I’ve previously written about the anticipatory excitement one gets when Friday rolls around.
For me, when 3pm on a Friday comes around. 😁😁😁😁
Hell yeah! It’s the best. Knowing you have days off ahead, is FAR better than any of those days off, let’s be honest.
It’s the anticipation.
So today as I clocked off from my work office at home, logged off my laptop, and headed into the kitchen where baby girl was happily waiting, I started singing…
“It’s Friday then, then Saturday Sunday what?”
We’ve been singing this song ever since a Friday has rolled along, ever since we saw the absolutely fantastic video of that guy that just jumps out of the car and dances to his hearts content when he hears the song.
And so we did. Baby girl and I ripped up a storm on the kitchen dancefloor, because…
Amazingly, I was happy to spend the day in the kitchen.
I enjoy cooking. I enjoy baking. I like finding new recipes, experimenting, and watching it all come together, the product of my hands putting it all to work.
I’ve been devoid of passion as of late, but I’ve been working through it, and getting by, bit by bit. This makes me proud, as having significant setbacks, it is then no mean feat to get up and keep trying. It has been freaking hard, but like my whole covid series, I am ‘getting there.’
Today, I made a yummy lentil soup that I got from my bestie’s nutritionist facebook page. I’ve made it before, and I’ve been wanting to make it again, but like I said, the whole lacking passion thing was a bit of a killjoy for getting anything done, much less making a soup I enjoy.
But I didn’t stop there. I made this apple cake recipe that I found months ago, and back then I even bought the granny smith apples I needed…. only to have Hubbie eat them when I never made the recipe, because you know…
LACK OF ALL PASSION.
But I bought those 4 granny smith apples again this week. I was feeling better, my mental clarity was improving, my emotional stability was settling, and it was all coming together, very slowly, once again…
So I made this today:
I actually wasn’t sure if it was baked properly, and kept it in the oven perhaps longer than I should have, until I read the facebook comments on the video and realised it was kinda like an apple crumble, and therefore was allowed to have that gooey kind of soft texture running through it.
I am absolutely pooped from baking and cooking and washing dishes most of the day, but I feel really good too.
To some extent, I’ve been very slowly Spring cleaning since covid began in Autumn. Clearing out shelves, closets, drawers… throwing things out, making things neat and orderly, finding items a new home…
But then there is nothing quite like opening the doors and really getting into it, especially on a mild day like today.
Often I don’t plan to clean. Especially the major things… the motivation just HITS ME. Like today, I observed our kitchen fan, and how we had never cleaned it since our new kitchen was installed…
Um, almost 2 years ago now?
So on a whim, I cleaned it all.
I just couldn’t stop there though. After that super-greasy task, I cleared through drawers in baby girl’s room, throwing out old stuff, went through other rooms, decluttering… and by 5pm, I realised one major thing.
I was pooped. Exhausted. Cleaning things out of your life can be therapeutic but awfully tiring.
And… I had barely been outside.
I know. It was so lovely out, it was a shame to have spent the whole day inside…
So I called it. A quick family, 5 minute walk around the block before dinner.
Our home was showing signs of my Spring cleaning everywhere. And the front yard was showing signs of Spring too.
We had greenery sprouting everywhere. This one plant near our front door has literally grown 20 centimetres in a matter of a week. My tulips are reaching for the sky, the birds of paradise are facing the sun, the succulent is loving the season, and my roses aren’t blooming yet, but seeing their abundant green leaves gives me so much happiness.
Then we walked. Boy do I miss not having a mask on my face, to truly be able to breathe in the fresh air. But soon. I believe we are really getting there.
I think one of the best pieces of advice I could give to any current or future parents, is this:
Show them what you love.
In particular, music.
Baby girl is exposed to a whole range of styles. From 70s/80s Queen, 80s Prince, Madonna of ALL ages, pop Justin Timberlake, melodic George Michael…
to contemporary music like The Weeknd, SIA, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Tones and I, and then there’s folk music, rnb music, UB40, songs from movies…
There’s a lot of different styles that she hears from us.
When you show your child what you love, you’re showing them what makes you happy. What makes you sing. What makes your heart soar.
You’re not actually sitting them down and saying “this is what makes me happy!”
It’s in the everyday moments. Putting the volume up for a song on the radio that makes you smile. Dancing in the kitchen because Funny How Love Is came on. Laughing along to that really annoying/catchy tune “Pump it Up,” and then turning everything into that song…
“You know clean it up, you have to clean it up!”
You’re making everyday moments come alive, you’re making them more fun, and most importantly, you’re making memories.
Like today for instance. Following a week of letting everything fall to the wayside in light of more important things, I was on a cleaning frenzy. I had Queen on, FULL VOLUME as I went about the house doing my thing.
I was in baby girl’s room changing her bedding, when Bohemian Rhapsody came on.
As the pivotal moment drew near…
“Oh mama mia, mama mia
Mama mia let me go…”
I quickly threw some things in her wardrobe –
“…Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me…”
I ran out of her room –
And ran down the hallway
“…FOR ME!” I squealed as I skid into the kitchen, with baby girl charging in from the lounge room.
And then we proceeded to do THIS:
Oh it was fun! The hair clip in my hair was knocking my head we were jumping and head banging so much.
And it was so cool, that I knew I could depend on her to run in to meet me near the stereo… just as she knew she could find me rocking out to a classic tune.
It’s got nothing to do with making your kids like what YOU like. That I am totally against. Children should be allowed to make up their own likes, dislikes, interests and passions, without their parents, or anyone influencing them.
I am fascinated to see what kind of young woman baby girl will grow into of her own accord, not from someone else she has tried to be like, or from someone who has made her feel she should be like them.
It’s about showing them your passions. They should be their own people. At the same time, it’s no wonder there are so many kids out there who followed in their parents footsteps, either by doing a similar profession, choosing a similar path, a like-minded interest… because they watched them obsess, fixate, and enjoy that thing, while growing up.
Baby girl doesn’t need to write. She doesn’t need to read. She doesn’t need to love Queen all her life.
But by sharing what it is that you love with them, you show them what a meaningful, purposeful, and beautiful life is.
At the end of day, whether it’s a life path of not… Creativity.
These are the things that make the world go round. Teaching our kids about them can only bring beautiful things.
At the very least, really funny head-banging memories. 😉
At some point, you just know dancing in the kitchen was gonna make this corona countdown.
This countdown, in trying to get to the ‘other’ side.
The music of choice tonight? Well baby girl is obsessed with our music. Whatever we play passionately and religiously, she devours it, and then proceeds to play it with even more gusto.
Just recently she has been putting my Dirty Dancing soundtrack on repeat.
I could laugh out loud. I don’t, I quietly giggle. She does ballet moves to the instrumental and jazzy pieces, floating from one end of the room to the other, pirouetting and doing flying leaps in the air…
While I cut cucumbers and sing in heartfelt tone to “do you love me?”
This routine has been repeating lately, and again it happened today. Both of us bopping along, she doing her own freestyle dance routine, me stirring pots and cutting vegies and acting like there is a mic in front of me.
“Will you still love me, tomorrow?”
Soon, Hubbie is home from work.
“Best movie soundtrack, EVER,” I proclaim.
“Mama,” baby girl begins, “maybe one day we can go to the movies and watch this movie?”
“Uh,” I start. “This movie is an old one, it isn’t in the cinemas anymore honey… but maybe one day we can find it somewhere, and watch it.”
(Uh, in my DVD collection? Shh).
“She can watch it one day,” I whisper to Hubbie, “when she’s 25.”
I haven’t been writing as much as I like, and that’s got a bit to do with this cv business and balancing working from home with schooling baby girl from home, but it’s more to do with the OTHER.
The other is me fuelling all my creative energy into cooking new recipes.
It isn’t hard to find them after all. So many more people are putting together live recordings and sharing extra recipes to help us deal with this isolation, and just as well because we need something to do with all the extra time we aren’tgoing out.
And just the other day, I fell in love with a recipe idea I have been toying with for years now.
It was gnocchi. Rather, it has always been gnocchi. But this version was a sweet potato gnocchi.
Nom nom nom.
You know, some time ago I bought a packet of gnocchi from the shops, at the height of the shopping-covid frenzy when pasta was getting low to nothing on shelves… and I thought, being from a nice grocer and all, that this gnocchi would also be, nice.
I have only ever had, smooth, delicious, pillowy puffs of homemade or restaurant high-grade quality gnocchi.
So imagine my disappointment when this gnocchi tasted like plastic.
It was NOT nice. It honestly had a fake, manufactured taste, and I was spurred by the idea of homemade gnocchi even more.
So earlier this week when I saw Leah Itsines, self-taught cook, post on facebook that she was doing a live and making sweet potato gnocchi, I knew that soon, I would be too.
How great is technology? I knew I couldn’t follow her to make it at the exact time she did, but she was posting the video on YouTube later, so all I had to do was go to her channel today and voila!
The instructions were all there.
My gnocchi was deliciously homemade. It was so refreshing, to have it not taste like plastic! What do you know??? In fact, it tasted anything but. I think I made a pretty great first time gnocchi, and I even have extra that I have frozen for another time so that is SUPER EXCITING.
But that’s not even it. No folks. Topping that homemade sweet potato gnocchi was Jamie Oliver’s 3 minute tomato pasta sauce… another food guru I have started following lately!
And just as well that I had a 3 minute sauce recipe, since it took me hours and 26 dishes to make the gnocchi.
(All hail the dishwasher).
It’s so satisfying to make your own food. It’s amazing to experiment with different dishes, flavours and ingredients, and even to go out on a whim and try something you’ve been scared to for so long.
I can’t believe I made gnocchi, I am still so excited about it!
Next on my experimentation list? Well Leah has also made dumplings, and I LOVE DUMPLINGS… Marion Grasby has an egg drop soup that looks incredible… and Jamie Oliver and Oprah Winfrey recently made his Singapore-style fried rice together, over video call of course… ahh.
There was taste-tasting, coffee making, and puzzle doing… it was relaxing, and with the wind howling and sheets of rain coming down outside, there was really no better place than to be at home.
Our cat Mister F slept for about five hours on the couch. It was that type of day.
Then at night, on random we started to dance in the kitchen.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know that’s a common eventin our household. Somehow though, we just haven’t had much of a chance or opportunity to dance all together on a Saturday night.
It seems for the moment though, we will have an indefinite amount of time to dance in the kitchen.
What made it better, was I started off reluctant. All I wanted to do was settle back on the couch. It was like I was so used to doing nothing, that I just wanted to go back and do NOTHING.
But as the saying goes… if you can’t beat them, join them.
Which is what I did. I participated in baby girl’s little dance-off contest, and before I knew it, was galloping and pirouetting across the kitchen floor and almost colliding with Hubbie and baby girl but doubling over with laughter.
And I was so glad I caved in. So glad we mucked about and went stupid and got warm amidst a really freezing day. And though we aren’t all tik tok savvy to have recorded it for the world to see, there is something else I captured…
Our little tennis match. I saw the best idea on facebook a while ago. Take two wooden spoons or other long-shaped utensils, tape it to the back of some paper plates, then using some stools/chairs, drape a blanket/tablecover over it to create…
A tennis stadium IN YOUR HOUSE.
Oh, and the ball? A balloon. It even acts like a ball if it’s been hanging around the house for a few days, flying irrationally and without care through the air, making it more challenging to hit.
Let it howl. Let it rain. We’ve got the home isolation entertainment down pat.
I was on the other side of town with baby girl, meeting sis there too as we caught up with our parents.
And while the family time, café lunch, backyard musings and loads of watermelon and pineapple were wonderful, there was one moment that stood out to me.
Mmmm. “Yeah Yeah.”
Sis and I have the same mannerisms when we talk. We know this. People have pointed it out to us. And once again the mannerisms reared their funny head and we were in stitches this afternoon.
Sis is too kind. She said after we realised what was happening that we had the same expressions…
We DO, but I don’t know whether it is in-built in our family sister gene, or whether it is her huge influence on me growing up that influenced me to take on things that she said and did, without even realising.
I really do believe that to be the case. She was such a massive role model for me growing up, and not to say that she isn’t anymore, it’s just that looking up to someone as a child and then an impressionable teenager, makes a long-lasting impact.
Even down to the smallest most sub-conscious level… even the “mmm’s.”
I was completely oblivious to the symmetry playing out today. Mum was saying something to us around the old circular kitchen table, and I reached for my phone to glance at it, going “yeah yeah” in response without even thinking.
Soon sis was telling me that we did the ‘yeah yeah’s’ to Mum at exactly the same time, and we burst into fits of laughter.
I held my hand over my mouth, because I knew what would happen next.
It’s happened so many times before. We’ll realise we’re making the same “mmm” sounds or doing that “yeah” followed by a big sigh thing that we do, laugh insanely about it, and then as we finish laughing go “ahhh” at the same time followed by a sigh AT THE SAME TIME, and start laughing all over again.
I swear I felt the “mmm” and sighs and “yeah’s” building up as my hand held my mouth closed, just knowing we would do it again, letting sis laugh and do them on her own.
Gee we are hilarious.
Whether I’ve learned it from her, or it’s some innate freaky sister similarity, when we do our little sighs and “yeah’s,” I’m glad to be sharing such a little, but so telling expression, with her.
When I think that it’s been about 2 years since our kitchen renovation, with new gadgets installed, I realise that time really does fly.
And this thought makes me feel a teeny tiny bit better, that in all that time, I haven’t given my brand new oven a clean.
Not even one wipe of the inside. Nothing. Zilch.
But there’s been a really deliberate reason for that.
It has the pyrolytic function… which in normal people language means ‘self-cleaning.’
If anything, when we got the oven I was informed to let it get really filthy so I could use the self-cleaning function.
I know. Best advice EVER.
It wasn’t disgusting, filthy even. But there was a lot of grime and oil build up, and having been out of the house for days on end this week, knowing this was our home catch-up day, I knew what job was waiting for me.
(Only it wasn’t my job, it was the oven’s job 😉).
About 5 hours later, the oven was brand spanking new again. No scrubbing, no elbow grease, no chemicals…
Just a damp wipe over to remove the residue burnt off in the process, and voila!