Saturday, December 16, 2017

What to pack if you're Gluten-free and travelling this Christmas.

Does the thought of travelling when you're following a Gluten-free, low carb, and no sugar diet make you want to,  well, NOT Travel? Don't worry, a little prep and you will be on your way, and no, you will not be starving. 
Protein bars are a must, our favourite are QUEST Bars, they taste like a cookie, they are loaded with protein ( 21g) and will tide you over until your next meal. when we were travelling during the Summer in the U.S. Quest bars were available to purchase in Holiday gas stations. 

travelling by ferry

 Travel is very dehydrating, so an empty water bottle that you can refill is a must. The Vera Bradley packsack is my go-to when travelling, it has an outside pocket for your water bottle.  You can refill your water bottle easily once you clear security. 

bags at The Camellia

Before you travel, check to see if there are any grocery stores or Health Food stores at your destination. Gluten-free is more mainstream than before, so you can find gluten-free items in most grocery stores. Salads, fresh veggies and fruit can be found in most Airports. However, it's still not easy when someone sits next to you with a bag of sugary Tim Horton timbits. We are definitely not going to lie and say that going gluten-free is easy. The smell, the rustling of the paper bag, it's all quite annoying. Click on the link below to get more information on what to pack in your gluten-free carry-on.

If you love chocolate, it's best to make your own from raw cocao paste, and then freeze your chocolates. The photos below were taken at a Chocolate-making workshop at Bliss Cafe, taught by Angela Slomke.  .Here is the basic chocolate mixture, to which various flavours and fruits were added. Wish we could replicate the smell of this rich, dark chocolate, so you could sniff the aromas. 

making your own chocolates

chocolate making

Here the mixture is being poured into silicone moulds, then left to harden. Maple syrup or Honey was used as a sweetener. 
Our last trip we were away for almost 3 weeks, so half of the suitcase was filled with food items. After a few trips, you will be more aware of what you need to pack to eat gluten-free, and it will become a lot easier. 
The Holidays are fast approaching, and there's Baking, and yummy desserts, and stuffing, and you have to refuse it, and explain why, and put up with the..."oh, a little bit will not hurt you." So do you walk with your own food, or just avoid breads, croutons, desserts, and anything with milk ( if you're lactose intolerant)...?? What situations have you run into ...? 

meals at Christmas

Hmmm...were those chicken strips dipped in regular flour or did you use Almond flour?  Oh, let the Holiday food dramas begin! For healthy Vegan and Gluten-free cooking in Thunder Bay, visit Bliss Cafe, at 87, Cumberland St. N. p. 807-286-7717.  
Visit the Camellia for unique Hand-made products, Cottage Paint, Rocky Mountain Soap, Lavender and much more. The Camellia, 30 Hacquoil Rd. Thunder Bay, Slate River, On
p -(807)475-3551. Open Wednesday through Sunday. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Your plans for this weekend - the value of doing nothing and taking a break.

It's the weekend! A much-needed break from work, or is it? You walk in the door, and see piles of laundry waiting to be washed. Christmas is 2 weeks away and you have not bought a single present. A Tree? well, Does everyone have to have a Tree? 

christmas tree at the Camellia

Click on this link for help with doing nothing, without feeling guilty.

It goes without saying that the longer we work without taking a break, the more frazzled we become, and the less we accomplish. This leads to increasing frustration...'I've been working at this for so long and I'm still not finished!" It is at the very times we feel that we simply can't take a break, that we really need to go for a walk, and engage in a different activity, even if it's for the next 15 minutes. What do you do when you are totally stressed out? Some of us eat - Chocolate, Muffins, Candy, usually something sweet, and this really does not help. 

It's torture to look at all the beautiful pastries in this photos, especially if you are on a low-carb, gluten-free, no sugar diet. It's also challenging to change your habits. 

bedding store, taking a nap

So what can you do instead? You can take a Nap. South Americans are masters at the Art of Siesta...taken usually after lunch, during the hottest part of the Day. Preferably on Yves de Lorme Bedding, photo above is taken in one of  the Yves de Lorme stores in California. 

walking up steps at Winery

Head outside for a walk - it will be stress-reducing. 

hot chocolate

A hot chocolate break is good for you. 
Another tactic is to break down the household weekly chores into an actionable list with a time frame. Members of your Family  can then  look at the list, and the work gets divided among Family members, to be worked on during the week. This frees up time on the Weekend to do fun activities that you want to do. 

Christmas decor at The Camellia

A great stress-relief technique is to take a Class at the Camellia, and get in touch with your creative side. We have Floral design Classes and wreath-making classes. 

chalky paint at The Camellia

Take a Cottage Paint class and redo Furniture and cabinets in your Home. Our next class is a Kitchen Cabinet workshop in January of 2018.
Check our website at for upcoming classes. 
Visit The Camellia at 30, Hacquoil Rd. Slate River, Thunder Bay, On. 
Open Wednesday through Sunday. 
p (807) 475-3551

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Putting up a Christmas Tree in 5 minutes.

December 1st is approaching... and yes, it's time to think seriously about Christmas decorating, and time to think about the Tree!. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just throw all the ornaments at the Tree and magically it would all fall into place?  

So how do you put up a Tree in 5 mins.?  Well, 1 of our kids has it down pat. He has a small Christmas tree ( a faux one) that is all white and decorated in whites and blues, lit up with clear twinkle lights. After the Holidays, he puts the whole tree, with ornaments, lights and all into a large, clear bag and stores it in a cupboard. Then he pulls the already decorated Tree out, and plugs it in. 

Here at The Camellia, we have done similar decorated Trees, with lights, for our clients who are busy, and like the idea of just pulling out an already decorated Tree. ( Especially great if you have no decorating skills). 

teatowel at the Camellia

Who remembers using one of these and helping your Mom bake cookies at Christmastime? Head to the Camellia for useful Gift ideas, like this cotton Baked Goodies Teatowel. ( $11.95ea). Give this teatowel with a batch of home-made chocolate chip cookies. 

vintage mixer

Look at the various speed settings. 

cafe in Mountainview, Ca.

Perfect for making a yummy coffeecake...

christmas decor at The Camellia

Real-looking faux pine branches with frosty ferns in a wooden wall or door container. This adds instant Christmas to any room, and best of all, it can be reused every year. this piece is for sale at The Camellia, our store at 30, Hacquoil Rd. Thunder Bay. 

wreath at The Camellia

Here is another custom wreath, all hand-wired, of white Magnolias and red Roses, great for all year round use. 
ribbons in sap pails at The Camellia

For Christmas decor, custom Wreaths, and ribbon accents, Visit The Camellia.
Open Wednesday through Sunday. 
30/32 Hacquoil Rd. Thunder Bay, On. 
p(807)475 3551

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Living with Chronic Pain isn't that bad? Are you kidding me? Coping strategies.

Pain - everyone reacts differently to Pain. Some people complain and moan about their Pain to everyone they meet. others hardly talk about it, and push on, in spite of the pain. How do you react to being in Pain? Click on the link below to read a great article on the subject of chronic Pain. 

If you are unfortunate enough to be in a car accident, and you have a broken leg, everyone will most likely ask you, "What happened?" Chronic pain is invisible, all others may see is, she's in a bad mood, she's uncommunicative, etc. 

pain is a red light

Pain is a red light, it stops you from living your Life. You get frustrated, things you want to do just can't get done. You may push yourself, only to feel worse than before. You beat up on yourself, I'm a failure, I can't do anything. You stop going places with your friends, after all, you don't want to hold everyone up, because  your feet and hips will not keep up with the pace your friends walk at. You may get angry, and scream, why me?  After a while, you seek help from professionals, and get Therapy, and start making a plan to mange your pain. 

gardening as pain therapy

What can you do? Get outside! Being in the fresh air, being in Nature, walking, waking in sunshine, all of these help you to feel better. If you love Gardening, try a low bench to help you when planting or weeding. Focusing on something else besides your pain will help. 

moss growing in cracks

Tell yourself you are strong. Just like the moss growing in these cement cracks, something beautiful will come out of your pain. You may become calmer, start slowing down, taking better care of your self. You will heal.

Cottage Paint at The Camellia

Paint something, you will feel so much better. 

As you feel better, you may want to tackle some small Cottage Paint makeover  - like this pretty French provincial desk, which we painted with White Cottage Paint. You can buy #CottagePaint at The Camellia, in Thunder Bay. We also offer How-to paint classes. Being involved in a DIY Paint project just makes you feel better. 

Lavender at the Camellia

Here at The Camellia, we find this Deep Muscle Jelly from White Oak Lavender really helps with easing pain. It smells wonderful and has a bit of a warming sensation. You can buy Deep Muscle Jelly at our store, the Camellia. 

lavender essential oil at the Camellia

Sleep can sometimes elude those of us who are constantly in pain. This Sleep wand contains pure, essential oil of Lavender. Use it just before going to bed. 

prints at The Camellia

Those who are in chronic pain have a hard time with their Family and friends, after all, they don't really look sick, and for sure no-one is going to walk around, waving their medical reports in the air. You may try to talk to certain persons, they just keep hammering at you, Why don't you get on a plane, and fix this, calm this person down, look after this sick relative... but, I'm sick, you scream, and no-one listens. You remind yourself that LIFE IS GOOD, and you try to handle your Life, in spite of chronic pain. 
Visit The Camellia, for hand-made, natural skincare to help with relaxation, with products from Rocky Mountain soap, white Oak Lavender, Neob Lavender, and much more. 

The Camellia, 30/32 Hacquoil Rd. Slate River, Ontario.
Open Wednesday through Sunday. p (807)475-3551

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Golden years ....or NOT. When Living in Government Assisted Housing is your only choice. Toronto Housing, Woodgreen, etc.

Most of us dream about Retirement..When I retire, I will....( you fill in the blank). Sometimes we get to Retirement, and because of various things that have happened in our Life, we may have to apply for Government assisted Housing. This is where you live in a building where your Rent is capped at a certain amount, depending on your annual income.

The Government of Canada says that they are committed to keeping Seniors in their own Homes as long as possible. What does this mean?
Well, it depends.
Depends on whether or not you can advocate for yourself, or if you have a Family member that can advocate on your behalf.
Depends on whether you can relinquish control of some details of your Life to someone else, i.e. are you going to be fighting the very people trying to help you?
Depends on how healthy or unwell you are.
Depends on whether you have your eyesight, your hearing, if you can walk, if you are of sound mind and body....

And the list goes on...and on....

What will you be dealing with in Government assisted Housing?
Long wait times to get in.
Every year, in order to qualify for the lower rents ( below market value) a representative from Toronto Housing ( if you are in Toronto), you will have to submit personal financial information such as Bank statements, and Income Tax assessments to prove that your income is indeed at a level that qualifies you for the lower rents. This in itself is quite traumatizing to older persons who are at an age when simple, everyday tasks are becoming difficult. Let's say you are deaf and can't hear what is being said, and you don't know sign language. Or you are blind, you speak to a Housing representative and they shove your paperwork back in the wrong file. Then your paperwork isn't filed by the deadline, or not filed at all. Next thing you get a letter stating they are cutting off your Old Age security payments ( From CRA). You panic, and try to phone CRA. This involves waiting on the phone for hours, going around in circles 1 for....,press 2 for......., press 3 to return to the main menu. You can easily wait for 45 minutes on the phone and still not get through.
You go through this procedure at 5 to 9 every morning, hoping to get through to Revenue Canada. You note the message telling you to sign up for on-line services, but you are 84 years old, and have never used a computer. You ponder to yourself, why is it so difficult to get through to CRA on the phone?

So, we tell ourselves , it's not that bad. sToronto Housing has redone Bathrooms in some of these buildings, making them completely accessible for someone in a wheelchair. They have also installed automatic door openers on some housing units, so that a senior can open their front door with a remote. These are all good things.

The not so good things. Would you like a roach with your cereal today? The buildings have roaches. Yes, you read that correctly, roaches. When you mention this to Maintenance in the Building, they say, it's just happening in your apartment. Pest control services come along, and sprays, and they don't spray under the stove and fridge in the kitchen. Your children come to visit, and are appalled to see a cereal bowl which you just took out of the cupboard, with a live roach in it. They pull a towel from the stove to dry the dishes, and 2 roaches leap out. You freak out, and wonder how can this be happening? After all, we are in Canada, not in some third-world country.

Yet, you have nowhere else to go. You refuse to be a burden to your children.

Then there is Woodgreen. As far as we can understand, this is a Home-care company which has been contracted out by LHIN.. to provide home care to persons living in Assisted Income-subsidized Housing. Of course it's all about saving money. The Government gives with one hand and takes away with the other hand. In an effort to save money,. the most recent move has been to up the subsidized rates seniors pay for in-home Help, from $1.00 an hour to $16.00 an hour. 

That is an increase of $15.00 per hour of Homecare. Is the Senior supposed to go knocking on the door of Tim Horton's or perhaps Wal-mart, give me a job so I can pay for my Homecare. Not too many want to hire a Senior in their 80's who have Health problems.
So what happens? I can't pay for my Care, so I have no Homecare, except for we believe maybe 2 hours a week...? No-one is really sure how all of this works. It's a hot mess. One official admitted that he doesn't really know how it all works....

Not to mention  the endless litany of request from Woodgreen, produce this document, we need this, give us this other document. All concerning a Senior whose annual  income is way below the poverty line in Ontario of $19,930.00. Let's get a grip, we're not talking about some globe-trotting senior in a Corvette. Just a senior who is in ill-health, with a low income.

Is this what we have to look forward to in our Golden years? As we are approaching a time when Aging Baby Boomers will all become 65 around the same time period.... Happy Birthday, or not ?

All the more incentive to take better care of yourself today, eat healthier, stop smoking, spend less, walk more, so you can be in better shape and not at the mercy of Government agencies, Housing agencies, and long-term care facilities.

So does someone from Toronto Housing, LHIN, or Woodgreen want to respond and explain the big mess that our income-assisted long-term Health Care is in? 

Monday, October 16, 2017

When you have to Parent your Parents, How to cope.

It's a fact of Life...our Parents age. They get to the point where they cannot do certain tasks by themselves, and this is so frustrating, both on their part and also from your point-of-view, their grown-up child or children. Everyone just wants things to go back to "normal" (whatever that is.) Let's just FIX what's wrong, so we can get back to our own lives and jobs and homes and pets. 

It's like this broken glass chime in the photo above, things are in such a tangled mess, it becomes almost impossible to fix. It takes TIME, something most of us don't have. And a lot of Patience. If your Parent is angry at their situation, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of verbal abuse. No matter what you do, it is not good enough. The phrase " I don't know..." gets used a lot by your confused Parent. There are some painful decisions to make, and your Parent may have a different opinion on what should be done. 

Not making a choice IS Making a Choice.  I don't want to go into a Home. I want to stay here and live on my own. I am blind and cannot take care of myself. I don't want a stranger in my Home. The Home care workers are horrible to me. They are telling lies about me. And so it goes on. The situation becomes compounded when you do not live in the same City as your ageing Parent. 

Then there are the Parent's possessions. Your Parent has lost their independence, and they may feel they have lost control of their Life. A lot of their possessions have sentimental value to them. You, the adult child, have to help them get rid of their unused stuff. You've tried numerous times, and have merely shuffled the mess from 1 spot to another spot. From the adult child's point-of-view, you may have driven 5 hours to get to your Parent's place, and you have a few hours to clean and get rid of unused stuff. And you start tossing out any broken, unused, not-needed anymore furniture, knick-knacks, linens,  dishes, etc. Without asking your Parent. 
Have any of you been here, and done that? 

At night, another child is there helping the Parent, and Parent is frantically looking around for her favourite skirt, which is nowhere to be found. Probably got tossed into the pile for the Salvation Army. This little elephant ( a Baby gift for you when you were little), he got tossed out, so there you are, digging in the BFI bin, in the basement of your Parent's apartment, using her long grabber thingamajig. People passing by are looking at you a bit strangely. Sigh..... 

Anger ...helplessness....frustration...losing control....losing Independence......feeling lost and alone.....
becoming like a child again.....the Parent is the child while the Child becomes the Parent...Helplessness. 

Then you remember this saying from Robert Munsch, " long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."  And you wish it would all be easy, and that neither you (the adult child) or your Parent, would have to go down this long road ahead. 

But after all, illness and Death are part of Life, and that's just the way it is. What are your experiences with parenting a Parent? What strategies have helped you along the way? Comment below, we would love to hear from you! 
If you would like to send a Sympathy Tribute, call us at The Camellia, we deliver in Thunder Bay and surrounding area. The Camellia, 30, Hacquoil Rd. Slate River, On

handmade wreaths at The Camellia

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Baby Boomers are smart people. Don't underestimate them.

Baby Boomers...there are a lot of us in the World. This term refers to babies born in the post World War 11 era, generally born between 1946-1965.  Opa Overmeer is a Baby Boomer. Sometimes Opa Overmeer gets attitude from people.....and it irritates the hell out of him.

Baby Boomers control a vast amount of wealth, and anyone dealing with this demographic would be wise to tread a bit more carefully around them. A lot of them own their own homes ( mortgage-free), have a few sportscars, and may own a second property in a warm climate. Statistically speaking, most Canadians become wealthy by inheritance. So if you piss off  Baby Boomers, guess what? It's going to a Homeless Dog Shelter, or a Hospital. Most Baby Boomers have worked their butts off trying to get ahead, and they don't want to see all their hard work go to persons who seem to have no ...(you finish that sentence...)

Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Do not assume that they are computer-illiterate.

This applies to Bank Tellers, Investment advisors...., Cell phone companies, Internet providers, and so on. Especially don't talk to them ( a baby boomer)  in a condescending tone of voice in public...YOU KNOW...YOU HAVE TO GO ON THE WEBSITE AND ADD ...(blah.blah.blah) AS A PAYEE.

Note:  NOT ALL BABY BOOMERS ARE DEAF. Don't be surprised if they make a scene in public when you treat them like a stupid ***.

They have lived longer than you, and have far more experience. Learn from them. 

If they are asking you questions, stop pretending everything is ok. Listen, and learn from them. They were young too, and made mistakes. Why not learn from their mistakes? What does everyone want in Life....To be happy, healthy and enjoy Life. That is what they want for you, and your children. Blue skies ahead...we all want that.

blue skies

Baby Boomers do not want to live with non-stop DRAMA. 
If your Life consists of making up stuff, and inflicting misery and blame on others, don't expect that anyone is going to put up with it. If you have trauma you went through as a kid, go get some help. Do NOT inflict misery on other people's lives. Your Life is your own responsibility. 
If this is the way you want to live, then expect that Baby Boomers will distance themselves from you. What does this mean? No big, Family get-togethers. No invitations to go along on Overseas holidays. A horrible division of the Family may take place. This one is not speaking to that one. Polite tolerance. Baby Boomers may move to another city or Country.
Who wins in this scenario? NO ONE.
Who gets hurt? EVERYONE. Especially the little ones, who get torn apart in this mess.

Baby Boomers value every minute do any of us know how much longer we have above ground? Don't waste a Baby Boomer's time. 

Baby Boomers may be struggling with their own health problems. These problems may require vast amounts of time spent doing yoga and physical fitness, stress management, eating healthy, etc. They do not want to become a burden to their kids. They may be actively trying to stay healthy. They aren't there for you when you decide you need a Babysitter within the next hour? Everyone benefits from routine in their lives, so try setting some specific times for them to spend with their Grandchildren.

the Camellia

Robert Munsch book

Baby Boomers care deeply for their kids, however, there comes a time when they can no longer fix problems their kids have created. Everyone's Life is their own responsibility. So the next time, you feel inclined to get angry at a Baby Boomer in your Family, try thinking about things from their point of view. 

If you are a Baby Boomer, and need help with Home Decor, or learning how to be computer literate, call us here at The Camellia , at 30, Hacquoil Rd. Thunder Bay, Ontario
p 807-475-3551