Weekend Snaps

What a great weekend.
Friends.
Frugal furniture find – a vintage tea trolley!
Incredible food (My Kitchen Rules comp with friends).
Furniture reshuffling.
Chai tea.

Phew, but YIEW!!

Uni again tomorrow…

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Loveliness

It’s a week of loveliness. I’ve decided. It’s a very busy week, but it’s lovely.

Aren’t clean windows lovely? I washed our windows this afternoon. When you appreciate the lovely things in your life, even the tedious things are acts of loveliness. To enjoy our stunning view through clean (well, a few smudges here and there) windows is thoroughly gratifying.

Isn’t biscotti lovely? To bake something extra special to share with my family is lovely. Messy, but deliciously lovely. (Experimental success: gluten free, pistachio and chocolate biscotti, mmmm.)

Sunsets; they happen every single day, but never cease to be lovely.To walk along our beach at sunset… You guessed it- lovely.

To find my post-exam creative project – a vintage telephone table that I can add some colour to – that’s luxuriously lovely!!

So there you have it, I’ve decided. Despite being the big study week, this week is going up be a lovely week, full of lovely things, lovely moments and lovely thoughts. Ah, lovely.

I hope you find and create the loveliness in your week.

xx

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My 1980s stencil quest

I am reminiscing tonight about the things I used to do as a child, brought on by the sheer dismay I feel whenever I go searching for gifts for children- especially my own! Asher turns 6 next week, which is altogether confronting to me. That is another blog. We won’t go there tonight.

I hate just getting run-of-the-mill gifts. Lego is a must of course, but beyond that, I really struggle. I love to foster their imagination and creativity with their gifts. I search online and go to the “different” toy stores in pursuit of the ultimate play thing! But you know what, at the end of the day, it is not about the stuff. I know this, yet I still search.

I found an article online tonight that made me smile. I came across it whilst I was hunting for a retro set of Disney stencils that I used to adore when I was a little girl. Stencilling was great fun, was it not? I don’t mean the straightforward stencils, you find these days, but the progressive ones, where you had to line things up and move the stencil along to complete your picture. I really want to get some great quality, age appropriate stencils for the lads, and struggling to find them. But I digress… back to the article!

http://www.weekendnotes.com.au/old-school-activities-for-kids/

Old school activities for kids:

Hopscotch – we love this. We play under the carport every now and then, and tonight, Asher actually asked me to make hopscotch pudding for dessert. How could I refuse? That is just too cute!!!

Four square – I lived and breathed this game as a kid! We grew up playing the neighbourhood kids most nights after school and on weekends. We were very serious and competitive, but what a ball we had! (No pun intended).

Stencils – I have said enough, but seriously, if you know the Disney stencils from the 1980s I am referring to, please let me know!!! We share a bond!!!!!

Tea parties – These don’t happen too often around here, but MasterChef sessions do. Matt’s mum made the boys a whole range of knitted foods and Ash still enjoys these on his mini wooden kitchen.

There are more listed in the link, and I will share some more of my fave old school activities soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about your favourite childhood games/activities or the things you have reinvented with your own children!

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Frametastic Week

I’m lazing in bed this Sunday morning, listening to the giggles of my lads and the sounds of the coffee machine as Matt makes me a soy latte. It’s been a huge week! I’m struggling to work out the juggle with full time study, work, parenting, school involvement and everyday life necessities like cooking and cleaning. But I’m grateful I’ve got the opportunity to experiment with such a juggle, and I’m going to try and master this! It’s a short term juggle, just 8 intense months. I think I can… I think I can… I think I can…
I have attached a collage of the week gone.

We now have a new sponsor child, by the delightful name of Cloudi. Our Compassion sponsor child graduated to a new university program (which is a huge achievement and a cause of great celebration of the impact that sponsorship has on young lives and communities), so we have taken on a second child from Operation Uganda, as we know people on the ground and hear first hand of the wonderful things happening in these children’s lives. Check them out here.

The international cooking fun continues. More pics later on that tomorrow after our next experiment.

Asher had a free dress day at school and his class performed in the assembly. I was delighted to see him drumming, and totally loved how he wore his cap for the occasion!

And study. Lots of study, served with coffee.

Happy Sunday to you all x

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Around the world on a grocery budget

I’d love to travel the world with my family. I’d love to experience the richness of other cultures with the lads. I’m not a seasoned traveller by any stretch, but the few trips I’ve made to various Asian countries have left wonderful memories, firmly implanted on my taste buds.
I look forward to taking the lads on their first international journey, hopefully in the next year. But until that time, we are going around the world on a grocery budget, and its proving to be quite the journey!

We have decided to be much more adventurous with our taste buds whilst exploring cuisine from around the globe. This is how it’s going to work:
We will take it in turns choosing a country, then look through recipe books and find a dish we want to create.

Isaac was the first cab off the rank, choosing Jamaica. He’s a big Bolt fan, so I’m pretty sure we know the source of his inspiration: Eat like Usain, run like Usain.
Jerk Chicken served with coconut bean rice was our first experiment. I salivate even thinking about it!!

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My choice for this evening was Morocco. To be honest, I had my doubts that the lads would come at Harira. Boy was I wrong!!!

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One thing I really loved about tonight, apart from the fact that I am beginning to realise I’m a damn good cook, is that we embraced the Moroccan custom of sharing a bowl around the table to wash our hands before eating. This added another dimension to our experience. I will be looking for other such customs to include in our international foodie family evenings as we go on.

I’m going to create a recipe book using our photos and memories of our family experiment and if I’m organised enough, give this as a gift to our family at Christmas.

Asher has chosen France for next week. He’s convinced he wants to eat snails. Bon appetit!

Oh my darling, lemon time!

Cupcakes are fun, don’t you think? I decided I wanted to bake today. I had a bowl of lemons from my Dad’s tree, so the winner is…..
lemon cupcakes!

I wish I could tell you that I pulled out the family recipe book that has been handed down through the generations, but there is no such thing. (I could blog about the flavours of my childhood, but that may traumatise you.) I did the next best thing and grabbed the iPad, googled “lemon cupcakes” and clicked on this:
Lemon Cupcakes

I’m gluten free, so I just substitute the flour with GF.

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We sat down with my late Grandmother’s tea set and munched our yummy treat. I made a pot of Earl Grey and forced Matt to sip it out of a tea cup he could barely hold onto. He’s not that into drinking from quaint tea cups, so that was fun to watch. I’m a big believer in making an event of the simple things, like a cup of tea.

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With the leftover lemons I made a batch of old fashioned lemonade. I used 4 lemons, 5 cups water and 1/2 cup of sugar and stirred. We added a few apple mint leaves from the garden, and enjoyed sipping in the sunshine.

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Now to clean up my creative mess…

Photo story of my week

What a big week we have had!

Matt and I attended a marriage enrichment weekend last week. Beautiful!!! It was held at a gorgeous vineyard, filled with wonderful conversation and food- but most of all, uninterrupted time to laugh and be with my husband.

We have painted Asher’s feature wall using paint from the Tip Shop. Bargain.

I bought Matt a new lawn mower. His first new one ever! He won’t miss repairing the old one every time he had to use it.

It was Book Week at school for the lads. Isaac was Cole from Ninjago and Asher, the bear from “We’re going on a bear hunt.” Easy this year.

The sun broke through so Ash and I took to the beach!

We had birthday curry with our dear friend, Betsy. She is a true and delightful friend who is easy to celebrate.

The blossoms are budding on our fruit trees. Spring is on its way. Yay.

We said farewell to friends who have moved north. Ash and I went to do a few clean up jobs in their empty home. That was a bit sad. Reminding me of those dear friends who have, over the years said farewell and moved far away. One of these friends is on her way home next week though, so that’s exciting.

A great week. Now I’m ready for the next!! Hoping yours was blessed.

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I had a dream…about toffee apples!

Asher told me he had a dream about toffee apples, and he decided it would be great fun to make some. So we did.
Isaac is having a birthday party on Saturday, so we will make another batch for the guests to take home in their party bags.
They turned out pretty well for our first try.
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Microwave rave

We have lived for around three years microwave-less. In that time I couldn’t count the times we have heard something like this: “You don’t have a microwave?! I couldn’t live without mine!” “Why don’t you have a microwave?! You won’t last, you’ll get another.”
Three years on, we are still using the cubby hole that once housed an appliance for our wines and our fruit bowl.
Friends with babies come over and walk to the kitchen to zap the kids milk, look around and the penny drops. They realize we do not have what the are looking for. It oesnt get old to me, seeing the disbelief on their faces. You’d think we were living without toilet paper the way they react. I get a kick out of suggesting they could use the old fashioned way of boiling water to warm their baby’s bottle or food.

When I reflect back on our decision to go microwave-less, I can see that it was the beginning of our lifestyle revolution. Our microwave was making noises that would scare a bomb squad captain, so we went our separate ways. Most people would replace it without a thought. We asked ourselves if we really needed it. What does it do that makes our lives easier? The only thing I could come up with to buy a new one was that microwave popcorn rocks! Not enough to justify buying an appliance that I have my suspicions about.

For three years now, I’ve defrosted meat the old fashioned way. Slowly.
I’ve cooked food on the stove top or the wok and scrubbed things clean after.
We tend to cook correct portions as we don’t really do leftovers, with no quick reheat button and all.
I have to be more organized with meal planning, as I can’t just defrost at the push of a button, and that’s a good thing in my opinion!

Do I miss the microwave? In all honesty, the only times I’ve missed it have been when I’ve almost smoked us out of the house after burning popcorn in a pot. The topic was raised last night, and for a few moments I let myself think about the benefits. I confess, I was tempted. But today I’m realizing one of the things I love about not having one is that our kids have the aroma of food being cooked the old school way. They have to wait longer than a few moments to be fed. I love that phrases like “nuke it” or “zap it” are not a part of my family’s food vocabulary.

So for now, we will continue as we are, and as people have throughout the ages- microwave oven deficient. Slower than some perhaps, but we don’t want to live at breakneck speed anyway.