It is always lovely to look back and reflect on what you have done over the previous weeks or months, taking stock, observing changes and celebrating achievements. Even better if you can join together and see hat others have been doing too in their part of the world, blogging is a wonderful way of making the world a smaller place. Christine over a Slow Living Essentials started this wonderful reflection and has now passed the baton onto Linda at Greenhaven for the monthly link up here are mine for December...
...nourish December can be a month of overeating. When I worked in a supermarket in my late teens and early twenties I was always amazed at the quantity of food people would buy at that time of year. I know that many people do so because they are cooking for many more people than they usually would but I can't help wandering how much more food waste there is at this time of year compared to the other eleven months. I have tried to keep our diet simple this month as I know that the potential for upset tummies is higher. I am not, and never have been, a fan of the rich foods such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake that are traditional so I am looking forward to getting that back on track in January.
...prepare it is the season for parties and sharing food with friends. I have made quite a bit of food that we have added to buffets and Jacobs join meals with friends. Simple dishes such as dips and vegetable sticks, homemade bread sticks, hummus and falafel are what I tend to make to share.
...reduce December is the time of year when consumption and spending can be excessive. The scenes we have seen from Black Friday were thoroughly depressing to me. I had an idea for a present I could make for a few of the children I give presents too and realised that I could make them from bits I had already. These charming little baskets are a great way to use up small pieces of material, I had to buy a small amount of interfacing (used to stiffen them slightly) but the rest I found in my stash. My husband also made two presents out of pieces of wood he had in the workshop, a saw horse and a lee board (for use on a canoe when sailing).
...green last month I mentioned my uses of bicarb including as a carpet deodoriser and one commenter asked for the recipe so I thought I would share it here. I have used this successfully in our bathroom which is not a room I would choose to have a carpet in but we inherited it with the house. We have yet to refurbish the bathroom, and will definitely be installing a different flooring when we do, small children and carpeted bathrooms do not a good combination make! Now back to the deodoriser.....here is my recipe I adapted it from one which makes a very large quantity, I did not want/need to make that much:
4 tbs bicarb
1 tsp borax
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinamon
You can also add 1 tsp of finely chopped dried mint, rosemary, lavender and thyme I didnt have all of these so I just added rosemary and thyme.
Mix all the ingredients together and sprinkle on the carpet where you need it, leave on the carpet as long as possible and Hoover up. I do this last thing at night and Hoover up in the morning.
...grow we are in the middle of our coldest weather now, it is too cold for anything edible to grow. This time of year is all about tidying, weeding and fertilising. I have managed to get into the garden a few times to deadhead, tidy, and spread our own compost and horse manure that we collect from a neighbours family farm. It is good to give the soil a rest for a bit making it ready for the growing months.
...create I try to make as many presents as I can as gifts for Christmas and Birthdays. In years past I have knitted most of these but I was finding it took up about six months of the year which was just too long. This year I knitted a few and sewed many which actually meant I made many more presents in less time, five people were not given anything handmade at all, they were all given a book instead. The rest (eighteen) got one sometimes two handmade things and my husband made two presents too, maybe in the not too distant future we can make and give at least one homemade present to each person?
...discover I have been trying to focus more on festivals in the last few months of this year, finding a way to either observe them or to enhance our learning and knowledge about other cultures, religions and countries. As Advent drew nearer I halfheartedly thought about ways we could observe the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I have read about different ways that people do this and I wanted something simple that would work as a focus for the weeks which we could work into what we do. I settle on a focus for each week using the four festivals adopted by steiner/waldorf methodsof learning and it worked so well for us that I know we will use this again. I kept it simple this year but I know that we can use this as the focus of our learning at this time of year for many years to come and am looking forward to planning more activities in the future.
...enhance I had a knock on the door early in the month from our local councillor. Here in the UK some local services are run at a fairly local level with some money trickling down from central government and some paid locally. Every four years we get a chance to elect who we would like to represent us on the council to ensure our local taxes are being spent wisely, our local councillor wishes to stand down before the next election and asked me if I would like to stand in his place. I was rather taken aback, it is not something I had even considered. I have mulled it over and decided it is not for me but I was very flattered to be asked.
...enjoy this month has to be about celebrating Christmas with family and New Year with friends. Knowing that this will happen and does so every year is reassuring and comfortable. It is a very busy, bustley (is that a word?) time of year and it is easy to lose focus which for me is about family and friends. It should be a time of coming together and enjoying each other's company and that is exactly what we had this year, a perfect end to another good year.