Homemade Bagels, Inspiring Reads & Winter Scenes

This week, we have mostly been doing homeschooling/going for walks and eating! One of my daughter’s pieces of work was to paint a winter landscape, so we decided to do one each πŸ™‚ Her teacher had done a sample one, so we just did our own versions of that. I found it relaxing (apart from my inner critic that won’t shut up even when I’m doing something just for the fun of it!) I liked the fact we were all doing the same painting, but all three turned out so different. I also liked the fact that the girls’ fir trees were fully decorated for Christmas on their countryside hilltop πŸ™‚

I think the thing I’ve been enjoying most recently has been baking. There is something about it that sends my mind to another place. I especially find kneading bread dough helpful – it’s a good way to get out frustration without any negative effects πŸ™‚ I decided to try making bagels for the first time. The process was completely different to what I would have imagined! I didn’t realise they have to be boiled before they are baked, and was a bit sceptical about whether that would work until I brought them out of the oven πŸ™‚ They were best eaten fresh out of the oven with lots of butter. I made twelve and the girls ate all of them in less than two days πŸ™‚ On the second day, I found they were best toasted, but that seems to apply to any homemade bread I’ve made.

The girls have been enjoying watching cookery shows together. I like the fact they encourage conversation and it feels like a social event, instead of everyone’s eyes just being glued to the screen. We have been rewatching Nigella Bites (the early seasons of her show.) There is something calming about watching it and I have pantry-envy each time I see hers πŸ™‚ The girls have been requesting that I make some of the dishes from it and it has made them (slightly) more adventurous than usual with trying new things πŸ™‚

We got another 200 piece puzzle to try. I found it easier to engage the girls in it because it included so many Disney characters πŸ™‚ We made some hot chocolate and finished it together. I think that mindful activities like jigsaws improve the girls’ concentration and their ability to sit still for longer than a minute πŸ™‚ I think the same applies to guided drawings too πŸ™‚

Today, we had a rainy day walk and when we got back, I felt the need to make the place cosy and bake, so I made some more Paris cookies πŸ™‚ They were popular with the girls last time and had all mysteriously disappeared πŸ™‚ I find chocolate chunks work as well as chocolate chips – they’re cheaper and you can put bigger chunks in πŸ™‚ Last time, I made them with dark chocolate pieces, so I tried them with milk chocolate this time. I liked the contrast of the bitterness of the dark chocolate with the caramel flavour of the cookies, but I wouldn’t turn down either of them πŸ™‚ Just looking at the creamy caramel dough makes me feel better πŸ™‚ The girls helped me with the chocolate part and they waited to lick the bowl. Watching them doing that instantly improves my mood too πŸ™‚ The cookies make a good mid-afternoon treat for when everyone’s energy levels are flagging πŸ™‚

I’ve started reading a book called “The Artist’s Way” and I’m finding it a really interesting read. It’s for anyone creative or with a desire to be creative and aims so show you how to unleash your creativity. I’ve started doing the morning pages and I can only dream about the artist dates for now (I won’t reveal what they are in case anyone wants to read it.) It gives you tasks to clear your mind and to motivate you.

I just published a new book (it’s the third part of a trilogy – Three Faces of Phil.) The third volume is called Face Up. It’s psychological fiction and after finishing it, I’m thinking about changing tack and taking some time to allow inspiration to come to me instead of actively chasing it down πŸ™‚ It feels like it’s time for something new and I’m excited to find out what that might be πŸ™‚ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Faces-Phil-Face-Up-ebook/dp/B08STV32G5/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=keelan+laforge&qid=1610570824&sr=8-5

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