Friday, December 31, 2010

The Expected New Year's Eve Post

I figured I had to write something, along with every other blogger in the world tonight. It's the end of another big year, and I'm going to go all cliche on you and say "this year has gone faster than any year ever has!" I don't know why. Maybe because I changed jobs part way through, maybe because I spent a good chunk of the year totally psyched for life, maybe because as you get older time really does travel faster. These are all valid options. But anyway. This year has been another big one, which is mostly a good thing. A quick recap:

- We were not broke. Excellent improvement.

- We cruised through our second year of marriage like it was a piece of buttercake.

- I fell a little bit in love with gardening, crochet, cooking, Master Chef, and Mr Scheuster from Glee

- My Mum got sick. Really sick. And I experienced some of the purest forms of fear and uncertainty that I'd ever felt. Thankfully she's doing OK for the most part now.

- We became a part of the Paradox Church Community, and it's been challenging and amazing.

- We bought pieces for our slowly-but-surely kitchen renovation

- I met some incredible people and made some really excellent new friends

2011 is going to be different. I can say with certainty that there will be new challenges, and I even know what some of them are going to be. Having said that, I'm always amazed by how much a new year can surprise me, so mostly I'm excited to be surprised. So 2010, thank you. 2011... be kind :)

What I Did 365 - Day 71

What a joyful little harvest! Last night I plucked these sweet little babies out of my garden - well actually I brutally tore them away from their little cocoons of safety, but I hear that baby corns don't have a great memory so they'll get over it. Home-grown baby corns are my new favourite thing - they are SO SWEET and SO MUCH BIGGER than the little punnets you get at the supermarket. However I'm realising that I'll need to plant much more than 4 baby corn seedlings if I want a plentiful supply. Good tip for next Summer I guess!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 70

Poser alert!!! If you haven't seen me in person for the last 6 months, you wouldn't have seen how ridiculously long my hair has been lately. I finally achieved the super-long hair that I've been wanting to grow for the last couple of years... just in time for a very hot Australian Summer. While I love the look of long hair, it's a pain and I'm not good at looking after it. So on Wednesday I visited my amazing hairdresser friend Taryn, and we sent a huge amount of it to hair heaven. I miss it a little, and it's weird, but I also LOVE my new, much shorter hair! I know in the pic it's still looking pretty long, but in comparison to how it was before it's a HUGE change!

So that's my hair. Today's picture was supposed to be a really cute one of Aimee, Amy, Chris and me after a fun little coffee date, but the picture turned out so badly that I couldn't make anything good out of it during the editing process. Huge bummer! Perils of the iPhone I guess... I vote a decent camera and flash for their next model!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 69

Hooray for good-looking lovely couples!!! This is Jayne (Chris's housemate before we got married) and her Argentinian man Bruno. They're getting married in a couple of weeks and moving to Argentina! What an adventure! Chris is running audio at their wedding, so we headed to Jayne's place for dinner. Bruno cooked a DELICIOUS traditional Argentinian dish (I'm not going to embarrass myself by trying to spell it!) and we talked weddings. It was a lot of fun. When my friends are about to get married, I can't help but to get a tiny bit wistful!! Those first few weeks of marriage where everything is all new - they're absolutely some of my most precious memories. First time waking up next to each other, first holiday together, first night together in our new home - what an exciting time in life!! Anyway. Jayne and Bruno are lovely and I'm thrilled for them!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 68

One down-side to my otherwise pretty great job is the fact that I have to work over most public holidays. Monday morning I crawled out of bed and got ready for a very quiet day in the office. Before leaving for work though, I did manage to combine two great Christmas presents for the above result!! My darling Hatti gave me this cute wooden wheelbarrow planter, and the mint was purchased with a Bunnings voucher that Chris's brother Josh gave me for Christmas. Score! It was definitely a bit of a boost for me - I've been wanting to plant mint for aaaages because I'm so tired of buying it! Yay! Yep, still a gardening dork... (having said that, a large chunk of my garden is looking pretty grisly now that Summer's hit hard. Ouch)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 67

This year I swore I wouldn't put myself through the Boxing Day Sales... but all it took was one little text from Steph and I was soooo on board! Armed with Westfield and Myer gift cards, I was one of those people standing outside Myer Carousel at 10.02am fuming "Why haven't they opened yet???" My 'patience' was rewarded though - as soon as I burst through those doors, I made my way to the Christmas section and found the one item that I'd been hoping to find on sale, and I managed to purchase it before a line had even formed at the till. Triumph! I also managed to aquire shoes, jewellery, sunglasses, headbands... all that stuff that I convince myself I need an endless supply of.

We finished at Carousel around midday (amazing!) and you'd think the shopping would end there, wouldn't you? But after dropping Steph home, Chris and I then headed out to Rockingham to shop a bit more. And then Bunnings. To shop a little bit more. Crazy people.

The evening was really fun :) My parents hosted a family-friends gathering (another tradition!) and while all the 'grown-ups' did grown-up things, the 'kids' (aged 19-26...) played games in the family room!! Which finally ties the photo of Hatti above into everything! We were playing Articulate and that was her semi-bewildered 'describing' face. Nothing like a good action shot!

Apologies for the lengths of these posts lately - I just can't find a way to condense my stories, when my days have been so full of amazing stuff lately!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 66

This was Christmas dinner, and it was perfect. Christmas day was huge - we got up early and one flat tyre later, trekked out to Medina Hall for the Community Breakfast. Wow, what an amazing morning. The people who came just seemed to have such a great time - there were smiles all around, and uber joy when we were able to offer leftover food (cartons of eggs, loaves of bread, etc) to people as they were leaving. I was in the servery and Chris was seating people. We were able to give Christmas presents to all the kids who came, and the place just looked incredible. Yay. About now I'm going to admit that I wanted today's photo to be of this event, except I left my phone at home. Dang.

So after breakfast, Chris and I headed home and we napped. Yep, couple of oldies right here!!! Next stop was Chris's family's Christmas lunch - brisket, rolls, potato salad and baked beans. Yum! We watched a couple of Christmas movies and then headed home for our very own little Christmas. Honestly, I hope this becomes a new tradition of ours!!! We opened the gifts that we got each other - Chris way out-did me in picking amazing gifts! I was totally spoilt - I got a deep fryer (oh. gosh.), a Master Chef magazine subscription (yeeeee!!), a Hamish and Andy DVD (loveee them) and... a pasta maker! Which totally made my day! And it's red!!! After the presents, we just hung out, giggled at the dogs attacking their loosely wrapped Christmas presents, and had tacos for dinner. It was the best way to end the crazy two days of Christmas. And now I've written half a novel so I'm going to leave it there!

Monday, December 27, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 65

There is no competition - Christmas Eve is the very best day in the whole entire year. I love this day so much. My Mum's side of the family is Hungarian, and we've always done our main Christmas event on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. It's completely magic and I can't WAIT to have kids so that I can experience it through the eyes of a kid all over again. When I was a kid, it always started with family dinner at my grandparents' house - my Aunt & Uncle, our cousins, our grandparents and my parents and sisters would eat a huge feast while 'the angels' put up the Christmas tree, decorate, and lay out presents for us. Nobody was allowed to peek into the living room in case the angels were startled and flew away. We would wait, and listen for the sound of bells. It was sooo painful - we were just so freaking excited! Finally we would hear the bells and an old Hungarian song playing from the living room - it was the angels' sign that things were ready for us. This was such a magical moment - walking into the living room as a whole family and just looking at this lit tree, piles of presents underneath, decorations everywhere... Amazing. These days it's just my parents and sisters (and now Chris!) on Christmas Eve, but we still carry things out in a similar way - although we're the ones doing the tree and putting the presents underneath now! But after dinner, we still all listen for those bells. I love it. Every person should have Christmas like this.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was amazing by the way - ohmahgoodness. Strawberry daiquiris, cheesey bruschetta, tarhonya, chicken with the most perfect stuffing, cheesey layered potatoes, roast vegetables, honey carrots... Drool. It was a perfect night and I got some super great presents too!!! But the best part was just doing this all with my family - they're quite seriously the best family in the universe.

What I Did 365 - Day 64

Look at that big puppy grin. Doesn't he look like I've just made his day? Ha. Some mornings, Cupcake has this nasty little habit of yapping and shrieking and barking at me, non-stop, while I eat my breakfast - particularly if I haven't fed him yet. Now, all the experts say not to food your dog before you eat yourself, or they'll think they're higher than you in the breakfast-eating hierarchy. Most mornings I stick it out, but I do admit some days the piercing shrieks are just too much, and I cave and feed the dogs first. I know, terrible parenting. Anyway, Thursday morning was a strong one. Despite my ringing ears, I bravely sat outside and ate breakfast under the vicious beration of my puppy. Out of a random curiosity, I took a photo of him with his mouth wide open, and... what? That's not a horrible-looking yapping face - that's a big puppy grin! I took a whole series of these photos, Cupcake barking away, and now I have a little collection of Cupcake 'Smiling' photos. Haha. It made things a little more fun for me. And then I took 2 Ibuprofens for my poor head.

I should note that Thursday night was actually spent watching Love Actually at my friend Lisa's house, but do you think I remembered to take a picture? No, I did not. Which is a shame because that was definitely more of a highlight!!

What I Did 365 - Day 63

Welcome to a peek at another new Christmas tradition :) Last year, Pauline (far left) started having a group of us girls over at her place for catching up. We all were youth leaders together for a period when Pauline was the Core leader. We finished last year with a big Christmas dinner, and never found a chance to catch up again in 2010. However, I guess last year's Christmas was so epic that it became a necessary tradition! It was so fun to hang out on Wednesday night in this particular group again and catch up on the year, eating a delicious dinner and finishing with our second annual gingerbread house construction! Lovely Sam baked the foundations, and then we all went crazy with the candy sticking - and the immediate destruction as soon as it was deemed to be finished! I have a big place in my heart for traditions, especially at this time of year. It kind of makes Christmas feel like it's a whole season, rather than just one day in the year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 62

It doesn't look like much, but this is a respresentation of the 250 coconut & cranberry balls that I rolled for hours on Tuesday night!! We had a super naughty dinner of (delicious) KFC, and then I sat down within a fortress of dessicated coconut packets, chopped cranberries and condensed milk cans. And I ROLLED like nobody has rolled before! Hahaha. We got through an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and then we watched Elf, me rolling these sweet little balls the whole time! They're for our Christmas Breakfast on Saturday - we're expecting 250 people! Ohhhh my goodness, it's so exciting! Christmas is getting so close now... I can't believe in a few short days it's going to be all over. Christmas, I miss you already!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 61

Wow! Triple wammy! I know the project is supposed to be 1 photo each day but quite frankly I couldn't resist!! Plus I've skipped 2 days over the last couple of months, so I'm now considering myself caught up ;)
Monday night was another super great Christmas tradition: each year, just before Christmas, we get together with a few other families that I've grown up with and have a big dinner, catch-up, and most importantly... a Kris Kringle present swap!! The present swap is SO MUCH FUN. Everyone contributes one gift, up to the value of $5, and we all pick a number and take turns either unwrapping or stealing each other's gifts - the idea is that at the end everyone walks away with one gift. There have been some classics over the years; a pack of toilet paper, a West Coast Eagles cup, an Elvis poster, a box of Willie Wyps... This year the favourite seemed to be a pack of ridiculously long straws. The photos above are of my too-cute sisters modelling a few different items from the epic game, and also our friends Clare (Mum) and Katie (daughter) wearing some pretty good looking animal noses! Clare and her husband Jeff hosted the event (as they often do!) and have the most gorgeous, Christmassy house! Love it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 60

Sunday night was a night that I have been looking forward to for at least 2-3 months... bestie Christmas dinner! Last year Kat, Hatti and I started the tradition of doing a big Christmas dinner together (any husbands/man-friends included)! I've been planning what to cook for about 2 months. I wrote out my grocery list a week in advance. I wrote out a time plan for the entire weekend, in order to know that I'd definitely get everything done in time. I LOVE this event! The entire weekend was a blur of cooking and cleaning, and at 6.30 on Sunday night we had a table filled with food!! So what was on the menu? Between us we had roast turkey, beautiful roast vegetables, slow-roasted pesto lamb, the most amazing roast potatoes on the PLANET, bread sticks (garlic, chilli cheese, rosemary & sea salt, cheesey garlic), pesto pasta with garlic bread crumbs, and stuffed mushrooms. For dessert we had pecan pie, white chocolate & champage truffles, a chocolate mousse log (ohmygooeygoodness) and everyone's favourite candied pecans! Wow, massive food coma after that! It was such a fun night - we sat under the patio and it RAINED which was pretty magical. We played Uno, popped christmas crackers and wrote out a bunch of hopes for 2011. I had such a happy heart at the end of it. This is what Christmas should be!!

What I Did 365 - Day 59

JOY! JOY! Saturday was a day for bulk cooking and cleaning. We worked our butts off - me generally standing over a pot of melting chocolate, or rolling balls of ganache, and Chris blasting leaves, clearing cobwebs and vacuuming the floors. We decided to reward ourselves with a delicious dinner at Steel Tree, followed by a jaunt out to Atwell to visit my friend Felipe and his absolutely Christmas-licious street. Oh. My. Goodness. Words can't even describe the magic on that street! There's an entire culdersack filled with stunning Christmas lights, as well as miscellaneous houses dotted along the street. The culdersack was hosting a huge event - the road was blocked, there were people everywhere, there were kids selling fairy floss, sausage sizzles, and shaking tins for PMH. There was a teddy bear mascot, crazy Christmas music... what a place!! I loved it, more than just a little bit! It's just so exciting to see an entire street getting into the magic of it all. Most excellent indeed...

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 58

Tonight was our staff Christmas party. I work at an amusement park, and for our party we basically were let loose on the food & drinks at the Burger Bar, and the kiddie rides and splash pool. More fun than it sounds!! They even brought out one of our koalas for a cuddle. Chris couldn't make it, which was a huge bummer, but I still had a great time hanging out with Danielle (a lifeguard I only really got to know properly tonight), Felipe (a crazy Brazilian kid who does our maintenance admin) and Felipe's super lovely girlfriend Rachel! Felipe ate like 10 icecreams. The whole night was a reminder that while my job isn't exactly glamourous, I work with a good bunch of people. Danielle was supposed to be in that photo above but got cropped out when I Polaroid-framed it... sigh.

What I Did 365 - Day 57

Christmas shopping! Again! Yep, after last night's jaunt to Garden City shopping centre... someone very lucky is scoring something pretty large from Kikki.K! The huge-ness of that bag is a fun novelty - I photographed it with a regular cereal bowl for scale's sake, but being square-shaped half the bag got cut off at the top. What's not so fun is carrying such a huge bag around when you are 5 feet, 3 inches tall. I had to hold my arm up in order to transport this thing without it dragging along the floor. But... worth it!!

What I Did 365 - Day 56

Wednesday night was spent cruising at our friends' Simon and Kieran's place. We BBQ'd, hung out with Paradox crew, and Chris even jumped in the pool with Simon! It was actually a decently cold night, so the boys didn't last long! Ha. Chris does this dripping noise with his mouth, and a decent chunk of the evening was spent sitting at the table, watching all the guys trying to copy the noise. Yep, we are a cool bunch!

What I Did 365 - Day 55

What a cheery pile!!! On Monday morning I decided to get my wrapping all up to date for Christmas. I haven't finished shopping yet but it was really exciting to see my pile of presents. I LOVE giving gifts! I love the feeling of finding something that someone's going to love. Having said that, Christmas shopping can be super stressful to me because not everyone is easy to buy for! Eeep!

What I Did 365 - Day 54

My weekend was sooooo busy... so come Sunday night, this was about the most welcome vision I'd ever seen!!! This is my comfy bed, in our messy room, and I pretty much fell onto it and then I slept for a loooong time. Happy sigh. The end.

What I Did 365 - Day 53

 Saturday was a day for some SERIOUS Christmas shopping!! Yip! Mum took Steph and me to Whitfords - total treat seeing as it's suuuuuch a looooong wayyyy from hoooooome! I had so much fun - I just loooove shopping, especially when I'm picking out presents for myself! We found one gift shop that had not one, but two creepy almost-life-sized Santas on display. Steph agreed to pose with the slightly-less-creepy (read: non-dancing) model. Which is probably a good choice, because the other one would have blurred the photo with all his weird hip-swingin'!

What I Did 365 - Day 52

Friday night was the first time in aaaages that I got to hang out with Kat and Hatti as a trio!! We had a total blast! We checked out Hatti's lovely new home, then headed out to Sizzler for dinner. YUM. The food might not be top-notch, and you may have to line up for a while if it's busy because they won't take bookings, BUT that all-you-can-eat salad bar is totally worth it! I had nachos, spaghetti, salad, potato bake and of course, their beautiful cheesey bread (pictured above)! For dessert I discovered a very wonderful combination - bread and butter pudding with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. It's actually amazing and you should try it because it will blow your mind-hole! After packing ourselves completely full, we waddled out to my car and drove to Point Walter (a really lovely spot on the river), bundled up on a bench with a small blanket, and hung out. It was such a great night, I love these girls soooo much! We have fun.

What I Did 365 - Day 51

Last Thursday night I was home alone, but it was one of those frustrating nights where I needed company in order to avoid being completely lethargic on the couch. I hadn't planned anything for dinner, so I didn't have many groceries to cook with, and instead of kicking myself in the butt to go to the shops I pretty much just sat there and watched Modern Family. Around 9pm I still hadn't thought about what to eat, and begrudgingly decided just to duck out to McDonalds and grab something. I wasn't in a great mood - being uninspired and probably pretty tired too - and to my frustration I found, after lining up in drive-thru behind 4 other cars, that the drive-thru eftpos machine was broken. Flippin' fantastic. So I parked and lined up inside. Where I found the above sign, pinned to a board. My heart practically exploded! The Christmas Breakfast is an event we're running through Paradox - a free breakfast for the community on Christmas Day. It was so good seeing this reminder that I'm a part of an amazing community, and on Christmas morning I get to be a part of blessing the people who live around me. I'm looking forward to it a lot!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 50

Last night I finally made it to a Paradox gathering. I haven't been there over the last couple of weeks and I've really missed everyone. It was such a great night of eating and talking. People shared exciting stories about what God's doing, and we had a good time of planning for our upcoming Christmas Breakfast for the people of Kwinana. Wednesday nights are held at Brad and Lisa's house, and last night I felt absolutely terrible because I didn't let them know that Chris wouldn't be there. Lisa had baked him a beautiful birthday cake! We still sang happy birthday and Brad filmed everything, plus I brought the remaining cake home for him to work his way through...! The lovely lady in the photo above is Lisa, with the yummy cake. Isn't she stunning??? Lisa is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet! I've really been enjoying getting to know her better this year :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 49

What the heck is that???? It's a blueberry friand slice, fresh outta the oven. I know it looks anemic, but it is actually quite a lovely treat!!! I used to be really into baking - for our first year of marriage, you couldn't keep me away from the oven. I would bake some yummy treat at least once a week. And then on the 27th of December, our oven blew up. We were oven-less until April this year, and during that time I learnt to cope without the luxury of cooking roasts, pizzas, lasagnes, casseroles... and baked treats. So when the oven was finally fixed in April, while I relished the opportunity to roast and make pizzas and stuff again, baking somehow fell by the wayside. Sad! I want to get back into it, because a baking wife is a GREAT wife!! Ha. So last night I made this blueberry friand slice, which I've had in my recipe file for about a year, tempting me each week as I flick through and plan meals. Yay!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 48

This here is the face of the sneakiest man in town!! Yesterday (Monday) happened to be our second wedding anniversary, and also his 25th birthday. At 7.30am, Chris 'left for work', in his uniform and everything. An hour later, I left for work... and Chris sneakily came home. It turns out he took the day off to clean the house! At 1pm he completely took me by surprise by showing up at my work with a bunch of flowers and lunch for the two of us!! Nawwwww. It was such a lovely day. After work, we headed into Subiaco for drinks at the Subiaco Hotel (peach bellini for me! Yum!) and dinner at Hippo Creek. Oh, wow. We were Hippo Creek first-timers and had the Assaghai - basically big chunks of beef hanging on a skewer over a bowl of fries, with a little plate of garlic butter dripping all over everything from above. Soooo good. I felt a little man-ish getting so psyched over meat, but there you go. Good food, good day. Can it be our anniversary more often??

What I Did 365 - Day 47

What a sight for a new gardener!! I barely spent any time at home on Sunday, seeing as I was Christmas crafting with the family again - but I did duck home for an hour before singing at Mounties' Carols in the Park. When I stepped outside to see how my garden was doing, I was greeted with the ultimate reward - ripe, red roma tomatoes! This is my very first little ripe batch and I'm soooo excited!!! Singing at Carols was also really great, but sadly no photos were taken by me, seeing as I was up on stage!

What I Did 365 - Day 46

Have I mentioned that I adore Christmas? Tehehe. My weekend was set aside for Christmas crafts and movies at my family's house, like when we were kids. I even slept over on the couch! I had so much fun, and on Saturday I finally made the gingerbread man and his sugary friend from the Falalala Felt book - I've had my eye on them ever since that book arrived in my home! It was fun to just sit back and craft, and watch silly Christmassy movies with my amazing family :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 45

Friday night was a much-anticipated me-night! Chris went to flip some burgers at Jump camp for a few hours, so I had a night of taco salad left overs and early-season Gilmore Girls. I used to find it really difficult to do anything without Chris being at home for some reason - I could never inspire myself to find something fun and I'd just sit there procrastinating and counting down the hours till he got home. But these days, while I loooove spending time with him, I also really look forward to these chill nights where I can eat good comfort food and spend my time doing something girly! Me-time is valuable! After Chris got home, we tried these chocolate & vanilla cheesecakes by Gu. Ohmygoodness. Thank you for coming to Australia, Gu. We are in love. As if the dessert wasn't luxurious enough, it comes in the sweetest little glass jar. My new theory is that dessert is best eaten out of a little glass jar. Fun!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 44

On Thursday my little baby Cupcake turned 2 years old! Unbelievable. It's hard to imagine that when we brought him home as a teeny tiny little 8-week-old, I had a genuine fear that he would be trodden on and squished! I've always said that I wished I could have a dog that remained a puppy forever, and well... that's Cupcake in a nutshell. He's small, he's over-the-top playful, he cries when he's not with us, he falls asleep draped all over us... He can be super annoying, but I love this little guy to bits. I love the way he plays, I love his genuine adoration of our cat Ebony, I love watching him 'playing with his imaginary friend' on the couch, I love that he adores having his arm pits scratched, and I love that he jumps up onto my lap when I invite him up there. Happy birthday little pumpkin face!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 43

Meet Chester!! Chester is our Christmas tree, and though I *admittedly* had him fully assembled and decorated a couple of weeks ago, I decided to save the occasion of turning on the lights until December. So worth it. Last night (December 1) Chris and I got home from longer than usual days at work. I cooked the easiest meal I could think of - baked chicken in bread rolls - and we spent a night on the couch, watching Despicable Me. (Adorable movie by the way! Loved it!). After the movie, I switched off all the lights in the living room and entry way, and flicked on Chester's pretty lights, and we lay there on the couch, just watching the lights blinking and snuggling with the dogs. It was pretty magical. If you know me at all, you understand that Christmas is my very favourite time of year, ever. EVER. To illustrate, I'm here to admit that I'm disappointed that it's already December because now, in less than a month, Christmas is going to be over...!

What I Did 365 - Day 42

Every day we're getting closer and closer to the very best time of the year! Yay Christmas!! On Tuesday night I finally let my sisters, and also Crazy Hayley (who I used to work with at Mounties) convince me to sign up for the Mounties Christmas Carols Choir. Every year they put on the huuuugest Carols in the Park, and I've been part of it a few times. Tuesday night was the final rehearsal. It was so nice to sit within this huge choir, surrounded by people that I used to serve on the music ministry team with! Of course, sitting beside my outrageously immature sisters for the entire night, my focus did shift every now and then. My song book, as you can see above, was horribly sabotaged! Now what if, on Sunday, I start singing about Silent Cake? Slap on the wrist girls!

What I Did 365 - Day 41

Yummmm. Looking at this picture right now is making me drool! So I love recipes. I love collecting them. I love trying new ones. I love fiddling around with good ones. Did I mention that I love collecting them? A happy couple of hours, to me, is one spent on the Taste website, viewing their extensive recipe collections and hand-picking the most delicious ones for my very fat recipe files! Yep. I'm a food dork. But it's about so much more than just enjoying food. I get excited about the ways that flavours work together, I'm crazy over good texture. I don't want to be a chef, but I would LOVE to go to culinary school, just to learn all there is to know, and absorb myself in mastering the skills that I'm having so much fun with at home. Anywayyyy! Monday night was new recipe time! Chris played a game of indoor soccer and came home completely starving, in that man-ish "I need substantial food!" kinda way. Imagine his reluctance when I admitted that dinner was a vegetarian Pesto Spaghetti with Garlic Breadcrumbs. My man likes his meat. However, we both went nuts over this recipe - it was amazing! The herbiness, and the garlic bread crumbs... just... drool. That's all I can really say! Make it, I double dare you!!

What I Did 365 - Day 40

On Sunday, I visited Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. They were holding a huge music morning, with pretty much everyone in the entire worship team participating, and seeing as Steph was a part of it I felt I should do the sisterly thing and check it out. Right? Standing and singing along in the auditorium, I just got the sense of coming home. Mounties was the first Church I ever attended, and I worked there with the happiest heart for almost four years. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to completely let it go! Being at Paradox is exciting and challenging, and I'm not questioning my place in that community. But Mounties will always be a safe and comfortable family home. I guess it's a little bit like visiting my parents at their house, the house I grew up in. It's always going to be an environment where, no matter how long I've been married and living away in Kwinana, I can slip right in and feel a total sense of belonging.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 39

Best. Saturday. Ever.
From the moment I woke up on Saturday, life was insanely good. I went shopping at Kitchen Warehouse, one of my favourite shops on the planet, and I went to Kat's birthday BBQ. Great day. And then things only kept getting better. I went out with my sisters to Burswood for dinner, drinks at Alure, and Wayne Brady's improv show. Oh, I love that man!! We got completely dressed up for the occasion and had a blast. But do you think we ended our night there? Nope! Next stop was Gino's in Fremantle for a caffeine hit (pictured above) followed by Mojo's in North Fremantle to see our friends Endora rock their EP launch!! Seriously, a great night, made even better by the fact that I was with my amazing sisters the whole time. We don't make enough time to hang out as a trio, but we're hoping to change that. Yay!

What I Did 365 - Day 38

In my defense for the picture above, it was after 1am on a Friday night. After a full week of work!
So I've got a tiny bit of catching up to do. The photos are being taken, but the blog's been on the back burner this weekend. Oh dear! Anyway, on Friday Kat and I hit up Rockingham for her pre-birthday dinner and a ladies' night out. We ate Indian food and went shopping. Then we headed back to her place, made Kit Kat slice, and watched Glee and copious amounts of YouTube clips. At about 1 in the morning, we rejoiced over the fact that it was so late and we were still awake, like the crazy young things we once were! Tehehe... Then I headed home and crashed in bed. As all crazy young things do after a big night. Yerp.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 37

Tonight Chris and I both had plans - and yet we somehow ended up sneaking in a night together anyway! It was an unexpected bonus for the week. We had chilli con carne for dinner (it's our comfort food tradition!), watched some episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and headed out for icecream and a walk on the beach. Even though it was cold out there, the icecream was so worth it! I sat in the sand, and Chris mostly just paced around because he didn't want sandy jeans. Ha. Then we strolled along the shore, Chris skipping stones across the water, and me scouring the sand for freshly washed up treasures. It was so peaceful and beautiful. Happy sigh.

What I Did 365 - Day 36

Meet the family! OK, so while these people aren't blood relatives or anything, we do consider ourselves a bit of a family. This is a large chunk of people from Paradox, our church community. Last night we just really let walls down and had the most amazing, honest discussions. What a night! After a BBQ dinner and a long chat, we set to work building 'show bags' for some teens in the community - packed with toiletries, socks, underwear, those things that you kind of take for granted, and yet are such a luxury for some people. It was a fantastic evening. I really love these people, and I love that we're all passionate for the people of Kwinana. One thing I've learnt since moving here is that there ain't a lot of love out there for this little town...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Heart

I thought I'd take a quick break from posting all my 365s this morning to collect my thoughts... It's a bit of a read, but something I'm going to do anyway. So there.

It kills me that I wasted so many opportunities when I was younger and put uni on the back-burner. I don't even slightly regret getting married young or tying myself down with a mortgage, I just wish I had prepared for these years better by focusing on getting a degree when it was easier, and I was living at home with my parents. I went to a damn good school, and graduated with the marks to take on virtually any degree that I wanted to. Instead I got comfortable with the simplicity of working a 9-5, getting paid leave, and never having to stress about exams or assignments. Silly me.

Having said that, I'm happy. Yes, I have regrets and I wish I'd made some different choices, but I'm pretty sure everyone's in the same boat. I have an amazing husband. I have a comfortable house. I have 2 dogs that are crazy about me. I have the best family a girl could ask for. I have friendships that some girls only ever dream about having. I have hobbies and dreams, and I find excitement in the silliest little things sometimes. Here are some examples of unexpected things that make my heart feel like it's flying:

- Doing a full grocery shop, and having a fully-stocked pantry and fridge once again
- My dogs finding me sitting on the couch, and flopping down on top of me in a completely casual, comfortable way
- Watching butterflies fluttering around my slowly-developing garden
- Before-work phone calls with my Mum
- Prepping dinner in the morning so that it's quick and easy to cook that night
- Extended trade for grocery stores, and the knowledge that if at 7pm on any weeknight I realise that our cheese is mouldy, I can duck out to Woolworths
- Growing plants from seed
- Making list after list of small goals for my day/week/month/season
- Finding new recipes
- Nights at home - with Chris, or alone

Chris and I have been discussing lately the fact that so many people we know, particularly from high school days, seem to have so much - the high-paying job, the travel, the things that we, as humans, naturally want for ourselves. But at the same time, we have known for a while that we're completely happy, completely blessed, with our life together. Our cups are full. I think to a lot of people looking in from the outside, we're just another pair of un-qualified, overweight people working low-level jobs, who live in an ex-rental in an 'undesirable' suburb and wear cheap, crappy clothes. But from where we're standing, life's so much sweeter. Perspective is interesting I guess, and learning to be happy with what you've got is the most important lesson in life. It's the biggest cliche in the world, but it's true.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 35

I know, we're disgusting and we should never breed. Can you imagine how immature our children will be? Aaaanyway. Tonight was our first night at home together in what feels like forever. So we celebrated in style - home date night!! Chris mixed us some pre-dinner drinks (screwdrivers blended with icecream), we ate delicious quiche, watched Toy Story 3 and finally squeezed in some cheesecake too (in our eating-action-shot above. Hot.) We love home date nights so much. It's nice to just take time out to be the Donovans sometimes!

What I Did 365 - Day 34

I'm going to name my work of art above "Aimee and Amy with Green Tea". Sounds artsy right? Haha. Last night I went out for a 'late' coffee with Aimee, Amy and Lisa - 3 smashing ladies from the church community that Chris and I are a part of. I love Monday night coffees - aside from the usual fun of a group of ladies yabbering away, there can often be some kind of silly shenanigan to add a bit of spice to the night. Last night, as Aimee was finishing up her cup of green tea, she and Amy decided to try and eat a spoonful of the leaves each. I never knew how entertaining it could be watching two ladies choking down mouthfuls of tea leaves, and gagging as they tried to wash it down with water. Yep, last night we were 'those' customers in the coffee shop... Ha.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 33

Today was Hatti's Bogan-themed party! Woop! After yesterday's baking adventure, I scuttled over to Kat's place first thing this morning so we could ice and decorate. As you can see, we went with the Barbie Doll Cake - with a twist. Our Barbie, Jordyn, has a mullet and we also had to cut her legs off. Despite the rocky/gluey consistency, we were psyched with how the cake turned out!! The day was a lot of fun. After a few hours of partying with Hatti, we headed over to another friend Katie's 21st. What a busy (and great!) day! We're now super exhausted... whew!

What I Did 365 - Day 32

Oh baking! Saturday was a day for Christmas shopping (successfully I might add!!) and a day for baking. Kat and I put our chef's hats on and baked a cake for our other bestie - Hatti - to display at her birthday party. It was fun to bake together and make a complete mess of Kat's kitchen! However the cake didn't prove to be as good an idea as we'd initially assumed. After almost 2 hours in the oven, the cake was finally set in the middle - and rock hard on the outside. Ooops. In fact we ran out of time to decorate it in the afternoon. But at least the cake batter looked amazing, right???? And we still got a use-able (if not eat-able) cake out of it...

Friday, November 19, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 31

Awwww! There are definite perks to working where I do! One of those perks is the fact that I have a sister who works here too, in the wildlife section no less! She always has funny stories about the animals, and today on my lunch break I came to visit her. She was hanging with the 3 resident koalas and not only did I get to pat them, I got some great photos too!! The guy in the photo above is Rusty and he was very grumpy because of the heat. Despite his crankiness, he was pretty curious about the phone I was sticking in his face to photograph him with! My sister's job was to spray them with a bit of water occasionally to keep them cool. As soon as she turned on the hose and started spraying the tree, one koala, Tiny, bolted up from where he was stretched out on the ground and raced up the tree so he could get a hit of the water! So cute! I've never seen a koala move so fast...

What I Did 365 - Day 30

Hmm, 2 days in a row where I've posted a day late! Gotta get out of that habit! Yesterday morning I did laundry. Yep, one of the most exciting housewife activities in the world! Ha. After the clothes were hung and flapping in the breeze, I settled myself down under the patio with a plate of cinnamon french toast and chocolate milk, with a lovely foodie magazine. It felt so leisurely!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 29

Last night I.... wore my bestie to bed. We made these hot pink T-shirts with Kat's face on them for her hen's night last year. And I'm here to admit... I still wear mine. It's the most massive, comfortable T-shirt I own!!! So yesterday I actually did some really lovely things - I had a strawberry smoothie for breakfast, met Amy for coffee after work, had amazingly delicious tacos with my Paradox friends, and had a girly movie night watching Notting Hill. At least seven or eight times I said "I've got to take a photo when there's better light!" And yet... the photo above is all I have of the day. Sigh. So many opportunities wasted! It helps a bit that Kat looks like a zombie though. I enjoy that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 28

(Sepia for nostalgic purposes). Oh. My goodness. This guy is 2 years old today!!! We adopted Dog and his little bro Cupcake in February 2009, when on a whim we decided to race out to a petshop and satisfy the puppy cravings we'd been having since getting married a couple of months prior. Dog has been a complete surprise - I always had an idea of what a blue heeler would be like, and I did some google research too after purchasing him, but he does not live by the blue heeler book. He loves snuggles and attention, he's gentle (except when he's launching his full 20kg of body weight onto our stomachs!) and he's completely patient with Cupcake bossing him around. I know not all people are dog people, but there are moments when Dog bounds up to me, his tail wagging in a full circle (helicopter style!) that I judge those people. Yerp. Anyway, happy birthday big guy!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 27

Donut or doughnut?... So this was supposed to be a pic of my sweet little buddy Katherine (one of two besties) who got back from Melbourne yesterday! We watched our men play their indoor soccer game tonight (and WIN! Amazing!) When I say we watched the game... mostly we just talked, looked at photos, and compared iPhone apps. Yeah, we're so cool. Anyway, the plan was to photograph us, happily re-united. But I forgot. So I'm using this delicious Krispy Kreme donut to represent her. Not because she's circular, has a hole through her middle, or is chocolatey brown in colour. But because the gift of a sweet, sweet Kristy Kreme should never go unacknowledged. And it made me happy, as did the opportunity to see her again! She's just one of those people in my life who is naturally, genuinely fun to be with. We can spend an evening almost asleep on a couch in front of the TV and it's not even lame! Best friends are the best! (nawwwwww)
PS People who have Krispy Kremes in their hometowns (or even states) should never take it for granted...!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 26

It's Sunday night already??? Today I got to see my cousin's baby Sabine get baptised. ADORABLE. I went for a quick lunch at Grill'd in Subiaco with Mum and my sister Steph, and then headed home for a very slack afternoon indeed! Basically, aside from getting dinner in the slow cooker, all I did was watch episodes of Modern Family and Flight of the Conchords. Yeah, I have a bit of square-eyes syndrome now! After dinner, I forced Chris out of the house and we hit Baskin Robbins at the foreshore. We chowed down on our icecream and looked at listings in the window of a real estate agency. It was actually so entertaining, dreaming about better patios and front gardens, that we never actually made it down to the beach! Oh well. Mini-dates can sometimes be the sweetest, and tonight was no exception!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What I Did 365 - Day 25

Oh man! I can't believe the weekend's already halfway through! Pout. Tonight Chris is working at a gig (he's a sound guy in his 'spare' time) so I had Aimee over for dinner. It was really nice - I cooked chicken filo parcels and a pumpkin pistachio cake, and we watched Junior Master Chef and just hung out. Aimee is good quality. And she is so complimentary! Haha. After an evening with her I'm on quite an ego trip ;) I just love cooking for people. In a large group situation it can be a bit tough, but cooking for one or two people makes me really happy. I love people enjoying what I give them to eat, it energises me. On that note though, my energy is depleted - it's definitely time for bed!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 24

Yesterday was Friday. Normally on Fridays I meet Aimee before work, but she's been having such a mad week that we just couldn't do it this week. Not a problem at all! I relished the opportunity for a sleep-in! After a quick breakfast, I set to work decorating Chester (our Christmas tree). Amazingly, I actually got the job done within about an hour! Before heading out to work, I did my daily potter around and garden, and to my DELIGHT... my asiatic lilly had finally opened its first stunning flower! Yay! I bought this plant for $5 at the supermarket on a whim one day about six month ago. I planted it, and it never grew. Within a few weeks it was dead, so I pulled it up and threw it out. Over the Winter though, a brand new one grew, completely unexpectedly, in its place!! This one is a fast grower, and so beautiful. Love it when things turn out well in my garden!