Tuesday, July 5, 2016

June Twenty Sixteen has now been.

June is my very favourite month of the year.

Even though it is winter and cold and my least favourite weather, in June we get fires and red wine and mid winters eve, which means the days are now getting longer.

Plus, my birthday.

Which is where I will start the June round up.

Getting: Presents that my girls pick for me all by themselves. This year, Lush products are on their favourite things list and Peter Alexander Pjs, so I scored myself some lovely things.

Making: Campfire Food. I went straight to Pinterest for some ideas and found this super basic thing: Ice cream cones -  fill with marshmallow, berries, choc chips, banana - however you like it best, wrap in foil and cook in the fire. YUMMMMMM. It all becomes a gooey melty mess in the cone and you can eat it all perfectly. Just don't put them right on the hot coals - charcoal cones were not a big hit.

Cooking: hot potaotes (it's the fire thing)

Drinking: Hot Apple Cider while at the ice skating at Fed Square

Reading:  First I read Girl Underground, a YA book then I read Britt-Marie was here by Fredrik Backman, he is my current favourite author. Hopefully he is busy writing his next book. 

Looking: at all the snow in the mountains from other people's holidays. I love pictures of the snow, but I have very little desire to go there and throw myself down a mountain or fall off a sky lift (again).

Playing:  Connect 4 - I am the house champion.

Wishing: I didn't feel guilty about working and having to miss my girls perform in a school concert, one they had been practicing for weeks and really wanted to win against the other houses. They did great, including using sign language for the chorus of the song. And they won. Lucky some of the other Mums sent me the video. Mums are good sorts. 

Loving:  The very last bit of this video - Oh, don't be such a wowser! 

Pondering: How we will spend the summer, how we will squeeze in as many family getaways and days as we can.

Considering: Who to vote for. I consider my vote very important, I always think that my vote could be the deciding factor in our whole countries future, so I really need to get it right. And it turns out that's pretty true, because many seats are very very close.

Buying: New boots - such a bargain. I was checking out the shoes in an online kids shoe sale when I saw a pair of all leather boots - lined in leather (my favourite) and they were $295.....but clearly no kids had big feet in adult size so the boots were down to $50. I didn't waste a moment and purchased those babies.

Watching: LOVE CHILD. I am a sucker for any show that is set in the past. Particularly around the 50s and 60s. Particularly if there are great female stories being told. So it's no surprise that LOVE CHILD is my current must watch.

Hoping:  For cures

Cringing: June was election campaign month, there were very few moments I was not cringing. 

Questioning: how when you live in one of the safest political seats in the country your community receives VERY little. If I could tell my local community something, it would be to think about how our area might improve if we were not so predictable. Our local high school has not been updated in 50 years. 50 Years. It's not likely to see much change anytime soon.

Smelling: Lush, so much Lush.

Wearing: Puffy jackets, leggings, boots. 

Knowing: That the last three phone chargers I have bought have been a good price, but none of them actually charge an apple device. Three bargains that do nothing. Should have paid for the pricey one in the first place.

Thinking: We went off to see a financial adviser so for a day or two I was thinking about how we really should be budgeting better. It was a bit embarrassing to realise how much we spend on food each week.  

Disliking: Fear mongering racists. 

Feeling:  In love with the holidays, even though I am working most of them.

Hearing: Rain on my roof.

Needing: Nothing more than I already have

That's all June. It's fantastic to be another year older, to have met more people, done more things, laughed, cried and shared so much with the best of people. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

May I tell you about May?

What went down in May 2016? 

An effort to go to school functions to be involved and to meet other families. 

Vodka O - It's my new favourite, and worth drinking when going to school functions to try and be more involved. 

Doing: My Tax! Only 11 months late but I got it in on the very last day. Phew. Can't be more organised than that. 


A little life. It is not little. It is taking over my life. Have you read this book? If you haven't I am not going to recommend it to you. Not because the writing isn't marvellous. Not because you won't want to read it. Only because of the deep sadness it can make you feel to know the disgusting and miserable way other humans can treat children. Or, read it, but prepare yourself for some dark moments while you do. 

A heated swimming pool in my own backyard. With a pool boy. And heated towels around it. 

At the weather and checking how cold it's going to be. 

Playing: Musicaly - it's an app and it's not really for kids, but if you are a switched on parent you can download it, set it all to private and know that it's just your kid playing around pretending to be a singing star. I love apps that encourage kids to create, not consume, and this is a good one. (But don't let your kids just have an account and start sending their creations out into the big wide world).

Deciding: To read less of the comments sections on social media

Wishing: I would stop buying crap on the local buy swap and sell Facebook page

Enjoying: Mother's Day Craft. I love the things that my kids make in school for mother's day. I am not sure I really remember making my Mum much at school. Maybe we did, but she certainly didn't keep it. 

Loving: Immy looking fabulous in her new glasses.

Pondering:  Why I went to the expensive place for Immy's new glasses and not the place where you get two pairs - at a lower price.

Watching: My current favourite trash TV option.... Shark Tank. I love that show. Mainly I just love the ideas that people have, their passion to start a business, how they are highly likely not to going to make a cent but they love what they do so much they are going to keep going anyway. I love how people make up these numbers about how much their business is worth, but then get caught admitting that maybe, actually, kind of, they have not taken a wage and have been working for free for two years. 

Cringing: at my eyebrows

Seeing: Libbi Gore at a fundraising night. She really made me laugh, I even did what I have always refused to do - buy the book when a speaker I go to hear flogs the book three or more times during their presentation. Haven't even opened it yet, but Libbi had a way of making me want that book, not be annoyed that she was trying to sell them. 

Wearing: new stuff from Birdsnest and wishing there was an online store that sold winter things for people who live in cold places. My new 'waterfall' cardigan was certainly never worn in Melbourne at 7 am when it's 3 degrees. But, it's good for layering. Online shops all seem to be based in North Qld and think a long sleeve top is just perfect for the colder months..BRRRRRRR

Noticing: My hamstrings are more ham and less strings every month.

Knowing: Winter is only three months long. 

Thinking: Too much. 

Admiring: The life of my beautiful friend Sianne. A lady who made me laugh, who was courage and humour and determination and love and a friend to everyone. Inclusive and considerate, helpful and attentive, creative and sincere. When I hear this song, I'll always think of you. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hot Cake Cook Off

Me, trying to work out how to make a bechamel sauce that doesn't get lumps!

As a parent you might not have been told that there are two things you should teach your kids before they leave home.

1. How to make a decent white sauce
2. How to make a decent red sauce.

If your offspring have the ability to do the above it will provide them the skills to make so many dishes. Starting with their own mac and cheese to lasagna to cauliflower and white sauce, tuna casserole, soups and the list goes on. The money a uni student can save with simple dishes that start with a basic sauce is huge and really you can add any old veggies in and cover them with bechamel and you have a meal!

My white sauce is a bit fickle. At times it's extraordinary. At other times, it hits the bin and I have to start again.

I think I know why now. I never used to heat the milk. Who knew??

Smiling sans teeth is hard work.

On Sunday Immy and I went along to an event held by Dairy Australia and before we headed to our kitchen stations for the 'Hot Cake Cook Off' we learnt a few things about cooking with milk and a few basic recipes.  The bechamel sauce recipe was as usual very basic, but it worked perfectly.

The tips were use the same amount of butter/flour/cheese and warm your milk first.

The rest you can make up yourself, but here is a super basic recipe if you need help to get started.

When it came time to have the cook off, Immy was totally in charge.

She collected her ingredients and decided pretty quickly exactly how these were going to look. Once I figured out how to turn the stove top on, the rest really was basic. Your kids can start making you breakfast!

The hot cake recipe we were given had ricotta in them which I think I would have really liked, but in our hot cake cook off challenge, Immy decided that disgusting ingredients like ricotta should be replaced with raspberries and blue berries.

She also wanted chocolate and a caramel sauce, but the timer went off before she made it back to collect her caramel. Ahhh, the pressure in the kitchen.

Her hot cakes actually came up fantastic. Who wouldn't pay $17.50 at a cafe on Sunday morning for such a treat?

Raspberry infused hot cakes with strawberries, blue berries and smashed chocolate. 

Thanks to Dairy Australia and the Legendairy team for inviting us along, and for the scones, and lasagna and smoothies, totally delicious day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

All about April

If I asked you all the things you did and though about last month it’s unlikely you’d remember, so if you can’t recall them now, how will you remember all those little moments of life that make it so great, next year? Write it down, your memory bank will thank you for it in a decade.

Making: Great memories and wonderful friends on weekends away.

Drinking: Wine. Popped into a winery, Mt Avoca Wines to be exact, tasted what I thought I might enjoy the most, told myself I really would enjoy it, and bought it instantly. They also gave us a little tour of the winery, its actually an organically made wine, but certification is just so difficult to get!

Doing: Took Miss 10 to see Matilda at the theatre, it was brilliant. Clever songs, talented kids, a fun storyline and many laughs, highly recommend it.

Reading:  Id like to tell you how I am reading A little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, but really I am just reading the first few pages over and over as I decide if I am ready to launch into this book that has so many people talking. Its a big one and its going to take some time to get through.

Wanting:  a clean car, not that I am really sure I remember what that’s like.

Looking: At the ocean from the beach house we stayed in at Aireys Inlet and wishing we made the trip to the beach more often.

Playing: Headbandz. This is a great game to play after dinner with friends and with kids. We went away for a weekend with friends and played a few rounds, the little kids can get some question ideas from the cards and the adults start getting worked up that they just cant figure it out. Play it, your kids will love you for it. You will laugh, its good for you.

Deciding:  Having a holiday house would be so wonderful, but having friends with holiday houses all over the place is even more wonderful and taking friends to where you like to holiday is pretty good too!

Wishing: There is so much inequity around us. SO MUCH. But there is one that really shits me. The cost of medications. Once, when I had my very own Dad dying of a super rare blood cancer, he needed a drug that cost $7500 per injection, he needed that injection every week.  But, the people in the chair beside him who had a more common blood cancer, they just had to pay $6.50, for the very same drug. My Dad, he was lucky/unlucky to get a double diagnosis within a few days, telling him he had TWO types of blood cancer, the oncologist was so happy, this meant he could get the drug straight away and not have to hope to get on a clinical trial.  Of course, my Dads blood didnt care about all this and had its own plans. But its happening all the time. There are people all over Australia who get hit with the unlucky stick so badly, first they get cancer, then they are told its a really rare cancer (so we probably dont know how to beat it) then they get told sorry, you got the wrong cancer, so you dont get any medicine. Its just awful. So in April, and always, I am wishing for fairness in medication for everyone.

Enjoying: the dancing concerts my kids are making up.

Wondering:  If newspapers will come back in fashion? Or decent magazines? If quality is produced, would consumers buy it?

Loving: Small country towns, their history and their opportunities.

Pondering: When twitter will be finished.

Considering: school uniforms, I love them, but I hate them. I want them, but not every day. They look so sweet, their purpose is so outdated, they make mornings so much easier, they are rarely weather appropriate.

Buying: presents, and nearly getting them to the recipients on time. Nearly.

Watching: the last of Call the Midwife. Possibly the best series of all time, but sadly thats the end of it. I miss my friends at Nonatus House.

Noticing: the colours of Autumn. Not every country gets to experience the natural beauty of a Victorian Autumn.

Knowing: My ten year old can win a cross country race if the bribe is high enough.

Thinking: I love day light saving time, but its over for now and I just have to get through the dark times.

Admiring: People who just say yes and find a way to make everything happen.

Disliking: Clothes needing to be dried inside.

Opening:  very few books.

Feeling: So happy with all the travel and getaways for the month.

Snacking: dark chocolate with orange, I love you.

Questioning:  Have you ever watched Schindlers List? You know how you watch it and you think, why didnt all the Germans act like this, why didnt more good people just do what they could to stop the horrendous from happening? You watch it and you like to think that if you were there, youd be the Oskar Schindler, youd be the good person, youd never just turn your eyes away while people were sent to camps where they were just forgotten about.  The movie ends and youre glad that those days are no longer.
Except they arent really are they? Its just different people in the camps. Camps run by our very own country.

And on that note, we leave April 2016 with the hope that during the coming election campaign there will be many Oskar Schindler type voices and compassion will finally win.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Embracing my Active Wear

Active Wear, Active Wear...writing my blog in my active wear.

I've felt the pressure in recent years to not be seen too often on my active wear. Firstly, because I am never actually doing any exercise when I wear it, kind of just thinking about it for half a day.

I've seen online discussions that degrade those who tend to choose active wear as a regular outfit, even if they are exercising regularly.

I also don't have the correct brand of active wear to officially be allowed to be proud to wear it. It would seem that if you hand over your hard earned cash to LuluLemon or even Lorna Jane or the top sports brands than you receive a little more leniency from the anti active wear brigade. But the no name brand of lycra is not as acceptable in polite society.

Recent back injury (again, yawn) has meant I've been cruising about more in elastic waisted leggings and stretchy tops. I added a new fleece hoodie to the mix to make myself look particularly unstylish yet comfortable. The only suitable shoe to match this ensemble is my sneakers.

And it's been fantastic.

Wearing my active wear has made being active so much easier. I don't feel restricted by shoes or belts or buttons or dresses. My slow moving back gets supported in special support leggings (also from Target because that is what the rehab Physio at work suggested was the best option, not the ones that you pay $200 for).

The more I wear my active wear, the more I am actually active.

It would seem that those people who do don their dorky but comfy active wear attire might move a little more. It's easier to run after the kids in active wear, it's easier to pack a dishwasher, to run for a bus, to push a shopping trolley, to write a blog or walk to the shops for milk.

The more you wear your active wear, the more you realise it's bloody fantastic.
It's not expensive to buy if you go for something unbranded.
There is no ironing involved, ever.
It's easy to wash and fast to dry, plus it's often black so marks from little grubby hands don't show so much.

It's so comfortable that you just feel happy wearing it.

Active wear, it's time for me to embrace you more. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marched through that one

Oh March, you’ve been and gone and never even gave me a chance to blog. That’s how super impressive you were. All that’s left is the opportunity to sum you up in one nifty post.

Here’s what went down for March 2016.

Better use of my time. I am working more and I have had to break up my tasks. When you’re forced to work more efficiently at home, you can still get everything done

Drinking : Gin with lemon sorbet! Yep, that’s a cocktail that includes some gin, some vodka, a touch of lemon and some sorbet. It’s dessert and a drink in one handy glass.

Doing: Packing for our trip to Jakarta.

Reading:  Mr Wigg. A delightful book about an old man and his fruit trees. It’s a slow paced book in the way that it makes you slow your day down. I usually speed through a book to get it finished, but Mr Wigg, talks and thinks like an old man and I love old people and their stories.  Link 

Wanting:  Autumn arrived so of course I am wanting a new puffer vest. And a puffer coat. And a new work coat, and a coat for things like school pick up.
Looking: At the view from the top of a very large building in Jakarta where we went for dinner. The bar is called Cloud 9 and the velvet covered seats, which we didn’t stop to sit at, looked super inviting. 

Playing:  Acoustic music which no one else in my house seems to appreciate.

Deciding: That it’s really ok to only blog when it suits me.

Wishing: That Detention Centres were just not a thing.

Enjoying: Young Adult books – if you don’t have kids you probably don’t know that you need to read the books by Morris Gleitzman, Once, Then, Before and After. You’ll read them quickly and be surprised at how well an author can craft stories for a young audience yet share the horrors of the Holocaust and also have you glued to the pages wanting to know if Felix is ok.

Wondering:  If anyone will notice a few Easter Eggs have done missing.

Loving: School Holidays. I hear parents count down the days to when school goes back, but never me, I love the school holidays.

Pondering: How best to cope with five months of cool weather. I am thinking soups, pies and puffy jackets will help. 

Considering: Perhaps I shouldn’t have eaten the Easter eggs.

Buying: I scored big time. You know I love the Facebook Buy Swap and Sell Page and this week I grabbed a vintage Oroton bag in white mesh, still in the original box. I am not sure if I’ll use her much, but I just like looking at her in all her glam and glory. I also just looked at a bit and wondered where this bag has been, was it bought for a wedding, a celebration, a special place? Why did it get carefully placed back in the box and kept so well? If this bag could talk, what would it say?

Watching: The Dressmaker. I read the book about 12 years ago and was a bit disappointed with the movie, but isn’t that always the way?

Hoping: the sunburn on my nose doesn’t peel and make me have a flaky face.

Cringing: at Baby Competitions. I don’t know why people want to enter them so much. Please don’t ask me to vote for your baby. I think all the babies I have ever met are the most gorgeous little things ever. I love their bald heads or spiky hair dos, I love their fat rolls or skinny wrists.

Just believe your child is the most amazing kid on earth, you don't need a marketing competition to convince you you're right.

Questioning: why Osteo’s are not on every corner like hairdressers. Those of us with bad backs and sore body parts just need them so much.

Smelling: Coriander. LOVE IT. Never had a coriander meal I didn’t love.

Wearing: Navy. And white. Really not sure any other colours are even required.

Noticing: There is a lot of traffic in Jakarta.

Knowing: There needs to be a solution to the level of traffic in Jakarta.

Thinking: How will they fix the traffic in Jakarta?

Admiring: My Mum. Who doesn’t drink alcohol but decided to make a Pomegranate cordial from scratch to then make up a Gin cocktail for her guests. Those same guests declined a drink that night so I had to assist in the consumption of said Gin Cocktail myself. The things I do for others.

Disliking: broken backs. 

Opening:  the fridge to see if someone decided to make a cake and leave it there for me, so far no luck.

Feeling: a hatred of the pantry moth, and laughing in my head at what it would look like if I accidentally dropped the r from pantry.

Snacking: me? Snacking? Never.

And that's all March. See you next year.

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