Showing posts from April, 2012

Self-employed goals

I don't find it difficult to set goals for my performance review in my paid job.  There is a process by which these are set and someone evaluates whether I've met them and about 8000 pieces of paperwork are created for this purpose.

I've got goals for my at home job as well, though only my family can assess whether they are being met and we tend to make decisions and responses about that together (without any paperwork).  My main goal relates to the health of my family.  As the weather turns markedly colder, I'm glad we've been supplementing with cod liver oil each day.  My dad has horrific memories of being made to drink this stuff, but a) the version we get from John Appleton's doesn't taste so bad and b) the vitamins A and D which it contains are totally worth any icky taste.  As the sniffles and snuffles announced themselves right on cue with the storm last night, I pulled out the zinc mixture and made it up with 'pink ink'.  Other people may no…

More sewing

On a dark, wet and windy day, my very Favourite Handyman fixed the wash house window so that it won't blow open and break into smithereens when the tumble drier hose is venting. He used his electric drill, which has to rate as the most generally and utterly useful present we've ever gotten him.

 I cut out another skirt, this time in red corduroy.  The interfacing is from a 20cm piece I had to buy in the quilt shop in Hanmer Springs a few years ago.  It was too pretty not to take a little bit home.  If it wasn't so darned expensive, I would have bought a dress length's worth.  As the light is too poor at the sewing machine in the lounge, I'm only cutting at the moment.  This week I will get an adjustable lamp to sit beside/above the sewing machine and then I can start night sewing again. Then I started version #2 of the Simplicity 1945 crossover top.  This time I took a lot more care to make the exact same alterations to each side.  I thought I was done and ready t…

The blue corduroy skirt

Sewing day.  I bought New Look 6300 with two other patterns for the grand total of fifty cents recently at St Vincent de Paul in Hokitika and today I set about creating myself a new skirt with it.  The pattern only goes to a 16 and so I added 3cm to each back piece and 6cm to the front.  So far it has been successful.  One useful thing about having a fat tummy is that fitting it does mean a straight or slightly a line skirt has plenty of room in it for walking.  I'm unsuited to the constraints of a proper pencil skirt.  I ditched the order of sewing suggested by the pattern instructions and measured the darts onto myself with pins in front of the mirror.  I also changed it into a skirt which sits on the waist rather than below the waist.  The blue corduroy comes from my late mother in law's stash and I suspect it was bought many years ago for FH or his brother.  The paisley is a small piece which took my fancy in the Sallies last year.

I've run out of thread and haven'…

Farewell Frank's

Pah.  Home made blah blah for breakfast and lunch

and OUT for dinner!!

We took Mary K out for dinner at Frank's Cafe, quite the most interesting and worth visiting eating and drinking and live music establishment in Wetville.  Mary had her wedding reception at this venue in 1948 and we have taken her a few times in recent years.  Tonight we took her to say thank you for the lovely things she has given us from her home as she organises to sell it.  We also chose Frank's because at the end of this weekend it closes down and we are all sad about that.

I had turbot and it was beautiful.  No cooking, no dishes, no arguments, no one unhappy.

Perfect way to end the week.

Still eating

Thursday 26 April
Breakfast: porridge and cornflakes (Brighid had to eat porridge before she was allowed cornflakes so that she had enough energy for the day.  We are mean parents and we have plans to extend, not retract, our meanness).  I had chicken sandwiches, I think.  A lot happened since breakfast.
Lunch: FH and I had leftovers.  The kids had the usual lunch box things, assembled at home.
After school: ice creams at home.
Tea: a casserole of sausages, chickpeas, onions, garlic, ginger, various sauces and carrots which turned out okay.  Plus peas and corn on the side.

Books I got from the library:
Marvellous mince and sensational sausages by Simon and Alison Holst
100+ Tasty $10 Meals by Sophie Gray
Taste of a Traveller by Brett McGregor

Apparently the last book is by New Zealand's first Masterchef.  I've only watched Masterchef once, on holiday, but if his kumara felafel is a success, or his chickpea and pancetta stew , I'll be shouting from my blogtop.

Anzac Day

Anzac day.  Fionn promised to wake his dad in the morning so they would get to the dawn service in time.  Fionn took this responsibility very seriously and came into our room at 4.15 am.  He tried again at 4.46 and eventually we rose at 6am.  Fionn and FH went to the dawn service and later on I took Mary K to the cemetery service.  We collected flowers from my garden and hers and took them, with poppies, to Mary's husband Lou's grave and to his brother's grave.  Lou was a prisoner of war in WW2 and it was on April 25th that he was captured in Crete.   For all of Mary's long married life, the Women's Section of the RSA has been very important to her and she was glad to see some of those women today, even though she is now too frail to join in with making sandwiches and serving tea after the dawn service.  We weren't Anzac day service attenders before we moved to the Coast and I am in no way pro-war, but knowing Mary and Lou has given this day a significance beyo…

the home made food project continues

All the way to Tuesday with nary a bought sausage roll.

Tuesday 24 April
breakfast: the others had porridge and I had fish and vege salad.
lunch: yoghurt or sandwiches, le snak or snak log, fruit, pistachios and salami for the kids; pumpkin salad for FH and I.  Actually I had two lunches.  I had a scrambled egg with bacon and spinach at 11am and my pumpkin salad at 1.30pm. 
tea/dinner: roast chicken, roast potatoes, steamed broccoli and raw carrots.

Having two lunches was useful as it meant I wasn't hungry for ages after I spent $419 on two dental fillings.  From a scientific perspective, it is clear that my mouth was numb from the injection, but equally, it could have been numb from the dent in our credit card.

As for dinner, Brighid ate all of her dinner, liked it and asked for seconds.  This has not happened since 2011.  If I'd had a special bell to ring to announce this auspicious and wonderful moment to the rest of Wetville, I would have sent loud peals of joy into the ev…

Term time

Monday 23 April
Breakfast: porridge for the others; fish and veges salad for me.
Lunch: leftovers for FH; yoghurt or sandwiches, fruit, pistachios and salami for the kids; fish and veges salad for me.
Tea: nachos with chilli beans, spinach, cheese and avocado.

So we did it.  Four home made breakfasts (that bit is normal, to be fair), four home made lunches and dinner/tea on the table only one hour after the last meeting at work finished.  Now I've got pumpkin cooking in the oven which will, I hope, form the basis of a lunch salad for the adults for tomorrow.

Susan Fletcher's Witch Light is very good.  It is set in the Highlands of Scotland in 1691, when William of Orange is on the English throne to the disgust of many in the Highlands, with dark and brutal consequences.  I hope everyone who is short round here goes to bed soon so I can go to bed myself and read.  I don't have to stay up and do dishes.  Chief cook I may be, but I am not bottlewasher.

Beach Sunday

Sunday afternoon at the beach.  Brilliant way to spend our last daytime hours before school starts back.  I went to work in the morning while Favourite Handyman took Fionn and Brighid to a grassroots rugby league morning. 

Sunday 22 April.
Breakfast: variously, cornflakes and leftovers
Lunch: sandwiches, leftovers
Tea: A slow stir fried mixture of anchovies, onions, leeks, garlic, spices, tomatoes, spinach, red peppers and potatoes, topped with cheese and avocado.
Post beach afternoon treat:pancakes.  They were yummy, gluten free, and now I have a hope of using up the bag of buckwheat flour I bought last year.

Tomorrow the home made budget challenge starts in earnest.  I've never made four lots of lunch to leave the house on a work day ever.  Fionn and I are the morning people in our family, so he is already quite good at making his own lunch and is also looking for a pocket money raise.  Hopefully we can get a good system going.

Still eating

Saturday 21 April
breakfast: variously, cornflakes, leftover crumble + yoghurt, coffee.  All assembled/made and eaten at home.
lunch: sandwiches or wraps with salami, tomato sauce (a major food group for the short people), pesto, fish.
dinner: beetroot and feta salad, tomato salad, broccoli and sausages, which I made, and fruit salad and ice cream contributed by our lovely dinner guests.  The four children contributed a sign reading "desert! and now!" as part of their campaign for a second round of pudding.

Snacks involved feijoas, brasil nuts, corn chips and hummous.

After seven days without alcohol, I enjoyed tonight's wine.

Today's virtuous achievement: I cleaned the entire kitchen bench and kitchen windowsill.

Thank you Blue Milk for drawing my attention to this analysis of class and motherhood.  It is excellent.

home made food and witch books

Christopher, here is the rhubarb cake recipe
Friday 20 April
breakfast: poached eggs.  Favourite Handyman made them. 
lunch: variously, across the four of us, salami, hummous, raw carrots, marmite or nutella sandwiches, le snak or snak logs, leftover potato cake from yesterday, salmon and vege wrap.  I prepared it all in advance, except for the salmon and vege wrap which I made fresh for myself when I got home.
tea/dinner: turbot, rice and veges (broccoli, carrots, onions, cherry tomatoes).  Favourite Handyman cooked it.  He pan fried the turbot which he had coated in egg and then in a herb and crunched up cornflakes mixture.  It was beautiful.  We used el cheapo ordinary cornflakes, but I expect you could get equally good results with gluten free cornflakes. 

I didn't eat all my rice as the children and I went to see Laksmi today.  My joints have been a bit inflamed and I'm not going to wait for them to get worse.  Laksmi wants me to cut back on carbs and sugar.  I think she…

The home made car project

Not to make a car at home, not at all. But our trusty Nissan Sentra, which is 21 years old and has provided us an excellent service for the last six years, is starting to protest. It's leaking oil and consuming water and got rather hot and stinky on the way home from Nelson to the point that we turned round and went back to Wakefield to get it checked out. It will likely putter round town for a while yet, but in terms of travelling over the hills to leave the West Coast in any direction, it is losing reliability.

We don't do car credit in our family. Borrowing money, paying interest on something which depreciates, is a craziness we have thus far avoided and we want it to stay that way. So how to save more money? To make all food at home. I don't mean absolutely everything from scratch but I do mean no takeaways and no bought lunches. We've done it before and we can do it again. Starting this project in the holidays helps get a bit of organisation going. Until …

The Rellies Roadtrip

I'm back from a fabulous rellies roadtrip. Fionn, Brighid and I met my sister at Springs Junction and then we drove to a little suburb just out of Blenheim where we stayed with our very dear ex-pat coaster friends and had a blast. The next day the kids stayed with their friends and my sister and I visited aunties and cousins and got cow poo all over our city shoes when we tried to get up the driveway to one lot of rellies. It's quite hard to kick poo out of the way of the gate without gumboots. I left my sister with our grandparents (who are 86 and 88 and still living in their own home) and went back to Blenheim for another night drinking local wine.

Next morning we said our goodbyes (the kids looked so very sad, they had had the most perfect time playing and staying with their friends) and drove to Grandma and Grandad's to pick up my sister.

Where to next?

To Nelson.

Not just to Nelson. To the Nelson fabric shops. Spotlight was pretty good and I bought myse…

Me Made May '12

Can I do it? I've followed previous self stitched or me made challenges before on other blogs with a significant degree of admiration. I've decided to have a go myself this time. I have this idea that it will push me to realise I can wear home made more often and to appreciate what I have managed to make. I've been making a mental list of my options:
1 knitted vest
1 knitted cardigan
1 sewn merino cardigan
2 t shirts
1 crossover top
2 dresses (assuming I hem my floral curtain dress this month)
3 skirts (though one will be too summery)

Perhaps I will even sew some more items to wear before May. Any one else keen?

The Green Room

It's been an exciting Easter weekend. Pictures of the transformation:The wallpaper is ripped off. The test pots are up and dizzy lizzie, the green paint, wins the selection contest.

The primer undercoat is up.First coat of dizzy lizzie.


The bunks are in, the beds are ready to use and Fionn even has a matching laundry basket for his room. The 'space' curtains are from the old room and were an op shop find a few years ago. The section at the top which you attach the hooks to has lost the thread to pull it taut. When I have my sewing machine out of the piles of books and in operation again, I shall sew some more on so the curtain gathers properly at the top. The calico curtains on the adjacent window are from The Warehouse. We went down for curtain hooks today and I decided that given the effort and money we'd put into the walls, I'd splash out on some new curtains ($63 for a pair versus minimum $40 per metre for even the cheapest at the local curtain shop)…

Vitamin C

More fun on the sickness front. Last night Brighid came down with a raging urinary tract infection. The emergent signs had been there last week and the vomiting lurgy didn't help in terms of the need to flush out any bacteria before it got a hold. So. Late on Holy Thursday in a small town with no pharmacy and likely no emergency medical clinic for days and she is screaming and squealing in pain. What have I learnt since 2006 when Fionn had just such an infection? Back then, I didn't know anything about UTIs and yet I have never before or since seen my son in such pain. We took him to the doctor and I've never appreciated antibiotics so much.

But antibiotics weren't an option last night. Even had I chosen to take her to A & E, they would have focused on making her comfortable, which translates to giving her what I consider to be horrific doses of paracetomol and ibuprufen, and not had the abx to hand out.

A big learning curve in recent years for me has been th…

At Home

The girl is out of sicky danger zone. She is eating and laughing and I'm sure she will come back to full strength tomorrow.

While she was ill, we cancelled swimming lessons, ballet rehearsal and martial arts. Not just for her but for everybody. Fionn walked home from school instead of me collecting them both and the zen was wonderful. Today, as Brighid started to eat, I could concentrate on her health, popping aloe vera, vitamin C, probiotics and cod liver oil down her throat.

This afternoon she was up for some sunshine and helped me plant daffodils and pansies. She lay on the trampoline soaking up the sun while I went on to sow rocket and violas and plant freesias, perpetual spinach and red poppies.

I wore my navy crossover top today. It is lovely and soft to wear. I've been reading up a little and examining the pattern (Simplicity 1945) some more and I see where I made some of my mistakes. Those mistakes led to wonkiness and a strange unflattering cosiness down the bott…

What day is it?

I live at home now. 42 hours after Brighid starting vomiting, she did her final vomit (we think) for this illness. That was yesterday. Today she ate just the tiniest piece of a piece of toast and two mini iceblocks. She mostly slept and in between I hung out washing and read her picture books. She is, she tells me, too sick for Milly Molly Mandy and The Secret Garden. Tonight she managed a piece of pizza before retreating with a sore tummy. I think we are making progress.

So tomorrow we will spend together and hopefully she will make further progress towards full participation in our community life (translates to 'going back to school').

When I have sick children, and the attendant lack of sleep, I oscillate between thinking about ways to improve our health through the eating of especially good food (Nourishing Traditions came out, for example), and being too tired to produce food from scratch. Tonight's dinner came from Dominoes. While I was at work tonight arrangi…