Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day Twenty Nine...Spring in Winter?

Our weather is all screwed up this winter. It's way too warm, and all my plants are confused.

Today I noticed our newest tree in the front yard, christened Tiny by the kids, is blooming. Its a gorgeous crab apple tree - lots of these are around Temecula, and they are all blooming right now.
Tiny isn't supposed to bloom in Winter and I hope we don't get a frost or a bad storm and damage Tiny.
So I will enjoy my crab apple today and the pretty white flowers and hope that we get to enjoy it again in the Spring!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day Twenty Eight...tastes like home...

I had to make a trip to Costco today - Ugh, how I dislike shopping at Costco. 
Think its the huge shopping carts, and the enormity of the items sold there. Everything is huge, like I'm shopping for a giant or a household of 20. Then you have to figure out where to store all that stuff, and after your 20th can of beans you probably don't even want to eat beans anymore. Plus its almost always crowded, I just don't like maneuvering my cart through throngs of people. Weekends are the worst, I swear most people go there to eat the free food.

But there are a couple things I do go in for so I try and make my trip quick.
Luckily today was relatively quiet, so I spent a little time perusing the isles just in case I came across something I didn't know I needed. Down the refrigerated section I came across these Gyoza Dumplings. OMG! YUM!
Straight away it made me think of my favorite little restaurant back home, near where my mum lives. Pins and Noodles, affectionately called Pins...

The fun thing about restaurants back home, especially in older neighborhood areas, a lot of them are old houses converted into restaurants. Pins and Noodles is one, with tables and chairs throughout all the "rooms" and a kitchen built "down the hallway". I love it! It has so much character. Its basically a pasta and asian inspired restaurant - odd combination but totally works, and they have the best Gyoza dumplings.

I took home the Costco version and fried some up for lunch - I could close my eyes and be back in Pins, that's how good they were. They also remind me of a Russian dish my Oma made, very similar, called Pelmini, one of her famous recipes when we were kids and one that has gone with her. Gosh I miss those days.

So, I savory the taste of the gyoza and smile at my memories of Oma - and also many dinners with my parents at Pins.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day Twenty Seven...Old school...

Thank goodness for the great weather today!
My dryer decided it was going to quit working on me today. And I can't get a new part until next week sometime. Of course I had just done all the towels and bed sheets. With no dryer, and no washing line. Bummer.

Gosh, how I miss my good ol' Hills Hoist!!

Americans, well at least in California, don't know the concept of a clothes line - I wonder if they even know what one is?!
When I moved here I was baffled - how was I going to get my clothes dry?? The thought of putting everything in a dryer was so foreign to me - and to this day I still rebel and hang dry a lot of my things.

I remember as kids swinging on our clothes line - around and around we would go - like a merry go round.
On hot summer days we would rig up the hose to the washing line, and lay underneath, water spinning around like some fancy water park. I remember washing all my Barbie clothes, and pegging them all up in a row.
Towels would come off all stiff and crunchy but smelling like sweet sunshine.
To me a washing line symbolizes a typical Aussie backyard - wouldn't be right without one!

Each time I go back home I find some gadget, some do-hickey that I can use to dry my clothes that I can't bare to put in the dryer. I have cute little spinning hangers, and the coolest over the door rack that I cant live without.
And today I was so glad I had my folding rack - at least I got the towels dry in the gorgeous sunshine - can't wait to fold those stiff crunchy buggers!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day Twenty Six...High on a Scent...

Today I am grateful for my job. For this full table of Scentsy. Because this means I am busy.

I love opening up those big white and purple boxes - filled with the delicious scent of Scentsy. I love lining up all  the bars, checking each warmer - labeling and packaging.
I love the home parties, where I get to make new friends each time. I love making deliveries and seeing how happy my customers are. I love the freedom this job gives me. I love the smells and the colors of the wax bars. I love the extra income that Scentsy provides me. I love the travel and the friendships I've made, the Scentsy sisterhood.

Not many people can say they love their jobs, I'm truly grateful I can.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day Twenty Five...3 Little Monkeys...

Today is a half day from school so we are home by lunchtime. Grace's friend Lindsay has also come over to spend the afternoon. They are always wanting to spend time together, and Lindsay is like an adoptive daughter to me.
So while I am making lunch the kids decide they are going to play outside and climb their tree.

Grace and Lucas learned how to climb our front tree a few months ago and have virtually been living in it every given chance. They even rigged a pulley and bucket system so they can pull up snacks and what not. I even found Lucas sitting up there one day reading a book!
Watching them in that tree reminds of the hours and hours my brother, sister and I spent in our tree.

My dad bought our first house when we were little kids based on the the ginormous Liquid Amber in the backyard.
It was a gorgeous tree, probably about 20 feet tall. Lush green leaves in the summer, perfect for hiding in. And the most stunning array of colored leaves in Autumn. Many days were spent raking leaves so we could jump in the piles! We even had a tire swing hanging from a low thick branch.
The 3 of us spent so much time in that tree, playing games, hiding from our parents and spying on the neighbors.
The tree grew spiky balls that when dipped in mud and left to harden made perfect weapons when fighting with one another. Every few years the cicadas made their appearance, singing their ear splitting tune and shedding their hard shells all over our tree. 

I'll never forget those years of climbing our tree, the hours spent laughing and plotting with my brother and sister. That tree was ours, our haven, our hide out, our place.
So, watching my kids play in their tree brings back so many fond memories and I love how they are making theirs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day Twenty Four...Racers, start your engines..

I had a great day today!! 
Another picture perfect day - cloudless blue sky, a crisp morning turning into a sunny and warm 86 degree day (30C). Started my day with a walk, that turned into some good laughs as we tried to jog part of our walk. How great it is to be enjoying a brilliant morning with a close friend and having a great laugh at yourself! so liberating!

Then on to a networking lunch -a great meal surrounded by like minded business women. Enjoyable and productive at the same time -my kinda meeting!
But the best part of my day was the spontaneous decision by Troy to take the afternoon off and surprise the kids and have a fun afternoon together.
He had heard the indoor go kart racing center had "kids drive free" on Thursdays so we drove over to check it out. You should have seen Lucas's eyes light when he realized where we were. Priceless.
Grace and I decided not to drive today - and it was fun to watch my two boys race each other around the track, trying to out do one another - true boy competitiveness. Lucas wasn't too sure at first but by the end was beating his dad. To see his enthusiasm and joy was infectious! He told me next time he's going to take me on - Better watch out boy, this chick knows how to drive!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day Twenty Three...Walkies!...

Well, I asked for weather and I'm getting it!! Monday was cold and rain, today is clear and crisp with highs later on in the 80's! Nothing boring about it this week.

Today I went on my brisk one hour walk with my girlfriends, and when I got home decided that I would continue my walk and take my old man out with me. Old man being Jack. Poor old Jack, with all his health problems is gaining weight and really needs his walks.
So I wake him from his nap, get his harness on and we are off!!
In the good old days Jack would run his whole walk, and he could go on forever. These days he gets half way around the block and he's pooped out - down to a stroll and then a nail drag. 
But its a gorgeous morning, he needs some exercise and I get to spend a little time with him - even if it's more of a stroll. The sun warming us, the fresh air in our lungs and doing something good for one another.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day Twenty Two...Office on the go...

Today was a busy day for me - a busy Scentsy day!
Coffee and lunch meetings ( my favorite kind of meetings! ) with two of my Directors - brain storming and chatting about the new Scentsy year.  Meetings with customers - taking orders and closing a party. Chatting with team members on the phone. Busy busy busy, all day long.

The majority of the day was spent in Big Red - my office on wheels.
I love Big Red - the seats are like big comfy armchairs. I have lots of room in the cup holders that hold cups and everything else I could possibly need. I have room for my phone and boxes of scents, my bags with business supplies and catalogs...my passenger seat holds everything from my handbag, to snacks and everything in between within my reach.

I drove from appointment to appointment, chatting, munching on a pastry, drinking my tea - listening to my favorites songs. I cruised around town on a beautiful day, peacefully accomplishing a lot. Grateful for being busy, grateful for my ride. It was a very satisfying day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day Twenty One...Rainy Day...

Today is cold and rainy and I love it!! Finally - some weather.

This winter has been really mild and at times way too hot for this time of the year. Most of the year it's so boring, its either hot or hotter. I miss the seasons that I got back in Sydney. I love a good storm, something that we hardly ever get. I miss lightning, thunder and hail! crazy huh??

I love cozy sweaters and scarfs, favorite jeans and boots. I love sloshing around in the rain, drops falling on my face.There's something satisfying about watching my wind screen wipers swish back and forth, trying to keep my window clear. I love wet sticky leaves in the yard, and my plants soaking up all they can.
I love coming into a warm home after being cold and wet.

Mostly I love watching it rain on my window, something so calming and peaceful about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day Twenty....Game Day...

Our family loves traditions. The little things we do daily, some once a week or once a month, even yearly.

We try and sit down together for family meals, asking each other how our day was, what was our favorite part, what was the worst.

I love our special dinners for the birthday person, or that we bake cookies for Santa every year. Watching movies such as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" for Thanksgiving and  "It's a Wonderful Life" for Christmas. Church on Saturday nights and pizza with half cheese half pepperoni.

But one I really love is our Sunday morning family game day.

Sunday mornings are for getting up late, for cinnamon rolls and hanging out in PJ's. And for playing board games together.
Now its not always pretty, quite a few tears have been shed, tantrums have been thrown and board pieces and pretend money have flown. And its not always me :)
But for the most part we have fun, laughing and learning - life lessons in a game.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Nineteen...It's Chili in here..

I love Saturdays. For so many reasons. You are free to do whatever with your day - all or nothing.

Today is a cold rainy day - the best kind of Saturday.
Today is a busy Saturday - I have to work later today, while Troy and the kids go to church.
We've had a productive Saturday with lots of chores getting done by all of us. That means if tomorrow is a rainy cold day we are free to do nothing. Best kind of Sunday in my mind!

I love today, being home together, warm and snuggly - busy bees, cleaning house. Music station on the TV, yummy Scentsy smells throughout the house. Making everything clean and shiny again. Feels complete.

Since I'm working tonight its a crock pot day. How I love my crock pot!! Everyone gets a hot meal, doesn't matter when they get home. Especially when I get home from work, I can have a hot yummy dinner.
Today its chili - perfect for this weather. So, I'm in the kitchen getting everything put together and Grace wanders in and wants to help.
I love how much of a help she can be - so I put her in charge of making honey corn bread to go with the chili.
I smile while I watch her get all the ingredients, measure, pour and mix. Reminds me of many hours spent in the kitchen with my own mum. Where did those years pass?? When did I end up being the mum in this story?! 

I'm grateful for those times in the kitchen with my mum, its made me a pretty good cook. I look forward to sharing those times with my own kids. Our family history passed down in those recipe books.

And I know I will be grateful tonight, when I get home from work and I can snuggly down with a big bowl of goodness.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day Eighteen...Not just another MLM...

Not many of us like change. Most of us like the consistency of our day to day. Our routine. We know more or less what to expect and its comforting. Me being the control freak that I am, likes to know whats ahead of me, I don't like change.

So when Scentsy announced some big changes were coming I freaked out. I like the way things are! Why change I say?!
Why do I have such a hard time embracing change??  I need to learn to go with the flow.....
I mumbled and grumbled last night as the news broke....picking apart everything, like a two year old refusing to eat veges...

But as I sit here today, in the peace and quiet of my home office, I take time to really explore my new changes and come to realize what a selfish brat I am - and how much these changes are going to affect my life - and in an amazingly positive way. My future can only get brighter!

How luck am I to work from home, to be my own boss, run my own company. To believe in my product and truly love it. To have the time to be with my family - or time to just spend on me. And Scentsy gives that to me. They want me to be successful,  and I need to trust in that.

I truly am grateful for this job, this awesome opportunity -  that I have built this for me, for my family.
So today I embrace this change, wholehearted - not knowing where its going to go, but happy to run with it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day Seventeen..How do you eat your Oreo??..

Wow, I just figured out I'm an emotional eater...! I got a feeling there might be quite a few posts about food.

Today was not a good day for me - nothing in particular - just woke up feeling blah.
A panic attack in the middle of the night had me down and despondent this morning. I'm a worry wort, stressing about everything. Some nights I can't even sleep properly!

I promised myself to be more conscious of my stresses and learn to deal better with them. I want more inner peace.

So I realize today, (who am I kidding, I've known about this forever), that I love to eat when I am stressed out.
Which if you know me and how I stress, I should be as big as a barn! The funny thing is when I get asked how I stay slim I say stress!! How can stress keep me slim when I eat!! I guess lucky genetics....

So, tonight I salute the mighty Oreo - creamy goodness sandwiched between two crunchy chocolatey cookies. Nothing super fancy - but so comforting!! 

I feel grateful for you tonight! I can feel the stress slowly melt away with each bite I take. Think its gonna take a few..... :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day Sixteen...Just Breathe...

I've been a little slack with the whole walking thing and haven't felt too good about it.
I really enjoy walking, and even though I don't need to lose any weight, some toning up would be good. But what I get most out of it is the emotional aspect of it.
I love feeling energized - I feel happier, bouncier, I feel like it sets the tone for my day. I'm just in a better mood.
So today I was able to walk again with a friend, her company I truly enjoy, and I think we both get some girl therapy from it!

Today was particularly gorgeous.  A super crisp 38F degrees ( 3C for my Aussies ) and only warming up to 47F (8C) by the end of the walk. I don't normally like the cold, but it was such a pretty day and once you start a brisk walk its really enjoyable.
The sun was warm on our backs and it made the bushes steam all around us as it warmed up the frost that was coating the leaves. The grass was white and  frosty with ice. Everything seemed really sharp with color, clear and fresh.
I love breathing in deeply through my nose - the cold air filling up and numbing my nostrils and throat. So clean and cold, so refreshing. I feel so alive!

I feel so grateful for being alive, for being able to take the time to fit in a morning walk, for my girl time with my friend, and for the cold crisp air that makes me feel so good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day Fifteen...Brothers & Sisters..

I love it when my kids get along. Of course they are normal siblings, get into arguments, and knock out fights. But for the most part they really dig being around each other.

When I got pregnant with Lucas, making him only 23 months younger than Grace, I wondered how I would handle that. But Grace was an awesome toddler and big sister, and adored her little brother.
Now looking at the them, with Lucas as tall as Grace, you'd swear they were twins.

I love listening to them play together, the chatter of the games they are playing - the role playing and their endless imagination. The laughing and giggling when they are being silly or up to something. Sometimes I really feel left out!
They love knowing what the other is up to - and they love helping each other out.

Tonight I asked Grace if she would help Lucas with a school project that he has - he needs to draw himself on construction paper, life size, and color/decorate himself in. Grace being my little artist was all over it.

As I stood in the kitchen ironing I watched them work on this - heads bent together, discussing how it was to be done, a little arguing here and there but mostly lots of giggles.
My heart just swells when I watch them like this - united front, working together. Brother and sister.
I'm so grateful for their love for each other, for their bond and for the fact that they are mine.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day Fourteen...It's a Boy!

I'm sooooo excited!! I'm going to be an auntie to another nephew!!

Today my sissy had her ultrasound, and we are all so grateful that the baby looks healthy, strong heart beat and right on track. I'm so proud of my little sis! But what we are all excited most about is that it's a BOY!

Here is another example of why I have a hard time being here sometimes. I wanted to be there with her at that ultrasound - instead she went on her own and I had to make do with being there via phone. Thank god for long distance on our cell phones!
Tina and I have become so close since becoming adults and even more so as we've become parents. I can't imagine my life with out her and I know she feels the same way as I do. I know she wanted me there too.

I still got to be the first one she told, and we both cried as she told me how happy she was to be having a son - the perfect addition to her family. Now she'll have one of each, one more thing we'll have in common and will be able to share.

I am grateful for the healthy baby growing inside her. And that there is a very good chance I'll get to meet him at the end of the year, if all goes according to plan!
I am grateful for the relationship I have with my sister. Strong, deep and unconditional. Love you Tina!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day Thirteen...Mad Scientist...

Today I am grateful for Science.

Grace is in 4th Grade this year and along with that comes the new concept of having different classes for 2 subjects this year. She has History with Mrs. Dunn and Science with her own teacher Mrs Erdmann.
She's always been an excellent student, but this year she's shining. And its not just academically, its more about who she is as a person. She's growing into herself - and I'm enjoying every minute - the good, bad and the ugly! And believe me, at 10 and on the cusp of all the hormones surging through her, it ain't pretty sometimes!
But to see her thrive at school and have such a passion for her new subjects is just amazing to me.

She just loves Science. Rattles off all kinds of facts to me all the time.
So when we got the note home saying that 4th Grade would have the chance to be involved in a science fair project this year it was both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But I know that Grace would get into it and with some guidance could really do something great.

I got all the supplies (including the bling!) and we have started to work on it tonight. 
Yes, we got into some heated debates/arguments at the beginning, but now we are on a roll and its really fun!
Watching her measure and label, write her hypothesis and observations. Concentrating and serious. - I'm having a hard time describing how I feel, except for incredibly proud.

We are staying up late to record whats happening - and I just love this moment in time - my child on the verge of a teenager - sometimes acting more adult than me! I love her passion and dedication, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for her.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day Twelve..."What would it take for you to buy this car today?"

Today I am extra grateful for "Big Red". 
"Big Red" is my 2001 GMC Yukon - my truck. We've had her about 7 years now and she's served us pretty well.
We've had a lot of miles and memories in Big Red. Family road trips, trips to the ER, happy hellos and sad good bye runs to LAX and the day to day back and forth to RCS.
We've done a lot of fun things in Big Red! You can see the love in the wear and tear on her.
Big Red is also the Scentsy mobile now....hauling wickless candles all over the Inland Empire and beyond. Couldn't imagine not having Big Red.

But today we went car shopping - Troy needs to replace his car and one of the options is for him to take Big Red and for me to get a new car. I was totally super excited to go car shopping - finally its my turn to get a new car!
We only spent 2 hours in one car dealership and I'm already almost over it. Big Red is looking pretty ok right about now!! 
As much as I want a new car I don't want a car payment. But those new cars are sooooo nice, with their seat warmers and fancy bells and whistles...And the the smooth (well, maybe not that smooth!) car salesmen, that would do anything to have you buy this car today.

So, we will continue looking, and I will have a new appreciation for Big Red. 
And if I do get a new car at least she stays in the family a little longer.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day Eleven...TGIF...

Today I'm grateful for a gorgeous day. I can't believe the weather we are having for the middle of winter - another picture perfect day.
What made today special is that I "took the day off". I actually consciously didn't work. Didn't really think much about work at all - didn't worry about housework or chores.
I took the day off and spent it with a good friend  and she took the day off and spent it with me.
We walked aimlessly around some shops, not really wanting for anything. Had a lovely lunch and some much needed girl talk.
It felt good to just sit and relax! We enjoyed the day.

I made a pact with myself at the beginning of this year - to be less stressed - to not feel guilty for "me" time.
We are only 13 days into the new year I know, but I do feel more at peace, more relaxed and I hope that I can keep this up.
We'll see!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day Ten...sugar. stat.....

My day actually started off pretty good. Only had to wait 20 minutes to renew my drivers license at the DMV. Got all of Grace's materials for her science fair project in one place. Had a nice lunch and network meeting.
But at some point my afternoon went down hill and my blood pressure went up.
And now I'm just down right cranky and moody.
All I can say is that I am grateful for the insight I had today when I bought a 6 pack of doughnuts.

Soft, luscious, sugary goodness....how I love me some doughnuts!!

A nice cuppa tea and a doughnut should bring me right back to a happy place. 

Yes, half is missing, I had that this morning, and thank goodness there is still one left for me for tonight!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day nine...A little sticky...

Since becoming a mum I swear my brain cells have diminished and my memory is shot!
I can barely remember the simplest thing - long term or short term. Basically I'm just getting old! ha!
I'm total old school too - paper and pencil kinda gal...so I carry around a day planner that I scribble appointments, notes, phone numbers, random ramblings...stuff to remember.

But the thing I love the most are Post-it Notes!!

I love the array of fun colors they come in, and all the different sizes! And now you can get cute pictures or sayings on them! I can't get enough of Post-it notes, they are my sick addiction, well, after chocolate and books :)
I love picking through dollar bins at Target or the craft stores, I love giving them away as gifts or prizes. I hoard them in my desk drawers...

They are my life savers really - stuck all over my computer, near my hand bag - in the car on the steering wheel - guiding me through my day to day. Like little paper secretaries, keeping me on track.
The kids use them now too - to write me a note -  mum, don't forget this or that....
Troy loves leaving me love notes on Post-its - and I've found them in the craziest places :)

What would I do without those super sticky, stick practically anywhere, little squares??

Tonight I smile as I sort through old Post-it notes, tossing ones that are old news, or tasks I've completed. And as one goes in the trash I'm busy writing a new one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day eight...lost in a book...

Ok, I'll admit it - I'm hooked on the Hunger Games Trilogy. I've pretty much check out of life right now!
I'm not motivated to do anything but read.

I love reading - ever since I was a little girl, my head has been buried in a book. So much so my mum would beg me to go outside and play. But I loved being swept into another world, imagining myself a character in those books.

If I could read for a living my life would be complete!!

Sometimes a book will come across my hands that I just can not put down. The Twilight Series was like that - dinner wasn't getting cooked, chores not done - mummy who???!
I resisted The Hunger Games as much as I resisted Twilight, thinking that I wouldn't be interested - they really aren't my style of books.
But I was wrong, again. I'm on book two, and find any excuse to pick it up. Just a chapter here and there, right?
So, that brings me to today - the weather here in Southern California is to die for - perfect sunny, warm winter days - warmer than we deserve for winter but who's going to argue with that?
My backyard begs me to sit in it - and what the heck, I work from home, the kids are in school and I deserve to sit in my gorgeous backyard with my head buried deep in my book.
Today I am grateful for the perfect weather, peace and quiet in my backyard and my passion for reading.
And I'll get back to work again soon - well,  maybe after book three!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day seven...Its a dogs life...

Today I had to take Jack to the vet - again.

For those that don't know Jack, he's my first "baby", that came into my life almost 13 years ago. Troy surprised me with him one day, Jack was just 8 weeks old, and if I had know what was good for me I would have sent him back quick smart!
No, seriously - I wouldn't give up the years of fun we've had with Jack, but its certainly been a roller coaster ride!

Jack, Jack Russell Alexander to be exact, is a Jack Russell Terror, I mean Terrier!! Thankfully for us he never dug, jumped or chewed - much. But bark?? Boy oh boy, there's no description for that!!
But if I had to be totally honest? Couldn't imagine my life without him, don't want to think about the day when he's gone.
so, its back to the vet again - another set of x-rays, another $300 plus...but if it means giving him some comfort and prolonging his life with us, I do it without a blink of an eye.
Jack will be 13 next month - hes gone almost deaf, he has the start of heart and lung disease -  now we are treating his bronchitis, hence the visit. 

I love this barking, shedding nightmare ( pain in my rear end! ) - I love that he's sooooo happy to see me at the end of the day, his tail wagging for me. I can even tolerate the whiny begging for dog treats, coz I'm a sucker for those big brown doggy eyes. I love his wet kisses, and when he taps me with his paw for more tummy scratches. He loves my kids and they love him. I love snuggles on the couch and when he sneaks into the bed in the middle of the night. His love is unconditional, pure - all he cares for is his water, food and love.

So, as we drive back from the vet today, I look over and hes so happy to be riding in the car, looking out the window - just so happy living his doggy life. 
And I realize how grateful I am for him - the whole furry package!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day six...Generations of a crepe...

I remember as a little girl spending a lot of time with my Oma. ( my mum's mother ) With both parents working our Oma took on the roll of caretaker for quite a few years. I have so many fond memories playing at her house. She was a seamstress so she had drawers filled with luscious silks she'd lets us play dress ups in, an ancient record player that took these tiny records that played children's nursery rhymes, and a fun backyard with an old greenhouse down the back to explore in.
But what I remember most about Oma's house was the delicious aromas of European food. With a Russian background Oma could cook up a storm like no ones business. and of course all from scratch. My mouth is watering just remember some of the yummy foods she made - time consuming, intricate dishes - recipes and ingredients locked in her head, that sadly have gone to the grave with her.
Some I've tried to replicate, with some success, others will just live in my memory, along with my beloved Oma.

One that is a family favorite and a Sunday tradition in our family is her pancakes. Crepes really. Thin and delicate, I ate many of those yummy pancakes at her house. Oma had a really old cast iron pan - completely black from years of use and being "seasoned". That pan never got washed, just wiped and re-oiled. She also had a huge fork that she wrapped with paper towel and a rubber band ( just remembering that imagine makes me smile today ) she would dip that fork into oil and coat her pan, wait for the right temperature and then pour some batter into the pan, swirling it around with a twist of her wrist.
She taught us to eat those crepes with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar, or sour cream and honey - my favorite to this day.
My dad also learned how to make those crepes, and as kids we ate them his house too.

Today, I make those yummy pancakes - instead of "the fork" I use spray oil. But the rest is the same - I still eat them with sour cream and honey, and now does Grace.
I can't wait for the day when she's making them for me, or for her kids - maybe even all of us.
I'm grateful for those pancakes, the sweet memories of my Oma - and for sharing this tradition with my children.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day five..soaking the battle wounds...

Today I decided it was good as any to tackle the jungle that we call a backyard. Its not a big backyard but definitely neglected over the last few months.If you know me you know I can't do anything in half measures, so I took to the yard like a solider enters the battle field. ( with Troy's words ringing in my ears before he left for the morning, "don't over do it" )  In thongs and welding a hack saw I start massacring bushes that had turned to trees, clipping hedges, ripping out weeds and raking a million and one leaves. I worked for hours, until the backyard is primped and pruned. 
As I bend to scoop up a pile of leaves I feel a twinge in my back and my thoughts are, "yup, I've over done it"
I've put my back out, pulled a muscle, all of the above.

I come inside and that's when I remember a good friend just sent me some delicious bath bombs! I'm gonna have a bath! I haven't had a bath in forever, maybe even years!
When I was single and living on my own in a little apartment, I spent many Sunday afternoons lazying around in a bathtub. Cranberries blaring on the stereo, wine in hand, singing at the top of my voice - adding hot water as the afternoon slips away. Oh how I've missed taking baths!
I run the water, add the bath bomb and watch the water turn a delicious shade of pink. I get my book ready and a bath pillow - I'm set! How wonderful is it to slip into a warm bath, my achy back almost sighs with relief.
I lazy in that bath for an hour, reading, daydreaming - relaxing! Why don't I do this more often?? Why am I always so "busy"??

Today I'm grateful for my body allowing me to still work in the backyard preparing it for Spring, I'm grateful for the yummy gift of bath bombs and for owning a bathtub - but most of all I'm grateful for the time to do nothing. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day four..prayers and technology...

The thing about bad news is you never know when you're gonna get it...today was of those days.
I woke up to the news that my step dad Warren had taken a bad fall on the job and was in ICU.
I got this news in a brief email from my mum and a text from my sister. Its now the middle of the night in Australia and that's all I got. These are the moments I get so frustrated that I'm not "home", I feel useless. I feel panicky, in my family there isn't many of us left, I feel so far away.
I need to share this, I need my friends - so I share on Facebook and the response is immediate.The prayers roll in and I feel the love of my friends meshing together, for me, its powerful stuff. And this is all through a computer!!  I feel wrapped up and safe and loved - so grateful for my friends - what would I do without them? 

But what I need most is my momma, I need to hear her voice - I need her reassurance. Even as a grown woman I need to hear my mum tell me its gonna be ok.

I have to wait until lunch time to get a hold of her and I couldn't more grateful for my computer and for Skype.
To be able to see my mum as well as hear her is amazing. Wish I could reach through the screen and hug her!
We've been using Skype for some time now but today it really made me think about how grateful I am that can see her - that even though I can't be there physically, it really does bring us closer together - I can SEE her emotions, her expressions. It amazes me how this all works - I can plug in my computer, and through some wires my mum is here in the room with me on a screen, on the other side of the world! Crazy!!
I don't know how it works and I really don't care, I'm just grateful that I have this technology, especially today. Even though we can be a street away or a world apart, we are still right here in the same room.

Thank you Facebook and Skype!

Update on Waz - he's still in ICU, they are making sure his spleen has stopped bleeding into the stomach cavity. They are hoping not to have to operate and remove his spleen. He has broken ribs and badly bruised his kidney. They hope he will only have to be in ICU for a few days and then they will transfer him over to a regular ward. Lots of love and hugs to this man, love him to pieces!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day Three....The under appreciated body part...

Like at the beginning of every new year I have a silent resolution that I make to myself, get in better shape.
Don't we all?! I always have good intentions, but end up slacking off at some point.
So, today I decide that it was as good as any day to start walking again.
We've been having an unusually warm, or I should say hot, winter but this morning was cool and crispy. Perfect walking weather. I was looking forward to it!

As I was slipping on my old joggers this morning I looked down at my feet and really realised how much we take our feet for granted. Such a huge part of who we are -can you imagine not having any?
And not just for stand and walking. Imagine not being able to wiggle your toes on a warm sandy beach, or crunch Fall leaves under your shoes. I love digging my toes into lush soft carpet or cooling my soles on the tile in my bathroom. I get pure joy out of painting my toe nails pretty colors!
We really do abuse our poor feet, not once stopping to be grateful for the fact we have them - that we can skip for joy, jump up and down with excitement, run a race, chase our kids or just stand completely still.
So today I am grateful for my feet, as ugly as I may think they are, ( stare at the shape of your toes and you'll smile ) I couldn't imagine not having them.
That being said I think its time for a new pair of shoes!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day Two - It all started with this guy...

One time when my Mum was out visiting she bought Lucas this little soft fish from Henry's.

And that's when it happened,  instant bond between boy and fish. Ever since, Lucas has been besotted with fish, his main love being clown fish and of course his main dude, Nemo.
Now, I've never been a fish lover, yeah, I know being Australian I should automatically love fish - not so much.
Can't take them swimming near me - don't like eating them. So Lucas's fascination with fish was kinda foreign to me. But we indulged him, at one point the boy was sleeping with over 20 soft fish! We've since come up with a creative way to have the fish near, and he now only sleeps with a select few favorites.
Over time I've come to love those googly eyed creatures and last October, for his birthday,  I decide to surprise the boy with a real live fish tank of his own.
I actually got really excited picking out the tank and all the goodies that go into making a cute (probably not the right word to use for an 8 year old boys aquarium, but anyways!) underwater paradise.
Came home, set it all up in his room and waited for him to get home from school.
The look on the boys face was priceless - more than I could have ever imagined - mum had done well - mum just made all his dreams come true.
so, as it goes in any household, the twice daily feedings are mums job - the once a week cleaning of the tank, yep, mums job...
But I actually like it! I've come to love those little guys and I know they love me! They basically light up when I walk into the room! (Never mind its usually feeding time)
I'm totally grateful for these fish, they make me feel peaceful,watching them swim around in their little world safe in my boys room. I've come to appreciate fish in a new way - and I love how they've brought me one step closer to my boy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day one - roses....

So why not start with actually stopping to smell the roses?!
I LOVE fresh flowers, and given the chance, would display some year round. Of course Spring time is my favorite time of the year with an array of gorgeous blooms at my finger tips - but a friend of mine let me in on a secret of hers, her White Trash Roses - her words not mine! and these I can get anytime...
Walmart sells gorgeous roses, real roses, roses that actually smell like roses for $10 a bunch! Usually in all colors, tight buds that open up and smell divine and actually last a while!
so, I treat myself quite often to those white trash roses....and take deep breaths of their rosy perfume as they sit on my kitchen counter.
I am truly grateful for their delicious smell - and this makes me happy :)
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