52 weeks of happy (1/52)

Shortly after writing my post on joy in little things I accidentally stumbled across this blog post. And I decided to join in. The idea is to share 4 little things that have made you happy in the last week for 52 weeks. So here goes!

1. Coming in at number one is the awesome T-shirt I found while shopping on Friday afternoon. I had been on prac at the zoo all morning (starting at 6:30am, ugh), so by the time I finished the grocery shopping (Read as: trying to get food without being killed by numerous, crazy, and sometimes inconsiderate shoppers) I was well and truly worn out. My feet were sore, my back was sore, and I just wanted to go home and sleep. But I had parked miles away (due to the numerous other shoppers beating me to the good parking spots!) and had to walk past quite a few other shops before I got to my car. And as I walked, the aforementioned shirt caught my eye – it was just a regular T-shirt, nothing special – until you saw the word ‘WIFEY’ printed across the front in big letters! I was so excited! A definite must-have! So I bought it and my husband was suitably impressed.

2. In second place is the set of 3 pineapple doilies (crocheted to sell to a friend), that I FINALLY finished last night! Feels like I’ve been working on them forever and it makes me happy to see them all done! Here they are, all finished and wrapped, ready to go to their new home. IMG_3235

3. At number 3, I have finally started my birding album on Facebook! (I am a member of a Facebook birding group that is currently running a ‘Big Year’ type challenge – photograph as many different Aussie bird species as you can in the current financial year. Two weeks into the challenge and I finally have a start – 18 lovely little birdies in one Sabbath afternoon stroll! I know I am way behind the serious bird-watchers in the group, but at least I’m having fun!

My favourite shot of the day!

My favourite shot of the day!

4. And my last happy thing would be the washing bobbing happily on the line. And the clean dishes. (Considering I have barely done dishes in the last couple of days, I am quite proud of the amazing transformation of the kitchen!) After being on prac all week it is great to have time to wash and clean!

The Re-make of the Casserole!

Last night I finally worked up enough courage to re-attempt cooking a casserole. (If you recall, back here my last efforts were somewhat explosive!) The whole idea of trying again terrified me. That’s normal…isn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t YOU be terrified of history repeating itself and both casserole and dish blasting to smithereens all over the inside of the oven AGAIN?! Rather unnerving prospect. And so I kept putting it off.

It’s not that I didn’t want to cook. I like cooking…just not casserole! (Well, to be perfectly honest I like cooking casserole too. I just don’t like the explosions!) And I definitely wanted to EAT casserole. I was just terrified. Of what I don’t know. More cleaning perhaps? Or having to buy another casserole dish?

At any rate, I finally got up the courage to try again. I was actually almost as excited as last time I tried this. Except for the terror in the back of my mind. But I soldiered on anyway. Vegies chopped – check. Herbs chopped – check. Different casserole dish (this time a tried and tested one which so far has never exploded!) – check. I put the casserole in the dish and this time, as a precautionary measure, I put the casserole in a cold oven and then turned it on.

I was a little nervous at first and kept listening for an explosion. Fortunately it never came. When the casserole was nearly cooked I cracked a couple of eggs into it and waited for them to cook. And then we had casserole! Edible casserole! Casserole that was not blasted all over the inside of an oven! I was excited. And when my husband gave me a big hug and told me I am a really good cook, well, that kinda made it all worthwhile!

Edible casserole!

Edible casserole!

Here’s the recipe for anyone who is interested!

Casserole          (I had enough to serve 3-4 people)

4 tomatoes

1/2 a small onion (could probably have had a little more)

1 zucchini

1 carrot (next time I think I’ll put 2)

1 can kidney beans

3 stalks of fresh parsley

a couple of leaves each of basil and sage

1 tsp vegetable stock powder

1 tsp salt

Pinch of garlic powder (just couldn’t be bothered chopping fresh!)

About 1 cup of pasta sauce (not really necessary, but I thought it would help with flavour since I didn’t have time to cook it for ages)

3 eggs

Chop all vegies into small squares. Finely chop herbs. Add salt, stock powder, garlic powder, and kidney beans, and mix thoroughly. Pop into casserole dish, add a bit of water, and bake until done at 180 degrees. (Mine took about 90 mins.) Make small indents into casserole and add eggs 5-10 minutes before eating.

Serve on a bed of rice (I used Arborio but any rice could be used), and sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste! Enjoy!

Voila!

Voila!

Also in breaking news, yesterday my blog got it’s first views from Canada! Yay!

The cleaning of the oven!

Last Friday I had no motivation to get out of bed. This is otherwise known as dread of cleaning an oven full of exploded casserole. (You can read that catastrophic story here). So I stayed snuggled in bed for as long as possible. And then I finally got up to face the worst.

The cleaning of the oven. Stupid casserole dish exploding. If only that hadn’t happened, I would never have had to clean the oven. (Alright, maybe I would have sometime. But there wouldn’t have been glass and casserole blasted to smithereens all over it!)

I got myself all organised and went to town to get oven cleaner. Half of them had to stay on for 12 hours or some such ridiculousness – too long! I wanted a clean oven! I wanted it right then! I finally found one that said to leave it on for at least a minute, or up to 4 hours. Perfect! So I bought it and numerous tubs of icecream. This was to help relieve oven-cleaning stress of course.

After several hours and much procrastination, the oven was finally clean. Well, relatively. When I say clean I mean that all the glass and casserole was removed and the oven somewhat cleansed. There is still grime on the oven, but I am pretty sure it is verging on prehistoric and may never come off! Anyway, it is clean enough for now. (Drumroll please!) Time to eat icecream!

While I was in the middle of cleaning and/or procrastinating, a couple of parcels turned up. My early morning online orders when I couldn’t sleep. Both presents for my husband. He has been dying to get golf clubs for some time. He even picked out which ones he wanted. But he decided we probably couldn’t afford them just yet. He has also suggested getting a guitar several times. So I got him both and gave them to him on Friday when he got home. (It’s the first time I’ve managed a surprise this big – usually he guesses or I have to tell him when he goes to buy something I already have for him! So I was rather proud of myself.) He was so excited that he started playing golf in our lounge room then and there! (I was a little concerned for the furniture – and my head!) And over Friday evening and Sabbath we had a great time together with the piano and guitar.

Sunday went by fairly uneventfully, except that we finally managed to clear the garden of weeds. We can now actually see plants!

On Monday I had a minor meltdown. I woke up at some ridiculous hour of the morning with abdominal pain. Consequently, by the time it was actually a reasonable hour to get up I was still dreadfully tired. Somehow I got the washing on the line, wrote a shopping list, and gathered everything for going to town.  When I got there, it started pouring rain. It never rains here. But it was too late to go back and save my washing. After finally getting most things done, I went to one last store. As I was going through the self serve checkout, I paid with my card and decided to get $20 cash out. Halfway home I realised that I had left the cash there! I rang the store and they had a look for me. The money was gone. (Some lucky person is now $20 richer!) I got home and got all my shopping in and then had a meltdown. My washing was soaking wet and I had lost $20 and I was tired and it was all too much.

By the time my husband got home, I had managed to pull it together. My washing was spinning in the machine and dinner was cooking and the shopping was unpacked. I was kind of dreading telling him about the money so I decided to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I nearly cried again telling him. But his response was just, ‘Oh well, its only $20’, followed by a hug.

And he’s right. It is only $20. We will not starve. And who knows, someone else may have needed it more!

‘Productive Housewife’…Ha!

This morning when I woke up I decided that today was going to be extremely productive. So I got up. In my sleep-deprived mind at approximately 6am I somehow thought this was a good idea! It was in fact a stupid idea, but more on that shortly.

I made my husband’s lunch. My creativeness in this department extends to a salad sandwich, but since he never complains I see no reason to change. Salad is good for him anyhow. Anyway, after making said sandwich in my sleep and kissing my husband as he went out the door, his parting comment suddenly hit me. ‘Go back to bed darling.’ Go back to bed? What is this man trying to say?! Do I really look that awful? (Granted, I haven’t yet brushed my hair but it can’t be THAT bad…can it?) Oh for goodness sake woman! Stop over-analyzing! Going back to bed sounds good anyway.

You know how I mentioned getting up was a stupid idea? Well I am one of those people that wake up early, still extremely tired, and if I lie there with my eyes closed long enough I can probably get back to sleep. However, if I get up once – to use the bathroom, put socks on, make hubby’s lunch – that’s it. No more sleep for me. So I checked Facebook. I checked my blog. I checked my emails. I even checked my bank account. And after that I gave up and decided to face the day.

So I got up again, and decided to make the bed while I was there. (I am planning to get lots done today, and I may forget to come back and do it later.) Then I progressed out to the lounge room. And found the computer. At which point I checked Facebook again. And my emails. And my bank account. And then ordered a present for my husband. (With his credit card. But that’s completely irrelevant.) And then I checked my blog. And read someone else’s blog post. And then felt compelled to write a blog post myself. And that’s where I am now. So much for my productive day.

But hey, its still only 10am. And somehow in the middle of blogging I have managed to put a load of washing on, clean the bathroom, and put the dishes away. Next on the list is breakfast. Brunch. Whatever. If I get going maybe I can vacuum and mop. Fold yesterday’s washing. (Ok, so half of it was from the day before. Sue me.) And even weed the garden. The poor plants are hardly visible in places! And I definitely need to work on an assignment or two. And maybe, if I get really over-excited, I could wash the huge pile of dishes still on the bench. Ha. Ha. Ha. Or not. Who signed me up to be a housewife anyway?

Sometimes I wonder what it feels like to be one of those women who is complete control. You know the kind. Superwomen. House clean and tidy every time you visit. Dishes done, even dried instead of left on the drainer. Able to whip up a fabulous meal to feed hordes of people at the drop of a hat. With barely any mess to clean up afterwards. And still smiling.

And then I start thinking. Granted, my house may be a mess. But there is laughter in it. There may be dishes everywhere. But my husband and I had fun cooking, eating, and then spending time together. The garden may be overrun with weeds. But that gives me a chance to get out in the sunshine.

It may even look like a tornado hit around here. But the rainbow of each new day with my best friend makes it worth it.

Bring on the housework!!!

Windows

If you are a wife, or living in your own home, (or maybe even at home if your parents believe in child labour!), you will know the terrible feeling when you wake up and remember – ‘Today is the day I have to wash the windows. And I mean HAVE to Gemma, if you put it off another day you won’t be able to see a thing out of them!’ (Yes, I talk to myself…so what?)

Well…today was that day. The day of windows. (The inside at least – the outside gets to remain dirty until Sunday.) I would love to say that I am just such a wonderful wife that I clean the windows just because I want to. But since that would be a complete lie I won’t say it. The truth is that we are having a rental inspection on Tuesday and that is the real and only reason behind the washing of the windows.

I put it off as long as possible. Because everyone knows you should eat breakfast first. And make the bed. And generally tidy up. And if you don’t go on Facebook then people will start to worry about you! And it is necessary to do some crocheting first because otherwise your hands will be all wet and yucky and you won’t be able to do any! (Ok, so I was really scraping the bottom of the excuses barrel!)

But I finally got myself all fired up to clean windows. And I got the necessary items ready. And then I had to send a text message while it was on my mind. (Hey, I would forget otherwise!) And then the scrubbing began.

I looked at the kitchen window. Hmm…too high to reach the top of that without help. So I moved on. Lounge room…well this looked do-able. Found a fishing hook on the windowsill and wondered if my life will forever consist of finding strange things in my house. (Remind me to tell you about those strange things sometime!) And then I carried on. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, and the laundry later, and there are no windows left except that kitchen. And so I analyzed it. I could reach about halfway up, perhaps I could just do half! What’s the likelihood of anyone ever noticing anyway? But what if someone DID notice? Well, I just had to find some way of doing it. Grow taller? Not likely. Climb on the bench? Ah! And then I remembered – in our garage there hangs a stepladder. Well, that could work! So I got the stepladder and my cloth and climbed up. And I STILL couldn’t quite get to the top of the windows! So I had to climb on the bench after all.

I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that the windows are all clean. However, while washing them I discovered that the blinds are filthy. Maybe tomorrow. 

You know, cleaning is really never-ending. As soon as you get one thing clean, another demands your attention. And while you’re doing that, that first thing is gathering dust again! Its a real work in progress, just like you and me. And yet He cleans, patiently and gently, a little soap here, a little scrub there. And when I get dirt all over me yet again, He cleans the same spot once more. And unlike me, He doesn’t get sick of windows.

I’m not as close to God as I’d like to be. I get discouraged, I neglect Him. I still fight with my husband, argue with my mother, dob my brother in. I may waste an opportunity to witness for God, even do damage to His name. I’m not perfect by any means. But thank God, He’s still cleaning the windows!