"Worrying about tomorrow means that you are missing some of today" Corey Allan of Simple Marriage

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wellness - Falling to pieces

Weight loss

Hooray, I am down to 86.9kg, so I lost 800g this week.  Makes up for the 900g last week anyway!  So I am feeling a lot better about myself at the moment.  That said I did make a really scrummy treat food yesterday, and I can't stop eating it!  Luckily I made the pieces quite small, so hopefully I am not eating as much of it as I dread that I am.  Or I am just fooling myself into thinking that it is ok.  Weigh-in next week will tell!

Falling to pieces

The cold that I was 'suffering' through last week has FINALLY gone.  The nasty thing ended up giving me a couple of days of toothache, well I suspect that it did.  Each time I 'blew' my left nostril one of my top left teeth hurt, and a gazillion years ago when I had my wisdom teeth out I had to do some inhalation stuff as they had reached into my sinus's.  Self diagnosis, but there you go.  Cold is gone, toothache is gone, I'm happy.

Other parts of me are falling apart though.

I have a bruised hand, due to having an argument with the motorbike about my lack of backing it with a trailer skills.  Bike 1, Me 0 - lesson in staying calm in that one perhaps?!  

My hand problem however, is being multiplied by the fact that our calves can be a little bit rough while feeding.  What I often have to do is let the calves suck my fingers so I can draw their 'not so tiny' mouths towards the teats on the feeder.  Once they get the hang of it most of them find the teats on their own, a few however, are that busy faffing around, checking out what all the other calves are up to, that I have to repeatedly show them.
These 'darling, little' calves then start bunting, because they are HUNGRY, and my hand has been repeatedly bunted, with extreme force, into the plastic feeder!

OUCH!
Hand is getting sorer!

And my back hurts.  I thought it was getting better today, but no, once I have started feeding the calves in the morning it starts to hurt again.
It is not just down to the weight of the buckets, but the constant bending over the new arrival calves, to get them to feed on the feeder, or bottle.

Unfortunately, this all means that I am not the most pleasant of people to be around at the moment.

I am tired, and sore, which is not a great combination.

HOWEVER
I am incredibly grateful that my cold and toothache has gone.
I am incredibly grateful that TJL gives me a hand, despite my totally grumpy 'I shouldn't have to ask you when you know I have a sore back' response to his 'why don't you ask me to help'.  My man has such patience!
I am grateful that my back is just muscle soreness, it's not 'out' (as far as I know), and that I haven't had problems before now, and I am 40!, so that is pretty rare.
I am grateful that I don't have to go out to work, and I can help TJL on the farm.
I am grateful that all of my ailments are temporary!

I  AM  GRATEFUL!

Total Home - Winter washing

Blog housekeeping

I still can not comment on other peoples blogs!  So sorry, I am trying, but it's just not happening.  Don't know WHAT I might have done.
*sigh*

I WAS supposed to show off my new front door area today.
FAIL!
I caught a cold, that I am only just getting over now.  The cold led to toothache (tooth somehow connected to my sinus' perhaps?  I know when I had my wisdom teeth out I had to inhale some 'stuff' because it had reached my sinus').  And feeding calves has lead to a sore back.  It's just muscle soreness (I hope), and once I am used to lugging 2 x 20kg buckets of milk at a time I am sure I will be fine.
All of this means that I didn't even get to a shop until today to buy some 'decorations', and with my back being a bit tender, I wasn't in the mood to carry one of my very heavy pots to the front to get replanted.  Hopefully I will get onto it this week.

I did snap a photo of what I did buy today.
2 x 12 packs of Pansy's, 4 x cyclamen, a 'bird feeder' which is WAY too light to hang outside, and 5 colourful plastic pots. 
Total cost for all of this, $41
Boy oh boy I hope it works!
If not, I will have learned one way NOT to do it :)

And so today, I am reduced to a total home post all about getting the 'washing' dried on our outside rotary clothesline.

Not our clothesline and NOT our garden!

While I do have a dryer, I do prefer not to use it, because it can cost a bit to run.  
Fortunately being at home 'all the time' I get to take advantage of any fine days we have, which I have to admit this Winter have actually been quite plentiful.

What I have learned this Winter when it comes to hanging our laundry on the clothesline is:-

1.  Don't even bother on a drab, dull day unless there is a breeze.  It just hangs there doing nothing, and you end up using the dryer anyway (so it doesn't get that 'left in the machine' smell) which means you do a whole heap of extra work for nothing!

2.  Don't use every line on the washing line.  Use every second one to ensure any breeze out there can circulate amongst the clothes.

3.  Get the washing done early AND bring it in early, like hung out before 10am and brought back in BEFORE 3pm!  After 3pm it just starts to get damp again.

4.  Don't beat yourself up if you end up having to use the dryer.  Sometimes there is just no way around it, whether for just finishing off what nature has done, or because nature isn't letting you get loads hung up outside.  Better to use the dyer than to have no clean clothes!

So hows THAT for an exciting Total Home Tuesday post :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meals and Munchies - Chicken Bacon Fettuccine; Blueberry Muffins

Mmmmmm, cooked up a couple of nice things this week.  They mightn't photograph so well, but rest assured they were YUM!.

First up I made a 
Chicken Bacon Mushroom Fettuccine
including making the Fettuccine!

Mix egg & oil into flour and salt.

Knead dough to smooth consistency, roll into a ball.

After cooling in fridge for an hour, split the dough and roll out and cut with pasta maker.
Sorry, forgot images of pasta maker :)
Image shows how far one ball of dough will stretch!

Homemade fettuccine getting a good boil up :)

Bacon, chicken and button mushrooms.

Final product, all served up in a delicious cheese sauce!

Recipe
Fettuccine
2/3 C flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp oil
(This made enough for 2 adults for dinner, plus leftovers)

Whisk eggs and oil together.  Knead dough (by hand) to smooth consistency.  Roll into a ball, cover with a cloth (I wrap in plastic wrap) and leave for half an hour in fridge.

Cut dough in half and work dough through the pasta machine as per instructions.  I worked the dough 4 times through each setting, = 28 times per piece of dough.  Having attempted to make pasta before it definitely pays to make it as thin as possible (I could literally see through mine) as when it is thick it is quite rubbery!

Cook in boiling water until al dente.

Sauce
2 rashers bacon
2 free range boneless chicken thighs
8 button mushrooms

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 Cup milk
1 Cup cheese
Salt & pepper

In individual lots, cook/fry diced bacon, diced chicken thighs, and diced mushrooms until cooked.

In a saucepan melt butter.  Stir in flour, and cook until frothy.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until sauce boils and thickens.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, and cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  Mix in bacon, chicken and mushrooms.  Stir in cooked fettuccine.

(Note I don't use a recipe for my cheese sauce, so have just copied one out of the very trusty Edmonds Cookbook!)

Next Edmonds Cookbook recipe
Blueberry Muffins

Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and milk,

until all blended.

Add flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

Add blueberries (mine were frozen, it is Winter here :)

Mix until just combined.

Dollop into greased muffin tins (I am not the tidiest dolloper!, and recipe said it would make 12, I only managed 11)

Nicely baked and brown, and some are deformed, still taste the same, believe me!

Cool.  As in cool on a wire rack, not wow these look cool, as they certainly don't look that great, but they are YUM!

Recipe
2 eggs
6 Tbsp oil
1/4 C sugar
1 & 1/2 C milk
2 C plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries, blackcurrants or chopped apple
Icing sugar, to dust (I didn't)

Beat eggs, oil, milk and sugar together in a bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into egg mixture.
Add fruit and mix LIGHTLY to just combine.
Spoon mixture into greased muffin or patty tins.  Bake at 200 deg. celcius for 15 minutes, our until golden.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Family Friday - A day late

Yes, I am a day late with my Family Friday post.
Why is that one might ask?
Because being in a family of a size larger than 1, means a lot of things get shared,
like cold germs!

Yes, TJL who had the flu a couple of weeks ago, which I managed to avoid, 
caught himself a cold and then, passed it onto me.

Thanks Hon!

I felt it coming on Thursday night, TJL laid claim to our last lem.sip, 
so I had to try my late Grandfathers cold cure,
a shot of whiskey.

I don't drink alcohol.  
The shot of whiskey reminded me why. 
 It just tastes plain awful.  And while it gave me a great nights sleep, it didn't work.

I am a terrible sick person.
Man Flu, yes, I have to admit I am a huge sufferer of it.
The only job I managed to get done was to feed the calves, morning and afternoon.
The rest of the day was spent feeling very sorry for myself.
I was so 'hungry' waiting for TJL to bring our dinner home that I was nearly in tears.
Honestly, it wasn't THAT late, I was just being wussy.

 And then I read some more of my new book
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis with Beth Clark
Get your copy from Ama.zon here!

And I began to feel so GUILTY.

I was upset because it is the middle of Winter, and we get so few fine days when I can get out into the garden, and get washing done and hung on the line, and I was SICK and couldn't take advantage of it.

Today I realised that I should be so THANKFUL that I have a washing machine to do my washing, and a dryer, that I can use if I really need to.  I also should be THANKFUL that TJL did wash a load of overalls, and hung them out, and all I had to do was to bring them in at the end of the day.  And I should be THANKFUL that I have a garden that grows so many plants with relative ease.

I was upset because it took TJL so LONG to get to town to pick up our takeaway dinner.

Today I realised that I should be so THANKFUL that we have not one but TWO vehicles to take us to town (10kms away), and MONEY to buy takeaways, when I am not feeling up to cooking.  And I should be THANKFUL that I have a partner who is available to provide me with dinner when I am feeling not-so-good.  And even if TJL hadn't bought us dinner we have plentiful supplies of food in our home, so I wouldn't have gone to bed hungry anyway.

I was sorry for myself because my nose was running, and my head was heavy, and I couldn't breathe very well and had to get up at 3am and move onto the couch because I couldn't sleep.  And at 3am there is next to NOTHING on TV.

Today I realised that I should be so THANKFUL that I have tissues in plentiful supply (or nice soft toilet tissue for that matter), and I have such easy access to medicines (should I choose to use them), and I can make myself a hot lemon drink with honey with total ease.  And I should be THANKFUL that my illness is so TEMPORARY, and so minor, and so easily 'fixed'.   And I should be THANKFUL that we have a TV to fill in my 3am sleeplessness.

And so, Dear Lord, if you haven't understood me clearly and plainly, I am begging your forgiveness for my selfish, self absorbed complaining yesterday.  I am extremely thankful for everything You have supplied in my life, especially in my 'hard times'.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My thoughts - What I need to learn

I originally planned to label this post
Things I wish my mother taught me

But I'm 40, 
and to (continue) to blame my mother for failings in my own life is just plain crazy!

And so, two key things that I need to learn

How to express my sympathies
I received a phone call from my Dad the other night, and he told me that my Uncle is in another battle with his prostate.  Unfortunately Uncle has had so many operations that, due to scar tissue, they are unable to operate again.  This time he is on injectables, and I think Dad said that the Dr's basically asked him how long he would like to live (or something).  I may have misheard that part, or misinterpreted.  But it is not sounding good, at all.

I haven't seen my Aunt and Uncle for a long, long time.  Too long!  More than 5 years, but less than 10 (I hope!)  Growing up we were an extremely close family, my Aunt and Uncle were the parents of our only two cousins, and we lived in the same region, so get togethers were a regular occurrence. 

Of the four cousins, I was the youngest, then my sister, my boy cousin, and my girl cousin was the oldest.  Aside from our Grandparents, I really didn't share anything in common with my cousins beyond kids stuff, and the differences are more defined now we are adults.  I do send annual Christmas Cards to them all, and that is the extent of our 'regular' contact.

That said, I do have such fantastic memories of our childhood get-togethers, and my Aunt and Uncle are the nicest, kindest people you could hope to meet.  So my dilemma is/was, what is the appropriate response to hearing such news, especially when I really don't know the exact details?

My mother would 'ignore it'.  
Her reasoning is that contacting them would be like
'I felt I had to contact you because you are going to die soon'
and would be more upsetting than helping.

Hmmmmmmm.

I, however, have taken the bold step for me, and sent them a card with a letter.  I said that Dad had rung and told me that Uncle was in another battle, and I just wanted to let them know that they were in my thoughts and prayers.  I added that 'Don't let Mum and Dad know I pray, they will disown me :)', just for a wee bit of humour.
And I said that 'if there was anything we could, do to not hesitate to let us know'.

I hope that this was appropriate.  I really don't know!  I guess I am wracked with guilt in that I have not seen them for so long, but I guess that works two ways.

I only hope that it is just my mother that would interpret it in a negative light.


Being more hospitable

As can be read above, I am not great at visiting people.  
I am also not great at inviting people to visit us.

The greatest instigator of this is fear.  
Well I hope that it is that, rather than the awful alternative being that I am selfish and self centered.
Or it could just be that 'I like my own company best', but that really is not a way to live a fulfilled life, is it?  And if I admit the truth to myself, when I do actually get out and be social I do have a really good time.  I think I just get too comfortable lounging around in front of the TV and can't be bothered making the effort to go out and be social.  Lets face it, I have lived in South Taranaki for 4 years, and I have no friends here.  Not because no one asked me to be included, but because I chose to not make an effort to join in.  

I guess I think it is just 'easier' to stay at home with TJL than go out and risk people not asking me out again because I am boring.  I never actually stopped to think that perhaps I am boring because of the fact that I don't go out!
*LIGHTBULB*
And this is why I blog, because it helps me recognise and work on all of my flaws!

Anyway, back to the fear theory

Fear of imposing
I don't like to drop by unannounced as I don't like it when people do that to me.  Simple reason being that my house is usually 'untidy', my bathroom is 'unclean',  and I always have plans in my head of what I will do that day, and now their visit is interrupting them (when truth be told my plans are very rarely the kind that can't be interrupted!).

Way around it.

 Let them know I/We are going to be in the area ahead of time so they can be prepared for us coming over, if they are ok with it.
Get a schedule for tidying and cleaning my house, and stick to it, and to realise people are more important than any 'plan' I might have (not that anyone visits any more, I don't exactly keep my feelings well hidden - work in progress, MJ, work in progress!  Step 1 - identify the problem!)

Fear of failure
If we invite people over for dinner, and my dinner sucks, what then?  I will be embarrassed and feel like a total failure, and my confidence will take a knock, and it's pretty low at the best of times.
People mightn't want to come over for dinner - fear of rejection!

Way around it.

Invite them out to dinner or lunch, at a restaurant or cafe, no stress about my cooking (although I can worry that the place I invite them to doesn't do good food and then I feel stink for recommending it - low confidence anyone!)
Or I can just get over myself.  So what if the food stinks, if it is totally inedible we can always get takeaways.  I just need to stop being so sensitive.
And so what if they say no!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And so I am going to set myself two goals.
1.  Visit M, or invite her and S out to lunch, next week, when I go into H-town to do a grocery shop
2.  Text T and see if she, and maybe S and L, want to go to a movie the following week (depending on what is on).

I can do it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wellness - Weight Gain

Admittedly I have not eaten that well for the last week (or so), but I have actually gained
0.9kg!  So I am currently 87.7kg

Whaaaaaat?
I should be around 86.3kg
*sulk*

Now I am 3 weeks behind.

*sigh*

Bright side,
better 3 weeks than 10.

I have done the whole
why? why? why?
Why was it so EASY to gain 1kg in a week when it takes so much EFFORT to lose 0.5kg a week?
Why, when I am doing quite a bit of physical work on the farm, am I gaining weight?
Why???????

I just don't get it.  
Really, I don't.

But,

regardless of whether I 'get it' or not, 
it is what it is so I just have to suck it up and get on with it.

Get on with no breakfast, have lunch, have fruit at 3pmish (today was fruit and 1 piece of toast with peanut butter), have dinner.  Fullstop.

Which is not making me a happy camper, 
as of right now I want a chocolate dessert with custard.
It won't hurt, will it?
Just once more?
YES!  IT WILL!
Dang it.

I just want to be a normal weight again.
I just want to feel 'normal' in public again.
And I am (finally) prepared to put the work in to achieve it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Total Home - Theme decorating

One thing that amazes me when reading blogs by USA bloggers is the amount of celebratory holidays, and the associated decorating of their houses, front doors, front porches, in such fun, entertaining, and welcoming styles.

NZ doesn't really celebrate much at all.  Christmas and Easter, majority being presents and chocolate, no real depth (in my experience).  We also have ANZAC day, which isn't really a celebration, more of a commemoration of soldiers, particularly WWI and Gallipoli.  We have Waitangi Day, for the Treaty of Waitangi, but that is more devisive than something to be celebrated these days.  Queens Birthday, and Labour Day, and that is about all.  Halloween is becoming bigger, but again, it is more about the lollies than of any real significance.

So I have decided that I might just make our entryway go with the seasons, plus Christmas, Easter, ANZAC Day, and possibly Halloween.  
That makes 8 designs a year.

Today I popped outside and took a snapshot of our house frontage.


How welcoming is this?  Can my scale go to the negatives?  It is awful, and I never actually thought about it until today.  This is what visitors see when they arrive at our house.

I repeat
AWFUL!

It literally screams 
GO  AWAY!

We have
Stacked up outdoor furniture,
 A broom,
Small shovel for picking up chicken poop, (plus actual chicken poop)
And you can catch a glimpse of our little black dog in the doorway.
Stella-D is most welcoming to all guests, if you like dirty little paw prints all over your nice clothes that is!

The only thing I like is the wee red tricycle, but it needs a bit of a revamp too.

So today I did a bit of internet searching on Spring ideas on how to decorate the front of our home.  Anything we do has to be removable, since we don't actually own the property.
I am going Spring theme, as even though it will be a month early, it's 2 months to late for Winter.

I came up with quite a few ideas that I like, which I have pinned to

Even though a few of the ideas actually involve hanging things from the front door, which just can not happen on a glass, sliding door, they would transfer to being placed on the steps.

My aim tomorrow is to head to 
and see if I can pick up some cheap fake flowers, but they still have to look good!
I have decided to try fake flowers first, as the front of our house is South facing, and gets ZERO sun, all day, every day, except maybe very, very, very late afternoon.

If I can't find fake flowers that I like, I have been researching shade loving flowering plants that I might attempt to grow in pots.

Lets see how I go on my first attempt at improving the entrance to our home!  Hopefully I have a nice update next Tuesday.


Meals and Munchies - Shortbread & Basic Quiche

I woke up yesterday (Sunday) and thought about my first day after having deleted my Facebook Account, and what I planned to do on my computer that wouldn't involve checking in on that website.
Then I remembered my new 'schedule' that meant Sundays are now social, and I wasn't going on my computer at all.  Gave myself a bit of a fright, but it all turned out great and I survived my second computer free Sunday.

On to meals and munchies Mondays.  The great thing about meals and munchies Mondays means that I have to start exploring new meals and snacks, thus broadening my go to recipe base.

First up is

Shortbread
Shortbread is one of 4 biscuits (cookies) that I make most often.  #1 is Afghans, followed by ANZAC Biscuits, Chocolate Chippies, and rounded off with Shortbread.  I definitely need to expand my regular menu!

Cream butter and icing sugar

Add sifted cornflour and flour

Knead well, it is a super crumbly dough, I find it a pain to work with.

Roll out and cut into desired shapes (in my case a 'gingerbread' man, and a (foundation for the blind) dog

Lots of men waiting to go into the oven (pricked with a fork)

And the dogs patiently waiting too (I did have trouble with their tails!)

Oooops, my oven may have been a bit hot, but they still taste great!

Shortbread Recipe
(From Edmonds Cookbook)
250g butter
1 C icing sugar
1 C cornflour
2 C flour

Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.  Sift cornflour and flour together.  Mix sifted ingredients into creamed mixture.
Knead well.
On a lightly floured board roll out to 1.5cm thickness, cut shapes as desired.
Place on a greased oven tray (I just use baking paper).
Prick with a fork.
Bake at 150 deg. celcius for 30 minutes our until pale golden.
OR
Roll out to 1.5cm thickness, and do the rest.  Once out of oven cut into squares while hot.


Basic Quiche
(Again from the Edmonds cookbook)

Start with 200g shortcrust pastry.  I made mine - cut butter into flour and salt
until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs (not quite there, but close enough!)
Mix to stiff dough with cold water.  Do not handle too much.
Roll out pastry
Line quiche dish (I cut too much off as you can see, but it all ended up ok) and blind bake at 200 deg. celcius for 12 minutes.  I pricked my pastry as I don't have baking beads, are now on my shopping list.

Filling = cooked onion (pic is of it raw :)

cooked bacon

mushrooms

eggs and milk

and cheese

Mix it all up with a bit of salt, pepper, and flour
pour into pastry shell and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until set

I had spare pastry so made a few bite sized ones.

I actually altered the original recipe a bit, so will put my ingredients in red.  Note, mine were a bit dry, so less egg and more milk would have been the solution.  Plus I don't accurately measure a lot of ingredients so mine won't be accurate, at all :)

Basic Quiche Recipe

200g shortcrust pastry
2 C flour
1/4 t salt
125g butter
cold water

Sift flour and salt together.  Cut in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Mix to a stiff dough with a little water.  Roll out very lightly and do not handle more than is necessary.
(Makes 375g)

Filling
3 rashers bacon, chopped (I used 6)
1 onion, chopped
1 C milk
2 eggs (I used 8)
1/2 C tasty cheese (I used about 1C of mixed Tasty and Edam)
Salt
Pepper
2T flour

Cook bacon and onion.  Stir in flour and cook until frothy.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens.  Remove pan from heat.  Lightly beat eggs with a fork.  Add eggs and cheese to saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.
(I just cooked bacon and onion, and added all the other ingredients in a bowl.  One must learn to read the entire recipe, not just do what she thinks is right.  Mine still tasted ok though)

Pour filling into pastry base, bake 200 deg celcius for a further 30 minutes or until filling is golden and set.
Serves 4-6 
(or in our case 3 lunches!)






Friday, July 20, 2012

Snap Shots

I have failed miserably at photographing our lives this week. 
It does make it hard to help TJL with stock AND photograph at the same time, but lets be honest here, I did not try that hard, and I just have to get better ant taking my camera with me all. the. time. 

I did get some photos of Mondays floods
 (through the ute windscreen, so they aren't that flash).
So, unfortunately I am limited to these following shots.
I will try to do better next week!

Floods on the way to Hamilton

Pasture under water

Pasture under water

Bulldozer in the middle of pasture, under water

Water lapping up to the edge of the road

Pasture under water

No, not a lake, pasture under water

At least the ducks were having a good time

It was no huge surprise when we found out we couldn't get back home this way.  The surprise was our detour added 3 hours to our trip home!

Oh well, at least we made it home safe and sound!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Family Friday - Spending time together

One of the benefits of being childless, is that TJL and I don't have to 'make time for each other'.  Considering we live and 'work' together 24/7, time together is not of a shortage around here.

I have to remind myself of this when I read articles that talk about the importance of couples making time to be together, to keep their relationships healthy.  The importance of date nights, and dinners, and switching off the TV and computers, to sit down and really communicate.

Sometimes I get myself into a wee bit of a stew over how well TJL and I are communicating.  We go out for lunch and we don't have a deep conversation, or at times any conversation at all.   Since my nieces visit we have been having dinner at the dining room table.  We can see the TV from there, theres not a lot of deep and meaningful conversations happening here either.

And so I worry that we won't keep up with each other, that we will grow apart and not together, that we will one day discover that we have nothing in common.

And then I remember

We are talking and communicating all. day.  long!  I know exactly what is happening over his work day, because I am either right there by his side, or he comes inside straight afterwards and tells me about it.  And visa versa.

We haven't spent the day away from each other, we don't need to 'catch up' with what is going on in each others lives, we already know.

So, as it turns out, we are the lucky ones.  We currently don't have to work hard on spending time together and communicating.  I know that when/if children do make an appearance in our home then things will change and we will have to make somewhat more of an effort.  But for the time being, its just plain old easy for us.  One less thing to worry about, and that can not be anything other than a blessing.


IVF

The IVF roller coaster has begun its final journey in our lives.  
I began BCP on Tuesday, which goes for about 3 weeks, so just living in the easy bit at the moment.
Provided everything goes well, egg collection is at the end of August, so early/mid Sept will be when we have our answer.

If it works, well, fantastic of course.

If it doesn't work, then we have at least 1 embryo for FET, provided it thaws ok.

If all avenues fail then will begin the (re)discussion as to whether we wish to proceed with Home for Life, or to live childless forever.

I have pretty middle of the road feelings about all of it.  
Even if we remain childless I am getting fairly inspired to get involved in orphanages overseas, both financial and hands on, so there are options out there for us, whatever the outcome.

And that is a great feeling!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My thoughts - Goodbye Facebook

I am taking the 'dramatic' leap from my Social Sundays,
where I don't switch on my computer at all,
and extending it to saying good bye to

Facebook
Twitter
MySpace (didn't use it anyway)
and Bebo (didn't use it anyway).

It was super simple to delete myself from Twitter, MySpace and Bebo.  Facebook, however, is a bit more of a challenge.  I have managed to delete most of my likes.  Apparently I still have 54 likes, but where they are I don't know (I originally had around 180, and it took me a long time to delete them all).  I have managed to delete most of my photos.  I still have profile photos, and photos that I have been tagged in to go.  And then I will start on my posts.

Why am I going about this the long way?  Because if I disable my page, I think it is still around, somewhere.  Which I guess isn't a problem.  I still might do it that way.  Undecided.

The big problem is that I still need an actual personal page for two other pages I am admin for.

My photography business page, which I may be winding up anyway, as I am getting more involved on farm this year, so I won't have the time to go and photograph events, let alone edit and upload all of the photos.

And the Taranaki Basketball page, which I plan to pass on to someone else in the committee, when I get a chance.

I may just set myself up another personal FB page that will just be blank aside from a name (real or fake?), make that one admin for the two pages, and then delete my current FB page.
Decisions, decisions, decisions!

So
WHY
am I doing this?

Basically I am tired of having 'shallow' relationships.  I would rather spend time deepening the 15 or so important relationships with special family and friends, than wasting time writing and reading shallow comments with 170 odd.

Don't get me wrong, I actually think Facebook is great.  I have caught up with people that I went to school with, 1 person in particular I really wanted to connect with again, and Facebook allowed that to happen.  It also means that the friend I did want to connect with, I have connected with in a
'hey read my posts and I will read yours'
kind of way.  I want more!

And thus I have plans to go 'old school' by emailing a small bunch of people in the hopes that we can form or reform deeper connections.  I am not going old, old school in posting letters, but I do plan to resume sending out
Birthday Cards
rather than the obligatory happy birthday FB message.

This may, or may not work.  Only time will tell, and I may just restart my FB page one day.

My one fear about leaving FB is getting 'left behind' by society, but actually, I currently would not mind that one bit.

I am keeping Pintrest and my blog, as they still have value for me (at present).

Times, they are a-changing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wellness - Beauty Routine

Beauty Routine

I have never really had a beauty routine, and I certainly have never stuck to one.  Believe me when I say it is NOT because I am so delightfully beautiful that I don't need one, in fact the opposite is quite true, I am very plain at best.  I'm not sure as to why I never invested the time into making the best of what I have been graced with.   It is possibly because I never witnessed my mother partaking of anything so 'trivial', a mother who wore makeup on very rare occasions, and never appeared overly concerned about her own appearance.  I guess I just figured that it wasn't what rural ladies did, and I am nothing other than 100% rural.

I'm now 40.  I noticed the other day how old and dry my hands were looking, and now calving has started they are only going to get worse.  And so begins

Hand moisturising time

Lanolin Skin Créme
The moisturiser I have been using is the Merino Lanolin Skin Creme.  I bought it a few years ago for TJL, since his hands can get extremely dry and cracked from all of the intensive outside farm work that he does.

It is a great product, and I like the smell, and the feel.  And my hands definitely feel a lot smoother and softer.  There is not much left in the bottom of the container, and when it is used up I have a left over container of

Gardeners Hand Cream

designed with gardeners in mind.  Once I have used up both Scullys gardeners lavender hand cream and the Merino Lanolin Skin Creme, I will make a decision as to which one I want to keep using.

At the moment I am applying the cream 2 to 3 times a day.  Once before I head out on the farm, so it acts as a kind of barrier to what the morning can throw at me.  Once again when I get back in from the farm, as I obviously need to have given my hands a good ol' scrubb.  And then the final application just before heading to bed.

Because I am doing this at least twice a day, I have now also included 

Face washing and moisturising

Oh yes-sir-re-bob.  I am not the best face washer or moisturiser.  Now, before you all think I am super grub, in the old days when I went out to work my face was washed every morning when I had my shower, and then I would usually apply a touch of moisturiser.   

Now I am home most days, I am only showering every other day, thus every other day my face had been staying dirty (Oh the shame!) because no-one was going to see me.  And moisturising became non-existant.

Since I am doing my hands, I am now washing my face morning and night as well.  I only use water, as a great aunt of mine, who had very youthful skin, said it was because her mother told her not to wash her face with anything other than water.  On my shower days I do use a Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub.  

And my morning face wash is followed up with a quick Olay Moisturizing Lotion, as again, I am trying to use it as a bit of an outdoor protectant.

And I have to say, since I have been working on making the outside of me be the best it can be, it has also boosted my confidence somewhat, I don't feel quite so down and dowdy.

Here's hoping that long may it continue!

Weight

I am now down to 86.8kg!  Yippee!  

I did have a seriously bad day of food on Monday.  I had a peanut butter ball at around 2pm, followed by Bur.ger K.ing for lunch.  We then discovered that the road home was shut, as was the bypass, meaning we had to extend our drive by 3 hours.  We filled up for gas, and I bought a TON of lollies, and a bag of potato chips, which we ended up being our dinner.

Not good.

I am pleased, however, that the two or so days last week where I was really, really 'starving' was because A.Flo was nearly upon me.  I had panic'd and thought that my diet was all over and I was going to go back to eating screeds and screeds, but it appears I have it mostly back under control now.

Phew!  Goal one of being 87kg for IVF has been attained.
Next goal 80kg!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Total home - Farm jobs

Today was spent doing mostly farm jobs , of which I have no photos of because I just didn't have a spare hand.

After the absolutely terrible weather yesterday (Monday) today started off a wee bit misty, but cleared up to be gorgeous Winter sunshine from about 8am onwards.  Sunny Winters day means get out on the farm and get jobs done, especially when calving is due to really begin in around 5 days!
*gulp*

Due to the heavy rain we had the cows in a small paddock close to home.  If we had left them out in their original paddock we would have had a large paddock turned into a muddy soup, instead of a small one, and when grass is precious it is better to ruin a small one than a large one.  

Because the cows were close to home, we took the opportunity to sort the springers from the rest of the herd, and to tag the heifers and re-tag the cows who have lost their tags over the past year.  When I say we, TJL does the sorting and tagging, I do the recording and drafting as per instructions.  It's mostly TJL.

The 15 springers, because they are close to calving, are now in a nice flat paddock, which will make things a lot easier should they decide to drop a calf soon.  While the remaining herd is on one of the remaining hill paddocks yet to be grazed.  Fortunately the steepest of the steep hill paddocks were grazed off much earlier.  I really don't like those paddocks, especially when the ground is slippery and/or the cows are heavily pregnant.

And while we had a nice sunny day we also split the 4 bulls up, putting the two 2 year old bulls in with the main herd, and we brought the two 1 year old bulls to hang out in the house paddock.

Tomorrow, provided the weather is as nice as it was today, the herds are due to be brought back in to have a quick drench (poured on down their backs and is zero with-holding, which does not affect their milk) for lice and general wellbeing.  And then all farm jobs should be done, until calving begins on the 20th, and then it's all on.

Meals and Munchies - Beef Casserole

Two days without logging on, it must be a miracle.  

Truth be told I didn't get to post yesterday (Monday) due to the fact we drove to Hamilton for TJL to do another sperm sample (same result which means ISCI is required, at the cost of $2K - *sigh*).  Overnight and during our drive there had been heavy, heavy rain and we saw a lot of flooding on the way up.  Unfortunately on our way home the Awakino Gorge was closed due to a slip, the alternate route of the Forgotten Highway was closed, also due to slipping, so we ended up having to do a 3 hour detour!  Strange, tightly winding road in the pouring rain and dark of night was not my most favourite ever driving moment, but we made it home, tired and spent, but safe.

And so, onto the Meal post that I missed yesterday.  I made a beef casserole during the week.  TJL had the flu, and while I don't like casseroles/stews/curries TJL does.  And I actually did like this one.  It even tasted a lot better reheated a couple of nights later.

Beef Casserole

1kg blade or chuck steak (ours was our own home killed beast)

Browning the beef in batches to avoid 'boiling'.

Beef plonked into bottom of casserole dish. (Dare I admit that I did eat a few bits.  I'm happy to have rare beef, even if chuck steak is a wee bit chewy).

1 large onion and 1 Tbsp minced garlic fried in same pan as steak.  Sprinkle over 4 Tbsp flour and coat onion and garlic well.  Then add 4 cups beef stock (slowly) and bring to boil.

2 cups of diced vegetables added to steak.  I used celery, carrot, and capsicum.

Add sauce to meat and veges.  Cover and cook in preheated 160 deg. celcius for 1.5-2 hours (or until very tender).

You can add the potato as part of your two cups of veges, but I did a mashed potato and put the beef casserole in the middle.  Mashed potato and gravy, YUM!

Beef Casserole recipe
1kg beef blade or chuck steak, cut into 5cm cubes
3Tbsp oil to pan fry
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1Tbsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp flour
4C beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2C diced vegetables eg celery, capsicums, carrots, potatoes
4 Sprigs fresh thyme

Brown the meat in 2-3 batches with the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Transfer to a casserole dish.  Gently fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes in the same plan.  Sprinkle over the flour and stir well until the onion and garlic are well coated.

Gradually pour in the stock and bring to the boil, stirring well, to make a smooth sauce.  Season to taste.

Add the diced vegetables and thyme and pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables.

Cover and cook in a pre-heated 160 degree celcius oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until very tender.

Enjoy!