Addicted to Plastic

Made these delicious sweet potato muffins so we would have something for with a cuppa while our guests are here. I got the recipe from the ‘Hell yeah its Vegan’ blog I am not vegan by the way, but they are delicious and have no butter or eggs if you have allergic people in your life.

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Sweet Potato Muffins

i just skewered a sweet potato and cooked in microwave for 5 minutes, then mashed it.  You could do this in the oven also.

1 c + 2 Tbsp sweet potato puree, ¾ c coconut milk, ⅔ c brown sugar, ⅓ c water, ¼ c oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup.1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 c flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground cinnamon. ¼ tsp ground ginger, ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg , 1 c fresh or dried cranberries, optional

Mix all wet ingredients together, then stir in mixed dry ingredients until just combined

Bake in prepared muffin tin at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes until skewer comes out clean

they are delicious and moist, I made a batch of 15.  (In case you count the muffin tin, three are already missing.  We had them for breakfast.  Yum!

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Also, I am thoroughly enjoy my new Kobo Tablet that Allan bought me.  We went to get a black and white e reader that was $50 more and the girls showed me the Kobo Arc 7 which allows you to download from the internet, check emails, watch You Tube, and also has the e reader component, all in colour.  I love it.  What a good husband.  I think he felt sorry for me trying to juggle large books in bed.

Plastic, Poverty and Pollution in China’s Recycling Dead Zone

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I just read an interesting article from the Guardian about China importing tons of plastics to recycle.  Typically, to small villages in remote areas where workers handle toxic chemicals with no protective clothing, bare hands, sandals and no face mask.  Consequently the workers and villagers are getting sick, from either direct handling or from pollution being released from these plants into surrounding areas.  Another Australian article I read about the recycling process, said the plastics to be recycled are washed in water and biodegradable soap.  So I guess I would need to visit a plant to really get the low down.  Either way It has made me realise I need to be more diligent in trying not to use as much plastic, especially disposable varieties, and will be bringing my own take away coffee cup.   Even though recycling seems like it solves the problem, really it just creates others.  Interestingly, we are changing our bin set up in this area soon.  We get two recycling bins, a green waste bin, and a smaller rubbish bin.  When you think about it when we were first married (43 years ago) we only had a small metal bin with a lid for our whole families.  Since then everything comes in much more packaging than it used to.

Then

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and Now

and Now 

 

I feel a bit more like there is hope after watching this documentary. There are many industries trying to create plant based plastics, that at least are biodegradable and won’t clog up the oceans. I personally after dealing with Breast Cancer and knowing that plastic leaches into foods and drinks messing with our hormones, am planning to use the least amount of plastic as possible in my world.
See what happens when you have time to ponder on things, you start researching all sorts of stuff.

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Reflections on Chemo


Its funny, I haven’t been particularly sick from Chemo, but it does make your body feel weird.  One young woman I was watching on You Tube, said she feels sick at the thought of the Saline solution going into her at the end of treatment.  At the time I thought that a bit strange as I don’t feel anything as the meds are fed into my blood stream.  Also in America it seems you take your own anti nausea medication with you to the hospital, and after taking hers she manages to make the 45 minute trip home without chucking up.  It made me grateful once again for the great care and extra drugs we are given to cope with all this here in Western Australia.  Turns out this week I am suffering some of the psychological effects of Chemo as every time I think of the snack pack they give you for lunch with this little pickled beetroot salad thing that I only ate the first time at Fiona Stanley I nearly have to grab a bucket.  Even writing about it is making me nauseas.  Since I haven’t been sick once since starting treatment I find this very strange.

Back to something more cheerful – food.  On one of the You Tube sights I watched about getting meal prep done in advance, one of the ladies always poached a couple of chicken breasts then popped them into her beater, turned it on slowly and instantly you have shredded chicken ready for lunches or adding to stir fry etc during the week.  It works amazingly.

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Chicken Salad

I poached one skinless chicken breast the other night, then for lunch the next day shredded it and added diced celery, spring onion chopped seedless grapes, mayo (you could use greek yoghurt if you want a healthier option and to add more protein) a spoon of seeded mustard, a teaspoon of honey and salt and pepper, to make a delicious sandwich. It seemed to make a pile of chicken out of one breast.

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Meanwhile, this is my weekend to stay away from crowds due to my low immune system (middle of cycle) so I am getting the guest bedroom ready for our friends who are coming to stay with us for the night on Sunday.  They have been travelling across from the Northern Territories and are here to attend a wedding.  The guest bedroom used to be our granddaughter Hannah’s room hence the pink and aqua stripes.  They took so long to do, I feel bad painting over them, but, they don’t really go with the black and white theme.  The pictures on the wall are night shots of our trip to Paris which I love.  So now it is the Paris room instead of Hannah’s room.  I love having guests and making them feel like they are at home.  Have a wonderful weekend. xx

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Look Good Feel Better Workshop

Monday morning arrived and I feel a bit better, which is good because we are looking after Beau today.  Unexpectedly, our oldest son Troy came to visit with our little granddaughter Chelsea.  Beau was wrapped as it is bit boring for him with the usual two pensioners to play with all day.

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While we were on the patio enjoying the sunshine, I did see an eyelash floating in my coffee, so obviously they are starting to malt.  I couldn’t seem to retrieve it, so I am not sure whether I ended up drinking it, yuk!  I felt a bit like Lucille Ball in the movie ‘Yours, mine and ours’.  She goes on a date with Henry Fonda, and while he is off at the bar she finds her false eyelashes floating in the top of her Irish Whisky.  The charming Van Johnson offers to assist her in putting it back in place, but due to having been at the pub for some time, Van’s aim wasn’t so good and it ended up looking ridiculous.  Anyway, at least she didn’t drink it.  If I did it didn’t taste too bad, but, I hope it is not the first of many falling lashes that I may not notice in my food and drinks.  I will have to keep a watchful eye out.

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Made a quick breakfast burrito for the man of the house and myself by sautéing a potato finely diced in a small amount of olive oil, scrambled in a couple of eggs, some cheese and a diced spring onion.  Rolled it up in two burritos, yum!  then headed off to the Look Good Feel Better workshop at Rockingham hospital, with Hayley and Beau.  These workshops are put on for women going through Cancer treatment, to give them makeup tips and scarf tying ideas as well as some wig try ons.  I came home with some lovely makeup and face creams etc.  What a great bunch of volunteers.

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We stopped in at Dome for lunch, and as the steak-sandwich I ordered was a huge bun cut in half, I wrapped half up to bring home for Allan to enjoy.  Since I was chatting on the phone as I walked in I dumped my bag on the floor without thinking.  Allan saw a large parcel being carried by the dog go past to the back yard.  Poppy obviously took the doggy bag scenario, seriously and thinking I had forgotten to give it to her, had stuck her nose in my bag and helped herself.  She was just about to tuck into it on the lawn when Allan retrieved it, losing him votes in the most popular pet owner of the month awards and several dirty looks.  I did later cut up the steak and give it to her for dinner though, the little bat.

Brave

Well i am a bit pooped.  We have little Beau on a Friday, and now that he is three, doesn’t really want to have a sleep, which is a bit of a bummer for Grandma, who would like to have a nap.  Saturday I had the last of my weddings for a couple of months, which just turned out to be the same day as our Church Women’s Conference.  I really didn’t want to miss the guest speaker, or our Pastor Alison Mullany, who is always funny but very relevant.  However, I needed to pace myself so I could make it through the day.  Allan was up at 6.45 am to go to darts, so I managed to get a bit more sleep in after he left.  I seem to take a bit longer to pull up as the Chemo is going along.  I don’t get sick or nauseas, just tired, and do a bit less than I did at the beginning. I arrived at the conference, just in time to hear Ps Donna speak for the second time, and Ps Alison for the first, so felt like I hadn’t missed too much.

My friend Glenys who has just qualified as a Marriage Celebrant, came with me to the Wedding, which I really appreciated, as I needed the company to keep me awake.  It was a lovely country themed setting, with a guy playing his Acoustic guitar. It was very windy and gave my wig a run for its money.  It didn’t budge which I am really glad about.  I have said before, I really don’t want to be on Australias funniest home videos as ‘The Celebrant whose Wig flew off during the Ceremony’. I did however, wear myself out and spent the day in bed on Sunday recuperating.

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Our oldest daughter Sarah just came back from ‘Colour Conference’ at Hills Christian Centre Sydney, which sees thousands of women from all over Australia, gathering to hear wonderful speakers.  It has been going for twenty years and I still haven’t been.  Next year, is going to be my year.  The Theme for the Conference was ‘Brave’, so here is Sarah and our granddaughter Halle rocking there Brave T Shirts.  What Sarah wrote on instagram really touched me and  made me cry, so I asked her if it was alright to share it with you.

‘Well the start of this year has been unexpected..My Mum diagnosed with Breast Cancer before Christmas last year and now, only a few months later, my sister has gone through the process of having a suspicious lump looked at, which thankfully we found out today is non cancerous.

Being on the other side of the Country away from two of the dearest people in your life is at times, heart wrenching especially with what they are both going through.  I am doing this public post to say how proud I am to be related to such bravery.  I wish I could hear the roar of applause from the crowd of witnesses in heaven every time you choose to see Him instead of the situation, no matter how small that choice may feel at times. 

Breast Cancer is straight from the pit of Hell and that is exactly where it will return.  Halle and I are wearing our ‘Brave’ T Shirts not just physically but wear bravery on our Hearts and in our Spirits as we stand in prayer for other women going through this.. BRAVE WOMEN REALLY DO RUN IN MY FAMILY  Love you Mumsy and Sweets..

Sarah is one of the bravest women I know.  We were so excited when she and son-in-law Jarrad announced they were expecting their first child.  Around nine weeks, happiness turned to sadness when the ultra sound showed no heart beat.  They were gutted.  It knocks the wind out of your sails.  All the plans and dreams for that child gone.  Most of us could cope with that once, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and try again.  But, when it happens a second and then a third time, it attacks your hope of ever having a healthy baby.    Sarah and Jarrad never lost faith in God through all this.  One Sunday night conference I was looking up at the stage where my girl, who had just had a miscarriage a couple of days before, was leading the singing and worshipping God with her whole heart.  I couldn’t believe her strength.

Not long after they delivered a healthy baby girl who they called ‘Halle’ which means ‘unexpected gift’, followed by another miscarriage and then two beautiful boys. The oldest Jonas has ‘Autism’ so Sarah’s life is full but challenging, I am always amazed at the calm and serene way she handles the busyness.  I often feel a bit guilty when I hang up after a phone call into their hectic life, as I settle back in my quiet two person home.

Here is the thing.  When tough things happen we have a choice.  Run to God, or get mad and run away.  I have always found the best place to be is close to Him during the hard times, as well as the good.

Chemo Round Three

Well yesterday was my third round of Chemo.  We arrived just before our 10.30 am appointment and even though i was in my recliner rocker not long after it was 12.30pm before I had a Saline drip going to keep the cannula open till the toxic goodies arrived. The Cannula being inserted is the worst bit, you see everyone relax after that.  They seem to take a long time trying to find a suitable vein, a lot of arm tapping and the first round of Chemo, they had to have a couple of goes, which is gross and the only semi painful bit as it is quite a big needle. You get used to waiting a lot and bring your book or kindle wherever you go.  I don’t mind as my life is fairly calm so I don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry.  Last round I was in a private room and felt hot, this time in the treatment room it is freezing cold, and the fact that you are being intravenously injected with medication straight from the fridge, meant I was ill prepared.  Next time I will bring fluffy socks.  They do give you a blanket when you need one, but, I think I will bring a cozy one from home.  Also, food will be on my list if we are going over lunch time.  Fiona Stanley do give you little food boxes, but the fridgy tasting sliders just didn’t seem to do the trick.  The nurse came to put the thermometer under my tongue, which was a bit chocolate coated from the brownie I was munching on, so that was embarrassing, but funny. I sent Allan off to Jamaica Blue to get us a coffee and a toastie, so after shelling out $34 I will be bringing something yummy from home in future.  The staff are lovely and I have been treated very well all round since this whole journey began.  One of the nurses said yesterday, they often get cards from patients which say, ‘thanks for everything, but, I hope I don’t see you again’.

IMG_20150317_130538-2Even though I did have a relaxed weekend, it was overshadowed by worrying about our youngest daughter Hayley, who recently found a frozen pea sized lump in her breast and because of my history, got it checked straight away.  It is the waiting that is horrible, as it wouldn’t be the first time that a Mum has had breast cancer, only to have their daughter find out they have breast cancer shortly after.  Now I am completely brave and have no fear about myself, but, anything happening to my children is a different kettle of fish.  I trusted and prayed that it would turn out to be nothing to worry about, still, as a Mum I felt sick in the pit of my stomach, that my daughter was having to worry at under thirty that she may be facing something horrible.  The thing is only 1 in 20 lumps in breasts turn out to be cancerous, however, the quicker you get checked out when you find a lump, the quicker your mind is put to rest that it is ok, and if it does turn out to be a cancer, the early it is detected and dealt with, the less chance of it spreading.  Younger girls can have scans if there is something suspicious but are best to do regular checks themselves as we all should no matter what our age to feel for any changes. Guys should be checking themselves from time to time also, as their are about 125 males per year diagnosed with breast cancer.   Thankfully, for Hayley she had her scan yesterday, and they were sure it was just glandular, and was not showing up as cancerous. so we all heaved a sign of relief.

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I had to pop in this picture of Spencer out shopping with his Mum.  I know men like to read in the toilet, but reading on the toilet paper gives that a whole new twist. He and big brother Jonas are obsessed with Spiderman, and for someone that actually can’t read he looks like he is taking it all very seriously.

Budget Tip of the Week

IMG_2584-2I have lots of time to fiddle around, so my budget beauty tip for the week is making your own face cream.  Years ago when I was doing colour analysis, one of my clients said her dermatologist said the best moisturiser to use is Aqueous cream, which is oober cheap around $8 for a 500 gm tub.  If your skin is normal you can use it as is.  But, for extra moisture if you have dry or ageing skin you can add the following: I tipped the Aqueous cream into a clean bowl and broke 4 vitamin E capsules into the mix along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you could put almond oil or any other plant based oil) mixed it all up and filled up my clean jars which were empty from previously purchased  expensive creams, one was $35 the other $65.  I already had the vitamin E capsules, but if you count about an extra $1 for those and the oil, my grand total is $9, each jar takes 50 ml so 10 refills at 90 cents each sounds good to me. What a rip the cosmetic industry is, although I guess it costs them heaps to add baby placenta or whatever, new fangled gimmick they are including.  Each jar even though they are different sizes on the outside, have middle inserts the same size 50 mls and only take two heaped teaspoons full of cream to fill to the brim.  I keep one in each bathroom, so I have cream on hand no matter where i have a shower. Great for faces, as well as the body and extra moisturising if you have dry skin.  Having said all this, the only thing that actually gets rid of surface wrinkles because it takes off the top layer of skin is Retina A cream, but you have to get a script for this and definitely can’t use it if your pregnant.  Creams and oils don’t go very far into the skin, if you don’t believe me check out some sun- dried tomatoes soaking in oil next time you are at the supermarket, they are still wrinkly like prunes.  So what is a girl to do, we have to slap something on and hope it is doing some good.  I think making sure you drink all your water helps with hydrating our faces, and a doctor told us definitely one of the only natural helps for Acne.  What do you think about face creams ladies or men if you use them?

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Day Dreaming about Travelling

Sorry I haven’t blogged for a couple of days, I have been having a lazy weekend.  I saw my Medical Oncologist today ready for my next Chemo tomorrow, which he said will be the same as the last two, a cocktail of Epirubicin, Cyclophosphamide, Flourouricin, but my next three will be Docetaxel which could make me more tired apparently, but doesn’t make you lose your hair and doesn’t cause as much nausea.  I haven’t felt sick at all, so the last three should be no problem.  Also my hair will in all probability start to grow back fairly soon. Most people don’t realise my wig, is a wig.  The young resident who was sitting in on my review today, said he was wondering where I was losing my hair from as it looked fine, till I told him it was a wig. (Update on that, apparently some people do still lose hair with Docetaxel, so we will see how it pans out).

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Today I left home at 7am to be at Fiona Stanley by 8am for blood tests and then my review at 9am.  The only thing is everyone gets there at the same time and the waiting room is full.  I have meanwhile asked my Oncologist if I can do my blood test at Mandurah, and he doesn’t mind, so next review day won’t be so early, I won’t need to leave home until ten to eight in the morning.  My doctor was telling me he sees around 60 patients a day, and he is not the only one that has clinics in the Cancer Unit.

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I don’t know why but, lately I have been obsessed with You Tube videos on How to pack light for traveling.  I love them, even though I can’t really go anywhere at the moment, which is probably why I am day dreaming of escaping to some more exciting place than being in the middle of a Chemo programme.  When Allan and I went on our round the World trip, we only took carry-on luggage. We had apartments in a few places where we could do washing, and apart from the fact that you get sick of seeing yourself in photos with the same clothes on, it worked out fine.  Next time though I won’t take a coat but will buy one of the those light down filled puffer jackets that pack into a tiny bag and don’t take up much room in your case.

zoom_variation_001_view_E_2192x2200Just had my third round of Chemo today, but will post about that tomorrow. I’m half way. whoopee!!


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The Gift of Giving

On Tuesday night we had a quick bowl of yummy Fried Rice made with some left over sausages and whatever veggies were in the fridge before heading off to drop Allan at Darts and I carried on to visit a good friend back in our old hood Kelmscott.

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Since being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I have been thoroughly spoilt.  Friends keep bringing me flowers and giving me gifts.  I feel like a fraud, since I feel so well, and not at all like I deserve this special treatment.  One of my dearest friends is the worst.  When I say worst I mean best.  This friend has taught me so much about the art of giving over our twenty odd year friendship.  Her and her families generosity has always blown me away.  I called in for coffee and a chat and left with two pairs of new Lightfoot thongs which she had ordered for me before Christmas and which had only arrived recently.  They have arch supports and mould to your foot, very comfortable.   She also gave me some beautiful Christmas pieces from the Pottery Barn which she bought for herself as well as me.  I often leave her house loaded with goodies,  I am almost embarrassed to say I am calling in.  There is no way, I can ever give back to her all she has given and done for us over the years, and we are not meant to.  It is a pay it forward type of thing.  Having someone treat you with such a generous spirit, sparks generosity in us, and we can in turn pass the giving along to someone else.

Some of the twelve days of Christmas, I love the partridge in a pear tree Salt and Pepper shakers

Some of the twelve days of Christmas, I love the partridge in a pear tree Salt and Pepper shakers

Continuing with my reorganising week, the pretty boxes with their floral pattern that the shoes came in were the perfect fit in my draw to coral all my lingerie that previously were strewn everywhere.  After sorting I ended up with two neat boxes of culled unmentionables and found some I had completely forgotten about.  Really if you can’t see it, you never wear it.  Consequently, everything possible is hanging up now, so that I know exactly what I have got.

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Turns out there is scientific reasons, why giving is good for you.  Most of us would have experienced the Bible truth that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’  It feels much better to give someone $200 than to be the recipient of $200 if your life has taken a downward turn financially.  There is actually scientific fact to back this up.  When we give, whether it be our money, possessions or volunteer our time for a good cause, it actually releases endorphins which trigger the pleasure centre of our brain.  We actually get a feeling of well being, they call it the ‘helpers high’.  Our blood pressure can go down, and it turns out is good for our heart, literally.

Our bodies are built to enjoy giving.  Try it this week.  Give something to someone, bake them a cake, make them a meal or clean their car, for no reason other than you want to do something nice.  You will be surprised how good you feel afterwards.

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