#855 Singing on the way to family day

Monday morning. Cold, but still. I had dropped off baby girl at kinder, and was now driving along towards the freeway, the music blaring through my car…

I was heading to the city, with George. George being of ‘Michael’ fame. 😉 And ‘the city’ being 40 minutes out of the Peninsula, which let’s face it is more city than anything in the south beachside where we are.

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Not only did I have THE BEST TIME EVER singing out loud to music from my ipod as the sun streamed on down through the windows (think Bruno, old school Christina, and the best reggaetón from Daddy Yankee) but I was heading towards a much looked forward to destination.

I was having lunch with my parents and sister today. It was a month late, the occasion being us girls taking our folks out for a belated anniversary date… but better late than never, and to be honest I’m pleasantly surprised it didn’t take us ’til Spring time to organise.

We have busy schedules. All of us live on opposite sides to one another. But we pushed all of life to the side for a couple of hours today, where we celebrated my parents marriage by talking about their 50 years plus together, from all of those years ago when they first made the move to Australia, all the way to today, where we made plans for more fun and parties that will surely follow.

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We always say that we should do these catch-ups more often… let’s hope that we do, as I am all for the awesome foursome getting into some more food, some more family memories and laughs, and lastly, some more singing in the car.

#831 Friday night friend fun

You don’t need cocktails.

You don’t need food.

You don’t need a happening hotspot.

Nor do you need lights, crowds, people and ambience to fill the scene.

All you need are your friends…

And now I’m going to eat my words (along with tonight’s not-so-mild curry) and say that I had ALL of these tonight!

But seriously, I might as well have been eating fish and chips from a dodgy booth somewhere for all I cared. Sure the surroundings were cool, and I love heading out to different and new places… but when you are in certain company, and you realise that where you are doesn’t really matter, just THEY do…

That’s a good sign. 🙂

 

 

#819 What to be grateful for on Mother’s Day

They say ‘tomorrow is another day.’

But sometimes the crap feelings of the previous day seep into the next morning, and you are left feeling like the bad vibes just won’t leave you alone.

I was feeling pretty average this morning. After I swore I wouldn’t do anything to celebrate Mother’s Day for myself EVER AGAIN, my Mother’s Day presents told me that maybe, I was doing just fine.

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Sometimes, these ‘celebrated’ days are just too hard to handle. Polished and carefully selected social media photos make you feel awfully incompetent with any, sometimes ALL parts of your life, as you witness your immaculate family and friends, their children and Mothers and themselves, looking all smiley and happy and a picture of perfect family bliss.

They don’t show the tears. The fights that stopped just before the snap of the camera. The relentless arguing and disappointments that can precede the happy snaps.

Pretty snaps that, let’s face it, present a very brief moment in time. Often not at all a proper representation of life.

And yet, we still beat ourselves up over not looking as perfect as ‘others.’

Which is why, we must not worry about others and their social feeds. We find our own, real reasons to be grateful anyway.

We look for the simple things.

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The fact that mornings sometimes don’t start off too well, but we can still make something of the day, and turn it around.

The fact that we have family, and love, and also, great food.

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Some people don’t even have that.

Some people eat their lunch from a plastic container, their table the car park kerb, moving their life from street corner to street corner.

Some people are in hospitals right now, sick, alone and unable to move without assistance.

There are poverty-stricken children in the world right now, who have their sewerage pass them in an unenclosed hole, right near where they bath and feed themselves.

There are young girls being sold into sex slavery.

My sister told me that the frequency of ‘amber alerts’ that go off at schools is bone-chilling. Strange people loitering and hanging around the school gates, watching and taking photos of our littlies, trying to bait them over.

There are people, who don’t talk to their Mothers.

There are people, who don’t have their Mothers with them anymore.

And there are people, who want so bad to be Mothers.

Just because we may not know these people or see these things, does not mean it does not happen.

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So to have a day, where I was with my family, my loves, my happiness, spending cherished and truly special moments with them… my reserves were filled. My happiness was restored, and I felt again, that the simple moments with loved ones, are worth their weight in gold.

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#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!

#793 Home cooked cheat food

Tuesday nights usually find us not reaching into the pantry or the fridge. It’s our almost mid-week break, where we find reason, any reason to go out for dinner (“it’s a nice day,” “I’m craving that pasta,” “I need or break,” or the good ol’ “it’s Tuesday” simply makes the cut).

When the weather is crap, we need time out from running around, or we are just feeling uninspired, we get takeaway and chill.

So as tonight approached, it was initially option 1 of the above. In fact, we were planning on going out tonight since last Friday, and this decision was probably made more so by my unfortunate late night Saturday shift – we needed something to look forward to.

But then came yesterday, and we both went “it’ll be dark by the time we head out to dinner… why don’t we just take away?”

And so suddenly, option 2. This was great. We would stay home, we could lounge in our trakkies, it was night 3 out of the 4 weekly Bachelor in Paradise eps (only slightly obsessed), and still, we weren’t going to any effort.

But then, between last night and today lunchtime, something happened.

My temperamental husband happened.

“I think I just wanna make a home burger, and some of our home made chips.”

What? This would require cooking? And prep? Cooking every day is something I’m long accustomed to, but when someone tells me I’m not cooking, and then SURPRISE! I’m cooking!” I get a little bit crabby.

However, as the evening arrived, things just flowed. There was actually minimal prep. We shared the kitchen, something we often struggle with as we both need our space in there. He seasoned the chicken, pan-fried it, and cut up the salad fillings, while I did the chips… seasoned with VEGETA, mmmmmm.

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We weren’t rushing. In fact, we were early. We had the music going, baby girl was painting, and then as the volume went up, we got to some good ol’ dancing in the kitchen. Artists today included Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake, and The Doors, along with baby girls favourite song “Go Bang” by Pnau, which had ALL of us jumping.

We were really happy, and relaxed. And then as we sat down to eat, things got even better.

Our meal was delicious. Amazing. We had created a version of a cheat’s meals – a junk food meal if you will – and it was more tasty, healthy and clearly, WAY cheaper than anything we would have gotten if we had gone out or ordered take away.

It was just win-win-win all around. We were together in the comfort and warmth of our home, enjoying quality family togetherness. We were chilled. We had saved $$$. We had eaten a dinner that was healthy, which was tasty and as close to being junk food as possible, without actually being junk food… and it was all done by the time Keira and Jarrod arrived on screen.

Score.

 

#790 Rainy day play date

It’s raining. It’s pouring. But unlike the nursery rhyme, the old man ain’t snoring, because he can’t bloody sleep for all of the ravaging and high-pitched wind squeals running around the house.

It was a great day, to stay indoors, yes. That was plainly obvious. You could rug up, put on the heater (first time this year I might add) and just chill on the couch, watch TV shows, play with Lego, you know, all that jazz…

Or.

OR… you could stick a right royal middle finger up to the horrible weather, and say “you won’t keep me down!”

Yes, yes that’s what we did today. We braved the weather with beanies and jackets, and headed on down to meet up with baby girl’s 3rd cousin (yes 3rd, it’s a big family) to the place where I did my first review as part of the local blogger’s group I had then joined… The Hungry Peacock.

Or should I say The Busy Peacock. They ‘busied’ themselves for 45 minutes, going OCD on these swinging bowling bags that could hit pins, balls that sloped down a track, pushing a sequined fabric first in the grain… then against the grain, and also some arts and crafts activities, alongside many many more activities.

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(The highly entertaining ‘swinging bags’)

We rushed to the adjoining cafe through the rain, for some snacks after the fact, and the girls played about some more.

And what I was almost, almost, most grateful for? We received our food and coffee…

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just as the lights went out in the entire café. From the wild storm. I actually didn’t care. I had my coffee. I was good.

To do nothing on a rainy day is so satisfying, hell knows I have done it a hundred times. But to do something, and get out and about, have fun, and still be undercover, even as the lights go out?

There is a certain satisfaction in that. 😉

 

#777 Easter belly-aches

^^^

Now that’s a number.

Today was Easter, and along with the obvious happiness inherent in the day, of chocolates and goodies; Easter egg hunts and fresh hot cross buns; and no more late night work shifts (for now) and looking forward to days off to spend in leisure together, there was joy in the little moments.

Little moments can make a HUGE difference. I was happy about the day having had arrived, but also, other things were weighing me down. Baby girl was in a funny mood, for I don’t know why…

I had a constant feeling of anxiety and stress, feeling fully wound up from our long drive over to the other side of town…

and then of course, daylight savings. Yes, we had had an extra hour of sleep, but in doing so our breakfast was late, lunch didn’t happen, and then we ate between lunch and dinner for what was linner or dunch, YOU CHOOSE, which had my stomach feeling all topsy-turvy like.

But then at some point during the evening, something happened.

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We were all sitting around the table, my whole family, and my sister made the funny exclamation “all they ever want me for is to make them food!” She was talking about ALL her boys of course, and then as we laughed and laughed, she turned to my Mum, and they shared a high-five, my Mum roaring with laughter. Of course she would get it.

I then came in with my own high-five to my sister, which made the boys go into defence mode as my bro-in-law, nephew and Hubbie all huddled together at the end of the table as an ‘us versus them’ move, and then I provided the clincher, when I whispered to baby girl “high-five your aunty.”

And she leaned over the table, hand outstretched. “SLAP!”

A few more oohs and aahs from the guys, more riotous laughing and belly-aching jiggling, and suddenly, all my woes and worries faded away, and everything in me, was lighter.

Laughing out loud in earnest with your most loved ones, can have a tremendous effect on your body and soul.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that even the simplest and most unassuming times spent with your family, can wipe away the strongest unhappiness’ in your heart.

And yet my family, is NOT simple or unassuming. They are special and strong, supportive and fierce. Wild laughs, wild stories, wild memories.

I love the moments we spend as a family like this, because they are priceless. They mean more than any blog post can convey. But still, I try 🙂

And because I liked it, here’s a view of the evening Easter sky from my parents backyard this evening:

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Hope you all had a very Happy Easter, and all in all, just a magical and hop-tastic day 🙂