Archive for Housemates

Sherbet Watermelon

It was HD’s birthday recently, so NK, the brilliant woman that she is, suggested that we make this dessert. HD loves watermelon. I remember once in middle school going over to her house to attempt watermelon carving. It was a delicious task.

It’s the inside that counts. Chocolate!

All you need for this “cake” is two kinds of sherbet, chocolate chips, a good sized bowl (this will make your watermelon shape), saran wrap, and a freezer. It’s important to begin the prep process in advance as to allow for freezing time.

First, line the bowl with Saran wrap. This will allow for an easier time getting your watermelon out of the bowl.

Then take your green sherbet (if you choose lime flavoured, you may be surprised, as we were, to find it actually white in colour. You can account for this with green food colouring) and make a thick layer. It helps to place the Sherbet in a seperate bowl and stir/mix it a little to make it more smooth. But be quick before it melts!

Place your half-finished creation in the freezer. Allow it to harden before beginning the next step.

Mix your chocolate chips into the pink-coloured Sherbet and fill the center of the bowl with this mixture. Smooth off the top and place in the freezer.

Once hardened, flip the bowl over and place the watermelon on a plate. Done!

Slice up as you would any ol’ watermelon.

Eat. (this is the easiest step of them all)

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Scientifically Proven Relationship Advice

And it all starts with how you respond to pie…

You might think that the way in which you react to someone’s negative event will determine the quality of your relationship over time, however it has been found that reactions to positive events (accomplishments, good news), are of even greater importance.

Gable, Gonzaga, and Strachman (2007) explain that there are four ways that we can respond to someone’s positive news. Let’s relate the accomplishment to pie, shall we?

Scene: Person A rushes into the room yelling: “I just won a pie eating competition!!!”, how do you, (Person B) respond?

1. Active-Constructive – Praise. Rejoice. Expand. Ask questions.
Person B: “That’s awesome! All that hard work expanding your stomach has finally paid off! When’s your next competition? I’d love to be there to cheer you on!

2.Passive-Constructive – Unenthusiastic praise.
Person B [smiles]: “That’s nice, dear.”

3. Active-Destructive – demeaning the accomplishment
Person B: “Wow, are you sure you want that title? You must have ingested a million calories, do you think you’ll get fat?”

4. Passive-Destructive – Completely passes over the accomplishment and focuses attention on themselves or other things
Person B: “I like pie. Did I ever tell you of the time that I ate a lot of pie? Man, it’s such an intense story…” [continues on with story]

You can probably guess that the active-constructive response is the best one to engage in, and is related to higher relationship satisfaction.

So the next time your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/friend says “I won a pie eating competition!!!”, “I created a cure for cancer!!!”, or “I just climbed Mt Everest, and I’m finally backkkk!!!”, you now have scientific information that has been statistically proven to assist you in refraining from saying a mere “That’s nice.”

How do you react when someone tells you good news? Do you always engage in one type? Or do you tend to act differently depending on the person relaying the news?

Each one of us in my class had to figure this out. So last week as part of our positive psychology challenge, we had to evaluate our reactions and discuss situations in which we engage in active-constructive ways of responding.

The following are some of my observations. And keep in mind, this is all very subjective. It would be interesting to see how others perceive the way in which I interact with them. So, if you want to weigh in, go for it!

I think I genuinely rejoice in others accomplishments.

One of our housemates came home with some pretty exciting news this week so each one of us in the house took turns rejoicing in her accomplishment and showered her with questions of genuine interest.

Sometimes however, you must make sure that your enthusiasm does not come across as fake and sarcastic. If you become more excited then the person telling you the news, it can get awkward. So I think a good gauge is to match the other person’s level of excitement.

BUT this is totally different in other situations. I noticed this while at work (I’m a support worker for individuals with developmental disabilities). This past weekend, one of the guys informed me that he had just learned how to make tea this week. He was beaming with pride and went on to show me all the types of teas he had made. I had absolutely no trouble at all letting him know how proud I was of him as well as tell him how capable I know he is in learning new things. And I felt as though this was an appropriate situation where I could over exaggerate my enthusiasm and it wouldn’t be interpreted as fake. He doesn’t always have the highest self-esteem, so although he was excited for himself, he also needed to hear it from others. I also noticed that after praising him, he felt more accomplished and sure of himself.
And with that, we moved on to learning how to make hot chocolate!

With his newfound confidence in the kitchen, pretty soon he’ll be baking pie in no time…

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Life with HD (Episode 2)

Well, HD is a hit. Her quotable words produced much laughter last week and thus she has given me the go to post more (she enjoys the prospect of fame, I presume).

Sometimes I wish that I could be home more often so that I could fully enjoy her and all she has to say. Here are only some from this week. Believe me, there are more.

HD: Today I thought I went deaf in one ear because I couldn’t hear my music. Turns out it was ’cause my left ear bud stopped working.
Me [laughing]: What? How long did it take you to realize this?
HD: Ummm, about an hour or so.

HD: Six degrees of correlation!

NK: What would you do if Taylor Swift came to our house?
HD: I’d make her butter chicken!!!

TN: Us housemates need to have a picnic!
NK: With candles!
HD [in a very serious tone]: No. No candles. That’s a fire hazard.

Me: Want to hear what I wrote for class about my adventures in Panama?
HD: Yeah sure.
Me [reading my Spanish assignment]
HD [interupts 5 sentences in]: Wait. That’s NOT English!

HD: Awesomeosis – when awesomeness goes from high concentration to low concentration.

HD: One day I’m going to make sense to everyone.

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Life with HD

HD is one of my lovely housemates. My life since she has moved in has been significantly enhanced. My other housemates and I have agreed that she is one of the most quotable people EVER.

Below are the gems she has allowed me to share. Enjoy!

HD: “Knuckles are the knee caps of the finger.”

HD: “Oh it’s a dish cloth? I thought it was a decoration!”

HD: “Amanda, how come boys haven’t realized your awesomeness. You’re just so… awesome!”

HD: “I’m never going to a sushi buffet ever again! Alone… Amanda, can I borrow some peptobismol?”

HD: “Who’s a genius?!? Who’s a genius?!? I’m a genius!”

HD: [referencing Thousand Splendid Suns] “Y’know, people at my work actually read that ‘Thousand Splitted Ends’ book.”

Aside from being extremely entertaining, HD also dabbles in cooking. View her tasty eats here!

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Octopus Battle

I played with mini octopuses.

My housemate needed them for a really neat school project. After she was done with them, we decided to have a photoshoot with these little guys.

The aftermath of one octopus being hurled into the air by another.

Fail.

BONUS: Tentacles close-up

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From Bad, to Worse, to Best

I was almost rendered homeless.

Well, not really. But all-or-nothing thinking could have lead me to dwell on this very unlikely worst-case scenario.

The house that I am currently living in ran into an unexpected hurdle this past month. A house meeting was called one morning and as the four of us girls sat down, me and NK, one of my housemates, learnt that instead of the original plan of having to replace only one of the girls in May, the two of us would now have to find replacements for two girls – one for February and one for March. For NK and I at that moment, this was not a welcomed change – at all. We needed to have two new tenants secured by the end of December otherwise this would be the time where we would need to give our two month notice and cancel our lease. With exam period and Christmas break approaching we were going to have to find two new housemates. And fast.
This was Thursday December 2nd.

An impossible task? Not with God.

However, at that moment it was very difficult to trust Him. My heart was burdened from the unexpected news and my body was heavy from lack of sleep (I had stayed up until 3:30AM working on a paper…that wasn’t due until Monday…). But as a household we took time to pray knowing that we would need God to intervene in our situation.

Even though I did the best that I could to try to look at the positives of this situation, I was still very much focusing on all of the struggles. How are we going to find TWO people at such awkward times of the year? What if we can’t find two? We’d have to find somewhere else to live! I can’t sign a year-lease; I’m not even sure what city I’ll be in come September. I just moved to this house 3 months ago, moving again would be a hassle and difficult especially with this busy school year.

Not only were these thoughts clouding my vision and ability to trust God, but right after our house meeting I found out that I had received a terrible grade on an assignment; I had never received such a low grade. Finally after dealing with all of this, I went to enjoy a shower that turned out to be pure ice water. At that point I decided that my day could not get any worse. Unfortunately, because of these events coupled with my lack of sleep, I had such difficulty focusing on my in-class Spanish exam hours later. I was forgetting verbs that I had used dozens of times…

The day was a hilariously unfortunate one that I chuckle at now, but I have to say that I think it was one of the worst days that I’ve had this past year. Or in many years. (I’ve been blessed with many awesome days.)

At the end of that day, in my mind, the housing situation was looking very dim. Nevertheless I contacted many potential tenants, advertised, and prayed a lot.

On Wednesday December 8th we had secured two new tenants.

And not just any tenants. One is my good friend, HD, which is a big answer to prayer all in itself. And the second is a girl coming to the area to begin her Masters degree. She’s something like a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin (honestly) – which makes it the most random occurrence ever. We knew nothing about her. And as it turns out, she seems to be everything that we were looking for in a housemate and shares many of our core values.

I was in awe at God’s faithfulness. And still am. These events may seem like they were left up to chance, but as a psych student who enjoys statistics, I think I can safely say that the probability of all of these events occurring together is significantly below the rate of chance.

Furthermore, this situation leaves no lack for anyone. The house is going to get re-organized, NK is able to move into a larger room, HD will be turning her 1.5hr commute to school to 15 minutes, the Masters student has a much cheaper alternative than her original plan of living in residence, and my two housemates who are leaving are able to leave earlier than they originally planned.

And through all of this my devotions were conveniently about the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). Joseph had gone through many misfortunes (tossed into a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of adultery and thrown in jail, forgotten in jail for two additional years by a man who he had helped), but through all of this he continued to rely on God and trust Him for what He had promised (becoming a ruler). Joseph could have looked at his circumstances and forgotten God and what He had promised, yet he pressed on. And even though things didn’t play out as fast as Joseph would have hoped, God came through. Joseph just had to trust God’s timing.

God always has a plan; we may just not see it right away. I’ve learnt so much about trusting and relying on God as a product of having gone through this situation. I’ve also realized that these events can now be used as a testimony of His faithfulness. God deserves all the glory. Dios es fiel.

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