Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Day 54

A Christmas Eve wish for you.

May your Christmas be filled with people you love.

May you enjoy the little moments of surprise and fun.

May you nourish yourself and squeeze in a nap after lunch.

May there be a quiet moment in it all for a splash of gratitude and hope.

May the spirit of the Season rest gently on you.

Merry Christmas.

Love Indigo Kate x

Day 53

We're limping towards the end of the year here.  The finish line with 2014 written on it is in sight, and just the final dash remains.  But like the end of any marathon (I imagine) the last bit requires digging deep.  Very deep. There's those extra hurdles called Christmas and New Year which are the equivalent of a mini marathon all in themselves.  We'll get there of course, and there will be the celebratory post-race leap in the air and a cup of sports drink for our trouble.  But right now, I feel like I could pull over to the side and put my hands on my knees and catch my breath while the masses push on past me.  And hopefully some nice volunteer in a uniform will come by with a stretcher and a drip and carry me off to the First Aid tent.

Here's to pushing on, despite the cumulative fatigue of 11.75 months.  We can do this.

Indigo Kate x

Day 52

Hail the omelette.
3 eggs, salt and pepper.  Whisk.
Add mushrooms, avocado and smoked salmon.
Cook. Eat.

Indigo Kate x

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Day 51

Hail the fruit salad.

Some kiwi fruit, peach, pear and banana sliced on a plate.  I added some cherries as a nod to the Festive Season.

And I sat happily eating this rainbow of flavour, thankful for everything.


Indigo Kate x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Day 50 (summary of week 7)

1. Chicken and mango salad is an excellent, quick dinner option. No matter how old I get, or how many I eat, mangoes always make me feel like a fantastically-blessed ship wreck survivor who has stumbled into a tropical paradise. I am always slightly bereft when the mango season ends.

2. The occasional slice of sourdough bread can do wonderful things to scrambled eggs.

3. Our humble lemon tree has been a faithful friend on this journey providing fresh, juicy lemons every morning without complaint.  It has meant my pre-breakfast lemon in warm water routine has been easy to maintain. Thank you, kind friend.

4. The last couple of freelance work commitments of the year are unnecessarily tough to squeeze in and make me wonder why on earth I agreed to them. Note to self, next year say NO to anything after December 10. I'm practising that tricky 'N' sound already.

5. Homemade dips with sliced carrots and capsicum are a winner to bring along to a Christmas gathering. Hommus and sundried tomato/capsicum are my all singing, all dancing favourites.

6. Sometimes local and world news is so desperately awful that it is impossible to distract yourself from it. Learning to just sit with the mind-numbing horror of it all is difficult beyond words. At these times, prolonged hugging of children and dogs is about your best option.

7.  Exercise at this time of year can be as illusive as the guy in the red suit.

8. Finding the time to plan, buy, and wrap thoughtful, environmentally sustainable and socially just gifts can be 200 times more so than # 7.

9. Despite the heavy feeling of grief, Christmas holds a magic for my little people that gently pulls me forward.

Thanks for cheering me on.  Please know I am cheering you on also as you juggle life, health and Christmas.

Indigo Kate x

Friday, 19 December 2014

Day 49

Sydney. Pakistan. Cairns.

Could the world make any less sense this week?

I am clinging to the Christmas wish of Peace on Earth like a life raft in a stormy sea.

Peace on Earth.

Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Day 48

It's hard not to feel a little disorganised at this time of year.  With the arrival of each new Christmas card/Christmas letter/photo, I have to fight the urge to run screaming from my letter box.  Not a good look.  Each Christmas missive is a stark reminder that my own Festive preparations are running a tad behind, not to mention the realisation that none of my children will ever be an Olympic athlete or a concert harpist, like the other gifted offspring I read about.  Every morning when at least one of my garden-variety children give me a countdown on how many days 'til Christmas I feel a mild wave of nausea.  I'm not ready this year.

Yet when I stop to think about it, we have talked about sharing, giving and receiving, we have thanked those who have helped us this year, we have sung carols at concerts and paused to listen to the Christmas story, we have our tree up, and we've been to see Santa. Maybe in the ways that really matter, we are ready for Christmas.

Every day I'm glad that I started my Year of Living Well on November 1 and not the upcoming January 1. I'm know that when New Year's Day rolls around some of my new habits will already be set in place and the first couple of radical adjustment months behind me. It's nice to be on my way and it's taught me a lot about the possibilities of change, on the grand scale of moi.

I hope that as Christmas creeps ever closer, you feel ready in whatever way matters to you.


Indigo Kate x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Day 47

2014 is galloping to an end at break-neck pace.  75% of my children have now had their last day for the year.  This has meant finding a home for a mountain of fantastic work coming home and organising last minute cards and gifts for teachers and classmates.  A long summer stretches out before them, and me, as their stay-at-home parent.  The break from lunch boxes and uniforms and bus timetables brings a lovely sense of freedom.

I'm keen to make the most of these unhurried mornings, and set up a good early morning exercise routine.  My focus so far has been eating well, which is only part of the overall living well equation, but certainly a big part for me. It's time to officially get moving.  Like mothers the world over I feel like I am always moving, when I do sink into the couch at the end of a long day my body quivers with a mixture of shock and delight - and protests violently when I have to get up again, usually 4.5 minutes later. But while running around after little people is the status quo, it's not the same as running around the block.

So, here's to health and holidays and making the most of our new delightfully unscheduled routine.


Indigo Kate x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day 46

I find it funny the anti-sugar people go to so much trouble making complex sugar-free deserts.  The paleo cherry-ripe rocky-road donut type phenomenon, so to speak.  It's all completely sugar-free, of course, and only requires 203 hard-to-find ingredients.  It's a bit like vegetarians being excited to find tofu-shaped chops.  It just seems like the start of a slippery slope to me.

My health professional, who I caught up with today, had a good approach to this.  She thinks deserts are best kept for a 'lovely occasion' where you can really enjoy them.  Not as a 'treat' (which can be prone to overuse) but as part of a special celebration.  I'm not craving desert at all, but if and when I choose to reintroduce it, I'll keep this in mind.

Like the rest of the country, I am devastated by the loss of innocent life in the Sydney siege, and can think of little else.  I cannot begin to imagine how one poor father sat his children, similar ages to my own, down to explain what happened to their lovely mother.  I picked my youngest child up from her last day of kindy (pre-school) yesterday and thought about all the lifelong events those children will face without their mum.  The concerts,  the birthdays, the holidays, the Mother's Days, the sports days, the rites of passage.  It is unbearably unfair.

There's no public transport where I live, so I have use this broadly - #illridewithyou

Peace on Earth.

Indigo Kate x

Monday, 15 December 2014

Day 45

It's been a long, listless day waiting for news of the Sydney siege, and hoping for a peaceful resolution.  A day of wondering.  Wondering why these things happen, wondering about the hostages, wondering about the police and the negotiators, wondering about the world my children will inherit. A long day where I found myself looking to food, and reminding myself that it doesn't hold the answers.

I am conscious of Week 6 complacency.  I'm trying not to feel so confident with my new life that that I trip and fall face-first in a family-size block of chocolate.  And I'm conscious that on a day like today, where it feels like the whole country is holding its breath, there are much, much worse things that can happen anyway.

Here's to peace finding a way this Christmas season.

Indigo Kate x

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Day 44

Christmas catch-up with friends tonight.  I took along a pumpkin, pesto, spinach and lentil salad.  Despite over cooking the pumpkin so that when I stirred through the pesto it all went slightly mushy, it tasted great.  Looks aren't everything, after all.

It was easy to navigate the food choices, but I still find it tricky about the alcohol.  I haven't drunk for a dozen or so years (I breast fed continuously for 9.something years and simply lost the taste for it) but because we don't socialise all that much, not many people know.  It doesn't come up in conversation - and why should it? It's a dead-boring stand alone fact. But last night I went through the bubbles/beer/wine options pre-dinner, during dinner and post dinner by both the unfailingly generous hosts.  It would have been far easier to say, 'Thanks but I don't drink, I'm fine with water' the first time, but I didn't because I don't want to sound like a wowser.  Or worse, a wowser who thinks they have the moral high ground.

If anyone has a good reply for how to decline things gracefully, I'd love to hear it.  Actually I'd love to hear from anyone reading, anytime, about anything really.  Go on, click on 'comments' and say hi.


Indigo Kate x

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Day 43

We piled the whole family int the car and headed to the forest this morning, before the circus class, the library, the supermarket, the friend's birthday party and the play rehearsal.  We headed to the bush and drove my 2 wheel drive soccer-mum car up steep four wheel drive tracks and nearly skittled a bounding black wallaby who flew past.  Up and up and I wondered if we'd ever get back to do all the things on our busy Saturday list.   And there, across the road from the edge of the pine forest, we found it.  This year's orphan Christmas tree.

My husband thinks of this as a kind of community service, it gives a tree a home for Christmas and removes it from the native bush. The kids and the dog ran back up the track while it was relocated to the roof racks and we picked them up, like miniature hitchhikers, on the way home.  Somewhere in our busy Saturday, we decorated the tree, pausing over each decoration to remember who made them or gave them to us.  The lights were untangled and new paper chain was made and hung up.  There was a sense of magical harmony to it all.  'This is so great', observed Mr 9,  and he was right.  Before bed we read 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas!' and the following lines didn't so much as strike a chord with me, as jump out and clobber me over the head.

'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!'

Here's to finding the bits about Christmas that we actually like and celebrating them.


Indigo Kate x  

Friday, 12 December 2014

Day 42 (Summary of Week 6)

This week has positively zipped by.  Here's the bits I know for sure.

1.  A new calm has descended on me, making healthy choices easier than previously believed possible.  I love it to bits.

2.  #1 is all the more amazing considering the crazy amount of Christmas stuff hurtling straight for me.

3.  An end of year 15km school bike ride which I have been dreading on a scale equal to a local Ebola outbreak, turned out to be really fun.  What a treat to be riding in the sunshine with my spunky little girls.  Yes, I now do feel bad for the incessant whinging I did prior to the event.  Sorry dear.

4.  Running out of spinach leaves now has the same effect on me as running out of chocolate once did.  I have now taken to hoarding them by the handful in ziplock bags in the freezer, all ready for my morning green smoothie.

5.  Without wanting to oversimplify the complexities of modern psychology, blerkdom loves sugar.   Or sugar loves blerkdom.  Or something.  Anyway, in my humble experiment of one, quitting sugar is life-changingly wonderful for mental health.  

6.  Cucumbers are my friend.  They deserve more kudos for their role in replacing bread in sandwiches.  I'm nominating them for the Nobel Peace Prize.  

7.  I still love an afternoon nap if I can swing it.  I tell myself it is my body's way of making up for all those bone-crushingly tired years that come with having four babies in six years.

8.  'I played my drum for him, Ra Pum Pa Pum Pum Pum', will inexplicably reduce me to a sobbing wreck every single time.

9.  Shifting my thinking from deprivation ('I'm giving up dairy/wheat/sugar') to abundance ('I can have so many fresh vegetables, fruit and lean meat and they all taste great') has been everything.

10.  Six weeks feels significant.  The honeymoon period is over and I am quietly confident that the best is yet to come.  

Ra Pum Pa Pum Pum Pum,

Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Day 41

There has been one very unexpected change in my healthy living caper. I have become friends with myself.  After two exhausting years of weird eating, I find myself eating well. For now, the deprivation/self-sabotage/cravings/binging cycle has politely stepped aside. Food is no longer the enemy. I am no longer the enemy.

It's like I came staggering out onto the battlefield, bloody and wounded, with my white flag up. And instead of being shot, the perceived enemy took me home for a bubble bath, a cup of peppermint tea and a fruit platter.

I don't feel the war is won, but I do feel I am no longer at war with myself.  

Here's to the power of surrender. 

Indigo Kate x

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Day 40

We ticked off our last Christmas concert tonight.  As we have various children at various different educational institutions, this was our third concert of the season.  That's a lot of Jingle Bells.

Two out of three concerts have come with the bring a plate tag. You know, just in case whipping up an innkeepers costume isn't enough.  And when it says bring a plate, and the main people eating are under 10 years and it's Christmas, what people bring is sugar. And lots of it.  

There were cupcakes and cream cakes and biscuits and fudges. My humble zucchini slice sat alone humming, 'one of these kids just doesn't belong, one of these kids is doing its own thing.' And I felt a little sad about it all really, that sugar is so interlinked with celebrations that it seems impossible to separate the two.

And then I looked around and it was gone, crumbs and all. And there were more than a few lurid pink cupcakes remaining on the plate next door, all dressed up and nowhere to go. And so I made a little deal with myself that from now on, whenever I have to bring a plate, I'm going to bring something healthy. What is not needed at these functions is a recently reformed chocoholic waving her arms in the air, raving about the evils of sugar, but simply another option on the table. And from now on, I'm going to bring it along.


Indigo Kate x

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Day 39

I've never been a big fan of carrots, which probably stems back to my childhood.    My mum loved getting the veggies on the boil about 4pm and we use to eat them at 6pm on the smacker.  To call them lifeless, limp and uninspired would be euphemistic.  When I announced I was a vegetarian (with all the self-importance only a 21 year old can muster) she said, "But darling, you don't even like vegetables'.  The fact was I had recently discovered stir fries and suddenly loved vegetables - they were crisp and tasty.  Who knew?

Anyhoo, carrots and I have found each other again.  I've been slicing one up (is julienne a verb? I julienne, you julienne, we julienne?)  and dipping it in my homemade hommus.  Excellent about 4pm.  And there's not a pot of boiling water in sight.


Indigo Kate x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Day 38

Introducing the cucumber sandwich. One cucumber sliced longways with seeds scooped out and filled with good stuff, like avocado, thinly sliced meat, grated carrot, hommus etc. A good blogger would have photos. Sorry. It was great - fresh, tasty and filling. Bread is starting to feel like a vague, distant memory from a previous life.

Who would have thought the humble cucumber could step up and take on such a grown-up role in the lunch arena?  Definitely a quiet achiever punching above its weight.


Indigo Kate x

Day 37

I've started following a few whole foods folks on Instagram.  They seem to eat well, glow with good health and take photos of their lunch.  I figured it couldn't hurt.  But when they caption their photos with comments like, 'enjoying a little bit of Activated Cacao Loaf topped with caramelised organic banana, crushed organic pecans, activated pumpkin seeds, organic pistachios and fair trade cacao nibs' to be honest, I don't feel inspired, I feel bloody exhausted.

I'm doing the whole foods thing for the simplicity, so I find these highly photogenic meals that need 17 ingredients (and 27 hashtags to describe them) a tad overwhelming.  I'm trying to keep it simple, probably because I have four children, extremely limited brain cells and even less time. I have enough trouble remembering to take photos of my children at significant life events, let alone photographing my activated almonds for morning tea. So, just so you know, this will never be that kind of blog. There will be no recipes, photos or descriptions, beyond 'ate salad, salad was good' type thing. My life keeps me flat-out busy and I want to keep my new-found energy for my family, my friends and my creative life, rather than my meal preparation.

Here's to keeping it simple.


Indigo Kate x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Day 36

When I was a little chick and a regular park goer with my darling Dad, I can remember him telling me that one day I would be big enough to push myself on the swing. How would THAT work? I can remember thinking. Swinging, as far as I was concerned, involved a defatigable adult pushing me.  'It's all in your legs,' Dad would tell me, 'stretch them out on the way up.' I was positively bewildered. Why anyone would want want to push themselves on a swing was absolutely beyond me. Independence was never my strong point.

I remembered this today, watching my little girls at the park. Miss 7 - her mane of curls flying -calling, 'Mum, look at me, I'm pushing myself!' And so she was. Higher and higher and higher without a grown up in reach.

As I cheered her on I thought of my health. And I realised that at the ripe old age of 44, I feel like now I'm starting to push myself too. Out and back. Out and back. Up and up.

As always, my Dad was right.


Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Day 35 (summary of Week 5)

Week 5? Already? Wowsers.  Here's the wrap-up.

1.  It is possible to have a craving-free day.  This is HUGE news to me.

2.  It is possible to sleep through the night.  Ditto.

3.  It is possible to sit through an entire kindy Christmas concert and not see your child, positioned  far back stage left, dancing her heart out, once.  Although I may have glimpsed her lily-white legs and sandals at one point.

4.  Even though some people say fructose is the work of the devil, my first mango of the season tasted completely heavenly.

5.  There is something so delightfully decadent about preparing salmon and salad for lunch on my own that I have to pinch myself.

6.  A fresh batch of home-made LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds) in the fridge can make me feel completely on top of things despite the state of the house and car.

7.  If one more candy cane comes home from school my eyes may turn green and my head may spin around.

8.  I really don't like those people who say 'All ready for Christmas?' in an airy tone.  I think unkind thoughts about stabbing them in the eyeball with a candy cane.

9.  Avocado is a total winner.  Add some pear and walnuts to it and you may just burst into song.

10.  A few folks have been in touch to let me know that they read this blog.  To them, and anyone reading, I say thank you very much and good health.


Indigo Kate x

Day 34

At the height of my, ahem, food addiction, I was thinking about food constantly.  My first waking thought was to do with food, and it went on from there, all day.  Even when I was eating I was wondering what I could eat next.  It was both exhausting and boring in equal measure.  It's fair to say I was not exactly my own biggest fan during this time.

So, I am slightly in awe of this new thing that's happening, where I barely think about food at all.  The cravings, - or weird thoughts, or aliens telling me to eat things, or whatever they were - have gone silent, and the silence is deafening.  There is a lot more room in my brain for Other Stuff.

I wake up, I drink my warm water and lemon, I whizz up my green smoothie, and start my day.  I can honestly say it does not occur to me to eat anything else until lunch time, and after that, not until dinner time.  If I need a snack, I have one and then I forget about it.  There is no out of control foraging in the pantry.  No overeating.  No cravings.

My theory is that the elimination of sugar/wheat/dairy is having a very calming effect on me.  Like a  kind of meditation really.   I can now see food simply as an energy source.  I can appreciate I have choices.  Without the sugar rushes and crashes I am travelling along the railway of life smoothly and comfortably.   And I hope the novelty never wears off.


Indigo Kate

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Day 33

Pears and walnuts.

That's it.  That's all you need to know about today.

I sliced up some pear in my salad and threw in a few walnuts and the combination knocked my socks off. I don't know if it's the smooth/wrinkly thing, or the sweet/nutty thing or what, but it has changed the way I think about the universe and everything in it. Yep, that good.

Pears and walnuts.  Who'd a thunk it?

Here's to unlikely marriages made in heaven.


Indigo Kate x

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Day 32

My best green smoothies involve spinach leaves. And today the bag of spinach leaves was empty. Cue horror music and Munch-esque The Scream face.  No spinach leaves? What's a girl to do?
I hunted through the fridge and pulled out some broccoli and without so much as a second thought threw it into the blitzer with my other smoothie ingredients.  Wa-laa! One excellent green smoothie. I had a slight 'We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto' moment as I drank it, relishing how mind-blowingly great it is to be able to change.


Indigo Kate x

Monday, 1 December 2014

Day 31

This week, I have a school meeting, a kindy concert and a school concert, all on separate evenings. As I am normally a flop on the couch in my jarmies with a book kind of girl, this is a tremendous challenge.

In winter I have a complete aversion to leaving the house of an evening. I just don't go anywhere.  It's dark, it's cold, it's often wet, we have a beautiful fire, and I am hard wired to stay in my burrow and read. In summer this is harder to get away with. There are more invitations, often involving my children singing cute songs, loudly and off key, with their sweet friends.  I have to dig deep and Make An Effort.

We all have to Make An Effort from time to time.  Mothers especially. November/December are the pin up months for Making an Effort. Not only do I have to attend these functions, I also have to bring a plate, and try and get the venue, date, time and stage outfit correct. I will also have to talk to people I only see occasionally and whose names are too far buried in the clutter of my brain to retrieve.  My jarmies and book will be calling me but I will have to wave them off and stride bravely out the door.

This time last year, Making An Effort nearly killed me.  I'd had a tough year and wasn't at my best, to coin a vague yet all-encompassing euphemism. It was excruciating to socialise, mingle and yabber to people all in the name of Christmas.  I avoided what I could, outsourced what I could to my husband and suffered - gracelessly and effortfully -  through the rest.

Thanks to my Living Well caper, this year involves just garden variety levels of effort. I can go along, be social, enjoy these gatherings and connect. It doesn't have the same heavy weight of dread attached, and I am grateful for this shift. And I reckon if I play my cards right, I'll be back in my jarmies, opening up my book by 9pm.

Indigo Kate x