Thursday, 10 July 2014

What's important to you?

Ever just wondered, during the course of your day, what are the most important things in your life?  I happened to be contemplating this yesterday, while de-cluttering the boys' room.  Being stuck at home with the boys during school holidays while it's stormy outside and Deane's away does have benefits I guess - much-needed spare time to get 'things' done that haven't been done for an age.

So anyway, I was thinking about what was most important to me, and it came down to four things (in no particular order):
  • Food
  • Sleep
  • My people
  • Experiencing life
Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?  In a nutshell, I guess that's what it's really all about.

Food is essential to life, but there's no reason why we can't make it an enjoyable aspect of our everyday.  Branching out and trying new things is part of the fun, and eating healthy (with the occasional splurge on the decidedly un-healthy) doesn't have to be a chore.  Every few months we order our 20kg of grass fed 'happy cow' beef, and stock the extra space in the freezer with chicken, lamb, pork and a few bits of game meat.  This makes it easier to meal plan, with a list on the wall above the freezer of exactly what we have.   Of course, since September last year this has been purely for the omnivores (or as T likes to say, the omnomnomnivores) in our family - aka, not me.  What keeps me happy is the weekly delivery of our Foodbox.  I know what's arriving every week, and sometimes there's stuff in the box I wouldn't ordinarily buy myself - new things to try, or something to get creative with.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to come up with healthy, nutritious meals with what we have in the fridge.  Yesterday I tried a roasted cauliflower and leek soup, and was pleasantly surprised.  It was delicious, and I'm looking forward to having the other half for dinner again tonight (I halved the batch):

Excuse the head-shadow...

Today for lunch I'm going to give beet, avocado and grapefruit salad a go.  I'm not a fan of grapefruit or beetroot, but don't mind them mixed with other things.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they go together :)

Planning ahead and being organised makes cooking weekly meals a lot easier.  I've gotten into the habit of cooking and freezing large batches of chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans at a time and freezing them in half cup or one cup lots since I usually cook vegan meals for just myself.  Having said that, halving or quartering recipes isn't always possible, so the occasional meal ends up being a three-night affair, or freezer leftovers.  My pantry is always stocked with nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, spices (seriously, 43 different spices (probably more since I counted) and they're all used regularly), flours, sugars and natural sweeteners, and all the other random assorted items that come in handy for cooking and baking.  Having pre-made steel cut oatmeal in the fridge in single serves has been great too - hot, filling, healthy breakfast only takes a couple of minutes!  My list of recipes to try is forever growing, but I'm crossing things off the list as fast as I can too - so much fun, and so much good food!

Sleep is also an essential part of life, and again, something that doesn't have to be awful.  I adore my bed, and look forward to hopping in to it every evening.  I'm a morning person so don't spend much time in it once I've woken up - my 'sleep in' (if you could call it that) is usually over by 7.30 if I have one (which isn't often), and once in a blue moon I might lie in and read for a while, but I've usually got stuff I'd rather be doing so I generally get out of bed as soon as I'm awake.  Breakfast is a big contributing factor - I love breakfast, and often go to bed the night before, thinking about what I'm going to have in the morning :)  A comfortable bed is important, so a good mattress is definitely something worth spending money on, as is good linen.  We've had two sets of 1,000 thread count cotton sheets for about ten years and they are the softest, most comfortable, beautiful sheets to sleep on, but sadly they are becoming threadbare and have slight tears in a couple of places.  Sad face :(  So, after spending several months contemplating and researching different types of sheets, we finally splurged on a set of 100% linen sheets, pillow cases, and duvet cover.  Yes they are expensive, and straight out of the box (and after a wash) they are a little rough (particularly after sleeping on aforementioned ten-year-old softness), but linen sheets are known for softening more and more as they age, and lasting for a generation (or two).  Call me crazy, but I am excited about this.  I slept on them last night and they weren't too bad.  I am really looking forward to enjoying them and their growing softness for many more years to come.

Hello bed, I love you.

The people in your life are what makes it all worthwhile.  Family and friends are what hold you together.  They share in your experiences, make you laugh, make you cry, make your heart burst with pride and joy and love, and infuriate the crap out of you.  Where would I be without my people?  My mum and dad, my sisters, my husband of thirteen years, my two boys, extended family and in-laws, my best friend, all the other friends I've made along the way... so many good people, who are all amazing in their own way.  I wouldn't want to be without them, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them.  Y'all are the best!

My boys are in the midst of their mid-year school holidays, and they're enjoying things like a movie night sleepover, and mall-shopping ice cream and juice breaks:

Fun times ;)

Today we have the not-so-fun outing for allergy shots, but we'll improve it slightly with a much-wanted enderman purchase (for T - hooray for pocket money!) and comic book purchase (for X).

Now, experiencing life... this covers everything from the big adventures like trips overseas to see another part of the world (always exciting and fascinating), and the little things like enjoying a sunrise or sunset, or even just how the sky looks at any particular point of the day, the sound of the rain on the roof or the wind howling, hearing the birds sing, watching insects and other little creatures go about their day - a spider spinning a web, an ant carrying some food, bees pollinating flowers... seeing the patterns in plants, or wood grain... looking up at the night sky and seeing the moon and the stars... the world is an amazing place, and everything in it has a purpose.  A reason for being there.

Even the everyday experiences are a part of what makes you who you are.  Studying for a degree as an adult has been quite the learning curve - not just the subject matter, but how to manage time and juggle all the balls (family, hobbies, exercise, household, etc).  As hard as it is at times, I'm enjoying learning all that I can.

The people I've met, the things I've seen, and the experiences I've had and shared through things like running and knitting are something I'm so glad to have been a part of.  I'm looking forward to experiencing so much more - running, in particular, will be a huge factor in this.  I have seen so much of Auckland and its surrounding areas through running - suburban streets, little pockets of sanctuary hidden amongst the urban sprawl, amazingly beautiful regional parks... and the people!  Runners are a wonderful, friendly bunch.  I'm not the most social of runners and struggle to strike up a conversation at times (and I have a 'bitchy resting race' that makes me look unapproachable), but although I may not be the most chatty, rest assured I'm enjoying the experience.  Just very quietly :)

Gosh, that turned out to be quite a waffly post, didn't it?  Let's chalk it up to procrastination.  Now I need to go have a shower and continue with my spring-cleaning/de-cluttering.  Today, the spare room!

So people, I ask you - what is most important to you?  Think about it...

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