Friday, August 30, 2013

Painting: World of Animals


When I was searching for ideas to paint for my friend who just gave birth to her second son, I came across this set of painting by Yuko Lau and I fell in love with all of them right away. My hubby loved it so much he asked me to paint more for our own house. Elin was then about eight months and starting to crawl everywhere on the floor. She found the colors very attractive and couldn't keep her hands of them. So adorable!

First I drew nine of them.



Then six more. Just because they were all too cute.



Then they were up on the wall!


You can paint your own too! These square canvases were from Art Friend and they were inexpensive. I used acrylic paints as I feel it's the easiest to use, easy to blend, and dries quickly.

Happy painting!


A Collection of Painting

I still remember vividly that day in Kindergarten art class, when we all sat down on the floor to draw something with crayons. I remember drawing a simple house with a black-colored roof. The teacher who was walking up and down the hall, stopped to look at my drawing, took it, and threw it away in the big trashcan right in front of me. Maybe it was an ugly house, but did she have to do that? And then I watched as she praised a friend's beautiful drawing of a scenery. I don't remember feeling sad or angry, maybe I was too young back then, but I've never forgotten that moment, what my drawing looked like, and the other nice drawing that she praised about. Over the years that childhood incident didn't stop me from doing arts. I still loved doing creative art and in secondary school, I entered an "International Friendship Day" drawing competition which won me first place. It was a turning point in my art life where I gained a sense of confidence that nothing is impossible if we work hard and put our hearts in what we do. I wish the school returned the drawing to me because it was a special one. I didn't pursue an Arts degree as a university student, but I continue to do it as a hobby. I love when I get my hands dirty in paints, choosing and mixing colors, and seeing a blank canvas turning into a beautiful artwork. If humans can create such marvelous colors, how much more our Father in Heaven can do. He is the Master Artist.

One of my first painting using acrylic: Zen painting inspired by one that I saw on eBay, painted in 2006.


Evan and I love to bike and so I painted this upon moving in to our first home after we got married in 2008. Inspired by a poster I saw on All Posters (but I can't find the exact link anymore) :(



 Painting together with my sister. Painted in 2010.


That's my sister and her husband. 

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" - Psalm 27:1


I painted this for a friend's baby shower. One that reminds me of Psalm 23 - The Lord is my shepherd. Painted in 2011. (source)


I painted this for my friend's family of four. Painted in 2013. (source)
Hubby loved it so much that I made another set for our own home.




This one is for Elin's super Daddy.



This one is for our friend's new home. God made the big and the small. He loves them all! Painted in Jan 2013.



"But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." - Isaiah 64:8


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recipe: Hijiki Seaweed and Chicken



My friend introduced me to hijiki seaweed and shared a recipe that is so mouth-watering. I can't seem to eat enough of them. It's so delicious to eat on its own or with rice. Seaweed is also a natural MSG and is rich in iodine, a mineral important to keep out thyroid healthy.

Ingredients:

Pastured chicken, boneless, cut into small strips
Carrots, slice thinly
1 cup of Hijiki dried seaweed
Onions
2 tbsp Japanese sake
2 tbsp raw honey
3 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce
1 cup of dried bonito flakes (to make dashi stock)
Coconut oil
Japanese chili pepper (optional).

Directions:

1. Soak hijiki seaweed for 30 minutes in water. Drain.

2. Make dashi stock. I prefer to make my own dashi stock because the regular dashi powder that is sold in the supermarket contains MSG. If you can find one that doesn't contain MSG, you can use it too. I make mine by soaking one cup of dried bonito flakes to two cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove the flakes and reserve the stock.

3. Marinate chicken in sake, honey, and soy sauce (while waiting for the seaweed to soften).

4. Heat coconut oil and stir fry onion until fragrant. Add in the marinated chicken, drained seaweed, and dashi stock. Cook until chicken is well done. Add in chili powder for extra kick if you like.

Bon appétit!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Basic Essential Oils I Have and How I Use Them

Lavender Flowers

I've been trying to use more essential oils in making homemade cleaners as well as for natural remedies. I really didn't know what to expect the first time I purchased essential oils. I didn't know which ones to buy and I didn't know what to do with them. I really didn't want to waste money for something I will not use. But I'm glad I purchased them, I'm starting to appreciate good quality essential oils and the wonders they can do to my health, body, and home. 

Here are six essential oils that I currently own and use:

1. Tea tree. It's anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-viral, and antibacterial. I use it to make homemade all-purpose cleaner.

2. Eucalyptus. I have used this the most especially when we are down with cold and cough. I use it to make homemade salve and apply it to my chest, back, under the feet, and under the nose to help decongest.

3. Lavender. It's considered one of the safest essential oils as it is made by steam distilling the flowers themselves. Apply it to alleviate headaches and fatigue, relieve stress and anxiety, calm our body and promote good sleep. I've read it helps to heal ear infections as well. Lavender is another good oil to add to homemade cleaning solutions as it has antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It also makes a great natural air freshener.

4. Peppermint. It is effective for relieving colds, headaches, digestive upset, stomach pains, muscle pains/aches, and reducing fever. I also use this to make homemade antibacterial foaming hand soap.

5. Lemon. I like to mix this into my homemade all-purpose cleaner to give a refreshing scent. It's a good deodorizer and the acidity kills mold, bacteria and germs. 

6. Sweet Orange. I add this to my homemade floor cleaner for a mild orange fragrance.

What is your favorite essential oil and what do you use it for?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Homemade Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap


I used to buy scented foaming hand soap in the store. They smell so nice and they have scents for each season of the year. I especially love the minty scents that they sell during Christmas season. As wonderful as they are, they contain chemicals and synthetic fragrances that are not good for our skin. Our skin absorbs everything that we put on it. So making homemade version of antibacterial foaming hand soap at home frees us from worrying about the chemicals we put on our skin and it works just as wonderfully as store-bought hand soap. It is simple to make, using only water, castile soap, and pure essential oil. Castile soap is a very concentrated vegetable-oil based soap and a little goes a long way. So it's not only economical, but also safe to use for the most sensitive skin. Here is how to make your own antibacterial foaming hand soap. You can substitute the peppermint essential oil to your favorite oil.

Ingredients:

Re-use a foaming soap dispenser and fill it with:

1/4 parts of castile soap (plain or peppermint scented)
3/4 parts water
A few drops of peppermint essential oil

Directions:

Put all ingredients in the foaming soap dispenser and mix well.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Treating Cough Naturally


Our body is designed in such a way that it is able to heal itself naturally in illnesses such as fever, common cold, and cough. Cough (as it is with fever) in itself is not an illness, but an immune response (a symptom) that helps us recover from the illness. It has its place in healing and ideally shouldn't be suppressed. Cough is our body's automatic response when chest congestion sets in. It helps to break out the congestion and move it out of the chest. Many of us, including myself, like to do it the easy way and find over-the-counter medicines to cure our cough fast, especially when we see our little ones in discomfort, but doing so interferes with the body's recovery process, resulting in a longer illness and possibly more serious complications. 

What Can We Do When Cough Sets In?

- Rest. Resting is a must as it gives the body time to recover.

- Sleep Slightly Elevated. This will help to relieve the discomfort of cough.

- Hot Steam for chest congestion or cool moist air to soothe a dry hacking cough.

- Keep Hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and warm broths to prevent dehydration.

- Gargling with Saltwater. It will speed up the healing of sore throat.

- Essential Oils. Eucalyptus, peppermint, white camphor, and thyme are a few examples that help relieve chest congestion. Mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil and rub it on the neck, chest, and back of the body. If you have a diffuser, you can add a few drops of essential oils in it and let the machine run. 

- Herbs. Elderberry, slippery elm, mullein, marshmallow roots, garlic, onion, ginger, and raw honey are natural expectorants that helps to sooth our throat and loosen mucous without the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter medicines.

- Homeopathic Remedy such as this one.

- Avoid Dairy and Refined Carbohydrates. These foods are mucous-producing and immune-suppressing foods and better avoided while in the process of recovering from a cough. I was confused when Elin's pediatrician told me to stop giving her milk and yogurt when she had a cough, but I think it really helped her heal faster.

- Vitamins. Consume immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and D (such as cod liver oil).

- Sun Exposure. Our good old sun gives us the most vitamin D that is especially important for our immunity. Our body produces the most vitamin D when the sun is at its highest.

I have been avoiding over-the-counter cough medicines and seek natural alternative remedies outlined above, along with consuming food and herbs that boost our immune system, and I believe this has helped us from getting sick too often, as we used to get before, and when we did have it, I remember that it didn't last as long. But I also know that we can only do so much, the best we can, to be a good steward of our body. Because in the end, our health is in God's hands and we trust in God's sovereign plan and time.


What natural methods have you successfully tried at home to relieve cough and congestion?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about healthy and natural living, I am not a certified or a licensed medical practitioner who can counsel anyone in medical issues and cannot be held responsible for any decision you make regarding your health. What I am sharing are what I have learned and applied to my family but may not necessarily work for yours. My only hope is that this blog may encourage you to learn more about healthy and natural living which will hopefully help you as you make decisions for your own family.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blogging Etiquette: A Lesson in Humility


Today I learned my first lesson of blogging etiquette. 

I was overly excited about finding something online and unintentionally "flooded" that site with my comments, all with links to my blog. Only after I wrote several that I realized what an awful way it was to promote my blog. I quickly looked for delete buttons to cancel my comments but it was not available and I couldn't undo what I've done. If I could turn back time, I would, but it's too late. I then apologized to the owner and I'm thankful that she was gracious and forgiving (If you are reading, thank you for your grace). What a lesson in humility for me.


I'd skimmed through some articles online about blogging etiquette before I started blogging, but I didn't realize the importance of it until today. One thing that saddens me the most is the fact that my manner did not reflect my faith as a Christian. Although what I wrote was purely informational, the way I did it could come across as offensive. The reality is that in everything we do, whether it's intentional or not, the way we do it and the image it portrays reflects our faith. And as hard as it is to write about this post and admitting my mistake publicly, I'm glad it happens early enough in my blogging journey, so I can avoid the same mistake and improve for the better in the future. Sure, blogging is not always daisies and sunshine, maybe this is one way God uses to refine me. I thank Him for allowing me to write for His glory, even though I have to do it imperfectly.

This is a summary of blogging etiquette that I learned today through this experience and reading. It serves as a reminder for a beginner blogger like me and hope it's useful for others too.


Blogging Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts 

1. Comments. Write comments that are appropriate to the post. Be nice. If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. Constructive feedback is fine, but attacking individuals is not.

2. Photos/Images. Essentially all photos are owned by the original photographers. You are violating the copyrights of the owners unless you get permission to use the photos from them. When I started blogging, I used some photos from Google Images, until I came across this article that it doesn't matter whether you link back to the original source or put a disclaimer on your blog, you can get sued for using other people's photos, even though the chance is slim. So currently I only use my own (or my husband's) photos, with the exception for a few, where I get permission from the owners (whom I know).

3. Copyright Laws. Give credit where credit is due. If you use snippets from other sites, put a source linking to the original article. No one wants to be accused of plagiarizing other people's work. Bloggers are bound by copyright laws when they publish something on the internet. When you cite your sources, it not only help you stay out of legal trouble, it helps your search engine results.

4. Self-Promotion. The internet is a great way to promote your site, but generally people do not like self-promoters. Promoting your site through commenting on other people's sites is fine to a certain extend, where appropriate/relevant, but you don't want to over-do it (whether intentionally or not), or your reputation may be damaged. A lesson I learned today. Instead, focus on growing your blog by writing original, rich contents and overtime it will grow organically as more readers find useful and relevant information as they search online.

5. Reply to Comments. That said, take the time to reply to comments that your readers wrote on your blog, no matter how big your blog is. It's because of all those people that your blog grows and it shows that you appreciate them.

6. Honesty. As your blog grows, advertisers may ask you to review their products in exchange of free samples. Don't feel obligated to write good reviews just because you received free samples, instead give honest feedback and if so happens that they are not all rosy, contact the advertiser privately about your reviews (maybe because of this they can improve their products/services) before you post it. So it is a win-win. Additionally, having a contact page where people can connect with you is a great way to show your readers that you are approachable and trustworthy. A site that doesn't provide any info on the owner may come across as suspicious and insecure.

Do you have any blogging advice you can share?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Recipe: Beef and Basil Spagetti Aglio Olio


Aglio olio means oil and garlic. This is a very simple yet very tasty pasta dish that we love to make at home. Lots of garlic in this dish but it's what makes it so fragrant. Not to mention, garlic is full of health benefits!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pasta (this is my favorite brand)
Pastured ground beef
Fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese
A lot of fresh garlic, slice thinly
Red chili, slice thinly (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Boil pasta with a bit of salt and oil until al dente.
2. On low heat, heat up extra virgin olive oil (be a little bit generous on this one), add in garlic and red chili until it's fragrant. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, and sautée until it's cooked.
3. Mix in pasta and basil leaves in the end. Cook for a few minutes.
4. You can add in the parmesan cheese into the pasta or sprinkle on your plate before eating.

Bon appétit!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Treating Cold Naturally


Chances are most children (and adults) have experienced common cold in our lives. "It is the most frequent infectious disease in humans with the average adult contracting two to three colds a year and the average child contracting between six and twelve." (source)

My family used to take Panadol, Nyquil, or Advil the moment we felt cold coming. I never felt the need to research what those over-the-counter medicines are made of or whether they are safe or not, because they worked like magic. My first baby, Elin, caught her first cold when she was three months old. At the time she was exclusively breastfed and we rarely went out of the house so I didn't know why or how she caught the cold (and fever). That was when she took her first antibiotic. I wasn't peaceful about it but I didn't know what else I could do. Afterwards, I started my research on natural remedies that I can prepare at home to fight cold.

How Can We Treat Cold Naturally?

We try to boost our immune system by consuming healthy food, but when cold does strike, here are some natural ways to treat cold symptoms:

- Essential Oils. Use eucalyptus/peppermint essential oils to relieve congestion. 
  • Put a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil in a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the steam. (If you are pregnant, please check the safety of the oil you are using).
  • Rub either essential oil with a carrier oil (olive oil or sweet almond oil) under the nose, on the neck, chest, back, and feet before we sleep.
  • If you have an air purifier that uses water (not filter paper), you can add a few drops of essential oils in it and let the machine run. 
  • Use the oil to make homemade vapor rub (no more Vicks).
- Onions. I've read that placing a cut-up onion in a bowl near where you sleep will help relieve congestion. I haven't tried this yet, but there is no harm in trying if you're running out of options.

Drink ginger tea. It is soothing, speeds up circulation and helps to decongest. I grate a lot of ginger, let it sip in hot water, and add a little bit of manuka honey to sweeten.

- Make lemon, garlic, ginger, and honey tea.

- Make this cough and cold syrup at home. I tried it before and didn't like the onion taste in the syrup, but I drank it anyway.

Vitamins. Consume immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and D (such as cod liver oil).

- Coconut OilFlu is caused by a virus that has lipid coating. Coconut oil makes pathogenic virus disintegrate and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Adequate vitamin A is critical for fighting infection, so the combination of coconut oil and cod liver oil is ideal for preventing bacterial infections. 

Sun Exposure. The sun is the best source of vitamin D that is especially important for our immunity.

For the little ones:

Snotsucker. I use Nosefrida snotsucker to help my baby decongest since she can't blow her nose yet.

Homeopathic Remedy. I buy Hyland's Kids' Kit for my baby or this one for older children.

What natural methods have you successfully tried at home to relieve cold and congestion?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about healthy and natural living, I am not a certified or a licensed medical practitioner who can counsel anyone in medical issues and cannot be held responsible for any decision you make regarding your health. What I am sharing are what I have learned and applied to my family but may not necessarily work for yours. My only hope is that this blog may encourage you to learn more about healthy and natural living which will hopefully help you as you make decisions for your own family.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Recipe: Lemon, Garlic, Ginger, and Honey Tea


When cough, sore throat, cold/flu kicks in, I try to treat it naturally and avoid over-the-counter medicines. We boost our immune system mainly through eating healthy, but the occasional cough, sore throat, and cold/flu is inevitable and the first thing I make to ease the symptoms is by drinking ginger tea, which is water sweetened with honey or palm sugar (a natural sweetener) with tons of fresh grated ginger. When I feel a more persistent one coming, I add lemon and garlic to it for their amazing healing properties:

Ginger warms the body, speeds up circulation, and helps to decongest.

Lemon balances the body's pHthins mucus, and make the body less hospitable to viruses and bacteria.

Garlic in itself is a powerful herb to fight infections. It is an effective decongestants and contains antioxidant flavanoids and has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties.

Raw honey is antiviral and antibacterial, which helps the immune system fight infection.

So this is how you can make your own lemon, garlic, ginger, and honey tea at home.

Ingredients

5-8 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
1/4 - 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger (start little if you are not used to taking raw ginger)
2 cups of water
1 lemon
Raw honey

Directions

Boil 2 cups of water. Put in garlic and ginger and let it sit in boiled water for 10-15 minutes. Add the juice from one lemon. Add honey to taste.

Drink it throughout the day. Best when served warm. You can put it in a thermos to keep warm.

Other Resources

Try making homemade vapor rub for external application to warm the body and relieve congestion naturally.

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about healthy and natural living, I am not a certified or a licensed medical practitioner who can counsel anyone in medical issues and cannot be held responsible for any decision you make regarding your health. What I am sharing are what I have learned and applied to my family but may not necessarily work for yours. My only hope is that this blog may encourage you to learn more about healthy and natural living which will hopefully help you as you make decisions for your own family.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.



Friday, August 9, 2013

When You Suddenly Faint

I was sitting down and having lunch with my parents about a week ago and suddenly I was nauseous and felt like vomiting. Then I started hearing ringings in my ears, I became light headed and it got worse by the second, voices became distant, and the next thing I knew I had passed out for a few minutes, only to regain consciousness to my Dad's worried voice: "Vicky, can you hear me?" and I was perspiring heavily after that.

What had just happened?

I think a number of things were going on. I was having stomachache in the morning and I just got my period that day. So on top of the diarrhea, my stomach also hurt from the cramps. I didn't know if that had anything to do with my loss of appetite that afternoon or why I felt like vomiting. But I do know I have a low blood pressure and this in fact wasn't my first time fainting. It was actually my fourth time throughout my adulthood. It happened once every few years it seems. 

I asked my parents what happened. I only remembered feeling so light headed and I didn't remember the rest until I regained consciousness. I was in a sitting down position. They told me my face turned so pale and I couldn't lift my head, so my dad supported my neck, not knowing what to do. Thankfully there was a doctor who was eating by our table and he quickly came over and told my Dad to put me down flat. Lying down flat allowed oxygen to flow back to the brain, which made me regain consciousness. If it wasn't for the doctor, my parents otherwise wouldn't know that they had to do that, and a seizure may happen due to the lack of oxygen in the brain. Later on I went to the doctor and he explained I suffered from a condition called Vasovagal Reflex. 


What is a Vasovagal Reflex? What Causes It? What are the Symptoms? Is it Dangerous?

Vasovagal reflex is a condition to a body's sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate, often causing a person to faint as there is not enough oxygen in the brain. 

"Episodes of vasovagal response are typically recurrent, and usually occur when the predisposed person is exposed to a specific trigger. Prior to losing consciousness, the individual frequently experiences early signs of symptoms such as lightheaded, nausea, the feeling of being extremely hot or cold (accompanied by sweating), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), an uncomfortable feeling in the heart, fuzzy thoughts, confusion, a slight inability to speak/form words (sometimes combined with mild stuttering), weakness and visual disturbances such as lights seeming too bright, fuzzy or tunnel vision, black cloud-like spots in vision, and a feeling of nervousness can occur as well. The symptoms last for a few seconds before the loss of consciousness (if it is lost), which typically happens when the person is sitting up or standing. When sufferers pass out, they fall down (unless this is impeded) and, when in this position, effective blood flow to the brain is immediately restored, allowing the person to regain consciousness; if the person does not fall into a fully flat, supine position, and the head remains elevated above the trunk, a seizure may result from blood's inability to return quickly to the brain. Fainting occurs with the loss of oxygen to the brain." (source)

Many things can trigger a vasovagal reflex including dehydration, hunger, standing for too long, menstrual cramps, stress, heat exposure, and low blood sugar. The danger about this condition is that it can happen so suddenly and without warning. Symptoms may be just a few seconds before one loses consciousness, which was what happened to me. Although the condition itself is not considered life threatening, the risk of injury from falling while the person is unconscious is what can be dangerous. I was telling myself, what if that happened when I was alone, or with only my baby? Truly God was watching over me the past four times it happened. Each was a unique circumstance and there has always been someone else with me.

What to do if you experience a Vasovagal Reflex?

Immediately lie down, fully flat. It gets your blood back up again.

What did I learn from this incident?

To know that I may experience vasovagal reflex in the future again is a concern. So if you have this condition, it is good to take a few precautions so that other people around you know what to do.

- Tell your close family and friends about your condition so they know how to react when it happens again.
- Provide them with emergency contacts, including phone numbers of your family, ambulance, hospital, doctor, etc.
- Don't starve. Don't skip meals or get too hungry. Keep a few nutritious snacks with you if you know you will be waiting somewhere where there is no access to food. One of the triggers of a vasovagal reflex is low blood sugar, so it's important for someone with this condition to keep their blood sugar up.

What can I do to improve my (low) blood pressure?

- Exercise. Regular exercise promotes blood flow.
- Eat a diet higher in salt.
- Drink more water, especially during hot seasons.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot temperatures/water such as in spas.
- Be careful not to rise too quickly from lying or sitting down position.

When this happened, I can't not think of "what if's" and it was a convicting reminder that when it's all said and done, the most important thing in life is not how much wealth we have accumulated or how popular we are or whose ways are right or wrong, but whether we have lived this life purposefully, leaving a legacy worth passing on, and loving others as God has instructed us to do.

Have you experienced vasovagal reflex before? 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1 Corinthians 13 for Moms


When I read this post a year ago, my heart was deeply touched. I shared this article to my mommy-friends on Elin's first birthday party and it has become the foundation on how I want to raise my child(ren). 

1st Corinthians 13 for Moms 

If my child speaks in the tongues of men or of angels, masters sign language at six months and Spanish and Mandarin Chinese by six years, but does not learn to love, she is only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If he has the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge-ABCs at a year, reading by two, writing chapter books in Kindergarten-but does not have love, he is nothing. If I volunteer for every mommy ministry-MOPS, AWANA, Sunday School, and if I give all I possess to the poor (or at least bring loads of groceries to the foodbank), but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

Love never fails-even where I have fallen painfully short of God’s best for my children. But where there are competitions to see whose body bounces back best after childbirth, they will cease; where there are verbal fights over the correct methods of discipline, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge about the best way to feed and clothe and nurture a child, it will pass away. For we know in part and we parent incompletely, but when they are fully grown, what we thought we knew about raising our children will disappear. 

When I was a new parent, I thought, spoke and reasoned with immaturity and without grace. As my children grew, I asked God to give me the wisdom to put these childish ways behind me. For now we see our children’s future as only a reflection as in a mirror; one day we will behold their adults selves face to face. Now I know in part; then we shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.



What did I learn from this?

With my limited knowledge and experience, I can only see small parts of life and cannot see the big picture, as God sees it. I may think that I know everything about being a good person, wife, and parent, but really I don't know many things completely. There are many (too many) things we can do in life, but if we don't focus on the simple truth that love is the foundation of life, that faith will keep us strong, and hope will keep us going, it will only be a matter of time until we run out of perseverance to live this life and finish this race well. If anything else fails, I hope I can teach my children how to love.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:12 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Recipe: Easy and Healthy Banana Cake


Living healthy doesn't mean I have to give up all sweet baked goods. Banana bread is one of my favorites and I'm glad I can alter the recipes and still make it work. This recipe is so simple and requires very minimal cleaning - just a mixing bowl, a spatula, and a baking pan. 

Ingredients

5 small ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups wholemeal or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sucanat (or molasses/coconut sugar/palm sugar)
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 160 Celsius.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas and add all the ingredients. Stir well until combined. Don't over-mix.
3. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry.

Bon appétit!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.