Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Perfect Cure

Outside my window the sun shines brightly with a degree of warmth just perfect to brighten my soul. I've just finished reading 'A Slow Burn' by Mary E DeMuth...I'll not divulge further until Rel posts my review. Suffice it to say that a phone call inviting us to spend a few hours with a couple of friends is just what I needed to cure the grey that settled over my soul this morning, as I finished this book. While not an easy read, 'A Slow Burn' is an entirely worthwhile one that will stay with me....but a sunshiney afternoon of friendship is the perfect way to retrieve what I vested into the story!

Monday, 28 September 2009

'A Taste of Fame' by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

There is currently a Blog Tour going on for this installment from authors of 'The Potluck Club' series. My review for 'A Taste of Fame' can be found here at Relz Reviewz. And stay tuned....this novel comes with a companion cookbook! What more could a girl who loves to read and cook ask for, but to review a cookbook in conjunction with its fictional counterpart?

Home Again

I arrived home late yesterday afternoon. A weekend of girlfriends, chatting, movies, chatting, good food, chatting....no demands from little people saying "Mu-u-u-um". Shared wisdom and laughter and the freedom to just be yourself. I am blessed beyond compare to have such special people to share such a beautiful time away with. After all, it is these amazing women who made the weekend everything it was. 'Thanks Girls' seems insignificant, but I am so thankful!

* * * * * * * * * *

Because life never stands still, today holds its own demands despite my wanting to hold on to the peaceful quiet just a little longer. I have letters to send out to the parents beginning 'Starting Points' with me. And I have three little people coming to share lunch and the afternoon with our 'little' people. I suspect there will be an offer to swap my quiet one for their mischievous one....again!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Just to say....

See you in a few days!

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I've even remembered to pack a towel this time!

The car is in shock! You can't have your girlfriends travelling with you in the muck and mire your children are inclined to drag into the back seat! I have even found some adult-worthy CD's. No very old sermons or Colin Buchanan's "I Want My Mummy" songs for us!!!! Michael Buble, Praise and Worship and Kenny G is much more approriate!

Must stop off and get chocolate. Can you believe I forgot the chocolate?! I remember the cheese & crackers!

Have a great weekend everyone. Especially you Aussie Rules lovin' folks!!!!!

Miss Sunshine Has Homework

Miss Sunshine had some homework set for her to be completed over the holidays. She had to plan a menu with the 'Healthy Food Pyramid' in mind and then cook the meal, herself. I must say, she did a marvellous job of the entire project and we were the very fortunate guinea pigs in this little experiment!

The menu was stir fried chicken with noodles and apple crumble with cream for dessert. She spat the dummy at me for a brief moment when I informed her that egg noodles were made from wheat and beef rump was too expensive and suggested the change to chicken and rice noodles. Once she took a few moments to think about it, she was fine and continued with gusto. She also made the apple crumble with gluten free flour. She and I have very happy little bodies today LOL.

She went around the table and asked for a mark out of 9 and then a mark out of 10 for each course. Unfortunately for her, the stir fry recipe did not have the saltiness that an authentic Asian recipe would and so I took a little off for that...and made sure she knew it was not her fault, as she had performed beautifully. Once I added sweet soy sauce to my bowl, it was perfect.

I think I'll have to put this one down on my menu plan far more often. It was really really good!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pasta with Caramelised Onion

I was at a friend's place for lunch the other day. Her meals are always simple, and yet incredibly delicious. So delicious in fact, that she has been told that it would be intimidating to cook for her. I don't see that, myself. As anyone who cooks in their own home knows, a meal you don't have to cook yourself is often the best one you'll have all week no matter what the meal is! This friend is no different.

In any case, we got together for lunch. I offered to make lunch for the kids ~ a couple of platters of very yummy looking sandwiches...apart from the one vegemite one, for little Mr 6yo (blech!). The sandwiches were very colourful when cut into quartered triangles:
  • egg and lettuce
  • ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise
  • salami, avocado, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise
The children breathed in and their lunch was gone.

For the two of us, my friend made a beautiful warm pasta salad type of meal.

Pasta with Caramelised Onion

olive oil
1/2 red onion
fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
crumbled feta
cooked pasta
  1. Thinly slice half a red onion, crush the garlic and zest the lemon. Have all the other ingredients at the ready.
  2. Heat some olive oil and saute the onion and thyme sprigs until the onion has caramelised.
  3. Whilst the onion is cooking, boil the pasta according to package directions.
  4. Once the onion has reached a lovely golden colour, remove the pan from the heat and add the pasta, garlic and lemon zest and toss so that the ingredients are evenly distributed and the pasta has been coated in olive oil. You made need to add a drizzle more oil.
  5. Serve the pasta into bowls and top with crumbled feta and serve immediately.
* * * * * * * * *

A couple of you commented yesterday, that there is a connection between wealth, education and health. Unfortunately, when we look around, it is quite obvious that this is the case. I find this to be an incredibly sad state of affairs. When healthy nutrition is important to a person, they can educate themselves and eat very well even on the strictest budget. You don't need a university degree to read! Personally, I did a lot of reading via the local public library ~ which is free. If you read widely enough, you soon learn to be discerning, as not all that is written is necessarily accurate or helpful.

Even in the years when we had very little, financially, we managed to eat well. I never (and still don't) bought organic ingredients. As much as the idea might be appealing, it is simply not a cost effective way for a family on a strict budget to eat. It is still possible though, to buy fresh food and make great meals.

Perhaps Centrelink needs to inform their clients that good nutrition is possible on a tight budget! You just have to want to do it.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A New CSIRO Diet Plan

Yesterday, on the news, they reported the release of a new CSIRO diet book...one for children this time. More to the point, one that will guide parents in feeding their children, in an effort to curb childhood obesity.

It made me feel like the world has gone a little bit crazy. The lady on A Current Affair last night indicated that parents don't know how to feed their children well anymore....how do you get them to eat vegetables? How do you switch them back to water instead of juice? How indeed, I thought to myself as I looked at my water guzzling, vegetable eating, fruit loving children.

Has the world changed so very much in the mere 13 years I've been a mother? Do they not still teach new mothers that juice ruins teeth before they even erupt? Does anyone tell the new parents on the block that making your own baby food is really quite simple and oh so much cheaper...especially if your children eat like mine! Have people really forgotten how to cook from scratch?

I feel so much more determined in teaching my children these vital things. Oh I know cordial, fizzy drinks and chicken nuggets are so much more exciting in the eyes of a child. But I want my children to appreciate real food that does them good. I want them to understand the connection between what they eat and drink and their health in general....in a way that I didn't really understand until there were way too many kilos in the way. I want them to have the knowledge in their arsenal of life-skills to be able to steer clear of highly processed foods, and discerning tastebuds that prefer a home-prepared meal full of real flavours instead of fake ones.

How does a parent do that? In a most simplistic explanation, you feed them good food and expect them to eat it. You explain that when they don't like something they should eat that thing first or mix it with something else so the flavour isn't so intense. You keep in mind that when you introduce something new it might take them 10 tries before they decide it isn't so bad after all. Is that hard work and time consuming? Oh you bet! But it is so worth it! I'll never forget Mr Busy finally....finally! declaring my vegetarian lasanga edible...even enjoyable! We're still working on Moussaka's eggplant layers.

For those parents who know they're doing all the right things and yet continue persevere through daily dinner time trials ~ know that you're being applauded and admired in the deepest way. I know there are children out there who turn all the best parenting advice on its head and stomp on it. One day, when they're grown up's and feeding their own children, they'll appreciate you and all your efforts.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Plan...at this point anyway....

Those who know me well know I like to have some idea of where I'm headed with things. I used to be a chronic list writer. These days I save my lists for things that are terribly important or those things that I really don't want to forget.

This organisational inclination, as you can imagine, has me with some goals for the next two weeks. I'm finding that I do need to have some focus, or I wander the house feeling bored and off-kilter. Knowing there is a heap of things I should or could be doing and actually doing nothing at all. So...my to-do list at the moment, looks something like this (in no particular order):
  • Complete the book reviews I have awaiting my attention
  • Pay some bills
  • Have lunch with a friend from school, this week
  • Get as much of my College work done as I can before school goes back
  • Purge and tidy up in my bedroom
  • Menu plan as far ahead as I can
  • Order a new pan for my breadmaker
  • Prepare for my weekend away
  • Finish organising Miss Mischief's birthday
  • Entertain 3 little visitors next week
  • Order 'Starting Points' books & send out participant's letters
I think that will do me. Today, I'm planning on doing some supermarket shopping...just a little bit....and I'm going to make some cheese bikkies from Joy's recipe. She shared these with us when we were camping together in March and they were delicious and very moorish.

Of course, there is stitching to be done and books to read....but those always get snuck in around the must-do things of life.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Monday's Musings

I'm just going to start outright with this: Four sleeps to go!

I had something very interesting said to me the other day...well...written actually. I have been pondering the comment and wondering what it was that prompted it. What that person sees in me that I can't seem to find in myself! One day during staff devotions, the staff member leading it spread A5 paper around the room with a staff member's name on each....and a pack of textas. We were told to go and write on as many as we wanted, to encourage each person.

One of the comments on mine was "your grace is an example".

Dictionary.com defines grace as:
  1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
  2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
  3. favour or good will.
Grace? Me, gracious....or graceful even? I always wished I could be that kind of person but I really don't see it in myself. In fact, it's something I've always wished I could be and never like I get there! I seem to get to cranky and frustrated far more quickly!

On the other hand, it's really nice to get an A5 card filled with encouraging comments about yourself. I feel inclined to frame it for future reference, for when 'fractious' might describe me better!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Very Late Menu Plan

I completely forgot about my menu plan this week...probably because it's still full of holes! There's also the fact that Friday got filled up with other things ~ the day I'd planned to post it. Not to mention that yesterday I just felt completely exhausted.

Anyway, I'm here now, so this is what the plan is:

Friday: Baked eggs, mushrooms toast (Dh was out, otherwise that wouldn't have been dinner!)
Saturday: Pasta Bake, salad
Sunday: Chicken Soup, buttered bread
Monday: Spicy pork spare ribs, stir fried vegies, rice
Tuesday: Chow mein (I make mine with rice noodles)
Wednesday: Chicken Parmigana, potatoes, vegies
Thursday: Oven Fried Chicken, potatoes, vegies
Friday: Pasta Bolognaise or I'll just leave instructions for the girls and they can do something

I have spent all weekend thinking "This time next week I'll be.....". Five sleeps to go!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Best Mouse is a Dead Mouse

As you would have seen in my last post I'm not terribly afraid of mice. I get very ticked off though, when I discover them in MY space. As far as I am concerned they are very much an uninvited intruder in my house.

Last night I was sitting quietly watching 'You've Got Mail' (I love Meg Ryan!) when I saw the flicker of a little fuzzy body peek out and run back behind the TV cabinet. I set a trap at each end of the cabinet. There is no other way out, so one way or another I was 100% sure of catching it. Twenty minutes later, a trap was sprung and a mouse was caught...and dead. Dh was out last night, so I SMS'd him to let him know that I wished to share my excitement with him....and the mouse would be awaiting his return so that he could dispose of the little body.

I got up this morning....the body was gone :)

There must have been only the one mouse, as the other trap is still happily waiting to devour whatever crosses its path. Must put mouse traps on the shopping list. You always want to be able to set one the minute you know you need to. The idea of waiting until tomorrow and the mouse have an opportunity to crawl over your kitchen benches simply doesn't bear thinking about! That just makes me crankier!

Thank You Frances

I always feel special and appreciated when someone tells me I've won an award. This one comes from a very special blogging friend, Left-Handed Housewife. I have no idea now, how I found Frances' blog, but I'm so blessed to have done so. She is witty and funny, down to earth, wise and I know if she lived anywhere near me we would enjoy one another's company as much as two people possibly could.

As is almost always the case, there are rules that come with this award. And as is usually the case, I tend to break some of them. Naughty me...but Frances said it was OK to just enjoy or pass it on. So...here are the rules:

1.Thank the person who nominated you. tick
2.Copy the logo to your blog (or at least into the acceptance post...). tick
3.Link to the person who nominated you. tick
4.List 7 thing about yourself people may find interesting.
5.Make your own 7 Nominations.
6.Post links to those 7.
7.Leave them all a comment to let them know you nominated them.

Alrighty, can I find seven things that someone else might find interesting? Let's see:
  1. I am an early riser and can't seem to sleep in. The best I can do is a languishing 8am, but that is a rare day.
  2. I was a young bride ~ not quite 20yo. I am quietly horrified at the thought that one of my girls might do that to me. It is a mere 6 years away for Miss Sunshine and 7 for Miss Mischief!
  3. I won something of value once. I wrote a letter to the editor because my heart went out to someone else whose letter to the editor said she really struggled with menu planning. I just wanted the editor to pass my thoughts on. My letter won letter of the month, was published and I received $150 worth of Wiltshire non-stick baking pans.
  4. Most of my readers would already know, but I grew up as a Missionary Kid....placing me firmly in the very odd 'Third Culture Kid' phenomenon. Still...after all these years.
  5. Despite my love of really good, fresh, delicious Maggie Beer-worthy food....I love a humble chip sandwich. Chicken chips or Twisties (not hot chips!) in white bread with real butter and I'm there. It's terribly unhealthy in every way, but gee it tastes good.
  6. I'm not afraid of germs, bugs or mice. That MK experience has taught me that Aussie bugs are pathetically small and whatever it is that has beset your 'people space' (bugs and mice belong outside!) you just deal with it....and leave Dh to dispose of the mouse.
  7. I'd love to live on an acre and have enough time and energy to have a decent vegie garden and chooks. But I don't relish the idea of moving house again.
Hey, look at that....I found seven things. It took me a while to dig them out of my brain and deem them interest-worthy!

Frances, I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to take you up on the 'just enjoy' option.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Spring into ... all kinds of things!

Don't get me wrong ~ I adore the rain. I read somewhere recently that you know you're a missionary kid when you love going to sleep to the sound of rain on a tin roof. That describes me perfectly. However, as wonderful as the rain is, particularly in our dry country, there is just something about the warmth of Spring sunshine that simply makes you feel happy. The bubbly kind of 'everything is OK with the world' sort of happy. So today, we're being blessed with happy sunshine after a day of pouring rain. How blessed we are!

We've enjoyed hearing wonderful things about our children in our Parent/Teacher Interviews. There are, as always, a couple of little things to be aware of. Overall, I'm very happy with where our children are at, both academically and personally in their attitudes to school and school work.

Of course, you can't go to school and play with other children while your parents are busy, without a few little schemes afoot. And so it is, that we brought home one of Miss Mischief's friends. She happens to be the Principal's daughter and is an absolutely beautiful young lady. Unfortunately I need to return her at the end of the day. All four of the kids are outside playing.

Finally, after many weeks, the sunshine (and a bit of free time!) has inspired a new desire to prepare something fresh and yummy. Of course, having an unexpected guest for lunch probably had something to do with that as well! We bought some kabana on our way home from school and sliced it into a yummy fresh garden salad and had little potato fritters to go with it. Four happy children makes for a very easy afternoon!

To make the fritters, all I did was peel and grate some potatoes. I heated some oil in my frypay and I put little piles of potato into the hot oil. When they look like they're going golden on the bottom you turn them over until they colour up nicely again. Then I put them onto a preheated tray and into the oven to keep warm while I continue with the rest of the potato, until you're ready to serve.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Last Day....

Oh what a day! It's our last day of 3rd term here (last day at our school anyway). What a day we had today. The Prep/1's had an alphabet party because we've finished learning single sounds. Actually we finished quite a number of weeks ago, but an end of term party works very well. We had lots of yummy food and plenty of grown up visitors from around the school. The Office ladies bought 'O' food hehehe. Then I slipped into Year 3 and joined their party as well....because... well, did you know that food is full of maths!?!

I ended my sugar-rush with a lunch of soup leftover from last night. And I only had two small items that were sweet!!!!!! Very sad indeed.

We have parent/teacher interviews to enjoy tomorrow morning and then we'll be into some serious holiday relaxing. Who knows, I might sleep in past 6am! I might even convince myself that I need to start walking a lot.

For now....dinner, Girl's Brigade and some birthday shopping for a certain nearly-12yo girl.

And some ibuprofen for the post-sugar-headache!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Easy Can't-Be-Bothered Meals

Even the most enthusiastic Mum has days when the kitchen is the last place you'd like to spend time, and the idea of preparing a meal feels exhausting! I remember one day realising that I was the one preparing every single meal we ate and feeling quite daunted about the idea. And I love cooking, generally speaking.

This past week I've felt quite 'blah' about cooking anything. My very food oriented family continually ask 'what's for dinner tonight' and this week my answer has been "snot and snails ~ pick your own". This answer is always met with "awwww M-u-u-u-u-u-m". But they get the idea that nothing fancy is coming their way! My antidote to spending money on pre-prepared or take away meals is to have some really simple things that even I can get my head around when I really can't be bothered. In fact, I've probably blogged about this before. But given the way I'm feeling, I need to remind myself....so I'm reminding you too!

The past weekend, my simple meal was pasta, with sauted onion, garlic, bacon & mushrooms with cream as the sauce/moisture. Of course, in our house, we have gluten free and regular pasta going...but what's an extra saucepan?!

Last night I made a warm chicken salad...for three. That was pretty simple, as the only cooking required is for the chicken, everything else was just chopped and thrown into the bowl. I served that with some garlic bread I found in the bottom of the freezer.

A roast is always surprisingly fuss-free...especially if your children are of the age where they can peel and chop vegies. I don't do anything to the meat on lazy days. I just throw it in the oven and add the vegies at the appropriate time. On lazy days I also avoid making gravy. Ours is a gravox-free zone due to very discerning (aka fussy) tastebuds. I might get out the cranberry or apple sauce instead.

The other night I made Chicken Cacciatore thanks to a new recipe book for which I need to road test a couple of recipes to review. That was super simple and very tasty. The leftovers made a fantastic lunch, reheated in the microwave.

I'm sure most of you have recipes and ideas for really easy meals that require little effort. Post a comment and share yours with me!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The End of the Tunnel

At the end of last week I received my last pre-information package from College, and ordered my Learner Guides. Yesterday afternoon I received my fee invoice. I have but four subjects left to go and them I am DONE! Oh I am looking forward to taking one responsibility off my plate.

But then I looked at the Diploma in Education Support (the new name) subjects the other day. Hmmmm...I dunno. There appears to me, to be a vast chasm between a Certificate 3 and a Diploma! However, if at some time in the future I decided I wanted to get a degree I'd need the Diploma first.

I am sensing a light at the end of the tunnel for the term as well. It's been a long and full-on term. I feel like I've taken in more of what my professional role is, and gotten a bit more comfortable with who I am as a working mother, as oppossed to working just one day and still feeling very much like a SAHM. It's taken a bit of mental work to get to feeling comfortable with it all, given I'd never really made plans to return to work.

* * * * * * * * * *

I had a funny start to the morning. No he's not here...yes he is... and by recess....oh, nope, he's going home again. There are about 4 other Prep's complaining of similar symptoms that had my student returned home. *sigh*

Last Thursday, neither of my two students were at school!

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Great Start to the Week

Image from Whirlpool.com.au

The dishwasher saga has officially come to a beautiful end. While I was at Book Club on Friday night, Dh removed the old one and installed the new one. Not without a share of the clean up left for me...you know...because we just have to spread these things around, lest I feel excluded in the process. I put it on yesterday and it quietly whirred and hummed its way through a load of dishes, which Miss Sunshine then put away.

Oh yes. Life is sweet.

Life is sweeter....10 sleeps to go Rel, Fi & Nols. I can't help it Fi, I started counting this morning!

Friday, 11 September 2009

New Time, New Day Menu Plan

Despite my lack of posting about my menu, we've eaten this week. I keep looking at my kitchen which is now covered in dirty dishes....again...and thinking "no...I don't want to go in there, I'll never come out!". But I've braved the mountain, cleared some space and found something to cook which is worthy of consumption to set before the hungry natives that seem to come out around 6pm each evening.

Dh even had the rare privilege of leftovers for two lunches. A spoilt man, indeed.

This coming week I would love to avoid my kitchen further. Yes, there, I said it. It does happen, you know. I hate that I've gotten to that place, but there you have it. I've opted for very simple meals this week. Things that require very little effort on my part.

Friday: Quiche, vegies, potatoes
Saturday: Warm Chicken Salad
Sunday: Roast lamb, vegies, potatoes
Monday: Vegie Soup, garlic bread
Tuesday: Pasta with bacon & mushrooms
Wednesday: Honey soy chicken, vegies, potatoes
Thursday: Lamb with rosemary & vegies (Crockpot)

Oh my, that looks like such a lazy girl's plan! I promise I'll be more creative next week. Mum & Dad will be the recipients of the first few meals on next week's plan so I'll need to be with it!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Off the Radar

I've learned a thing or two over the last two week's. Perhaps I'm just a really really slow learner, but I finally got it! Lying in bed, awake, for 2-4 hours every night trying to mentally arrange my day and figure the best way to try and make the seemingly impossible work is a waste of time....and a complete waste of the dark hours set aside for sleeping!

The last two Sunday night's I've awakened in the early hours ~ around 3am and lain awake getting my brain all tied up in knots trying to figure out how tricky logistical things should happen so that everyone gets what they're meant to...of my time, for my ability to take a break....how to get a wheelchair onto trains and boats. You name it, I've laid there wide awake working it through. Each time, only to find that the issue becomes a non existence because God just orchestrates things so my worrying has been for absolutely nothing.

I have decided that I will not keep doing this to myself. When I start to worry about some situation that is completely out of my control, I will choose to leave it with God and simply ask that He handles it for me. Even if it is in my control I'm letting it go. I'm too tired and too busy to continue staying awake for vast amounts of time throughout the night.

Someone remind me of this post when I start babbling incoherently about Christmas and extended family and expectations....and all the 'stuff' that seems to go with that, will you. Like I said. I'm a really slow learner.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Move Over Menu Plans

I've decided it would be more practical to post my menu plan on Thursday or Friday. More likely Friday, because I have a bit more time! I shop on Thursday and am often finalising my weekly plan that morning before I run out the door to work. My printer isn't doing very well, so I haven't even printed out a September calendar page yet! Must put that on my to-do list at school tomorrow!

* * * * * * * * *

My week has been yet again far removed from what I expected. Today I spent a lesson preparing work to send home to my Prep student, who is again unwell. I also had my two lessons off and finished up all that I needed to complete and print so I can send off my current two subjects for marking. I'm hoping I'll have my next four subjects in hand by the holidays so I can get that well on the way over the holidays....which arrive at the end of next week.

* * * * * * * * *

My dishwasher saga is almost over. The Little Mr Fix-It Man came out on Monday and quoted the full cost of the repair. For $120 more we can have a new model with 2 year warranty. Given that our current machine is 11yrs old and the Mr Fix-It Man advises we're at the point where water pumps and such begin to go, he thought we should consider our options.

I have the new one in the front lounge room awaiting Dh to have a moment to pull the old one out, connect up the new one and shove it back in the hole.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


As an addition to my last post.....Mr Busy washed the dishes last night. I found a huge puddle on the floor, across the bench and under the kettle and then on the other side of the sink my pot mits were sodden. *sigh* It seems he had a little tooooo much fun!

* * * * * * * * * *

Something we all love around here is pancakes. Probably because it's a special occasion type of thing and not had all that often. I love the fact that I can use gluten free flour and get a very similar result to the use of wheat flour. I'm having my family try out the store brand version of two minute noodles for lunch today....and while they do that, I'm going to make some savoury pancakes for my lunch. Even when I ate wheat, I never ate 2 minute noodles. ICK! The recipe I use came from an American family, when we lived in PNG. It's probably not all that 'American' and like any recipe, I'm sure there's a hundred variations that American's use....still, that's what these were called....so don't comment telling me they're not authentic!

American Pancakes

1 cup self raising flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup milk

  1. Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and add the egg and oil. Blend with a hand whisk until the egg and oil has taken up as much flour as possible.
  2. Start adding the milk a little a a time, whisking until the flour has taken up as much milk as it can before adding more. Continue until all the milk has been added.
  3. Melt a little butter in a nonstick pan and large spoonfuls to the pan, being careful not to place them too close.
  4. When bubbles start to form on the top, flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes or until a peek reveals them to be golden underneath.
To make my savoury pancakes, I omit the sugar and I will be adding sauted red onion (that has been finely diced), a grated zucchini (unpeeled) and about the same quantity of grated cheese. Once I've mixed the pancakes mixture, I add these ingredients to it and cook in a pan with a little olive oil, instead of butter.

By the end of today I'll have some savoury pancakes and some falafels from yesterday's lunch ready for me throughout the week. I think both will go nicely served with a little salad and a small dollop of sour cream. It sure beats getting to Thursday and wondering what on earth to take with me!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Saga of the Dishwasher

People who don't have a dishwasher seem to be very unsympathetic about this....but my dishwasher has been out of action for two months. The very two months that I began working four days a week. You can't begin to imagine the messes we have gotten ourselves into. My dirty little secret in all this is that one time it took 3 days to get back on top of the pile that had accumulated....because we kept adding to the mountain as we were trying to get it under control. I'm a slow learner, but I finally figured out that if I fill the little sink in the morning, everyone can do their own breaky dishes and life is a lot simpler.

I had someone come out two months ago. He said he knew what the problem was and he needed to order a part. It would take about 10 days. Four weeks later we phoned and asked what was going on. We got a snippy "if we had it you would have heard from us". Eight long weeks after that first appointment we had another, to have it repaired....yesterday morning at 10am. I got home at 9.45 after dropping off the kids and stopping by the supermarket, to discover he'd been and gone. I saw RED. After many phone calls with DH and I being very blunt and pushy .... they will not come and fix the dishwasher.

The kicker? I found out, when I phoned whirlpool to complain about the service they were providing, they are no longer and authorised whirlpool repairer and she dropped our job like a hot potato.

We now have to go through the whole process again with another company, who are already far more professional. We have already been told that the part normally takes 3-5 days to arrive unless it has to be ordered from overseas, in which case it could take.....another eight weeks!!!! We might have it back on the go by Christmas time.

After I'd cooled down and had two friends over for lunch I decided I didn't want to hand my money over to the first mob anyway. The price is I have to wait again.

I continue to dream of the delicious thought that some fairy might come fluttering by in the middle of the night and miraculously clean up after me. Maybe I just need a wife?! They clean up after everyone else in the house don't they?!!!!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bright Copper Kettles

Remember that song from 'Sound of Music' about favourite things? This morning, rather than twirling around in my mind all those things that concern me, I've been pondering the things that have given me joy this week. A much better use of early morning insomnia, don't you think!
  • A surprise thank you note and 3 Lindt chocolate balls from MrsB.
  • An SMS telling me our 'girls' weekend away is a goer!!!!!
  • Finding the perfect little thing for my secret prayer buddy at school.
  • Having someone joyfully cover my lunch time release yesterday when I was trying to resign myself to missing out on it.
  • Lunch with a friend, just because.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Should You, or Shouldn't You?

Many of you, by now, will know that one of the things I do here and there is facilitate a Focus on the Family parenting course ('Starting Points') which is aimed at the 0-4 years. This past month I've had cause to ponder the subject of 'advice'.

In many areas of life, we come to situations where we seem to be the recipient of a lot of well-meaning 'advice'. It might be parenting, perhaps it's regarding a medical dilemma. It might be career advice...how to deal with a sticky situation. All kinds of things. With all that advice, there are also times where we might end up being criticised as well. I'm sure you have a multitude of other such times where you've experienced what I'm talking about here.

One of the things 'Starting Points' reminded me of, this time around, is that there is great value in sharing our stories with one another. I have decided that I far prefer this version of walking through life with other people, than the "this is what I did, and it worked so it should work for you too". The older I get, the more comfortable I am with how I do things and why. I'm also more inclined to feel comfortable saying, "Yeah, you know what? That just doesn't work for me".

I finally figured out that I really value the sharing of stories between people when I studied Genesis a few years back, and the next year studied Romans. Genesis was rich and filled with things that I could take and learn from. Things that I could apply. I found that through reading about the lives of the people in Genesis that so much of what they went through meant a lot to me. In Romans, the bear facts type of information delivery just overloaded me and gave me very little in the way of a frame of reference for how any of it actually related to me in a day to day way.
I have a friend who is often heard to say "give me your wisdom about....". I love how she puts that. To me, that says that she's interested in opinions and stories so that she can make decisions and choices based on a wide variety of people's perspectives and experiences.

So...who's with me? Let's enjoy the stories of others. Stories about how they do life. How the journey looks and feels for them and what it teaches them. Let's listen carefully and learn well. Let's not dictate and subject those around us to the "this is what worked for me, so that's how you should do it too" kind of advice giving.

Monday Menus...on Tuesday

Yesterday's excursion was a great success. My young Prep boy and his siblings in those year levels weren't there, so the day was quite different than I had anticipated it might have been. The highlight for me, was that all the children who had been really worried about catching the boat simply hopped on. It was no different than hopping on to a train so they didn't worry. It was a ferry with windows all around and completely enclosed so the ones who thought they might fall out simply couldn't.

As with days like that, I came home quite tired. Rather than doing a number of things I thought I was going to, I ended up dealing with Miss Sunshine and some Maths issues, after a phone call from her maths teacher. I've suggested, to her, that she take up the opportunity for the maths tutoring class on Monday afternoon ~ goodness knows I have some things sitting in my pigeon hole waiting for me to have a moment to get to them. I think it might improve what has become a bit of a personality clash.

And...because of a-a-l-l-l-l-l that, I've yet to complete this week's menu plan. And, quite frankly, I'm a bit beyond caring too much, which is possibly an aftereffect of not sleeping well.

Monday: Pasta Bolognaise
Tuesday: Ugh, that's today and I'm not sure ~ the girls are out
Wednesday: Bacon Wrapped Chicken, potatoes, vegies
Thursday: CP meal, lamb something or other
Friday: Forbidden City Chicken, potatoes, vegies
What the weekend holds? Who knows. Perhaps a repeat of what I'd intended last weekend, that never happened.

I've linked to a Forbidden City Chicken recipe. I halve the quantity of the sauce ingredients and top the 3/4 cup up with water, otherwise it's a bit strong....and I don't use the butter at all, or the tabasco sauce. It just doesn't need that much heat!