Archive for March, 2012

It’s a Mainly Music Easter

March 30, 2012

Little Princess is 1 year and 3 months (15 months old)

 

On Mondays and Fridays it is just Little Princess and Mummy.  The boys are at school and preschool so it is girl time.  We have split it so that Mondays are Mummy’s Day and Fridays are for Little Princess – or as much as possible, anyway.

On Friday mornings we go to Mainly Music at our Church.  This group started last winter and Bandicoot was devastated when his preschool days clashed with it.  This year, Little Princess has really made it her own.

Every three weeks the amazing team of volunteers changes the theme.  The last three weeks (including today) we have been warming up to Easter.  Today, once the music and food finished, we had some real Easter fun.

They had an Easter egg hunt in the grounds of the Church (they used plastic eggs that had been filled with little goodies – crayons, stickers, stamps and the like).  Little Princess (and several other of the little people) had a blast just playing with the eggs, taking them in and out of the big tub, rattling them around, rolling them.  I hadn’t realised how much fun they could be.

They also made this wonderful chicken paper-plate craft.  Again the gorgeous volunteers had done all the work, so it was just right for the average age of the group (we have mostly little people there this term).  Little Princess loves her chicken!  I hope it will last until Easter so that we can use it as a centrepiece on the table.

IMG_4154Cute, huh? 

 

And then, as if things weren’t special enough, they were each given another plastic egg – this time with a decadent truffle or marzipan filled European chocolate egg inside, as well as a little fluffy chicken.  WELL, you don’t need to ask Little Princess twice about chocolate.  In it went, all in one go!  She is a real little woman, that one – understands the importance of chocolate completely.  She just loved it.  We were given two more to bring home to her big brothers.  I am pretty sure she will do her Oscar-nominated woe-is-me pretend cry when they get them and we don’t have one left for her!

As we were leaving, she was given another parcel, made up by one of the volunteers:

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and inside:

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Yes that is a hand-blown, decorated egg (okay, mouth-blown, but you get the idea.)  How special is that?

 

I was speaking to one of the older ladies there.  She told me about a tradition in her family as her kids grew up.  For lunch on Easter Sunday they had “Russian Eggs”.

These were hard boiled (and I guess coloured, as she is an egg-colouring champion) eggs.  Each person had to carefully peel their egg and cut it in half.  If the yolk was right in the middle they needed to carefully scoop it out, but if it was on the side, it was even more tricky – they needed to hollow it out leaving a little egg-boat intact.  Then, carefully, they added in oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, placed the scooped out egg back on top and POP!  Pop it all in their mouth in one go.

Doesn’t that sound like a yummy thing to do?

They ALL asked for more!!!

March 22, 2012

Possum is 5 years and 10 months old

Bandicoot is 3 years and 8 months old

Little Princess is 1 year and 2 months old (14 months)

 

I had a very surprising experience at dinner tonight.  As I was preparing the meal, I sent a text message to a buddy of mine along the lines of, “Off to prepare a meal that noone will like.”

What had inspired this optimism?  My desire for a creamy chicken curry.

Curry is always a loaded dish in this family.  DH loves curry.  Especially if it is so hot that your skin peels off.  And it must be Indian curry.  I know that “Indian curry” is a very broad description, but he pretty much loves them all.  South East Asian curries, for example, are much further down the list (although quite acceptable for filling that gnawing hole in his tummy.)

Possum will not eat anything “spicy”.  By “spicy” he actually means anything hot – chilli, pepper etc.  (I have in the past, tried to convince him that he doesn’t like cinnamon doughnuts as cinnamon is a spice and they are, thus, spicy food, and he should therefore give them all to his mother, but have not been successful.)

Bandicoot doesn’t mind a tiny bit of heat – unless Possum reminds him that he doesn’t eat anything hot, in which case he will mimic his big brother.

Little Princess doesn’t eat.

And me?  Well, I used to like hot food.  Not as hot as DH likes it, but I quite enjoyed a kick.  Until I completely trained my self as food tester, taster and preparer for the kids.  Now I notice the tiniest strains of chilli before even the kids would notice.  I still love the flavour of chilli, but the heat not so much.

And generally I am not into “Indian curries”.  Again, I used to be.  Unfortunately, I think I ate way to many of them and I just can’t face them anymore.  Pair this with the difficulty of getting them prepared and served without fresh coriander (ie leaves, stems, roots but not the seed – aka cilantro in the US) and it is a bit of a minefield.  (I am allergic to cilantro.  No really.  Yeah, I know.  Weird to be allergic to a non-protein food, but I am.  And so is one of my sisters and, I recently found out, another person I know.  There.  There are three of us.)

I do, however, prefer them to Thai style.  Or maybe, again, there are just so many Thai restaurants around that over time I had my fill.  (No, actually, I have never really been a fan of the Thai style ones, overly.)

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted a nice creamy chicken curry.  Comfort food, not hot curry.  Unfortunately, my much loved Keen’s Curry Powder seems a lot hotter than it used to be.  This means either burning little heads off, or not getting the same amount of flavour.  I also have jars of various curry pastes in the fridge (or should I say, half jars).

What to do?

Well, I was in a bit of a grouchy-pants mood anyway, so I figured I would just use the curry paste and not care if I didn’t like it either.

I found some Mussaman Curry Paste.  Years ago – before kids, before Selwyn – I used to love this stuff.  I would stir fry beef, red capsicum and onion in it and serve it on rice.  These days – meh – take it or leave it.  (Definitely leave a traditional Mussaman Curry.)

This is what I did:

Fried off ~ 5 generous Tbsp of curry paste- this was how much I had left – in oil.  (For reference the recipe on the jar advised 4Tbsp of curry paste to 300g meat.)

Chopped up 2 chicken breasts (about 600g worth) into largish, bite-size pieces.  Tossed them through to sort of brown them a bit, not that you can with the curry paste in there, but you get the idea.

Tossed in 2 onions, chopped into large pieces (my “curry size” pieces.)  Softened them.

Added in 3 small-medium diced potatoes, 4 chopped carrots, a chopped eggplant (next time peel it first so Possum doesn’t notice it in the dish), a similar amount of peanut butter to curry paste, a 375mL tin of condensed milk and 3 Tbsp fish sauce.  I then layered 2 sliced zucchini on top (Possum doesn’t eat zucchini).  I stuck the lid on and let it simmer away for about 1/2 to 1 hour (when we were ready to eat.)

Note:  I used sweetened peanut butter ~aah bliss~  one of those things that I should be against, but I really love.  Otherwise I would have added the spoon of sugar suggested on the jar.  (Or maybe if I thought of it, I would have done so, too.)

Note 2:  I didn’t like the taste of the fish sauce as I was trying to go more for a creamy curry than a SE Asian one.  Not sure what I would use instead, ‘though.

That was it.  Serve with rice.

Possum looked at it and said nervously, “I have had this before and I don’t like it because it is spicy.”

By this time, we were all like little piggies with not just our snouts in the trough, but our trotters, too.  “*snuffle*snuffle* But it isn’t spicy!  Try it!  It looks like it should be, but it isn’t!”

He cautiously took a nibble then proceeded to inhale his entire meal.  Even Little Princess finished her dinner, pointed at her bowl and said, “More, more.”  Wow!

Seconds all round.

Definitely a win.

Technology and Gremlins

March 10, 2012

Regular readers may have noticed some posts missing.  There is a rather large chunk of our lives from December and January that don’t appear on the blog.  This time includes all sorts of adventures like Advent activities, travelling halfway across the country to stay with my in-laws, Christmas, New Year, a broken nose and several entries regarding the prestigious TDU.

Have I forgotten you?  No!

While we were away I did not have access to my home computer.  I also did not have internet access for most of the trip.  So I posted entries off line on DH’s work laptop, ready to upload when possible.  Most of the posts I had written were waiting for photo downloads from our camera, also difficult to do when we were away.

So it was all there.

Then we got back.  DH returned to work.  One of the blogging programmes was causing havoc on his computer (apparently), so he transferred all the blog entries onto a USB memory stick and cleared them off his computer.

Then the memory stick died.

What?

Yes, truly.  Just like that.  One day it was working finely, the next, nada.

Humph.

And so, all those wonderful entries are missing.

I will try to rewrite what I can for you, but it will miss that feeling of immediacy, that emotional element, be a little too considered possibly.  Still, they should contain some nice pics.

And, if it is any consolation to you, within the same two week period, DH managed to also lose his PC at work and the back-up hard drive (fortunately not at the same time!).  I am trying to keep him away from anything else electrical.

Our Lenten Table – 2012

March 9, 2012

Possum is 5 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 8 months

Little Princess is 1 year 2 months (14 months)

I finally managed to set up our dining table for Lent!  I am very pleased with it, and I think that the kids were pretty impressed, too.  I know I am a little late, it already being into the 3rd week of Lent, but there are 40 days (well, technically 38 days) of Lent, so we are looking at it as a journey.

Here are some pics:

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These are our “Sacrifice Beans”.  Each time we do something Lenten (good/kind/Godly/relationship building with each other or with God etc) we can pop a bean in the jar.  We will see how all our small actions add up.  And we might even see how God uses all our small actions to transform us and the world we live in.

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And this is our Project Compassion Piggy Wig.  I was brought up as Roman Catholic, but as a family we practice as Lutherans (like DH’s family).  This means that we don’t get to collect our traditional Project Compassion Box from the Church at the beginning of Lent.  Almsgiving still can be done!

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And these are my Lenten Countdown eggs.  Hard, wooden and lifeless, like us without God.  Each week we place another egg in an eggcup.

And they are all on a purple runner (well, just a piece of cloth, not even hemmed.)  Not sure how well that will go on the dinner table!

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And these are our prayer beads/counters.  We made these together (instructions ~here~).  Bandicoot made a blue set (of course), but they were missing at the time I took the picture (also of course.)

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Here’s the table all set up.  Oh yes, as soon as I got out the camera, the kids came and sat around…

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Hi Possum.

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Yes and hello to you, too, Bandicoot.  (This photo reminds me so much of a random picture I took of my sister around our dining table at home about *cough* 30+ years ago…)

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And Little Princess was there, too.  Maybe they were just hungry?      

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And one of Bandicoot smiling.  He does still smile.  He just usually pulls silly faces for the camera these days.

Purim 2012

March 8, 2012

Possum is 5 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 8 months

Little Princess is 1 year 2 months (14 months)

 

Today is the Biblical Feast of Purim.  It is the celebration of the deliverance of God’s People from the hands of the evil Haman.

I love this feast.  I find the story fascinating and inspiring.  Really, they could make a modern book or movie of it and it would get audiences in.  Of course, no need for that.  It is right there in the Book of Esther.

This year I read the story from “the oral tradition handed down through the sages” on www.chabad.org – it has details not recorded on the Megillah/in the Bible Book.  It is a really fascinating story – so full of intrigue, with so many twists and turns.  I really enjoyed the read.

I will read it again from the Bible tonight.

We also have a few other ways to experience the story around here.  Of course, we have this gem:

imageNothing like the threat of being sent to the Island of Perpetual Tickling!

We also have this little book that Little Princess was given at her Baptism:

imageIt is really beautiful.  It is a word book – a concept book about the story of Esther!

 

And finally, this year I found this one:

imageI thought with a learning-to-reader in the house and two more to follow, we might get some use out of it.

 

One of the mitzvahs of Purim is to feast.  However, this is the middle of Lent, and I have enough trouble engaging DH in festivals he knows about, let alone new ones.  It the past I have made hamantashen and I fully intended to do so again today (pity they are only for Purim, because they really are SO good).  It was, however, one of those days, so there are none for tonight.  I also decided to cook up a Persian dinner.  It went a bit pear-shaped when I discovered that the ingredients I thought I had, I didn’t have, and, worse still, forgot Bandicoot had a swimming lesson tonight.  I have made this

~~tantalising link to yummy Persian chicken dish~~

but whether or not it gets eaten will be an entirely different matter.

Either way, it is a feast worth remembering.  Each year I add a little more to our celebrations of the Feast.  Each year the kids understand a little more.

 

Happy Purim!!

Second Sunday of Lent 2012

March 4, 2012

Have you seen this site?

~~Lent Madness~~

Okay, so maybe you have to be Catholic to really enjoy it.  It is a totally crazy idea, and yet rather inspired, too.

The idea is that each weekday you are provided with a brief biography of two saints.  You need to choose and vote for your favourite.  At the end of Lent, one saint will have played off all the others and will be awarded the “Golden Halo”.

Nuts, huh?

I am definitely playing along!