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Friday, 30 September 2011

A Diversion

...from Uni, from illness, from boredom.  Something we all needed today!


My brother, his wife and their two bubbly little girls came for lunch and a chat and, as it happened, a visit to Our School.  There have to be perks to having a key, so we had a private tour, punctuated with lots of playground stops.

Yesterday our diversion was in the form of going to see 'The Smurfs' at the movies.  It was a delightful movie.  Truly a movie for old Smurf lovers like me.  The only thing left on our holiday to-do list is a visit to Costco.  Sometime late next week might be the way to go.  Mr Busy might survive it by then.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Warning: Whine Alert. Read at Own Risk

I'm tired of illness.  I'm tired of coughing.  I'm tired of feeling drained.

I'm tired of Mr Busy being so unwell.  Not in a selfish he's-taking-so-much-of-my-attention kind of way.  Tired of it because it's no fun watching your little boy struggle to overcome an infection that does not want to give up.  I was hoping we'd just spend time relaxing and I'd watch him regain his health and vigour.  Rather I've watched his health dip again and require another course of antibiotics and more tests.

I can't even think straight to get my essays written.  I'm writing stuff down but it's pretty ordinary.  Where has the sharp edge of my brain gone? 

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday Menu Plan: Week Beginning 26 September

Here we are - the beginning of Term 3 holidays.  Oh what a blissful moment, this morning, when I realised I don't have to go to work.  I can just blob around home.  Well....you know...what I mean is, I can devote all my daytime hours to Uni assignments and the last few weeks of coursework in my tracky dacks.  The kids can spend far too much time watching screens of various descriptions.  Oh, and I can make time for a friend to pop in unexpectedly without stressing about the time I should be devoting to assignment writing.  Yep.  I do find myself hanging out for holidays.  Even more so after a couple of weeks of illness around the house.

Mr Busy is still coughing a lot.  It sounds appalling really, but I know he's doing so much better so a little bit of unattractive noise isn't so bad.  It's all about perspective.  He went to school and after a physical game of Dr Dodge with his and the next door class he was cactus for the rest of the day.  He lay on the couch in the Yr 5/6 room where I was and moaned...and coughed...and didn't do anything much at all.

Given that I'm in the throws of those final 5 assessments the girls are still going to get their fair share of cooking to do.  Lucky them!

Monday:  Jerk Chicken (Jamie's 30 minute meals)
Tuesday:  Chicken wonton soup
Wednesday:  Cheesy salmon patties, vegies
Thursday: Slow roasted beef, vegies
Friday:  Lasagna, salad
Saturday:  Ricotta gnocchi with tomato pesto sauce
Sunday:  I might go back to the pasta we didn't have last Saturday

Given that it's going to b 27C on Tuesday (what's with that anyway?!) we might do some swapping around.  Soup on a warm day just doesn't feel right!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Recipe: Lazy Day Curry

I know there are purists out there who will say a real curry requires a great deal of preparation from raw ingredients.  And they're probably right.  A curry made completely from scratch is divine.  But I'm not from a curry-making heritage, nor do I have the time or inclination to put into creating such a meal.  So I go for a really lazy option that tastes pretty darn good.  Not only that, if you bulk the meal out with plenty of vegetables, there will be leftovers for lunch.  Always a good outcome!

This is not so much a recipe as a loose set of instructions for you to interpret as you will. 
  1. Finely chop an onion and a clove or two of garlic and saute until softened.  Add curry paste to your taste preference and cook until it smells great (a minute or so).
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and stir fry until cooked, then add the vegies, a tin of light coconut milk and 1/2-1 cup of chicken stock (I use water and stock powder).
  3. Cover the pan and simmer until the vegies are all cooked through.
  4. Serve over cooked basmati (or some other!) rice.
For vegies, I include any combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower and zucchini.  You could also add a tin of chickpeas if you wanted to.  I use curry paste from Aldi ~ use any brand/type you like.  It's your curry!!!

There you go.  Simple.  Fuss free.  Delicious.  Fairly inexpensive.  Just the thing for a busy, hungry family.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

It's Tough, You Know.

It's tough when your study requires you to take a leisurely walk through the bush with your children first thing in the morning.  Our School has a substantial amount of pristine bushland on the property, including a creek and I needed a field site within walking distance so I'm focusing on pollution and local water ways.

I needed photos so my kids joined me in my warm, sunny early morning walk down the track.  I love hearing the sound of the creek swishing along as we get closer to it. I love the dappled sunlight and shade along the track.  If it weren't for the leeches I think I'd be inclined to spend more time down there but alas, the leeches rule the bush!  We didn't see any this morning though.

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Mr Busy is going to school tomorrow.  It will be some time before his lungs are fully recovered and gunk-free.  But he's bored, he misses his friends and neither of us think he's sick enough to be home any longer.  I think that's celebration worthy, after two long weeks of illness!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

He Sparkles

Antibiotics are a marvellous invention.  Especially when used to tackle atypical pnuemonia.  Mr Busy has finally turned a corner.  He's gotten cheeky again.  And annoying.  He's sparkly and chipper even though he is still pale and his eyes are red-rimmed.  I've missed his mischievous little self.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday Menu Plan: Week Beginning 19 September


A busy day back at work today, for the first time since last Monday.  I felt like I'd missed so very much in the days that I missed, and the kids in Mr Busy's class are now asking when he's going to come back to school.  They miss him.  Hopefully in the next day or two, thanks to antibiotics!

People who are not well need good food....

Monday:  BBQ rissoles & pork ribs, salads
Tuesday:  Oven fried chicken, vegies
Wednesday:  Sweet & sour pork, rice
Thursday:  pasta of some description
Friday:  Roast chicken, vegies
Saturday & Sunday:  I'll decide later.

Here's to the last week of the term, the writing of assignments and getting little boys back to school.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Green and Pink

My two favourite colours....especially when they're put together.


This is the border tile in our newly fitted out ensuite. We get to use it for the first time tomorrow morning. Yay!


These shoes were a bargain at $5 on yesterday's shopping tour. I have the perfect skirt for these and a perfect day to wear both tomorrow, at 27C!  Where oh where did winter go?

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Meanwhile Mr Busy is still unwell with a cough, rash and a temperature that comes and goes.  The ED doctor phoned this morning (apparently she was sufficiently puzzled by him) to advise another trip to the GP and a second chest x-ray due to the continuing temperature.  After a full week of these symptoms the Dr was keen for us to revisit clinical investigation.  I appreciated her dedication to his care.  I would never have expected an ED to follow up on a patient that was 'treated and streeted' days ago.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

From the Sickbed

Mr Busy and I have been having some sickbed adventures.  Sad, but true.  I've been coughing for a week...now I have a blocked nose :(  I've succumbed  to buying real cold & flu + cough medicine rather than my prefered ease-a-cold's.  I don't feel that bad...I'm just tired of coughing all the time.

Mr Busy has had a second trip to the ED in a week.  On Saturday Dh gave up after 4 hours and came home at 1am.  Yesterday our GP decided she didn't like the way his rash was behaving and sent us back to have it investigated.  Four hours, a blood test, a wee test and a chest x-ray later we came home, safe in the knowledge that yes, he just has a nasty virus.  Thanks to all the germy kids at school.  Yay for sharing!

Last night's hospital adventure also included the girls being at home for a few hours on their own, doing homework and cooking dinner.  Apparently all went well ~ they're both still alive and smiling.

Meanwhile, my ensuite is fully tiled and being grouted today.  It's a courageous man, who braves the germs of our home to work on the bathroom.  The challenge is to keep Mr Busy at a distance to protect Mr Bathroom Fixing Friend's health.  I will share photos at some point when my head is clearer.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Menu Planning and other Household Stories


Firstly menu planning.  I sent Dh and the girls off to do the shopping the other day.  I was just too tired and wasn't up to the task.  They did a magnificient job so we're eating well.

Monday:  Honey mustard chicken pieces, vegies
Tuesday:  Freezer meal for Mr Busy and I ~ everyone else is out for dinner
Wednesday:  Chicken curry, rice
Thursday:  Tomato & bacon pasta
Friday:  Beef stroganoff
Saturday:  Take away
Sunday:  Good question...one can dream of all sorts of things!

Mr Busy and I are having a day off together.  I'm not incredibly well....not particularly sick.  I'm in that place in between where we tend to carry on, albeit slowly.  Mr Busy, however, has a bevy of symptoms, amongst which is a rash across his torso.  Given the amount of sickness going around at school I didn't feel this was something to share, even though it doesn't seem all that bad.  Dh is unable to have Mr Busy at work for a couple of days so I've organised some time off to keep him at home.  I must say, the timing is quite providential from my own point of view.  We all just need to have school holidays now.  We're all tired and getting sick all over the place.  A couple of weeks to settle all the bugs down and keep them to ourselves will do us all the world of good.

My ensuite is coming along as pieces of the puzzle arrive.  The tiles should come today, so work on that can begin.  At the moment there is an empty shell.  It is waterproofed.  The basin and wall cabinet are constructed from Ikea flat packs and sit in the lounge room awaiting the day they are to find themselves in their final resting place.  A more energetic person would take photos.  Maybe I will....at some point.

I'm off to try and make my foggy head construct a 300 word reflection of the value of teaching visual arts.  Hmmmm.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Why Boys Can't Get Out of Bed

I went to get Mr Busy out of bed the other morning, having woken him some 10 minutes earlier.  He informed me he couldn't possibly get up.

Me:  Get out of bed young man.
Mr Busy:  But I can't Mum.
Me:  Why not?
Mr Busy:  Because my legs are just too comfortable to move.

I must at admit, when he got to 'legs' I began to panic and thought maybe he'd contracted the virus that is going around school, decimating classes left, right and centre.  Among the many symptoms one that has been suffered by some has been heavy legs.


I'm now sure how he does it ~ his brain just thinks in 'funny' as he is waking up.  My brain only thinks when the need for silence is satisfied.  And then it's just serious stuff going on.

He makes me laugh.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Pursuit of a New Bathroom

Photo Credit:  Google Images - a shiny looking bathroom such as I will have soon! 

We spent today not with me studiously working on an assignment, as I should have been.  No, we spent it in pursuit of items for the creation of a new bathroom.  Rotting floor has been removed, along with everything that existed in that space before Wednesday.  Today we chose tiles and the vanity stand and basin.  Lots of fun.  Especially when it included a trip to IKEA.  We attempted to visit the new store in Springvale....but we balked at the queue waiting to get into the store and drove to Richmond instead.  It was lovely and quiet in there and we were able to browse and make our purchases in relative peace.

So...we're sharing a bathroom with the kids again.  The only word that can be used to describe the experience is 'interesting'.  I hope my bathroom can be completed by the end of next week :)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

This Week's Menu.

Again, better late than never I guess!  Yesterday was busy.  A full day at work, a visit from the guy who is fixing our ensuite, homework til 10.30pm.  A text message from my brother in the throws of parenting little people who are doing some challenging things.  Busy.  So that's my excuse for not posting yesterday.

Our menu this week looks like:

Monday:  Oven friend chicken, vegies
Tuesday:  Redcurrant lamb chops, vegies
Wednesday:  Homemade pizza or ricotta fritters...haven't decided
Thursday:  Pasta of some description
Friday:  Pork spare ribs, vegies, rice
Saturday: Slow roasted beef, vegies
Sunday:  someone else can cook something......??!

And Miss Sunshine will not be home before 7pm any night this week now, in preparation for her year level's production.  She's already tired, so the weekend promises to be a little stormy for her, I think.

---oo0oo---

 On to more exciting things.  I got my first high distinction!  That silly music/visual arts test that got postponed and fiddle-faddled with ended up being quite a success for me....thanks to the practice test I did in the week beforehand.  What a relief.  Poor Mr Busy ~ he was the only one I could tell immediately.  When I asked if he knew what that meant he said "does that mean you passed?".  Poor boy.  When I explained he came and jumped about with me for a few moments before returning to his book.  Isn't he sweet?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Happy Father's Day

Image Credit:  awesomenorms.info

Here in Australia it is Father's Day.  For us it kind of began last night with the first non-bbq meal of the season.  I ended up baking chicken wings because Dh & Mr Busy were out til dark mowing the lawns.  Bbq'ing is men's work, apparently.  But the meal came with Dh's favourite three salads:  potato, corn, tossed so he didn't mind that it wasn't really a bbq.

This morning the kids offered their gifts and made their Dad scrambled eggs for breakfast.  He's happy.  We're hoping to find somewhere to go for Yum Cha for lunch.  I'm sure an afternoon nap will make his day complete.

Of course, there will be a phone call to my Dad and possibly a visit to his Dad.  Perfect day.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Jamie's Meals: Jools Pasta

Photo Credit:  channel4.com

Another day, another Jamie meal.  Tonight it was Pregnant Jools Pasta.  I have to smile about the title.  Pregnancy is no longer associated with eating (or not!) anything in particular in our house, and hasn't been for well over 11 years.  However, you have to love a recipe that is simple, and this one was.  The meal has instructions for a salad and a frangipane tart.  I didn't do the salad, and with no-wheat and no-nut eaters in our family, the dessert was pretty much a no-go.  I could've coped with the wheat but Miss Sunshine cannot have nuts.

The recipe said to use 'good' sausages.  I think that's a misnomer.  Good and sausages don't really belong in the same sentence in my book.  However, I found something that looked a little more gourmet that a package of Safeway thin sausages.  The meal ended up being pretty tasty.  Definitely worth adding to the list of things we enjoy.  Everyone headed back for seconds except Mr Busy.  I suspect performance nerves are on the rise due to tonight's music performance night at school.  He's not the up-front kinda guy, preferring all things related to working backstage.  Tonight he'll be on the stage and he's instructed us not to watch.  Poor boy.  Sadly misguided.  Of course we'll be watching!

If you want to have a go at this yummy meal (which we all highly recommend), all the recipes and instructions are here.