Things I've been doing:
Good: fantastic actually. I had a weekend in Nelson with three wonderful friends and got back yesterday. Being a tourist in Nelson is fun.
Good: Morelands Fabrics in Nelson had 50% off all of their fabric last weekend. Pictures to follow - I did well.
Bad: crap really. Heart palpitations/racing heart/breathlessness/scary irritability. Then worse: the medical people, who I saw as soon as I got back after my weekend away, decided it was all in my head. Stress, apparently. I've had the cruisiest holiday since I became a parent this summer (I've been a parent for 10 years). So there is more to be done on that score, as I would seriously like to get rid of these symptoms. They are not as bad as a few days ago, but they are still there.
Progress: getting ready for going back to work. I've put the word out that I'm looking for a cleaner. I took three bags of rubbish to the dump, a yoghurt maker and dehydrator to a friend and lots of bags to the Sallies. There will be more tomorrow. I cleaned out some of the fabric cupboard while Brighid wasn't watching, which worked pretty well. The fabric sorting I did while she was watching was hopeless. Apparently she loves all of the fabric I was going to pass on. I've had the radical, inspired, idea of putting the sheets from the Sallies, which I bought for making dresses/muslins before I discovered that knits are where my sewing and wearing is at, in the linen cupboard and on the beds.
Kitchen: haven't had that word on here for a while. But it's time to sort out some shortcuts for term time dinners. I made two marinades tonight: a soya sauce/garlic/ginger/honey marinade and a cajun spice mix with garlic and olive oil. I mixed eight pieces into the first marinade and 12 into the second and ended up with five meal packs of chicken for use in the next couple of months. I'm thinking of meal planning on a weekly basis this year - hopefully it helps the flow of food onto the table as well as the budget. Easily springing to mind are:
1. sausages/potatoes/broccoli. The girl loves it. Everyone needs one night per week without complaints.
2. Nachos/refried beans/sour cream/cheese. Very easy. A bit light on the veges though. Sometimes I cook broccoli on the side.
3. Roast chicken. Dependent on someone being home after school. Nice though.
4. Chicken pieces. Plus veges. Should be good. See above preparing in advance comments.
5. Burgers. Bought more packs of merino burgers, which are on special, tonight. Yersterday I bought three 8-packs of burger buns and divided them into bags of four each for the freezer.
6. Lamb shanks. I have a good oriental style recipe from Alison Holst. I suspect I could do that before freezing another time. Though we have no specialist butcher left to buy good quality meat from anymore.
7. Mince. See above comment on the quality of our meat sources once we use up the supplies in the freezer.
8. I need to develop a staple made of lentils or some other non-dairy vege food. Suggestions very welcome.
9. Vegetable bake. Like quiche but gluten free because I only put veges, sometimes bacon, and eggs in the greased dish. Particularly good given we have our own chooks for eggs.
10. Running thin now. I used to cook risotto, but it requires more patience than I currently have, and is carb-intense which I don't aim for so much these days.
11. Fish night. Needs to be on a day when I can go to the fish shop, unless I get organised and buy lots and freeze it. Which I shall do tomorrow. Stirfry fish with veges is great. Battered fish fried at home is very yummy but not worth the mess in a kitchen without a rangehood and where the window is a distance from the stove.
12. Soup, though not until the weather cools and there is NO hurry for that.
Books: Reading Jacqueline Fahey's Before I Forget which I am enjoying. I read Emily Perkins' The Forrests over the weekend and found it thoroughly depressing. Two friends have suggested it is a bit close to the bone and thus lacks any delicious escapism opportunities and I agree with them. Perkins also does a thing which I'm not wild about, where she uses her very superb descriptive skills to bring alive detail about a person or their small action, but it seemed that the landscape, and any sense of place, was deliberately not evoked. Perhaps aiming at an internaitonal audience and fearful of being buttonholed as a "New Zealand author"?
Abstinence: I didn't drink at all this weekend, far too worried about crazy hyperthyroid symptoms to risk doing something which I think does encourage my heart to race. Now I'm going to extend that to a three month period of not drinking any alcohol. I've not done this as an adult outside of my pregnancies, or not as far as I can remember.
Garden: looking good for the most part, though my tomatoes under the lean-to are chronically diseased and the ones by the kitchen window (i.e. outside completely) are doing well but something unidentified is eating the ripest tomatoes every day (or night perhaps).