Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Vanities and Valentines Day

We don't really celebrate Valentines Day, I think one Valentines day in our forty five year marriage we went out for dinner.  This year I decided to go all American and start using special cups for the different festive occasions.  I must be getting brainwashed by You Tube.  I hope this doesn't mean I am getting all old and quaint and will move on to garden gnomes next.

We should be moving to our new home in the next two weeks.  The last push to get the final things done so that it is liveable makes me have a flash back to labour, I feel like I am in transition and just don't have the grit to do the last bit and deliver the baby.  This is largely due to the fact that most of the stuff is just hard work and I haven't got to the fun decorating bit yet.  My kitchen fit out and bathroom tiling should be all finished by early next week so as soon as the electrician and plumber have been back we will move and do the rest while we are in there.  We have been so blessed while going through my cancer scare, chemo and now finally getting to owner building our house as we have been renting a beautiful home in Lakelands from our ex daughter in law and her husband, who are moving back in once we move out.  They have been extremely gracious and not rushing us at all, obviously though we would like to vacate so they can get settled back in before their new baby arrives later in the year.
the drawers are in the car ready to go to the house, but you get the idea
I did get excited last night when Allan managed to get the top off the vanity that my friend and I went and purchased from the other side of Perth for $100 in 2014 when we were originally starting our building adventure and got rudely interrupted.  It is quite large 1500 mm long, and had two ugly sinks on top.  It now has its new handles and I will post a picture when it has the top and basin on it.  Vanities this size would be at least $1500 up, so by the time I put a stone top and new basin and tap it will be around $650.  That is the only time I have gone that far to resource something, but knew it was too good a bargain to pass up.  I also bought gorgeous coach lights for outside, that were two big for their house and just right for ours for $40 each.  They were brand new and had cost the seller $150 each.  We will probably have to call our house 'Gumtree' to honour its contribution.  I allowed myself $1000 for the ensuite vanity, bathroom vanity and laundry sink cupboard.  Allan thought I was joking.  I wasn't!  It will probably come in about $50 over largely because I bought expensive handles from ebay for the main bathroom vanity.  I will show you pictures when it is finished.  You can save heaps like this, but, it does cost your time, which we have so not a problem.

Meanwhile we are packing up to move.  I can't believe how much stuff we have.  I think there will be a lot of culling in the near future.
The for sale pile is growing
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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Easy Chicken Soup

Throw one frozen chicken carcass into a pot with one litre of water, (I never throw these out, there is always one in the freezer)
2 bay leaves and salt and pepper.
Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes
remove Chicken carcass
l can creamed corn
l onion diced
2 carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large sweet potato grated
2 potatoes grated
at the 25 minute mark add a cup of small pasta - I used Orzo
Return to boil then simmer for 40 minutes, eat and enjoy.
Really you can add anything you like to this

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Fireman Sam AKA Allan

Sitting having an afternoon coffee and having a bit of a read when the peace and quiet was interrupted by a terrible helicopter street sweeper kind of noise.  The dog started barking, the neighbour started banging at our front door, while calling the fire brigade with her other hand.  There is a fire at the back of your house she yelled.  Sure enough flames and smoke were licking over the back fence accompanied by the terrible noise.  Allan grabbed the hose and ran to start squirting the fire out.  Honestly we could have held the barking dog over the fence and let her pee on it, with all the good the water pressure in Lakelands does.  The home owners had run inside because they were terrified that the gas bottle which was in the thick of their barbecue furnace would explode.  Allan is very good in a crisis and doesn't panic, unlike me who had the same fear as the neighbours and was yelling at him to get away in case it blew up. (The noise was getting louder).  The home owner eventually felt bad and came out to help, the emergency was extinguished, just in time for the fire brigade to arrive.

Not all of us are good in stressful situations.  I once ran over our family cat - Rusty.  She would lay on the drive way and not bother to move for cars.  Troy who was a P plater at the time would roar in and out without giving Rusty a thought.  I would get out of the car and shoo her away.  I was always moving her, so why me?  I came into the car port one evening singing happily to myself.  Rusty saw me coming and though Mum's home, dinners up so ran across in front of me.  I thought I had killed her and was screaming for Allan to come and help me,  He was in his office playing his guitar (we were going to music practice at the Church in a while) and didn't hear a thing.  Finally, he responded to the mad woman banging on the office window and came to see what the screaming was about.  'Get the car off the cat' he yelled  That thought hadn't occurred to me.  I had assumed she was dead, when in fact she wasn't.  I also was scared to back out again in case I ran back over her.  I couldn't bear to look.  Anyway, the poor little thing died, and I still feel traumatised when I think about it.

In my defence I have occasionally stepped up to the plate though, when I was 8 months pregnant and  was home with three children all asleep, my neighbour opposite whose husband was also away called to say she heard someone in the carport.  I told her I would have a look.  I gathered up my trusty baseball bat that I kept handy when Allan was away, and set out across to investigate. I was standing on the verge of her house peering into the carport when the thought struck me that she was safely in her house, and I like an idiot, was very pregnant and on my own late at night on a dark road.  Thankfully, I didn't need to use my bat, although it was probably stupid as most women get weapons turned on themselves instead of getting to be heroines.  Another time I extracted  a 20 cent piece sized peppermint from quite a way down a choking two year olds throat, by turning it sideways and pulling it out.  I didn't cry till after the crisis was over.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Chick Pea Curry

Fry a diced onion in a little olive oil
add diced red or green capsicum
1 tin chick peas drained
2 cups vegetables diced (feel free to use fresh everything, 
I used frozen as I am post surgery and making things easy on myself)
1 tablespoon curry powder of choice
1 dessertspoon chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tablespoon chives
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup almonds or cashews
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
serve with rice or noodles

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Very early this morning the text alarm went on my phone.  I checked it and saw it was from the Chemist, telling me they would be closed for Christmas but not to miss their huge 50% discounts on Boxing Day, it ended with a cheery 'Merry Christmas to you and your family'  It got me thinking what if for some people, that text from the Chemist was the only Merry Christmas they would get.  There would I am sure be many.  Those with no family, that offer to do the Christmas shift at work, so that those with families can be with theirs.  Hospitals don't close, airports don't close, trains and buses run and cyclones occasionally interrupt the festivities. My brother and sister in law were in Darwin back in 1974 when Cyclone Tracy went through.  Our Christmas day was very tense as we waited to get word that He and his family were ok.  Not till late on boxing day did we get the call and our family could breathe again.

I remember hearing that in some trenches during the first world war the fighting would stop for Christmas Day then resume straight after.  Unfortunately hardship and suffering doesn't care what day it is, at any given time all around the world their are children mistreated, wives beaten, thousands starving and people freezing with inadequate shelter.

So back to the text, I felt very blessed to be busy in my big kitchen, cooking happily for the bunch that are going to descend on us on Christmas Day, and thankful that I have such an abundance of loved ones to wish me Happy Christmas and certainly will not take it for granted.  In amongst the merriment lets remember to text someone we don't normally include when we are busy, you may make their day, they may just have been sitting at home alone wondering if the Chemist and his family had room for one more at Christmas lunch.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Caramel Popcorn

Just made a big batch of Caramel Popcorn for the Grandies on Christmas day.

I popped one bag of microwave popcorn
then melted and stirred bubbling for about 2 minutes:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup glucose syrup
This gets very hot, so be careful, don't make this with little ones (i.e. toddlers, dogs) under your feet.

I poured it into a large bowl containing the popcorn and 2 cups mixed nuts

spread it on a large oven proof tray lined with baking paper, and baked it on 180 degrees c for about 20 minutes, stirring it a couple of times.

Cool and store in tin ready to gobble on Christmas Day.

1.  Don't serve if anyone in your crowd is allergic to nuts (this will spoil Christmas Dinner when you have to dash to hospital emergency room).
2.  Try not to eat to much while preparing, from personal experience this makes you feel sick.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Reason for the Season

Ya! only three more sleeps to Christmas.  I tried to play the gee I've been diagnosed with cancer card, but that didn't work, everyone is coming to our house for Christmas and I am making most of the food.  Today I'm making Pavlova and Hayley will bring her amazing Black Forrest Trifle, the recipe is from her friend Mel, absolutely disgustingly rich and decadent (the trifle, not Mel).  What a lovely girl Hayley is, last Friday while stacking shelves with stock in a store down Mandurah way (she is a rep for Coca Cola) an elderly lady was asking her about flavoured pump bottles, which the store didn't stock.  While they chatted Hayley found out that the ladys' husband was going through chemotherapy and not doing well.  One of the only things he could taste and enjoy was the lemon pump.   After they parted Hayley felt very strongly to give the woman some money as it sound like she was doing it tough but, couldn't find her in the car park when she looked.  Being resourceful Hayley asked on Facebook, if anyone knew a lady with a husband seriously ill with cancer in the area where the lady had told her she lived.  The response was amazing,  someone replied that they had asked their neighbour with a very sick husband if she had spoken to a coca cola rep the day before and she said yes.  Several people gave money and Hayley went and bought all the stock of lemon Pumps she could find on the way and turned up at the couples home bearing her gifts.  She apologised for visiting without an invitation and explained how she had tracked her down.  It was a very teary exchange, as both were overwhelmed.  The lady with a stranger's kindness, and Hayley with the joy of being able to bless someone else.  Kindness and giving for no personal gain always gives us an overwhelming sense of well being.  I think that is why we are told it is more blessed to give than to receive.  There is nothing like it, and speaks to us of what Christmas is all about.

Take a moment to breathe, during the preparations.  If you are getting cranky at the shops, work or with family, reassess your to do list, and cross some things off, it is not worth the grief.  No one really cares if the floor was just mopped, or if there are fingermarks on the sliding door.  Once everyone starts spilling drinks and throwing wrapping paper around, your beautifully laid plans for a perfect Christmas will have to be re thought.  So remember that God's love is the motivation behind us celebrating Christmas, so take a deep breath and relax, don't sweat the small stuff