Archive for the 'Home Front' Category
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
I’ve been writing all day, and when it came time to do a blog post my mind was like a blank canvas.
“What should I blog about?” I asked my husband during our evening walk with Patch.
“Why don’t you ask everyone what they have for dinner? How do they decide what to have and do they get sick of trying to think what to have for dinner like we do?”
“Good idea,” I said, desperate for any type of topic.
What to have for dinner seems to be a never ending topic at our house. We tend to eat the same things all the time, which can get a little boring. Our standby dishes are risotto and pasta. Lately we’ve been eating quiche quite a bit and, since it’s winter, we have roast veges and cauliflower or broccoli cheese. If it’s just me for dinner, I’ll have soup or baked beans on toast. We like to make our own pizzas, using tortillas as the base if we’re in a hurry.
There aren’t a lot of options for fast food around here. We tend to cook at home because it’s much cheaper. We don’t eat out very often these days either–we’re busy saving for our next holiday.
Who decides what to eat for dinner at your house? Do you tend to eat the same things each week? Is deciding what to have sometimes more trouble than the actual cooking?
Monday, July 19th, 2010
We went to the Farmers’ market last week. We haven’t visited for a while and there were some new stallholders plying their trade. One of them was selling fresh mushrooms and small mushroom farms in buckets. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at growing mushrooms so I purchased one straight away.
This is my mushroom farm on the day I purchased it.
We keep the farm in the lounge because it’s the warmest room in the house. It only needs a misting of water every two to three days and needs to be kept out of draughts and excessive light.
Here’s one of the mushrooms. Mr. Munro said I needed the kiwifruit for a size comparison. We’ve eaten about three of our mushrooms so far, and they were delicious.
The bucket is meant to produce mushrooms for 6 – 8 weeks under ideal conditions. It’s been very cold here but there are actually some tiny pinhead mushrooms appearing. At one stage we thought we were only going to end up with five mushrooms.
Do you like mushrooms?
Monday, June 7th, 2010
As a romance reader, I’ve been reading about overstuffed chairs for years. The description always stops me dead. I mean, they sound so uncomfortable.
Overstuffed? I had no idea what this meant or what to imagine in my mind’s eye.
I let my imagination loose. (as a writer, I’m good at that.) I came up with chairs with bulging cushions. Fat chairs. I pictured a man in a factory trying to force more stuffing in places it didn’t want to go. I imagined people falling off their chairs because of the excessive stuffing. And, I summed my conclusion up in one word.
Uncomfortable. That’s right. My opinion didn’t change.
I came across the term in one of the books I was reading this week. After my initial frown faded, I thought, right! I’ll google it.
And so I did.
I found a definition in the Free Dictionary.com:
overstuffed chair – a comfortable upholstered armchair
armchair – chair with a support on each side for arms
I found a photo of one on nextag.com
Imagine my surprise. All this time I’ve been sitting on an overstuffed chair, and I never knew!
Monday, May 31st, 2010
Although ereaders have been available for some time in America, it’s not easy to get our hands on one down here in New Zealand. We can’t purchase a Kindle in New Zealand (you can in Australia) and we can’t purchase a Sony reader even though we have Sony stores. (They don’t stock them)
It was a real surprise when I received a newsletter this week from Whitcoulls, our NZ bookstore chain, saying they were selling the Kobo eReader. They’re $295 each (about US$230) and take up to 1000 books. I tried one out when we went to the mall during the weekend and was actually quite impressed. Not that I’m going to purchase one – I’m hanging out for an iPad, which is due to hit here around July. (I test drove one in Waikiki and fell in love.) But I have to say congratulations to Whitcoulls for moving into the future!!
I’m still busy with edits, but I have two very special guests visiting me this week. Jane Beckenham will be here on 2 June and Kaye Manro is here on 4 June. I hope you’ll come and say hello.
What are you up to this week?
Monday, May 17th, 2010
During our recent cruise, Edward our stateroom steward used to service our room in the morning and do a turn-down service at night, complete with chocolates on our pillows. As part of his visit to our room he’d make the tissues and the toilet paper pointy. Every time we went into the bathroom, he’d folded the toilet paper to a point.
When we arrived home, I complained to my husband that I wanted to be on holiday again and boo-hoo – my toilet paper wasn’t pointy. I wanted pointy toilet paper!!
I know most hotels and motels make their toilet paper pointy, and I wondered why. It came up in conversation when my brother-in-law and his wife came for dinner a few nights ago. My sister-in-law used to work as a Meticulous Maid and she said they made the toilet paper pointy so they knew they’d cleaned the toilet.
Yesterday I went to the restroom and low and behold, my toilet paper was pointy. I looked around for Edward, who I seriously loved and wanted to bring home with me, but alas the paper folder was my hubby. He knew how much I wanted pointy toilet paper and had crept in and done it for me. He’s such a sweetie, and he definitely made me laugh.
What is your theory on pointy toilet paper? Why do you think the hotel room attendants fold the toilet paper to a point?
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
I’m back! The Pacific cruise was wonderful–relaxing, full of new experiences and fun times. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’m ready to face the real world again. In the real world I have to cook, do dishes and make my own bed. Hubby had to drag me onto the plane to fly home from Sydney. Once we emptied the suitcases, the pile of laundry was downright scary, but thankfully that’s almost under control now.
Here’s a sample of what we saw on our holiday. This is the island of Moorea in Tahiti. The photo was taken from the ship. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
I’ve always wanted to make gingerbread men and finally got around to it this weekend. They were surprisingly easy to make and, once the dough is made, children of all ages would have fun rolling out the dough and cutting out the gingerbread men. The perfect activity for a spring break.
3 tablespoons golden syrup
75g caster sugar (about 3 oz)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
75g butter (about 3/4 of a stick)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
225g plain flour (8 oz)
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) Gently melt syrups, sugar, water an spices in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring well. Remove from heat, add butter and baking soda. Add enough sifted flour to make a firm dough. Sit aside to cool. Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Decorate with currants or chocolate bits as desired and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden and crisp
Shelley’s notes: The recipe made nine gingerbread men, although if I hadn’t kept nibbling at the dough, it would have probably made ten. I cooked mine for ten minutes, but if I made them again I think I’d cook them for eight minutes because my oven cooks fast. The final result was yummy, but I need more practice with my piping. Use raisins, currants, M & Ms or plain icing for decoration. You could even use something like dried cranberries. Your imagination is the only limit!
Have you made gingerbread men before?
Monday, March 29th, 2010
I have a favorite pair of shorts. In fact, I’m wearing them as I write this post. They’re over five years old now and well worn. The fabric has faded. They’ve become thin and frayed at the hems. I love them because they’re comfortable.
Yesterday, I was packing for our holiday. Mr. Munro said to me, “You’re not taking those, are you? If you take those I’m not standing beside you.”
Yes, he was insulting my favorite shorts.
“No,” I said with a haughty sniff. After all, he has made his opinion clear several times during the course of this summer. Secretly, I’m hoping my shorts will make it through another summer, but I didn’t tell Mr. Munro that. Personally, I can’t see anything wrong with them. They cover all essentials, and as I mentioned earlier, they’re very comfortable.
Do you have a favorite item of apparel that you wear all the time?
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
I’ve told you before about the love-hate relationship I have with the little Wii Fit character. Yesterday, I did a weight test, and he scolded me. Here’s how the conversation went:
Him: stand on the wii board. Relax. Measuring. Measuring. Finished.
Me: holding my breath, waiting for the result…
Him: You’ve gained .5 kg.
Him: Why do you think you gained weight, Shelley?
and he gave me a multi-choice list of possible answers. You ate too much. You drank too much. You didn’t exercise. There were a couple of other choices and the final answer was You don’t know.
Me: I don’t know.
Him: Are you sure, Shelley?
Me: We’re gonna fall out if you’re not careful.
Him: Try harder, Shelley and you might make your goal weight.
Yep! The cheek of him. Mr. Wii-Fit Character and I aren’t speaking today. And notice how he had the last word???
I’m guest blogging at Leah Braemel’s blog today about food and romance, both subjects that I really like. Here’s the link to Leah Braemel’s blog.
Monday, March 22nd, 2010
I love going on holiday, but one of the things I always miss while I’m away is my own bed. There is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bed.
During my travels, I’ve slept in some interesting places:
1. Koa Cabins where the beds had rock-hard bases and no pillows. I didn’t sleep well until we went to K-Mart and purchased a small pillow each. Note – I do love Koa cabins though, despite their rock-hard beds!
2. In Egypt, one of the places we stayed had mouse dirt on the pillows. We changed rooms and the second room had the same problem. In the end, we gave up and made the best of it. I slept with one eye open all night, on the look out for rodents.
3. In Africa – we pitched our tents after dark, and they were on a slight hill. We slept on thin sleep mats and mine was on top of a rock. I ended up sliding down the hill, just trying to avoid that rock! Actually, this has happened in lots of places. Murphy’s Law applies here – if there’s a rock you will pitch your tent on it.
4. In Pakistan – the “hotel” where we stayed was owned by a very strange man with only one eye. At one stage, he was brandishing a gun after drinking a little too much alcohol. Several of us shared a room that night and we barricaded the door. We were pleased to leave the next morning!
5. In India – all the hotels were booked out because of a festival. Several of us had to sleep on the hotel roof with our sleep mats and sleeping bags. The mosquitoes had a real party that night and the dogs started barking in the small hours of the morning. They serenaded us for HOURS! The roof was very hard and uncomfortable. You might recognize this since my characters in Wanderlust experienced the same thing.
6. In Africa, we had to pitch our tents on the road because both sides of the road were thick jungle. It was wet and rainy, hot and humid and uncomfortable. We also had to get up really early before the trucks started coming through.
The ideal situation: We have a slat bed (I think you call them sleigh beds in the US). I like at least two pillows so I can prop myself up and read, but always sleep with one fairly flat pillow. I like crisp cotton sheets, hate flannelette sheets and electric blankets and king-size beds are good. My hubby is like a furnace, which is good in the middle of winter when I have cold feet, but not so much fun when it’s summer and really hot!
What is your preference when it comes to beds, linens, mattresses and pillows?