Friday, August 30, 2013

Where Hope Shines


It is really easy to be someone who says no all the time. Once you have a little bit of practise and come up with some useful fall back reasons of why you can't do things, saying no is simple pimple.

Making the decision to be a doer and then following through on this decision is much harder.

I am someone who feeds off others, I am inspired by what others do.


When I put out the request this week to see if anyone would pay a fiver to advertise on my blog, with the money going to the Leukaemia Foundation, I really didn't know if anyone would. It was deathly quiet for a few hours and I thought it might be a little embarrassing if no one at all wanted to join in.

But the very inspiring easy peasy kids jumped in.

Nathalie was happy to pay for the spot and she thought it was worth much more than I, so I am giving her the spot for the rest of the year. THANK YOU NAT!  If you don't follow easy peasy kids already, you are missing out.

But Nathalie inspired me to do even more. Rather than just add a widget and get some branding recognition, I have now joined up for the Leukaemia Foundation Light the Night Walk.

It's simply a walk, held all around Australia with Blue, Gold and White Lanterns to represent people affected by Leukaemia.

I added my fundraising page to my little facebook page and was instantly supported by some close friends and a business who requested that I don't promote them - they just wanted to let me know that they too have been affected by Leukaemia. Another friend has also decided to join me, so I won't be doing the walk alone.

Good people surround me, and I am truly a lucky duck to have them in my life.

The Leukaemia Foundation use the words 'shining a lantern of hope to help cure leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma forever'. Hopefully one day, they will add Amyloidosis to the list so that people hear of it a bit more. One day.

On cold nights and busy weeks I do find being a 'doer' a tough gig, but I am yet to find something I regret saying yes to. Filling my days with things is certainly a better way to live, and a way to make sure that Hope does continue to shine.








Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seeya later Wave Zapper.



I remember back in the eighties when we all went out to buy Mums mothers day present and Dad decided we should buy her a microwave.

Great idea, we were all so excited.

Mum was not impressed. It was my first lesson that Mums do not ever want a kitchen gadget as a gift. Ever. There is never an excuse for this rule.

We quickly showed Mum how you could put chips in a bowl and melt cheese over them in TEN SECONDS!! Or heat a frozen jam doughnut. This was fun until you got to the jam and BAM. BURNT TONGUE ON FREAKING HOT JAM.

Us kids loved this new gadget for a few weeks.

But I have never used the microwave for much more than melting. There is the odd reheated leftovers and the kids like to have the instant porridge sachets for breakfast sometimes, but other than that I am not a big microwave user. It does seem that I am the only person considered to be a microwave cleaner in the house. Not only that, but no one here covers the food they put in the microwave. They just don't care, they are happy to see mould grow in that box and just shut the door quickly and zap that food as fast as they can.

I admit to still being a little wary of the 'waves' but I am also wary of the germs that seek out our microwave and consider it a long term residence.

I recently got the big plastic box down from its perch in the cupboard and started cleaning it again.

Then decided I am not doing it anymore.

Instead I am throwing it out.

Mr H has failed to throw it right out the door and instead has actually carried it back to the kitchen bench to use once or twice before I carry it back to the step before the bin - my dining room table of junk.

The wave zapper is no longer welcome in my kitchen. I might change my mind, there might be too many things that I didn't think of that I do use it for.  It may be that I have to buy a brand new one for us to use.

Let's see how it goes.

At least I won't be cleaning it for awhile.

Have you got rid of an appliance? Did you even miss it?





Image - this image is for a Microwave Jam recipe - I will no longer be able to make it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

When I grow up

Unlike most teens I was pretty sure of what I wanted to do and where I was going after school.

I was heading straight to an Economics degree and by hook or by crook I was going to be working in a big firm, a high rise building, I would be wearing swanky suits and life would be bliss.

Tick.

So it was that I found myself living that life in my twenties. I loved it. Then I got bored. Even in the more creative marketing departments, the finance industry got boring.

I get bored easily and enjoy moving on to new things.

Right now I am bored again.

But this time I am not sure what I want to be when I grow up and this time I have responsibilities to other people. I have little people who I want to have the best education I can give them, I have a house with a mortgage that needs paying. I have a husband who has a career too.

I am a restless sort at the best of times, this year I have been even more restless and part of the problem is just not knowing what my own answer is. I am pretty good at working towards a goal. But what do you do when you don't know what the goal is, only that you want one?

Travel is not the solution, but it certainly doesn't hurt. So this summer time we are leaving the city behind for the entire school holidays. Packing up the car and the dog and heading west.

We'll be moving to the country and eating a lot of yabbies, who knows, by the end of our trip, I might even turn myself into a runner and complete the track in the youtube clip above!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

See over there... there's an opportunity.

Can you see?

Over on the right, at the top at the side bar?

No, you can't see it if you are reading this in your email or a reader, you can only see it if you are on my actual blog page. (If you are in your email you need to click on the heading, the bit that is in bold at the top).

It's a little advert. Kind of. Is it advertising if no one pays for it?

I put it there because it is a project I am working on at work and I thought some of my readers might also be interested in it.

I also put up the picture about the Leukaemia Foundation. I hope none of you ever ever need their services. I hope none of you ever learns much about Amyloidosis, but if you find you have to, the Leukaemia Foundation will be able to provide support for services you need. Plus research. There is never enough money for research.

But there is space for one more tile to go over there on the right. Would you like that to be your business, your website, your project, your blog? I am only going to allow one tile, because I like white space and clean lines and less clutter, but here is the catch - you decide how much the space is worth to you. Maybe it's only worth a fiver, or maybe it is worth a whole lot more. Tell me what you are willing to pay to be sitting up there for a month. Then I will get you to donate that cashola to the Leukaemia Foundation. And I will be relying on your honesty - I won't ever know if you actually make the payment, but karma could be real and I wouldn't recommend gambling with gods of myeloma.

If you're interested, send me an email to claireyhewitt@gmail.com and we can talk turkey.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mushrooms: To Peel or Not to Peel.




It's the little things that can get people all in a tizz.

The humble mushroom. Just a little piece of fungus, can cause much debate among people who think whatever they do, is the best way. Or the only way.

Last week I was invited to attend a pizza masterclass where a couple of professional chefs gave out the tips on how to turn your home made pizza into something equal to that of what is served in a decent restaurant.

As they prepared the ingredients I noticed the chef peeled the mushrooms, because this is what I also do.

I couldn't resist and at the end I had to ask, do you always peel the mushrooms?

The short answer is yes. Professional chefs do always peel the mushrooms and usually pull out the stems, which they are most likely to use for another purpose. This was something about preparing ingredients to be at their finest and ensuring the final meal is as good as possible.

I peel my mushrooms because traditionally, mushrooms are grown in poo and that is one secret spice that I don't want in my food. My Dad was a fan of growing mushrooms when we lived on the farm, I remember them very well.

Commercial mushrooms are apparently mostly grown in straw, poo free, removing the need to peel your mushrooms or removing stems. Giving you much more mushroom to work with!

Nutritionally, the skin, as with most foods (but not chicken, damn it) is the best bit for you, so you should keep the skin on, probably.

Old habits are hard to break so my mushies are likely to be served skin free for some time yet, but what surprises me, is how many people feel so intrigued/annoyed/frustrated with the fact that I like to peel my mushrooms.

How do you prefer your fungus intake?




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Does the cold make you get a cold?

Apparently not. But time will tell.

Last weekend we headed off to Anglesea for a winter beach weekend. Being southern Victoria and winter equals packing bags with bathers, towels and snow jackets.

I knew the girls would want to play on the sand so I threw in their ski clothes thinking it would be perfect to play on the wet sand in.

We had a race to the water, running down the huge stretch of sand to the shore. (In case you want to know, I won)


I was donned in my longest puffy.

Hair styled by the ocean breeze.

The sand play lasted about four minutes and then Popps had her toes in the water. I expected squeals of how cold it was and running back to the car.

I had no towels or spare clothes with us as I was not expecting them to be such looneys and go in the water.



Immy attempted to keep warm but ended up getting her entire ski outfit soaked when she fell in the water.

Mr H and I started discussing who would have to be the one to run in should a huge wave knock Popps over when she was that far out (the answer is him because I had my long black leather boots on and there is no way he wants me to be buying another pair.)




It's only water and as long as they were stupidly happy I figure that it is these moments which make being a kid fantastic.






On Sunday afternoon we were heading home and decided to stop in at one last beachside town for lunch.

With the blue skies still teasing us I decided it would be lovely to eat our lunch at the beach and suggested that if they both promised they would NOT go in the water we could eat on the sand.

Immy promised instantly.

Popps requested toes only. Just tips of toes.

I said no.

No toes. Not even shoes off when on the sand.

We had no clothes left to change in to and no dry towels. I needed a promise of sand play only.

Silence came from the back seat and then a softly spoken.

"I just don't think I can promise such a thing."

And because Daddy is a push over when it comes to these two...








Guess which children had to drive home sitting in just their undies?

Do you let your kids risk getting a cold? (please someone say yes)




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

You can never share too much.

Well you can - you can over share information, but you can never be too kind, too sharing, too giving.
Unless it's ice cream.

You should never share your ice cream.


Last week I was chatting with someone who came to see me about starting a social media account for their business.

We chatted for a really long time and one of the questions she asked me was what rules do I use for deciding if I will share something?

Rules?

I suggested that I didn't really have any rules, but as we talked more I realised that I do. I have a big fat rule.

If I like something and I think that my readers or my followers or one other person would like to know about it, then I share it. If I don't like it or think my little blog community will roll their eyes at it then I don't share it - unless I am saying, hey, take a look at this doozy.

But sometimes I forget to share so today here is a little sharing:

At the moment I am:

Reading:    Caleb's Crossing - finally, I have wanted to read this for ages.
Eating:       Orange Jaffa biscuits from Aldi. 
Shopping:  These sweet journals will be for the girls to fill with their thoughts, words and pictures. 
Watching:  The Time of Our Lives on Sunday nights, ABC, 8.30. 
Wearing:    R.M Williams shirts for work. No one else has them and they iron really well.
Planning:   What we might do on our summer holidays this year. I would like it be here.
Thinking:   Too much about things that don't matter.
Wanting:    My skin to stop thinking I am 16.


Got anything to share?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Use the teapot.





There are lots of reminders about life being too short to keep things for 'good'.  Is there a  point in keeping the expensive perfume for those special occasions when you can just have a spray of wonderful every day even if you're only doing the vacuuming and emptying the dishwasher.

When we got married we requested an expensive dinner set and were lucky enough to receive it. I instantly threw all the old stuff to the oppy and we have only used the good stuff since, if the queen decides to visit she will have to use our everyday crockery as there is nothing for special occasions.

My best candles get lit at the oddest of times. They make me feel relaxed, their flame burning makes me think of others, there is no point leaving them as just something to look at and collecting dust.

Other than the odd black cocktail dress, my wardrobe items are always worn rather than saved for that moment that may never come along. 

With this in mind it is odd that I sit here typing with the most warmest snuggest woollen blanket in the house covering me. A blanket that I requested as a wedding gift seven years ago which has remained in the box waiting for the perfect moment to be given some fresh air. 

It only came out of the closet because the gas bill arrived in the mail. Mr H has commenced with new house rules about the central heating and they don't allow for turning the heat up!

I can not think of a single reason why I didn't get this out earlier. It is so clean and fluffy and warm, the colours are my favourites, light blue and white, and it still reminds me of how much fun we had at our wedding.

Life is too short - use the teapot, spray the perfume, light the candles, go out for dinner and use the good linen today.




Image: In case you were wondering, this is not me. Elk is one of my favourite brands and this is one of theirs.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You can ring my bell

Remember that song from Collette? You can ring my bellllllllll. Ring my bell!







It is stuck in my head as I type now. But I digress before I even get started.


Recently, we got a new bell. A door bell.

We used to have a fancy battery operated bell that was also plugged in to the wall at the back of the house so that we never missed a visitor.

Until a stream of My Little Pony remote control cars buzzing past it kept turning the chimes on and off. The bells, they were a ringing. So I switched it off and naturally forgot to turn it back on.

After missing a few lovely callers I switched it back on, but then the buzzer you press at the door started playing tricks. New batteries were installed as a simple fix, only it wasn't. The bell started to ring whenever it felt like it. Including in the middle of the night.

Our house is more long than wide, so people knocking politely at the front door with a gentle tap tap tap were simple not heard and left thinking I was either screening house calls or not home.

I needed a new solution and requested a real bell.


I love it.

Mr H picked it from Man Heaven and drilled it in right where I wanted it by the front door.

If you swing that rope hard enough I can just hear the bell over the kettle in the kitchen and won't be missing any more visitors dropping by.

EXCEPT.

People are shy, they prefer to softly announce their arrival rather than sing it to the street and no one is ringing my bell.

Those that do, give one little fairy shake of the rope that I can not hear over the oinking of Peppa Pig.

Standing at the door, the bell apparently sounds quite loud, but through brick walls and down the corridor I can't hear a thing.

Either this, or I no longer receive any visitors.

If you do happen to call in to see me, be sure to be all Collette about things and ring my bell loudly.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Not all about me

There are times when you just can't do everything on your own.

I can't get to see every show and I can't try every new type of chocolate.

But together we can all enjoy some new stuff.

Stomp just keeps on returning and playing all over the world because people love it. I can't make it to the show so Mr H and Popps are going ON. A. SCHOOL. NIGHT to see it together.

Popps attends tap dancing classes and loves heading to any live show when she finds out about this adventure she is going to be thrilled. I may use it as a good behaviour bribe for at least a week.




But I still have another double pass - who wants it?

The double pass (valued at $158) is for someone who is available to see STOMP on Tuesday August 20 at 8pm.

Stomp will be playing for eight shows only from 20 -25 August at the Comedy Theatre.

______  ______  _______  ______  ______  _______  ______  ______  _______  ______  ______  _


If a Melbourne show is not something you can say yes to, maybe chocolate is.

In the interests of all things joyful and saying yes more often, I requested not just a block of chocolate but FIFTY blocks of chocolate to giveaway from the team at Joyville! 

I think that needs red writing. 




Have you seen the new chocolate from Cadbury?

There are new sized blocks and new flavours out right now.

I didn't really like the Banana Candy and Peanut Drops block that we had, and I have not tried the other flavours available but I took a block to share with other parents at my parents and friends meeting at school and we all got excited talking about chocolate. Who likes which flavour best  (clinkers was a hit) and what did we think of the new wonky layout of the chocolate blocks. For me they don't break nicely and they are uneven shapes - this can make the kids fight over who gets the biggest piece. But the easy open package was a hit for when you are sharing a block of chocolate with a group.



However if you have a favourite you need to vote for it because Cadbury will not be keeping them all. The website is really fun - if you are a geeky lover of web design you will like it even more.

Five of you will receive a fabulous package with TEN blocks of chocolate from Cadbury to try. Ten blocks is a lot, so I want to know how you are going to share them.



Here is the dealio

If you want to win a double pass to see STOMP - leave a comment telling me why you want to.

If you want to win a stack of chocolate ($57.90 worth to be exact) leave me a comment telling me how you will share that chocolate around.

Or if you want both, leave two comments - one for each!

Comments open on Thursday 1 August 2013 and will close on Sunday 4 August at 8 pm 2013. That gives me half an hour before my favourite show is on ABC at 8.30. Aussie residents only. I am the judge and will decide the winner, no tantrums afterwards.





PS: My bloggy friends also have some Stomp tickets available so enter here and here if you want to increase your chances!



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