Friday, August 31, 2012

To My Husband...

Happy Anniversary Johnny.

In our time together we've already created memories to last a thousand lifetimes.

Here's to making many more!

I love you.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Gwyneth At My Table

I have a bit of an ongoing joke with Johnny.  He tends to tell the same stories, or say the same things over and over again.  Sometimes I act totally surprised by them, other times I finish them. He makes me laugh.

I did a bit of Johnny a few weeks ago and repeated myself countless times.  But I had good reason to.  I was completely and utterly surprised and impressed with how good Gwyneth Paltrow's book, Notes From My Kitchen Table was.

I grabbed it off the shelf at the library on a whim.  I didn't expect to like it, I just thought I'd take it home and have a quick flick through it.  I remember seeing her on Graham Norton a while ago talking about her book.  She'd made a vegetable paella and was talking up her brussel sprouts.  It didn't get me racing to The Book Depository!

It sat on the table for about a week before I actually picked it up to look through it, post it notes ready to mark any pages.  I soon stopped marking the pages.  I was marking nearly every page!

"This book is really good!"  I said for about the fifth time to Johnny.

I've been a bit bored with my meals lately.  I try new things, but they either don't work out, are too complicated and take too long to cook, or the kids won't eat it.  So I go back to the same tried and true meals. 

Gwyneth's book is just what I've been looking for.  The recipes are uncomplicated, healthy, generally kid friendly, and made from ingredients that are either already in the pantry or are at least easily accessible from the supermarket.  Some would say it's a fairly basic cook book, which it is to an extent.  I wouldn't say this is a book for the cook who knows what flavours work together and can throw together a gourmet meal off the cuff.  I'm not that cook.  This book has given me the inspiration I need for everyday cooking for my family.  It's not a book for meat lovers though.  Gwyneth does not eat red meat, so many of the dishes are fish, poultry or vegetarian based.

Along with the recipes, the images are beautiful, and you get a little bit of insight into the family life of the Martin/Paltrow's.  It portrays Gwyneth in a very down to earth manner, and while Johnny seems to scoff at the notion that Gwyneth even cooks at all, I like to think that this book represents a part of her normal family life.

Before we moved into this house Johnny would always say that when we had a bigger kitchen he wouldn't mind doing a bit of cooking.  Well, it had been a year, and apart from the odd bacon and eggs, there had not been a meal cooked by my dear husband.  He remedied this a couple of weeks ago when he picked the best Stir Fried Chicken from this book.  He declared it the best meal he's ever cooked.  I would agree.  It rocked.  I asked him if it was an easy recipe to follow.  He said the hardest part was finely chopping the 4 tablespoons each of garlic and ginger! There's a lot to be said about a recipe cooked by a man who harldy ever cooks and then nails it.  Or perhaps there is more to be said about the man!

Today I returned the book to the Library.  Just in time to receive some new mail.  Gwyneth now lives on my kitchen bench.  I'll let you know how the brussel sprouts go when I try them.

Is it really cheesy that I have to listen to Coldplay whenever I'm cooking from her book??

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grateful for Teachers With Spunk

SPUNK - noun

  • Definition: courage and determination

    We've recently been through the decision making, and enrolment processing tasks for Ruby's school entry next year.  It's been rather daunting.

    The whole process had got me thinking about my own schooling years.   Primary school in particular.   What was it about those years that I found the most beneficial, most memorable and most remarkable?  And what do I hope my own children get from these schooling years.

    I have fond memories of the usual highlights from many years.  You know, the camps, the calf club days, the teacher throwing dusters at misbehaving children (Mrs Jones, I'm looking at you!).  But what sticks out the most is not one of the one off events.   Rather it's an entire year of education provided with courage and charisma by one Mr Holmes.  
  • My form 1 year (I think that is Grade 6) was lead by a teacher who had the courage and determination, some may say spunk, to teach in his own way.  Our class was always so far left of any other class, that for a good part of the year it didn't even feel like we were at school.  Much of the classes were taught outside, doing activities that I highly doubt were part of the curriculum.  Then there were other topics taught inside the classroom, again, probably not on the curriculum, but which have stuck with me.  Every day other classes would look at us through the windows as if to say, why do they always get to go outside or do fun stuff?  We were creative, we were roudy, we were challenged,  and we were lead to think outside the square.   
Of course there was a camp. But this was by no means your normal camp.  This camp included night ghost walks where parents were waiting in the forest we were outside of, ready to scare the shit out of us.  It also included a disco where the boys and girls swapped clothes for the night.  For 11 and 12 year olds, these were big deals!

No, no, Mr Holmes was not your run of the mill teacher.  We knew that back then too.  From day one I knew there was something different about him.  Looking back now, I believe he had a courage and a determination that other teachers didn't have.  That year was filled with more laughs, noise, fun and learning of your non-conventional style than any other year of my education.  If nothing else, he made going to school enjoyable. 

I do, however, feel quite sorry for the teacher who had the task of trying to curb all of that noise and creative freedom the next year.  I think it was a bit of a shock to the system for both her and all of us. 

I look back and I am so grateful that one of my schooling years included the one in which is was taught by him.  I hope as my children grow, that they may have teachers and leaders with spunk, who inspire and challenge and are passionate about children and their education.
Do you have a memorable teacher of leader that had made an impact on your education?

Linking up with more Gratefuls at Village Voices

*I really don't know what happened to the formatting in this post.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Have a Mouse In Da House

Its Book Week in Australia this week.

That means dress up day at kinder.

Ruby's book character of choice was a certain dancing mouse.

She's been very excited all weekend and finally we got to put it all together this morning.

Friday, August 17, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking Up with SouleMama

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taking Another Street

Ebb and flow.  Highs and lows.  Ups and downs.

My life as a stay at home parent.  Sometimes I am feeling the highs of the highs, while at other times it's the lows of the lows.

I've been struggling these past couple of weeks.  Things have become overwhelming and heavy again.  I've been reflecting a lot on these times and what I learned from them.

I know what I need to do.  Firstly, it's looking after myself.

I know what I need to change.  A redirection of focus.

I know I need to take another street.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

(Photo's from a quiet time this afternoon.  Reading library books on Ruby's bed, and watching the clouds go by).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yes, More Gotye

But you MUST see this. 

Especially if you love Somebody that I Used To Know like I do. 

Or even if you don't, its still very cool.

Thanks for getting me on to this Lexi

Sunday Driving

This Sunday Drive took us to a special place. 

Almost four years ago, Johnny and I, in front of family and friends were united in marriage.  Yesterday, we visited the same places as we did then.

The weather yesterday was much like it was nearly four years ago.  Dark, cold and moody.  We fed birds, we lunched, and wandered around the same gardens we had our photo's taken.  The gardens looked, felt and smelt the same. It was the perfect day for a visit, although I felt the cold a lot more yesterday than I did those four years ago.