“Naomi. Will you just sit down.”
This has been a common phrase in my house for as long as I can remember. There’s always been a pull in me, a lasso if you can imagine it, taking me from one thing to another.
When I was a toddler, it got me lost. All the time, much to the dismay of my mother.
As a child, it took me to intensive dance classes, to neighbourhood softball games, and anything that would wear me out enough so that I would sleep at night. Occasionally, it also took me to the “yellow” line in the playground of Harnew Elementary School, where naughty children who perhaps couldn’t sit still (or listen, so I’ve been told), stood.
As a teenager, it took me to drama, literally and figuratively, with after school speech and theatre programmes that actually kickstarted my careers as a writer and reporter.
As an adult, it took me to the rest of the world. To the rice fields of rural Japan, the Khmer temples of Cambodia, even to the nearly 6,000 meter top of Mount Kilamanjaro in the east African country of Tanzania. Which for the record, I will never, ever do again. Me and altitude sickness do not mix. Very cool country, though.
Three years into motherhood, and I’m still moving. In different ways, albeit. But at the end of the day, once everything on my list is finally done, I will often sit down in the late evening, realising only at that point that it is actually the first time I’ve done so — all day.
Clearly, I’m in need of a yellow line in my house. And it seems, at least temporarily, that I’ve been given one.
A month into my new full-time gig, and I feel like me and this whole sitting down business have finally reached a happy medium.
Go to work, sit for eight hours, and let your body rest while your mind takes over. Write, edit, and write some more. Then switch gears. Head to daycare, pick up your son, feed, play, bathe and tidy, and finally, at the end of the day, when you hear the first muffled sounds of your toddler’s heavy breathing…
Sit down, and smile. And then do it all again tomorrow.
I must admit, I love this balance. Yes, I miss my full-on daily interaction with Aidan. When I pick him up in the evenings, it’s hard to only have a few hours at a time with him before bedtime. But I also feel like being at work is making me into the type of parent I always wanted to be for Aidan. I have more patience. I am doing better at planning our weekends so that we maximise the time spent having fun, and learning.
And, no joke, we are fighting less (can you even call an argument with a three-year old with a fight?), which translates into me not feeling a huge need to have that 5pm glass of “I soooo deserve this” wine.
In short, missing Aidan, being away from him, appears to be making me into a better parent. Who would have thought?
In mid-August, when my temporary gig is finished and I return to my responsibilities at home, I really do hope I’ll look back at this period and appreciate it for what it is…
When life gives you pie, take a big ol’ slice out of it and eat it while sitting down.
This week, to treat myself for reaching this happy medium, I’ve deeded to showcase one of my favourite pies. It’s the type of dessert that any busy stay-at-home mother or working-mother can make. Quick. Easy…
I first found this recipe on livingthepielife.com, and have since made only minor tweaks to it. It’s a fantastic recipe. What makes it so wonderful is that it uses fresh, uncooked blueberries for the filling. With the exception of making the jam, you can easily stay away from the stove or oven for the night (and yes, I AM referring to just buying a darn pie crust on those occasions — y’all know you’ve done it before.)
If you do have time to make the pie crust, just be sure to get your weights into your pie crust before baking. Rice or beans work great for this. I keep a collection in a bag, together with wax paper, all of which can be used over and over. Lay the paper over the uncooked crust, and in everything goes…
Throw the crust in the oven at about 160C for about 30 minutes. Some folks take the beans/rice out after 15 minutes. I choose to leave them in, especially when I’m not planning on baking the crust again. Keeps everything nice and level.
Thirty minutes later, your crust is done and ready.
Turning back to the filling — it’s simple. Follow the recipe as is, and you won’t be disappointed. Measure out your blueberries, wash them well, grab your sugar, cornstarch and water, and be on your way…
This is a versatile recipe. Sometimes I add lemon instead of lime. And sometimes I’ve even thrown in some lonely leftover raspberries.
As long as you stick to your solid/liquid ratio, it’s flexible.
And when you’re done, it’s just so pretty…
I even used this recipe for Aidan’s third birthday party back in late June. Same quantities, roughly, for both the raspberry and blueberry tarts.
There were none leftover by the end of the party. A friend of mine even commented that it was the first time her son had eaten blueberries, voluntarily.
With my tail between my legs, I confessed that it was likely because of the sugary jam coating it all. And to my relief, she was so thrilled he was eating fruit that she didn’t care about the sugar high he was about to have.
We all pick and choose our battles, right?
And there you have it. Berry pie, done right. I was really tempted to write out the recipe for this fantastic piece with my minor tweaks, but truthfully, there are so little worth mentioning (a splash more lime here, a spoonful more sugar there), that I think you guys should try it out yourselves. Enjoy the experimenting.
Three more official weeks of work, and I’m back in business with blogging. Until then, my friends, enjoy the pie.
A slice like this is definitely worth holding onto.