Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Hot + Humid = Horrible!

The month of March did not start off well because the clear blue sky was blanketed by a thick layer of smog that turned the morning sun looking like it was an orange kryptonite. Although this may not be a new experience, it still manages to surprise, baffle and anger me that we have to deal with this year after year.  

This picture was taken at 8am but looks more like it's 7pm

And this year we had it bad because - as if having to deal with the lung burning and throat itching experience wasn't enough - the taps in our home had run dry, thanks to water rationing works carried out by the local council due to the dry season (no rain). They claimed that many water reservoirs were affected by this dry spell thus drastic actions were needed to be put in place. So expect no water to flow from your taps for every two-days-period, until the rain returns.

A lesson learnt.

I used to get very annoyed whenever I had too much laundry to do. My kids could not help themselves and would change clothes numerous times, in a day. Their excuse, "it's just too hot!" But since we had this water problem, I only had one load to wash! I was pleasantly surprised and glad to learn that my little angels (I definitely have to say they are angels, as who else will do what they did, even without me asking them to) pitched in, by not changing clothes so often.
Although not having fresh water flowing daily from my taps is quite bad but with proper planning and ample storage, we managed to make it work. But the hot and humid weather was beyond my control. The only thing I could do was manipulate how we reacted towards it.

"Plenty of water!" I kept repeating like a broken record. Each child received a bottle and I made sure it was emptied several times in  day. The aim was to drink 2 - 2.5 litres a day. I swapped their small school water bottles to a 1000ml tumbler (which they were not very pleased with) and before they hopped into the car, after school, I made sure they had finished the water in their tumbler.
Keeping well hydrated and staying indoors as much as possible were the only couple of things I could control to ensure they did not fall sick. Last year when the haze hit us in mid-June, (which was the worst by far) I was like a drill sergeant, keeping everyone and everything cooped-up in my house for days! It was not a pleasant experience but I learnt a few things from it and am more practical about it this year. For instance, learning the right time to circulate the air in the house with the air outside, which by the way is early in the morning or after sundown. But be sure to do it on days when the air outside seems reasonably good and constant monitoring of the Air Pollution Index (API) reading would help.
If you must travel outdoor, get proper masks (which renders to be useless especially for young children, according to my paediatrician because they keep removing it or it does not fit properly, even the children sized masks)  and avoid touching your eyes and mouth.

Bad API is dangerous to people with a history of respiratory trouble and young children, as their respiratory system is still developing. So exercising and running in the park is a big NO. However with careful planning, you can still get your daily dose of exercise, indoors.

I turned my house into a gym. Used the staircase for some cardio exercise and turned my household chores into an aerobic session, which was not only good for me but got the kids involved too. End result, clean house and tired-out kids who were eager to hit the sack.


On a lighter note

When water becomes too much to take. 

The humble beginning to my coconut water journey
Although water is the best liquid, nothing cools you down like a tall glass of chilled fresh coconut water.
Chilled coconut water with coconut water frozen ice cubes 

To jazz up coconut water, I added some frozen berries and other fresh fruits I could find. I tried it with pineapples, strawberries, kiwi, lychee and mango. I've yet to try rambutan and durian (it's not n season yet).

But honestly, I don't think I will reach for durian. That might just make my coconut water too creamy.

With fresh blueberries and coconut flesh

On very hot days, you can turn coconut water into shaved ice and serve with some fresh fruits or syrup or popsicle.

The popsicle was quite simple to make. I added some fresh fruits like berries, mango and golden kiwi into some fresh coconut water and left it to freeze for 4 hours or longer.

My older kids were not very pleased with it (thanks to all the store bought-sugar coated ice creams they are used to!) because it was not sweet enough nor was it anything like the popsicles they are used to.
However my young toddler enjoyed the popsicle very much - guess her taste buds are still 'virgin' and are not accustomed to 'outside' food yet - It certainly was a better alternative to sucking ice cubes.

Perhaps on my next attempt I should add some sweet syrup or honey in the coconut water before making the popsicles, in my bid to convince my older kids that homemade ice creams can be good too!

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  1. Okay, I don't like coconut, but that shaved ice and those popsicles look DELICIOUS. I'm so sorry about the heat and water situation, that stinks. :(

  2. Wow, the heat, the water, the sounds awful and surreal.
    I love how you are looking at the bright side of things like less laundry and making tasty treats. I've never had coconut water before, I might have to give it a try.