#1397 The hair can wait, but the help can’t

Today I attended a Parent Helpers Morning Tea at baby girl’s school.

I wrote some time ago that I got the invite to the tea and happily accepted. To be honest, I was feeling a bit shit this morning and actually contemplated pulling out.

On top of my hesitation, I had called my hairdresser this morning to cancel my upcoming appointment with them, since it clashed with me helping out baby girl at swimming.

Why was I going?

I was busy already.

What was the point?

What made me say yes in the first place?

I had these questions circling through my mind, but at the same time the thought of not going didn’t sit right with me either.

So I went… and oh man am I glad I did.

Firstly, I had a really great time. I caught up with other parents and baby girl’s teacher, and it was lovely to be in a slightly different social setting without our kids screaming “Mum look at me!” from the playground at pick-up.

Oh, my THE SPREAD. It was this insanely long table with all kinds of sandwiches, rolls and wraps, fruit and snacks and chocolate and cake and sweets and crackers and everything in between… it was amazing. The coffee and tea window was set up and moving quickly despite the long line, and all in all it was a really well organised morning tea.

But then the principal spoke, and thanked us… she pointed out and spoke about an elderly gentleman, telling us that despite his flailing health, he had been volunteering and helping kids at the school with their reading for 11 years now. I looked at the sombre-looking frail man hanging his head, wishing he would hold it up high. Tears gathered in my eyes and I willed myself to not be a sook by taking a big sip of my tea.

What a man.

Then there were two students who had made up poems for all the helpers. They read them out, and though they were simple, they were so, so sweet, and totally pulled at my heart-strings. I was standing there thinking “damn it, I’m not supposed to cry.”

And then I realised. I realised that all of us in there, all of the helpers really did deserve this special morning. We deserved the thanks. I was reminded of how only that morning I had cancelled my hair appointment as I had forgotten over a month ago when I booked it, that it clashed with the last swimming session baby girl had through the school.

Baby girl wanted me there at swimming, and I couldn’t let her down. I cancelled my pre-Christmas hair appointment instead.

But secretly, someone was looking out for me. Because when I called to cancel, the hairdresser was able to fit me in next week with her… at a better and more convenient time than the original one would have been anyway.

So, winning.

I made the morning tea. I gratefully accepted the thanks amongst so many more.

I cancelled the hair appointment and made that tiny sacrifice for baby girl…

And I was thanked.

These sacrifices we make, big or small, are all eventually noticed… if not by friends, family or your child’s school… then by the Universe. β™₯

#1341 Ham, sweet corn and pumpkin frittata

Do you go through stages where everything in your life goes a bit haywire, and the simple things you used to take pleasure in fall to the wayside?

Well I’ve been so gung-ho on the writing, that I have forgotten to make time for those little things that I enjoy, that fill me up and give me a sense of happiness in my day-to-day.

One of those things are cooking. For AGES now I have just been falling back on the same old dishes for every dinner night… because thinking of what to eat can be exhausting. I have been relying on my usual of steamed vegies and salad, with the varying components being a different meat and carb component every night.

Ugh.

With ‘new’ cooking, you have to find the recipe, get the ingredients, and hope to God the taste correlates to the time you spent making it.

Yet I still love it. ❀

I reminded myself of this fact recently, and when faced with a pumpkin that Hubbie didn’t want to eat (I think it was a Jarrahdale and it had a bland taste) I had to find a new way to use it up.

Insert… the pumpkin frittata recipe!

Now I didn’t have to go far to find this recipe. I don’t have the best organisation in keeping recipes, since at the moment I have nearly all my recipes in the coffee table drawer. I just have to sift until I find something worthy of my cooking time!

I liked this recipe, because prepping the ingredients was pretty easy (as they were nornal and accessible), the smell as it cooked was warming and delicious, especially on such a cold Spring day as today… and then the dish itself is so versatile, as you can eat it as a side for dinner, or for lunch, like I did.

And the major plus? I have so much left over. This will be my lunchtime meal for days.

Which means I have MORE time to write.

Winning πŸ˜‰

#1055 A cheap way to beat the heat

Step 1: Go to Kmart.

Step 2: Spend $10.

Step 3: Wait for a blistering hot (or just hot, no need to torture ourselves here) day.

Step 4: Find a nice spot, set up that cheap stuff, and RELAX…

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That is of course until your child picks up water between her hands and runs over to you to rub it all into your face.

And then you rub water in between your hands and run over to her to get her back, but alas to no avail because she is already happily drenched.

A fun, and very cheap way to beat the heat this afternoon πŸ™‚

#998 Horse race in a busy day

Despite how much I felt like a chicken with no head, running about the day trying to do all manner of things, for the hour or so I was at baby girl’s kinder, enjoying their little ‘Oaks Day picnic,’ I felt something else entirely.

Peace. Happiness. Calm. Maybe the surroundings felt sooo picnic-like. The green grass stretching out for ages. The blinding sun beating down against the cold air. The rugs all colourful and mismatched on the ground.

The sounds of happy children.

But there couldn’t be an Oaks Day celebration without an actual horse race, right?

And before anyone gets antsy on me, you can’t possibly get too agro when the contenders look something like this:

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So darn cute.Β 

Because of the 20 or so kids, it would have been a logistical nightmare to have them run off all at the same time to follow a narrow path around the playground, twice, all while keeping a horse between their legs.

So the teachers decided to break them up into groups of 3. And so group by group, we cheered them on.

Baby girl had told me she would win. I was ready to console her and all, getting myself ready for the possibility that she could very well be disappointed…

But then, she WON.

And the winning horse?

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Meet ‘Sprinkles.’ If you haven’t met him before, he had very decent odds, and it paid me dividends… πŸ˜‰

And if that wasn’t cute enough… when one of baby girl’s friends happened to also win her group race, she came up to her and exclaimed “Baby girl, I won!”

To which baby girl responded enthusiastically –

“Great job *Di-di!”

OH GAWD. *Di-di’s Mum was nearby and we both awww’d. It was practically perfect.

Because for me, what is most important? To raise a kind person, rather than a winning one.

That to me wins the race. πŸ™‚

#869 Late night soccer

Just as well I brought the hat home last Friday.

It had been in my old room, at my parents house. Just as I have been purging and sorting through my own stuff, so too have my parents been trying to purge – themselves of my stuff. LOL.

I always said I would tend to the big pile of childhood and teenage accumulation and mementos that I had left at their place when I first moved out. That promise turned into a faraway and not very concrete date, and so my parents took it upon themselves to take everything out of hiding and line it up accessible and for me to see in my old room.

Every time I am there, I go through a little more. I came across some carnival hats that baby girl was enamoured with… I thought ‘fine.’ There’s many things I am bringing home, simply because I am not sure of what to do with it, but I feel that I should really be throwing it away.

The hat, is not the case.

Because the hat, is from the homeland. It holds my parents roots, and is an emblem of where I hail from.

The discovery of the hat was so timely, because I was able to hold it near and dear to me, during the viewing of the Soccer, very very late (or very very early, whichever way you roll) last night/this morning.

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Croatia has progressed into the second round of finals in the FIFA world cup. I always said if they did get this far, then I would stay up/get up early, and watch. I knew baby girl having school holidays would make it easier – no early start and subsequent running around after a 3-hour sleep due to Soccer match… so very very early this morning, that’s what I did.

I had a preorganised massive blanket on the couch to wrap myself in. Little did I know it was the coldest night of the year, but I was all tucked up and cosy, the only light coming from the guys on the green field and the soft glow of our hallway.

In those 2 and a half hours, I learnt a bit. I didn’t think I would. I picked up strategies and things about the game which I had never noticed before. I got emotional, my head lifting from the pillow in anticipation when a goal was near; I whispered “damn!” at missed opportunities; and I also nearly fell asleep several times.

I am more sleep ambassador than a soccer one.

But it was the memories and the times I had spent watching the World Cup before, that led me to this night. I remember my Dad staying up late, and me sitting with him, trying to work out the game. Asking him questions. Things about the goalie, and how hard his job was. All of this came flooding back to me, the time I spent with my Dad watching this sport, excited about the rare late nights, and the bonding that I didn’t realise I was partaking in, ’til just last night.

And there was more. I remembered World Cup soccer parties at my sister’s place. The excitement of driving across town at midnight to watch the tournament take place. I remember sleeping in my bed at 3am, and the phone ring because Croatia had just progressed into another round, and my sister across town was calling to talk to my Dad, who was watching on our side of town.

“Sorry SmikG,” she said. “I’m calling for Dad.”

So casual, yet so novel. It was fascinating, how this event turned all our lives upside down.

And then when Croatia did make 3rd place in that same year, the happiness the people experienced and devoted themselves to, awoke something in me.

A deep curiosity for World Cup Soccer. Now, it was going to become a ritual.

Years later when Australia made the World Cup, remarkably it was Croatia they faced in one-play off. Although I couldn’t really lose in this scenario – ‘homeland’ team, playing ‘home’ team – I nonetheless went for the regional underdog, while Hubbie, then BF, was happily cheering for the land down under.

Our rules were: take a shot when your team makes goal. And run around the house with the national flag wrapped around you.

We did it.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, my parents were in Croatia, their native home, watching the very same game. They would wince when Australia faltered, silently cheering and smiling with glee when they moved ahead, noticed by my uncle who said to them

“Why, you’re cheering for Australia, not Croatia!”

That’s because Australia was their real home now.

Or maybe it had to do with going for the underdog in their current location, just as I was doing, cheering for Croatia to win as I sat in my Australian house.

I never remember who won. I don’t even care. All I remember are the memories.

I am not a soccer devotee. I will not claim I know all the players’ names. I will not pretend to watch soccer at any other time for the next 4 years after this event.

But I am a fan of where I come from. And as long as Croatia will feature in this 4-yearly event, so too will I haul my ass out of bed in freezing cold Winter temperatures, and remember, the memories from before.

For those keeping score… my ass-hauling last night DID pay off. Croatia won. In an epic extra-time plus penalty shoot-out setting. They won on the last kick!

Incredible. And if all I remember from this World Cup is…

coldest night

reminiscing on the past

cuddled up on the couch

Hubbie joining me post 6am before heading off to work

and then cheering happily because they had won (and I was going back to bed!)

then that would be enough.

#774 Easter joy at kinder

I nearly didn’t take baby girl to kinder today.

Even though it was the last day of the term… her getting up 5 times within a 2 hour period last night kind of made up my mind for me.

Being sick, sucks. Having a sick child to tend to, I think, sucks more.

There is nothing you can do. You can give them medicine. You can soothe them. You can tell them to try and sleep. But nothing takes the sickness away… only time can.

Which is why I wasn’t going to get her up for her last day of term 1 today.

But then, like clockwork, she woke up this morning and found me sleeping, at the exact same time that I am usually waking her up for kinder. So I asked her “how do you feel… do you want to go?”

To a definitive yes.

I came back to pick her up for the day earlier than usual, because of the Easter Hat parade. All the parents gathered around the yard, the kids followed their teacher around until they reached some strategically placed planks of wood set up so all the kids could sit down and pose for their adoring fans parents.

It was short, but oh-so-cute.

And then the raffle. Parents had been asked to donate Easter paraphernalia to go into the Easter raffle, and the response had been so huge there were 10 items that could be won! The majority of the prizes consisted of chocolate eggs, but the major prize was the largest basket of the lot, with chocolate eggs and a book, a bubble wand, fluffy toy bunny, an Easter cup, and a few other randoms…

How do I know this?

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Baby girl won! I had actually thought to myself, “I hope she doesn’t win, just more chocolate to add to the case,” and then, she was winning! She didn’t realise in her state, half-wrecked, half-sick, as she went to collect the basket, WHY she was picking up this basket. But in a little moment of clapping and cheering by the parents, I got from her, a bright and cheery smile.

And honestly, though the winning part was fun, if a basket of chocolates, though not required in our household that’s for sure, can put a smile on my sick girl’s dial, well then I will take them ALL. :):):)

#767 Foodie Rankings

So, I had a lot of little things that made me happy today, which I’m all grateful for. But the one that had the lasting impression, was the pleasant surprise.

In case you didn’t realise, over on my parent blog SmikG, I post, along with many other things, Food Reviews. I’m about a year behind in actually posting them (for example I recently posted the one of our experience at The Royal Hotel, when we in fact dined there in March 2017), since I take them quite seriously. I don’t just take a snapshot of my meal with the words “yum” and “9/10.” I will dissect the experience, environment and the food, and because of this and this thing called ‘Life’ as Prince would say, these writing exercises of mine have fallen to the wayside.

I link my Food Reviews to Zomato, and if you’re over there too, give me a shout-out, my name is smikg needs coffee… for obvious reasons πŸ™‚ But because of all of this, I subsequently haven’t updated any Food Reviews to that site in so long. I was sure I had definitely fallen off the top of the Mornington Peninsula bloggers leader board…

I only discovered this Zomato leader board after our Port Douglas trip years ago. Zomato likes to rank bloggers, as well as people who take and post photos of their food experiences, and rank them according to suburb. Since I blog, and link all my Food Reviews to their site, I discovered that I was near the top of the leader board after our stay in Port Douglas, simply because I had posted so many reviews in such a short period of time. That is the key you see. You could have posted 10 reviews from the one location and reach the top, but if you then don’t do anything for 6 months, you are likely to slip down to someone else who has been slowly gaining reviews, yet still hasn’t reached the number of restaurants you have. Suburb ranking works on current reviews, more than all-time MOST reviews published.

I was seriously chuffed when I saw my name up there for the Port Douglas list. It has since fallen off since obviously I am not dining there. However when we moved to the Peninsula, I had a little peek at that leader board, and low and behold…

I was on top. I was ecstatic. Can you imagine winning a competition you didn’t even try to compete in? It was a great feeling. I knew I had to maintain it, I mean, I wanted to, I lived in the damned geographical location! But as it happened, and the months wore on, some new bloggers came to town, and I found myself staring at my name in second, even third position .

Damn. Talk about bringing me down a notch.

But today… Oooh today. I went onto the Zomato site to link my latest Food Review there, and thought casually ‘I might as well check where I am,’ not even thinking I would be anywhere NEAR the top. I actually said to myself ‘if I’m in the top 5, I’ll be rapt.’

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Can you see that number 1?! (and my all-too-obvious shadow???) I don’t know how it happened, but clearly the last posts I did were more recent than everybody else’s, because I’m back on top baby!

Small victories, small victories.

(Fist pump).