily Strange in the YA section. I had no idea that there was a comic series…. so long after her debut. I remember loving Emily Strange when I was a little tween (I mean look at that website- so dated!). So it has been interesting to read The Complete Emily the Strange: All Things Strange. It is interesting to see a personality bloom for Emily. I think I would of fallen in love with her even more if I had the comic when I was younger. What is most interesting is the style changes all the time. Some are stories, some are little “hyuk hyuk” jokes, some are little interviews, and some are just really cool art. Heck even the artistic style changes through the comic series. And naturally this is making me want to dye my hair black and cut some bangs again. I know I shouldn’t though. I never upkeep my bangs.

Watching: As always I am late to the game with what I am watching. Jon and I just finished up season two of Master of None. God I love that show. It never stops entertaining me, and really tries to push what a TV show can do with editing. It is also FINALLY getting Jon on board with Eric Wareheim. Jon HATES Tim and Eric and Tom Goes to the Mayor. I love the visual editing from them. Now Eric Wareheim is in something Jon can dig (read: a plotline) Side note- I saw Eric once in person! I didn’t say hi, mostly because I kept thinking “Why the fuck does this giant look so familiar?” He was at DiBruno Bros so he was probably buying cheese.

Jon and I started watching Key and Peele. It was on the short list of things I would like to watch, but I didn’t know how Jon would react. He randomly decided he wanted to watch it the other day, and we are in love.

A bandana bib from our new etsy shop

Crafting: Nothing new really. Well, my Mother and I are working hard on opening an Etsy shop filled with quilts and little sewn goods for babies. Right now I have a whole whopping ONE item in the shop. XD But we should soon have more.

Listening: For Jon’s birthday I tipped his parents off that he wanted a new record player for Christmas. But it didn’t work out because we had too many things we needed- mostly a new storm door. Turns out that it kind-of is a gift for me as well. XD I brought down all our old CDs and I’ve been jamming out to a lot of Judy and Mary and SE7EN. If they sound familiar, it might be because Judy and Mary sang the opening theme for Rurouni Kenshin and SE7EN debuted in the US with a single featuring Lil Kim.

Podcast: The Longest Shortest Time just released an episode on talking to kids about racism. Ugh. I thought it would be tough to explain veganism to Wolfie, now this? It is really interesting hearing how it is okay to be clumsy talking about racism as a white parent. They also talked about how kids notice these things very early on, so the race talk might be come much earlier than what I originally anticipated.

Garden: My pathetic garden always surprises me. The Spider Queen plants from last year went to seed and grew this year. Sadly, the bunnies kept nibbling them down, so I assumed they were toast. Not so! They bloomed! Though they were not as impressive as last year. XD I am hoping my boss will share some seeds for the plants that seemed to be bunny proof with me. It is possible that I might be growing tobacco next year.

CSA: Tons of green beans and tomatoes. So many tomatoes. Like stupid tons. Luckily the crockpot makes tomato sauce super easy anymore. Just cook for an insanely long time. Done! XD But this was the last week for tomatoes (probably) as we had a “take what you want” written on the you pick board. Tomatillos are back but so far I only took a quart and made my tomatillo tofu. Blackberries finally ended and raspberries are starting to come out.

I made some okra curry from Vegan Richa, and Wolfie gobbled it all up. We got a spaghetti squash (yey this season has been horrible for them) and made them into tacos with the tomatillo tofu. Lots of bell peppers and onions have been going on pizzas, some eggplant here and there, and one or two summer squashes. We’ve gotten a tiny yellow watermelon and two big red watermelon.

I’ve been boing and chopping up the beets for my smoothies. It’s been too hot to make any of the beet recipes that I like. T_T We got one head of lettuce for the summer, which to chopped, washed and ate asap because things freezing in the fridge is still and issue.

Other Eats: PUMPKIN BEER! Okay so that is a little bit of a September thing. I’ve been really happy with booze lately. Maybe that is a sign I am getting more sleep? We had a big family get together so I got to taste a few beers, cocktails, and champagne. I’ve been browsing local liquor stores seeing what they have and dreaming up new cocktail recipes… maybe? BTW if anyone tracks their beers via Untapped, follow me and Alexa! We love seeing what other people are drinking!

And in news of food, I did it- I signed up for Vegan MOFO 2017! I won’t be using their prompts. I’ll HOPEFULLY post more Veganized American Cakes, and cocktails. But Alexa might pop in with the prompts.

Other Shares: I’ve been thinking a lot again about body image. I wrote about how weird pregnancy is for the body, but post pregnancy brings up slightly different issues. And not that men don’t have issues with changing bodies, but I think women have more circumstances where their bodies have drastic changes. Anyways, all of this is leading up to Gina’s new post about Why She Got Her Breast Implants Out. She talks about why she got implants, why it made sense at the time, and why she got a little more plastic surgery done. It is a great read for anyone who had breast cancer or had a baby or both or none of the above. Clearly the post will have body image trigger warnings but also “clean eating”

I also feel like lately I’ve been handling bad news by ignoring it. It can be hard with a kid since you know that the stupid choices being made will effect him the most. So I am taking the time to point out Hurricane Harvey. If you have any money or time to offer, Offbeat Home gives a bunch of great links to food banks, diaper drives, and ways to volunteer your time.


I think this is the first photo of all three of us together!

I love random posts like Friday Favs, Currentlies, Le Love List, The Amazing Five, and RWL so I figured I would make a similar monthly update about me. Especially since I’ve been making monthly updates on the babe, I figured it would be nice to unfold what’s been on my mind this month.

Readings: I just finished Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. I mainly picked it up because the trailer and DVD cover for the movie adaptation looked cool. I still would like to see the movie, but the book was interesting. Clearly for a book written in the south in the 50s is going to have some questionable aspects on race, so that was something to take note of. But I liked the surreal imagery and writing style overall. I didn’t LOVE it since it was so religiously based, so I think some references went over my head.

I am also trying quickly read Baby Led Weaning and Sleeping Through the Night. I am finding Sleeping Through the Night VERY good. My sister originally suggested Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and I found the author obnoxious. I am not the kind of person to get worried, but dear lord is this book is alarmist. And it takes forever for him to get to the point- I mean it is 688 pages long! Baby Led Weaning has been interesting. I think I am going to take the plunge at 6 months with the concept and see how that goes.

Wolfie’s first picture with the piggie at the farm

Watching: I wrote a review about The Handmaid’s Tale. I feel like I read it before it got really trendy. First time I’ve been ahead of a trend! Okay I know the book is a classic but whatever. There has been a total resurge of popularity with Pence and Trump in office. The TV series is super creepy and way too relatable. I think seeing actors in modern day clothes (rather than me picturing them in 80-90’s clothes) is unnerving. Plus there is the whole having a child myself idea.

We JUST finished the newest season of Sherlock. The last episode was AMAZING. It stinks that they only have three episodes per season, especially since it seems unlikely that they will be able to make another season.

And we have been watching the new Bill Nye Saves the World show on Netflix. It is okay. Some episodes are better than others but I do have a few problems with the show. It doesn’t feel like Bill Nye is honestly trying to change the opinions of people. Plus I think it would of been better if they filmed and heavily edited it instead of having in front of a live audience. If those two things changed I would of LOVED it.

Oh and Master of None. How did I go so long without watching it?

Crafting: I’ve been working really hard on getting my cat quilt done. I bought the pattern a while ago and I made it much bigger than the original pattern. Instead of 30 cats- we are doing 56. It’s huge. So I’ve been going to my Mother’s house and cutting the fabric and she has been sewing it together. It is looking pretty awesome.

Listening: The other day I saw an article about how jpop queen Ayumi Hamasaki is almost completely deaf. Alexa and I were pretty big fans of her music from 2010 and earlier. After hearing this news I decided to go back and listen to her newer stuff. Which she released A LOT of stuff in the past 7 years. Funny thing is that ALL of her music is on Spotify. Wut?! And Avex finally put full length music videos on their YouTube site (or PV- promotional video for the Japanese). Watching Evolution I wonder why it was my favorite video of hers. For anyone who isn’t a jpop fan, Ayumi Hamasaki is often compared to Madonna. She has evolved over the years and is known for shifting image. Her voice is very nasally so you will either love her or hate her.

Podcasts: I started to listen to The Longest Shortest Time and their most recent episode is part 5 of their Accidental Gay Parents series. So I downloaded the first episode. OMG- so many feels. It is such a heartwarming story and it got me all teary eyed. I strongly suggest you go and download the first episode and listen. I am sure you will immediately downloaded the second.

Jeff is the head farmer at our CSA. He is meeting Gavin- the third generation at his farm.

Eating: For my birthday I got a rice cooker and a slow cooker. This is REALLY nice because my biggest issue with cooking is about being able to turn the stove off if Wolfie wakes up early or feeds for too long. So I made vegan chili, vegan jambalaya, and pearled barley. Now I need to think more about how to work my CSA shares into my meals.

And since it has been getting warmer I’ve been making a LOT of ice cream. There is now space in my freezer for the ice cream maker so I’ve been using it! Mostly I’ve been experimenting with cereal milk ice cream, but I also made cheesecake cookie and cream ice cream that my husband loves.

CSA: We just started our first week at the CSA. Not much, but that is expected in the spring. I think the weird weather isn’t helping either. There has been lots of rain (yey!) but it was really hot then very cool. So all we got right now was two bunches of radishes, one bunch of kale, two heads of lettuce, and a small bag of broccolini. I’ve been eating taco salads with leftover chili, salsa, blue corn chips, and vegan chorizo with the lettuce and radish greens. There was some stir-fried broccolini in a sesame sauce. And I honestly can’t remember what I did with the kale. XD