Thursday, August 26, 2010

Phoebe loves the Beach

During the week Phoebe and I hit the beach. We needed some 'out of the house' time and the sun had conveniently come out too! So here we are.............

This is actually our new local beach; Arkles Bay, since shifting across the peninsular a few months back.

Even almost two year olds take a moment to drink in the view............hee hee


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tickle me Tuesday

A few snaps that tickled our fancy!

Here's Molly.........and Phoebe getting ready for the school day.

Quite loose uniform regulations don't you think ;-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Here are the fourteen foods nutritionists claim as "Superfoods"

Beans (which includes green and peas)
Green or Black tea
Wild Salmon

I generally knew most of these foods were a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants. A couple were a surprise. Are there any that surprise you? I thought the humble carrot might be on there as it is has proven cancer cell 'halting' abilities. But I think the listed food above are regarded sooooo special because they are provide a powerhouse of multiple vitamins and minerals in one handy source. I include garlic in my superfood list. In fact, any 'wholefood" should be considered I guess if you really want to be super human!!!

It is believed that by consuming some or all of the Superfoods each week you can actually change the course of your biochemistry and slow down or stop the gradual changes in your body that lead to a variety of diseases.

Blueberries are the one I said I really wanted to blog about though. I had known that berries were powerful little beauties. I recently read a chapter on Blueberries in an excellent library book 'Superfoods, Fourteen foods that will change you life', Steven Pratt & Katy Matthews.
I am now a convert.

Blueberries were ignored for a while in the Western diet and cuisine (although used for decades in Native American diet as a preservative ingredient and for medicinal purposes in child birth and digestion). It was dismissed initally because it was not high in vitamin C compared to some of it's cousin berries.
However........look at just a few things they have to offer:
* Regarded as a top three superfood (with spinach and wlanuts)
* More antioxidants and than any other fruit or vegetable. One serving (half cup) will give you more than FIVE servings of carrots or broccoli.
* Anthocyanins - the BLUE colour. A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
* High in Ellagic acid. A natural antioxidant that helps build new cells and halt mutated ones. Cancer cells for example forget to die so these natural chemicals help restart the process. Recent research also shows they have a powerful effect on brain cells (YAY). These naturally causing chemicals have been proved to improve and support people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers and Dementia.
* Excellent, (like its cousin the Cranberry) for supporting urinary tract health.
* Lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Oh and they taste REALLY good. Bonus material!!!

Obviously I don't know if there are any mutated cells in my body.......or yours for that matter. But all cells have the potential and our trusty immune systems prevent it from occurring on a regular basis, if you are nurturing and supporting that system I guess!
I don't plan to live in fear of the BIG C. But I am truly humbled by the power of these foods and won't be wandering far from a blueberry for the rest of my very LONG and fulfilling life!!


Get the juice!

Well, I now have a date to work towards. I see a Neurologist on Thursday the 2nd September.
My first reaction was........oh pooh........this really isn't all just a bad dream. I've got to 'face the music' so to speak.
Back came the shallow breathing and the urge to don my sneakers and get the holy heck out of here. But, after a few sprays of rescue remedy on the tongue and a few minutes on the cross trainer to activate the endorphines I felt so much better. FEAR had crept into my letterbox, I felt it and moved on! Yay me!

So I'll let in on my plan so far. I'm not one to sit around and wait. I've always been like that in my teaching, parenting, renovating, gardening, lots of things. Mark is very similar in this way. Put our two heads together and we tend to get things done, and fast.

I mentioned we had bought a juicer. Our impulsive reaction and purchase in response to being told I had a 'brain mass'. We we have certainly juiced up a storm in our house ever since.
I did not realise how much I would enjoy it and actually reap from it. I went and got several nutrition books out of the library and have been creating my own delicious recipes.

I have two juices per day now. My digestive system needed a few days to adjust to receiving liquid vitamins and antioxidants so I started on one only. Juicing does not replace your normal servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, it supplements it. So when considering calorie intake and insulin levels it is important not to overload on fruits only. I'm currently reading about a "maximmunity" food model that encourages NINE servings of fresh produce per day. How tricky would it be to prepare all that food daily!! So juicing provides the perfect solution to this as several varieties can be combined in one recipe.
The morning juice is fruit only. Higher in calories and fructose so a better time of the day to absorb and use the extra calories. We have been including a super food or antioxidant ingredient in every drink so far. Actually...........I should blog about that on a separate post!!!

In the morning I'm also taking (in capsule form) Pomegranate and Acai berry (pronounced AH- SAH -EE). They have HUGELY, MASSIVE antioxidant properties and boost your immune system. Amazing what you can find out there and wonderful people who want to help you maximise wellness!!

The afternoon or evening juice is vegetable, often with flaxseed oil included to ensure we have had our daily intake of plant derived Omega 3. We eat fish as a family occasionally so get our oily fats through them! I sometimes slip in a garlic clove or some ginger to Mark's surprise. I wonder if his workmates have noticed an aromatic change? ;-)

The girls are loving them too. Not the vege ones so much, but I have been known to sneak a handful of spinach into a fruit juice and it going undetected, it looks a lot like kiwifruit :-)
Children only need small amounts of juices, obviously, because of their immature digestive systems. But I'm quite sure their daily half glasses are knocking these colds on the head quickly! Oh and I must blog about blueberries. I will never be without a blueberry in my freezer again. An outstanding food! Chat about that later with you all.

The best thing about this whole process is that it is EMPOWERING. I feel as though I am taking charge of what the cells are doing inside this body of mine. Fighting off free radicals, generating new cells, halting naughty rebellious cells from making new mates. I'm really proud of my new attitude towards mine and my family's temples. Good grief..............could this health scare become a blessing? Food for thought I guess.

I believe in the power of human spirit, nutrition and attitude. I'm thinking that if I can successfully combine all of this with what the health system has to offer, I might just blast this 'mass' into another hemisphere...........after it has taught me the lessons I need to learn from it.

I took some photos of the girls enjoying their own juicing recipe this weekend and a couple of delights from the week prior when my best friend from Christchurch came to stay with us for three nights. We did a lot of talking, positive affirmations and eating chocolate....of course. (The best we could find for medicinal and antioxidant properties LOL).
It's obvious little Phoebe looks up to her middle sister.

A rare pic of all three.............sitting still!

Phoebe and my BFF in the warm Auckland sun :-)

As it is done in Italia?????

Spinach pasta............the best way to get really green greens into them. YUM!

So is it working? Is my diet actually helping?
Well I feel positive. I don't feel the side effects from the steroids are running my day anymore. I also seem to be able to eyeball the fear and stay standing.

All is well,
I hope you are too.

Friday, August 13, 2010


It is not all doom and gloom around our house. Although the last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster............the girls still manage to bring smiles and laughter into most activities.

Miss Five yr old loves to take photos, especially ones of herself.
Here is her latest photo-shoot....

Oh and of course every cheeky young girl wants a 'up the nostrils' shot!

Then...she showed me this photo she took in the setting sun. Great photo Molly, totally gorgeous. You are a cute kid :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another mountain?

Well it's been a while. One of my most recent posts was about a climb we did as a family and the fun we had.

We have met another mountain recently.........a more personal one. I have decided to share it with you. Not to worry or frighten, but simply to share the FEAR load and one simple

Exactly 11 days ago I was told by my GP that I have an intra-cranial mass. Yep. (breathe)

You could call it a tumour, a clump of cells. I haven't been told what it is or it's name. I was told this surprising news after a routine sinus CT scan. What they thought was a shadow resulted in me off for an MRI scan (icky) and some snazzy photos of my brain. It confirmed, I have a little extra inside my head.

My shocked GP referred me immediately to a Neurologist, put me on steroids to help shrink the mass and reduce any pressure and sent me home. The waiting game begins. We are now waiting for the Neurologist appointment that will help plan our path.

It was a Saturday morning. I drove home alone.....back to the kids and hubby. I wailed the entire, but short drive. NEVER have I made noise like then. I cried for what hadn't been, what might come next, for all the people I'd lost and what I might lose. This crying scared me.

The weekend was a blur of "what ifs", desperate hugs, conversations and phone-calls. My children were frightened despite me trying to keep it together around them.

The first two nights were slept, in a drug induced sense, but I still woke in a sweat from dreams about my funeral and my family growing on and upwards without me. Was I about to be delivered a death sentence? Why was my mind so cruel to me? Why couldn't I be brave and positive?

That first week is now a complete blur. The steroids, despite being a low dose have had unpleasant side effects. My joints ache, have pins and needles, blurry vision, acne (oh joy, puberty again!) and some fatigue. I think they may have increased my anxiety too as now the dose is reduced I am much calmer and am not imagining the worst every few minutes!!!!

But over the past couple of days.....something has changed. Not physically as such.......but I am not allowing myself to expect bad news anymore. I know that this mass is in a slow growing position. If you are going to adopt a brain mass........then my body did well to put it there. Because it is in this part of my head it is silent. I have no headaches or seizures. I think I've had one full blown headache in the last 12 months. It is a silent mass. Which is obviously why it was so difficult to diagnose. I just wasn't presenting with "tumour' symptoms. However, if there is a lesson here. I did go the docs over the past few years with niggling symptoms and the optometrist. We just collectively never put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Keep asking know your body.

I met FEAR last week. It is very dark, very frightening. But people who love me are giving me exactly what I need right now; positive and healing thoughts. I will surround myself with happy people from now onwards. I don't have time for negative, I need to heal. Time to be selfish, and when I'm well..........I will return all the love, I promise.

I still meet FEAR.......every now and again. Before I go to sleep or when the house is still and quiet. But I don't walk towards now. I'm not in denial. I know I've got to walk alongside it for a while, but I will not let it consume or make me someone else.

So I'm ok.
I am well.
I haven't been told I will teach myself to be well.
I will be extremely well once I introduce myself to my "tag -along" and share my plan with it.
We even laughed a few days ago and made jokes about what I can blame "the mass" on over the past few years.

We bought a juicer.........I am boosting my immune system like you wouldn't believe. My hubby in his desperation to keep me well is cooking and filling me up with antioxident rich nutrients. I love that man.

So I will share the process on here as often as I can. I still want this blog to be about our adventures and happiness. You will just find some of my own more 'personal journey' post slotted in. I don't want pity or even your fear. Because both of those things make my heart race and my breathing shallow. FEAR feeds FEAR.

I hope you will feedback occasionally, it is a lonely time trying to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind. I do feel very far away from my family and friends right now. BUT, knowing your thoughts are floating around in the universe is more than enough!! I love following your blogs and lives too.

On a brighter, family note:
My hubby's b'day was on Sunday and we were determined as a family to relax and enjoy each other's company. Miss ten yr old helped me make a birthday cake, we lounged around in pjs watching the presies being opened and grazed on a late brekkie.

The evening before we discovered some family members had arranged a gift voucher to be waiting at a gorgeous cafe, up north from us in the town; Warkworth. Chocolate brown it is deliciously called and the food was equally tasty. Alongside the cafe is an amazing chocolaterie.
The photos show some of the gorgeousness found within.
BIG love, hugs and thank yous to you both for that voucher. I forgot about everything weighing on my mind for almost the entire day. We all had a lovely time.

Enjoy the pics!
Oh and remember, don't sweat the small stuff tomorrow or even the next day! :-)

Wholemeal blueberry pancakes...mmmm
Oh my!
Caitlin carefully choosing.....
Daddy and daughter browsing...
Holy FUDGE!!!
Even the building looks good enough to eat!!
Mummy and baby snap time.
A quick play in the park to burn chocolate calories ......weeeeee
three little chocolate gems still sitting here at home waiting for their time of need.



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