DOING: typing on my computer while Joan naps. NEXT to me, this time. Not in the carrier. Big changes. See this post for details.
HEARING: The cicadas outside – boy are those things loud! It negates the need for a white noise app.
DRINKING: right now, a coffee. It’s 11:52am and until this dreamy cup of coffee I hadn’t had any caffeine. That’s weird for me, usually I need a cup of green tea to revive me. My smoothie must have done the job! We’ve been having smoothies practically every morning, mostly green or cacao+oat.
EATING + COOKING: it finally feels like SUMMERRRRRRRR. So we’ve been having a lot of salad bowls, as well as mangoes and cherries. Joan remains obsessed with sardines, so we’ve continued to eat a lot of those. We made fish tacos with friends, which included this corn and a fresh cabbage/carrot/ coriander slaw – perfect Summer entertaining food. Oh, and our Transition Farm seasonal box has started again (woop woop!), which is why we’ve been loving on salads so much. Their greens are divine, nothing else compares and I’m reminded of this every year when the weather warms up. Their spinach is fantastic in those green smoothies – I add spinach, frozen banana, oats, chia or hemp seeds, yoghurt and milk, and then blitz it up. I pour out a portion for Joan then jazz mine up a bit, adding a bit more spinach and milk to the blender, along with a Medjool date, a bigger portion of hemp powder or hemp seeds, coconut oil and then sometimes other things based on cravings and what I have on hand.
Oh, and we’ve also been nibbling on dried fruit (organic and preservative-free – always! I’m picky with my dried fruit). I decided to make fancy trail mix for gifts this year, which explains the picture at the top of this post. I wanted something that people could munch on that was a lighter alterntive to all the baked goods on offer during this time. It could be a car/plane trip snack, or sit in handbags for those pekish moments. Or obviously it can be used as hiking fuel too! Anyway, here’s the recipe mix, in case you feel like doing it too.
Christmas Trail Mix
Dried Figs, quartered
Method: toast the seeds and coconut in a skillet over low heat until toasty/golden/fragrant/perfect. Once cooled completely, add them to a jar with the remaining ingredients, portioned out as you wish.
Notes: As I said above, select preservative-free fruit and ones that don’t have vegetable oil coatings. Apricots should be brown! (not that I used apricots here, they were a little pricey for me to use in this mix, so I keep them for a rare treat). I visit bulk health food shops and load up there. Or you can get a dehydrator and dry them yourself! Mum recently got me one from the op shop and I plan on making fruit leathers this stone fruit season. You can absolutely add whatever you’d to your trail mix. I think almond flakes, toasted, and walnuts would be stellar additions. I would have added them if I had them on hand. Cacao nibs would work too. Chocolate chunks may sadly melt. Whichever way you go, keep it fun and fancy, adding things you may not normaly treat yourself to and that aren’t everyday foods, you know? Sultanas, no thank you. Mulberries, yes!
WANTING: my niece and nephew to arrive from Hong Kong. By the time this post goes up it they’ll be here! I am super excited to see Joan play with her cousins. Last Christmas she was not the most social little person, often crying whenever anyone looked at her. This year I just know she will be in awe of them.
PLAYING: Christmas carols! We are super into them in our house. We mostly play She & Him’s Christmas album or Bing’s White Christmas, and they were on high as we decorated our Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago. I thought Joan may be a bit young to find it interesting but she’s super into it. Each morning we walk past and say “Good morning, Christmas tree!”. And when decorating it she pointed to where we should put the balls and bells and Santa toys. As a result they’re mainly around the lower part of the tree, but that just means she can touch them “geeeeeeently” and say hello each morning. Sometimes I hear a “jingle jingle” from the kitchen and walk around to see her softly touching a bauble with awe and I just about melt on the spot.
We’ve also been doing a lot of colouring. I bought two big sheets of cream cardboard and Joan has been filling that with freestyle crayon action (we love these crayons!). These will be our Christmas cards – I’ll cut cards out, write on the back, punch a hole and thread string through to wrap around presents.
And ball games! We’ve been playing with balls a lot. Joan adores her soccer ball and has some seriously impressive skills. Bubba also loves to sit on the ball, balancing her weight with a big goofy grin on her face. It’s so funny to watch. Ben and I are not sporty, I did ballet and he did basketball, but we were never sports mad and never pushed balls on her. But like many babies she loved playing with them, and so for her first birthday Ben bought her a full size soccer ball and it’s gone from there. Baby girl is actually really good at soccer already. Her uncles are proud, they played soccer, so perhaps it is in her blood. Me, I just pretended to like it because I had (past tense?) a MASSIVE crush on Thierry Henry.
DECIDING: what our food bugdet should be. I’m attempting to tighten my food spending strings. I’ve always been great with not buying “stuff”, but I’ve slipped into the habit of visiting the shops multiple times a week for food. Now our farm box has started up again, I need to get better at cutting the trips down and using what we have in the fridge and pantry. And just because I see chickpeas on sale, does not mean I need to buy them. I have 3 cans in the pantry and that’s enough. How much hummus do I really need to make, you know? Anyway, we’re throwing around numbers and we’ll see what works.
ENJOYING: Summer fruit. Stone fruit and berries are they’re my very favourite. I must make a pie soon.
WATCHING: Well, I finished The Crown (LOVED it) and season 2 of Happy Valley (also loved it), so I’m fresh out of shows to watch. But that’s ok, I’m loving my book… (update: actually I started watching this on SBS on demand and it’s good!)
READING: I gave this book a go, but wasn’t into it so I returned it to the library and borrowed The Trespasser. So far I’m enjoying it. Reading in bed is much healthier for me than watching shows – my mind can tune out, I sleep easier and more soundly, and I just feel so much better for it. But it’s one of those things that I need to force myself to do.
LOOKING: at the flowers mum brought over yesterday. The clinic where my parents’ work has the most gorgeous roses. Fresh flowers are an instant mood lifter, and I’m particularly fond of peach-coloured blooms.
LOVING: life. This life is short, a fact that is always floating somewhere in the forefront of my mind. But with the anniversary of my brother’s death coming up, I’m reminded of this truth even more. The little moments that make up our day, that is what life is about, in my mind. Not big achievements or vacations or reaching certain goals. It’s about the everyday. So I make sure that ours is wonderful.
BUYING: I am a gradual Christmas shopper. Once November hits I keep my eyes open for sweet little gifts that are affordable and useful, yet also feel like a treat. This year I did a book order and bought a bunch of gifts from Robert Gorden during their sale. And then the trail mix, of course, and I also bought some of these to try out and gift after spying them here.
PLANNING: all the fun things we will do with family and friends over this Christmas season. Beach days, visits to wineries, sleepovers, BBQs and pancakes. Perhaps I should get my waffle game on, they feel like a festive choice. Any favourite waffle recipes out there?
WEARING: yoga pants and tank tops. And when I feel the need to step out of this uniform, pretty, flowing dresses. Ben bought me a Christy Dawn dress for Christmas. Usually we don’t buy each other presents, or we have a $10 limit (which forces us to just do something creative and sweet), but this year we treated ourselves. He got a desk chair and I got a dress.
CRAVING: Pana Chocolate, the cinnamon and mint varieties. And smoothies.
SAVOURING: right now, my cup of coffee.
FEELING: Grateful. Along with my fiction book I am also reading The Optimistic Child, as recommended by my mum. It’s about raising happy, resilient children and the power of optimism vs negativity in shaping how you respond to life and its challenges, and basically your overall view of yourself and the world. I feel so grateful that my parents raised me in this way, and am determined to carry it on in the thoughtful way I respond to Joan during these formative years.
I’m also feeling freakin’ excited about Christmas. Mainly for the food. Oh, the food! And family of course. But, THE FOOD. I scrolled the archives for a Christmas food post (so that you could appreciate my excitement), and found this one from 2014, when both my husband and my brother had enviably long hair. I was one week pregnant at the time. Ben and I were hopeful, but not expecting this to be the case. All the same he wanted us to take some pictures on the couch, including this one below, “In case you’re pregnant right now”…and almost two years later, my heart is bursting with gratitude.
♥ Merry Christmas, friends ♥
I hope you get some time over this festive season to stick your bare feet in the sand, to cuddle with loved ones, to eat special food, and to slow down and take some time for yourself. This year I plan on carving out moments to sit alone and read a book (while hugging a mug of coffee or glass of campari (with ice, sparkling water and a slice of lemon), depending on what time of day it is). Doesn’t that sound like a treat?
I also want to sit down with Ben and fill out my “Joan diary” together for a change. I keep a journal of what our bubba is up to, things like “15 months: You’re joining two words together – “Hi Daddy”. And when you see someone sleeping in a book you put your finger to your lips as though to say “Shhhh”. And when we get out of the car, you run up to the end of the driveway and yell “HIIIIIIIIIIIIII” to our neighbours over the road, even if you can’t see anyone there.” The cute stuff. The funny stuff. The amazing stuff. The stuff that makes you go, Wow!, this little human we created is so smart and funny and kind, and is constantly learning and growing. The stuff I don’t want to forget. I think it’ll be nice for Ben to reflect on it all and remind him, or thank him, rather, for all his hard work as both a breadwinner AND a present parent. Because let’s be real, Joan will probably get a soccer scholarship for high school, so it’s not like we need the money.
Happenings posts inspired by Pip.