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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Am I Mad?

You know how I victoriously declared myself finished with my course?

I'm seriously thinking about going further with my study and earning a higher qualification. I've just emailed my lecturer to find out if I can go straight to the Diploma, given my work experience. I'm not holding out much hope though as they've just changed the entry requirements from last year and it looks like the Certificate 4 is a prerequisite. Never hurts to ask the question though.

Whichever way it goes, both are only 1 semester full time and I believe both are available externally. So if I had to do both to get the Diploma, it would still only be one year. The Diploma subjects are far more interesting and the list of options to pick from for the elective subjects are going to be hard to narrow down to just six!

And I really want to get my % mark first too. Then I'll know if I have what it takes to go further. If I only just scraped through, I don't think I'll go any further!!!!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

IT IS FINISHED!!!!!

I did it! I have finally mailed off the last of my College subjects and my practical placement information today. The package was triumphantly placed in the mail tray in the office at school and I declared myself no longer a student. The Head of Secondary grinned a little grin at my excitement. The receptionist said "well done"...and I went to have my recess LOL.

My provisional results so far are all 'competent' and they are just waiting for corroboration from the practical placement information I've returned and a conversation with the Prep teacher I work with.

I'm still tossing about the possibility of doing a little bit more. I've just completed Certificate 3 level and there's a Cert 4 and Diploma I could still do....all via external study. So far, the school has paid for it. I'm just not sure. Maybe I'll wait and see how I did first. 'Competent' doesn't really tell you how well you've done...just that you're done.

The Depths of Boyhood Despair

Mr Busy came to me on Sunday night in floods of little-boy tears. "Mum" sob, sob, sob "My high hat pedal is bro-sob-ken". The way he said, you'd think that high hat pedal was a goner, never to be repaired. His happy little world of bliss had certainly come crashing down on him!

Mr Busy was not easily persuaded that the pedal could be repaired and was not so keen to wait a day or maybe two! He spent quite some time bouncing like a ping-pong ball between the two of us, desperate for someone to phone his drum teacher and find out what to do. He was finally placated when I emailed his teacher's contact details to Dh's work so that he could make the arrangements first thing Monday. After all, if Daddy doesn't like people phoning him on a Sunday about work, then why would other people?

By Monday evening Mr Busy had a repaired pedal, had his drums tuned (did you know they needed tuning?!) and had caught up on a lesson as well.

The arm injury sustained while driving a little motorised buggy at his friend's place on Friday night didn't stop him one bit.... funny that! I don't suppose it is broken after all.

Mr Busy is back up on the moutain top in his life.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

"Julie & Julia"

What could be better after an afternoon of mini-golfing, than to follow up with an evening out with your bestest girlfriends? Not much, I'd wager.

Last night my girlfriends and I had dinner together and then headed off to see 'Julie & Julia'. I loved it. It was about cooking, after all...what's not to love?! It was humourous and touching, delicious and true-to-life with moments of despair and then triumph. Meryl Streep does a marvellous job of imitating the real Julia Child. I had to watch a You Tube clip, just to be sure. Her performance had touches of Dame Edna Everidge though!!!!

I have another food-loving friend who mentioned she wanted to see this....I think I'll have to go with her and see it again. You know...just in case I missed something the first time round :)

You should go and see it too.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Elusive Weekly Menu Plan

I've done it again, haven't I?! In my defense, yesterday was a busy day!!!! I had a total of two hours at home in the afternoon....not enough time to keep all my wits about me, I can assure you.

And even today...I remembered about posting my menu plan as I was on my way to spend the morning at a friend's place. She had a little girl from our Prep class staying last night and through until late this afternoon. Their family is again dealing with a pretty big health issue and so my friend asked if we could come and spend some time giving some joy to this precious little girl who is all pink and piggy tails and the most adorable little person, inside and out.

As it turns out, Miss Sunshine is the only one home this morning ~ the other two are at a sleepover and a camp. So Miss Sunshine and I headed off with a recipe and ingredients to make Hummingbird Muffins with Miss Adorable. Miss Sunshine took the lead as the two of them measured and mixed together. Once they were in the oven I believe an indoor cubbyhouse was created and some sandpit playing ensued once their indoor creation was complete.

Miss Sunshine says she enjoyed this morning much more than she thought she would. I knew she'd have a great time. I wish I knew Miss Adorable's parents better than a fleeting recognition. Miss Adorable would be more than welcome to spend days on end with us if it were necessary.

So....after that convoluted little journey, the menu plan:

Friday: Nachos
Saturday: Pasta with Bacon & Mushrooms
Sunday: Lamb Moussaka, vegies
Monday: Apricot Chicken, mashed potatoes, vegies
Tuesday: Pork Meatloaf, vegies (a holdover from last week)
Wednesday: Singapore Noodles (another holdover)
Thursday: Crockpot...something or other chicken. Maybe Cacciatore.

I'll get things organised for Miss Sunshine to cook tonight....I'm going to have dinner with my girlfriends before going to see 'Julie & Julia'.

Class of '09

I spent the whole of yesterday at school. Fortunately I went of prepared with recess and lunch food! On the Year 12's last day you just never know what will happen or whether the thing you'd planned to do will actually get done!

Yesterday the theme was Pirates and the Year 12's dressed up as characters from Peter Pan. Captain Hook made an imposing figure. Peter Pan, clad in tights, had grown considerably! Of course, everyone of the cast were there....and each made their own grand entrance into a whole-school assembly. Each class presented the Year 12's with something precious. Food, which is always a winner with teenage boys, treasure maps to find their VCE ENTER score, prayers, notes of encouragement, a key to the real treasure ~ the Bible.

We had the traditional staff vs Year 12 game. This year it was lacrosse. The staff won :) We had our traditional guard of honour and farewelled some very special young people. Now they'll go and study for exams and their school life is finished.

A little sad really. And very exciting. And a bit daunting because in five short years my own daughter will be experiencing her last day. The year after, the next one will have hers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

After such excitement and frivolity (and a few tears from the library tech whose son is in Year 12), we knuckled back down to the business of preparing for Year 6 Graduation.

We do 'Tiny Toastmasters' with our Year 6's and they present one of their speeches on Graduation Night. They have an 8 week program during class, where formal meetings are run and each student performs different functions within each meeting. Each student is required to present 3 speeches during the 8 weeks, and they are critiqued by their peers. The teacher and I determine who wins the 'Burnt Toast' award for the best speech and then we work with the kids to refine their chosen Graduation speech. Not to mention some meeting etiquette refining along the way!

Yesterday Miss Mischief was the Toastmaster ~ the one who emcee's the meeting and keeps it moving. She did a marvellous job. We just need to have her turn up her volume!

I love this journey with the Year 6's. I love seeing them develop from uncertainty to confidence. It is one of the last instances where they willingly allow themselves to be molded in preparation for a significant event in their lives, before the final years of high school.

In Year 7, their willingness disappears.

One of the greatest pleasures for me is that I've done this with Miss Sunshine and I'm now doing it with Miss Mischief. I have the very rare pleasure as a parent of seeing my daughters through this program. And in a few year's time I imagine I'll see Mr Busy through this process too. Miss Mischief's teacher is very keen for me to continue being involved, now that I know how it all works.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

'A Slow Burn' by Mary E DeMuth

Rel has posted my review for 'A Slow Burn', which you will find here. As I reread my review I was reminded again how my heart ached for the characters in this book. Mary E DeMuth is a brilliant author. She addresses difficult, heartbreaking issues in a perfect mix of brutal honesty tempered with delicate care.

I have to warn you, your heart will break and you will cry buckets, but this is a book that should not be shied away from. It's one of those ones that will stay with you for a very, very long time. And I can't wait for the third book in this trilogy to be released. Mary has assured me there are good things ahead for Emory.

Tonight I'll go to bed smiling in anticipation for her.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Falafels

Want to know what my favourite lunch so far this week so far this week is? A chopped falafel on 94% wheat free rye bread with a little bit of sour cream. Mmmmmmm...so good! I mentioned the other day I had made falafels for my lunch and would enjoy them for the rest of the week's lunches. Such a good idea, that was!

Mr Busy studied Egypt last term in General Studies so the recipe comes from his school recipe folder. Have I told you how cute that boy is?! Cute enough to eat, I reckon. Oh wait, we're talking falafels.....before I eat my delicious son I'd better post that recipe.

Falafels

2x 400g tins chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
20 stalks flat-leaf parsley
15 stems coriander
20 mint leaves
1/4 cup self raising flour
oil for frying
  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Drain the chickpeas.
  3. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, chickpeas, parsley, fresh coriander and mint to the food processor and process until the mixture is well blended. You may need to stop the processor regularly to move the mixture about to ensure even blending.
  4. Once you're happy with the consistency of the mixture, add the flour and blend further until the flour is well combined. Again, you may need to stop the machine regularly and move the mixture about.
  5. Form the mix into balls about 4cm wide.
  6. Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add the falafel balls and cook until the bottom turns golden brown. Turn the balls and cook until the second side goes golden.
  7. Remove and serve with a simple salad and a dollop of sour cream or tzatztkiki.
Of course, you know I altered the recipe to suit my tastes. I don't like fresh coriander or mint that much, so I left that out and added just a little extra flat-leaf parsley. I also used gluten free self raising flour. Next time I do this recipe I want to try sautéing the red onion and garlic before it is processed with the other ingredients. Thoroughly cooked onion is always more socially acceptable.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Little Drummer Boy

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Mr Busy has been taking drum lessons for the better part of this year. I have long resisted this development in our son. Every time he enthusiastically watched the drummer in my church music team I would point him to the guitarist instead. Guitars are so much more mellow and ... well ... quieter. I value peace and quiet. Goodness only knows why I thought I'd get any of that when we had three children!

In any case, the drum teacher is a young man who grew up in our church and this year began teaching drums privately at our school. Mr Busy adores his drum teacher, and is oh so keen to learn more than just how to play the bongo's!

Just a few weeks back, the drummer in my music team at church emailed us and offered us the use of his old drum kit. We decided it would be foolish to decline and gratefully responded with our desire to take up the generous offer. Yesterday was the day that Dh & Mr Busy headed off to pick up the drum kit.

Oh the excitement and joy on that little 9yo face! Oh the noise that comes from that corner of the house now!!!! However, there are two doors we can close between him and the family room so he can bash away without driving us too nutty. There is barely room for Mr Busy to move in his room now...but I'm sure he'll find a way to play with his lego, sleep and keep those drums!

I have to say, he's not half bad! Rather smooth, even. One day when he's a little more proficient I may even cave in and move the drums to the formal dining room where my piano is. I think I could handle having a companion to play with. I think that'll be a while off.

I value peace and quiet.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

This Week's Menu Plan

It seems that my change of day to post my menu plan has thrown me. I only realised late this morning that I'd neglected to do it this week! So before I forget again, here's the plan:

Friday: Miss Sunshine's chicken & rice noodle stir fry
Saturday: Lamb roast, vegies, sticky date pudding
Sunday: Homemade pizza ~ bacon & pineapple; onion, garlic & potato with a wheat free base for two of us
Monday: Soup?
Tuesday: Forbidden City Chicken, vegies
Wednesday: Pork meatloaf, vegies
Thursday: Singapore Noodles

Can you tell we had visitors for tea on Saturday ~ dessert doesn't usually happen at our place unless there's a special reason!!!!

I have a new recipe for falafels, which I am going to have to post. It is far superior to the recipe I have used in the past. I made a batch today for lunch...and lunches during this week. None of my family are thrilled with falafels, but I adore them so having them for lunch means they stretch out over a few days and no one else is going to complain at me.

Sticky Date Pudding

I found a great sized lamb roast that had been reduced for quick sale yesterday. With a plan in mind I quickly added it to my supermarket trolley and bought enough vegies to ensure I had plenty for guests.

Fortunately for us, we found some wonderful friends willing to share a lamb roast with us.....but then, what does one serve for dessert?! The girls and I mulled and pondered for a while and then I came up with a sure winner ~ sticky date pudding. A quick trip back to the supermarket for dates, cream and ice cream and we were on our way. Quite the success it was. You always know you've hit the mark when little boys, young and old alike, kind of melt at the table while they enthusiastically devour every bit they can without licking the bowl....which would be impolite in front of others!

I make my sticky date pudding into muffins, for easy portion control. I turn them upside down so they soak in as much yummy sauce as possible and serve with ice cream. Mmmmmmmm.


Sticky Date Pudding

250g pitted dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
125g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
Caramel Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
300ml thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
60g butter
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line 7cm deep, 22cm cake pan (or use a 12 hole muffin pan).
  2. Chop dates and place in a bowl with bicarb soda. Pour over boiling water. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, fold through date mixture and flour until well combined.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared cake pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. turn onto a plate. (if making muffins, cook for 15-20 minutes).
  5. Make Sauce: Combine all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until sauce comes to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-slow. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Serve pudding with sauce poured over the top.
Of course, the picture is not mine. With 10 hungry pairs of eyes eagerly awaiting their dessert, there was no time for picture taking!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Faith 'n Fiction: Publishers and Branding


My Friend Amy's faith 'n fiction topic has saved me from staring blankly at a 'new post' screen!!!!

Today's Topic

This week Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher announced a new division for self publishing. They named this new endeavor, Westbow Press. This was a bit of a shock for those of us who remember books on the shelves by some of Christian fiction's most accomplished writers published under the Westbow imprint of the past.

When asked about this, Michael Hyatt responded that readers don't pay attention to imprints and publishers. To be honest, I found this rather insulting and it also made me question why publishers would try to brand themselves if readers don't really care anyway. Even before book blogging and reading book news every day, I paid attention to publishers. I figured if a publisher published enough different sorts of books that I liked, than I would like a lot of their stuff.

This really holds true today. I have favorite publishers in Christian fiction and in the general market. There are publishers I know I will read new authors from and other I'm less likely to pick up.

How about you? Do you know who the Christian publishers are? Who are your favorite publishers or imprints? Do you have certain perceptions of the kinds of books each publishing house brings out? Tell it like it is...even if you have no idea what I'm talking about!

My Response:
I don't know whether I would go so far as to say I feel as insulted as Amy does....but I am definitely surprised. I've been reading Christian Fiction since I was 9 years old and I do take notice of the publishers. I will admit to being oblivious as to what an imprint is....but I'm familiar with my publishers. I have a overwhelming number of Bethany House books on my shelves. I notice when an author changes publisher mid-way through a series ~ I've even asked an author about the change! I know when I see the 'etc' circle at the top of the spine it's going to be a NavPress book. I know that B&H books are going to be pretty fantastic, because Karen Ball is one of their editors and I have a deep respect for Karen's work as an author and as an editor. David C Cook makes me giggle a little inside because the publisher name could be an author's name!

Of course that's barely a handful of publishers, but you get the gist. The apparently unaware reader is more aware than Thomas Nelson give us credit for. If I am inclined to notice these things, you can be sure there are many, more discerning, readers doing the same. Publishers do become synonymous with the style and genres they publish. In the past, Westbow has published the likes of Angela Hunt, Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. I wonder then, how they will distinguish this new self publishing 'Westbow' from the old. After all, there are many Christian Fiction readers who will look at the publisher and have some expectations. Surely there are some creative people in the publishing industry who could come up with a name that does not set the reader up with the high expectations that one rightly has when they pick up Angela, Ted or Frank's books.

Don't get me wrong though. I think having an avenue for self publishing could be really helpful for new authors, when they are wanting to write something that none of the big publishing houses are interested in, at the time. I'm sure black and white sales figures will help authors who want to break into the Christian Fiction arena. If they have a good self publishing record, they will no doubt become more attractive to the big boys in the industry. It will also allow the reader access to more than what the publishing houses are prepared to publish. I'm just not so sure it's a good idea to use a name with a reputation already attached to it.

What do you think?

Friday, 16 October 2009

Lighter Locks

Us girls are all feeling quite light now. Today was the designated hair cut day. I had mine done late this morning and then took the girls back for their appointments after school. Ahhhh the bliss of less hair. It's been 15-18 months since any of the three of us have had trims so you can only imagine how very long our hair had gotten. Miss Mischief was no longer able to brush all the knots out! She's not happy at the loss of such fine length, but Miss Sunshine and I are ecstatic!

*************

I'm very pleased to say that I finished 'Michal' by Jill Eileen Smith this afternoon ~ with plenty of time to spare. Beautifully written and as always, illuminates a little portion of the Bible that perhaps we otherwise overlook. I can't wait for our discussion tonight, about the book.

Now I just have to go back and write the review for the book I hastily finished on Monday night so I could get 'Michal' read in time!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Helter Skelter at Our Place

I realised I haven't posted much this week. You know what? I go to post something and stare at a blank screen and end up walking away again. What have I to say, when I've had little time to think a leisurely thought, let alone something post-worthy?!

I'm afraid you'll have to put up with petty ramblings today.
  • Mr Busy is front and centre on page 3 of the school newsletter in all his chefly glory. Cute boy that. I should take him home to live with me! And he cooks. What more could a mother want?!
  • Our Secondary school is having a 'Soiree' tonight. Musical, artistic, creative entertainment and performances. I've got someone else's secondary daughter here and her family have Miss Mischief for the evening....Girls Brigade and assessment weighted performances just don't mix! We have a swap to do later on tonight. Should've thought further....we could just done a sleepover swap. Now why didn't I think of that before now?!
  • My pace-y reading of 'Michal' this week is on track. I'm taking over the running of Book Club for the evening tomorrow so that Rel can spend some time with her extended family. I'm loving the book ~ Biblical Fiction is always a sure favourite for me and this one is no different. I just need to get it finished before we meet LOL.
  • My College work is going well. Today my Prep boy and I played a maths game I had to create. I went without a hitch and he loved it. What 6yo wouldn't want to get as many hoppy frogs into a pond. The fact that he won sweetened his opinion of my creation.
Dinner is on the boil, so I need to go and finish off before we can get going this evening!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

9 in 9

This was an agenda item for our staff meeting this afternoon. We sat there before the meeting pondering what '9 in 9' might be. As it happened, we were asked to think of 9 things we were thankful for in 2009. My list looked like this:
  1. Recent 'girls' weekend away.
  2. Our family camping trips.
  3. Celebrating birthdays ~ we earned ourselves a 13yo this year!
  4. Having my days at school increased from 1/week to 4/week.
  5. Working with my Prep and Yr 3 boys.
  6. Reading LOTS of books...many of them freebies :)
  7. Facilitating 'Starting Points'. I'm loving the current group a lot.
  8. Watching 'Home Improvement' DVD's with Mr Busy.
  9. Being involved in worship/music team at church.
Then we were asked why. Why indeed!!!!! My only somewhat less-than-brilliant response was because some of those things feed me and give me joy. Some of those things are situations where I am able to give out of my skills and gifts and leaves me feeling very satisfied.

As well as things that have given me joy this year, I'm excited about next year. There are some good things happening.

For right now I'm just praying that my Prep student's parents will continue to value sending him to school for the remainder of the year. We started a new schedule this term and it seems to have thrown him a little. I hope it all settles down and he remembers that school is fun. He surely does have fun when he's there!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Beware The Summer

I'm feeling a little bit cranky about all the bushfire warnings that have started already via a government advertising campaign. I'm cranky because I think that the current approach to fire safety is a lot of media and government hype. Last year, no doubt, made a lot of people rethink their fire plan...and with good reason. But must we hype things up into a fear-frenzy in the process?

I live in a high fire-prone area. This is a threat that we take seriously each and every summer. Not just because all of a sudden the government says we should. We have a fire plan and we know the five routes we can take away from home, depending on which way a fire might be coming from. We're as prepared as we can be. Having the Premier and the media going on and on about the upcoming summer simply makes people afraid. Afraid to live in their own homes and carry on their normal lives.

We have a early warning messaging system up and running now. Let's just leave it at that and stop the scaremongering. Those of us who live in fire-prone areas are quite sufficiently aware without people in high places trying to scare our children out of their wits and unsettle us in the process.

Cry wolf too many times, and the community will begin to roll their eyes and ignore the powers that be. Is that not more of a danger than allowing people to sensibly respond to the situations that might arise this summer? Put the advertising money into educating those of us who require them, to prepare well thought out fire plans and then let us live the way we always have. Being aware and sensible!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Faith 'n Fiction: Christian Fiction - Escapism?

My Friend Amy regularly hosts these Faith 'n Fiction Saturday spots. And while I missed it for Saturday (my time!) I thought this week's was an interesting question.

Here's what Amy has been pondering this week:
I love Christian fiction. Lately I've been realizing my favorite kind of book is a book that deals with faith in all of its reality..doubt, wonder, joy, and pain. Unfortunately, I find these books are too few and far between. Even with so much fantastic Christian fiction, the books that dig into the deepest parts of faith seem hard to come by.

I was reading a review on a general review blog of a Christian fiction title. The reviewer was frustrated by the ease with which complicated situations were resolved. It reminded me of several reviews of another title I love that is Christian fiction that had an ambiguous ending. Many people were frustrated and I read some reviewers say they just wanted a happy ending.

Which brings me to today's question...is Christian fiction too often characterized by escapism? And if it is..do you think it's truly healthy for Christians to constantly take in messages of faith that are light or too easily resolved? Is it okay to have a less than happy ending in a Christian fiction book?

My Response:

I think by its very nature, fiction is often escapism. Fiction is not real. It is a story written by someone with a fantastic imagination and the ability to write. Christian fiction is no different in that respect. I don't necessarily think that Christian fiction is characterised by messages of faith that are too light or too easily resolved. Of course, there are plenty of books like that, but there are plenty that are not. There are plenty of books that challenge your faith deeply and touch your heart in ways that you hadn't imagined. There are those books that end quite surprisingly and take you off guard. I think both have their place. There are also those books that take you through the whole journey, from the trials that cause deep pain, through the journey that God takes you on, and out the other side to ~ you guessed it ~ that happy ending.

Often, after reading a really challenging book where I have cried my heart out for pages and pages, all I want is something light, easy and happy and I'm glad I have both available to me. The same happens in life. When you're going through a really deep dark valley, it's good to revel in the sunshine at the top of the mountain and delight in its warmth and the joy it brings to your soul. So perhaps in looking across the bredth of Christian fiction, we get a snapshot of faith life whereas looking at just one or two books doesn't give an accurate picture.

In real life, God challenges us. He allows us to go through the hard stuff....but He never leaves us there. In my own life, I've found that how I wanted things resolved hasn't happened. But wow, God's resolution has been way better than I thought it could be, even when I thought I didn't want that particular ending! Shouldn't Christian fiction be able to show us that journey without being accused of being too light and happy ending-ish?

Having said all that, yes, it is perfectly OK for a less than happy ending in a book. At the end of the day though, publishing books is a business and if the market that business services doesn't like the product, they won't buy it.

My 2c worth at the end of this subject? Read widely across various genres within the Christian Fiction Market and you will find a little bit of everything. The light and happy and the deeper faith issues.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Home Corner

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Today I'm unveiling the Home and Reading Corner. This little alcove space used to be where we would sit for 'mat time'. We had our little whiteboard, show and tell table and Star of the Day chair in here. But I like it much better like this. The kids love getting into that little reading nook. The other day so many of them were trying to squish in that I had to ask them to start sitting at the table right behind where I was standing to take this picture.

Doesn't this corner make you want to run straight to the kitchen and have a really good play?! Or snuggle up on those big fat cushions with a good book. Something like 'Olga the Brolga' or 'Eddie the Emu'....perhaps some Dr Suess...

I love our new sitting spot too...where all this stuff used to be. It's so light over the other side of the room, with high-up windows letting in heaps of natural light.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Menu Plan and Other Stuff

I think it's OK to talk about what happened the other day, now. I didn't want to say much lest the news be somewhat private...but it's not. My Prep student's family will be moving to Darwin at the end of the year. That has some huge implications for me and, as a result, our family. We'd started to dream dreams that had previously been impossible. I've loved being so involved at school, even when my job has been more challenging that I ever though imaginable. Even on those days, I love just being at school. I feel sadder than anything about not having the opportunity to work in MrsB's Prep classroom next year. I love Prep and I love working with MrsB. So I grieved and cried and now I'm back to being more philosophical about the whole thing....even though 3 out of my 4 days of work will fly off to the far north!

I had lunch with a fellow non-teaching staff member today and she asked what my favourite thing to do would be...now that my options are wide open. I think working as a general classroom assistant for 3 days a week in lower primary would be the best job ever. In fact, keep me in Prep and I'd be like a pig in mud. What a shame the school does not have the funds to indulge me! Truth is, I actually have skills now, that I've worked hard to learn and build. I find it hard to believe that God would develop in me a passion for education, drop a job in my lap, show me the way to become qualified that works with my schedule and family and then say "nah, let's not do that after all". So I'm claiming all those promises that tell us to ask for whatever it is we want, in God's name, and the desires of our heart will be granted according to His will. I'm not above being specific with God!!!!! Another friend suggested I could work in another school. Technically, yes I could. Practically there's no way I can see that it would work. I have three children who need me to be the one who is available for their needs.

So there you have it...that's what has dominated my week quite significantly!

The other thing that dominates our week is food. Are you surprised?! Here's the plan:

Friday: Pork Roast, vegies
Saturday: No idea...maybe the three of us left at home will eat out :)
Sunday: Potato & Corn Chowder
Monday: Spicy Pork Spare Ribs, rice, stir fried vegies
Tuesday: Ricotta Fritters, baked potato, vegies
Wednesday: Chicken Parmigana, vegies
Thursday: Pasta Bolognaise

Actually, I can tell you know we're not having pork roast tonight. Maybe I'll swap that one with Sunday. I have a parent/teacher interview to attend with my Prep student's parents and I've got to be out the door by 6.15pm with a little bit of preparation to do for the parenting session I'm running tonight. Now that I think of it, I think Dh has to have the girls dropped off at 6.00pm to go to camp this weekend with their Girls Brigade Company! Uh oh!!!!!! Dinner is sounding like a pipe dream LOL.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

God is Sovereign

I had some news at school today. I'm feeling a little bit sad, and when I feel like that I turn to the Psalms to soothe my wounds. This is where I found myself this afternoon.

Trust in the Lord and go good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will
give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:3-7
(emphasis mine)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Very Satisfying

I came home feeling quite satisfied last night. I created literacy group names and whiteboard labels, to fit in with our Middle Ages theme....there are bakers, millers, farmers, carpenters and blacksmiths. I was also tasked with the job of switching the home corner and mat area and creating a reading nook. I love how it has turned out. Of course, with these kinds of moves, a little table moving was required and I found somewhere to put the four spare tables so they are useful AND managed to keep wheelchair access throughout the room as well.

I'll have to take a photo of the home corner and reading nook because I just want to nestle myself in over there and stay a while. The home corner even has a window above its kitchen sink....looking out at the blossom trees which are flowering beautifully. What more could little people want?! We decided that if the two of us wanted to play in there, then the kids would love it as well.

Today, it appears I will be putting my sewing skills to use, making a very simple cape/robe type of garment for the King or Queen of the Day to wear....and some cushion covers for the new-to-us cushions that MrsB brought in yesterday.

On the study front, I've been inspecting my practical placement information more closely and have discovered that the mountain I thought was before me was just a little bump beneath my feet. I've actually already done everything I needed to do and can have it all signed off today! I confirmed the ability to provide information retrospectively and there is no problem at all with doing that. YAY! There are a couple of tasks I need to perform for and with a student, which I'm sure will be no problem, given the variety I have to choose from!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Back to Work


After a rather blissful two weeks of doing as little as possible outside of home, it's time to face reality again. The children have been relatively content to be at home too. When they've gotten too restless we've sat down and watched a few episodes together of 'Home Improvement' on DVD.

The girls will come with me today to play with other 'staff kids' who will be there. Tomorrow's program is more structured and I need to be able to move through the day without having to also be aware of where the kids are at and what they're up to. Mr Busy, of course, will spend both days with his Daddy. I had to laugh the other day when we popped in to the office and he immediately donned a safety vest and grabbed 'his' clipboard and pen ready to get started on some 9yo boy's project at work.

One final and ill-timed miracle. The kids are sleeping in until 7.30am with the change to Daylight Savings Time. ARGH! They spent the whole holidays waking at 6am and playing in their rooms until 7am. Now I'll have to wake them for school.....again!!!!!


11 Weeks until summer holidays.....

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!


Birthday Cake, that is! Today is Miss Mischief's 12th birthday. She is quite thrilled with her Cathy Cassidy book and her little sewing box with fabric and sewing paraphernalia, despite her father's determination that those things are 'boring'. He who does not sew or read for fun just shakes his head in disbelief and is thankful they share a love for food!

The vastly pared down version of a birthday party includes two favourite little friends joining us for an early lunch session. This week we went to the US at our dinner table. Today we'll be winging our way to China to partake in Miss Mischief's favourite banquet: Yum Cha. She's already decided she wants white bait, stuffed crispy yams, sui mai and spring rolls. After that we'll revert back to wild birthday fun with a trip to a park where they have a fantastic playground....to work off some of our lunch!!!

At dinner time we'll visit Greece. She has requested wraps ~ chicken, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and whatever else we can find that suits. And then that birthday cake, which was being made at 11pm last night!

Friday, 2 October 2009

To the USA for $20!

Firstly, I apologise for the miniature sized pictures, which come from Google Images. I forgot to take photos...more to the point, I didn't have time before our meal was devoured!

We took a little trip at our dining table last night. All the way to America and back again, with a meal from 'The Potluck Club Cookbook'. Boy was it good!!!!

We began our journey with Sloppy Joe's, which I served with a salad of lettuce, mini roma tomatoes and cubed cheese. Of course, two of us had rye bread instead of burger buns. It didn't look anywhere near as good, but there's no point in suffering unnecessarily! I've tried making Sloppy Joe's before, but this recipe was by far the superior one. I had no idea what a 'can of chilli sauce' might be, so I simply added a bit of extra water and some cayenne pepper for the boost of flavour. Even Miss Mischief, who usually has her burger outside the bun, thought this was pretty good. I'm going to plan this for our first night camping in the future. It's way easier than regular burgers and still very quick.

Next came our dessert. A rare treat in our non-dessert home...Dh was not going to forget the cream or cinnamon I asked him to stop for with dessert on the menu! My local Safeway happened to have everything I needed, although I opted for smaller quantities than the recipe called for. Very exciting....considering all the things they don't have! The kids were a bit skeptical about the idea of marshmallows in a salad, but the taste won them over. Dh suggested this would be a great summer dessert because it was so refreshing. You know what I loved? Apart from the cream everything else comes from the pantry. YES! The recipe did call for whipped topping, but whipped cream worked perfectly well.

We all really enjoy this meal from start to finish. It was quite an adventure, as the kids had not had ambrosia salad before and none remembered having sloppy joe's. They were tickled at the idea of visiting a country via our meal table and felt that if you can't get on a plane then this is the next best way to travel.

So far, the Potluck Club Cookbook has delivered a very firm four out of four successful recipes that will be revisited in our home! I wonder what will tempt me next!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Potluck Club Cookbook


I realised I had neglected to post that my review of 'The Potluck Club Cookbook' has been posted here at Relz Reviewz. If you're curious about what American's enjoy eating, this book will be just the ticket to beginning your own tasty adventure into their cuisine. We'll be continuing the journey I began while preparing to review the book during this coming week.

FYI: If you're an Aussie (or not from the US), you might need to know a couple of things:

a stick of butter = 113g (I used 125g)
tomato sauce = pasta sauce
cornstarch = cornflour
ground chuck = minced beef
whipped topping = a fake whipped cream-like product. You can find a recipe to make it here or just whip your own cream.
yellow cake mix = plain cake mix

And then there are products that I've just not seen over here...like tinned pumpkin for use in pumpkin pie or tinned pork and beans

Weekly Menu Plan

Yesterday, despite being out and about all day, I managed to get a little bit ahead on my menu plan for October. It is nowhere near completed just yet, but I'm sure as the day meanders on it will come to me, one morsel at a time.

Thursday: Sloppy Joe's, salad
Friday: Baked Potatoes, coleslaw, bacon, cheese....etc
Saturday: Chicken Wraps, by request of the birthday girl
Sunday: Roast
Monday: Sweet & Sour pork meatballs, rice
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, vegies
Wednesday: Baked Gnocchi with roasted tomatoes
Thursday: Pasta with caramelised onion

I'm on a bit of an American cuisine adventure at the moment, thanks to receiving a copy of 'The Potluck Club Cookbook' to review. I've made two recipes from the book, for which you will find a review here at Relz Reviewz. Sloppy Joe's seem to be quintessentially American. So I will be road-testing the recipe in the book tonight. If my local (and terribly understocked) Safeway has the ingredients I'd also like to try the Ambrosia salad....for dessert. I get the impression that this is a dish served with a main meal in some places, and yet the authors of this book place it in the dessert section. This Aussie gal and her taste buds concur that such a sweet salad deserves a place amongst the desserts!