This is the time of year when the Christmas music is on all the time, we start our mornings sitting by the fire doing our early day reading. At night we turn on the outside lights whose warm twinkle makes everything a bit more beautiful and festive. Its a wonderful time of year, a time to reflect on the abundance that we already have: our family who keeps us humble and in check, our friends who fill our hearts and spirits with joy, the comforts of life that we take for granted on a daily basis- a warm home, choices on what and when we eat, acknowledging the love in our lives, the blessing in knowing that our children with not be without. Let this be a time to look at the stuff we have acquired and a chance to assess what are needs really are. With the gift giving season upon us, take a moment to listen to what would be special and meaningful for those you love, let there be a shift in what you buy and give. Honor the blessings that are already before you and use this time to fill hearts and souls wisely.
With that off my heart, I wanted to share one of my most favorite holiday drinks with you, coquitio. Its the Puerto Rican cousin to egg nog and its by far our seasonal go to! I have tried many recipes over the years, some are too over spiced, some too too sweet and some plain, blah. This year I set out early to search for the perfect recipe and came upon the one below, its a little bit more time consuming but well worth the effort. I made the recipe a bit simpler by omitting the whole coconuts for dried flakes and replace the fennel seeds for a few spice berries for a bit of a different flavor.
Coquito (recipe adapted from Saveur)
4c dried unsweetened coconut flakes
2c premium coconut water
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
6 whole allspice berries
4 egg yolks
1 13.5-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. Kosher salt
1½ cups dark rum
Place coconut water in a small pot; add cinnamon stick, star anise, and allspice berries. Bring to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep 10 minutes. Strain and discard spices; set aside.Combine liquid and half of coconut meat in a blender; mix on high speed until finely pureed and thickened, about 30 seconds. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve or a milk nut bag into a measuring cup; , twisting tightly to extract liquid. Discard coconut solids and return strained liquid to blender with remaining coconut meat. Repeat blending and straining process (you should have 2-3 cups coconut milk, add water so that it equals to at least 2c); rinse blender .Combine coconut milk, yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in blender; mix on high speed until frothy, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in rum and refrigerate until ready to use.
We usually make ours without the rum unless we are having guests or a party, this way its kid friendly and the adults can spike their drink as needed. Enjoy!
Having a relaxing homeschooling day, lounging about the house, reading books and writing in bed. We are resting after a busy weekend, Lucy volunteered for her first time on her own, working a shift a Urban Craft Uprising. She was in charge of passing out raffle tickets, she did amazing and was able to do it all on her own. We couldn’t be prouder. I also wanted to share a photo of what I see every night while putting the baby to sleep, its the beauty of Lucy reading for her last minutes of the night. She is reading through books like crazy, its such a delight to hear her share the excitement of what is happening in her books, currently she is going through all the Beverly Cleary books she can get her hands on!
A few more specials from the week:
-our annual Santa visit
-signing up for a year long course in the healing arts
-excited to plan our holiday meal
-enjoying all the holiday festivities and traditions
I’d love to hear some of your favorite holiday traditions and recipes! Do share.
Every year I make a simple little ornament for Lucy, the tradition now continues with Anaïs. While I was sewing these my heart was overcome with love and gratitude for the special beings in my life, two women who show me everyday that beauty is wholehearted, they love me with pure gentleness. I, in return, make them things with my hands- all while holding the intention of love and their well being in my heart. When I was sewing I started to question why it is so important for me to make things, to have these offerings for my children, I sat there for a moment and thought of the history of my own life.
The Christmas season has been a bittersweet holiday for me, my father passed away, in the early morning hours of Dec 26th when I was 9. He held a lot of the holiday traditions for our family: the baking, the Christmas music and of course the magic of Santa Claus, he was the cornerstone of my life. In the years after his passing I had a longing for those things but they never really seemed to come back in their true form, until I became a mother. I too, want to give these beloved gifts to my daughters, to revisit the things that I learned from my father that made this time of year so special for me. So with not only creating traditions around the season, I feel extra moved to create things that are tangible for them, a lasting memory that they get to take with them when the grow up, items that hold a story for them that they can pass down and treasure. I am an artist, my love is shown through my creativity whether it be through a photo, a knitted sweater, a recipe or a simple ornament. This love is shared with my family and and friends; now when I look at my Christmas tree I am not only reminded of this but of my father and everything is now a whole lot sweeter.
This should have made an appearance last week as to give some sort of inspirations for making your own but alas as life is these days some projects are done at the last minute. So in tradition with every other year, I made this year’s calendar. Its made from toilet paper rolls covered in white paper with sparkly red sticker paper on top and white vinyl numbers I’ve had lying around since college. There are small treats, trinkets and treasures and a few toys for the baby but the fun is most had when punching through the paper.
My sister in law started this lovely tradition of running a 5k on Thanksgiving for herself years ago, this year we were able to join her along with my other sister in law and her husband. Although we weren’t in it to win it and our group was divided between the runners and walkers, it was a delightful way to start the day and much easier to justify that extra slice of pie! It was a beautiful foggy morning, the sun was shining and the looks across everyone’s faces in the end said it all, we were happy and together as family. Even posting the few images bring a smile to my face and a warmth in my heart. The Turkey Trot is definitely a tradition we are gonna keep.
A few more lovelies:
-the baby is back to long sleeping stretches (for now)
-I am amazed by the workings of a 7yro brain, which is also teaching me patience
-I am excited and proud about a project I’ve been working on as a gift to family, friends and readers.
-cold crisp mornings spent by the fire
-knitted sweater no.1 down, no.2 on the needles
-the excitement of Christmas in the air
The lovely list today is two fold; part gratitude, part recipe…and then thankfulness for said recipe, so it all comes full circle, or could just be the head cold, teething baby woes, lack of sleep talking. This past week has completely depleted my energy reserves, the stuff that keeps everything together even when things are difficult- mine are shot! We all have been fighting this cold and the baby is teething, fussy, unhappy, not sleeping which make my days feel like 72hrs instead of 24. My days and nights feel the same, everything is a blur and I am not able to get away to give myself time to restore and rejuvenate my reserves. I am finding myself snappy, telling everyone in my home how hard mothering is and feeling like I am scrambling to find 10 minutes for myself, somewhere, anywhere. That all being said, I know this is something that will pass but while you’re in it, its sometimes hard to see the end or even think that other people (that would be people who are not moms) get what this is like. It can quickly spiral inward into a world of self pity and the overwhelmed. I know sleep can quickly change this all, so would a good date night or an evening with girlfriends who make your life feel like you’re in Sex in the City. So the mix of not feeling well, wanting my life back, fussy teething baby and lack of sleep has brought me the kitchen to make something that will bring relief, comfort to us all and is a quick home remedy. I suppose a glass of whiskey would offer some of the same benefits, for myself.
WARMING EUCALYPTUS RUB
5 tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil (a natural anti-viral)
1 tbsp. sweet almond or olive oil
2 tbsp. beeswax (chopped or grated)
8 – 10 drops eucalyptus
15 – 20 drops rosemary oil (I infuse my own by taking a few sprigs and frying them in olive oil, you know its done when the leaves have turned brown but are not burnt)
In a small pan, melt the coconut and olive oil. Add the beeswax, stir until melted. Add the essential oils and stir to combine. Pour into glass jar and allow to cool.
I sometimes I also add tea tree, lemon, peppermint or clove oil (no more than 2 drops) to the recipe above.
|*Please note: Do not add peppermint oil if this is going to be used on babies or small children*|
I apply it to our chests and slather it on our feet, cover with socks and enjoy the benefits of cough relief.
Here’s to sniffle free days, sad baby woes be gone and to mom getting some much needed time to herself without having to answer a single question, pick up a thing and having her body all to her own for a bit. Be well and stay healthy.
Hello Friends! Thanks to everyone for their continued support on this memorable project. Lucy is making friends across the country, finding out that we are all more connected to each other than one would first think. This is currently what our map looks like. We are still looking for connections in: Kansas, Delaware, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Vermont and Georgia. All other states are in the works but could thing could change at any moment. Lucy is learning all sorts of life lessons through this project including one of being stood up, but she easily brushes it off and then we are out to look for another lead. So if you or someone you know who might be willing to help out in any of the unmarked states, please contact us via the contact link above or in the comments below.
We are gathering all of our info, stories and facts in one place and looking forward to sharing the final project with everyone!
The Girls and I are on the mend from a horrible cold, fevers, sleepless fussy nites, sniffles, coughs and all the in betweens. Things should be back to normal in no time, thanks to having Dave work from home the past few days. Our lives have been filled with hot cups of tea, reading Ramona The Brave, little bits of knitting and lots of cuddles.