Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Week In Review: Week 1


It was back to school around our house this past week, & boy was it nice to fall back into routines & structure. To have a semblance of normal in this crazy life we live right now. Life is anything but normal & calm for my family, so when we have that one reliable thing that is.. yeah, it’s good.
Ironically, two days before school was set to start we made some last minute curriculum changes. I was already under a lot of stress from the whole airport saga, & then as I sat down to finalise schedules for the week I felt led to take another route with our oldest. Crazy, I know. We sat him down & had a chat about it, & unrolled the new plans.

So, if you read our back to school curriculum choices & then read this post & think, “That ain’t right!” {you totally get that quote, right?} it’s because we made a small change, that we decided to trial for a couple of weeks before officially editing that post.
We kicked off day one with our normal morning routine. I know morning routines are pretty hot & big in the homeschool world right now, especially if they involve a book basket, but friends this is something my family has been doing for 12 years & the only thing about it that has changed are the books because we haven’t been reading the same one over & over for 12 years!

We decided to start the school year with the book of John. We don’t have a firm pre-planned scheduled for Bible reading this year, so we’ll make our way through John & then move back & forth between the Old & New Testament after that.

Our first read aloud of the year got swapped up at the last minute too, so we’re indulging in Ember Falls, the sequel to The Green Ember. We’re using the audio version of this as I’m reading a fair amount to various members of the household in a day. 

Who Is God is scheduled in place of a devotional with Jayden’s school this year. I’m not sure about it, in regards to being really at his level. We’ll continue on with it for a while & see how we feel about that down the road.

We’ve just picked up the Fallacy Detective where we left off before the end of last year. We still need to print out that pesky poster, but he seems to recognise each fallacy as he’s moving through the book..

We haven’t selected a poetry book yet this year, all though we do have one on the shelf I need to pull out. So for this week we simply read The Barefoot Boy which was the first poem of the year in Jayde’s Revival to Revolution Programme.

We also ended up reading Practical Happiness together one day a week even though it’s actually scheduled in Morgan’s World Geography Programme. Ha, that probably sounds pretty confusing, but it works for us & I’m able to keep it straight so it’s all good.

We also did the Classical Music For Kids together one morning, again this was scheduled in one child’s programme. Are you seeing a recurring theme here? Ha! I knew that the eldest would enjoy this too. We were only scheduled to listen to the first 3 tracks, so not very far into it, but still enjoyable.

Jayde jumped right in with his Rev to Rev this week, he was so excited to dig into the new programme. Lots of lovely new books & topics to be covered with R2R. We opted to go with The Signers portion, but not the state study.  We dug into the introduction of that book, which is a beautiful hardcopy with a small bio about each man who signed the Declaration of Independence. My great-grandmother use to tell us we had a direct descendant who was not only on the Mayflower, but who also signed the DOI. Not that she ever actually told us who they were.. I need to purchase a wall copy of the Declaration, we have it in book form which we read every July.

We also dug into George Washington’s World, this isnt’ one we ordered with our set as we’ve owned it & had on the shelf for some time. I’d had intentions to use it with this same child but at a different time but never got to it, I’m rather glad of that now.

We also started “story time” book, as it’s called at this HOD level,
Amos Fortune. There are some questions in the guide the reader is suppose to ponder {if reading alone} before meeting up with the parent. As we did this book together last week we each answered the questions based on what we gathered from the book. Most of the time we agreed, but there was one question about why Fortune was sad upon seeing his reflection in the mirror where we each differed.

He was delighted to start in on Hearts & Hands, all though we only read about  John Wesley & what led to the First Great Awakening. Lots of notebooking again this year, but nothing unachievable. The pattern/rotation has changed in R2R, but not in a bad way. His longer written narration is due on Mondays instead of Thursdays. He’s also suppose to copy bits of the poetry this year, all though I’m letting him type them up. He needs to practice his typing skills, & as we’re using the dictation this year I figured it was a reasonable trade-off.

Science was started too. I wasn’t sure we’d get to that as the objective was to cover half a week to get us rolling, but he was really excited to get involved in everything so I let him roll with it. He’s using the Inventors pack as it’s such a lovely compliment to the physical science this year.

I’m so-so with the Exploration Education’s Physical science, merely because I’d love a textbook to go along with it.. or just a book to read the info. I can see why it’s 100% computer based but with the Irlen in our house a book is always a nice thing to have. On the other hand the step by step pictorial directions for assembling/building his experiments is nice too. He built the racer last week, but he didn’t not complete the experiment portion of the lesson yet.

Morgan picked up with Week 7 in his HOD Geography.. yep, I told you we made some changes. He didn’t miss a beat & was a bit worried about it. With his severe Irlen he really needs the books in audio format & we can’t seem to round as many of the lovely HOD selections up in that fashion, so I spent the previous weekend recording all his readings for him, which allowed him to work as he would had we stuck with our origional choice for him.

He continued with
Word To Caesar, it had been a while since we’d read it {summer vacation & all that..} & it was nice to get back into the story, by pre-recording I’m getting to enjoy all the lovely books as well! He writes a one sentence summary after reading the Living Library selections.

Rather than copying the bookmark out of the back of our guide we created a file on the computer that he pulls up. While I love the idea of the bookmark directly in the book & the physical pen to paper we have to adapt some things & this is a simple solution. He types it up & sends me a copy of his sentence for corrections, I make notes of what needs fixing, if needed, & that’s that. He prints it all out once the book is finished & files it in his notebook.

I had assigned him to pick up with Fundamentals of Literature, but he was already ahead of schedule. I thought he had been, but as I wasn't positive I’d jotted it in his planner for him. In the end he had none to do that first week which was probably a bit nicer for getting back into the swing of our schedule.

Rather interestingly we had this family discussion over the weekend {no clue what started it} about The Dead Sea Scrolls & how not all sights claimed to be “real” in Israel are truely Biblically based. We also discussed many other angles of both topics, & then I mentioned that a friend was currently in Israel & if they reminded me I’d share some of her photos with them..

Well, this week in his Archeology book we read about these very topics! It was really rather funny after our discussion to see them pop up. In fact, he had a writing assignment on the Dead Sea Scrolls this week too. It wasn’t his best work, but it was well done considering our lengthy summer holidays.

Lastly he had a half dozen things or so to put in his Book Of Centuries. He has a few portraits each week & then also some things to jot on various lines in other areas. He had a variety of dates to deal with that were rather spread out based on the discover of those Dead Sea Scrolls.

We ended up saving all the video watching for Thursday, & the boys joined each other for that. Jayde's DVD had some info about events leading up to the French & Indian War on his video including some more info about The Great Awakening. It reminded me I had a couple of PBS Documentaries on the shelf I need to pull out for him.

Morgan is still working through the Reader’s Digest DVDs as they are scheduled through his HOD programme. We were a little confused on the DVD we watched this week as it felt out of place, perhaps because our minds were totally enraptured with the aligning of the Dead Sea Scroll reading & our family chat, or even the sights within Israel. But the DVD was more about how various religious groups celebrate the Easter holiday & so how many of them walk the path believed to have been the path Jesus would have walked on his way to Golgotha.

Thursday the kids also helped make dinner, okay actually pretty much everyone but me made dinner. Jayden made burgers & cooked them on his sandwich toaster, he was going to do them outside on the bbq, but we were in a fire ban & he was worried about that. {If you’re curious, a gas bbq is allowed, but you have to be sure it is 1 meter away from anything that could be considered flammable..} Morgan made fries in the air fryer & sliced up veggies, we usually don’t use bread on our burgers, but put them on salad on our plate.

Morgan didn’t work on science this week, as he eases back into things. Both boys did tackle math & worked on Bible studies, but I seem to have taken more pictures of books than children this week. I might need to work on that for next week!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Silly French Fries


These cute & cuddly little fries were a gift from my youngest last year. There are actually 5 in total, but two are currently hidden somewhere.. They seriously are adorable to look at, but we both said the same thing, "It's a shame they don't come out!"

Upon closer inspection I realised they were only held in by a few, very large, stitches in which they'd been tacked in to keep them "safe." I decided to clip them out one evening & hide all 5 chips around the house, leaving the empty "packet" on the hall table.

When the kids realised it was empty they asked what happened & Mr S declared that he'd eaten them. After the laughter stopped I suggested they look around & see if they could find them. It took them most of the day, but they did eventually round them all up, I'd put a few in rather obvious places including a child's bed.

Once they were all rounded up & the boys were distracted I managed to sneak off & hide them again. The funniest part of the second hide was that the ones hidden in some of the most obvious places took them the longest to find. I mean, who doesn't notice a giant smiling chip hanging on the front door, am I right?

Once they were located a second time the tables turned & I suddenly found these little cute potatoes in some pretty absurd places.. I went to brush my teeth one evening & found nestled in beside my toothbrush holder. Later, I found one in my pillow case. The following morning I discovered one in the door of the fridge, properly cuddled up to a box of almonds milk. Apparently Mr S had hidden that one in there.

Over the course of a week, the chips have been found & hidden over & over, which is why there are 2 currently missing! No one knows who hid them, or where on earth they are. In fact, it was only yesterday one of the 3 in the "packet" actually showed up. I was the guilty party of hiding that one & had totally forgotten I'd stuck it on the top case of a cook shelf between a book on Columbus & a Harry Potter book. I'd thought Mr S would spot it as he often sits near that particular book case, I guessed wrong.

Last night one was discovered hanging out of a child's shirt, it actually took those not in on the "hide" a good hour to discover it being there & even then they only realised something was askew when they caught said child & I having a whispered conversation followed by a giggle.

It probably sounds completely random & totally nerdy, but hey what can I say? Years ago when our almost 17 year old turned 7 we hid penguins around the house, little laminated paper ones, for his birthday party & the idea was to see who could find the most.. That game was such a hit with my kids that for weeks afterwards they'd play the random "hide the penguin" game. Then one day we moved on to a little Toad, you know the crazy mushroom guy from Mario.. I'm not entirely sure what started it, but that one's been going on for years.

Someone will find him hidden {or not quite so hidden} somewhere in the house & then claim victory before silently "losing" him again. He was once hidden so well it took us 3 months to discover him, & the only reason he showed up was because I moved furniture. He recently went through the washer & lost his lamination, & in all fairness I have exactly 0 idea where he is. I claimed victory shortly after the "washer" incident & hid him just behind a door frame that the kids walk in & out of a million times a day. Clearly someone found him, & has moved him.

If you ever open our fridge, deep freeze, or dryer there is really no telling what you'll discover. On the flip side I can cope with hidden cuddly french fries & laminated Mario characters, I don't cope so well with lizards & frogs, so you know.. no complaints from this Mamma. In the mean time, if you spot my missing fries while visiting, be sure to shout victory before returning it to the "packet" that's on the hall table.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's On The Book Shelf This Week: Wk 3


Pride & Prejudice:

Okay true confession I’m not a fan of Jane Austen. I know, I know, let the cuing of tomatoes be thrown, but it’s true. I’ve started many of her books over the years & put each one down in turn because, “Ugh.” I’ve read Shakespeare, Dickens, & Verns without issue, but Austen gets me every time.

However, my mother told me early in life to never say never, so here I am, reading P&P. I’m not going to say I’m loving it, but I also don’t hate it. I think it’s going to be very predictable, & no I haven’t watched the movie a million times. I’m not even sure I’ve ever watch the movie or the BBC shows or anything of the likes.

So why am I putting myself through it? Well, I’m putting together a list of Brit Lit I want my boy to read, & here’s the thing.. P&P comes up on a lot of lists, so I figured before I subject my child to it I’ll subject myself to it & decide if it will remain on our list or not. I started chapter 25 last night. Audio Link

Own Your Own Life:
I picked this one up last year I think it was & a helpful child put a bookmark in it & then “put it away” for me, but where was away? I had no idea!! Away, as it turned out, to be in my closet under summer clothes? Who does that, my child apparently. I stumbled upon it while looking for my summer workout gear, & pulled it back out.

So so much loveliness in this book, that while I could easily devour it in a short amount of time I’m trying to force myself to take it slowly.. Ironically, after making that choice someone moved my book again & I’m not entirely sure where it is again, so I’ve been pondering the thoughts in the last chapter I read.  Audio Link

Word To Caesar:
This is one of Morgan’s Living Library books that I’m currently recording in audio for him. This book started with a bang & has been nearly all forward motion ever since. The only downer, which is often typical of this time period {Ancient Rome} is that I find so many of the names could really use a good pronunciation guide.

In this story the hero, Paul, is attempting to repay his debt to Severus who saved his life. To repay Severus, Paul is attempting to get word to Caesar that the accusations that caused Severus to be banned from the Roman Empire are all false.

Amos Fortune Free Man:
This is not my first time through, but I’m enjoying it in audio fashion this time. This is Jayden’s current “Story Time” book with his HOD, & because there are some deep Literary questions that go along with the readings we’re listening together. Yes, I could totally have read this instead, but we’re reading a few others {not listed here} that go along with his curriculum. Audio Link

Fake Mustache:
We bought this one for Mr S for Christmas, yes really. We often buy him funny books like this as he doesn’t often have time for much reading, & the font needs to be large so that when he picks it up on the fly he can read it without his glasses on.

I suspect this story will have a few funny twists & turns in it, but for now the premise is that a boy has bought a new suit & a fake moustache which will allow him to be unidentifiable in his small, run of the mill nothing ever happens, kinda town. Audio Link

Ember Falls:

I actually had an entirely different book selected for our first read aloud of the year. I’d spotted it on a random google search & couldn’t wait to pick it up & read. It’s new enough that it’s still only available in hardback, & we did actually start it, but our current morning routine has a lot of reading happening so we switched to Ember Falls which we have in audio format so I can catch my breath.

This book picks up where
The Green Ember leaves off. We are only a couple of chapters in as this is our first week back to normal routines including a family read aloud, so I’ll have to give more detail on it later.
Audio Link {Audio Link for The Green Ember}

Please note we do not make money on any Audible links, we just like to share our favourite audio books. We do have an affiliate account with Book Depository, so we make a very small sum off of any book you buy through our links.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Year's Eve 2017


We kicked off our annual New Year's Eve party at 2 last year instead of noon as planned. We had an unexpected call come through that needed dealing with so our town to town bike ride was canceled. Instead, we had just enough time to squeeze in a walk at our local footy oval before we came back home & I iced up my knee before the kids started opening bags.

At two they opened up our NYE board game which was CodeNames. I had to go through so many hoops to land that game that I nearly opted for something else, but I'm glad I didn't. We enjoyed a few games of this, over much laughter based on how each person's mind works, before we moved on to our three o'clock bag

At 3 we made peanut butter cups & watched a movie. Honestly, the adults weren't too keen on this choice, but it fit the time requirement & we figured we'd give it a go. We'd actually had something else selected prior to realising our bike ride was off, but learning to roll with the punches is something we do around here. In the end the movie wasn't half bad.

At 5 we started work on homemade pizzas. We do this every year, & I'm telling you every year I feel like it takes longer than the year before. It's weird, but it's a tradition we enjoy. Sadly we can't just order pizza thanks to gluten & dairy allergies, but making them is half the fun, right? This year the pizza making session went so fast we had time to clean up the huge mess we made AND still found ourselves waiting a few minutes before opening the next bag!

At 6 the kids decorated the house with our typical NYE banners, but I also threw in some 2018 glasses & a number balloon thingie that required no helium. I may have been the most excited over that one. They have tabs at the bottom you can slip a straw in to blow them up, & each time the kids got one filled with air I may have squealed a little too excitedly over it. Ahh, small pleasures, right?

At 7 we turned on the cricket, the Big Bash League is a big deal in our house so we watched the Strikes completely wipe out the Heat. In fact, it was such a blow out that the game ended 30 minutes earlier than any other game this season & the commentators were scrambling to fill the space before the fireworks went off at the stadium.

At 8 the kids opened up their new calendars. The Lis Climo one was new to our home, but oh my goodness it's a fresh new laugh each day! I keep thinking we should save all the comic strips & when we need a good laugh pull them out. Jayden got an Adventure In Odysse cd, Morgan's was still "in transit" out there somewhere & didn't arrive until the 2nd.

At 9 we geared up to go watch the early session of fireworks in our town. We live close enough that we just walk a couple of blocks over & watch from the top of the hill. They were a bit shabby this year as the new organisers this year were unaware more people turn out for the early fireworks than the 12am fireworks, but it was still enjoyable as we don't get to see fireworks very often.

Once we got back from fireworks the kids opened the ten o'clock bag to find another movie & American marshmallows inside. True story, not all marshmallows are created equal, & lest you think I'm making this up you'd just have to try an American Mallow if you haven't, or an Aussie Mallow if you haven't. Our preferred is the American so I picked some up from Happy Tummies {AU}. Our 10pm movie was Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library which is the same book Morgan had read earlier that year & raved about for ages.

Sadly, he said the movie was nothing at all like the book & just kinda.. weird in comparison. However, he was good enough not to say anything while the movie was on so I'll have to see if I can snag his copy to read sometime soon.

At 1130 we opened our final bag of the night which contained glow sticks for each of us, party poppers to share, sparkler, & to my kids shock a giant bottle of champagne. In reality the giant bottle was a huge party popper that I spotted at the grocery & couldn't resist picking up for our party. We had a time getting it open & I think I may have actually been recording the whole thing which is likely worthy of "Epic Fail" or some other like minded website.

After that we all clambered inside made a million "last year" type jokes & after telling the guys how lame their jokes were I ended up saying, "And now I'm off to bed because I haven't had a wink of sleep all year.." which pretty much did everyone in on their way to bed.

Scrapbook pages made with the Project Life App.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Planner Monday: Wk 3


Planner all set for the new week. To be honest, knowing how busy our school weeks can get I put the To Do, This Week, Fitness, Goals, Next Week, Bible, & washi tape down for the first 2 months some time ago. That way I could go in & fill out my lists as needed despite how busy things got. However, I had some spare time & $2 so I picked up the back to school stickers from Planner Penny.

I appreciate that I can print these out, size them to fit my own planner & use them again down the road. I've flagged a few of her sets to use this year if I have spare change & time. We'll see.. In the mean time, it's back to school here in our house on Monday, incase the planner page didn't give it away!

I used Back To School Full Boxes & Back To School Decorating Kit, all though I only used one of the boxes & the flags. All the other stickers are ones I made, the cutlery is the Lawn Fawn Plan On It Stamp, & the washi is DoodleBug back to school coloured pencil washi. Mr S gave it to me for Christmas.

This is a Plum Paper 7x9 Personal Planner, option #3 {vertical all lines} & I've just broken it up to fit my own needs with the homemade stickers. No affiliate codes for it, all though I've you've never ordered one & would like to save $10 I think I can email a code, not sure why they've made it that way instead of a simple link. Or you could pop on to their Facebook or Instagram page & check to see if they ave having a sale.

I ordered mine unpunched & unbound so that I could use the Staples Arc punch on it. I purchased my discs from Discbound Marketplace out of the USA. I do have a Plum Paper cover on it, but I also have a Happy Planner cover on it.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It's Not That Simple


I had to take my MIL to the airport yesterday, a family wedding on the mainland that she was off to. Admittedly, I didn’t have the best attitude about it because I was volunteered for this job without asking me, & in reality I needed to be at home finalising school plans for the week ahead. A million and one last minute things to do, but sometimes when people volunteer you for things you’re stuck. Jammed into a hole & there’s no way out. It’s a huge peeve of mine, that whole being volunteered for things without asking me first, but that will have to be dealt with later. Instead Mr S calls his mother & tells her I’ll be there at quarter to one to collect her.

She interrupts this to 1145. We’re not sure why & repeat ourselves, “So you mean 11:45?”
“No, 12:45.”
“But it should be 11:45.”
“There’s no need for that, 12:45 is more than enough time. We live 5 minutes from the airport you’ll still be there 1:10 minutes prior to your flight.”
“Right, so you’ll be here at 1145?”
“NO! 12:45, go get a pen & paper, right it down quickly. Write 12:45. Be ready to go when she arrives."

Because she said 1145 SO MANY TIMES I actually showed up at 1145. Irony for you is that she was standing there ready to go. House all closed up, case in the doorway.. I say, “Do you have your ID?” 
“Yes it’s in my thing!” 
“What thing?” 
“That thing you have!”
It’s like a game we play, I have to guess the missing word, the missing item. I have to fill in the word before the frustration of not remembering it takes over, the stress levels in both of us rising, so I say, “The suitcase?” 

“No.” I don’t have anything else, but I presume she means handbag & am about to ask her to look when I realise her neighbour is in the home & waiting on Nana to give her a key. 
“Make sure you give the right key this time, not the one to her home, but the one to your home..” I refrain from pointing out she’ll only be gone 1 full day & there’s really no need for a big key exchange.

“No, it’s the mailbox key this time. I can’t get it off my ring, have you got one?”
“No, sorry I don’t.”
The neighbour looks up & says, “You realise you’ve locked her out of the house right?”

I don’t have a key for the screen door either, but I decided to pluck a few random bits of grass out of the garden instead of worrying about going inside. “I’m so sorry, let me— Oh, are you weeding the garden? Are you the one who did it before?”
“No, sorry I didn’t weed it before, I haven’t had time to weed my own garden much less anyone else's.”
“But someone has done it!”
“Aren’t you lucky, perhaps they thought you’d like it. Are you ready to go?”
“Nearly, I can’t get this key off!”

I point out that the only mail day she’ll be gone for is today, & as it’s raining the postman is running early, at least on our street, but by now the key is free & there’s no point saying much of anything. 

We dash off to the airport, now keep in mind we live in a large town, but have a dinky airport that only opens when a flight is coming in/out. We sit down to wait for things to open up. Some English tourists show up & ask where everyone is. I explain this is normal & that the boarding area will open once the 135 flight lands & all people have collected their baggage. She’s in shock/horror. She & Nana strike up a conversation because they are both from England. Italian tourists show up, I repeat myself. Followed by repeating myself, again to the Asian tourists who are far more laid back about the whole ordeal.

I note the signs about not leaving things laying around & note that the postman has broken this rule because he’s left a parcel outside a high security door. I debate banging on the door to report said package or running for my life & decide that I shall do neither. If God decides to call me home I only pray that the fly buzzing around my head is not called home with me. And thus I sit.. listening to Nana critique the appearance of the Italians, who in fairness could use a comb on their hair, their children could use baths & shoes for that matter & am attempting to be calm, relax & let go of my irritation. I double check the time on her boarding info & that’s when it happens..

She leans over & says, a tad more loudly than needed, “You know there’s no point all these people pushing each other around because *I* will be first as I will be in a wheel chair. It’s a benefit of being in one, you get on first.” I look around, smile, & say, “Hopefully they will remember the chair.” “Oh, they WILL remember the chair, trust me.” I decide to send my children a txt message & point out that I’ve mad a grave error in getting out of bed today because I am now stranded in an airport with a variety of tourists who can’t believe how laid back our airport is & their grandmother who is informing everyone how she will be first on the plane. I refrain from telling everyone that the tiny elevator on wheels will prevent her from being first.

Instead, I watch the flight arrival & departure screen for a few minutes before wondering how long I’ve been sitting there. I note that the tourists aren’t use to flies buzzing them & wonder if I’ll be arrested if I go to the car & get a fly swatter. I decide not to tempt things. I note the creepy man who comes into the airport & is far too caught up in his dark coat & making sure his equally dark hat is on his head just-so. I note he’s wearing sunglasses, lest I should have to give testimony to security of police when it all goes down. Suddenly he removes his dark glasses & I stop paying any mind to him because I figure he just has bed hair & wouldn’t like it if Nana noticed & offered him a comb.

It is shortly thereafter that the gate opens & everyone surges forward, except myself. Why bother, I mean if she IS going to be first why rush? I can not put off the fact that Nana is becoming increasily anxious though & finally subject myself to standing in line knowing there will be minor complaints about no chairs to sit in. It’s at that moment I take note that the security lady is scanning for bombs in the lounge, & thus I do the only logical thing & scan the area I am in for anything with wheels. If I have to make a fast break with Nana in tow I need to know what I can throw her on to rush her out because she’s only brought a walking stick instead of walker with wheels. I see nothing suitable & determine that if anything is found in the lounge I am stuck having to throw her over my shoulder & regret that my teens are not with me to help. Thankfully nothing sinister is found & I realise we are next in line.

It’s at this moment she decides it would be wise to pull out her ID to show the clerk. “Yes, that would be wise..” I mumble while quickly putting her case down so she can balance her enormous handbag on it. I’m left wondering why now that backpack purses are back in style she’s given her’s up, especially considering her handbag is so big she often can’t carry it without help. I have little time to consider what the answer could be because the hat she’s taking for the wedding she’s off to attend is quickly thrust at me. I consider putting it on to keep a hand free, but I honestly can’t bring myself to do it. It’s not that the hat is overly posh, covered in feathers, or anything. Rather it looks like it belongs on a school girl from Anne of Green Gables. I no sooner reach this conclusion than the walking stick, which I am reminded is not hers & I must deal with kindly, is thrust at me. I realise, that the ID is clearly missing & I bite my tongue, hard, to keep from saying, “But I did ask..”

Instead I suggest I look, but it’s simply not there. Not in any one of the million pockets, not in her trouser pockets, not in the suitcase.. it simply isn’t. She’s hit pure panic now & I point out there’s no point panicking until after we speak with the young man behind the counter. But before I can point out we’ve been called forward someone slams a large parcel down beside us. It’s covered in a million fragile stickers & I wonder how fragile it is if one is going to slam it down so hard, but who can ask when the man quickly exits the boarding area. I debate reporting this, international air travel does this to a person. I scan out all exits, I look for things with wheels to get my family out faster, & I report all unattended baggage. Before I can say anything the female clerk comes round the counter peers closely at the box & runs for the high security door. Bangs on it & drags someone over to it who starts inspecting it. They ask who’s it is, & I say, “A fellow with glasses put it down & walked out.” They scoop it up & take it through another high security door, & that’s when someone starts shouting.

“Oy! You can’t take that it’s mine!” I avoid eye contact & point out we’re being called up to the counter. The man eventually gets his package back, around the time Nana points out she’s in a spot of bother due to no ID & asks if a library card will suffice. The man avoids a smile, but before he can say much she says, “I do have a frequent flyer card.” Oddly, he does smile & says, “That will work Ma’am.” 

“But will that suffice once she’s in Melbourne for her return trip?”
“It shouldn’t be much of an issue.”
“Mm..” I mean it’s tempting, oh so tempting, but no I can’t.. “Nana I think I need to run back to your place & look for the ID, where did you put it? Can you remember?”

There’s a long pregnant pause before she says, “I do believe it’s in that brown bag you gave me.” 
“Right, I’ll help you through security, dash back to find it, & bring it here to you.”
“Oh no, you shouldn’t go to all that trouble..”
“Let’s deal with security..”

I note all the signs that point out if you have artificial limbs or metal inside of you it must be reported before going through the screening. I sigh again knowing this will cause another hiccup, ask the man beside me to pass me a white tray & remind Nana to empty ALL her pockets. Sadly, the ID does not magically appear. A mobile phone does, but before I can mention taking off her watch her walking stick is confiscated & she’s handed a wooden one instructed to remove her shoes & step through the security booth.

“Wait! She has a metal hip, & wrist.. two actually.”
“Ma’am get away from the booth! You must sit down on a chair instead.”
“What? I can’t sit down I’m trying to get on a plane!”
“Nana, just sit down a moment, they will use the magical wand of security on you.”
“The what?”
“Remember the plates in your wrists? They have to use a special scanner on you, look her comes someone else who will get special treatment too.”

She goes to sit down & the security guard calls her forward, she doesn’t miss a beat, “You didn’t even allow me a moment to sit down!”
He smiles, but waves her through.

I realise, after she’s scanned I still have her ticket. Drat! Security freaks out when I hand it to her over the barricaded area, but let it slide. I point out some chairs she can sit down in & that I will be back as soon as I can, but I can see the worry setting in. She’s not sure where to go or how she will carry everything. The guard asks if I’d like to come through, “No, I’m sorry I can’t. She’s forgotten something & I Must go back for it. She’ll be okay, she needs a wheel chair.” He nods.

I make a run for the car in the pouring rain. Then remember I’ve been inside too long & have to go back to the arrivals to pay for parking, then another mad dash back to the car. Thankfully we live 5 minutes from our small airport. I make it back to her house & pretend I don’t see curtains moving to see who’s arrived & why someone is dashing in. I make a beeline for the brown bag, but the ID is not there.I check the black bag. No ID. I look under the bed, on the bed, under the covers. on the table, in ever spare bag I can find. I dig through every pile of papers, I make emergency calls to Mr S at work & beg him for ideas, He instructs me to check the forbidden box. 

 I check for the forbidden green box that her own kids have never even peered in. I find an expired passport & other things I swear I will never mention until the time for them to be revealed to her own children is right. I’m in a panic myself now. 40 minutes to get back to the airport, clear security & hand her the missing ID.. the ID I can’t find. I am desperate now & check the bathroom, no go. I tell Mr S to quiz her hard on where she put luggage upon her return a week ago. Walk her through it step by step, they suggest I check the bed.. again. I refuse & am busy checking the pockets of every coat, sweater, & bathrobe I can find. I am terrified a neighbour will walk in & think I’m ransacking the house. I have no time to dwell on this & look in the fridge.

I’m running out of ideas & now have 20 minutes to get back to the airport. I can hear the rain coming down & remember my car windows are open, & debate dealing with it, but the ID must be found. I dash into the garage, I normally avoid it. It smells like laundry soap, very floral. It makes my skin itch & my head ache. I check the washer, I check the laundry that’s drying, the craft table & then I see the walker in the corner. I dash over & lift up the seat to discover the missing ID. Score! I tell Mr S I’ve found it & that I have to run, literally & abruptly hang up. The car seats are soaked, as is my purse, I’m drowning in my own sweat at this point & just praying I make it in time.

I make it back with 10 minutes to spare, rush in to the security corridor & throw everything in a bin. The guards are all staring at me, as if they know me but can’t decide where. Apparently my 30 minute absence is too great a period & I’m tempted to just say, “Wheelchair.” which will likely bring it all back to them. Instead I’m pulled aside from random drug testing. They wave the magic wand over me, touching my shirt, my shoes, my keys.. I am tempted to call the kids via FaceTime & point out that this is just like Border Security, but don’t want the guards to think I’m being cheeky. I pass, with flying colours & dash over to the corner where I find Nana, near tears.

“I found it!”
“Oh, Kendra! Come closer let me give you a hug.”

I debate saying no, because I’m not joking when I say I’m drowning in my own sweat & I don’t trust any deodorant I can buy here to control what might erupt from under my arms, but how can you deny an 83 year old woman the right to have a hug when you’ve just stopped her from crying? 

“It’s just,” she says, “I was so scared someone had stollen it. I wasn’t worried about getting back on my flight I figured I can go to the NAB & get ID.” I smile & decide not to point out that her return flight is Sunday & the bank will not be open. Instead I say, “Look, I think your plane is here! It’s raining pretty heavy out, you’d better put your fancy hat on.”

Thursday, January 11, 2018

6 Favourite Gluten Free Recipes


When people find our most in our home can't do dairy, half can't do gluten, & one of us can't do eggs it really overwhelms them. I know that feeling oh so well when the diagnosis came through.. I remember sitting down to figure out dinner & wondering if anyone would mind picking a few blades of grass & calling it good-- No joke!

Many years down the road later & I'm no longer overwhelmed. I still read every label before I purchase something, & often again before people consume it. We make a lot of our own food from scratch, & we are simply grateful for feeling better. Our asthmatic can finally dash from one end of our home to the other without needing his puffer due to lack of breathing. Our eczema boy is no longer itching. There are no longer major digestion issues, headaches, & all the rest of that ick.

There has been, however, a lot of experimenting.. Because let's be honest even "safe" recipes can need tweaking in our home. So below are 6 of our favourite recipes. Keep in mind that not everyone in our home can eat everything that is made, but that's okay too. I'll note what it's "free" of.

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce {dairy free, gluten free, safe for all} We use to consume a fair amount of Mexican Food in our home because most of the time it's gluten free {you have to watch those packets of taco seasoning if you don't make your own!!}, but for two of us who don't do dairy & don't like the smell of melted goat's cheese our Mexican Feasts were a tad lack luster until I stumbled upon this recipe. 

Don't be overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients, my boys make this you can too! My "secret" would be to double or triple this & freeze the extras. To make the recipe go faster you can boil the veggies while you put all the other ingredients in your blender so that you are ready to rock it when those veggies are done. As a weird side note, I didn't have lemon juice the first time I made this & thus don't use it in this recipe. Also, I do add the required jalapeno liquid, but I go light on the peppers themselves until my mild heat child has tested it first. When our jar of jalepnos runs out I just fill it up with water to keep those pickles fresh. Also, weird fact, in their video they forget to add the tomato paste which made us giggle.

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese {dairy free, gluten free} My kids REALLY missed macaroni & cheese. Homemade, out of the box, frozen, anything they just missed it. It was a homestyle meal I'd make once a month in the winter & serve with garlic green beans & homemade warm applesauce. Ahh, those were the days, you know minus the fall out. Anyway, I was determined to find a recipe & serve it for Christmas, as a small surprise for my kids.

There are many out there to choose from, but this is the one we tried & it was a huge huge hit. I doubled the recipe & it was gone on Boxing Day with cries of, "I wanted more, you could have saved me some!" Sadly, if you're dealing with a nut allergy this is likely not going to work for you as it uses cashews.

I simply use a box of Barilla Gluten Free Elbows to make it 100% safe. I can't eat those as they have rice in them, but the boys love it & that's all that matters to me. Again, I double this recipe & told the kids we might make a quadruple batch this weekend so they can have some for lunch next week. I like having leftovers in the fridge for school day lunches, don't you?

The only major difference I make to this recipe is that I don't soak the cashews, I dump them right into the pan with the veggies while they boil. Less fuss & muss. While the veggies cook, again I dump the other ingredients in the blender to save on time.

BuckWheat Pizza Crust {gluten free, dairy free} I think I may have shared this recipe previously, but it's our staple pizza crust. It makes one very VERY thick pizza crust or two thin ones. My boys are very adapt at mixing this up while I'm busy doing other things, & then I spread it out on the tins, we pile on toppings, bake, & consume. I have made bigger changes to this recipe in that I use Buckwheat instead of Sorghum, I just find that we like it better that way. Also, keep your hands wet {not oiled} when spreading this out on the tins. I use pizza tins with holes in the base, lay a piece of baking paper down, spread it out. Cook for 15 minutes, remove baking paper {it should slide out form under the crust pretty easily} & then return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you want that crust.

Gluten Free Pie Crust {gluten free, dairy free} Pie isn't something we eat in our home a lot, all though I'm pretty sure the men-folk wish we did. However, a good crust is vital to any decent pie, & I have to say finding a crust that is as good as the old oil crust I use to make is amazing. This crust gets plenty of rave reviews from friends & family who've been served it. The best thing about this pie crust is that you really can't mess it up by overworking the dough. My eldest recently made this crust up to make a cherry pie for Christmas, & he had no trouble working with it. We find that it works excellent for a large well filled pie shell with enough dough left over to put on a piece of baking paper with a bit of cinnamon & coconut sugar for a special "cookie treat".

KFC Style Chicken {gluten & dairy free} Who doesn't love that seasoning blend of KFC chicken? Perhaps not the greasy content unless you get tenders or popcorn chickens, but that seasoning! KFC is basically an allergy break down waiting to happen for our family between the massive amounts of gluten & dairy used in that place.. a while back my youngest was really craving some KFC so I went scrounging for some kind of simple recipe that might fit the bill. Does this taste exactly like KFC? No, I don't think so, but then again I can't remember when I last ate in that place either.

We do make a few changes to this recipe to make it safe for our whole family. First off, no yogurt or milk is used to "wet" the chicken prior to breading. Instead we put the chicken in a bowl & pour in 2-4 T of oil {whatever kind I have on hand} & the amount depends on how much chicken I'm working with. Lately I double things & work with about 2 kilos of chicken breast fillets cut into reasonable sized strips.

I also don't use the "must use" flour blend because I can't do rice unless I want to be sporting sores all over my nose & mouth. I'm weird, I know. BUT, thankfully the origional author of the recipe worked with weights so it's pretty easy to alter. If you can do rice, go with the origional recipe to safe yourselves hassle, but if you can't I use a combo of: 30g millet, 50g potato, 50 buckwheat, & 50g sorghum for that 184g flour mixture. Everything else is the same as the origional recipe!

I also mix the dry ingredients in the blender with 2 T of solid coconut oil. Freeze it & then bread the chickens. Thus I try to keep this on hand at all times in the freezer. However, if I don't have time I add a little guar gum and that does the trick.

I also don't fry these, I put them in my air fryer on 200 {C} for 8 minutes. Then pop them on a pizza pan {the one with holes again} into the oven on warm while I cook the rest. I've also made this chicken up in advanced, frozen {prior to cooking} on pans in the freezer & cooked when ready. Works beautifully. We eat this "as is" or in wraps or salads.

Gluten Free Tortilla Wraps {gluten & dairy free} These are the FIRST gluten free wraps that we've made that are AMAZING. They fold & wrap without breaking which means that anything store bought now is just cardboard ick to us. I make massive batches of these {we're talking quadrupled or more} up, roll them all out, & layer them between baking paper & store in the fridge. Then when we want them I just cook them up.

The recipe does say you can cook them all up & reheat, but I prefer them fresh vs reheated where as my boy doesn't care he's just grateful to find some in the pantry. He's also a huge help in making these as he mixes up all the dry ingredients & often deals with the cooking while I'm rolling away. We keep talking about getting a tortilla press, but they aren't so easy to come by where we live. Plus, we need one that does the "jumbo" sized tortillas because we love using these for salad or chicken wraps, all though we do make mini ones for fajitas too.


These are all staple recipes in our home, & my kids know where to find them so they can cook them too. I use the Paprika Recipe App which makes it pretty easy for everyone to find the recipes, all though little do they know I'm working on putting together cookbooks for them of their favourite recipes so they'll have their own private cookbooks.