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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Pack Right Stress Less

There are lots of details that have to come together when you are going on a big trip. There's of course the trip planning and booking of flights and maybe other transportation you'll need. There is the hotels or Airbnb's to book, Many tours and excursions need to be scheduled ahead of time or you may risk not being able to get into many of the places that you wish to see. Booking ahead will also save you from being in those nasty long lineups and wondering if you'll actually make it in. By being organized you can also save money as many sites offer deals for signing up to things in advance.  Getting everything together can be stressful. 

Taking a nice vacation or trip to another country especially one that you've never been to before can be exciting and overwhelming.  I don't know what it is but I still get a little stressed or anxious about packing the right things.  Packing your clothing, shoes, accessories and toiletries can be challenging when the trip is a little longer and you want to be sure you've packed well.  If the weather changes suddenly you want to be covered for that too!  

However that said, I do try to have a system that usually works and if anything,  I usually over pack rather than under pack. Last year before we traveled I purchased some packing cubes in a variety of sizes and found these to be amazing at keeping suitcases organized. I think I will buy a few more for this trip as well.  

When you use packing cubes or compartment bags you can fit a lot more into your luggage.  Rolling up clothing such as t-shirts and tops, even capri's or jeans will fit nicely into packing cubes. Also great for under garments and socks. This keeps like things together and you won't have things loose in your suitcase. Especially great if your suitcase pops open or you happen to get searched. 

I've learned that as far as choosing what clothing to bring, (of course depends on your destination) each item should be able to be worn with at least 2 or 3 others.  So yes, it takes a little planning and coordinating but it's worth it to lay your wardrobe out a week or so before your trip to be sure most of your items can be worn together.   I find I usually take lots of white, black and neutral colors that easily go together. Then you can just add one or two bright color accessories like maybe a jacket or scarf or a bold pair of sandals.  

Here is a check list from another post I wrote: 

1) Passport – keep a spare copy of your passport and birth certificate with you and leave a copy at home with someone in your family.
2) Shoulder Bag – (ladies) a good bag that has an adjustable sturdy shoulder strap, allows your hands to be free and is safer. For the (guys) maybe a money belt or a ‘man’ bag…
3)Currency and Credit Cards – take enough of the correct currency with you for the first couple of days, and a back up credit card to be safe.
4) Pack light, once you’ve decided on your clothes, leave one outfit behind, you’ve probably packed more than you’ll need. (I know this one is hard)
5) Pack vitamins, ibuprofen and any stomach or nausea medication you think you might need.
6) A few random things I’m throwing in… band-aids, large zip lock bags, safety pins, neck pillow, hand sanitizer

Hope you found this helpful...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Summer Reading For The Soul

Every person likely enjoys or is drawn to reading a different type of novel. I really enjoy reading historical fiction. I have read several books by a variety of authors. I just finished reading The Daughter's Tale and before that The German Girl both written by Armando Lucas Correa. 

Historical novels like these are so fascinating and interesting to me as they shed light on the past and historical events.that happened before my time. They also give a greater sense of the tragedies and triumphs people lived through and endured as well as the struggles of day to day survival and how they sacrificed and found hope in extremely difficult times.  

The Daughter's Tale is about one of the most harrowing events in history committed by the Nazis on a civilian population. A good author like 'Correa' really pulls you into the lives of the characters and exposes the compassion and cruelty of the human heart. This historical novel is about family bonds and staying strong through the toughest of circumstances that no one on earth should be faced with. This novel brought me to tears many times and by the end I was literally sobbing. (just ask my husband) It definitely took a few days for my mind to stop churning over the things that I read about in this book. 

When I think back to high school classes of history I wish we had been able to read historical fiction like this.  I'm sure many students like myself would have been educated better and motivated to learn about history from people and characters that we could relate too. I remember my history class being extremely boring and uninteresting.  

If you enjoy historical fiction about the Holocaust or WWII  I'm sure you will want to add these two books to your reading list.  I always like to take a good book with me when traveling. Especially great to have when waiting in airports or when you're on a flight.  

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Will it be Coffee or Tea

Likely you are either a person who loves coffee or one who enjoys tea!  Generally individuals seem to be in one camp! That's not to say you can't enjoy a cup of the other occasionally!  Where do you fit in, is it coffee for you or tea?  

There may be many factors that come into play as to why you prefer one of these drinks over the other.  Your genes can be one of the reasons that you choose the drink you do.  According to scientists we may be genetically predisposed to perceiving a bitter substance and this can tip us toward choosing one beverage over another. Interesting right!  

Here are a some of the reasons people reach for coffee...

- they need that morning eye opener (big caffeine jolt) 
- many find themselves addicted to coffee
- it's a social thing
- it is said to be an antioxidant
- love the taste

and others reach for tea...

- health benefits (some teas contain antioxidants)
- they were raised on it (British, time for high tea)
- weight loss remedy
- find it more palatable than coffee
- more varieties ( green tea, white tea, black tea and every herbal tea you can think of) 

In our home my husband and I are big coffee drinkers. We like to buy the large bags of beans and grind them every couple of days. So good!  Our sons love their herbal tea. We have a drawer full of different types and brands of tea for them as they usually have a few cups in the evenings after their work day! They like a fresh tea bag for every cup!  All in all it doesn't matter what your preference is as long as you enjoy it.   

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Patience is a Key Ingredient for Life

So here we are in March and the snowflakes came down again yesterday.  So weird to see snow this late but the temperatures are still very cold and people are still dressing for winter.  However, yesterday I felt like baking some spring theme sugar cookies.  Why not bring a little sunshine into the house!   

I like to bake but sometimes I'm not sure why I choose to do baking that takes a lot of patience like sugar cookies that you have to roll and cut out and then decorate with pretty icing colors.  I guess it is nice to see them finished and know that I hung in there til the end. 

I made butterflies and cupcakes.  Royal icing is not one that I make often and can be a little finicky as you have to get the perfect consistency to outline your cookies and then another called a flooding consistency to fill in the cookie.  Of course you need to separate your icing into small bowls and add gel paste or food coloring to have a variety of colors to use.  Then it definitely takes some practice and lots of patience to outline with a steady hand and fill in your cookie so that it looks appealing.  Although I'm sure in my house my hubby or sons would gobble them up no matter what they looked like.  I enjoyed making them to some degree but did find I got a little tired and impatient after decorating a dozen or so! 

Patience is something we get better at through time, trials, and experiences in life. I believe it builds character.  There are so many instances and circumstances in life where we need a great deal of patience. Whether it is at work, while driving, in relationships, with a friend or in your family we all can be challenged. Patience takes practice and we can all find little ways to practice our patience that can help us with the times we really need to call on those skills.  Perhaps we can learn to listen more, not react so quickly, not interrupt as much and over all be a little more empathetic.  

Ahhh, I think it's time for a cookie! 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Valleys and Mountain Tops

In life we can all expect to find ourselves in a despairing valley at sometime. We are all human and things are going to happen to us and around us that are out of our control!  It might be a different type of valley that you experience. For some it may be a physical health issue, mental health issue, financial stresses, business disappointments, relational difficulties or one of many other circumstances that you find yourself in.  

When you are in the valley it may feel like things are never going to change and you are never getting out of there. You can't will the problem away or demand it leave because life just doesn't work that way.  

Mountain tops are high and lofty and seem like a great place to remain. We can see amazing scenic views from the top of mountains. Unfortunately living on a mountain top will not allow us to grow. What I mean by that is growth takes place in hard places, like down in the valleys, where trials come. Yup, as hard as it is to lose the view from the mountain top we all have our turns in  the valley and we all need to find the strength and resilience to climb out once again.  

Everyone will experience trials and difficulties in this life. For me, I am so glad of my relationship with Jesus because I know he is always working for my good even when it feels like I'm being swallowed up by a valley experience.  I can trust that he is with me and I'm not on the journey alone.  The valley is where we learn and can truly appreciate God's grace in our lives.  Even through the most difficult times we are not alone.  

Spending time reading, praying and listening to inspirational devotionals can help you relax and know that God's grace, comfort and peace will never fail.  His promises are true.  I hope you find this encouraging if today you find yourself in a valley of despair and discouragement.  Good days are coming! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Eat Well Live a Healthy Life

The new Canada Food Guide has been released this week and there are visible and valuable changes to be seen from the old Canada food guide of 1977.  Now promoting only three categories rather than four. Promoting a healthier way to eat based on a high consumption of plant based foods and less emphasis on meat and dairy.  Finally we are being told the truth, plant based eating I believe is the way to go. 

For many years we have been told that we need to eat a variety from all four food groups to live a healthy life.  This new food guide reduces the food groups to three. The new groups are made up of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins and meat and dairy combined. There are no longer serving size recommendations or suggested numbers of servings. The new guide recommends eating plant based foods more often and de-emphasizes the meat and dairy saying that eating this way can have positive effects on our health and help fight disease. 

The new food guide is also telling Canadians to make 'water' their drink of choice.  Adding emphasis on staying hydrated through out the day and choosing alcoholic and soft drinks less often. Fruit juices which are high in sugar are also not recommended. 

The Canadian guide also promotes 'mindful eating', cooking at home as often as possible, enjoy your meals and they suggest this will encourage a healthier way of eating. 

I have been a vegetarian for many years so this is confirming the approach that I take to eating and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Many people have food intolerance and don't even realize it.  Making some plant based choices more often you may find that you can improve your gut and help fight many diseases. 

Time to cut up some fresh veggies! Enjoy your week! :-)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Just Plan It

Wow, here we are already in the second week of 2019!  I can't believe how quickly time is going by, how about you?  Are you jumping in with both feet and making a good start or are you feeling a little unmotivated and overwhelmed as to how to get yourself on a good track?!  

I have not been one to keep a journal or planner in the past but it has been on my mind for some time and so this week is going to be the week I prepare a planner and set some goals for myself in regards to maintaining a healthy eating plan, drinking enough fluids throughout the days and keeping my fitness and devotionals on track.  Anyone with me... 

I have a pretty floral notebook that I purchased months ago and I just need to set it up like a planner. Create some calendar pages and simple set ups where I can write down what I eat and drink in a day as well as track my gym workouts and walking schedule, I am a big walker and it helps me stay motivated when I see good progress here. So today and tomorrow I will be setting my book up. I have been told it helps to add pretty stickers, colored sticky notes, inspirational quotes and little reminders to help motivate and inspire you to fill out the pages.  You can also add other pages in your journal like meal plans, cleaning your home, organizing rooms, reading/spending time on your devotions, you can track your sleep patterns, organize your business, etc. 

This brings to mind a quote from Stephen R. Covey "A fail to plan is a plan to fail"  

Planning is key...  wherever you are on your journey I hope you are making some great plans for 2019 and maybe this year will be your year to start a journal as well. Great habits don't just happen they are made. 

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