#1076 The (ice cream) shop before school starts

I wasn’t only preoccupied with thoughts of navy navy navy.

Navy polo shirts.

Navy hair ties.

Navy socks.

Freaking navy skorts.

I had something else on my mind as we bought a whole lot of stuff for baby girl’s imminent primary school start next week.

I was thinking, ‘this is it.’

The shopping outings during the week, hand in hand.

Baby girl encouraging me to ‘buy that dress’ (I love this girl β™₯ )

Deciding whether it is rice, or a happy meal that day?

Coffee breaks.

Talking about just “one more really small toy” that she would like to get.

And, cold and soothing ice cream breaks.

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I told her I had a surprise for her as I took her to Twisted Sista. She screamed out loud, no hesitation as she saw the extravagantly twisted ice creams with lavish and brightly coloured toppings through the glass display.

I love how she was sooo excited. Her happiness completely unrestrained.

Baby girl, take your time growing up. There is plenty of time for everything.

I am happy for her to act so childlike, because she is after all, a child. My child, growing up, and heading off into school in 5 days time.

I savoured the moment as we sat at the table, slurping our ice creams, and saying “it’s good.”

It was good in every way. β™₯

 

#1072 Maznik coin

I’ve never been so grateful to find $2.

But it’s all in how it came about. And the tradition that comes with it.

My MIL makes a dish called Maznik, true to the Macedonian culture. It is a pastry with fetta cheese and it is oily, and that is all you really need to know other than it is DEE-LICIOUS.

Oh, and it pairs well with some home-grown fresh garden tomatoes, simply cut up.

The seasonal tradition is that with the coming of the ‘old’ New Year (that of the Orthodox New Year) she makes this Maznik, and somewhere within its circular shape places a $2 coin wrapped in foil.

The coin is meant to represent good luck for the coming year, and if you are the lucky recipient of it, well then a good 2019 year to you.

Tonight after much ado (it’s been in our fridge for a few days, tsk tsk tsk) we took the huge pan out, set it in the middle of the table during dinner, and cut it into 4 pieces. One for each of us, and the 4th for ‘the house.’

Hubbie and I went mad. We were going through our allocated pieces something shocking, from first peering down the ends of the tubular pastry to then not holding back and ripping it apart, pushing down hard to feel something, anything other than fetta cheese. Baby girl sat there patiently, chatting away about how it is so delicious (thinking surely that is why we were tearing it apart) while we went through all 4 pieces in order.

But we couldn’t find the coin.

“Tell your Mum she forgot to put the coin in.”

My hands were greasy, almost dripping from the oil and cheese. I was trying to keep some kind of order within the pan and keep each piece away from each other as we finely dissected it.

“Tato, your Mum didn’t give us the chocolate coin,” baby girl chimed in. She was convinced it was chocolate, and not gold. Ahh, kid life.

I had gone through 3 of the pieces, perhaps 3 times over already. Mine, baby girl’s and the ‘house’s one. I pressed repeatedly on hers again, looking and feeling and pulling apart. I was starting to feel sorry for the pastry… it had looked so beautiful, and now it was reduced to pulled parts.

It would still end up in our bellies though.

I moved on to my piece again. “There is no money in here.” I pushed down hard on the pointy soft end of the Maznik, filled to the brim with cheese. I looked down the tubular crust end. “Honestly where the hell is this?” I kept simultaneously pushing down and pulling the pastry away, until –

“It’s here.” It was a flat tone, but I pulled out the little piece of foil with satisfaction.

Hubbie said a traditional congrats to me, while baby girl went “Ohhhh.”

“It’s okay honey, you’ll still have a good year…” I grinned.

I had gotten lucky. πŸ™‚

I know it was only $2, but that little gold coin represented so much more, and I hoped it would bring abundance, more than any monetary value it held…

We then proceeded to eat the Maznik we had torn to shreds. Nom nom nom.

 

#1065 Parsley

I pulled out the dated, half-wilted, half-somewhat acceptable herb from my fridge.

Hmm. Had it been in there 1 week, or 2? That’s right, it was about New Year’s.

15 days.

A bunch of parsley. I needed a good bunch of it to go with a new tabbouleh recipe I was trying that used quinoa instead of cous cous.

But with what I had, there wasn’t quite enough for a good ‘bunch’ of it…

HOLD ON.

It took me a while to realise it, and habit has it that I always look in my fridge when I need fresh herbs, to see what is leftover from the grocery shop, but –

I suddenly remembered with sheer delight, that I had parsley growing right outside the kitchen window!

It was a small portion that had been slowly growing ever since baby girl brought it home from kinder last year. Lots of plants she brought home from there died quickly, just due to sheer neglect and forgetfulness to do anything vital and life-saving with them.

But when the parsley came home, and being the warmer end-of-year season that it was, I knew this one HAD to be a keeper.

It’s been going steadily, and only today after realising my lack of it, did I realise it was finally at a stage where I could go out, and actually, snip some off.

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Well blimey. I might just be the female Jamie Oliver after all.

And the end result, with store-bought parsley and home-grown one all chopped up together?

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It was DEE-licious.

 

#1057 What she said no. 12

Heartache can find you in the most unusual of places.

On a sunny day. In a crowded room. In the afternoon.

Within the waning throngs of people in a shopping centre food court.

I sat beside the fountain spurting up water beside me, with baby girl, who had insisted we sit right next to it, watching it fascinated.

Bites of sushi rolls sat before us. A plate of half-eaten rice. She was suddenly staring into my eyes, telling me she liked my eyebrows.

I couldn’t help but smile.

But then she said it again… this time though she touched her eyelashes. I corrected her, and as we sat there silently looking at each other, she leaned forward intently with her wide-eyed gaze, mouth upturned, and I suddenly had to mirror back her face.

“Mama! I can see myself in your eyes!”

The room was well-lit with hopes, dreams, never-giving-up and the post-midday sun that shone through the glass ceiling. I looked into her eyes, and reflective shiny things happily bounced off it.

“And honey, I can see myself in yours.” β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯

#1045 Christmas at a different place

As far as I can remember, I’ve celebrated every single Christmas in the same place.

My parents’ house.

There was that Christmas my Dad caught a stray canary, which ended up being Hubbie, then ‘boyfriend’s pet bird aptly named β€˜Chrissy.’

The Christmas it hailed golf balls and our cars and the backyard pergola got a beating.

Or the Christmas we went mad throwing water balloons at each other all over the yard, and got told off by my Dad… (oh that was in recent years 😬 )

All those warm Christmases, dancing in the garage, walking to the park, eating, drinking, memory making…

The Christmas I snuck off to see Hubbie-then-boyfriend for a bit. 🀫

The Christmas we drank too much vodka in the first hour. πŸ₯ƒ

The Christmas I drank nothing – with a precious new 4 month old. 😍🀱

The Christmas some of my friends came, and some of my family could not handle the extra crazy. 😜πŸ€ͺ🀩

34 Christmases.

Today was Christmas number 35.

But… it was spent at my sister’s house.

I thought I would feel more nostalgia going into the day. All of these years of tradition, of memories, retreating to the same backyard post-lunch… and it was all changing.

But very quickly, something became apparent to me.

It wasn’t the location. It was all about the people.

Sure the house was different. The decorations would be different. The food and drink would be a bit different, and sure, the location was completely different.

But different didn’t mean bad. It was different, but it was still beautiful. And of course, there was a lot of love.

All of this was present, the beauty, the love… because the people were the same.

As long as I am with my loved ones, I am happy.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope yours was spent with loved ones, no matter where you were. β€οΈπŸŽ„πŸ™πŸŽ…

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#979 Saturday night out

I told you I’d meet with my ol’ friend red again.

It was simple, and good things that had me grateful tonight.

Great food.

Happy wine (the Pinot Noir is called ‘Kuku’ for a reason – it makes me so πŸ˜‰ ).

My family β™₯

And amazing views.

 

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Happy Saturday y’all.

#963 Royal Love

Why do I love this place soooo much?

Is it the spectacular views from across the road?

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Is it the amazing food that we get from within its premises?

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Well it is surely both. I love The Royal Hotel, and it has become a firm favourite in our family.

But I loved something else a little more today.

I loved our impromptu decision to go there in the final hours of the day.

Because there is nothing better in a bought dinner, than one that you didn’t expect until the very last second.

πŸ™‚

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Oh, and dessert too πŸ˜‰