What can we do?

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As most of you have seen we have had the most horrible event here in NZ last Friday.  Such a senseless act of violence and terrorism has seen so many families and communities, not only here but around the world, left with loss, confusion, grief and fear.

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It was in my hometown and while I no longer live there it made me feel so confused that anything like that could happen in Christchurch.  I also felt incredibly powerless to help in a meaningful way.  Then this came into my inbox and I thought it is actually so good I would share.

While it is obviously targeted to the Christchurch terror attack it has valuable message for being able to put your grief and confusion into action while creating a compassionate future.  Already here in New Zealand good discussions and law changes are coming out of this horrendous attack.  Sad though that we had to wait until so many innocent lives were taken.  Maybe you can find something the email below to help you process your feelings and the world around you feel a little better.

‘ Like many New Zealanders, I have spent the weekend absolutely devastated.

Friday started off with so much hope. I joined our young people for their school strike against government and corporate inaction on climate breakdown. I watched as thousands of rangatahi took a collective stand for Papatūānuku in Wellington’s Civic Square. I cried happy tears.

Then a man with a murderous weapon, inflicted with the ideology of white supremacy, shot, hurt and killed Muslim men, women and children who had gathered to pray. I cried mournful, sorrow-filled tears and it’s been hard to stop ever since.

Below is a list of ways that may help you channel your anger and grief, as well as show solidarity with the Muslim community and the people of Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

Donate to the victims and families

The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform for Muslim people) with all funds raised distributed to the victims and families affected by the Christchurch attack. All proceeds will go towards helping with their immediate, short-term needs.

The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. Victim Support says it will use all donations received to the page to provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. This one has already raised $3 million from everyday New Zealanders, which I think is a bright spot in an otherwise very dark time.

Attend a memorial vigil

In Māori culture, one of the most important aspects of losing a loved one is the tangihanga or tangi. The word means to weep, and to sing a dirge (a lament for the dead).

People travel from all around the country and world to come together at these funerals to share in the grief of loss and memories of those who pass. They are an important part of our culture. I see public vigils as serving the same purpose. Here are a few happening around the country over the next week:

  • Invercargill – Sunday 17 March from 11am – 12pm.
  • Wellington – Sunday 17 March from 6pm – 7pm at Basin Reserve.
  • Christchurch – Thursday 21 March from 8.30pm – 9.30pm at Cathedral Square.
  • Dunedin – Thursday 21 March in the Octagon.
  • Auckland – Friday 22 March from 6pm – 7pm at Aotea Square.
  • Nelson Race Unity Day – Sunday 24 March 24 in Victory Square.

Listen to the perspectives of Muslim people

Like with any religious, ethnic or age group, there are multiple perspectives and experiences within the Muslim community. Muslims are an ethnically diverse demographic hailing from 80 different countries around the world. They have been in Aotearoa since 1860.

Widening the articles we read, and the podcasts we listen to, to include a range of Muslim writers or producers is one way we can begin to understand these different perspectives. Here are a couple of pieces that have been written in the wake of the Christchurch attack.

Here is a podcast that came out in 2017, but is essential listening for anyone wanting to understand what life is like for a Muslim person living in New Zealand today.

  • Public Enemy is an award-winning four-part podcast series from RNZ looking at the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and how elections, counter-terrorism policies, war and xenophobia have changed lives.

Condemn racism

This violent attack on Muslim people who were praying peacefully was based on the gunman’s idea that white people are superior to people of colour. This idea was fuelled by the renewed rise of neo-Nazis, xenophobia and far-right extremism all over the world.

For the last few years, powerful people with platforms (some politicians, some media commentators, almost all giant tech corporations) have stoked racial division to sell ads, generate headlines and create fear among us for cheap votes and clicks.

This racism and hate was also allowed to fester, because we have not been doing enough to condemn casual racism when we see it.

Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments when you see them. Read this guide from Amnesty International on how to tell someone you love they are being racist.

This is a good book for people working through how they might be complicit in white supremacy.

You can also check out the NZ Human Rights Commission’s toolkit on their Give Nothing To Racism website.

Volunteer to teach former refugees and migrants English

English Language Partners New Zealand has a volunteer teaching programme providing free English lessons to former refugees and migrants. They will train you to provide those who need it with the language skills and confidence necessary to integrate and participate fully in Aotearoa.

Volunteer for The Red Cross

Contact your local Red Cross and see what they need. Volunteer tasks may include setting up a home for a refugee family, helping them with everyday admin such as enrolments, budgeting and shopping, and generally welcoming them into New Zealand.

Take action to end hate speech

For the last few months, our team has been researching the links between online hate, online misinformation and the rise in hate crimes.

One thing is abundantly clear: Extreme words lead to extreme actions. We need to do all we can to stop both.

Sign this petition that we’re delivering in a couple of weeks if you want our government to crackdown on online hate and misinformation:

I support an end to hate speech and misinformation online.

Take action to ban semi-automatic weapons

A member of the ActionStation community, Nik Green, is calling for a ban on all semi-automatic firearms. You can sign his petition today:

I support stronger gun laws

There are many other ways you can take action. Find your local Muslim community support group or mosque and reach out to ask how you can help.

Some people have been pledging to form human chains of protection around mosques so Muslims can worship and pray. Others have offered to accompany Muslims to wherever they need to go if they do not feel safe going out in public. We will be in touch again soon with other ways you can help as we find them.

Sending aroha (love) and kaha (strength) to all at this horrific time. Especially to our Muslim, migrant, and refugee communities,

Laura, Madeleine, Eliot, Leroy and Kassie, on behalf of the ActionStation team.

P.S. If you need someone to talk to about grief or trauma you may be experiencing, please call or text 1737. Both are free, confidential and available 24/7.

With special thanks to The Spinoff who originally published some of these ways you can help.’

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Farewell 2018

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Here we are  …… we made it! The last day of 2018 is upon us with 2019 just waiting to emerge.

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Preparing for the year ahead.

Each year at this time I sit down and take time to prepare myself for the year ahead.  I change journal/diaries (my own creation) and with that I also write down some of the activities, hopes and goals I’d like to complete in the upcoming year while seeing all the great things I have achieved in the outgoing one.  These are pretty loose I have to say and not all of them are huge.  I include things like getting a massage, reading a book, writing a letter to a friend – an actual pen and paper one that is 🙂 – along with some ‘work’ things like newsletters, ‘planning’  for homeschooling and blog posts and some more inspirational goals too.

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Hoping to get back here a bit more often next year 🙂

They often aren’t all completed, actually I don’t think I have ever done that, however that is not really the aim. Those that aren’t completed in one year just more on over to the next  …….. I have only just framed some cross-stitches I did for the kids after that being on my list for 2 years!  Rather my ‘108 Things to do’ serves as a reminder instead of a ‘must do’ list which kinda takes the pressure off while still realizing my hopes and dreams.

You may also think that 108 is an excess amount of things to write down and you’re probably correct if you try to write all 108 at once.  However I begin with with all the things I need to carry over (like updating my website so it is phone friendly), then the things I know I’ll be doing (like the monthly family blog) then add to it in drips and drabs along the year.  I only came to 108 things to do as I couldn’t get the tables to give me 100 nicely.  Then I read in a book how 108 is a sacred number 108 is a sacred number and felt kind of glad it worked out that way 🙂

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Hope I can jump into the new year with as much enthusiasm! 

With that said I’m off to get writing in that journal/diary.  I hope this finds you remembering and releasing 2018 with a smile while welcoming 2019 for all the wonderful possibilities it holds.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Christmas Cake!

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The sun is out here in Kaikōura and it is finally feeling like Christmas is on its way!!  So of course with Christmas comes the proverbial cake.  Last year we just missed out on having a cake as I didn’t think I had a recipe, then low and behold as I was sifting through the recipe book I came across this beauty.  I have actually had this recipe for a long time, since my sugar free time four years ago, without realising that it was actually vegan.  At the time it lost out to another recipe, as I was still eating eggs, only to be found the other month when I was searching for birthday cake recipes.

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Enjoying some pre Christmas sunshine …. homeschooling outside 🙂

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it (both four years ago and now) so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days to see what it was like with success though day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂

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Decorated and ready to go in the oven

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

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 …. now for the munching to begin

So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.
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Even got a thumbs up from the non-vegan among us!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season enjoying the good things life has given you and remembering lots of special memories.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Elder-flower Treats

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Hello again …. I know it has been a long time since I last wrote.  Life has well and truly had me by the ‘short and curlies’ – as my Mum would say 😉 – and I’m only just starting to feel like I’m getting back on track.  At the start of October my Mum passed away, in her home just as she always wanted, and since then just getting through the basics of each day has been the focus.  Grief is a strange beast that is for sure!!

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Mt Fyffe treating us to a surprise sprinkle of snow in Summer

Our plans needed to dramatically alter as a consequence of Mum’s death and though it was a shock to absorb all the changes it has also brought some unexpected pleasures.  Instead of still being in the North Island we are now back in the Kaikōura (South Island) and the way we have been welcomed back has been a real tonic for the soul.  Themselves have also been given opportunities to care for animals here, build with the Community shed and re-unit with friends through local groups while I have already been asked about running more Infant Massage courses … Yay!  Our arrival also coincided with the all the overgrown and wild Elderberry flowering which lead us to do a little experimenting.

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Preparing the mixture

We don’t really get Elderberry growing as well in the North Island so while I had heard that you could turn the flowers into fritters I was yet to try it. After a bit of research on which parts actually are edible, themselves went on a huge flower forage and we began to create.  While pictures on most of the blogs for elderflower fritters make it look like you can eat the stems of the flowers in the recipe it is only the flowers that are safe as the stem, if too much is consumed, will create a bit of nausea.

The recipe I have below is pretty much our pikelet/pancake recipe (vegan style) with the flowers added in.  Using another recipe as a guideline for any other vital ingredients I may need we added a little bit of icing sugar however the pollen is super sweet so unless you have a very sweet tooth you probably won’t need to add it. We tried this recipe two different ways; doughnut style (spoonful dropped in hot oil) and pikelet style (spoonful dropped in hot pan). The doughnut style were definitely the favourite of themselves, evidence by the lack of photos as they scoffed them before I could clean up and get the camera! However I opted for the pikelet style as the repeat recipe  …. less greasy and less cleaning up too 🙂  Sorry if this is a little late for the elderberry flowers blooming in your neck of the woods but hopefully you can remember it for next year 🙂

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Half way there

Elderberry treats

1 Cup GF flour (I used Edmonds ‘ready mix’)

1 Cup Rice milk or sim

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb water

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tb icing sugar (optional)

1 cup of elderberry flowers (just the flower heads not the green stalks)

  • Mix everything until a smooth paste is achieved
  • Heat a pan then place spoonfuls into the hot pan.
  • Wait of the top of the pikelet to ‘bubble’ then flip to cook the underside.
  • Enjoy by themselves or with your favourite topping
  • If you want the doughnut style then drop small spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil and wait until they are golden before removing. Drain very well before eating … if people can wait that long 🙂

Until next time, when (fingers crossed) I’ll be sharing a Vegan/GF christmas Cake that I’m trying out, I hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and making the most of them.

Arohanui

Y

Spring Clean

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I don’t know if it because Spring has arrived or because being parked up in one spot gives you more time, maybe it was a little bit of practicing what I’m preaching.  Whatever the reason it has led to me doing a bit of a de-clutter online.

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Connecting offline

My daughter was beginning a Cyber-safe badge through her online Guides yesterday and one of the first things they talked about was the importance of only being online friends with people you actually know.  Ahhh …… well ….. there is probably a bit of room for improvement there I thought as she questioned if I knew everyone I was ‘friends’ with on FB!

In fairness to myself, or at least in a bid for innocence ;), I have met at least 95% of my FB friends however there are a few people who friend requested me and when I saw they were friends of friends I accepted. The trouble is I did this on the assumption that they were actual face to face friends with my real life friends.  An old saying came to me ‘Those that assume make an ass out of you and me!!’. Without inquiring about their personal friendships I really didn’t know them, I didn’t know who their friends were or what they may do with the content I was sharing.

The other thing I had been noticing already was that I was being dragging into other people’s lives and dramas with each scroll I made, taking time away from my own life.  If they were people I held close fair enough you may say however these are people I have met once and hardly know, people I really don’t have a connection with aside from reading their FB posts and liking.  Instead of talking about our lives, our plans, our dramas,  I was beginning to talk more about their lives and issues.

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So the challenge was on and last night I began my cull!  I deleted old e-mails left, right and centre.  I changed my settings.  I left groups which I never really participated in.  I unfriended people that I didn’t know personally or that I knew I won’t be inclined to contact (sometimes those FB posts give you a real insight to that person you thought was lovely) and others I just stopped following so I won’t see their posts in my feed so much.  I’m sure as you read this you can think of the FB friend who is constantly clogging your feed.  I’m hoping that in all this culling I will actually see the posts from friends and family that I haven’t seen for a long time.  I’m hoping that I can beat FB at its own game a little after all if I don’t have a multitude of ‘friends’ they will have to let me see the posts of those who are left … won’t they?  Time will tell I guess.

It is early days however already when I went to check my FB this morning I noticed that there was less clutter to hold me there. There were posts from people I care about and love, people that I connect with in different ways which meant that the posts only helped to deepened that connection.  I didn’t feel so caught up in it all and I could clearly see who would be next on my cull list.  Disconnection from all this overload has to be a good thing I’m thinking or maybe it will just be me enjoying some ignorant bliss. 😉

Hope this finds you with some space to yourselves and enjoying life.

Arohanui

Y

Well … hello there

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It has been a long time I know! Since I last wrote on here we have made our way from The Coromandel up through Auckland and into the far North to our current spot which is only an hour south from Cape Reinga (the top of NZ).

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Cape Reinga Lighthouse

While I have been trying a few vegan and gluten free recipes ready for my next Infant Massage course in November I don’t have one to share tonight rather I thought I would give you a quick catch up of bus life. The days have been racing along as we have been catching up with friends and family, exploring new places, meeting new friends, trying new activities, adding to our bus family in the form of a wee pet mouse and making some decisions about our future.

Our decisions? We have decided to head back down to the other end of this island and set up a base for ourselves to travel from rather than our current free wheeling.  It will be two years since we headed out on our bus journey and while we’ll still be living in the bus we won’t be quite as transient 😉

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On the road north

We are looking forward getting into a garden again and having somewhere that people can send mail directly to us!  We’re not sure what the future will bring … most likely more travels and adventures at some stage.

Until next time (with a recipe)  I hope you have a fabulous week enjoying the best bits and breathing deep through the rest 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Rainy day Gingernuts

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It is a cold and rainy day here in the Coromandel and I really should be finishing an assignment for an online course I’m taking however my old friend procrastination seems to be visiting … again. So what better to do on a rainy day than bake something warm and then blog about it!

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Parked up in a ‘Park over Property’ in Coromandel

These Gingernuts are super quick and easy to make along with being super healthy.  I originally got the recipe from a New Zealand blog called Isle of Flora and just changed the honey for maple syrup to create a vegan option for us.  I have also tried making them with Gluten free flour mix which creates a crunchier biscuit rather than the chewier ground almond versions.  Using the GF flour also requires a bit of water added to the mixture to make it the correct texture.  Themselves have also swapped out the ginger for some cocoa. The best thing about this recipe, aside from the fact that themselves love it, is that the dough can be eaten raw or cooked and it ticks all of our boxes on the bus. 😉

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It was an effort to keep their hands of them long enough to take the photo I can tell you.

The original recipe says that it makes 8 biscuits however we usually get at least 16 and sometimes 20 out of it so obviously it is all about size.  Clearly, living on a bus and having a wee oven has influenced the size of my baking … I only wish it influenced our appetites for these yummy morsels too! The fact that they don’t expand on cooking does mean that you can pack them pretty close together on your tray which for us means one batch rather than two.

Gingernuts

1 C ground almonds

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 Tb black strap molasses

3 Tb maple syrup

  • Mix the almonds and ginger
  • Add the molasses and maple syrup then mix until the mixture forms a dough
  • Roll into small balls and place on tray
  • Flatten each ball with a fork (you may need to dip the fork in flour so it doesn’t stick)
  • Bake for 10-15 mins at 180C
  • Cool on the rack before devouring

Hope this finds you dry, content and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz