Last Day of the Holidays

Today is the last day of the Easter holidays. You can tell that in our house because all five of us are slobbing out on the sofas, in front of the TV, watching something that looks as if it’s Total Wipeout for children – and none of us can be bothered to switch over to something more highbrow. I’m not watching it, honest. Except I just caught a glimpse of a woman dressed as WonderWoman. Shame she’s clearly way too young to remember the original series.

During this holiday, The Husband has taken the children shopping more times than his sanity should be able to cope with, accompanied us on a Matzo ramble, taken one of our children to a gym competition (he came fourth out of four but did incredibly well considering it was his first competition), taken them all swimming, to to the cinema, to a local stately home type thingy with grottos and interesting footpaths (and a cafe, the most important element of all) and to a local park, where all the equipment was wet and it started to rain. He’s supervised the consumption of vast amounts of chocolate, mediated arguments and sometimes physical fights about whose turn it is on the computer/wii/tv/iPhone/laptop, not all just within the family, saved the cats from being ‘cuddled’ rather too enthusiastically (you’d think they could save themselves but they are incredibly soppy cats), and somehow managed to keep all five of us adequately fed and in reasonably clean clothes.

And I went to work. I got paid for sitting in a calm and peaceful office, talking to adults, and messing around with data, which is up there with eating chocolate in the list of my favourite things to do. I couldn’t do his job. We know this because I was a housewife for quite some time, and not only was I just not very good, but I really didn’t enjoy it. And he couldn’t do my job. We know this because he worked in an office for 15 years, hating it more and more every day, until the inevitable happened and he got ‘let go’ for being unable to hide his contempt for stupid rules (who wears ties these days?? Really??) and even stupider bosses.

I’m so incredibly grateful to The Husband for working as hard as he does for my family. And the last day of the holidays is usually the day when I’m most grateful of all.

Links Wot I Like

Although obviously, it’s not the links themselves that I like but the websites on the other end of them…

1001 days of perfume – (almost) daily reviews of perfume, from the sublime to the ridiculous in both price and quality. Handy hints and tips on where to get good deals on certain scents, and thorough descriptions of the perfumes themselves – invaluable for someone like me, who can just about tell whether something smells nice or unpleasant once I’ve sprayed it on.

Angel Paths is the best tarot website on the interweb, owned and run by the best tarot reader in the world ever – Jan. A fantastic tarot information resource, plus a shop well worth a look if you’re having trouble knowing what to buy the person who has everything, plus forums discussing everything spiritual – mainly based on tarot, but also including discussions on crystals, gardening, the state of the world today, and probably the most valuable resource of all – the Huggy Healing forum, where you can go to ask for help or advice, to vent, complain or kvetch, where there is always a sympathetic and often an empathetic ear. Please note – everyone is welcome on the forums regardless of belief (or lack of it) as long as you treat everyone else there and their beliefs with respect.

A fitness and diet way of life which works on the principle that while our lifestyles and the food we eat have evolved since we were cavemen, our bodies have not. Known as the Paleo or Primal diet, the food involves a lowish carb, high fat, good quality protein diet. We try to stick to it as best we can, fail often, but probably do a little bit better healthwise and weightwise and exercise wise than we were before we started. Like all plans involving food or exercise, it’s a bit extreme, but unlike most of the others I’ve tried, it’s more or less doable, and has tangible benefits in a short time. I’m still fat though – I blame the matzos. They’re not Paleo friendly, just compulsory over Passover…

The official Mayim Bialik blog, at Kveller is a website which talks about all things parenting from a Jewish perspective. Mayim Bialik is the lady who plays Amy Farrar Fowler on the Big Bang Theory tv series, and in her youth, played Blossom in the sitcom of the same name (I’m big fans of both). Mayim is a Conservadox Jew, which I think means she observes Judaism somewhere between Orthodox and Conservative (Reform or Liberal in the UK). It’s similar to Masorti Judaism, vaguely, but American. Mayim is also a vegan, and practises attachment parenting. I read the blog partly because I’m such a fan, and partly because in an ideal world I would aspire to her values and practices, but I stand not a hope in hell of ever living up to them.

And lastly for now:

A very simple but addictive game! My whole family plays, and none of us have made it to 2048 as of today. My highest number so far is 1024…

Paleo Oat Cakes

In our mixed up, muddled up family, we are great admirers, and lethargic, well-intentioned followers, of the Paleo way of life – both eating and exercise. Yesterday we walked up a near vertical hill, which I’m sure our Paleo ancestors would have done once in a while, and then we trampled through both Paleo and Passover laws with the free hot cross buns we were given as a reward for reaching the top thanks to the Cymdeithas Twmbarlwm Society. Moving on, here is a vaguely Paleo friendly recipe for something a bit like a cross between a cake, a flapjack and a biscuit. It’s also reasonably lowish carb, more so than most of the treats it replaces in our house.

8oz oats (the kind you make porridge with. I’ve never figured out the difference between porridge oats and rolled oats, probably best not to use instant porridge mix)
4oz ground almonds (replacing this with dessicated coconut just to see what happens, is on our To Do list)
2 tablespoons honey
8oz block butter
Some raspberries – about 2oz?

1) Melt the butter over a low light or in short bursts in the microwave
2) Once the butter is melted, add the honey and mix well
3) Mix the oats and almonds together
4) Add the honey and butter mixture to the oats and almonds and mix very well
5) Add the raspberries to the mix and mix well
6) Put into silicone fairy cake cases and cook in the oven at 200 celcius for 12 minutes. If they don’t look done after 12 minutes, keep checking a minute at a time and take them out just when the tips are starting to burn slightly

If you can, leave them until they are cold to eat – they crumble a little bit less that way. But either way, you will probably be eating them with a teaspoon out of the cake case. They are strangely and compellingly delicious.