Featured

Doing nothing or nothing much

Here is what our family does this Easter: Nothing!

It’s such a cool thing to do nothing for a change. We are just two of us here at the moment, no kids, no other relatives coming over. It wouldn’t be advisable anyway even if my relatives were not across the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, we can take our time and just stretch it out over the long and lazy weekend. I used to cook all kinds of food just for the sake of cooking some years. The question I later asked myself was: how much can actually two people eat? We are not big eaters; we do not bother often with 3-course meals. If I go for big cooking, the largest part has to be discarded before we get around to consuming it all.

My purple Easter lily

How about eggs?

I boil a few eggs, they contain good nutrients, and when you have organic eggs, it’s really food which makes us feel better. Eggs are one of those products which cannot be too much modified or enhanced with extra chemicals, I mean shouldn’t be via feed. Somehow any advice on diets misses the part that everything close to its most natural state is good, not chemically improved, at lab fortified or grown through tubes under artificial light. Organic eggs fit excellent nutritional value demands. I’ve never experienced any raises in cholesterol levels or any weight increase due to eating eggs with butter and salt. We eat eggs a few times a week, not only at Easter.

They are not real and don’t go bad, ever

Keeping decorations at minimum

I don’t bother with that because for decorations I can use the artificial colored eggs which I bout maybe some 7 or more years ago. I have numerous room plants all year round. They create nice background and add a bright touch of green to our settings.

Our Easter menu is very simple: oats for breakfast (I have them every morning), eggs for lunch and pancakes with strawberries for dinner, that’s all we can handle, I might add something more as the day gets older.

I can use some of my own illustrations as decorations

Doing nothing

Doing nothing does not really mean one sleeps for 24 hours. For me, that means doing nothing important, urgent, mandatory or otherwise demanding. My husband plays guitar and sings when he has free time, he just went for a long bike ride, too. I usually spend a few hours outdoors or read. Sometimes, I look at old photos, the real ones, not on computer. Doing nothing means relaxing and lazy sitting in the backyard, listening to silence or birds and watching spring walk around and take over. In the overachievers’ society doing nothing is a sin, but who cares? I’m past that. Hopefully, our weather gets warmer soon, that would be much appreciated by everybody in Ontario.

All comes together nicely: we do love simplicity

If you have kids and big family

If you have kids and a big family, you have your hands full. I’ve been through that, too, just many years ago. You also have more fun, more tiredness in the evening and plenty more to think about. However, you still have to make some time for doing nothing. Depending on the area you’re located, it might be warm, cold, sunny, stormy, who knows, but doing nothing with and in the nature is the best. The most inspirationally killed time. We should always add something rewarding to the day, so it might be a relaxed walk or just staring out there.

I hope you have nice start of April and happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Red color of flowers

The price of joy

What are the things you enjoy a lot?

Is it food, fresh air, freedom, a hobby or are these things that cost a lot of money which will make you happy or so you think? Such as, new dress, shoes, boots, designer purse, perfume, new car, great vacation, superb house?

Maybe, you get most excited when you have managed something which seemed impossible before? For instance, speaking or understanding a new language, being able to play a new music instrument, or a successfully written poem or story, creation of new artwork?

Joy is the most direct way to happiness. We should save happiness for the very special moments and have plenty of joy at other times.

Do you still recall how little you had to spend when you were kid 30, 40, 50, 60 or more years ago? And, imagine how much one needs to spend nowadays to make a kid happy.
Lots of questions with all kinds of possible answers.

The truth is, however, that the price of joy has gone up a lot and keeps doing so. That is what we have come to believe in: if we cannot buy everything that somebody else has, we are somewhat less and worse.

Let us reword the question:

what is the one thing that would make you happy for the rest of your life?
Do you know the answer?

I guess it could be many different pleasant things and experiences.

You are only allowed to give one answer, however. Tough, right?

Majority most likely will choose “love”, “health”, “wealth”, “staying young” and any of these choices are great, but being rich is simply the best. The joy costs a lot nowadays.

Who says you cannot experience the joy for free?

You sure can, for example, watching sunsets and sunrises, blossoming trees and rainbows and so on; yet, you still need to satisfy the basic necessities to feel happy, to have peace of mind and to experience the joy. Nobody will be too joyfully watching all the most beautiful things on Earth if they are hungry, sick, in pain, lonely or depressed. I dare saying, that having the basic things are probably a good base for having a joyful life.

Being alive is already great

Many of us are very happy to be simply alive and that is a joy to start a day with, realizing that you still have this day and you woke up ok. I’m at such age that it is definitely a great experience.

People like me feel perfect if they can have their morning coffee. Try not to give it to me!

Lots of people do not care what the place is or where the place is, they live at, as long as there is a place.

Lots of people don’t give anything about how the food looks and how healthy it is as long as there is some food.

Ultimate joy

So, what’s the deal with tiny portions of extra special food served on golden plates at a crazy cost? The deal is that this is supposed to make somebody really happy, give them the ultimate joy.

Lots of people go out of their way to make their totally boring life somewhat exciting.

We need some joy regardless of its price, and there are these advertising guys who tell you to just buy and buy more, and maybe you will have a flash of joy for a tiny moment, too.

Joy from recreational stuff

People in Canada are able to turn themselves into cannabis lovers also. So, to speak, add a little healing joy to the boring day.

It is supposed to be recreational marihuana that one can eat, drink, vape or smoke, and all of a sudden smoking is presented as something good when you listen to people advertising it. The truth is: everything that burns and is inhaled has the same effect. Medical marihuana is supposed to cure and treat numerous conditions which nobody has ever proven for a few reasons: there is no point to prove something using a substance or its products that are available everywhere, and there is no long term research data available also because using cannabis was a crime before. Just like with everything, cannabis use has many aspects and not all of them will be beneficial.

The price of joy became the price of addiction at some point.

When the kid has fallen on the floor in the store and screams from the bottom of his or her lungs, that is an attempt to violently achieve the feeling of joy. Well, mom buys that stuff kid wanted and kid’s smile stretches all over the face now.

When we get what we want, what we believe we want or need, or what we are addicted to, we are experiencing the ultimate joy which almost equals to happiness. So, the price of joy will vary. If you can buy it because some joyful things are not for sale.

As it appears, the price of joy has a huge range: from no cost to any money imaginable and unimaginable.

Our experience shows that most things we can buy, and their price will be the cost of our joy: new face, new body shape, excellent outfits, excellent living conditions, new devices, extraordinary cars, outstanding vacations and so forth.

Our experience also shows that one cannot buy true love, respect, trust, passion, talent, skills, knowledge, memories and experience. I think this is more than we need to be happy because we can have that all if we are willing to put in some effort.

Thankfully, nobody can buy talent so far. With genetic engineering developing at a fast pace, it is probably a near future, too.

Red color of flowers

True joy and purchased joy

We need them both. We need lots of things to simply live, but when it comes to true and long-lasting joy, let’s look for it in ourselves. We should find there plenty, and especially love, respect, trust, passion, talent, skills, knowledge, memories and experience as I mentioned before.

I’m using for illustrations the bouquet my husband just gave me. Excellent source of joy!

Wishing you plentiful joys regardless of what the day (or night) has served you so far!

Thanks for reading!

Make good choices to quench thirst and avoid harmful chemicals

Deal or health

While standing in the line at grocery store, it’s impossible not to notice 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 reasonable prices. At least at my local grocery store, the most deals are offered for unhealthy and processed food and drinks.

Soft drinks are banned in European schools

I would say there’s a reason why soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi and energy 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 knew they existed until the borders were opened in 1991. The Latvian market was flushed with North American type of chemical foods and fast food places appeared then.

Clean food means more health

We had practically no obesity and related issues until the era of imported food begun. Believe or not, real dairy products are still available in Latvia. It’s always up to consumers what choice to make 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.

Think again

I read an article how people, who told Coke was a total poison and Pepsi was a pure junk, were attacked online. That makes one wonder: are there really too few obesity, type 2 diabetes, digestive, 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?

The choice is ours

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. At least to some extent, because vegetables, fruit, berries, herbs and organic products are still a subject to standards. These standards allow for plenty of variation. “Organic” on a label does not mean the product is completely free of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. “Organic” means the amount of harmful chemicals meets the stated limits.

Hydration for heat

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: to use pure water, mineral water or fruit flavored water for hydration, or just grab some soft drink, milkshake or juice.

Water is the best

When we talk about hydration, there is nothing better than pure water. Water is the best 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. Be careful with tap water. It can can contain too much chlorine, even antibiotics, metformin which is blood sugar lowering drug, and residues of very harmful chemical elements. Anything which does not degrade naturally and fast can find its way into tap water.

Moderate and balanced amount of water

It’s enough to use moderate amount of water because overdoing anything has bad consequences. Abnormal amount of water can cause kidney failure and hyponatremia or deficit of sodium in the bloodstream. If you do not use water, but other liquids, you must be aware they contain things you might not want to overdo with: juice is high in sugar, soft drinks are high in sugar and chemicals, milkshakes and ice-cream based drinks have lots of calories. The only thing we actually need in heat 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.

Early childhood habits

How about kids? Kids will use whatever their parents are offering them from early childhood. If a family does not use soft drinks, kid will never have cravings for them. When a family is not addicted to sugars and fast foods, kid will never know such disorders as type 2 diabetes. Some parents are very worried that child does not eat enough. 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 much, but hydrates well and looks great. Nobody has appetite when the blood glucose level is too high. If your kid has had some sugar-rich food or drink before meal, they will refuse to eat normal meal.

My photos of fruit flavored water and ice

Adding colored ice to such drinks is also fantastic. I didn’t have time, but it’s possible to freeze any juice and make colorful ice cubes. We can place small mint leaves, berries or parts of fruit in water and freeze them, we can freeze tea and any liquid. It looks very attractive.

Fruit flavored water

Colorful, fresh and healthy

Mineral water good choice to quench our thirst

Mineral water is a 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 and ice allows to get rid of cravings for alcohol. You can also use simple water, lots of ice cubes and small bit of lemon juice.

Still life with water and fruit

Fresh and delicious: what’s not to like?

I never like when we have to stop on the roadside for some snack while travelling, that the catering places always push one to have a Coke or Pepsi with food. When I ask whether they have sparkling water or mineral water, they quite often don’t. Well, I usually survive by asking for water with slice of lime.

Stay hydrated and use healthy water to quench your thirst!

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. Most men wear the rich oak leaf wreath, but especially these ones, whose name is “Jānis”. We could refer to this name probably as John in English. Women, girls and older ladies wear a flower wreath. Options are endless, but there is definitely noticeable an attempt 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 in many thousands of folk-songs. Couples go bloom chasing in the middle of night in the forest. Where else are you going to find a ferns blossoming?

My options in Canada are way fewer.

I sometimes make my own caraway seed cheese and hope it would be like the Latvian cheese. However, Canadian milk is not real milk, therefore, it is tough to get it acting like real milk, but taste is quite fine once I have all ingredients working.

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

Midsummer

Therefore, 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. I’m using the pictures I took a while ago, but I think it makes sense because back then when I started this second blog, nobody ever saw or read it.

Midsummer

Have a great summer! Enjoy, savor, have fun!

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!

Make good choices to quench thirst and avoid harmful chemicals

Deal or health

While standing in the line at grocery store, it’s impossible not to notice 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 reasonable prices. At least at my local grocery store, the most deals are offered for unhealthy and processed food and drinks.

Soft drinks are banned in European schools

I would say there’s a reason why soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi and energy 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 knew they existed until the borders were opened in 1991. The Latvian market was flushed with North American type of chemical foods and fast food places appeared then.

Clean food means more health

We had practically no obesity and related issues until the era of imported food begun. Believe or not, real dairy products are still available in Latvia. It’s always up to consumers what choice to make 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.

Think again

I read an article how people, who told Coke was a total poison and Pepsi was a pure junk, were attacked online. That makes one wonder: are there really too few obesity, type 2 diabetes, digestive, 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?

The choice is ours

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. At least to some extent, because vegetables, fruit, berries, herbs and organic products are still a subject to standards. These standards allow for plenty of variation. “Organic” on a label does not mean the product is completely free of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. “Organic” means the amount of harmful chemicals meets the stated limits.

Hydration for heat

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: to use pure water, mineral water or fruit flavored water for hydration, or just grab some soft drink, milkshake or juice.

Water is the best

When we talk about hydration, there is nothing better than pure water. Water is the best 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. Be careful with tap water. It can can contain too much chlorine, even antibiotics, metformin which is blood sugar lowering drug, and residues of very harmful chemical elements. Anything which does not degrade naturally and fast can find its way into tap water.

Moderate and balanced amount of water

It’s enough to use moderate amount of water because overdoing anything has bad consequences. Abnormal amount of water can cause kidney failure and hyponatremia or deficit of sodium in the bloodstream. If you do not use water, but other liquids, you must be aware they contain things you might not want to overdo with: juice is high in sugar, soft drinks are high in sugar and chemicals, milkshakes and ice-cream based drinks have lots of calories. The only thing we actually need in heat 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.

Early childhood habits

How about kids? Kids will use whatever their parents are offering them from early childhood. If a family does not use soft drinks, kid will never have cravings for them. When a family is not addicted to sugars and fast foods, kid will never know such disorders as type 2 diabetes. Some parents are very worried that child does not eat enough. 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 much, but hydrates well and looks great. Nobody has appetite when the blood glucose level is too high. If your kid has had some sugar-rich food or drink before meal, they will refuse to eat normal meal.

My photos of fruit flavored water and ice

Adding colored ice to such drinks is also fantastic. I didn’t have time, but it’s possible to freeze any juice and make colorful ice cubes. We can place small mint leaves, berries or parts of fruit in water and freeze them, we can freeze tea and any liquid. It looks very attractive.

Fruit flavored water

Colorful, fresh and healthy

Mineral water good choice to quench our thirst

Mineral water is a 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 and ice allows to get rid of cravings for alcohol. You can also use simple water, lots of ice cubes and small bit of lemon juice.

Still life with water and fruit

Fresh and delicious: what’s not to like?

I never like when we have to stop on the roadside for some snack while travelling, that the catering places always push one to have a Coke or Pepsi with food. When I ask whether they have sparkling water or mineral water, they quite often don’t. Well, I usually survive by asking for water with slice of lime.

Stay hydrated and use healthy water to quench your thirst!