Saturday, 25 February 2017

A Gel Polish Update

I was at work unreasonably early yesterday morning.  Mr Busy's class (well, 6 out of the 8...yes, you read that right, he is in a class of 8!) attended a Melbourne Prayer Breakfast event.  At least one of us was well rewarded for being at school before 6am.  Look at that breakfast!  Meanwhile, I was hungry by 9am, because no one should be eating breakfast at 5am.  No one!

While I was sitting at my desk in the small, dark hours of the morn, with eyes still bleary, I snapped a pic of this week's gel nail polish, from Aldi.  This is the taupe, which I didn't mind at all.  It's less sheer than the pink from Rimmel, but it was nice and neutral, and didn't say "Hi, look at my nails".  The photo above was taken on Day 7, and it was still looking magnificent.  I could have pushed it a few more days, but I did noticed some edges were starting to lift.  Not chip - no chipping!  But a few edges looked less secure.  When I went to remove the polish last night I tried to chip it off.  No dice.  The little corner that lifted was the only bit that came away.

My review for two-step gel nail polish?  It is ideal for the non-nail polish wearers of the world, like me.  It lasts at least a week and it is so smooth.  I had none of the feelings about this nail polish, that I normally have with regular polish.  The Aldi version was equally as good as the Rimmel London brand I used first, and the Aldi one only cost $10.  If you can still get it!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Perhaps a Game Changer...and other new loves

Despite being a very girly kind of girl, I've never really been into make-up and nail polish.  Perhaps it has to do with growing up in the tropics, where make-up would melt off.  Perhaps it was the fact that in a third world country these items were hard to come by.  Perhaps it is that my mother is not really into these things either.  Whatever the reason, this part of being a girl kind of bypassed me.

The other day I had a strange hankering for nail polish - a rare thing indeed.  So I pestered Miss Sunshine to see if she had any really pale pink stuff.  Because that's about all I could possibly handle. The only thing she had was a two-step gel thing, but the right colour so I went with it.

One of the things I don't love about nail polish is that within two days it is chipped and driving me nuts.  I don't like the feel of it when I'm using my hands (you know, all the time), and stuff touches the top of my nails.  It's just all been icky.  This gel stuff is completely different!  The photo above is three days in.  It hasn't budged.  Not a bit.  And it actually feels really nice on my nails.

Miss Sunshine happened to have Rimmel London polish.  This week I bought a two-step gel in pale taupe from Aldi.  For $10 I figured it was worth a shot...otherwise I'll go back to the Rimmel.

Other things I'm loving:

  • This rhubarb crumble recipe (for the rhubarb) from Maggie Beer, with this crumble topping from Shauna Niequist.  I omitted the pecans and added coconut to the topping.
  • New blog at "The Daily Connoisseur"
  • Discovering Aldi jam is made just up the road from where I live, from fruit grown in Australia.
  • "This is Us" began last week, and "Fixer Upper" starts this week.
  • Most importantly....feeling like I was winning at my job yesterday, even though we had a mucky, messy afternoon with kids going in all directions.  
What are you loving today?

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

We are what we repeatedly do

Image Credit
The last sentence of this quote has been stuck in my head.  We are what we repeatedly do.  I don't know about you, but I have a few things around the edges of my life that I'd like to change.  To do better.  To be better.  Not in a "change who you are" kind of way, but there are always things that we aren't doing so great at that need some attention.

I know you know what I mean.  I can't be the only one.

I posted, last week, about tackling my fear problem.  Even now I want to say lesser words, like stress, anxiety and concern.  But I know it really is all just fear.  Or not so much "just"!  I am praying my way through and claiming Truth over those feelings and I'm doing better.  Sleeping better.  On Sunday I made a very long list of all the things I had to get done at work by the end of today.  Most of it has been crossed off, and I'll tackle some more this morning.  Because I made the list on paper I've been less fearful of forgetting things, and then being more relaxed.  Repeatedly praying through my fear is making me less fearful.  It's working!

My next thing?  My health.  I just need to make, and act, on better choices.  My blood tests all told me I am in good shape, but the outside shell tells a different story about my relationship with food.  So, I am working on being more mindful, deciding on what I want that outside shell to be like, and then acting towards that.  Small steps.

What do you want to be, that seems like a struggle right now?  Let's be people that act excellent, in order to see the results that come from habits rather than willpower!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

New Routines - An Organised Freezer

Chicken ready for flash freezing

Recently, Frances (from The Lefthanded Housewife) talked about ways she was tweaking her daily routines and how that might be the trick to getting on top of things like her infamous attic.  Although I will miss the odd post here and there about her attic woes (they make me feel better about little spots in my house, like the dining room), it made me wonder if there were things I do that could be changed to help me be more efficient?

One possibility came to me as I was preparing dinner tonight.  It's such a long time since we've had oven-baked orange chicken**, because anything with "stations" to get meat prepared is low on our list of weeknight dinners.  However!  This week marks the beginning of my four-day work week, with Wednesday's being my day off.  I decided I would go to the effort of making this chicken recipe because it's really yummy, but also because I can prepare the chicken and then flash freeze it, and then bag the prepared, frozen drumsticks in single-meal quantities.

And this is my routine game-changer.  I hope!  My Wednesday's can be my prepare-ahead night.  If I choose meals that take just a few extra minutes to get a little extra prepared (freezing meat in marinade, making two lasagnas etc) and into the freezer for another night I may just find we manage better with conquering Idon'twannacookdinneritis.

This has certainly been my most productive half hour in the day.  The first 8 hours involved filling out forms for Miss Mischief's Youth Allowance application, getting documents from the accountant, and sitting at Centrelink for over an hour to submit said forms before the deadline for her application.  I had hoped to get some rhubarb relish made.  Well, the day's not over so it's still a possibility I guess.

**  Recipe adjustments:

  1. Used chicken drumsticks instead of breasts 
  2. Juiced two oranges for about 3kg of chicken
  3. Skipped brushing chicken with butter - dipping in the orange/honey liquid is plenty
  4. Preheated an oven tray with a little olive oil before putting chicken in the oven

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Overcoming Fear

Image Credit
Last week I realised I have an issue with fear.  Actually it's been a problem for well over a decade, but I seem to be a bit slow on the update.  A moment of dumbness on my part, for sure.

It all started because of a couple of sermons at church, recently, about overcoming fear.  I didn't think much about it, until the week I went back to work.  Then I was back to my insomniac ways: whirring thoughts, waking up panicking over all the things I hadn't managed to get completed.  And then of course, we're walking Miss Sunshine through overcoming her very real, and understandable fears about driving on dirt roads.

Fear seems to have become a theme for the month of January!

Last week I realised that we use a lot of different words that are all different ways to say fear:  doubt, worry, anxiety, concern, despair, dread, panic, unease.  All of these feelings come from a place of fear.  When I realised that these were some of the adjectives for my early morning feelings I decided it was time to get this sorted out once and for all.

I am a Bible reader, and there is this great verse that tells me exactly what to do.  It's awesome.  It's one of my favourite verses, because it's so practical.  I've taught my school babies about this verse and watched them put it into practice and conquer their fears.  Apparently I'm not great at putting it into practice myself!!  Rats!
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hears and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
 The first bit of the verse is where the turnaround begins.  Don't worry about anything.  That's not a flippant instruction or statement.  It is a directive to make a choice not to partner with fear; not to engage with it, to turn your back on it.  Choose a different way.  A better way is to pray about everything.  I love that I get to chat with God about the stuff I'm worried about and leave it with him. This is when I choose to remind myself of God's characteristics, his faithfulness, that he has already won my battle with fear.  That's what I choose to partner with, because that's Truth.

What was I worried about last week?  Getting everything done to have my classroom and my lessons planned for this week.  My room has had a new ceiling, paint, new roof, new lights, new ceiling fans and optic fibre installed over summer.  I didn't get the lights back up til last Friday.  Our internet network has been sketchy because it was also having a major overhaul.  I finally got to print stuff on Saturday!  I needed three days in my classroom, I had the equivalent of one!  So on Sunday night I decided to follow the advice found in Philippians.  I decided I didn't want to partner with fear.  I told God what I was worried about and what I felt I needed.  This morning?  I woke early, but later than I had been waking.  Not panic, no worry, no whirring thoughts going a million miles an hour.  I just lay there thinking about all the things I was going to get to do with my kids today.

Do you know what the antonyms for fear are?  They are great words:  calm, confidence, contentment,  faith, ease, joy, courage, fearlessness.  That's how I want to be able to describe my life!

My students came back to school today and we had a great time.  As much as I am looking forward to  having Wednesday's off this year, I can't wait to get back on Thursday.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Meet Our Newest Family Member

No, no.  Not new 'people' family members.  Nor pets.  With adults and near adult children I am done with the people variety of new family members, and I am absolutely not a pet person.  Ask anyone who knows me in real life (although Frances' Travis is mighty cute, even to me!)

Miss Sunshine is the very excited, and proud new owner of a Mazda 3.  It is one of the few things that has her keen to be driving again, after Chelsea's untimely demise.  This has been her dream car for a quite a while now, and I'm not really sure why a 20yo gets to have her dream car already.  I had to wait 'til I was 44!  But this car fit the desire and the budget I had set for Miss Sunshine (read: I wasn't willing to hand over any more than the set budget!).  A budget she agreed to, by the way, because she will need to repay it.

So meet Luna.

She is officially metallic blue, but looks a bit purple in the right sunshine.  Luna is now trying to figure out where she belongs in the driveway real estate pecking order and we're back to shuffling cars again.  Someone is going to need to move out before Mr Busy gets are car in a couple of years (less if he had his way 🙄).

Meanwhile, last night I took Miss Sunshine to drive on the dirt road that caused all the kerfuffle in the first place.  It was not without some high, but controlled, emotion, but it was an uneventful drive and all ended safely back home again.  All that is left now is prayer for healing her mind of the fear.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

And then I went back to work.

I'm still not convinced I'm ready to return to work, even after I started back yesterday.  By lunch time I was desperate for an afternoon nap, but decided hiding under my desk to do so was probably not going to go down well.  We had someone sign himself out, a few years ago, and then have a nap under his desk.  To say his wife was frantic, when he wasn't at home, nor thought to be at school, is an understatement!  So no nap.

But rhubarb relish.  I had my favourite lunch, and the Secondary Indonesian teacher questioned me "is that all you have".  I told her yes, but it was sooooo good.  But it comes with lots of containers - for crackers, and cheese, and butter, and relish.  My teaching partner had a little taste of some leftover and she wants the recipe.  One of the others in my teaching team has parents in law with lots of rhubarb plants.  I suggested she could hand some my way, because I now know I'll never have enough!

The other issue, my return to walk highlighted, is the dinner cooking situation.  The children seemed to forget that I was out all day until 5.45pm, and they were home.  Dinner was meant to be quiche.  It was frozen chicken pieces (from Costco) with a pasta salad Miss Sunshine had made the kids for lunch, and had intended to eat today as well.  Too bad, I say, since she didn't make dinner.

I find that if Dh continues his laundry ways and the kids can cook dinner, I seem to manage alright.  Coming home at 6pm and having to cook?  Not so great.

What helps you manage the home/work juggling act?