Lost in the forest

The forest is filled with magic and secrets.

What do I feel?

I am thrilled yet excited to be in the forest.I can feel the nature embracing me, in a big warm welcome.Trees that are reaching the skies, dwarfing over me. A silent spell was cast.

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Adapt the peace of Nature.Her secret is patience..

What do I see? 

I open my eyes and see green all around me, mostly trees and algae rotting the bushes.The grass beneath my feet are breathing out life.Gasping for knowledge. Only the grass knows who have set a journey in the same spot I am standing on.

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Steep rows of pine trees in the valley

What do I hear?

I hear the birds chirping, the frogs croaking, and other mysterious nature sounds. They have an orchestra here,a myriad of tunes & melodies in harmony. Did you know that the earth has music for those who listen?

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Nature is not a place to visit…It is Home.

What do I smell?

I smell the earth, the scent of the fresh blue sky,its rays piercing through the pines, the leaves have an intoxicating scent that goes in and out of my nose.

 

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What do I taste?

I taste the flavor of the beauty of nature.The rain nurturing the leaves. The dew that kissed the shrubs. Its pungent.Its all raw.

All my senses are alive. It got lost in this paradise. It got revived and my soul finds healing.I want to leave all my fears behind.Its only in the still silence of nature that one will find true bliss.

This is my Day- 4 humble take on the challenge posed to me by Stella of the Blog SimpleDimple in response to her 7-Days Nature photo challenge. Stella  has always been bubbly &, spreading warm love in the great community here in WP. If you have time, please do pass by her page & get to know her through her soulful posts.

Stella, Thank you once again for  mentioning me in your post and giving this challenge.

*The rule of this challenge is quite simple: Post a nature photo and nominate someone else per day for 7 days.

For today, I wanted to pass on this Nature photo challenge to one of my inspiring friend, Liz of Little house in Missouri. She is one of the few Expat Mamas out  here that I can totally relate to and have given enough encouragement in my posts. She has been posting powerful content that really comes from deep insight on raising her 3 multi-racial kids.She is very passionate about well-being, women’s issues, social justice,homeless/food bank & the arts. She also enjoys nature & embracing the changes of being an Expat family.She have been a great inspiration on her take on parenting as well.  Even without this challenge, I would always look up to her page and would recommend for you to give time to check her awesome but relatable Blog.

To Liz, I know time is precious in our world, but if you would take on this challenge, I would appreciate it so much.If not, I still want you to know how much I appreciate you.

Thank you and I hope you have fun & enjoy the next 7-days writing about nature.

 

 

Landgoed Singraven : Sun is warm, grass is Green.

The world is better when it is Green.

We found another perfect green paradise and as always, Nature never fails to amaze me. I am a lover of beautiful buildings & modern structures, but nothing compares to a visit to nature. The allure of the sound of the gentle waters slushing from a flowing river, the crisp green plants, the warm and bright sun that touches our cheeks with the gentle breeze.

Its all priceless.

 Do you know that your mood changes the moment you are exposed to green outdoors? It’s a natural  booster.

Or haven’t you realized  that strolling and walking outside can even increase your creativity?

I grew up playing outdoors a lot. My childhood memories are full of  playing & running in the rice fields, catching spiders and spending so much time as if there’s no tomorrow.It was so much fun compared to the modern games of iPad now. Now that I am a mother, I am so concerned about this especially with a wandering, active, feisty toddler who wants to be out, all the time! Studies show that playing in the dirt (soil) outdoors helps kids stay healthy. Bacteria, viruses and other gross things in the soil actually help the immune system, and brain develop. Playing the dirt can also improve a child’s mood and reduce anxiety and stress. There is really a great insight why spending outdoors in green settings can do so much to our overall being. This is also one of the reasons why Dutch kids have a very active & happy childhood. They are so blessed with natural greens.

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The wandering Toddler

We’re so glad that we stumbled into this hidden Green Oasis and a gem tucked in the woods. It”s  a secluded place of imaginary fairies, lotus, and serene river Dinkel tucked away from the busyness of the city life. There we heard only the sound of Nature. Nothing else. Everything is green. Everything is fresh. Even the sun has a special rays. It is gentle. The breeze is cool. We felt instantly at home.

Langoed Singraven estate is beautifully situated along the Dinkel near the village of Denekamp. In here are many special monumental buildings, including the state house Singraven, the rear coach house and the ancient water mill with three wheels. Singraven offers a versatile landscape with woods, alleys, fields, meadows, marshes, and the ever-present Dinkel. If you visit Holland, don’t miss to see this place. It is worth your time.

This place has  fascinating cultural history, soothing and interesting nature, active leisure activities such as cycling or walking and much more. My daughter just simply loved lounging on the greenest grass that we have ever seen! She climbs everywhere and licked the grass, pinch it, and tasted it. I cannot blame her, the place is like an oasis to us. We haven’t had these amazing greens in Kuwait, so we really indulge.

 

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Even the water in the river celebrates nature. A reflection of quiet green bliss.
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The Langoed Singraven  ( Singraven means Large Canal )
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Of Mid Summer Night’s Dream ,with clear River Dinkel on the side.
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Dutch Watermills (Watermolen)

Now one of the fascinating things about Netherlands is their Watermolen (or WaterMills).The Singraven watermills were first mentioned in 1448 and inspired famous 17th century painters like Jacob Ruysdael and Meindert Hobbema.

 This watermill is unique because of its three mill wheels: one oil mill (inactive), a flour mill and a saw mill; both of which are fully functional and still in use. Current buildings date from around 1880. So much beauty &  history on this place.

Singraven has a manor which is sometimes open to the public and a watermill. The watermill has three functions: oil-mill, flour-mill and a sawmill.  Today the oil-mill is a restaurant but the other two are still functioning with the of volunteers.

The first house of Singraven dates back to 1415 but it was demolished and replaced by a new house in 1661. Several different Counts and families lived in the house. Almost all of them made improvements to the house. The last owner is  Willem Frederik Jan Laan donated the estate to a foundation.

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The River Dinkel that flows through Singraven

There so much activity that this place can offer. Its perfect for families with little children who wants to explore and roam.The vast area is perfect for Hiking, cycling, walking, strolling, or just enjoying a quiet meditation. The place has a park, a range of restaurants , Dinkel shop, Watermills, Carriage Houses that can house a function, Dinner or Luncheon meetings. You can even marry in this lovely place. This could be a perfect setting for a romantic garden wedding.This is also the ideal place to learn more about Nature. Estate Singraven participates in the project “Education on Location”, organized by the Foundation Museums in Dinkelland. Other participating institutions and museums are: Huize Keizer, Natura Docet, Mill Foundation Lattrop-Tilligte the Open Air Museum Ootmarsum and Cosmos Observatory. If you want to learn mohre about this place, you can check their website (Dutch ) Here.

Do you enjoy green landscape of Nature like this? What do you appreciate about country living?

Hope you have a chance to visit a green place just like this. Here’s to #theworldneedsmoregreens!

 

50 shades of green smoothie for a Picky Toddler

 

My  super active  toddler is a picky eater. So as my husband. No kidding.Really.So what I had to do for them to get their veggies?

Simple Answer : GREEN SMOOTHIES

I love everything about healthy green smoothies. I’m talking about the pure, raw green,leafy , veggies & fruits smoothies that are packed with nutrients and vitamins and not the commercial smoothies that are loaded with creams & sugars. When I noticed that my daughter is a picky eater,  I tried almost everything just to get her appetite on track, especially eating healthy veggies. She’s fine with fruits.She’s eating them like a horse.But with veggies, she needed a boost. This is the reason why I had opt to green smoothies. This has become our new habit. What’s the bonus? The husband also enjoyed gulping a bottle.

A green smoothie is simply a smoothie or juiced from raw , fresh & natural green leafy  vegetables and fruits blended together . No added sugars or sweeteners. Pure nutrition & goodness. Milk & a good diet is till our top priority for my daughter, but getting her into smoothie is also a way to instill early good eating habits.

But why introduce green smoothies to a baby?

Because this stage is the perfect time for them to get into this. I want my baby & my family to be healthy at the same time their taste buds Happy.

I did my homework before introducing the green smoothie to my daughter. I don’t like to join the smoothie bandwagon just because its the trend or its the “In “. No, you need to make choices that has lifelong impacts. Health is one thing you don’t wanna compromise.

My daughter is sensitive & have a mild food allergy so until now, so I am really very careful of what food I offer to her. She loved it. We just make sure that we give it to her every other day in order not to pressure her tummy. As experts say that  children’s taste buds develop in the first 3 years of life so it’s best to take advantage of this time and offer a wide variety of healthy food choices. This helps to establish a taste bud-brain connection to different flavors and textures. Kale and other dark leafy green vegetables can have a strong flavor but are also great source of nutrients. The amazing chemicals in kale and other raw cruciferous vegetables assist in detoxification. In fact, Sulforophane in these dark leafy greens ramps up phase 2 detoxification in the liver, providing over 72 hours of protection from both environmentally and internally produced toxins. Considering that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children in the US today, I think it’s very important to make sure that older babies and toddlers are receiving at least one small serving of raw cruciferous vegetables every one to two days.

I am really glad how she is taking it in and more than satisfied that my husband also loved it. It really helps me and eases my mind. Now I know why Green Smoothies made such a great buzz. Nowadays, you can see it everywhere. People are talking about it. It sounds Healthy. You know that It is Healthy. When I reflect on this, I,too  have made a goal for myself :

“Without good health, it’s hard to enjoy life. So I’m going to keep myself and my loved ones always healthy.”

What’s your health goal?

We have been into this for quite sometime & I’m telling you, it brings glow to us. Even if I’m always tired from daily out & about, I feel wonderful. Having a full glass of Green smoothie keeps me satiated. Since then, I have experienced dramatic improvements in health, energy and mental clarity by increasing my consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. I do look forward to our grocery shopping and spend more time looking for green veggies & lush fruits to include to our smoothie recipes.

My starter 50 SHADES of Green Smoothie :

  • Small bunch of spinach
  • A small bunch of kale
  • 1 piece medium size cucumber
  • 1 lemon (juice )
  • 1 tiny ginger root peeled & chopped
  • 2-3 cups of water /coconut juice
  • 1 green apple
  • 2  medium sized red apples

Blend all together in a Blender, pour into medium sized glass bottles, add a funky straw & there you go, a super packed-vitamins & delish Green Smoothie. Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment on so many varieties of fruits & veggies like Banana, mangoes,  and so much more depending on your personal taste. Do what works for you.

But before you try it for yourself, you need to know some precautions to avoid common mistakes. Here’s what I have learned from the Book “Green Smoothie Revolution ” by Victoria Boutenko. Here’s the excerpt .You can purchase this Here.

  • Prepare your green smoothie first thing in the morning in the amount that you usually consume in one day, one or two quarts (liters). Pour enough smoothie in a glass for your morning enjoyment and keep the rest in a refrigerator or another cold place.
  • Sip your green smoothie slowly, mixing it with saliva.
  • Don’t add anything to your smoothie except greens, fruit, and water. I don’t recommend adding nuts, seeds, oils, supplements or other ingredients to your green smoothie. Most of these items slow down the assimilation of green smoothies in your digestive tract and may cause irritation and gas. I encourage you to stick to the basic green smoothie recipe (fruit, greens, and water) in your daily routine.
  • Drink your smoothie by itself, and not as a part of a meal. Don’t consume anything, even as little as a cracker or candy with it. You may eat anything you want approximately 40 minutes before or 40 minutes after you finished your smoothie. Your goal is to get the most nutritional benefit out of your green smoothie.
  • Do not add starchy vegetables such as carrots, beets, broccoli stems, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, egg plant, pumpkin, squash, okra, peas, corn, green beans, and others to your green smoothies. Starchy vegetables combine poorly with fruit and may produce what my children call “gas 4 less.”
  • Don’t add too many ingredients into one smoothie, such as nine different fruits and a dozen different greens. Try to keep most of your recipes simple to maximize nutritional benefits and to keep it easy on your digestive system.
  • Learn to prepare a really delicious green smoothie so that you are always looking forward to the next one. If your drink is not tasty, you will eventually discontinue consuming it.
  • Always rotate the green leaves that you add to your smoothies. Almost all greens in the world contain minute amounts of alkaloids. Tiny quantities of alkaloids cannot hurt you, and even strengthen the immune system. However, if you keep consuming kale, or spinach, or any other single green for many weeks without rotation, eventually the same type of alkaloids can accumulate in your body and cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning. Please note that you don’t have to rotate the fruit in your green smoothies. Most commonly used fruit have very little or none of the alkaloids and cannot cause the same toxic reactions as greens. At the same time, rotating fruits will enhance the variety of flavor and nutrition in your smoothies.
  • Choose organic produce whenever possible. The absence of pesticides and other toxic chemicals is only one of many benefits of organic food. The most important reason to consume organic food is the superior nutrition of organic fruits and vegetables in comparison to conventionally grown produce. We have been discussing earlier, how deficient most people are. The best way to nourish your body is to consume organic produce and whenever possible, locally grown. I consider it very important to get the fruit that was allowed to ripen on the vine because it is the best for nourishment. Tree-ripened fruit is several times more nutritious and when consumed shortly after picking retains significantly more nutrients.
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50 shades of Green ,Never Mean.
I want to encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity and flaunt that green drink like it’s a trendsetter. Why? Because it is. Health is the new wealth. Period.
Happy healthy-yummy-balanced smoothie sipping and chewing!

Three Days Quote Challenge (Pt.2)

 

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N a t u r e    i s    n o t    a   p l a c e     t o   v i s i t  ,  I t   i  s    H  o  m e –Gary Snyder

Q  U  O  T  E    F  O R   T O D A Y 

“N a t u r e ’s  f i r s t    g r e e n   i s   g o l d, H e r   h a r d e s t   h u e  t o  h o l d.
H e r  e a r l y   l e a f ’s  a   f l o w e r;
B u t   o n l y   s o  a n   h o u r.
T h e n   l e a f   s u b s i d e s   t o  l e a f.
S o   E d e n    s a n k  t o  g r i e f,
S  o    d a w n    g o e s   d o w n   t o  d a y.
N o t h i n g   g o l d    c a n    s t a y.”

[―Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”}

The Challenge

Something beautiful happened ! Recently, I was challenged by Frank ( Jansenphoto ) to take on the ‘Three Day Quote Challenge’. Just in case you don’t know, Dutch goes the Photo is a wonderful Blog. If you want a daily dose of kick-ass photos ,then head on to his page. Get to know Him. Just click Here.

Anyway, This challenge is one of the things that I would love to take on since I love the idea of a Photo + Quote combo posting marathon for 3 days.

The rules of this challenge are quite simple:

  1. Post in three (3) consecutive days.
  2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.
  3. Challenge three different bloggers per day.

I would love to nominate & pass on this challenge to my beautiful friends here namely ;  ( Drumroll please! )

  1. Wordsmith
  2.  Seagirll  and
  3. Super Jan

Guys, I hope you have  time to accept this challenge. But even if my challenge won’t be accepted, I still want you to know that you  are all awesome and I am grateful to have found your wonderful Blogs and got to know you through your posts.

Have fun & Keep on writing.  Once again, Thank you Frank for the Nomination!