Thursday, 27 December 2012

Planning For A Healthy New Year!

File:Fruit bowl.jpg

Source for this image here.

Today I am having a quiet rest day!  And very pleasant it is too.  I really enjoyed the rush and hurry of Christmas, and all the fun that we had together.  But I also rather like the peace and tranquility of the period between Christmas and New Year, which for me is a time to "take stock" and think about the year that has passed, and about how I hope the year to come will be.
We had such a lovely Christmas - and it isn't over yet, although Papa Bear's brothers and the 2 dogs have left now for their long journey in the car back home.  It was so good to see them and to enjoy being with our close family.  Papa Bear especially enjoyed seeing these 2 brothers, who live too far away for us to see them as often as he'd like.  He misses them - but we were able to catch up with all the news this past week!  There was so much to do, too - lots of delicious meals, visiting with other family, lovely country walks and trips to nearby towns.  We seemed to cram in an awful lot, in just under a week!  Now our home seems rather empty without them.  This year we have left the Christmas decorations up a bit longer than usual, and I shall take them down at the weekend instead of today or tomorrow.  The cubs pleaded with us - so they will stay up a bit longer!  After all Christmas doesn't officially end until 6th January which still feels quite a long way off!

Not so long that I don't want to start thinking about making a few plans though!  I have some "spring cleaning" that I want to get started next week - partly so that I can rearrange a few things to display some of the lovely gifts that my sweet family gave me - and make room for the new items for our wardrobe that Papa Bear and I received, and for the kitchen too!  Oh dear me we all did seem to get an awful lot of lovely gifts!  There were so many presents under the tree on Christmas morning that they filled the whole space beneath and all around as well!  It took a long time to unwrap them all - but that is part of the fun, isn't it!  And now we are all enjoying finding new "homes" for our lovely gifts, and busy thanking each other for being so thoughtful and generous!  I am always amazed at how perfect all the gifts are that my family give me - things that I would have chosen myself - and usually I haven't ever mentioned that I'd like that particular pie dish, or this particular cookbook - but I get them anyway!  We were all delighted - but the gifts were only a small part of what has been an especially lovely Christmas this year.

We enjoyed some really delicious meals, especially our Christmas dinner, which I will share about in a separate post.  It was our usual Christmas Day fare of roast chicken with lots of extra trimmings, but I managed to cook it all - enough for 6 hungry people - in our very small oven, so I thought I would share how I managed to do that - and without shedding any tears or even much fluster!  It was very much enjoyed by all (especially the "pigs in blankets", I hear Papa Bear say.  In England "pigs in blankets" are sausages wrapped in bacon - and yes, they were yummy!).

But after all that fancy food we are all wanting to have a move away from the rich, sumptuous fare of Christmas festivities and choose much simpler, cleaner tasting dishes.  Tonight we are having a simple pasta dish with a spicy tomato sauce, and tomorrow, an Asian salad with quinoa, and teriyaki salmon.  Quite different from what we've been eating of late!  I have this morning finished getting my menu plan organised for our supermarket shop tomorrow, and I'm so excited to share a new and very nifty website that I've discovered, that makes not only menu planning, but also shopping list writing and general organising and scheduling much easier to do!  I wonder if this might mean a move away from my "daily treasures box"?  We'll have to see!

The website I've found is called Cozi, and if you haven't discovered it yet yourself, I would certainly encourage you to click the link I've added here and have a look - it's brilliant!  I'm a novice yet, but so far I have discovered how to have a "family" scheduler with all our different commitments on it, a working shopping list (that can link to specific recipes if I want it to) and best of all, a menu planner, where I can add all my favourite online recipes!  I already have an online "recipe box" on Taste of Home, and it's so easy to import the recipes I use most from there, onto Cozi, where I can add them to this week's shopping list, and organise them onto my weekly (or longer, if you want it to be) menu planner.  If I want to change things it's so easy to cut and paste, and I like that everything is all in one place - just like my "daily treasures", but with all the recipes I plan to use for the week linked in!  I'm only using the free apps so far, but you can pay to upgrade and have more options.  You can also access the website via a Smartphone (and vice versa) but I don't have one of these.  However, Papa Bear does, so tomorrow we are going to try accessing my shopping list using his phone whilse we are in the supermarket (I'm taking a paper list too, just in case, as quite often our mobiles don't work in stores).  It's all very exciting to me - I'm not anything like as familiar with technology as the rest of my family, so it's a great novelty, but a useful one too!

Tomorrow as well as doing the supermarket shop, I hope to do a bit more organising and tidying - I was very busy this morning getting our home straightened after all the festivities of the last few days - and then hope to have time to start reading some of the new books I have - or perhaps being some knitting - or a new cross stitch, or the beautiful family jigsaw puzzle we have?  I'm spoilt for choice now!  Papa Bear gave us a boxed set of the complete and unabridged BBC audiobook production of "The Lord of the Rings" which is providing lots of entertainment and best of all, I get to sit and listen to it in my beautiful new rocking chair!

Life is so good just now!

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