Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Monday Menu Planning: Week Beginning 24 October

After dipping a brain-addled toe into the waters of non-menu planning I have decided it's not for me.  Truly, I always knew this.  Now I am convinced in a new way.  Things fall apart around here when meals are not planned or shopped for.  I'm back onto my wagon.  Last night I finally got to the supermarket, came home and put a roast on for that meal and made sausage rolls for tonight.  Ahhhhhhh....so much better.

Monday:  Roast chicken, vegies
Tuesday: Sausage rolls, frozen vegies
Wednesday:  Creamy pasta
Thursday:  Hamburgers
Friday: Redcurrant lamb chops
Weekend: Meals will be out an about.

Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Lessons from 'The Grumpalump'

I've been pondering what to share for staff devotions on Friday next week.  Being one who has a bit of a 'thing' for children's books I've decided to base mine on 'The Grumpalump'.  It is a book that was written a way back in 1990 by Sarah Hayes and was very popular when I had Miss Sunshine.  I adored it then and ended up buying a whole set of Reading Together books put together by Walker Books just so I could have this on my shelf.  See, my 'thing' for children's books goes a long way back!!  It's only in the last couple of weeks that I've realised there is more to this book than meets the eye.

I've been dealing with some pretty significant challenges over the course of this year.  Some have been quite painful.  Some have required us to make decisions that our children have struggled with and we've not been at liberty to discuss our reasons with them.  The other day as I was reading 'The Grumpalump' I was reminded that we meet the challenges we face in all kinds of ways - many of which are futile.  Many a time I have found myself staring at the trials that have face me.  I've felt numb and paralysed as to what to do, much like the bear in this book.  I've rolled and sat and shoved and pulled and wacked and been left exhausted.  Not only that, but all that energy has been for naught and I find myself in much the same place as when it all began.

"The bear stared, the cat sat, the mole rolled,
the dove shoved, the bull pulled,
the yak whacked and
the armadillo used it for a pillow.
But the lump still grumped" 

'Then the gnu blew'.  I am reminded that I can't just respond to my challenges in any old way.  I have to pray.  I have to be proactive in seeking God's way through things that have no way through in my own strength or knowledge.  I wish it was all as simple as that, that my grumpalump would become clear and I'd know how to deal with it.  The truth is some of those challenges remain unclear and God chooses not to reveal His answers just yet.  I still feel like the bear staring at the grumpalump most of the time.

What I do know is that at some point God will point the way to the spot where I need to act.  Just like the gnu.  And when He lets me start blowing the challenges will be transformed into something that I never expected and I'll be able to set off on the journey that God has planned.  Just like the gnu.

"The gnu drew breath and clambered in.
the grumpalump began to grin.
"I'm off on a trip in my hot airship," said the gnu, and flew.
Absolutely true."

How do you respond to your challenges?  Are you like the gnu, or are you staring, sitting, rolling, shoving, pulling whacking and exhausted?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

No Menu-Plan Thursday

Tonight's meal is out of my hands - a school association dinner is planned and all I had to do was rsvp.  I have to feed the kids, so they're getting what was once known as Aunty N's pasta and has now come to be Thursday Night Pasta.  Nothing like the yummy pasta meal above, with freshly caught prawns.  No.  Onion, bacon, tinned tomatoes.  Boring according to the kids, yet it fills a whole, it's quick and it's pretty healthy.

So my day of leisure .... began at the ED getting the now-confirmed broken toe checked over.  We were sent on our way with a "yep, just keep doing what you're doing".  Then Dh & I spent some time at the new Ikea store.  Fun.

No reading or resting, but lots of sunshine enjoying went on instead.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Warm days make me think:  skirts, shorts, bare feet, barbeques.  For today anyway.  My non-menu planning meal for tonight is marinated/baked chicken wings with salads.  We would've bbq'd them, but Dh has cleaned the deck ready for finishing with decking oil so we don't want to undo all his wonderful work.

My Year 1 student was full of marvellous ideas of resting and reading books for me tomorrow - my first day off with no other obligations.  He's such a sweet boy.  Now.  For me.  Not always and not for everyone, but he's been lovely for me.  I may just take him up on his ideas and report back.  He'll be tickled and I'll need it after having written a L O N G story with him today!

What do you enjoy doing on those first summery warm days?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A 'No Menu Plan' Week

I'm living dangerously.  Seeing how the other half live.  Actually, it's probably got more to do with brain overload and my inability to think about anything else last week.

I have no menu plan.  I'm making it up as I go along.

It don't like it and I really don't know how people make up their mind at 5pm about what they'll make for dinner.  We'd be eating frozen vegies and pre-prepared meat from the freezer every night because I wouldn't be able to think straight by that end of the day!  I know there are those who don't know how I can be so organised.  We'll just have to agree that everyone works differently, won't we?

Anyway, so far, we've had an Asian noodle stir-fry thanks to Miss Sunshine.  Tonight we had chicken goujons (thanks Costco) & frozen vegies with a jacket potato.  I've no idea what tomorrow will bring.  Thursday it'll be dinner at school.  And then I have no idea again.  My kids looked at the menu plan on Monday and stared at me dumbfounded "Mum, there's nothing written down."  They were puzzled.  "Oh good, we don't have to cook tonight," was my response.  In the home where it has been declared illegal (by the children) to not be fed this was unacceptable.  Miss Sunshine took charge.  She's a take charge kind of girl.

If only Miss Sunshine could take over the grocery shopping as well.

My semester has come to an end and I have officially completed a whole year of Uni.  Results for all those final assessments will be returned in about a month.  And then I have three years to go!

Our medical woes continue.  There have been improvements.  Mr Busy's chest is clear as are Miss Mischief's ears.  Miss Sunshine has tried to break a toe - we'll find out for sure on Thursday with an x-ray.  I'm nearly ready to sell the kids off - I don't remember ever spending so much time at the doctors, even when they were little and with other bouts of pneumonia that have occured!  Must go and strap up the offending toe!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday Menu Plan: Week Beginning 10 October

I'm speechless.  I'm back at work today - the kids come back on Wednesday.  I'm not ready.  I feel like I could stay home another two weeks and that might not be enough.  Is it really bad when you start the term with thoughts that go "it's 9 weeks until holidays"?  I daresay that's not the best way to start.  Illness and assignments are not the way to spend a school holiday! Poor Miss Mischief has some holiday homework (there's a soapbox moment if ever I saw one) so she'll be working on that today and tomorrow. 

The week will start slowly - staff only (plus staff kids).  A nice way to ease into the frantic pace of Term 4.  I'm glad I don't have to face 3 or 4 classes of children today!  And I'll study my heart out, submit two assignments and dust the semester off with an online exam on Friday (after checking in with the doctor, again!).

This week's menu:

Monday: Ants Climbing Trees, Molten chocolate pots
Tuesday: Roast chicken, vegies
Wednesday:  Spaghetti bolognaise
Thursday:  Freezer meal - chicken thingys & frozen vegies
Friday: Nachos
Saturday:  At a wedding
Sunday:  Soup & bread

Friday, 7 October 2011

Playtime at Costco

It's the last day of school holidays for me.  And for the kids in a roundabout way, in that they will have to come to school with me on Monday and Tuesday.  So we finally got to get out to Costco - something I'd wanted to do at the start of last week!  We always have fun there, poking about in all kinds of interesting piles of things.  So besides boring things like bread, monterey jack cheese and eggs that come in a pack of 3 dozen, we found some fun kitchen toys.  Since the girls do so much of the cooking these days they swayed me easily.  Well, actually, I've been wanting a new grater for quite some time.  Mind is about 10 years old and it really makes a person work hard.  And the girls just loved the different sized boards.  I loved that they have stoppers on the corners so the board doesn't slip on the bench.

And they all match my KitchenAid mixer :)

Back at the doctors again today....Miss Mischief is now on antibiotics for an ear infection.  Yes - we are ALL on antibiotics!  We are so keeping the medical and pharmacuetical profession in business these days.  Mr Busy has managed to get rid of some of the rattling in one lung and just has a bit left in the other.  Miss Sunshine is still rattling a lot.  We have a whole week now before we have to go back!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Escape from Prison

Well...that's what an outing feels like when the only time you've left your house for a few weeks is to visit doctors.  Don't get me wrong - we'll be back at the doctor's tomorrow.  They're getting their money's worth out of us!

We spent the day with my brother and his family today.  At their home - so nice and relaxing.  Slow, lazy, enjoyable.  My brother took his 5yo daughter and Mr Busy out to collect sticks, riding on the mower/trailer combo to do so.  Mr Busy was in heaven.  He got to do 'boy stuff'.  And then he fell asleep in the car on the way home.

All but four of us are on antibiotics now.  Miss Sunshine went to get her foot treated again (long process).  The doctor heard her cough and ignored the foot.  Diagnosis:  raging chest infection.  I couldn't believe it.  She's not febrile, she's eating, she's not sleeping excessively.  There is NO indication whatsoever that she might have something requiring treatment...other than the plantar wart we went for in the first place.  Mr Busy has yet another double course of medication as he is STILL suffering pnuemonic symptoms.  In a perfect world I'd be staying home with them all next week too.  But in the real world I have to go back to work.

The good news is that all this convalescing has resulted in an assignment being submitted, a group task is ready for submission as I type.  Another requires a little more polishing and I have ONE left to write...and a test to study for.  Oh roll on next Friday when it'll all be over.

So....more study and one final outing before Work Break begins on Monday.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday Menu Plan: The week before the end of semester

This is what my floor looks like around the chair where I study.  Every textbook I use this semester is sitting on that pile, as I go between them regularly.  I've spent much of the weekend on an essay which is now officially in 'polishing' phase.  YAY!  Today I've been working on two different group projects, both of which are almost finished.  Tonight I'll listen to a couple of lectures.  In between all of that we're celebrating Miss Mischief's 14th birthday.  Fourteen....I really can't believe she's already that old.  I still think of her as a 12yo.  And then every time I look at her she surprises me.  I'll share her birthday menu in a little bit, but first here's what's on for the rest of the next frantic assessment-overloaded week:

Tuesday: Pork spare ribs, stir fried vegies, rice
Wednesday:  Chicken parmigana, vegies
Thursday:  Beef casserole, rice
Friday:  Hmmm...maybe we'll bring home something from our planned shopping adventures?
Saturday: Chicken and dumplings
Sunday:  Any suggestions?!

As for tonight's menu, it's a rather grand affair which I must begin momentarily.

~ Miss Mischief's Birthday Menu ~

corn on the cob
hasselback potatoes
honey carrots
cauliflower & broccoli au gratin

Molten Chocolate Pots

Cheese Platter

She has no idea about the dessert.  A vague reference to chocolate and something fudge-y reminded me of  little molten pots from an ABC foodie magazine I have somewhere.  I'll do my best to take photos tonight.  Really I will.  And I'll post that recipe for the chocolate pots because everyone needs a show-stopper dessert on hand.  Especially a show-stopper in chocolate.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Calm Before The Storm

It's Grand Final Day.  Something akin to the American Superbowl I suppose.  This afternoon there will no doubt be armchair critics informing their teams of what they should be doing.  We've a supporter from each team in our house....that could be interesting.  I keep telling Miss Sunshine that it is socially unacceptable to barrack for Collingwood, to which she rolls her 15yo eyes and tells me I'm not nice.  But I'm right.

We're keeping our little Mr Busy at home to continue his slow recovery and Dh will watch the game with the kids rather than joining others at church to watch it all on a big screen.  Me...I'll be preparing for the second storm - Miss Mischief's birthday next week.  The halls of shopping centres around the city will be void of people so I'm going to enjoy some birthday shopping in peace and in the process avoid an afternoon of football.  Sounds like a good compromise to me!