Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Baby Adult News

We have a new addition to our family:  a little pixie-sized car.  This arrived on Christmas Day, along with my parents and our newest baby adult, Miss Mischief, was very excited!  She has always wanted a cute little tiny car and it just so happened my parents were in a car replacing phase just as Miss Mischief turned 18.  It was kind of like getting a really fun Christmas present, until Miss Mischief watched me write the cheque and realised that what she had actually received was a debt to her parents!  Ahh the joys of adulthood.

So this cute little baby car is sitting in the backyard, out of the way of the three that zip in and out of the driveway on a constant basis.  Four is going to be quite the juggle.  I suspect my sacred position under the carport is about to be challenged in favour of easy early-morning exits.

For anyone who thinks cars should have names (I am not this person, btw), her name is Misty.  Named by my mother and happily adopted by Miss Mischief.  Miss Sunshine's car is named Chelsea. Dh and I have heavily resisted having our cars named.  We are, however, known to call out to Mr Busy around bedtime "Where's Henrey?" Henrey the iPod should never be allowed in the same room as Mr Busy when it is time to sleep.  Henrey weaves a spell to play games over Mr Busy that he finds impossible to ignore.  Yes, that IS how Mr Busy spells Henrey - clearly we have problems here.

Monday, 28 December 2015

A Little Summer Cleaning

One of the jobs I like to do once a year is clear out my pantry and get it back to tidy and organised.  A year's worth of other people scrummaging about in there seems to take its toll on my pantry's tidiness.

I've taken everything out and put things together on the bench that seemed similar.  Then I cleaned the shelves and worked on putting everything back in.  Mostly things that are similar are near each other.  And then I had to work with shelf heights, so sometimes my little baskets of bits and pieces have gone on a shelf where they fit best.  Still.  It feels much better.  With some inspiration from The Organised Housewife I suspect a trip to Big W is in my near future, for the sake of gathering up some of the loose things that still have no real home.

There we go - Job 1 from the "things I want to get done around home" is complete.  For the sake of my sieve-like brain some other things I need to get done around here include:

  • Clean the oven (this may take a few goes...)
  • Dust the entire house
  • Vacuum everywhere - a grown-up vac, not a kid version
  • Clean the windows
  • Clean the skirting boards
If I'm very brave I might even have a go at washing the sheer lace curtains.  That would take a great deal of bravery though.  Perhaps it might be the thing to do when I get paid again.  If they shred I'll need to replace them!

On my Big Dream Wish List:  Kitchen make-over.  White cabinets, replace cupboards with drawers where possible, caesar stone bench tops in something lighter - black is NOT my favourite bench top colour.  The oven and fridge are probably in line for replacement, given they are 18yo and 22yo respectively. 

What big cleaning tasks do you put off, and then feel much better when they are done?  And, while I'm asking questions I'd love to know how you go about keeping your house clean on a regular basis.  What system works for you when you're super busy?  This my area of epic failure with full time work.  Epic, I tell you.  We stay uncluttered, but the kids don't do the best version of cleaning things.  Am seriously considering having someone do floors and bathrooms every fortnight as a gift to myself.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

All That's Left...Our Christmas Menu

Image Credit

We are in "calm before the storm" mode here.  The shopping is complete.  The wrapping is done.  The fridge is stocked with everything we need.  It is my favourite way to spend Christmas Eve.  Quietly.  No rushing about.  After dinner tonight I'll make our pavlova - Nigella's Cappuccino Pavlova.  No Christmas with my family is even permitted without a pavlova.  My Granny was the ultimate pav chef and the mantle has passed to me.  She didn't feel she could attend any family function without a pavlova in hand.  I'm not quite that sensitive, but I use Granny's recipe still, because cornflour in a pav just doesn't make sense to me.  Not when Granny's recipe works so well.

Image Credit
Tomorrow afternoon I'll potter about the kitchen for the rest of our Christmas feast, which we'll share with my parents and one of my brothers' families for dinner.  It's going to be very warm here tomorrow (33C/91F) so our family has opted for a summery menu with some hints of tradition.

Beyond My Picket Fence
~ Christmas Menu ~

Roast Pork
(apple sauce & cranberry sauce)
Potato Salad
Asian Salad
Bread Rolls

Cappuccino Pavlova
Plum Pudding & Custard

In all honesty, I suspect this may very well be our tradition.  As much as I'd love a traditional roast it just doesn't work on a hot, hot day.  We always check the weather a week out to see what we want to do, and salads always seem to be the way we head.

I pray that your celebrations are filled to the brim with precious moments 
and the people you love most in your world.  Most of all I pray 
that the miraculous wonder of Christ coming into this world as a human baby, 
because of our need for his overwhelming love and grace, fills your soul.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Came Early

We are almost all set for Christmas around here.  A little present wrapping is all that's really left to do.  For me, though, Christmas came early.  My job was a short-term maternity-leave contract which finished up at the end of the school year.  On my last day of work I was driving home, when I got a phone call.  Literally - as I was driving home (I love that my new car has blue-tooth!).  It was my old boss offering me a new job!  I will be teaching a Year 3 and 4 class next year in the school I used to work at, where Mr Busy still attends.  I say "still" because both the girls have finished school now.  Only God himself knows how on earth that happened, but there you go.  Two kids who are adults and have finished school.  I'm sure I'll blink and Mr Busy will be done as well.

I can't wait.  I feel like I've been wandering like a stranger in the land for a year and now I get to go home.  I decided, during this past term, that I am not a suburban type of person.  I don't know how to dress for their weather, which is up to 8C different than where I live.  I don't enjoy the traffic that well, after years of whizzing about country roads and enjoying the most spectacular views and a five minute drive.  I can't wait to be a little closer to Mr Busy as well.  He's flown under the radar in the last little while, which has ended with a crash-and-burn finish to the year.

And the funniest part:  I will be teaching my niece, who already knows how this will go down.

Miss G:  Soooo....my teacher for next year is going to be.... Aunty Tracy (with excitement and then deep sigh and slumped shoulders)
My Brother:  You're not getting away with anything next year then?
Miss G:  Nope (deep sigh again)

Out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

And Then She Crashed

It is the way of things, come the end of the school year.  I crash, and I crash hard.  It happens every year, beginning with the weekends leading up to me finishing up.  What this means is that daily naps are not-negotiable necessities.  And I am playing fast and loose with the term 'nap'.  Is it really a nap when it lasts 2-3 hours?  Every. Day.

The best possible place to do such end-of-year crashing is surely in Hobart, Tasmania.  When Dh suggested we go away for our wedding anniversary he raised Queensland as a possibility.  Unfortunately I am not much of a summer-loving person so the heat and humidity of the summer months was a huge deterrent to me.  No.....let's head south, I countered.  To Tasmania.  It is one of my favourite places in the world.  Small, quiet, unhurried.  Cool.  Dh has an aunt & uncle, and one of his cousins around Hobart so that's where we headed.

We ate at the Ball & Chain Grill a couple of times because the steaks were soooooo good!  Fish and chips on Constitution Dock and a meal with family were our food highlights.  We had a morning at Salamanca Market, with a cunning plan to get free parking fairly close.  The evening before, we found a little lane-sized street in Battery Point, just behind Salamanca Place with free street parking.  We decided that if we arrived early enough in the morning we should be able to get parking there again, before the market crowds began to arrive.  And we were right!  We took a short stroll through Princes Park and down into Salamanca Market.  Perfect!  We ate breakfast and then wandered through the market and were done by the time it started to get crowded.

Because I have a bit of a thing for Aussie history we also went through the Mawson's Hut Replica Museum and The Tench convict penitentiary.  I would have loved to have visited the Female Factory as well, but you can't spend hours and hours of your time napping and get through all the things you might want to do.  We'll just have to go back.

As always, we came home with a suitcase full of jam from The Richmond Jam Maker, who also happens to be Dh's cousin.  A double joy - visiting with family AND bringing home jars and jars of the best jam you'll ever taste.  The whiskey marmalade is particularly good for breakfast!

All that in between crashing hard and sleeping lots.  Tasmania is the very best of places to do so.  It really wouldn't be a chore to live down there.  Frequent visits will have to do us.  After a 25 year drought we've managed two trips in 12 months!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

25 Years. And counting

Dh came home yesterday with these flowers for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  I simply do not know where 25 years went.  I certainly don't feel old enough to have been married that long.  Or have two adult children and one not too far off.

We'll be heading off for a few days in Tasmania and leaving the adult and nearly-adult children behind with the adult-er cousins who are great sibling-circuit-breakers.  They love hanging out together so I'm sure there will be much cousin partying in the best possible way.

There are probably beautiful words to be said about having a husband who is steadfast, faithful and enduring.  But let's face it, it's the end of the year and my brain cells have all been used up.  What I do know is that whilst we've had many circumstances I wouldn't have chosen or wish to repeat, I wouldn't change marrying my husband.  It feels good to stand back, together, and be able to say "we are doing good!"