Sunday, May 6, 2018

Friday - Catch Up

By Friday I am a bit over all this racing around getting things done and most of the time I am thinking "Yeay the end of the week." However it also means a day of catching up and getting things done.

It's rubbish day for us and every second Friday the recycling is collected as well. We are lucky in that we can burn all our paper rubbish either inside in the winter time or outside in the incinerate. We also burn all our tree trimmings and weeds that we don't want to compost. All our food scraps either go to our hens or into the compost bins as well as any grass clippings or ash from both fires. We recycle our plastic, paper that doesn't get burned, tins, aluminium and glass. Any clothes or items we don't want either get re-purposed, or if in good condition  given to someone or go to op shops. So come rubbish days we only put out the recycling bins every second week and a rubbish bag about once every two months!


So off to work like any other day, but Fridays are busy. There is the newsletter to finish and print off along with the "Whats on" window notice. Kitchen supplies need restocking and things that haven't been finished during the week need completing for Sunday.

Hoping no-one calls with other urgent needs I sometimes manage to get everything done by 12 mid-day but most Fridays I can be there well into the afternoon.

I do enjoy my work and feel like I have had a good week when I leave with my desk clear and know there is nothing waiting for me to finish sorting on Monday as there will be a new amount of tasks by then.

Once back home I will get on with any basic housework (washing, dishes - that sort of thing and give the living areas a quick vacuum just to make it look tidy for the weekend.

I will also check to see if there are any tasks that really need to be done, that I either didn't get done on the day during the week that they are rostered on to do, or if they really don't need to be done. I also attend to anything I may be procrastinating about.
You know, making dentist appointments or paying a bill; making a phone call about something or doing a task that just has to be done but you would rather it just went away on its own accord!

Starting the weekend with those little things annoyingly coming to your mind all the time, because you know they have to be done, but you have put them off - again - does not make for a restful and fun weekend.

And nine times out of ten once they are done you wonder why you kept putting it off in the first place! Then you declare that you will never let that demand fester away in you again, and with all good intentions you believe you wont let it, but before you know it - there it is again. If you have started down that road of 'good intentions' and don't really put anything in place to help you be honest and stick to what you want, you end up digging yourself into a slippery hole of  self loathing.

So for me I make Fridays my Catch Up Day so I break the habit!

This quote from scripture may not be about what I have talked about, but it certainly says to get on and sort things out and don't let what you may have said or allowed to happen come back and "bite you" so to speak!

Proverbs 6 - Warnings Against Folly
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—
    and give your neighbor no rest!
4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.

New International Version 


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Thursday - Treat Day

So, I try to stick to a healthy diet and it means I don't eat a lot of baking, lollies etc but Thursday's became my treat day.

Every Thursday during the school term we have Mainly Music at Church which is a time of music
and movement for preschoolers and their parent or guardian. They come to the hall and after being greeted and given name tags and a mark on their card, the programme commences with songs shown on a power point and they are invited to sing and move with the actions and sometimes props. The adults who bring/come with the preschoolers are encouraged to join in and participate. After half an hour the children have morning tea and then play under supervision while the adults get a home cooked morning tea and are encouraged to sit and chat with each other.

I tend to come in for the morning tea (and the home baking) and help where needed, maybe in the kitchen, chatting or doing some errands.

The first treat.

While Harry was still working I used to go and meet him for lunch every Thursday and we would go to Ronnie's Cafe in Matamata. It was somewhere he would like to eat at and as from very early on, he found his job hard  (but stayed there for ten years) this was for him. We would always have a flat white and Harry would have three crab sticks with chips and maybe a chocolate leamington. I would spend ages trying to find something healthy but because it was a sort of standard bulk cafe style food I would have to just choose something usually a bit stodgy but at least something I would enjoy.

The second treat.

The next treat was not really for me. But it was for my plants.

I collect all my indoor plants and give them a soak in the kitchen sink filling it to the brim once I  arrange them so they all fit in! They soak for about half an hour and then I pull the plug letting all the water drain away. At the same time I remove any dead leaves and check for bugs or anything then they all get put back.

I soak the deck plants as well in a large bucket, taking them out and letting them drain in a low tub so they don't leak all over the firewood under the deck.

The third treat.

When that is finished the deck gets a good sweep and tidy up. The plant soaking takes a while so I use this time to do the ironing in between swapping the plants around.

If Harry is not inside I will also have a favourite CD playing.

The fourth treat.

As I am our church's Session Clerk/Parish Secretary, once a month I prepare for and attend the Councils meetings and they are always on a Thursday evening. I must admit I can't really say that that is a treat!

But
I get to take a day off in lieu
So

The fifth treat.

They may not be big things for some but for me they are the little things that make up a good day!






Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wednesday - Kitchen Tidy

Well Sue as promised I will finish my week at a glance….
My kitchen before the clean

So Wednesdays are, what I call (echoes of Miranda there!) kitchen tidy days. No it’s not the rubbish, that’s Fridays; it’s when I spend an hour in the kitchen giving it a good spruce up. If it’s not already done, I remove all the dishes from the bench and sink and put them in the dishwasher. Filling the sink with hot soapy water I scoop out some of this in a cup and put it in the microwave. I heat it on high for about two minutes (sometimes it explodes in there!) and then let it ‘steam’ for a bit. Then I take it out and give the sides, roof, turntable and lastly the outside a good wipe.

Next is the fridge. Starting at the top, I wipe every shelf, one at a time, moving items from each shelf and biffing any ‘science projects’ – you know those things that are growing and you have no idea what they were originally. Actually now that I do this once a week there aren’t really any but there used to be before I got into this routine. The vege-bins get taken out and have a wash in the sink. Then the door shelves get cleaned last. Its surprising the dirt that sits in there where the milk containers go

Because of the plan of my kitchen the next thing I do is the stove. I take out the element supports and trays that go under them and soak them in the sink for a few minutes. They get a good scrub and get put in the dishwasher. I also put my dish scrubber in as well and by this stage I’m ready to set it off. I use homemade cleaning products so I spray and wipe down the stove top with my surface cleaner

By now the sink water is past its best so I empty it giving the sink a good wipe around as it empties and then re fill the sink again with hot soapy water. With a clean cloth I wipe down the whole bench moving items out from their spot as I work from one side to the other but not taking everything off at once. As I go I will wipe down the jug, toaster and other appliances and dispose or put away items that just shouldn’t be there. I take this opportunity to give the wooden shopping boards a scrub with the scourer and then rub a little cooking oil into them.

I keep an old tooth brush under the sink and use this to give the taps (the joins in the piping and where they come out of the bench) and all around them a scrub then shine them with a cloth. When I have emptied the sink the second time I scrub the plug hole with the toothbrush as well.

We keep our food scraps in a bucket in the cupboard under the sink (the go into our compost rather than the rubbish) so that part of our cupboards gets a good clean before I empty the sink again giving it a scrub.

When the dish washer is finished, I unpack it and then remove the filter system at the bottom and wash all of that. It can be quite gunky with food scraps and sort of wet fluff, so not a pleasant task, but great to know its clean when it’s finished. The door and seals get a scrub with a cloth. I don't use a commercial dishwasher cleaner but every now and again I run a wash with the machine empty but have  a sprinkle of baking soda all around and I always use white vinegar in the rinse aide part. As the sink empties again I give it another good wipe around and then actually dry it so it’s clean and shiny.
All the cloths, towels, my oven cloth and apron get put out to be washed even if they have been replaced recently and I set out clean ones.
Kitchen after clean













So now the kitchen is clean and tidy.













Today, being a few months later (than when I first started this week for you Sue) we are into the feijoa season, so I spent time gathering the fallen feijoas and bagging some up to leave out at the gate. We have done this for the past couple of years and people just help themselves to the bags. I am pleased that people take them rather than have them rot on the ground as there are always far too much for our family to get through.

I also prefer to gather my own so I get to keep the ones I like and also not have people walk all over them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tuesday - Fast and Pray

(I know, Sue, I'm running behind in the days .... but in the big scheme of things if anyone ever looks at this some other time they won't notice!!)

For quite some time now I have Fasted and Prayed for my family on a Tuesday and seen some amazing results. I get the Above Rubies  magazine and many years ago we were invited to set Tuesday as the day to fast and pray for families and although I don't do it every Tuesday it is definitely a day I focus on.

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: 
to loose the chains of injustice 
 and untie the cords of the yoke, 
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
 and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
when you see the naked, to clothe them, 
 and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, 
 and your healing will quickly appear; 
then your righteousness will go before you, 
 and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; 
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
                                                             Isaiah 58:6-9a 

Rend Your Heart 
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, 
 “return to me with all your heart, 
 with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 
13 Rend your heart and not your garments. 
Return to the Lord your God, 
 for he is gracious and compassionate, 
slow to anger and abounding in love, 
 and he relents from sending calamity. 
14 Who knows? He may turn 
and relent and leave behind a blessing— 
grain offerings and drink offerings 
 for the Lord your God.
                                                Joel 2:12-14

23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, 
and he answered our prayer. 
Ezra 8:23

All Scripture is from New International Version

God has come through many times so I keep at it. By lunch time when the hunger creeps in I spend time in prayer and just that seems to curb it away.

So Tuesday February 20th in New Zealand was the day that Cyclone Gita struck. We didn't get any damage here and the garden got a good water, but central New Zealand and especially the top half of the South Island, were badly affected with flooding, strong winds, power cuts, slips and even snow.

When I woke the place was eerily still; not a breath of wind, but later in the day, when I visiting the Parish Chairman to drop off his paper work for this weeks meeting, "Gita" arrived. The wind was so strong it moved a huge bean bag across the covered deck and the rain came in sideways. I thought to myself, "hmmm should have left five minutes ago," but then it calmed. I was able to get to the car and home with out getting soaked.

Before I came home, I checked out Carl and Sarah's section as I was told the builders had put up the sign. Sure enough, it was erected and a nice smooth concreted entrance shone in the rain. I felt a sense of excitement for them that at long last something was starting for them. Its been months since they first decided to buy,as no sooner has one demand been met, then another would arise. But now.it looks like their home is going to begin.

I also set Tuesday aside for doing our own sort of admin type things. I clear my own desk at home, paying bills,  checking accounts, filing paper-work away and seeing to any errands or phones calls that need to be made. I also finalize my shopping list then loading everything I need into the car, set out to get groceries and run all the errands etc. This day I wasn't sure what we were gong to get with the cyclone so I was keen to get out and home as quickly as I could. To start with I ended up working late as I had so much paperwork to sort, print and photocopy, not to mention my report for Thursdays meeting and the photocopier decided to make its own decision with some of the copying! In fact I was two hours late home.

So it was into Putaruru, post mail, pay the dentist, get groceries, then through to Matamata to the bank then The Warehouse for Harry and around to the Parish Council Chairman.

Once I was home safe and dry the rain seemed to stop and even the sun came out. It was a simple tea of chops, roasted potatoes and a large salad (all from our garden) and then to bed earlier than usual.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday - HBH

Mondays are my home blessing hour (HBH).

“What?” you ask.

Let me take you back to 2006. Our third daughter was getting married in the following January and we were blessed by some carpet from a family who were having their house re-carpeted but there was still plenty of life in the old carpet. Harry decided he would lay the carpet and underlay himself but as he was working that meant it would take a while. We moved all the furniture into the non-carpeted rooms and we had to live, work and prepare for a wedding around it.

At first I had thought it would be great to have the newer carpet especially for the wedding but once the place seemed to be tipped up-side-down I was a bit anxious – well probably 'a lot.'

At that time I also used to get a monthly magazine printed in Australia caked Notebook: Ideas for Living. They had an article that talked about a website with help in being organised, have good self-esteem and generally promoted well-being for women.
The magazine also had a forum that I was part of and quite a few of the women had started using this system and found it really great, so out of curiosity I investigated. The system is called Fly Lady – Finally Loving Yourself and is full of ideas, systems and encouragement started by a Christian woman in America called Marla Cilley 

I started the programme with the first steps she takes you through to put routines in place and I found through all the upheaval I found peace and order. She has many catch phrases and routines one of them being the Home Blessing Hour. Over time I have changed and adapted the systems to suit me and don’t receive the 10 or so emails a day but I certainly found her a huge benefit.

So Mondays I do a quick overall clean
  • Change sheets 
  • Clean mirrors and glass doors 
  • Wipe down bathroom and toilet fixtures 
  • Dust furniture with a feather duster 
  • Clean around the fireplace and burn rubbish 
  • Vacuum ‘centers’ of rooms 
  • Mop
This actually takes a bit longer than an hour but I certainly go as quick as I can knowing it’s just a general tidy up type clean. Deeper more detailed and thorough cleaning is done in a different way (By this system) throughout the year.

So I went to work this  morning and had a busy day but not getting a lot done. I had phone calls and visitors - more so than I would have (one lady arriving just after 12.15pm and talking for over half an hour) so I just closed up leaving the place in a bit of a mess to carry on tomorrow. I work from 9.30am to 12 and most days I'm there until 12.30pm, but it’s just for finishing off.

Once I had delivered and posted the church newsletter around town to folk who hadn't been at church this week, after work, I got home to find Harry mowing the lawns. I hung the small load of washing thinking the day seemed fine after all, but - no - it soon started to drizzle but I did manage to get it mainly dry.

(Do you really want to know all this Sue?)

Yes those are our chooks following Harry around as he mows. As soon as he starts the mower if they are out they will follow behind pecking at the exposed bugs etc in the lawn.

I spent the next hour or so focusing on the HBH and as usual it took slightly longer than an hour.

I have managed to get it completed in an hour but I think I get distracted a bit and of course Harry wanted conversation between it all. And we had a cuppa while he watches "Tipping Point"

I harvested more vegetables from the garden and fruit from trees around the front yard for tea and to collect before the winds are due tomorrow. Cyclone Gita is passing over New Zealand over the next few days and although I don't expect we will badly affected here in the Waikato like other parts of New Zealand I do suspect we will get some strong winds and heavy rain.


I gathered all the fallen peaches from under the tree and later cooked them up topping them with some tiny meringues we got in a Christmas gift box to make a little pudding. I had roasted the chicken pieces, the potatoes and zucchini hunks for tea and popped the meringue topped peaches in the oven to warm through as it cooled down. I would have liked some whipped cream to go with it but instead we had some peaches and cream ice cream which complimented it nicely.


And the sunset – nope not today.
It’s raining.

Sunday - A Day of Rest

Exodus 34:21 “Six days you shall labor, 
but on the seventh day you shall rest; 
even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest..
New International Version

Continuing my week of posting...

Today I got up early (as in, before 7.00am) to get to Church early, as I wasn't sure if our minister, Pastor John, would be firing on all guns. I left Harry sleeping. John has been suffering from bronchitis and lost his voice. I arrived just on 7.45am and entered to what I thought was an empty church all set up ready for our 8.00am service with some music playing.

Thinking I was on my own, I found the matches and lit the candles on the alter and then discovered John quietly sitting in the main church.

Checking the Service booklets I found I had forgotten to insert the service sheets for Lent. Being away last week on a course, I just didn't remember to ask Frances, who beautifully fills in for me, to check the booklets either. So with the help of a couple of others, who had now arrived, we were able to change enough booklets to cover this mornings congregation.

John managed to get through the service, so I only had to help with the serving of communion which I normally do.

Once the service was finished I changed the rest of the booklets and set up our Kid's Friendly Church Greeting table for our 10.00am Service

A lovely friend invited me for coffee at The Honey Shop so, as I hadn't had a morning cuppa I happily accepted. By the time we got back church was filling with people and I tended to welcome the children.

Each child has a name tag (to help adults learn their names) and their name on a chart that they add a sticker to, each time they come to church. When they have ten stickers they then have a certificate presented to them during the service and they get to choose a gift/prize from a box of goodies. We have been doing this welcoming table for  18 months now and some children have received the certificate for coming 70 times. Each time a new child comes and is likely to come again I will add them to the charts and make up a name tag. It doesn't matter how infrequently they may come we just want to make them feel very welcome to our church and service. The children go out to JAM (Jesus And Me), our Sunday School, after the first part of our service.



Arriving home I found Harry had hung the load of washing I didn't hang out yesterday so that was nice and we had a cuppa together.

Because I feel that I want to be obedient to God's word I always try to have a rest on Sundays. I also use it as my day of just preparing for the coming week.


So armed with my planner, coloured pencils and pens and letters I wanted to reply to, I headed for the comfort of our bed to quietly draw up the next week in my planner and write to a penfriend in England and a couple of family members.

I have always just loved receiving hand written mail and know that if I want to receive, I should give in return.

I even dozed a little - a day of rest - something that usually happens on a Sunday afternoon.
Its just something I allow myself to do in preparation for the week ahead and to recoup if I've had a busy week in the past.

However as sometimes happens, when I got up and joined Harry back in the lounge to watch the end of the news and weather, (got to keep up-to-date with the coming cyclone!) I had an episode of shaky hands. I decided to wander outside to get everything moving, smelt some roses
(loved this one)
and folded the washing as I took it off the line and brought it all in.
Still not feeling any better we decided I wouldn't cook tea and so Harry did - well we got some fish and Chips - something we haven't done for awhile. We are a bit stick in the mud people and so when we do get take-aways its always

2 fish
2 potato friiters
and a scoop of chips

And they still don't seem to know how to count and we get 4 potato fritters.

Its funny when we order fish and chips I have this anticipation of the taste and smell but nearly every time after about 6 chips and half a fish I am over it!

Anyone else have that feeling?

And then the sunset was brighter tonight; in oranges and almost a red. 

Everything around us seemed to glow in the warmth of it
touches of colour on houses and trees
as if grabbing the last of the warmth of the day...
but quickly it faded 
and night came in - and the earth rested.....



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday - Sleep in Day


A friend asked me “What did you do today?” and I was reminded of my mother saying something similar every Saturday when she would ring around 9.00am in the morning. She has rung me every Saturday for years and I would almost get a telling off if I wasn’t there to answer the phone. Sometimes it would annoy me but now it is precious. She would ask me what I had done that week and for me it would often be the same thing and so I would just say that. Now-a-days she only rings when she remembers as she is in her late 80’s and things skip her mind or she can't remember what she's done in the past so routines aren't quite happening these days. It’s then that I put pen to paper and let her know what I have done in the last week.

So instead of telling my friend, I said I would blog it with pics. Then she suggested I do a whole week.

So

This is for you Sue.

Saturday for me is ‘sleep in day’. I go to work five days a week and then Sunday I have to be up early for our 8.00am church service so Harry will leave me to sleep and even if someone does ring he will just check and if I’m still sleeping he will tell them, so I can sleep on.
And because Mum and Dad didn’t ring that didn’t wake me either. This meant I (well both of us really) slept until well after 9.00am - so a good catch-up on sleep.

I usually do our sheets on a Monday for part of my 'home blessing hour' but we are expecting the remains of a cyclone then, so I figured I’d do it today so it would get dry.

Dry?!

It has rained off and on all day and the weather report last night had said clouds and then a sunny afternoon … I’m still waiting to see the sun. Needless to say I got them mainly dry and with the help of our hot water cupboard where I put the folded washing, some on top of the cylinder, it will get dry without using the dryer.


I had a look around the garden and decided to harvest some of our rhubarb. There is a huge amount and I wanted to make some muffins as we don’t buy biscuits - I was craving something sweet. There was so much there I made two batches of rhubarb and ginger muffins; one to freeze and the other to use over the next few days. I stewed and froze two ice cream containers and a yogurt container full, for breakfast when the rhubarb is not so prolific.

(In the pic they are just freezing before I put the lids on)



And the garden…. (for you Linda)

We have kept at it over the summer and are already planning our winter crops. Being on a sickness benefit and my income, there really is not much to live on, so we are growing all our vegetables and some of our fruit.

Every day we are harvesting a cucumber or two and maybe a zucchini.



We have a forest of tomato plants and a large spread of pumpkins growing.


The sunflowers (the pic at the top of this post) are blooming and we have a good supply of capsicums.












Carrots are in three different stages - one we are just starting to use, one that will need thinning soon and one that is just coming up. This assures a continuous supply and there are beetroots, parsnips and peas coming up.







Unfortunately as we don’t use any sprays the caterpillars have had a feast of the brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) but I will sprinkle some soapy water on them to combat some of them and hopefully they will survive. Fortunately we have already cut the fisrt main head of broccoli off the plants so it is just the sprouting heads to come on.
.






Harry puts in a potato crop every year and this year he has already dug out a good supply he planted in spring which he has stored and is putting in the second sewing for the end of the season. This will hopefully last us all year until the first harvests of Spring plantings later in December. The bamboo sticks are to support the plants as they grow so they don't lie all over the ground. We are hoping this keeps the air through them so the blight doesn't get them.




So tonight’s dinner was all home-grown except the chops.












The sun setting was not as bright as some have been lately but never-the-less it still had some nice colours.

All in all - a good day.

And for that I praise God for the blessings He gives us.

Psalm 103 
1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


New International Version (NIV)