Tuesday, 28 February 2017

So I Made Pikelets

Happy Shrove Tuesday everyone!

My class at school has been learning about things to do with places and maps and people and community and celebrations.  I love that Australia's multiculturalness means that all these international celebrations happen right in our cities, towns and communities.  Right where we are.  And that we get to travel the world via our kitchens!  A couple of weeks ago we made wonton soup, because it was Chinese New Year.

The kids thought that was the best thing ever.  Indeed, I got to church last week and a good friend said that's all she'd heard about all morning, from some of my kids and their parents - you know - the three or four families that would entail!

Last week I decided to prepare my students for Shrove Tuesday.  In their handwriting practise they wrote about it, so they know it's not just a day to eat pancakes.  There is a reason behind it.  Many mainstream protestant churches these days don't teach on or practise fasting or observe Lent, so many of my kids had no idea that Ash Wednesday was the beginning of Lent.  Or that Shrove Tuesday is about being shriven - a word that means the acts of confessing sin and being forgiven.   Nor did they know that Lent is traditionally a time of restraint and preparation to remember Jesus' death, and celebrate his resurrection, so the day before people clean out (or used to!) all the richer foods in their stores, hence pancakes.

Since we've already cooked as a class, and because it's really warm here in Melbourne, this week (about 33C/91F today), I decided I wasn't going to cook with the kids again this soon.  But mostly because it's really warm, and our Food Technology room is one of the few left with no air conditioning!

So last night I made pikelets for my class to share at morning tea time.  I'll take butter and jam, and they can have pikelets, or not.  So many of our celebrations have some kind of special food attached to them, and preparing for Lent is no different.  I love that we get to experience that in real life!  Hopefully they'll remember why we eat pancakes at this time each year.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A Gel Polish Update

I was at work unreasonably early yesterday morning.  Mr Busy's class (well, 6 out of the 8...yes, you read that right, he is in a class of 8!) attended a Melbourne Prayer Breakfast event.  At least one of us was well rewarded for being at school before 6am.  Look at that breakfast!  Meanwhile, I was hungry by 9am, because no one should be eating breakfast at 5am.  No one!

While I was sitting at my desk in the small, dark hours of the morn, with eyes still bleary, I snapped a pic of this week's gel nail polish, from Aldi.  This is the taupe, which I didn't mind at all.  It's less sheer than the pink from Rimmel, but it was nice and neutral, and didn't say "Hi, look at my nails".  The photo above was taken on Day 7, and it was still looking magnificent.  I could have pushed it a few more days, but I did noticed some edges were starting to lift.  Not chip - no chipping!  But a few edges looked less secure.  When I went to remove the polish last night I tried to chip it off.  No dice.  The little corner that lifted was the only bit that came away.

My review for two-step gel nail polish?  It is ideal for the non-nail polish wearers of the world, like me.  It lasts at least a week and it is so smooth.  I had none of the feelings about this nail polish, that I normally have with regular polish.  The Aldi version was equally as good as the Rimmel London brand I used first, and the Aldi one only cost $10.  If you can still get it!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Perhaps a Game Changer...and other new loves

Despite being a very girly kind of girl, I've never really been into make-up and nail polish.  Perhaps it has to do with growing up in the tropics, where make-up would melt off.  Perhaps it was the fact that in a third world country these items were hard to come by.  Perhaps it is that my mother is not really into these things either.  Whatever the reason, this part of being a girl kind of bypassed me.

The other day I had a strange hankering for nail polish - a rare thing indeed.  So I pestered Miss Sunshine to see if she had any really pale pink stuff.  Because that's about all I could possibly handle. The only thing she had was a two-step gel thing, but the right colour so I went with it.

One of the things I don't love about nail polish is that within two days it is chipped and driving me nuts.  I don't like the feel of it when I'm using my hands (you know, all the time), and stuff touches the top of my nails.  It's just all been icky.  This gel stuff is completely different!  The photo above is three days in.  It hasn't budged.  Not a bit.  And it actually feels really nice on my nails.

Miss Sunshine happened to have Rimmel London polish.  This week I bought a two-step gel in pale taupe from Aldi.  For $10 I figured it was worth a shot...otherwise I'll go back to the Rimmel.

Other things I'm loving:

  • This rhubarb crumble recipe (for the rhubarb) from Maggie Beer, with this crumble topping from Shauna Niequist.  I omitted the pecans and added coconut to the topping.
  • New blog at "The Daily Connoisseur"
  • Discovering Aldi jam is made just up the road from where I live, from fruit grown in Australia.
  • "This is Us" began last week, and "Fixer Upper" starts this week.
  • Most importantly....feeling like I was winning at my job yesterday, even though we had a mucky, messy afternoon with kids going in all directions.  
What are you loving today?

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

We are what we repeatedly do

Image Credit
The last sentence of this quote has been stuck in my head.  We are what we repeatedly do.  I don't know about you, but I have a few things around the edges of my life that I'd like to change.  To do better.  To be better.  Not in a "change who you are" kind of way, but there are always things that we aren't doing so great at that need some attention.

I know you know what I mean.  I can't be the only one.

I posted, last week, about tackling my fear problem.  Even now I want to say lesser words, like stress, anxiety and concern.  But I know it really is all just fear.  Or not so much "just"!  I am praying my way through and claiming Truth over those feelings and I'm doing better.  Sleeping better.  On Sunday I made a very long list of all the things I had to get done at work by the end of today.  Most of it has been crossed off, and I'll tackle some more this morning.  Because I made the list on paper I've been less fearful of forgetting things, and then being more relaxed.  Repeatedly praying through my fear is making me less fearful.  It's working!

My next thing?  My health.  I just need to make, and act, on better choices.  My blood tests all told me I am in good shape, but the outside shell tells a different story about my relationship with food.  So, I am working on being more mindful, deciding on what I want that outside shell to be like, and then acting towards that.  Small steps.

What do you want to be, that seems like a struggle right now?  Let's be people that act excellent, in order to see the results that come from habits rather than willpower!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

New Routines - An Organised Freezer

Chicken ready for flash freezing

Recently, Frances (from The Lefthanded Housewife) talked about ways she was tweaking her daily routines and how that might be the trick to getting on top of things like her infamous attic.  Although I will miss the odd post here and there about her attic woes (they make me feel better about little spots in my house, like the dining room), it made me wonder if there were things I do that could be changed to help me be more efficient?

One possibility came to me as I was preparing dinner tonight.  It's such a long time since we've had oven-baked orange chicken**, because anything with "stations" to get meat prepared is low on our list of weeknight dinners.  However!  This week marks the beginning of my four-day work week, with Wednesday's being my day off.  I decided I would go to the effort of making this chicken recipe because it's really yummy, but also because I can prepare the chicken and then flash freeze it, and then bag the prepared, frozen drumsticks in single-meal quantities.

And this is my routine game-changer.  I hope!  My Wednesday's can be my prepare-ahead night.  If I choose meals that take just a few extra minutes to get a little extra prepared (freezing meat in marinade, making two lasagnas etc) and into the freezer for another night I may just find we manage better with conquering Idon'twannacookdinneritis.

This has certainly been my most productive half hour in the day.  The first 8 hours involved filling out forms for Miss Mischief's Youth Allowance application, getting documents from the accountant, and sitting at Centrelink for over an hour to submit said forms before the deadline for her application.  I had hoped to get some rhubarb relish made.  Well, the day's not over so it's still a possibility I guess.

**  Recipe adjustments:

  1. Used chicken drumsticks instead of breasts 
  2. Juiced two oranges for about 3kg of chicken
  3. Skipped brushing chicken with butter - dipping in the orange/honey liquid is plenty
  4. Preheated an oven tray with a little olive oil before putting chicken in the oven