Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

When I selected Build a Bonfire, on day 3 of the challenge, the mild weather perfectly supported that activity. I laughed when I drew today’s slip of paper out of the jar.

Have a cozy evening with warm PJs, a pile of blankets, a hot drink, a book and candlelight.

It’s been overcast and dark all day, as if the sun forgot to rise. A steady rain pelts the windows. And a strong breeze is literally whistling around the house and through the front door, disturbing the cats. It is a great evening for carrying out this hygge activity. Nights like this one inspire coziness.

Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

Looking at my hand written slip of paper, I realized it read like a “to do” list. I’m one for checking items off as I complete them, so here we go…steps to creating a cozy pajamas evening.

Warm PJs

I confess, I don’t know why I wrote the word pjs. Honestly, I don’t own pajamas nor do I sleep in them. (Check out my post, Comfortable in My Own Skin) However, I do adore wearing comfy clothes. As soon as I’m in for the evening, during cold winter months, I change out of my everyday clothes and into cozy warm tights, hoodies and fuzzy socks.

Tonight I donned tights and a lined hoodie sporting the tiger emblem and the words MIZZOU TIGERS, the mascot of Missouri University in Columbia. My oldest grandson is a sophomore there, inspiring me to exhibit school spirit. I added socks in the school colors of black and gold and my new cozy cat slippers.

Warm “pjs”? Check!

Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

Pile of Blankets

I selected this activity first thing this morning. By mid afternoon, a new, incredibly warm blanket came into my life. The plush queen sized blanket is a Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law. They had no idea that I’d be enjoying a cozy hygge evening. How timely is their present.

I adore blankets and linens. For me they join candles as the ultimate hygge props. My cats agree. As soon as I snuggled beneath my new blanket, Shy Boy’s cozy alert went off. He bounded into my room and curled up on my lap, snuggling into the blanket with a raspy purr and a sigh.

Blanket? Check! Cuddly cat as a bonus? Check!

Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

Hot Drink, Book and Candlelight

These last three items complete my list for a cozy pajamas evening.

My hot drink of choice tonight soothed me with chai spices, unsweetened cocoa and dairy free milk. Chai hot chocolate is quickly becoming a favorite night time drink. Find the easy recipe here.

I read from two books. The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore, inspires me and creates anticipation for next year. My word for 2019 is enchantment and the way Moore writes about the state of being enchanted stirs my heart and expands my soul.

And I am slowly reading my way through the Harry Potter series of books. I’ve seen all the movies many times. Until recently, I had not read the books. I’m on book three, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and enjoying the story.

Candlelight flickers through my home again this evening. With the fierce wind and rain, I skipped lighting the front porch candles. And I simply plugged in a string of lights in my studio. However the rest of the rooms are alight with twinkling flames. I truly love candlelight. It softens a room, creates intimacy and sends hope outward, energetically. I understand why candlelight is such a crucial hygge element.

Hot drink? Check! Books? Check! Candlelight? Check!

Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

Cozy Pajamas Evening

Surrounded by light and warmth and coziness, I am at peace and filled with joy. If the bonfire night epitomized outdoor hygge, tonight defines the simplicity and beauty of the hygge lifestyle. It grows my faith and deepens my trust in the Divine, as I randomly draw out activities that so perfectly align with my day.

I have one more winter hygge activity to carry out tomorrow, for the challenge. This week of activities completes an intention I set forth on the first day of spring. My desire to welcome each season with a week of activities, appropriate for the time of year, has been realized.

What I’ve come to appreciate most is that hygging truly is a lifestyle for me. This Scandinavian tradition is in my DNA. I’ll continue to practice hygge, and find fresh ways to embrace coziness, in all areas of my life.

Cozy pajamas evening? Check! Hygge lifestyle? Check!

Day 6: Cozy Pajamas Evening

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Day 6: No Electronics Evening

I’m racing the clock as I create this post this afternoon ahead of the Day 6 hygge activity. After a full week, I drew this much needed action:

No electronics for the evening.

I define evening as 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and by saying “no” to electronics, I’m saying “no” to my cell phone, iPod, TV, and computer.

That makes this evening’s post interesting to write, as I am sharing what my intentions are, and the activity I will carry out, rather than capturing my actions after the fact, through words and photos.

Day 6 No Electronics Evening

Putting the Electronics Away

It is amazing, in today’s culture, how dependent we are on electronics. My cell phone is never far from me. And it is so much more than a phone. It is a mini computer that I use to take photos, play music, movies and games, save recipes, keep important notes and info, correspond with family, friends and clients, look up property and perform other real estate tasks, stay in touch through social media, check the weather and shop online. And what would I do without Google and the ability to quickly look up info?

I’ve already laughed at myself as I contemplated an evening without electronics and considered working on my family tree (nope that’s online), listening to a podcast (on my phone, so no), trying out a recipe…which was on my phone (can’t)…and watching a movie (leave the TV off). I did write out the recipe by hand, gasp, so I can putter in the kitchen, but I’ll postpone the other activities.

Day 6 No Electronics Evening

What to Do Apart from Using Electronics

So how do I intend to spend my time this evening? I have delightful and cozy hygge options.

• Cook or bake a treat, without listening to music or scrolling through online recipes.

• Get into cozy clothes and really unwind after this very busy week: walk in the garden, meditate, stretch.

• Brew a cup of hot tea and savor the flavor as I inhale the scent and cradle the cup.

• Light candles in my bedroom and burn dried herbs to clear energy in my room and fill it with a delicate, earthy scent.

• Write in my journal.

• And…read. I picked out a book, Children of Earth and Sky, by an author that is new to me.

Day 6 No Electronics Evening Hot hibiscus tea

Electronics Free

As I am finishing this post, a couple of hours earlier than I typically do, the evening stretches before me, full of promise. I’m going to turn off the TV and power down other electronics and then tuck my phone away, out of sight.

I know that I’ll instinctively reach for a phone that isn’t there. But that’s okay. This break from electronics allows me to experience the simple pleasures of good, healthy food, a hot beverage and intentional activities, free from distractions.

Electronics aren’t bad. I’m grateful for technology that allows me to easily access information and take care of many details of my life. I’m equally grateful that I control how these gadgets impact my life.

And now…I have an intriguing book waiting for me!

Day 6 No Electronics Evening

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

As a child, one of the highlights of summer was making homemade ice cream. My mom would prepare the ice cream mix, warming it on the stove. My dad would pick up the rock salt and bags of ice. We had a manual ice cream maker, requiring my sisters and me to take turns cranking and cranking the handle. I have sweet memories of the metal container spinning occasionally in layers of ice and salt, of cold water trickling out of the drain hole, of the clank clank clank of the handle as it turned…and of our excited squeals when the handle became too difficult to crank, signifying that the ice cream had solidified. It was almost ready. How difficult it was to wait as the ice cream chilled for a bit and ripened.

No wonder making ice cream at home is considered a summer hygge activity. It involves connection, simple pleasures, and being outside, unless a sudden summer shower forced the whole production into a garage.

By the time I had children of my own, we had an electric ice cream maker. The kids didn’t have to turn the handle but rock salt and bags of ice were still required and the end result was the same…cold, creamy soft ice cream.

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

I no longer eat dairy products or eggs or sugar, which means I no longer eat tradition ice cream. However, I was excited to draw this activity today.

Make ice cream.

The memories of making ice cream in the summer, as a child and as a mother with children, warmed my heart as I thought about carrying out this fun activity. There is a simple and healthy plant based alternative to ice cream. I just needed some overripe bananas.

Frozen Banana Treat

4 overripe bananas, sliced and then frozen for at least 4 hours.

Place frozen banana slices in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend in 30 – 60 second increments, pausing to push banana mixture down off of the sides of the blender and onto the blades. Continue blending and scraping, until mixture changes from coarse to smooth and creamy, about 5 – 6 minutes.

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

From slices of frozen banana…

…to smooth, thick, creamy ice cream.

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

The secret of frozen banana treat is to not give up! It looks like the mixture is not going to change. Keep going. Keep blending for 30 seconds, and then 60 seconds, pausing to scrape down the sides and push the mixture onto the blades. Suddenly, the mixture begins to get creamy, along the bottom of the blender first, and then the creaminess spreads upward until the entire contents look like soft serve ice cream.

Stop blending when that happens. The frozen treat can be spooned into two bowls and eaten immediately or popped into the freezer for an hour or more, to harden. I enjoy the soft serve consistency and eat my treat as soon as it is finished. I don’t have to wait, like I did as a child!

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

Before I began the process of blending the frozen bananas, I sliced fresh strawberries and combined them with local blackberries and frozen wild blueberries and set aside. This delicious mix would serve as topping for my treat.

I enjoyed making my own version of homemade ice cream tonight. After a veggie bowl of steamed zucchini, slow cooked green beans and new potatoes, and fresh tomatoes, this cold delectable banana treat was the perfect end to the evening meal. No sugar. No dairy. No eggs. No rock salt or bags of ice either. Just the simplicity of frozen bananas with a mixed berry topping. It was wonderful.

Day 6: Make Ice Cream

Day 6: Walk in Nature

Today’s challenge got me outside and into the woods. Although we had abundant sunshine this afternoon, temperatures hovered around 60 degrees and the wind had a chilly nip to it. I had already determined that I was walking today, regardless of the weather. I dressed accordingly, in walking shoes and a warm hoodie.

Walk in Nature

Saturday – Walk in nature

The Scandinavian tradition of hygge has a strong connection to nature. It encourages bringing nature indoors, in the form of plants, flowers, leaves, twigs, bark and rocks. And it promotes people getting out into nature by way of walks, picnics, sitting under the stars, and camping. Hygge considers activities outside less important than just being outside, and being present, both with oneself and with nature. It is a centering, awareness raising time of connection.

For my walk I chose one of my favorite trails at Wildcat Park, south of Joplin. This path threads through the woods there and parallels Shoal Creek for a bit. Other people were out, with their dogs or their families, enjoying the sunshine. I walked slowly along the trail, alone with my thoughts, smiling at walkers as they passed me or approached me from the other direction. Other than hearing isolated snippets of conversations and an occasional laugh, the woods were quiet and serene today.

Walk in Nature

Walk in Nature

There were surprisingly few signs that spring is imminent. Our cold February seems to have delayed flowers and trees. However, a few bushes were dotted with tiny green leaves and early flowers such as spring beauty and henbit were popping up. The river gurgled by, unconcerned with whether spring was early or late. I sat on a large boulder and listened to river’s wisdom.

Walk in Nature

Walk in Nature

I brought along a healthy snack to enjoy near the water. The sliced apple, dates and bite sized pieces of celery are great for supporting my adrenal glands and boosting energy. I took advantage of the bright sunlight, tilting my head back to bathe my neck and thyroid with energy as well. Removing my sunglasses but keeping my eyes closed, I sun gazed for several more minutes.

Walk in Nature

As the path leaves the river and loops back through the woods, I begin to watch for my old friend, Oak Tree. I was drawn to this tree in January of 2014. That day I stood alone in the woods, in deep snow, and rested my hands on Oak Tree for the first time. It was a magical experience, feeling the hum of life under the rough bark. I pause by this tree each time I walk at Wildcat, closing my eyes and touching the trunk.

Today I patiently waited for a group of teens to walk on by, and then I greeted this ancient oak by speaking aloud and placing my right hand on its trunk. The tree is showing its age. Large chunks of bark are missing near its base. And there are actually three trunks that rise from the base of the tree, towering over me. A fourth trunk appears to have broken off long ago.

As I stood there meditatively, eyes closed, hand touching the bark, I felt the steady hum of life. A deep red color appeared on my eyelids. Because of its connection to the base chakra, red signifies root energy. It represents the element of earth, and being grounded. Red, for me, represents survival and basic life needs such as food and water. I smiled. This was a good sign. Oak Tree may be old, but its energy is still strong. I patted the tree lovingly and told it I will see it again soon and admire its new leaves.

What a beautiful walk, embracing the hygge belief of connecting deeply with nature and appreciating the gifts offered to my soul. I left the woods, the river and Oak Tree deeply restored.

Walk in Nature