Quality [time] not quantity

Manic Monday – that’s exactly what I expect today – or actually our first week back at the office – to be like. I wouldn’t mind another day off 😉 … But today’s post isn’t about the future [much less stressing about the latter], it’s a recap of what we did during the past week so let’s go on with that. Meg, thank you for starting this wonderful link-up again months ago and encouraging us to see the good in every week.

As the title might give away already I don’t have many accomplishments to talk about. Rather, I was lucky to spend quality time with my family, filling my second bucket and my heart with joy. I’m sure many of you noticed the missing cheer in my previous week in review and even disappointment. Looking back I see that I was even more appreciative of the past seven days’ happenings so the low I found myself was the rain I had to go through to see my rainbow. <- don’t ask where that came from. My mind goes places when I allow it to take the lead while writing. Moving on for real now!

Week in review

In the past week

Worked two days. That bit about the holidays? Still true. Only that my boss [for those who don’t know: a relative] called me to start again a bit earlier me smile that pretty much all of Wednesday and several hours of Sunday were spent working.

Published a week in review and some Good good links.

Did a second photo shoot of the recipe I mentioned in my recent post already. Sorry for the delay. I wasn’t entire happy with the outcome of my first batch of pictures, still hoped to publish the recipe on Thursday but then came the unexpected call into work and all plans dissolved. <- what I meant when talking about necessary changes  [better time management for after work to-dos]

Crackers

Vacuumed and mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors. Ick. [Funny side note: auto correct suggests ‘Ickenham’ here. Where is that?]

The biggest chunk of the week revolved around the best thing possible: quality time with the family. Some of the happenings included:

Helping my sister bathe P. As if he wasn’t adorable enough this revealed a new level of cuteness to me. Maybe I do want to become a mum after all one day still. Minus the … ahem … backdoor shenanigans [shamelessly stealing borrowing Meg’s terminology here].

Baking baby cookies/banana oatmeal fingers [my sister practices baby led weaning hence the solids along with breastfeeding at six months already]. Vrdict:  not  as popular as fresh fruit. Which I, even being the baker [not my own recipe, though], actually found awesome. Fruit is definitely my favourite kind of candy, too. No worries about the oats in the ‘cookies’, though: I still plan on turning P. into an oatmeal [and nut butter] fiend later on. Just watch me on my mission ;).

Baby nephew

Lots of peek-a-boo playing, ‘conversations’ and cuddles with my nephew. Still obsessed with that boy and I’m afraid you might hear me talk about him a little longer still. Just until he hits those sassy teenage years, you know.

Having a spontaneous longer conversation with just my grandparents on Saturday night. It was lovely to talk about all kinds of things, past and future. We don’t get to see each other and share moments like that often enough.

Giving a little shutout to family members: my grandpa and dad took down our very old garden shed and started building a new bigger one. It looks promising.

Going for several walks with the family. These happen way more regularly now there’s a baby supposed to nap in the afternoons [because walking motion = falling asleep quickly].

Doing the final round of proofreading for my sister’s thesis. She’s about to hand it in.  Fingers crossed for her!

Sitting here on Sunday afternoon/early evening I’m a bit sad my sister and P. left again, not stoked about the prospect of work being more than just hectic for at least the first week – and wistful. Thinking of all the things I didn’t do – not entirely by my own choice – and wishing for some more time. Then again: don’t we all -always- do? It’s about living in the now and that’s something I need to practice a bit more again.

That’s enough about my life already. Tell me about yours and don’t forget to head over to Meg’s and everybody else’s blogs to find out about their recent achievements and fun happenings.

Happiness-inducing today:  Carrying my nephew around a bit more before he and my sister left. A nice walk home from the pffice.

 

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
 

How have you been filling your second hunger bucket [hint if you didn’t read the post: emotional hunger]?

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! – Fröhliche Weihnachten! – Joyeux NoĂ«l! – GeseĂ«nde Kersfees! – God Jul! – Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas_source_photopin

 

While I won’t be around the blog world today – Christmas Eve is our main celebration over here – I wanted to wish all of you a happy holiday. No matter where you are, if the temperatures call for fleece shirts or flip-flops: I hope you’ll have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

P.S.: I’d appreciate you keeping your fingers crossed for me faring well in our board game night today ;).

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photo credit: Christmas_DSC2453 via photopin (license)

That time there was no Christmas tree [Holiday recap]

Now what was that?? I don’t know about you but I can never believe how quickly Christmas passes again year after year. Within the blink of an eye it’s back to the daily grind of non-festiveness. Before that all rolls in, though, how about a marvelous little look back at Christmas 2014? Celebrated the untraditional way as you’ll see in a minute.

MiMM_new

Even for my family’s already unusual standards this year turned out to be a brea. Aside from maybe a few years during my [earlier] childhood* I don’t think my family ever had what would be considered a ‘classic’ Christmas celebration. Starting with a first glance at our tree

Tree top_Christmas 2014

* I still consider myself a child because as long as we have parents that’s what we are, no?!

One thing that remained the same, though, was our traditional dinner on Christmas Eve.  Thank goodness. Missing out on grandma’s Rotkohl would have legitimately broken my heart.  I mean it.  The obsession is so strong I couldn’t wait but have a bowlfull the minute we arrived at my parents’. There was more than Rotkohl on the menu, though. Semmelknödel [that my mum actually prepared the vegan way using soy flour in place of eggs as per my suggestion – she was a fan], potatoes, a vegan seitan roast my sister made from scratch, brussels sprouts and obviously dessert. But that one comes with a slightly deeper background story that I’ll share on Thursday for my next time thinking out loud.

Christmas 2014_dinner

I feel we need a little close-up of the Rotkohl goodness because it truly is the best. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my grandma to write down the recipe to share on the blog because she’s a little secretive about it and never prepares it the same way. Her cooking style is the classic grandma way: some of this, some of that and, oh hey, let’s add that jar of homemade jelly, too.

Holidays_2014 004

Untraditional was our tree. Now here’s the big change and major shock to me: we didn’t have a Christmas tree. Or not an actual one. Do you remember what I said about my family’s stance on fake trees? I’m not sure into which category this one would fall. Without my knowledge my parents and sister had decided to go a different route this year  [and possibly those to follow?!]. Say hello to our environmental-friendlier tree!

Christmas tree_2014

My grandpa, sister and mum built it using old ply woods and tree branches they cut or found in the woods. It was hard to get used to the idea for me but once lit in the dark room it worked a charm at lending at least some of the traditional Christmas cheer. First blogger fail here, though, because I got no proper picture of the lit tree.

Christmas 2014_elks

Traditional, however, was our family walk. Workouts fell wayside for me most days in favour of spending quality time with my relatives.  It used to be a major stressor for me in past years. But – maybe due to seeing everybody even less in between – I focused on enjoying the days getting in exercise when I could but not fretting about missing a day or two. And definitely not cutting back on food. It’s a short time of the year only after all and I knew my answer to any ‘healthy’ holiday advice telling me to up my exercise if I wanted to indulge. Thanks but no, thanks. That’s not what the holidays are about.

Family walk_christmas

It wasn’t until starting to write this post that I noticed I failed at taking pictures of my gifts. In my defense: I hardly took a lot of pictures in general this year. Don’t you agree we capture most memories of family time in our heads and hearts rather than on our cameras and memory disks in anway?

One more thing: this Christmas – for reasons unrelated to its untraditional ways – wasn’t the merriest I’ve had so far. But I’m all for looking on the bright – or: marvelous – side of things and choosing what I want to keep in mind the most. And there we have it: a short recap of my untraditional Christmas in the countryside. Now let me know about yours!

Happiness inducing today: My sister for listening and offering a different and encouraging perspective on some problems I’ve been facing. It always helps to share what’s on your mind with somebody else – we don’t need to know all solutions ourselves.

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Do you approve of our untraditional tree 😉 ?

Tell me about your Christmas days!

 

What was your favourite

a) food

b) part of the holidays overall?

Where did the links go?

Hi and hello, blog world!

Usually, you’d find some of my favourite posts from the week here. This Sunday is a little different, though, because I just got back to my apartment [and at that my laptop] after spending the largest part of my week at my parents’.  Quality time with the family took priority over blog reading so I don’t have anything to share today. But the good good links will be back on Wednesday so be sure to stop by for some great reads. Until then find out about my year in blogging and share some highlights of yours!

Good good links

Now let’s talk about the holidays! How was Christmas 2014 for you? Big family gatherings? Intimate little get-togethers with parents and siblings only? Tell me in the comments! I’m always curious to hear about the different celebrations in between various countries and families.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Where do I even start? Despite some happenings taking away some of the holiday cheer I’m still incredibly thankful for my family and memories made during the past days.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! – Fröhliche Weihnachten! – Joyeux NoĂ«l! – GeseĂ«nde Kersfees! – God Jul! – Feliz Navidad!

Christmas Greetings_merry Christmas

Wherever in the world you are I hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday filled with many hugs, maybe some snow (?), good food, gifts (not necessarily of the materialistic kind) and everything else you’re wishing for. Even if you don’t celebrate I still hope you’re having an awesome time!

I’ll talk to you again soon!

 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

The one question to ask when reading “healthy” advice

Inspiration for posts strikes me in the most random moments. Mostly when I’m doing something that’s already part of my daily life and never got my mind churning with new ideas before. Especially appreciated at times when I’ve sensed writer’s block coming up and got frustrated feeling like I will never ever find a topic again. Yes, it happens. Like I said: frustrating. Anyway, enough of that all because we’re all busy bees and you’ve stopped by to hear me thinking out loud not ramble on about blogger woes.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Back to where I found my topic, though: it was when perusing my Bloglovin feed, sighing and marking about a dozen posts as read. All offering me the best ever and only advice I needed to follow to stay on track this season.  It’s not a sole Christmas holiday season phenomenon: the number of posts offering “healthy” advice is [or it feels like that] is becoming almost unmanageable.  Feeling uneasy about the abundance of Christmas treats all around? At least two dozen posts will be around to ‘help ‘ you.  Not sure if eating another spoonful of mum’s cranberry sauce necessitates an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill? Don’t worry. Detailed Instructions are just a click away.   Or maybe you’re feeling all relaxed about the festive season and have been looking forward to grandma’s special cookies for months? You better believe there are enough articles out there to lecture and scare you away from the cookie tray in an instant.

Grandma's cookies

It might sound a smidgen dramatic but trust me: some of the articles that found their way into my Bloglovin’ feed lately were pretty shocking. Whether you’ve ever dealt with an ED or not I have a feeling a few of these would be enough to “verunsichern” you, too. What I’ve been doing to keep the feelings of guilt and tendency to overthink my every move is asking one question before reading on :

Is this targeted towards me?

Yes, it’s a simple question – but I’d make a guess and say it’s an easily forgotten one. The background here: if you’re reading this post you’re very likely to either be part of the healthy living blog community or at least interested in a healthy balanced life already.  Or you might be in recovery from an eating disorder.  Either way I’m convinced that even if these posts have an eerie attraction to you  with buzzwords like “healthy”, “do’s and don’ts” or “must follow” – deep inside you know if you’re part of their target group or not.  You’re eating whole foods, exercising regularly and your doctor gives you a green light at every check-up? Then you likely don’t need any article telling you to swap the mashed potatoes for cauliflower, limit yourself to one cookie or bring your own sugar- and fat-free ones [that leave you feeling unsatisfied ] or spend an hour at the gym while your family is watching Christmas movies in the living room.

All of these articles I mentioned have – in some form or the other – made an appearance on my screen before. Even if I didn’t search for them but just saw the titles in the side bar of a website or blog I was visiting. Yet as I said: Even if Christmas season is stressing you out deep down you know if  you’re in need of that – helpful or not – advice. Like I know I shouldn’t read [or at least not follow] any advice for “100 Easy Ways to Slash Calories Every Day” or  “How To Drop Five Pounds Until Christmas“. The tricky part is that you might not even mindfully seek for these articles.  Any kind of advice like that can pop up on a blog you probably started reading for that one great article about staying fit while working a desk job or for a great recipe. And then suddenly that trustworthy source tells you about the need to ditch the cookies.

Please notice I’m not judging any blogger or website for publishing these posts neither am I saying anybody who’s generally health-conscious should ditch any thoughts on nutrition or exercise and gorge themselves on all the treats and holiday roast. But chances are even giving yourself full permission you won’t because working out and eating nutritious food makes you happy and you’ll balance it all out.   There are people who are  for and find these articles helpful. But on the other hand there are many – like recoverers, people just starting out to try and live a little healthier, unsure about whether or not treats are included in a balanced diet [they are!] – that can be unsettled in their ways by this.

Christmas 2012 1

Don’t we all want to enjoy the holidays?  I remember many past Christmas days that I spent thinking about food the whole time while trying to eat the least amounts possible [a single potato? I’m sorry but … yes] and beating myself up about a lack of exercise. This is the season for tinsel,  kitschy decorations, cookie scent wafting through kitchens, listening to Michael BublĂ© on repeat  – but not for feeling guilty and second-guessing our every move or bite.

Now excuse me as I go spend some cozy time with Mr. Bublé.

Happiness inducing today: Did I mention Mr. BublĂ© yet 😉 ?? Even though he doesn’t fully get me into the Christmas spirit he’s pretty good at trying and making me sing along.

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Share whichever thoughts you have on the topic.  Possible ideas but by no means limited to:

Do you weigh up whether a post is geared towards you?

How do you feel about “healthy” holiday advice?

Has an article ever made you feel insecure about your intuitive choices?