#842 Scones and Schnitzel

It’s kinda hard to look for gratitude and try to find small things that make you happy in amongst shitty days, even more so when those shitty days reveal even worser days for others.

How can one complain about smaller issues when they know of family or friends in ill-health or distress?

It actually reminds me of what I used to say after my father-in-law passed away. Here I was, a new Mum to a beautiful baby girl, yet still completely overwhelmed by my new parent role and the life that came with it; and then there was Hubbie, equally besotted by her, while simultaneously still in deep grief over his father’s passing. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, would tell me they were having a bad day.

They would quickly realise their words in my company, and apologise for complaining. They saw in me, in us, in our family, that there were far harder things to go through. To manage. To overcome.

But you know what I would say to them?

“Everyone has their own problems. You shouldn’t feel bad about yours, and feel guilty that they aren’t big enough to cry over. You are allowed to be upset, it’s your life, your problems.”

Sure, little problems in light of big problems become an awareness of the bigger picture, and that enlightenment is major in itself.

But we can’t all be in woe at the same time, can we? Then we wouldn’t have those others around us, less in woe, to pick us up from our sadness…

At this time of my life, I think I’m in a state of ‘less in woe.’

So I’m grateful.

But that isn’t what this gratitude post is about. That in itself is actually huge, more so because I know, and I have felt the comparison of being WHOLEHEARTEDLY in woe.

This is perhaps about the most trivial of things in light of today… baking.

For a week now I’ve been planning on making scones. They seem to make them for any given reason at baby girl’s kindergarten. Parents getting to know each other afternoon tea? SCONES. Mother’s Day? SCONES. Neighbourhood primary school visits? SCONES.

A possum jumps from the gum trees into the yard and shits all over the kids play equipment?

SCONES.

Ok so clearly I am bullshitting with you but you get my drift. I have not made scones in ages, well since we moved here really, and part of that has to do with

  1. kitchen reno, AND
  2. having half my kitchen stuff still in boxes upstairs because I’m waiting on one more damn cupboard (COME ON kitchen guys!) to get made.

I’ve forgotten half of what I do own in the way of bakeware and pans and the like, it’s been that long I’ve seen half of my things. But after repeated reminders by the kinder that both baby girl and I, really enjoy them, well I said to myself “I’ll damn well making them.”

You require next to nothing to make scones after all.

I really wanted to be grateful for them, really I did. And at the end, I was, for some brief moment at the end as I indulged in jam and cream upon pillows on doughy lightness that were apparently ‘café-style’…

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But the ‘before’ was hard, because baby girl was sick you see. I held her back from kinder, quite rich since THAT IS THE PLACE SHE CATCHES ALL HER WEEKLY COLDS FROM.

Not shitty much.

She was weak, tired, and developed a sudden ear ache during the day which had her retreating to the couch often to lie down. I had imagined us making these together with happiness… the most she did was brush the tops with milk.

And then the ‘after’… because as I was trying to enjoy my coffee/scone break, breathing slowly, ALONE, in peace, once baby girl had finished her babycino… I somehow spilt my coffee.

No, it gets worse. ON MY PHONE.

I swore better than a sailor out at sea. OH MY. Baby girl knows her Mum too well, and wasn’t afraid. In fact she came up to me and asked “Mama, you ok?”

Awww.

So instead of being grateful for my scones, the preparation time with baby girl which wasn’t special, and then the clean up which was devastating (I’d let dishes pile up half of the day), I instead became appreciative of something else.

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Hubbie cooked a killer chicken parmigiana tonight. He cooked it fresh, placed passata and ham and freshly grated cheese on top, grilled it in the oven, and it was THE BOMB.

The best part to him making it for us?

I didn’t have to clean it up.

(That wasn’t agreed to from his original contract, but from the day I’d had, there was no other choice).

Every time I complain about something going shitty, really I am grateful… because I do know better… I know better, that there is worse.

P.S My phone survived

#795 Strawberry crumble

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

When life gives you a kilo of strawberries for $2, you make Strawberry Crumble

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The above is the result of a stallholder packing up from Main St market day yesterday, and trying to offload his last two punnets of strawberries to someone, anyone, the first Tom, Dick or Nancy that dared to humour him and look at him twice.

So when Hubbie glanced over at him as we waited for baby girl to get her fill of a small play area off to the side of the street, the man wasted NO TIME.

“Sir, a kilo of strawberries for $2!”

I fished out a gold coin, and was soon wondering how I would use up a whole lot of quickly maturing strawberries.

The answer came to me in my Nigella cookbook later that night. A crumble? Hmmm…

I questioned it only slightly as I poured in the sugar this evening. 100 grams Nigella? Ain’t this too much? And then another 75 grams of Demerara, in that mix too?

OOKKKAAAAAYYYYY.

Yes a fair bit of ‘good stuff’ went into it, yet at the same time, it was sooo simple. My questionable thoughts were laid to rest when 30 minutes into baking the delicious gloop, my kitchen was filled with the most serene and sweet scent of sugar and strawberries.

Mmmmm.

It was good. Damn sweet, but good. The strawberries were sweet, soft and warm, and the contrast against the crunchy crumble, given extra texture with the addition of almond flakes, was brilliant.

But, I think I will take up Ms Lawson on her firm suggestion next time: ‘Cream on the side is obligatory; not optional.’

Yes Miss!

#778 Dromana day

We finally got our relax day today.

It didn’t happen on Friday – we were sick, and I was busy baking.

Saturday I was still busy baking, we were still run down, and then I was working.

On Sunday, well… Easter.

And today, we were able to just lounge about and enjoy the day in some kind of unhurried state, as we ventured a short 15 minutes or so to Dromana.

We had some lunch with a lovely vantage point over to the water.

We crossed the road to the park so that baby girl could have a good ol’ play.

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The water was green and coral-like. The sunshine reflecting off it made it sparkle blindingly.

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And then we started to walk down the long, narrow, not-very-safe-on-one-side pier… ‘started’ being the operative word… until Hubbie decided to look over the side and let baby girl stand all too close to the edge, which resulted in me turning my heel on them and storming off.

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He had to give me a heart attack, AGAIN. I would have no part of them falling into the water with me there, thank you very much. If he was going to be reckless, well then I wasn’t going to stand by and just have a heart attack and just watch!

So, it was relaxing, up until the pier. But you know, bliss in the sun, heart attacks on the pier, IT’S ALL BALANCE.

Dromana is a lovely seaside village with a community of 6000. The advantage of their main strip is that it is directly opposite to an accessible beach, for both young and old. Mornington may be the hub of the Peninsula, but most of their cafes don’t have direct views of the water just due to the geography and how they are placed, and even then the beach access slopes down amidst cliff-faces.

Anyway, we will be Discovering Dromana much, much more 🙂

#776 A new workmate on Easter Eve

Today, it’s a bit easier. The sun is shining brighter. Baby girl is less sick. I am less sick.

Hubbie… well, he’ll get there.

I’ve done one late night at work, with only one more to go.

Tomorrow, is Easter.

I can see the light shining at the end of the tunnel.

But also, I have company. Last night I was doing this shift on my own, but tonight I have a special someone urging me on, sticking by my side, and providing as it were, a lucky charm so that all goes well tonight and I head off home on my merry way to dream of over-indulging tomorrow for Easter.

Meet…

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Baby girl… that is, baby girl barbie doll.

She was a special edition barbie doll that baby girl got one Christmas, and the doll’s name was the same as baby girl’s, hence the special gift… and ever since they have had the same name, even called so by baby girl herself, but she chose the longer title of “baby girl barbie doll.”

Yep. Every time.

As I left for work today, baby girl insisted I take this, one of her fave barbie dolls… I checked, “are you sure?” She was adamant that ‘baby girl barbie doll’ was to play with me at work, and I replied “she can help me tonight!”

She is sitting pride of place right below my screen. And when I start to do some other work later on tonight, she will move with me, and take centre-stage at my workstation once again. She was given with love, and seeing her here with me makes me feel like my family, is not too far away…

Another thing giving me light at the end of the tunnel? The baking. I’ve finished with my Easter baking, mostly, with just some final finishings to be done tomorrow morning..

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My hot cross bun dough, before being divvied up into 20 buns. Can you imagine if I baked that thing as is? LOL. Oh no you don’t. I may just provide the after picture tomorrow, depending on how good it turns out…

So today, I’m happy I can see the light, and I have a friend to see me through it…

 

#775 Making it ‘Work’ on Good Friday

So many things NOT working today.

Like I am sick. Sore. Fleeting moments of tiredness and weakness overwhelm me.

Baby girl is sick. Still. Her voice is still hoarse, she needs constant nose wiping, from me ONLY (as apparently this makes it better) and is not drinking much fluids.

Hubbie is still run down.

My pre-Easter baking didn’t get off to a good start. The self-raising flour I needed, well suddenly it wasn’t appropriate to use… don’t ask me why… so Hubbie had to go to several servos to find some.

Then in doing my cake pops, I didn’t do the round cake balls big enough… and so once they were covered in melted chocolate, they started to S-L-O-W-L-Y fall down the lollipop stick, ‘til they sunk to a stop at the polystyrene board floor.

To make matters worse, I had to leave my family at 6pm… to drive in to work.

WORK. I have not worked a Good Friday, EVER. And now due to circumstances out of my control, I am. Until way past midnight. Apparently, no days are holy anymore.

You can be sure there has been a whole lot of whining today.

At some point though, I remembered something. I remembered the greater purpose of today, and the purpose was largely, the annual Melbourne Good Friday appeal.

Every Good Friday now, for years and years and years, the good people of Melbourne (and Australia, and I hope even, the World) have been donating selflessly to a children’s hospital that has done wonderful things, and continues to, to help sick, and I mean, really sick kids, needing care, love, services and support.

Here I was whining about the day and upset I was leaving my family for work… and meanwhile, there were loads of kids spending their Easter weekend at the Royal Children’s Hospital, away from their families, away from their homes.

It just wasn’t fair. It ISN’T fair. The words ‘really sick,’ and ‘child,’ should not exist in the same breath.

And so I urge you now to do what I am going to do this very moment: donate to a very worthy cause.

http://goodfridayappeal.com.au/

There is always far, far worse in the world… but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do something about it.

Give that they may grow.

And so suddenly, I was happy, that my family and I were all in the same house today, and that I was there, to wipe baby girl’s nose…

 

 

 

 

#761 The nectarine crumble

I’ve found myself doing a bit of baking lately. Maybe it’s the slightly cooler weather, maybe I’ve found some more down time, or maybe I just found myself with a lot of nectarines these past few days.

Maybe I ‘accidentally on purpose’ found myself with a lot of nectarines. Anything to make…

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This nectarine crumble. The recipe is originally a peach one, but really, anything goes. And when you eat it, the sugary sweetness of the nectarines complimenting so well against the soft baked pastry crumble, oh. Oh man…

Nom nom nom. Better than any bought sugary treat, because let’s face it, I know what went in there, as opposed to all those other things on the shelves.

Winning 🙂

#679 A new Christmas Eve tradition

I like the fact that on Christmas Eve I do baking.

But to be honest, it’s not all smooth-sailing and joy and festive cheer and “Deck the Halls!”

It’s more “baby girl, don’t put your hands there!”

“No you cannot have another one you’ve already had 3!”

and

“For the love of God can you let me finish mixing before I play with your barbie dolls?”

And yet still, the fact that it has become a baking day tells me that I kind of have my shit together for Christmas, when all I am doing, is baking.

Well actually, not really. I was still running around buying last minute things, and have been in a state of constant all day as I tick off jobs on my to-do list. But still, predominant baking, means some kind of Christmas Eve celebration and relaxation, right?

I didn’t bake MUCH. Aside from some gingerbread to hand out to family and friends, I also did a new reindeer inspired treat

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I hope they taste as good as they look, but just going on the melted chocolate which I did taste-test, well they should be delicious.

But the best part of the night was right at the end. Not because I had done most of my jobs – but because we did something with baby girl this year that we never have before.

We put out some treats for Santa.

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A mug of milk and some of my homemade gingerbread for him, a carrot for Rudolph, and baby girl wanted to show Santa the snowflake decorated with pom poms she made today.

It’s all very simple, and yet the entire act of setting it up, getting her to bed because Santa “won’t come otherwise!” and preparing her for tomorrow made it so satisfyingly joyful.

Yes, the presents make this time of year a tad exciting, more so if you have little ones. But the best part, for me anyway? The look of wonder and fascination on their faces, making special family traditions together that only YOU do, and spending quality time with your loved ones where you enjoy one another, show your appreciation for all that you have, and tell each other how much you care.

I can’t wait to see baby girl’s face when she sees the gingerbread gone tomorrow morning 🙂