Photographic diary, Uncategorized

Looking back over 2019.

DSCF1585As is life, 2019 was full of ups and downs, but I am most definitely choosing to focus on all of the best that 2019 bought us… and 2019 did not disappoint…

The year started with lots of snow, and although I am not the biggest fan of winter and being cold, if I have to go through this season living in the cold, snow is the way to go, when it snows the world is peaceful and calm, then the blue skies appear and the snow glimmers, our fire roars inside our house keeping us toasty warm and two little children get so excited, my camera comes out as snow boots are put on and foot prints appear in that newly laid snowed… I’ll take that any day over gray rainy days that go on forever.IMG_3113

The beginning of last year saw most of us revising for our US citizens test, I think I was the most nervous out of everyone, everyone’s appointments were at different times on different days, one by one my children added to the number of Americans living in our house until it was our turn, Paul, Blu and I, I do have to say that I think my nerves got the better of me, I could barely sign my name on the iPad they provided, Paul and Blu took it all in their stride of course… we swore allegiance to the Flag and sung the national anthem, I think that was the moment it really hit me… I was an American Citizen.098D69F8-2EF4-4141-AC87-100896701A30

Around May time, Paul needed a break from work so I booked our little trip to Savannah Georgia… oh my what a wonderful week, we did not hire a car, we walked everywhere, we sampled a few bars, who knew in Savannah you could walk around outside with an alcoholic beverage.  The weather was perfect, although it was warm the outdoor pool in our hotel had not heated up just yet, we did not care, we swam everyday, well that was after it took me 30 minutes to actually get in.  We sat by the docks and watched large container ships travelling through, trying to guess their final destination or where they had come from.  My camera had a field day with all the gorgeous buildings, it really was a perfect week for all four of us.IMG_6784

2019 was a year that academically saw two of my children reach milestones in their life… first came Lewis, the first person on either side of our family to graduate with his Masters Degree in environmental science, we drove into Newark for the ceremony, and for once in our lives we were actually early, we even had time to grab some food and beers for Paul and Lewis before the ceremony began… Jordan joined us after work, and surprisingly the ceremony did not last too long, tears most definitely flowed, we laughed, we clapped and I snapped a few photos here and there… an extremely proud moment in time, held there for just one moment.  Next came Mabel, really High School flew by in my minds eye, one minute she was a freshman worried how she would find her way around the huge new school, the next she was graduating with honors, crazy right? The ceremony was held inside due to construction on the field, but to be honest it did not matter in the end, the pride you feel as a parent is the same no matter where you sit.  The best part of both graduations for me was the fact that they were live streamed and all those people that could not be there in person could most definitely watch that moment wherever they were, including my Mom who was 3500 miles away.

It was around a quarter of the way through the year that our lives got turned upside down… we were told that Pauls job would be moving to Columbus Ohio… at first we thought there would be no way we would ever go, but now… we’ll let’s say things change.GPTempDownload

July saw us packing again, we made a quick detour to Philadelphia PA for a night, we headed into this beautiful city for lunch, then Paul and Lewis headed out to watch ELO in concert, which by all accounts was fantastic, then it was time for our final destination, Delray Beach Florida, a last minute change of location and hotel, left us at Palm beach airport with no hotel booking,  when I changed the booking I had forgotten to press the final confirmation button on my iPad… yikes!  Luckily our hotel of choice had one, yes just ONE double suite left, how lucky were we, I wasn’t panicking at all… ha ha.  The rest of our vacation was one of the best I had ever had, resort hotel, beautiful pool and gorgeous beach literally across the road, why wouldn’t it be fantastic. But let’s just add in a cute little seaside town into the mix, free local bus service and quality family time… why indeed would this vacation be anything other than fantastic!

August was tinged with sadness for me, how could I let my big girl head to college, how was she really old enough to fly our little nest… but the time came, we packed up our car full to the brim and moved her into her dorm room, I left with tears in my eyes… but it’s funny how change becomes our new norm, we adapt much quicker than we think is possible… and to be honest it has given us opportunities to visit her and stay in hotels for a few nights away… which is always a plus in my book._dsc0412

The next few months saw my Mum and Dad arrive… yay!  We experienced Family Day at college, Florrie and Tate’s best day EVER, we went apple picking in October on the hottest day, 90f… we managed a few late season swims in Jill and Bobs pool before it closed… and we simply chatted and chatted. This was also the time Jill and Bob moved back to England, our Monday’s definitely changed over night, no drives to Rockaway and no lunches sat around their table chatting about anything and everything, but as I said before the thought of change is daunting but when it happens it’s funny how quickly we adapt, but in all honesty it really doesn’t mean that we still don’t miss them… 7 years of memories is hard to forget for me, that’s for sure._DSC1496 (1) copy

The last part of our year has flown by, we have have visited Princeton, New Hope in PA, Lambertville, Madison and Ewing just a few times.  We have experienced beautiful sunrises, ice rain storms and a huge amount of snow.  Two of my children have left their jobs and are about to start new ones.  We have reconnected with old friends, which I love… and this year for the first time ever we have changed the Holidays up a little, starting the Christmas Break with a wonderful getaway to Long Branch New Jersey, followed by nine days of nothing, just being in the moment, enjoying our family before our busy new year begins.DSCF1553

Change is inevitable, often the thoughts leading up to that change are far worse than the time that follows… the one thing that I have learned as I get older is to try and stay positive even if you are totally scared of what will come next…

Happy New Year everyone.


First snow day of the year…

Now what shall I do with a whole day trapped in the house by the falling snow outside… I am definitely not a winter person, but there is something totally beautiful about a snow day at home, photos of an excited Florrie and Lewis trying to build a snowman,  the fire roaring, a stock pot cooking away with natural ingredients smelling through the house and Disney Junior playing on the tv, and that’s all before 9am.

In the past year health has become a very important issue to me, two members of our house were diagnosed with long term health issues, I am not a huge fan of taking medicines but when you are faced with health issues then you have to do what is best for you, but I do believe that we can do more natural things to help us get better and stay that way, hopefully… And that is why I have been manic about a healthier lifestyle.

We are not totally gluten free in our house but with autoimmune diseases, gluten could be an issue causing leaky gut, these problems need to be addressed to help our bodies heal naturally, and that is something I am trying to do.  With so many people living in our house I always get comments about any new way of eating, but gluten free products are becoming more regular products in my shopping cart each week, of course clean eating with natural good quality products mean that less gluten appears in our meals.  

Bone broth is meant to have fantastic health benefits for every one, even if you do not have on going health issues, bone broth is a fantastic food to add to meals or simply drink alone, so that is why right now on the first snow day of 2016 I have a slow cooker simmering away with bones and vegetables making my first ever pot of healthy goodness… Believe me though, the thought of eating the marrow from those bones grosses me out totally, I know that the health benefits for my family far out way my feeling about this, so I think this will now be a weekly routine for me.  

A friend of mine recently told me of a farm she uses for her natural healthy meat she purchases in bulk, I love this idea, even with a large family I think I could make this work. Buying natural grass fed, organic meat is getting easier these days as I think more and more people are becoming more health conscious, but I really like the idea of knowing exactly where my meat comes from and how the animals are looked after, I am also hoping they can include bone marrow in the meat order too, although all the bones I cook with will be used anyway, it seems you need good quality bones for a really good quality broth.

My new kitchen is on the horizon after 8 months of planning and researching I think I have finally made a decision… IKEA it will be in March when they have 15% off all kitchens, I’ve waited this long I may as well get the discount, it’s a must when you are spending so much money.  I will finally be getting back into baking, cooking and just fun, fun, fun in my kitchen again.  IKEA kitchens are well thought out, the combinations are endless and with a few design touches here and there I feel they can be made to look custom not flat packed and boring.  I have looked at many, many kitchen cupboards, and although the IKEA cabinets are not that much cheaper than other places they do offer flexibility and they look stylish… The only downside that I can see is that they come flat packed, so that is a lot of IKEA instructions, cabinet parts and time needed to assemble them.

I guess today is going to be spent writing a blog, drinking coffee and of course some wine, cooking and eating, on today’s menu is nitrate free organic bacon sandwiches, of course GF bread, with eggs and avocados, dinner will be grilled sausages, creamy potatoes and a warm winter salad.  Florrie has plans to bake some cookies for everyone and maybe we will read a book or two together… But to me snow days mean chilling out with family safe and warm indoors… Whatever your plans today, stay warm, safe and happy.