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Posts from the ‘style’ Category

Midsummer, Latvian style

Latvia celebrates Midsummer or in Latvian “Līgo”. It is a difficult to translate word because it is way more than “sway” or something like that.

It is an ancient tradition, with traditional foods, traditional beer as drink and wreath. Men wear oak leaf wreath, especially these ones whose name is “Jānis”. We could refer to this name as John probably in English. Women, girls and older ladies wear a flower wreath. Options are endless, but there is definitely an attempt noticeable to compete for the most beautiful wreath. The wreath is supposed to also make the lady who wears it looking great, attractive and beautiful. Midsummer night calls for making love and finding your match. The ferns are said to blossom with golden blooms at midnight tonight, and whoever finds that bloom, has found a never ending love. So, it’s said, couples go bloom chasing in the middle of night and pretty much in the forest. Where else are you going to find a ferns blossoming?

My options in Canada are way fewer.

I used to make my own caraway seed cheese and hoped it would be like the Latvian. Cabnadian milk is not real milk, so it was tough, but taste was quite fine.

This year and today, I am moving. We have been moving things for quite a while, but we hope to finalize the move today.


Not much celebration today, but it will be nice afterwards.

I won’t also have internet until it gets re-connected at the new place. I will catch up with everything some time next week.


Have a great summer!

Wrapping up the shortest day of the year

Wrapping up the shortest day of the year feels good. Knowing that it will be in the past very soon is uplifting. Having more daylight every day means moving towards the spring. This means to me almost like going home. Spring, summer and early fall are the seasons I live and reside in, so yes, every day which brings me closer to the new spring, is a good day and a reason to celebrate and to forget about nasty winds and colds. The weather has been extremely pleasant so far, I cannot even believe Christmas is just some 48 hours away. The sun showed her smiley face today and I think squirrels couldn’t understand what was going on. They were running and jumping and didn’t seem to be concerned about freezing in a near future at all.

Christmas cactus

My Christmas cactus was blooming just a few days ago

I love the rush before Christmas; in fact, I love it before any festivity or celebration. Since Canadian celebrations have to be arranged months ahead and even then nobody shows up, preparing some food and decorating our place is the only celebration I have.

Christmas ornaments

Beautiful decorations and lights

Decorating Christmas tree

The greens of the tree have the most attractive color

We used to invite many people, and biggest half couldn’t make it. I tried to invite those few people, who I could consider at least acquaintances, and everybody was busy and nobody could come. After a while I gave this invitation thing up because I understood, it will never be like it was in Latvia. Somebody calls 2 hours before dinner, fine, he or she is invited, or I call and ask if I can join, and they were happy to see me. If I have the tree put up 2 months ago and all gifts wrapped up a month ago, I have no Christmas spirit. I do it like this: I put on Christmas songs, boil something in 5 pots at once, whip cream, butter breads and cut vegetables for salads while meat is roasting in the oven. I run around with wrapping papers and decorations and makeup my face and do hair between finding something lost first and second floor. This is how I love it. Light up candles, as many as we have, put everything on the table and then I can dance a little bit or sing some Latvian or German Christmas song. Now it’s time to go to the table. We used to always go to the church first, but the only Protestant church which I know about is very far away, therefore I can just watch it on TV and say a prayer by myself. Blessings are very important part of Christmas and we should all have them.

Christmas gift wrapping

The gallery room

Beautiful gift wrapping ideas

Gifts are getting wrapped up

Christmas gift wrapping ideas

Paintings are easy to wrap

Decorating for Christmas

I love wrapping up gifts with colorful ribbons and I would usually add at least some small branch or shiny ornament to make my gift shine. Takes very little time, looks excellent.

Latvian Christmas song

Once you are done with the most urgent things, you could listen to one Latvian Christmas song, 2 brothers are singing it. Brothers Ziemeli. It’s title is “White snow has been falling”. The main idea is: if nobody loves you, you can still love somebody. There is always somebody who is freezing without you. They would be thankful for your warm hands.

It’s winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere. Therefore, we will be moving back to light and longer days very soon. What a great reason to be happy!

Avoiding harmful chemicals and making good choices to quench our thirst is a big deal

While standing in the grocery store line, it’s impossible not to pay attention to what people are putting in their shopping carts. There is pretty large crowd which walks around the store with flyers in their hand looking for deals and discounts. Well, it’s not that the best products or the freshest ones get into this flyer, but we can sometimes get promotional products at very inexpensive prices. However, the most deals are offered for unhealthy and processed food and drinks.

I would say there’s a reason why soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi and Sprite family drinks are banned from schools and their neighbourhoods in quite a few European countries. My native country Latvia has always been strict with such foods and drinks, the positive side is that we didn’t even see them or know they existed until borders were opened in 1991, and the Latvian market was flushed with North American chemical foods and fast food places appeared. We had practically no obesity and related issues until the era of imported stuff begun. Believe or not unlike in Canada, real dairy products are still available in Latvia. It’s always up to consumers because manufacturers will try to meet the demand. When consumers show their dissatisfaction with chemically enhanced food, manufacturers and food producers have no other way, but to offer food and drinks which are in line with healthy eating guidelines and which are compliant with restrictions in use of chemical ingredients.

I’ve read in some surveys how people who told Coke was a total poison and Pepsi was a pure junk were attacked. That makes one wonder: are there really too few obesity, type 2 diabetes, digestive and heart and blood vessel associated diseases and cases yet? Isn’t there proof enough that not real food, proteins, carbohydrates and fats make a person sick, but their chemical substitutes and surrogate ingredients? Nobody would need to ever diet or fight the unwanted pounds if all of a sudden fast food, processed food and chemically produced food and drinks disappeared. However, that is NOT going to happen because profits always come first. There is a wide range in standards for chemicals and their maximum contents in food products. Therefore, the choice is ours: we all can exclude chemicals, fast food and processed foods from our menu. To some extent at least, because vegetables, fruit, berries, herbs and organic products are still a subject to standards, and these standards allow for plenty of variation. Organic DOES NOT mean the product is completely free of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. Organic means the amount of harmful chemicals meets the stated limits.

It has been abnormally hot in Canada, Ontario for the last 2 weeks. We are expecting one more heat wave. Everybody will need to quench their thirst, and everybody will have a choice: use pure water, mineral water or fruit flavored water for hydration, or just grab some soft drink, milk shake and juice. When we talk about hydration, there is nothing better than PURE water. There simply isn’t. For quite a few reasons: for its chemical formula, for the fast absorption rate, for its friendly attitude towards our cell structure and for its lack of chemicals (however, some tap water can contain a lot chlorine, even antibiotics, even metformin which is blood sugar lowering drug, even residues of very harmful chemical elements: everything which does not degrade naturally and fast within the source of drinking water). We are very fine when we use MODERATE amounts of water because overdoing anything has bad consequences (hyponatremia or deficit of sodium in the blood stream). Everything else will have some additional something: juice is too high in sugar, soft drinks are high in sugar and mainly consist of chemicals, milk shakes and ice-cream based drinks have way too many calories. The only thing we actually need is to hydrate ourselves and maintain a good functionality, isn’t it? We don’t have to intake as many calories as with meal for this purpose.

How about kids? Kids will use whatever their parents are offering them from early childhood. When the family does not use soft drinks, kid will never have cravings for them. When the family is not addicted to sugars and fast foods, kid will never know such disorders as type 2 diabetes even exist. Some parents are very worried that child does not eat enough. Well, normal kid will not starve himself to the point when some disorders occur. Kid could be reluctant to drink enough water, though. I also told this in my previous post: making fruit flavored water with colorful slices of citrus fruits is a good idea because this type of drink does not raise the content of sugars noticeably, but hydrates well. Nobody has appetite when the blood glucose level is too high. We humans are having lots of signals in place to know when we are hungry (and being hungry is really good, but not starving), therefore, if kid has had some sugar-rich food or drink before, they will not be interested in eating normal meal. Adding colored ice to such drinks is also a nice thing: we can freeze small mint leaves in ice cubs, we can freeze tea and juice to add to water, it looks very attractive.

My photos of fruit flavored water and ice

Fruit flavored water

Colorful, fresh and healthy

Mineral water good choice to quench our thirst

Mineral water: good choice to quench our thirst

Add fruit and ice to regular bottled water

Add fruit and ice to regular bottled water

Sparkling mineral water

For people who want to stay away from alcohol: using sparkling water with lime and mint allows to get rid of cravings for alcohol

Still life with water and fruit

Fresh and delicious: what’s not to like?

I’m always embarrassed how when we have to stop on the roadside while travelling for some snack these places always will push one to have a Coke or Pepsi with food, but when I ask whether they have sparkling water or mineral water, they quite often don’t. Well, I usually get by asking for water with lime.

Stay hydrated and use healthy water to quench your thirst!

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