Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Feijoa and Banana Loaf

 I do not claim this as my recipe. It can also be found on the food in a minute page

If you have to buy feijoas - I'm sorry
If you get given feijoas - enjoy
If like me you have trees and so many by now you are over them...
Try this. Its lovely and moist and I just have a bit of butter on it.
It would be nice served as a desert or just thicker with a hot drink and served with custard, whipped cream, ice-cream, yogurt or a combination.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 cup raw sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil  (I used olive oil as I didn't have any vegetable)
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 cup chopped ripe feijoas (about 3-4 feijoas)

Preheat oven to 180°C .
Grease and line the base of a 13cm x 23cm x 70 (6 cup capacity) loaf tin with baking paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and mixed spice into a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl beat together raw sugar, oil, egg to combine.
Add banana in hunks and beat in.
Pour into the dry ingredients along with the chopped feijoas and fold in trying not to over mix.
Spoon into prepared loaf tin.
Bake for 55 - 60 minutes until cooked. A skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf will come out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes before turning onto a cake rack to cool completely.
Cut into slices when cool to serve.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

I Am Who I Am

The title of this post is NOT blasphemy or dis-respectable to God. In fact if anything it is honouring God.

Have you ever had a time when you think "I have had enough. I'm not going to preform anymore to someone else's script, do what everyone else expects, or be what everyone else wants"?

Last Saturday I woke and after wrestling with how things had gone over the last few weeks I really felt like that. I never seemed to have any real me time, and the demands from all directions often meant I couldn't do things I wanted to or to what I felt was the best. I'm not pointing my finger at anyone or any particular incident as it really comes down to what I let happen in agreeing or not, to requests, demands and expectations.

I was sleeping eight hours a night and it didn't seem enough. I was at work for an extra hour or so each day and I still didn't get everything finished. The love of doing all things to be 'homely' seemed lost and I felt angry, especially when I saw others doing the things I longed to be doing.

It was like I was being tied down and bound to what I had become. I didn't like it and it was making me grumpy at almost anyone or anything.

I'm reading a book by Shelia Walsh called "In the Middle of the Mess". I started it so many weeks ago i decided to restart it. A quote right at the start reached out to me. Shelia was interviewing Rich Mullins on her show and asked him a question.
"What are the most important things in your life?" 
He answered "At any given moment it might be slightly different, but I would imagine that nothing would be more important than becoming fully who you were supposed to be...."

To be who you are supposed to be - I wanted that. I wanted to be fully who I am. I didn't like how I'd been feeling and with a sort of freedom I broke from the ties and claimed "I am who I am". In God's Word, the Bible, we read in Psalm 139:13-16
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
New International Version 

I am happiest when I am being who I believe I was fully created to be - a woman of God. And for me I believe that is a well-loved child of God, a wife, mother, daughter, nana, someone who can teach by example the roles God made for me.

So that day I put aside all that people were wanting and spent the day in the freedom of being who I am.

I spent time with God in His word. He showed me how much He continues to love us even when we grumble and complain. (Exodus 16 when the Israelite's started out in the desert and complained for food and water. God heard them and gave them quail and manna 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.)

I baked - something I haven't done for ages for just us.

I fed the men in our home lunch of toasted sandwiches, baking and cups of tea, while they worked on dismantling a vehicle on the property.

I'd been rostered on do the flowers for church. Something I had to do, but I do enjoy arranging flowers. And even though I didn't think I had anything in the garden. I found enough to put two vases together.

And I just rested and read.

By the time I went to bed I had a sense of satisfaction of being who I am and also being who God wants me to be.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Smile

I am lucky to have both my parents still living - Mum is 89 and Dad turns 90 next month. As they have aged, their bodies are slowing down and their minds are not as sharp as they used to be. The things around them sort of stay the same. Either because they don't change anything, they don't want to or they just don't notice the need to do so.

From the outside I see them living as they do, and how they see it all as being fine, but the truth is, they need more and more help for some basic things to help them cope and be safe and well.

As the years and months go by I desire to spend more and more time with them as I know the time of being able to do this is coming to an end. They would come and spend Christmas or some of the summer with us and a couple of times during the year but that is not possible now so I travel to them when I can.

I was tidying some of my kitchen cupboards a little while ago and actually shed a tear that my silver tea pot would not really be used much any more.
Dad loves his tea made with tea leaves in a pot and I would get it out along with what I called his special cup and saucer.

When I visit them I always love to make Dad his cup of tea, just a little bit of what I did for him when they were here.

Mum spends most of her days now sitting in her chair in the lounge. She doesn't want to watch day time television and can't hold long conversations so spends most of the day dozing. Mum was very talented with hand crafts and could play the piano and sing. Standing next to her in church I could always hear her strong voice and although it is not so loud now she still can sing the songs.

The chair she sits in is very near her piano but the space between has been full of boxes of 'stuff' that never got sorted or thrown out. We can all be guilty of keeping things because we will read them later, file them away or use or sort them for something else but the days/weeks/months go by and it never gets done. If this then blends into years and more and more piles and boxes collect, there is soon an area of hoarding being developed.

At then end of my last visit my brother, his wife and I got to work and cleared the space to the piano, cleaning and moving the boxes to another place. We tried to make the path from Mum's chair wide enough for her to be able to get to the stool and sit and play. I found some music  titled "It Is Time" and placed it on the stand for her to see.

In the morning both Mum and Dad didn't seem to even notice what we had done so I drew their attention to it and explained I chose the music because "Now is the time Mum, for you to get back and play some music" I wasn't quite sure how she would react or what she would say but when I looked at her, she turned from looking at the piano and smiled.

Whether she gets to sit at the piano again and plays or is even able to play, and whether I get to hear her, the smile just filled me with a joy that really can't be explained. Something in her liked the whole idea and I felt that we had made that happen by the tidying we did.

When I leave after each visit I often wonder if it will be the last time, or what it will be like the next time but this time I felt a smile forming on my face as I started my long 470 kilometer drive home.

A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing... 
Proverbs 17:22 AMP

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I Long For You

I prayed for you again today.
The tears fell,
And again I wanted to know;
How long?

I miss you so much.

I long to hear your voice,
To hold and hug you.
I long to be able to talk,
To hear what hurts,
The joys, the victories,
Like it used to be

With you gone,
My life is not the same.

Oh how I long
For the opportunity,
To know what separates us.
To hear what can heal,
What you need from me.

My heart will always love you.
My heart will always have that part of you,
That part that is missing,
Until you are a part of it again.

A mother’s love
Can never be removed
For her children.
No matter who or what their child
The child is still hers.
She will always love,
Always long,
To hold them close,
To whisper their name,
To tell them
How much they are loved.

But I pray,

For the sound,
The sight,
The time to rejoice,
When you return.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Planner (5)

Now this is short and I will explain later.
Over the next couple of days I will finish the cards and the fine tune gift list ready for shopping..

The next step is not really interesting but it is prep.

I clean and tidy the living rooms in anticipation of decorations.
You can't dust and clean around it all so you do a proper clean first. I put on the Christmas music and sing along and clean.
You know, surfaces where ornaments will go and windows where lights and wreaths hang that sort of thing.

Go to it...

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas Planning (4)

We are really getting into Christmas and making it all about the season not just one day.

The start of my planning can be found here with links to the next ones within the post and at the bottom of this one.

You will have:
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with added menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list 
  • Gift shopping list
So today I revisit my gift planner. I've ordered my online presents and filled in gaps. You have to laugh at this. Hubby has seen the list (just as well I didn't write his gift on it) but he has added my name at the bottom with the word "heaps" in the 'budget' column. Needless to say I will tell him otherwise! If you are posting gifts overseas you need to buy these ones first and then get them parceled up and posted. I don't really have any to do but you may have missed the cut off date by now for the cheapest postage, so get it done now. You will still have three weeks so as long as it the destination is not too remote they should still get there.

I re-check to see if there are any gifts I am going to make and make a list of anything I need to buy so that I can just get on and make the items in one go!

Over the next week I start buying items for cooking gifts, treats etc and any gifts I can. Its not my major shop but if I know what I need when I am in a shop I will buy it. When I got groceries last night I purchased a couple of presents and no-perishable grocery items because they were on special. How did I know? because I had made my lists.

Do you like to send Christmas cards?
Do you send them with a letter?
Or do you scribble in a card when you get one from someone else and post it in the hope that it gets there before Christmas?

Have a look on your ideas sheet and see if there is anything on it about cards. Like everything else decide if you are going to do what you have written and not do what is crossed out.
Remember that Christmas is not a time of stress or keeping up with everyone else or being the wonderful person you see in all the Christmas movies - they aren't real!!!

I have a box where I keep my Christmas cards, Christmas return address stickers, other stickers and a card address book. It has peoples names and addresses and if we have exchanged cards over the last few years. Just because some don't send us a card doesn't mean I don't send them one as some just aren't into doing that - but I am and I like to let them know I am thinking of them. I hate it but I do send a typed general letter because it saves writing it by hand and it is the only time I catch up with some people. And you know there is nothing wrong with that. As I have said Christmas is about love and its a time when we remember all those who we love and send them a greeting and let them know we are thinking about them. You know if you didn't do this and you are a bit like me the weeks, months and years would pass and we would just forget.

So today I type my letter and start writing in the cards. The overseas ones first so they can get into the post and then those in New Zealand. I have already bought the stamps so I can just post them as I go. Now I have already got four so it's not too early!

Tomorrow I will continue with this as it can take time. I will again check/finish my gift list and post all the cards I have done already.

So your Christmas planning has
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with added menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list 
  • Gift shopping list
  • Book or list of Card recipients
Your tasks
  • Re check Gift list and shopping lists
  • Write Christmas letter
  • Start writing in and posting cards
See you in two days.

Christmas Planner

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas Planning (3)

To continue my Christmas planning starting here then Christmas Planning 2, This is day three of the planning and its for the 1st of December.

Christmas (for me) begins with the first day of the advent calendar and the fun begins.

You will have:
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with added menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary supply
Today I look at my gift giving.
You need a planner sheet to help so it is not overwhelming. I have a master I have developed with seven columns titled:

Name - person I am giving to
Gift - what I plan to give
Budget - how much I want to spend
Notes - things like size, colours, type/brand, etc
Cost - how much I actually spent
Difference - if it was more of less
Wrapped - when I have wrapped it.

At the bottom I add up the totals for what I budgeted for, the cost, and what the difference was as a plus or minus. I like to keep this for next year as a guide.

If you are following this plan with me go back to your ideas sheet and find all the comments you made about gift giving. Write on a separate sheet what the good things were.
Are these things achievable?
You will need to think about the ideas and requests of other family members and what they are going to be doing for Christmas. Now no-one can force you to do or not do things but when it comes to gift giving, if family members want to follow a plan then you need to respect their idea and not expect anything different from them. You can choose to follow what they are doing, but if you're like me and you still want to give something to people then do so, just don't expect the same in return. If members give expensive presents and you don't, you don't have to explain yourself, you just need to let whoever know, that for this year your will be giving.....

I believe that Christmas is when we remember what God did by giving mankind the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ as a way to be forgiven and enter eternity. It is a show of love.

John 17:2-3 New International Version - UK (NIVUK) 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

I too want to show love and it doesn't have to be expensive, I leave that for birthdays. Christmas is Jesus Birthday and so I give in love, even if it is a box of chocolates, I mean who goes out and buys themselves a box of chocolates?

Look at your 'ideas for Christmas list' and look at the things you crossed out to do with gifts. This year you are not going to do them and/or not let them bother you any more. You can not expect others to do what you want, or them you, just the same as you can not allow what others do or don't do disappoint you. How you react is for you to deal with not others. Its not what they say, do or don't that is the problem, its how you react that gives you grief. Give respect and you should get it in return. Over all remember the reason for the season and don't let it overwhelm you.

This year you are going to make a stand for what you want to do for Christmas and if others don't like it they have got the whole idea of Christmas wrong. Its not about the money or what you can get from others, its about love, yes love, because the Christ in Christmas is the Love from God, otherwise its just some commercialized holiday that business' have hopped on the bandwagon to make money.

Now start writing the names of people on your list and what you want to give, or what you know they want. Find out sizes, colours, the brand or type of item they like or you want to get. Set yourself a budget for how much you are going to spend on each person. This is almost better than the buying as you get to decide what you are giving without actually spending anything yet?
OK in reality you will, but doing this you add up the budget and see exactly how much you are going to spend and you can adjust it now before you start spending.

Are you making any of your gifts? You will need to work out what you need, how much they will cost and where you will get them from.

When you have finished the list write a separate list for the shopping. Write the gift, where you think you will get it from and how much you have budgeted. If you are going to buy it online you need to get onto it in the next day or so to allow 21 days for delivery. Write on your calendar on the date, what you ordered and where.

The other thing I do is my Christmas cake if I haven't already. (sometimes I do this in October and freeze it.) Baking it early means that the flavour increases over time. You just have to make sure it is wrapped well. I wrap it in grease proof then newspaper and keep it in a tin - if not freezing - in a dark cool cupboard. If you are not making a fruit Christmas cake make something else for the festive season either to eat now or to freeze. Think of events you may need to attend and if you need to have a plate. Or maybe you want to give something homemade for a gift that can be made now. Look as this as a reward for doing the gift list - not a chore and make sure you put on some Christmas music.

So your Christmas planning has
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with added menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list
  • Gift shopping list

Your tasks
  • Make a gift giving list
  • Gift shopping list
  • Order online shopping
  • Bake Christmas cake or something else.
See you in two days.