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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Musings of a Working Mum


I have come to a cross-roads of sorts. I never really thought that I would be in a position where I would define myself as a 'working Mum', however, that is where I seem to find myself. Because of this I find myself asking questions I never really asked before. Even now, the question on my mind has me a little stupified. Is it a reasonable question to ponder or am I just being lazy? Is this self protection or is it me trying to get out of a job I don't really enjoy?

The question I've been pondering is this: I wonder whether I could have someone come in once a week and just clean my floors?

The reason this question assailed me in the shower one morning? I realised that working four days as well as studying is quite a time commitment. So is the 1.5-2 hours it takes me to clean the floors! Half of our house has wooden floors, so they must all be swept before they're mopped. Effectively, this means that part of the house is being done twice, instead of the once-over it requires to vacuum. I began to wonder if spending 1/3 of my one day off cleaning floors was a good idea. Now I find myself thinking that even though the idea of having someone do that one time-consuming job is a wonderful idea, I really can do it myself. There's nothing wrong with me and it's not like I can't do it.

I'm not really sure where to go with this constant inner battle now. However, I've never worked outside my home since I had children 13 years ago so I guess I need to redefine normal in terms of 'home' .

Friday, 29 May 2009

Hit the Wall

I was trying to find some cute little picture of someone with tissues in a pile around them but I just can't see anything like that and I've gotten to the point where I don't care!

Whilst I may have managed to make it through what I had to do today I'm feeling quite washed out now, so I think I'll find my way over the couch with the tissue box and have a snooze. I just can't seem to make myself do anything else.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Final Unveiling

Photobucket

It's finally finished. Completed. There's not a stitch left to be made on my quilt top. I've just finished piecing and adding the sawtooth border and I've appliqued the star onto the very centre and it's DONE!!!!

During this next week it is my plan buy the batting and the backing fabric and then I will get started on the quilting.....which will probably take me longer than forever! The quilt shop owner tells me it must be completed by next March for the quilt show in Our Town. We shall see.

In the meantime, Natalie at Cinderberry Stitches has finally released her 'Tail Feather's pattern. I'm going to go and drool over that tomorrow afternoon.

I apologise for the very ordinary photo...the light in the room that has enough floor space to lay it out isn't the best.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

First Round of Results

I had the most exciting day yesterday. Apart from the offer of extra work, I also finally opened my parcel from College later in the day. I'd thought it was the workbooks I was expecting, but it turns out it was my first group being returned after marking.

I have 'met the requirements' for everything and received glowing remarks throughout. I was thrilled with the results of all those hours of hard work, but also pleased with the timing. I'm nearly finished my 4th subject and have about half of the assessment task to complete so it was really quite a boost to know that I've been on the right track with how I am tackling the work. I can now continue on with reasonable confidence! Well. You know. I'm doing my first Powerpoint presentation ever, so it's with a mild measure of trepidation that I say 'confidence'.

* * * * * * * * * *

Joy asked me about my sore throat. It's ended up as a cold, although nowhere near as bad as I thought it might get. I've been on zinc for a couple of months and that has certainly made an impact on the severity of the illness. My Ease-a-cold tablets are taking care of the runny nose quite nicely and I'm well able to get on with life without wanting to fall asleep all the time.

We so rarely get sick in our home, that when we do get that once-a-year cold we all tend to feel like we're going to die! Miss Sunshine has soldiered on with the help of Strepsils, as it's her throat that has been bothering her.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

What Have I Done?

You know those moments? When you run full tilt ahead and then at some point go "what on earth have I done?"!!!! I think I'm about to have one of those!

I finally had the chat with my Principal that he'd wanted to have last week. We're formally communicating and nutting out the logistics of me taking on a significant number of hours to work with a new Prep student who starts in mid-June. In the process of mentally adjusting to the idea of working for four school days I did have the presence of mind to ask that, if it was possible, I would like to continue having Monday's completely off. Of course, all the details remain elusive at this point but I can at least begin to plan for four full-on days a week. See...that's why I was menu planning so much further in advance than I have been lately.

Perhaps this is the reason that I have been running the idea of a big meal preparation event, similar to OAMC but without the cooking, just the preparation. Perhaps God was telling me I have something ahead that will see me best served by being super organised. I suspect I should take advantage of every opportunity for even small amounts of free time during these next couple of weeks!!!! Not only for doing things that I love and enjoy, but for preparing myself in practical ways.

Monday, 25 May 2009

'A Flickering Light' by Jane Kirkpatrick


My review for 'A Flickering Light' has been posted here at Relz Reviewz. What can I say, I've become quite the Jane Kirkpatrick fan. She writes beautifully and her stories are always engaging and each special in their own particular way. This one is no different. In fact, I think I enjoyed this one even more than 'A Sweetness to the Soul'...and I loved that book!

Menu Planning on Monday

I've done a little self preservation over the weekend. I've got June almost all planned out. It's just one less thing I'll have to do. Fortunately it came together without too much effort ~ hopefully the shopping will too!

This week's plan looks like this...

Monday: Spicy Pork Ribs, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Tuesday: Tuna & Rice
Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, potato, vegies
Thursday: Pasta with vegetable sauce
Friday: Roast Pork, roast potato, vegies
Saturday: Gnocchi
Sunday: Roasted Tomato Soup

I think I'm starting to come down with a cold. You know, the scratchy throat, the nose that thinks it might run but doesn't really get there? I'll be adding some Ease-a-cold tablets to my shopping trolley today to get ahead of it before it goes too far.

Today will be spent with my parents before they head off this afternoon. I'm envisaging morning tea and lots of nattering. And the ever elusive what-to-have-for-lunch quandary will have to be considered too.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

And The Next Thing


I was telling a friend the other day that right now I'm just focusing on 'the next thing'. My weeks are so full of seemingly large things to get through (and enjoy!) that I just can't look too far ahead. I'm reminded of that verse "I can do all things through God, who strengthens me". Meanwhile, this picture appealed to me this morning. A simple afternoon picnic, relaxing in the shade on a pleasantly warm day sounds divine.

Mum & Dad arrived yesterday...while I has having a nap! They're here for a couple of days this weekend and will leave sometime early Monday afternoon. My brother's 1yo daughter is being dedicated at their church this morning and then we'll all head back to their place for lunch. Somehow or another Mr Busy's bed was moved to the dining room, Mum & Dad's beds made it up to Mr Busy's room and the toilet has been cleaned. I missed it all! Hopefully they won't go home thinking I'm losing the plot! The timing for this visit is a little challenging, for them and for me. They've just returned from two months working up north and not really up to company and having just returned from camp I'm feeling a little bit the same.

I've just received the first of my three next subjects and am trying to get a hold of the bookshop at the College to send me the other two. I've bent the system just a little and asked for the next group to be sent before they've marked the work I've just handed in. I really wanted to get a head start on it before the new family begin at school and my hours there change. I'm very excited about the major assignment, which includes preparing a cooking lesson with an ethnic-type recipe. Woohooo....I've already done the practical part of that with the Yr 3's last term!

Friday, 22 May 2009

It's Good to be Home


Three days, twenty-seven children and many activities later this is about how I'm doing. In fact, I have a cup of tea in between me and keyboard and am typing around it!

Really though, we had a fabulous camp. The kids have been great, if not a little noisy! They've thrown themselves into everything with gusto and enthusiasm and have been a pleasure to spend time with. Some highlights:

* The girl who, when we went on our night walk on Wednesday, left in tears of fear and who returned victorious and discovered it wasn't so bad walking with lots of people even though it was dark.

* The boy who was so worried about his family (Mum's been unwell) that he didn't think he'd be able to sleep. He slept. He didn't even come out to mention not sleeping the second night!

* The boy whose behaviour I always find a challenge, ended up being the most well behaved one in his yabbying group. Amazing.

* The boy who did one of the most difficult low ropes elements in 32 seconds flat. Whoa!!!

* Bush cooking with the kids. The damper was spectacular.

* Catching yabbies ... trickly little critters that they are, but we have photographic evidence of our catch.

* Being mobbed by 11 girls who wanted to say goodnight.

* Playing Keeping's Off...staff against kids. Those boys are rough & strong! Mrs R was constantly at the bottom of a pile of arms and legs, all of whom wanted that ball.

* Being constantly amazed at Mr W's creative mind and how he keeps the kids on their toes and always has them guessing, never quite sure if they should get excited....or not.

* Being awake at 5am and right where I needed to be for the little one who required some adult help to get dry and comfy again. Such a God-ordained moment.

* Singing 'Awesome God' around a campfire under a perfectly clear sky filled with trees and stars with precious children who just wanted to praise their Creator, and listening to their 'Popcorn Prayers' of praise.

Unfortunately I also made a little boy cry. He'd been inclined to ignore instructions and run ahead to do his own thing and by after-lunch-time today I'd got to the end of that rope. We were around the yabby dam and I really needed him to be safe rather than running off on his own, so I had him sit aside and handed his yabby bait to someone else for a bit. He was terribly upset because he really wanted to catch a yabby, but when I had the chance to speak with him quietly, he completely understood his infraction(s). He ended up catching the biggest yabby later on so all's well.

Mr Busy has decided he needs me to come to camp next year. I told him that's a whole year away and we're not even going to talk about it right now!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

School Camp


I know this picture has nothing to do with 8-10 year olds going on school camp, but it appealed to me. Our first camping trip as a family was with a 19mo toddler and an 11wo baby. It was jolly hard work! If memory serves me, Dh had a wonderful holiday.

I doubt very much that the next three days will be any less exhausting than our family holidays in those early years. Twenty-five children and three full time adults bespeaks exhaustion in my mind! However, experience tells me that we will have a marvellous time together and that we'll all come home happy and with many shared bonding moments. My Year 3 student was, yesterday, at the point where he was really excited about going on camp. I showed him what we'd be getting up to and where the toilets were at the campsite (on a map). He'll be going home to sleep and then come right back first thing in the morning. Over the weekend he was feigning aches and pains that might prevent him from coming so to hear him say "I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight because I'm too excited" was exciting to me.

I've left little sticky notes on the bench to remind the girls & Dh of all the little things they need to remember. Somehow my writing it down carries more weight with Dh than if the girls just tell him. Their meals are organised and instructions are written (along with who needs to do what so the girls don't argue!). I've just got to leave some money with the receptionist at school in case Dh needs to send the girls home on the bus to his brother's place and they're all set. Mr Busy & I are all packed up and ready to go. I've got my wheat free snacks all organised. I now realise how much I appreciate attending camps at my BIL's site ~ his wife caters for special diets with graciousness and great care and although I know it is a bother, she makes it seem effortless.

I've even remembered to pack towels. It's a major achievement in my life ~ it's something I always seem to forget.

See you Friday.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Panna Cotta

This picture is a good likeness to my Panna Cotta.

I believe I promised this recipe last week. *sigh* Better late than never I suppose! This is a beautiful silky textured dessert that is rich, but fairly light at the same time. I've been toying with the idea that you could make chocolate or coffee panna cotta with just a few small additions and adjustments.

Panna Cotta

1 1/2 cups milk
3 teaspoons gelatine
1 1/2 cups cream
1/3 cup castor sugar
  1. Use your fingertips to lightly smear the inside of six individual 150ml moulds with almond or light olive oil. Place 3 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatine; leave to dissolve for a few minutes. (I had Miss Mischief stir this for me while I was doing step 2.)
  2. Put the remaining milk in a pan with the cream and sugar and heat gently while stirring, until almost boiling. Remove the pan from the heat; whisk the gelatine into the cream mixture and whisk until dissolved. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into the moulds and chill until set (about 4 hours). Unmould and serve.
To unmould, warm the mould with warm water (on the outside) and slip a knife down the side and tip so the panna cotta slides onto a plate. Or do what I did and just serve the sauce in the top of the mould. I used teacups, because that's all I had that was suitable.

I served this with a raspberry and red wine sauce. You could also serve it with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or coffee sauce...whatever takes your fancy.

To make a chocolate panna cotta, add 100g dark chocolate pieces and add at the end of step 2, before setting aside to cool. Stir until the chocolate is melted.

I also have a theory that if you added a strong shot of real coffee so that it is the equivalent of a latte, you could make a coffee panna cotta. As long as the milk quantity remains the same (ie, the shot of coffee is part of the 1 1/2 cups milk) it should work fine.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Planning Monday

Not just planning for menus...planning for the week.

I'm sitting here staring blankly at the two empty spaces in my menu plan. They need to be filled before I shop this morning! I also need to make sure that all the clothes have been washed and hung to dry so that Mr Busy and I have clean, dry clothes to pack by Tuesday night. I've meals to organise for while I'm away, bus passes to leave money for in case Dh decides to send the girls home after school with their cousin and snacks to prepare for camp so they don't have to bend their brains around a wheat free diet.

In the meantime, this is where I'm at with my menu plan:

Monday: Roast chicken (a hold over from the weekend)
Tuesday: ?
Wednesday: Chicken thigh pieces & vegies
Thursday: Pasta bolognaise
Friday: Something wonderful and pre-prepared before I go!
Saturday: Polenta crumbed chicken schnitzel
Sunday: Chicken & Corn Soup (after a big lunch!)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Calm


...before the storm. Just for one afternoon.

Our School's 30th anniversary went well. The place was full of people all day long and everyone seemed to be having a great time. We stayed for dinner and didn't get home til 7pm so there's some very tired people with little tolerance to spare for one another around here. I suspect I'll need to visit the supermarket for dinner ingredients before the end of the day but right now I just don't want to go anywhere. Despite being weary, it's a good kind of satisfied weary that makes the intolerance in the house a little easier to bear.

Now that church is over for the day I am indeed making this my day of rest...a good book, something to nibble on and a warm doona on the couch sounds about perfect. It'll be quite some time before I get the opportunity so I'll take it while I can.

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Day Before....

Our School has a huge celebration planned for tomorrow. A little bit Open Day and lot bit 30th anniversary and fundraising event. We'll just be there a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l day (and empty out our pockets completely, I daresay). Dh is taking his coffee machine so it needs to be set up early. I'm flitting between my kid's classes stalls. The Principal hinted at something along the lines of an unwind-at-the-end dinner for staff. We'll see what happens. My dilemma has become what to do I do today? I need to make 40 scones and I'm oh so tempted to pick up the ingredients and make them at school this morning and just stay on to help with setting up. Mr Busy's Thursday teacher needs to hand 100 pieces of Primary Schoolers art, for example. Otherwise I could come home and do the dishes. Pffft. Where's the fun in that?!

* * * * * * * * *

My busy Thursday night turned out fine. I went down to my brother's place and his wife had piles of clothes all ready for me to go through. Oh. My. Goodness. There were items in those piles that I had been looking for in the shops!!!!! Just as well I'm a hopeless shopper and give up before I get too far into it! Last night I pulled on a pair of jeans and you know what? For the second time in my life I had a pair that didn't need altering at all. I phoned her and asked her to put aside the others that were that same size. You know why they fitted so well? They'd been pre-stretched and worn in to a body, instead of that tight just-been-washed feel that you get when you try on new jeans. I'm feeling like a new woman and I didn't pay a cent. I'm so glad they had money before they had kids....she has great clothes LOL. Miss Sunshine even come home with a really nice winter coat.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Two Little Cuties

It is a rare occasion for which I pass up my sewing time in favour of other activities. This morning I had double reason to be willing to let that time go. Firstly, I was reading for maths tests for my Year 7 student. In the second test he was done early so we had a chance to chat about stuff he enjoys ... it was good. We don't normally get to do that in the run of a normal class.

Between tests we had a new family come and look at the school for a second time. They're a large homeschooling family who are looking to enroll their children with us. I'd been asked if I could be available. One of their 5yo twins has a disability and would require adult assistance in order to spend some time in the playground. So as the older children were all escorted off with their guides for the morning, I was introduced to two of the most gorgeous little boys I've had the pleasure of meeting. They were absolutely delightful. We spent time in the playground, checking things out down there. They had their snack at the Prep picnic tables and then we checked out the Prep classroom....a few teachers meandered by and stopped to chat. Some of the kids asked "why's he in the wheelchair" to which the boys confidently gave their answer. I had to dash back off the high school, but when I was done I went back with some books, found the boys and we read til they were all set to go home. I suspect I will gain some extra working hours. But I'll tell you, spending time with these two will be no chore at all.

By the by, the Year 6's cubby house is amazing. The boys and I checked that out while we were down that way. What a work of art and architectual ingenuity. All from a stack of wood and sticks. One of the teachers said they've paved inside it....wonder where they got the pavers from?! Our kids don't know how good they've got it, being supplied with the necessary makings for elaborate bush-hut type cubbies!

Interview with Amy Clipston

I don't normally go much beyond letting you know when my reviews for Relz Reviewz have been posted on her blog. However, Rel gave me the opportunity to provide some questions for Amy Clipston in her latest author-interview. She asked for about 4 questions related to 'A Gift of Grace', which I did...and then thought of a few other things I really wanted to know! The email was all very organised until I got to the end and then it went something like:

And could you ask her....
Oh, I really wondered about....
What about....

Rel took my garbled meandering thoughts and posed the questions far more intelligently than I had!

You'll find Rel's (and my!) interview with Amy here.

Rules for Spoiled Teenagers

These rules were posted in our Staffroom many years ago, now. I'd always thought them to be candidly accurate. Now that I have a teenager and spend some time with Year 7's I find myself wanting to parrot these off to the silly boys who constantly find ways to annoy each other. Or the other little group who just constantly chatter through class, no matter whether they're meant to be working or listening to the teacher. Or the two girls who think that the whole class wants to hear whatever pops into their heads. Of course, if were my list of rules, I'd probably add some that address things like basic etiquette and that being young doesn't excuse bad behaviour. Or, that you're not more special than any other person around you.

Rule 1
Life is not fair — get used to it!

Rule 2
The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3
You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.

Rule 6
If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7
Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you think you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9
Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

'Vanish' by Tom Pawlik


My review for 'Vanish' by Tom Pawlik has been posted here at Relz Reviewz.

If you love suspense that sends chills up and down your spine all the way through the book, then this is the book for you. I have the sequel in my hot little hand and will be reading that one very soon. I'll let you know when the review is posted.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Polenta Crumbed Chicken

My friend Jodie asked if I would post this recipe, when I was talking to her today. It actually comes from another friend whose ideas I often steal. This one is worth the theft, especially if you can't eat wheat.

Polenta Crumbed Chicken

Chicken fillets ~ breast or thigh
buttermilk
parmesan cheese, finely grated
polenta
  1. Place the chicken fillets in a dish in a single layer and pour over some buttermilk. Not so it's swimming in buttermilk, but enough that both sides are in contact with it and allow to sit at least for an hour, or all day if possible in the refrigerator.
  2. In another dish, combine the polenta and grated parmesan. You could add finely chopped herbs, like parsley if you desire.
  3. Roll the chicken in the buttermilk as you remove it from the dish to ensure it is quite moist and then press the fillet into the polenta mixture and ensure both sides are well coated. The buttermilk will help it stick.
  4. Set aside in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat some olive oil and butter in a fry pan and add the chicken fillets to the pan. When the chicken is browned on one side, turn the fillets over and cook until golden on the other side.
You will need to watch the chicken while it's cooking as the polenta is inclined to brown before the chicken is cooked so try and cook it on a medium heat.

I apologise for the lack of quantities, but it really is a meal where you just use enough to suit the number of people you're feeding.

There are any number of recipes you can use the buttermilk in. This week I will be trialling a gluten free scone recipe that requires buttermilk, so I'll let you know how that goes. You can use buttermilk in regular scones, muffins, cakes, pancakes etc.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mr Busy has enjoyed his birthday, despite his first experience with government instituted testing at school. I was at the supermarket at 7am picking up cornflakes to make honey joys so he could take them to school to share with his friends...and his teachers (both of them)....and the receptionist, and CRO and Principal and, lucky for her, the Head of Secondary! He's such a generous lad. Just as well the recipe made 24 and he only has 16 kids in his class LOL. The Principal did a swap with him: a honey joy for a lucky dip into the birthday container he keeps in his office for just such special occasions.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Could someone please explain to me how it is that everything that needs to be done has to be done in the one little bit of time in a week? I've just had a phone call from the Girls Brigade Captain (one of four phone calls in 5 minutes!!!!!!!) asking if we'll be at the Mother/Daughter night this week. ARRRGGGHHHH I'm meant to be popping in at my brother's place to pick some stuff up...could've managed that. But this week the girls will start later and finish when I'm meant to be 25 minutes away...and I have to make a stop on the way there! It's just not going to happen, is it?

Monday, 11 May 2009

Tummy Filling Menu Plans


The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty full on around here. We have NAPLAN testing in Years 3, 5, 7 & 9 this week as well as our 30th anniversary and school fete at Our School. Next week I'm on camp and the day I come home my parents will also be coming to stay for the weekend. How is it that it always happens that way? When we're busiest seems to coincide with their visits. Uncanny! Somewhere in there Miss Mischief is going on a sleepover and my niece is turning one and being dedicated!!

So this week's menu is looking a little like this:

Monday: Quiche, vegies, potato wedges
Tuesday: Tuna & Rice (Mr Busy's birthday pick)
Wednesday: Moussaka, steamed vegies
Thursday: Singapore Noodles
Friday: Pork Chops with apple & celery, vegies, potato
Saturday: Bacon & Mushroom Pasta
Sunday: Roast chicken, vegies

I made Panna Cotta for the very first time this weekend, with a raspberry and red wine sauce. Mmmmm, now there's a dessert! I'll be making it far more often now that I've done it once. I've a couple of recipes to post this week so stay tuned.

If you've liked some of the food and flower pictures I've posted lately check out Alena Hrbkova at art.com for more

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Happy Mother's Day


Today has been a regular Mother's Day here. The kids were cranky this morning. Let me correct that ~ Mr Busy was cranky this morning, bringing on old feelings of challenging Mother's Day's past.

However, the day improved quickly. They played 'The Mom Song' in church ~ which went over very well, as you can imagine! Then we had some friends over for lunch. I did nearly everything yesterday so all that had to happen was for things to be reheated. Lunch was lovely and the company even better. One of our guests is also on a wheat free diet and was thrilled to discover lasagna and a dessert that was quite safe for her to eat. Then 10 children between us all were in and out enjoying the lovely sunshine and the excitement of a new backyard to explore.

Wherever you are Mum's, I hope your Mother's Day has reminded you that you are special, indispensable and dearly loved by the ones you care about.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Herb & Ricotta Muffins

My precious foodie-friend made this recipe for the staff over Work Break a few weeks back and I finally snaffled the recipe from her and tried it out with gluten free flour. It's a keeper.

Herb & Ricotta Muffins

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
30g grated parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta
80g melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 170C and line muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Combine flour, cheese and herbs in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir gently until well combined.
  5. Fill muffin pans with the mixture.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes.
I didn't have wocestershire or tabasco...or dill. I left out the sauces and added extra chives and of course, used the gluten free flour. They are delicious! They freeze and defrost well and are beautiful served with sour cream.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Bong-kers


Mr Busy started drum lessons today. He's very excited about the idea of learning the bongo's actually...and I like the lesser noise option. The drum teacher says there's a limit to the lessons he can provide so he'll do some beginner drum stuff too.

Mr Busy is ecstatic. Little boy heaven could be no better!!!!

The teacher is a young man who used to attend our church (Mr Busy has a special friendship with his Dad) and was in youth group when Dh & I ran it, a lifetime ago. So it's a special thing all 'round for us.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

School Photo Day

I don't normally work on Thursday's, but today I made an exception. Missing staff on Photo Day leaves an incomplete picture of the school, in years to come when people are looking back. I went in, in time for the staff photo and then hung around for the whole school shot and the family photo. I had ordered a family photo and the receptionist said "You have to be in it too....". I'd not thought of it really. But in a school where 1/3 of the staff are also current parents it seems to be the thing to do. So I took the opportunity and jumped in with the kids. I'm rather pleased with the results (gotta love high tech photographers that hook straight up to a computer screen!).

Before all that excitement though, I nearly got my first border on my quilt. The four borders are pieced, as of last night. I just need to sew them on. I got part way through one side and the bobbin cotton ran out, darn it. Then I will need to make a firm decision ~ hand quilt or professional quilter. I get both sides....oh of course you'll send it off to get quilted, and, you couldn't possibly send it off to someone else cos then it wouldn't be your work. My control-freak nature tends to agree with the latter. What I am thinking, though, is that I could get a professional quilter to baste the layers together so I could then quilt away at my leisure without worrying about the quilt layers moving. That would be $40-$50 well spent, I think. I'll post a picture once I'm done with the borders.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Sometimes You Need to be a Wally

Anyone remember those ads on TV in the 1980's or 90's about being a 'Wally with Water'? I'm about to catapult that little idea right out of our house. Only regarding one issue...not the rest. I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We'll still insist on 4 minute showers, should I ever be so lucky as to be successful! I'm the only one who manages that. Miss Mischief tries really hard. The rest think that rule is for the rest of Australia and they're not included. We'll still advise the kids to turn the taps off while brushing their teeth. We'll adhere to the laws about watering the garden.

We will NOT be using the half flush on the kid's toilet ANY MORE. In fact, I'm going out the caravan to find the gaffer tape to tape over the half flush button.

Now before all the greenie...oops, environmentalists kick up a stink (pun intended), I have very good reason. Dh had just spent the morning sloshing about in the bathroom, toilet & laundry with water coming up from every plughole available because someone blocked up the toilet with too much loo paper. The half flush doesn't provide enough push to get everything moving sufficiently. This has been a continually ongoing problem in this house. It has to do with the fall of the pipes from the toilet to the septic tank. The gradient is not quite right. Gravity just isn't able to do what it is really meant to and I'm sick and tired of having to deal with yucky stuff. More importantly, Dh is sick of having to deal with yucky stuff and I hate having to wash the towels required! We've also had to get plumbers in from time to time to clear blockages. There will also be a notice on the wall above the toilet paper with Toilet Paper Rules. Who'd have thought you'd need those?!

* * * * * * * * * *

Hopping off my little soap box now...I was very excited on Monday morning when I was in the office at school, to discover that one of the students who left last year (from Miss Sunshine's class) has returned. We had many, many kids leave the school last year, but he was the one I have grieved over and prayed about the most because I knew deep in my heart that he would find it difficult to leave us and go where his parents were sending him. I've lived what he has now lived and I know how hard it is.

So I hugged him to death and told him how glad I was that he was back for good. And then I watched as every adult who saw him and knew who he was hugged him too and also expressed their joy at having him back with us. It is truly a pleasure to have him in class. He's one of those natural leaders. At his young age he possesses a maturity and wisdom that is rare amongst his peers. He has a very personal and deeply held faith that sets him apart from other kids. He respects other people, just because people deserve to be respected for who they are ~ kids and adults alike. As much as I know he is relieved to be back in a place where he is known, loved and free to be who he truly is, the rest of the children in his class will be blessed by him too. Just because that's who he is.

And I have a tear in my eye every time I think of all he has endured and so grateful that he has parents who were willing to admit they got it wrong this time.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Ants Climbing Trees


I always get a comment or two, whenever 'Ants Climbing Trees' features on my menu plan. It's really a very quick and very simple Asian dish of minced pork, mung bean noodles and a few seasonings and sauces. A great meal for those nights when you have little more than two seconds to get dinner on the table. I finally did a google search and found a recipe that is practically identical to the one I have.

Ants Climbing Trees

1 large packet mung bean noodles
500g lean minced pork
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 tablespoons chilli sauce
1 teaspoon corn flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 stalks scallions, sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock

  1. Add soy sauce, rice wine, chilli sauce, and corn flour to a bowl. Mix in pork and marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the noodles in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain.
  3. Heat the wok, and add the oil. Cook the pork mixture over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add scallions and cook until pork is browned.
  4. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes, stirring well.
  5. Add noodles to wok. Stir until noodles and sauce are blended well together and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Garnish and serve.
If you're interested in the site I found this on, click here.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Tummy Time

That day of the week again. I'm sure Monday comes around more often than any other day! I have a easy paced week planned for myself this week, without any study to do. Lots of reading and sewing preparation for my Block of the Month class to look forward to.

Also to look forward to, lots of yummy meals like...

Monday: Herbed Fish & vegies
Tuesday: Oven fried chicken & vegies
Wednesday: Gnocchi with bacon & mushroom sauce
Thursday: Ants Climbing Trees
Friday: Chicken Parmigana & vegies
Saturday: Mrs R's vegie soup
Sunday: Lasanga & salad...I think!

We've invited some friends over for lunch on Sunday, so I think that's the plan for now. I'm going to get my girls helping me prepare on Saturday. After all, Sunday is Mother's Day here and my kids are old enough to be extraordinarily useful!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Isaiah 30:18


The Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him"
Isaiah 30:18

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Monumental Milestones

I mentioned yesterday that today is Miss Sunshine's 13th birthday. Just to match her nickname and her personality, today is beautiful and sunny! We've given her a clock/radio/CD player. We need to take a trip down the hill into the fray to the Christian bookshop to buy her something to play on the thing now. We're kinda stuck at Amy Grant circa 1985 and Play School. We need to move on a little! She's listed Casting Crowns and Third Day....along with Cold Play, which Dh & I decided was never going to happen. I'd much prefer her fill her mind with positive messages and we'll all enjoy the opportunity to fossick about in a perfectly divine place, filled with music, music books, Christian fiction. I need to buy my Mum & Dad's birthday presents there too....I may never be seen again. Not with money in my pocket, anyway!

I posted off my first three units of study yesterday. I feel a little bit funny about that. Will I do well? Will I bomb out? Have I met all the criteria and answered the questions sufficiently. Am I way off base with some things? So I wait. And I take a study holiday until the next three units arrive. Of course, a mother next really takes time off. I'll be making hastier inroads into my reading pile. I draws me, longing for my company and I have to keep passing it by. Not this coming week! I'm looking forward to indulging fully. I have a few wardrobes that need a major purge.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Lemon Butter


This lemony spread is beautiful...even when made by 8yo's! In fact there's was better than the one we tasted, in my opinion.

Lemon Butter
8 eggs
250g butter (1/2 lb)
4 cups sugar
juice & rind of 8 lemons
  1. Beat the eggs lightly and set aside.
  2. Combined butter and sugar and stir over a double boiler until the butter has melted.
  3. Remove bowl from the head and add the eggs, lemon rind and juice and mix well. You might need a hand beater to do this.
  4. Return to the heat and continue stirring until the mixture becomes thick like honey.
  5. Bottle in sterile jars. Seal with the lid immediately.
A double boiler is simply a saucepan of water on a medium boil with a bowl sitting over the top of it (not in the water). It is best to use a metal bowl, but I only have ceramic bowls and it just takes longer.

I took the mixture off the heat when it had thickened and I could see lines as I stirred, the same as what you would look for if you were wanting jam to set.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Miss Sunshine is home after a rather eventful camp. She braved the rock wall (climb up, repel down) but chickened out on the abseiling. I can't see the difference myself, but she just couldn't do it and I suppose there's a limit to how many fears a child can face in one week! Given that we've had the coldest April mornings in 50 years this week, the teachers nixed the idea of sleeping in a tent one night. Very sensible! She's had very late nights (for her) and so I will joyfully take myself off to book club tonight and leave Dh to deal with the irrational sleep-deprived behaviour that it sure to arrive at about the time I leave!

Tomorrow Miss Sunshine turns 13. Thirteen....I find myself wondering where the years went. And yet in the early years I thought we'd never get here. We are having a very quiet afternoon of DVD watching, eating and a quiet craft activity, for her and her fellow sleep-deprived campers! She has four friends coming so I'll look forward to reconnecting with the girls and hearing more camp stories.

And then we will eat nachos and cake! Oh, and fairy bread and cupcakes. No birthday party is complete without hundreds and thousands.