I made a to-do list at the beginning of the year that included 31 projects to complete by the end of January. They were simple tasks; I wasn’t trying to redo the kitchen or even paint a room. The so-called “projects” involved hanging up one picture or cleaning out one drawer. That was it. Many tasks could be done in less than ten minutes, and some could be done even while my kids were awake.
I just finished that task list a few weeks ago.
I may have been over eight months late on my accomplishment, but I’m still calling it a victory. After all, I finished! Of course, in those eight months, about 253 other projects have come up, most of which I’ve barely started at best.
But I’m learning to be more realistic. I want to set goals and accomplish them. I’m a list maker, and I love checking things off. Sometimes, though, I find too much satisfaction in the check marks.
Today I tried to get laundry done, and while I folded clean laundry, my kids decided the rest of the clean clothes needed to get stuffed down the laundry chute (by the way, why don’t all houses have laundry chutes anymore? Best idea EVER!). Other days, I’ll have a few minutes to throw dinner on the table, and they’ll unroll the toilet paper in the bathroom. One task gets done while toddlers are in the next room adding more to the list.
Often, I lose sight of what’s most important, and I end up believing my value is wrapped up in what I got done in a day. But the reality is, my family is not a box to check off, and my worth doesn’t depend on my lists.
So today, I’ll make a to-do list like I usually do and work towards getting it done. But if it doesn’t happen? That’s perfectly OK.
This week, if you're working on a to-do list, celebrating accomplishments or just putting your feet up to relax, make one (or two) of these Fig + Vanilla Bean Gin Cocktails! This recipe combines fresh figs with smooth, rich vanilla for a cocktail that bridges the gap between summer and fall. It’s refreshing and comforting all at the same time. Cheers!
Fig, Vanilla Bean + Gin Cocktail
Yields 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Fig + Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup (recipe below)
2 dashes orange bitters
2-4 ounces tonic
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, simple syrup and bitters. Stir well. Strain into a glass with an ice cube and top with tonic to taste. Garnish with a fresh fig slice. Enjoy!
Fig + Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
6 fresh figs, stems removed and halved
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes or until figs break down. Allow to cool, and strain using a fine mesh strainer.
Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Yields about 5-6 ounces of syrup (enough for 10-12 cocktails).*
*Note: This syrup doesn't have to be used only for this drink! Add it to iced tea or drizzle on top of pancakes. You can also make a pitcher's worth of the Fig, Vanilla Bean + Gin Cocktail if you want to serve a crowd!