Christmas, my absolute favourite time of the year.
A time of where the mere mention of the name "Santa" can cause children to become model citizens and at the same time bring fear into their tiny little hearts.
Christmas is a huge deal in our family. We love Santa and the Chrismas story. However, we take time out of all things Christmassy, to acknowledge the birth of the one who thinks they are the centre of the universe. No, I am not talking about baby Jesus, I am talking about our 3 year old.
The one born exactly 2 weeks before Xmas Day. It could be worse, her actual due date was Christmas Eve. A birthday is a battle ground for those giving up sugar. However you can win the war, you just have to be prepared to the eyeballs. This being her second birthday sugar free, we had learnt from previous mistakes. Although things still went as well as they can, when the birthday girl is a sugar addict. Lets just leave it at that.
This was to be our third Christmas doing the sugar free thing and to be honest I just wasn't feeling it this year.
The previous year I was like a drill sergeant with what went into our mouths. This caused a lot of "come on its Christmas" comments. However I stood strong and made sure we weren't dunking our heads into the trifle and were steering clear of hidden sugar traps. To be honest, as a family, we did bloody good. Well everyone except the 2 year old who somehow got seated away from me (strategic move on her behalf, Im sure) and ate from a bowl of m&m's for the duration of our lunch. When I moved the said bowl of m&ms away from her, you would think I was the Grinch. The amount of hate I received from everyone feeling sorry for the whimpering mistreated brat, was ridiculous.
So this year (well actually last year to be exact) I decided that this Christmas I was going to be really relaxed. Not crazy relaxed but mature, we can handle this relaxed.
I was going to enjoy everything in front of me in moderation and also with the condition that I didn't start snorting icing sugar and shooting up trifle custard.
We started the day with breakfast at my parents and holy mother of all things breakfast, can my mum put on a spread. It looked like something out of a magazine and to be honest the only thing sugar laden was the iced coffee, and that only came from the ice-cream. Therefore, it technically wasn't even that bad. Alas it was too sweet for me, so I only had half a glass but I bloody enjoyed that half a glass.
At lunch once again the only thing on my plate that had sugar, was the apple sauce and it wasn't like I was bathing my meat in it. I was ticking boxes and so were the kids.
However the 8 year old was getting punch drunk on ginger-ale, lemonade and fruit juice. Declaring it to be the best drink he has ever had in his life and the 3 year old was just as bad demanding that her sippy cup be filled to the brim with the christmas beverage of the Gods.
I couldn't judge them because here I was sipping back on my Canadian Crisps (which for the record has reduced sugar ) but isn't sugar free.
We were all happy, getting merry and no one was giving me the stink eye for making my children miss out on sugar.
Dessert rolled around and this year, I was not missing out on my Nan's plum pudding. This Plum Pudding is hands down A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! What makes it even better, is that it comes from a a secret recipe of my Nan's. To me, Christmas is Nan's plum pudding. Fullstop. That is where my Christmas feels come from.
For the last 3 years, I had made myself miss out on this plum pudding and emotionally and mentally, it didn't sit well with me.
Since my Nans passing, it has had even more meaning to me and seeing the amount of love my Mum and Aunties put into it, makes it even more special.
After filling my heart and belly with a serving of plum pudding, I had that feeling, like a warm hug or coming home when you have been away. It just felt right.
I excitedly tried to tell the kids the back story of the pudding and how important it was to our family and couldn't wait for them to taste it. Well apparently it tasted like fruit and according to the 8 year olds face arsenic. But the fact I could allow myself to not feel guilty about this splurge, made it feel even better.
Now you might be thinking, yeh I get it, the message is everything in moderation, that you can have sugar now and then...
No thats not the message...
Well yeh I guess it could be the message and it should have been the message BUT NO not for me.....
My body decided to give me another message.
A message that you wouldn't find in a hall mark card or a happily ever after story.
My message, went something like, " you want to eat sugar.... sure have it in moderation... but let me give you something in return"
No joke 2 days after Christmas my skin was like that of a 13 year old going through puberty and the best part was, it was basically an advertisement on my face screaming "I ATE SUGAR" I swear to God, that I'm not even joking, I had about 5 people say to me "Have you been eating sugar"... No Martha, I haven't been eating sugar, I'm going through puberty at 34 you stupid a$$....
My husband was the first to point it out "Holy sh$t Jess, your skin is breaking out, have you been eating sugar???
Then my mum "Jess your skin looks really red and agitated," This was her being too polite to say you have a breakout on your cheeks.
Then the 8 year old said "You have pimples from drinking beer".. well actually Mr Know it all, it was scotch, so shove it.
My favourite was a friend of mine who used this little gem "I thought you weren't having sugar anymore". So I said "why would you think I was having sugar" and she said "No reason". I said "well there is obviously a reason??" She said "your skin looks sh$t"... Yes, yes it does.
I felt absolutely robbed that I had one splurge day and my body punished me like that. Thanks a lot body....
Of course I then did the stupid thing of painting my face with foundation to cover it, which in turn lead to even worse breakouts.
Nothing makes you feel more self conscious then pimples deciding to have a party on your face. At this age I'm meant to be getting wrinkles, not bloody pimples.
I would like to say that my body taught me a lesson, however then I would be lying. We all know that New Years Eve is a week after Christmas and you can't bring in the New Year with Scotch and soda water, that would be redonkulous.
Nice try body, nice try.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON PICK ME UP
4 cups of popcorn (obviously already popped)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
1/4 cup of shredded coconut
30ml/60mls Rice Malt Syrup (depending on your liking)
1 cup Dextrose
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 - Place Rice malt syrup, Dextrose, butter and vanilla in a large saucepan and stir until dextrose is dissolved.
2 - Drop the heat to low and let it sit there without touching it for 6min (should go golden colour)
3 - Have a pan ready with baking paper lining the bottom
4 - Take off heat and stir in nuts, popcorn and coconut
5 - Place into tray
6 - Let set in the fridge
7 - Break off chunks and enjoy