On a typical day, the most you'll find in my picture captions are short, quirky quotes paired with a relating emoji. But today is not a typical day because... well, pretty much nothing in 2020 has been typical... so on that note, I feel inspired (or the need) to say more.
Being quite honest... this year has been a struuuuuggle. During a "normal" year, my family and I create a giant Summer bucket list. We go on day trip adventures to places we've never been, have countless play-dates with friends and family and when we're not exploring we spend the entire day soaking up the sun and the sand at the local lake.
This has not been the case for 2020.
Everything has changed, so much is unknown and handling uncertainty is not my strong suit. Prior to this year I had been dealing with what I considered low level anxiety/depression.. this year it blew up to entirely different levels.
I canceled current and future plans and retreated to my home. I became distant, stopped taking care of myself and quit doing the things I enjoy. Even when I did spend time with my family, I wasn't REALLY there. I was constantly overanalyzing the past and worrying about the future.
I kept telling myself that sooner or later I would snap out of it and the mental fog I was living in would disappear on it's own. Time passed. Nothing changed and I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to feel better, I was going to have to make the choice to be better.
After making purposeful lifestyle changes and really putting in the hard work, I am finally out of the fog and life looks so bright again. I have learned many lessons in this process, but as I was scrolling through pictures today, this picture reminded me of what I believe is the most important one (here comes the quote/emoji caption):
"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life... Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now." (Eckhart Tolle) 🤯🖤
This picture of my friends daughter was taken during one of the very few playdates we had this year. The day I took this was one of my less foggy days I and remember how grateful I felt for everything and everyone... the kids laughing, the sunshine, a great friend to talk to, the simple things... and that's the thing... I had been SO consumed with the past and the future that I was completely missing the present, which is really all there ever is.
If you want to feel good in the future, you have to feel good in the now. The present moment is all you really ever have.
In the spirit of honesty, I will also tell you that being this raw and open publicly is pretty terrifying for me, but I know it's important. Through my 2020 journey I have had conversations with so many people struggling in similar ways. Talking helps. Knowing you're not the only one helps. Even if you aren't ready to talk, just being in the company of a loved one helps.
You are not alone.
You are loved and you are worthy.
Sending love and hippie vibes forever,
(Now I am going to run away from my phone before I change my mind and delete this post!)
HOW TO MAKE & DECORATE WITH ROYAL ICING
With all that is going on in the world right now, we all need a fun distraction and a relaxing way to pass the time. I have had many friends and family ask about the sugar cookies I've been doing in my spare time. I figured now was the perfect time to do a little tutorial so you all can join in the fun with me! I am by no means a professional, but I have learned from my many mistakes and want to share that with you all. I am also an extremely anxious public speaker, so bare with me on the videos.
Below I have posted two videos; one on how to make royal icing and another on how to decorate with it. I have also written my recipe for both my sugar cookies and royal icing. I hope you enjoy!
Stay joyful, stay healthy & happy baking!
Royal Icing Recipe (double batch):
2 lbs confectioners sugar (sifted)
6 tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla if you prefer)
12-14 tbsp of warm water (rough estimate, you will need to slowly eyeball this)
Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Double Batch Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 - 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs , room temp
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
2 tsp pure butter extract (You can change up the extracts to your own preferred tasting)
I will do a video next time I do them on the instructions, but if you decide to go for them before then it's pretty basic:
Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Mix butter & sugar on high until creamy. Add eggs & extracts, mix. Add dry ingredients, mix.
Seperate dough into 4 sections. Roll 1/4 in thick onto parchment paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours (up to 24 hours max) covered with parchment paper.
Cut & bake cookies COLD! This is KEY!
Bake at 350 for 11 min (time may need to be adjusted for your oven, start with one cookie first to test).
May Day Baskets
The Best Forgotten Tradition
With April coming near an end, my kiddos and I get to take part in one of our favorite annual traditions: May Day Baskets! Every year we decorate our inexpensive styrofoam cups with dollar store brushes and craft paints. We turn them into small works of art, complete with pipe cleaner handles and little candies inside with a note attached, "XOXO, Them Sargent Boys."
It is such an exciting holiday for all of us and the decorating isn't even the best part!
After we've made our baskets, we not-so-patiently await the arrival of May 1st. This is the day the real fun begins. After the boys get home from school we get to deliver our baskets to neighbors, family and friends. These deliveries aren't your typical , polite greeting though.
As tradition that dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century goes, you leave your baskets on the doorstep of a loved one, ring the doorbell and quickly run away before it's recipient can catch you (The boys and I love to hide, wait and see their reactions). However, you must be careful. If they happen to find you and catch you, they are supposed to plant a big wet kiss on your cheek!
The woman in the photos above is my Grandma B, their great-grandma. She is the one who taught me this tradition as a child. There were an awful lot of us grandkids and only one Grandma B, so some years we would ride with and deliver baskets, other years we were the ones receiving the baskets and trying to catch our cousins. It made an otherwise boring holiday something that we all looked forward to every Spring.
This day is filled with so much excitement and joy, yet every year my heart breaks just a little bit while we are making our deliveries. Since I began this tradition with my children, I have never once seen another child out dropping off goodies and ringing doorbells. I tried to tell myself we were just not noticing them, but upon our deliveries we notice that very few that know of the tradition, try to chase the kids or what to do if you actually catch them (Except good ol' Grandma B. She get's them every year. Although, I'm starting to think they let her. LOL)
This year, I ask you all to give it a try. Even if you only go to one home. Even if you don't have a basket (we used to used paper back-in-the-day). Even if your kiddos use a napkin, filled with an old piece of hard candy you find in the junk drawer and run it over to your neighbors house. Just DO IT!
Tell your friends with kids, Share this blog post and hopefully, I'll see you out there on May 1st. But if not, and someone rings your doorbell, I hope you run as fast as you can to plant a sloppy kiss on that kiddos cheek.
Wishing you all the happiest May Day!