6 Practical Travel Tips

My hope when going on vacation is to have a relaxing and stress free trip. But as the saying goes, “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be”. Wise words, since we can never predict what is around the corner. Coping with each situation that arises is best done in a calm manner.

Here are my six practical holiday tips to make things a little easier for me so that I can deal with anything unexpected and enjoy my holiday more.

  1. Pack an empty water bottle that does not LEAK

It takes forever to get a drink on an airplane when travelling in economy. I fill it up after clearing customs and every time before leaving my room. Being hydrated makes everything easier to handle.

  1. Large scarf

The thickness of the scarf will ultimately be determined by the holiday destination. I am one of those travelers who are always cold in the plane. When travelling economy, there usually are no blankets in sight. In addition to its original purpose, a scarf can also be used as a wrap or a picnic blanket in a pinch.

  1. Food container/ sandwich bags

I always need a snack even when I am out for a short while. There is something decadent about having a snack that I like in close proximity. Containers or sandwich bags allow easy transportation of these snacks. If I pick up something from a grocery store while on vacation, I do not have to lug the whole package of whatever was purchased. Fruit can also be cut up and taken along easily in a container.

  1. First aid kit

In addition to a couple of plasters and the usual pain medications, I include in my first aid kit things that I personally may need based on my unique requirements. My throat can get sore when I indulge on too many goodies, so for me it makes sense to have a couple of lozenges, and for some reason, mosquitoes like me, so some cream to help me stop itching makes the kit. Pack what makes sense to you. You don’t need to take a ton of stuff just stuff that can tide you over until you can get to a drug store.

  1. Portable phone charger

I use my phone for many things including taking pictures on vacation and for navigation. When I am out for the day, my phone battery usually does not last. My small portable phone charger allows me to keep snapping away until I get back to my accommodations.

  1. Eye mask and ear plugs

I have been in rooms that are close to main roads, and instead of using my phone to play me heaving rain sounds, I find having ear plugs really help. I usually find that I notice how noisy the room is only when I am going to sleep. So having the ear plugs with me means I can get that good night of sleep. In addition the earplugs and eye mask are very handy to have when flying in a plane as well when I am trying to sleep. A restful night sleep, makes every holiday more enjoyable and equips me to deal with anything that may arise.

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Recycled Christmas art

Christmas is truly my favourite time of the year. The lights, Christmas trees, decorating the house, time spent with family, eating, school concerts, more eating and all the magical events that go together with the season makes this truly the most wonderful time of the year for me.

With decorating, comes an opportunity to make some Christmas crafts. This year, I needed to add some decorations to the mantle in my family room and I was waiting for inspiration to hit. It came when I was at my local craft store- I could paint some festive quotes. My next question was what would my canvas be? I do love to make my craft out of recycled materials and I was running down a list of things that I had at home, when I realized that I had some boxes to get rid of. I cut up the box to make my canvas. In fact, I feel that painting on the boxes gave this artwork a more rustic feel.

I used the last of some ribbon that I bought over 10 years ago to finish off the project. I certainly feel merry and bright when I look at my new artwork. It brings me comfort and joy!

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Repurposed=Organization

Last week, my goal was to reorganize my hall entryway unit. I was quite pleased with myself for up-cycling some items around the house and turning them into organizational units.

I felt like I needed a small tray to put some key in. One of the items that I wanted to get rid of was an old glasses case that was coming apart. “Eureka!” I thought. I could re-purpose the case into a little tray. It was easy enough. I removed all the covering on the case to find that the body of the case was made of metal. I pried the two sections of the case to come apart with some plyers. Then, I cut out the insoles of my running shoes (new insoles, that I never will use since I have orthotics, also wanted to get rid of this) to  provide some cushioning for the metal case. Lastly, I cut out a piece of paper and pushed it down on the insoles, providing my new trays with a pretty finish. No glue, no fuss, no muss. I can change the paper out when it starts to look uninspiring.

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The other thing that I used was plastic salad containers to house all the bits and bobs in my drawer. I glued on paper to the bottom side of the lid and lined the container with a matching piece of paper.

Both my organizational  items were quite stress free to make. The part I like best, is challenging myself to think of a new way to use an item that I might not want anymore.

Glorious Green Carrot tops

Only recently did I discover the joy of carrot tops. We grow carrots in our garden each summer and I usually discard the carrot tops. But I now have learnt to use my carrot tops and I actually am more excited about the tops than the carrots.

I have used the carrots tops for pesto, but I absolutely love putting the tops in my stocks. It gives the stock a whole lot flavour with so little effort. I freeze the tops and pull them out when I am making a stock.

It makes me happy to be able to use the whole plant (carrot and tops) and not have any waste.

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Roobois Chai Tea

I do like to start my weekend morning with a cup of Chai. I find it hearty and nourishing, and at the same time very relaxing to sip on my cup of tea.

I have been experimenting with different variations of spices and like this version the best. I use Roobois tea and almond milk, but this can be substituted with black tea and regular milk. I grind up a batch using my mortar and pestle and then steep up my tea when I am ready for a cup.

Chai mix

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp cloves

1 tbsp cardamom pods

1 tsp all spice

Method:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind all the spices.
  2. Store in a container. This should make about 3- 4 cups of chai

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Chai tea

1 tbsp chai mix

1 tbsp roobois tea

Method:

  1. Add 1 cup of milk to a pot. Simmer on medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp of chai mix and 1 tbsp of roboois tea. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Use a tea strainer, to strain the milk into a cup.

I usually add another cup of milk to the roboois chai mix. I find the second cup to be as delicious as the first. Play around with the amount of chai mix. If you like it less strong, then add less chai mix to the milk.

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DIY Luggage tags

We are redoing our laundry room and part of the process has been to figure out what counter-tops, cabinets etc to purchase. Thankfully all the decisions have been made and now we need to install all our purchases.

We had some leftover counter-tops samples and I figured that they could be recycled into luggage tags. Using some hot glue, I stuck two pieces together, covered the sides with tape and stuck on some fabric decorations that I had.

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In the bag- my solution to tiny drawers

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I have the tiniest bathroom drawer. And I this is where I have to store all my stuff to get ready in the morning. In order to maximize the space, I put my things in different toiletry bags. These bags fit well in the drawer and help me stay organized. It also makes it easy to find my stuff in the morning, since everything has its place.

Simplicity in the New Year

As the year comes to an end, I have been reflecting on how I would like to spend more of my time in the 2016. One thing for sure is that I do not want to waste time on unnecessary things that do not add to my life. I want to simplify things and focus on what brings meaning to me.

One thing that I wasted a lot of my time on for many years is keeping my container cupboard organized and tidy. Getting my kids to put each item exactly where it needs to go has been a losing battle and it certainly irritates me when I look at the mess that I have to tidy up. I have tried many ways to organize this effectively, but have not been successful.  I do realize that they are not to blame, as my organization plan has not been the best, with the many different containers I have.

The other night I had a great idea- SIMPLIFY. Instead of having tons of different sized containers, just have more of the same sized containers. This way it is easy to get things and put them away. It has taken me quite a while to come to a solution as easy as this.

So from now on, the question I will be asking myself will be “How can I simplify this situation?”

I hope that everyone has a wonderful 2016 filled with many special meaningful moments.

Here is a picture of one of my container shelves. Something as simple as this, brings me great joy.

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Easy Coaster pattern (Crochet)

My 11 year old daughter has become quite a crocheter. She has been crocheting many mini-sombreros, coasters  and  dish cloths, as gifts. She came up with this coaster pattern that take her under 30 minutes to make.

 

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Abbreviations:

ch- chain

hdc- half double crochet

sc – single crochet

dc – double crochet

sl st- slip stitch

 

Magic circle ch 2

Round 1: 8 hdc in the circle, join with sl st

Round 2: ch 3, 2 dc in each stitch join with sl st

Round 3: ch 3, 2 dc in each stitch join with sl st

Round 4: ch 2, sc in each stitch

Round 5: switch colours,  ch 2, * sc in first 2 stitches 2 sc in next* repeat from * around, join with sl st

fasten off weave in all ends

Easy ways to add colour to the garden

I was a little tired of the lack of colour in the garden before the flowers started to bloom. So I decided to add some colour in the garden with some easy painting projects.

I stacked some painted terracotta pots that I had on hand. To make it more stable, I put a rod through the pots. Added some soil to the top pot and planted a little perennial plant.

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For my second project, I used the trunk of my last Christmas tree. I cut off the branches and hung some wooden flowers on it.

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This should brighten my garden a little until all the other flowers come in.

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