Saturday, 28 July 2012

Put Your Glasses On

My youngest student comes out with some hilarious off-the-cuff comments from time to time.  Little kids come out with some great one-liners and part of what makes them so funny is that they often have things quite upside down and don't realise it.  I had one such moment this week.  My student was enamored with a book about sharks, which had plenty of pictures of sharks which were labelled with captions identifying what kind of shark they were.  One page had a shark approaching a shark cage, and the caption was to do with the cage, not the shark.

Student:  What shark is that?
Me:  I don't know, it doesn't say.
Student:  No, what's that shark?
Me:  The words are talking about the shark cage, not the shark.  It doesn't say what the shark is.
Student:  Yes, but what shark is it?
Me:  [read the caption].  See, it talks about the cage.
Student:  Put your glasses on!

Because in the mind of a 7yo putting on glasses, that help you see, will help you read things that aren't on the page.

I wish!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Direction, Conclusions...and probably other stuff!

Pork & Apple Pasties - discussed here.

Thanks to your wise and insightful comments, a conversation with a good friend at church and a great deal of thought I have finally come to a conclusion about the issue of tithing.  Jodie made the point that we have a responsibility to support our local churches, and she's absolutely right.  I feel  comfortable with the place at which I've arrived.  It feels pretty good actually, not to feel paralysed and fearful about the whole matter.

I've also been giving some thought about the types of things blog readers like to read about.  It would also be kind of nice to have a plan, of sorts, so that a whole week doesn't go by without me having gotten to the end thinking "I couldn't think of a single thing to share".  That usually happens because my brain is so full of Uni stuff...which is really only interesting to fellow B.Ed. students!

Recent conversations with my youngest brother have made me ponder the idea of posting a series about parenting.  After our chat yesterday I realised that I've been there and learned stuff that he's just having to deal with.  And like me a way back then, he's struggling with how to go about parenting his beautiful girls in the best way possible.  Surprisingly, I realised I know stuff about that and in my work I've developed some practical, useable resources that can help him.  How cool is that!

So, regular commenters and lurkers alike, I'd love to hear from you.  What would you like to read about?  What information do you want to learn about?  Is there something I do that you think you'd like to learn how to do too?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Menu Plans, Fellowship ... Blessing

Last night was a very exciting evening for me.  I've had lots of computer problems with my laptop recently (a vital piece of technology in my life!) which resulted in my having to take the whole thing back to factory settings and start over.  It was rather traumatic for this computer dummy.  Since then I've not been able to figure out how to make the laptop talk to our wireless printer.  A source of great frustration on my part.  This week I could bear it no longer.  Uni requires a great deal of easy connectivity!  My solution?  Invite some friends over for dinner - both of home have degrees in computer science.  These lifetime, childhood friends took great pity on my pleas of desperation!  The outcome?  After 15 minutes my computer was functioning as it should.  And then we gathered around an Asian-style feast - home cooked.  The children were ever complimentary (as these children always are of meals eaten here) and I insisted that in this case their father was the one to thank! 

How truly blessed to have precious friends who willingly share their wealth of knowledge and expertise!

Miss Sunshine was suitably impressed too.  Her favourite Yum Cha dessert made its way to her dinner table at home.  My SIL had a recipe for this mango mousse/jelly in one of her many cookbooks, which I perused while we were in Queensland.  I wrote that one down and it was well worth the effort.  I'll post it sometime soon, because if you're a mango lover you'll love this one!

Our meal adventures continue around here.  Glass vermicelli noodles (made from mung beans) are my experiment for the week.  My menu reflects and idea.  A desire.  I've yet to find a recipe to match, although my nephew's favourite curry soup could be adjusted to suit.

Monday:  Ricotta fritters, vegies
Tuesday:  Tomato & bacon pasta
Wednesday:  Captain crunch chicken, vegies
Thursday:  Pork spare ribs, rice, vegies (this might end up being the lasagna we didn't have last night!)
Friday:  Glass noodles with chicken curry
Saturday:  Chicken schnitzel, vegies
Sunday:  Homemade pasta with creamy mushroom & bacon sauce

Thank you to those who left comments yesterday.  I appreciated hearing your thoughts, and I was quite relieved to know that my intuitive response was not outrageously inappropriate!  Sometimes we just need to know that about ourselves!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Generosity, Giving and Other Uncomfortable Stuff

In my last post I mentioned that we'd been given granny smith apples at church last week.  This week we were given 10 smarties each (like M&M's).  If I were to stop there you'd be wondering what kind of church it is that we go to!!  We've been discussing stewardship under the sub-heading of "each of us needs all of us".  When we first came to the church the sub-heading was approached in relation to the church's community welfare ministries.  Now, it's to do with money....and time and assets and other resources. 

The apples were a tangible example of the fact that we don't know how many apples will grow out of an apple seed.  Likewise, we don't know how far our generosity will spread into the future.  It is our responsibility to simply be generous and trust God to bless our efforts.

This week we dealt with the uncomfortable topic around tithing.  I find this one difficult - I know what the church teaches around the idea of tithing.  I don't disagree with it. I struggle with what the outcome of tithing would mean in my circumstance, and trying to figure out what my response needs to be.  I've lots of questions that require some more thought, so I'll work through that throughout this week.  The smarties were given to us - 10 in a little zip lock bag. We were then each required to give one of our 10 back.  A practical example of tithing.  I'm told the senior pastor later dipped his hand into the 'tithed' smarties and enjoyed some.  And I figured that was probably scriptural.  After all, the Levites were provided for through the tithes of the Israelites in the book of Numbers.  I gave my smarties to Miss Mischief.  She had surely earned them after a morning out in Kids Church!

I'd love to know your thoughts.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Belated Menu Planning

I've been doing a bit of recipe experimenting this week.  Not because I have time - I don't really, between work and my Uni semester beginning yesterday.  However, the long preparation time recipe happened on Sunday, and the other one was literally a 10 minute go-to-woe effort.

On Sunday it was Maggie Beer's pork and apple pasties.  Rather than the gluten free pastry I went with her sour cream pastry, which is always just perfect.  I ended up making mini pasties and with the leftover meat I made sausage rolls using some pastry I had in the freezer.  These were really zingy and tasty, with ingredients I'd not normally associate with pasties.  Like currants.  I used some fresh granny smith apples we'd be given at church - there's another whole post there so I'll come back to that one another time - and I didn't soak the fruit in verjuice.  I just used water.

The other thing I tried was for lunch today - a spur of the moment thing for a beautiful friend who came for a visit with her gorgeous little boy.  We had a magnificent time together, topped off with me using her as a guinea pig for a new recipe I wanted to try....I do love her.  Really!!  And I wonder, how far wrong can you go when prawns are involved anyway?  The recipe came from a book from The Spirit House.  THE place to go, apparently, if you're on the Sunshine Coast and hanging about near Yandina.  It's a Thai glass noodle, prawn and chicken salald with a lime and fish sauce-based dressing.  VERY yummy.  Although Mr Busy left the noodles.  That's ok...I'll make them into something for my lunch tomorrow.

We're trying my nephew's favourite chicken curry coconut soup tonight.  Oh how adventurous we are.  I'm only trying this because I trust my nephew.  Not because I looked at the recipe and thought "Oh, my life will not be complete if I don't have a go at that one".    As for the week's menu at a glance?  Here it is:

Monday:  Honey lemon chicken, vegies (Maggie's Kitchen p.122)
Tuesday:  Coconut chicken soup
Wednesday:  Pasta bolognaise
Thursday: Pumpkin & sweet potato soup
Friday:  Roast chicken, vegies
Saturday:  Gnocchi with roasted tomato sauce
Sunday:  Lasagna

A note on the gnocchi....I tried the pan fried gnocchi from a recent Masterchef Master Class episode.  My brother also, quite independently tried the same recipe.  We don't like it and we're both going back to our tried and true's.  Mine is from the good old Australian Women's Weekly.  You just can't beat them!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto

View from our balcony towards Maroochydore

We're home.  It was a lot of driving in a short space of time, but when you get a little sniff that you're close you just have to go for it!  We got to the Victorian border on Friday evening at dinner time and thought that with less than 300km to go seemed like it wasn't worth stopping another night.

There really isn't any place quite as nice as your own bed.  Even when it's jolly cold!

I've realised that, despite the fact that I don't like the heat, I'm a sun-loving person.  When it got light at 6am I was very excited.  The sun comes up a whole hour later in Melbourne.  I lay there this morning trying to patiently await the arrival of some light.  We really enjoyed the sunshine too.  There is nothing that makes this girl happier than happy sunshininess.  You know what though?  Even when it was raining the air was nice and warm.

My favourite things from this holiday, besides spending time with family - because that goes without saying?  Fresh salt & pepper calamari from the Eumundi Market.  And Australia Zoo.  I'd heard the Australia Zoo wasn't that great, but we were really impressed.  We thoroughly enjoyed our day there and would definitely go back if we were in the area again.

PS.  Frances - Melbourne to Brisbane is like going from Charlottesville, Virginia to Miami, Florida.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Holidays, Menus and Other Fun Stuff

 photo credit:

We have driven a LONG way and ended up on the beautiful Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane.  Where my BIL and his family live.  We learnt some things while we were travelling.  Firstly, our kids are good travellers thanks to movies on Dh's laptop, books and iThings.  Australia has some strangely-name towns.  Like Goondiwindi....we wondered what kind of name that was, but the motel was clean and quiet so we were happy to be there for a night after a very long day on the road.  We also learnt that there is only so much take away food and McDonald's one family can consume in a short space of time without complaining.  And we learnt that perhaps on the way home we might stock up on those single-serve cereal bowls so that we can at least have breakfast before we leave.  It was a long drive from Goondiwindi to Toowoomba only to be faced with sad-tasting egg sandwiches as the choice that was available.  Nothing is open on a Sunday in country!

The sun has been out and been a balmy 20C so we're glad to be here instead of miserable, wintry Melbourne.  Dh has insisted that salads are the way to go for dinner.  Because if the weather is warm you need summer food!  Our menu plan is kind of loose to allow for some eating out if we feel like it.  But at the moment it might include:

roast lamb with 3 salads
chicken drumsticks with salads
And we might visit 'the Wharf' to see if fish is cheaper anything less than $30/kg!

Dh is ever the clever hero of the family and has figured out how to make his iPhone into a modem so that we have internet access without paying a fortune.  Who'd have thought it could be that easy?

My most exciting discovery so far?  It gets light around 6am.  That's exciting for an early-riser like me, who has been mumbling about the darkness that lurks until 7am at home.  Six in the morning is a lovely time to curl up in a blanket with a book by Ronie Kendig.....