9 Mar 2014
connecting - Lately I've fallen into the habit of retreating to the kitchen to wash up as my beloved reads the bed time stories. Although its nice to come away from tucking them in to a tidy kitchen and swept floors, I have downed tools this week and snuggled up on the lounge next to my babies.
nourishing - I am quite frankly addicted to Tom Kha soup at the moment. I think I make "mmmm" sounds throughout the entire meal.
reading - When I need a little help to notice the sparks of beauty around me I always turn to Pia Jane Bijkerk's book, My Heart Wanders. Her tender way inspires me beyond words and has guided me gently back to a path of positivity. This world is full of so much beauty and sometimes we just need a little nudge to push aside the mundane and see it.
creating - Thrifted ladies' linen and corduroy pants have been cut into smaller versions for the little man. Dressing my babies as ethically and environmentally conscious as possible often involves some effort on my part. I can't say I mind at all.
nurturing - She is revelling in the written word and her blossoming knowledge of it. I am constantly helping her to sound out words and form the letter shapes. With the explosion of paperwork coming from her tiny desk it may be time to replace it with a more grown up version.
growing - I'm seriously contemplating beginning my bread making journey by growing our own sourdough starter. Nothing quite like jumping in the deep end to get things moving.
dreaming - We have all but completed the renovations on our home. We're thinking of selling up and doing it all over again and my mind is a delightful swirl of wall colours, bathroom tiles and room for chickens. Scrolling through my "pins" it is clearly apparent that I have a deep love of natural timber.
8 Mar 2014
"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."
Bijou - On the back of Papa's old ute.
Remy - We visited Grand Poppy and he shared his ice blocks. The little man sat at the top of the stairs with his feet crossed and hardly wasted a drop.
7 Mar 2014
It has become a familiar pattern. At least once a week I reach for the deep stock pot and begin my pantry foraging. Often it starts with homemade chicken stock or bone broth* brought to a simmer with perhaps little shreds of leftover chicken, a carrot and maybe a zucchini cut into tiny cubes. And then angel hair spaghetti snapped into small shards and cooked in the broth until tender. Other times a motley crew of root vegetables are roughly chopped, laced with olive oil, smashed cloves of garlic and perhaps cumin or garam masala if the mood takes me. When they've succumbed to the heat of the oven I scoop their oozy goodness into the stock and blend it all together with a generous lashing of cream.
The table is laid with mismatched silver soup spoons; round as a the moon and tarnished here and there. Small plates to the left of each setting for salad. Generous slices of tangy sourdough are hewn from a bronzed loaf and the babies take turns to butter it. A thrifted platter is chosen and a salad of sorts is concocted. It may become an elaborate still life of many of nature's colours or just one or two robust plants plucked straight from the vegie patch. Even in its most basic form there is always some sort of leaf, nuts or seeds and a classic French vinaigrette *. A simple dinner of soup an salad.
It is a meal inspired by the many Sparkle Stories we have listened to. Gentle audio stories of Martin and his little sister Sylvia have been played at quiet rest times, on long car journeys or on rainy afternoons and they infuse our world with a certain calm. These characters lead a simple life much like our own and after a busy day of play, learning and exploring they often gather at the table to share wholesome soups, salads and fresh bread. It is certainly becoming a tradition in this home too.
* I freeze my stock in wide mouthed glass jars in one or two cup portions. As long as you leave some room at the top for swelling when it freezes, your jars won't crack. A quick run under a warm tap loosens the edges enough for the stock to slide out into the pot to defrost.
* sometimes I have the gumption to cut up a shallot but more often than not I don't. All the ingredients go into a jar and one of the babies shakes it up until it's all combined.
4 Mar 2014
She has been twisting flowers into crowns since the rainbow festival. Usually dandelions but sometimes wisps of frothy clover. But as I watched her potter about the backyard in search of new blooms to transform, I noticed the lack of flowers in our garden. There are vegetables and herbs, robust green leaves and wispy ferns, even lanky trees and succulents in odd shaped containers. Flowers however, are sadly missing from this humble space (bar a few sad looking marigolds).
A gentle meander around the neighbourhood with baskets in hand addressed the short term bloom shortage. We foraged small amounts of yellows, dusky pinks and orange from footpath trees and obliging neighbours and marvelled at all the different types and colours we stumbled upon. Hidden treasures we'd overlooked on our to-ing and fro-ing past these very spots time and again. She then spent the afternoon threading satiny blossoms with a needle and cotton and wore them like a bejewelled sprite.
While she hummed and threaded I scrutinised the blandness of our yard and set to addressing the problem. When had my gardening become stuffy, regimented and all about productivity and worse still, manageability? When did it deviate so sharply from the willowy, lush and untamed surrounds that pepper my daydreams? With paper and pencil in hand a list was made; snapdragons to remind me of Pa's house, lilac bluebells to lure pollinators, nostalgic phlox and bell flower to cut and put in old jam jars on window sills, brushy callistemon to feed nectar loving birds and smiling faced pansies, just because. So it's off to the nursery this weekend...
Although my thumb is ever so surely turning a greenish tinge, I could definitely use some help. Do you have any tips on flower growing? What are your favourites to grow?
2 Mar 2014
connecting - I stumbled on a box filled with old love letters from my beloved. It was a beautiful reminder of where our journey started and the foundation on which this family was built.
nourishing - Homemade custard in wide necked glass bottles are ever present in the fridge at the moment.
reading - Thumbing through my food stained copy of An Everlasting Meal. I adore how Tamar Adler weaves her culinary words with passion and elegance. It never fails to inspire.
creating - Clearing out my wardrobe and mending all the things that are too long, don't quite fit, or need a button sewed on. So many things languishing in the cupboard...
nurturing - The cooler mornings herald Autumn's arrival and it's lovely to wake before anyone else, dress in a light robe and savour a hot cup of tea.
growing - We're planning our Autumnal garden. Perhaps some leeks and broad beans.
listening - I'm slowly getting used to the quiet in the house when one baby is at school and the other is sleeping. I think I kind of like it.
1 Mar 2014
"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."
Bijou - She has been oh so weary so we took the day off school on Friday and visited a favourite local cafe. We ate chocolate and hazelnut shortbread, drank smoothies and played snap with an old deck of cards. She glowed.
Remy - A cold has taken the wind out of his sails. I've been making him chicken soup and custard.
28 Feb 2014
I really took for granted the quiet times I had with my girl. Before school started it was just her and me whiling sunlit afternoons as our baby boy slept. A gentle connectedness that comes from predictability; knowing someone wholly. A compatibility, an easiness. Our wooden table would spill over with cloth and twine, chatter and imagination and time would move a little slower. These were everyday moments that unfolded naturally and fused us with creativity, conversation and time. I miss the certainty of those afternoons together; their everyday-ness.
Now these are times I must gather carefully. A library book may spark an idea, then a conversation, and I file away plans for togetherness when the time is right. In the "all in together this fine weather" way of family life I strive to snatch time just with her. Nothing grand or indulgent, just simple and quiet time. Just me and my girl.
It's quite the juggle so tell me, how do you carve out little slices of one-on-one time with your babies?