Tea Two Ways

I can drink almost any tea with out sweetener. Green tea. Lemon Ginger tea. Rooibos tea. You name it.

Except Chamomile tea. Every time I try drinking it without sweetener, the strong taste gives me an instant headache.

I’ve avoided the tea for so long due to that reason alone. But alas, my continuing nervousness has left me looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals to alleviate my anxious feelings.

I am a fan of lattes so I [finally] had the great idea to make a Chamomile Tea Latte. I steeped two tea bags (one should suffice but I was going for a strong tea) in hot water for about 5 minutes. Then I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I used a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part milk. Finally I sweetened the latte with vegan honey. I also tried brown sugar, but the honey gave the tea a delicious depth over the sugar.

I was in heaven. Until after about a week or so of drinking this mixture every night, I grew tired of waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. I thought there has to be another way of reaping the calming benefits of this tea, besides upping my tea time to two hours before bed.

Soon after, I was giving my daughter a bath and let her finally try out a bath bomb. Looking at the lavender leaves in the tub gave me the idea of using actual tea leaves in a bath. Moreover, the nutrients from the tea could be absorbed transdermally instead of internally, making the case for a better overall effect on the body.

(A quick note: as mentioned in a prior post, I do not buy everything organic. Tea however, is one of those things that I will buy organic 99.9% of the time. The first time the tea leaves are being “washed” are when you are making a cup of tea. Something to think about!)

The next bath day (I bathe my children everyday, but I space out baths for my daughter) I excitedly drew a separate bath for my daughter and son using Epsom salts (for magnesium – a mineral we are all most likely deficient in), Lavender essential oil for my daughter and Frankincense essential oil for my son, and one bag of Chamomile tea per child. Although we did not have a fizzy bath bomb, the children were excited to pour in the salts and leaves while I handled the essential oils.

They loved their bath very much and went to sleep much more quickly than they had over the past several nights. They slept deeply (my son has a habit of waking up at least once) and did not complain in the morning upon waking up. I was so excited they had such a good night’s rest – it was then I remembered to try to Chamomile tea bath on myself!

I finally got around to it and boy did I enjoy that bath. I used two tea bags and both Lavender and Frankincense essential oils in a nice warm bath. I practiced deep breathing for about ten minutes in the bath and literally felt my anxiety slip away.

Of course, I shower 90 percent of the time (more like 98 percent) so a long relaxing bath isn’t always feasible. However, I am glad I found this remedy to add to my list. Who knows, next time I may sip on my Chamomile Tea Latte whilst relaxing in my Chamomile Tea Bath!

Anchoring Wavering Faith

I believe in God and call myself spiritual, but not religious. I wish I had unwavering faith, but the reality is I question God a lot.

To my surprise however, I also believe I receive a lot of answers to not only the questions I ask, but also to the questions I don’t ask.

It’s during these times I keep a mental gratitude journal to remind myself there was no way humanly possible that thing just occurred without divine intervention. It is during these times I look up and smile, and say thanks.

Mantras: A Medium to Meditate

Have you tried to meditate, only to find your self easily distracted?

A trick I’ve come to rely on is memorizing a mantra, which really is a word or sound (think “ohm”) but also has a pop culture meaning of the embodiment of certain rules or values.

My go to mantra is, “I am a leaf in the wind.” As someone who deals with anxiety, this thought literally reminds me to not only go with the flow but to then not beat myself up if I get off track.

Another mantra I love to use is: “I am the captain of my fate. I am the master of my soul.”

The quote, derived from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley helps to create a mindset of responsibility and empowerment when I am feeling victimized or inadequate.

I believe you can speak things into existence, and you can even start with just chanting “peace”. Take time to meditate and get your mind right – your body and soul is counting on you.

Namaste.

Budgeting: The Prequel

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Happy Finance Friday!

We’ve officially completed one month into the new year.

If you’re like the average person you made a new year resolution to reign in your bad spending habits and save some money. Or maybe you decided to pay off your debt and cash flow your family vacation this year as opposed to putting the trip on your credit card.

To accomplish these goals you most likely sat down and hashed out a monthly budget. However, at the end of each month you’re coming up short and reaching for those credit cards you swore you would never use again.

What could be the problem?

You need to track your expenses.

This could be a daily task or a weekly task.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Make a budget for next month
  • Find a designated place to keep your receipts. This could be an old shoe box, a manilla envolpe, an empty desk drawer in your home etc
  • Once you are in the new month, get and keep a receipt of ALL of your purchases
  • At the end each week, tally up your expenses and create corresponding categories for each group of expenses
  • At the end of the month, compare your planned expenses against your unplanned expenses
  • Here comes the hardest part: take a long hard look at your spending habits. Compare your expenses to your income. Get out your mental scissors so that you can cut unnecessary expenses out of your income so that you can actually stick to your budget

The saying goes adulting isn’t fun. This task may not be fun, but it is necessary and can be calming eventually. Once you become better with your money you remove a burden so many of us carry each day. And actually, not living pay check to paycheck or worrying about debt is pretty fun don’t you think?

Remember to Not Forget!

Do you even plan?Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 9.25.28 AM

Well, do you?

Most of us rely on our memory for short term or long term tasks and events. Especially for things that are recurring on an annual basis. We usually do not write these things down because we innately remember these items.

At least we think we do.

If the event or task is static, for example: ‘The last day of school is on June 22nd’ then there is no need to plan.

If the event has another task or outcome attached to it, then this is where it’s helpful to plan. For instance: ‘It’s approaching the last day of school … I need to find a summer camp for the kids!’

It is also helpful to recognize there are levels to planning. For the summer camp example, it will be helpful to start planning as early as possible – especially since paying for camp can be quite expensive. To plan ahead to ease the burden, calculate the total cost of camp (tuition, additional fees, food, clothes and toiletries). Next, determine how much time you have between the start of camp, or when payment is due. In determining the timeframe, I use a bi-weekly format to match the frequency of my take home pay. At the time of my calculation, I determined I have 8 pay periods to save the required $2,000.00 for camp. That’s an additional $250.00 (per paycheck) I will have to set aside so I won’t resort to racking up debt by using credit cards or otherwise succumb to anxiety in worrying about how I will pay for this expense.

Another planning hack I’ve come to rely on is using my Google calendar to schedule recurring yearly events. Most recently, I received a notification that my vehicle’s annual inspection was coming due at intervals of one month and one week before the last of the month in which the inspection was to take place. I am usually in an out of my car so quickly between work, child pick up / drop off, groceries, errands, activities etc. – I barely have time to look at the front sticker on my car. So I will continue to rely on 21st century technology to help me out along the way.

Finally, I feel it is both helpful to use an electronic and paper planner for the planning. An electronic planner allows for reminders to be set and accessed across many platforms. You can clip recipes, articles, sources of inspiration etc. from around the web and attach to your planner. You can also instantly share an event with anyone you choose (e.g. using Google’s calendar) so they can lock in the date of the event as well. A paper planner helps with daily tasks and tracking of long term goals. Although we have access to amazing technology, the act of writing things down to bring them to fruition never goes out of style.

All in all, it is good to take some time and do a brain dump of all of the “things to do” in your head. Then sort it all out and plan to live your very best life!

 

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Vegan Cheeze Stayke

I live in an omnivore household. So when my my meat-and-potato-“what-is-a-vegan?”- “your’re-just-a-new-age-hippie” husband made this for me, I humbly thanked him for the sandwich – gluten and all! And you know what? It tastes darn good! Recipe below!

 

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Glamorous? No. Made with love? Yes!

 

The What:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large portabella mushroom (rinsed well, sliced thin)
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms (rinsed well, sliced thin),
  • 2 tbsp. vegan Worcestire Sauce (e.g. Annie’s)
  • 1 small green pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1 large onion (sliced thin)
  • Salt and pepper as desired
  • 4 – 5 slices of vegan cheese (e.g Daiya Mozzarella and Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda)
  • 1 or 2 hoagie (sub) rolls

The How:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Your heat should be medium high.
  2. Add all mushrooms and sautee for about 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. And in your sliced green pepper and onion, sautee for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in your Worcestershire sauce along with salt and peppr to taste and continue to sautee until veggies are tender (oinions should be translucent). Turn off burner once cooked, top with cheese and place lid on pan (so the cheese can melt).
  5. If you like your bread toasted, you may do so in the oven under the broiler or (like my husband did it) on the stove on our square griddle pan.
  6. Put your roll (toasted or untoasted) on a plate and carefully spread open, leaving of roll bottom intact. Using a spatula scoop your mushroom cheeze stayke into your roll. Top with ketchup if desired and enjoy!

 

 

 

Recipe veganized from oh my veggies and lord byron’s kitchen

Just Say No!

It grinds my gears when folks say, “If they really want to go to the gym they’ll make time.”

No my friends. You do not make time. You take time. Making time suggests we have an infinite amount of time available to us. The last time I checked we have all 24 hours in day. Continue reading “Just Say No!”