Mr E and I have slipped back into our relaxed morning routine again now the short holiday break is over. Breakfasting together before he picks up his lunch bag and leaves for work is one of my favourite moments of the day...
But not all things in 2016 are the same as last year.
You see, I decided it was time to draw my line in the sand and reduce the workload of Elefantz Designs in order to give more of my day to the gentle domestic life and embracing the slower pace of living in the moment.
I'm content with my business as it is and feel no need to expand or grow it further, which meant declining some generous opportunities - but my heart and head knew this full-time homemaker / part-time designer life would be the best and most satisfying path I could choose.
On Monday morning I sat down after waving Mr E goodbye and wrote a plan to re-structure my business week - freeing up four extra hours each day to keep house, bake, read, garden, connect with my children (face to face or phone calls) and try new things.
I've created a menu plan that also frees up time because it structures my Monday morning grocery list and removes all those agonising hours I waste wondering what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It also saves money which is a relief on the budget.
Most of the menu was taken from one we had used during our decade of homeschooling so all I had to do was remove recipes the kids had liked but my husband did not, and add in things he and I now enjoy.
I'll do a new menu each Monday for a month and then rotate it, incorporating seasonal produce availability.
I found THESE free printables online to write my menu on...
Whilst browsing our old menus I remembered we used to have fresh focaccia at least twice a week, but I hadn't baked any in years apart from one rye sour dough version that was delicious but took a lot of prep time.
Since Mr E and I had to reduce wheat from our diet we've just stopped having bread all together because he simply does not enjoy the gluten free kind. Not sure why, but it didn't occur to me that I could bake with the same spelt flour we use in biscuits and muffins. Until this week.
I used the same focaccia recipe I always had, replacing wholegrain wheat bread flour with the spelt and adding in some sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds for fibre.
It worked SO well. Oh my, you have no idea how good this tasted!
Today I decided to give my old bread recipe a try using spelt.
The result? Brilliant.
I can't wait to make 'normal' corn beef and pickle sandwiches again!
There was a lesson to be had in all of this.
I was so busy for the last couple of years that I didn't take time to think about suitable alternatives; I didn't experiment. I bought quite a few alternative cookbooks with recipes that required expensive ingredients and was disappointed that many did not taste good at all. My mind was on a 24/7 hamster wheel and it took all of last year to learn where the brake pedal was so I could slow down and think clearly about the path I was traveling and ask myself why.
When the mind is overloaded and overwhelmed, when time never seems to stand still, when you don't stop to appreciate what's right in front of you - the obvious is invisible.
I've found the brake pedal now, and I'm using it. Simple things truly do bring satisfaction and peace of mind.
What about you?