I was going to post a green smoothie recipe then it turned out to be bitter and the colour ended up brown, not what you want in a smoothie at all. So now it is easy smoothie prep!
The best thing for this is to get lots of discounted fruit that is very ripe and freeze it for future smoothies. Strawberries can be sliced and put on a cookie sheet to freeze, same with peaches or other soft fruit. Berries can be just laid out on a tray or pre-blended. Put the berries of choice in a blender with a splash of water ( or even juice, milk, or milk alternative ) and blend until smooth, freeze in an icecube tray for easy cubes of fruit. I talk about freezing bananas in this post! Cubes and frozen fruit can be mixed and matched for different smoothie flavours.
Greens + avocado
I have recently discovered you can freeze avocado and it taste and look, perfectly fine! It saves a lot of avocados since I was throwing out overly ripe ones but now they can be frozen at prime time before they go bad. Throw a few ( I find 3 whole avocados fill 12 ice cubes ) avocados in a blender, again with a splash of water, and blend until smooth then put into trays. Another option is blending some leafy greens ( like spinach ) until it looks pretty smooth, then adding in the avocado, for quick and easy green smoothies!
A few weeks ago I started to include meditation with my workout routine to help mental health along with physical.
How to get started
Step 1 – find an app or videos
I tried several apps at the same time ( got to check out all the options ) to try to find one that I liked the best. It’s good to have one that has topics that are applicable to you and if they’re guided meditations, with someone who has a voice that you can listen to for a bit. My favourite apps were Simple Habit Meditation – it costs money to subscribe but my friend gave me a free trial – and HeadSpace. HeadSpace is a good starting off point to learn the basics. After using the apps for a bit and once I felt like I knew what I was doing I went to YouTube videos for more options. My favourite has been Boho Beautiful ( it sounds cheesy but she has a very calming voice ), there is a daily meditation playlist which focuses on self-acceptance and love.
Step 2 – fit it into your daily routine
At first, I tried to work meditation in 3 places in my routine, to see if I could do it that often and to find when worked best. First thing in the morning, while stretching post-workout and right before bed. In the morning it’s a good way to start the day being calm and having a clear mind. I find it allows me to stretch better because of being relaxed and focused in the moment. Right before bed is a great way to sleep better and calm yourself down.
Step 3 – be consistent!
Best way to form a habit is to stick with it until it becomes part of your day. This can be hard on days when your mind is racing and it feels difficult to calm it, but that’s when you need it most.
Some benefits I’ve found
My mind feels calmer. The main reason to start meditation. It really helps with anxiety and sleep.
Less negative thoughts, more appreciative, more positive. I’ve been trying to consciously work on this, too, so the meditation didn’t magically solve this, but it has helped. Especially with being present and trying not to worry.
More focus, which also helps during workouts. If you try to incorporate meditation into something you need a lot of focus for or during your workouts it can improve your performance because you’re living in the moment and your mind is either clear on thinking about whatever it is you need focus for.
Feels like you have more control over your mind. If you start thinking negatively you can use meditation as a tool to stop it or at least redirect.
It seems so simple yet it feels like it’s made a substantial difference in how I think and I would highly recommend learning how to meditate. Have you tried meditation?
Hygge has been everywhere lately and I’m all for this trend! Wikipedia defines it as ” the Danish word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Hygge refers to “a form of everyday togetherness”, “a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow”” I think of it as the feeling of walking into your cozy home after being out in the dark and cold winter. Pretty much like a nice warm hug but all the time.
Denmark is often named one of the happiest places on Earth and this definitely helps them get that title. I saw a TED talks ( this one! ) a little while ago about how humans need traditions to feel less alone and just to improve the overall quality of life. Since then I’ve been a little fascinated with the small everyday traditions and how they help make good days. Between hygge emphasizing everyday transitions and the overall beauty and coziness of hygge, it’s an awesome idea to embrace. It creates a more calm and welcoming living space and lifestyle which helps with anxiety and making your home ( or room! ) a calming sanctuary.
Some ways to incorporate hygge into life
Warm drinks. I especially like spiced teas such as chai, apple cinnamon, ginger and liquorice, etc.
Fairy lights and candles! Having a bright home keeps away winter blues. Also, keeping curtains and blinds open to let in the sunshine.
Fire in fireplace or pit outside. Bonus points if you roast marshmallows!
Fluffy socks, cozy blankets, fluffy pillows, rugs to add more warmth.
Soups, stews or any warm comfort food.
Take a little tea or coffee break during the day and really savour it.
Freeze fruit into ice cubes to add flavour to your water.
Iced tea and coffee.
Walks in nature and taking everything in.
Bright and cool living spaces.
Having windows open to get lots of fresh air.
How I’ve been trying to embrace hygge
My favourite part has been adding fairy lights everywhere I can. Luckily, we had a large collection of lights from past Christmases, I would try to get them right after Christmas because that’s when they are cheapest and easiest to find.
Every day around 2:30-3:00pm my family tries to have a cup of tea together. It’s a nice way to have a break and a good time to have cookies!
Playing weekend music differentiates the days. Usually, I play old music or jazz to give a coffee shop feel.
I think being grateful and appreciating the coziness in things is a huge part of hygge and adds to the feeling of comfort. I make lists of all the little things I’m thankful for and try to appreciate things in the moment.
This instalment of the Seeking Style Series will be on how to streamline your outfit choices and make sure you’re using all of the clothes you own.
Get everything out and ready
The first thing I do is take all of the clothes out where I can see them so I know what I’m working with. It’s pretty messy and could probably be done in a neater way, but this is what I do. I find that I often forget things that I have or there’ll be a shirt that I don’t enjoy wearing, but once it’s put together with something else I might like it a lot more and start wearing it often. The main point is to get the most out of what you own.
Putting things together
Once everything is out, it’s time to start putting outfits together and taking pictures. I start with outfits I usually wear and from there switch a piece out and see how it looks, sometimes trying on the new combos to see how it feels and if I like it. This way you can get more outfit options out of what you have. I will also look up things like “how to style utility jacket” to get more inspiration and ideas for things to go together that I would have never thought of.
Once there are some outfit combinations, I lay everything out and take pictures of them. Then I create a secret Pinterest board where I pin all of the photos I’ve taken of my outfits. The board can be sorted by season or weather to make finding outfits even easier. With a bit of initial time commitment, you can have quick and easy outfits and not have to think about them!
Scholarships have been a bit of a struggle in the journey to university. They either require you to have done something very extraordinary ( which is definitely justifiable! ) or it seems like the places are just getting you to do their work for them. It’s been overwhelming with the amounts of scholarships available and trying to figure out what ones are actually worth pursuing.
Scholarships in Canada and some websites to find them
It’s worth looking around as early as possible for scholarships. I started looking into them last fall and most of the smaller ( about $1000 and under ) scholarships required it to be the year in which you’d be attending university. I would thoroughly check out the major scholarships but if you haven’t done anything too crazy it’s not worth spending a lot of time trying to find huge scholarships. Apply instead for as many smaller ones as possible! When you apply to universities and if you meet the scholarship requirements, schools will automatically consider you for some of their scholarships.
Scholarship sites for Canada
I’ve been using yconic.com which I like because they send emails with contests in which you can win money for university. Contests are a good, easy and a generally pretty hassle-free way to try and get some school money. I also use scholarshipscanada.com. They do not send email updates of scholarships I qualify for, which would be nice. Generally, you fill out a very detailed profile and they match you to any available scholarships. It’s not too overwhelming and there are quite a few options out there.
Not finding any
I haven’t actually applied for any yet! There doesn’t seem to be a lot of Applied Health specific ones, nor has there been any school-specific ones. The only scholarships I have found so far have been things like “design 3 T-shirts and you can win $25” ( that was legit one of them! ), or a lot of work for very little money. Once I have finished my schoolwork I will spend a lot more time on scholarships, though, because offsetting costs will be worth it!
Are there any fellow Canadians out there looking for scholarships, what sites do you use? Any other homeschoolers struggling with finding good scholarships?
A little while ago I started the series Seeking Style about finding your own personal style and basically how I shop for my clothes because it has become a process. The last post in the series was March ( whoops! ) so now I’m bringing it back with more tips! You can check out Seeking Style 1, 2 and 3 here!
Narrow stores down
There are so many clothing stores, so I find it best to narrow down where you will shop to just a few stores so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Figure out if you’re looking for high quality ( more expensive ) or lower quality ( cheap! ) clothing. It’s good to buy high quality for classic pieces you know you’ll wear for awhile and not get bored of or pieces that won’t go out of style, then trendy things can be fun and don’t need to be the highest quality. I get bored of my clothes pretty easily so I tend to buy things that may not be the highest quality but I get enough enjoyment out of them before they wear out.
Shop online for better deals
There are lots of benefits to shopping online, a big one is you can get much better deals! Before shopping online sometimes it’s good to go in person to stores, figure out what sizes work well for you, what stores you’re going to shop at, basically just stake out the place to figure out what you’re going to buy, then find things online that you wish to purchase. Stores will often give you a discount for signing up for their email list, don’t sign up unless you’re going to be buying things soon because the discounts expire! I have several emails and will sometimes sign up again with another email address, that’s probably not really allowed but I need the discounts. You can watch the stores website for sales and combine it with the email discount, too. There are often coupon codes to add to the deals which you can’t get in person. I also like getting packages in the mail and the anticipation for things to arrive. Overall, I just prefer shopping online for clothing.
Do you prefer shopping online or in person for clothes?
More getting things done! Somehow a lot of getting things done has involved home repair and decorating, but it’s become a bit of a hobby for me and it’s so satisfying to see the transformation! Painting is also kind of fun and a good opportunity to turn it into a dance party.
The old dining area colour was a brownish green that wasn’t the happiest or cleanest colour so it was time to update it.
After some Pinterest research on what the best shade of white ( one would think there isn’t a lot of shades of white but there is ) would be, we decided on Alabaster White from Sherwin Williams and luckily they were having a sale so it was perfect timing to buy paint! The new white makes the ceilings seem higher and the whole room bigger overall, plus it really brightens the whole place up. Now it’ll be onto more decorating!
I hear it is SuperBowl this weekend which means good food and a healthier ( my recipe is kind of high in fat so just slightly healthier ) option is hummus. It can be eaten with veg plus it has protein and fibre to satisfy you. And making your own hummus means you get a lot more than in the package, so there’s more to eat.
2 1/4 cup chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 table salt
1/4 garlic powder
A splash of lemon juice to taste, I add quite a bit because I like it lemony.
You can use canned chickpeas, but a good thing I found is that it’s cheaper to buy a bag of dried chickpeas and cook them up before you’re going to use them. I put them in a slow cooker filled with water overnight then in the morning they are slightly overcooked but it makes the hummus more smooth. Also, tahini is key to making the hummus taste right, I have tried using olive oil but it alone doesn’t cut it.
Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth, it should almost look like frosting. Then enjoy!
I eat this hummus with everything and pretty much all of the time, it has to be one of my favourite foods and it’s fast and easy to make!
The motivation for doing schoolwork can be so hard, especially during the winter when the days a dreary and the last thing you want to do is school.
Grade 11 vs 12 motivation
Last year, motivation was pretty low around this time of year since it was post-winter break and everything seems dull until spring starts to pop up. This year, I feel pretty highly motivated to get school done, so much so I’ve been getting done a week’s worth of work in a couple days.
Highly motivated in grade 12
I think the motivation to get schoolwork done gets easier when there’s an end in sight and once I’m done this grade it’ll be done for high school. In previous years I have not taken summers off, instead, I took off a few days here and there when I felt like it. That can be very good for when you feel like you really can’t do schoolwork and need a break. But, having a set “I will be done school” point helps to motivate to get to that point. I’m trying to have a combination of both, do as much school as I can while I’m feeling super motivated then taking a few days off ( weekends or days when I’m busy doing other things ) with the end point of whenever all of my courses are finished. The end feels close enough that I’m trying my best to get to that point as soon as I can with still learning everything. The downside of the days when I get lots of schoolwork done is there is sometimes a “crash” day where my brain is mush, that’s when it should be a break or an easier work day. Overall, I’m just looking forward to having all of the work done and that’s motivation enough to keep going.
How do you keep motivated during these dull months?