Lovin’ Lately (October 9, 2020) #Blogtober20

Okay, I’m once again pretty late writing a post. I’m seriously uninspired today. The #Blogtober20 prompt for today, “Imagine”, didn’t evoke anything in me. Since the prompts are optional, I could of course do a gratitude list or lovin’ lately post. That at first didn’t feel good with the challenge, as I wanted to write originally for the challenge, but so what? Sharing my likes and loves might bring you joy! Today, let me share the things that I’ve loved lately and that bring me joy.

1. The weighted blanket. I already mentioned it a few times this past week but yesterday, it was decided that I can keep it. My care facility is paying for it. I am very happy about this.

2. Yet more essential oils. On Tuesday, some new oils arrived, including cinnamon, clove, lemon and orange. I now have over 20 different oils and can make a lot of lovely blends. Right now, I’m diffusing a Christmassy blend of cinnamon, patchouli, clove, orange and ylang ylang. I am completely in love with the most recent additions to my oil collection!

3. Soap making. I love to make melt and pour soap. On Monday, a staff asked me to make one for a relative of hers. I got down to making it on Tuesday right away. She had requested rose fragrance, so I decided to also try out my red mica colorant. Because you only need a tiny amount of it, I decided to make two soaps: one for the relative and one for the staff herself. The butterfly is for the relative and the square one for the staff. In case it isn’t readable, the square one has “100% hand made” written on it.

4. Free and cheap books. I cannot remember who it was, but a fellow #Blogtober20 participant shared some tips on getting free or cheap books legally a few days ago. One of them was BookBub. It’s a U.S.-based (and maybe UK-based too) site that collects book deals from the main book retailers, such as Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, etc. It sends out a daily E-mail with that day’s deals. Through BookBub, I found quite a few interesting books.

Of course, since I’m in the Netherlands, I got an error once trying to download a free book from Amazon.com. However, I looked it up on Amazon.nl and it was free there too. The first one I got is a cozy mystery called Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs. It’s the first in a series, but if I’m correct, the books can be read as standalones too.

5. Products from The Body Shop. I must say I haven’t bought any yet, but I’ve been oohing and aahing at their advent calendar and their pumpkin vanilla product line too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy the pumpkin vanilla hand cream if it isn’t sold out already.

What things brought you joy lately?

#Blogtober20

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 27, 2020)

It’s pretty late in the evening already and I had a few gulps of wine. That isn’t a wise idea, as I normally literally never drink. It was one of my staff’s leaving party and the other staff dared me to drink to it. I only had one gulp of red wine and one gulp of white wine, but I was definitely feeling the effect. Call it placebo, I don’t care.

I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. The staff who is retiring took the remaining wine home with her, so we don’t have that now. We do have several types of soft drinks and a type of orange-peach juice. We also, of course, have coffee or tea. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, thankfully, all clients who had cold symptoms last week, tested negative for coronavirus and are on the mend now. I am still a bit sniffy but other than that feel fine.

If we were having coffee, I would share that now, unfortunately, my husband is sick. For this reason, I couldn’t see him over this week-end again. I hope he’s better by next week, both for his sake and mine.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made an experimental soap yesterday. I made it with real coffee grounds and espresso fragrance oil. I was planning on making a soap for the staff who’s retiring, but didn’t have time to make one for myself to try out first. Here’s hoping the staff will like it.

If we were having coffee, I would then go on and on about my new essential oil diffuser and my new oils to go in it. I had a blend I made myself in it yesterday, which I call lime love. It uses lime, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

If we were having coffee, I would also share how happy I am with the weighted blanket I’m allowed to try out for two weeks. Last night, I didn’t sleep well due to once again hyperfocusing on a project – my umpteenth attempt at blogging in Dutch. However, I did feel more rested than usual when I woke up.

Lastly, if we were having coffee, I wouldn’t have coffee at all, as I’m wanting to go to bed soon. I love lying in bed with my essential oil diffuser on with a relaxing blend in it, some soothing music in the background and my weighted blanket over me.

What’s been going on in your life lately?

Green Tea and Lemon Soap

This week, one of Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompts is to write about the last thing you made. Another of her prompts is about something good that happened this week.

Well, the good thing that happened to me is the fact that I’m motivated for soaping again. I’m seriously loving it!

Last week, I googled all over the Internet for soaping recipes, but didn’t really find the motivation or time to actually make any soaps. This week, I made two.

Now I must say that researching soaping is almost as enjoyable as is actually making soap. For example, today, I decided to look into making all-natural soaps and researching essential oil brands that are relatively safe. I mean, I know that natural health-minded people say that essential oils are by definition safer than fragrance oils, but I disagree. This is the reason I used a fragrance oil in the soaps I made this week.

So what did I make? Those who saw my Lovin’ Lately post last week might be guessing it correctly. Yes, I made green tea and lemon soap! I used this recipe for inspiration.

I used my default brand white glycerin-based melt and pour soap base. Then I added the cheapest matcha green tea powder I could find. After all, I didn’t really need it for actual tea. I used one teaspoon for about 100g of soap. I added a fragrance oil called Juicy Yellow Lemon from a great fragrance oil store. In my first soap, pictured below, I added three drops of fragrance oil, but I felt it was a little strong. I wouldn’t recommend using 3/4 teaspoons essential oil in one pound of soap, as the linked recipe recommends, because particularly lemon EO is very phototoxic.

The green tea got a little clumpy as I mixed it in with the soap base. Maybe I should’ve mixed it with some glycerin first, but I didn’t have any on hand. Actually, I think the spotty effect is a bit charming in its own right.

I made this one yesterday. Today, I made another soap using the same method, but it is heart-shaped. That one is for my husband, as it’s our ninth wedding anniversary on Saturday.

So how did I like it? I rarely use the soaps I make myself, but decided to give this one a try before making the one for my husband. Contrary to my expectations, the soap feels really smooth when using it. I also don’t feel like my skin gets rubbed too much. I loved the combination of green tea with the lemon scent!

What have you made recently?

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 12, 2020)

Happy Easter Sunday to everyone. I am once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had some decaf and right after that had the only fizzy drink I like, called “Dubbelfrisss”. It is only slightly fizzy though. Have a drink with me and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would ask all my fellow #AtoZChallenge participants how you’re doing on the challenge. I am so far doing pretty well. The J and K are always hard letters for me, but as you can tell, I found a word for the letter J. I am almost decided on my letter K post too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the fun the littles (inner children) have had reading jokes and free stories. We are a member of an E-mail list called Laughing_Place, but rarely even read the E-mails sent out until this past week. We laughed out loud at some of the jokes. As Milou said, the littles also had lots of fun going on a seesaw. We went on it again on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a lovely Easter card from a woman who lives at another home in our care facility. We can’t see each other much now that the day center is closed, but I talked to her from across her fence.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the blog upgrade I purchased. I have the Premium plan now. As you may be able to tell, I now have my own domain and all WordPress.com ads should be gone. I also got Google Analytics, which I’m having a love/hate relationship with. I’m pretty unsure about all the technical design stuff I can do now, as I’m not tech savvy at all. I’m still not entirely sure this was a wise purchase, but so far I’m not regretting it. I might once the 30-day refund period is over though.

I am thinking about starting my blog’s Facebook page back up. This upgrade also comes with cool social sharing options, so I’d bettter make use of them. I want to get a cover photo for my FB page then though and would love a logo for my blog. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I reached my daily step goal certainly on both Thursday and Friday and probably on Wednesday too. However, then my Fitbit wouldn’t cooperate, so it says I got 33 steps only. I in fact got nearly 13K steps on Thursday and nearly 12K on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made a soap for a staff who’s leaving in a week or so. She is a substitute for someone who’s on maternity leave and that other staffer will return on the 21st. The soap is a butterfly that’s been scented with lavender fragrance oil.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that there’s a new client at my home. I’m struggling a bit with it, but she seems nice.

What have you been up to lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 23, 2020)

I’m late to join in with #WeekendCoffeeShare, but better late than never. I just had coffee. Didn’t track my fluid intake today, as I was a bit lax with it, but I also had water, yoghurt drinnks and green tea.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your week has been? Hopefully the weather has been treating you well. Here in the Netherlands, the week started off pretty well, but over the week-end, we’ve had a storm once again and lots of rain too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I did some soap making again early in the week. I made a yellow, banana-scented soap that actually turned out quite well on Monday. I haven’t tried my hand at bath bomb making again this week, but I did try out a bath bomb I’d made last week in the bath last Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that this week has been pretty good in the physical activity department. I got over 200 active minutes, 150 being recommended. I wasn’t very active every day, but on the days that I was, I went above my daily goal. In fact, I probably was more active than my Fitbit activity tracker claims I was, as it doesn’t seem to count side-by-side bike rides, as I’m not steering then. I discovered that I really like one of the two side-by-side bikes we have at the day center. With the other, I cannot reach the pedals and I don’t like it if I can’t pedal along.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that over the week-end, I’ve mostly been relaxing. My husband would have come over to take me to a nearby city called Hengelo. I was planning on buying wireless headphones with noise canceling functionality there and then we’d eat out. Unfortunately, my husband was sick, so he didn’t come over.

I bought the headphones I wanted online. Then after I’d ordered them, I discovered that the mobile app they work with, which I’d considered an advantage, had really poor ratings on the app store. Thankfully, the headphones work without the app too and actually the app works fine for me. I’m not sure I’ll keep the app though, as I don’t really need it. The headphones, like I said, have noise canceling. I was a little disappointed in how it worked the first time, but then again I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never had noise canceling headphones before, after all and my room was relatively quiet when I tried it. I will try it out at day activities tomorrow, as that’s what I intended the headphones for. The headphones also have Bluetooth connectivity, which I’d never tried before either. I love that, as I’m now able to walk around the room while having my headphones on. I may try to go onto the elliptical while using them tomorrow.

What have you been up to lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 2, 2020)

It’s February, yay. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare again, even though I’m not 100% sure I feel like writing. I had a lot of green tea and only one cup of coffee today. It’s interesting that, at my husband’s and in-laws’, I mostly drink green tea, whereas in the care facility I almost always drink coffee. Anyway, let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was a hard one. I don’t even remember what I did on Monday. On Tuesday, I was in a near-constant panic at day activities. I eventually asked to go to the behavior specialist’s office to see if I could schedule an appointment with her to talk. However, the behavior specialist on my case wasn’t in the office. Another one was, but I couldn’t quite make it clear what I needed and so I went back downstairs.

That evening, I had another huge crying fit. I took a PRN lorazepam, but still didn’t sleep all night. In the morning, I kept crying. My assigned support worker informed me that the behavior specialist responsible for my care was on sick leave, but she called the one who’d been in the office on Tuesday.

She visited me at day activities at around 11AM and I talked for about an hour. I talked about all that I was overwhelmed by. Particularly, I felt that I need more support at day activities. This still needs some sorting out, but mostly I do now get an assigned staff member each day.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that from then on, I felt okay and haven’t had panic attacks or meltdowns. I do struggle with some level of overwhelm and anxiety, but it’s manageable.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that on Thursday, the family of a potential new client came for a visit. This stressed me out a little, because I thought another client coming to my home means less care for me. This isn’t the case, the staff said.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I traveled by train to Arnhem yesterday. A transregional ParaTransit taxi drove me to Deventer station. There, a travel assistant was waiting to help me onto the train. She apparently needed to help someone in Arnhem next, so she actually traveled all the way to Arnhem with me rather than just helping me get on the train. My husband picked me up from the station at Arnhem again. It was a relatively comfortable way of getting eased into traveling by train again.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband and I had pizza at our in-laws’ yesterday. Then today my mother-in-law would be driving me back to the facility, so she picked me up at my husband’s at 4PM. We first went to my in-laws’ house again, where we walked the dog and ate fried potatoes, broccoli and chicken. I had a Magnum almond ice cream for dessert.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I finally brought some of my soaping supplies to the facility with me today. One of our home staff was leaving this week, so I had originally intended to make her a soap earlier. Thankfully, she will be working at another home with this facility, so when I do make the soap, I can bring it to her.

How has your week been?

Saying Goodbye at Day Activities Again

I contemplated for a bit what to title this post. Seriously, I don’t hope next year will see yet another goodbye from day activities. I really hope I will be able to stay at the day center in Raalte much longer than I did at the one I left last year and this one. I know, I didn’t have to leave this center because the team or management no longer wanted me. I’m so glad I left knowing that the reason was mostly down to my own choice and circumstances.

So today I had my leave-taking party at day activities. First, we had French fries with a snack for lunch. I loved them. Most times I’ve gotten a choice of snacks, it was just between the two most commonly-eaten Dutch snacks. I told the staff I wanted a type of spicy snack called “mexicano” and suggested another client, who is non-verbal but about whom we know that she likes spicy food, might like it too. She definitely enjoyed it.

Then when having coffee break in the afternoon, I presented my group with “stroopwafels”, a type of Dutch caramel-filled waffle. I also gave each of the staff a small handmade soap. The staff gave me a large stuffed panda bear.

Then some clients and staff from other groups visited to say goodbye. I got a lovely huge card, the size of a small painting you can hang on the wall, from another group. It had a greeting in wooden tactile letters stuck on it. I also got chocolates. Another group gave me a card and two huge chocolate bars. Now my attempt at losing weight when I go to the care facility will have to be postponed a little

I do not know whether the clients on my own group will notice I’m gone. I guess they will, but most probably don’t have the words to ask about me. People from other groups have definitely been asking about me leaving for a while now and some say they’ll miss me. I will for sure miss them too.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 15, 2019)

Hi everyone, how are you? Let’s catch up over a cup of coffee or once again green tea in my case. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was full of ups and some downs, though the downs weren’t as low as I’d expected. As regular readers of this blog know, I will be moving to the care facility in Raalte in eight days. My staff, my husband and I have been doing some preparation in regards to my leaving my current day activities and going to start up in Raalte.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally told my mother I’ll be going to the care facility. I sugarcoated it a little, saying I’d be staying at my care agency in Raalte during the week and going home to my husband on week-ends. As a result, at first she wasn’t sure I’d be actually sleeping at the care facility. After a little “but I thought you were doing so well” and all, she wished me good luck at the place.

I am not 100% sure how to feel about it. In a way, this seemingly supportive attitude contradicts my memories from years before and that is hard to adapt to. However, I’m trying to be gratefulfor her support. I haven’t talked to my father or sister about it yet.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my sister gave birth to a baby girl, Janneke Sietske, last Tuesday. She is named Janneke after my sister’s and my grandma who died last year and Sietske after one of my brother-in-law’s grandmothers. Janneke had some health issues early on and we haven’t been able to visit yet. We’re planning on visiting her next week though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that today, my husband and I made some small banana soaps for the staff at day activities. I’ll give them to them on Friday, when I have my leave-taking party.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my last appoitnment with my nurse practitioner went okay. He has referred me to the mental health agency in Raalte. I haven’t seen the referral letter, but he said he’d written about my trauma but that, for now, here and now work is most appropriate for me. I did try to get it through that ultimately, I do want to process my trauma. I’m not sure that will happen, as most likely I can’t get trauma therapy without at least a C-PTSD diagnosis if not DID/OSDD. Precisely getting my trauma-related issues assessed is a huge trigger for me.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I finally finished The Fault in Our Stars, which I started reading already three weeks ago. I will hopefully be able to finish at least one more book before the end of the month.

What’s been up with you lately?

Soap: The Fun of Bath and Body Product Making #AtoZChallenge

The First Soap I Made

Welcome to day 19 in the #AtoZChallenge. I’m so excited to share today’s topic, as for today, I will be talking about a special interest of mine.

In the summer of 2016, I discovered soap making. An online friend of mine, who is also blind, had been doing it for years, but I hadn’t given it much thought. Then I decided to buy a starter kit. It contained melt and pour soap base, colorants, fragrance oils, a mold and other supplies you would need. I went about making my first soaps and they turned out okay. I need to say here that I’d tried a ton of other crafting hobbies before, including card making, polymer clay and jewelry making. Though my jewelry turned out okay’ish too, all my other craft projects turned out rubbish. I didn’t notice it at first, so I had some reservations re my soap making too.

The good thing about soap making, is that the result, even if it isn’t visually appealing, can be used. I have several soaps that were too bad for gifting, but I use them in my bathroom.

I cannot make soap completely independently (yet). I have tried, but then my kitchen became a huge mess. However, my soaps usually turn out pretty good if I get some help.

Besides soap, I’ve made body butters and lip balms. I like making those too, but they’re more work. I’ve also tried my hand at body lotions, but they never turned out good. I still would love to make those someday, as their visual appearance isn’t as important as with soaps.

The friend I mentioned above doesn’t use colorants in her soaps. I am still figuring out how to work this thing out, as white soaps don’t appeal as much to sighted people, but with colorants, you have to be careful to match the color and fragrance. I’ve made a few big mistakes in this respect, including a purple soap with coffee fragrance.