A member of my fitness group had a really good idea for selfcare goals for the month of February 2022. He said that February is Heart Month – for those who live with heart disease.
I thought what a better way than to honour the month with selfcare goals that are good for the heart. Not just physically, but also for emotional selfcare.
Goals can be anything that is good for your heart. Keep reading for a list of my selfcare plan.
Heart Health Goals
Continue to track my meals using My Fitness Pal (MFP) daily
Continue to log my daily moods and issues on MFP
Exercise at least 5x per week focusing on strength and core exercises
Take supplements daily – Vitamin D3, Calcium and Fish Oil
Ask for help when needed
Have a sea salt bath every Friday night
Emotional Selfcare Goals
Try at least 1 new recipe each week and share results on blog
Get at least 5-6 hours of sleep every night. In bed by 1 am.
Minimize time spent on social media
Read at least 2 books this month
See my dad 1-2 times each week
Utilize Canva more and make art for the website
Write daily – blog & short stories
Notes and thoughts
That’s a lot for me to focus on. I am counting down the days until spring and warmer weather. It’s been a deep freeze again this week and makes it hard to get out. With my back, I’m also finding it hard to move around much.
As for the blog, I hit 1,000 readers this week. I’m going to share a milestone post soon. I’m getting frustrated with the amount of creeps that slide into the comments. I’ve blocked so much spam. And more recently, someone that tried to “chat” offline.
I want to make it clear, that this blog is for me to vent about daily life issues. To share information. And to connect with others like me who like to cook, read and write. I’m not here to meet random guys off the internet. Especially NOT married guys! To the married guy who tried to hit me up, no thank you. I’m fine on my own. If you want that kind of talk, sign up for Tinder, please and thank you.
Thank you to all my latest followers. I’m getting better at discovering new blogs and leaving comments. I’m liking what I see so far.
If you’d like to join me in this healthy heart challenge, you can download the PDF file below. It’s high quality and is printable. Your goals can be anything you want them to be. Be creative!
It’s Monday afternoon and I just finished a protein filled breakfast. Surprisingly, eating healthy and cooking interesting meals has become a bit of a habit. I’m still using MyFitness Pal daily to track my calories and even to use it for meal planning. And other than ordering in pizza once this month, I’ve been pretty good.
Meal prepping is such a great way to plan for healthy eating throughout the week. When I got my groceries on Friday, I made sure to stock up on lots of fresh vegetables, some fruit, and cans of beans and legumes. I have some kale left that I need to use up too.
I try to fill my first meal of the day with protein. This past weekend was a bust as I haven’t been sleeping well at night time. I had a nap last night and so couldn’t fall asleep. Getting up at noon isn’t exactly great when you’re trying to eat three meals a day. So, what I eat for breakfast will fluctuate. I do intermittent fasting a couple of times a week – so today will be a fasting day.
What is intermittent fasting? Don’t worry, I have an article on that too – it’s one of my more popular blog posts .
Here are some ideas for you, if you want to get into healthy meal planning. I find prepping at the beginning of the week to be really useful. I’ve already gone through a dozen eggs where as before, I had to force myself to use up the eggs before they went bad.
I’ll list a few meal ideas for you so you can get an idea of what I eat. I’m eating mostly plant based foods these days, but I do love dairy, breads and meat too.
There are many ways to eat oatmeal. My favorite is in a protein bar or for a snack. For breakfast, I will mix 1 cup of oats, some milk, applesauce and add a sliced banana to the bowl. Heat it up in the microwave for just 1 minute and you have a breakfast full of fiber and potassium.
About once a week, I’ll hard boil about 6 eggs. I try and have at least 1 egg for a protein boost with breakfast and then another one with lunch or dinner. Hardboiled eggs are easy to make, easy to store, and can keep in the fridge for a few days. Great for protein and snacking on the go.
Toast and peanut butter
If I’m really hungry when I wake up, sometimes I’ll have 1 to 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter or jam. This is a higher carb breakfast but it’s filling. I’ll pair it with a side of fruit like grapes or apple slices.
Special K Almond Cereal
I try not to eat too much cereal but sometimes when you aren’t feeling good, cereal is a good option to make sure you eat in the morning. I like Special K cereal and mix it with either a cup of yogurt or milk. I’ll usually eat a piece of fruit on the side like a banana or a handful of berries.
For drinks, I usually have one cup of instant coffee with cream. I switched to instant coffee because I felt like I was wasting so much when I made full pots of coffee. It’s just me – and I can’t drink that much caffeine in a day. So, my coffee is typically the first thing I make. I do add a teaspoon of sugar, and it’s usually the only sugar I add to my foods unless I’m baking or the recipe calls for it.
For more oatmeal meal ideas, check out Clean and Delicious on YouTube. I’ve been following Dani for a while now and enjoy her creative ideas in the kitchen.
For a few months last year, I ate spinach and tuna wraps almost religiously. But eventually, I did get tired of it. This month, I went back to eating things like kale and raw veggies. If I have bread for break, then I try not to eat it the rest of the day. So, lunches are typically low calorie meals filled with plant based foods and fruit. Sometimes I’ll have leftovers from the night before, like the kale bean soup that I made last week. I’ll get my protein from things like eggs, beans, tuna, hummus and leftover chicken from the night before. It really varies from day to day.
Keep in mind, that I’m a single person. If I make a standard recipe for a family of four, that will feed me for days. I’ve been eating my kale bean soup since last Thursday and still have a bit left.
Fried kale and scrambled eggs
Kale bean soup or salad
Brown rice and beans or chickpeas
Quinoa salad with vegetables and dried fruit
Homemade soup with 1 slice of toast
Lettuce wraps – with tuna, eggs or protein filling
Raw vegetables and hummus (celery, carrots, green beans, cucumber)
For drinks, I usually stick to sparkling water or tap water that has been chilled. I usually only have one cup of coffee per day which goes with my first meal of the day. It’s a nice way to “wake up” in the morning.
For more plant based recipe ideas, check out Rainbow Plant Life – it’s my new favorite healthy eating channel on YouTube.
For dinner, this is where I like to get creative. I will often use my new Crockpot and start prepping meals in the afternoon. I love a good slow cooked soup or stew – especially on cold or rainy days. There’s something invigorating about grabbing a cup of soup that you made from scratch. There’s a sense of pride and satisfaction from executing a recipe to perfection.
For dinner meals, I like to eat a balanced meal and try and incorporate the four main food groups – protein, produce, dairy and grains. This is where I get the bulk of my protein for the day. I do allow myself cheat meals, so maybe twice a month I’ll order in pizza or a burger. I think it’s important to allow yourself treats to avoid binge eating.
Also, life is short. So, why not indulge every now and then??
Chicken vegetable stew
Beef and bean chili
Hearty homemade soups
Hearty beef stew
Ham and broccoli casserole
Chicken pot pie or tarts
Butternut squash and chicken soup
You get the idea. If you want to try some of these recipes, just head over to my Food page where I have them sorted out by meal types.
When I get stuck in a food rut, I often turn to Downshiftology for creative ideas. Lisa’s videos are amazing, and she focuses on clean eating for auto-immune disorders and to help reduce inflammation. Her kitchen is also my dream kitchen – I wish I could afford a Vitamix! A lot of my newer recipes were inspired by this channel.
Stay tuned for more recipes!
That’s about it today for meal planning for the week. I have some kale I need to use up. I also got some frozen butternut squash that I’m excited to use in the crockpot. What I’m making – I don’t know yet. I also plan on doing some healthy baking this week if health allows for it. My sleep schedule is off due to the insomnia. I tell you – it’s something new every day living with hypermobility EDS.
I’ve shared with you some of my favorite go to channels for inspiration in the kitchen. This year, my goal is to incorporate more plant based foods and foods that will help reduce inflammation. I suffered from osteoarthritis as well and this is important for joint health.
It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve been awake since 7:30. The sky is dark this morning even after 9:00 am. I just finally got out of bed, got dressed and have my breakfast and a cup of coffee. Breakfast this morning is a piece of toast with half a banana, some oatmeal granola that I made last night (it’s very crumbly) and a hardboiled egg. Oh, and my one cup of instant coffee that I must have most mornings. Sometimes I don’t because my sinuses cause dry mouth. On those mornings, I just drink a lot of water.
It’s a warmer day today and I tried sitting on the balcony last night. That wind was chilly even though we finally broke 0 degrees. It is supposed to be warm all this week and that is a welcome change, however, it is also supposed to rain today and that means the sidewalks and roads are going to be awful. Why does that always happen on days I have to go out??? I need to see my dad soon. I did get some of the snow cleared off my balcony yesterday but it’s really piled on. The chairs are cleared at least and I knocked a good foot of snow off the railing.
I’m feeling a little more human today and I’m wondering if it’s because I didn’t take my new meds yesterday. Maybe the dosage is too high for starting off. I’m on 500 mg of Naproxen and while it is great for the pain, I’ve been having lots of dizzy spells and nausea this week. Related? I don’t know. We’ll see , I guess. Maybe I’ll just cut the pill in half and see if that helps a bit. Then work my way up to 500 mg. You’re supposed to take the pill twice a day but that seems excessive.
One thing that is crazy is the amount of dreams I am having this week and I wonder if it’s related to the meds. These are pain meds for the migraines and arthritis. I also get a lot of lower back pain from a previous fracture that was never treated. Just making the bed for example can send me into fits of screaming rage – from the pain. But daily exercise seems to be helping a bit with that.
Having weird dreams isn’t a new concept to me. What is weird is that I’m repeating dreams that I had years ago. One dream about my ex felt so real, that it’s messing with my psyche. I was almost convinced that the dream really happened. And now it’s playing with my memory – did this really happen? Did I forget about the incident? Or have I just had the dream so many times that it feels real? This must be what my dad feels like with the hallucinations. It’s a bit scary. Not knowing what’s real or not.
I’ve had different variations of this dream. Sometimes it’s with my ex Kevin. And sometimes it’s my ex Cory. I remember one dream where Cory and I drove for hours trying to find the perfect spot to camp for the night. We went a few times together in real life with his parents and went on a few road trips – one to Radium, BC and one to Cochrane to visit his family. It was a nice and safe relationship – a little too safe for me, which is ultimately why it ended after 2.5 years. We wanted different things. I wanted to move in. He was a mom’s boy and wanted to stay at home. Guess who got married first and wound up having kids. Isn’t that always the way? But there’s no shade there. After we broke up, we patched things up and stayed friends for a while. At least until we both moved onto other relationships. He even helped me move once.
Kevin was a different story. We dated for about a year. It was a serious relationship. I introduced him to a lot of my friends in a certain community. And in the end, I lost some friends when the relationship ended. It’s weird that I would start dreaming about him after we split though. It was a painful breakup but also inevitable. We loved each other, just not enough.
In the dream, we drive for a few hours until we find this old one bedroom cabin. I think we must be lost in the dream because the cabin is empty except for a bit of furniture and a fireplace. We dump our bags inside and wind up sleeping outside in a “lean-to” which is a DIY survival sleeping area made of wood, trees and natural elements. I learned that from a survival weekend camp thingy many years ago.
The dream is always very short and I wake up right after it. We’re lying down on the ground trying to keep each other warm. And then I’m back in my bed. I’m often left scratching my head wondering what the dream could mean. And why is it a different person in each dream? The first few times I had the dream, it was with Kevin. Then Cory. And back and forth. I’m usually pretty good at dream interpretations but this one has me scratching my head. Literally. I need a shower.
These are relationships that have been over for more than a decade and yet these guys still creep into my dreams. I also had a very vivid dream about my high school best friend Trina and our townhouse that we lived in together for about five months in 1996. In the dream, she asked if I would stay home and look after her toddler with last minute notice. She treated me terribly and was using me for money the entire six months I lived with her family (Trina, Scott and the baby).
I point blank looked at her and said, “I’m your roommate. I pay to live here. I’m not free childcare.” And I felt this sense of rage and wanted to punch her in the face. That anger stayed with me a bit when I woke up and I realized it was just a dream. But I guess I have a lot of pent up feelings that I never got to tell her after our last fight. I’ll write about that experience in another post. Moving out had been a big mistake and one I’ll always regret. But it was also an important life lesson – be careful who you let into your life, and your heart.
Anyway, I think that’s it. I just wanted to jot down those dreams before I forget. There’s been so many weird dreams this week that feel so real. And so many dreams of a time in my life that is very hazy. This happened more than 20 years ago! Why am I remembering this now? I thought I let go of it all. But dreams have a weird way of re-hashing things you thought were in the past. And I spent a good hour this morning trying recall more about that time in my life. Maybe it’s something to mention in therapy this week.
That’s enough for me. Time to finish my breakfast, have a shower and get my day started. Off to see my dad hopefully later today. Just waiting for a text from my sister saying it’s okay for me to go. She knows I’ve been sick.
And can someone please tell me why this hardboiled egg is so rubbery and gross? I tasted one yesterday and it was perfect. Oh well!
Do you need your dreams interpreted? Follow my blog for more posts as I analyze some of my most memorable dreams.
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Yesterday afternoon, I got tired of looking at my bare Christmas tree and decided to start decorating it. I’ve been putting it off because I’ve reinjured my back recently and it hurts – a lot. I’ve been taking it easy this past week and sleeping in a bit more the past few days.
Did I tell you that I found out at some point in the last 12 years I fractured my spine? I’m still miffed at this. My former doctor never told me about this injury. I’m glad we get our health records now – this is how I found out about the injury. It showed up in a scan I had last fall when I got checked for fibrosis of the lungs. The injury is wedging between the vertebrae towards the bottom of the spine. No wonder it hurts. I suspect this happened during one of many falls on ice. Lord knows there have been enough of them over the years.
So, I’ve been taking it easy. Getting lots of sleep. Taking pain killers every day. And exercising.
But it was worth the pain. My little 4 foot tree looks adorable. I’m on the hunt for something to decorate the fireplace with. Maybe garland. I have to get new command hooks so it doesn’t damage the paint. I’m also scared to put anything on the tile. It’s so pretty.
I call this my Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I have a lot of Keepsake ornaments and Charlie Brown ones too. I love it. The tree is looking a little pathetic though.
While decorating the tree, I listened to Nana Mouskouri’s “Old Toy Train” which my mum played every Christmas. She loved Nana’s music. These are the sounds that filled my house when I was young. Nana is Greek performer that was hugely popular in the 80’s and 90’s. Mum had all her albums. We would listen to Perry Como, Dean Martin, Vera Lynn, Rita MacNeill and of course, Nana.
This song makes invokes so many emotions – my throat closes up and I choke back the tears every time I hear it. Even my aunts joke about it because mum was obsessed with this Christmas album. And so it’s fitting, that when I decorate the tree with ornaments inherited from my mother, that I listen to her favorite song.
Mostly Single News
I got in touch with WordPress yesterday. They reminded me that the business plan for this site is expiring. I’ve made the decision to let that expire and go back to a personal plan. That means there will be less posting here. I don’t know what I can do to get more engagement.
I realize most of my followers came here for my old fitness posts and health advice. But I want to do things that I enjoy and focus on things that make me happy. I’ll still post here from time to time. If you wish to follow me on my new journey of life, visit my new website. I may transfer some of my older posts from here to that blog.
Also, my new album is out on Spotify! Please give it a listen.
Christmas has arrived early at my place. With everything going on this past year and the cranky mood I’ve been in lately, I’ve decided I needed a little cheer in my life. And so, last night I went through my many boxes of Christmas decorations that I inherited from my parent’s collection, and I got out my tiny tree. It’s a work in progress.
The key is to make sure all the lights are in working order before decorating the tree. One of the strands burned out last year and so I have to order in a new one. I was hoping to remove these lights and use mixed color lighting this year, but this was a prelit tree and it’s going to take some work to remove them. So, perhaps I will wait until the white lights die out.
Ignore the mismatched colors. I’ll be fixing that once I get to the store. I’ve been checking Amazon for some hooks that I can use to hang lights on the fireplace without damage and Command hooks were suggested to me. I’m also on the hunt for inexpensive garland to wrap around the fireplace. And maybe some LED candles. I’ve been pretty careful about money the past couple of months and so, I feel I deserve a little pick me up. The little tree does light up – I just need to put batteries into it. And all the decorations you see on my fireplace, were either from my parent’s house or gifted to me by my mother.
I love Precious Moments figurines. My mum was hooked on these back in the early 2000s. I don’t remember when she gifted me this little set, but I’ve had it for nearly forever. I have a few other pieces that I need to find a home for, including an angel and Christmas star. I have quite a few ornaments from this series too and think my theme for my tree this year will be a very Precious Moments kind of tree.
Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday. I mean, she loved all the holidays, but she shined at Christmas time. She’d spend most of December in the kitchen baking meat tarts, pies, Yule logs, meringues and other delicious treats. As kids, we’d gather with neighbours to spread cheer around the neighbourhood and sing carols. Then we’d head back to our house for hot chocolate and dessert.
As a Danish kid, we’d celebrate Christmas Eve with my dad’s family and then we’d host Christmas Day with mum’s family. At least until the family got too big and my generation started having kids. Now we only see the aunts and uncles at special events.
The house was decorated early in December and mum would spend hours perfecting the tree until she became too ill to do it herself. Then my sister took over with her kids. And after mum died, and dad fell ill, she got him a table top tree so he could still have a bit of Christmas cheer in the house.
Oh, how I miss Christmas at home. More than anything, I’d love to have just one more family dinner there. But sadly, we no longer own the house. It was sold last year.
This was one of the last trees my sister decorated before switching to the table top tree. And yes, those chairs may look familiar as they’re in my living room now. I cannot express how hard it was to let go of this house. My family wanted me to buy it – but it was way too much upkeep for one person – and money too. I have a feeling mum is still there. It was her dream home. And she used to joke that she would find a way to stay there forever.
After we moved dad out of the house, we started celebrating Christmas at my sister’s home. She loves to celebrate and her husband enjoys cooking. They do a turkey every Christmas day, and we all bring dishes for a family potluck. We stopped buying gifts for everyone a few years back. Instead we do a gift exchange of one gift for all the adults. I’ve learned to buy something I like and no one else would want. It’s what they all do!
My sister has a beautiful home. I was just there on the weekend and spent most of the day with her family. It was a nice visit. We also got my dad out for his birthday too.
Every year for the past 15 years, I have played the organ at the church for the Christmas services. The Danish celebrate Christmas on the 24th so it is always a busy day. We have two services. Before the pandemic, we would have a Christmas party and then a turkey dinner. We’d also go caroling as a group and sing funny Danish Christmas songs. But sadly, all that has been cancelled since 2020. It’s something I’m really missing this year.
One year, the church was so cold upstairs, that we had to move the service to the basement on Christmas morning. We had a small group but it was a memorable day and I got to play the piano for the service. I don’t talk about the church often here. Religion is not part of my life. But I’m there for the music and community. And to learn more about my Danish heritage. It’s important to me. I’ve cut back on services and will eventually reduce that to one service a month.
Every year we would have a party where the kids would decorate the tree with handmade paper decorations which is a long time honoured Danish tradition. I really want to make some decorations this year. Where I’m going to hang them is another question.
Last year, I bought a $40 four foot tree from Michaels. I hadn’t had a tree in a few years due to the mice and said to heck with it. I wanted a tree. I was going to buy a bigger tree this year, but meh. This tree is still works for now.
Christmas warms my hearts
I have no idea what’s is going on for Christmas this year. But I thought decorating early might perk up my spirits. I made the mistake of listening to some Christmas music on YouTube yesterday and I wound up crying at the emotional performances. This time of year always makes me a bit sentimental. I miss my mum. I miss our house. But I guess that’s part of life. Things change. You grow. You adapt. And now Christmas for me, is wherever dad and my family happen to be.
I do know that I want to decorate my new home and bring some merry cheer into my life. I’m going to work on new music videos for YouTube, and will get started early on baking. And of course, there’s my special little Christmas dinner that I do for myself every year.
What’s your favorite part about the Christmas season? Do you celebrate Christmas where you are? And what are your family traditions? I’ll be sharing more stories as the season draws closer. I love the lights, the trees, the music – all of it.
If you love Christmas as much as I do, please follow my blog!
Samhain is traditionally known as a Pagan festival or spiritual celebration that dates back to ancient Celtic times. It is celebrated on October 31 which is also known as the eve of All Saint’s Day. Those who celebrate Samhain believe that this is the day when the veil (walls) between the living world and the spirit world are the thinnest. This makes communication between the living and the dead much easier than it is the rest of the year.
Samhain falls in between Summer and Winter Solstice which are also popular Pagan or Wiccan celebrations that date back to the ancient Celts and Druids. Summer Solstice honours the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year while Winter Solstice honours the shortest day of the year – December 21.
It is believed that evil spirits could cross over to the living world during Samhain and so children wore masks and costumes as protection from the monsters hiding in the dark shadows. Villagers would leave offerings for the spirits and Pagan gods that they worshipped. They also left offerings for fairies, or Sidhs. It is said that monsters like Pukah or The Lady Gwyn (a headless woman) would come out at night and steal children from their homes or those who wandered the streets alone.
Here is a short video on Irish fairies that you might like!
All Saint’s Day
All Saint’s Day is traditionally celebrated on November 1st each year. It is a festival in which people honour and celebrate the dead. This celebration has many names around the world and is also known as All Hallows Day, and Hallowmas.
If you have someone that you have loved and lost, to honour them, simply light a candle at night time and think of them. They may appear to you in your dream if you ask them to before you fall asleep.
Samhain and Halloween
Over the years, Samhain eventually became known as All Hallows Eve or now as we know it, Halloween. Much of the traditions that were celebrated by the ancient Celts and pagans are still celebrated today. Children dress up in costumes on October 31 and go from house to house asking for candy. Families and villagers give up offerings in the form of candy. We carve pumpkins and hang decorations in our homes.
Halloween is predominantly celebrated in North America and some European countries like Ireland. Halloween has become more popular in countries like Australia, but it isn’t like it is here in Canada.
The term Trick or Treating is said to be from ancient Irish and Scottish traditions in the days leading up to Samhain. Villagers in Ireland would go door to door singing songs to honour the dead. Instead of exchanging candy, villagers gave out cake.
It is also widely believed that tricks and pranks originated from Samhain traditions but they were blamed on fairy folk who are known as tricksters in folklore.
In Celtic regions, people hang juniper decorations around their homes and create an alter for the dead. A large feast with autumn or fall vegetables is held among family and friends to worship the dead.
My favorite show, Supernatural, had a really good episode about the legend of Samhain. Here’s a clip from the episode. I re-watch this show every couple of years, at least the first five seasons and these are episodes that really stand out.
Halloween around the world
Dia de las Brujas is celebrated in Mexico on October 31 every year, however, it is often overshadowed by the Day of the Dead which is akin to our All Saint’s Day celebrations.
Much like Halloween here in Canada, children of Mexico wear costumers and masks to go from door to door and ask for candy. They shout things like “We want Halloween.” People decorate their homes with skeletons, paper wreaths and flowers.
If you want to learn more about these traditions, I suggest the Disney movie Coco – it’s on my watch list for today.
The following information comes from various sources including History.com – and I thought they would be fun to share. I had never heard the Jack-o-lantern story before!
Samghnagans (Fire Festivals)
In the middle ages throughout Europe, villagers celebrated Samhain with large bonfires. These fires were said to protect families from evil creatures such as witches and the fairies. It was also during the middle ages where villagers would start to carve Jack-o-lanterns that were attached by strings and sticks. This would later become a tradition known as pumpkin carving in the modern world.
According to History.com, the “Stingy Jack” was an Irish man who invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Jack didn’t want to pay the bill, and asked the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to pay for the drinks. Instead of paying for the drinks, Jack kept the money to himself and put it in his pocket trapping the Devil. It is believed that Jack freed the Devil and he made a bargain for his life. If the Devil left him alone for one year, and if Jack died, he could not claim his soul.
Jack tricked the Devil once again and the Devil climbed into a tree for a piece of fruit. Jack carved a sigil into the tree that prevented the Devil from escaping. In folklore, this is now known as a a Devil’s or demon trap. And much like the crossroad Devil deals, Jack convinced the Devil to leave him alone for TEN years.
When Jack finally died, the Devil was not happy with the trickery and refused Jack to enter hell. Jack was sent off into the night as a lost soul with only a burning coal to use as light. Jack placed the coal into a turnip and is said to be roaming the earth still to this day as a lost soul. And this is how the term “jack-o-lantern” came to be.
Halloween, my favorite holiday
Honestly, I think I love Halloween more than Christmas as you can tell by my many posts this week. My mum loved making our costumes and decorating the house for all the neighbourhood kids. Some kids would get so scared from the Disney spooky sounds playing on the stereo that they would, and it would make us all love. I’m convinced my mum had a bit of an evil streak in her. But it was all in good fun.
Today, I’ve left a box of candy outside my door with a sign as an offering for anyone to help themselves. I’m going to settle down with a drink of rum tonight, and watch spooky Halloween movies. And tomorrow, I’ll light a candle for my mum and all those souls we’ve lost over the years.
If you love this post, please let me know! Supernatural legends and folklore – I love these more than movies and music combined.
To close the post, I’m going to leave you with this classic clip from Charlie Brown the Halloween Special.
Follow blog for more articles like this! I love sharing spooky stories and tales!
This is a repost….I love my Hygge home. But decorating is put on hold until Christmas due to finances!
Since moving into my new home seven months ago (hard to believe) – I’ve been almost obsessed with making it feel like home. This is a continuous work in progress. I couldn’t understand my desire or need to make it feel like home. At least until one of my Danish cousins kept saying, “That’s so Hygge!” on my condo photos that I was sharing on social media.
For those of you who don’t know, I come from a family that has a very strong European background. My dad’s family is Danish as far back as it goes. We’ve traced our history back 200-300 years. My mother’s family was English and Irish mostly. We have some German in our background but we don’t know which side – probably dad’s family at some point.
Even though our family has been in Canada since the 50’s, they are Danes at heart. One of the reasons I accepted the volunteer gig as an organist at the Danish church, was to learn more about Danish music and the culture. The Danes love their food, baking, good wine, and getting together with family and friends. Music is also a huge part of the Danish culture and it explains why I’ve always felt passionate about it. My father played the piano and violin as a kid. His dad played all the instruments he could get his hands on. And my grandmother loved to write silly songs and poems for special events. My aunts were all wonderful singers. We have a very talented family.
So, on this Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would share with you what being Hygge means and how it applies to me. A half Dane living in Canada. I hope you’ll stick around with me as I explore this important part of my culture.
Lighting is still a work in progress. I will be getting some white lights for Christmas and some LED candles.
Updated with fall decor:
What is Hygge
If you’re on TikTok, and you’re into home projects, you’ve probably come across videos with the hashtag #hyggehome. The Hygge lifestyle has become a major trend in recent years. But what is Hygge exactly?
Hygge, pronounced hooga, is sort of a way of life for the people of Denmark and Norway. It’s about being happy, focusing on the simple things in life – and bringing comfort into your home.
“Why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your life?”
Being Hygge is more than a feeling of comfort or coziness, it’s about being present and living in the moment. It’s about enjoying all the little things in life. It’s about finding happiness in every day things like food, wine, and spending time with loved ones. There is no one word in English to describe the meaning of Hygge.
Winters are harsh in Denmark with cold, dark and rainy days. They don’t get snow like we do here in Canada which can make winter really pretty. And since Denmark is so high up north, they get very little sun in winter months. Hygge was created to help the Danes get through the long cold winters.
I realized as I was sitting in my sister’s home yesterday and enjoying her Hygge home, that the lifestyle was something I had always longed for. I just didn’t understand what is was. And the more my cousins brought it up, the more curious I got about learning what it all means.
Hygge isn’t about selling or buying things, it’s not about furnishing your home – it’s about — living. A simple state of just being in the moment and being present.
“A defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA. What freedom is to Americans – hygge is to the Danes.” – Meik Wiking
Being Hygge in your home, means making it comfortable and cozy for yourself, and for guests. Socializing is a huge part of the culture in Denmark. Instead of going out for dinner, many Danes feel more comfortable being in their own homes, cooking food and spending time with family.
How can you make your home more Hygge? It’s pretty easy – and won’t cost very much. Add some textiles like throw blankets and cushions. Create a library nook – a cozy area for you to read in. Light a fire if you have a fireplace. Replace harsh lighting with soft bulbs, candles and salt lamps. This is going to be my next purchase for my bedroom project!
Wear fuzzy socks on a cold winter day, drink a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, light a fire, bake some fresh bread – and read a book. This here, is the very essence of being Hygge. Listening to music is also a huge part of daily life. I almost always have music on when I’m writing or in the morning as I’m eating my breakfast and reading the daily news.
Just reading these suggestions, you might be thinking to yourself, “Am I Hygge? I do this already!” Well, then you might have just had your aha moment like I did this weekend.
Candles and lighting
Candles have always been an integral part of Danish culture. As a kid at Christmas time, I remember marveling at the candle shaped lights on my grandmother’s Christmas tree. We would dance around the tree and sing carols on Christmas Eve. That was followed by eating lots of good food, pastries and opening presents.
During long winter months, candles are an inexpensive way to light your home and create a cozy ambiance. I’ve always found bonfires and candles to be comforting. I love lighting candles when I’m outside at night time. It reminds me of simpler times as a child in a Danish family.
Denmark is a country that is obsessed with lighting. Subtle lighting through LED lights, candles and salt lamps are used to make a home more welcoming and create a sense of intimacy. The word candles in Danish is translated to, “living light.”
If you want to get even more specific, there are Hygge candles that have a Scandinavian design with natural and bright colors. A truly Hygge candle is one that is unscented, and made from natural products like wood wicks.
Harsh bulbs like florescent lighting is hard on the eyes and not welcome in most Danish homes. If you can, go for natural lighting where possible. And if you don’t have access to large windows, then use softer lights with orange or yellow bulbs.
This is on my shopping list for my bedroom. My accent colors are coral, orange and pink.
I did some research and salt lamps are a lot of work. I’m going with led lamps instead.
Bring the outside inside
Adding a little more Hygge to your home means bringing things found outside into your home. That means storing things like firewood by your fireplace, filling your living room with green plants and flowers. Starting a small herb garden in your kitchen. Or letting natural light into your home with large windows. You can use pumpkins, pine cones and leaves as part of your decor. You can also add things like pussy willow, wheat and other natural decor to help you connect with nature.
I think this is why I’ve loved having my balcony this summer. There’s a huge tree right next to me and it’s beautiful. The entire area is surrounded by lots of mature evergreen and sap trees. I know it will look beautiful once the leaves start turning color. All my plants and flowers died due to the hot weather this year, so I am looking for plants that can survive the dark winter months. I think maybe a few succulent plants and some ivy might work well. I’m pulling pictures from Pinterest for inspiration. I love this fireplace set up.
Comfort food and family dinners
Connecting with family and loved ones is also part of being Hygge. A common tradition is to eat dinner together as a family. But in these modern times with cell phones and mobile devices, an important piece is to put away the devices during these family moments. Gathering the family together to prepare a home cooked meal is also a great Hygge experience.
Our family used to have weekly dinners where everyone pitched in with cooking. Cell phones were not allowed during the meal. And everyone pitched in with dishes. It’s something I miss deeply about the house and my mum. What I wouldn’t give to taste her pot roast and Yorkshire pudding again. Family dinners were always a blend of Danish tradition and English treats.
Preparing comfort foods like soups, stews and casseroles, or roasts and vegetables are also part of the Danish culture. The Danes have this delicious dumpling soup that my grandmother would make on special occasions. It’s been years since I’ve had it.
Pastries are also a popular tradition in Denmark. Filling your home with the aroma of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and using ingredients like marzipan is a great way to add a little Hygge to your daily life.
This is one thing I look forward to every fall. Soups, stews and hot casseroles. I think for me it’s more about comfort and remembering my mum in the kitchen.
Bread is a kitchen staple in Denmark. Many of my Danish friends make their own breads. Rye bread is very common to have with open faced sandwiches (smorrebrod). Or you can whip up a batch of scones to pair with your freshly brewed soup.
If you want to learn more about the Hygge way of life, then I recommend reading a few of the Hygge books. You can order them from any book store. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking is a popular book for the Hygge lifestyle. It’s a perfect read for a chilly or rainy fall day. Curl up with a cozy blanket, hot cup of coffee or cocoa, light some candles, and enjoy.
Thank you for reading!
Thanks for reading. I’ll be sharing posts and ideas on how to decorate your home and make it more Hygge. I’ve entered a nesting phase of my life. I’m not able to work due to health issues and a physical disability – and so having a cozy and comfortable home is extremely important. My family is becoming more and more important to me as time goes on. I’m looking forward to cooking dinners and creating new home memories with them all.
I’m excited to share this journey with you. Please follow my blog if you’re interest in learning more about my Danish heritage, my passion projects such as music and art – and recipes for comfort food, healthy baking and more!
I write often – so you can expect almost daily posts from me. It’s my therapy. And part of being Hygge.
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I started this post on October 1st but it’s taken me a few days to find some new content to share with you. October already? That means — Spooky season has officially begun! Next to Christmas, this is my favorite holiday/celebration of the entire year. My mum loved decorating the house when we were kids and we would all take turns handing out Halloween candy. We used to count how many kids we’d have. By 8 or 9 pm, the doorbell would stop ringing and we’d close the door, turn off the lights and that’s when my favorite part of the night started.
My mum wasn’t a fan of gory slasher movies, and neither am I to be honest, but we LOVED watching spooky movies about ghosts, or anything supernatural related. We would watch a lot of the classic movies together as well.
So, for this month’s Good Reads recommendations, I’m focusing on classic horror (TV shows, movies and books). There’s so many good shows and movies that I may do a series of posts for you over the next few months.
Every year as an adult, I adopted the tradition of watching scary movies every night in the last week of October. I’d line up about four or five movies for Halloween night that I watch every year. Some years I’ve done two week long marathons. This year, I’m attempting to start the marathon now.
I’ve already binged watched a bunch of original Twilight Zone episodes, finished watching Lucifer, and have moved onto True Blood – which is such a cheesy but fun show to watch.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 recommendations for Spooky Good Reads.
Remember: my recommendations aren’t just about books. They also include movies, tv shows, podcasts and all forms of digital media.
Only Murders in the Building
I’m starting the list off with a new tv show called Only Murders in the Building. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and I’m really loving the vibe so far. It’s like modern horror mixed in with classic horror. Why is that? Because it stars two of my long-time favorite comedians, Martin Short and Steve Martin. This classic duo has starred in some of my favorite movies over the years like Parenthood, It’s Complicated, Inner Space. But to keep the show fresh and attract a younger audience, we also have the talented Selena Gomez in the main cast.
The main premise:
All three characters live in the same building but other than spotting each other in the lobby or elevator, they don’t really know each other. That is, until one night, there is a grizzly murder in the building and the residents are forced out of the building for a few hours. The hilarious trio happened to pass by each other in restaurant and connect instantly over a shared interest – a podcast about true crime.
I loved the episodes I watched. It’s on my to watch list and is available on Hulu (for US customers) or Disney Plus for those of us in Canada. Guess that means I’m renewing my membership! Only a few episodes have been released, so I’m waiting until I can binge watch the show.
I can’t think of another show except maybe Supernatural, that gives so much to fans and fan fictions. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good “who done it” story?
The Twilight Zone
This show right here is what got me hooked onto sci-fi and horror as a young teen. As an 80’s kid, I grew up watching the reboot which is so cheesy to watch now. But as I got older, I started watching the original show from the 1950’s and now it has become one of my favorite shows of all time. The Twilight Zone is like the OG of sci-fi shows. Other cult hits like Supernatural and X-files were inspired by old episodes of the The Twilight Zone.
This show has been remade several times but nothing beats the original one that aired from 1959-64 and was hosted by Rod Serling. I’ve seen some episodes so many times that I’ve almost got the opening scene memorized by heart. I’m such a huge fan, and sci-fi nerd, that I’ve seen most of the episodes from the 80’s show, the 2000’s show and have even listened to podcasts and radio drama (dramatized reenactments).
I have never sat down to watch all of the episodes of the original series. I usually would just pick a few favorites. I’m about 1/2 of the way through season one – and there are so many episodes to get through. This challenge might take a few months.
In the original series, there are 5 seasons but there are like 156 episodes all together. That’s a lot of tv to watch.
Many of the episodes still hold up today while some are so cheesy to watch. But if you’re looking to watch the OG of sci-fi shows, then you must revisit this classic. I’m sharing my favorite episode with you – The Living Doll which still creeps me out today. I might do a separate post on my favorite episodes as I rewatch them.
If you love the OG Twilight Zone, then you might consider checking out shows like The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Night Gallery. These are all one off episodes with great story telling – so it doesn’t matter if you miss a few here and there. A modern day version of the show would be Black Mirror. I tried watching it and wasn’t crazy about it. I did however appreciate the episode with Miley Cyrus which is rumoured to be about Britney Spears.
If you’re a Stephen King fan, which I was as a teen, then you might appreciate the 80’s movie that has many stars like John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd. This is one of my must watch movies for Halloween.
And as usual 80’s fashion, the special effects in this movie are generally laughable. But, it’s The Twilight Zone and one of my faves. The segment with John Lithgow on the plane is just good acting all around.
Podcasts: In the Dark (true crime)
These days, everyone has a podcast. And I mean, everyone. I don’t know how these celebrities find the time to go on each other’s show because there are so many of them now. I think the pandemic made celebs realize they could cash in on what us little people started.
Because everyone seems to have a podcast, it’s hard to find a really good one that stands out from the rest. And so, in keeping up with spooky suggestions, I thought I’d turn to one of the more popular true crime podcasts. According to TikTok, true crime podcasts are all the rage and even inspired the show I shared above with Selena Gomez.
So for this month, I’m going to share a separate post with my podcast recommendations. I’m listening to No Sleep Stories right now. If you’re a Reddit user, you’ll know what no sleep means. I’ve listened to a few of these and the dramatization is decent. But be careful when you listen to them! You might not be able to sleep after listening.
Books: separate post coming soon
Throughout the 90’s, Stephen King was an author that got me through life in general. I was a chubby and teen young teen who was still struggling to keep up in all my classes. The only classes I really did well in was English and Music. I did fairly well in languages in general so French was another good class.
I discovered solace in the form of books and would spend most of my Friday nights at the library. I would walk over to the library or take the bus after school on a Friday night and come home with a stack of books. I’d have the stack finished by Monday and this became my weekly routine. I loved reading. I couldn’t get enough of books. And one of my favorite authors at the time for horror was Stephen King. By age fourteen, I had read almost all of his books that was available at the time. I really regret giving away my book collection. I had SO many of them!
There are way too many spooky books to share with you, so I think I’m going to do a whole separate post. Just a reminder that my Good Reads recommendations include all media – movies, tv shows, podcasts, audiobooks.
I got my Good Reads account back up and running so you can follow me there. We could also start a book or movie club as I get more into reading. I signed up for Kindle again and have been reading a little every day on my phone. I think for Christmas, I’ll get a cheaper tablet instead of an Ipad for reading so I can stretch out on the couch too or read from anywhere.
As for future posts, expect more recommendations in coming weeks. I’m discovering new podcasts and things to do to pass the time. I’m also trying to spend less time in the evenings on the computer so this is a great way to pass the time.
What are you listening to or reading right now? Let me know in the comments and I can add them to a master list!
Goodreads – check out the books I’ve read
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About a month ago, I decided to start watching at least one movie each week. Now that’s it’s October and spooky season is here, most of my nights are filled watching horror and sci-fi classics. It’s what I do every year. But to change things up and get out of a funk, I decided to pick a wildcard movie of the week on Netflix or Prime and write a review
The challenge is to watch one indie film each week and write a blog post about it. The rules are simple. It can’t be a movie I’ve seen before. It has to be considered or labelled as an “independent film” on Netflix or Prime. And it has to be something I know very little about. Mainly, I just go through the list of indie films and click on a random movie to what happens.
My watch list is growing full of independent films that I’m looking forward to watching. Some films are really great while others are a miss. I watched The Starling with Melissa McCarthy last week and I LOVED it despite the film receiving harsh reviews from critics.
I have a certain set of things I look for in a film that makes it a hit or miss for me. That’s how I’ll rate movies – hit or miss. But everyone has their own tastes, and unless a movie is truly awful, I won’t tell you not to watch it. I’ll let you be the judge of how good it is.
What I look for:
Overall storyline – is it unique?
Acting – it’s all about who stars in the film and if I like the actor or not
Music – a film with a great soundtrack is always worth it in my books
Scenery – films like Life of Pie with stunning scenery will always get in my good graces
Writing – is it good or consistent? Are there too many plot holes?
I love musicals and anything to do with biographies or historical figures. So, be prepared for some musicals in this list. I loved the Elton John biopic and the soundtrack was just so great.
Cast and Crew
Directed by: Rupert Goold
Screenplay: Tom Edge, Peter Quilter
Based on: End of the Rainbow (stage play)
Genre: Independent Film, Biography, Music
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Finn Wittrock
Judy Garland was a beloved child star, singer and actress who was most known for her role of Dorothy in the hit film The Wizard of Oz (1939). Judy is portrayed by Renée Zellweger who is almost unrecognizable in this role with short black hair. Her voice however is unmistakable. Zellweger has an impressive resume but she is most known for her role as Bridget in Bridget Jones Diary and also for movies like Jerry MacGuire, White Oleander and a really good horror film called Case 39.
The beginning of the film takes place over 30 years after Oz was released. Judy is kicked out of her hotel due to her account being in arrears. Judy is drowning in debt and faces a custody battle for her children. Throughout the film, we see flashbacks to the early days where Judy was in her prime and we see the development of her relationship with her fifth husband, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock).
We see glimpses of Judy’s past and how she was treated by her handlers. Basically at this stage in her life, Judy is a hot mess and is still reeling from trauma she suffered as a child star. Judy moves to London to return to the stage and her adoring fans.
And that’s all I’ll tell you at this point. You’ll have to watch the film to find out the rest for yourself.
I admit. I was a Judy fan growing up. Meet Me in St. Louis is a film I watch every December. The Trolley Song is still one of my favorites. Other songs included are Get Happy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Come Rain or Come Shine.
And before you ask, yes, Zellweger is actually singing in those scenes. She worked with a well known coach to prepare for the movie and she did a wonderful job.
Critics and Awards
For some reason I wasn’t in the mood for Judy when it hit theatres in 2019. The film won many awards and the critics gushed about it. Zellweger’s performance here would lead to her winning an Oscar. Here is her acceptance speech from the ceremony. I’m glad I finally sat down to watch it. I used to love Renee back in her Bridget Jones Diary day, and I’m glad she is doing well and is being recognized for her talent.
Overall I enjoyed the film and the music. Zellweger’s performance was top notch as usual. I didn’t recognize anyone else in the cast which is unusual for a movie buff like me.
What I would have liked to see was more flashbacks into Judy’s childhood and more of her backstory. Movies like this definitely help to expose the corruption in Hollywood and especially the abuse that child actors face. We still see this today with stars like Brittney Spears. But we only see a small part of this in the film.
The ending of Judy really hit me hard. I didn’t expect to cry but I did. All you need to watch is just one song – Over the Rainbow – and you’ll know what I mean.
To finish this post off, let’s watch a Judy Garland classic.
Hit or miss
If you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz or Judy Garland, then I recommend giving this film a try. This endearing and emotional film is worthy of a watch.
It’s nearly 10 am as I write this and I’m sitting down for my first cup of coffee for the day. I’ve been awake since 8 but it was so cold today that I decided to stay bundled up in bed with my phone and browsed TikTok and other social media platforms for a while. Next thing I know, it’s 9:30 and my tummy is growling.
The tree outside has lost most of its leaves and for the first time since moving in, I can see more of the church across the street. This great big maple tree has provided lots of shade and privacy this past summer. I’ve enjoyed sitting out on my balcony on hot summer nights while staring up at the stars. On really clear nights, around three in the morning, there are so many stars out here. The other night I saw the tail end of the little dipper and the three sisters. It was glorious. And freezing cold at the same time.
Fall is ending soon just as my friends in the US are starting theirs. The days are shorter with the sun that disappears around 7:30 pm. Pretty soon it will be dark by dinner time. That’s the worst part of early winter months. The long dark days. It always makes my fatigue that much worse.
But that wind this morning is cold. I had to shut the balcony window. And I know what that means. It’s October already fall will be over soon. This always makes me a bit sad. Maybe even depressed. This time of year is almost magical where I live. Once the leaves are gone, that month before the snow comes – it can get dreadful here.
And as the seasons change, so does my way of life.
Colder days means wearing fuzzy pants, heavy sweaters and using blankets at night time. I’ve got my bulky comforter on the bed already and a quilt. It’s almost a little too cozy. But the comforter is much too big for the bed so my legs get all tangled inside. I’ll have to shop around for a smaller one at Christmas time when they go on sale. Money is tight and my savings account is dwindling. I need to be more mindful of my spending for the winter.
My dreams have been all over the place. The night before last I had this strange continuous dream about a man I’ve never met. We met in the dream. Dated. Had a relationship. He met my family. I woke up. Went back to sleep and found the dream continued. That never happens to me. It left me with dark feelings and thoughts all day yesterday about relationships.
This morning, it was dreams about the end of the world and zombie wars. I blame spooky season. I’ve been binge watching supernatural and horror shows and movies. Things always get a little…. weird this time of year.
Home projects and recipes
September seemed to fly back like a flash of lightning. I got my kitchen and bedroom organized. My music room is mostly organized, I’m still trying to downsize and get rid of things I don’t need. My pantry is a work in progress. I ordered a pack of 12 Mason jars and maybe I got too many. I’ve had some fun emptying plastic bags and storing things like quinoa, pasta and coffee grinds in these jars. It makes me feel a little more organized, and a little more prepared. You know, just in case a zombie war happens.
The good thing about this month is that I did a TON of baking and cooking. 99% of the meals I ate were meals that I prepared or cooked myself. I did treat myself to pizza one night because it was too late to cook when I got home from a visit with dad. I’m currently snacking on a chocolate oatmeal loaf for breakfast. I’ll see dad later, and I have leftover meatloaf for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Maybe the best meatloaf I’ve ever made.
One thing I am looking forward to is Thanksgiving next weekend. That means a family dinner, and dinner with a friend. I think maybe I’ve been too cut off lately from the world.
The future of this blog
My business plan here expires in January and I’m not renewing it. I’ll go back down to the premium plan so I can still use premium features. Plus I need the storage. My media bin is packed with pictures. I wanted to start a new instagram account but my family would definitely find me.
So, I have lots of things keeping me busy right now. Lots to focus on other than the pain and joint stiffness that happens more frequently now. I’m waiting for appointments and referrals. Our healthcare system is a mess right now.
I’m working on a list of Good Reads for October and hope to share that this week. I’m still trying to find new books to listen to or read. It’s October which means it’s spooky season here and we do celebrate Halloween here. I usually turn to scary movies and sci-fi classics this time of year. I’ll share some of my favorites with you through the month. And maybe some spooky stories too. I had a strange experience last night that has me scratching my head today.
And on that note, my coffee is getting cold. I’m itching to get my day started. So, thanks for reading wherever in the world you may be from. I appreciate you.
I have been binge watching the original Twilight Zone and forgot how great this show is. I’m trying to get through all the episodes. There’s a lot of them. This show is the OG of all sci-fi shows. It inspired a lot of other great tv series like Supernatural, Outer Limits and Xfiles.
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