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Kvedulf's Second Challenge: First steps on a new Way


Kvedulf

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Hi all

This is my second challenge and my first as a Druid. I really enjoyed my first challenge and have already made improvements in several areas. Not sure where to start, so I guess I'll begin with how I got here and what I hope to achieve. In December 2014 I was smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day and was a borderline alcoholic. I worked in telemarketing and had convinced myself that that lifestyle was something I enjoyed and wanted to pursue. I lived in an absolutely horrible sharehouse. My partner and I had broken up and amongst other things I missed the birth of our son. I was a distant father who saw his son on the weekend. Then in January 2015, my then ex and I came to the realisation that we still loved each other and decided to give our relationship a second chance. We moved back in together in March. I stopped drinking. In April I quit smoking. And then things kind of went pear shaped. I discovered that my long term smoking and drinking had been self medication for major anxiety and self worth issues. I also discovered I absolutely hated sales and loathed the lifestyle and philosophies that went with it. I had a nervous breakdown. Fast forward to May 2016 and I am still suffering from pretty bad anxiety, but I'm a stay at home dad and my partner and I are now engaged. And I discovered Nerd Fitness. I did my first challenge and felt amazing for it. So I'm here now as a Druid. I was going to go Ranger or Assassin, but I feel that my philosophies and desire to find an inner balance mean I suit the Druids.

 

Another thing I've learned about myself over the past twelve months is that I have a love of Japanese culture and history. It was a gradual thing, until I looked back and realised what had happened. Japan had kind of grown on me like moss on a stone. There's something about the culture and history that resonates with my own philosophies. As a result, I've decided that my Epic Quest is to become a samurai :) So this challenge is based on the tenets of Bushido.

 

Without further ado, here's Kvedulf's first challenge on his way to becoming a samurai.

 

Kvedulf's Seven Tenets of Bushido Challenge:

 

1. gi (Morality)

Morality is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering; to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.

A samurai does not need to make promises or 'give his word'. Saying they will do something is the same as doing it.

CHALLENGE:
Create a daily to-do list of no more than 5 items and complete it each day.

 

2. yuu (Courage)

It is true courage to live when it is right to live, and to die only when it is right to die

I am unhealthy and unfit. I will find the courage to become healthy.

CHALLENGE:

Complete the NerdFitness Beginner Bodyweight Workout 3x each week.

Complete a stretching workout 2x each week.

 

3. jin (Benevolence)

Benevolence brings under its sway whatever hinder its power just as water subdues fire.

A true samurai protects and cares for those who are in their charge. I have been neglecting my dog and not showing her the love she deserves.

CHALLENGE:

Walk the dog for 30 minutes each day

 

4. makoto (Honesty)

Bushi no ichi-gon...was a sufficient guarantee of the truthfulness of an assertion. His word carried such weight with it that promises were generally made and fulfilled without a written pledge, which would have been deemed quite beneath his dignity.

Honesty means not just telling the truth but living the truth and seeking the truth. The truth is knowledge.

CHALLENGE:

Find and read a copy of Nitobe's Bushido

Begin studying and learning Japanese. I have no knowledge of learning languages, so I am not going to set any specific times or goals for this, only to begin.

 

5. rei (Politeness)

By constant exercise in correct manners, one brings all the parts and faculties of his body into perfect order and into such harmony with itself and its environment as to express the mastery of spirit over the flesh.

One of the biggest triggers for my anxiety is social situations. I can't be polite if I have a panic attack whenever I go out in public. I need to learn to have mastery over my anxiety. I need to be able to find inner peace first.

CHALLENGE:
Begin meditating for 5 minutes each day

 

6. meiyo (Honour)

He was born and bred to value the duties and privileges of his profession. Fear of disgrace hung like a sword over the head of every samurai … To take offense at slight provocation was ridiculed as ‘short-tempered.’ As the popular adage put it: ‘True patience means bearing the unbearable.’

My biggest "disgrace" is what I view as a lack of willpower. I would rather play on the X-box then workout and find it difficult to summon the willpower to get off the couch. I usually end up playing on the X-box when my son goes down for his daily nap.

CHALLENGE:
Limit the use of the X-box to after 8pm after the little man has gone to bed. I will not play on the X-box through the day.

 

7. chuugi (Loyalty)

Of the causes in comparison with which no life was too dear to sacrifice, was the duty of Loyalty.

I am most loyal to my family. To my fiancee and my son. I want to be the best father and partner I can possibly be

CHALLENGE:
Limit my son's screentime to breakfast and lunchtimes. Find at least one new activity for him each day.

 

I know that was a pretty long, but thanks for reading :)

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Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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A fantastic challenge!! I love your theme and your courage and honesty really shine through in your story and goals. I'll be following of course :)

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Your challenge is awesome. You've been made great progress during the last year and a half, congratulations.

 

18 hours ago, Kvedulf said:

7. chuugi (Loyalty)

Of the causes in comparison with which no life was too dear to sacrifice, was the duty of Loyalty.

I am most loyal to my family. To my fiancee and my son. I want to be the best father and partner I can possibly be

CHALLENGE:
Limit my son's screentime to breakfast and lunchtimes. Find at least one new activity for him each day.

 

 

Reading with your son can be an invigorating activity to enjoy both together.

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7 hours ago, Varelse said:

Your challenge is awesome. You've been made great progress during the last year and a half, congratulations.

 

 

Reading with your son can be an invigorating activity to enjoy both together.

 

You are so right, and you are preaching to the Kvedulf choir! Check out his last challenge, he absolutely smashed his goal of reading to his son each day. :) One of the reasons so many of us newbies followed him so closely. :)  It's not in this challenge because it's now Habit! :)

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Your new challenges are awesome and inspiring! You also have many of them, so don't forget to be gentle with yourself.

 

I like your goal (well, I like ALL of them a lot) of spending more time with your dog. It sounds like an activity that could include your son, so it would be a two-fer: the pooch would get another person paying attention to her, and your son would get responsible pet ownership modeled to him :) 

 

Following along again.

 

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"'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said." - Shawn Colvin

 

 

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Hi all.

Sorry for being a bit quiet. Had a pretty full on couple of days earlier in the week that left me completely emotionally and mentally drained. Feeling better again. First off, I'd just like to say thanks to @EternalJourno, @Kiki Dee, @Severine, @Bookish Badger for their ongoing support and all the new folks for their kind words :)

 

@Varelse, thanks for the suggestion but like Kiki Dee said, reading to the little man was part of my first challenge. He's still absolutely loving it.

 

If anyone has any ideas, I'm looking for some more structured arts and crafts type activities or educational activities for a very active two year old boy. The little man and I spend most of our day playing together but its very unstructured: playing with duplo or dinosaurs, running around, play fighting, or playing with balls etc outside. I think he needs a little bit more structure. And even though he can point to a huge number of body parts and can point out about 20 different dinosaurs, he doesn't know his colours yet and he doesn't talk yet. I'm a bit worried that as clever as he is, his education is a bit patchy. So any suggestions there would be nice.

 

Also, if anyone could point me in the direction of some stretching workouts, that'd be cool. I'm currently looking at Darebee's stretching workouts but more variety would always be nice.

 

And onto the challenge:

It's DAY !! Woot! Slept in and it's already 10:15 but I've got my 5 item to do list and I've already found a copy of Bushido that I can download and transfer across to an old Kobo that I have. Little man is spending the weekend with my parents so I don't have to worry about an activity for him today as he'll be home later this afternoon.

 

Thanks again for the support :)

 

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Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.

                                                                                                                       -Miyamoto Musashi

Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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Have you looked at Montessori things at all? They have some great ideas for activities that little ones love and are very simple and educational. I love the way they teach reading/letters too. They start with i-spy games using the first sound of little toys. (I can't explain it clearly, but here is a good description: http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2014/06/montessori-sound-games-i-spy-.html ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPue6IkwvY)

 

Simple tasks like pouring colored water from one pitcher to another, scrubbing a chair with soapy water, washing dishes - kids can get lost in those tasks for so long. The love helping and doing simple repetitive tasks. Most of these teach fine motor skills and coordination too.

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For the lil' guy, I would suggest checking out your local library. I don't have kids, but my town library has a children's branch, and as a journalist I've done a lot of stories about them and the great things they do. Our children's branch is in a separate building from the regular library, but I'm assuming (hoping) all libraries at least have a kids section or activities for kids. If your library is anything like mine, they probably do daily structured activities, especially arts and crafts stuff, or even just story time where SOMEONE ELSE will read to your kid. And being that it's a library, the activities should be (hopefully) free and educational (hopefully). 

Do you have any links to Bushido material that you've found? I'd love to investigate that sometime. I think it might be something I'd be interested in too.

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Hi guys

Sorry for going off the radar for a few days. They haven't been the best. I've been fighting some pretty big and nasty brainweasels (Thanks @Severine for the new word) that were trying to tell me that levelling up my life was going to make me something I'm not and that I'd just be lying to myself. There were also some pretty sneaky ninja brainweasels as well that were sneaking around the back of my head telling me to just give up because I'm not worth it. Fortunately, just when it looked like defeat, my wonderful fiancee led an epic charge into the brainweasels' flanks and I was able to defeat them.

 

Because of the mental war, the challenge hasn't gone the best:

MORALITY - I've written a to do list with five or less things on it each day, but I've only been able to complete it once.

COURAGE - My workouts are on track. Did the beginner bodyweight yesterday and did Darebee's Isometric stretching workout today. Just for the record, I hate stretching. Always have, ever since my dancing days. Halfway through, I was almost ready to throw it in, but then remembered that I need to improve my flexibility and powered through. I much prefer doing bodyweight though.

BENEVOLENCE - I've only managed to walk the dog once, this afternoon. She did really well considering she's never been around many cars. We called the walk short, but still managed half an hour, which was good.

HONESTY - I've got a copy of Bushido and am reading it on my Kobo. About 10-20% through it. Nitobe was a bit of a rambler, but it's an educating read once you get through the epic bias. (Turns out Japanese xenophobia mixed with Victorian English racism probably isn't the best combination. Who knew? :P)

POLITENESS - I meditated yesterday, but that's it. Meditation is a tricky beast. Trying what I think is mindful meditation. Anyone have any tips?

HONOUR - I'm winning this one at least. Haven't touched the X-Box in three days.

LOYALTY - This is a mixed win. I've managed to cut back the little man's TV time, but it's not to where I want it yet. He loves his Octonauts. On the plus side we've also done a new thing together each day. Yesterday we played a fine motor skill game (It was really simple to set up: a bunch of pipe cleaners and a colander) He did get bored though and ended up running off with the colander. And the pipe cleaners, which he now uses as a tiny katana. Today we went for a walk with the dog. Tomorrow we're playing with home made paint and cardboard boxes.

 

 

@Bookish Badger Thanks for the idea. I stole it and it worked. The two small, adorable ones enjoyed their walk :P

 

@SnowOwl Thanks for the idea. I've heard of Montessori but haven't really looked into it. Those links are definitely a good start. I'm not sure about some of the sorting type games, they don't really interest him, but he does love cleaning things and loves problem solving and logic puzzles which seem very much a Montessori thing.

 

@EternalJourno I looked into the library. You had a good idea, but unfortunately the local library sucks balls and doesn't do anything for toddlers.

And for links to Bushido, here's what I've been able to find. None of these are really academic level articles, and it's really difficult to find anything that's actually useful. I'm still working through it all, but here's what I'd start with:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushido

http://hubpages.com/education/The-Seven-Virtues-of-Bushido

These, I think are the two best articles on the internet. The wiki page because it gives the closest thing to an analysis on the development and sources. It's also good because it's a wikipedia page which means it's easy to follow links. The second is the best of a bunch of websites that give an individual's concept of Bushido.

The rest of the sources:

http://thewisdomwarrior.com/2013/03/17/modern-bushido-living-the-warrior-lifestyle-in-todays-world/

http://www.kendo.com/themodernsamurai

http://www.mainlinebudo.com/?p=180

These three are more supplemental material.

Finally, if you're still reading and liking what you're reading, there's the primary sources.

The first is Nitobe's Bushido. You can get a free ebook copy at the Gutenberg Project: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12096

After that, read Hagakure and Miyamoto Musashi's Five Rings. Still looking for copies of those.

 

Wow, what a wall of text. If you're still here after all that, thanks for reading. I just want to say thank you again to all the people who have been following and supporting me. It really means a lot to me.

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Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.

                                                                                                                       -Miyamoto Musashi

Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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1 hour ago, Kvedulf said:

 

Wow, what a wall of text. If you're still here after all that, thanks for reading. I just want to say thank you again to all the people who have been following and supporting me. It really means a lot to me.

 

Well, it's not exactly a one-sided relationship.  You're pretty much the head of my personal cheer squad!  ;) and I know you spend a lot of time on EJ and Badger's threads too.  :) 

 

Sorry you've had a sucky few days.  Those brainweasels can be right utter bastards sometimes can't they?  Your fiancée sounds like an awesome person, I'm glad she was able to help.  :) Nobody can defeat brainweasels alone, it's the nature of the beasties.  Well done for keeping up with as many of your goals as you have!!!

 

I'm feeling bad that I haven't contributed any helpful suggestions for structured time with your little man, but the truth is despite having 2 children I am absolutely rubbish at it.  I talk to them constantly, give loads of kisses and cuddles, and read stories.  Beyond that... I'm a bit lost really.  I tend to assume they'll get their structured play at daycare, and while they're at home we just do books, colouring, blocks (Lego for Miss 4), and they can "help" me with the domestics.  :P Honestly I spend so much of our off time on chores there's not much time left for planning cool activities.  Full credit to you for giving it a go!

 

Also, Octonauts is awesome.  Just sayin'.  ;) 

 

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Sorry to hear about the crappy library. But I will begin checking out those links ASAP! Thanks! I know you feel like the challenge isn't going the best right now, but based on what you've written, it sounds like you're doing pretty well and getting plenty of small wins. Keep it up!

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Congratulations on forcing the brainweasels to retreat, and props to your fiancée for breaking their formation!

 

Have you ever been able to detect a pattern to them? Such as X event happens and you know the brainweasels are going to attack within a day or so (or sooner)? I've found that if I can tie my bad thoughts to a pattern, it is easier to break their hold (e.g., "You know you're just hungry and dehydrated, and we're going to eat in an hour and you'll feel better). Of course, the trick is remembering to remember this, which I'm still working on :) 

 

About mindful meditation: I can't remember the source, but I remember reading somewhere that sitting meditation isn't always the best option for people prone to depression and anxiety. Quieting the mind is challenging even for unflappable types, and for those prone to depression it becomes a spiral of brooding and negativity. Moving meditation such as practicing yoga or tai chi, where you have something physical to focus on, might work better. The best part is that you can do anything mindfully, even brushing your teeth! Tho my guess is that your best window would be when the little man is napping. If he naps.

 

Speaking of the little man, I wish every child had such full attention and loving care from a parent! You are keeping him safe, introducing him to the world, and presenting him with new things to explore and learn. Not everything has to be a structured activity with a "purpose" - at his age, playing in the sprinkler and splashing in puddles is a major event (and more fun for the adults than we want to admit, amiright?) What I mean is, you don't have to be the perfect Super Dad. Being Dad is super enough.

 

But since you asked for activities...this might sound funny but it is a memory from pre-school. On really hot days they'd give us "buckets of paint" (cans of water) and paint brushes, and we'd "paint" the playhouse, swing set, etc. I remember being fascinated by the way the colors would change from light to dark and back to light as the water was brushed on and then evaporated. Of course, some of the kids just had water fights, but that was ok too.

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"'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said." - Shawn Colvin

 

 

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Does the little guy like music? Many kids are naturally drawn to music, and there's a reason we turn things we want kids to learn, like the ABCs, into songs. It makes it more fun, more accessible, and I think it helps kids remember stuff and see the patterns. There are a lot of kid-targeted musicians out there who sing about everything from animal sounds to astronomy. 

 

Kids are usually fascinated with anything that involves physically manipulating the world: finger painting, colouring, play dough or clay sculpting, playing with sand or blocks. A lot of those things can sneakily be turned into slightly more directed activities if desired (like get out the paints and say you're going to paint a bunch of different animals, or use playdough to teach the different shapes) but can also be easily and seamlessly switched to freeform non-educational "just play however you want" activities if the little guy doesn't seem into it.

 

I'm sorry you had a brainweasel attack but it sounds like you've got an excellent support structure (yay for love!) and some great suggestions from the other awesome people following this thread. The most important thing is to keep on keeping on. Logically you know it's coming from anxiety and other such places, and that it's not true that you're a phony or worthless or any of that. Don't ever lose sight of that awareness even when the doubts make it hard to fully believe it. With time, and work, it is definitely possible to lessen the power of those negative voices. You'll get there, and all your health/family/self-development efforts are going to help you get there. Exercise and fitness and good nutrition all support your quest to defeat anxiety!

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Today is a lot better. I feel like I'm back on track. Walked the dog, did a workout, got 4 out of 5 things on my to do list done, read some Bushido, looked into techniques on learning languages, didn't meditate but looked into different ways of meditating and introduced the little man to kicking a ball to each other down the hall (It was cold and wet today so we couldn't go outside to paint :().

 

@Bookish Badger Funnily enough, my witch doctor and I were talking about what sets off my brainweasels the last time I saw her. Of course, she doesn't call them brainweasels, but no one is perfect. I know some of my triggers: feeling like I've been unproductive; playing on the X-box too much; having to deal with large crowds and b9g social situations; but probably the biggest trigger for me is the aftermath of dealing with my family.

Thanks for the support @Severine The support and understanding I've found here already is like nothing I've come across. I kind of knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel but Nerdfitness is like the torch leading the way :)

 

Loving the play ideas. They've given me some great ideas.

 

On 14/06/2016 at 9:25 PM, Kiki Dee said:

I'm feeling bad that I haven't contributed any helpful suggestions for structured time with your little man, but the truth is despite having 2 children I am absolutely rubbish at it.  I talk to them constantly, give loads of kisses and cuddles, and read stories.  Beyond that... I'm a bit lost really.  I tend to assume they'll get their structured play at daycare, and while they're at home we just do books, colouring, blocks (Lego for Miss 4), and they can "help" me with the domestics.  :P Honestly I spend so much of our off time on chores there's not much time left for planning cool activities. 

 

I know exactly what you mean. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels like that.

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Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.

                                                                                                                       -Miyamoto Musashi

Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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On June 14, 2016 at 2:49 AM, Kvedulf said:

Meditation is a tricky beast. Trying what I think is mindful meditation. Anyone have any tips?

@Lightning does coloring meditations, that might be another option for you.

I practice mindfulness during my morning walk with my dog - it's hard for me not to start imagining negative things or having arguments with people in my head when I'm out walking.

Personally, for sitting still meditations, I need guided meditations right now. Currently I'm using the free beginner Headspace app that teaches me how to meditate along with the middle earth meditations on youtube  that @Schaengel recommended.  (relax in Rivendell or lay by the fire in a hobbit hole, yes please :) )

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3 hours ago, SnowOwl said:

@Lightning does coloring meditations, that might be another option for you.

I practice mindfulness during my morning walk with my dog - it's hard for me not to start imagining negative things or having arguments with people in my head when I'm out walking.

Personally, for sitting still meditations, I need guided meditations right now. Currently I'm using the free beginner Headspace app that teaches me how to meditate along with the middle earth meditations on youtube  that @Schaengel recommended.  (relax in Rivendell or lay by the fire in a hobbit hole, yes please :) )

There's also the calm app that is quite nice...when you like siting still meditation. The middle earth meditation and also the other stuff from "the honest guy is quite nice for relaxing but not really mindfullness stuff I would say

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I've decided that I really like the term "brainweasel!" First, it is so fun to say. Second, while weasels can be dirty, biting, destructive vermin, they're also absurdly cute. And cutely absurd :) (I don't  have time right now to figure out how to imbed a video, but go to youtube and search for "Ozzie the desk weasel.")

 

Maybe labeling these destructive thoughts with such a silly name will help reduce some of the power they have. "Hah! Get out of here, you silly weasel! Be gone before I taunt you a second time!"

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"'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said." - Shawn Colvin

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bookish Badger said:

I've decided that I really like the term "brainweasel!" First, it is so fun to say. Second, while weasels can be dirty, biting, destructive vermin, they're also absurdly cute. And cutely absurd :) (I don't  have time right now to figure out how to imbed a video, but go to youtube and search for "Ozzie the desk weasel.")

 

Maybe labeling these destructive thoughts with such a silly name will help reduce some of the power they have. "Hah! Get out of here, you silly weasel! Be gone before I taunt you a second time!"

 

I fart in your general direction!!!!!  ;) 

 

 

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And your father smelled of elderberries!

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Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.

                                                                                                                       -Miyamoto Musashi

Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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This has absolutely nothing to do with my challenge, but I feel it necessary to make this Public Service Announcement:

 

When making butter chicken please ensure that you correctly read the recipe and double check your measuring spoon. Otherwise you end up putting in half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper instead of half a teaspoon... And two tablespoons of garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric etc.

 

What was meant to be an easy and relatively quick meal turned into an almost disaster. The other, much quicker thinking, adult in the house had the brilliant idea of adding extra coconut milk to pad it out and reduce the strength. FIVE cans later and we now have enough butter chicken to feed us for over a week. Silver lining, right?

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Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.

                                                                                                                       -Miyamoto Musashi

Current Challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83906-kvedulfs-second-challenge-first-steps-on-a-new-way/

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2 hours ago, Kvedulf said:

This has absolutely nothing to do with my challenge, but I feel it necessary to make this Public Service Announcement:

 

When making butter chicken please ensure that you correctly read the recipe and double check your measuring spoon. Otherwise you end up putting in half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper instead of half a teaspoon... And two tablespoons of garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric etc.

 

What was meant to be an easy and relatively quick meal turned into an almost disaster. The other, much quicker thinking, adult in the house had the brilliant idea of adding extra coconut milk to pad it out and reduce the strength. FIVE cans later and we now have enough butter chicken to feed us for over a week. Silver lining, right?

 

This is absolute gold.  :)  My husband did this once when making Pepper Chicken.  The resulting dish was... inedible, to say the least!!!!!

 

I think you should just refer to this as a "batch prep" adventure.  :) 

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