Family Comes First

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I was looking back at the date of my last post which was a little over a week ago. Since then my focus has been firmly on my family. Even though GMan and I are the only ones living here, we are fortunate to have plenty of contact with family. Sometimes it seems to come all at once as has been the case in the past week.

Last Monday I went to Brisbane. I took my mother to a specialist medical appointment then we treated ourselves to lunch at Fuzzy Duck Cafe. I would recommend it. This was en route to visit my aunt who is in an aged care facility. Visiting has not been possible during COVID19 restrictions so it was good to be able to see her.

I stayed in Brisbane overnight and after another appointment the next day I picked GMan up from a dental appointment and we headed home.

It has been school holidays for the last 2 weeks and our daughter and granddaughters arrived on Wednesday evening. The girls stayed until Saturday afternoon while their mother went to work for the remainder of the week and picked them up again on Saturday.

During their stay we prepared meals, sorted through my fabric stash, went to the gym, shopped for shoes, went to the beach and park and checked out the garden.

Miss O making french dressing and learning the principle of adjusting the seasoning to taste.

Cutting broccoli for the soup.

A successful shopping trip to buy new sandals for Izzy.

More cooking – pizza bases ready for toppings.

The beginning of a dress for Miss O from a piece selected from the stash.

Some of the regular housework goes by the wayside when there are visitors and this time was no exception.

The refrigerator looked somewhat chaotic. There were several leftovers that I could incorporate into meals the following day.

I had invited my sister and brother-in-law for lunch on Sunday but had no specific menu planned for the meal. We did a small amount of grocery shopping late on Saturday afternoon.

Our lunch was predominately a selection of small plates and salads which worked perfectly as we sat outside in the very pleasant spring weather.

Photographing the spread was overlooked until I brought the salads out.

Homemade hummus, guacamole and sourdough bread, rice crackers, vegie sticks and brie for starters then kale salad, rice salad, cucumber and onion salad ad tomato wedges to serve with mini meatballs, vegie kofta balls and spiced cauliflower bites. Fresh fruit salad made the perfect finish to the meal.

While it sometimes works out that a particular period of time is mostly taken up by a single facet such as family events, I am trying to create more balance in the spread of activities in my week. More about that tomorrow.

A Day Out

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We have not long arrived home from a rather extensive day out.  An early start saw us gone just after 7am as we had quite a bit to do in Brisbane and it was just over an hour of driving to reach our first destination.

The prime reason for the trip was to take the frame for the mirror from this dressing table to a glass merchant so that we can have a new one cut.  They no longer do resilvering as the precision equipment available today means that a replica can be produced more easily and at less cost.

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After dropping off a couple of items to a friend and my brother, and picking up our saw that we had lent, we made our way to visit my mother.  Or more specifically, to pick her up.  We then headed to Shorncliffe, a bayside suburb, where we braved the breezy day and had a picnic lunch of fish and chips from The Shelley Inn.  It was lovely that my cousin was also able to join us.

A final stop a little further along the shore to see the historic Shorncliffe Pier which was rebuilt and restored about 5 years ago.  Here are a few views.

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We rounded off the day with a few shopping chores with my mother.

A little pre-planning ensured that today was both enjoyable and an efficient use of our time and fuel.

 

 

A Marathon Milestone

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Most of April seems to have slipped by in a whirl of socialising.  The reason behind it all was my birthday.  Not just any birthday, but my 60th birthday which is quite a milestone.

The celebrations were nicely spaced out over about 3 weeks and included lunch with my work colleagues early in the month followed by a morning tea at work for all of the April babies, 6 days in Tasmania with GMan and finally, a lunch for family and friends on Sunday.

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GMan and I with the amazing cake which was a fitting finale to a lovely meal and a fantastic few weeks of celebrating.

Everything should settle down to the regular routine now and hopefully blog posts will return to reasonably normal intervals.

 

End of Easter

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Well, it is nearly 2 weeks since my last post and I honestly cannot remember what I have been doing, apart from to say that I was totally occupied by my paid work in the run-up to the Easter break and I spent a most enjoyable Easter with various members of my extended family.  There was not a chocolate in sight…………….however, 4 generations of my family were able to enjoy a shared lunch on Saturday.

GMan, my brother and I worked hard to earn our lunch as we positioned and concreted these 3 posts in place.

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This followed on from the 6 holes they had dug the day before.  It is all part of a project which has spent several years in the ‘dreaming’ pile and has now started to come to fruition.  You can read about it here.  We hope to have the other 3 posts positioned and concreted next weekend.  I am busily working on the design of the rest of the construction and hopefully it will not take too long to complete.

There were some other fun and games as my brother-in-law extricated a visitor from the hen house.  He had been there for a couple of days and we think he was looking for a warm, dry spot to digest what looked like a substantial meal.

Anyway, it was time to move along…………

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And off to a more appropriate spot………………….

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Today was quieter and an opportunity to catch up on some jobs at home so that I can start the working week with a clean slate.  I am pleased to report that all of the washing and ironing are done as well as some voluntary admin work completed.  I even made time to do a little bit of sewing.

I hope you had a safe and relaxing Easter break, too.

An Introduction…………….

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We have a new member of our extended family.  My sister and brother-in-law have a new puppy who has melted plenty of hearts already.  She is a Border Collie x Kelpie.

Here are some photos of her with an early Christmas present about 3 weeks ago.

What’s this?  Can I eat it?

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There’s something inside the paper………………..I’ve nearly got it!

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Are you sure I can’t eat it?

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I’ll fight with it………….

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The blanket may have won the first round……………

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Welcome to Vesper.  I am sure your antics will bring many hours of joy and entertainment.

Christmas 2017 – A Review

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Christmas is over for another year.  I did not write about Christmas preparations because there really were not any preparations.  We arrived back at the beginning of December from our 4 week trip to the UK.  I had organised a week at the beach earlier in the year and bought experience gifts for our daughters and granddaughters.

I planned the menu, gathered up the food and utensils as well as some beach attire and headed off last weekend.

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We had a delightful week of relaxation and casual living.  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to do some more of the jigsaw or play another game of ‘Upwords’.

My daughter and I went to church on Christmas Eve.

The menu for Christmas Day was chosen to fit with hot weather at the beach and there were next to no leftovers.

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus and haloumi
Cold curried chicken
Rice
Parsley and cranberry crusted salmon
Mango and avocado salad
Beetroot and feta salad
Green bean salad with slivered almonds
Meringue roulade with berries and pistachio nuts

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A couple of days after Christmas I finally wrote a Christmas letter and emailed it to my close friends.

So, that was it – no tree, no decorations, no mad rushing around choosing gifts for the sake of it, no looking for a hundred ways to serve ham in January.  I know that this is simply not feasible for many people but every second year our Christmas is an adults only affair so we can approach the day quite differently.

I feel as though I drifted through the second half of 2017 in a haze of inertia following the death of A (our daughter’s partner) in May so relaxing with all of my immediate family was just the antidote we all needed.

I don’t have any major resolutions or grand plans for next year, however, I look forward to 2018 with the optimism that seems to greet every new year.

I hope your Christmas was what you had hoped and all the best for the New Year.

My next blog post will be looking forward to 2018 which conveniently begins on a Monday.  I  like the idea of a nice, neat start to the week and year.  Anyone else feel like this?

Double Figures

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It has been a while but I am back.  We have been on holidays for four weeks and arrived home from London on Saturday morning and were straight back into life at home.

Everything was in order at home thanks to our housesitters who took great care of our house, garden and animals.  After they had left, we unpacked the suitcases and put on a load of washing before our first commitment which had been arranged prior to our departure.

We were going out for lunch to celebrate our elder granddaughter’s birthday.  She turned 10 the following day.  I wrapped her gift which we had bought while we were overseas.

Here she is with her sister before we headed off to celebrate the milestone of double figures.  It only seems like yesterday that she was born.

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Happy Birthday!!

Small Bites

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I am still taking small but consistent bites of what needs to be done.  I have decided that I am simply not going to hurtle madly towards the end of the year and get mixed up in the pre-Christmas rush.  I have no need to so I simply won’t.

Christmas Shopping

That is not to say that I am avoiding Christmas.  I will do what suits me and my family in a manner and time frame of my own choosing.  There are 5 full weekends before Christmas.  We have social engagements to attend on the next 3 weekends – 2 are family birthdays and the other is a casual Christmas gathering for the residents of our street.

I have planned (and in some cases bought) Christmas gifts for our daughters and granddaughters and have ideas in place for other family members.  I have begun planning our menu for Christmas Day.  I need to write a Christmas letter to send to friends and relatives.  Most of these are emailed so only a few cards to be bought.

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We have a Christmas tree which we will put up in mid-December.  I do not have a particular theme – the Christmas decorating is low-key and the same each year.

Christmas is an opportunity to spend time with those closest to us not an excuse to buy more stuff, create more debt, eat too much and generally stress ourselves unnecessarily.

Planning For Christmas

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It is a little over 7 weeks until Christmas so it is time I at least gave some thought to plans for the festive season.

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This year we will be at home for Christmas and most of the family will be joining us with some coming from interstate and overseas.  It is a few years since we have been at home for Christmas Day as the last 3 years have included 2 Christmases in Melbourne and another at the beach.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to be together and share a meal on Christmas Day.  That is the essence of Christmas for me.  I expect there will be fun times and other meals to share during the extended break at that time.

I will most likely be catering for 9 adults and 3 children (9, 7 and 6).  There are food allergies/preferences to consider so there will be no gluten, seafood, nuts, roast pork or kiwifruit.  I will have to put my thinking cap on as I like to come up with some new things to try as well as tried and true favourites.

We tend to keep the gift-giving modest and low-key as most of us do not really need more ‘stuff’ in our lives.  I try to include experience gifts for our grandchildren as they will remember those far more readily than another pile of toys.

What do your Christmas preparations include?