Five Things I Love About Fall #5Things

Today’s topic for the #5Things challenge is things we love about autumn. Or fall of course, as I primarily use American English on my blog (as far as I’m aware). Fall is my least favorite season and today is a beautiful late summer day with temps having risen to 26°C. However, there are definitely signs that fall is upon us already. To prepare myself, I’m sharing my favorite things about the season.

1. Fall colors. Like DrTanya mentioned in her original post, there’s something special about the specific shades of orange, yellow, red and green that come with fall. I am of course no longer able to actually see colors, but I can still imagine what they look like.

2. Warm, comfy clothes. Of course, I mentioned that one of my favorite things about summer is the ability to wear skirts and other looser-fitting clothes. However, I also love the feel of my more autumnal clothes. I especially will be looking for a onesie someday this fall.

3. Comfort food. DrTanya already mentioned apple pie. Mmm, how I love this! I also really want to be making pumpkin spiced something at least once this fall.

4. Decorating for a new season. I don’t really have much in the way of home decor in my room, but would really like to change that. One of my staff already offered to make a fall-themed table decoration with me.

I am quite the collector type, so I love looking for pine cones, acorns and fallen leaves.

5. Spending more time indoors. Fall is most known for its rainy days. While I don’t like rainy weather itself, I can appreciate the time to be indoors and read or craft.

What are some things you love about fall?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 31, 2021)

Hi all on this rainy Saturday. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again, although yet again it’s a bit late for coffee at 8:30PM. It’s odd in this respect that I start my coffee share paragraphs with “If we were having coffee…” even though I rarely offer you coffee. Oh well. Let’s have a drink anyway and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee (or any other drink, but it feels off to have to repeat that every paragraph), I’d share that I haven’t been doing as well in the walking department this week as I did last week. I reached my goal of 10K steps only once this week and on a few other days, struggled to get beyond 5K steps. My foot hasn’t been cooperating and neither has the weather. It’s been quite rainy most days, although I managed to get a walk in between showers almost everyday.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I have the kindest yet weirdest mother-in-law. Earlier in the week, I asked her to be on the lookout for fine sanding paper to use to sand and buff my polymer clay ornaments. Not only did she drive by three different hardware stores in search for it, but she eventually ordered it online at Bol.com, even though I could as easily have ordered it there. I’m so grateful but I also feel a bit off now.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I have a slight cold, so I didn’t go to Lobith yet again. The self-administered antigen test for coronavirus I took was negative. Still, I want to avoid giving my husband whatever virus I do have, especially with him just having been vaccinated and this meaning he can’t be reliably tested for COVID.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made the most delicious chicken, curry and fruit salad with my one-on-one staff yesterday. It was great having this for lunch.

If we were having coffee, I’d use the rest of this post to blather on about polymer clay, I guess. This evening, I have been practising making ornaments as independently as possible. I can roll out pretty even bases to cut shapes out of now, as well as cut out the shapes. I am however not able to remove the clay ornament from my cutting board workspace without damaging it yet. However, I’m confident that I’ll learn.

What have you been up to?

Gratitude List (July 30, 2021) #TToT

Hi all, happy Friday! I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) today with a gratitude post. Let’s get started.

1. I am so grateful my benefits arrived. Oh well, I spent a significant amount of money already on crafting supplies and my yearly premium subscription to Day One, a diary app. I have once again resolved not to make unnecessary expenses for at least a week. I am however grateful that, even if I do end up spending some money, I won’t go broke anytime within the foreseeable future.

2. I am grateful my staff try to find me things I need or want for free or at a heavily discounted price. For example, one staff was able to get a music pillow for just €1. Another staff gave me some cookie cutters and ziploc bags she didn’t use and her daughter’s old duvet cover. Oh, it feels off to say this right after I’ve told you about my spending my benefits money on crafting supplies.

3. I am grateful to retain my creative mojo. I have really been loving doing some crafts lately, particularly polymer clay and some jewelry-making too.

4. I am grateful that my creative juices flowing means I have something else to talk about online besides my disabilities and health conditions. I am truly loving perseverating on polymer clay in particular.

5. I am grateful for organized storage shelves. Okay, I think I decluttered them a month or so ago already, but with my new crafting supplies, I had to do it again. I’m really satisfied with the space I created without even too much throwing out.

6. I am grateful for pasta salad. My day activities staff and I made this for lunch on Tuesday and there was still some left on Wednesday.

7. I am grateful I haven’t gained any weight in the past week despite not walking as much and despite the pasta salad and other treats. In fact, I lost 200 grams.

8. I am grateful for a nice fill-in community psychiatric nurse. My regular CPN will be on vacation when I was originally next supposed to see her in two weeks, so the other one will fill in. She joined me and my regular CPN for our appointment on Wednesday and she seems nice.

9. I am grateful for a nice new student staff. She is already older, so it’s easier for me to trust her than the young interns.

10. I am grateful my husband is now fully vaccinated. He got his second shot yesterday and he seems to be doing okay.

What are you grateful for?

Five Things I Love About Summer #5Things

Last year, as part of the #5Things challenge, I shared five things I hate about summer. Despite these, summer is still my favorite season. It’s therefore great that today, we’re asked to share things we love about summer instead.

1. Being able to wear more summerly clothes. I usually wear jeans in winter and fall, but come spring and especially summer, I really love wearing skirts and dresses. Recently, I was going to comment this on a traditional, Christian blog only to realize that maybe the author wears skirts all year round out of modesty. This then made me realize that, in fact, at least one of my dresses is quite suited for fall too. Anyway, I totally love the ability to wear looser-fitting clothes. This might again not be strictly summer-related, but for me it so far is.

2. Summer fruit. I love the time blueberries, peaches and raspberries are sold in supermarkets again. It’s totally amazing what a selection of fruit one can choose from in summertime. I also love freshly picked fruits from my parents’ or in-laws’ gardens.

3. Ice cream. I really used to love it when the ice cream truck came by as a child. Last year, an ice cream truck came by my care facility several times. Its owners usually served county fairs, but due to COVID, these were canceled. The truck had an earworm of a theme tune with the refrain of “Si, si, si, si, delicious gelati”.

4. Barbecueing. Too bad my family haven’t done this so far this year. I am a total meat person when it comes to this, although I’ll have some fruit salad too.

5. The sunlight. I love it that the times of daylight are much longer in summer than in winter. This enables me to be outside more often during the evening and also to enjoy more natural light while indoors. Although the sun definitely causes its problems (ie. sunburns), I generally love it when it’s shining. Besides, I’m making a habit out of wearing sunscreen everyday now.

What do you love about summer?

Gratitude List (July 18, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this beautiful Sunday. I used to have this rule that I had to write my gratitude posts on Friday or they didn’t “count”. Then I would allow myself to post on Saturdays too. Now it’s Sunday. I think it shows I’m pretty rigid with my rules of what is the “right time” for a certain post. I mean, the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is open till Tuesday and even if it wasn’t, that wouldn’t be a reason not to publish a gratitude post. Gratitude is always useful, so…

1. I am grateful my family and friends are still healthy and haven’t contracted COVID. Many are fully vaccinated by now too.

2. I am grateful I don’t live in the flooded area of the country, let alone in Germany or Belgium, where the flooding has been much worse. There’s been a lot of outrage at the way the Dutch handle the flood, but I think they’re handling it as well as they can. I am grateful we’ve not had any deaths due to it so far.

3. I am grateful for a sunny day here. Several, in fact. Since last Friday, the rain is pretty much gone out of this area of the country and we’re having warm summer weather.

4. I am grateful my GP took my abdominal issues seriously. Like I mentioned on Friday, I am back on a higher dose of magnesium. Here’s hoping this will work.

5. I am grateful I am still pretty motivated for creative endeavors. I’ve been making some jewelry, lip balm, as well as a melt and pour soap this evening.

6. I am grateful for the ability to online window shop without actually buying anything. I have so much I want to buy once my benefits arrive, but I’m glad I’ve restrained myself from spending any more money until then at least.

7. I am grateful for grilled hamburgers with cheddar cheese. We had those for lunch on Thursday.

8. I am grateful for a short chat with a woman from the care home a few doors next to mine. I mentioned her before, we used to talk a lot at day activities and she’s even had coffee in my room one time. Now due to COVID, we can only meet outside. I am however grateful I got to chat to her again and she’s well.

9. I am grateful my husband came by today. I hadn’t seen him in two weeks, as he had to work last week Saturday. Today, we went to Subway to have lunch.

10. I am grateful I found the Bible reading plan I’m currently following. It’s called “Hope Heals in the Midst of Suffering”. I can totally relate to the plan’s author’s experiences and they are so validating!

What are you grateful for?

Five Food Aromas I Love #5Things

I’m once again a day late with answering this week’s #5Things prompt. This week, the topic is food aromas. Some food smells are even better than the food itself. Though I personally don’t like any smells of foods I dislike, certain food aromas definitely make my mouth water even if I’m not a huge fan of the food itself. Here goes.

1. Coffee. Though I drink about four cups of coffee a day, I can’t really say I like it. It’s probably more that I have developed a coffee-drinking habit and/or that I’m addicted to caffeine. That being said, the smell of freshly-brewed coffee is definitely pleasant. I even used to have some coffee-scented wax melts back when I still used those. Then again, my husband says the Morning Coffee one smells like uncleaned loo. But I digress.

2. Cinnamon rolls. Or cinnamon anything really. Oooh, how lovely! I do happen to love love love cinnamon rolls, but that doesn’t mean I like everything with cinnamon in it. Its smell, however, is mouth-watering.

3. Barbecue. I am a true meat lover, but other than that am not a huge fan of barbecueing. That being said, the smell definitely makes me hungry even when I’ve just eaten.

4. Bakery goods. I particularly love the smell of freshly-baked bread. My father used to occasionally bake his own bread from scratch and it always smelled delicious.

5. Garlic. Okay, this may be weird, since most people say that garlic stinks. I disagree. I love love love the smell of garlic when it’s being used in foods. Though people’s breath after having eaten it, isn’t as great indeed, I don’t mind that either.

What food smells make your mouth water?

Five Trendy Foods I Hate #5Things

Okay, I’m a day late with my contribution to this week’s Five Things. This week’s theme is food fads you hate. Like I said a few weeks ago, I got “only” eleven points on the picky eater test my husband had found online. Still, I’m quite a picky eater. I also don’t really know food trends, so some of these might not actually be food fads.

1. Mash. Okay, firstly, this isn’t really a trend. Mashed potato has been a popular food for probably as long as potatoes have been affordable here in the Netherlands and that’s as long as I and my parents and probably my grandparents too could remember. Mash isn’t even a holiday food; I bet that the average Dutch family eats some variety of it several times a week. Here at the care facility, I get mashed potatoes about four times a week if I don’t put mash on my “dislikes” list.

Speaking of the dislikes list though, I honestly can’t stand most things passing for meals here. I mean, seriously, cooked but otherwise not-seasoned beans as a vegetable?! And if you put those on your dislikes list, you also won’t get chili con carne. Thankfully, now I and several other clients get to pick our meals from a menu.

2. Celery. Okay, I will eat a little bit of it in a salad or in my mother-in-law’s lasagne. Other than that, I flat out refuse to eat it. My care facility’s meal service considers boiled celery a valid vegetable on its own too.

3. Ginger. Not sure this is a food trend anymore, but I’m pretty sure it was claimed to be some type of superfood some years ago. I’ve tried it, but honestly it just isn’t for me.

4. Raw cocoa. I can’t even stand dark chocolate, so I honestly can’t imagine liking this.

5. Sugar-free candy. This isn’t necessarily because I don’t like its taste, but because sorbitol and manitol both set off my IBS pretty bad.

Okay, this was harder than I thought it would be. After all, I do like most acclaimed superfoods, such as chia seeds, almond milk and acai. That being said, if I had to list five foods in general that I dislike, this’d be a list of food groups.

What about you? What food fads do you dislike?

A Wonderful Wednesday

Hi everyone. This is going to be a quick post. I am really pleased with myself right now. Today is a great day. The sun shone, the birds sang and I broke my daily step record!

In the morning, my day activities staff took me to the marketplace. We got fried fish for lunch. We also wanted to get fried chicken, but the poultry guy didn’t have that today. I also got cookie crumbs (yes, they’re a real thing). They were €2 a bag but two bags for €3, so I treated myself and got two bags. One of them, I already consumed. Then we walked to the supermarket to see if they had fried chicken and they did!

I also went on a walk before going to the marketplace. We went there by car and I didn’t look at my Fitbit until we were back. I wasn’t expecting to have gotten in many steps, but already had nearly 5,000 steps.

Then in the afternoon, my mother-in-law visited me. We went on over an hour’s walk together. The sun was shining brightly and it was really warm, about 24°C. I truly loved the birdsong, the ability to walk and the sunshine!

In the evening, I went on two more walks with my one-on-one. I got in over 19,000 steps, so just yet, I did a little dance just to get to 20,000 steps. That’s double my daily step goal. I broke my daily step record, which was at just over 17,000 on December 18, 2020.

I also got in 173 active heartrate zone minutes. I wasn’t really exercising for nearly three hours today, but the minutes I got in the cardio zone, count twice.

I did worry a little about my heartrate not returning to normal nearly as fast as my mother-in-law’s. Then again, she is of average build, while I am, as much as I hate to admit it, still obese. I’m trying not to worry too much, since my resting heartrate is still within the normal range.

Overall, today was a wonderful day! Unfortunately, the temperature is supposed to drop to a high of like 13°C tomorrow. It’s not supposed to rain though, so I can still walk. That is, if my muscles don’t ache all over.

Things That Made Me Smile (March 29, 2021) #WeeklySmile

Hello everyone. I’m still struggling quite a bit today. Like I said yesterday, I have been flooded with emotional flashbacks. To end my day on a positive note, though, I am participating in The Weekly Smile once again. Today, my smiles are food-related.

On Friday, one of the staff came to me to say that she was going to cook a meal for that evening with one of my fellow clients. He and I are the only ones who can eat solid food. Well, that isn’t 100% true, but the other client who can, is a very picky eater, who doesn’t enjoy the types of meals we do. Anyway, the staff gave me the choice between three different dishes we could make with Knorr’s World Dishes series of packages. These are packets of rice, pasta or the like, seasoning and spices, to which you add veggies and meat. The meals I could choose from, were köfta (a Greek meatball dish), nacho casserole and lasagne. I chose the nacho casserole.

The staff and this other client set about preparing the casserole in the afternoon. At around 4:30PM, the evening staff put it in the oven. It was so delicious! The casserole contained nacho chips, minced meat, onions and bell peppers. There was also lettuce to go with it as a side dish, but I didn’t have that.

These packages are for two to three people, so I had more than enough. I have fond memories of cooking köfta myself when in independence training in 2007 and would really like to help prepare it when we get to this one.

Then yesterday, my one-on-one support staff had brought ready-made cookie dough. We made cookies with this and they tasted awesome! Yesterday evening, I had two. I then had the staff take the cookies to the living room to give to her colleagues or any clients who may be able to enjoy them. I fully expected them to be all gone by today, but there were still some left! That definitely put a smile to my face.

What made you smile lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 27, 2021)

Hi all on this cold but sunny Saturday. I’ve been wanting to write a lot lately, but just couldn’t find the time. Today I’m summarizing what’s been going on in my life in a #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I’ve just had dinner. We had French fries and some might still be left over for you. Otherwise, there’ll be ice cream in the freezer. We should also have various soft drinks in the fridge and I can make you a coffee if you want it. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the entire weekend reading. That’s why I didn’t write a post yesterday. I loved the book I was reading, Cathy Glass’ latest foster care memoir. I’ll post a review soon.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather was incredible over the past week. We had temperatures of about 18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. Today, like I said, is colder and the temperature even dropped to slightly below freezing last night.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that overall, I’m doing pretty well. Early in the week, I was struggling majorly with anxiety. That has mostly gone now and thankfully hasn’t, like some other times, made way for depression. I’m feeling pretty upbeat.

That being said, I’d also share that I’m a little sad, because one of my favorite staff is leaving for the care home next door to mine. Tomorrow will be her last shift in my home. This is the reason we had fries and ice cream for dinner today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my new essential oils, that I’d ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. I was very frustrated at first, because on Wednesday the delivery service reported that they’d tried but been unable to deliver my package that day. They didn’t state a reason and I wasn’t sure either, since there’s always someone home here now that the day center is closed. I checked my details and noticed my house number had been put in twice. I wasn’t sure they could’ve misread it and tried to deliver my package elsewhere.

Thankfully, on Thursday, while on my afternoon walk, my staff and I ran into the delivery guy and my staff asked him whether he had a package for my address. He did. The staff carried my package, which thankfully wasn’t heavy, all the way on our walk.

I am totally in love with my new oils. The vetiver one came in a bottle with a large pipette snout, so it doesn’t fit into my essential oil container. That’s alright, as now I didn’t have to remove my field mint EO from the container to make space. My other oils fit in perfectly and I love the smell of the new ones, cardamom and grapefruit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband is busy with the trailer for his car that he bought two weeks ago. He isn’t coming to see me this weekend. That’s okay. Of course, I miss him, but am so glad we have phone and text contact.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d moan about my Braille display. I don’t remember whether I shared about my old one going into repair. Which old one, you might ask, as my current one is the third in a row. The first had dots that were stuck at least half a dozen times in the first nine months and eventually got sent back to the manufacturer. Well, the replacement had the same problem after about six months of using it too. I waited some months before reporting it, but eventually got sick of it. It is currently in repair. Now the replacement’s replacement is starting to act up too. It sucks and I’m starting to think I do something to make them all break, but I don’t know what. The thing is, the Braille display I had before this model was fine for five years even though I’d spilled tea over it when it was only a few weeks old and had dropped it a few times. And just in case the Braille display company’s representatives read this and are assuming I’m treating this model the same, I’m not. I never drink or eat in front of my Braille display and haven’t dropped it either. Quite frankly, I’m tempted to ask the company to replace the dots on my old model, which have worn out a little from use, and have me use that one innstead of this model all made on a Monday morning when the manufacturers were still half asleep.

What’s been going on in your life?