Sticky Spicy Coffee Cake.

Yes, coffee cake. Yes, sticky and spiced.

Not much more explaining needed.

Ingredients:

  • 500g flour and raising agents
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5tbsp honey
  • 3tbsp coffee granules
  • 1tbsp cocoa mix
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 1tsp allspice

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • greased, lined or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Fold in the eggs, vanilla and honey.
  4. Add water and keep stirring until a mass is formed.
  5. Pour into the baking tray and bake until a skewer comes out with a few sticky, but firm, crumbs holding onto it.
  6. Cool fully.
  7. Serve with cream. Or butter, if you’re more like Jon and need the savoury edge.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Love is a Limited Resource.

It seems to be assumed by many that because we can feel love infinitely, we can also give love infinitely. In principle, the idea that love (the feeling) is infinite is not all that harmful. But love is not a feeling. Love is a verb, an action. You can claim to love someone even when you do not support it with your actions, and everyone will agree that is not love. Therefore, in reality, love is the act of loving, not the act of feeling love. And the act of loving is a limited resource.

This is evidenced by people who claim to love infinitely.

Parents of many children claim to love every child, but eventually hit a point where their children are suffering the compression of their homes and their days.

Radical vegans claim to love all animals and to wish harm on none, but will cause another human vast amounts of pain for not agreeing with them.

Animal hoarders claim to love every animal they own whilst simultaneously making all of them ill and even killing some of them.

Polygamous people claim to love many sexual and romantic partners “the same”, but will readily reduce their exposure to all their partners to accommodate a new love.

Hippie types claim to love all people, but will distance themselves from people who are violent, the very people who would most benefit from their world view.

Humans simply cannot love infinitely. Our love is a limited resource. Why? Because the ways in which we show love are physically restricted.

Time.

Our time is limited. If we have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing, then every person we add to that list reduces our ability to socialize with the others. There is a reason we value having a few close friends over hundreds of distant ones. It is simply easier to love and be loved by someone you see and talk to for an hour a day than by someone you see and talk to for an hour a month.

Resources.

We show our love also by sharing resources with others. Whether it’s taking someone out for a fancy meal or simply feeding our children the bare basics they need to survive, the more mouths we add to our list to feed, the less we can feed each of them. Whatever you offer someone as a token of love, every person you add breaks it in half.

Energy.

And we also only have so much energy to invest in people. Maybe we do have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing. But that also involves the energy expense of moving to see people, engaging in actions and, for introverts, just putting on our social faces. The more people you deal with, the less energy you have to deal with each of them. So you could theoretically throw a party every night and socialize with a hundred and fifty people per night. But it will drain you.

Quite simply, we have so much to give. And we need to be aware of that. Otherwise we end up in a family of fifty with nothing to eat, or hurting a friend to prove we love an animal, or adopting three cats into a deadly environment, or seeing our partners rarely to keep face with other partners, or pushing away people who need our help to encourage good feels.

Our resources are limited. We cannot love everyone. Instead, we need to allocate some of our love to everyone of value in our lives and prioritize who gets the most of what we have to give. Otherwise we end up with nothing left to give and nobody to give it to.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

FitFriday, FatFriday XIX. Getting tired of this.

Baby.

I’d been warned I’d get tired of pregnancy and I figured “fair enough, not like I’ll exactly enjoy all the side-effects”. I had seriously underestimated how fast your ability to function goes downhill. I’ve had a fairly easy pregnancy and in the last week or so I’m overtired, puffy, losing my appetite, not got a great sense of balance and am forgetting everything. So yeah, I could do with the next 5 weeks passing super quick. Got another scan in 2 weeks to make sure all is still well, but it seems to all be on track.

Diet.

It’s weird to think only a few weeks ago I was eating everything. Now I can’t fit any food in at all. Avoiding junk is the least of my worries.

Weights.

With all this complaining, I’m actually pleased to say I’m still doing a few weights sessions a week, keeping on top of the garden and doing calisthenics and yoga whenever I can. My balance may be shot, but keeping active keeps me sane. Can’t wait to get back to proper powerlifting again.

How did your week in fitness go?

How To… be better than your man.

Confused? Let me explain.

If we aim to be excellent homemakers, we are therefore aiming to improve ourselves. And in this improvement we should find that in some areas we begin to surpass our partner. After all, the breadwinner, even if they are also working on self-improvement, will be excelling in other areas. They may have been a great cook to begin with, but we aim to be an excellent cook. They have no interest in gardening or DIY but we are mastering them both. In short: in some aspects we will be better. And there is a right way to handle this. We will use budgeting as an example, as it is a personal one I have more knowledge on.

1: Acknowledge each other’s abilities.

Regardless of what your relationship dynamic, acknowledge and accept that even if you are great at budgeting, this does not make you superior as a human being. First of all, your superiority in this area does not mean they are no good at all at budgeting. And secondly, they are better in other areas which at other times may be more important.

Key here is also that they acknowledge your abilities. To say you are great at budgeting in no way takes away from the fact that they can handle their budgeting when they need to, nor does it cancel out their own abilities.

2: Acknowledge your own limitations.

Likewise, we need to accept our limitations. Just because we are better at budgeting does not make us absolute experts. There will be nuances they are more familiar with, or the situation may be one that you have not handled yet. It is impossible to know everything.

Again, your partner is likely aware of their personal limitations. They know that you have an edge in most areas and are unlikely to be being stubborn when they refuse your help. It is more likely that the nuances and your limitations concern them.

3: When a decision involves you both, talk about it first.

Regardless of how expert you are at budgeting, or whether or not your skills are superior, do not make decisions that involve them without talking about it. It is one thing to offer advice from experience or to make a final decision when it is up to you. It is another thing entirely to walk up to your partner and declare you’ve moved your life savings into a form of investment. Even if the end decision is exactly what you expected it to be: don’t assume, ask.

4: When they are struggling, offer help.

When the final decision is up to them, do not attempt to wrangle it from them or undermine them. Instead, offer your advice and let them listen to as much as they want or need to. If the decision affects you both, your partner will be willing to hear reasonable input. And if they are genuinely having a hard time, they may welcome some help. But the key is to offer, never to force.

5: Do your best, but know when to back down.

Sometimes your awareness of the specifics is not good enough to carry you through. Sometimes they are determined to make a certain decision even though you fear it. Know when it is not your place to try and control your partner and back down. If you need to, take action to safeguard yourself. But do not turn an offer of help into a “do what I say or else”.

Quite simply: don’t try and control your partner’s life just because you have more knowledge or skills in a highly specific area; but also do not let them make you act against your knowledge or best interests. Communicate, be kind, be humble.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Lebkuchen. German Xmas gingerbreads to practise.

There are some great recipes for Lebkuchen out there, but this is the one that works best for us. I decided to start practising making them when I found out ALDI may not have them this year and panicked. They have them now, but tbh I prefer the homemade ones.

Ingredients.

For the cakes:

  • 500g wholemeal flour and raising agents
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar, brown or cane
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4tbsp honey or 1tbsp molasses
  • 2tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1tbsp powdered ginger
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp allspice
  • 1/2tsp paprika

For the frosting:

  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 20g salted butter
  • 2tbsp chocolate sauce
  • 2tbsp honey

Utensils.

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • large ceramic bowl, small ceramic bowl and spoon
  • small pot
  • greased, lined or nonstick baking tray

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place chopped ginger, half the sugar and the lemon juice in the small pot and cook on a very low heat until the sting is gone from the ginger. Add a little water if it starts to dry.
  3. Mix all the dry cake ingredients.
  4. Incorporate the eggs, lemon and water until the dough is stringy, pourable, but retains some firmness.
  5. Pour into a baking tray and spread out evenly.
  6. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. At 1″ thick, ours took 40 minutes.
  7. Leave the cake to cool.
  8. Once cool, pour boiling water into the large ceramic bowl and place the small ceramic bowl inside it.
  9. Put the chocolate in the small bowl and stir as it melts. Replace the hot water as required to keep the chocolate melty.
  10. Stir in the other ingredients.
  11. Pour over the cake.
  12. Leave the cake to cool.
  13. Slice and serve.

I’m starting to worry I haven’t seen any turrĂ³n lately either… Maybe time to dig out another recipe.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

It isn’t wicked to be an enabler, just misdirected.

It is often too easy to see the flaws in a behaviour and not the healthy points at the root of it. Enabling is one of those behaviours where the healthy components are often overlooked.

When we call someone an enabler, we usually mean “a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another”. However the primary definition in the dictionary is not that. That part comes second. The primary definition is “a person or thing that makes something possible”. And that’s something important to bear in mind.

An enabler, at their core, is someone who wants to give someone else what they want. The enabler may enable an alcoholic by buying said alcoholic more drinks when the alcoholic’s state is too bad to get out the house. The enabler will do this because they believe it is good, as it makes the alcoholic happy. They do not want the alcoholic to suffer or do badly; if they did they would be a saboteur: “a person who engages in sabotage”, to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.

The problem therefore is in what they are enabling. They are enabling a negative habit, which in the end will cause more harm than good.

And therein lies the problem. An enabler is not a wicked person. They simply need to learn that what they are enabling is a wicked thing, that temporary happiness and praise is not a sign all is well, and often they will adjust and make efforts to enable more positive traits.

Enabling, once redirected, is a marvellous and powerful thing. Housewives and the home guard enabled healthy men to go to war when it was required. Kelly Ann Conway enabled Trump to portray himself well to the media. General Curtis LeMay enabled the Berlin Airlift. Objectively, in all cases everyone involved benefitted from their enabling.

So don’t fear being an enabler. Just ask yourself if you’re doing it for the feels or for the results.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What things have you enabled in the past? In what ways have you been enabled, for better or for worse?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

FitFriday, Fat Friday XVIII. It just keeps growing.

Baby.

Which is a good thing, considering how small it was until recently. I seem to be catching up with where I should be and, other than a bit of fluid retention, it’s all gone to the belly, so I know it’s more baby and other relevant substances. A bit of relief, to be fair. Still not grown into my old stretch marks yet, though. I’m wondering exactly how fat I used to be, because I’m willing to bet both my memory and the scarce pictures are failing to convey the sheer volume to me.

Finally got myself to pack the hospital bags with baby things. Survivability is so high at this stage that I don’t need to worry about the sad bits and can stash a few clothes and tiny nappies in the bag. It still feels kind of surreal, but my body’s a lot faster to remind me of the soon-to-be new arrival lately.

Weights.

Despite the physical challenges, I’m reintegrating high rep workouts for a simple reason: the combined hormone imbalances of pregnancy and cyclothymia are leaving me so neurologically challenged that I’m managing to break almost everything I touch. Squeeze things that should be held gently, drop things that shatter, and generally walk into things and “miss” when I reach to pick something up. I need my eyes to be focused a bit more often and my hands to do what I want them to at least half the time. And the only thing I’m not doing to try and get in order is weights.

It’s weird not being able to physically do some lifts, but it feels great to build a bit of work back in despite awkwardly moving around the bump for some exercises. And the regulatory powers of exercise are sheer magic.

Diet.

Still restricting high GI foods, though I found out milk chocolates are apparently low GI, which is kind of cool. Calories are where they are, but I checked yesterday and they haven’t changed much from when I was controlling them more closely. Snacking on veg seems a lot more appetizing lately and salt is really not wanted any more. I think I may just keep playing it by instinct unless the volume of food gets really out of hand.

How did your week in fitness go?