#2402 2 cakes

I’m excited, because things are finally falling into place.

Like the cakes.

For two years we’ve missed out on throwing a birthday party for our baby girl, so now, we will have 2 CAKES.

One for her, and one for me. After all, I AM a birthday girl too! 😉

I’ll wait until the birthday party for the proper cake reveal, but I’m excited. I’m kinda over the birthday cakes we’ve had in the past… nothing against them, really, some were really nice. But a lot of the time, it’s just a different flavoured mud cake, or it’s just sickly sweet cream layered between sponges in a variety of psychedelic colours with as many additives in them than anything else.

I’ve gone a little old-school this time. I’ve gone back to my roots, gone European.

I found this cake shop, and these people literally are OUR people. They are from our background, make cakes from our culture. Both mine and baby girl’s cakes are two small cakes sandwiched together, so that there will be four flavours within both!

I will divulge, because some things just can’t wait, and what the hell let’s get excited together. 😁😁😁😁

Baby girl’s cake is one part swiss chocolate – apparently a popular kids cake choice – with layers of fresh cream, sponge, and of course chocolate. Drooool. The other part of her cake is strawberry cream. Again sponge, fresh cream, maybe even strawberry cream, and slices of strawberry throughout. OMG.

My cake is the one I’m a little more excited about. The cake lady recommended I do this hazelnut one, I will call it hazelnut something… she said it’s a real favourite amongst the adults and that it’s a very, very good one. I said sold. She could have called it hazelnut shit and I still would have said sold. (It’s not shit, but you know what I mean.)

The other half is… DUM DA DUM… ferrero rocher! OMG, take my money now!

So she did actually, a deposit. 🤣

It feels good to tick things off my list, even though it feels like there are a million things left to do… but it’s all for a good cause, so I know the next week will be busy, satisfying, and joyful.

And full of cake dreams. 😍🎂🍰😍

#2139 Christmas Eve prep

It was another busy busy busy day, but again, we had fun, and I think we did well.

It was the first time for our family that we opened our presents on Christmas Eve night and not Christmas morning, and that’s because tomorrow will be a tad busier with us hosting and all… baby girl for one loved the idea of getting to open them up earlier!

For me it wasn’t a huge stretch, as I grew up with this time-honoured tradition, as I used to open up presents with my family on Christmas Eve too, waiting until midnight hit to rip the papers open.

There was lots of love, lots of squealing, and what makes it better is knowing it will continue and only get better tomorrow in the company of more loved ones.

Merry Christmas Eve to all. 🎄🎅💖🎁

#1608 Day 110 of getting there: A trip down babysitters lane

Don’t tell me pruning isn’t therapeutic.

I’ve been going to town on our front yard. Yesterday I was getting rid of weeds from one side of the yard, all these fiddly, annoying, tiny weeds that take all this major wrist action to rip out.

But then I went to the other side of the yard, along the fence, and there were these HUGE MOFO weeds… and yet they came out so easily.

When I told Hubbie last night he said “of course, the soil is softer there.”

Ahhh. That explains it.

So today I returned to the fence side of the yard.

It was soooo satisfying.

I ripped out ALL the weeds alongside the fence. They were massive, and I got them ALL OUT.

After such a massive effort, I went inside, had my babycino and coffee break with baby girl…

And then we sat on the couch, to relax and Netflix.

I was really excited, because not only was it a show I was really curious to see, but I thought it might also kind of interest baby girl.

The Babysitters Club!

When I heard the popular book series that I started reading in the 90s, was coming to the small screen via Netflix, I didn’t actually think I would watch it.

Would it suit me, NOW? This 30-something year old (emphasis on ‘something’) watching some early teen girls go through childhood woes and crushes while looking after little kids?

But then I actually read an article saying that older folk (ahem) would enjoy going back and reminiscing about the characters they loved delving into back then, while also appealing to the new middle-grade, tween audience.

Hmmm.

I know baby girl is only 6, but I felt it might be something we could meet in the middle with, and enjoy together.

I loved Ann M. Martin’s books growing up. I still have original books from the series, stashed upstairs in a box, and I told baby girl today that one day she could read them too.

I gained a lot of joy along with many other things, from reading the series growing up. This led to me appreciating the form of the story, the development of the story arc, engaged in watching the characters grow, and the sheer joy of writing which I obviously developed over the years.

The verdict from the show? I actually LOVED it. Baby girl enjoyed it too, though she asked many questions, like at the start, “where is the Babysitters Club?”

“They haven’t started it yet honey.” (In the first two minutes!)

There are plenty of themes of friendship, some mention of boys, the issues of blended families AND even the hints of eating disorders, which I know to be true to the original, because I remember coming across the theme in the books I read so long ago.

A great Netflix watch, it’s light-hearted for the younger girls in your life… or just for those of us wanting a trip down memory lane…

#1584 Day 86 of getting there: the BOLD book

15 years ago when Hubbie bought me a 20 years of The Bold and the Beautiful book, little did he know that many years later I would actually seriously be using it as an encyclopaedic timeline of all things soapy.

I have actually caught up. I may have mentioned a number of times that I was seriously behind on my B&B watching. So much so that my Foxtel planner had during one very long period, NO JOKES, over 100 unwatched Bold eps.

Not even exaggerating.

But you know what has happened during this iso?

Guess what has happened… 🙂

I’ve caught up.

I’ve caught up on the recent eps anyway. And what I mean by that is, I’m across the board on the most recent eps that have aired around the world, and as of today, I started to watch what else they’ve been feeding us while we wait for more eps…

The old eps.

Because they aren’t filming anymore, you know? Just during iso. And it’s not just me, but Australia has caught up with the US!

So if you haven’t worked it out by now, I am a fairly MASSIVE Bold fan.

Taylor-Ridge shipper, Steffy-Liam shipper, ALL THE WAY.

Today I watched the first old ep. Eric and Brooke’s wedding… from who knows when.

Ages ago.

It was OLD.

It was cheesy.

But it was fascinating!

I just kept going “oh they’re so young! Their voices! Their hair! So youthful! So wrinkle free!”

But I had more pressing questions to the storyline, and less superficial ones too.

Why was Stephanie at the wedding of her ex-husband?

Why was Taylor engaged to Brooke’s brother?

Had Ridge been involved with Taylor yet?

Why were Brooke and Ridge making googly eyes at each other when she was marrying his Dad?

You know, the usual.

So after I watched the ep and listened to that original fantastic 80s theme music, I went to the bookcase.

I honestly have never read this thing properly. Not like a sit down and read. I’ve flipped through it, and I loved that Hubbie had gotten it for me when we were dating, knowing how much of a die-hard fan I was (he has a hilarious bold story from back when we first started talking on the phone!)

And it was the kind of book that you could leave on a coffee table and just flip through casually at whim, nothing too philosophical to take up your mind’s attention, or too technical that it required focused concentration.

But I hadn’t even really flipped through it.

But tonight I did. Not just flipped… I read. And read and read. And found out some fascinating stuff. Filled in many blanks.

And realised I will forever more always be team Taylor-Ridge.

And I also realised how many years I have spent following these people.

And I also also realised, I am a bit crazy about it all. 😜

Oh well. You learn something new every day don’t you?

I now need to catch up on these old, classic eps… i might have something like 30, 40?

No rush. I’ll take my time going back in time, with these.

#1538 Day 40 of getting there: Egg drop soup

Something inside me twigged when I saw the above recipe video, and I didn’t quite understand why.

After some thought, I remembered that growing up, my Mum would sometimes make this egg-type soup as a breakfast meal!

It might seem weird, but if you think about it, eggs are a primarily breakfast meal, and this just happened to come in a comforting and seasoned broth that made for nice cold mornings.

I’ve been loving Marion Grasby’s videos on facebook. I really find the meals the former MasterChef contestant makes on her channel, fascinating, easy and seemingly delicious.

I was keen to put the latter to the test today, as I’ve been slowly planning my attempt at her incredible egg-drop soup.

I was soooo excited. (I always get excited making something new!) The only thing I didn’t have was the dried shrimp to add to the broth, but oh man the amazing scent of ginger, spring onion, pan fried chicken filling the kitchen tonight… mmm!

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It was so delicious. I am in love. Another great soup to add to my repertoire of soups. 😉

Follow her on facebook or insta, it will be worth your while. ♥

#1530 Day 32 of getting there: raw fish and tropical fruit

Who would even think about putting those two in the same sentence?

Sushi, with mango?

It’s the most random of combinations, and it could only come from the mouth of a child, as the comedic trio of Joe, Carlo and Andrew found out when Joe’s toddler uttered the words while running rampant one day.

Sooshi mango was born. And they have given us plenty of belly-aching, toppled-over, can’t-breathe-no-more massive laughing seshes.

I love these guys. There is nothing better than spending any free time devouring the videos they’ve posted on social media, and fortunately for us all in iso, they’ve been posting A LOT more.

They always make me laugh. At the moment bestie and I tag each other in new videos that come out, but I always end up watching so many more because I just can’t help it.

They mimic the ethnic background I, and so many of my family and friends around us have grown up privy to. Our parents and grandparents, talk and have talked in this abrupt, direct, no-fuss and mixed English kind of way, and a lot of the European descendants that hail from there, can relate to the sketches in their hilarious comedy.

Did I mention they swear? Yes they swear soooo much. And in the language of the people that came before us, it is even MORE funny. Even if you have a pole up your bum when it comes to foul language, you can’t not laugh at this!

(Ok, maybe you still might have a pole up your bum, but you might end up giggling just a bit).

(If you don’t then go away). 😉

I have so many favourites… damn I just can’t choose.

Ethnic Mum Christmas food insults. OMG. I know women who act and talk like this (and even look like this!)

The Concrete.

Supermarket shopping done right at La Manna’s. Oh good God.

When Ethnics say goodbye.

Ethnic Dads in the garden.

Ethnic Dads playing cards.

Oh I just love them ALL!

Do yourself a favour and check them out their YouTube channel… or follow them on facebook and insta.

Oh what the hell. Here’s a taste.

(It took me double the time to write this post due to Sooshi Mango ‘research,’ and now I can’t stop grinning :):):) )

#1512 Day 14 of getting there: Like a Virgin in 1985

It was Sunday night dinner, so that also meant it was everyone-picks-a-song-they-want-from-youtube night.

When it was my time I threw a super curveball at Hubbie, as it was nothing I had requested before… “Can you see if you can find Madonna, Dress You Up, live?”

He found the original clip for the song, which was from her Like A Virgin tour as I’d wanted… but it was the official video, and so the studio recording was used as the audio, NOT the live concert version.

And I KNEW the difference.

I knew, because back when I was 12 years old, there was a 3 month period where my parents succumbed to cable TV. It was meant to stay at $30 a month, so when it went up by a few bucks after that initial period, they ordered me to call up and cancel… typical parents. 😉

But in those 3 months, I purged on as much extra channels as I could. I watched heaps of Freddy Krueger sequels… tonnes of C-grade teen movies… and the best find of all, was Madonna’s 1985 Like A Virgin concert tour filmed in Detroit.

I inhaled this doco. I savoured it. I taped it, and watched it again and again and again. I knew most of the songs already, but then I learnt some of her lesser known hits like the rock-grungy Gambler, and super-catchy Over and Over. 

I learnt the dance moves. I picked up the bits where her concert version deviated from the album recordings. I knew every single phrase and word uttered in song and to the audience, every –

“That goes for you too Grandma!” at the start of Holiday.

Her emotional – “I gotta talk fast ’cause I might start crying,” when she addressed the audience.

“Do you wanna hear some more? I said, ‘do you wanna hear some more?'”

To her “I don’t need money I need love!” declaration during Material Girl.

Tonight, as I eventually found the original LIVE version on youtube, I realised I had found so much more.

Because I had found the complete concert.

!!!!

It was all there, the entire hour set.

I was rapt. :):):)

I sang and I danced. I gasped that I was still able to remember lines and conversations. I sang along as we finished dinner, I washed the dishes, and then I worked some more on our 1000 piece puzzle (yeah we were wrong when we thought it was only 500 or so… double that!)

It made me soooo happy. It took me back to my childhood. It took me back to a simpler time.

And oh, the 80s! What brilliant fun that was! Seeing the fashion, the hair, feeling the iconic music…

HOLIDAY!

I can’t believe it, I remembered it ALL.

“I went to New York, I had a dream.

I wanted to be a big star.

I didn’t know anybody.

I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing,

I wanted to do all those things,

I wanted to make people happy,

I wanted to be famous 

I wanted everybody to love me,

I wanted to be a star

I worked really hard

And my dream came true.”

BANG! That is her Like a Virgin concert opening monologue and that all came from my head! BOOM! Word for word it is imprinted in there.

And just because, 80s music can save us all, here is the opener…

 

#1483 New and old memories with best friends

It’s always a great time when you catch up with loved ones, but it felt extra awesome tonight when bestie and her hubbex came over.

It really has been too long. It made everything all the more sweeter… the conversation, the music youtube shares, the d&ms, and all the pet talk about those furry friends of ours that we love.

Baby girl decided she had new ‘owners.’ LOL. I feel safe and secure when she selects people who are dear to me, to add to her special list too.

But perhaps the funniest and weirdest moment came when bestie remembered something from our childhood years… I’m still trying to come to terms with it and remember it, but the visual she gave me is stirring some deep memory from within, and maybe, just maybe, I CAN remember.

What I had forgotten, for apparently my whole life, is that when we were in primary school, WE HAD OUR OWN BOOK CLUB.

Oh-em-gee.

We would take our books and sit in the inside of this massive playground tyre, six of us, and share what we had read. We had diaries too that we would write in after.

!!!

I was freaking out over this fact. Firstly, I would love to now be in a book club, but sadly don’t think it’s the right time for it, for where I am in my life… but I used to be in one… when I was about 9?

I would bring with me, wait for it…my The Babysitters Club books. I was spinning out even more, because that is SO me. Was so me.

I loved the recollection, because it told me that even though there are things we can’t remember, there are others who have memories of things that we have forgotten.

Also, the knowledge that I was doing such book-related stuff before I even remember wanting to write seriously for a living… double wow. Some things are just meant to be.

And thirdly… well friends. Having this lifetime of knowledge between old friends, with experiences that are constantly gained, and memory upon memory added… well, it is something special. Truly special.

♥

#1465 Experimentation for inflammation

I did something pretty drastic today.

Drastic for me. Maybe for you too. Or maybe you have done it already.

Experimented.

But I went to the grocery shop, and I bought a number of items…

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Can you spot the similarities?

GLUTEN FREE.

Today’s buys are a weird one for me. Weird because I feel like, in one way, the purchases are a contradiction of my whole life up until this point.

All my life, food has been good. All of it. My parents came from nothing, and so when they came to Australia, hungry for a new life, a chance to start anew, their hunger also reigned in a very literal way…

Food. They had scarce amounts in the village where they lived, and once they were working, they made sure there was always food for sis and I.

They never had enough food growing up. Constantly hungry, wanting more.

Therefore, from their life in Australia going forward, growing up for sis and I, food was a friend. It was something we celebrated with.

Food was wealth. Food was happiness. Enjoyment of food then, was one of life’s greatest pleasures.

And it still is. Very much so for me, as those European values are an intrinsic part of my DNA.

But some things have changed… like us, and also, the food.

I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater, and I consider my diet to be moderately balanced.

But like I said, things change. Our bodies don’t respond to things as they used to. The food we eat has changed. Pesticides, modified crops, freezing… food ain’t what it used to be either.

And with all of that, also, my diet has slightly changed. Still good, still adequate…

But, I have an inkling, I could do better.

I want to see if I can do better. 

Therefore, my experiment.

Now I’m not all anti-gluten and WHEAT IS EVIL here. I’m not going to hold a pitchfork against anyone who eats a slice of bread in my presence, or shout at them for drinking normal milk in their latte. No. I am taking a really relaxed and structured approach, if there is such a thing…

Because it’s not that I’m anti dairy, or anti-gluten…

Rather I am pro-alkaline and pro anti-inflammatory.

This is where my curiosities lie.

I am trying to replace my regular gluten staples with the absence of it.

I am going to introduce smoothies, teas and drinks that fight inflammation or work to reduce it.

And slowly, SLOWLY start to experiment with new dishes that take all of this into account.

It’s actually a HUGE project. I was at risk of overwhelming myself the other day as I simply started pondering it… but I had to remind myself – “Slowly. One day at a time.”

“One dish at a time.”

I’m going out two nights this week… if I eat gluten then? Eh.

But on the days that I do, I’m going to up the green tea, smoothies and bone broths during the day.

I hate the word diet… this is more of an experimentation. I was talking to my sister the other day who was telling me things about keto that seemed to align and make sense with things I had already been looking into… and though I am not on the keto bandwagon, I am heavily interested in how all these different ways of eating differ, yet are starkly similar.

I also don’t like feeling restricted. I may or may not stop this after a few days. It might be too hard… one meal for me, another for Hubbie and baby girl… but the only thing I can do is TRY.

Food is not the enemy. It never has been.

Food is the healer. And it is now my test, to see HOW it can be so.

#1422 ‘Twas the ‘second’ night before Christmas…

What? She must have her dates wrong you say.

No siree.

It really is the night before Christmas… for those of Orthodox faith.

It’s an interesting thing to celebrate two Christmases throughout your life. It’s a privilege now awarded to baby girl as she joins in the doubled up of festivities.

Growing up, although the primary Christmas we celebrated was on the traditional Westernised date of December 25th, due to my Mum’s background and heritage we were always aware of at the very least, if we weren’t helping our relatives celebrate the Orthodox Christmas day of January 7th.

Seeing as Hubbie’s family is also of Orthodox faith, this acknowledgement and acceptance has grown and continued. All of my life, family and friends around me have celebrated this day… I have been to countless Christmas parties and participated in token Orthodox traditions, drank and ate and been merry on this holiest of days.

Which nationalities celebrate this day you might ask? Well there are Macedonians, Serbians, Polish, Russian, and Greek, to name a few…

I think it’s important to respect and value other traditions, even those that we may not be privy to or understand in the fullest.

Just as living in Australia, I believe that Australian customs should be respected and appreciated by all those who choose to call this country their home, so too do I believe the reverse should be norm: Aussies should respect the traditions and heritage of those with customs and holidays from far off our shores.

Including a different Christmas.

Sometimes I hear a bit of ignorance. One side might discount the other, calling theirs the ‘real Christmas.’

I think this is a bit sad. I don’t think we should be arguing over religion and politics and trying to up our own stance by discounting the other.

Why can’t we all respect each other’s traditions while still enjoying our own?

THIS GOES BOTH WAYS.

Baby girl went to bed tonight excited. She was asking if Santa would come again… I told her he only makes one stop a year, but that there would still be PRESENTS.

We did the majority of presents on the Westernised Christmas day, but I have an inkling she will get something. 😉

A second Christmas for a kid? That’s like a second birthday!

She, and we, are fortunate to have double the Christmases, every year. ♥

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash