Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas Planner (7)

Christmas Planner
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

So now the fun begins.

By now I have written all my cards and posted them.
I am confident in all my lists (Cos' I love lists - they help me not to panic!)
I know what is and isn't' happening for the Christmas Celebrations (Unless something changes and you can't plan for that, but just learn how to adapt! - breathe)
So although some things and parties have happened I am now ready to run with it.

Depending on what day of the week it is I either get the tree up and decorated or at least get it started.

Note Milly under the tree.
I love the season of Christmas and so decorate a few places.
My sister just has a table setting of candles and a few Christmasy things on a platter type arrangement. It is a precious time for meditation of the meaning of Christmas as she is on her own and so doesn't go for all the tree and trimmings.

So what ever makes you feel happiest then do - and if others want something else get them to do it. Just don't complain if you suddenly decide you want it done a different way to what they do e.g. the way the tree is decorated.

I don't like to decorate to far in advance because then I get a bit 'tired' of it, but I do want it up for awhile before the task of taking it all down is upon me and I end up thinking "I've only just put it up!"

Hubby does the lights outside the house and this is actually best started at the end of November so you can get them all up and connected well before you actually want to have them turned on.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmas Planner (6)

Are you still with me?

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 Christmas planner with
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list 
  • Gift shopping list 
  • Book or list of Card recipients 
  • Christmas letter 
This is the time I do the recheck of lists etc.

Is the gift list sorted?
Is the size, colour, style, brand written down?
Is the budget set and realistic to stick to?
Is the shopping list for non-perishables completed?

I then focus on the normal things of any month but especially for December/January. In New Zealand most of the country closes up from about 23rd December to after the first week of January as it is not only Christmas but the summer holiday season for most people. That means that business' can be closed and even doctors, dentists etc run on skeleton staff while others like ourselves have a break.
This means that the paying of bills or having appointments are virtually impossible. The computers in these places will spit out bills or cancel subscriptions automatically so you need to tend to what needs doing.

For this reason I work out what bills need paying until mid January and what income there will be to cover these and keep that separate. In New Zealand its school summer holidays and the new year will start at the end of January so that will mean buying uniforms stationary etc so this expense needs to kept in mind as well.

I will also check what medications maybe running low and make sure they are stocked up on as well as other things that may be hard to get or we may forget.
Even more so if we are gong to be away the last thing you want is to suddenly remember in the middle of your holiday that you forgot to cancel the paper, pay a bill, miss an appointment or find the warrant on your car ran out on the 3rd of January.

So yes I make another list for all those things that need checking. I have a standard list that I use each year and either cross off what is not needed this year or set a date for it to be sorted by.

Ideas are:
  • Doctor appointments
  • Prescriptions ordered
  • Hair appointment
  • Car warrant
  • Date leaving
  • Date returning
  • Mail collected
  • Paper sorted
  • Visitors arriving
  • Visitors leaving
  • Bills posted by
Once this check off list is sorted or as you do it write dates on the calendar in your Christmas planner. I also spend time finishing the Christmas cards especially the overseas ones and others even if they are not being posted right now.

This is also a great time to go over that list of ideas you had of the things you like (and don't) about Christmas. You have already made some changes so now it's time to look at what you haven't addressed and do so.
Remember this is about you and your family, not what others expect. You little family is making their own traditions. If it seems to hard then think about perhaps not dong it this year and making an agreement that you will next year but only if it is something that you feel is important to keep your relationship spared any harsh treatment.
E.g. If you are expected at Grandma's for afternoon tea every Christmas then you may have to say you will promise to do so every second year if it is not something the rest of your own little family want to do.
Just realize if you later feel like something was missing this Christmas and realize it was "Afternoon tea at Grandma's" you will have to make it part of your wish for your family traditions and talk it through with your own little family.

So you now have an 'Important Dates' list in your planner and your tasks are to check and complete lists ready to go shopping and cards ready for posting.

Christmas Planner
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Deviled Sausages

My hubby is not a great one for experimenting with new meal ideas or flavours so we tend to stick to the same sort of meals.

Sometimes when you want to cook up a meal a little different from the meat, potato and two vege you reach for a packet mix to add flavour and something more exciting for dinner. You might follow the recipe or maybe boost a simple meat meal to something more exciting in taste. As much as I have used these I’m never quite sure what is in the mixes so I like to make the dish from scratch using my own ingredients and adapting them to our tastes.

The deviled sausages mix I have used in the past is an easy one to copy and bring in the spices you like. The prepared tomato ‘n chilli mustard is from a jar from Nanric Road, a New Zealand company but any mustard would do. You can really add or omit to get the flavour you like.

Now I don’t really like the name of this dish, but at least we all know what I’m talking about!

1 Tbsp. of olive oil for frying
6 pork sausages
I onion thinly slices
1 clove garlic crushed
I apple halved, cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp chicken stock powder
½ cup tomato sauce
2 tsp Worchester sauce
1 tsp of prepared tomato ‘n chilli mustard
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp curry
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup water
½ cup of corn
1 Tbsp. cornflour

Preheat oven to 180°C
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the sausages until just turning brown on all sides.
Remove to a plate.
Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook until nearly transparent but not browned.
Add crushed garlic and apple and cook for a couple of minutes just to soften but not brown.
Mix together the stock, sauces, spices and brown sugar then gradually stir in the water.
Pour into pan and mix with the other ingredients for a couple of minutes.
Cut sausages – I like to cut them into four pieces but you can do thirds or just in half. (Or even keep them whole).
Place sausages into a casserole dish and add the mix from the pan stirring all gently and sprinkle corn over the top.
Cover and cook in oven for 30 minutes.
Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a smooth paste and stir into casserole.
Cook a further 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
Let stand for a few minutes just to cool a little and thicken.
Serve with steamed rice, boiled or mashed potatoes.
You could add/substitute peas or beans to the casserole

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Encouraging The Younger Women

I’ve been researching some things for a blog post about using a planner and so have been checking out a lot of my pinterest ‘pins’ to see what I can learn for what I want for myself, but also to help with what I wanted to share.
What I found in every link to a weblog of some sort was that the people seemed to all be female, but most of them were also young enough to be one of my daughters.

It surprised me a bit as I was thinking how come these young ladies know so much at 20 or 22 etc.

I realize that living in today’s world is so much faster and more up-to-the-mark than it was in my younger years. For one we didn’t have computers nor did we know anything about the World Wide Web. Cell phones were bricks if you had one and keeping up with everyone was either by a landline telephone or letter!

Now there are times when I wish we were still like that - a slower pace in life, less demands on our lives and the constant need to be up with the play with everything. Like a lot of us it would be nice if people looked up from their phones or away from their desks to talk face to face but really that’s a whole other issue.

Mind you I wouldn’t have this blog and you wouldn’t have come across it either!

I especially looked at the beautiful photos of all these young ladies and thought to myself ‘would people be put off by seeing an old lady posting on her blog?’ and, ‘how would she know what the younger generation are wanting or looking for?’

God spoke to me from a piece of scripture in Titus 2 about the older women teaching the younger ones

Titus 2:3-5 Tree of Life Version (TLV) 
3 Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4 so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored.

I saw then that it was me He was asking to step into the place of teaching younger women. A lot of them won’t have their mother or grandmother near or even with them anymore so they will look to someone like me knowing that I have been through the tough things and come out the other side so able to base my thoughts on genuine experiences.

A man was praying for me the other day and he said he saw a vision of my hand reaching up to a blind on a window and the sunlight was just slipping though the gap and on to my hand. He said this was God starting to use me in a new way to shine His light on others.

1 Timothy 5:2 The Passion Translation (TPT) 
Honor the older women as mothers, and the younger women, treat as your dear sisters with utmost purity.

As my life situation is changing I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life.
So with this in mind I was spurred on to actually post more here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

In The Life Of Me.

A little while ago one of my daughters set me a challenge on Facebook to:

Day ? in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.
Challenge a friend everyday.
Today I challenge....

Now it could possibly be a sort of chain letter like what used to be sent out in years gone by.
chain letter is a message that attempts to convince the recipient to make a number of copies and pass them on to a certain number of recipients. The "chain" is an exponentially growing pyramid (a tree graph) that cannot be sustained indefinitely.
Common methods used in chain letters include emotionally manipulative stories, get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, and the exploitation of superstition to threaten the recipient. Originally, chain letters were letters sent by mail; today, chain letters are often sent electronically via emailsocial network sites, and text messages.
But as it really is up to the person challenged, as to whether they take on the challenge and no-one is being threatened or hurt by participation or not, I thought I would give it a try. At least it gave me an excuse to share a bit of my life instead of just other topics of info.

And then I thought I would share it on here with the coloured pic and a bit of info ... just to show I wasn't tied to it and its demand!

 Day 1 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

Bible reading in the morning.

Day 2 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

Work (Must have deleted the coloured one of above)

Day 3 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

 Unfortunately I must have deleted the colour one of these.
It's taken on the road back from a Lay Ministry training day in Otorohanga

Day 4 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

KFC Greeting table - Kid's Friendly Church, Sunday Mornings.

Day 5 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

Milly in my exact favourite spot - I always have to move her
and she gives me 'that look'!
Day 6 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

The view from my favourite spot (above)
Not the exact photo. I seemed to have saved the black and white ones but not the original.

Day 7 in the life of me. 
Seven days, seven photos, all Black and White of everyday life.
No explanations.

Baking, Jam and Walnut Muffins, Chocolate Caramel Square,
Lemon Loaf in the oven, Pumpkin Soup defrosting and
bread crusts to dry as the oven cools down for bread crumbs.
Once again not the exact photo. I seemed to have saved the black and white ones but not the original.

And after posting these I had realized that each day really is the same, but occasionally with something different like a course or visiting family or friends, errands and shopping to make them differ, but it is all good.
My Mum used to ask me each time she rung on a Saturday morning, how my week had been and I'd say "Just the same."
Now I could have given her details of everything I had done that week but sometimes she just didn't need to know.
She used to respond with something like "A bit boring then" and after awhile it got to me and made me ponder what my days and weeks were like.
It occurred to me that I was happy with how they were as I was open to anything happening over the week that would be different no matter how little and so I would respond to her comment, "No, not boring or I would do something about it." 
After a few weeks she wouldn't say that any more.

But I did like the way my weeks were pretty predictable and I could arrange things around that. It meant that there weren't unpleasant surprises and there was a sense of rhythm in my day to day life.

But now at 89, my mother sits in her lounge chair at their home day after day with not much happening apart from her daily care by others, and although that is fine and she doesn't seem to want to do anything else when I ask when I visit, I wonder if she comprehends a sense of boredom. 

I hope that if she does she will take up the offers of others to do something and if not she is content in just sitting and pondering.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Natalie's Cardigan

With the winter months I have finally found time to finish knitting a cardigan for one of my grand-daughters.
I started it way back in April and unfortunately days were busy and so its taken far too long to complete. Hopefully she will get some wear from it before it becomes too hot for winter woollies.
The pattern required a change in stitches in every row so it was not an easy pattern to follow but it makes a nice diamond affect.
Unfortunately when I went shopping for the buttons I just took some wool rather than the garment and I think it may have needed bigger buttons. But she may not actually wear it done all the way up so might be fine. I can always stitch the button holes so they are a bit smaller if needs be.

Now onto the next one in grey but I am changing the pattern to have more plain rows and little mountain shapes.

Interesting the photos are all of the same cardigan just some with a flash and some not!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Shelling Walnuts

We didn't know for sometime that we had a walnut tree at the back of our garden. It has been growing for sometime and I don't remember planting it but somehow it has arrived. It certainly wasn't there when we first bought the section in 1989.

Walnuts, like a lot of nuts trees take a long time to produce, hence the saying:

If you want to provide for your children, plant fruit trees; and if you want to provide for your grandchildren, plant nuts.

And it would appear that for us, that is true as it has only been the last few years that we have found the walnuts and it is the grandchildren who happily gather them. Quite a bonus as they  see it as a fun activity we do together rather than a chore.

A couple of years ago we had noticed the tree in amongst an area we had never cleared and as it was over grown we chopped out most of the dead or weedy plants leaving the tree and the big Rimu. It may have been the clearing out around it that helped it to produce, but it was then that we noticed its early fruit. I picked some and cut them open trying to find what kind of "fruit" it was even wondering if it was a quince.

Then one late summer we noticed the hens having a good old scratch around the base of the trees and saw the walnuts. So for the last two years we have been gathering and drying our crop.
It's been great having our own supply as I use them in a lot of my recipes, but it can be a long drawn out time cracking and storing the inside nut.

A walnut first grows as a green 'fruit' as it ripens the outer green skin splits and draws back over the shell and turns black. At this stage the nuts fall from the trees either by 'escaping' the dried up black covering or just coming off completely in tact.

It's best to gather these in the Autumn as soon as possible so they don't get too wet and succumb to rot or diseases, then we dry them in little plant pots in the hot water cupboard.

Then its time to shell them. We've found if you leave them in the shell for too long they still deteriorate.

Today I wanted to bake some of my Jam Muffins which have walnuts in so I decided to crack open the last nuts, so also clearing out the spot in the laundry where they had been stored.

With a cup tea and a few bowls for collecting nuts and then shells I sat out in the warm winter air. With the crack, crack sound, it didn't take long for the hens to come checking out what I was doing.
I had noticed in the past they would rummage around below the deck finding grubs etc and thought they also enjoyed the shells. Little did I know that it was actually the walnuts they wanted. (well of course - they were having a great time under the walnut tree before we knew what they were doing!)

I had already given them a few old crusts but they wanted more. To the extent that they would grab anything near enough. Then just when I was on the last few and Harry had come to crack the hard shells, they decided they had to get in or miss out!