Monday, October 20, 2014

take it, make it


My toes were freezing this morning. Indiecat was nestled into the curve behind my knees when Daniel left for work at five, and when I stirred she purred sleepily. I didn't want to disturb her so I dozed, listening to the chorus of birds that Daniel seemed to awaken with the garage door. I marvelled at the earliness of the birds, and the how light it was on the other side of my eyelids. 
Spring is my favourite. 
There was a time where I would reach for my phone as my eyes adjusted to it's glow, and I would wake as I scrolled, mindlessly. Now, I feel like I have started to win back the battle for my mind from social media and I forget it's pull. Finally.
Instead I ran through my mental checklist for the day, planning, dreaming.

I have a stash of vintage fabric that I've been collecting since Kate showed us her gorgeous hand made quilts (gosh, was it really that long ago?!). 
It's been on my to-do list for ever.

And today in my string of planning thoughts I realised we aren't simply given time to do things. It doesn't get handed to us wrapped in kraft, and tied with twine.
We have to take it, make it. We get a bunch of time for the day, and it's up to us what we do with it, and we can't blame busy when we don't have time to read or sew or sleep.

We are not a tv household, but the average Aussie watches 4 hours per night.
Four hours?!
I could knock off a quilt in a week if I spent four hours a night sewing!
Imagine the possibilities.

The truth is, my need to have an immaculate house has prevented me from accomplishing those not-so-priority tasks, and I am going to [try to] make them priority.
Especially with Christmas approaching, I would love to see a tree surrounded by handmade, love-filled gifts for my family this year. 

xx

Sunday, October 19, 2014

thirty is the new black


It happened.
I turned thirty and I'm okay.
I survived another university unit and I'm done for the semester.
I'm stretching out birthday celebrations because I can.
I've devoured a novel in under 24 hours, and drank champagne, scrutinised my face for wrinkles, looked back on the goals of the past year, and wondered what this new one will bring.

You never become the person God intends, unless you become intentional.

I have an excitement in my bones for the next chapter and set off with continued intention.
Despite having reached goals, and lived intentionally this year I've still had numerous failings, missed opportunities, and fear has immobilised me on the occasions I should have kept going forward. 
A new year, a new day for that matter, is always a chance to refocus and keep going.

We have started thinking about Christmas, and our plans for next year. 
We will have a new edition, a furry one, come December (a puppy!)
And I have one term left to enjoy my real baby before she starts kindy next year - something that fills me with parts dread and excitement.

I'm not sure where I am heading with this blog, and feel called to something bigger, some distant change - but until then, I'll sporadically ramble thoughts on this page and capture memories. A month-long sabbatical here has given me the itch to write. 
And thirty year olds are obviously much better writers and have plenty more wisdom than twenty-nine year olds; I even have a few grey hairs to prove it. 

xx

Monday, September 22, 2014

fast forward


Days are crazy. 
I found myself wishing them away last week. 
In my defence, I had a weekend away planned for our anniversary so I was hurrying time along impatiently.
But I know I've been hurrying it along for the last couple of months. 
Because I'm in a season that is difficult. 
I am head first, sinking deep into a unit this semester that I am drowning in dislike for. 
I feel like I am unqualified and uninterested and I just want it to be over.
Finding time to study during the day with an energetic four year old is like digging for coffee beans in the front garden... the chances of finding any are slim to none. And I need them desperately.
And in the evening? I am exhausted
And my brain doesn't function the way that I need it to, and I am imagination-less. 

I have learned this week that although its tough, I need to allow myself to be right here. 
In the exhausting craziness of these three kiddos, and all that life brings. 
Today the sun shone, and the bitter wind blew, and I allowed myself to feel it, instead of hurrying inside to the warmth. 

This season is a tough one, and I'm almost at the end of this semester and I can feel it, but I'm stuck and it's hard and I want to run out of the freezing wind and hide where it's warm.
But today I choose to turn around. 
To turn my face to the bitter wind, let my cheeks get rosy and keep walking, even if it feels like quicksand. 

Meanwhile, I am procrastinating by dreaming of a new birthday camera, writing birthday invitations for my 30th, ignoring corners of accumulating mess and making strawberry jam with a ridiculous bounty of strawberries. 

This too shall pass. 

xx

Thursday, September 11, 2014

spring, and sunflower seeds, and seeing change


Today I sat at the kitchen bench picking at a little pile of sunflower kernels I'd placed there to eat. Along came an eight year old who promptly sat beside me, exclaimed "I love these!" and he and I polished them off.
I actually did an internal leap for joy.
Remember my journey to clean eating post? 
I was actually feeling discouraged that week.
So often I regret the beginnings of motherhood where I was ill-informed, and introduced foods to my kiddos that I thought were good (ie. thinking that something was somewhat 'healthy' simply because I'd baked it at home, despite the sugar and white flour content) and sometimes I feel like I've 'ruined' them, and their taste buds, and their ability to make healthy choices. 
Today I was reminded that the slow, conscious effort I have been making for months on end are actually paying off. That these three fuss-pots are becoming more adventurous with foods, and we are eating cleaner than ever. 
Our diets are far from perfect. Hello McDonalds. But their lunch boxes, and the foods I keep at home now are free from additives, and full of nutrient rich simple real food. We are learning and we are still on a journey.
It's not how you start, it's the way you finish that counts. 

And it made me think about everything that is worth something. 
Health, and fitness. My marriage. Investing into my kids.
Sometimes it is just hard.
It's hard to get off the couch and get moving. 
It's hard to prioritise my marriage and put my husband before myself. 
It's hard to give selflessly, what feels like constantly.
But when you take those tiny slow steps towards that thing that you're wanting, or that thing that needs to change it actually starts to change

It's not going to without you doing something.
And continuing to do those little somethings along the way.

Repetition is key.
Keep going. 
Keep getting off the couch. 
Keep providing nutritious meals, packing lunch, cutting salads.*
Keep kissing your husband hello when he walks in the door.
Keep walking your kids to their classroom instead of leaving them at the gate. 

There is blessing in the faithful walk through the mundane. 
Spring is a new season of growth - what is sown in the hard, dark days will spring forth.
Keep going.
It will make a difference. I promise.

xx

*talking to myself here, so glad it's Friday tomorrow, if I had to pack one more lunchbox this week I think I'd fall in a heap!

Monday, September 1, 2014

I think I can, I think I can - diary of an amateur runner


I started running in November last year. I needed a form of exercise that fit my life. 
That I could squeeze in around school runs and crazy times, and a husband who often works very long days. 
One that didn't have set times, and didn't cost a fortune. 
Running was the perfect fit. 
The only problem was I was unfit and I had never been good at it. Ever. 
I was the one who feigned sickness to get out of school sports carnivals, I came last in running races, I did not like running.
But the goal I set at 29 to be fit for thirty meant I had to do something, and with the help of a 'couch to 5k' running app I set out.

I started enjoying my runs. Not so much the out-of-breath-dying-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other state, but the tranquility; the boat ramp, the fresh air, the breather - the high five from the husband as I ran out the door as he got home. The thirty minute escape. 
And the fitness.
I could see my fitness improving.
My goal was 5 kilometres. 
I kept at it, slowly. 
I actually felt like I would never get there. 
Some days were terrible and I would get a stitch or I hated every second and gave up. 
But I just kept going
Whenever I could. Sometimes only once a week. 
It took me 9 months - two weeks ago, I did it. I reached my 5km goal. I ran non stop for 32 minutes.

It didn't cost me anything - I wore sneakers that are seven years old, a daggy tshirt - except half an hour: one, two occasionally three times a week. 
I earned myself a new pair of runners. 

Yesterday I ran our 12k City to Surf and gave myself a time to beat for next year.

So. From this amateur runner to you who would like to start, some tips. 

1. Begin. Just go. Even if it's a walk today, and a faster walk tomorrow, you have to start somewhere. 

2. Set yourself tiny goals. I used the help of a Couch to 5k app to get started, and it increased my running times for me. I then ditched it and started setting myself goals.
"This run I will run non stop for 10 minutes" and then increase it. 

3. Set yourself a bigger goal to work towards. A fun run, or a marathon, or a certain level of fitness, or a weight loss goal. You need tiny goals because they are achievable. And when you reach them it's all the motivation you need to reach the next one because it feels so good to get there. But you need a bigger one too. Keep your eye on that one, but...

4. Don't feel negative pressure. It's hard, and you're trying! Be kind to yourself. How important are the words we speak not only to others, but to ourselves, too!

5. Involve others. Other people who want to join you on your journey, or who can encourage you, or who are further along than you. My friends have turned into fitness freaks, and it keeps me motivated to keep running!

6. Just like The Little Engine that Could, as I run I am affirming that I can run. 
If I quit in my mind my legs quit, too.
How true is that for almost everything in life?
My mind is so much stronger now. I can push past the extremely difficult and keep going because I tell myself that I can.
I think I can, I think I can. 

I am super proud of myself. 
I'm thirty next month and I'm fitter than I've been in a long time. 

xx

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

best scone recipes


Every now and then, especially during winter, my mum would whip up a batch of scones and we would devour them with strawberry jam and generous globs of cream. 
I remember when I was old enough to be allowed to rub the flour and the butter together with the tips of my fingers, and how proud I was when it became crumbly, and ready for the milk.
Following mum's tradition, scones are a fairly regular occurrence at our place, and are still yet to lose their appeal. There is not much that beats a homemade scone. 

The first, my never-fail lemonade quick scone recipe. I have been baking these for years. So quick and easy.
The second, a thermomix recipe I found today that makes super fluffy, light scones as quick as a wink. It's the first time I've used my thermie for scones and I was super happy with how they turned out!
Take your pick, and enjoy an afternoon tea in the last few days of winter sunshine like we did!

Quick Scones

3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade
milk for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 220C. Grease or line your scone tray. Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the cream and lemonade.
2. Using a bread and butter knife, mix quickly to a soft, sticky dough. Don't over-mix.
Knead lightly on a floured surface. Press it out to about 2cm thick.
3. Cut into rounds using a floured cutter. Place them close together on your tray. Brush the tops with milk, bake for 10-12 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped. 

Thermomix Scones

450-500g(ish) self-raising flour
2 tbsp sugar
200g cream
250g milk

Preheat oven to 200.
Put all ingredients in the thermomix and mix for 2 sec speed 5. Knead on interval speed until it comes together to form a (fairly sticky) dough (not long, 10 seconds-ish). As above, press out on a floured surface and cut rounds. Place them close together on your tray, brush tops with milk and bake 10-12 minutes or until risen and golden. 

My scone tips:

Handle the dough as little as possible. They'll loose their fluffiness if they're overhanded. 
Dip your cutter in flour. If you don't have a scone cutter, use a butter knife and make small squares instead, I did this for years before I finally got around to buying a round scone cutter. 
The oven has to be HOT, make sure it's preheated thoroughly or your scones will be a little bit undercooked on the inside. 
Jam, then cream. Or lashings of butter when they're straight from the oven.
Thermomix recipe found (and slightly adapted) from here

xx

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

bookish.


I am, and have always been bookish.
In my last post for August over at Capture 30 Days today, I wrote about my love of reading.
The importance of good books.

To feel paper, to turn pages, to curl up and enter in. 

I included a handful of books I could remember (mostly recently read ones) from the top of my head that have impacted me, or that I have simply been swept away by.
I so encourage you to go and have a read of this post.

And pretty please, could you give this bookworm some recommendations? Comment on this post, or my link on Facebook or even on Instagram - let me know what you've immersed yourself in lately? I would love to hear what you've been reading, and why!
I am feeling bookish, after all this talk of reading, and after an unsuccessful library trip today (mainly due to a four year old who demanded I read her everything) I am determined to get myself something completely whimsical and set a date with it for the weekend.
I need distraction from studying. And I want to go on an adventure.

xx