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?

A Productive Wednesday Morning

I got up pretty early this morning at a little past seven o’clock. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up this early, but I just couldn’t go back to sleep. Having gotten up so early did cause me a bit of stress later on, as it’d mean I’d have to wait several hours before day activities started. Thankfully, I made it through.

At ten o’clock, my day activities staff came to my room. I had already had coffee with one of the morning staff, but was happy to have another cup.

Then we went for a walk. My knee still hurt, so I had to walk relatively slowly and got in only seven active heartrate zone minutes. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that.

On the way back to the facility, I asked my staff whether we could call a woman who lives in one of the other homes that afternoon. I used to hang out with this woman a lot when the day center still operated as before COVID. My staff suggested we check whether she was at the day center in her home’s assigned room or outside and she was. I had a socially distanced chat with her and her staff. It was good to see she was doing pretty well.

Then I returned to my home. I told my staff I wasn’t ready for resting yet and wanted to do something. She suggested we do some beading. I made the below keychain.

Purple, heart-shaped keychain

While we were working on the keychain, the physical therapist came by. She said that my knee pain is probably from my not wearing my shoes while indoors. My shoes have arch supports in them, which I do need when walking at all times apparently, not just outdoors. I struggle to wear my shoes when not going outside though, because I cannot tie or untie my laces independently and the shoes don’t feel comfortable when I’m sitting. The physical therapist made some suggestions, but I got majorly overwhelmed. She then went out of my room to discuss her suggestions with just my staff.

Then my staff and I went into the kitchen, where another staff was making hamburgers. I had two buns with a hamburger on them for lunch. I also had some bell pepper, tomatoes and cucumber slices, as well as a kiwifruit. It was delicious!

My lunch of hamburgers

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how I coped this morning. I wasn’t expecting the morning to be this productive when I got up. This afternoon, I plan to relax a bit with my new essential oils in my diffuser. I’m really curious about the cardamom in particular.

Gratitude List (February 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi all! It’s freezing cold out here, with temperatures dropping to -18°C tonight or so the weather forecast said. I don’t like winter one bit. Even so, I have so much to be grateful for right now. Let me share. As usual, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am so very grateful to be alive. Last Monday night, I started to feel sick and, among other things, experienced chest pain which was unusually severe for me. I can get chest pains when having a panic attack, but this didn’t feel like it. I immediately worried about my heart, since even though I’m far too young especially for a wooman to experience a heart attack, I’m still obese. I felt too scared to press the call button though. Thankfully though, I was able to go to sleep and actually woke up the next morning!

2. I am grateful for my supportive staff, who helped me through my time of feeling out of sorts.

3. I am grateful for a very understanding GP. My staff scheduled a doctor’s appt on Tuesday afternoon because I still wasn’t feeling well. The GP was reassuring without being dismissive.

4. I am grateful for magnesium. The doctor thought, as had I when in my rational mind, that despite the Metamucil, I was still constipated. She switched me to magnesium tablets to be taken twice a day. They are chewable tablets, but thankfully my staff were able to grind them and give them to me in some custard. I’m not sure the magnesium is working yet, but it at least doesn’t make things worse.

5. I am grateful the roads and cycling routes are now snow-free. We had a lot of snow on Sunday and Monday, so there was no point in shoving it. Thankfully though, it stopped snowing by Monday evening.

6. I am grateful I was able to go for some walks today thanks to the snow-free cycling routes. The pavements were still largely covered in snow, but thankfully I live in a quiet neighborhood, so we could walk on the street too.

7. I am grateful for large stroopwafels. These are a kind of waffles filled with butterscotch cream or honey. We usually have the mini ones at the facility and I’m the only one who eats them, because they are a choking hazard to the other residents. Today, we had the large ones.

8. I am grateful for pajamas. A staff, the same one who often brings me stuff (I may’ve mentioned her before), brought me pajamas she no longer wore. I am so grateful, as with these deep freezing temperatures, I’d like to keep warm at night.

9. Speaking of the cold, I’m grateful for central heating that actually works. We had a power outage on Tuesday and this meant the heating was off for the rest of the day and most of Wednesday. I’m so glad it’s back on!

10. I am grateful my husband got through the hectic week at work. He’s a truck driver, so his job was very hard during the snowstorm. I’m so glad I was able to support him and am so grateful he made it home safe each evening.

Really, I could probably go on. I am grateful for cellular Internet (because our WiFi was out during the power outage too). I am grateful for sleep. I am grateful for food. I am grateful today in the European way of writing the date, it’s a palindrome (just had to say that). I am grateful for Day One, my journaling app. I am grateful for the YouVersion Bible app. I am grateful for Jesus. All these could make it onto my gratitude list. Really, I am truly blessed!

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 6, 2021)

Hi everyone on this windy Saturday! Welcome to my contribution to the #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s past 8:30PM, so I’ve long had my last cup of coffee for the day. However, I still have cold water in the fridge, as well as several flavors of soft drinks. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week went by relatively smoothly. I did struggle a bit early in the week because I felt guilty that the one-on-one support I’ve been getting lately isn’t helping me as much as I’d like. The staff reassured me that things have just settled down and I shouldn’t expect an instant great improvement. Besides, in a way, I am doing better than I was.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I got some wonderful new essential oils. I got lavandin (which is like lavender but milder), lemongrass, ginger, clary sage and white fir. I am so happy about being able to make some new diffuser blends. I’d totally expected to sleep like a log because of the clary sage, but I didn’t. That’s okay though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I also finally purchased a talking scale. That way, I can weigh myself each week at the same time rather than relying on when I remember to ask a staff to weigh me. The scale wasn’t too kind to me when I first stepped onto it.

If we were having coffee, I’d announce that I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine on Thursday. It hurt a little more than the flu shot had, but the pain was over within the hour.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband didn’t visit me today. We already established on Thursday that I wouldn’t be going to Lobith this week, because of the heavy snow and wind that’s been forecasted for tonight. We’re supposed to get up to 30cm of snow with a possibility of snow dunes. I originally thought snow dunes were the ones that would be 30cm high, but my husband said they might be up to a meter or even two. I can’t really imagine we’ll get this much snow, but I know how quickly it can come down indeed. Looking back, my husband could’ve come by for a quick visit this afternoon.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I made banana bread with my one-on-one staff this evening. We used just eggs, bananas and oatmeal for the batter and then added nuts, cranberries, dates and raisins. The other staff didn’t like the nuts in it, but I loved it.

Banana Bread

What’s been going on in your life lately?