Sunday 19 February 2012

light :: chai :: smoothie moustaches

Our breakfast table this morning saw us enjoying Berry Blast smoothies from Heather's Wholefood Kitchen and, for balance you understand, croissants alongside!
Today saw crisp clear blue skies, the like of which are so very welcome in February and which lift the spirits so immediately.
The light in the dining room at breakfast time (around 8am) was just gorgeous and here you can see our usual set up of diabetes kit, Lego instruction manuals and breakfast.
In this rather foodie post I must also mention that Andrew and I have been enjoying the odd chai made with rice milk of an evening. It has been lovely on these chilly evenings to sip something so gently spicy and warming.
I managed to give up tea and coffee about ten days ago.
I love both but had such a snotty heavy cold that I couldn't face the cow's milk I normally have in tea and the thought of a milky latte made me feel ill, so I went cold turkey on the caffeine and thus the milk.
After a couple of days I had a few hours when I would have gladly sold a kidney for a cup of really strong tea or coffee but then it was fine.
I had been using oat milk in cooking and smoothies but this week tried rice milk and prefer its taste. The problem here can be that these things are not so easy to come by. The big supermarket near me, for example, sells oat milk but not rice milk. For rice milk I have to travel further. I suppose it all boils down to me getting organised and buying in bulk as all these things are long life products anyway!
And, of course, how could I not post this picture of Frank with a great big smoothie moustache?! We've had smoothies twice this week already and I am finding them a great way to sneak all kinds of goodies into my suspicious around food boy!
The Wholefood Kitchen course is going really well and my intention for the course is to really increase my intake of veggies. I love them but admit I am lazy about eating loads of them. Fruit I manage more often but veggies take a bit more prep and I have committed myself to taking the time to make this happen.
This evenings meal of curried vegetable chowder was soooo tasty and will last two more meals, so the prep time really isn't wasted.
Happy Sunday to you all.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

cyclamen :: snow :: our hearts

At the front of the house we have two pots of pretty cyclamen.
They do well in the cold weather, but last week week we had a night of temperatures of -12 here in Colchester!
They are holding onto their petals but I dare not touch them in case they all tumble to the ground.

And our snowman was such fun to make!
Frank and I had a great time making him and burrowing through the coal in the shed to find pieces small enough to decorate him.
He is all but melted today as we now have warm temperatures and are all out and about and mobile again.

And we made each other little Valentine's cards yesterday.
Toast was cut into heart shapes for breakfast and we made a yummy dinner to mark our love for our little family.
Sounds sappy, but we take any reason we can to have a special meal!
We love our food.
Whilst on the subject of hearts and love, I have to admit that Andrew and I are rather heart sore this week, having delivered his Mum to her nursing home last Friday.
Seeing her leave her home of more than forty years and worse, her husband of nearly sixty years was tough on all of us.
In a kind twist of nature, and indeed fate, she has very little short-term memory left, I think, and we hope this might help her feel less stressed as the days go by.
The home is lovely and she is cared for by people who know how to help her.
Andrew's father did as much as could be expected of anyone, let alone someone of 84 who is not that mobile themselves, and is now resting after what must have been a tough six months before defeat was admitted and help sought.
He is the hero of all this.
We are visiting her daily at present, hence another week having gone by without writing.
We are spending quiet days reflecting on the nature of family and old age, and in taking in this new phase in which we find ourselves.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

snow :: favourite gloves :: sweet days

Our garden still looks like this! It's so clean and fresh and I love it.
Frank and I have been very conscious of putting out fresh food for the birds these past days, even more so than usual.
And we have been rewarded with so many garden birds popping by to cheer our days.
So much so that we have taken to recording them in a little notebook, and indeed Frank has taken to shouting "Muuuuuum! Biiiiiiird!!!" at the top of his voice every time he sees one and I am not with him.
I love to knit but gloves, with fingers and all that jazz, have never called to me.
Mittens, I might well go for soon.
Socks too.
So, these beautiful teal-coloured gloves are my favourite this Winter.
I tend to have a new pair each Winter as inevitably one is lost each season.
These are from a fab shop in Frinton called "Great Danes", full of Danish and Scandinavian designs.
I am a sucker for Scandinavian stuff.

And Frank and I have been watercolouring crazy these cold, snowy days.
I got a set of watercolour postcards for Christmas and we use those to drew our own mandalas and pictures that we then paint.
I love this photo for the concentration on Frank's face.
Oh, and the Moomin's bottom mooning at the camera!!
I will, I promise, post about the lovely Wholefood Workshop that we started on Monday but we are dealing with some family issues at present and time is short for writing.
Andrew's Mum is needing to go into respite care as she isn't well at the moment.
Andrew has found a really lovely place, close to us, and we hope she will be cared for and actually enjoy a change of scene and some new company.

Sunday 5 February 2012

pancakes :: snow :: a quilt

In an attempt to record and share more of our days (because they are so immensely fascinating, you understand!) I am going to try to post often in the same way as Heather, whose daily posts have been a wonderful source of beauty and out-breaths recently.
We have taken to having pancakes for breakfast every Sunday and that little routine sees me jumping out of bed before the boys to pad downstairs and mix the batter, so it can sit for a while before we start cooking.
We each have our favourite topping.
Frank goes for agave syrup (although having read about it recently I will be removing it from the pantry soon) and Andrew and I go for lemon juice and maple syrup.
We get two pancakes each (big, thin ones like crepes) from a mix of 4floz oat milk, 1 egg, 4oz spelt flour, pinch salt and 1 tbsp oil.
It leaves us rather wanting a little more but that's no bad thing.

And the table always groans under the weight of Lego. Every meal!

We had snow last night.
About five inches and it drifted so in parts of the garden it was quite high.
Straight after pancakes we headed out, all layered up, to throw snowballs at each other and get thoroughly cold.
Today was the day when I realised I have a hole in my wellies and my feet were very cold very quickly.
My lovely blokes longjohns worked a treat though!

And in the late morning I managed to complete my first ever quilt. Here you can see it on the big bed, although it is for Frank and his little bed next to ours.
The fabric was from the V&A stall at a Knit & Stitch Show two years ago and is all based on fabrics from the V&A archives.
They are beautiful and I am so glad to have been able to keep them together.
You can see in this picture how we sleep.
Frank sleeps directly next to me in a little bed (Andrew cannily took a saw to a regular single bed and made a kind of Frankenstein's monster of a bed!).
Frank didn't used to sleep here, except when he was tiny, but I never rested well with him away from me.
This way we all sleep better and I can check on him frequently because, let's face it, the deep sleep we all used to enjoy pre-kids and especially pre-diabetic kids is AWOL for a while.
It works for us, for now.
He learnt to make snowballs today.
And throw them.
His little snow suit is one brought back from a Finnish flea market by a friend.
We rarely get this much snow but this suit is fabulous when we do.

Tomorrow the Wholefood Kitchen starts for Andrew and I.
Will post more on that in the morning.