Taking Stock: September ’16

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Happy spring or happy fall, depending upon where you are! Have you felt a change in the weather? We haven’t experienced a lot of spring warmth here in Melbourne but the days are certainly getting that bit longer. I’ve been watching the shelves at my greengrocer’s for the appearance of summer fruit. Whilst I don’t hate the apple, banana or mandarin, they are a little pedestrian. Berries, stone fruit, mangoes…well, they are just a bit more enticing, don’t you think? But whilst the days have still been a little chill and rainy, this is how I’ve been passing the time.

Making: a skirt for a futuristic themed 18th my girl was invited to. Honestly, there have been so many costumes this year between 18ths and school dress up days!

Reading: The Turner House. I’ve been a bit unfocussed with my reading of late but I am enjoying it.

Watching: The Bachelorette. Love Georgia and LOVE the guys this year. How could you get rid of any of them? Oh well, maybe Rhys!

Smelling: peanut butter and choc chip cookies fresh out of the oven

Hearing: my girl humming as she studies for maths. It creates the illusion that she is enjoying it but I know the reality is different!

Cooking: pasta for boy before he heads out to work.

Drinking: instant coffee. Nothing fancy today.

Eating: maybe eggs for lunch?

Enjoying: sleeping a bit better the last few nights. No night sweats! Do you feel me menopausal pals? Far out! The continual search for the cool spot in bed!

Liking: that our kids are now bigger so that I can have the odd weekend away with my man without needing to organise babysitters. So much freedom!

Wanting: to get onto a new craft project just not sure what.

Pondering: Disgraced, the play my girl and I went to see last night. Lots of stuff in there about identity and prejudice and changing societies. A play for our times.

Hoping: the coming months will not be too stressful.

Wearing: sloppy clothes. Yoga pants, t-shirt and hoodie. Need to change out of that soon otherwise I’ll feel slothful all day.

Finding: myself stressing out too much.

Wondering: why I let myself get stressed out too much! Just let it go!

Opening: my laptop to write this!

Giggling: at Michelle shopping with Ellen

So that’s September! Have you been baking or making? Watching or reading? Taking Stock posts spring from the creative brain of Pip Licolne. Maybe you want to have a go too?

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Taking Stock: June ’16

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Don’t these Japanese windflowers look pretty? I’m loving opening my front door to find these blooms waving their pretty little heads at me. They provide a lovely bit of cheer on a grey, wintry day. Halfway through the year, and with the days becoming ever shorter, outdoor delights are harder to find and we need to look for them indoors. Personally, I quite like snuggling down inside, slurping soup and listening to rain pattering on the roof. Here’s where I’m at the moment.

Making: a start on my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project. You can read about that here.

Reading: Reckoning by Magda Szubanski. I’m really enjoying her memoir. Much to take out of it about our search for our identity.

Watching: Hugh Laurie in both Veep and The Night Manager. Chuckling at him in the first and a bit wary of him in the second!

Cooking: lamb saag. Yum on a winter’s night! I use this recipe from Gourmet Girlfriend but add a bit more meat for my protein loving man and boy. And I use baby spinach instead of the kale.

Eating: my mum’s fruitcake baked for us at my man’s request. What a gem she is!

Drinking: English breakfast tea. Lots of mugs!

Listening: to Bowraville. If you enjoyed the first season of Serial, you will enjoy this. It investigates the murders 25 years ago of three aboriginal youngsters over a five month period from the one street. Aside from the murders, it is an interesting commentary on race relations in Australia.

Enjoying: watching this Carpool Karaoke. Lin, Audra, Jesse, Jane and James having a singalong is pretty ace!

Looking: forward to the school holidays

Coveting: this dress. I think it would be a perfect trans seasonal frock but how much can I afford to spend?

Feeling: pleased with myself for pulling lots of weeds out of my back garden this morning before the rain came down.

Wondering: if I can make it to see this movie this week.

Waiting: for my wool order to arrive so I can start making this cowl

How are you going as you head towards to mid-winter? Or are you looking forward to long mid-summer days? Maybe you want to take stock too?

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Redemption complete!

Hey! How you going? We have been plod-plod-plodding along here. Heads have been buried in schoolwork and work commitments but this weekend feels like we have released the pressure valve a tiny bit. So I thought I’d quickly pop back into blog land to share my successful baking of a batch of Anzacs after my hubris resulted in a bit of a failed effort. I wrote about that here.

Ta-da!

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This is what you get when you bake with two hands and measure your ingredients properly! Round, risen, lightly golden, and crunchy! Perfect with a cup of tea or to pop in a school lunch. Oats make them healthy, right? For any non-Ausdie or Kiwi readers, I’ve popped the recipe below.

How about you? Have you ever come undone due to a bit of culinary arrogance? Had to eat humble pie rather than your intended creation?

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Anzacs

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

3/4 cup dedicated coconut

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

2 tablespoons boiling water

Heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix all the dry ingredients. Melt the butter with golden syrup. Combine the bicarb and boiling water and tip into the warm melty butter and syrup combo. Watch it fizz. Pour that into the dry ingredients and mix. I use a soup spoon to the squish the mixture into a nice cookie shape and then pop them onto a lined baking sheet and into the oven for 20 mins, swapping trays halfway through. Easy peasy!

Chocolate cake

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I like baking for my family but Wednesday’s efforts were a big fat F! Thought I’d whip up a quick batch of Anzacs between  grocery shopping and heading out to my next commitment. I had the oats, coconut, sugar and flour all mixed and the butter getting all melty when my mum rang. Well, I THOUGHT I could continue on with the phone sandwiched between my ear and my shoulder but I could not.  Nup. My lovely new cowl proved too bulky to enable this. Was I deterred? Me? ‘I’m a pro’, I thought, ‘made these a zillion times. I can do it one-handed.’ Not the best decision. Slopped too much water in with the bicarb soda, too little golden syrup in with the butter and pretty much ended up with anaemic Anzac pancakes rather than golden Anzac biscuits. So… ‘These look a bit different’ was the quizzical response from the fam! And whilst they tasted Anzac-y enough, they were a bit soft and chewy, I thought I should make an effort to redeem myself on Thursday with something quick and chocolate-y.

I wanted to find a mix and melt chocolate cake and this one from Donna Hay via Fat Mum Slim proved just the ticket.  Quick, easy, moist and tasting a bit like a lamington, bit like a Bounty, it was my salvation. It probably could have had a little longer in the oven but it just meant that the centre was a bit gooey and fudgy which was fine by me.

If you need to redeem yourself – or if you want to be the best mother/partner/friend in the world – you might want to give it a go too!

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Taking Stock: May ’16

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So. Here we are. May. How did that happen? Finally for us Melbourne peeps the weather is starting to climb only to the high teens, as autumn weather is meant to do. I can legitimately think about making soups and stewy things. Yay! Love a salad but adore warming, comfort foods. The leaves are falling and I am doing A LOT of raking up. After skipping past April, it’s time to take stock and see where this autumnal road is leading me!

eating: homemade chicken soup with a bit of chorizo thrown in. Yum!

drinking: green tea

cooking: this chicken bake for dinner

looking: after my boy who has a throat infection. Two in three months is a bit annoying!

making: ginger and honey tea for the sore-throated one. He probably won’t drink it but at least it makes me feel like a nurturing mumma!

listening: to the rain on the roof. One of the best sounds, don’t you think?

hearing: someone mowing the lawn. In the rain. Really?

reading: The Year of Magical Thinking. Thanks Isabel for the lend!

wearing: new jeans and new top. Exciting! Sprucing myself up a bit!

wanting: the current issue of Dumbo Feather. It was too stormy to cross the road to the newsagent’s this morning!

watching: Masterchef. I always say I won’t and then it starts, and the judges are so nice, and it’s such an easy to show to watch, and then someone is apparently cooking the best dish EVER…

giggling: at the amusing messages on my Mother’s Day cards!

enjoying: the prospect of a week with no after-school activities

hoping: to finish my cowl very soon so I can get on to my scarf project

wishing: I could feel some sense of routine about my weeks. Everything feels like it has been a bit higgledy-piggledy this year. People are at uni/not at uni, home for dinner/not home, going to work early/going late, etc. I’m waking up each morning thinking ‘what IS going on today?’

knowing: I’m super fortunate to have spent Mother’s Day with my mum and both my children

feeling: happy Waleed won the Gold Logie. Not that I hold any reverence for the Logies but I do love Waleed. He’s ace. My boy sat a couple of seats away from him at the football on Friday night. He said he was a focussed and contained supporter.

wondering: how we will survive an eight week election campaign? So many on ads on TV already.

pondering: who does deserve my vote?

How are things travelling for you now that we’re nearing the halfway mark of the year? Are you bunkering down for the approaching winter or anticipating the coming warmth of summer days? Taking Stock posts are the brainchild of the ideas queen Pip Lincolne. Maybe you want to ‘take stock’ too?

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One + Four = Life: it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas

Hi dee ho ho ho! Is it starting to look like Christmas at your place? Here’s what’s been happening on the festive front for me this week.

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I decided it was time to get my Christmas bake on. I’m not a huge Christmas baker. My mum makes us a beautiful Christmas cake each year which we devour very quickly, but I do like to make something which sings of Chrissie. I made these bickies, not to hang on the tree, but just to pop in the biscuit tin. They are quite nice. Gingery and buttery. I drizzled them with some melted chocolate and I think that worked a treat.

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My buddy Deanna was having a stall at the Queen Vic Market so thought I’d hop on the train and have a little look see at what was on offer. Lots of lovely goodies! Bought some earrings and a bookmark from Deanna and a lovely little pendant from Atelier Nomada which I’ll get someone in the family to give me for Christmas. These succulents weren’t part of the craft market, just the ordinary market,  but aren’t they gorgeous? I love their vibrant colours. A joy to behold. And Christmas is about joy, isn’t it?

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I don’t know who the crafty types were who did this, but I was pretty taken by these woolly trees. I think this adds a bit of handmade Christmas spirit to the city. Nice!

imageHow many blocks were used for the Lego Christmas Tree? I hope they were a bit more ordered than one huge box with people rummaging around asking ‘Have you seen a green 8. No, not a long one, a four by two.’ Aah, so many Lego memories from childhood! Imagine the instruction sheet! I thought it was pretty cool.

We’re going to do the Chrissie thing tonight – tree, wreath, Christmas lilies in the vase – all to the strains of my girl’s current Christmas favourite, The Andy Williams Christmas Album! Yep, my 16 year old is listening to Andy Williams -‘such a lovely voice!’ Do you have a favourite Christmas album?

This is the final instalment of One + Four posts for the time being. Thanks for reading along with mine and for letting me read along with yours. If you want to see what other people have been up to, pop over to Isabel’s blog. Thanks for being our host!

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I’m making a list…

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Are you making lots of lists at the moment? I’m compiling a few. There’s the present list, of course, but there’s also the Christmas card list, the food list, the drinks list, the crockery and cutlery list, the Christmas Day running sheet. They’re very functional lists, aren’t they? I want to make a fun list! So in that spirit, here’s a little list of things I’d like to do over the Christmas/holiday season.

Hmm, I wonder how many of these I’ll actually get to do? I know I’ll also want to have some lazy days at home chilling in the back garden and watching the tennis on the telly.  It would be nice to have weekend away with my man too. Aah, the joy of having kids who no longer need babysitters and who can drive themselves wherever they need to be! Have you thought about LAC (life after Christmas) yet? What is on your list of enjoyable things to do?

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