Happy Easter to those who observe…One day and counting…

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates.

We had a fun time last night. We’d made a reservation at Luna Rossa. With a 100% chance of rain, we canceled the reservation early in the day. It made sense to go down the one flight of stairs to The Pub to avoid getting soaked on the longer walk to Luna Rossa.

We got good seats at the bar; we didn’t bother moving to a table to order and eat dinner. Maybe subconsciously, we ate at the bar to be reminded us of Jabula in Marloth Park so many times in the past. Although it was not as entertaining with other patrons and hosts, we had a great time chatting, laughing, and discussing the future, although much is unknown at this time.

We discussed a plan if we get called to Cleveland Clinic sooner than three months, and both of us have accepted the reality of that possibility. With two of my four valves considered to be “severe,” the mitral and tricuspid, they may try to get me in sooner. I’m hoping so. It’s a bit scary right now with the severity of this situation.

Easter is special to us for its spiritual aspect and the opportunity to speak to family members once again today. There will be no special dinner, dessert, Easter baskets, candy, or colorful decorations. We’ll make bacon, onion, and cheese omelets tonight with a slab of ham on the side.

Tomorrow, we’ll stop somewhere along the highway for breakfast. We won’t be rushing to make the five-hour drive to Apache Junction. It should be a relatively easy drive.

Shortly, Tom will order an Uber to take him to the airport to pick up the rental car and return shortly after that. Today, we should be able to load some of the bags into the car since it will be secure in the secure parking garage.

I have the last two loads of laundry going and will head to the building’s laundry room to put them in the dryer. I will have used all the money I loaded into the laundry app except for $2. They don’t provide refunds of balances.

Last night was a fitful night, although I managed to sleep for seven hours. I was awake during the night for 2½ hours and did a little worrying, which always seems worse in the middle of the night, as opposed to during the day when it seems easy not to worry.

There won’t be a post tomorrow, but we’ll be back, posting from Arizona on Tuesday. Happy Easter to all!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2014:

Bead and jewelry-making supplies in the souk in Marrakesh. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Easter to those who observe the holiday….Happy Passover… and other holidays celebrated worldwide…

Happy Easter to all of our family, readers, and friends worldwide who celebrate Easter.

After a hectic morning, cooking for tonight’s Easter dinner for the two of us, embarking on a longer walk than usual, and doing a few loads of laundry on an outrageously humid day, I have run out of steam, and it’s only noon as I write here now. It’s the humidity that’s gotten to me when today the temperature will be a high of 92F, 33, but the dew point will be a ridiculous 79. See the comment below from the National Weather Service:

  1. “What dew point is uncomfortable?
General comfort levels USING DEW POINT that can be expected during the summer months: less than or equal to 55: dry and comfortable. between 55 and 65: becoming “sticky” with muggy evenings. greater than or equal to 65: lots of moisture in the air, becoming oppressive.”

2. “How high can the dew point go?

The dew point can never be higher than the air temperature. Similarly, as the air temperature rises and/or the dew point drops, the relative humidity decreases because the air is getting farther away from saturation.”
3. “What dew point is it hard to breathe?
66-70 is uncomfortable. 71-75 is oppressive. Higher than 76 is miserable.”

Thus, even if the temperature isn’t high, the dew point can make us miserable, as indicated above. Today is one of those days, and my inclination is to hide away in the bedroom with the fan and aircon running. But I won’t. I’ll stay out here on the veranda, hoping some of our wildlife friends will stop by.

With the holidaymakers here for Easter weekend, many aren’t leaving until tomorrow or Tuesday, so we may not see them until then. Good grief, it’s been two days since we’ve seen Norman and his family, and I have two bowls of “Norman’s lunch” waiting for his arrival, staying cool in the refrigerator. Certainly, Nina and Natalie are partaking of treats offered by the holidaymakers, which may or may not be appropriate for their digestive tracts.

Some human food may result in severe illness or be fatal to some animals, and we fear this is happening whenever the park is as busy as it is right now. Visitors aren’t educated about the well-being of the animals, or they don’t care, which is insufferable. To think of one of these precious creatures dying in the bush after eating mealie (corn) or other grain products is heartbreaking.

As for today being Easter, we decided to stay home, away from the crowds, and maintain our lovely peaceful existence on one of those days we aren’t being social with anyone but one another.

When searching online this morning about Easter, I stumbled across this site which has 20 Easter Traditions Worldwide that you may enjoy, which are lighthearted and not necessarily religious for those who don’t celebrate. We posted the first five of the 20 below, but if they interest you, click here to see the balance from Woman’s Day Magazine. (Not our photos. Getty Images).

easter traditions eating ham and deviled eggs
Getty Images

1. “Eating Ham and Deviled Eggs

The Easter Bunny isn’t the only one with a thing for eggs. Many people in America sit down around a dinner table laden with holiday favorites like ham and deviled eggs, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Ham became a popular dinner choice years ago, mainly by default, since the pigs that went to slaughter in the fall would’ve had plenty of time to cure over those long winter months, making them ready for eating just as spring rolled around.

Similarly, deviled eggs are a popular choice because of the way eggs are used symbolically throughout the holiday as a symbol of rebirth.

easter traditions wearing easter bonnets
Getty Images

2. Wearing Easter Bonnets

Another Easter tradition in America is the donning of the Easter bonnet. This fancy hat became a popular addition to Sunday church attire because it represents a commitment to renewal when paired with new Easter clothes.

These head coverings are loosely tied with the end of Lent when they would be purchased assumably after a period of frugal financing where such luxuries were typically not purchased.

They’re also a great Easter craft for kids who want to DIY their way to a new holiday hat. In fact, at the height of their popularity in the 1990s, department stores would often sell kits for children, who would then enter their hats into a contest.

hot cross buns 
Getty Images

3. Dining on Hot Cross Buns

In New Zealand and parts of Australia, hot cross buns are more than just a tune you must learn as a kid; they’re an Easter favorite. The island countries enjoy eating these dense treats on Easter during their meteorological fall.

Once you know that Easter comes right before their winter, it makes more sense that they’d be drawn to this bit of comfort food over the holiday.

easter traditions orthodox easter eggs

Getty Images

4. Dyeing Easter Eggs Red

In Greece, those who celebrate Easter through the Orthodox church forego the typical mix of colors when it comes time to dye eggs, instead focusing on a singular shade: red.

The crimson-hued eggs are doubly symbolic since they use the eggs to represent rebirth and the color red for Jesus’ blood, marking the triumphant return of the son of God.

People can get creative with their red eggs, creating different shades, intricate designs, and more.

easter traditions bonfire

Getty Images

5. Starting a Bonfire

In some parts of Europe, people will celebrate Easter by striking a match. In Northwestern European communities, it’s common to kick off a two-day celebration that begins on Sunday by starting a bonfire.

These fires are aptly named Easter Fires and were initially set to help chase the darkness of winter away. Over the years, they’ve become a fun way for community members to come together and celebrate the coming spring.

We have to imagine that they’ve kept their popularity over the years thanks to being the first big gathering following weeks of winter solitude.”

Again, click here to see the remaining 15 traditions from this article.
We wish all of you a Happy Easter. Happy Passover and blessings for all holidays being celebrated right now throughout the world.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 9, 2022:

Our balcony cabin on Celebrity Silhouette while still in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate…Long ago memories…

Our boy Tiny, lounging in the garden after eating lots of pellets. As big as he is, he can consume lots of pellets. Note the cute pose. That’s our boy!

Easter was one of our favorite holidays in our old lives. We made Easter baskets for each family member and their pets in beautiful woven baskets with ribbons, name tags, and chock full of goodies suitable for each one. We’d line them up, usually about 17 or more baskets, on our huge dining room table, and most years, the kids and later grandchildren came to enjoy their personalized bounty.,

If the weather was terrible, which it often was most years, all of the activities occurred indoors, which never put a damper on it for any of us. We played games along with an Easter egg hunt, with decorated eggs and plastic eggs filled with money. After the festivities ended, we had the same brunch each year consisting of brunch egg flan, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fresh fruit, homemade muffins, or cinnamon rolls along with juices and coffee. It was quite a feast enjoyed by all.

Here is the link to our last Easter in Minnesota in 2012, before we began our year’s long journey to travel the world.

A forkl of kudus stopped by for a morning snack.

Even after eating a keto diet in 2011, I made a few appropriate items perfect for me. Then again, it was only a year and a half later than we began our world journey, and Easter celebrations as we knew it no longer were a part of our life. Our adult children, by this point, had started to integrate their traditions into each of their respective families.

Of course, we miss everyone and certainly miss the celebration we spent days, if not weeks preparing for this special religious holiday. Amid all the pomp and circumstance, we never forgot the meaning of the celebration of Easter.

Today, nine years later, in this new life, what remains with us is the great memories and the observance of the spiritual significance. We don’t prepare a special meal, especially since it’s just the two of us and our way of eating. Tonight, we’ll both have bun-less burgers with bacon, cheese, and white rice on the side for Tom. My side dish, most likely, will be hard-boiled or scrambled eggs on the side, a perfect option for us.

The kudus love pellets along with the attention we give them.

As usual, we’ll dine on the veranda, watching nature as our source of entertainment, reveling in the wonders that surround us in the bush. No regrets. No sadness, just a pure and simple joy to be alive, together, and safe in this majestic wildlife paradise.

Sure, it would be great to be sharing this and other holidays with family and friends. But, we chose this life so long ago and continue to revel in its wonders, knowing there is still much world for us to explore in times to come, hopefully, when and if the pandemic settles down across the globe. Do we see this on the horizon?

Right now, it’s impossible to predict. Even the so-called experts don’t know when it could end, how long the vaccine will continue to provide protection, and when the world of travel will resume to its former “normal” patterns. We don’t know.

Three bushbucks in the garden are waiting for the warthogs to leave so they can partake of the pellets.

We aren’t sad at all being alone in the bush today on Easter. The weather is cool with a high of 82F, 27C with overcast skies, moderate humidity, and no breeze whatsoever. This morning, we’ve had a few visitors, primarily warthogs and bushbucks, who visit more often than any other wildlife. We can’t go out for a drive to search for photo ops with the roads packed with tourists doing the same.

During the holiday seasons,  Kruger National Park is fully booked with appointments that are necessary to enter. In the few weeks, we’ll get our Wild Card to enter Kruger at our leisure during off-peak times with no appointment required. During these first three months, we’ve never visited Kruger. With all the rain and muddy, impassable roads and many days where our entrance point of Crocodile Bridge was flooded, we never attempted to go. These next three months will be different.

Narrow and The Imposter in the side yard hoping for more pellets.

For some odd reason, we feel more settled in and at ease now with immigration issues not hanging over our heads at the moment and the comfort of knowing we can freely stay until June 30, 2021, without a problem. We’ve decided to wait until the last minute to see if President Cyril Ramphosa extends visas yet again in June. We can always get a flight out of here and back with only a few days of planning.

May all of you who celebrate Easter, Passover, and other holidays throughout the world this month have a pleasing and meaningful experience while you continue to stay safe and healthy.

 Photo from one year ago today, April 4, 2020.

While in Kauai, Hawaii on this date, five years ago, we speculated, based on appearance, that there’s some sort of permanent pouch beneath this shedding skin of this Green Anole.  We had difficulty finding details on the shedding process of these lizards. For more on this post from six years ago on this date, please click here. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Happy Easter, everyone…Not quite the same…Exceptional service at our hotel…

This morning, this adorable Easter display was at our regular table. The staff is always thinking of us.

The daily videos we’ve been posting will continue tomorrow.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Please click here for those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story.

Today, April 12, 2020, it’s Easter for over 2 billion people throughout our world (of almost 8 billion) as indicated here: “According to the 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there are 2.18 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910.”

But this is no ordinary Easter, not for children, parents, and families, who typically celebrate this spiritual day with prayers, attending church, colorful displays, Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts, candy-filled baskets, big dinners, and tradition-making experiences.

In our old lives, this was one of our favorite family days of the year when we made baskets for everyone, planned and played fun games for money-filled plastic eggs and toys. 

We dined on our homemade favorites, such as ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, whipped fruit salad (we called it “fruit whippie”), homemade buns along with many other side dishes, and desserts, including our favorite bunny rabbit cake I’d make each year. 

See our post with some of our favorite homemade cakes and pies here.
Those days are long past, and we accepted that reality many moons ago. Our children have gone on to create their own unique Easter memories with their families and friends.

Over the past years of world travel, we haven’t celebrated Easter and have instead thought about the spiritual significance in our lives and our faith, of which we share very little here. 

This morning Tom ordered a banana and received these four tiny ones, which are popular in India. 

(We always promised ourselves we wouldn’t discuss religion, sex, and politics on this blog, although we occasionally post photos and stories of wildlife mating rituals).

And today? In this challenging time of COVID-19 and worldwide lockdown, it’s different for everyone who honors this special day. With travel restrictions, social distancing, and the inability to gather with family and friends, this will be an Easter everyone will remember.

Sadly, many will remember losing loved ones who succumbed to this dreadful virus with great sorrow. And for those of us who’ve been fortunate to have avoided infection, we can all reflect on how fortunate we are to have learned methods to protect ourselves and our families during these stressful times.

We know the loss of work and income for many is devastating. Many throughout the world are struggling to put food on the table today and every day. This is heartbreaking. 

And today, we need to pray for those families, for the families who have lost loved ones, for the families with members sick with the virus, for those struggling to recover from the virus, and for our safety from the menacing virus which is generating a tremendous amount of stress in people everywhere.

Although we posted this same photo on the March 30th post here, we wanted to post it again, offering thanks and gratitude to the lovely staff who kindly and graciously attend to our needs every day at the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport. We couldn’t be made to feel more welcome, especially with so few of us here with a staff that far exceeds the number of guests. This staff has sacrificed time and safety in their own homes with their own families to continue working and sleeping here to provide exemplary service and security for all of us. 

None of us are exempt from feeling the brunt of this pandemic in one way or another. Our prayers are with all of you. 

And, while we sit back in relative comfort, safe in the cocoon of this virus-free hotel, we are grateful to be able to have this place to live and the fantastic staff in the hotel who daily see to our needs with such good grace and dignity.

We also thank Marriott Hotels for keeping this hotel open because there are so few of us here now. We are grateful today and every day. 

May your God, your Gods, your Higher Power, bless us all and keep us safe.

Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2019:

Female kudus were resting in the shade. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Easter to all!…Happy April Fool’s Day to those who like to fool!…An Easter fair in the bush…

Here’s our adorable Louise (always the successful entrepreneur) selling her inventory of colorful Himalayan clothing at the Marlothi Easter Fair, which is comparable to a mini-state fair. I purchased two dresses to wear here at a combined cost of ZAR 200 (US $16.90). 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

To the left (in our yard) is a hornbill.  To the right is our resident francolin, who hangs out for any morsels of food.  When we took this shot, the francolin took a dirt bath while the hornbill looked on in amazement.

We’ve always enjoyed attending fairs, farmers markets and local events in any country in which we may be living in the world. To see the local people at work proudly presenting their handmade crafts, foods, and services gives us an inside peek as to who these people may be.

With all the visitors coming and going, we had no trouble finding a good parking spot on Oliphant Road, the main paved road in Marloth.

In Marloth Park where the majority of citizens are white, we aren’t getting a realistic peek at the people of South Africa in general when the majority of citizens of South Africa are black as shown in the partial chart below from this site (the chart posted here is incomplete). Please click the link for more details:

Some visitors were able to park inside the tiny mall’s parking lot but we were content to walk from the main paved road.
Age group All races % of All Black African % of Blacks Coloured % of Col’d White % of Whites Indian or other Asian % of Asians
0–14 16,612,043 30.23% 14,244,663 32.21% 1,288,601 26.66% 789,492 17.41% 289,285 21.24%
15–64 35,465,499 64.53% 28,170,797 63.69% 3,299,771 68.28% 3,026,475 66.75% 968,649 71.12%
65-plus 2,879,378 5.24% 1,812,535 4.10% 244,544 5.06% 718,041 15.84% 104.068 7.64%
All ages 54,956,920 100% 44,227,995 (100%) 4,832,916 (100%) 4,534,008 (100%) 1,362,002 (100%)
% of SA 100% 80.48% 8.79% 8.25% 2.48%
The paper plates on this booth each had listed products and prices for various items for sale.

With only 8.25% of the country’s population white, such an event in Marloth Park gives us little cultural knowledge for the majority of the country. In its unique way, Marloth Park has become somewhat populated over the past 41 years since its inception, developing a persona of its own.

 This colorful booth was offering honey and other homemade products.

However, the Afrikaans speaking citizens in Marloth Park and others from a variety of countries (primarily Dutch and British), without a doubt, have a powerful cultural presence in their home country and, in this community, one we’re embracing each and every day.

This vendor was selling his locally made liquors.

Of course, we’ve only been here for a short period; three months, four years ago and a mere seven weeks, so far this time. We still have a lot to learn about South Africa’s culture which we’ll share as circumstances present themselves.

Various styles of artwork are on display.

With this in mind, we had a great experience at the fair. As mentioned in the above photo of Louise, I purchased two dresses from her, which I’ll wear while here and donate when we depart next March. They are too heavy for my luggage.

Antiques were offered in this booth.

We didn’t partake in any of the food or drinks at the fair. Tom had eaten and wasn’t hungry and I don’t usually eat anything until later in the day. Besides, most fair-type foods seldom are appropriate for my way of eating. The smells were intoxicating!

The Marloth Park Honorary Rangers were represented there as well.

As for Easter, we have no big plans today. We’ll have a nice dinner at home and will stay on the veranda as always, enjoying more of the daytime and nocturnal activities we’re blessed to continue to experience in the bush. 

Homemade food products are always popular at these events worldwide.

Tomorrow at 5:00 pm, we’re off to friends Kathy and Don’s river view bush home for an adult Easter egg hunt with a dinner to follow. They’ve been gone this past month, and it will be wonderful to see them both again and meet even more of their friends who’ll also be attending.

There were several jewelry booths.

I offered to bring something, but Kathy insists on letting her guests be “guests'” and come for the food and activities they so masterfully plan at their lovely home.

Many booths consisted of locally made products using locally acquired materials.

No doubt, we’ll reciprocate before too long and invite them to our place for dinner. As is the tradition in Marloth Park, guests bring their beverages when visiting friend’s homes, whatever those beverages happen to be. 

Even Tupperware was represented at the fair.

With South Africa known worldwide for its wine production, many of which I’ve tried and enjoyed, many locals drink wine. The balance tends to drink the local Castle beer (and others), which Tom seems to like. We’ve seldom seen anyone drinking other forms of alcohol, such as whiskey, vodka, gin, etc. 

Many of the people at the fair were tourists, here over the holiday weekend. But, we encountered many locals also, primarily working the booths with services and locally made products.

Prices for wine and beer in South Africa are very reasonable. But, alcohol, mostly imported, is pricey, often due to high VAT taxes. As of today, the VAT (value-added tax) in South Africa is rising from 14% to 15%, which is low compared to many other African countries. If interested, see this site for details on VAT in Africa.

From Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, Leon was serving fabulous-looking grilled beef sandwiches for only ZAR 40 (US $3.38).  They were selling as fast as they could prepare them.

We’d like to wish all of our friends/readers a very happy Easter and Passover, for those who celebrate. May your day be filled with love, compassion, and joy.

Pretty handmade beaded Africa animal characters.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2017:

Houses along with the Dobroyd Head in Sydney, Australia.  Tom climbed down some steep rocks to get this shot. For more details, please click here.

Easter Monday here in Australia, a national holiday…Sunday’s menu at “our” home…Recipe…Five days and counting…

Our Sunday roast: organic grass-fed pork roast, Kransky (cheese-filled) gluten-free sausages, Portabella mushrooms, onions, and organic carrots. I cut the roast open during the last 30 minutes to ensure it was cooked properly.

It was a pleasant Easter Sunday. I spent a few hours preparing the meal after I’d completed the day’s post leaving plenty of time for us to vacuum and wash the floor, tidy up the apartment and eventually watch a movie until Bob arrived.

As it turned out, Bob’s friend Eddie wasn’t able to come for dinner, but he’s kindly offered to drive us to the cruise terminal on Saturday. We can hardly believe this will transpire in a mere five days.

There is a mushroom flan on the small plates; coleslaw, the roasted vegetables, sausages, sliced pork roast with biscuits on the side.

With excellent leftovers for today’s main meal, I’m considering organizing my clothes and perhaps begin a bit of packing. Today continues with the long weekend national holiday of Easter Monday, where many shops and businesses are closed, reopening tomorrow.

Last week, I stumbled across this delicious recipe for asparagus, prosciutto, and cream cheese in one of those demonstration-type videos on Facebook.

Tomorrow, we’ll head out for a few items for the cruise, returning later in the day to make our last three-day meal which will take us right to the end since we’re heading to dinner with Christine and Colin on Thursday evening.

After baking these roll-ups in a moderate oven for 25 minutes, they were perfectly cooked. The leftovers are great served cold.

With plenty of photos left to share over the next few days, we’ll soon begin working on the final expenses after tomorrow’s short shopping trip. On Saturday (perhaps your Friday), we’ll post the “favorite photos” from our 40-night stay in Fairlight and, of course, the “final expenses.”

Easy to make, these Low Carb Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits (see recipe at the end of the post) are a decent bread-like-feel addition to any meal. For example, I may use one of these to make a sandwich using Easter dinner leftovers.

Over these years, we developed several “routines” relative to our site, which we hope our readers continue to enjoy, such as the “year ago photos,”; the “favorite photos,”; and the “final expenses” which we post on the final day of any location where we’ve stayed along the way.

If you have any suggestions for added features, please don’t hesitate to write. We love hearing suggestions from our readers, whether they’re relative to travel, our site,  health, technology, or any other topic you’d like to share. 

Sunset last night.

After yesterday’s meal, I felt as if I’d turned a corner with my digestive issues when, after eating, I didn’t feel any major amount of intestinal distress. Of course, I still can’t drink iced tea, coffee, or hot tea, but I could eat a normal-sized meal for the first time in months.

I’ve begun to think that I developed ulcers from the awful case of H. Pylori, a common outcome of the bacterial infection, especially if it lasted for an extended period.
On Saturday, Bob arranged for the pawpaw trees to be removed to enhance the bay view.  Doing so made a world of difference.

I find I can be symptom-free for short periods if I follow a strict regime of avoiding certain foods or eating large amounts in any one sitting and in taking a round of supplements including mastic gum, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice, taken 20 minutes before eating), powerful refrigerated probiotics, zinc, magnesium, and digestive enzymes. 

(Please see your physician if you have gastrointestinal issues. The regime I am using may not be appropriate for you. I am not a medical professional and do not intend to dispense suggestions for health).

Bob’s landscaper wasted no time in removing the tree.

Some of the above items arrived in the package from the US almost two weeks ago but won’t last until we get to the US. I began taking them immediately and have seen such an improvement. I need to find more but have been unable to do so at any of the local health stores we’ve visited so far. It was too late to place an online order. 

Hopefully, when we arrive in Honolulu by cruise ship on May 9th, we can take a bus to the Ala Moana shopping center, where there’s a Vitamin Shoppe. I’m planning to call the Honolulu location tomorrow to ensure they have what I need.

Deceiving scene. The house across the road is being remodeled with its roof tiles removed.

Ah, the challenges of travel. In “normal” life, we’d have a doctor, preferably specializing in integrative medicine, who’d be helpful in this process. But, we’ve discovered along the way that no doctors get too involved with one-time patients such as us. So we’re on our own.

We hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend.  Back at you soon!

Here’s the recipe for the low carb, grain, and sugar-free biscuits:

Low Carb Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits
(Please keep in mind these won’t be quite as moist as a regular biscuit. A good-sized dollop of grass-fed butter will solve the issue).

8 eggs

½ cup butter or coconut oil

2 T sweetener of your choice
½ tsp salt
2/3 sifted coconut flour
½ tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375.  Blend all ingredients, mixing well.

Line a baking pan with parchment and drop by spoonful
Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown.

Photo from one year ago today, April 17, 2016:

The photo was taken at night one year ago today as our ship left the port—Luna Park in Sydney, close to the Harbor Bridge. For more photos, please click here.

Its Easter today on this side of the International Dateline…Preparing for an Easter dinner…Beautiful email from reader…

Not as clear as we’d like, we took this photo from quite a distance to avoid scaring this rabbit off—happy Easter to all who celebrate.

This is the fifth Easter we’ve spent outside the US since our world travels began. Next to Christmas, it was always our favorite holiday, with a tremendous number of family traditions centered around this special religious celebration. 

In reality, it’s probably the tradition we’ve missed the most with so many activities centered around the grandchildren and adults in which everyone could participate in one way or another.

The huge Kookaburras are so friendly that yesterday I was able to give one a little rub.

But, as always, we’ve adapted to the changes. Although we acknowledge our family members and grandchildren on holidays and other times of the year, we’ll cram everything we can into the six weeks we’ll spend in Minnesota upcoming in 40 days. 

For today’s dinner, I’m busy preparing a meal with a little more variety than usual, hoping for some leftovers for the next few days. With only six days remaining until we sail away, we’re using all the food we have on hand, hopefully in some creative ways. 

When we spotted this rabbit, I couldn’t resist zooming in for today’s main photo.

We’ve begun to start thinking about packing and preparing to leave. It will be effortless this time when we don’t have to fly and consider luggage weight. We won’t fly again until after the Alaskan cruise ending on May 26th, when we fly from Seattle to Minneapolis. 

Busy boating in the bay.

When leaving Minnesota, we’ll fly again to Nevada for a three-week family visit and then off to Costa Rica for a three-and-a-half-month stay in a fabulous property owned by friends we made in Kauai. 

It’s amazing how our lives continue to be intertwined with people we’ve met along the way. We’re eternally grateful for the opportunities we’ve encountered in our travels adding such joy to every location in one way or another.

Speaking of people we’ve met along the way, we want to express a special thank you to our friend/reader, Vicki, whom we met along with her husband Jerry at Hanalei Beach in Kauai in January 2015. (Please click here for the post from our meeting). 

Beautiful sky at sunset.

We’re so appreciative for the thoughtful way they’ve both stayed in touch these past few years and hope to see them again someday. Vicki wrote a few days ago:

“Jessica, I just read your April 13th posting. You don’t have to thank your readers; we should thank you for all your hard work and determination that you put into this blog.

Please remember your health is the most important aspect of your life, and we appreciate it when you let us know your good days and bad. It wouldn’t be interesting if we only got good news. Stay well and do what is best for you.

Your faithful reader, Vicki.”

Fiery sky at sunset.

And a special thanks to ALL of our readers for incorporating our daily drivel into your lives as you travel along with us. Happy Easter and happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2016:

The aft of Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.  We boarded this ship on April 16, 2016, for a 14-day cruise. We’ll board Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas from this same pier in Sydney in only six days. For more details, please click here.

Happy Easter and Passover for those who celebrate…We’re having guests for Easter dinner!…One week and counting…

Surfers took advantage of the excellent surf.
A long time ago, we decided that making a fuss over holidays wouldn’t make sense while living this nomadic lifestyle. This caused a particular meaning when many holidays revolve around food, which doesn’t fit our eating habits, especially during Easter.

As a result, there are no more long days spent baking and cooking in the kitchen. We no longer decorate the house, make Easter baskets, decorate and hide Easter eggs or take the time to bake and decorate our former annual bunny rabbit cake. All of that seems like a lifetime ago.

Sunbathers and swimmers are enjoying a sunny day at Manly Beach.

Oddly, we don’t miss any of the work associated with holidays, but of course, we miss the interaction with family, the playfulness, and the laughter. Soon, we’ll be in the midst of all of that!

A day at the beach for school kids.

Over these years of world travel, I’ve lost interest in cooking other than coming up with tasty recipes Tom and I can enjoy in our daily lives. Even so, I usually only cook two or three times a week when typically I’ll purchase enough of any item to last for three dinners, cooking a fresh batch each day. It works for us.

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. See details here for this wildlife-protected area known for snorkeling and hiking.

Besides, most of our meals are appealing enough that we quickly look forward to repeats. However, we also have to consider that most holiday homes have tiny refrigerators and freezers, leaving us with little space for storing much food or for freezing leftovers. 

With no rental cars in some locations, such as here in Fairlight, for 40 nights, we’ve attempted to avoid returning to the market any more often than necessary. Also, we’ve found that cooking for three days saves money in the long run.

The sun on the sea created a crystal-like appearance.

Groceries costs are not as low in Australia as in many other parts of the world but, they’re certainly less than we spent in the US five years ago. So it will be exciting and perhaps be shocking when we see food prices when we soon return to the US.

The sea is blue in this part of Australia. However, when we lived in Trinity Beach in 2015, near Cairns (pronounced “cans”), the sea was brown and murky in most areas.

Tom and I realized that we wouldn’t be cooking from April 22nd when we board the cruise to North America until sometime in July when we arrive in Nevada, where we’ll stay at son Richard‘s home in Henderson. 

Staying with Richard for three weeks, I may cook a few meals each week since, at that point, it will have been months since I’d done any cooking. During the six weeks in Minnesota, while staying in a hotel, we won’t have cooked at all with the complimentary breakfast in the hotel and dinners out with family and friends.

Tall trees, many evergreens line the boulevard along the beach, providing plenty of shady areas for those who prefer to stay out of the sun.

On the nights when we don’t have dinner plans in Minnesota, most likely, we’ll head to Costco, which we hear carries a wide variety of low-carb, precooked meals we’ll bring back to our hotel suite. Once we arrive, we’ll see if the hotel can provide us with a small microwave during our extended stay.

As for tomorrow, which is Easter Sunday, we’ve invited landlord/friend Bob and his long-time friend, Eddie. So we’re making a low carb, grain, and sugar-free meal. Tomorrow, we’ll take a few photos and post them the following day. 

The rocky shoreline in this area on our way to Shelly Beach.

We send love and best wishes for the health and well-being of all of our family, friends, and readers (whether you celebrate this holiday or not) during this time and always.  

Photo from one year ago today, April 15, 2016:

As we wound down our time in New Zealand, we posted our favorite photos, including me with Miss Jessica. I was flattered that Trish and Neil named this sweet girl after Tom, and I attended her birth while they were on holiday. Please click here for more favorite NZ photos and the final expenses for the three-month stay on the alpaca farm.

Easter on the horizon…A frenzy in town…Food in our old days…More new photos…

The rocky cliffs and sprawling shoreline in New Plymouth.

Heading to town on Thursdays to grocery shop has worked well for us. We leave within minutes after the house cleaner’s arrival allowing them to do their work with us out of the way.

In all previous instances, arriving in town around 11:00 am has been ideal with little traffic and low numbers of shoppers in the markets. Tom reads a book on his phone while waiting in the car while I do the shopping.

We stopped at Paritutu Centennial Park for a walk and to check out the scenery. 

When visiting the Costco/Sam’s Club-like PAK n Save every few weeks he joins me to push the cart. Yesterday, we a trip to New World was all that was necessary. This particular week we had enough meat on hand and didn’t make a stop at Kiwi Meats. 

Much to my surprise upon entering New World market almost every cart was taken while the aisles were jammed with busy shoppers. I’d forgotten Easter was fast approaching until I noticed all the Easter baskets, candy, and people. I hadn’t seen crowds such as this since a holiday weekend in the US a long time ago.

With no big plans for Easter dinner, which among other holidays, over which we no longer make a big fuss or a special meal, it was grocery shopping as usual. With our way of eating, it makes no sense to spend days cooking in an attempt to adapt old recipes to work for our diet. 

Paritutu Rock is located along the shore. Some ambitious hikers climb to the top. That didn’t include us.

Sure, we occasionally discuss old Easter and other holiday favorites; green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, honey-baked ham, fluffy white buns, fruit whippy, and of course,  our usual coconut and seven-minute frosting covered chocolate bunny rabbit cake. 

It’s easy to recall eating a big chunk of that delicious homemade cake, which we usually saved for well after dinner to savor on a less full tummy. Tom may have included a big glass of 2% milk. Those days are long gone.  We make no exceptions, other than Tom’s occasional indulgences on cruises and dining out.

These steps leading down to the beach are used by surfers who frequent this area.

People often ask us if willpower keeps us from savoring these former treats and once considered hearty and healthy meals. It is not about willpower. It’s about choice. As Tom always says, “If you put your hand on a hot stove and get burned, it doesn’t take willpower to avoid putting your hand on the stove again.”

In essence, it’s a conscious decision to maintain and continue to improve our health. Since we began this way of eating almost five years ago, Tom was able to stop all medications, including seven pills a day for conditions that have long ago disappeared. Now, he takes no prescription medication

Signs such as this are often posted to remind visitors to be respectful of marine life.

As for me, I am down from four medications daily to two tiny pills taken in the morning both for moderate hormonal issues neither of which I’ve been able to control with lifestyle changes. Most likely, I’ll take these two pills a day for the remainder of my life.

We reduced our intake of vitamins due to the problems of hauling long-term supplies. Tom takes three 50 mg Vitamin B6 to keep kidney stones at bay which are apparently working for him. 

This area led to a picnic spot as shown in the below photo.

Prior to him taking this supplement, he had three kidney stone surgeries in three years (in Minnesota). Since taking the B6 and eventually changing his diet, he’s had no recurrence. We both take a daily probiotic supplement. After many blood tests while in Trinity Beach last August neither of us had any deficiencies.

Of course, our wellness regime doesn’t guarantee long-term good health. Nothing can guaranty that. One never knows what lies on the horizon. And on occasion, we fall prey to viruses, colds, coughs, and flu, especially when exposed to the germs on cruises. 

From this website: “The Sugar Loaf Islands, off the coast of New Plymouth, are the eroded stumps of an ancient volcanic crater. Above the water, you can see seven islands and several reefs. Below the surface, there are spectacular cliffs, canyons, boulder reefs, and sand expanses. Captain Cook named the islands, taking inspiration from the lumps of sugarloaf he put in his tea. The “sugar” is actually bird guano.”

We don’t suggest you try any or all of this without first checking with your physician as to what lifestyle changes may work for you. We have no intention or desire to suggest what we may do, which may be suitable for you.

Thus, this way of life, like touching the hot stove, is a no-brainer for us. Instead of exercising willpower, we tap into the innate motivation that results from the lifestyle changes that have proved to be successful for us.

Hard to see in this photo, there were a few surfers in the water.

As I made my way through the overly crowded grocery store, I loaded my cart with our usual foods; fresh organic veggies and avocados, coconut oil, full-fat dairy products including no-sugar-added locally made yogurt, kefir, and delicious New Zealand “grass-fed” butter. 

With plenty of grass-fed meat products remaining in the freezer, all we needed in the way of protein sources was the two organic, no chemicals added, roasted chickens we purchase each week. Most weeks, we’ve purchased these at New World but yesterday, there wasn’t a single such chicken to be found.

It was sunny when we started out, clouding over shortly after we were on the road.

After wading through the crowded aisles, finally, I made my way to the car with a relatively small haul at NZ $154, US $103. Without chickens, we decided to stop at Countdown, another market along the highway on the way home hoping to find the right chickens.

They too didn’t have a single cooked organic free-range chicken and their other non-organic roasted chickens had a list of 30 ingredients used in their preparation including sugar, wheat, and a variety of starches and chemicals. Not an option.

Mount Taranaki covered in fast-moving clouds.

Perusing the refrigerated meat case I located fresh uncooked organic free-range chickens, no chemicals added…plain whole chickens. I was shocked over the great prices for the good-sized chickens, NZ $12.95, US $8.68 each, and quickly grabbed two as the supply was dwindling rapidly.

Yesterday afternoon, I roasted both chickens, delighted with the end results. Lately, as a further attempt at enhancing health, we’ve been eating our main meal midday with a small healthy snack in the evening. We’ve both noticed a difference in feeling better going to bed without feeling full.

In seconds the peak of Mount Taranaki was no longer visible due to cloud cover.

Eating the main meal midday won’t work on cruises when one of the biggest highlights of each day is the fun “shared” dining experience each evening in the main dining room but for now, it’s suiting us both well.

In two days, it will be Easter here. We won’t miss a thing other than our family whom we look forward to seeing again in months to come. The significance of this day remains in our hearts and minds and we wish the same for you, should you celebrate this particular religious holiday along with us.

Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2015:

The “wet” tunnel at Tunnels Beach in Kauai is not open for swimming due to the stagnant water causing illness. For more photos of Kauai, please click here.

Continue reading “Easter on the horizon…A frenzy in town…Food in our old days…More new photos…”

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who celebrate…Happy Sunday to all others…

With spring in the air, the Plumeria trees have begun to bloom.

In years passed, Easter was a highly anticipated and celebrated holiday for our family, filled with laughter, games, traditional events and familiar foods all prepared with the utmost of love, added to the spiritual meaning of the Easter season as well.

Each year, we made no less than 18 Easter baskets, filled with goodies befitting each family member, 14 for us humans, and more for our kids’ pets and our dogs. I spent days making the name tags, bows, and careful placement of the goodies in each of the baskets, smiling all the while.

An Angel Trumpet flower wilted due to a lack of rain these past two weeks.

Tom and I would conjure up a playful game for all of the grown-ups to play in an effort to find the colorful plastic eggs filled with money that we’d strategically hid in the most surprising spots in our home along with easier games for the six grandchildren to find more eggs filled with candy, toys, and money.

The frenzy that ensued created a level of laughter that rings clear in my ears, even today, three years later. The sounds of the kids laughing and squealing as they ran through the house are sounds we’ll never forget. 

You may ask, “How could we leave all of that?” We answer, “It wasn’t easy.”

Not an Easter lily, but an orchid will do.

After over 20 years of illness, always in pain, always pretending to be fine while living a full and busy life and then, in 2011, becoming well again due to a strict adherence to a restrictive way of eating, one day in January 2012, 10 months before his retirement, Tom said, “Do you want to travel the world while your health is good?”

I was shocked by his question. After a week of careful research, spreadsheets, and calculations as to the feasibility, I answered, “Yes, I do,” with the same excitement and fervor I expressed on the day we were married saying, “Yes, I do.”

We’d spent our lives thinking and living for others, our kids, our other family members, and our friends, all of whom we dearly love. We never felt we could do enough. But, it was our time and for however long my good health would remain intact, we would carry on.

This flower baffles me with nothing online similar making it possible to identify. How unusual.

Now, 2½ years later, we have no regrets and much to our surprise on holidays such as today, we don’t feel lost or sad. We’re grateful for a lifetime of memorable holidays and celebrations with our kids, who now are all in their 40’s, knowing they’d do just fine without us, having become strong and independent many years ago.  Over the years, they developed many of their own holiday traditions which at times, didn’t include us. That’s how life is. 

Perhaps, in a way it’s not unlike the Laysan Albatross, the chick sits atop the nest day after day while the two parents fly back and forth to sea for their food to return to feed the chicks who hungrily grasp at their beaks for the regurgitated meal. And then one day, when the chicks are four to five months old, the parents don’t return from the sea.

The chicks lie in wait, wondering where the next meal will come from as days pass, as they also miss the preening and loving care of the parents. Finally, one day they realize that the parents won’t return, that it’s time to go out to sea on their own to begin their lives, able to care for themselves. In many ways, this outcome made us sad, the thought of the chicks waiting and waiting and the parents never returning.

Pets deserve acknowledgment on special days.

The chick picks up his pudgy body from the safety of the nest, walks to the cliff’s edge and fledges, wings spread and flies out to sea, maybe to return to the same spot in years to come to have offspring of their own, as the life cycle continues on.

This is not unlike our lives. They grew up. They built lives for themselves and it was time for us to go. They are fine. They are independent and self-sufficient for which we are proud and pleased. And, it was us who walked to the cliff and fledged, out to sea to care for ourselves and in essence, to be free.

No longer do we work for days preparing Easter Baskets, cooking, devising games and activities, each year new and different, in order to build a tradition that in time, we’ve passed along to them to recreate in their own ways with their children. It’s the cycle of life.

A Koala bird trots along the grass.

From time to time we meet some people who are shocked that we left our family to travel the world. “How selfish,” we read from the look in their eyes. At times, they even ask, “How could you leave your family?” 

We answer, “Our journey isn’t about leaving them. It’s about freeing us…to experience life as we’ve never done before…to share our story with readers from all over the world and to leave, however, small a footprint in the sand wherever we may go. 

We love and cherish this amazing earth that God, or whatever higher power one believes, has left for us to explore, to love, and to care for.

The common Hibiscus is blooming in varying colors throughout the island.

Today, not unlike every day, we thank God as we remain in awe of the world around us, the freedom we’ve been given for the experience, and the ability to make it happen. 

For however long the good health remains, we feel blissfully committed to carrying on, with so much of the world yet to explore and a passion to see as much as we are able.

Last night, at the Full Moon party, I became engaged in a conversation with a lovely couple. As we stood beneath the palm fronds of a tree as the rain began to fall, the wife, slightly younger than I said, “You’ve inspired us to make some changes in our lives.”

Please help us identify this flower which we can’t seem to find online.  They’re growing prolifically outside our door.

The husband with a few health issues of his own will read yesterday’s post about health and resources that I’ve utilized in my life-changing way of eating. 

If we’ve been given this opportunity, it becomes our responsibility to share whatever morsels we can with others along the way, as so many have shared with us. 

Whether its a positive review we’ve posted online for the owner of a small business or a tiny bit of inspiration to a reader or person we’ve met along the way, its all worthwhile, as we too glean so much from our readers and new friends, offering us morsels of wisdom and insight into places we’ll visit along the way. 

We’re grateful, we’re humbled and we’re happy, today on Easter and every other day in our ongoing journey to see the world.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, April 5, 2014:

Out to dinner in Marrakech, the sunset was beautiful.  For details on that date, please click here.