Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Magic Potion of Cold and Flu Season

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It's odd, how a cold seems to crop up right at the very most inopportune moment.  I arrived at school, last Thursday, feeling totally fine.  By 9am I was totally not fine.  I had parent-teacher meetings so I knew I would be at school until about 10pm - what a day to get a cold.  With no warning!

Olive leaf extract (OLE) is my version of a magic potion.  I don't know what is in this stuff, or what makes it so effective, but I would not be without it in my cupboard.  The minute I start to feel my throat getting that little pre-cold niggle I start taking it.  If someone else in my house is unwell I take a half dose a day to make sure I'm all boosted and fighting those germs.  I don't get sick very often, so I'm a very bad patient.  I refuse to get sick just because people around me aren't well!

On Thursday, when I realised I had a cold, I sent Miss Sunshine a text asking her to bring my magic potion school.  I knew I needed to get onto it really quickly or I would nose-dive before the end of the evening.  She made the quick trip out to school and refilled my water bottle so I could take a dose right then without having to leave my class...which I can't do!  They all laughed at me!  The kids thought I looked like I was eating a lemon.  I have to say, it doesn't taste that wonderful.  On a scale where chloroquine is a '10' in "that tastes really awful", this is about a 2.  But it makes me screw my face up until I've washed it down with water.  Miss Sunshine was laughing at me, and my class.  She declared us all "flipping hilarious".  Thanks!

By 4pm, when parent-teacher meetings started, I was feeling much better and I wasn't blowing my nose as much.  Over the last four days I had sounded all stuffy, but haven't really felt like that.  I've also been a bit more tired than usual, but a good snooze has got me going again.  The cold really didn't progress beyond a runny nose that stopped almost as quickly as it started, on the same day.  Other times, when I've used OLE at the first sign, the cold that was beginning has just stopped in its tracks.

I can't take cold and flu medication and I haven't needed to use the cold and flu vitamins I had been using before I found this stuff.  It is truly a magic potion.

And just so you know, I have not been asked to promote this product, or been provided with a sample.  I literally walked into my local pharmacy and picked it up on the advice of a good friend.  My pharmacy happens to have the brand picture above.  It should be labelled "Magic Cold Fighter".

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Favourite Things - New Realisation

I am a 'hills' kind of girl.  Cool, fresh mountain air.  Chilly winters, enveloped in still, fog in the mornings.  Roaring fires.  That's my kind of deal.  I adore where I live, and my little town is about the best place I can imagine living.

And then there's the beach.

I grew up less than a handful of kilometres from the beach, in a little tropical paradise.  We swam almost every day, not because it was idyllic, but because we needed to cool off.  It was sticky and hot and we had no air conditioning back those days.  Listening to the ocean roar at night was my favourite sound, after tropical rain thundering on our uninsulated tin roof.

Last week I mentioned that we'd been away with old friends, and we always camp near the beach in a  foreshore caravan park.  It is way more upmarket than the foreshore caravan parks I remember when I was small!  After about 10-12 years of avoiding the beach there, I finally ventured out.  Miss Mischief and I walked to the front of the caravan park, because I just wanted to see the water.  When we discovered the tide was out I was easily convinced to walk back to our caravan along the shoreline.

What I remembered was that I love walking on wet sand when the tide is a long way out.  It's easy to walk on, and it is just so relaxing.  We slipped off our thongs and enjoyed wet sand and water between our toes.  And I said "I wish I'd done this yesterday", about 10 times.

I wouldn't swap where I live for all the tea in China, but I was reminded of how much I love to walk on the beach.  We'll be near the beach again in a few weeks, and this is what I'm looking forward to.  Long walks along the beach on wet sand when the tide is out.

What's your favourite place to be?  Beach, hills, or somewhere in between, like the suburbs?

Friday, 17 March 2017

Even Better Than 'Just' Salad

Even better than just a salad....or a salad with wholemeal toast, dug from the depths of the staffroom freezer:

Salad and a baguette from The Artisan Crust.  With butter.

You can't even begin to imagine how good lunch was yesterday!!!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

First Mason Jar Salad...In Tupperware

I'm not a huge salad lover.  Salads are OK, but by the end of summer I'm after some good old fashioned cooked veggies.  For me to find a salad I love enough to eat more than two days in a row is quite a thing.

Enter Shauna Niequist's Greenwell Salad.

This is my go-to salad for lunch.  We don't have pears and grapes available at the same time, so I use an apple, and I've never seen dried cherries.  Dried cranberries work well instead.

I took all the bits for this salad away with us over the weekend, so this was my lunch.  Miss Mischief likes this one as well, so she also had salad one day.  And then I had some goats cheese left yesterday morning and nothing else to take to school for lunch.  Hmmmmmm.

The apples need to be covered in the dressing so they don't go brown, but everything else needs to stay out of it.  That's when I remembered reading about mason jar salads...where the dressing is on the bottom and only gets mixed with the top things when you tip it into a bowl at lunch time.  So I began layering up in a Tupperware container that was the right size and shape.

Apple & dressing
salad leaves
goats cheese
(yeah, I didn't have a few of the ingredients)

It ended up being perfect at lunch time, even with the missing onion and craisins.  I tipped it into a bowl and found some wholemeal bread in the staffroom freezer, so I made some toast to go with it.  This salad just seems to go perfectly with buttered bread/toast.

I'm not sure I love any salad enough to have it four days in a row.  I'm not at school today so I'll find something else.  But tomorrow, this will be back.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Then We Stopped for a Bit

I realised, just this morning, that the Labour Day long weekend has occurred at exactly the right moment in the middle of the school term.  I know it was the right moment, because I slept for 10 hours the first night, and seven hours for each of the next two.  Hours and hours of uninterrupted sleep.  That's when I know I'm really tired.

As well as sleeping, however, this weekend infused us with a needed dose of our tribe.  Each year we camp with people we've known our entire lives.  A family of five siblings, some of their spouses and many of their children.  Plus us, and another family, all of whom grew up in the same church as children.  Back then we played together, holidayed together, churched together and spent our days in one another's homes.  My aunt married the cousin of the 5 siblings, so we are connected in more than just deep friendship.

It takes time to develop community; a tribe of people that are part of your everyday life.  I didn't realise how valuable that was until we needed to uproot ourselves and move to a new church.  All of a sudden our tribe wasn't our tribe anymore.  But these whole-of-life friendships have been the ones that have sustained and fuelled us along the way.  They are precious and necessary.  We know each other's faults and gifts.  We know when to "smile and nod" or roll our eyes quietly, and when to challenge and how to laugh.  That's not a quick thing to develop.

So this weekend we've camped.  Us in our 30yo very saggy caravan.  The kids now use little tents because they don't fit in the bunks at the back of the van anymore.  But it does the job.  It only takes us an hour to pack, and we're on our way.

The next time we camp it will be with a new tribe.  One we're building and growing and sewing ourselves into.  That's also necessary.  But there's nothing like the comfort of something deeply known.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

I don't know what I was thinking

I've raised two children to young adulthood, and a third who is mere year away from officially, legally joining them.  We've parented and trained and disciplined and talked and guided and shepherd these children through the past 21 years.  Mostly they're really great people to hang out with, and certainly for everyone beyond our picket fence that is still totally and absolutely true.

But yesterday I blew a gasket.

I am tired of fighting with these people to have them do their dishes job after dinner.  Totally and complete done with it.  So yesterday, after asking one child to empty the dishwasher before they went out in the morning I ended up just doing it myself.

Me:  Could you please do the dishwasher before you go?
Child:  But Mum, I have to go, because I need to get in some hours at work and I have an appointment and I'm about to leave....
Me:  What, you can't take 5 minutes before you go?
Child:  No, because otherwise I'll miss out on time at work
Me:  Fine.  I'll do it myself.
Note:  Child works for their Dad and when they go and how much time they spend there is very fluid.  It's not a normal "start at this time" kind of job.

So I emptied the dishwasher.  And refilled it.  And cleaned the disgusting microwave that is above my head height, so I can't actually see in there or clean without standing on a chair.  I did the dishes, and dried them and put them away.  And the dish rack (no one seems to remember it has a place in a cupboard!).  I wiped down the bench and put all the bits and pieces away.  Then I decided I will just do the stupid dishes myself, for the rest of my life, and give up on arguing with all the people in my house.

Yesterday's episode came on the heels of another Child throwing a hissy fit because they didn't want to cook dinner.  That child got to stamp off to their bedroom and I had to figure out cooking dinner.  After I got home, so wasn't able to start dinner til after 6pm.  I have been known to tell these people they are free to move out....

I wonder when I get to throw a hissy fit and just choose not to do things...and then have them magically be done for me?

For now.  At least I have a clean kitchen.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Micellar Water, I don't think we can be friends

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Dear Micellar Water

I wanted us to have a long and happy relationship.  I really did.  Everyone told me you were gentle and soft and good for sensitive skin.  They told me that you were the perfect thing for removing eye makeup.  You even come in a hypoallergenic formula.  I thought we were set for years to come.

But, no.

You were so disappointing.  Rather than being gentle and soft, you were harsh and irritating.  You made my eyelids swell and become heavy, like they were sitting on my bottom lashes.  I have had days and days of antihistamine eyedrops and topical cortisone cream (thank you Miss Sunshine!) to get my eyes back to normal.  No, I just don't think this is going to be a long-term, sustainable relationship.  And I am terribly disappointed about that.  Disappointed that you didn't live up to the hype.  Disappointed that no one warned me this was a possibility.

Since I can't be friends with you I'm on the lookout for a new friend.  I'm thinking organic, cold-pressed coconut oil might be a better friend for me.  No chemicals, no detergent-like liquid masquerading as something more pure that it really is.  Yes.  I think coconut oil might be just the friend I've been looking for.

Yours not-so-faithfully
No Longer Putting Up with Puffy, Itchy Eyes


I'm calling this summer my "Makeup School Summer".  It's amazing what you can learn on YouTube.    One of my very favourite teachers has been Kate at The Small Things Blog.  She is so sweet, and very knowledgable, so I felt like I was in good hands all the way through summer.  I had to supplement her tutorials with a few for more mature skin, and hooded eyelids, but I'm well on the way now.  And then came the micellar water debacle.  For the last 6 weeks or so I have been battling these itchy, puffy flareups and wondering if it was the mascara, or what else it could be.  The micellar water is the only other new thing I hadn't used before, so by process of elimination I am fairly confident this has been the culprit.

I'm hoping the coconut oil approach to removing makeup will do the trick (again, thanks to Miss Sunshine).  I'll be posting a follow up to report on how that goes.

Do you have sensitive skin?  What have you found to be a giant flop?  Or a great thumbs up?

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Lenten Restraint and Quiet Stillness

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Having taught my class about Lent and Ash Wednesday and Shrove Tuesday and the way we remember the season leading up to Easter I thought perhaps I should enter into the solemnity that is Lent.

I briefly considered doing a fast again.  Briefly...let's say, a nanosecond.  Doing a serious fast seems to work best for me when I am surrounded by others sharing that journey.  So for this period of Lent I decided to reduce my intake of sugary food to one dessert/cake a week.  No other sugar, and no bread or crackers or likewise for snacks.  Especially when I get home from work and dinner isn't quite on the table, and I could eat the very people in front of me, I'm so hungry.  These are the two things I think I need to push aside for awhile.  And while I'm pushing those aside I'm aiming for pulling in more stillness with God.  Perhaps my Bible on top of my computer will be a good start...