#1087 The kitchen bench

I really like my kitchen bench.

Or should I say the ‘island.’ I may not have posted ‘before-and-afters’ of the whole reno yet, but be assured it is in use, and fully appreciated.

I see the love, in how it is so easy to be at peace there. I often find myself pulling up a stool to have a tea at the island, even when there is no one home and I could sit anywhere I like… but I still gravitate there.

I see it in the people who come to our house. It’s a nice feeling when people are comfortable enough to follow us into the kitchen, and make themselves at home while we mix up drinks or finish dinner.

But most of all, I love this melting pot, meeting place for the people, because it brings my family close to me, each and every day.

Baby girl often pulls up a chair, when I am doing any sort of task in the kitchen – be it washing up, cooking, or putting stuff away. Today I watched her start the familiar action, and work on a numbers workbook I had given her to help her practice her counting and writing.

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It was simply beautiful. I saw in that moment, that this was the beginning. How many years would she sit in that spot, drawing… or doing her homework… texting on her phone? Chatting about life, school, and all the things in between?

It is only the beginning, but as I know already, sometimes the years start to move fast. I appreciated this moment of my princess in her fancy dress (because that’s what you change into when you take off your uniform after school!) and I smiled.

I love my kitchen island, because it brings my loves close to me ♥♥♥

#1071 The start of the garden bed

We’ve been wholeheartedly focused on the interior of our house for a LONG time.

Even after finishing almost all of the kitchen (one tiny little thing left before my before and afters surface) we were still hanging up frames on our walls last week.

But, sometimes you need to look outside the square.

Or in our case, beyond our brick walls.

Seeing as we’re in Summer and the vibes are totally there, today it was finally time to go…

No, not that.

Gardening time… Outside!

We had a side garden bed with dark brown plants, and black ugly bark on top of a black weed mat that was peeking out, and all of these depressing colours against our traditional brick wall house, was just too much heavy energy. Ugh.

We ripped off the weed mat.

We removed the bark. (I’m saying ‘we’ even though Hubbie did ALL the heavy lifting and digging).

Ripped out all but one plant.

And bought a whole lot of little baby ones. 🙂

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I will hopefully have a nice before and after shot for you tomorrow once our pebbles arrive… I am cautiously confident it will look good, but even so I think anything but that black bark, weed mat and brown flowers (what did the previous owners wanna do, make us cry with that side patch?) will look better.

Hell, even the plain dirt ground, removed from all of the old stuff looked better than what was there before!

Here’s to fresh beginnings 😉

 

 

#1009 Smoothie season

It was time to get the blender out today.

I have been saying for months and months and months, that once our kitchen reno was done, I would be using my blender more. It was in a more accessible position, so therefore being able to reach it would make it easier, right?

(I also said I would post a before-and-after once the reno was done with, but the teeniest and tiniest of little kitchen jobs has prevented me from that – so stay tuned).

It appears, that anything, any task, no matter how big or small it is, requires the same amount of grunt to get you going.

I had to do a ‘special’ grocery shop.

Get things I didn’t normally buy.

I had to find time. (Ohhh, that precious commodity…)

I had to find a warm day…

And finally, finally, through my haphazard excuses yet also slight determination to get things going, I got the blender OUT!

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It appears that sometimes what we are lacking is, the desire to do something new. The desire to try something out of our comfort zone. We get too comfortable in our little corners of the world, and look for all manner of excuses to keep from stepping out into the middle of the room.

In my case, deciding to get off my arse and take the blender out.

But once you start! Well once you start, you are suddenly open to all the possibilities out there, of fresh smoothies and healthy drinks, they are all waiting for you, simply because you decided your comfort zone was a tad boring.

Because it is, let’s face it. It’s the same old… r e p e t i t i o n… day in and day out.

So today, I salute the smoothie. Here’s to a summery season of it.

Cheers!

#984 Painting day means meals away

I found myself in an odd predicament today.

Odd being 4-Balkan-men-standing-outside-the-front-of-my-house-while-paint-dried type of odd.

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Well, two of them I knew. They were our painters. And then, because you’re on a professional job, you like, CALL YOUR FRIENDS OVER TO WHERE YOU ARE WORKING for a brief chat.

???

Despite the abundance of Balkan men, of which I am all too acquainted with in my life, I actually felt out of place in my house. I had returned home from doing morning jobs to find the kitchen completely covered in drop sheets, with walls and ceilings and floors either in paint, or with plastic.

It was part of the final, FINAL stage of our kitchen reno, the painting touch-ups.

FINAL-ly.

But, I could not move. Let alone have lunch.

It suddenly seemed to me that I was being presented with an opportunity. And because I would usually feel guilty about just doing it without purpose, I realised that I had a very real reason to get out of the house for lunch today.

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I ended up at a café just down the road, like literally. I sat on my own, in the sun, sometimes on my phone, listening to the sound of dogs from the grooming shop only a short distance away, and making sure those full-grown Magpies didn’t venture too close to me.

It was great.

But, I got my opportunity again, in the afternoon. They still weren’t done when baby girl came home from kinder, and I have to say, paint mess and residue is just about the worst kind. I couldn’t handle it.

So, again, out we went to escape.

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Two times today, two opportunities to get out, relax and enjoy.

And all because of the painting. Annoying, necessary and yet gratifying, all at the same time.

#975 Baking: blueberry lemon cake

I haven’t baked in a little while, purely for the purpose of ‘just ’cause,’ for AGES. Back in August my mass baking was of an intentional and event-based nature, so when I came across some mouth-watering recipes last week, I decided to schedule in my very own baking day.

I think it was all the more enjoyable because baby girl was at kindergarten. I do enjoy when she is in the kitchen with me… I love that she is curious, that she wants to help, and her sheer excitement at the prospect of the finished product. I also want her to appreciate the cooking process, the effort that goes into making things, so that she may appreciate eating, and the food itself more, since she knows where it came from.

But at the same time, as a Mum… sometimes you just wanna get shit done.

You just want to go at your own pace. No constant questions of

“can I mix?”

“can I add?”

“can I taste?”

“can I put this in?”

Just me and MY kitchen. Putting mess and bowls and utensils and drips of batter, wherever the bloody hell I like.

After a couple of hours from start to finish, I got something like this:

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Do you think I got close? 😉

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I am being cheeky, sure. Yes I created it almost spot-on to the recipe photo, and even styled the kitchen magazine-style in the process (check the cake under the dome).

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But the MOST important question… how did it actually taste?
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Well I can tell you this: it wasn’t to my taste at first. It had a definite tangy flavour, what with all that zest and lemon juice in the batter. Which is fine, but then there was the addition of so much extra virgin olive oil, which led to a superbly moist but rich cake.

The berry layer was made from scratch with real blueberries, but the cream was not so… creamy. In fact, light cream cheese was required instead, which made it slightly biting… however this was not too bad in its small quantity in contrast against the lemony cake and mild blueberry jam.

I didn’t expect Hubbie to like it… but he did. He actually enjoyed it. And being a fussier food critic than I, SmikG the food blogger, well that was a massive tick in my book. √

#951 The Rosemary Tradition

See a couple of rosemary bushes out the front of a house? Don’t be surprised if there are Croats living there.

It comes with the territory. Having rosemary in your garden is synonymous with being Croatian, just as making their own tomato sauce is common amongst Italians, and the Spanish are known for their post-lunch siestas.

So the fact that the fellow elderly couple two doors down who reign from Balkan Adriatic seas have half a dozen LARGE rosemary bushes adorning their front yard, and I DON’T, doesn’t sit right with me.

It was perfect then, that my parents gifted me with some sprigs of rosemary while at their house yesterday, all ready to go. Perfect for 2 reasons:

  1. It comes at the perfect time of year. I am getting into gardening more and turning my attention there as Spring makes things all pretty and bright again, and let’s face it, it’s a much cheaper hobby than renovating your kitchen (thank God that is pretty much over with).
  2. I can be a proper Croatian Euro now God-damn it, with my own pot of rosemary. That hails from my parents garden no less… what can be better than that?

I planted them today, and I have to say… they have the best roots 😉

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#941 New things to sit on

Frankly, simply, and very, very basically… stools.

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Stools to sit on. New ones at that. Shiny and lovely and all earthy-looking. I love them, they are new, they match our kitchen, and they make everything just gel together that much more in there.

And there is my gratitude for the day there, in a simple acorn shell. An acorn, because the stool tops are made of oak you see…

Ba boom tish!