How to: Making my own Face cream

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Hello! 

As many of you know by now I am all about “back to nature as much as possible”. Food wise I try to stick to organic as much as I can afford it and when it comes to personal hygiene I do not like to use too much bad stuff on my body either. By bad stuff I mean:

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I cannot even pronounce half of these ingredients so I will most certainly not put it on my body. I have been trying to find the best products out there that are the least harmful. Even most so-called organic brands are loaded with toxins. I am not even going into makeup on this post because this topic needs a separate article.

Creams. There is a plethora of facial cream, hand cream and body lotions out there and I have been trying them all it seems. Most of them, unfortunately also even organic brands, have ingredient lists as mentioned above. There has to be one cream out there that I can safely put on my face without breaking out or without getting all type of rashes. And strangely this was the problem with all my creams I have been using. After a while there was just this uncomfortable itching that made my skin dry and red. I needed help so after reading a ton about organic and more natural creams online I purchased this book:

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It is written in German but I will share the ultimate face cream recipe from the book that I slightly modified. It is important to make only a small portion of the cream because no preservatives, parabens
or phthalates are added.

I usually make two smaller portions (one I use right away and the other one I store in the fridge) and keep them in a little jar as pictured above.

What you need to make the cream: a digital kitchen scale, a small jam glass with a lid, a spoon, two small jars to  fill the cream in, a water cooker.  That is it!

My recipe:

Ingredients: 

5 ounce sAlmond oil   (14g Mandelöl)

0,14 ounces Lamecreme (4g Lamecreme) which is a vegetable emulsifier

0,17 ounces Sheabutter (5g Sheabutter)

1,6 oz boiled water (50ml abgekochtes Wasser)

Start by boiling water in the water cooker and clean the small jam glass as well as the other two small jars. I rinse them with water and some dishwashing detergent. Pour the boiling water in a small pot. Now sterilize all the jars and the spoon in the boiling water. I use a fork to just hold the jars in. It is important to sterilize all your equipment before you start. Otherwise the cream will mold in a very short time. Keep the hot water in the pot because you need it in a bit.

Now put the small sterilized jam glass on the scale and add the 3!!! ingredients. (Awesome, right!) Place the jar back in the pot with the water and stir the ingredients slowly with the spoon until everything is evenly dissolved. It goes faster when the glass is placed in hot water.

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Now take the jar out and add the 1,6oz boiling water. (Be careful the jar is HOT now!) Close the lid of the jar and start slowly shaking the glass. Now the Lamecreme starts to emulsify your cream. I put a kitchen towel around the jar, hold it with my fingers on top and thumb on bottom and shake slowly by tapping the palm of my other hand. Do this until cream is emulsified. (Approximately 5 minutes!)

Now I add essential oils. Here you can go all crazy. Whatever YOU want YOUR cream to smell like. I have a long row of essential oils that I have collected over some time. Usually I use this brand which is a little pricy but lasts for a long time. There will be an article on my collection of essential oils and aromatherapy soon so stay tuned.

For my creams I usually use a couple of drops of Lavender oil, Ylang Ylang and some Lemongrass for freshness. This is it. Your cream should last for at least 3-4 weeks. In the fridge up to 7-8 weeks.

Pretty simple and you know what you put on your skin. You could theoretically eat the cream. 😀

Thank you for reading my blog. 

Random thinking late at night.

“Feather to fire
fire to blood
blood to bone
bone to marrow
marrow to ashes
ashes to snow.” Gregory Colbert

Having finished Joan Didion’s “Blue Nights” it makes me think about life. I am into her books these days. It started with “Slouching towards Bethlehem” which I thought was a great read. I continued with “The year of magical thinking” which I loved and without giving too much away if you end up reading anything by her it gave me a great insight of how her life was back then when her husband died and her daughter was in hospital. So “Blue Nights” is about how she deal with the suffering after. I put the book down and thought about life. My life. Our life. My family.

I wish there was a way I could know when it would be the last time I would see someone. I know this is not possible of course but it reminds me to pay extra attention to what I am doing on a daily basis. (I know I should ALWAYS put my seatbelt on Jean!)

Hug and kiss the people I love more and pay extra attention to them. And make sure to hug these people even harder when it comes to saying goodbye. With me, living this sort-of expat life it is never easy. I have been saying goodbye so many times and I still cry.

We would certainly pay extra attention if we would know this is the last time we can see “them”. But on a daily basis? How many times did we leave the house after we had a fight with our significant other or family member? We don’t really care most of the time do we? We go about living our lives and our days. Sometimes I think we do act in a way that we will not feel sadness or regret when the inevitable does happen even though it is impossible not to.

How Joan Didion describes in “Blue Nights” how strong her relationship with her daughter was made me so sad. There was this deep deep love for each other. She has lost her but time goes on, life goes on and things happen. I tend to always worry. “Horrible -things -might -happen” kind of thinking. The worst is the older I get the more I see this happening but I am working on it and trying to get better. My husband on the other hand sees things relaxed. Not worrying and just dealing with the situation that is present. Here and now. As we all should.

Sometimes I wake up with a head full of anxiety. Then my brain is an enemy. I hate these feelings. I can be all happy for weeks, months, and happily bounce along and then one day something comes up in my mind and then there is this grey area – this fog. Sometimes I feel like things are going too well in my life so something has to bring me back to reality. So then I sit up in bed thinking about things, my mind racing, getting upset about something that happened way back when. And  recently I thought, wow, I am 34 years old… all these things I should have done with my life right now.  I felt so sad about myself because listing to others (even my family) I should have this and that by now and live there and have a house there and ablablab…. “All these things I could have done with my life”. I am human. I have these feeling once in a while.

However, I live this expat life and I love it. No matter what anybody says or thinks of it. I appreciate that the daffodils come up again in spring and that the snow falls in winter and that it is so freaking hot right now that we sit outside in the middle of the night just to feel a little comfortable.

We all have great days and bad days and we do all sort of things that add up into one big feeling about what we are building and creating. All we really want to know is what all this means. What this life is all about. I try to pay attention and try to remember. I tell my family and friends that I love them and hug them hard when they leave and I do enjoy every single moment when I am with them. All we do is keep going and looking ahead and I have learned that it is important to just carry the people that cannot be with me right now in my heat at all times. And in that way they will always be here instead of there; they will always be with me, a part of the now instead of just then. In my heart! <3

How-to: Easy at home Ramen

I love to cook and try out new things. I have had an eye on making my own Ramen soup for a long time. Ever since I fell in love with eating Ramen at a Sushi Restaurant. It is just a favorite treat of mine.  For those of you who do not know what Ramen: It is a simple noodle soup dish from Japan. Traditionally the Japanese put in rice noodles (these I used for this recipe as well) but I have eaten it also with Ramen wheat noodles. The broth is usually meat but sometimes also fish-based. Traditionally the Japanese add miso or soy sauce, and seaweed and sliced pork – or optional fish. Important here are green onions thinly sliced. Then add as many vegetables as you like. Simple.

So I have been enjoying Ramen now and then but finally I wanted to try to make it on my own. For some reason it felt intimidating but it is easier than I thought. I share my recipe here today but you can add, personalize or create your own flavor combinations of course.

Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients: 

1 lbs pork – either pork tenderloin or loin. (I used tenderloin – 6-7 pieces of meat)

1 big onion

6 large carrots

6-8 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sake (yes, you can drink some while cooking)

1 bunch of green onions (I just used it for decoration at the end and did not cook it)

About 2 ounces of fresh ginger root sliced or optional the already ginger that is already pre-made in the glass with water and salt added ( I prefer the fresh ginger)

4 cloves of crushed garlic

3 packs of ramen noodles. (I used organic “Forbidden Rice Ramen” from Wholefoods)

Toppings: Go crazy here. I used: carrots cut in small cubes, eggs, jalapeños, green onion, parsley, spinach and some more ginger

Instructions: 

Season the pork with salt, put it in a bowl and let it sit for an hour or so. Remove pork and place in a large pot on the stove. Now add the thinly sliced onion, some carrots, the ginger and garlic and six cups of water. Add the salt! (Mom always says: “Soup without salt does not taste good!”)  This is how to start the broth. Bring everything to a boil. Once it boiled for five minutes or so let it simmer for two hours. (This is important to keep in mind because it is quite a while!)

Now you have two hours to prepare all your toppings. First I sliced all the carrots into tiny cubes, cut the green onions and the jalapeños, washed the fresh spinach, cut it in stripes and put everything into small bowls so my family could customize their own bowl of Ramen. Put all the toppings in the fridge and start boiling the water for the Ramen noodles. Once water is boiling, put Ramen noodles in and let them boil for one minute or so. Then turn down heat and let them cook for another five minutes. Put in colander and rinse with cold water. You find the instructions on how to boil Ramen noodles on the package but I just wanted to share how I did it.

Now boil the eggs.

By now the broth should be ready. My mom told me to check if a broth is ready by putting a fork into the meat while it is simmering and if it goes through the meat nicely it all done. (Thanks mom!)

Take out the meat and start cutting it in stripes and place them into a bowl as well. Add sesame oil, soy sauce and sake to the broth. The broth can continue to simmer until you serve the soup.

To serve, fill bowl with noodles and now everyone can add the  toppings they want. Then pour broth into bowl. Add sliced boiled eggs and garnish with the sliced green onions if desired.

Pour the rest of the bottle of sake and enjoy!

 

How to: On the beauty products I use

A question came up recently from one of my readers on what beauty products I use on a daily basis and what’s in my make-up bag all related to me being a minimalist.

Well when it comes to the products I am using I keep it very simple. Usually I do not change my beauty routine too much. First of all I am very lucky with the type of skin I have. (Thanks genes!) Even when I was pregnant with my son I did not have any problematic, hormonal skin or outbreaks. This was I believe mostly due to the fact that I am not using too many products and the way I am eating because this is where it all starts.  So here I share what I am using more or less on a daily basis:

Let’s start with what is currently in my makeup bag if you can even call it as such. It is an old small grey leather bag that I found in one of my mom’s drawers years ago. I do not use too many makeup products at all because I am just not a big fan of it. So my routine in the morning to put makeup on takes about five minutes and is just very simple.

The products I have are mostly organic. For my hair I use Khadi Products. I have been loving these for a while. My hair is very important to me and I have written an entire post on my hair routine. Find it here

The trick is to apply the shampoo on DRY hair and only on the scalp and just a tiny bit. Not that much in the length. Then rinse after five minutes. Done! I wash my hair once a week and it is growing super fast this way. 😀 As far as washing the rest of my body I am using this soap:

I have been trying many soaps before. I even made my own at some point; however, none of them gave me a softer, creamer feeling on my skin than this one.

As far as makeup goes I have been using Dr. Hauschka products. This one for mascara and for an under eye concealer this one.  These are the only non-organic products I am using. They are a little pricey but they last quite a while. I also tested many drugstore mascaras before and they made my eyes tear up all the time and did not stick to my lashes so I looked like a raccoon after a while. Fail!

For my lips I am in love with this Lush product:

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This is it basically believe it or not. I am making my own skin and body cream and will be sharing the recipe on this blog soon. This cream I am also using on my son if needed.  It is all “back to nature” with me. 🙂 I want to put as little chemistry on my body as possible. I am open to try new organic products however.

My signature scent is COCO Mademoiselle by CHANEL. I have been using this perfume forever. Recently, I have been stumbling across Barr-Co. products and I am in love.

Here are my recent purchases:

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The smell is just very soft and powdery. I would also describe it as a fresh and clean smell. My husband likes it! 🙂 According to the labels on the products the smell is a blend of “milk, oatmeal, vanilla and vetiver”. I have been using the perfume every single day. In Canada I purchased the hand cream and am in love as well. It is just not sticky or greasy and lasts for a long time.

So there you have it. Nice and simple. As I try to keep everything in my life.

Wherever you go, there you are.

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Recently a friend of mine responded to my post on “Happiness”. Part of it was that she thinks it is not that easy to just pack up and go. Well let’s put it this way, there is a lot to be said when someone plans a change of scenery or even a move across the world.

Thinking when I made the decision to leave Germany behind almost eleven years ago and start a new life in the U.S. many of my friends said that I am just nuts. To leave a well-paid, secure job and just go into the “unknown” seems crazy. But I simply needed a change – needed a new challenge. And for me the grass is sometimes indeed greener somewhere else (on the other side) but there is just a great amount of truth in wherever you go, there you are. Home is where my heart is. For me back then it was very easy. I was single, no kid, no partner, no responsibilities but taking care of myself so I hopped on the plane and that was that. I was not running away from myself. All I wanted was to experience something new. I just did everything in my power to make this move happen because I really wanted it. It made me really happy.

I believe that if I really want something it will work out. If there are any doubts and there are beliefs that this pattern of ones life is okay the way it is then nothing will change. And this is also good. Whatever makes a person happy. But recently I have been hearing all this whining from friends that they would love to do this and that and try out this but they are not sure/afraid. All I am saying is: “Go for it if you really want it!” I have been down this road before. Many times. Even simple things as changing departments/units where I worked. I tend to get comfortable over time. And change comes not so easy anymore. If something does not make me happy anymore, if something does not fulfill me anymore a change is needed. My dream was always to live in the U.S. (well, I came here when I was 23 years old – Sex and the City anyone?).

America is extraordinary country with many beautiful areas. I was fortunate to live in Manhattan,  literally 15 walking minutes away from Times Square. Wow! But after a while, I wanted  to see the stars again at night looking out of my apartment/cubicle window. I would like to hear nothing but cicadas at night. See a squirrel here and there in my backyard. To enjoy the silence is basically impossible in the city. So guess what? I changed the environment I was living in. Simple as that. Change! Living the way I always had is not enough sometimes. Sometimes just asking myself “Why?” makes all the difference. Why am I not happy? Why do I want a change? This sense of disappointment if nothing changes and things just keep playing out the same way is just not working for me. I am still working on not worrying too much about things (I came a long way from constantly worrying to taking it easier). Even though I have taken this step of moving by myself to the U.S. I was worrying if things will be okay which is normal I think. Worrying about money, you name it. But sometimes I just have to stop. My husband tells me this  all the time. There is just nothing one can do in certain situations and worrying does not help. And most importantly all these moments I have already experienced are the only possession that nobody can take away from me.

Sometimes the answers are not easy to get to; however, they are always there but I have to take my time and examine them in enough detail and with care. Even though this is difficult. I believe making long-term changes that create change in life and that count starts just by digging deep and asking the right questions. And yes, I think it is okay to just pack a suitcase, go to the airport and head towards the sun without worrying about anything else. Even with kids. 🙂 So here you have it. This is how I enjoy my life with my family. In life, everything is temporal. The moments I have experienced are the only things I really own. Nothing else! Those are mine to keep and even more importantly to collect more and more. Adventure awaits.

The Book Review: Allen Ginsberg and I

 

“That tree said I don’t like that white car under me, it smells gasoline. That other tree next to it said O you’re always complaining you’re a neurotic you can see by the way you’re bent over.” – Allen Ginsberg 

I woke up this morning and I felt sick. Just this little cold one gets sitting in the car for too long with the air-condition blasting in the face. Not really sick as in stay-in-bed-and take-tons-of Nyquil-sick. Just blah-get-out-of-my-way-sick. (sorry Jean). So I made myself some breakfast that I did not really enjoy because my taste buds are sick as well I believe and I thought about what I can possible make out of a day like this. Sitting miserably in the kitchen my husband walks in and showed me “Allen Ginsberg’s ‘White Shroud” originally signed by Allen Ginsberg with one of these little cartoons he usually put on the cover page. Well I do LOVE Allen Ginsberg. With his poem “Howl” and of course the movie based on said poem I was hooked. I read basically everything by him. Front to back. I watched everything on Allen Ginsberg on Youtube. There is a great documentary on Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoevVtG-Gh8

My husband knows all this and bought this book for me. Classic. So, Jean walks in with this book and all I did was – I cried. Maybe due to me not feeling well or or or… who cares. But it was just so awesome. I asked him: “Is it mine?” And he said: “Of course my love!” How awesome is this?! I read the book almost instantly. Believe it or not, I have not heard about it nor have I even read any of these poems. Overall I can say that it is a pretty interesting collection of his poems. One particular poem “Love comes” I read out loud to my husband and he said: “Well, it is Ginsberg, he has his own style!” which is true indeed. His politically inflamed passion and his dramatic flair is just well… Ginsberg.

I think that his biggest achievement was “Howl” but “White Shroud” hits a few high marks that come pretty close to this poem. Was it Faulkner who wrote once that the best writers are those who try and dare and take risks and even if they fail they are still better than those who play it safe. In none of his books/poems was he afraid to take risks. He just wrote what he thought. Simple as that. Did this make him look silly? Maybe for some but who cares. Some poems in this book I must say I was scratching my head thinking c’mon Allen, you are not really trying to write something here. He was the first to admit that he got caught up very often in these demands of just being Allen Ginsberg (His poem “I’m a Prisoner of Allen Ginsberg”). I believe this is the reason why he put more talent and effort in some of his poems and just bothered less with others. In his poem “Going to the World of the Dead” for example I thought that he just did not care about what he had written:

Excerpt: …”Your Nuclear Bomb

Ho Ho Ho

Let go your Disaster your Death

Let go Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Millionaires of Mexico

Ho Ho Ho Millionaires of Nicaragua Let go Let go.”

I think this collection offers a good cross-section of his range. My favorites include “White Shroud”, “Industrial Waves”, “I am a Prisoner of Allen Ginsberg”, “Those two”, “In my kitchen in New York”. So overall I believe it is worth reading if one is a fan of Ginsberg’s work. My mom would hate it hahahaha! It is a good look into the mind of a radical who is trying to come to terms with getting older and leftover success and baggage.

And thank you again my love. For making this day special even though I do not feel well. <3

Is this all enough?

This question I had on my mind since I got out of the car today after driving around all afternoon. How do I start this post? Maybe I already do know the answer to this question above. It is enough the way it is. I have my husband and my baby and I love them. It is all clear. We just all sat in the living room today and I looked at my son – like really looked at him, eyes, face, hair, body, the whole picture and this is really all I need. His happiness when he looks into my eyes and I can show him “I am here. You are safe”  and I tell him without words and he feels and understands. I know this is all I need. However, then there is this little extra beat of my heart that makes me think of another baby.

I never ever wanted to have kids in the first place  so this is all weird for me to actually write about. All I always wanted was career,  travel the world, school, finish another BA, MA whatever. But I finally met the man who for the first time in my life  I could imagine having kids with. I just knew it would all work out – it would be all fine – I am okay and safe. Then I got pregnant and this pregnancy was a piece of cake. I was so fortunate. Nine months of just getting bigger, but no complaints otherwise. Then the birth – via c-section also okay. And I welcomed this beautiful baby boy into this world. (And I did not stop traveling – in fact it has gotten better. We just take the baby everywhere we go. Simple as that.)

Throughout the last year with all these changes in my family’s life I was dreaming about homeschooling (this won’t happen – just no way), about having my own garden to grow my food (this will definitely happen soon) and just live an awesome family life. So we had this one child and I saw how that went. It was easy. It was okay. I grew into loving being a mom, loving what I can teach this little soul on a daily basis. And then he grew and grew. My son is almost two years old now and I have loved every single second with him. I was so fortunate that I could raise him on my own and with my parents help because this is where I lived since my son was five weeks old. (My husband is on a mission with the United Nations in Congo).

I am feeling these days that more and more of his baby-ness is falling away. I am just wondering what is next. Another baby? Yes! I am open for it. I would love to have another one. I am wondering if I have any holes in my heart that yearn to be filled with another baby. Or if I want to grow our family one more time.  I am sure the answer is yes and if it will happen it will happen. No stress involved. I always asked myself when it is the right time to have a baby. When will I slow down enough to have one and say it is okay to have a baby  now. Well, there is no right time. Life never slows down enough so I would say, okay, NOW I want a baby because NOW the time is right.

I have promised myself that if we get the chance to get pregnant again that I will enjoy this beautiful season of my life. I will be in the now which will be so important and this is exactly where I want to be and where I need to be. We will see what happens next for this little family of mine but I am open for changes all the time. I have this little voice inside of me saying:
“If it happens it will be an awesome experience all over again!”

So I sit and I think.

It is Thursday, or Friday? I don’t know. I have been traveling with my family for the past four weeks and lost track of date and time. I am sitting here in our kitchen back home after another awesome day spent at the beach, with good food and lots of reading and books. Our son is sleeping – totally exhausted of running around at the bookstore and beach. Next to me is a big glass of water and I am enjoying the silence that goes with this beautiful moment and evening. Cicadas playing their little song in the backyard – quietness otherwise. This is my favorite time of the day. Reflecting on the day, me-time, reading, writing and simply enjoying that there is no hustle.

So what comes to my mind first? Happiness. How fortunate I am to live this life – right here – right  now. The previous three weeks spent in Martinique were one thing that I scratched off my bucket list just now. Also swimming with turtles in the ocean which literally made me cry. Jean and I had a long talk the other night about what makes us/you really happy and that this kind of life we are living makes us feel alive. This craziness, the traveling, sometimes uncertainties, the exploring and of course when life throws you a curveball to figure out how to solve the situation without freaking out – all those things.

When I look at our son I know what makes him really happy. He wants to run outside, explore, play. So we just do it; it is just that simple. And looking at my own life this way is actually what I try to do. Sometimes it is awesome to just get up and play. Well I have not always been this way. Many times in my life I simply chose to be around things and people or do things that did not make me happy or did not add anything positive to the bigger picture. I would do the same thing over and over (expecting a different result) and asking myself why this is not working. Now I ask myself what would make me happy and then I do it or figure out a way to get there. Simple as that. For me this happiness thing has been a long hard struggle. Many times I “thought” I was happy but isn’t it more about wholeness than being happy? Does what I am doing right here right now add to my wholeness? Does it add to the bigger picture of my experiences or my life?

What makes me feel alive? Definitely my family. Always has been – always will be. Being with them and traveling, sharing new experiences and this first excitement of exploring something new like this recent vacation to Martinique  is just what I live for. This pleasant feeling of waking up next to my husband, and feeling safe, knowing my son sleeps safe and sound in the next room – this is happiness. Of course the sound of the waves ten meters away from the bedroom was awesome as well. Or as simple as sitting in the kitchen together and just being in my husbands accepting, magical presence while he tries to solve some weird medal- ring- puzzle- something. Add a good book (currently I am reading Joan Didion’s “The year of magical thinking” and the “Journals of Sylvia Plath” by Sylvia Plath). Add a good meal: wine and some cheese and of course writing.

The other day I was complaining about something – not sure what but it was something silly. My husband tells me I should just spend that energy working to change the situation instead of keep complaining about it. I thought about my life and that I really needed this advice many times before. And if I look at my life – just the way it is now – there is no reason for me to complain about anything. Life is not simple – this is clear. Life is magical. I make the best out of it because I only have this one shot.  Sometimes when I just take a step back I can see everything clearer. Today I worked on my wholeness. Little steps, and this is where I begin.

Space Oddity

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”  -Jack Kerouac

So I am sitting here listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” thinking that life is awesome. It just is. Let me start by this morning. I “know” that my husband writes me a little good morning message every single morning but today he did not. I was not worried until he still had not responded to my messages until around noon. I thought that maybe something happened to him – simply because I am so used to this routine of him saying “Bonjour mom amour” every single morning. I believe in souls – and that we all do have one.

For my husband and I it feels that our lives and souls have been intertwined for quite some time now – almost four years and we have already accomplished so much. Time seriously flies. We were set out on a grand adventure from the beginning and I do not want to miss one single day of our past. It was perfect in its own little way. From restaurants where we sat until they closed and threw us out, to New York subway tunnels to discover something new and to eventually explore New York City in its entirety. Museums, Broadway shows, French restaurants or just sitting in a park doing nothing but reading which was my favorite thing by far. Street art and great music, all these long nights out to discover us. And then the baby we created.  😀 Perfection!

Through all the magnificent and sometimes also hard times we found strength in each other and we grew. Grew together. Sometimes I cannot fathom how much we have done so far in these couple of years and how much we have actually grown.

I am looking forward to the future and all that we were, all that we are and all that we are becoming. Always and forever mon amour. It is still hard for me to realize that I have found such a kindred spirit to walk beside. Awesomeness! Life with you is truly magic.

A Jar of Jam

Usually whenever I am traveling and leaving my parents’ place my mom makes sure I take a jar of jam with me. I believe to most people this would be weird – a jar of jam, or two – but to me it is always so much more. To just get a little idea about this jam-thing is to understand her way of saying that she loves me.  I see my mom picking all the berries from the bushes or trees when it is time to harvest – then proudly going to the kitchen and cooking the best jam ever is amazing. The way she washes the berries first, weighing and measuring all the ingredients will always be familiar; as the smell that flows through the house when the jam cooks is. And of course we always tried the jam with a slice of bread when it was still too hot to eat. 🙂

Then she gives me the nicest jar to take on my flight to wherever. How it is always important for her to make sure my family and I have always fresh sheets, towels, simply fresh everything when we come to stay. With me currently living here of course nothing has changed. Sometimes the feeling is just me reverting back to being 12-years-old when I am here. Of course I am grown up and the situation with me living at my parents place for so long now is definitely not normal but we arranged for the time being let’s say. I know I am their grown daughter and a wife and adult with a child and that this living situation will not be forever. But just the thought that they offered to help me and make me more comfortable I will never ever forget. And I have been telling them that I am very grateful for what they did for me and petit Joel so far; also for my husband when he visited.

It is also nice to see that every time my younger brother is here my dad makes sure his car is all checked before he leaves again. Tapes and fixes it, and fills some oil in here and there. All sparkle and shine. It is the cutting out of any “Sudoku” from the newspaper for him because he loves to solve them.  And the coffee that my mom always makes fresh whenever he wakes up.

Also when my younger sister comes home to visit they take care of her as well. And if it is just by taking her two kids for a couple of hours so she can relax and have a drink outside on the terrace with me at night. 🙂 Also how they let all of us know whenever they see, hear, or read anything that could be of interest to us; call with traffic updates or when they always say “call when you get home and be careful driving”.

These are my parents.  They show us that they love us verbally but also through actions. I have never realized this too much when I grew up because it seemed just “normal” but now since I moved away, came back, all grown up as a mother I can see and understand all this even better. I have been thinking today that becoming a parents after I have been parented all my life is pretty weird. When I grew up I had all these guidelines, models of what to do and what not to do or even more how to figure out how to solve something and what being a good parents looks like. All this knowledge I gained I have to apply to myself and my son now if I wish to do so.  Maybe just some of it – whatever I like best.

I have been thinking about the parent I want to be and the parent I currently am. I thought of my son and how he is growing up – and how  he at some point might look back at me as his mom and at the way I love him and did things for him. And most importantly I want for him to look back at his childhood and just feel happiness. Just remembering the smell of this glass of jam. All of these little things in our daily life like I have his banana in the morning sliced up, his apple juice mixed with water ready when he is having breakfast. All these routines that make him happy. Read to him every night and make sure he has his teddy when he curl up in bed – big love, little actions. 😀

A glass of jam, this all so familiar smell in the kitchen when my mom cooks it – I am looking forward to all these  things I can show my son and this will roll into the larger story of this unconditional love I have for him.