Beth Adele

Nothing to see here. Really.

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My house is so still. One child has gone to work, one still sleeps and the other is in his room quietly doing his math. 

I can hear the hum of the fridge. The pur of the outdoor spa. I I hear the dial tone on my neighbours phone, the relentless beeps as she dials and redials a number no one ever answers  and the sighing  as she gives up trying to call whoever it is she is reaching out to. I can hear the key in the door as she locks it behind her and the car splutter to life as she heads off, wherever it is she is going. Noise travels well in stillness. And next door, they are raw, pulsating noise. 

This morning was the shrill screams of a 12 year old not wanting to brush his teeth. The snippets we hear, the language, the fights, makes me think that perhaps these children have some kind of issues that create the daily multiple meltdowns. We've even had soiled toilet paper thrown over the back fence to land in our yard.  You could say these neighbours of ours are what the rest of Australia would derisively term as "Houso's". 

But it's the stillness of these moments, when my children are quiet and hers are at school that I hear pieces of her. The persistent cough she seems to have had for the past four weeks. The constant dialing of a phone that is never answered. A kinder person would go over there, introduce themselves, ask if she was okay or needed a hand. I am not that kind. I just listen. And I know when the working week is done, there will be cars parked all over the roadside and more noise and extra people and more rubbish that finds its way onto my lawn. 

I like the silence, even if it does seem tainted with a kind of sadness. 

3/2 '15 2 Comments
Oh, how beautifully you write. I felt compassion for your neighbor (and I know you feel it too, you just don't have a big enough plate to add her issues to your own, and that's not unkindness, it's just life) when I read your post. I love your prose. You have always been able to move me.
There's multiple meltdowns next door on a daily basis. This morning over breakfast Jase was saying he thinks the oldest one might have behavioural issues or maybe be a kid on the spectrum. I agree. I do feel for her. But yes, I don't have any room on my plate for her problems right now either.
She seems to have support on the weekends, but during the week I think she does it pretty tough. It just makes me sad because I know other people will be judging her ability as a mother based on her kids behaviour and her socio-economic standing. This is a big town (pop. 65,000) but it still has a small town mentality that's very typical of country folk. So she's got it pretty tough. I hope she gets that cough looked at soon.

My wonderful boys have broken my internets, again. 

They are going on a net diet. Starting Nov 28 when my data plan resets. Little assholes. I cannot wait until my contract with my current provider is done so I can go back to one that works better for us.  (Why are we on a shit plan? Because we moved to Darwin which is practically a third world fucking country at times and my preferred provider did not service the area I lived in.) 

Also, I got a fitbit for my birthday which has completely triggered my competitive side. (And shown me that no I really don't move enough on days I don't work.) So guess who is off to vacuum the floor and then pace the kitchen like a caged beast until the plastic red band on her hand starts to vibrate and set off flashing lights? 

11/18 '14 8 Comments
I have an Apple Airport Express router. It has a feature that lets you set the hours that each individual device can be online. Currently working great with my teenager.
Oh god, that sounds like the answer to my problem! Damn kids. Though I suspect they aren't completely to blame... just mostly.
Perhaps yours has the feature too...
I am able to limit use on this particular computer, but not for other devices using the network. (I am somewhat impaired when it comes to all things tech.) But I don't know about my router. It's the one supplied by my net provider. There's three laptops, one iMac, two DSs, four iPads and four Kindles that are all connected to the wireless network. (Oh and two iPhones) I wouldn't know where to start with restricting each device, but I am sure I can find someone who would know that could show me. (I hope!)

I have three teens. (Well the baby is 12 and a half) They are killing my internets every month. I fear if they do it again next month, their Dad will kill them!
I have a fitbit. Want to be fitbit friends? I need more motivation - I keep forgetting to put it on my wrist, which is really silly because my company gives me healthcare reimbursement cash if I complete x amount of activity in x months ... which I do, I just don't document it. So stupid!
Yes! Do you have the Flex? I use mine to track my sleep as well. The first two nights it was telling me how great I sleep, which is not at all how I feel. I always wake up feeling drained and tired. Some nights I feel like I am conscious and aware for most of the night.

I've had sleep issues ever since I was a kid.

Then I was actually looking at the fitbit dashboard and noticed there were two settings for sleep. The default normal setting and sensitive. Ever since I switched it to sensitive my sleep percentages plummeted from 90+% to the 50% range. For 8-9 hrs a night I spend in bed, I sleep just under four. (Last night I managed to get 5 whole hours of sleep! which put me at 67% sleep efficiency, the highest it's been since I switched to sensitive)

And yes you really should be putting it on your wrist!
It's on my wrist today! I'm already getting better ... haha. It is a Flex. I never thought about using it as a sleep tracker. If you wear it when you sleep, when do you charge it?

I wonder if there is anything you can do to get more sleep. I hope so. Sleeping half the time you are in bed sounds terrible ... well, unless your husband is in bed with you and you're doing something better.
I try to charge the fitbit during a time I know my activity level will be quite low. (Marking the kids school work at the table, scheduled reading, whilst sewing or anytime I know I will have extended sitting.)

I workout most nights. usually. I have noticed I am feeling more tired lately and not as rested when I wake up and I think it's because my exercise for the past three weeks has been inconsistent. So I think I need that second workout in the evening to help me sleep. Not having caffeine after 6pm, (so drinking only water or herbal tea) switching off all digital things an hour before bed (a work in progress with that one) keeping my diet clean. Sleeping at 50% efficiency sucks balls. (And not in the fun way) I do find nights that have no sexy time I sleep less. (Sex fixes so many things.)

Cause my net is running so poorly I have not bothered with my email. (gmail takes forever to open) But I did connect my fitbit to my Facebook so feel free to send me a friend request.

Glad to hear you have it on your wrist today! (I take mine off when I shower also. Wish I could wear it in the pool. Saturday is our recovery day and I swim 1-2 km. Or more, depending on how long we spend at the pool and how I am feeling. This week will be interesting. The hour long kettle bell workout I did yesterday makes lifting my arms up above shoulder height somewhat painful! Windmills will be the death of me)

I set my daily step goal as 10,000. I beat it around 5 days in every 7. If I get over 7500, I'm pretty happy. Especially if I have also exercised. (Weights don't tend to give you much in the way of step counts. Boo.)

We tend to eat 'clean' here in the moveable house. 

And by clean, I mean as little processed crap as possible. Of course, we have a freezer full of chocolate, and there's 3 boxes of Krispy Creme sitting on our bench after the trip to Canberra; I mean we aren't strict, we simlpy prefer to eat well. (Which means we tend to shop from the edges of the supermarket rather than the middle isles. Very little that is good foor you is found in the middle isles of the supermarket.) 

Last nights dinner was steak and salad. In summer, I like to add fruit to our salads. It seems to make them crisp, light and refreshing. 

Last night we had watermelon and rocket salad. Which is just rocket, a few finely chopped mint leaves, balls of watermelon, cucumber, danish feta and cooked proscuito. (If it was just me eating it I would have also added some sliced black olives, but I am the only one in this house that eats olives so I omitted them.) The dressing is balsamic vinegar, runny strawberry jam, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of sugar if needed and olive oil.  A friend of mine got a thermomix lately and has been making all sorts of stuff in it. She made strawberry jam and gifted a jar of it to me. It's rather runny for a jam, but makes a nice sauce. So I fgured it would work well in salad dressing and it did. 

I have no picture. It was demolished at break-neck speed. 

But breakfast this morning is not a clean meal. Not by a long shot. (And it's something I rarely eat, but the family loves it, so I endeavor to make it at least once a fortnight) We're having Dutch Pancakes.  My pancake mix is a little different to regular pancake mix. 

1/2 cup of condensed milk

3/4 cup of hot water

(I mix these two ingredients first, then go have a cup of tea while it cools. I usually make a double mix because my boys are pigs, so to save time I add 3/4 cup of hot water and mix then add 3/4 cup of cold water from the fridge.) 

To that I add

20grams of melted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 cup of plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg. 

(Even when I double the mix, I still only use one egg. But that's because we have our own chickens and they lay massive eggs. so depending on the size of the eggs you buy, you may need to experiement.) 

I mix it all up and pour it into a large squeezy bottle.  This is just easier for use with the dutch pancake hot plate. Melted butter on the plate is super yummy, but I just use spray oil to cook the pancakes. They are quite small bite sized rounds of pancake. My plate makes 14 at a time. With this mix you can get 6 plates out of it. I usually double it because the man will eat 4 plates worth on his own. With cream and maple syrup. My little guy will eat 2 plates worth (sometimes 3) but he likes his with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. (They taste like donuts when you eat it like that.) On the rare occasion that I do eat pancakes, I like mine with lemon juice and sugar. 

So a double mix will make 12 plates of 14 mini-cakes. (we usually do have some left over and they are delicious eaten like pikelets with jam and butter.) 

If I get the chance to take a pic before they gobble them up, I will. 

(If I make this on a weekday morning, I make the mix up the night before. I used to put it in the fridge overnight, but the mix would go a little weird sometimes so I only put it in the fridge over night now on really hot nights. But these pancakes are surprisingly quick and easy to make. Its the prep work that takes the most time.) 

Not a good pic, but this is what 1 plate of naked dutch pancakes looks like. 

(Note, this is a side plate not a dinner plate.)

11/9 '14 18 Comments

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That makes me smile! I haven't made them in a really long time. I probably should.
Mmmm, I want that salad! I'd eat the version with the olives in it.
I'd make it for you with olives and share it. Anytime.

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I am so lucky all my kids are adventurous with tasting food. (I read somewhere once that it takes kids ten times of tasting a food to develop a taste for it.) My only food rule is that if I make I expect to you to eat at least ONE decent bite. And I will dish it up to you a few times before admitting defeat and not putting it on your plate again! (So far there are only a few foods Jake, my youngest and most pickiest, won't eat. He won't eat eggplants, avocado, olives or anchovies. Not an unreasonable list.)

We eat as little grains here too. I have suffered from bowel and digestive disorders all my life and my boys seem to suffer some also. As they've gotten older (Matt is 16 now) they seem to be able self regulate and know when they have eaten too much processed crap. Matt will occasionally say to me that he needs a couple days bread free. Breaking them of the need for sandwiches is hard. Plus it creates more work for me (and them) with the need to make an actual lunch. They do eat 2 minute noodles (much to my disgust, but I buy the bloody things for them and really, they're as bad as bread) I do try to make bulk meals that double as lunches. So I make things like tuna and rice (which is a little like mornay) that every one can reheat for lunch, or large scale salads with meat, or frittata's. Sometimes I'll make sushi and rice paper rolls. It just depends on how much time I have.

I'd rather myself and my kids to be eating full fats than processed sugars. Since Jake hasn't had an asthma attack in the past 3 years, I have switched from lite milk to full cream. (The fat content in milk is an asthma trigger.)
When food has labels like gluten free or sugar free or fat free, it's screaming at you 'this is a chemical shit storm.' My body really struggles with artificial sweeteners. (So I hear you with the gluten thing, we were gluten free for a long time since most wheat based products are basically glue it clogs your system horribly, but I found after time, even eating gluten free substitutes were still causing me problems. So I just gave up most grain based foods.)

Ah, the duvet cover. I turn my cover inside out. I put the corners of the duvet (what we call a Doona) with the corners of the inside out cover. (So put your arms inside the inside out cover right to the corners and grab the corners of the duvet or get someone else to do that part) then pull the cover over and down, it will be in the right way and there's a lot less struggle. (Not sure I am describing that right. Next time I change the duvet cover I'll make a video for you.)

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I'll have to have a look at those recipes. (I love food too.)
I adore Amanda Doherty's clean eating recipes. She's an Australian IFBB Figure Professional athlete. (and she's a mum of four. I am in awe of her.)

I try to menu plan as much as possible which saves me heaps of time (and money). It helps that all three of my kids can cook, so they help out. I get home from work around 6pm and that's when I work out. So if they have a menu plan to go off they'll see what's for dinner tonight and prep any part I haven't already prepped and then cook it. Occasionally this will mean there's a dinner here and there that are inedible in some way but I am determined they will all be able to have a diverse range of meals they can cook when they leave home. (Bella made chilli rissoles last night with veggies. The veggies were good but the rissoles were inedible. Matt called them meat biscuits and Jake called them rocks. But she rarely has a mishap. (Which is just as well since she's kitchen boss at her workplace!!)

I often marvel at how much food my boys can inhale.
I'm making a breakfast casserole for them on Friday for breakfast. There won't be any leftovers. (Which is a shame because it's really delicious) As you may have noticed, our breakfasts tend to be our higher fat, higher carb, less clean meals. I try very hard to live by the saying Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Lord and Dinner like a Pauper. (Says she who usually ends up having a cup of tea and maybe a fruit smoothie of some kind while dishing up platefuls of food for the family.) I struggle to eat. I am rarely hungry. I can actually forget to eat. If not for being a Mum, I could probably go a couple of days before needing to eat.

I love making frittatas. I make mine lower fat by using a tin of creamed corn instead of cream. And I like baking them in muffin tins so I can make individual serves. One frittata muffin and a side salad. (I had to do a double take reading your earlier comment, I forgot you guys call rocket, arugula.)
Jakes favourite blended juice is just watermelon in the blender with some mint leaves. (Sometimes I add soda water to make it fizz)

In summer I chop all our fruit into bite sized pieces and freeze them. Convenient healthy snack. (Also frozen grapes are an awesome way to keep a glass of wine cool without watering it down.) It never ceases to amaze me how a piece of frozen banana tastes like ice cream. I'd rather my kids eat sugar in the form of fructose than highly processed, corn syrupy and in packaged foods.

Raw Vege sticks with tzatziki is another favourite. My kids lament the lack of potatoes in this house. we don't eat them often. (We all love them.) Twice baked potatoes is another breakfast food we love.
Tuna and rice is easy and convenient. I find I use a few different types of cheeses in it now. The family won't let me add veggies to it. (So I don't tend to eat it. It sits heavy in my stomach for a really long time.) I don't eat a lot of hard yellow cheeses. I prefer to eat soft white ones. I love mixing a small tin of tuna with a small tub of cottage cheese and chives.

Apparently I can talk about food forever.
Frozen grapes in wine? You're a genius! I have to try that!
Wish I could take the credit for it but a friend in Darwin would put them in our wine when we would have our weekly get together. I make wine slashes when it's really hot. I just pour a glass of wine into a plastic cup and put it in the freezer. Then I scrape it into my wine glass and viola, wine slushy. Tacky? yes, but so enjoyable.
Archer would love that watermelon smoothie. I want to make a list of all these recipes. We don't prep ahead and we really should - I'm getting bored with our usual run of meals, but I am happy with the cold weather addition of crock pot chili.

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Also ... tell me more. Tell me about all the meals you make. We need more ideas! Roasting veggies (that idea came partially from you and partially from my sister-in-law) was a great one. Easy and delicious and fresh not frozen veggies. We do a lot of frozen veggies, but only beans and black olives out of cans.
Frozen veggies can be healthier for you than fresh ones at times. (when they freeze veggies they are frozen extremely close to when they were harvested so the nutrient value is much higher than fresh veggies you buy in the supermarket.) All vegetables start to lose nutritional value fro the moment they are picked. So never beat yourself up for using frozen veggies. And even canned and pickled veggies are still better for you than eating processed foods.

I love roasting veggies. And things like roasted sweet potatoes can be thrown into a salad so if I ever have left overs I keep them. (My favourite pizza ever was a homemade one J made me. He used the left overs from our lamb roast the night before. Instead of pizza sauce he used mint jelly and put chunks of roast lamb and roasted veggies all over the base. He didn't use any cheese. It didn't need it.)

I need to bookmark this post. We don't make anything that takes over 30 minutes to prepare (except on weekends) but our menu items are more pre-prepped food than I would like.

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I don't often put cheese in my frittatas. When I do it's usually cottage cheese, ricotta or feta. I barely make mine with a crust. (But I live with a man who lives by the same motto as my Dad 'Real men don't eat quiche" so if I put a crust on it, it's a quiche and no, I can't put a lid on it and call it a pie. A pie has meat and gravy) the closest I can do to a crust is to use salami slices to line the mini muffin trays and put spoons of the egg and veg mix into those! But I would love to know how you make a polenta crust. (I love polenta)
I love ALL olives. Archer loves the canned black olives that you can eat off your fingers, but that's it, no kalamata, no green. Oh well, at least he likes some olives.

Why do I try to do stuff when the TV is on? 

I've been sitting here now for the past 2 hours thinking about the stuff I really need to do but Jaws 2 is on. I don't even like the Jaws movies. But here I sit, with a 12 year old in my lap because I am terribly sappy like that. A little boy, adrift in the ocean near a massive killer shark and of course I have to cuddle my boy. 

It's one of those movies that makes me frustratingly mad. Yelling at the screen at the stupid people. Damn movie. Ruined my evening. Now I'm off to bed. If I dream about Sharks, channel 7 and I will have issues. 

11/8 '14

Tomorrow, I actually have a day off. So the Man and I are off to Canberra for the day. I get to see my old Boss and favourite co-workers. (I really miss working there.) Then I get let loose in the Nespresso shop and Costco. (I'm pretty sure they eat toilet paper in this house. Although, the rate we go through toilet paper is probably closely linked to the rate we go through coffee and tea.) 

Plus there will be Christmas shopping. Next week end our tree will go up. Many years ago I had to make the rule that the tree does not go up until the Saturday AFTER my Birthday. Otherwise, these weirdo's would have the tree up in October. 

This weekend will be spent planning the schooling for the remainder of the year ( we do year round schooling) and getting this house in order. 

Busy times. 

11/6 '14 4 Comments
Enjoy your day off!
Thank you! We certainly did. It's days like yesterday that help remind me why I married that man. He's as inappropriate and snarky as I am. We had a lot of fun and didn't spend anywhere near as much money as I thought we would. So winning.
Seems like a perfectly good post to me.
You're too kind!

I was really looking forward to having no rostered shifts for 6 days. 

I really was. I have a lot of lesson plans to finish up and house work to catch up on. (I'm trying NOT to think about the hallway linen cupboard, I don't need to break out in hives. -OMG the winter sheets haven't been put into storage and there's singles mixed in with king singles and doubles. And no, not thinking about it, not thinking about it.)

But the Boss asked for the 27th time today if I'd thought about the xmas decorations yet and if I could please make sure I had them up and done by Thursday next week. (Which would have been fine only I wasn't rostered to work next week) So I thought I had better mention that. Damn it. There go my days off.  

At least my little guy is happy. If Mum's not home there's no Latin lessons. 

11/5 '14 6 Comments
Our sheets live in boxes under our bed. The cat is pissed because the boxes take up some of her hidey space. I try to keep king sheets in the king box and queen sheets in the queen box and all the single sheets in the box under Archer's bed. This works most of the time.

But really, I love hearing from you and about you. You're writing about cleaning and I still care, not only do I care, but I am interested in reading.

Ahem. I will cease fangirling now.
I wish we had room under the bed! The kids all have storage boxes full of childhood trinkets they simply can't part with. My cupboards are just all jumbled up because I am not the only one using it anymore. I usually keeps sheet sets folded inside the matching pillowcase. So you just pull the pillowcase out and the whole set is there. (Same with the doona sets.)

I think we all love sharing and hearing about household hints and ways to make our lives easier. So I love hearing what you all do also.
What's a doona set?
Not sure what you call it, we call them donna's some people call them quilts, but ours is wool rather than feathers and the covers are just what you put them inside to keep them clean and make your bed look nice. Clear as mud right?

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Starting out we used Minimus Mouse. It's a fun easy way to introduce Latin to children. (It's used in UK schools for grade 2 and up. Heavily based on History, Hadrian's Wall features quite heavily as the family featured in the series is a Roman family living in the area.) We got a little side tracked by the History so we switched to First Form Latin by Memoria Press. Some of their courses are bit God bothery, but the First Form texts haven't featured any religion yet. (we're still in the early stages.) I also have Henle Latin which is advanced and well and truly beyond the boys at the moment, but it was cheaper for me to get them ALL when I did. I know Latina Christina from Memoria Press is reasonably heavy on the region side. (There's no way the boys would do it if there were too many bible texts.) Jake enjoys it more than he pretends to.

But we really loved Minimus.

It's times like these I wish I had something interesting to say. 

It's just not to be. So here I sit, sipping tea, waiting for my roast chicken to finish roasting and making mental lists of the things I must do tomorrow. 

Life on the edge, yeah, I live it.  

11/2 '14 11 Comments

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Do it! I know I will want to read them.
Yes, do it. My brain is dead from all the working and homeschooling and trying to do the regular mum/wife/person things as well. Lists are handy. The last list I made was a freezer inventory so I could menu plan for the month. Xmas build up is full on at work, which means I am home less, which means I have to be more organised. And so I have caught the dumb.)

but maybe reading your lists will mean a lightbulb moment for me. Plus I just love reading everything you write.

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you guys will give me a big head. I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours, Okay?

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Good point! I am lucky, my kids are now old enough and competent enough to be my tea bitches. I simply mention that my tea cup is empty and viola! A child fills it.
I want a tea bitch. I will have to recruit Archer. He didn't like tea until I gave him a sip of Trader Joe's Harvest Tea which tastes a lot like Celestial Seasonings' Bengal Spice. He enjoyed it.
Having tea bitches is the most awesome thing ever. I drink all kinds of tea. Herbal, regular tea, but I only ever drink hot teas. I don't like iced tea though. And I never put sweeteners in my tea. Now Coffee on the other hand, I love iced coffee and although I rarely have sugar in coffee, some days you just need a hot, sweet, cup of coffee.
(My youngest, he doesn't really like hot drinks aside from hot chocolate. But he loves banana chai's. I make him one before bedtime some nights.
Haha, so true!